Truthquest History review

Truthquest History review

Truthquest is our favourite history program for high school aged children. At an age when kids are reading faster than you and just want to binge read to finish the book, Truthquest forces them to take it slowly and lets them think. We loved the ideas we identified and the discussions we had.

So okay, we’ve told you the outcome of our review, but how does it work and is it for you?

Author and publisher

Michelle Miller Howard created the Truthquest series when teaching her own children with the aim of teaching them the deeper truth of history, i.e. God’s hand behind all that has happened.

Summary of Truthquest History

Truthquest is more a “thinking” program than a “writing” program. Its premise is that God is the author of all that happens; he is the centre of history, not man. It helps reveal how God has set the stage for the gospel for all men for all time.

The bulk of the curriculum is reading Christian and secular living books and determining the beliefs and ideas pervading the particular time period or civilisation. Truthquest organises the ideas in the books that you read, encouraging you to deduce and extract those ideas and observe the impact and consequences they have had in history.

You will learn about the ideas of history from all the enjoyable books you read rather than having a textbook tell you about them.

The student is encouraged to think about how the events and beliefs have determined what has happened. For example, how the idea of man being the measure of all things characterised Ancient Greece and how that worldview carries through history affecting events, decisions and ways of life, even today.

Michelle’s writing style is witty and engaging, making for a fun and attention-grabbing study.

What’s the learning style of Truthquest and who does it suit?

If you love a living books or Charlotte Mason style education, Truthquest is likely to be an easy fit into your way of doing things. If you read aloud a lot, then a program like Truthquest can help cement a good deal of what your kids hear into their minds. You have them looking for something as they listen and won’t just be entertained.

Truthquest is a rather fluid program with as much flexibility as you can make from it, which works well for an organised or relaxed family. You can drive it at your own pace, taking more time with the things that pique your interest and going quickly through the things that don’t. Truthquest stresses that you are the boss, and are free to direct this program according to how it will fit your homeschooling regime.

However, if you thrive on structure and clearly defined lesson plans, then this program may not be the best fit.

Having said that, it is fluid enough for you to add your own structure. If you are prepared to tweak it, or use it in conjunction with another more structured or textbook-ish program, it could work.

Truthquest History is designed for grades 5-12.

Suited to families of all sizes, because it’s predominantly a reading program, it can be used with all your children at the same time. You may like to add in some age-appropriate activity pages for younger ones to cement their learning. (We used History Pockets, which we absolutely love.) 

How to use Truthquest History

How long does it take to do a “lesson” with Truthquest? This is up to you, so you can make it fit with the time you have. Though, don’t be surprised if once you settle down to your reading, that time escapes you!

There are no clear lessons in Truthquest, however, you can use the dispersion of the “ThinkWrite” questions as a rough guide to how much you will do in between them.

Books are listed in time periods with a blurb about the era or topic at hand, eg Vikings, Castles or Renaissance Art, etc.

The learning from your reading is captured in the “ThinkWrite” questions (7-13 questions, depending on which guide you are using) which are placed strategically throughout the study as you progress. These culminate in the final “Investigation Supreme” which ties the ideas together. Remember, this is a “thinking” program.  Answers are included so you can guide discussion and get the ideas rolling.

A spine book is chosen to give continuity and flow. A few options are given for these and the relevant chapters you need to read for each section of Truthquest are listed.

The spine books are supplemented with fiction and non-fiction along the way. A comprehensive list of books relevant to each time period is included, most of which Michelle personally recommends. Get this program out and get on to Bookdepository!

What does it cover?

History periods covered:

Beginnings: covers creation, Old Testament, neighbouring civilisations Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Hittites, Phoenicia and the Canaanites/Philistines. See here for a resource list of living books for creation and beginnings here.

Ancient Greece: Greek achievements in government, art, architecture, math, science, and philosophy are explored, and the development and consequences of the humanist philosophy. We have a list of living books for Ancient Greece here.

Ancient Rome: The study of Rome offers a unique insight into a civilisation built on human power. Their understanding of it led to some excellent governmental and engineering advancements, but without acknowledging God’s higher power, the stage was set for tyranny. You can see our top picks for living books for Ancient Rome here.

Middle Ages (500-1400): The powerful Roman Empire was gone. The church now had the incredible privilege of being the leading force in Europe. How did it handle that opportunity, especially when Roman mistakes had made life after their empire so difficult? How were the developing nations and the feudal system affected? And much more! You can check out some of the books we used for the Middle Ages here.

Renaissance, Reformation and Exploration (1400-1600): This period was a major crossroad in history. Two different responses develop from the spiritual emptiness of the late Middle Ages, an emptiness quite like that of our own age. You can see our list of living books for the Renaissance and Reformation here.

The Age of Revolution I, II and III (1600 -2000) and American History are also available.

What else will you need?

A notebook for writing the answers to the ThinkWrite questions is all that is needed to complete this curriculum (besides the books you want to read). However, you might want to also add to this with drawings, charts, stories, a timeline and any other notebooking ideas to enhance learning. This could be particularly helpful for younger children you are wanting to include in your studies but are not old enough to manage the questions.

Truthquest sells supplementary materials: Notebooking pages and Map/Timeline/Report pages, though these are not necessary to complete the program (we never used them).

Dovetail into literature

Since Truthquest is a reading intensive course, you might want to dovetail into literature study of some of the books while you’re at it. Progeny Press literature guides are a good fit as they are written from a Christian perspective. You can find a good assortment here.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of Truthquest?

🙂Teaches children to think about what they read.
🙂Great for capturing the ideas of history through a living books approach.
🙂Can include children of all ages through notebooking or other supplementary materials.
🙂Cuts through names, dates and events memorisation to understand the most important thing about history – the ideas that shaped it.
🙂Notebooking, mapping, report templates and images available.
🙁No clear lesson plans.
🙁 Does not cater for younger children.

How much is it and where can you buy it?

Truthquest History can be purchased directly from the publisher in ebook or hardcopy format.

Support materials start at $13 US.

Ebooks start at $23.95 US.

Hardcopies start at $24.95 US  plus shipping.

What other programs are similar to Truthquest?

If you think Truthquest isn’t going to float your boat, then have a look at these similar programs:
Greenleaf Press
Ambleside Online

Related resources:

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