Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In the Schoolroom: American History

Currently I'm hip deep in school planning. Right now I'm in the midst of plotting out a schedule for Ms. Books American History.
We are using the Exploring America Curriculum by Ray Notgrass

There are two main texts that include history, literature and Bible:
Vol. 1 covers Columbus through Reconstruction
Vol. 2 covers Late 1800s through the present

The companion book: American Voices (A collection of documents, speeches, essays, hymns, poems, and short stories from American History)

I also purchased the quiz and exam book.

I do believe Lu has already read the first unit while she was "perusing" the books when we first received them. She loves American history- good thing because this course is going to steep her in it.

There are 30 units in all and each unit has 5 lessons, easily finished in a week's time. I love that its 30 units and not 36- this will give us wiggle room for our school weeks and time to explore some areas of Lu's more intense interest in greater detail. Each unit includes not only history, but language arts and Bible. At the end of each lesson is a series of questions that cover these three areas. Each unit also has at least one reading assignment in the American Voices book.
The curriculum also has a recommended reading list of thirteen works of American literature plus a list of alternate selections for some of the books. For example- the first book is The Scarlet Letter, the alternative book is Calico Bush. The author even took the time to make notes of the contents of certain books to prepare parents and students for discussions. For example- The Narrative of the Life of David Crockett lists the page numbers of pages that have graphic description of the horrors of war and two pages where an expletive is used. We will be using a couple of the alternate selections.

We will be using selective English assignments from the texts as we already have a comprehensive language arts program for Lu. It is my plan to overlap some of the assignments into her LA program.

Per Lu's request we are also incorporating two Genevieve Foster books.


She loves Ms. Foster's writing style- having read her books on Columbus and Augustus Caesar. 
So I am plotting out reading schedules for these books also.
We have the following DVD series here at home that will also be incorporated in our studies:
America: The Story of US
PBS: Lewis & Clark - The Journey of the Corps of Discovery
Thanks to Netflix we will also incorporate many other wonderful documentaries from the History Channel, PBS, etc. Such as:
American Experience: Robert E. Lee
History Channel: The Revolution
Ken Burns: The Civil War
and so many, many more! 

We're also planning on taking time to celebrate Constitution Day (September 17). We will be using this educational packet: A More Perfect Union. Which includes a wonderful two hour movie on DVD entitled A More Perfect Union. One would think a two hour movie about the making of the Constitution would be boring but the story line is engaging and the background shared is very good at showing the conflict between state rights and national rights... you can clearly see in this movie from the conflicts over slavery between the states and the intense debate over just how much rights states should have that the Civil War would be in the not too distant future.

No year of American History is complete without a few field trips- such as Washington DC and Williamsburg. Jamestown. Mount Vernon and Monticello. And don't forget all the historical battle sites such as Gettysburg, Antietam and more. Mads and The Boy's American history curriculums are split into two years so we are plotting out some family vacations over the next couple of years that will incorporate some of these historic places. This year we are definitely going to Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum (where we'll see the Titanic exhibit).

We can't help but be excited about this coming school year. [Except for the math... ahem, no one is excited about that.]

Want to get a gander at what all we'll be studying this year including Mads and the Boy's curriculums? Go to this post.


  1. We also love Genevieve Foster! Love this time of year for planning--usually too many things I want to do and not enough days to get it all done though!

  2. Your Genevieve Foster selections aren't showing up. Would you mind sharing which two you chose?

    1. George Washington's World and Abraham Lincoln's World are the two books we've used. I am sorry it has taken me so long to reply and I will try and update the pictures. Thanks for drawing it to my attention.



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