I feel like I have been searching for years for a decent American History program that the kids love and that I will love to teach. Amy Puetz of Golden Prairie Press has put together one of the best American History curriculum I have ever had the pleasure of using! Digital Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum is so well put together and has a little bit for every different type of learning style. While this curriculum is intended for grades 1-6, it can be used with older children too. This program retails for $98.99 and can be purchased as a digital or physical book (though the physical book comes in black and white, while the digital book is in color).
The main text of this curriculum is called Heroes and Heroines of the Past and is divided into two eBooks. Each contains 15 weeks of lessons. The rest of the extras are separate. The additional materials download includes printable timelines, videos, full size pictures of the artwork, and coloring pages. There is a separate eBook that includes the historical skits. There are also two separate audio downloads that include listening to history and singing some history.
From the moment I began reading through this curriculum to prepare it for my children, I knew it would be a hit! There are so many fun extras and the mix of activities is perfect. Each lesson begins with a reading from the Heroes and Heroines main text. Most lessons have a shorter, condensed version to use with your younger students (mainly 1st and 2nd graders). This is typically one page long. Then there is a longer more detailed version to use with your older students. Some days the reading is combined and both age groups read the same, but I love this option. I love having the ability to teach a wider age range of students, but still have them learn at their own level. There are enough lessons in this program to get through American History in one year if you do one lesson per day, five days per week.
The end of the lesson includes all of the extras. There are typically some quick comprehension questions, just to make sure your students actually picked up the important points of the story. There are also writing prompts if you wish to extend the lesson to include some language arts. The lessons include some type of geography study too. This last page is also the page where you find the added activities. Some days that includes studying art work (there is a full color copy of each art work on the additional materials download). Other days you may be doing a play, listening to music, creating something, cooking, listening to history, or working on a timeline. There are Bible verses to memorize and extra readings you can do if you want your read alouds to coincide with your history studies. I’m telling you, there is a little bit of everything in this curriculum!
There is also a package of literature you can purchase for your older students to read independently. A few of the books are public domain, but if you purchase the books through Golden Prairie Press, you will be purchasing books that have already been edited for things like racial slurs and outdated words. There is also a coloring book you can purchase for your younger learners. They can color along while they listen to the history stories read. This really is a great multi-level curriculum that is family friendly and a lot of fun!
I always wonder when we start a curriculum what my kids will take away from the readings. I have been reading the selections for the older students, even though my daughter is technically in 2nd grade. They have done a great job listening and taking away the main points of the lesson. They are learning new things and really enjoying this. I love that the readings aren’t dumbed down, but neither are they filled with words the kids don’t understand. The author made sure to include stories about famous women too, which is unfortunately left out of many older history books. So I am learning some new things about these heroines that I didn’t even know before!
My daughter was unbelievably excited when I told her there were skits to do with history. She loves acting and this was perfect for her. My son wasn’t thrilled at first. But once we started the play, you could tell he was really getting into it. I tried to not let onto the fact that I saw him enjoying it, but he did. 😉 We have studied more wonderful works of art through this curriculum than we have in a long time. I never realized how many artists depicted the early American history times.
The projects we have done with this curriculum have been great. No project has been too complicated and they have all been wonderful at tying together what we are learning in the history text. There are few things more frustrating to me than getting a book full of activities that include ingredients or materials I don’t keep at home. But we have been able to do everything so far with no problems.
Since my husband has a military background, American History is a very important subject in our home. I was so glad when this curriculum came up for review…it looked promising from the beginning and I was not disappointed! I feel it does such a great job of blending traditional history with an element of fun that will hold any child’s attention. My kids are learning so much about American History and for that I am very grateful to Amy Puetz, the wonderful author. I no longer feel the need to search for that “perfect” American History curriculum. I am confident we have found that with Heroes and Heroines of the Past. If you have been searching for a great American History curriculum, check it out. We really love it!
Click the link below to see what other Crew members thought about this wonderful American History curriculum!