Little Town on the Prairie
Newly revised, this updated edition of America the Beautiful retains everything that made it a favorite to Christian homeschoolers. From its well-organized, user-friendly approach to the vivid images and engaging text, history is brought alive to the reader. History is only the beginning of what this well-planned Notgrass curriculum has to offer. The history is there, of course, in two large (nearly 600 pgs each) hardcover Texts. Part 1 takes the reader from the Native American nations (excellent coverage, by the way) through Reconstruction; Part 2 covers from the late 1800s to the present. Divided into daily lessons (150) and grouped into weekly units (30), the engaging text is written for students to read independently. If you’re emphasizing America’s beauty, it helps to have full-color pictures among the carefully selected artwork, and they do!
Each unit is divided into five lessons. Each of the five lessons has a different focus: Our American Story, God’s Wonder, An American Landmark, An American Biography and Daily Life. Each lesson concludes with a list of activities. Activities may include “thinking biblically" (Scripture copywork or Bible study), vocabulary, map study, literature suggestion, We the People readings, creative writing, timeline work, and a family activity (more about these later). Each lesson also includes optional assignments for the Student Workbook or the Lesson Review book. If this sounds like a lot, keep in mind that this course only really needs a little additional grammar study to be social studies, Bible, and language arts all in one.
The Curriculum Package includes the two texts mentioned above as well as We the People, Answer Key and Literature Guide, along with the Maps and the Timeline books (six books total). The original source reader that accompanies each Notgrass course is one of my favorite parts. We the People provides the same variety books and stories, newspaper articles, documents, poems, journals, memoirs and biographies, speeches, letters, and songs as their other courses, and skimming through it took me for a trip down memory lane and long-ago classroom recitations. It’s obvious that creative planning went into the family activities provided for each unit, for example: Family Commemorative Coins, a Cupcake Factory, an Erie Canal diorama, and a Liberty Bell mosaic give an idea of the breadth of projects.
It’s hard to imagine a thorough study of American history without good map and timeline work. There are no worries here! Maps of America the Beautiful provides both a high-quality map and accompanying assignments for each weekly unit. Corresponding to the chronological development of our country, you’ll find the expected maps (colonies, westward expansion, battles, etc.) but also some more unusual sets-Americas Islands, for example. You’ll want a good set of colored pencils (the authors recommend Prang®) with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, black, gray, and brown to complete the map assignments. Timeline of America the Beautiful provides an enjoyable timeline-creating experience. Arranged vertically (what a great idea!) on the page, some events are noted, and others are to be carefully written by the student as part of assignments (lines are provided). The Timeline pages from 1000-1490 AD cover 100 years per page. Beginning in 1500, each timeline page covers ten years. Beginning with the year 2000, each page covers 5 years. Larger sized boxes are included for this time-period so children can write family events, or news events as they occur (occurred)--a wonderful way for children to bring history into perspective. Maps and Timeline books are not reproducible. Children will need their own copies.
Two optional supplements coordinate with the course. The Student Workbook has one worksheet for each lesson, literature review questions, and weekly unit tests. Worksheet activities vary and may include crosswords, word searches, matching, rebus stories, fill-in-the-blanks, illustrations, multiple-choice and more. The Lesson Review book provides five questions for daily review and for literature selections as well as unit quizzes. You can choose to use one, both, or neither of these books. Answers to the Student Workbook and the Lesson Review Book are found in the Answer Key and Literature Guide (included in the curriculum package) ~ Janice/Deanne