The History Mystery Revealed

More than two months ago I told you that we were “moving on” and leaving the tried and true history program that we’ve used and loved for more than 7 years. Well, we’ve had time to get a few months of the new program under our belt and I’ve finally gotten around to writing the post, so it’s time to solve the mystery.

We decided to use the History Revealed: Ancient Civilizations and the Bible by Answers in Genesis.

Things that we love about History Revealed:

The content.

If you’ve ever heard Diana Waring’s history CDs you’ll know what I’m talking about. Archeological finds and ancient texts are examined in light of the  Bible and it’s demonstrated how the facts all fit together (and sometimes where they don’t). The material is exciting and vibrant and creates a desire to learn more.

The basic presupposition of History Revealed is “yea, let God be found true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

There are so many interesting topics and debates introduced. The kids have spent the last couple of months begging to do extra reading and research to find out answers to some of the issues that have been raised.

Did you know that the ancient Chinese character for ‘create’ contains the ideograms for dust, breathe (or mouth) and man? (Gen.2:7) Ask Alyssa (10) for more evidence of how the historical accuracy of Genesis 1-11 is preserved for us in the symbols of the ancient Chinese language.

Have you heard about OOP (out-of-place) artifacts, like the accurate depiction by the ancient Nazca Indians of an organ on the leg of a spider that is only visible through a microscope? And did you realize that this ‘drawing’ of the spider is so immense that it can only be viewed from the air?  Ask Matthew (11) for more amazing examples of  OOP Art.

The method.

History Revealed introduces several topics and debates. (i.e. Where did Noah’s ark land, is it likely to be found? What Pharaoh was ruling during the Exodus?) It presents some of the theories and supporting arguments for different ideas and then encourages the children to dig deeper, to find answers and draw their own conclusions.

Rather than spoon feeding them one set of ‘facts’ so that everyone will be able to answer the question ‘right’ on a test, the children find differing accounts of the same events in different sources. This has led to wonderful discussions and is helping the children examine and evaluate what they read, see and hear.

The program is about igniting the children’s imagination so they are inspired to study and research what has been introduced. Then they work to present what they’ve learned to others.

Being very cognizant of different learning styles and intelligences, History Revealed gives ideas and suggestions for children with varying interests and abilities to research different topics but also to present what they’ve learned through varying means; poetry, graphs and charts, art, speeches and even performance. History Revealed has helped all of our children to mature in both their strengths and weaknesses.

Each Friday evening each of the children present in their individual way what they’ve learned

Kaitlin (13) as Abraham

during the week. Carter (8) created replicas of tools that archaeologists use and presented those to us explaining how they are used and what archaeology can and can’t tell us about a culture. Matthew (11) and Amber (14) created egg shell mosaics to go with their presentation about the discovery of Ur. Kaitlin (13) dressed up as Abraham and gave us a virtual tour of ‘his’ wanderings and how things have changed in modern times and Alyssa talked about city planning and the difficulties that  are faced when large numbers of people live together in small areas.

Its goals.

Our family goals are easily attainable with the History Revealed program:

  • Learn history together as a family by creating a family discussion and building relationships.
  • Hold the Bible as the only infallible source of history in spite of any new ‘proof’ the enemy presents to the contrary.
  • Create a love of learning that motivates our children to choose to learn during  ‘free time’.
  • Learn the way adults learn, not by having everything laid out in front of them or poured into them so they simply memorize it, but by determining what it is they wish to understand and then seeking and evaluating information from available resources.

Things I don’t like about History Revealed.

We are now starting our third month of History Revealed. When we first began, I hated it. I loved the content and the results, but I thought it was very difficult to use. I much prefer to have a book list and a list of materials, with a schedule neatly laid of what we will accomplish each day. History Revealed doesn’t have that.

I’m a bit schizophrenic on this because if I want our children to find their own sources, do their own research and determine the best way to present their findings, it’s impossible to have a set book list, pre-determined materials and a schedule, but I’m a type-A and I miss those things. I think that the curriculum switch is as much for me as it is for them.

