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Is story of the World secular?

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#1 Cera

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 06:37 AM

It seems like there is some disagreement as to whether it is. I am looking for a secular option for K/1 history.

#2 Night Elf

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 06:43 AM

It seems like there is some disagreement as to whether it is. I am looking for a secular option for K/1 history.


I felt it was secular. While there are some Biblical references, it never came across as a Bible based book that centers history around the Bible.

#3 jlovebaker

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 06:56 AM

she does discuss religion frequently as it's part of world history. We're secular"ish" and we are loving it (on third volume now).

#4 WishboneDawn

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 06:57 AM

I'd argue that it isn't truly secular. While it isn't completely Bible centered there's the conceit that events and people in the Bible are historical (Moses for instance) while other cultures' stories are not. I realize that much of what's out the for homeschoolers is occupying more of an extreme regarding how they view the world from a "Christian" perspective but SOTW is still firmly in the Christian camp.

That said, it's very easy to use in a secular manner. Either cover the chapters that treat Biblical events as history by explaining the bias of the author or not bother with those chapters.

#5 TaraTheLiberator

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 06:59 AM

There are some chapters in the back for SOTW 1 that deal with biblical stories. I skipped them. I am very sensitive to Christian bias/content, and I found SOTW 1 very easy to use.

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#6 mchel210

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 07:03 AM

I dont think so...but I never found anything that made it overly religious. I have enjoyed SOTW so much. I cant wait to start them over this year. I would even think you could look at the title of the chapter to see if it is going to be based on a Bible story. Such as the story of Abraham and Moses, or Exodus.

Take a look at this: http://www.redshift....jo/chowsotw.htm

It breaks down the books by chapters and you can see what they are. There are very few you can leave out.

#7 mollies73

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 07:11 AM

Although I'm not truly familiar with this history text, I thought that I'd just throw in a thought. Although the Bible has some very unbelievable things in it pertaining to miracles and such, many secular historians do utilize it as a historical document, and one of the oldest. They glean information from it and do recognize many of the people in it as having actually lived and some of the events as having taken place. Just food for thought. If you are already using books that talk about Roman gods, and Greek Mythology, you might want to consider the use of the Bible in the same vein.

#8 phathui5

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 07:13 AM

Although the Bible has some very unbelievable things in it pertaining to miracles and such, many secular historians do utilize it as a historical document, and one of the oldest.


I agree.

And speaking as a Christian, I don't think SOTW is a Christian history book.

#9 Laura Corin

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 07:18 AM

I think that it is very usable by secular families. There are a lot of bible stories in it, but also stories from other cultures and faiths.

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#10 Julie in MN

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 09:46 AM

I'd argue that it isn't truly secular. While it isn't completely Bible centered there's the conceit that events and people in the Bible are historical (Moses for instance) while other cultures' stories are not. I realize that much of what's out the for homeschoolers is occupying more of an extreme regarding how they view the world from a "Christian" perspective but SOTW is still firmly in the Christian camp.

That said, it's very easy to use in a secular manner. Either cover the chapters that treat Biblical events as history by explaining the bias of the author or not bother with those chapters.


Moses is a Judeo/Christian/Muslim figure, as are all the Biblical figures mentioned in SOTW-1. This is not an exclusively "Christian perspective."

Edited to add: Well over 50% of the world beleive the "Moses story" to be true based on faith, and as Mollie mentioned even more believe it to be true based on historical corroboration. I think any well educated child would not have the "Moses story" left out of history. JMHO.

Edited by Julie in MN, 27 August 2009 - 09:53 AM.


#11 lionfamily1999

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 09:57 AM

I think it's good for secular use, but some people disagree.

If you're really worried about it, you could try this:
http://stores.lulu.c...?fAcctID=886236

It was written specifically for people looking for secular history.

#12 Mommy22alyns

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 11:22 AM

It has been secular enough for us. I don't mind the Bible stories because there are other cultural stories in there as well. If you want to use it and keep it strictly secular, History Odyssey is a great guide. They leave certain chapters as "optional."

#13 Cadam

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 11:59 AM

I'd argue that it isn't truly secular. While it isn't completely Bible centered there's the conceit that events and people in the Bible are historical (Moses for instance) while other cultures' stories are not. I realize that much of what's out the for homeschoolers is occupying more of an extreme regarding how they view the world from a "Christian" perspective but SOTW is still firmly in the Christian camp.

That said, it's very easy to use in a secular manner. Either cover the chapters that treat Biblical events as history by explaining the bias of the author or not bother with those chapters.


Most historians accept that the history sections of the Bible are in fact, the history of the Jewish people. You may argue with wether or not God spoke to Abram and Moses but they existed and that is simple fact supported by numerous other historical documents. The inclusion of the history of the the Jewish people does not make SOTW a religious text anymore than relating the rise of Islam makes it a religious text.

#14 Cera

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 02:05 PM

Although I'm not truly familiar with this history text, I thought that I'd just throw in a thought. Although the Bible has some very unbelievable things in it pertaining to miracles and such, many secular historians do utilize it as a historical document, and one of the oldest. They glean information from it and do recognize many of the people in it as having actually lived and some of the events as having taken place. Just food for thought. If you are already using books that talk about Roman gods, and Greek Mythology, you might want to consider the use of the Bible in the same vein.


This is basically my view so it sounds like SOTW will work fine. I don't have a problem with Christian content as long as it isn't presented as fact. There are enough Christians in the world (and religion plays into enough of history) that I feel like it would be a mistake not to teach the kids others viewpoints.

#15 KarenNC

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 03:54 PM

We used it with the change of de-emphasizing some of the Biblical chapters in a way that kept them in line with the stories of other cultures. For an example, I remember that we listened to the chapter on the story of Joseph, but didn't do any of the activities around it. I was seeking only familiarity with the story, in the same way that we sought familiarity with the Anansi the Spider stories from Africa or the Egyptian myths.

