Curiosity Chronicles is a complete history curriculum for elementary-aged children. It is written by a homeschool mother who has a “master’s degree in Comparative Studies, an interdisciplinary humanities degree, with an emphasis in Classics” (About | Curiosity Chronicles). Currently, she offers Ancient (1st-3rd grade), Medieval (2nd-5th grade), and Early Modern History (3rd-6th grade). At the time of this writing, Modern History is also in the works.
What comes with it:
Each time period has a wide variety of resources that pair with it. The core book includes 36 chapters and is aptly called Snapshots because they provide brief snapshots of history. Snapshots is written in dialogue format between the two main characters: Mona and Ted. Mona provides the history and information while Ted is the comic relief. The other two main books are the Instructor’s Guide and the Student Guide. The Instructor’s Guide provides answers to the questions in the Student Guide, book recommendations, and craft/activity/recipe ideas. There is also a tie to Minecraft for each chapter. The Student Guide has a matching section, short answers questions, discussion questions, map work, and coloring pages for the chapters in Snapshots. Each lesson also includes a crossword puzzle, word search, or game. Other resources available include an audiobook, lapbook and interactive notebook, and a timeline. The audiobook contains the chapters in Snapshots. The lapbook/notebook provides 1-2 pages of prompts for each chapter. And, the timeline has multiple versions included so you can pick what works best for you.
The Snapshots, Student Guide, and Instructor’s Guide come in print or pdf options. For multiple children, I would purchase two Student Guides. The pages don’t tear well so trying to make copies was difficult for us. The core book can be purchased via hardcover, softcover, or as a pdf. I recommend the hardcover because it is frequently used. The rest of the materials are pdfs. There are lots of different options to purchase all or parts of the curriculum depending on how you want to use it. Snapshots is also the history spine for the Torchlight curriculum.
This is not your average dry history curriculum. The dialogue format of the Snapshots book makes it engaging and my daughter is frequently laughing out loud at Ted’s humor. I like how it is not heavy on dates and trivial facts but chooses to focus on major themes running through history at the time. I think this provides a better understanding of what is going on than random dates that aren’t going to be remembered. I love how it spends a good portion of time talking about culture and the development of cultures in the context of art, science, and religion. There is also a big mix of activities and ideas to pair with the lessons so you can use this as a very structured curriculum or something flexible.
- This is a complete curriculum with low prep. The only things you have to prepare are the crafts and activities and the majority of them use supplies you already have around the house.
- This is one of the least whitewashed full curriculums I have seen. *See the breakdown of continents discussed below.
- It focuses on culture instead of dates.
- There is an effort to include impactful women throughout history.
- The lessons have a well-rounded assortment of activities for different interests and accessibility.
- The audiobooks help with the pronunciation of names and places.
- Each chapter has a map activity to pair with it infusing geography into the lesson.
- There are additional learning ideas at the end of the chapters for you to explore more.
- As with any history curriculum, there are limitations. It makes mention of this in the Snapshots book which I appreciate. There is a lot of focus on kings, queens, and other noble people and less focus on the average person. This is in part because more history is written about them but it can give a skewed view of how life was.
- I wish there were more #ownvoices (books written by an author that is part of the culture/religion discussed) recommendations. Many of the books cover a broad view of the topic. For example, the recommended World Religion book is a conglomeration of a bunch of religions. I would like to see a book that is about one religion written by someone that observes that religion. Also, the Magic Tree House and Who Was? series are frequently recommended. I tend to stay away from these types of mass-produced books as the content and information are not always factual.
- I would like to find each country/continent discussed a little more equally.
*To provide a visual I have categorized the countries included by continent. Each number represents the number of chapters.
Middle East 4
North America 2
South America 2
How we use it:
Since this is one of our main history curriculums, I have included this section of how we use it in our family.
For Ancient History, the chapters were shorter so we were able to do a chapter a week. Medieval History has substantially longer chapters. It is doable to do a chapter a week but spreading it out over two weeks works best for us.
Here is how we break it up by day:
- Snapshots. I read the chapter fully and sometimes my daughter will read Ted’s dialogue. I am considering the audiobook version since the chapters are fairly long. I do like the ability to be able to stop and explain things.
- Timeline/interactive notebook. My daughter cuts out and colors the notebook and timeline while I read the chapter again. This is usually done a couple of days after we read it the first time.
- Student guide. Sometimes this takes two days. We go over the answers together. I don’t make my daughter memorize anything, because I am mostly focused on her getting the major themes of what is happening and getting exposed to history and culture around the world.
- Crafts/activities from the Instructor’s Activity Guide. We don’t always do all the crafts, but I like to pick at least one to do.
- Myths and religion. This is not explicitly included, but we use the myths and world religion book recommended to learn more about each country we read about.
- We also read the recommended books throughout the week.
Official Website: The Curiosity Chronicles
Curiosity Chronicles Facebook Group
I purchased this product and all opinions are my own.