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TruthQuest History: Beginnings: Creation/Old Testament/Ancients/Egypt Review by Wendy RobertsonMichelle Miller
PO Box 2128, Traverse City, MI 49685-2128
TruthQuest History is a program written by veteran homeschooler Michelle Miller with the goal of changing the way we look at history from “what people did” to “what God did through people.” When you purchase the product ($29.95 in print or $23.95 for a PDF), you receive a softcover, spiral bound book that is huge. As the title suggests, this curriculum starts at the very beginning of history—Creation. Rather than being a traditional curriculum, TruthQuest History is more a starting point for a discussion with your children, as well as a fairly detailed list of books and videos to further your family’s learning.
In our homeschool, we started at the beginning of the book, even though my kids are already well versed in Creation. TruthQuest gave us many new insights we hadn’t gained in any of our other Creation studies, and a lot of the videos Ms. Miller lists in the book are available on YouTube. As we started the program, I read one entry per day to my children. While the official grade level for the curriculum is 5-12, there are many book suggestions for the younger grades. Since my sons are in grades 3 and 5, we were able to do it together. As we progressed through the book, more suggestions for supplemental books to flesh out what was being taught in TruthQuest were made.
This program suggests that all you need to teach history is the book itself and a library card. I didn’t find this to be true, but not because of any problem with TruthQuest. My library system, which includes nearly 20 libraries, simply didn’t have any of the books suggested in the manual. That was my biggest frustration with using this program.
Putting that aside, however, this is a wonderful program, and there are a million different ways to use it. Of course, the most obvious way is using a Charlotte Mason approach. Get the “living books” suggested in the book and read them, using the lesson guides in TruthQuest as a discussion starter, or read the lesson guides as they are and find some of the videos online (this is what we did). Have your children start a history notebook and include the things you talk about and things they observe from outside resources in their entries. The list could go on and on.
Even though it is “just a teacher manual,” TruthQuest History Beginnings: Creation/Old Testament/Ancients/Egypt is a very thorough book, and I don’t think anything else (besides the living books recommended) is necessary to pull off teaching history in this way. I really liked that Ms. Miller included book lists for children of all ages; this makes it extremely versatile for families of multiple children to work through the curriculum together. There are over 160 lessons that cover the secular world (Queen Nefertiti and King Tut, for example) right alongside the spiritual world of the Bible (Joseph, Deborah, and Simeon, as well as the prophets and more). I think it’s fascinating to put all that stuff together and learn about the “famous” things that were going on during Bible times, and TruthQuest history is a great way to do that.
If you’re unsure how to use this book once you get it (I was), the website is an invaluable source of information and includes a section entitled “How to Use.” This section can be your best friend as you first enter the world of TruthQuest History.
Because of the library situation I mentioned earlier, I’ve unfortunately had to put TruthQuest history aside for the time being. I hope to begin to build our own library using some of the books Ms. Miller lists and then come back to this in a couple of years when my boys are older.
-Product review by Wendy Robertson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2015