SOTW 1 – History

SPINE: Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times – From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor by Susan Wise Bauer

We’re also using the Activity Guide, which is absolutely invaluable, and the Audio CD.

Quick Link to additional lesson helps from other sites: CLICK HERE

Year 1 Outline

I mixed up the chapters a bit to make things more intuitive to me, feel free to mix them back up for your own family.

Week 1: Chapter 1 – Ancient People
Week 2: Chapter 2 – Egyptians Lived on the Nile River
Week 3: Chapter 3 – The First Writing and Early Mesopotamians
Week 4: Additional Material (Catch Up) – Early Trade and Copper Age Europe
Week 5: Chapter 4 – The Old Kingdom of Egypt
Week 6: Chapter 9 – The First Cities of India (and Asia)
Week 7: Chapter 5 – The First Sumerian Dictator
Week 8: Chapter 6 – Ur and the Jewish People
Week 9: Chapter 7 – Hammurabi and the Babylonians
Week 10: Additional Material (Catch Up) – Hittites and Europeans of the Late Iron Age
Week 11: Chapter 8 – The Assyrians
Week 12: Chapter 10 – The Far East, Ancient China
Week 13: Chapter 11 – Ancient Africa
Week 14: Chapter 18 – Life in Early Crete
Week 15: Chapter 12 – The Middle Kingdom in Egypt
Week 16: Chapter 13 – The New Kingdom in Egypt
Week 17: Chapter 14 – The Israelites Leave Egypt
Week 18: Chapter 19 – The Early Greeks (Mycenaeans)
Week 19: Chapter 15 – The Phoenicians
Week 20: Chapter 16 – The Return of Assyria
Week 21: Chapter 17 – Babylon Takes over Again!
Week 22: Chapter 20 – Greece Gets Civilized Again
Week 23: Chapter 21 – Medes and the Persians
Week 24: Chapter 22 – Sparta and Athens
Week 25: Chapter 23 – The Greek Gods
Week 26: Chapter 30 – The Aryans of India
Week 27: Chapter 24 – The Wars of the Greeks
Week 28: Chapter 25 – Alexander the Great
Week 29: Chapter 26 – The People of the Americas
Week 30: Chapter 27 – The Rise of Rome
Week 31: Chapter 28 – The Roman Empire & Gods
Week 32: Chapter 31 – Mauryan Empire of India
Week 33: Chapter 33 – Confucius and Early Iron Age China
Week 34: Chapter 32 – China – Writing and the Qin
Week 35: Additional Material (Catch-up) – Misc. Cultures of the Iron Age
Week 36: Chapter 29 – Rome’s War with Carthage
Week 37: Chapter 34 – The Rise of Julius Caesar
Week 38: Chapter 35 – Caesar the Hero
Week 39: Chapter 36 – The First Roman Prince
40: Chapter 37 – The Beginning of Christianity
41: Trouble within a Unified Roman State (a mix of three chapters)
Week 42: Rome Begins to Weaken (part of chapt 39 & chapt 40)
Week 43: Chapter 41 – The Attacking Barbarians
Week 44: Additional Material (Catch-up) – Middle East, Asia, and the Americas Week
45: Chapter 42 – The End of Rome


Kit and Mim have listened to the first book in the car (off and on) for the past year, so, we’ve lost a bit of the continuity that she presents anyway. Your mileage will vary. (The Audio CD is read by Jim Weiss, and we’ve enjoyed listening to the first two books quite a bit while waiting to formally start SOTW – they’re also a great way to make sure that some history gets done if projects, readings, etc. aren’t your thing).

Most weeks have more activities, shows or readings than I (or maybe even you) could ever do in a single week even if it was the only subject that we talked about each day. Don’t worry about covering it all. I put this together so that I could do whatever I wanted to every day, whether I was feeling ambitious or like a sloth. My hope is that others will use it as a simple resource rather than a “plan” or a “need to do” list.

Most of the links and many of the activities can easily translate to 5th grade work. I plan to use this again myself in 5th with some tweaking, hopefully it will make the effort of making this pay off in a time savings down the line… that’s the plan anyway!

