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Which spines for TWTM history/geography, Grammar and Logic stages

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I will be going through the Ancients this upcoming school year with my will-be 5th grader, 3rd grader, and 1st graders. We are going to use SOTW Vol. 1 as our spine, as well as the AG for the two younger, and I would also like to get some of the other references mentioned in TWTM, edition 3, to go along as supplements, especially for my 5th grader. However, if I use what is in TWTM, I get a whole list of really expensive and possibly out-of-print books that I will need to buy. This is what I have listed:

  • The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History;
  • Usborne Book of World History;
  • National Geographic Concise History of the World: An Illustrated Time Line;
  • National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers;
  • Geography Coloring Book;
  • Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (Revised);
  • The Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World


This just seems like too much. Now, I know I will need to get extra books because I have two-grammar stage children but also a logic stage child who will need something more advanced. Also, I realize that those are geography books and history books. Still, I would appreciate other peoples' eyes to tell me which books are redundant and not necessary.



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The best advice I can offer is to check your library and see if any of the books you have in mind are available to peruse before buying. If your library doesn't have them on-hand, inquire about inter-library loan. That will save you in the long-run.


The Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World (white cover) is well-liked by my DS, similar age to your oldest. It is out of print but still pretty widely available. Watch the prices, they fluctuate - I paid less than $15 with shipping during the curriculum shopping "off-season". It is a higher reading level than the Usbornes, more detailed, written in coherent paragraphs rather than summarized bullet points. Most topics are covered by a two-page spread (once in a while, a topic goes to 3 or 4 pages), includes some illustrations and photos but not visually over-stimulating, and a continuous built-in timeline, which is nice. For us it makes a good spine to make sure we cover the important stuff, then can dig into certain topics of interest with more targeted books when desired.

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I would just pick one good history encyclopedia, and one good atlas, and leave it at that. You may be able to find all the maps you need online even.


Also, for purchasing books, a couple of website I love for used books are thriftbooks and better world books. Prices include shipping, and they often run sales.

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3 of my kids will be the same ages as yours this fall. We're also doing SOTW 1. I already had the Kingfisher history encyclopedia. I bought a few of the other recommended books from Amazon used. Doesn't get better than $0.01 + $3.99 shipping for some of those! I also found a set of World Book Encyclopedias at a local library for $25!! Score!


My Logic age DS hates coloring, so I didn't buy the geography coloring book. He'll do map work with the younger kids and spend some time with the atlas.


Everything else will come from our local library.

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