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Streams of Civilization, Volume One (Third Edition) Review by Erica Beyea

Albert Hyma and Mary Stanton
Christian Liberty Press
1 (800) 348-0899
02 West Euclid Ave
Arlington, Heights, IL 60004

Starting at the origins of the earth and continuing through the Middle Ages until the Reformation Era, Streams of Civilization, Volume One is a beautiful hard cover textbook that thoroughly examines the story of mankind in an objective and compelling way for high school students. A case is made for studying history in the very first chapter, laying a foundation for the entire text. While we understand that no person was present to record the history of the beginning of the earth, the two common explanations for this phenomenon are thoroughly explored, with evolutionary theories well explained in an objective manner. Although evolution is well defined, the material is Christian in nature, with a strong Biblical defense of creation as found in Genesis. Personally, I am very pleased with the thorough explanation given of both commonly held explanations, creation and evolution, as I feel students must be well prepared to understand both perspectives, and learn to defend their faith.

The textbook continues with a young earth emphasis, closely aligned with not only Biblical accounts, but also accurate secular historical details of ancient history. Colorful illustrations, detailed maps and charts, and photographs cover nearly every one of the 465 pages and seventeen chapters of the textbook. One idea that sets this course apart from equivalent ancient world history texts is how comprehensively it explores every continent and the people and cultures of that continent during this timeframe. Often ancient and medieval history books solely focus on the Asian and European mainland, but Streams of Civilization devotes an entire section to the Western Hemisphere and its inhabitants during the ancient and medieval era. At the end of the book there is a very detailed bibliography, glossary, and index. In the closing chapter, the textbook brings us to the cusp of modern history by explaining the Reformation Era and subsequent actions by the world powers of that time.

The writing is challenging but also story-like in its telling, making this an enjoyable book to read for any student. Unfamiliar vocabulary words are listed in each chapter. I was very impressed with the attention to details in the writing. Even though it reads like a story, no educational integrity is lost, making it a complete history course. To make it a high school level course, there are extracurricular activities listed in each chapter for more in depth study. Each chapter ends with comprehension questions as well as a list of suggested projects that correspond with that chapter’s subject matter. These projects offer a selection of wonderful hands on ideas, and students may choose to complete one or many.

Although the teacher’s manual is optional, I found it to be a very helpful resource to guide me as the teacher through each chapter of the textbook. Questions and answers direct the teacher in key points to emphasize in discussion with the student. Also included are suggested teaching strategies, answers to comprehension questions from the textbook, vocabulary definitions, and expanded explanations of the special projects for each chapter.

The test packet includes a double sided, single page test for each of the seventeen chapters of the textbook. The tests were quite simple and seemed rather easy. Personally, I would probably enhance the test with some extra questions or essays if I were using this as a high school credit course. Answers are included in the back of the test packet.

We are using this history course for my 7th grader, and have found it delightfully engaging. There are so many obscure, interesting facts that we are learning. In my many years of reading and teaching history, I have found this course to be one of the most complete and well written textbooks I have encountered. I look forward to following up with volume two to complete our world history studies.

Currently, this third edition hardcover textbook is available on the Christian Liberty Press website for $35.95. The 141-page stapled paper teacher’s manual is $10.75 and the paper test packet is $5.25.

-Product review by Erica Beyea, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017