Jump to content

Menu

Opinions on A History of US by Joy Hakim


sdobis
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm interested in using this with my dyslexic high schooler for US History along with writing assignments and other projects to fulfill a year's credit. My problem is that I don't have an easy way to get my hands on a copy without purchasing it. If you've used it before, what are your opinions of it? I heard that it is not Christian, but would you say it is anti-Christian? Does she tackle hard subjects well? Would you consider her to be patriotic? Does she have any strong biases that come out in her writing?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find your questions odd.

I found it somewhat dry.  It's not my favorite resource, but it's okay.  It tells the story of America.  There is no Christian or Anti-Christian that can be there.  America is not Christian.  It's not Anti-Christian.  It is an evolving group of people.  It's also just an overview of each period, so no hard subject is going to be tackled as in depth as I like.  However, we also did not use all 10 books in one year (spread out over two), so it was easier for us to borrow many of James Loewen's ideas about doing history and researching with primary sources/critiquing secondary sources - which is what Hakim's books are.  We actually found more bias in the local high school textbook and homeschool books by companies that disregarded history blatantly in order to fit their worldview.  I can't imagine giving a high schooler only one point of view and shielding them from others, so we had a wide range to choose from and show how different people covered the same topic.

I have no commentary on her personal loyalty or a vague definition of patriotic.

Edited by HomeAgain
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you find a copy at the library?  DD13 just finished SL 100, so she read through the Hakim series.  We borrowed the entire series at the library (I can't afford to buy it).  She learned a LOT.  We were just chatting at dinner the other day and she answered someone's off-the-wall question about Lincoln.  I was surprised.  She knows her stuff.

Yeah, it does look like a magazine - Lol.  My daughter liked it, though.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our family loved it.  We used it in high school too.  It was written more like a narrative, with many fun and interesting side stories throughout.  It really drew my kids in to American History.  We found it the opposite of dry!  Also, lots of pictures and such.   We're a Christian family, and I can't really think of anything that particularly bothered me.  I thought it was quite balanced.  It doesn't say that America is God's chosen nation -- haha, but that was one of the reasons I liked the book.  I didn't want a book that equated the U.S. Government with Christianity.  We did supplement it with many projects, documentaries, and literature.  We also used a really good U.S. History critical thinking book (from the Critical Thinking curriculum), but I can't seem to find it on their website now.  Perhaps they don't make that line anymore.

ETA:  We actually took two years to go through all of the books.  We covered it through the Civil War the first year, and the rest the second year.

Edited by J-rap
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

I find your questions odd.

I found it somewhat dry.  It's not my favorite resource, but it's okay.  It tells the story of America.  There is no Christian or Anti-Christian that can be there.  America is not Christian.  It's not Anti-Christian.  It is an evolving group of people.  It's also just an overview of each period, so no hard subject is going to be tackled as in depth as I like.  However, we also did not use all 10 books in one year (spread out over two), so it was easier for us to borrow many of James Loewen's ideas about doing history and researching with primary sources/critiquing secondary sources - which is what Hakim's books are.  We actually found more bias in the local high school textbook and homeschool books by companies that disregarded history blatantly in order to fit their worldview.  I can't imagine giving a high schooler only one point of view and shielding them from others, so we had a wide range to choose from and show how different people covered the same topic.

I have no commentary on her personal loyalty or a vague definition of patriotic.

All I meant by my questions was to get a sense of her bias. I don't think you can write 10 books on US history and not show some kind of bias. I know that America is not Christian or anti-Christian. I was just wondering how she treats religion in general when it comes to US history. This is less difficult than when dealing with World History,  because then you are dealing with millions of years/evolution/the creation of the world's major religions. I can handle all such topics, but like to know what I'm getting beforehand. 

With regards to her patriotism,  I just wondered if that came out in her writing. A less patriotic person may apologize more for the sins of our nation. A more patriotic person may believe in divine providence.  Maybe. I'm speculating here. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, OKBud said:

I think you'll have to get ahold of one to judge for yourself. 

I don't like the magazine-style layout of it. My kids enjoyed reading them, but I personally couldn't have used it for serious academic study just because of the layout. 

We did all like some of the audible versions, funnily enough, though. It's an impressive set.

My daughter doesn't retain much on audible, so that's out. She always liked Usborne books, so she'll probably like the magazine layout. I can deal with it.

4 hours ago, lmrich said:

I think you should buy a used one and judge for yourself. 

