As I’ve mentioned before, my oldest daughter loves history, but my youngest does not. I have always struggled to find the right balance between the two of them when it comes to this subject.
Now that Abigail is in 8th grade, I’ve been feeling that it’s time to give her more challenging history lessons. However, it’s been a struggle to find something that fits because I need curriculum that she can work on independently and will also keep her engaged. She doesn’t want to just learn facts, she wants to understand history.
That’s why I was excited to be introduced to Dave Raymond’s American History Curriculum from Compass Classroom.
This multi-sensory, faith-based American history curriculum takes teens from Meso-America through to Theodore Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington.
26 Weekly Lesson Plans
This curriculum contains a total of 26 lessons. Each one is broken down into 5 sections, with a different 10-15 minute video for each one. Because Dave Raymond is so knowledgeable and passionate, I actually watch the videos with my daughter. This gives us the opportunity to discuss what we’ve learned and I can answer any questions she has. Plus, I’m discovering facets of history I didn’t know before.
After the videos, she is responsible for reading the corresponding sections from the Student Reader. Some are longer than others, so the amount of time she spends reading varies from week to week. This is not fluff reading. Instead, students are exposed to rich literature and primary source material.
For example, in the second part of lesson 14, the required reading is the Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation which George Washington transcribed into his copybook as a student, which is now housed at the Library of Congress. During this lesson, I made sure Abigail took a look at the original copy and we discussed whether these 16th Century rules held a place in today’s society.
After watching the videos and finishing the reading assignments, it’s portfolio time. Each student is expected to keep a portfolio throughout the year as a way to record what they learn in each lesson. It can include narration, original artwork, quotes, photographs, and anything else the student desires as long as it relates to the lessons. Almost like a history scrapbook. What a great idea!
I really love that the kids are encouraged by Mr. Raymond to do their best work. By taking their time and showing attention to detail, the portfolio becomes a treasured resource.
In the Student Reader, at the end of each lesson, there’s a ten question exam for the students to complete. I was excited to see that the questions were essays, not multiple-choice. This gives Abigail a chance to thoughtfully share what she’s learned and I can easily see whether she truly grasped the material.
Aside from all of this, there are two more items students spend many hours working on. I have to tell you that Abigail is excited about both of them!
First is a research and thesis paper. Part way through the lessons, she will choose a topic that she would like to research. She will need to express an opinion and defend it with various sources. She will be required to provide a bibliography, multiple citations, and when finished, present her paper in front of others.
Right now she is considering writing about the Trail of Tears or the Underground Railroad.
The other item is a large project, completed over the course of 30-40 hours. This is a huge undertaking. The Teacher’s Guide offers quite a few suggestions, but the project can focus on anything related to American History.
Abigail is thinking of doing some stop motion animation, possibly including claymation or her American Girl dolls. She hasn’t really made up her mind yet.
I received a copy of this curriculum as well as financial compensation for an honest review. All opinions stated are mine.
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What I love about Dave Raymond’s American History Curriculum
- Students are encouraged to take their time and do their best work, especially on their portfolio, project and research paper.
- The videos are interesting, easy to understand, and full of stunning artwork.
- Instead of just facts and figures, the curriculum tells stories, to help you understand and appreciate history and its important figures.
- The Teacher’s Manual saves me a ton of time because everything I need is right there.
- With this curriculum, there’s enough material to count as 1 high school history credit. Can I tell you how much I love that?!
What’s included in this full year of American History:
- 26 lessons taught via video
- A downloadable and printable Student Reader
- Weekly exam questions and answers
- A downloadable and printable Teacher’s Guide
- Information needed for thesis papers, student projects, and a year-long portfolio
Want to see it for yourself? You can watch lessons for FREE!
What’s even better is that Compass Classroom is currently running their Back to School Sale!