I suppose I feel compelled to tell you that History Revealed isn’t easy to use because I’m so accustomed (and perhaps you are too) to the ‘open-the-book, read-the-assignment, talk-about-it and your done’ method.

However, the reality is that after the initial shock and after I learned that I do not have to write extensive lesson plans.  History Revealed actually takes less of  my time than Sonlight.

Most of the work is done by the  children (isn’t that the point?). We have on hand a good supply of supplemental books recommended by the curriculum and the children pour through those, use the internet and the library (I’ve only accrued $.20 in late fees so far {rolls eyes} ) and then give me a list of anything else they require.

We want children who are able to learn and teach others without the need to follow someone else’s program and who are able to find information, evaluate it in light of God’s Word and present what they’ve learned in a logical,  convincing and compelling manner. This is being accomplished.

One other aspect is that History Revealed does not include suggestions for living literature, so we are adding that separately.  I’m not certain if we will use History Revealed long term, but it’s certainly a good step in the right direction for our family.

So there you have it, our history mystery revealed.

We’re beginning our third month with History Revealed and we’re continuing to learn how it’s best implemented in our family.

Our plan is to  move to using our own curriculum/book lists after we finish the year with History Revealed.

Other posts in this series:

Do you have questions?

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36 Responses to The History Mystery Revealed
  1. Lisa
    February 1, 2011 | 8:15 am

    Hi Kimberly!

    What a great post! I love this program! We have the “What in the World?” cd’s and love them! Our fifth grader has used them and gets so excited about what he’s learning! You mentioned that you have on hand, some good supplemental books recommended by the curriculum, and I was wondering if you’d mind sharing what resources they are? We’d like to see if this would be feasible for our family to do sometime, and I’d like to know what sorts of things we’d need to make this work!

    I’m so glad this is working for your family, and that God has supplied a great fit for your goals. Keep letting us know how this is working out, we’d love to hear more about it.

    And, thanks so much for posting this and sharing your heart with others!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    When we first received History Revealed I went through the first 4 units and looked at each of the books that are listed in the manuals themselves as well those recommended online and chose the ones that I thought our children would find most appealing.

    Let me know if you want something more specific than that and I’ll consider doing a post of the specific books we’ve used and found most helpful.

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    In going to the link you provided, I was able to see quite a large amount of books either provided through Answers in Genesis or through Rainbow Resource. There is so much out there! They all look so good! How did you ever narrow it down? If you feel led at some point to do a post on how it’s working out and mention some of the books you’ve found to be a great addition to the study, that would be great! Again, thanks for the reply and blessings as you dig into God’s Word!

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  2. Luke Holzmann
    February 1, 2011 | 8:31 am

    Thanks for sharing this update. Sounds like a fascinating program. I am definitely a fan of presenting the odd/conflicting aspects of Scripture to let kids start to wrestle with them. Far too often we hear messages that simply affirm that the Bible is “right” without any mention of the stickier sections that can really throw you for a loop if you haven’t even heard they are there.

    ~Luke

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  3. Eowyn
    February 1, 2011 | 9:01 am

    You should get Alyssa and Matthew to give us facts like that each week. I really like studying the ‘hidden language’ of Chinese

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  4. Brieana @ The Living Well
    February 1, 2011 | 11:27 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this! My kids are too young for it yet, I think, but I’ve bookmarked it for future use.

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  5. Dawn@OneFaithfulMom
    February 1, 2011 | 3:13 pm

    So does it cover history all the way up to modern times?

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Currently there are two volumes available with a third scheduled to be completed summer 2011. These will cover up through the World Wars.