I loved it for middle school. 

I think for a neurotypical child, it looks perfect for a middle schooler. My daughter needs things written at a simpler level due to her dyslexia. 

3 hours ago, Evanthe said:

Can you find a copy at the library?  DD13 just finished SL 100, so she read through the Hakim series.  We borrowed the entire series at the library (I can't afford to buy it).  She learned a LOT.  We were just chatting at dinner the other day and she answered someone's off-the-wall question about Lincoln.  I was surprised.  She knows her stuff.

Yeah, it does look like a magazine - Lol.  My daughter liked it, though.   

I didn't find it at our library, but I did find it at a reciprocal library. I can't put books on hold there, but i can pray that they are available when needed. That would save a lot of money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, J-rap said:

Our family loved it.  We used it in high school too.  It was written more like a narrative, with many fun and interesting side stories throughout.  It really drew my kids in to American History.  We found it the opposite of dry!  Also, lots of pictures and such.   We're a Christian family, and I can't really think of anything that particularly bothered me.  I thought it was quite balanced.  It doesn't say that America is God's chosen nation -- haha, but that was one of the reasons I liked the book.  I didn't want a book that equated the U.S. Government with Christianity.  We did supplement it with many projects, documentaries, and literature.  We also used a really good U.S. History critical thinking book (from the Critical Thinking curriculum), but I can't seem to find it on their website now.  Perhaps they don't make that line anymore.

ETA:  We actually took two years to go through all of the books.  We covered it through the Civil War the first year, and the rest the second year.

Thanks for this review. I agree that I wouldn't want a book that equated America with Christianity. 

Is this what you were thinking of from Critical Thinking? https://www.criticalthinking.com/critical-thinking-in-united-states-history.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, sdobis said:

Thanks for this review. I agree that I wouldn't want a book that equated America with Christianity. 

Is this what you were thinking of from Critical Thinking? https://www.criticalthinking.com/critical-thinking-in-united-states-history.html

Yes, that's it!  I don't know why I couldn't find it...

ETA...  We didn't do every single lesson in those books.  We chose ones that we thought were particularly relevant to what we were studying.

Edited by J-rap
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh man, oh man!  These books are fantastic!!   

Our family LOVES the series.  I think it is very patriotic, but not in a way that smooths over negative events that happened in our history.    She has a quote at the beginning that says something along the lines that no person and therefore no country is perfect, and the USA is no exception, but she still thinks it is an amazing country with an amazing history.  The author claims in the beginning that she does have a bias...and her bias is that she loves the USA.  She also says that you (the reader) may not agree with that statement, but that arguing with a books theme is OK.   (Listen to the linked sample below to hear the actual words because I am paraphrasing.)   I used it with my two dyslexic kids, and it went over GREAT. 

I am Christian, and I did not pick up on anything that was negative towards Christians.   

I purchased each book used through thriftbooks.com (one at a time to keep cost down), and then I also splurged and got the audible audiobooks with credits.   Make sure you get the newer version of books...I think it is after 2007 if you buy used.  Something like that.    I had the kids listen and follow along that way they could see all of the amazing visuals in the book.   The audiobooks are REALLY well done.   You can listen to large samples online, and that will also give you an idea of the content and writing story.    Here is the first one to get you started:   https://www.audible.com/pd/The-First-Americans-Prehistory-1600-A-History-of-US-Book-1-Audiobook/B002UZZ3OG?qid=1546807046&sr=sr_1_3&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_3&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=A4MNVYQAPVM8SMGZ2DN9&

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, TheAttachedMama said:

Oh man, oh man!  These books are fantastic!!   

Our family LOVES the series.  I think it is very patriotic, but not in a way that smooths over negative events that happened in our history.    She has a quote at the beginning that says something along the lines that no person and therefore no country is perfect, and the USA is no exception, but she still thinks it is an amazing country with an amazing history.  The author claims in the beginning that she does have a bias...and her bias is that she loves the USA.  She also says that you (the reader) may not agree with that statement, but that arguing with a books theme is OK.   (Listen to the linked sample below to hear the actual words because I am paraphrasing.)   I used it with my two dyslexic kids, and it went over GREAT. 

I am Christian, and I did not pick up on anything that was negative towards Christians.   

