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United States History Review by Erica BeyeaLandmark’s Freedom Baptist Curriculum
2222 East Hinson Ave.
Haines City, Florida 33844
Intended for use as a high school course, the United States History course from Landmark’s Freedom Baptist Curriculum is a thought-provoking survey of American history spanning the time of early explorers all the way through the election of current President Donald Trump. It was recently revised in 2017 to include the very latest political and cultural era in America.
During the first semester, students begin their study by contrasting two basic perspectives of the history of the settlements of mankind – isolationism versus diffusionism. This foundation prepares the learner to understand early American history by providing an explanation for native inhabitants of North America. Semester one continues to explore early American settlements, the birth of the new nation, founding documents, and the various cultural clashes that led up to the conflicts between North and South in the mid-1800’s.
The second semester book continues the story, studying the Civil War and the rebuilding of America during the Industrial Revolution. Twentieth century America is studied in detail, including America’s emerging role as a world power, her involvement outwardly on the world stage, as well as the cultural revolution within.
Completing the five-book set is a book of tests and quizzes for both semesters, a test and quiz answer key, and a study guide answer key for the workbook questions. Each semester is laid out in eighteen sections, each spanning one week of study and including five individual lessons. It is recommended that the student spends the first day reading the lesson material for the week. The second and third days are spent answering questions referencing that material. On the fourth day a writing assignment is given that encourages the student to further delve into the details of that week’s lesson and explore the rationale behind the events. A quiz over that lesson is taken on the fifth day. Comprehensive semester tests are included for the end of each quarter. All the student’s reading material, study questions, and writing assignments are self-contained in one softcover workbook.
We are a family of history lovers, especially American history. When investigating history curriculums, there are certain markers I always look for to validate the material. I prefer a history curriculum to be authentically historical, not promoting social agenda. I like it to be factual, and give the reader a sense of reality – what was it like to be alive during the course of events that they are studying? Finally, I think it is important for a history curriculum to paint the broad picture of the historical era, teaching the reader how the events are connected to the world, and how those events influenced society.
After reading through both semesters of this curriculum, I can definitely say that it meets and surpasses the criteria I would expect from a thorough history program. It is well written, thoughtful, and engaging. At times, it was hard to put down. Though the reading sections are short, they are clear and concise, and even manage to highlight many obscure events and historical figures. I was impressed by the broad range of topics covered, including each president, amendments to the Constitution and their significance to American society, and each major event in American history.
There is no doubt that the curriculum is written from a Biblical, Christian worldview. Scripture is liberally used throughout the writing, and weekly memory verses are assigned. Though the publisher is Baptist, the material is quite objective, and I did not see anything that would be offensive to any religion. Students learn actual historical facts and are led to ponder how those facts affected American society, rather than being told exactly “how to think” about them. As a homeschool parent, I can greatly appreciate the latitude that allows me to discuss and instruct my students in our own personal perspective about the material we are studying.
Landmark recommends using this course for ninth grade. My only concern with this curriculum is whether it has enough material to be worthy of a full high school credit. The student must complete the weekly writing assignments, adding some of their own time to research the topic given, to fully receive the benefit of this program. The parent may wish to enhance the curriculum with some extra reading or video materials to round out the student’s learning. Landmark does offer some recommended reading material on their website to coincide with this program. Though it’s not necessary, some families may find that helpful.
The full year’s program is currently available on the publisher’s website for $45. I appreciate the concise yet thorough way that United States History is laid out in this curriculum and fully recommend it as an addition to a high school curriculum.
-Product review by Erica Beyea, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, June, 2018