Voices of America's Past Companion Book
Voices of America's Past is a necessary component of the America, Land of Opportunity course. This compilation includes documents from America's founding era, including the entire Constitution, and several sections of the Federalist Papers, as well as documents from the 1800s the early 1900s. Learn our history through the study of these original documents, penned by our founding fathers and other important Americans down through the centuries. Also needed to complete this course: America, Land of Opportunity (from the A Living History of Our World history series) and the accompanying student journal. This new and expanded edition includes a supplementary literature list for those students who would like to explore historical classics and biographies from America's history. There is a literature package, containing these titles, available through Rainbow Resource.
Venturing into the high school years, yet maintaining a Charlotte Mason approach to history, this latest course from Angela O'Dell covers American history from the early explorers and colonists to the present day. The approach and format is similar to her courses for younger students. There is a Text which provides reading content with occasional suggestions for additional research. The reading tone of the text is conversational and coverage is designed to be comprehensive but seems to have less depth than many high school level courses. Presumably, this is due to expectations for the student to complete additional research assignments (more about this later). The idea seems to be to preserve the flow of the story rather than to delve into all the details. Illustrations are rather few and are predominantly nicely done, pencil drawings of the Presidents and other notable persons; occasionally there are maps and photographs.
The Student Journal is the foundation for preparing a notebook that is an integral part of the program. A daily set of lesson plans outlines both the reading from the text and the work in the Student Journal. Chapters are covered weekly and assignments begin with reading the chapter and taking notes. Most weeks also include a written narration/summary assignment. There are occasionally timeline assignments with map/geography assignments either weekly or bi-weekly. Document studies, essay questions, research reports, and projects complete the suggested assignments interspersed through the weeks.
Document studies are based on the companion book, Voices of America's Past. This is a collection of important documents and speeches such as the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation or President Wilson's 14 Points. Assignments typically require the student to read the document, identify unusual or unknown words; look up (in Webster's 1828 Dictionary) and write out the meanings. To give you an idea of the research/essay questions, consider these from Chapter 17 (More About Our Government and Constitution): How are public policies shaped? - Do your best to describe the process. Describe the difference between foreign policies and domestic policies. Who shapes foreign policies? How can we the people influence foreign policies?
The author suggests using a 1-inch three-ring binder for the Map Work and Geography portion of the notebook. The student is encouraged to trace or print maps from a quality source and then label them with an assortment of things - landforms, battles, events, etc.
Several Conscientious Conclusion Projects are identified for the course and the student is expected to work on these, completing four over the year. An example: Where did this phrase (Separation of Church and State) originate? Who said/wrote it? To whom? In what context? How is it used today? Although I didn't see a list of suggested
Angela O'Dell's Living History of our World series, now published by Master Book Publishers, retains its conversational, highly-readable text that draws the reader back to whatever time period or person is being covered. You live with them, walk/sail/ride with them, worship/pray with them, and make history with them. Then, in wonderful Charlotte Mason style, you retell their story in your own words, draw pictures, follow them on maps, research and discover background information, copy their words, and make note of whatever special lessons you have learned. The gorgeous Student Books (texts) are coupled with user-friendly Teacher Guides (student pages plus teacher info), and the result is strongly Christian, enjoyable and informational courses. America's Story is covered in three volumes and is directed toward 3rd through 6th graders. The World's Story is covered in another three volumes and is directed toward 6th through 8th graders.
Frankly, the Student Books are amazing. Full of colorful artwork and photos as well as black & white illustrations, vocabulary tidbits, maps, and biographical sketches, it is skillfully formatted into an appealing and engaging text. Each of the 28 chapters (i.e. weekly lessons) have text interspersed with Narration Breaks (place to stop and recount orally the information that has been covered) and questions: "Ready to Explore" (America's Story) and "Analyze/Connect" (World's Story). Each chapter ends with a two-page photo montage (a feature I love) that pertains to the chapter's focus. For instance, there is a collection of Native American dwellings each with short informational captions in America's Story while in World's Story there are montages of an ancient city such as Jerusalem or Kerma in Sudan.
The Teacher Guide is a combination book. It is part teacher book, part student workbook. Teacher content includes instructional information, detailed daily lesson plans, an overview of the activities built into the student worksheets, teaching tips for struggling learners, supply lists, suggestions for special projects, and answers for student worksheets. Information for the teacher (about 10% of the book) includes a section on the importance of narration and words of encouragement from the publisher. The remainder of the book is student worksheets (which are reproducible for your own homeschooling family). These worksheets provide the heart of a student's journal to accompany the course. At this time, worksheets are not available separately. Nicely designed and well-illustrated, there are daily front-and-back worksheets. These are similar but appropriately different for each age level between the two series. The whole TG is three-hole punched, and for the record, there are no tests in either series.
America's Story worksheets include Draw-Write pages (journaling lines, space for sketching, copywork), Mini-Project pages (cut & glue projects), Written Narration pages, Timeline pages (cards for each chapter with space for students to create their own timeline), a Special Prayer Book (a cut apart book for writing a weekly prayer for his/her country), and Artist Study (quick introduction to an artist with a variety of related art activities). Mapwork and vocabulary study are also a featured part of these pages.
World's Story chapter worksheets include an introductory page (for the teacher materials needed and narration prompts and responses); Written Narration/Vocabulary; WorldQuest (short essay questions and copywork); Map Adventure (map related activities); My Timeline; Dig Deeper! (suggested questions to research); and Art Study (informational with activities). Also included are Review Sheets (quarterly), Research Aid Worksheets (optional helps for research projects), Artifact Studies (12 worksheets with informational snippets accompanying artifact photos coupled with discussion questions), materials for a couple of special projects, Timeline Supplements, Craft Suggestions (6), and answer keys.
You can probably tell Im enthusiastic about these courses. The conservative biblical perspective, the well-done and user-friendly materials, and the variety of interesting and thought-provoking activities are melded into an excellent homeschooling resource. Student Books are 300 pgs, pb. Teacher Guides are 350 pgs, pb ~ Janice