Friday, February 12, 2016

A Review of The Universe Next Door

When I homeschooled my kids, we studied the history of the world from the beginning of time to the present along with the literature that was written at that time, the fine arts that were created at that time, and the government structure of that time. There were studies into the science and math of the era as well. Studying each of our subjects within context of each other magnified our learning to such an extent, that even when my kids were upper elementary and junior high, the worldview of each culture we studied was easily discernible. I was grateful for all the classical homeschool education books I read that encouraged this endeavor. Classical education revolutionized our homeschooling.

A great resource for digging deeper into worldview is The Universe  Next Door by James W. Sire, which my son learned was a favorite resource of one of his professors at Patrick Henry College. Some classical homeschoolers might be familiar with another book Sire wrote, How to Read Slowly.


What is worldview? Sire gives a complex definition that he "unpacks" through the chapters of his book. To me, to simplify things quite a bit, it's the predominate driving force that characterizes eras of history. We are in one right now, the Postmodern Era, which thinks quite differently from any of the previous eras like the Enlightenment Era, or even the Theistic Era. Because these ideas drove the thinking of the time, when we look at the historical events, the literature written at that time, and the art that is produced, they have a common theme, or worldview.

Sire's "unpacking" of worldview throughout his book is highly recommended reading. It becomes an effective tool for high school students (and older) to discern not only history, but also our present world. After defining terms, Sire explores each of the predominant worldviews typically studied:
  • Christian Theism
  • Deism
  • Naturalism
  • Nihilism
  • Existentialism
  • Eastern Pantheistic Monism
  • The New Age
  • Postmodernism

Sire ends the book with application to our own "examined life."

I've blogged about some of these worldviews before, in the context of some of our history and literature studies. I will be sharing more in the future, especially in how it relates to government in order to magnify our understanding of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution.


  1. Wow, I've never heard of this book before but I'm sure my son would enjoy it. I ordered it on Amazon today as soon as I read this blog! Looking forward to reading it with him. Thanks!

    1. I'm so glad I shared about it then! Thank you for the encouraging words!