Writing Skills 2
While not uncommon for high school students to study both American History and American Literature in the same year (typically 11th grade), it is unusual to find a curriculum that weaves the two together. Exploring America goes one step further, not only combining history and literature, but also Bible/Faith. The result is a comprehensive, intensely Christian look at the events, the people, the culture, and the faith of our nation with an emphasis on a God-centered worldview. A student completing the course as outlined would earn three high school credits history, English (literature and composition), and Bible. Obviously designed with the homeschool student/family in mind, the two volumes (each about 400 pgs.) that make up the curriculum text are very readable and interesting, with carefully chosen illustrations. The text is written directly to the student with lessons clearly laid out and easy to follow. Volume 1 covers Columbus to Reconstruction; Volume 2, the late 1800's to the Present. These two volumes plus a resource book American Voices are included in the Curriculum Package. American Voices is a collection of speeches, poetry, and writings from original sources that are used in the course in addition to the literature selections. The literature selections (a whole book approach) have been carefully chosen. The author, Ray Notgrass, states clearly that the perspective of faith influenced the literature selections and that the goal was well-written redemptive literature. Accordingly, some typical American Lit reads are omitted. In addition to selections from American Voices, the following books are studied: The Scarlet Letter, Narrative of the Life of David Crockett, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Co. Aytch (Civil War diary of Sam Watkins), Little Women, Humorous Stories and Sketches, Up from Slavery, In His Steps, Mama's Bank Account, Miracle on the Hills, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Giver.
There are 30 weekly units, each with five lessons. Each unit begins by listing the lessons and memory verse(s) along with the books used and suggested writing assignments (typically 2-3 assignments; each 1-2 pgs. long; student chooses one) for each unit. Each fifth lesson is a Bible/worldview lesson. Each lesson includes a related scripture reference and each unit includes a timeline of world events.
The Curriculum Package includes the two text manuals (Parts 1 & 2) plus American Voices.
The Student Review Pack is optional and contains three pieces: The Student Review Book, Quiz and Exam Book and Answer Key. The Student Review Book features lesson review questions, literature review questions, Bible commentary and literary analysis. The set of review questions from the text as well as the American Voices assignments for each lesson can be answered either orally or on paper. The Bible commentary is to aid the student in profiting from the Bible reading and study. Also included in the student review book are literary analysis segments and questions for each book selection. The Quiz and Exam book is just that - quizzes (for each unit) and six exams. The Answer Key has answers to all review and literary analysis questions, quizzes and exams.
This is an excellent course for the serious student who wants to study both American history and American literature from the perspective of God's Word and Sovereignty. ~ Janice
These consumable student books teach expository writing from the ground up - from understanding words to constructing sentences, then writing organized paragraphs. Like building blocks, the students work on the foundational skills that pave the way for writing the five-paragraph essay. Some students take to writing naturally, but these books are for those who need more instruction and a specific writing method to follow. The activities provided in the workbooks give students lots of writing practice and cement writing techniques in their minds by making them use the skills in their own writing. Activities include writing sentences and deciding whether they are singular or plural, writing sentences or paragraphs using specific writing prompts, expanding paragraphs to include more details, outlining paragraphs, identifying writing elements in text that is provided, and much more. Book A begins with sentences. First, students practice the parts of speech in a sentence - subjects, different kinds of nouns, predicates, verbs, and more. Then they work with different types of sentences, from statements and exclamations to supporting sentences, topic sentences, and concluding sentences. Students delve into basic paragraphs, examining parts of speech such as adjectives and adverbs as well as practicing simple paragraphs and other short writing forms. By the end of book 1, your child will master writing four kinds of paragraphs: example, process, reason, and classification. Book 2 reviews these forms and adds two new types of writing (definition and compare-and-contrast), then explains how to use the same process learned in writing paragraphs to write the five paragraph essay. Book 3 provides practice in even more advanced writing, reviewing basic skills learned in the first books and then focusing more on expository writing. Eight types of exposition are practiced in a step-by-step fashion, along with additional practice with sentence skills. Different types of clauses are also covered and practiced in Book 3. The Teacher's Handbook is a comprehensive guide for use with all of the student books. It is not an answer key, rather it is a tool for the teacher to help guide students through the concepts covered in the student books. It includes clear explanations as well as models, exercises, and teaching strategies for struggling, beginning, and even advanced writers. The ten chapters in the handbook cover the sentence, the paragraph, types of writing, the essay, standards and assessments, proofreading and revising, working with groups, spelling, handwriting, and keyboarding. Helpful reproducibles are included. According to the publisher, these workbooks are not reproducible, but the activities could be completed on separate pieces of paper if you have more than one student. Between 110 and 140 pgs, pb.
