The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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Our Land of Liberty Review by Linda Rose(Teacher and Student Resources)
Robert C. Law
Our Land Publications
4861 Chino Avenue
Chino, CA 91710
Our Land of Liberty is an American history curriculum for students in grades five and up. Included in the set we received to review is the teacher's manual and one student set. The student set includes individual newspaper issues packaged in a protective sleeve. The teacher's manual set includes a sturdy binder with three hole punched loose leaf pages, which are to be inserted into the binder. This combination set can be purchased for $59.00 from the website. Additional student sets of newspapers can be purchased for $17.90 with additional discounts available if multiple sets are purchased together.
Each full color issue of the student set includes several bite sized articles surrounding one main topic. The articles are mixed with a variety of activities, projects, and exercises to keep the students engaged with learning about the people, places, and dates that make up important events in American history. In total there are 27 single issues and six double issues. There really is no need to add extra books or activities to these lessons as they are very thorough. The first issue serves an introduction to the entire curriculum, which spans the study of American history from the discovery of the new world to present times. This beginning issue serves as a lesson in teaching the students how to use the rest of the newspaper style lessons as well as concepts of time and the calendar. Each issue concludes with a reaction time. These questions can be answered on paper or discussed together. Two tests are included in the issues. The student issues of the newspapers are not able to be reproduced. You will need to purchase one copy for each student in your class.
As an example, issue 17 contains the headline title: Louisiana Purchased. The date on this issue is 1803-1811. The articles in this issue all revolve around the Louisiana purchase. The different articles are titled: The Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, Pike Takes a Peek at Louisiana, Opening the Frontier, Frontier Roads, The National Road, Russians at Fort Ross, and To the Shores of Tripoli. Every bite size article in this issue tell the bigger story of how the American west was opened up. A small map is also included showing what the United States might have looked like if Louisiana had never been purchased. The end of the article includes a short timeline of events that also happened during the dates/years listed at the beginning of the newspaper. The reaction time questions encourage the students to think more deeply about the information that was presented in this issue. Questions such as: Why do you think that some people wanted America to remain small? Aside from geography, how would America be different today without the Louisiana Purchase? In what ways could rivers provide better transportation than roads? What do you think happened to towns that were on the National Road?
The teacher's manual very thoroughly walks the teacher through how to teach the lessons. Each issue is conveniently broken down into at least five lessons and includes some optional lessons. The teacher should feel free to combine lessons as desired. What we enjoyed about this curriculum is that the lessons are not long and drawn out. They are short enough to be able to be completed in a timely fashion and still allow some time for exploration of the topics if you wish to expand on them. Each lesson includes an overview and summary for the teacher. This makes these lessons very simple to open the teacher's guide and go directly into teaching the lessons. The teacher's manual is not reproducible except for specific masters that go with specific lessons. Many of these reproducible pages are maps and the occasional timeline.
In our homeschool, we used this as a supplement to the American history studies that we were already working on. It was very easy to see how these newspaper style lessons lined up with the topics in our current curriculum. While there isn't a need to supplement these lessons, they are pleasant enough to be used as a supplement to an existing curriculum.
This curriculum can be perfectly used in a homeschool setting where a single family or student studies the material with their parent or on their own. I can also see how this could be used in a classroom setting, whether that is a homeschool co-op type setting or in a traditional school setting. The teacher's guide is very thorough and gives plenty of opportunities for discussion and interaction no matter which setting you choose to use this in.
We enjoyed using this curriculum and will continue to use it as a supplement to our American history studies. I recommend this resource to anyone looking for a unique way to supplement their current studies or to anyone looking for something new and interesting to bring a fresh perspective to their history lessons. While the suggested age is for grade five and up, I'm not entirely sure that I would use this alone for a high school student. It has been a great fit for my middle school aged son, but I think if we were to use this for high school credit, we would definitely be adding in some outside resources to make it credit worthy.
-Product review by Linda Rose, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2018