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Afterschooling with Story of the World v4

The deep, dark, SOTW IV

The deep, dark, SOTW IV

Third grade has started and our schedule is packed.  More importantly, my son’s classroom teacher is keeping his brain very full.  That’s not just good, that’s great.

So how can we meet our 1 hour and 45 minutes a week goal of Afterschooling without me being a mean mom?

Easy.  I’ve got two words for you: Carschooling and Kindle.

For the past month, Bruce(8) has been listening to Susan Wise Bauer’s The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 4: The Modern Age: From Victoria’s Empire to the End of the USSR.  (I couldn’t find the audio version of SOTW Volume 4 on Amazon anymore, but here’s the link to Peace Hill Press.)

SOTW v4 is a marked change from the previous three volumes which I have also reviewed on my blog: SOTW v1, SOTW v2, and SOTW v3.  It’s deeper, darker, and not meant for young children.  In the introduction, SWB gives a sober advisement to parents that this book is four fourth grade and up.

Bruce is still a year shy of that mark, but he has learned so much history, religion, and philosophy already, that I felt he could handle it.  But we are being very careful to listen to SOTW v4 when Jenna(4) isn’t in the car with us, or else asleep.

There are 11 discs in the volume, and we got through the first four before school ever began.

We’ve heard about the Second Reich, the Russo-Japanese War, the internment of Afrikaans in the Boer War, and the beginnings of World War I.  See what I mean about this volume being dark?

But we also learned a lot that ties in with our own Russo-German family history. That’s been interesting to hear, because it provides a more global understanding of why my ancestors came to America.

To supplement the audio discs, we also own the book version.  On the weekends when Bruce wants to earn extra time on his Kindle, I have him read a few chapters.  The new Angry Birds Star War edition is a great motivator!


  1. Anne says:

    Do you think SOTW 1 would be appropriate for a 5 year old? She is in full day K in a great PS and doing really well, but as I look at the grade school curriculum it seems to neglect history, mythology, art history, etc. This seems like a perfect area to supplement at home-it’s what I love and we plan to travel as much as possible. Would appreciate your thoughts.

    • When my son was in Kindergarten we started after Christmas and then listened to the first 3 SOTW books by the end of summer. So yes, I think Kindergarten is an excellent time to start. I didn’t buy the actual books until Bruce was older. Some people have a lot of success doing the projects from the Activity Guide at that age. You can see some of those here on a Pinterest board I’ve put together with another blogger: http://www.pinterest.com/jennaandbruce/story-of-the-world-ideas/

      Btw, my own ultimate plan is to listen to have my kids listen to SOTW in their completion (except for volume 4) every two years starting in Kindergarten. That way once they are taking AP courses in high school, they’ll have a slight advantage because all of that history will be hard-wired in.

      • Anne says:

        That’s such a great idea. My thought was to buy the audio version, then invest in the books eventually. I’ll check out the ideas on your board. We have some awesome materials that I “inherited” when my friend’s mom (who was my HS AP Art History teacher) passed away. Time to get organized!

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