My fifth grader started his American history studies this year with The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set and 200 Questions About American History set from Memoria Press. It’s very thorough and a great curriculum option for homeschoolers in grades 5-8.
American History Curriculum
The first set of books includes an edited version of H. A. Guerber’s two-volume American history set from the turn of the 20th century. This book gives middle school students a great overview of the most importance people, places, events, battles, and decisions of American history up to 1900.
The student text includes 85 topics, each about 2-3 pages long. This text includes black and white illustrations and photography.
The Student Guide groups two or three topics from the text together into Lessons.
These lessons in the Student Guide include four parts:
- Facts to Know – people, places, or events and their significance (these correspond to the 200 Questions About American History Set)
- Vocabulary – terms are given and students define from the text
- Comprehension Questions – 6 to 10 questions are listed, with room for students to write an answer
- Enrichment – additional ideas for extending the learning, including map work, timeline, compositions, primary source reading, and research
The Student Guide also includes an appendix with:
- relevant maps
- 13 Colonies chart
- primary source documents including Mayflower Compact, United States Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and more
The Teacher Guide includes answers for all the sections of the Student Guide in additional to four tests and test answer keys.
In short, the The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set gives you everything you need for your middle schooler to get a complete foundation in American history up to about 1900.
Additional Curriculum Resources
However, if you want to extend the learning and add extra repetition that more of your kids can join in with, then consider also purchasing the 200 Questions About American History set, which also moves past 1900 to include up to current day American history, suggesting the Story of the World as the main text.
Here’s what’s included: 200 Questions About American History flashcards, Student Book, and Teacher Guide.
This set is meant to be used directly with The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set, but since it represents the basic information any student should know about America, it can also be used with any other American history curriculum, or on its own for review.
The 200 Questions About American History set moves kids past 1900 and to the present day, because where the Guerber text leaves off with Spanish-American War, this set picks up the flow of American history with Volume 4 of Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer.
The student book includes Drill Questions plus room to write the answers and shows which chapter of the Guerber book or Story of the World text your student can use to find the answer.
Examples from the American History Curriculum
Here are some example Drill Questions:
- French sailor who discovered the St. Lawrence Rive
- Five causes of the Revolutionary War
- United States national motto & meaning
- Location of the first shot fired in the Civil War
- President during WWI
- Plan to use U.S. money to fund the reconstruction of Western Europe
The Student Book also includes these assessments:
- 30 timeline events – what year did it happen?
- 20 notable quotes from American history – who said it? what was the occasion?
- Presidents of the United States – write their name & years in office
Additionally, the Student Book includes several poems that you could assign for memorization:
- The Star-Spangled Banner
- Old Ironsides
- O Captain! My Captain!
The Teacher Book includes answer keys for the assessments mentioned above, plus seven American History tests plus answer keys.
And of course, the 200 flashcards reinforce the main topics of the Student Book and provide a useful way to review the information with your children.
How We Used It
We had about a month to start using this set at the end of my son’s fifth grade year. We jumped right in at the beginning, and plan to finish this during sixth grade.
Instead of using a rigorous schedule, we just worked on the next section each day. While the 200 Questions About American History set gives you a 34-week school plan for completing the curriculum, we just worked on it daily for a few weeks, then several times a week after our school year ended.
Here’s what my fifth grader did:
- Read the next section in the Guerber text
- Answer related questions or vocabulary terms in the Student Guide
- Try to answer drill questions by memory in the 200 Questions Student Book
- Use the 200 Questions flashcards to check your answers
We will definitely be adding in the tests, timeline work, and additional research options during his sixth grade year when we restart in the fall.
I’m also thinking of having his older siblings quiz their knowledge with the flashcards and get their American history polished up a bit!
This curriculum provided the perfect amount of structure and independence for my fifth grader. Since I am homeschooling my four other children as well, I can’t use a curriculum that requires me to do all the teaching.
The Teacher Guide that goes along with The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set does not include a suggested schedule, but the Student Book & Teacher Guide from 200 Questions About American History set does include a chart showing weekly schedules that include:
- reading selections from Guerber text or SOTW
- drill questions
I highly recommend this resource for your homeschooled students in grades 5-8.
Find out what other homeschoolers had to say about this American history curriculum from Memoria Press. Read the reviews of the Homeschool Review Crew.