Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: Notgrass America the Beautiful

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Let me begin this review by explaining to you that our family loves history. My husband is a history facts buff and somehow my kids have inherited his history-lovin' gene! They beg to do history first each day.

So naturally, when I saw the name Notgrass on the review list, my heart skipped a beat. I felt nothing short of excited to be able to share America the Beautiful with my children. 

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We received:

Includes: America the Beautiful, parts 1 & 2; We the People; Timeline of America the Beautiful; Maps of America the Beautiful and the Answer Key.

America the Beautiful is a one-year history curriculum that also includes geography, literature and Bible. There are a total of 150 lessons starting in early America with Native Americans and traveling along the timeline to modern times. The curriculum is designed to be used with fifth-eighth graders or students ages 10-14. 

I wanted to show you a typical day with America the Beautiful. My 10 year old son was lucky kid who got to do everything. My 8 year old daughter joined in for the reading. Sometimes even my 5 year old would get a bit too interested in the pictures and keep us from reading.

First, we would read the textbook together.
This usually takes less than 10 minutes, depending how much we stop to discuss the pictures.

Then, we do a few of the activities listed at the end of the reading.

The favorite around here is a map and Notgrass has a whole book of them. You will need one book per child as these are consumable.

There is also usually an entry to make on the timeline for each lesson. This book is a wonderful visual for students to see the timeline of history and the graphics are awesome. You will need one book per child with this book.

Next, we would do the Student Workbook page. This is another consumable book, so you would need one copy per child. I love that this book is spiral bound.

Finally, we would discuss the Lesson Review. At this age, I found it better to keep these questions as discussion questions rather than have my son complete this assignment on his own. Plus, his 8 year old sister was able to join in. 

Other activities that go along with the lessons:
1. Vocabulary- This is excellent to keep in a history binder.

2. Bible copywork- There is scripture given with each lesson and this lends itself to excellent copywork if you wish to do so.

3. Creative Writing- This is a fabulous way to incorporate writing into history.

4. Family Activities- The back of the textbook is filled with ideas to do with the whole family. 

5. Literature- There are 10 novels that correspond with this curriculum. To see a list of titles, click here. Most can be found at your local library. We used them on our Kindles (thanks Grandparents).

6. We the People- This book included in the curriculum package. It is 150 journal entries, articles, songs, stories, speeches and other historical documents. Several lessons have a corresponding We the People page to read. It's just a little something extra and it, like the other parts of this curriculum, is wonderful.

I think it is safe to say that we love this curriculum. The lessons are extremely well-written and the pictures are captivating. My children even remarked on the beauty of the pictures. We don't typically adhere to a textbook driven curriculum so this might seem a bit out of the ordinary for us. Since my children already seem to have a passion for history, I didn't see this as a book of facts and dates for them to regurgitate later on a test. The lesson activities are so varied and you can pick and choose which ones fit your children the best. 

Overall, I give this curriculum two big thumbs up.

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