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American History: A Story of Courage, Conflict and Freedom Review by Renita Kuehner

Mike Zietsma
Home School American

American History: A Story of Courage, Conflict and Freedom is a Christian-based high school level American History program. This program is aligned to both United States Common Core Standards, as well as the Canadian Ministry of Ontario standards. It includes all materials needed to teach students American History for required transcript credits.

American History: A Story of Courage, Conflict and Freedom covers the time-period of 1607 to 2016. Each unit is broken down into smaller time periods. This makes studying history a lot less overwhelming for both students and their parents.

We received our student workbook in the mail, and this easy to use resource includes full instructions in the first pages on how to get started. Internet access is required to get started and is needed throughout the course. The majority of the teaching materials are downloaded from Google Docs. Tests are also administered online. Students watch online videos through linked resources such as YouTube.

When I received access to the Google Docs forms, I will admit I felt a bit overwhelmed when I got started. But inside the student workbook are already made lesson plans that you can follow. If your student will be working independently through the program, the plans are quite easy to use and understand. Once I realized this, I was at ease. The workbook questions and answers are easy to follow along with and fill in as the student studies the PowerPoint presentations that they can open or download from Google documents.

Our 16-year-old has been using American History: A Story of Courage, Conflict and Freedom for the last few weeks. He is diagnosed with several learning disabilities and he struggles with ADD. I was wondering how he would manage this program. He has been really working hard at doing as much work as possible independently. I found that for him to work as independently as he could, that I did need to make some adjustments. Normally most students would not need to print the PowerPoint presentations, but I found that Brayden really needed them printed to work through his workbook pages. This required more hands-on for me. But it did help him by keeping the materials all in a notebook for his to refer to. He was able to find the video links on his own as they are mentioned in the assignment.

The student workbook is packed full of wonderful illustrations and pictures from each era that the student is studying. This was a terrific addition for Brayden since staring at boring workbook pages can be very frustrating and he just stops doing them. The assignment pages are not overwhelming and really help the student to create a great outline for the material they are learning about. Full-length movie titles are suggested, and not just documentary titles. Which is great for our family, since we love to incorporate as many elements as possible into our studies.

Another unit assignment was a Twitter activity sheet that students needed to complete the Tweets on. The author has done a wonderful job of including modern culture into a student’s history studies. This assignment can really help students to connect to historical figures and events. Brayden thought the hashtags were hilarious.

American History: A Story of Courage, Conflict and Freedom is broken down into a total of six units. Each until covers 50 to 100 years of history. You can really set your student’s schedule and how long they need to need in each unit. Some students may be able to work through certain assignments and materials faster than others. I know with Brayden, he cannot manage research and writing assignments in any type of quick way. This is where the parent as the teacher can help the student adjust the assignment to their learning ability. Most of the six units are meant to be completed in 15-20 hours of study time. That does not include extra movies though. That might seem like a lot, but it is very manageable over a school year period.

I found American History: A Story of Courage, Conflict and Freedom to be a very adaptable program for students of various skills levels and educational styles.

If the student only likes reading books and answering worksheet questions, they can do that. If the studentneeds to learn using videos, there are assignments for that style. If the student likes hands-on projects, then there are assignments for that also. Students can really start to build their confidence in studying history as they complete American History: A Story of Courage, Conflict and Freedom. This confidence will help them as they advance into their college-level studiessince American History: A Story of Courage, Conflict and Freedom also teaches them the skills that will help them to succeed in college-level American History.

-Product review by Renita Kuehner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2019