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American History for Elementary ages


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I'm looking to do a study for American history with my kids (3rd, 1st, and maybe the preschooler). I don't want to buy a whole curriculum, but am looking for ideas. I'm considering The American Story and The Complete Book of U.S. History as spines. Which have you used and enjoyed? Any supplements or extra books for just reading aloud that you would also recommend? Thanks!

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We liked The American Story as a nice supplement. We also liked the following resources:

 

* Scholastic's If You Lived... series (for both Native Americans and for historical periods) - narrative and very nice

 

* Betsy Maestro's American Story series - amazing resource but ends too soon!

 

* The Brown Paper School Bag USKids History books - great social history and every day person/kid history stuff

 

* David Adler's biography series A Picture Book Biography of...

 

* Jean Fritz's biography series

 

* Laurie Carlson's craft and project books for history

 

* Great ______ Projects You Can Build Yourself history crafts

 

I'll add that we also found Fields of Fury to be the single best book about the Civil War that we read. We also especially enjoyed lots of historical fiction last year - both picture books, easy readers and lots of longer books. The Great Brain, Farmer Boy, Homer P. Figg, Birchbark House, May Amelia, and several others were much enjoyed here.

 

And have you seen the Guest Hollow blog's lists? Many people find those to be useful.

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I'm doing an American History overview with an LD adult student who has an amazing vacuum in all content subjects. I'm finding that she cannot handle long sentences or advanced vocabulary. All necessary new content vocabulary needs to be explicitly taught. It doesn't work to just read lovely books.

 

Today we read the first 1/2 of The Secret Soldier by Ann McGovern. The sentences in this biography are longer than most of the nonfiction I read to her, but the vocabulary is easy and the writing is interesting enough, so it's okay. She struggled, but I think I was able to talk her through it.

 

I'm often creating homemade worksheets to get the sentences shorter and the vocabulary easier, and more explicitly taught.

 

I think shorter books work better than anthologies.

 

This is the first time I have taught chronological history. I have always been able to focus on skills and just teach content haphazardly, to all previous students. This student is forcing me to reevaluate some of my pet teaching theories. She need systematic content instruction. There aren't just holes. There are HORRIBLE myths she has picked up along the years while being accommodated instead of remediated. She often thinks I am holding back laughter. I'm not. I'm holding back tears.

 

I'm lucky that my library has a large American history section in the children's department. And as I said, if there is nothing easy enough, I just translate a harder resource into easier language.

 

I know a lot of people here are horrified by the Principal Approach, but I've been poking around the method a bit, and I like their idea of cycling through a narrow combination of world and American history each year. For some people, the first cycle focuses on biographies of the most famous individuals, of each of the 9 links in the "Chain of Christianity". One lady has made a curriculum called the PIPE, and used different links, that focus more on the Bible events.

 

The basic idea can be tweaked in so many ways. It has freed me not to stress if I know I'll be right back here in a year. I just focused on Columbus for the explorers, Jamestown and Plymouth for the early colonies, and George Washington and Deborah Sampson for the Revolutionary War. If I still am teaching this student next year I'll pick different people and colonies.

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  • 4 weeks later...
We liked The American Story as a nice supplement. We also liked the following resources:

 

* Scholastic's If You Lived... series (for both Native Americans and for historical periods) - narrative and very nice

 

* Betsy Maestro's American Story series - amazing resource but ends too soon!

 

* The Brown Paper School Bag USKids History books - great social history and every day person/kid history stuff

 

* David Adler's biography series A Picture Book Biography of...

 

* Jean Fritz's biography series

 

* Laurie Carlson's craft and project books for history

 

* Great ______ Projects You Can Build Yourself history crafts

 

I'll add that we also found Fields of Fury to be the single best book about the Civil War that we read. We also especially enjoyed lots of historical fiction last year - both picture books, easy readers and lots of longer books. The Great Brain, Farmer Boy, Homer P. Figg, Birchbark House, May Amelia, and several others were much enjoyed here.

 

And have you seen the Guest Hollow blog's lists? Many people find those to be useful.

 

I know this is an older thread, but I will probably start with this, and try some of the other ideas. Anyone have any more details, links to threads, words of wisdom etc. before I try to piece together American History for an active, easily bored 3rd grade boy? I liked some of the Homeschool in the Woods items also, but they are a little pricey for me and I didn't want to go into as much detail as they do as we are also doing world history. Thanks!

 

Bummer, my library doesn't have any of the Maestro history books or Brown Paper books. At least the used ones are affordable.

Edited by cmac
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Here are some titles my second and fourth graders are or will be using this year.

 

-American Pioneers and Patriots (Christian Liberty Press) - Short lessons, review questions, how something was done long ago (like how butter was churned, for example), starts in early colonial times and goes through the westward trails

 

-A Child's Story of America (also CLP) - bigger lessons and more engaging than the first one, Columbus to late 20th century

 

-Exploring American History (yep, CLP), not as "fun" as the first two, but it covers lots of people in more depth, we just borrow chapters from it on occasion

 

-Sea to Shining Sea (Amy Cohn) - a lovely collection of American folk tales, art, songs, poetry and such, all conveniently arranged in chronological order, very inexpensive on Amazon Marketplace

 

-Story of the World volumes 3 and 4 (Peace Hill Press) - for when we need world events to fill in the blanks

 

-Usborne's The Last 500 Years - if you plan to do WTM style encyclopedia work, this is a very easy book to begin with (mine draw an illustration and list a fact or three depending on their skill)

 

-The American Short Story - chronological collection of stories written by Americans, I actually bought this for my older kids, but some of them will make fabulous read alouds for my grammar stage kids

 

-Liberty's Kids DVDs can't be beat for Revolutionary War for this age, but the price of them went insane this year. Look for them at a library or Netflix.

 

-Veritas Press history cards, memorizing the titles gets a timeline in their head to hook all sorts of information on

Edited by SilverMoon
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-Sea to Shining Sea (Amy Cohn) - a lovely collection of American folk tales, art, songs, poetry and such, all conveniently arranged in chronological order, very inexpensive on Amazon Marketplace

-The American Short Story - chronological collection of stories written by Americans, I actually bought this for my older kids, but some of them will make fabulous read alouds for my grammar stage kids

 

-Liberty's Kids DVDs can't be beat for Revolutionary War for this age, but the price of them went insane this year. Look for them at a library or Netflix.

 

 

Sea to Shining Sea looks great for us. I saw some boy's adventure stories in there he would like and Amazon Marketplace's price is great. Thanks! And I forgot about Liberty's Kids at the library. Is the American Short Story the same as The American Story? If not, who is the author?

Edited by cmac
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Sea to shining sea is a find for us. I see some boy adventure stories in there and it is inexpensive used. And I forgot about Liberty's Kids at the library. Is the American Short Story the same as The American Story? If not, who is the author? Thanks!

 

 

The American Short Story by Thomas Parkes :001_smile:

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http://elementalhistory.com/

 

my computer won't let me download the teacher samples, so I am not sure about what is actually covered.

 

I think this is geared towards younger elementary, but it might give you a nice structure to build your own curriculum off of? And, its only $15 for the PDF of both the student and teacher guides.

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