I purchased each book used through thriftbooks.com (one at a time to keep cost down), and then I also splurged and got the audible audiobooks with credits.   Make sure you get the newer version of books...I think it is after 2007 if you buy used.  Something like that.    I had the kids listen and follow along that way they could see all of the amazing visuals in the book.   The audiobooks are REALLY well done.   You can listen to large samples online, and that will also give you an idea of the content and writing story.    Here is the first one to get you started:   https://www.audible.com/pd/The-First-Americans-Prehistory-1600-A-History-of-US-Book-1-Audiobook/B002UZZ3OG?qid=1546807046&sr=sr_1_3&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_3&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=A4MNVYQAPVM8SMGZ2DN9&

Thank you for the review. It sounds like it may be a good fit. Now to get my hands on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really love these books and I don't find them anti-Christian. They are so fun and interesting to read and cover a wide array of fascinating aspects of American history. I didn't love the layout at first but quickly got used to it. I haven't used them as much kids are still too young, but saw them on the shelf at the library so grabbed a few to look over for future consideration. I meant to just flip through but began reading and just kept on reading 😝 I will use them for sure at some point. Also, keep in mind Sonlight schedules them in their US History year and they are a Christian company. Just something to keep in mind 😊

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have both the 10 book set and the concise edition A -D. I was able to pickup them up used at different times for less than $5 per book. The online resellers have them. I recommend the individual books (1-10). I also have one of the teacher guides, but never used it and wouldn't recommend it.  I liked the books because I felt that she didn't sugarcoat any of the negative parts of our history. She periodically asks a question in the text such as "Do you think he should have done that?"  Not an exact question but they were used to make you think about the morality of the actions. I didn't find anything anti Christian in them. The maps and timelines at the end were also helpful. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

41 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

That's a really funny and strange view of patriotism!

You're probably right. If patriotism is a strong love for one's own country, they are probably not apologizing for existing and all that we went through to become the nation that we are today. The idea of divine providence has probably less to do with patriotism than I gave it credit for. I'm just trying to wrap my mind around why some people tend to love our country and others tend to be anti-American.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, sdobis said:

You're probably right. If patriotism is a strong love for one's own country, they are probably not apologizing for existing and all that we went through to become the nation that we are today. The idea of divine providence has probably less to do with patriotism than I gave it credit for. I'm just trying to wrap my mind around why some people tend to love our country and others tend to be anti-American.

 

You are not going to like Joy Hakim. People who share your views have labeled her as unchristian, liberal and progressive. Now, she is no Howard Zinn. She is actually mainstream, and obviously tried very hard to be factual. But that has been the determination by many evangelicals. Sonlight curriculum uses these books in their 8th or 9th grade program, but only accompanied by a constant commentary from John Holzmann, arguing with Hakim's perspective. For example, he "explained" how there were good slave owners and happy slaves, which is in opposition to Hakim's perspective. There are threads on these boards about Sonlight and Hakim's series, if you'd like to search. 

I would guess that you would prefer Beautiful Feet Curriculum, which is providential. Or you could use that search term to find many, many options. ("homeschool providential history")

I don't know what to do with your false dichotomy:

People are either divine providence believers who love our country, or they are not patriots and apologize for existing and all that "we went through" to become the nation that we are today? 

I would recommend that you read Hakim and Zinn and others of a different perspective, before you decide on curriculum for educating your children at home. It is not as simple as this. that dichotomy IS false. Your children deserve a factual history of the United States of America.

 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎1‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 12:17 PM, sdobis said:

All I meant by my questions was to get a sense of her bias. I don't think you can write 10 books on US history and not show some kind of bias. I know that America is not Christian or anti-Christian. I was just wondering how she treats religion in general when it comes to US history. This is less difficult than when dealing with World History,  because then you are dealing with millions of years/evolution/the creation of the world's major religions. I can handle all such topics, but like to know what I'm getting beforehand. 

With regards to her patriotism,  I just wondered if that came out in her writing. A less patriotic person may apologize more for the sins of our nation. A more patriotic person may believe in divine providence.  Maybe. I'm speculating here. 

 

A more patriotic person may understand justice, and that the founding ideals of our forefathers have yet to be realized. It is very patriotic to be honest about the past and to be focused on justice. There's probably not a more patriotic statement than this:

"My country, right or wrong: When right to be kept right; when wrong to be set right." 1872, Carl Schurz, a German revolutionary and American statesman who served as a Union Army general in America's Civil War.

