Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: TruthQuest History

“Please, read me just one more chapter!  I want to know what happens next!” has become a regular refrain in our house.

And admittedly, I succumb often enough to make such a plea worthwhile.

I’ve had this vision of curling up in the schoolhouse with a stack of good books, reading the day away as part of “school.”  I was never quite sure how to make such a vision reality, but I’m getting a feel for it now, thanks to TruthQuest History.  Who knew learning history could be so very much fun?!



TruthQuest History is a deep and rich literature-based history study…but with a difference. You will not learn the story of mankind; you will learn the lovestory of mankind. You will not focus on the rise and fall of human civilizations; you will focus on the arrow-straight line of God's unchanging existence, power, love, truth, and plan for civilization. You will not simply 'meet the culture' or 'get the facts;' you will probe the truths of history so deeply that your students will be equipped to change their world!

TruthQuest History:  Seeking God's truth...embedded in the flow of history!

  • Profound, sequential commentary
  • Vast, specific literature recommendations
  • Provocative ThinkWrite™ exercises

Recommended Age:  Three Guides for Grades 1-5, Eight Guides for Grades 5-12  
Price:  Prices range from $24.95 to $34.95 (for print) or $19.95 to $29.95 (for pdf) 
For More Info/To Purchase:  TruthQuest History 
For More Reviews: TOS Crew

imageOur Experience:

Let’s just say TruthQuest History has been a mind-changing experience. 

My first little peeve is that the only history guides available for younger folks were on American history.  Now, why wouldn’t we just start at the beginning? 

Since then, I’ve realized that there aren’t nearly as many books available for younger ones in the earlier periods as there are for the American history, and I can understand starting with a period that has a vast selection of great resources to choose from.

Anyway, since we couldn’t start at the beginning, I figured we would start at the end.  I gotta do things in SOME kind of order, I’m OCD that way.  I rationalized it by saying we’d start closest to the time period we’re in – the period little 4yo 5yo Esmé could most easily relate to.

So I requested American History for Young Students III.  Here’s the synopsis:

From the Wild West to World War II...from the Wright Brothers to the Vietnam War...from the Arctic explorers to the heartbreak of September 11...this last guide introduces your children to the dramatic people and events of our recent history. But this is no humanistic study, for our real focus is a gentle probing of the spiritual upheaval of the period. Our children are inheriting a different world, and this guide subtly prepares their precious, innocent, and vulnerable hearts.

When I received it, I was dismayed to realize the first chapter was on the [Civil War]Reconstruction.  How can you START with that – with no background as to why you’re “reconstructing”?  I dabbled around in other chapters, trying to figure a better starting point; after all, the author says “Feel free to skip topics.”  I finally gave up and dove into figuring out how to present Chapter 1.

All right – book list for Chapter 1!  Don’t have any of these myself.  The local (rural) library doesn’t have most of them.  And the list is all for grades 3 and up, anyway.  Help!  I go back and read the Notes for Mom & Dad section:  “All worrying about acquiring listed books is hereby outlawed!” 

And a light bulb came on.  Fluorescent, admittedly, as it took a bit of time to come to full brightness.  I’ve got flexibility! If the book is too complicated for my little one, I can get the book-turned-movie, instead!  I can find lots of related audiobooks – even ones on the list – for free online!  I can pick out my own books on a topic!

So we ended up going through one picture book, one chapter book, and two books-turned-movies on the Reconstruction era.  And Esmé got it! on a very personal level through the characters of these books – the conflict between black and white, the conflict between North and South.  So I figured it’d be a good time to move on.

Chapter 2 was a whole ‘nother story.  Subject:  Westward Ho!  And here’s where I had to go back to the Notes for Mom & Dad section:  “Don’t try to be such a ‘good mother’ that you bore your kids to tears by reading a million books on each topic!”  While the library still didn’t have a majority of the books, the book list was so extensive that we had tons of options.  I confess:  We are STILL on Chapter 2 several months into this program.  I must be one of those ‘good mothers’…

But that’s okay.  We’re flexible!  At 5yo, I don’t mind taking our time with it.  As long as we’re happy reading Little House stories and watching Old Yeller movies, we’re THRILLED that this is school!

What Mom Liked:

  • The commentary. Each chapter begins with a read-aloud commentary, setting the “God” stage for the literature that follows.  While we haven’t gotten very far through the guide, we’ve seen some nice applications so far.  I can say the author grabbed Esmé’s attention from the very start. 
  • Okay, I’ll admit it. When I was a girl, about your age, I once ran away from home. I
    packed an outfit and stomped out the front door. I was so mad!

  • Um, yeah – Esmé hasn’t gotten out the front door yet, but she can definitely relate.  And in her mind, this series will always be known as the one written by the little girl who ran away from home...
  • The booklists.  So far, I haven’t been disappointed with the items on the lists.  While I wish I could find them all, being such a ‘good mother,’ between the library and online free resources, I’ve been able to find sufficient resources.
  • The forum.  There is a reasonably active TruthQuest forum where one can find resources, ask questions, or share experiences.  Michelle Miller, the author of TruthQuest, is a very gracious and regular part of the forum – so you’re getting feedback from the author herself.
  • Other resources.  While we haven’t tried them out – we’re taking things easy for now – I should mention that there are other resources available to organize and personalize all the information being gleaned through the reading.  Binder Builder (think fancy lapbook), Notebooking Pages, and a Map/Timeline/Report Package are available for this particular Guide on the TruthQuest website.

TruthQuest History isn’t for everyone.  If you like a preplanned curriculum that tells you what to read every day, and/or you want to get all the books in one neat package, this isn’t going to work for you. 

If you want flexibility, adaptability, child-influenced choices, and the opportunity to incorporate whatever history materials you already have available, TruthQuest can be a great, godly guide to your history expeditions.  I LOVE it…

Disclaimer:  Thanks to TruthQuest
for providing a pdf copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review, and to TOS Crew for coordinating the review.  All opinions are our own.