Our history plans (A TruthQuest History review)

A couple of you have asked what we're doing for history this next year.  I'll give you the short answer first, and then the long-winded answer second.  ;)

Here's the short answer: We're doing TruthQuest History.  (If that's all you wanted, just move along now because I'm about to get wordy.)  ;)

Here's the long answer, and I love telling this story because God really directed our family in this subject.  Towards the end of last year I sort of hit a wall on our Ambleside readings.  Generally I truly like the Ambleside selections, but what became difficult was the lengthy readings about topics I didn't think we needed to be reading so much about.  Certain battles and historical figures are fascinating and we are genuinely interested in delving into their story for pages and pages.  Others?  Not so much.  I wanted to read a small blurp and move on already.  So I stopped reading and began pondering it aloud with Mark-- Is it just a difficult season?  Do I just press on, even though even I'm  bored?  If we don't do this, what DO we do? 

And I began praying, asking God to guide us and help me figure out where to go from my "stuck spot."

One night as I was falling asleep the words "Truth Quest" got stuck in my brain, and I had a hunch it was related to my prayers about our history.  (You know how you get a song stuck in your head and you can't turn it off?  It was like that.  I didn't know what "Truth Quest" even was but I knew I wouldn't forget it because those words were lodged that firmly in my brain.)  I determined to look up those words the very next morning- thinking maybe it was a book or a blog or something that would give me a clue as to what we should do.  So I Googled the words "Truth Quest", and initially only saw something about a children's VBS program and was about to click away when I saw-- further down the page-- "TruthQuest History", and clicked on that link only to find out that TruthQuest is a literature-based history study.

I spent some time over the next few days researching the site (which I had never before been to and had never heard of to my knowledge) and reading all the reviews and testimonials and continuing to pray and talk to Mark.  A few days later we decided to give it a trial run- to order one of the TruthQuest guides and use it for our remaining ten weeks of school, and see how we liked it.

We loved it.

It is such a good fit for our family in so many ways.  For those of you unfamiliar with TQ, as I was: the guides are arranged chronologically through history.  There are summaries about the topics and then lists of books relating to each topic.   One of the things I like so much about it is that it suits us so naturally: I already love book lists, we already spend a lot of time hunting for good books at our library, or at the local thrift store.  And we get to cover history by reading literature-- which is how we like to learn!   It has also drawn Mark into our history study in a way that he wasn't before.  He helps choose the topics we'll cover, he helps hunt for the books, and he chooses which books he'd like to read aloud to the kids.  It also gives us the flexibility to spend as much or as little time as we'd like on each topic, which I appreciate.

The author, Michelle Miller, loves God and views history through that lens.  In the summaries, she invites us to look at how God has initiated to mankind through the ages, and how we have chosen to respond.  I have been a part of the TQ Yahoo discussion group-- which is a group of moms utilizing this curriculum and swapping good book recommendations and ideas.  I have been so, SO impressed with the quality of women on the loop, specifically Michelle Miller herself-- who frequently pops in to add to the discussion-- and the moderator, Kimberly, who is full of wisdom and kindness. 

I am so thankful that God led us to these guides, and we are excited to tackle more history through literature this coming year! 


  1. i LOVE this story too, and we LOVE 'reading' history too. we actually used TQ fir a short while with Kylie, and Kristin has used it many years. it didn't work for us, because it split us up, instead a family study ... can't remember if that was my doing ... or a TQ recommendation. *BUT* i do remember crying when I read the intro, it was that good.

    ...wonder what I did with it?

    1. I find that it's easy (so far) to do with all of our ages. We check out picture books in addition to chapter books and cover it that way with all ages.

  2. We loved TruthQuest. I loved that it was essentially just a huge book list! I say loved only because we are using Mystery of History this year for ancient history, but the only bad thing I can say about TruthQuest is that there were so many great choices that it was overwhelming!

    1. YES! I love the book list aspect. I like having so many options. I just use what we have, what the library has, or what is available to us.

  3. So glad you found something that you are looking forward too. I find that is important :o)

    I finally had to split history up because the gap with my two older kids was too wide. Journey is using Romans, Reformers and Revolutionaries by Diana Ward. I let her pick between a few different options (grade 7). She liked the creative aspect to it.I am reading through SOTW 2 with the boys because we already have it along with a biblical timeline. MOH didn't really work out for us. I so wanted to keep us all together but with out set of kids it simply isn't the best choice.

    Looking forward to hearing how your year with TQ goes. I love reading about what others are doing!

    1. Oh, wow. That would be hard to split up. I try to do as much as we possibly can with all of us together. That's great that you've found something that's working for Journey and then something else for the boys, though. Blessings to you!

  4. Hello! Are you still using truthquest? If so, is it going well? If not, can you explain why you chose a diff program? Looking into it for our school year!

    1. Hi Amanda~ Heading over to your blog to reply to this question! :)

    2. [And also replying here in case anyone is curious!]


      Hi Amanda!

      We began with TQ American history-- the first three books from Level 1, and LOVED it. It was a perfect fit for us.

      The way the guides are laid out is that it's essentially a big book list- one or two main history books are listed ("spines") along with any other books that she recommends to go along with that time period/topic. You can sort of choose the topics you're interested in, find the books you want, read and learn!

      We then moved to Beginnings, then Ancient Greece & Rome and all of a sudden realized there were way fewer books than the previous guide and we found it increasingly difficult to acquire the books listed in the book guide (not the spines, but the others). Our library didn't have them or many of them were out of print, and I didn't want to purchase them sight unseen if I was able to find them online somewhere-- also they were pricier because many were out of print.

      Also, a note about the summaries, which are Michelle's written narrative throughout the guides. (I don't actually remember these so much from the American History guides, but definitely in the others we purchased (Beginnings, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome)).

      She has written summaries for each section that you're supposed to read aloud, to sort of introduce the section/topic. I found myself re-summarizing her summaries, just because that's not the way I would say things. (Does that make sense? It's written very conversationally, but it's not the way *I* would communicate with my kids; not my "voice". So it felt funny to me to keep reading her "voice"/reactions because it's not what I would say.) Not that there was anything WRONG with the content, but she just had a certain style that wasn't me. ;) I hope that makes sense.

      We eventually realized that most of what we were getting we either couldn't use (out of print books, etc) or were tweaking to suit our desires (her written summaries), so we chose to go another route.

      I hope that helps! I still think the American History guides are great-- Level 1-- and there were TONS of books to choose from, so I would still heartily recommend that. :)

      We now use Ambleside. (It's free, the spines are the same ones she listed, and we tag on other living books as we find them/hear about them).

      Blessings to you and yours,


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