One of the favorite subjects I teach my children is history so when I find a great history resource I jump on it and that is the case with www.AmyPuetz.com home of Golden Prairie Press!, started by Amy Puetz as she wanted to bring history alive and be able to work at home due to a medical condition. Amy has a passion for history and I can so appreciate that as well as understand that passion and that comes to life in her newest offering, Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curricula which I received in digital format. The digital package comes with the following:
- Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 1 e-book (this covers 1000 to 1837)
- Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 2 e-book (this covers 1837 to the present)
- Historical skits e-book
- Sing Some History
- Listen to Some U.S. History
- Additional materials download (includes items such as timelines, coloring pages, videos and more)
Covering thirty weeks it is written for grades 1 through 6 although it could be used for younger or older children if you prefer to tweak it to add more material for the older or omit items for the younger set, if you’re like me and prefer to have everyone studying the same thing to save time. The digital sells for $98.99 and there is an optional coloring book that can also be purchased if you want to use that, there is also a physical edition which is the same price as the digital version. I loaded the e-books onto my Kindle Fire which made reading easy and accessible for when we needed it and the music and other audios I loaded onto my iPod for listening enjoyment in both the house and on the go.
I agree with Amy that history just cannot be truly understood unless it’s experienced and in order to experience history we must experience what those that went before us had to go through so Amy has incorporated hands-on learning experiences such as cooking, music, art, games and more that truly bring history to life for the student (and the parent as is the case in our home). There are 5 lessons per section which means you can do one lesson a day if you do the typical 5 day school week or, like we do carry over a lesson each week into a new week as we only school 4 days a week. Amy includes how to use the book in part 1 of the first Heroes and Heroines e-book, so read through that first before jumping in – and she reminds you not everything has to be completed, some things may have to be omitted or done at a later date and that is okay! There are also additional literature books that can be used if you chose to add them – they can either be used for older students in 5th or 6th grades to read alone or as family read aloud books, we didn’t include these in our day but that didn’t detract from the curriculum itself.
Each lesson is further divided into grade levels, which I think is just a fantastic idea – the first part is geared towards 1st and 2nd grades and the second part is for 3rd to 6th grades – both have the same information with the 1st and 2nd grades not having as much added but with the 3rd up having much more information given. Now that said there might be a lesson that is for all grades – such as lesson 2 which is a story that is written by Albert F. Blaisdell in 1922 about Leif Erikson, and this lesson is for 1st through 6th grades. Unfamiliar terms or hard to pronounce words are defined or given a pronunciation guide in parenthesis to aid the student in understanding the text, something else I appreciate versus having to run to a dictionary every time an unknown word comes up. After the lesson comes the fun part, such as questions about what was just read, writing topics (a non-writing student can do dictation, this is what I did for my children who either aren’t writing well or don’t like to write a lot), geography, art, timeline, acting it out and the literature readings. Each week also includes a Bible memory verse that can be written on an index card as Amy suggests or whatever works for your family – writing it out on paper is what worked for us and hanging it where we could all see it.
I cannot tell you how much we’ve enjoyed using this elementary American history curriculum these past few weeks and we will be continuing to use it as it provides such a great hands on learning experience for all my children. Did we do everything that was given to do? Not at all and I love it when the author of a curricula gives you permission to not have to do it all. Making a clay canoe was a big hit with my son as was the teepee for all three, even my oldest and I had an excuse when my husband walked in to a mess in the living room, “they are doing history”. Honestly, though I cannot say enough about this well researched US history for homeschoolers – Amy put much work into this curricula which is easy to literally just pick up and go – no time consuming lesson planning needed, it’s all done for you – and this busy mom appreciates that. Last but not least it’s written from a Christian and Biblical worldview so no objectionable content was found in the lessons we have completed this far.
Please visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to see what other homeschool parents thought about this curriculum.