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5 Stars Out Of 5
Excellent High School History Resource
June 12, 2014
The American History series by James P. Stobaugh - this curriculum can speak for itself, so it most certainly does not need me to speak for it. There has not been on other book or curriculum that I have been so excited to review. My fellow homeschooling mothers, if you are in need of a high school history curriculum that is college preparatory in nature, then this is what you've been searching for.
The physical description of American History is as such: the set of two books contains the Teacher Edition and the Student Book. The How-To-Use page is excellent, and the Preface clearly explains the author's attitude toward teaching history along with some personal background information that is insightful. It's pretty clear what this text requires of both parent and student, and while the work load may seem a bit overwhelming if you will give it a chance and be willing to invest a little good old-fashioned hard work then I promise you will see results!
Chapter 1 focuses on Native Americans. The chapter opens with "First Thoughts" and Learning Objectives (you'll find these for each new chapter). There are answers to each lesson's questions in the Teacher Edition, along with an Exam Key to guide you in grading the discussion questions. The textbook spans Native Americans through the War on Terrorism as well as contemporary issues. It touches upon many "taboo" topics that, quite frankly, are actually very appropriate to address with your high school student. Slavery, women's rights, philosophers and their worldviews, immigration, social welfare, the Holocaust, racism, abortion, global warming, and even homeschooling are covered in American History. At some point in time, somebody is going to talk to your child about these issues...and it ought to be you doing the talking. This curriculum is a great way to address these sensitive subjects from a Christian point of view.
James Stobaugh is a proponent of citing primary source work. He expects the student to conduct extensive research in order to write essay-type answers for each lesson's questions. I've read some other reviews of American History that reveal many homeschooling mothers have been irked by this. Yet I honestly think it's what makes this curriculum stand apart from other homeschool history books. It makes for excellent preparation for college coursework and even for the essay portion of the SAT. Constant research and writing causes the student to grow their reasoning and thinking skills. As a mom with 3 kids in high school and 2 in college, I can tell you this is the type of history program to use if your child intends to pursue higher academia. I cannot speak highly enough of these resources. I am thankful Mr. Stobaugh has created them.
I hope this review has been helpful for those looking at high school history options, and I thank you for taking the time to read my review. As this is the last review I plan to write, I was very pleased that is was for one of James Stobaugh's books.
James Stobaugh's new High school textbook "American History" is 384 pages of intense learning opportunity. This is a meaty book about America's past, and asks tough questions about our future.
The book is most definitely designed for the independent learning High School aged student. If your student hasn't done independent study in the past, you may want to consider also purchasing the Teacher's book to help you both transition to this style of learning.
The student book starts out with a Preface to prepare the student for the style of critical thinking and study they will soon come to expect from their daily lessons. The first lesson in Chapter one has one of the best explanation of the seven major Worldviews that I have ever read. This gives the student a basis for thought as the history of America is studied, debated, and questioned. The lessons are from a decidedly Biblical worldview, with thought given to how each person's actions affect those around them.
Each of the 34 chapters is divided into 4 lessons. I think that is wise, because sometimes your High School student is going to have questions, or want to look further into the topics and events from that week's lessons, and will relish having that 5th day of the week to accomplish this without getting behind. The Teacher's guide has an exam for each week. If your student has truly studied during the four lesson days, this will be a review, if not, you'll know they need to go back and re-do the week's lessons.
I also appreciated that the book's lessons begin with the indigenous people groups, and works its way slowly through the colonies, revolution, and eventually into modern day history and contemporary issues.
If you're wanting your student to learn, understand, and REMEMBER their American History, this is a book you'll want to use. This book covers the good and the bad of our history, and requires the student to think through the issues Americans were dealing with at the time, not just fill-in-the-blanks.
This is an excellent book at a very reasonable price!
Curricula can make history seem dull by presenting the cold, dry facts for students to memorize and spit back on tests. This new history series by James Stobaugh engages students by retelling the accounts, often with primary sources; exposing the controversial issues; and introducing students to the real charactersâ€”famous, infamous, and the common menâ€”who played parts through the stages of history.
Published by Master Books of New Leaf Publishing, the American History set at the high school level includes the student guide (382 pages) and teacher's guide (159 pages). Neither are hardbound or color copies. The student guide is intended to help the student learn independently, taking him on a comprehensive trip from Natives of the New World to the War on Terrorism, covering in between the Pilgrims and Puritans, U.S. Constitution, Antebellum Slavery, and much more. In each chapter of the teacher's guide is an introductory paragraph, the chapter learning objectives, and the answer key for assignments and each exam.
The assignments and exams involve far more than simple memorization of facts and figures. They require the student to understand, analyze, interpret, and persuade. The mind and pen will definitely be stretched and strengthened through this course.
The curriculum offers to take "you on a journey through history without the filters of revisionist or anti-Christian perspectives." From the outset, the book introduces the worldviews through which people interpret history, and it sides with the theistic worldviewâ€”that God is the Creator and shaper of history, which will culminate in His victory over sin and death. This definition falls short, I believe, in that the basis for the theistic worldview is His revealed Word, the Bible.
God gave us the Scriptures to reveal Himself, His ways, His story, and His redemptive plan to save sinners who turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. The study of history is meaningless without a firm stance on God's inspired, inerrant Word. It answers questions like these: "How did history begin?" "Why is there sin, suffering, and death recorded throughout history, and what did God do about that?" "How can I find meaning and hope in my fleeting moment in history?" "How will history (as we know it) end?"
While many primary sources are helpfully included throughout the curriculum, the primary source of the Bible should have been referred to more frequently. The author's interpretations, however conservative, are not infallible. For example, see page 27 in a section on colonization where Ephesians 2:1-10 and Galatians 2:16 could have shed light on a quote promoting works righteousness.
If the teacher takes the time with the student to discuss the issues from a biblical perspective, this course raises the bar for history curricula, being both intellectually stimulating and worldview strengthening.
**I received a complimentary copy of this course from the publisher for the purpose of my impartial review.**
This was my reaction after reading through American History: Observations & Assessments from Early Settlement to Today
I have saved the best for last.... In my opinion, this is the best new offering from Master Book's High School History selection.
This curriculum is comprised of 34 chapters with 5 lessons each. Each lesson consists of a short reading section with critical thinking questions and will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Some of these questions can be deduced from the reading, some require thinking 'outside the box' and a few require you to search out the answer in other materials. At the end of each week's lessons is a short exam.
Starting with Pre-Colombian Civilizations, author James Stobaugh takes the student on an engaging journey through American History all with a Christian Worldview.
In addition to the increased length of the readings, are the improved Critical Thinking Questions. They vary from "Which came first, racism or slavery?" to a variety of comparison charts that appear throughout the study to researching a list of Presidents and writing a paragraph about their most memorable accomplishment. These questions are greater in number and depth than in British History and World History.
Another thing I really liked about this study was that it did not *smash* the 1970's to the present together into one mind-numbing lump. The author does a wonderful job moving through the Presidential eras of Kennedy through Obama plus hitting contemporary issues of abortion, health care, terrorism, euthanasia and even homeschooling!
In addition, scattered through the book are sections on Philosophers, Preachers, and Historical Debates of the time which really give the student insight to how day-to-day life was during that particular era.
Whether your child has little knowledge of American History or is a walking Encyclopedia, I think most High Schoolers will enjoy this study.
Though still lacking in mapwork and literature selections, this curriculum definitely makes up for it in depth and broadness of information! And, is one that I am considering for my own children as well.
I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.