I don't have the book anymore to pull a specific example, but I do remember feeling that the Jewish and Christian religious stories were presented more as historical fact than the similar "religious history" stories from other cultures. As I remember, a lot of other cultures were presented as "the ______ believed that...." where there was more of a "Moses was......" approach to those stories. There wasn't the denigration of other religious systems that is so often seen (even in secular texts), but they were treated somewhat differently as I remember.

Edited by KarenNC, 27 August 2009 - 03:57 PM.


#16 melissel

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 04:16 PM

I felt it was secular. While there are some Biblical references, it never came across as a Bible based book that centers history around the Bible.


ITA, and I'm pretty sensitive to that kind of thing.

#17 rlowetx

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Posted 27 August 2009 - 05:30 PM

This is basically my view so it sounds like SOTW will work fine. I don't have a problem with Christian content as long as it isn't presented as fact. There are enough Christians in the world (and religion plays into enough of history) that I feel like it would be a mistake not to teach the kids others viewpoints.


This is basically how we feel. I agree with the other posters that state that the words selected gear it more that the story of Abraham and Moses was true and the gods of the Pharaoh's was just their belief system. My son didn't pick up those differences and since I was reading them to him, I just added a word here or there. But we felt it would be a disservice to G- not to know some biblical history since it is so important to so many people (and since we are not Religious, this is a great introduction for him).. It doesn't teach religion, just "history". We are very secular, but very comfortable with the book so far.

#18 JudyJudyJudy

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 03:37 AM

I'd argue that it isn't truly secular. While it isn't completely Bible centered there's the conceit that events and people in the Bible are historical (Moses for instance) while other cultures' stories are not. I realize that much of what's out the for homeschoolers is occupying more of an extreme regarding how they view the world from a "Christian" perspective but SOTW is still firmly in the Christian camp.

That said, it's very easy to use in a secular manner. Either cover the chapters that treat Biblical events as history by explaining the bias of the author or not bother with those chapters.

I completely agree with this. When we read these chapters, I used it as an opportunity to explain to ds that all writers of history have some bias and that it will come through in their writings. However, I didn't feel that this shortcoming of the books hurt them enough not to use them; the SOTW was still the best source on the market for young children (or at least the best that I was able to find).


Although I'm not truly familiar with this history text, I thought that I'd just throw in a thought. Although the Bible has some very unbelievable things in it pertaining to miracles and such, many secular historians do utilize it as a historical document, and one of the oldest. They glean information from it and do recognize many of the people in it as having actually lived and some of the events as having taken place. Just food for thought. If you are already using books that talk about Roman gods, and Greek Mythology, you might want to consider the use of the Bible in the same vein.

Many serious historians say that the large majority of the Bible is NOT history, and there are lots of sources that show that some parts couldn't be true. Most believe that Moses was a composite that the writers created, shaped, and used as a narrative device.

#19 shadowcat

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 07:50 AM

I personally chose Gombrich's A Little History Of the World instead of SOTW, precisely because SOTW was not secular enough for me. Sure, I could deal with the confusion of myth with fact in the book...but I am lazy and don't want to. I'd rather start out with a book I don't need to tweak.

I have read only the Amazon excerpts of SOTW, but I have read a bit of Gombrich (haven't begun school yet) and I am really happy with my choice so far.

Edited by shadowcat, 28 August 2009 - 08:22 AM.


#20 WishboneDawn

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 08:14 AM

Most historians accept that the history sections of the Bible are in fact, the history of the Jewish people. You may argue with wether or not God spoke to Abram and Moses but they existed and that is simple fact supported by numerous other historical documents. The inclusion of the history of the the Jewish people does not make SOTW a religious text anymore than relating the rise of Islam makes it a religious text.


I think I'd challenge you on this one. A lot of historians accept that the Bible may have history in it in certain books but what is history and what is legendary is up for debate. There's not a lot of corraboration in the writing and monuments of other contemporary cultures.

So there may well have been some sort of exodus from Egypt (interesting tidbit; Moses is an Egyptian name) but on the scale of the Biblical account? Very unlikely. I think that if SOTW was truly secular there would have been some discussion of this, perhaps an explanation of legend.

I'll never argue that people don't need to know the Bible however. It's a foundational document for those of us in the west. I simply think presenting parts of it as strictly historical accounts is what makes SOTW more Christian then secular.

#21 54879525

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 08:18 AM

It discusses stories from the Bible, but it also discusses stories from other religions as well. I don't feel like it preaches to the reader, but rather shows the importance of religion on the shaping of history.

We do not practice any religion. I have been comfortable with the books.

#22 Sasha

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 09:11 AM


That said, it's very easy to use in a secular manner. Either cover the chapters that treat Biblical events as history by explaining the bias of the author or not bother with those chapters.


nak

this is what we have done.

#23 nmoira

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Posted 28 August 2009 - 09:27 AM

That said, it's very easy to use in a secular manner. Either cover the chapters that treat Biblical events as history by explaining the bias of the author or not bother with those chapters.

For us the text is secular enough. :) I chose not to use the AG however, after comparing the multi-page Joseph comic and do-it-yourself plague pages to the one lonely colouring picture of Gilgamesh. We use History Odyssey instead of the AG, and SOTW is not our primary focus. Our first pass through history has morphed into more of a Sonlight inspired reading of historical novels, biographies, and myths, epics and legends. However, we still use HO as a base to prepare for the next novel.

HO uses two excellent books for Ancients I that I'd recommend not matter which program you are using: Ancient Egyptians and their Neighbors and Ancient Israelites and Their Neighbors.


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