Contains Text, Parts 1 & 2, Answer Key, We the People, Maps & Timeline books.
America the Beautiful by Charlene Notgrass is a one-year American history, geography, and literature course designed for students in grades 5-8. It combines the flexibility and richness of a unit study with the simplicity of a textbook-based approach to history. Daily lessons guide your child chronologically through American history, highlighting key events, people, and places.
The Curriculum Package includes:
- America the Beautiful Part 1
- America the Beautiful Part 2
- We the People
- Maps of America the Beautiful
- Timeline of America the Beautiful
- Answer Key
Note: A new 2020 edition is coming soon. The core of the program remains the same; however, some lessons have been switched for new lessons with a different focus and the length of each lesson is now standardized. The layout of the program has also changed and some of the historical images have been updated with high- quality photos. Part One will cover roughly the same material with a few changes. In Part Two, five lessons from the first few units have been omitted and five new lessons have been added at the end to cover current events since the last printing. There have also been two changes to the literature package: "Indian Child Life" by Charles Eastman has taken the place of "The Sign of the Beaver" and "Katy’s Box" by Mary Evelyn Notgrass McCurdy is used instead of "Katy". Because of the changes, the new books will not be compatible with the old books; however, Notgrass will make the consumable books for the old edition available for purchase as digital downloads.
History is only the beginning of what this well-planned and user-friendly curriculum from the Notgrass family has to offer. The history is there, of course, in two large (about 500 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. The same comfortable readability weve seen in other Notgrass courses is divided into daily lessons (150) and grouped into weekly units (30). If youre emphasizing Americas beauty, it helps to have full-color pictures among the carefully selected artwork, and they do! Each unit is introduced by a short overview and a list of the lessons and books needed. Accompanying activities for each lesson might include "thinking biblically" (scripture copywork or Bible study), vocabulary, map study (weekly), literature (readings from We the People along with other suggested 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 Set includes the two texts mentioned above as well as We the People and a comprehensive answer key along with both 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. Its obvious that creative planning went into the family activities provided for each unit and found in the back of each text. Family Commemorative Coins, a Cupcake Factory, an Erie Canal diorama, and a Liberty Bell mosaic give an idea of the breadth of ideas.
Its 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, youll find the expected maps (colonies, westward expansion, battles, etc.) but also some more unusual sets Americas Islands, for example. Youll want a quality set of colored pencils (the authors recommend Prismacolor pencils and I second this) 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, each page depicts a ten-year slice of American life. Some events are noted already, but others are to be carefully written by the student as part of daily and weekly assignments (lines are provided). As space permits, high-quality line-art pictures are provided which can be colored (another use for those Prismacolors).
Two optional supplements coordinate with the course. The Student Workbook provides an activity page for each lesson. Offering plenty of variety, activities 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. Answers to both of these books and the timeline book are found in the Answer Key. ~ Janice
As to the book itself, I have not elected to get the printed version when it comes out. The pictures are beautiful. I love the map work and supplementary materials. I appreciate the great variety of topics covered in addition to history as well as the strong Biblical worldview. However, the writing style is very choppy with short sentences and little variety in sentence structure. It is heavy on factual information (sometimes seemingly unrelated) with little in the way of ideas or concepts. I had a difficult time reading it aloud to my kids due to these issues (we read history together) and we ended up switching to another history book (Landmark).
I wanted to love this curriculum, but we won't be using it again.
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over 3 years ago
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Plus, the main text is so interesting that I'm halfway through the first volume on my own, even though my daughter completed the entire year's worth independently.
My favorite part is the authors graduated their three homeschooled children, so they really understand what homeschool families need. There is no fluff, and there are only 150 lessons, so parents can easily take time off for sickness, work, field trips, etc. without feeling "behind" on their schedule.
I also love that Bible is woven throughout and the glory of God revealed in this beautiful text.
This curriculum simplified my homeschool at a time when I needed it the most, and without that much needed breathing room in my schedule, I don't know how we would have made it through.