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  6. Samantha
    February 1, 2011 | 6:00 pm

    How ironic, that was our first History and I hated it. The kids hated the cd’s and we sold the barely touched set a few months later. To each his own I guess!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    This set certainly isn’t for everyone. I know that it would have been terrible for us even a year or two ago. Although I’m surprised to hear your kids didn’t like the CDs. I suppose that’s what makes life interesting, different personalities. :)

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  7. Emily M.
    February 1, 2011 | 9:32 pm

    Thank you for the review. I had been wondering what you guys settled on. My oldest is in first grade right now, so we aren’t quite “there” yet, but I love AIG. This is something we may check out in the future. Thanks again for giving us a peek into your homeschooling. I learn the most from others who are a bit ahead of me in the journey.

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  8. Grateful for Grace
    February 2, 2011 | 1:20 am

    I’m so glad you’ve updated. I just don’t know what we will do next year. We used SL for 7 years and TOG two. Neither are a fit any longer.
    I’m fascinated with the statement “it takes less time than SL”, which amazes me. Do you mean time in the day or prep? or both?
    The library is not an option for us, so I have to use books we have or buy them.

    Can’t wait for your next update. ;-)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I mean less of MY time and yes, that’s including prep and time during the day for ME, not necessarily for the kids.

    I spent several hours when we first got the program going over the recommended resources and deciding which books I thought our kids would find the most interesting and useful. I did this for the first 4 Units (4 months) and then placed our order.

    At the beginning of a new unit I pull out the books that we have for that unit and put them in a central location. I also put out picture books and any other resources we own that are related to the topics/time period we’re covering. That is most of the prep time.

    The first week of the month/unit is a lot like Sonlight. We read several articles, listen to the CDs and have discussions. So this week my time investment is similar to what it was with Sonlight.

    The second week the kids are researching their chosen topics. I’m merely a backup if someone has a question or problem finding information. So my time this week is minimal. At the end of the week the children give their presentations and we talk about what everyone learned.

    The third and fourth week are more hands-on and then presentation and again much of this is done independently.

    One important note: I’m still using Sonlight 1 with the younger children. They are doing both HR and Sonlight.

    I’ve written a whole post in the comments. All that to say that HR takes less time for me than Sonlight took.

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  9. Patrice Walker
    February 2, 2011 | 9:09 am

    Thanks for letting us know what history curriculum your family chose and how it’s working out in your home. We also use History Revealed with our children and I echo your sentiments about the content and method of Diana Waring’s material- they are excellent! I have also, like you, struggled with less “structure” ie read this page of this book on this day but have learnt that my children cope much better than I thought they would when I allow them to take responsibility for learning and I “teach” less. While there is not an extensive list of living history books suggested I have found a couple of resources which have been very useful. To save space here you can read a blog post about those here http://familyfoundationswa.blogspot.com/2011/02/diana-warings-history-revealed-reading.html
    Regards, Patrice

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you Patrice.

    We are currently reading through the Sonlight 6 reading list, since we already own those. We’re also throwing in others that we want to read. Currently, Little House in the Big Woods, Princess Adelina and White Fang.

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  10. Rina
    February 2, 2011 | 2:41 pm

    I will have to look into this program as well! Have you looked at or tried Th Mystery of History by Linda Hobar? I have used Sonlight and LOVE it. We are currently on Core 5 and looking ahead to Core 6……..well, I don’t like Story of the World BUT I LOVE Sonlight….so I am trying to figure out what to do! Would LOVE comments if anyone else has used The Mystery of History. HELP!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Here is my complete review Mystery of History.

    I know that some people have used MoH instead of Story of the World with Sonlight 6 & 7. That may be something worth looking into.

