Friday, April 3, 2009

TruthQuest History

History is one of those subjects which can be approached in a multitude of ways. I have seen curriculum which asks the participant to chart people and events on timelines. I have seen curriculum that asks the student to live the history through reenactments, recipes, art and costumes. I have seen history curriculum which simply asks the student to read a chapter of information and then answer questions of comprehension. TruthQuest History offers yet another approach for teachers and students seeking the opportunity to participate in history study with literature and discussion.

TruthQuest History is more of a guide of philosophical thought than other history curriculum currently available. Written by Michelle Miller, veteran homeschooler and children’s librarian, TruthQuest promises the homeschool family hours, days even years of the study of mankind all while seeking to understand, “God’s plan and our response”, for according to Miller, “that’s history!” TruthQuest will take parents and kids on a journey of thought and discussion and although not designed for the faint of heart, a journey well worth its challenge.

Miller’s passion for history shines through in her explanation of the curriculum. When describing the approach to studying history she explains, “It should be a personal encounter with the King of the Universe, the Maker of our souls! It should be one of the most inspiring, personal, real and intimate topics because it hooks us up with the truths that make life work!”

Miller’s description of implementing TruthQuest in your home is encouraging to parent teachers. “All you have to do is convey truth to your kids in the way the Bible often does: through story. Hence, the copious booklists in this guide, and the happy fact that your children’s ‘history time’ will be spent basking in great reading”, writes Miller in the “Notes for Mom and Dad” section of her curriculum.

Feeling Miller’s passion for her curriculum guide and history I was fired up to give TruthQuest History: Age of Revolution III a go at our house. The guide covers American and European history topics from 1865-2000. When I dream about homeschool days with my children I picture us reading great literature, discussing it and growing in wisdom from the experience. It is an impressionistic painting of soft colors, warm summer days and beauty. TruthQuest instantly brought my dream to mind as I read Miller’s description and helpful hints.

As beautiful as my dream is in my mind the reality falls just a bit short most days. Time flies past us as we run to appointments, deal with illness, grocery shop, eat, clean the house and fend off cranky, bad attitudes or other real life problems. I tend to be a bit distractible or even sometimes remain too focused on special projects to remember to make time for “the great discussion”. Keeping all this in mind I still had high hopes for our home’s experience with TruthQuest.

Unfortunately, when I went with curriculum guide in hand to the main branch of a very extensive library system in a major metropolitan city near my home I could find very few of the books listed in the guide. Miller offered me 14 different titles of books and one film choice to cover the topics of Victorian England and the Crimean War. I found one book for my 9th grade son and one book for my 6th grade daughter in the library system. I was so disappointed at the lack of availability of the literature that my initial enthusiasm was stifled. I think Miller might consider adding a line of literature for purchase along with the curriculum guides to help struggling Moms like me, because the concept of TruthQuest is phenomenal, but the reality for our family fell short.

Miller does specifically address the issue of out of print books in the guide. She says, “All worrying about acquiring listed books is hereby outlawed!” I agree that you do not have to have exact titles to experience the richness of learning through living books, however this Mom no longer has the ability to search for titles and plan accordingly. I need to be able to pay someone who has done that for me.

Despite our limited experience with TruthQuest my 6th grade daughter, Micah, had nothing but glowing remarks to share regarding the curriculum. “I think it’s kind of easier because you can do more things on your own with reading the books. There is no specific schedule so you can read as much as you want.”

When asked what she thought of the running commentary written by Miller laced between book lists Micah said, “She is a bit chatty, but sometimes that helps me understand about what is happening”.

TruthQuest History retails for $24.95 for most volumes with a maximum price of $34.95 for Volume III: Age of Revolution, America/Europe 1865-2000 . Samples of the guides are available by clicking here. TruthQuest divides world history for grades 5-12 into seven different time periods. Families with younger children can still benefit from the TruthQuest guides by purchasing up to three different American History guides written for grades 1-5. TruthQuest sponsors an on-line discussion Yahoo group enabling curriculum users to continue the “great discussion” on a greater scale. Interested families can join by emailing

TruthQuest was chosen by Cathy Duffy as one of her 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. It truly is a treasure which when opened will enhance your children’s education, broaden their minds and bring them closer to truth and wisdom.

No comments: