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Histography: A Survey of the 50 United States Review by Laura Delgado

Pac (Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum)
(325) 649-0976
P.O. Box 810
Zephyr, TX 76890

Histography: A Survey of the 50 United States is an all-inclusive course designed for grades 7-9, although it is intended as a 7th grade social studies course. It is, as the name implies, a combination history and geography course. The course is comprised of ten individual paperbound booklets, five containing text, and five containing activities. Each state in the country is presented in approximately three pages of black-and-white text and illustrations. The text details the state’s history, key events, famous citizens, geographical features, flora, and fauna. A famous person is briefly profiled, vocabulary is highlighted, and a life principle is presented. The activity book presents a corresponding three pages of activities for each state. The activities are in the form of matching, fill-in-the-blank, true/false, and multiple choice. According to the website, the activity questions and quizzes are specifically designed to prepare students for competency tests. Finally, the Teacher’s Resource Kit contains activity keys, quizzes, quiz keys, tests, and test keys.

Each individual text booklet (or chapter, as the course terms them) contains ten states and is available separately for $8.95. The corresponding activity books are $6.45 each. The Teacher’s Resource Kit is available separately, either for $18.95 or for $5.69 as a digital download. You can also purchase the full-course kit for $99.95. It includes all texts, activities, and the Teacher’s Resource Kit and comes attractively packaged in a self-contained sturdy cardboard box.

Because of its textbook-lite approach to teaching, Histography is great for students who like to get the most information in the least time. It is really amazing how much one can learn about a state in just three pages. Also, because of the way the information is placed on the page, there is nothing intimidating about it, meaning, if you have a reluctant reader or someone who shuts down when they look a traditional textbook page, Histography might be just what you’re looking for. If you further have a student who prefers to demonstrate their knowledge acquisition through worksheets, rather than through discussion, projects, or essays, Histography is definitely what you’re looking for.

The things that make Histography ideal for certain kinds of learners are the very things that will turn others off to the program, namely that it is textbook style (of a kind), and that understanding and retention are evaluated by means of workbook-style questions and answers. The best way to determine if this program will work for your family is to look at the sample chapters for Alabama on the website. If you happen to have the kind of kid who thrives on this type of curriculum like I do, though (I used it with my 6th grade daughter, but I know that my 8th grade son would have loved it as well, and I plan to check out some of the company’s other offerings for him next year), you will be thrilled to discover Histography!

One caveat is in order, though. Pac specifically gives 7th grade as the target age for this program, but they tend to go into details about certain subjects that may be a bit too intense for some 7th graders, especially homeschooled 7th graders. Specifically, when discussing the plight of Alaskan native women, the text gives a statistic about how many have endured assault. It then goes further, though, to describe the lengths they have to go to ward off even more assaults because of the high alcoholism rates among Alaskan native men. Forewarned is forearmed, though. By reading ahead, you can discover any potential pitfalls in time either to discuss them with your child or to simply cover the passage with a sticky note like I did. I need to emphasize that this is not a rampant problem in the curriculum. I have only encountered it once and, of course, every family has its own standards for what they want their children to see. It’s just something to be aware of if you do purchase Histography.

Overall, I really like Histography, and I’m so happy to have discovered it! This format is one that several of my children really enjoy and respond well to, so I’m happy to explore the rest of Pac’s options.

-Product review by Laura Delgado, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017