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Favorite American History for K-5th/6th?


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Hi!

Anyone have suggestions for favorite American History that I can do with all of my kiddos? DS6, DS8, DD10 and DD11... I've done SOTW 1 with my girls, I've done the general TGATB (which touches on the 4 different 'time periods' per year but the stories are PAINFUL to read and I have to edit as I go so I don't say bad words under my breath  😬). Kids are enjoying the 50 States Notgrass for Geography, but the trial/sample of their American History (Our Star Spangled History) is so. dang. dry...even I'm yawning to get through it. No slam on Notgrass, I think textbooks can totally have their place and the kids are clearly super into the geography. Thoughts?? Can I just do SOTW4? If not, what are some good American History curriculums that can be taught family style (I'm also totally okay with printing out student guides for one age group and separate guides for another. Usually, my girls like to write/answer questions along with drawing and my boys enjoy drawing while orally answering review questions.) Hit me with your best shot - I'd really like to do American History with them this year to go alongside the geography. They are all very into maps and the USA right now, and I need to purchase in the next week or so.

Thank you! ❤️

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We used The Complete Book of United States History integrated into SOTW 3 and 4. My kids were 4, 6, 8 and 10 at the time.

My kids loved the coloring pages from SOTW, so I just Googled and printed black line images for them to color that coordinated with the topics in The Complete Book of United States History.

There aren't review questions exactly, but each section has a Show What You Know section at the end that could be answered orally or in writing. The Show What You Know is different each section - interpreting a map, imagining yourself at a historic event, reading a poem about an event, etc.

I am always disappointed when people recommend books that I can't view a sample of, so since Amazon doesn't have one, I took some pictures of the table of contents and one topic. Here they are in a Google Drive folder if you want to look at them.

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My Middle Schooler is reading the Concise Hakim History of US and really enjoying the text. He says it's a lot like SOTW was, which was the last history he enjoyed-in early elementary. 

I read a lot of reviews here on the board, and Middle School seems to be the upper end of the age spectrum, so if you read it aloud, it might work for your youngers also. There aren't any review questions or supplements in the book, though-I just have my kiddo tell me 2-3 main people and 2-3 events that occurred and ask any questions I have about his explanations. 

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Thank you! I'll check them out. I appreciate the snapshots! I was also just reading about the whole Hakim Concise. Maybe I can make it work for all ages, or if that isn't vibing, I can have DD11 do that while I just read and do light stuff from SOTW 4... I was hoping to find something that was just a specific American History with some fun review pages that ISN'T dry, but I can always cobble a few things together. Thanks again!

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There's always unit studies. If you don't mind a Christian POV, KONOS does American history in Volume 2 (there's some American history in all three of the original volumes, but Vol. 2 does it chronologically). Your children do history, geography, science, arts and crafts, literature, while studying godly character traits such as inquisitiveness, wisdom, and courage. You would teach to the oldest and let the littles come along.

KONOS is everything, all subjects, except for math and English skills. 

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12 hours ago, Ellie said:

here's always unit studies. If you don't mind a Christian POV, KONOS does American history in Volume 2 (there's some American history in all three of the original volumes, but Vol. 2 does it chronologically). Your children do history, geography, science, arts and crafts, literature, while studying godly character traits such as inquisitiveness, wisdom, and courage. You would teach to the oldest and let the littles come along.

KONOS is everything, all subjects, except for math and English skills. 

Thank you! I'll definitely check that out. I prefer a Christian worldview of history. The challenge seems to be finding a balance. I'm not interested in history that paints all people of all groups bad OR perfect.  I'm trying to show my kiddos that these people did awesome, hard things that required courage (and sometimes a little supernatural favor! 😂)... but they were also human beings and made mistakes along the way. Some of my kids are very black and white and some appreciate shades of grey. They all LOVE history and find it very exciting, so I want to encourage that but I find most texts that are 'balanced' are really just dry textbook style facts, and most of the easy to read/enjoy versions aren't very balanced (one way OR another). I haven't heard of KONOS and appreciate the suggestion to check it out 🙂 !

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Masterbooks America’s Story is great for family style learning. You can view good samples online. The “teachers guide” is really worksheets with questions. It was nice to have, but I’m not big on worksheets. The text on its own was very interesting though. You could easily read through more than one level in a year. There are 3 level in all. 

