I have always loved history. What a difference it can make, not just for us as individuals either, when we know and understand history. Since my oldest son has been really digging into American history for himself as of late, I was quite eager to use The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set from H.A. Guerber and 200 Questions About American History Set by Memoria Press with him. Since we have used Memoria Press in the past and had such a wonderful experience with them, we were all pretty excited when this one arrived too!
We started with this one almost immediately when it arrived; I was thrilled to see the list of recommended texts and a weekly schedule too! I was giddy too, with all of the recommended resources provided in the back of the teacher’s guide. They even include teacher guidelines with lovely reminders like, “make sure to take time to stop and discuss interesting events or people.” 🙂
The schedule which they provide allows for 34 weeks of study; because my oldest son is a very reluctant reader and gets easily distracted I was all for a program that requires the student to do the reading.
Since we try to enjoy daily time reading aloud, it was extra encouragement (and a great example to the littles) to have their big brother reading to the family. It was also very encouraging that each chapter was only a page or two at most. Not so intimidating to my son.
Each week typically included about seven chapters of reading and a number of drill questions. These could be quotes, presidents, or timeline activities. There are also regular reviews and tests to be completed as you progress. A great way to encourage and refresh their minds (and ours too!).
The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set includes a nice sized textbook, a teachers book, and a student workbook. My oldest son really liked how the workbook wasn’t really a workbook at all. We commonly referred to it as a commonplace book specifically for history. Sure, there were some drill questions, but there was also an American history timeline to be completed, notable quotes (Who said it?), The Star Spangled Banner and so much more! What variety of activities too to inspire a love of history in our children: comprehension questions, map work, writing prompts, even research assignments. It’s a wonderful little resource for now and future!
We especially appreciated the 200 Questions About American History Set; meant to be a supplement this was a huge help for my oldest son in learning and remembering key details in history. The flashcards consist of drill questions, timeline dates, 44 U.S. Presidents, and notable quotes. These are also in the student workbook provided (Ideally students are memorizing all of these details as they go along). I don’t know about your children, but for mine, these cards are a real blessing! Perhaps its how small they are, they fit into their hands just right. But I can find my boys going through the flashcards now and then; what a treat hearing my oldest son tell the stories to his younger siblings. For this one we did need to also have The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer (it also frequently referenced a book entitled, Everything You Need to Know About American History Homework by Kate Kelly and Anne Zeman).
These are both recommended for grades 5-8; the two sets are very complimentary of each other. I was so impressed with all of the history that is covered. This can easily be a “main” history study; no need to supplement this material although now and then we did go looking for a video or further details on a specific lesson (we don’t mind following rabbit trails as we come upon them!). I just cannot say enough how amazing this is and how thankful we are for all of these good materials!
Starting from the very beginning, we learn about the Northmen, Prince Henry, Famous Sea Fights, A Wonderful Invention… All the way to the Spanish-American War. And there is so much more in between. It’s an excellent resource with lots of amazing images throughout the pages too that bring to life some of these stories and famous men and women. There is so much to learn; more than I remember learning when I was in school. So I certainly appreciate being able to learn right alongside my children, about some of those famous men and women who fought for this country. Even more fun was learning so many of those famous quotes and not just who sad them but the occasion behind them being said.
There is nothing better than a textbook that isn’t a textbook. One that our children look forward to reading that brings these historical tales to life. I love how the flashcards and the workbooks were interchangeable. You could use one or the other; you could use both. We were also quite impressed with both how in-depth this was, while at the same time, how easy it is to manage. My oldest really struggles with staying focused so it was refreshing for him to be able to maintain his attention for each lesson in this program. The lessons are perfectly balanced; they are short enough to keep children on task and detailed enough to give you an understanding of the topic being taught. We considered this to be such a blessing to our family and will certainly be using this again. We were looking for a way to introduce American history in our home, were were ever pleased with how much more there was to learn with this amazingly thorough program.