Jump to content


Notgrass Exploring World History

Recommended Posts

I just recently got this for use next year and thought I'd post my initial impressions since I couldn't find a lot of reviews when I was doing my own research. I finally decided on it after months of looking at different options for world history, including BJU, Abeka, PAC, Spielvogel, and A Short History of Western Civilization. I had looked at Notgrass at conventions in the past, and it just didn't do anything for me. But I kind of felt crowded into it after ruling out the above options. Abeka and BJU just looked like very surface treatment and I worried about retention. Plus I was afraid they might have too much of a Baptist perspective. PAC looked too light, Spielvogel too dry. I actually ordered a cheap used copy of ASHoWC, but the copy came heavily highlighted (what's the point of having so MUCH highlighting?) and I didn't like the way they handled religion. Plus I was thinking maybe we should have some non-western info too. So back I went to Notgrass, figuring that since most of their reviews were positive, it couldn't be that bad. :)


The text is in two big hardcover volumes, with one hardcover volume of original writings as a supplement. Volume one is ancients and medievals, volume two is Renaissance to modern times. It is divided up into 30 units, each one containing five daily lessons. The last of the five is always a Bible study. My thoughts:


- The text itself isn't as . . . rich? rigorous? as I had hoped. I would be reluctant to use this above 10th grade.


- The print is large, clear, and easy to read. Lots of color illustrations. No timelines


- I was disappointed that such a large portion of volume one is biblical history. We are CC and believe biblical history is accurate but we are also well-versed in it due to years of books, Sunday School, etc., and I'd rather the time were spent on more unfamiliar cultures such as Egypt, Assyria, Greece, etc. For instance, only one lesson is spent on ancient Egypt, and maybe 15 lessons on biblical/Hebrew history.


- The tone is definitely Christian, but not strongly one denomination. Every once in a while I would think, "wow, this is really getting preachy," but then I realized that was always in the Bible study chapters. You could always skip those chapters and use the program purely for history. I was going to skip them at first but then I realized DS does need some Bible study somewhere and we may as well kill two birds with one stone.


- I like the output suggestions. There is Bible memory, supplementary reading in literature or the original sources book, and a choice of three projects for every unit, similar to Oak Meadow. One of the projects is always a writing assignment. The others may be art, research, volunteering, interviewing, making a video, etc. We are not using the Student Review book, which includes questions as well as literary analysis for the supplemental literature. We will use the lit for extra reading only, no formal follow-up. DS is taking a separate lit course.


- I LOVE the original sources book, In Their Words, and how they weave the readings into the program. It is the same quality binding with clear print and color illustrations. It has a really nice selection of documents, speeches, poems, stories, and hymns. It would be worth getting even if you do not plan on using Notgrass.


- The course is pretty Western civilization-ish. Other cultures are only touched on in the first volume, and take up only three or four out of the 15 units in the second.





Maybe I can follow up with another review once we've used it for awhile. 



  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just finished that for 9th and 11th grade, and agree nearly 100% with the review, except I obviously used it above grade 10😎.


After the middle of the year we did not do as much of the projects as we'd have liked, but that was due to poor planning and outside activities rather than any fault of the curriculum. Both my voracious reader and my minimal reader enjoyed it. Minimal reader actually liked that it just got to the point without excessive bunny trails. They appreciated the Biblical content without feeling like it was a constant beating.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Appreciate the review. I got this to use with my boys, 9th & 10th starting in July. We've mainly used SL for our almost 18 years of homeschooling but for some reason the upper cores just haven't clicked with us. When we went to the convention this spring I made my boys look at all of our history options and we all unanimously agreed on Notgrass.


I skimmed each book looking at what's required for them to do daily and how things are set up. We are evangelical Christians and though we've had a decent amount of bible history, I felt that we were still just scratching the surface. Still, I'm unsure if this will fit the bill for us because I do want them to learn "secular" history and grasp what all was going on at each point in time, i.e. during crossing of Red Sea what else was going on throughout the world. I'm looking to see if I want to grab another textbook spine or two just to throw in for additional reading and study. Got any suggestions?


I'm not sure if we will use the literature as it's done in the book or use something else. This I may not decide until after I've looked at it better or they've done some of it.


The one thing it's missing is geography, imo. Here, the boys will need a credit in world geography. I'm looking at getting Northstar Geography from Bright Ideas Press.


After I had already gotten this is when I looked at SWB's history books for high school and up plus two have study guides now. I like what I've seen of them but not sure if I want to use them as supplemental history reading.


Praying that our jump off the SL ship is successful and I haven't made a mistake.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...