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The “Buffet-Style” Approach to World History

I was recently manning my booth at a homeschool convention when an overwhelmed mom said to me: “I really want to start The Mystery of History, but I don’t know where to begin—there are so many products!”

First, my heart sunk—because I feel our program is easy. I wrote it to streamline curriculum for parents like me who want to teach world history to the whole family at one time.

But second, I realized that she’s right! Due to 20 years of success, and half a dozen awards, The Mystery of History product line has grown! Where we first had just a volume or two of world history, we now have four. And where we used to have a few supplemental items, we now have over a hundred products on our website! Granted, this large number exists because we’ve doubled our inventory with one foot in the paper world and one foot in the digital world. There’s practically two of everything. But those offerings (paper or digital) add to the “head-spins” when deciding what you want and need in your approach to world history.

Back to the Basics with Your Approach To World History

The way I see it, it’s time for us to help you get back to the basics of The Mystery of History (the components that made it popular) and help you benefit from all that the series now has to offer. Here’s a word picture called “The Buffet-style Approach to World History” that I think will help.

I like to look at The Mystery of History as the ultimate buffet-style world history program. As you start down the buffet line, there is one main dish to choose. We’ll call it your protein, your meat, or your entrée. Everyone in the family can partake. (This entrée is, of course, the history lessons in our textbooks. At two to four pages in length, there are three history lessons per week to give you just enough and not too much.) After that, each member of the family has an assortment of side dishes to choose from! (And, just like a real buffet line, parents will assist the little ones with their choices.) Here are some examples:

  • On a busy day, you may grab the main entrée and one small side dish (Listen to the story of Hannibal crossing the Alps with elephants by audiobook in the car while working on a coloring page.)
  • On another day, when you’re home and have more time, you may choose one entrée and two side dishes (Read a lesson on Hannibal—with beautiful illustrations, do one fun hands-on activity about elephants, and make a timeline figure of Hannibal for the wall or a notebook.)
  • On yet another day, when you’re really hungry, you may choose an appetizer, one entrée, two side dishes, and a warm, delicious dessert. (Take a pretest from the digital Companion Guide, read the lesson on Hannibal crossing the Alps, make a Memory Card that includes something interesting about those elephants, complete a mapping exercise with a historical atlas showing Hannibal’s journey, and start a classic read-aloud, like The Young Carthaginian by G.A. Henty.)
  • For an additional feast, your student may opt to add our stand-alone video lectures, self-paced online classes, or live classes—with me! (My lectures are 10-25 minutes of “more” history than what is in our textbooks.) There really is something for everyone, no matter how small or large your investment into world history!


Freedom and Flexibility!

Do you see the beauty of the buffet example in your approach to world history? It allows you freedom, flexibility, and appealing choices. The reality of our lives is that on some days the best we can do to feed our families is to drive through a fast-food joint. (Liken that to listening to an audiobook on the way to soccer!)

On better days, we can provide them a warm sit-down meal. (Imagine your coffee table with books and atlases wide open.) On special occasions, we can host a feast with all the trimmings. (Picture the kids building Stonehenge in the backyard after reading about it on the sofa and adding a timeline piece to the wall.) Our world history program is a lot like feeding our families!

Now, there are programs out there that are designed to give your students the exact same pre-made plate of history for every day of the week. But we don’t think that’s the best way to serve up history! We love our entrée and side dish offerings that allow you to choose a quick pick me up, a piping hot dinner, or a full-blown banquet. You know your family best. We’ll keep the buffet line warm for you; just grab a tray and take what you want!

If you’d like to simplify your shopping on our website, you may want to peek at our “Best-Seller Bundles” for each volume of the four volumes that we offer. That means we’ve bundled our best-selling products for ancient times, medieval times, the Renaissance/Reformation, and modern times—to save you shopping time and money.

Your approach to World history—you know it’s important; we’ve made it easy (and delicious!)