Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History {Review}

5/12/2014
Golden Prairie Press Review
We are in the throes of the Middle Ages in History, but American History is coming up, so I was delighted to review Digital Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum by Golden Prairie Press.



I received a digital download and printed the first two weeks to start. I wanted to make sure I would like it before printing the whole thing. (I was not required to print the e-book, but I prefer to have a physical book in my hands and find it much easier to read from than a computer screen). And I am so glad I did! It was so much easier to see the depth of this curriculum once printed!

Price: $98.99

This includes:

The books are divided into two parts for a 30 week homeschool history curriculum.

Part 1 is further divided into:

  • The Period of Discovery

  • The Period of Colonization

  • The Revolution

  • The Formation of the Union

  • The Period of National Development

Part 2 is divided into:

  • The Period of National Development Continued

  • The Civil War

  • The Period of National Expansion

  • The United States, A World Power

Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum is ideal for grades 1-6, but can be used with older ages.

The lessons are divided into a 1st-2nd grade reading, a 3rd-6th grade reading, and occasionally they are combined for a 1st-6th grade reading, so it is easy to combine elementary children with this program.

Lessons include activities, questions, writing topics, a memory verse, historical art, songs, recipes, games, crafts, hands on projects, and timeline activities.

Some basic supplies are needed:

  • pencils

  • paper

  • crayons

  • other standard school supplies

  • additional craft or cooking supplies as listed in each lesson

  • printer and ink to print timeline pages and maps

For my review, we focused on the Period of Discovery:

Section 1:

  1. People of North America

  2. The Story of Lief Erikson

  3. The Story of Columbus, Part 1

  4. The Story of Columbus, Part 2

  5. Diego, the Son of Columbus

Section 2:

  1. In the Footsteps of Columbus

  2. Other Discoveries

  3. The Man Who Hid in the Barrel

  4. French Discoveries and Settlements

  5. The Little Pueblo Prince

Even though each section was designed to be used in one week, we spread each section out over two weeks and took two days to do a lesson. We typically did the reading and questions on one day and did the activities, examining historical art, map work, and/or exploring writing topics the next. If we were ready to dive into American History, I would do one lesson a week.

The activities are very open ended, and author Amy Puetz (a homeschool graduate!) encourages creativity. Had I been ready for American History, I would have taken off with many of her ideas that sparked my creativity! I restrained myself by doing a few activities from the lessons - like making a tepee!

And learning "A Short History of Cocoa Beans." We made the hot cocoa from Section 2 Lesson 4, and I was inspired to have my kids sample cocoa nibs from real ground up cacao beans.



The Historical Art is hard to see in the book, but the art is available for viewing or printing from the Additional Materials download. I pulled up one this day while the kids drank their cocoa and they examined Champlain Exploring the Canadian Wilderness.


Then we worked on the Era of Exploration Timeline.


The Timeline has several pages for memorizing key events, people, and dates by writing in missing information. I printed the timeline pages and had them spiral bound, but then needed to print an extra "key" to help Malachi with the spellings. There is not enough room to write all the information in the boxes, so I let him write last names and shorten key events.

We've had a wonderful time with Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum! I love that American History is taught through biographies - the "heroes and heroines of the past." Some parts of it were a little dry and reads like a text book, and I think I would miss all of the historical fiction read-alouds we do with our current curriculum, but there is a set of optional books to accompany the program.

I also LOVE all the hands-on activities in this program! I'm excited to use Heroes & Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum as a supplement when we get to American History. It will be fun to cook up some history, sing historical songs, examine historical art, play games of the past, create historical crafts, and read the true stories of heroes and heroines of the past!

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9 comments:

Michelle said...

Thanks for the review. This sounds like a fun addition to US History. We will be using Sonlight for our history, but I am always looking for supplement material to make learning as hands on as possible!

Nicole said...

We are loving this one! I would also like if it had some read alouds, but I'm hoping to find some at the library when we really pick this up in the Fall. We had fun with it! I love that you printed and binded the books. Can I ask how expensive that was? I also love having a hard copy. It helps me plan better than looking at a screen.

Homeschooling6 Mom said...

Hi, Michelle, I've really enjoyed using this as well. I think I'm going to slow it down and read the optional books now. During the review I wanted to cover as much (without rushing) as I could to get ta feel for it.

Looks like your kiddos enjoyed the program.

Blessings,
Linda<

Michelle said...

I think this would be a great addition to SL! I was thinking of all the wonderful books from D and E, and thinking I would miss those. It's so hard to want to do it all!

Michelle said...

Nicole, the ink was less than $5. I buy generic ink off Amazon and went through a complete set of cartridges (I get 2 sets of cartridges for $10). It works great - as long as you print often! I let it sit and the ink gums up and blocked the head, so I print weekly now. I probably went through a whole ream of bright paper from Costco (less than $7). I had the spiral binding done at the UPS store for $10.50 for the big books (they charge $3.50 per inch and I had a total of three inches). I laminated the front and back pages at home (otherwise they charge $2 for a clear plastic cover). I think it was worth it, considering it is in COLOR! And I really liked having a hard copy to read from.

Michelle said...

I appreciated reading your review because you made it further than we did! I was thinking I would speed things up once we get to Am History, but I KNOW I would want to slow down and be creative with it. I really enjoyed the pace we went at. So excited to get to American History now!

Abby said...

I'm so glad you reviewed this! It looks like it would be a great resource, and I'm looking forward to using it when we get to U.S. history in a year.

Lisa M. @ Farm Fresh said...

Michelle,
An excellent review as usual! I wasn't a "pick me pick me" on this review so I wasn't upset I didn't get it! LOL! I loved seeing what you did with it and I too am a hard copy preference so I loved that you printed out the books. I think having the biographies would be a great way to teach history...thanks for sharing!

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