We are now on disc 8 out of the 9 disc audio version of The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Vol. 3: Early Modern Times, 2nd Edition (9 CDs)
by Susan Wise Bauer. Bruce(6.5) and I continue to love this series. Jenna(2) alternates between yelling “No Story of the World! Music CD!” from the back seat, or paradoxically, sometimes asking for it. I’m not deluding myself into thinking my two year old has learned anything from thirty plus hours of listening to SOTW volumes 1-3, but I think it hasn’t hurt her language development at all to listen to speaking, stories, and big vocabulary words.
For his part, Bruce told me recently:
“Mom, I’ll tell you what history is about. It’s about Christians fighting Muslims, Muslims fighting Christians, Catholics fighting Protestants, and Protestants fighting Catholics. Every once in a while a real powerful guy comes along and builds up a great empire. But then after a while the empire gets all messed up.”
I found this reflection to be both wise and poignant, especially since it was coming from my six year old. This is not to say that I found SOTW III very dark or depressing, because it was not. There were a lot of wonderful stories of historical heroes, heroines, brave explorers, and noble defenders.
SOTW III is also the only book for children that I have been able to find that discusses John Locke specifically. There is a good, five minute section about Locke and his theory that in a natural state all men are equal and have the right to pursue life, liberty and possessions. I mention this because Bruce and I are currently plugging through my SLE Inspired Reading List Part 2, which by design, needed to include a child’s introduction to John Locke.
The theories created by John Locke of course flow straight into the creation of America, and so SOTW III also includes some early American history. In fact, it goes into more detail about certain parts of American history than the AP US History text I had in 11th grade. The history of Manhattan for example, was all new to me and very intriguing.
In fact, I was shocked at how much history I learned from Volume III myself. I had never studied the liberation of South America, nor the Mongol empire in India. These are the hardest parts for me to learn, because I don’t have any tracks laid down in my brain from childhood for the information to stick to. This won’t be a problem for Bruce or Jenna!