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Ancient Civilizations and the Bible

I can’t even describe how excited I am about a new curriculum I’ve been pouring through for next year!  Normally, I wouldn’t post about products that aren’t tried and true, but this is an amazing exception.  I couldn’t write curriculum that is more “me”!  And just what is “me” and what does this curriculum offer that’s has me so giddy?

  • It’s project-based
  • Fits with the first year of my four-year history cycle (ancient history)
  • Has a Biblically-based, creation-based worldview
  • Includes living literature book lists and listening CD’s
  • Offers my children choices in their studies
  • Can be used with both of my older children at their own levels
  • Provides in-depth learning for the real student
  • Offers an activity book for younger children which helps with my upcoming 5th grader when other lessons might be too tough
  • Incorporates research, writing, timelines, vocabulary, art, mapping, science projects, music, cooking, drama, and MORE!
  • Gives ideas specifically for various learning styles
  • Provides me with a teacher’s guide and my children with a workbook

So, just what product has me so excited?

Ancient Civilizations and the Bible: A Biblical World History Curriculum from Creation to Jesus Christ by Diana Waring

Wow!  That’s really the best word to describe what I think every time I open the box of curriculum and start thinking about next year’s history.  In fact, I’m thinking I’ll be able to tick off way more than just history in my lesson planner by implementing this curriculum.

I’m going to back up and go through each part of the curriculum that’s available.  I’ll have to be brief because there’s way more to this box than I can talk about in a review.  I’ll also give you my opinion about whether or not each part is necessary.

Sample page from the Student Manual

  1. Student Manual – Absolutely necessary and best to have one per student.  This is the book your child will use for just about everything they do.  Text readings, what-to-do lists, digging deeper lists, student record keeping charts, project choices and directions, vocabulary lists, maps and a few other things are found in this 312 page softcover workbook/textbook.   (*I use the word text loosely, because it isn’t a dry, boring text like many books.)
  2. Teacher’s Guide – I suppose it isn’t absolutely necessary, but I wouldn’t skip it.  It offers you clear and helpful notes for further discussion with your children – often helping you give Biblically scientific explanations.  It also offers you big-picture planning, ideas for helping your children choose projects that fit their learning styles, additional project ideas, answer keys, and solid explanations about how the curriculum works.
  3. Test Kit – Not absolutely necessary, but offers good test taking practice.  This is a booklet that offers you two-page tests with answer keys for each of the nine units.  The tests require written answers with supporting points and vocabulary matching.
  4. Elementary Activity Book – Not necessary at all, but very helpful if you have children younger than 5th or 6th grade that will be learning alongside older children.  It offers coloring and puzzle pages, simpler discussion questions, age appropriate additional reading lists, song lyrics, easier hands-on project ideas, and other games/activities that meet the needs of various learning styles.
  5. What in the World? CD set – Not necessary, but awesome.  This set of four CD’s includes Diana Waring telling more about the Bible, archaeology, and other scientific evidences that have shaped history.  These stories, ranging from 3-12 minutes, go along with the text as “added bonus” information.  They add a wonderful dimension to the program.
  6. True Tales CD set – Not necessary, but awesome.  Diana Waring is a wonderful story-teller and adds to the text info with stories about people, events and more.
  7. Digging Deeper CD set – Not necessary, but awesome.  Just as the name describes, Diana Waring goes into more detail about the topics of Noah’s Ark, the first Christmas and the Seven Wonders of the World.  (*Each track on the 3 CD sets is referred to in the teacher’s guide and student manual, so you know what to listen to when.)

*I’m editing this just a bit after reading several comments by experienced users about how wonderful the CD’s are.  I, too, think the CD’s are super and would highly recommend purchasing them if you are able.  However, if you only want/can afford the bare minimum, the CD’s are not necessary to the completion of the program.  If at all able, though, don’t miss out on them!

Sample page from the Teacher's Guide

I’m going to wrap this super-long review up with a quick overview of the nine units.  Each of the nine units is meant to take four weeks to complete.  During each unit, week one is dedicated to reading and discussing.  The student dives in and learns all he or she can about the unit topic.  Week two is dedicated to researching a topic of the student’s choice and presenting findings, as well as completing a timeline and the vocabulary.  Week three allows the student to complete hands-on projects in art, music, science, cooking and/or mapping.  And during week four, the unit culminates with a final project(s) of the student’s choice.

Unit topics include:

  • Creation and the Flood
  • The Rise of Civilizations
  • Egypt and the Exodus
  • The Children of Israel
  • Assyria & Babylon
  • The Persians & Medes
  • Greece & the Hellenists
  • The Rise of Rome
  • Jesus Christ, Immanuel

I truly have never seen a curriculum like this before, especially for the 6th grade and above crowd.  Hands down, it tops my list of all-time favorites!

