America From The Beginning Teacher Guide and CD-ROM
Answers in Genesis introduces a new history course for elementary students that combines many good ideas. The program text is written from a Christian perspective, integrates appropriate map, timeline and creative activities for additional fun and retention, discusses what else was going on in the world at the same time as important U.S. events, and includes inventions and scientific breakthroughs important to the era.
The course is comprised of 18 units, with each unit taking two weeks to complete. Units include 6 lessons, map and timeline work, two activities, a final activity and a quiz. Two planning options give you the flexibility to complete a unit using a three-days-a-week or five-days-a-week format. Each unit starts with a page showing period artwork or photographs and a short list of important people and events covered, and vocabulary terms to know. Test for each lesson averages two to three pages and ends with a few wrap-up questions. Lesson 1 relates the main events of the era, while Lesson 2 focuses more on key people. Lesson 3 discusses the daily life and the technology of the times. Lesson 4 shows happenings in the rest of the world, to give the student perspective. Lesson 5 is Activity Day, which can include writing, memorizing or getting creative with crafts. Lesson 6 summarizes the unit and concludes with a quiz and a hands-on activity. Map and timeline work are done throughout the unit, using the printable maps included on the CD-ROM.
Besides the student book, the course contains the teacher supplement with CD-ROM. Teacher supplement includes the answers to all the lesson wrap-up questions and quiz questions. For each unit, it also lists supplies to be used in the activities (so you won't be caught off guard) and applicable items to print from the CD-ROM.
My impression of this course is very positive. Text is informative and clear and should not be overwhelming for younger students. Biblical and godly references flow naturally and are not overdone. Color images enhance the text, and the map and timeline work help keep it all in perspective. Wrap-up and quiz questions are short-answer questions. Activities are sometimes specific, like preparing food from a period recipe, and sometimes very open-ended, like planning a pioneer-era party. If you want to dig deeper for a specific era, the author has three pages of optional resources with a brief description of each.
Overall, this course looks like a good option for elementary-age children. Based on the amount of text, I would tend to use it as is up to 6th grade, or plan to get some of the optional resources to enhance it for the junior high student. ~ Bob