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Tell me about Notgrass history please


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Our hs co-op is in the process of revising their format for high school. They will be using Notgrass for American History and World History. I'd like to know of others' experiences with this author and/or these books in particular.

 

What bias does the author show?

 

What teacher helps are available? I will have to do a great deal at home re: scheduling. The co-op is considered supplemental only for discussions and projects.

 

Can I weave these into a 4 year history rotation?

 

What can you tell me about the level of reading difficulty?

 

Are there comprehension questions? What kind? How many? How frequently? Do you consider them worthwhile?

 

Do you consider this a well rounded program (according to what you think of as well rounded)?

 

Is this a stand alone program/curriculum/book for your student or do you supplement (with reading, projects or anything else)?

 

Did you supplement but wish you hadn't?

 

Did you not supplement but wish you had?

 

What supplements did you use?

 

Did your student take the SAT II or an AP exam following use of these materials?

 

If so, was the book itself adequate preparation for the SAT II?

 

What did you add to the program to beef it up for the AP exam?

 

Did your student score as you would have expected them on the exam? If not, do you think it is a result of these materials?

 

Thanks for the input - I'm looking forward to reading the replies.

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Guest Cheryl in SoCal
Our hs co-op is in the process of revising their format for high school. They will be using Notgrass for American History and World History. I'd like to know of others' experiences with this author and/or these books in particular.

 

What bias does the author show? Young Earth Conservative Christian. I'm not sure beyond that as we are using it as a supplement for our 4 years cycle and have only gotten about 1/4 of the way through World History.

 

What teacher helps are available? I will have to do a great deal at home re: scheduling. The co-op is considered supplemental only for discussions and projects.

 

Can I weave these into a 4 year history rotation? If you want it to be chronological the volumes will overlap each other. I use them to supplement my TRISM 4 year cycle (it will be a 5 year cycle with my younger children because there is so much to cover) and the World History/American History volumes overlap.

 

What can you tell me about the level of reading difficulty? Do you mean reading the lessons or the books that are supposed to be read? I don't find the lessons difficult to read at all but can't comment on all the reading as we use the literature from TRISMS and/or King's Meadow instead of Notgrass. Both volumes come with a volume of original documents (which I LOVE), which can be more challenging to read (especially when they are older).

 

Are there comprehension questions? What kind? How many? How frequently? Do you consider them worthwhile?

 

Do you consider this a well rounded program (according to what you think of as well rounded)? Yes and no. I prefer a longer chronological study where US History is part of a World History study instead of being separate courses, which is why we use it as a supplement to that type of study. I also prefer more World History to US History ratio wise. I think one year of World History to 1 year of US History is out of proportion. I think the US History is fine but think the World History is abbreviated, as any one year World History Course would be.

 

Is this a stand alone program/curriculum/book for your student or do you supplement (with reading, projects or anything else)? I use it as a supplement to other curricula.

 

Did you supplement but wish you hadn't?

 

Did you not supplement but wish you had?

 

What supplements did you use?

 

Did your student take the SAT II or an AP exam following use of these materials?

 

If so, was the book itself adequate preparation for the SAT II?

 

What did you add to the program to beef it up for the AP exam?

 

Did your student score as you would have expected them on the exam? If not, do you think it is a result of these materials?

 

Thanks for the input - I'm looking forward to reading the replies.

I answered what I thought I could in green:001_smile:

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Also, try an advanced search with Notgrass as the subject, and limit it to the high school board; you will get several pages of past threads with experiences and comments on the program. :) BEST of luck in finding what works best for your co-op! Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

 

 

What bias does the author show?

 

We used only the American History book, so my comments are all based on our experience with that program. Ray Notgrass explains his Christian evangelical born-again worldview, along with where/when he was raised and some of the major events which helped shape his life in the introduction to the American History book; I assume he would also do so for his other books as well. Any mention of God or Scriptures are in the 5th chapter of each week's lessons, which is specifically designed as a Bible lesson rather than a History lesson. The 4 chapters each week on History are pretty straightforward history text.

 

As far as bias, I would say:

- the usual key events / people are covered

- the author is patriotic and proud of the U.S., but also mentions faults/failures

- from a gently conservative point-of-view

- ill-treatment of African Americans and Native Americans is barely mentioned

- Evangelical / Protestant religious movements / trends / leaders are mentioned within the historical context, but not over-emphasized

- no mention of Catholic, Reformed, Jewish, or other religious movements

 

 

What teacher helps are available? I will have to do a great deal at home re: scheduling. The co-op is considered supplemental only for discussions and projects.

 

- No schedule, but the program is pretty self-scheduling -- 30 units (1 unit per week), and 5 lessons per unit, means read 1 lesson per day.

- At the end of each unit are a few ideas for research/writing paper assignments.

- If you are also doing the Literature or Bible portion, there are either research/writing assignment ideas, Scripture memorization assignments, or telling you to "continue reading" whatever the Literature is.

 

 

 

Can I weave these into a 4 year history rotation?

 

I don't think that would work at all. The lessons build on one another, and to try and spread out a 30-week course over 4 years would cause you to lose all continuity, and the program would no longer have enough in it to be a spine, nor worth trying to use as a supplement. The Notgrass World History is meant to be used as a very general overview of 5000 years of history in 30 weeks; I personally don't think that works, even doing the program as written. That is why we did not use Notgrass World History, and went with other materials and have taken 3 years to cover the broad scope of all of World History.

 

read about the program

see table of contents

see sample chapter

 

 

 

What can you tell me about the level of reading difficulty?

 

Difficulty = 8th/9th grade solo reading level

Amount = approx. 6-10 textbook pages of reading a day

 

 

 

Are there comprehension questions? What kind? How many? How frequently? Do you consider them worthwhile?

 

N/A = Our family doesn't tend to use comprehension questions, as we discuss/analyze history and literature as we read. However, you can see samples for yourself in the Quiz/Exam Pack.

 

 

 

Do you consider this a well rounded program (according to what you think of as well rounded)? Is this a stand alone program/curriculum/book for your student or do you supplement (with reading, projects or anything else)? Did you supplement but wish you hadn't? Did you not supplement but wish you had? What supplements did you use?

 

We only have used Notgrass' American History. We used the history program as written, adapting it very little. I believe it is enough material to count as 1 credit of History.

 

We read about 75% of the primary source documents in the companion volume, "American Voices". (very worthwhile!) We supplemented with a few non-fiction resources, some historical fiction, and some films set in various time periods, out of our own interest. While our family read aloud / discussed together, the history text is written to the student and at an appropriate level, and could be done solo by high school students.

 

I felt the Literature portion was lacking (see my specific comments about that topic here) and I do not believe it to be worth 1 credit, and so we created our own separate American Literature course.

 

 

 

Did your student take the SAT II or an AP exam following use of these materials? If so, was the book itself adequate preparation for the SAT II? What did you add to the program to beef it up for the AP exam? Did your student score as you would have expected them on the exam? If not, do you think it is a result of these materials?

 

N/A -- We didn't do SAT II or AP exam. If we had, I would have my students go over material specifically geared to prepare for the SAT II or AP exam separately, as the primary focus of Notgrass is not for jumping national test hoops, but presenting history from a specific point of view. I would have had them do this regardless of what history program we had used, unless it was specifically designed to prepare students for national testing by virtue of content and types of discussion questions within the program.

Edited by Lori D.
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