Cindy (89 Posts)

The biggest reason Cindy chose to homeschool was because she loves experiencing life with her children and watching them grow inside and out. She's sure that’s why the Charlotte Mason method first caught her attention. It allows her to be creative in scheduling, rigorous in learning, yet opens the door for plenty of close-knit time, opportunities for her children to explore their interests and offers enough free time for them to be children. She implements many of Charlotte Mason's methods with an eclectic twist of things that work for her family! Besides writing on her blog, Our Journey Westward, you can find her NaturExplorers studies and other creative curricula at Shining Dawn Books.

{ 19 comments… add one }

  • Michelle May 17, 2010, 10:06 am

    Excellent review! Except I disagree with you on the necessity of the CD’s – we LOVE them and would not miss out on them! We are on unit #4. =)
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Review: Finding Educational Activities in the Most Unexpected Places =-.

  • Cindy May 17, 2010, 10:58 am

    Michelle, I agree with you! I think ALL of it is totally worth having because every single bit of it is AWESOME! :)
    .-= Cindy´s last blog ..My Three Year Old =-.

  • Brenda May 17, 2010, 4:16 pm

    I love it when someone is really excited about a curriculum. I felt like I was sitting next to you listening to your excitement! It looks like a very thorough program. Thanks for sharing it with us Cindy.

  • Michelle May 17, 2010, 9:01 pm

    I have/use this program and I agree it is one of a kind! I would have to say that you could get by without the student text because the pages are in the Teacher’s Manual and the student could use that for their reading if you were trying to budget.

    I agree about skipping the younger kids guide and the tests. However, the CD’s are my daughters favorite part! Never would I skip them. In fact we were first introduced to this curriculum through Heart of Dakota, which uses the CD’s in their programs.

  • Cindy May 17, 2010, 9:18 pm

    I’m so excited to hear from you gals who are already using the curriculum. Your advice is important and I’m making notes! :)
    .-= Cindy´s last blog ..My Three Year Old =-.

  • Renae May 19, 2010, 11:39 am

    I thought I had our history curriculum picked out, but I had never heard of this. It does looks great! Thanks for confusing me. ;P (Seriously, it’s a good thing. This might fit better. Hmm…)
    .-= Renae´s last blog ..Only Mommy Will Do =-.

  • Alicia May 20, 2010, 9:36 am

    This looks awesome! I’ll have to check this out further! Thanks.
    .-= Alicia´s last blog ..Treasure Island =-.

  • Gary May 21, 2010, 4:36 pm

    Excellent review for a wonderful history program! I was the editor on this project, working with Diana Waring. The only thing I’d correct is that Diana intended for the What in the World?, True Tales, and Digging Deeper audio CDs to be an integral part of the curriculum, not just an add-on. There is more historical information on the CDs than there is in the student books. Plus, hearing Diana’s enthusiasm for history is contagious.

    Gary Vaterlaus
    Answers in Genesis

  • Cindy May 21, 2010, 9:46 pm

    Thank you for commenting, Gary! I, too, feel like the CD’s are awesome and wouldn’t skip them personally. I only mentioned the “not necessary” part for those who may be seriously strapped for cash and can’t afford the entire program. I’m going back into the post right now, though, to reword a bit about the CD’s. I’m afraid I might not have emphasized enough how wonderful they really are based on the number of comments reiterating the same thought. :)

    By the way, awesome editing!

    .-= Cindy´s last blog ..Hard-Working Men =-.

  • Marisa May 22, 2010, 2:39 am

    I have a couple questions about this curriculum:

    1. My oldest child will be in 5th grade this fall … Will this curriculum be too difficult for her and my younger children?
    2. It sounds like this curriculum covers a lot of subjects … I see there was no mention of math … What subjects are covered in this curriculum exactly?

  • Cindy May 22, 2010, 12:03 pm


    No, I wouldn’t recommend this program for children younger than 6th grade. It’s really more of a middle school/high school curriculum. (My 5th grader will be doing it along with his 8th grade sister, but I will be using the Elementary Activity Book quite often with him rather than the text.)

    Yes, it covers a lot of subjects – just about everything except math and grammar. Your child will do lots of reading, research, writing, history and Bible. And depending how you use the curriculum, your child could also do lots of science, art, music, geography, cooking, drama… It’s so versatile because ideas are given for all the above subjects and more, but your children are allowed to choose the projects that best suit their learning styles.