Course Plans and Lesson Helps

Below are some Course planners and SOTW Resource Helps. I didn’t actually use most of these, but if the documents here aren’t helpful to you maybe you’ll find one of the ones below more to your liking. For each, I tried to mention whether I used, borrowed ideas from, or just used certain aspects of their plans outright.

Classical House of Learning – – Nothing used from this program

The Mosaic Introduction to World History –  – Borrowed from, great sites and some nice activity ideas

Tapestry of Grace – – Nothing used from this program. They have a free preview of the first 3 weeks of their program. Sitting at 150 pages for the first 3 weeks – with all three levels included in a single package – this may be the most detailed full history program out there. I highly recommend checking it out; just because it would have driven me insane doesn’t mean that it’s not perfect for you.

The Chronicle of the Earth Blog by Runofthemillfamily (SOTW Lapbooking) – –Borrowed extensively. I have links to her lapbook pages throughout this outline under Resource Pages.

Sonlight, Ambleside, Read-a-loud handbook, Theosophy Society – Reviewed the book list books

Two-Day-A-Week Workbook Pages for SOTW1 (.pdf File) by Kay in Cal – – Nothing used from this compilation

Satori Smiles – – I borrowed the layout of her plan because it looked so organized. Mine ended up looking a lot less organized. I also liked the blog entries showing their projects. I hope to do something similar.

A to Z Home’s Cool Homeschooling Site – – Pulled some links to good sites

Homeschool Share – – I borrowed lapbooks from this site (linked below in applicable sections)

Jimmie’s Squidoo Lenses – An incredibly helpful resource with tons of great links. Here’s her Lapbooking how-to page For all of her other contributions simply click on her user profile.

Mr. Donn – – I wish that I could have used more of his material. My daughters are just too young to benefit from his site. Definitely worth spending some time on for the 10+ crowd.

The British Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Louvre, (their history section could be its own course), The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The Penn Museum and many more Museum websites gave so many activity and lesson plans away for free. They’re also creating new exhibits every couple of months, so check their sites before you start for the year, you might find some more treasures.

Additional Materials that Might be Useful to Buy

(I have not bought all of these myself – so it’s in no way a ‘need to purchase’ list. But I know that some people’s libraries aren’t very good, and it’s nice to have a short list of books to have on hand if you don’t have access to much of anything else)

Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors: An Activity Guide by Marian Broida

Classical Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in Ancient Greece and Rome (A Kid’s Guide series) by Laurie Carlson

History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations (Grades 1-3)

Byzantine Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney (Dover Publishing) (Currently out of print)
Ancient Egyptian Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney (Dover Publishing)

Eyewitness Books: Money; Ancient Egypt; Mesopotamia; Ancient Greece(?); Ancient Rome; Mummy(?); Judaism, Christianity, or simply the Religion book; Astronomy; Invention; Costume [if you can’t find anything better like paper dolls]
The most recent editions can be found here:

Eyewitness Books For Science Topics: Desert, Jungle, Mountain, Island, & Seashore or Ocean / Insect; Bird; Reptile; Amphibian; Fish; Mammal; Plant; / Rocks and Minerals; Fossil / Earth / Human Body [only if you can’t find something better and there are a ton of better ones out there]
The most recent editions can be found here:


Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History – Usborne
Story of the World: Volume 1 (revised) – SOTW
Additional Materials – AM

Nudity and Objectionable Content – Please Note:

Nudity is not something that I tend to notice. If you are concerned by it please be aware that the materials listed below may contain nudity. Generally, assume that anything that contains pictures of ancient art or deals with prehistoric peoples will contain nudity.

As for other objectionable content, I can only say that every family has their own tolerances. I have added things to this list that I will not be using because I do not feel comfortable with them, but which I thought that other families might find useful or enjoyable. Please preview EVERYTHING before allowing your children to access/watch/read it.

Year 2?

I don’t think that I’ll ever put together a resource like this again, I’ll have a links page for Book 2, but I don’t think that it will be as extensive. Mostly, this entire effort was a result of panic. I started this when I first began thinking about homeschooling my girls full time a few years ago. I had no idea what I was doing for anything, and so I dove into trying to find things to help.

So, next year the girls will be older, and I am wiser, and I don’t think that I’ll need quite this much of a crutch going forward, which will hopefully make our studies even more organic and engaging. *fingers crossed*

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