American History Textbook/Curriculums We Use
Last week, I talked a lot about our civics and government unit. Today, I thought I would briefly mention the American History books the kids have been reading this year.
As many of you know, we started off the year with a unit on Native Americans (We shared a number of notebook pages that are free to download for that unit):
- Native Americans of the Northeast (Part I: Algonquins)
- Native Americans of the Northeast (Part II: Iroquois)
- Native Americans of the Southeast & the Trail of Tears
- Native Americans of the West – I can’t find that post at the moment and wonder if maybe I didn’t actually get that posted?! Some other posts we’ve done about the West (from several years ago): American West Unit (Daniel Boone); American West Unit: Geography and the Louisiana Purchase; American West – Lewis and Clark Lapbooks, Fruit Leather
Back at the beginning of the year, I had my older kids (grades 4 and 6) start reading through Joy Hakim’s series. They read through the first book: A History of US: The First Americans: Prehistory-1600 A History of US Book One and then we skipped to the 5th book: A History of US: Liberty for All?: 1820-1860 A History of US Book Five. (Affiliate links) Though we moved on to another unit (Middle Ages), the kids are continuing to read Joy Hakim’s books. They like the format and find these books interesting/engaging. That’s one of our “default” activities when life is crazy & I’m running around… I’ll say, “How about you grab your math or history book and go work for a bit while I (fill in the blank ______ with…. do the dishes, fold the laundry, finish this email, wrap this up on the phone, or whatever’s got me wrapped up and distracted… you know how that goes!!)
Anyway, this is our unofficial homeschool American History curriculum for my 9 and 11 year olds. We’ll probably continue using this series next year as well… just adding more books from this series as we go.
And, as most of you know, I have a first grader as well. She often expects to be doing what her older siblings are doing. I decided to see how she liked America’s Story. (affiliate link) This was a textbook that I bought when I taught ESL American History (to high school students). Our school at the time had a number of Japanese exchange students who came with very minimal English skills. We wound up juggling their (and my) schedules so we could have a separate class because the material was too difficult for them. This was the text we used.
ED *really* likes this book. She’ll happily read a chapter or two on her own. (Just so you know her reading level in general, ED is reading the Magic Tree House books.) These are marketed as high interest – low reading level books and I find them perfect for my 7 year old (to read on her own). I’ve linked to the older edition which is cheaper (I buy as many of my books used as I can because I’m quite a curriculum junkie!). If you like new books, there is an updated version here (affiliate link): America’s Story: Student Reader, Book 1 To 1865. I do *not* recommend getting the teacher’s edition to go along with it. I don’t think it adds anything.
Here’s a glimpse of the chapter she read late last week:
Anyway, this is working so well for her that I just bought the World History and You textbook by the same author. With just a few pages on each topic (Fall of Rome-3 pages, Middle Ages-3 pages) this is not useful as a history textbook, but is perfect for her needs. We cover things in a lot more depth (we are reading a different history book aloud, are reading some novels, etc.), but sometimes I worry that much of what we cover in history goes over ED’s head. This book will help her feel successful (as a reader and with these complicated topics)… and *that* is my primary goal with these two books (American History above and the World History below).
Hopefully that was helpful to someone! This is the time of year we all start pondering what we’ll do next year and I’ve been trying to share some of the materials we’ve been using in our homeschool. Last week, I shared the language, grammar and spelling curriculums we use in our homeschool.
I have a number of other posts that share lists of homeschool curriculums available. You might be interested in these posts:
- Finding a Language Arts Curriculum (writing, grammar)
- Homeschool Math Curriculums
- Choosing or Creating a History Curriculum
- Homeschool Science Curriculum Options
- I’ve also talked about how I go about deciding what we need to study next year (and from K-8). I’ll be writing a similar post soon, but in the meantime you might be interested in this post and the checklist I put together — Homeschool Planning and Schedules: From the Big Picture down to the Daily Schedule
If you have anything that works especially well, we’d love to hear from you here or at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.