History Odyssey vs. Story of the World - Mothering Forums
Learning at Home and Beyond > History Odyssey vs. Story of the World
holyhelianthus's Avatar holyhelianthus 01:32 PM 04-10-2009
Without the secular debate what are the pros and cons of each?

I have heard such great things about Story of the World from friends who like me view history as incredibly important but I have my suspicions in that SOTW seems so... small? It seems like History Odyssey, which has a book for each level, would go more in depth.

Reviews? Thoughts?

TIA!! :

emmsmama's Avatar emmsmama 02:15 PM 04-10-2009
We use SOTW in my home and enjoy it. We are in SOTW1 right now, so it is all about Ancient History. If you just had the book and read it, it would be very light reading. However, there is the Activity Guide that goes with it that I would highly recommend. It has tons of additional reading and activity suggestions in it. I am constantly getting books out of the library that are suggested in the AG so that we can deepen the study.

In school I hated history because it always seemed like it was about memorizing dates and copying notes. I like that with SOTW, it feels like a story you are reading each week. It covers many major points in history, but it doesn't focus on dates and memorizing names and places. My kids have an understanding of who Alexander the Great was, where Mesopotamia was, why people often lived along the river, of how imporant seas were for trade, etc. They enjoy learning about history and they are getting a great overview.

I also find that I'm loving doing history because it is so easy with SOTW. We usually read the chapter on Monday and they will sometimes verbally narrate some of it back to me. We also usually do the activity pages (maps, colouring pages, word searches, etc.) on Monday. Then Wed. we will pull out the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia I have and the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia and we will look up the corresponding pages and read a more in-depth review of the time period. Then on Friday we will read some book selections that we got from the library. I rarely do the hands-on activities, but my kids often will bring what we are learning into their play.

I am learning a lot along with the kids and it's keeping History interesting and fun. I am a secular homeschooler and I like that there are little spatterings of many different religious beliefs thrown into the book as well. My dd is quite interested in mythology and ds loved the Anansi and Rabbit Shoots the Sun stories. They know that a rabbit didn't really shoot the sun and that Zeus isn't a real god, but I'm sure they are getting an understanding that people believe(ed) different things and a bit about why they believed what they did, and also they see the similarities in a lot of belief systems (have you noticed how popular stories about boys being floated down a river in a basket instead of killed is in ancient beliefs?).

I can't give any info on HO as I haven't used it, but we will be sticking with SOTW for next year as well.

ETA: I have heard concerns that some things aren't historically accurate in SOTW, however almost any book or program I've read reviews on has said the same thing.
holyhelianthus's Avatar holyhelianthus 02:21 PM 04-10-2009
Thanks! I was looking at the Amazon preview for SOTW and it's activity book and I was impressed. What I like about SOTW is that it has a lot of myths and for such small kids I think that is the best way to learn- through stories. The activity book looks amazing!

My only other question is what about cycle 2? It looks like SOTW has 1-4 covered and their new book series coming out (now with just The Ancients) will address high school (and adults! I want to read it myself) but what about the middle grades- 5-8? Or does this SOTW have a section for that?
dotnetdiva's Avatar dotnetdiva 04:30 PM 04-10-2009
I have both and have just sat down to figure out how to use all these history resources (HO, SOTW, Usborne, Kingfisher) and put together our own curriculum/schedule - very simplified and fun though for a young one.

History Odyssey uses Story of the World and the other books I mentioned.

And I must say the Story of the World activity book is what got me so excited, it has so many great ideas!
elizawill's Avatar elizawill 06:37 PM 04-10-2009
we like SOTW on cd (but reading it to my kids was awful) & my kids also use the activity pages. i don't have experience with history odyssey. like anything though, you'll probably have to try it and see what you think personally. both have good resale.
Annapooh's Avatar Annapooh 08:24 PM 04-10-2009
:
In school I hated history because it always seemed like it was about memorizing dates and copying notes. I like that with SOTW, it feels like a story you are reading each week. It covers many major points in history, but it doesn't focus on dates and memorizing names and places. My kids have an understanding of who Alexander the Great was, where Mesopotamia was, why people often lived along the river, of how imporant seas were for trade, etc. They enjoy learning about history and they are getting a great overview.

