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Curriculum Review: Our Star Spangled History

I received a copy of this curriculum for review.  I am not affiliated in any way by Notgrass publishing.

I am an American, and I love American history.  For most of my life, I read gobs of historical fiction about pioneers, the Civil War, the colonialists, and whatever interested me at the time (lately I've been parked in New York City's Gilded Age).  I have been so anxious to share my love of history with my kids, but I wasn't sure where to start.

About a month ago, I started looking at curriculum for the upcoming school year.  I ran into Notgrass publishing company, which has open-and-go programs for all grades.  Their newest series, "Our Star Spangled Story," is aimed at early elementary kids.  Since my kids will be 8, 7, and 6 this coming year, I knew that the curriculum would be a good fit for us.

One of the first things that appealed to me about the Star Spangled program was the age group.  It's hard to find history curriculum for the early elementary years.  I love that the textbook is written at my kids' level, while not speaking down to them.  The books still talk about the tough things of history like slavery and wars, but it does so gently and with room for many more discussions as the kids get older.  Instead of a dry recitation of facts, the textbooks contain "living history" mini autobiographies for each section of US history.

All the activities within the textbooks and workbook are age appropriate as well.  Most of the enrichment items are things that people have around their house normally, like blocks, maps, and food items.  The program also includes a separate book called "Rhythms and Rhymes," which contains poems and folk songs for various points in history.  There is an option to learn some historical dances as well.

The program is designed to be read three days a week, which is perfect for our school schedule.  One the other four days, the family can do field trips, enrichment activities, map work, or whatever we'd like.  I'm looking forward to some fun outings as the year progresses.

The two volumes of textbooks include many maps, charts, pictures, and other images to help the child understand the world as it looked during that time in history.  I have also purchased a large US map, which I'm getting laminated.  As we move throughout history, I plan on writing on our map with dry erase markers to show different things like the 13 colonies, the Oregon Trail, the separation into north and south during the war, and similar type of things.  I will also be mounting it on foam board so we can add thumb tacks at all the important cities as we read about them.

I will write more about the curriculum and our journey through American history over the upcoming school year.  I'm so excited, and the kids are too!

As I think will become my habit during this year of US history, I'd also like to add some adult books to the list.  These are all non-fiction, with a focus on general history.

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