To whom do you not think we should apologize for what you have called sins? Assuming that you understand sins to be injustices and transgressions against what is right. Who are the people in our nation who should be told that it is unpatriotic, and disbelieving in divine providence, for Americans NOT to gloss over past "sins" of the nation? (Are we also glossing over current sins?)

Are you saying you are looking for homeschool curriculum that will reinforce to your children that original peoples here deserved what they got because Manifest Destiny was God's will, or that black people were intended by God to be slaves, or that the victims of the conquistadors were dying for God's glory, or that women who were suffragists were going against God's will for their lives? 

We once attended a church service on the fourth of July during which a pastor remarked that the American Revolution was a godless act of rebellion, because the colonists should have understood that whatever happened to them was God's will and that they were going against scripture to rebel against their king. My family disagreed with that analysis. 

It is a very sober thing to take on the education of a child, especially in a homeschool setting where there may not be other voices to consider. I hope you will read Joy Hakim's series for yourself and see whether you find her to be patriotic, or whether you are willing to challenge some of your own biases.

Edited by Lang Syne Boardie
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was bothered by her books.  Maybe it's her writing style.  I found it annoying. 

One book that we used with my very visual child to supplement our high school US History studies was DK Smithsonian Children's Encyclopedia of American History.  https://smile.amazon.com/Childrens-Encyclopedia-American-History-DK/dp/1465428437/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546886780&sr=8-1&keywords=dk+children's+encyclopedia+american+history  I know it says "Children's" but it's not childish and it's seems un-biased and short and sweet.  It might be a good jumping off point.  My dd really liked it.

(I personally combined it with some BJU US History and some Human Odyssey Vol. 3, just fyi.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are actually getting more offensive by the word. There isn't some weird dichotomy where people either you love America or you hate it hate it hate it, with no middle ground - and pointing out our flaws and trying to improve them certainly isn't inconsistent with loving the US. Stop it.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/6/2019 at 12:17 PM, sdobis said:

With regards to her patriotism,  I just wondered if that came out in her writing. A less patriotic person may apologize more for the sins of our nation. A more patriotic person may believe in divine providence.  Maybe. I'm speculating here. 

 

So, what you're saying is that it's unpatriotic to be apologetic for slavery, Jim Crow laws, Japanese internment, forcibly removing people from their homelands and giving them crappy land in return, and all the other atrocities and foibles of our nation?  Interesting.  I always thought that being patriotic meant trying to get our leaders to actually uphold our values.  

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that the OP is not going to like these books. They tend to starkly divide people in terms of her writing style - she's very talkative and some people find it engaging while others find it crazy off-putting. But she's also very middle of the road about everything and it sounds like the OP is not. Anyone who thinks that patriotism is innately tied to belief in God (because providential history is innately tied to that for sure) has too strong a viewpoint to happily use a middle of the road secular history text.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have used Hakim's books/audio in the past, and we are listening to the audio version with the books now. She tries to put forward a balanced viewpoint. She is not trying to be anti-Christian, but she is not at all trying to present American history from a Christian worldview. Books 2-7 are the best volumes. I hope you can get her books at the library to decide for yourself. 

Otherwise, you might try Notgrass. They have an audio version for Exploring America. 

You may also like People, Places, and Principles of America from Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum. 

I hope you find something that works for you. It is hard to find something just right for history because every author must have some sort of bias.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Skippy said:

 

Otherwise, you might try Notgrass. They have an audio version for Exploring America. 

I hope you find something that works for you. It is hard to find something just right for history because every author must have some sort of bias.

 

We use Notgrass and really like it, although the format does take some getting used to. One thing, however, I have noticed is that while the authors have a profound love for America, they don’t whitewash its history. I think they do strike a good balance. They don’t “apologize for past sins” (I hate that), they are upfront about the Founding Fathers owning slaves, they don’t talk about “happy slaves and loving masters”. And they actually don’t call them slaves, they use the term “enslaved persons”, which I really appreciate because to me, it emphasizes that they are persons, and not something less. I think these books take a more balanced approach with that subject, sayin, yes, what they did was wrong, but not doing what some people do, and completely throwing the baby out with the bath water and saying there is nothing good about these men because they owned slaves.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't use it for a dyslexic - it is very very wordy and long. 

What about Notgrass History? It's Christian, and much less wordy, with lots of hands on project ideas that would be perfect for a dyslexic student (like making a campaign poster for a historical figure, drawing a cartoon about something that happened, etc). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...