Story of the World Volume IV Modern History Curriculum Review

Story of the World Volume IV Modern History Curriculum Review

Our Experience

Story of the World is a history curriculum written by Susan Wise Bauer, the classical educator.  Volume IV The Modern Times is an engaging curriculum.  Because my son is a visual learner, we used the text book rather than the audio book.  In addition to the text book, we used the test book and the activity book.  As an additional resource, we used The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History.  The corresponding encyclopedia pages for each chapter are listed in the SOW Activity book.  We used this Volume a little differently than is intended. We adapted the books to include more advanced study skills.  A typical week of history might include:

  • Monday  – Read chapter and take notes
  • Tuesday  – Read corresponding pages in the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History  and take notes, Outline Exercises
  • Wednesday  – Lecture (by parent) and take notes. This is to improve note taking skills both for content and the ability to listen and take notes simultaneously.
  • Thursday – Mapping, Time Line, Coloring,  Review of Material
  • Friday – Test

This was a personal decision made to adapt a beloved curriculum to fit our son’s needs.  The Activity Book includes outlining exercises for each chapter which is wonderful for teaching a child how to order his thoughts and research skills.  The test book for this era, is far more difficult than previous volumes.  Each test begins with sequencing and fill in the blanks.  The tests then move to several short answer questions and an essay question.  The tests for this era insure that the child not only knows the information, but can accurately and concisely relay that knowledge back. The Activity Book includes all the map work, related reading, and literature selections of previous volumes, but we found the projects to be much less exciting and did not find any to interest us. Because of the presentation of material and skills in SOW IV, I am confident my child has not only learned the material, but is able to analyze and assess what he has learned.

The Facts

The Text – Story of the World Volume IV, The Modern Era

Volume IV covers Queen Victoria’s empire through the end of the USSR. This volume travels the known world telling the stories of the Modern Era in the order in which they occured. This multi-level text was designed as a read-aloud series for parents and teachers to share with elementary school children. This text and it’s accompanying books can be easily adapted for middle school aged students. Each chapter begins with a map of the area being studied.

The Activity Book – Story of the World Volume IV, The Modern Era

The activity book has 2 sections, a parent’s guide in the front and consumable student pages in the back.

Every section has an accompanying map activity with blank maps in the student section and an answer key at the end of the parent section.

Encyclopedia cross-references to the appropriate pages in the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, the Usborne Book of World History, the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History, and  the Usborne History of the Twentieth Century are provided for additional supplemental reading, especially for those topics that do not have extensive lists of age-appropriate library books.

Also included are recommended literature lists. Following each title is a range of grades showing the appropriate reading level. Additional non-fiction reading selections are also included.

Along with color pages that correspond to each chapter, there are lists of activities with detailed directions to accompany the presented material. The activities include games, cooking, art projects and more.

The parent section also includes review questions to test the student’s comprehension.  These questions are designed to be answered orally and answers are provided.

The very back of the book contains timeline figures for a year long timeline activity.

The Test Book  – Story of the World Volume IV, The Modern Era

The test book is optional if you desire a more formal evaluation or want to develop your child’s test-taking ability. Test questions in this book begin with sequencing events,  fill in the blank, short answer questions, and an essay question. The essay question is designed to help children begin to order the facts discuss a topic in a thorough manner.

Audio Books – Story of the World Volume IV, The Modern Era

The audio books are optional. If your child prefers to listen rather than read the text, or is an audio learner, this may be a good option for you. The audio books are also convenient for listening in the car while travelling between activities.


Also Available in Story of the World

Volume I Ancient Times (5000 BC to 400 AD) From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor

Volume II The Middle Ages:  From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance

Volume III Early Modern Times:  From Elizabeth to the Forty-Niners


Where to Purchase

 Story of the World Text Book Volume IV Modern History on




About Marcy Guyer


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