This is a very good history book. I like the way the author writes history like a story to keep kids interested. I did, however, skip the first several chapters as I felt his views of the beginning of the Earth greatly contradict the Bible. He does make mention of this in the activity book to talk to children about his views versus your family's, but our kids are not old enough to have this discussion.
I did buy the study guide and the questions are wonderful to check comprehension. The activities are fun and easy to do.
I don't have the workbook/study guide that comes with this set. I only have the textbook. So I can only review the text. My daughter is 9, which is the age the book recommends for starting this text. I really like the text. We read it together, doing one chapter a day, and we alternate reading paragraphs out loud. Then I will write down her narration of what she read. At the end of the narration, I give her a few keys words that she missed discussing and then write down what she narrates about those specific key words. I think I will eventually come up with some tests on my own.
OK, on to the text itself. I like the way it's written. The text is written in a story-telling manner. The material is interesting and is written with a sense of conveying meaning and reason to why things happened the way they did, rather than just presenting a string of facts. So, just as a small example, when talking about the beginning of civilizations, it describes how early civilizations were built near rivers, since that would be a place where land was fertile and people could transport goods by boat for trading. The whole text just continues as a narrative that makes sense and is presented like a story. The topics that the author covers are engaging and fairly thorough as well.
On the other hand, my husband did not like the tone that the author takes toward the reader. It is a bit old-fashioned, perhaps a Victorian way of talking to children, which has a sense of talking down to them. For example, "Suppose you had been a boy or girl in the Stone Age. I wonder how you would have liked the life". I don't consider this a deal-breaker with this book. I think the engaging narrative more than justifies the feeling like you are in a living room with a spectacled man telling you a story. And personally, I like that image.
The issue about the first chapter. The first chapter attempts to start the history of the earth at the very beginning. It presents one "scientific" idea of how that might have happened. What it doesn't do is eliminate God from this process. The author clearly feels God was a part of the creative process and continues to use a Christian worldview in other parts of the book. "there was a time when there was no world at all...only the stars, and God, who made the stars". In chapter two he directly states that those ideas that he just presented are just a theory. I feel like the chapter is not confusing to my child, who I am raising as a Christian. No, it doesn't state Genesis 1 word for word. But it doesn't negate Genesis either. It attempts to describe some physical changes that might have happened at the creation of the world. If you really feel uncomfortable with this material, you could just skip the first two chapters. They are not essential to the rest of the book.
I think I am going to enjoy using this book throughout the next two years with my daughter. I think it is an age-appropriate world history survey for her. It is hard to find texts that are well-written for this age group. This is one of those classics that endures for a reason.
Our family has only read the main textbook. We did not use the workbooks, so we don't have an opinion about them. The textbook was fun and engaging. I read it aloud to my 2nd grader, and she couldn't get enough. This book tells history in a fun way. The down side to this book for Christians who believe in Creation Science is that this book is Evolution based. There are several places in the book that mention Earth being around for millions of years for example. This book is great as a read aloud for parents to use as a teaching point for young children, or for an older child that is knowledgeable about the beliefs of other religions and scientists who are not believers.
If you are a bible believing Christian, please do not purchase this set! There is too many "errors" in this book that do not line up with biblical perspective. I believe you can use errors for "teaching moments" to show your children what is not correct, but when you need the child to do their work by themselves--those teaching moments are lost. I have multiple children whom I homeschool.
Although we have not used this yet my Husband did read the main textbook and asked if he could actually teach the children this subject. He loves History and said this was a very good textbook. Can't wait to do the activities with the kiddos. Looks wonderful!