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8 hours ago, Bay Lake Mom said:

Masterbooks America’s Story is great for family style learning. You can view good samples online. The “teachers guide” is really worksheets with questions. It was nice to have, but I’m not big on worksheets. The text on its own was very interesting though. You could easily read through more than one level in a year. There are 3 level in all. 

Thanks for the suggestion! I had briefly looked at Masterbooks a while back. It says the Teacher's guide is 3 hole punched - does this mean you can remove individual worksheet pages to make copies? (I have some kids that really enjoy worksheets... 🤷‍♀️ 😂)

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5 hours ago, Msweetpea2 said:

Thanks for the suggestion! I had briefly looked at Masterbooks a while back. It says the Teacher's guide is 3 hole punched - does this mean you can remove individual worksheet pages to make copies? (I have some kids that really enjoy worksheets... 🤷‍♀️ 😂)

For Masterbooks Teacher's Guide - Yes, you can remove individual pages and make copies.

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On 1/23/2021 at 8:33 AM, wendyroo said:

We used The Complete Book of United States History integrated into SOTW 3 and 4. My kids were 4, 6, 8 and 10 at the time.

 

I really like this book.  The quality of the content is really high for something that at first glance looks like a workbook found in the clearance rack.  Don’t judge this one by it’s cover!

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On 1/27/2021 at 2:02 PM, Bay Lake Mom said:

Masterbooks America’s Story is great for family style learning. You can view good samples online. The “teachers guide” is really worksheets with questions. It was nice to have, but I’m not big on worksheets. The text on its own was very interesting though. You could easily read through more than one level in a year. There are 3 level in all. 

This is what I’m using this year...actually all three books and kind of condensing a bit as we go. I didn’t buy the teacher’s guide, just the three volumes of America’s Story. I like the way it is woven together as a narrative. We keep a binder and we add a narration or a related activity or coloring page. We are also making a timeline on the wall.

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I've used the Complete Guide as well as Master Books for the younger ones. I like Master Books just a smidge better because it's more complete, but I do have to edit here and there for some over the top providential history stuff. Not too often. We don't use the teacher books, just read and narrate orally and every once in a while do a written narration. We will do 1.5 books this year and plan to do 1.5 next year also.

We use Hakim's concise for 7th and 8th and loooooove it but I'm not sure I'd use it before 6th.

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On 1/28/2021 at 3:41 PM, Lawyer&Mom said:

I really like this book.  The quality of the content is really high for something that at first glance looks like a workbook found in the clearance rack.  Don’t judge this one by it’s cover!

Thank you! The cover wouldn't naturally entice me 😂 But I like hearing this. It would save me money to get this and use it alongside SOTW.

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On 1/28/2021 at 4:07 PM, cougarmom4 said:

This is what I’m using this year...actually all three books and kind of condensing a bit as we go. I didn’t buy the teacher’s guide, just the three volumes of America’s Story. I like the way it is woven together as a narrative. We keep a binder and we add a narration or a related activity or coloring page. We are also making a timeline on the wall.

Thank you! Did you add in the Revolutionary War and Civil War add ons? Also, for related activity/coloring page are you just using something you find online from a random site?

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21 hours ago, Momto6inIN said:

I've used the Complete Guide as well as Master Books for the younger ones. I like Master Books just a smidge better because it's more complete, but I do have to edit here and there for some over the top providential history stuff. Not too often. We don't use the teacher books, just read and narrate orally and every once in a while do a written narration. We will do 1.5 books this year and plan to do 1.5 next year also.

We use Hakim's concise for 7th and 8th and loooooove it but I'm not sure I'd use it before 6th.

Thank you!! Super helpful from someone who has used both - I have some kiddos who do well learning with just oral narration, but most of my kids are visual. 2 like workbook type activities and 1 is a little artist who like visually drawing what she learned as a way to remember. Did you use the Revolutionary / Civil war Masterbooks as well?

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2 hours ago, Msweetpea2 said:

Thank you!! Super helpful from someone who has used both - I have some kiddos who do well learning with just oral narration, but most of my kids are visual. 2 like workbook type activities and 1 is a little artist who like visually drawing what she learned as a way to remember. Did you use the Revolutionary / Civil war Masterbooks as well?

I'm using all 3 volumes of America's Story over 2 years. I can't remember which volume covers which time periods, but I think this first year we will stop in the middle of volume 2 after discussing the Civil War. We are getting close to being done with Volume 1 and are currently covering Lewis and Clark. Hope that helps!

