I have a confession to make… I always thought American history was boring. My only exposure to history was the average school textbook – and I think we can all agree that those aren’t exactly interesting and engaging! When it came time to teach history to my own child, I wanted her experience to be different. And, thanks to programs like The Giant American History Timeline, history is one of her favorite subjects.
The Giant American History Timeline
The Giant American History Timeline is a 2-book set that covers American history from pre-colonization to present events. The books are suitable for students in grades four and higher (we’re using them in 8th grade and they are a great fit). I think the age guidelines are on the mark – this program really isn’t for younger children. The activity sheet assignments and understanding the context of historical events is really a topic best suited for middle school and high school.
Each book is divided into units and within each unit, students work on a variety of worksheets and activity pages. These activity pages cover a wide variety of important historical events, inventions, and people. Each unit includes 15 or more activity pages focused on the unit topic. There are maps, charts, writing assignments, research and fact sheets, and primary source material to discuss (take a look at the samples on their website). After those pages are completed, you use them to create timelines.
That’s where this program really shines! Students aren’t creating wall timelines with a few sheets of lined paper or a book filled with dates and pictures. Instead, they use their completed activity pages to create a variety of timelines. And, while you can create a simple chronological timeline, there are also options for creating timelines that show the relationship between various historical events, people, and inventions.
The books include additional timeline components – arrows, dates, and subheadings. Each unit includes instructions for a variety of timelines. The book guides the timeline creation process, showing you how to create sequential timelines (putting events in chronological order) or using the timeline components to create other timelines. You could use the arrows to connect events and people to one main idea or show the cause and effect of various events.
Students in middle and high school are ready to understand historical context and the relationships between various historical events and people. Learning how events are related and connected is an important part of understanding history – and this program really delivers. You’ll be impressed at the discussions that ensue when you start creating your timelines for each unit.
Each unit also includes a Unit Assessment – a 2-page worksheet that reinforces what was learned in the unit. Students will identify the main ideas and details, number events to put them in proper sequence, write a paragraph relating a cause and effect relationship, and write a paragraph expressing their opinion about a specific event.
Topics covered in each book:
Book one (Pre-Colonization to Reconstruction):
- Discovery & Exploration
- Colonial America
- The Revolutionary Period
- Creating the Constitution
- Expanding the Country
- An Age of Advancements
- Social Issues
- The Civil War & Reconstruction
Book two (the 1870s to the Present):
- Industrial Growth & Technological Advancement
- Big Business & Social Reform
- America & the World
- World War I
- The Roaring Twenties & the Great Depression
- World War II
- The Cold War
- The Civil Rights Movement, Technology & Terrorism
How we’re using the program:
This year we’ve been covering the events and inventions of the modern era. While it would be easy to focus on one war after another, thanks to The Giant American History Timeline, we’re spending plenty of time discussing the important people and inventions of the day (and the wars too).
I’m especially impressed with the discussions we’ve been having when we create our timelines. My daughter is learning to see the big picture of American history – how various events and people are related and connected, and how they affect each other. It’s really been a fabulous resource for adding a new dimension to our modern history studies.
Want to learn more about The Giant American History Timeline?
Find out more about The Giant American History Timeline, see sample pages, and learn more about the program at their website. The books are available as physical books or digital downloads. I actually like having copies of both – the hard copies for me to reference as we discuss and create timelines and the digital version for printing the activity pages.
You won’t find any dry, boring history lessons with this program! Instead, American history comes alive as you create each timeline.
More resources for teaching American History:
- Curriculum Choice authors favorite American History resources
- Exploring America homeschool resources
- Homeschool Presidential Studies
- Using Timelines for Homeschool History Studies
~ written by Tonia from Happy Homeschool Nest