I also find that I'm loving doing history because it is so easy with SOTW. We usually read the chapter on Monday and they will sometimes verbally narrate some of it back to me. We also usually do the activity pages (maps, colouring pages, word searches, etc.) on Monday. Then Wed. we will pull out the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia I have and the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia and we will look up the corresponding pages and read a more in-depth review of the time period. Then on Friday we will read some book selections that we got from the library. I rarely do the hands-on activities, but my kids often will bring what we are learning into their play.

I am learning a lot along with the kids and it's keeping History interesting and fun. I am a secular homeschooler and I like that there are little spatterings of many different religious beliefs thrown into the book as well. My dd is quite interested in mythology and ds loved the Anansi and Rabbit Shoots the Sun stories. They know that a rabbit didn't really shoot the sun and that Zeus isn't a real god, but I'm sure they are getting an understanding that people believe(ed) different things and a bit about why they believed what they did, and also they see the similarities in a lot of belief systems (have you noticed how popular stories about boys being floated down a river in a basket instead of killed is in ancient beliefs?).

This post is really helpful to me. I'm looking at SOTW for my dd and ds. I hated history, and now wish I knew more! I am a christian homeschooler, but really appreciate that the book covers different beliefs. I want my kids to know and appreciate different beliefs. I'd also be curious to hear the pastor's take, or another christian's take on babies in baskets, I NEVER knew this before my friend told me.
emmsmama's Avatar emmsmama 01:45 AM 04-11-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
My only other question is what about cycle 2? It looks like SOTW has 1-4 covered and their new book series coming out (now with just The Ancients) will address high school (and adults! I want to read it myself) but what about the middle grades- 5-8? Or does this SOTW have a section for that?
Book one is for roughly Gr. 1-4, Book two for 2-5, Book three for 3-6 and Book 4 for 4-7 if I remember correctly from when I was researching it as a choice. I plan on doing the cycle twice with ds (which would put him technically doing the book one year after the recommendation the second time around, but you could totally beef it up with the book suggestions in the activity guide or independent projects, etc. as it's only meant to be a spine). With dd I won't have time to go through the cycle twice because we just did Ancients this year and she is in Gr. 4. So my game plan is to finish up SOTW4 with her in Gr. 7 and then in Gr. 8 I'm going to do a complete Canadian focus. There will be Canadian history in SOTW3 and SOTW4, but I want to do a really focused CDN study in Gr. 8 on history and politics so that if she does enter highschool for Gr. 9, she'll be more than ready!

ETA: If you think about it, many adults enjoy SOTW so even if the guidelines say 1-4 or 4-7 or whatever, if it can appeal to adults I'm sure a kid in Gr. 8 isn't going to complain kwim.
milehighmonkeys's Avatar milehighmonkeys 04:40 AM 04-11-2009
My DD loves SOTW. DD actually asks to have SOTW read to her. It doesn't seem especially dynamically written, but she still enjoys the stories. If you think it's a little thin on substance, you can always use it as a jumping off point for further exploration. I find that I end up googling things that we have questions about. For example, we live at high altitude so when we were reading about the Greek Gods living atop Mt. Olympus, it was interesting to google and learn that we regularly reach an altitude higher than Mt. Olympus. I guess that's just gee whiz info, but it keeps DD interested.
Tassy's Avatar Tassy 03:50 AM 04-12-2009
Hello!

I really appreciate the discussion on these but could still use more info (sorry!)

We just finished Sonlight Core 1 and I LOVE LOVE the literature in the reading section....but the History leaves me wanting. I thought Story of the world might by the answer...but then I read about History Odyssey.... How are the activities different? History O uses Story of the world?....I am so confused!!!!!! How would I move into either from Sonlight Core 1? yikes! Can anyone rescue me?

TIA!
tassy

DS 7, DD 4, twin DDs 2
Jackpackbaby's Avatar Jackpackbaby 11:40 AM 04-12-2009
Thanks!
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