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Exploring American History, 2nd edition Review by Jennifer LoucksDH Montgomery
Editedrevised and updated by Michael McHugh and Lars Johnson
Christian Liberty Press
502 West Euclid Ave
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
Christian Liberty Press is known for high-quality, patriotic, Christian homeschool materials. Exploring American History is another excellent product that lives up to its publisher's reputation.
This American history text for grades 4-6 has 266 pages, a glossy color cover, and black-and-white illustrations. There are five units that are broken up into chapters:
Exploration of the New World (seven chapters)
Settlement of a New Land (seven chapters)
Founding of a New Nation (seven chapters)
Growth of the Nation (ten chapters)
Maturing of America (eight chapters)
Each chapter is about an important person. This biographical approach means that important historical events are couched in the lives of the people involved, making for a historical narrative that is based on great men and women first and events second. There are many illustrations, mostly period paintings and drawings, with photographs in later years. I like the historical accuracy of the illustrations.
Chapters are of a medium length, detailed but not overly so. At the end of each chapter, students find a summary and six or seven comprehension questions. A teacher's manual is available with a suggested schedule and tests. Since this book has been updated, you'll find President Obama's election included.
The introduction explains the publisher's desire to highlight America's Christian heritage. An example in the book is the impact of Reverend John Witherspoon, a minister and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Elsewhere, we find highlighted Christians who supported England in the War for Independence, and Christian pacifism.
America's part in church history is also included, for example in the form of a chapter about J. Gresham Machen, the founder of Westminster Seminary, and the part he played in the fight against liberalism. The book closes with a segment about "Current Problems and Biblical Solutions." Students are challenged to study the Bible, to study America's Christian history, and to pray for revival and Christian leaders.
I like the highlighting of our Christian heritage in this book. It will provide much to discuss with my fifth grader and will be a good complement to her factual reading and historical fiction. The biographical emphasis also makes for interesting reading. Christian Liberty Press has put together an excellent and useful product for American history students, and I enthusiastically recommend this book.