As my children grow and I begin homeschooling several ages at once, I find myself searching more often for prepared curriculum. Any of you who know me, know that I tend to shy away from textbook curricula because they’re typically so dry and irrelevant. However, in my quest to find prepared curricula that meet my Charlotte Mason/unit study/Classical style, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that a few textbooks have cut the mustard.
All American History Volume 2 – The Civil War to the 21st Century by Celeste W. Rakes is one of those pleasant surprises! This set includes a full year’s worth of history lessons for 6-12th graders. The reading selections are engaging, the worksheets meaningful and the teacher’s guide invaluable.
Each of the 32 lessons lasts approximately one week and are organized into four 8-week units. In order to effectively teach the lessons, you really do need all three components: the Student Reader, Student Activity Book and Teacher’s Guide with Answer Key.
The Student Reader is a 500+ page hardcover which includes the “textbook” readings for each lessons. Many black and white photos, illustrations, and maps enhance the text to make connections. Readings vary in length, but most average 10-12 pages.
The Student Activity Book accompanies the reader. During the readings, your child uses the workbook pages, called forms, to take guided notes. The author believes the note taking provides a valuable skill for future classes when it will be required. I love that several of the forms require pasting a black and white image (included) for visual reference. Mapping activities are included with each lesson as well. There are even review pages provided for each lesson, which could count as quizzes or tests as you see fit. Once the entire workbook is completed, you have a fantastic compilation of history from the Civil War through the 21st century!
The Teacher’s Guide and Answer Key is not to be missed! At the end of each lesson, the student’s are given four questions for further study. If you’re teaching a middle school student, she suggests assigning one or two of these. A high school student should answer all four. These are research-style questions that require in-depth answers. The teacher’s guide provides those in-depth answers for you!
Not only that, but the teacher’s guide also provides ideas for unit projects, book lists for additional reading, timeline and mapping information, games to play for reviewing material and more! I don’t always suggest teacher’s guides, but this one is a must!
Ms. Rakes gives you very clear instructions for using the curriculum “as is” and adapting it for younger students or co-op classes. Although it’s marketed as appropriate for grades 6-12, she admits that it was originally intended for middle school students. However, with just a little tweaking – additional literature, requiring all research questions and assigning the suggested unit projects – she helps you bump it up easily for high school credit.
My older children and I have thoroughly enjoyed this study! All American History Volume 1 is available, too.
(Cindy was supplied a review copy of this product upon request. As always, her review reflects only her honest opinions.)