Hey Everyone, Because you are so knowledgeable, I couldn’t think of a better place to ask my question. I’m looking for a secular or non-faith history curriculum that spans from as far back as history goes all the way to the present day. I’d like the type of history curriculum that cycles back every 3 or 4 years, continuously building upon itself and getting deeper and more challenging as the student grows older. I would also like it to be teachable to 2 different age children (close in age - one is in 2nd grade, the other in 4th). So far I found History Odyssey (not even sure if that’s Secular.) So what do you know about?? Thank you so much!
We used Intellego-- it is secular and they have world history and US history and civics I think too. We used it for American History; it’s a little more effort than some other curricula we’ve used since it’s online and you have to kind of wade through what you want to use, but my kids liked it and learned from it! We’ve also used their geography and “Globetrotting with Cinderella”, which was a big hit with my daughter.
You could use Story of the World. It’s marketed as Christian worldview but could easily be used with a secular approach. This probably applies to Mystery of History also, although I don’t have first hand knowledge of that particular curriculum.
Mystery of History, just based on the sample text you can access online for free, has much more faith based material integrated in (you would need to go through and cross out places where it said “God was working…” ect). Though, just from reading the samples I can see there are some chapters that don’t include any specific Christian references, while others are full of them. For example, on the section about the Maccabean Revolt you’ll find this passage…
At about the time the Han dynasty was being established in China, the Lord was at work
protecting His people in Israel from a very cruel man. The history of the Jews never ceases to
amaze me. Over and over again, God kept His hand on the Jews in order to bring about His plan to
send Jesus Christ.
You won’t find anything like that in Story of the World, from what I’ve seen so far (we’re nearly done with the first book, and I’ve read parts of the 2nd). Story of the World seems to be written very carefully so that Christians could read it in a way that integrated their faith, but that those who were not Christians could also read it without feeling proselytized. There is no direct reference to God except in the inclusion of some Bible stories (and they also include stories from many cultures…Egyptians, Babylonian and Greek Myths). The text around these doesn’t talk about God the way Mystery of History does, though some Secular Homeschoolers I know who use this say they felt that the Bible stories were presented a little too much like history, not myth, but they solved this by adding a short preface to them such as “this was a story some people believed, etc.” Others skipped over these stories altogether (which is not hard to do)
To give an example of the difference between how the Bible stories and other cultural stories are presented in Story of the World, the Egyptian Story of Isis and Osirus is presented like this:
Egyptian stories about the gods often tried to explain why the Nile overflowed every year. One Egyptian story, or myth, tells about Osiris and his brother, Set. Here’s the myth of Osiris as an Egyptian child might have heard it from his mother, long ago.
And here is how the Bible story of Abram is introduced…
Sargon the Great ruled over many cities in Mesopotamia. One of the cities in Sargon’s empire was callled Ur. And a very important man lived in the city of Ur. His name was Abram. The book of Genisis, in the Bible, tells us about Abram:
Story of the World also doesn’t include anything regarding evolution so you would have to add that with a supplementary if you wanted that included.
It would work well for multiple ages. Our co-op (which is an inclusive co-op, not a religious one) uses this material with kids as young as 6 and as old as 14, though I’m sure the 14 year old supplements with other things, and this is I think the third time they’ve used it, so it’s possible they aren’t using the text anymore, just joining us for the activities. I believe it’s designed to be used for 1st through 6th grade (there are 4 books that can be finished in a year but I took two years with my youngest to go at a slower pace…we will work on speeding up as he gets older).
Check out “Build Your Library”. It’s secular, uses Story of the World for the younger years, and the author (a homeschool mom) has selected some of the best literature to go along with it.