Sometimes I am looking for a book that holds all my creativity and tendency to wander through the fields homeschooling together. Story of the U.S.A. Books 1 and 2 were just the framework I needed to keep our history program on track this year. We tend to take history exploration literally and wander by adding small unit studies and lots of historical fictions to read. Therefore we need a base program that touches a bit on major historical events in a chronological order to give us direction.
An overview of Story of the U.S.A. Book 1: Explorers and Settlers.
We began our year with the study of America’s beginning. Book 1 begins with native peoples and ends at the American Revolution.When we began we lived in Virginia so we spent a great deal of time on a Jamestown unit study, then Colonial America, and finally the American Revolution. We paused when we got to those chapters in the workbook and spent time building on the foundation this book provided as our “spine”.
After chapter comprehension exercises give The Story of the U.S.A. and familiar and likeable format for kids who want to know what to expect. The book contains fourteen chapters each with the following format:
- Introduction with a “getting ready for” section which sums up what will be presented along with vocabulary terms.
- Interesting illustrations, maps, or highlighted images with captions to explain or extend learning.
- Concise 1-2 page instruction on the chapter topic.
- Comprehension questions about the main ideas. (We did these verbally.)
- True or False section.
- Multiple choice questions.
- Fill in the blank for vocabulary usage.
- Discussion questions to build ideas from what was learned.
- At the end of the book there is a final review.
An overview of Story of the U.S.A. Book 2: A Young Nation Solves it’s problems.
The second half of our year we used book 2. It covered the forming of our government, the Constitution, Lewis and Clark, the War of 1812, westward expansion, early industrial revolution, the Alamo and the Gold Rush up to the beginnings of the Civil War. The format is exactly the same as book 1. It was very appealing for both myself and my student to have an established method we could always depend on.
Why I recommend The Story of the U.S.A. for elementary students.
The very helpful thing about these books was that they were so easy for my child to follow. It was nice to have a text that he could read and understand independently. After he read the chapter and did the questions we would check his answers together to see if he comprehended everything and then we talked over the discussion questions. Since as homeschoolers we just don’t do a ton of written comprehension exercises, it brought a nice balance to our school day. It was also a real blessing on busy days. We could easily take a small workbook with us anywhere and he was able to complete a lesson a day with ease. This makes the books easy to finish in a short time if used as a sole curriculum or easy to add to if used with additional materials in the way we used them.
Where to buy The Story of the U.S.A. books.
The Story of the U.S.A. can be purchased through Educators Publishing Service for $13.50. The answer key is $7.65 if you should need it. There are 4 books in the series:
- Explorers and Settlers
- A Young Nation Solves Its Problems
- America Becomes a Giant
- Modern America
The publisher recommends them for grades 4-8. I found them at the right level for my 4th grader. Since there are 14 chapters for each book they could easily be completed in a year as a sole curriculum. Or you can have the best of both worlds and weave them throughout your history studies using only two books for the year. We do a lesson a day so it gave us lots of time to dig deeper and the tools to get started.
~Stephanie is a Catholic military spouse and mother to 3. She is wife of 21 years to her husband, Brian. Even with 13 moves in 17 years she finds time to write about faith and family @ Harrington Harmonies.
Phyllis at All Things Beautiful says
I used these with my autistic son and it worked really well for him because of the consistent structure.
Tammy Smith says
I used this for a co op class and it was great.
Looks like a nice program after looking into it. The only bummer is that it does teach a very old earth as fact while we are young earth creationists. That said, I intend to teach my children about evolution because you can’t counter something if you don’t know the other side, and because I believe the Bible is truth so I’m not afraid to tell my children what other people believe. It is something we are going to run into in our culture and society – we can’t run from it. So, I would tell anyone who’s interested that if they are young earth creationists and would like to use this program for American history, just to be prepared to have discussions with your kids about what the author believes vs what your family believes.