These materials cover various types of informational writing, includingpersuasive writing, essays, outlines, and research papers.
An updated edition of a much-loved curriculum should offer significant improvements, and this 2014 edition of Exploring World History does not disappoint. The impressive color and extended global coverage along with more options for a variety of learning styles are welcome. I'm thankful they've kept all the features that make this curriculum user-friendly and enjoyable while adding just a few more like the student review book. I think you'll agree the overall package is a win-win.
Studying world history alongside world literature has always made sense to me. Evidently it makes sense to the Notgrass family as well, because they've developed a well-organized curriculum that integrates these two subjects and adds a solid Bible component. The result is a three-credit [World History, English (world literature and composition), and Bible in World History] high school level course that is strong in user-friendly features. Functioning either as an independent study course or a discussion-based study, the written-to-the-student texts allow for as much or as little involvement as parents choose (or are able) to give. There is a permeating emphasis on Bible and Christian history that provides a refreshing contrast to some studies of world history where the Christian is left with the impression that the Bible is not a historical document and Christians are culturally irrelevant. The father/author, Ray Notgrass, assures us that there is no denominational bias.
The thirty weekly units each provide five lessons and cover history from creation to the present in two full-color hardcover texts (about 450 pgs each). These are Part 1 Creation through the Middle Ages, and Part 2 The Renaissance to the Present. Concentrating one day a week on spiritual applications, one lesson in each unit is a Bible study, but sometimes an entire unit focuses on a biblical time period (i.e. Unit #5 God Chooses Israel). The units are organized with a consistent pattern that starts with an introduction to the unit a brief overview, a list of books needed, the project choices, and an introduction to the book(s) to be read. Several types of lessons are incorporated into the units historical overviews, key events, key concepts, key people, surveys of daily life and culture in addition to the Bible study lesson mentioned previously. Each day the student is expected to complete the assignments from the highly-readable Text and In Their Words, read a Bible passage, work on writing assignments or projects, complete literature assignments, and complete the optional Student Review. The "key" lessons seem a particularly effective way of compacting an in-depth historical understanding into a course that by its very nature (a one-year study) must be somewhat superficial. To get an idea of how this is accomplished, let's take a look at Unit #10 Roman Civilization. Unit lessons: (#46) The Rise and Fall of Rome; (#47) Key Person: Augustus Caesar; (#48) Key Concept: Roman Law; (#49) Everyday Life in Rome; and (#50) Bible Study: The Kingdom of God (contrasting with the Roman Empire). Books used in this unit are the Bible, selections from In Their Words (more about this later), and Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Choices for a unit project include an essay (choice of why Rome achieved success or a news article on the death of Julius Caesar), a short play (set in ancient Rome), or creating a model of a Roman structure. Included at some point within each unit is a timeline (What Was Happening in the World?). The author suggests that most students will be able to successfully complete the course work in three hours per day.
The Curriculum Package includes the two text manuals plus In Their Words , a 370-page (much expanded from the last edition) compilation of original documents, poetry, stories, literature excerpts, and hymns from all over the world. These selections are continually used as reading assignments accompanying the lessons. The collection is impressive and completely indexed according to author,
These materials provide practice for individual skills necessary towriting rather than focusing on the work as a whole.
over 4 years ago