Nothin' 2 Prove

The building of Gunn Ranch Academy one caliche rock at a time; our friends, family, passions, learning adventures and our little piece of HIStory in the making!

TruthQuest HIStory

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*I just want to put this disclaimer at the beginning of my review: I am highly biased and strongly opinionated about TruthQuest History because we have been a TruthQuest family for years.  Proceed at your own risk! 🙂

Yep. We LOVE TruthQuest, and I truly can’t imagine studying HIStory any other way. We add to, skim through, and use pieces and parts of many different resources along our TruthQuest journey, but this guide and it’s phenomenal presentation of the Big Two Beliefs along with its rich commentary pack a big punch.

The Big Two Beliefs?

Glad you asked.

TruthQuest HIStory redefines history, or shall I say “properly defines” history, far beyond dates and dead people. At the center of TruthQuest is an examination of God’s people and cultures, individuals and nations very own beliefs of Who is God, and who, therefore, is mankind? Isn’t that brilliant? After all, HIS story really can’t be told without, well, HIM.

We’ve covered many TruthQuest guides as a family, and my oldest daughter is using them independently for High School history. For review we received Age of Revolution I: (America/Europe, 1600-1800), which is in the lineup on Morgan’s High School Schedule. Since she has just finished up Middle Ages and was ready to begin Ren/Reformation, we decided to jump ahead to this guide and pickup Ren/Reform after she’s done with all three Amercian History Guides her senior year so she could go ahead and use this guide.

This guide can be purchased for $29.95 plus s/h for a printed book or $24.95 for pdf download on the TruthQuest website.

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As with each of the TruthQuest guides, the first few pages start with Notes for Dads and Moms. Here in a conversational, question/answer format you will find a description of the  relaxed, discovery approach to learning that TruthQuest offers. It discusses different approaches you may take in using the manual, from sticking to a few spine books, which are listed, to checking out library books or ordering a few books for each of the subjects/topics covered in each section, to using multi-media resources, to using some things you already have on hand, and/or combining all of these. The most important thing stressed, however, is that you are not expected or even able to use every resource listed. The overwhelming amount of material listed is meant only as a guide to help in the journey of discovery, not as a hindrance. I will say right here and now that this is the first obstacle that must be overcome with this program. I think as homeschoolers we tend to WANT IT ALL when it comes to great resources. Our task of trusting God to lead us through the right ones for us can be daunting.

Next in the manual is a chronological outline of the topics which will be studied in the guide along with page numbers to find them.

As the journey of discovery begins to learn HIStory of America and Europe 1600-1800, author Michelle Miller introduces us to the whole scene with an incredible commentary. While the commentary is dispersed throughout the manual in various places and isn’t included with every single topic studied, it truly is a valuable resource and in my opinion the treasure of the guide. It’s not really ever a super-lengthy discussion, but in this case I will say quality over quantity truly reigns.

With each topic at hand is a list of books to read. If you have chosen to purchase some of the spine books, the readings from them are usually listed at the first part of the reading list. Spine books are not listed for every topic, however. Most topics are followed by a list of other books recommended. Unless noted, the author has read and feels these books are appropriate for Christian kids. Some also come with author’s opinion of the book, such as “don’t miss this one!”, or warnings about secular opinion, etc.

Probably the second obstacle you’ll need to deal with is no tests. HUH? So how do you know your kid is learning?

Trust me. You’ll know over time as you overhear them discussing, describing, talking about and playing out the topics they have learned. Also, dispersed throughout the manual are ThinkWrites. These are little writing assignments that help to reinforce and concrete the topics together. At the end of the study there is an Ultimate ThinkWrite which really sums up the whole study. At first glance, this just doesn’t seem like enough to make sure they are learning, but over time, you will see that this learning is way more than answers on a page quickly forgotten! Through books, movies, hands-on salt maps, authentic meals, etc, your child will have a hands-on learning experience that won’t be forgotten. In my opinion it just weaves HIStory right into the fibers of learning.

For planning your history adventures, the TruthQuest website is tons of help with a click-able timeline of the books, and some various schedules for your choosing. I do have to admit that the really cool design, look and feel of the website is one of the things that first drew me in years ago when God first led me to TruthQuest.

While I’d love to cover some of the amazing topics that this Age of Revolution I covers, it’s just so extensive that I’ll let you click over to the website and look at the Table of Contents, optional spine resources, and sample section.

And so another Quest has begun.  Come along! Let me tell you about our adventures!!

