Free American History Resources for Homeschoolers, Part 1, or DIY U.S. History Curriculum for Homeschooling

Last year my two “love of learning phase” (9 and 11 years old) kids focused on listening to The Story of the World audio CDs when they did the breakfast dishes every morning and lunch dishes in the afternoons. Then I would quiz them about what they read using the chapter review questions in the Story of the World Activity Books during dinner dishes. This year I am hoping to focus more on American history. Here are the resources I am going to use with them. I am so excited!

I got to wondering the other day if there was a good audio version of American history in story form. I found the above

book on audio, called This Country of Ours. It was written by a Brit, Henrietta Marshall, in the early 1900s. As I’ve listened to it I don’t agree with everything she says. For instance, she says that the Louisiana Purchase was the greatest event in American history. I learned by listening to Tom Woods that the Purchase was actually unconstitutional. So to temper all of this “Anglo-American empire-building” perspective of Ms. Marshall I am going to keep listening to Tom’s American History course for adults over at libertyclassroom.com so I can share that perspective with my kids in kid language. Anyway, Ms. Marshall’s history is an adequate basic history for kids in story form, as long as you moderate it with a libertarian perspective. I suggest that you as the homeschool mom/teacher sign up for libertyclassroom.com so you can listen on your own and share the perspective, in a way kids will understand, as you hear the statist ideas come up in This Country of Ours. I have posted more of the chapters here, as well as a link to the print book online. The book has seven parts, and each part has several chapters.

We are going to listen to this every morning, then I am going to get them the following living books from the library. After they read them, I will have them narrate back what they read and type it up for their binders.

I think I will buy this book above and keep it on the coffee table in the living room to encourage browsing.

We are also going to watch American Ride episodes on byutv.

Then I will encourage the reading of these books for homeschool time, independent reading, and bedtime stories. I’ve put them in approximate historical order. Since some of them are historical fiction we will talk about the difference between fiction and nonfiction.

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The above book is more for me to read aloud to them during the clean up of dinner dishes, and for me to read on my own and then share with them. 

I think my daughter has already read the Kaya American Girl chapter books, but I don’t think she’s looked at the above book.

Again, the Genevieve Foster books are more for me to read and share snippets from. I don’t see my kids reading them on their own.

We actually listened to the above one on CD during our trip to Nauvoo. The 6 year old hasn’t seen the movie yet so I’m going to get the movie for him.

My daughter likes to do crafts, the boys, not so much, unless it involves weapons. I plan on getting the American Girl craft books for each time period to inspire ideas, at least in my daughter.

For an LDS perspective on the Revolutionary War, I’m going to get Ron Carter’s Prelude to Glory series on audio from the library and see if the kids enjoy them.

These books take us up to the early to mid 1800s. I want to get as many as I can on audio from the library.

So far everything I’ve posted you can get from your library or through inter-library loan (That’s a system where you talk to the librarians at your local library and request to get a book that is not there, but that they can request to have shipped from other libraries from all over the country. The librarian will give a you a form to fill out, and then within a week or two, you will get the book and pay a small fee, like $1 to $3 to pay for shipping. You have to return the book within one month or so to the local library, and it will be shipped back to the original library.). So that’s the free part. Now if you want to jazz up the curriculum with games and coloring books, here are some that look intriguing:

Made for Trade Board Game

This is a board game to teach how American colonists traded goods. Has anybody played it? It looks colorful and fun. i think we might get it.

Then there are some games to teach about the Constitution.

Constitution Quest Game

The above board game is called Constitution Quest Game. 

 

This one is called We the People Fight Tyranny. It has you apply Constitutional principles to current issues. I can’t wait to play it!

US Capitol Historical Society - Professor Noggin's American Revolution

Educational Trivia Card Game - Professor Noggin's History of the United States

We have the Professor Noggins set of American Revolution cards. This year I want to get the ones for all of U.S. History. If you want to add more crafts and fun, then get the American Girl “Welcome to _______ World” books, paper dolls, cookbooks, and craft books, with the name of the girl, Kaya, Felicity, Kirsten, etc. according to the time period you are studying.

Here are some cute coloring books, if your kids are into that:

You can also get these charming Draw Write Now books, the ones that feature American history. They are great for giving ideas for kids’ commonplace books or binders on what to draw and write.

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Then Dover has coloring books about American history:

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I also want to add in the CDs from storyteller Jim Weiss on American history here (scroll down to find the American history stories), and use the CDs from Diana Waring, according to the plan here (the abbreviation in the article, “RRR” stands for Diana’s CD called Romans, Reformers, and Revolutionaries). Diana is an awesome storyteller with a knack for connecting history to the hand of God.

Teaching U.S. history to younger kids doesn’t have to be boring! Don’t lecture, just have them listen to stories while they are working, playing with Legos, or doing handiwork. Then play games with them! Fun, fun, fun! You could also add in movies like Pocahontas, Johnny Tremain, and Monumental. 

On another day I will post resources for the rest of the 1800s, as Part 2.

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