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America the Beautiful Review by Courtney Larson

Junior High American History Curriculum
Charlene Notgrass
(800) 211-8793
975 Roaring River Rd.
Gainesboro, TN 38652
http://www.notgrass.com/

America the Beautiful is an American history and geography course for students in grades 5 through 8. I received the package for review, and it consists of two textbooks (America the Beautiful Part 1 and America the Beautiful Part 2), We the People, Timeline of America the Beautiful, Maps of America the Beautiful, and an Answer Key. I also received America the Beautiful Lesson Review and America the Beautiful Student Workbook. There is a literature package available for purchase.

America the Beautiful is a chronological study of American history. It begins in the year 1000 and continues through the election of President Barack Obama. America the Beautiful Part 1 covers America from 1000 through 1877, while America the Beautiful Part 2 covers from the late 1800s through present day. There are 75 lessons in the first book and 75 lessons in the second book (15 units with 5 lessons each), and each book is designed to be completed in a semester. The books are loaded with pictures and photographs, and the text is written directly to the student. Each lesson is only a few pages long, so it does not take a lot of time to read the daily lessons. There are five different lesson types:  “Our American Story”, “God’s Wonders”, “An American Landmark”, “An American Biography”, and “Daily Life”. 

The “Our American Story” lessons teach about major events. “God’s Wonders” lessons describe a remarkable place in America. “An American Landmark” lessons teach about significant places in America. “An American Biography” lessons tell about a famous person, and “Daily Life” lessons describe the day-to-day life of people who lived during the time period being studied. Each unit typically contains one of each lesson type. After each lesson, there is a list of 4 to 6 activities. Examples of these activities include writing assignments, vocabulary assignments, family activities, “Thinking Biblically” assignments, and assignments from the timeline book, map book, student workbook, or lesson review workbook. The author expects you to pick and choose from the list of activities.

After many lessons in the America the Beautiful textbooks, the student is asked to read a something out of the book We the People. This book contains the text of various letters, documents, songs, speeches, articles, and other original source documents that are important to our nation’s history.

Maps of America the Beautiful contains various maps of the country that coordinate with many of the daily lessons. Students are asked to look at the maps and label or color during the lessons. Timeline of America the Beautiful will allow students to fill in events important to America’s history. There are various dates preprinted in the book for the student to reference.

The America the Beautiful Student Workbook is filled with various puzzles, drawing activities, word searches, and other activities that reinforce what was studied. There is one activity for each lesson. The America the Beautiful Lesson Review contains lesson review questions and questions from the books in the literature package. It also contains quizzes for every unit. The Answer Key includes answers for the Timeline, Student Workbook, Lesson Review, and the vocabulary assignments from the main textbook.

This American history curriculum is fabulous. It is in-depth without being overwhelming. There is a great mix of activities to keep the attention of various types of learners. At a price of $99.95 for the package, $11.95 for the Student Workbook, and $9.95 for the Lesson Review, the price is reasonable. I would definitely recommend you take a look at America the Beautiful if you’re looking to give your children a solid education in American history.

Product Review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2012

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