Gunn Ranch Academy’s Adventures through the Big Two Beliefs:

Way back when we first started homeschooling, I purchased American History for Young Students. I was pretty excited about the whole concept of TruthQuest. But I just gotta be honest. I didn’t really “get it”. Yep, I used a pretty good combination of spines and library books- too many. Even after the well layed-out introduction at the beginning of the manual.  I did become a little frustrated trying to find some of the books listed.  Since then, I’ve heard this complaint from folks trying to understand how to use TruthQuest.  While I did have some coloring and activity books for the kids to venture through while they were listening to me read, they were bored. They told me so. They didn’t care about summing up what I had read with ThinkWrites. They didn’t care about the Big Two Beliefs. I was sad, but I tucked it away on the shelf after a few months of trying.

Looking back, I see I was trying to cover too many resources for fear of missing something. I didn’t include enough age-appropriate “fun” books, pictures, movies, hands-n projects, etc. So a few year later with a few more homeschooling adventures under our belts, TruthQuest was once again introduced by way of review.   At the request of my girls we had been journeying through Ancient History with some resources I had found used. When the opportunity to review TruthQuest came up, I found that many of the resources we were already using were actually listed as spines or resources recommended by the guide. So we continued our journey, adding the rich and luscious commentary the TruthQuest guide had to offer about Egypt, then we dove off into Greece.

We made salt maps, colored maps, and my girls dressed up in togas and dressed their little brother up like a pharaoh. They made their old bike into a chariot, and made an ancient costume and harness for the dog to pull it. They played for hours with their horses and action figures, reenacting battles, and stories we had read.

We listened to an awesome book on cd. Long story short, we fell in love with TruthQuest History.

From there our studies turned into individual studies as my oldest was preparing for her high school journey. I loaded up a big crate of spine resources, highlighted the books we had in her Rome guide, and starred and checkmarked other resources we would need to obtain throughout the study. She was allowed to use the computer for further research, and she had a journal she took some pretty extensive notes in as she read through her books.

Now, my girls are avid readers. So this study fits really well. But it is also extremely enjoyable to read aloud together, and find hands-on stuff to do too.

This year is my oldest daughter’s first high school year, and TruthQuest has been perfect.  As she finished up her guide, the opportunity to review the guide we planned for next year came up, so she decided to go ahead and jump in. The first thing I did was identify which spine books we already owned, start a search on finding some of the others from a free book exchange website, and  look through some of the other resources. I purchased a new journal/notebook for her to use, and a new crate for the new resources.  As our guide arrived, she began reading through the beginning commentary awaiting the books.

One really nice thing we’ve found is that many of the spine books are used throughout several studies. The other secret to using TQ is that there are lots of other books you can use not listed. What’s the point, then, you ask? Well, you gotta learn to relax. The point is that there are lots of resources out there. TruthQuest is not just a glorified book list. It’s your boat to ride on through a great adventure.  Let me also let you in on another concept I stumbled upon. If you’ll let God lead your homeschool, your classes, show you the materials to use- he’ll reveal himself really big to your kids, and YOU don’t have to do anything except listen and observe a grand adventure of discovery. 🙂

It’s just that easy.

And it’s just that awesome.

Spoken from an honest to goodness TruthQuest family.

Oh, and it just keeps getting better. If you join the TruthQuest Yahoo group, you can get in on some pretty great discussions, testimonials, find answers to questions you were too shy to ask yourself, and hear from the amazing author Michelle Miller herself. She shares some valuable, heartfelt, incredible insight into studying history, learning with literature, homeschooling, and many other things.

As I have a little guy in Kindergarten this year, I’ve been thinking and sorta dreading going back through the same ole study materials. But on the other hand I think about taking my own advice- let God lead you. Every child is different and every learning style is different, which makes for a new and exciting adventure every time through. And I have to admit I’ve been salivating over the brand new resources that have been created to go alongside of the guides. There are some cool looking timelines, lapbooks, and activity materials that have been the talk of the Yahoo group. People are lovin them, and lovin TruthQuest even more.

There has also been an additional guide created since we started Ancient History that I’m anxious to cruise through myself (Beginnings which is about Creation).  It’ll be fun to take my little guy and my Jr Higher through it together. That’s the other really great thing about these guides. They are easy to use with many ages together in addition to being adaptable for together study or independent study. TruthQuest is great for any situation in my opinion. It’s really easy to pick it up, and go!

I was super anxious to link my prior review of the Egypt/Greece manual because it had some awesome pictures and stories from our study of Egypt and Greece, but alas, I just discovered that blog post has somehow disappeared into cyberspace as my blog server has undergone many changes this past couple of years.

Feel free to leave questions or comments!

Check out my Crew Mates’ TruthQuest adventures with this and other guides over at the Crew Blog!

Chris
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*Disclaimer~I received the print version of this guide as a Crew Mate on the TOS Homeschool Crew in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received, and opinions are my own.

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