About History Quest: The Early Times
History Quest is a new curriculum designed by Pandia Press. The first unit covers the Early Times. The most recent History Quest release covers the Middle Times. The curriculum is designed as a narrative approach, and the main book can be utilized on its own without the need to pair ANY supplemental books or the study guide with activities! Seriously: you can just read the core chapter books to your child(ren) and leave it at that. There is even an audiobook option!
Each segment of history is covered in two parts in the chapter book: one narrative section and then something called a History Hop! where you pretend to travel back in time and have a conversation with one main person from that time period. You likely travel to a significant event or location in that time period and witness things “first hand.” Both the History Hop and regular chapter portion do an excellent job of making connections between various civilizations and helping your child put people and events in context.
If you desire, you can do more than read the core chapter book. We did purchase the companion Study Guide because I do feel that having supplemental picture books, videos, and hands-on activities is beneficial to learning AND the study guide provides notebooking pages & maps to keep track of what your child learns. My children are in First Grade and Kindergarten, too, so I feel that having all the hands-on activities and visual learning is so fun and helps them saturate in the learning. My Kindergartener often skips out on reading the entire chapter from the History Quest book but she will happily participate in everything else.
Key Features of History Quest
- Secular-based history
- Engaging narrative in a chapter-book format
- Utilizes the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History which includes engaging curated internet links to explore
- Allows your children to delight in imagination and exploration
- Explores civilizations all around the world
- The study guide is detailed and easy to follow for the parent!
And last but not lease: History Hygge weeks!
Occasionally throughout the curriculum you are instructed to schedule weeks where you read and explore longer narratives from that period in history and do nothing else. No main chapter to read or a History Hop, no activities, no notebooking. Just read.
We absolutely loved reading a picture-book and young-child-friendly version of the Epic of Gilgamesh:
For the multi-week journey into Ancient Greece we are exploring Greek myths for History Hygge:
Highlights and Additions for Several Units
I wanted to spend some time highlighting a few weeks of the curriculum. I won’t be going through every unit below, just a few to kind of give an idea of what is covered.
The kids loved the cuneiform project for learning about the beginning of civilizations. Learning about the beginnings of writing paved the way for learning about how later civilizations wrote and kept records. We more recently learned about the importance of the Phoenicians and the invention of the alphabet. This is a great example of a provided hands-on activity that doesn’t require a lot of materials, prep, or set up.
So, we created a cardboard ziggurat as we learned about the ancient city of Ur!! This ziggurat was much more work than the cuneiform tablet BUT it got a ton of play. Also, since this was so early on in our History Quest journey, I think having kind of an epic project like this helped solidify the joys of learning about ancient history. We used a number of different small boxes and cut holes so the kids could play with people figures and put them in the ziggurat. Too fun!
My son in particular was REALLY looking forward to all things Ancient Egypt. And so, I decided to supplement History Quest with some extra play and learning over the course of several weeks:
- Egyptian Mummy dig kit (this experience was a HUGE hit and the result mummy is high quality and not just a random piece of junk)
- Safari Ltd. Ancient Egypt and matching free 3-part cards
- Ancient Egypt peg dolls (available in my Etsy shop)
- Playmobil Egyptian family
- We also read a range of books (see the bottom of this post for details) and watched fascinating videos on King Tut’s tomb.
Andes Mountain Civilizations
Learning about the ancient peoples of Peru was so fun! We watched some interesting videos on the art of weaving and dying cloth. We learned all about the Nazca lines — so fascinating. We enjoyed the lovely story The Llama’s Secret. Again, I appreciate that History Quest does a great job of representing a variety of peoples, cultures, and religions throughout the curriculum.
For learning about Mesoamerican civilizations we took a deeper dive in to learning all about chocolate. We loved the book No Monkeys, No Chocolate and the unit study on Chocolate from The Masterpiece Studio. There was so much to learn about and explore with this! Again, this deep dive was NOT a part of the original History Quest curriculum, but I wanted to share how this curriculum does inspire so much learning beyond the core because it engages your children in a variety of ways.
For Ancient Persia the History Quest study guide did not have any picture book suggestions but I did some searching online and found The Secret Message and The Green Musician were both ancient Persian tales. We enjoyed both, and used our MAPS book to explore Iran, and made baklava to enjoy with our lessons.
Note: The copywork page you see in this photo was something I made for my First Grader. The History Quest Study Guide has copywork suggestions and I decided to make pages in advance with traceable text for my son because he doesn’t love handwriting. For older elementary children or kids that enjoy that much writing, I think you can just get blank lined paper to have them do the copywork.
We are currently in the midst of a multi-week journey to Ancient Greece. Some books we have been enjoying are:
- Greek Myths
- D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
- Usborne Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece
- Hour of the Olympics (Magic Tree House)
Additional Books We Use
Other than the main History Quest: Early Times chapter book and Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, I have also utilized a number of Ancient History based books. Some are all-encompassing that we use as references depending on what unit we are on.
Note that a few of these do include history through modern times and depending on the age of your child you will likely want to screen these in advance for any images that may be too sensitive to your child. I personally keep a couple of these on my bookshelf and only get them out to reference when it matches our lesson.
Here are several of our favorites:
I also use the coordinating History Quest Study Guide to reserve unit-based picture books from our library to pair with each chapter. These picture books mentioned in the Study Guide are all nicely curated with explanations and things to be aware of. Sometimes delving into history can hit on sensitive topics for children and I find it so helpful to have these things curated in advance.
For example, for Ancient Egypt we used these excellent books:
- DK Eyewitness: Ancient Egypt
- Mummies Made in Egypt
- Inside Out: Egyptian Mummy
- How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt
- The Shipwrecked Sailor
- Pharoah’s Boat
- Seeker of Knowledge
…To Be Continued!
We have LOTS more ancient history to cover this year and I’m hoping to write a similar post documenting our journey through Ancient Rome, India, China, and Arabia.
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