Frugal Resources for American History - Make Your Own Course OR Use a Prepared One



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Are you looking for frugal resources for U S History for your high schooler?  Do you like to put your own course together, or used a prepared curriculum?

Today, I'd like to share frugal resources for both....making your own course, or using a prepared curriculum.  

Let's start with making your own course, using some very frugal resources that I have found..

- Our Homemade Course in U S History

When it came time for our high school US History studies, we used a variety of sources, and made our own course.  To do that, we picked a spine, then added in some geography, literature, and a little art history, for fun.  My teen was a big part of putting it all together. 

So, I'd like to share with you how we went about putting together this course, which included:

- a spine
- literature options
- geography
- a  primary resource
- and some art.



1.  First we needed to find a spine for our learning....My teen was a big part of choosing this resource, and the others as well.


We searched for something that would cover everything and also encourage critical thinking. This book caught my eye.

We found this book to be engaging while covering all the essentials of our country's history, in it's 11 chapters, each of which included:

-1.  Time Line - related dates for each chapter
-2.  Activating Prior Knowledge - questions to look for as you read
-3.  The text, with sidebars and brief biographies
-4.  Critical thinking questions
-5.  Activities - map work, reviews and puzzles.... click here above to read the rest of my review of this frugal book.

2.  Next, my daughter wanted to add in some living literature...

There are lots of ways to add living literature to your history studies.  Of course, if you add in American Literature, then you will be doing two high school credits, US History for one, and American Lit for another high school credit.

You can pick and choose fiction and non-fiction such as:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Uncle Tom;s Cabin
The Federalist Papers
Tom Sawyer
Miracle at Philadelphia
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Edison - from Heros of History
(there are so many other choices, of course)

At our house, my daughter wanted to add in some living literature and make that a course as well, so we looked around and we found the Oak Meadow's American Lit course. That gave my teen a credit for English as well as one for US History.  We combined the two courses and got 2 credits done together!



But Oak Meadow was not a frugal option.  I so wish we had know about the next course that I want to talk about, as it is just as good and it is frugal, too. 




Another great option for American Literature is made by our friends at 7 Sisters Homeschool.  This is a 100 + page resource can be used for a whole year long credit in English, and it includes literature guides for so many of the great classics of American Lit. 

American Literature by 7 Sisters is ideal for independent study because it is written by homeschoolers, all set up for your high schooler with no busy work.  Great for getting that English course done, and also super for learning critical thinking and literary analysis. 

I have a lot more information on this well put together course over at the Curriculum Choice.

3.  Our third step was to add in some geography.  We did not do every project in this book, but it was a great supplement to our studies..

This book is set up in a workbook style, which my teen enjoyed, with comprehensive mapping activities for each major event in US History.  By answering the questions and mapping out each historical event, my daughter got a hands-on feel for each major event, my teen got a hands-on feel for what she had studied.  It's from Rainbow Resource also, very frugally priced.

4.  Next we found a frugal resource for primary resources, called...
The Patriot's History Reader


This book goes back to the original sources, including documents, speeches, and legal decisions that helped to shape our country. It was so convenient to have this at hand, and it eliminated the need to search the internet for these.  Click here to read the rest of my review.

5.  Then we found a resource for art....


This book added a lot of fun to our studies.  The Boston Massacre, Paul Revere's Ride, the End of the Civil War, are all famous paintings included in this book, which teaches about design, rhythm, and perspective...and it is offered as a book or a cd.

I recently found another great art book that is make to add art to your American History studies.  And it is full of American landmarks!  Your student will be learning all about our famous historical landmarks, which will fit so well with their American history studies.


Here's another lovely art offering that I wish I had found out about years ago.  
This easy to use ebook is made by my friend, Tricia, from Hodgepodge, and is chock full of historical landmarks to make.  The lessons are taught by a professional artist, and will give your high schooler a nice introduction to art using chalk pastels.  It is available at a very frugal price here.  

Those are the key resources that we pulled from for our homemade course.  Which ones might be helpful to you? 

Next, I's like to switch gears and talk about some prepared curricula for American History.  I recently found some frugal prepared curricula for US History, if you would rather use a complete course, instead of piecing one together. 

Two Frugal US History Courses

First let's look at a course from Glencoe, a well established curriculum publisher, who offers a frugal US History course called...

American Vision offers a complete US History book, a student center that goes along with it, and free videos for each chapter. Free videos...I love that.  American Vision can do all the work of putting together a solid and creative history course for you. And it is a very frugal choice as well.  

This course explores American History from 1775 through the 21st century, through an interdisciplinary approach that includes literature, art, and biographies. 

First let's look at the book itself.  The book includes the following:

1. Vivid and Accurate Re-telling of US History
2. US Geography with National Geographic Maps
3. Primary and Secondary Sources
4. Related Activities
5. Appendix with Supreme Court Case Summaries
- American Lit Library
- Critical Thinking Lessons, such as "Find the Main Idea, and Determining Cause and Effect"


This book is available used on Amazon here for around $20.00. That's the student edition.  I recommend also getting the teacher's edition, as it has all the answers in it.

Now, let's look at the student center...


Here they offer many more online activities, and it is a part of the Glencoe Online Learning Center, which has a whole lot of go-to activities, links, and more...To add a lot to your study of The American Vision, check out the web activities, vocabulary cards, e-puzzles and games, interactive maps and more.

And they offer free videos too...

I love how Glencoe puts together their history books.  We used their World History book in 10th grade, and it taught so many of the critical thinking skills to my daughter. And they had primary sources, references to art, and great essay questions to ponder as well.  There was a quiz at the end of each section, which we used at times.  Just click above for free videos that teach the important history concepts that are included in each chapter.

Next, I'd like to share another prepared curriculum option, and this one is from Oak Meadow...



This is another great option for US History from Oak Meadow, a well established secular educational publisher, that we love....

This course explores American History from 1775 through the 21st century, through an interdisciplinary approach that includes literature, art, and biographies.  It encourages integration of information, critical thinking skills and more, while the student learn US History in depth.  Great for college prep.

Oak Meadow US History includes:

1.  The OM Syllabus
2.  The American Vision by Glencoe, which was mentioned above. 

The Oak Meadow syllabus is great for students who like to work with critical thinking questions and issues. 

What are your favorite resources for high school US History?  I love reading your comments... so please share your knowledge with others here..


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Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,

Betsy

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years


Betsy is mom to her now college junior, whom she homeschooled from day one.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote the book - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting


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