    I guess it’s easiest to say that, like most unit studies, you can take this curriculum as far as you like or use as little as you like. There is certainly enough information and an abundance of ideas to cover just about any subject besides math and grammar.

    Others who have already used the curriculum are encouraged to chime in to help Marisa!
    .-= Cindy´s last blog ..Hard-Working Men =-.

  • Jessica May 24, 2010, 1:43 am

    I AM SO EXCITED TOO!! I have bought this curriculum for next year also…the teacher’s guide is sitting on my side table, and I have been reading it at night!! Love it too!! I also need to make a list of the recommended books, to see which I can get at the library of the exact title or same-topic books. Trying to cut down the cost. I also bought the History Through the Ages, historical timeline figures, that supplement this curriculum by Home School in the Woods!! Ready to learn and have FUN!!! Thanks for the review!! Love it!
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..The Old Schoolhouse News, May 2010 =-.

  • Val October 5, 2011, 10:06 am

    Can this fit into a traditional or packet style homeschool? We have never used a unit study and I’m not comfortable with the idea. How much time is needed per day?

  • Cindy October 7, 2011, 2:21 pm


    If I understand your question correctly, I think the answer is probably no. While the curriculum can translate to filling time an hour to two per day, it’s not a pick-up-and-go curriculum with lesson plans laid out daily.

    You and your children are given quite a lot of leeway in what you choose to learn and how you learn it. In other words, some days will be spent reading from the text, some listening to CD lectures, some mapping important sites, and some researching topics of your children’s choosing. Because there is so much leeway, some activities (like mapping or creating timelines) might take only an hour to complete, while others (like research papers and projects) might take days.

    Additionally, because so many projects require more than just history – like research, reading, library skills, computer skills and writing – it’s often overkill to assign history on top of another writing program, for instance.

    I hope this is making sense.

    Lessons are not laid out specifically. You are given a framework and LOTS of ideas to choose from. Because of this, it truly does require some forethought and preparation to lay out daily lesson plans, And, in many cases, the learning is so enthralling that lesson plans fly out the door when my children want to dive deep into one subject.

    So, to sum up a very long and drawn out answer… You can certainly develop daily lessons, however, if you aren’t comfortable with the idea of unit study style learning, it might prove to be more effort than you care to fool with.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions – or if something in this very wordy reply didn’t make sense. ;o)

  • Cecilia May 29, 2014, 12:12 pm

    Hi Cindy,

    I will be going to our home school convention this weekend and I was anxiously awaiting your post. I’ve been looking into this curriculum for next year and I have some questions. You stated that I could give a full credit for each book. My understanding was that I would have to do Book 1 and 2 for a full World History credit and Book 3 for American history credit. I might be wrong. Also I’ve read in other reviews that this curriculum contains a worldview component. I’m also still considering Brimwood press products. Just don’t want to double up.
    Thank you again for your wonderful posts, they are such a help.

  • Cindy May 30, 2014, 11:28 am

    Hi Cecilia,

    In completing both world history books, you would give two world history credits for high school. Unless that’s a specific problem with your state’s high school requirements or your future college requirements, it’s no big deal to do two year’s of world history in high school. There is no way you could complete both books in one year’s time unless you leave out a lot of the curriculum both books provide.

    Yes, there is very much a worldview component. Some parents may even use the Biblical/worldview part of the curriculum to count toward a Bible elective. There are just so many things to choose from that you can be very creative in assigning credit where credit is due.

    Brimwood is not a full curriculum. It won’t even last an entire semester. I use it as an overview/review of ancient-modern history.

    Hope I helped to clarify a bit! Have fun at your convention!! ~Cindy
    Cindy´s last blog post ..High School Homeschool Curriculum: Top Picks

  • Tristan September 16, 2014, 7:01 pm

    Cindy, have you had a chance to use this yet? I would love to hear how it has worked out for you and what you think now. I’ve eyeballed this for years and am considering it for next year but I’ve got so many children I don’t know if I can easily adapt it to fit them all. (Next year I’ll have 9th, 5th, 4th, 2nd, 1st, PreK, PreK, and 2yo.) Would it work well for a high schooler?
    Tristan´s last blog post ..Most of Writing is About Relationship – What I Learned at a Brave Writer Seminar

  • Cindy West September 16, 2014, 9:54 pm

    Tristan, I think it works best with high school students. Most middle school students should do well, too, but I don’t recommend it for children younger than 6th grade. It’s really far too deep, even if you plan to use the supplement for younger students.

    We really did love it and highly recommend it for upper levels! :)
    Cindy West´s last blog post ..Organizing the Unorganized Learner

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