For many years, Build Your Library had used the Story of the World series (SOTW) as history spines for BYL Level 1 – The Ancient World and BYL Level 2 – The Medieval World. At the time those levels were written, SOTW was one of the best comprehensive narrative history texts on the market for that age level.
As good a resource as it was, it had its share of problems. For example, there are a few chapters in Volume 1 that assume a Christian worldview. Even though those chapters were not scheduled into the BYL lesson plans, or were annotated to be treated as religious mythology, the whole series was deemed not secular. Even though the rest of the series remains appropriate for secular homeschooling.
Build Your Library has always believed that basic religion will always need to be discussed in history, as it was often a major motivation for so many historical events. To remove all mention of religious belief would be a disservice to the study of history. However, we strive to be non-partial when it comes to religious beliefs.
Though SOTW was very popular and well-liked by a huge number of families, we were always hoping something better and more secular would come along. If time would have allowed, we would have written a replacement ourselves at some point, if we could have ever squeezed in a project of that magnitude on top of everything else going on at BYL.
Lucky for us, the History Quest series was released by Pandia Press. Finally, a secular narrative history resource! And not only that, but it is a truly diverse world history text. We liked it enough that we updated BYL Level 1 in February 2021 and BYL Level 2 in April 2021, removing SOTW from our lesson plans. We are always swapping out of print books and other titles, but this was a pretty significant overhaul.
Change can sometimes be difficult, but we are positive this update will make you all as excited as we are. If you have an older copy of the BYL lesson plans and already own SOTW, you can always continue to use it as-is if you circle back with another child. If you would like updated lesson plans we can give that to you free of charge, you will just need to purchase the new History Quest materials.
We could write a whole blog post on how great History Quest is and what it entails, but we were able to get the author Lindsey Sodano to write up this great introduction on what to expect and what makes History Quest special: 6 Reasons to Take Your Build Your Library Student on a History Quest!
We also did a “Tea with Emily” Facebook Live Stream on this subject back in April. If you missed our “Interview with Lindsey Sodano, Author of History Quest“, you can find a recording on our past events page.
As an added bonus, when you purchase (or update) your copy of either BYL Level 1 – The Ancient World or BYL Level 2 – The Medieval World, you will receive a discount code for your purchase of History Quest: Early Times or History Quest: Middle Times at the Pandia Press website.
I hope that you will give History Quest a chance! I believe it is now the best secular narrative world history resource available.
Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-12 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full-year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 18 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others.
She and her family also make incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books, and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can also check out her author page on Amazon.