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Even though nobody is steering you toward SOTW 4, I feel like I need to add a public service announcement!  People often comment that it's "not as good" as the other three, and I think it's because they're missing a deliberate difference.  SWB wrote that book with grade 4-8 in mind, as a kind of preparation for or introduction to logic stage work.  Rather than the more narrative feel of books 1-3, its chapters are pairs of thematically linked narratives - revolts in two different parts of the world, for instance - and they're written to be easy to outline.  The accompanying activity guide has no coloring pages, and instead has worksheets that gently introduce both outlining and writing from an outline, beginning with filling in a few missing words and ending up with independent outlines.  Also, perhaps because the intended audience is older, there are no cave girls catching lizards or people on flying carpets zooming around the world; there's a lot of grim reality and people treating other people badly.  Lots of wars and revolutions rather than inventions and sunny stories! 

With the ages of your crew, I'd encourage you to choose any of the excellent American history selections suggested above for next year, but not to use SOTW4 if your boys are part of the intended audience.

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54 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

'm using all 3 volumes of America's Story over 2 years. I can't remember which volume covers which time periods, but I think this first year we will stop in the middle of volume 2 after discussing the Civil War. We are getting close to being done with Volume 1 and are currently covering Lewis and Clark. Hope that helps!

Thanks for replying again! I definitely think my kids' interests lie more in Pilgrims, Colonies, Revolutionary War to Civil War, Explorers, Pioneers, and turn of the 20th century (Industrial Revolution/scientific advancement/early inventions to say... WW1). I'm not planning on going in depth from 1920s through 2020 with them. I'll just do a 30,000 ft overview for now and go more in depth as they get older.

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40 minutes ago, caffeineandbooks said:

With the ages of your crew, I'd encourage you to choose any of the excellent American history selections suggested above for next year, but not to use SOTW4 if your boys are part of the intended audience.

Thank you - your PSA was very helpful! I actually have SOTW 1-3 but not volume 4 (it was out of stock at my local bookstore). I probably should have specified that the history is for this year. I started my school year earlier this month and will be going through summer with the hopes of "restarting" back on track in the fall. My biggest problem is that I've been trying to find a way to do both general world history alongside American history because my kids are really into learning about America right now, but they are also into Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, the whole Viking era, and medieval knights. I'll probably go with American since my eldest hasn't had a solid foundation of that from me (other than the crazy amount of fictional novels she has read 😂). I appreciate your input!

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4 hours ago, Msweetpea2 said:

Thank you! Did you add in the Revolutionary War and Civil War add ons? Also, for related activity/coloring page are you just using something you find online from a random site?

I didn’t add in anything for the Revolutionary War or Civil War. Actually, I didn’t know about the add ons. I will have to look on the website to see what they are.

I’m actually using it in two different ways this year...essentially I am using it as our spine for American History. With an older student, we are pushing through all three volumes quickly; with the younger ones I just focus on the highlights.

For my 8th grader...we are doing a quick American History year...she reads the chapters independently (it is not at an 8th grade level for sure...but it covers what I want to cover in an interesting narrative.) On Fridays we discuss and she works on her timeline book (adding key events, a paragraph or two or important notes and adds in some timeline figures I found on teachers pay teachers). I also assign historical fiction and a few informational texts/historic speeches around the same time period. Then I try to add in American artists, musicians, movies as we go. I had a great plan that I was very excited about but my dd has been less excited about it, so it hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. 
 

I’m also working with another homeschooling family (twin 3rd graders and a 5th grader) and I teach them using America’s Story. I print off coloring pages for the kids to color while I read because it helps them pay attention better. I also check out picture books from the library to go along and they usually read those on their own outside of our history time. We use the same timeline pictures and hang them on the wall. I also have them write a narration, usually it goes with the picture they are coloring. I am not covering every chapter in America’s Story, but can easily find parts from each chapter to read to highlight the main events in history.

I also have Hakim’s History of US and we started with that, but it was just a lot (volume wise) and my dd complained it was boring. She did like when I read it aloud to her, but I needed some independent work. I also bought Notgrass’ America the Beautiful (older edition) and felt it was okay...but also kind of boring and a lot of text.

I really wanted a Story of the World American History volume actually....

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