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school at home
1 Stars Out Of 5
Great format but antagonistic toward Conservatives
September 5, 2012
school at home
I was very excited when I ordered The Story of the USA workbooks, as the format seemed to be a perfect fit for our home school. I wasn't alarmed by the note that the curriculum "reflects non-Christian scientific and political perspectives" as I thought it would be healthy for us to discuss points of view that differed from our own. Upon receiving the material, however, I found that although the format was indeed fantastic, the content (particularly of book 4) is nothing more than opinion writing, and it is directly antagonistic to anything related to conservative thought. Repeatedly, Republicans are called out and vilified while Democrats are praised. Kennedy and Johnson are singled out as victors (although the evil Vietnam war that Johnson really didn't want to participate in ruined his career) while Reagan is only noted for the Iran Contra affair (which is carefully equated to the Watergate scandal) and choosing to escalate the Cold War. The book ends with commentary that Reagan and Bush did more "expense cutting than tax raising to meet people's needs. As a result, programs that the people had counted on were cut back. Just as important, programs that had not started yet, like health care, had to be delayed." But the book leaves us with a liberal hope. "There was the promise of a 'new world order,' perhaps led by the United Nations. Whatever happened, Americans remained hopeful that under their new president, Bill Clinton, they could meet the challenges that lay ahead." I don't have time here to go into the specific pro-abortion rhetoric (yes - this book finds it necessary to explain to 4th graders that although a "majority of Americans say they support a woman's right to decide" groups have used "civil disobedience" to try to change the law - and "Often, these groups also oppose providing any information about birth control) and the basic claim that because of the women's suffrage movement, women were no longer the property of their husbands or "treated like blacks." We'll also only briefly note the chapter on "Chicanos" (all Mexican Americans?) who mostly "live in cities in crowded barrios, or slums." Or the lumping of an entire community of people with the explanation that "Native Americans are angry . . " I don't think that even my liberal friends would be impressed by this very good vs. evil take on U.S. History. If you want to use a curriculum that will not demonize conservative thought, steer clear! I'll be returning mine.
I bought this series in the hopes of finding material that my reluctant 4th Grade reader could pursue on his own - a nudge from the mama-bird, so to speak. It not only met our needs, but has proven an engaging and well-planned history review. He thoroughly enjoys the work and is reading with more confidence. I would say it is appropriate for any 3rd - 5th Grader, with a reading level falling between these.