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TruthQuest History Review by Kathy GelzerMichelle Miller
PO Box 2128
Traverse City, MI 49685-2128
TruthQuest History is a history program for grades 5 through 12 (younger children may participate) based on the worldview that history is "not first the story of mankind, but of the One who made mankind." I received the Renaissance, Reformation and Age of Exploration edition, which covers the time period from 1400 to 1600.
The book is primarily composed of reading lists and commentary, the latter being usually one to two paragraphs introducing each new topic. This commentary "incrementally and subtly weaves together the deepest issues of this era of history. The key importance of God and of beliefs will be seen, and the consequences of truth and untruth will be personally grasped by your children." It is highly recommended that the teaching parents also read the commentary so they can join the conversation. The author practically guarantees that these deep, meaningful discussions will occur in your family.
The procedure for using this curriculum is to read the preliminary commentary written by the author, choose readings from the annotated list (you can read to the children or they can read it themselves, depending on their ages and your preference), discuss what is read, and do optional extra projects of your choice as desired.
Reading choices listed for each unit include sections from several "spine" options as well as shorter focus books. The book lists can be overwhelming, but you must realize that these are lists from which to choose. It would not be practical to read every option listed. Every reading choice has an estimated individual reading grade level assigned to it, although parents will want to choose what they believe is appropriate for their children. Also, Michelle Miller admittedly has not read all the books she has included, so it is up to parents to make the final decision about reading material for their family. Films and activity books are also listed where they fit in.
Lots of leeway is given as to scheduling. This particular book contains 49 units, so that works out to roughly six units per month if you wanted to cover this book during a standard school year. Topics may be skipped over by the parent, too, if desired. Since there are no end-of-chapter questions or quizzes included, you may wonder how comprehension is tested. The author claims that the discussions that ensue will be proof of that. There are, however, eight "ThinkWrite" exercises throughout the text, with sample answers provided in one of the appendices. Here is an example of one of the writing exercises: "Give Martin Luther's life some thought. Whether you're Catholic or Protestant or something else, what does it show you about the impact of ideas, the life of one person, and the political protection of religion?"
The second appendix is a copyrighted list of all the books. Parents may copy this for their own use for ease in locating books at the library or bookstore. I would also wish for an index in the back of the book so that if you wanted to zero in on a certain person or event during this time frame, you would easily be able to do so.
Michelle Miller has a casual, conversational tone to her writing which some may or may not like. I think most students will warm to her style, which makes history a less daunting subject. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her Christian perspective is prominent.
TruthQuest History looks like an excellent method of studying history, whatever the size of your family, especially if you want a simple, flexible roadmap with a spiritual perspective that is literature based. You can pick and choose from innumerable resources without necessarily spending a lot of money, and you will be able to engage in meaningful discussion with your family about the significance of historical events.