Tuesday, August 13, 2013

America the Beautiful by Notgrass Company: A TOS Crew Review

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 America the Beautiful Curriculum Package by Notgrass Company

From their website:
"America the Beautiful by Charlene Notgrass is a one-year American history, geography, and literature course designed for students in grades 5-8. It combines the flexibility and richness of a unit study with the simplicity of a textbook-based approach to history. Daily lessons guide your child chronologically through American history, highlighting key events, people, and places. Ages 10-14.

The America the Beautiful Curriculum Package includes the six books listed below, enough for one child to complete the curriculum. If you are using the curriculum with more than one child, you can purchase additional consumable books, including Maps of America the Beautiful, Timeline of America the Beautiful, and either the Student Workbook or Lesson Review."

America the Beautiful Part 1

This book has 75 lessons beginning with life in America before Europeans came and continuing through the first years after the Civil War. Hardcover. Color and black and white illustrations. 452 pages. View the Table of Contents and a Sample Unit

America the Beautiful Part 2

This book has 75 lessons beginning with America's expansion into the lands west of the Mississippi River and continuing to modern times. It also includes an index to the curriculum. Hardcover. Color and black and white illustrations. 572 pages. View the Table of Contents, a Sample Unit, and the Index

We the People

A collection of 150 original journal entries, newspaper articles, advertisements, poems, songs, letters, short stories, speeches, and other historic documents from American history. Hardcover. Black and white illustrations. 220 pages. View Sample Pages

Maps of America the Beautiful

A collection of 30 maps drawn especially to accompany this curriculum. Your child will often refer to a map while reading a lesson in America the Beautiful and do activities on the map at the end of the lesson. Saddle-stitched. 61 pages. View Sample Maps

Timeline of America the Beautiful

This is an illustrated timeline of American history from AD 1000 to the present designed specifically to include facts learned in the lessons. Some facts are already printed on the timeline. After most lessons, your child will add an event mentioned in the lesson to the timeline. Saddle-stitched. 57 pages. View Sample Pages

America the Beautiful Answer Key

Includes answers for the Timeline, Student Workbook, Lesson Review, and the vocabulary assignments included in the main text. Saddle-stitched. 55 pages. View the Answer Key
Cost: $99.95 

In addition - we also were sent:

America the Beautiful Student workbook (for grades 5-6) by Mary Evelyn McCurdy, $11.95.
 America the Beautiful Lesson Review (for grades 7-8), also by Mary Evelyn McCurdy,  $9.95

Bentz Test Laboratory loves history, and we love unit studies, so we were very excited for the arrival of the America the Beautiful Curriculum Package by Notgrass Company

Let me start with a personal disclaimer...I am NOT a textbook lover, usually..  I was educated with dry, dusty, boring history textbooks.  Whatever little spark of interest I may have had, was quickly extinguished.  It wasn't until we started our homeschooling journey that I truly discovered history!!  Now, it is the subject I enjoy teaching the most (even in our Co-op) but not usually with a textbook...until now.

America the Beautiful "looks" like a textbook...BUT, it is FAR CRY from what you may expect. Divided into 2 Parts with 75 lessons each - covered in 30 units total.  These hardcover books take you on an adventure through American History from the beginning to modern times, with a Christian Worldview.

This curriculum is divided into five types of lessons to reach every learner:
  • Our American Story - lessons about the events 
  • God's Wonders - lessons about God's creation
  • An American Landmark - lessons about the places
  • An American Biography - lessons about the people
Activities for each lesson include:
  • Thinking Biblically
  • Creative writing
  • Vocabulary
  • Family Activities
  • Literature Assignments (you can purchase America the Beautiful Literature Package as well)
  • Timeline
  • Maps
  • Plus, assignments in America the Beautiful Student Workbook or America the Beautiful Lesson Review

Right away I knew I was going to like this program.  Everything is explained clearly - the teacher instructions are included in the front of each book, so you do NOT have to have an additional Teacher Guide (a Answer Key for the workbook is included in the package). A handy guide in the front lists suggested activities by grade to help you customize with multiple ages.

This curriculum really does have it all.  The Text is filled with coloful pictures, is easy to read and understand.  It is written to your student, but we preferred to read it all together. (Older students could easily manage this independently).

The Timeline and Map books are very well done as well.  I'll be needing to order extra copies, because coloring the pictures has become a favorite activity for everyone!  

We the People - Words from the Makers of American History is a book of the letters, stories, speeches, poems, songs, memoirs, and documents that are the foundation of American History.  This book is a must have on every homeschool bookshelf!  You'll be glad you discovered this gem... My older tester disappeared with this book - just to read it for fun.  I can't wait to steal it back from him...

The Student Workbook is just the right resource for us.  It's full of a variety of activities for each lesson - word finds, crosswords, rebus stories, matching and much more.  The Lesson Review Book is more of a standard fill-in-the-blank review that will appeal to older students.

This is a well thought out, integrated COMPLETE American History curriculum.  We enjoyed our "taste" of it during the review period.  Shhh...don't tell them, but I'm putting it away so that we can introduce it for next year's American History course at our Co-op - it's that good!  

Other members of the TOS Crew took a peek at another great Notgrass Company product - Draw to Learn.
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Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for reviewing our curriculum, and thank you for homeschooling!