Teaching My Baby To Read

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The Story of the World Volume 1 Audio CD

Initial Impressions:

Right now we are listening to The Story of the World Volume 1 by Susan Wise Bauer. There are seven CDs that go with the audio version, as well as a detailed table of contents that is helpful in case you want to fast forward to a certain part of history. The narrator is Jim Weiss, whom our whole family absolutely loves because he can do so many different voices and accents.

At first, I hesitated to purchase SOTW because the Amazon ratings are very skewed. Half of the reviewers absolutely the series, the other half claim it is riddled with historical inaccuracies. Here’s what my friend Claire said about this controversy:

Claire: Most of the criticisms I’ve seen of Mrs. Bauer’s history series (both SOTW and her adult one) has to do with her treatment of Biblical stories as historical fact. She is a pastor’s wife, and her books reflect a Protestant Christian POV, though not a “Providential” one.

I have also heard the opposite opinion expressed. Some Christian conservatives dislike SOTW because she doesn’t cite all of the Bible as historical fact. We have only listened to the first CD so far, but in no way does it seem to be from a Bible literalist point of view.

Another criticism of SOTW I have heard is that there are not clear delineations between fact and myth. I do not think this is true either. Not only does SWB distinguish between stories and verifiable fact, but she knits them together along with fictional stories that appeal to young readers to create an engaging narrative experience.

We are listening to SOTW as a work of historical fiction, and are enjoying it tremendously. Since we are an Afterschooling family, this is just a Classical Education supplement to my son’s public school education. I have not purchased the written version of SOTW, or the activity guide that goes with it.

The activity guide however, does look pretty cool if you have the time, or are using SOTW for homeschooling. Here are three of my favorite blogs that show some of the activities from the book:

Pretty cool blogs, hunh? I’m enjoying seeing the activities and showing Bruce the pictures, without having to create the actual mess! We just have too much on our plate right now to add anything else. However, I am thinking about purchasing the activity guide in the future and doing some of the projects over winter break.

P.S. I will be updating this page in the future as we listen to more of the CDs. These are just my initial impressions after hearing disc one.

Update #1 One of Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise’s main ideas in The Well Trained Mind is to create a timeline in your house starting out in ancient times. (This is something that is typically done in public school classrooms.) Over at Ourlearningjourney, you can print out free timeline cards that the mom created to coincide with SOTW. These cards are really beautiful, so be sure to check out her pictures and be inspired.


  1. Cheryl Morris says:

    I love this blog for SOTW activities! The lapbook really only takes a few minutes at a time to do. My son is begging for more SOTW!


  2. Thanks for the shout out Jenny! When I first considered buying SOTW, I read all the criticisms too. I decided that really it all comes down to how you present material as a parent. We’re using it more as a jumping off point than an end all be all text. We had a blast making pyramids out of Legos today. I should have a blog post up about that one soon! 🙂

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