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  11. Jennifer Dewing
    February 3, 2011 | 9:47 am

    Hello Kimberly. I currently have a 3rd, 2nd and 1st grader. We haven’t done any formal history program thus far and I’m looking toward next year to start. I love the reviews about History Revealed and have always enjoyed AIG. My questions are these:
    1. Are my children too young for this program? Funds are tight and I don’t have the resources to use several programs, nor buy several books (the library not withstanding). I need to know if this is primarily for the older students, or can it be used with the younger ones as well.
    2. Does the entire Vol. 1 need to be purchased, or can you pick and choose what you buy? If so, which ones would you suggest?
    3. How much time during the day do you devote to this curriculum? I don’t know how you have your day scheduled, but I was curious if this takes 1/2 an hour, an hour, more?
    Thank you for posting about this.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Jennifer,

    1. They have created a supplement to help use this program with elementary students, but I would not recommend doing it with only younger students. It’s ideal for our kids who are 5th grade and older. We’re using Sonlight 1 with our younger kids. (If you haven’t already, you may want to read my posts on how we homeschooled for 7 years using Sonlight.)

    2. You’ll want to purchase the teacher and student manual as well as the CDs. The rest is optional, mostly books and resources for your children to use as they dig deeper into different topics.

    3. I don’t have a set amount of time scheduled for history anymore (it’s the part of the program that I don’t love). On our first week in a unit, I need to spend anywhere from a half hour to two hours a day, but then the subsequent weeks in a unit it requires almost none of my time and the children will spend vastly different amounts of time depending on what they are researching or what project they are working on. They use their free time in the afternoon to work on HR.

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  12. Lisa
    February 3, 2011 | 2:40 pm

    I tried to like this curriculum, but the biggest issue was most of the books recommended were out of print. They were great books if I could find them but the work involved to make this work was far more than I could ever keep up with. Has AIG solved this problem? Have the books been updated with new book lists? They look just like the ones I tried 5 or so years ago and I can just imagine how hard it would be to find those books now. Or are you finding books on your own without any help from the curricula? Anyway, I liked the method, just not the out-dated material.

    Blessings,

    Lisa in jax

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Lisa,

    I know that AiG recently revised the program and I would assume that your complaint no longer is an issue because so far none of the books that I’ve looked for have been difficult to find. (I’ve been able to purchase all of them from Amazon.com.) As a matter of fact there is a link on the AiG site to Rainbow Resources where you can purchase complete sets of the recommended resources.

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    I’ll have to take a look at the new site. Like I said, we did enjoy the method, it was finding the books that really frustrated me. Thanks for your reply. :)

    Blessings,

    Lisa in Jax

    [Reply]

  13. Marie
    February 7, 2011 | 10:37 am

    I’m torn between MOH and AIG. I think in my heart I WANT AIG, but MOH is probably a better fit. I like a guide that has a simple lay out so I can pick up and go. AIG doesn’t look that simple, according to the samples I viewed online.
    Also, I don’t think my older kids (5th and 3rd grade) will be able to explore and research alot on their own. They almost always need me to prode them along. I know also, that they will most certainly enlist my help on each and every project. My family is not naturally creative so these projects/activities will probably become more of a burden than a learning experience.
    Thanks for sharing your review. I appreciate your honesty.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I agree that your children may be just a little too young to do a lot of research on their own.

    As far as the projects, because AiG has projects geared for all learning styles you don’t need to worry about your children not being naturally creative. They have project suggestions for those who are inclined more toward math or language. So your children’s choices of activities would naturally head away from the creative suggestions. That’s one of the points of the curriculum, to help children with all types of strengths develop and learn the way they learn best.

    The way that AiG works in our home is very simple, but I think that’s because I make anything that we use simple. I would certainly reconsider AiG in a few years when your children are a little older.

    Hope that is helpful!

    [Reply]

    Marie Reply:

    Very helpful! Thank you so much!

    [Reply]

  14. Grateful for Grace
    March 28, 2011 | 8:53 pm

    I would love an update. Are you still happy with this curric?

    I’m trying to decide what to do and nothing seems to be a fit. I really, really want an IG, but have issues with SL. TOG is too expensive.

    Sigh.

    You sure you don’t want to write something?
    by August. ;-)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Sigh.

    Am I still happy with this curriculum? Yes and no.

    I would say that my review still stands. I love what it has taught us about researching and studying topics on our own. I’ve been very encouraged at how good the children are at this. I could have told you before we started that this was outside of my comfort zone, it still is. I also miss having an IG and the emphasis on reading aloud and living books.

    We plan on completing a year of HR. However, I think that we will be striking out on our own after that using our own ‘curriculum’(available July 2011, just for you :) ).

    We may purchase some curriculum to use as a resource, but our plan is to read and discuss great books with our kids. We’re incorporating that now and will just expand it when we finish HR.

    I’m sorry that I don’t have a better answer, but part of me feels that, at least for our family, there isn’t a good curriculum fit because God wants us to take more responsibility for what we are teaching our kids. It’s not the easiest path, but I believe it’s a good one.

    I will post if anything changes dramatically.

    [Reply]

    Grateful for Grace Reply:

    GREAT! Talk to you in July. ;-)

    [Reply]

  15. Michelle in OK
    August 5, 2011 | 1:28 pm

    Okay…July is over. Any updates? I am looking at this for my next year… :o)

    [Reply]

  16. Amy
    March 2, 2012 | 2:54 pm

    What is your family using for history now? List of books/resources would be great. I have 6 kids and I want to do history and as many subjects as possible together as a family.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We’re using a book/resource list that I’ve pulled from various sources. Perhaps I will make it public in the future, but for right now there are many things on the list that I haven’t thoroughly looked into/read, so I’m not comfortable recommending to others.

    I did pull a lot from Vision Forum, AIG’s history program, Sonlight and more.

    [Reply]

  17. jennifer
    June 11, 2012 | 7:03 am

    Could you tell me if each child needs a separate book for Diana history program?

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Jennifer.

    I’d encourage you to look on the site to be certain. I think that there is one book that you may need multiples of if using for more than one child. But the teacher guide and student handbook do not require more than one copy no matter how many children you are teaching.

    [Reply]

    Elizabeth Reply:

    Jennifer,

    We use the History Revealed materials by AiG. I contacted the publisher before I purchased the resources to find out if I needed a separate student workbook for each child or if I could simply photocopy pages for our family use. They gave us permission to photocopy the workbooks for our family use, so there is no need to purchase a separate workbook for each child. ;)

    Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

  18. TMS
    October 1, 2012 | 2:05 am

    Thank you so much for this review. My children attend public school, but I am praying for the day we can homeschool. However, my husbands lets me home”summer”school. During the summer, I spend an hour on ELA, Math, and History/Science daily (except for Fun Friday). For history, I was using Story of the World and the Bible to correct error. Some parts I would skip all together. Over time, I wasn’t completely happy with SOTW because of the conflicting worldview. A dear friend told me about Truth Quest and I fell in love with it, until a friend showed me how the author used the message Bible. That did bother me, for I personally do not use the message Bible for anything. So I just put the matter to prayer, because I really like the books that are used in the Truth Quest. I have just found out about the History Revealed. It sounds wonderful, except for the booklist that is found in Truth Quest. I like the fact that History Revealed has learning activites for different levels. I think this would be a good fit for my sons. One son has to be pushed and the other is more motivated to do other things than watch T.V. and play video games. I will continue to pray. The determining factor is going to be my husband paying for it.

    [Reply]

  19. Melody
    March 21, 2013 | 7:25 pm

    I know this is an old post, just wondering how History Revealed and Mystery of History compares? Did you continue to use History Revealed after the first year? I also have a large family and am looking for something for them to use a little more on the independent side, would either of these be more independent than the other? I have heard that HR requires a lot of “research” which I would rather not do, I would rather just have them read a book on the subject, I dont like not having the resource on hand or googling to find what we need. Is one of them more Biblical than the other? I am looking at the first volumes of either one but I have always been cautious in studying Ancient history because of Greek myths etc. how do these compare on this topic? I appreciate any feedback you could give as I plan for our next school year.
    Thanks,
    Melody

    [Reply]

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