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All American History

Publisher: Bright Ideas Press
Author: Celeste W. Rakes
Review last updated: November 2014

This is one of my 102 Top Picks!

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All American History

See the complete review in 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

All American History (AAH) is a two-year, two-volume course in U.S. history. It can be used by students in grades five through twelve, by either one student or multiple students working at one or more grade levels. The AAH Junior edition allows you to include students in kindergarten through fourth grade to learn along with their older siblings.

The two volumes are titled Volume 1, The Explorers to the Jacksonians and Volume 2: The Civil War to the 21st Century.
AAH
is distinctly different from traditional textbooks with its multi-age approach as well as its use of real books and hands-on activities. It should work very well in homeschool settings. Developed through use in co-op classes, it easily adapts for use with individual children. Each volume stands alone, but you need both for complete coverage of U.S. history.

AAH purposely emphasizes social and cultural aspects of history as we often find in mainstream history texts for the elementary grades. The content should be acceptable to almost all home educators since it is presented objectively and without editorializing in comparison to some other options used by home educators. While it includes religious developments often ignored by other texts, these receive far less mention than one finds in history books from Christian publishers such as BJU Press, A Beka Book, and Christian Liberty Press. Those wanting a secular text should be comfortable with the minimal treatment of religion in this book. However, the student activity book’s “For Further Study” suggestions and “Family Activity Ideas” in the teacher’s guide occasionally offer some more overtly Christian topics....With few exceptions, assignments and suggestions are not specifically Christian. This arrangement allows the parent who prefers a secular approach to skip any topics with which they are uncomfortable. While Christian parents have occasional opportunities in AAH to make faith connections, they might want to supplement with more faith-based resources or raise questions about biblical principles and historical characters and events.

There are three essential components to the course for each volume: the student reader, student activity book, and teacher’s guide. The core book is the hardcover student reader. Similar to textbooks, student readers present historical information accompanied by black-and-white illustrations. A brief summary of key points concludes each chapter. The text of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are included in an appendix in both volumes. These are substantial books with 442 pages in the first volume and 557 in the second.

Questions and assignments are all found in the consumable student activity books. Here you find activity pages, map forms, review questions, For Further Study assignments, and Images for Required Forms. The last item is a collection of illustrations (primarily of people) and flags to be used on activity pages. The illustrations in the student activity book are intended to be beneficial to both visual learners as well as kinesthetic learners, providing cut-and-paste activities to keep their hands engaged....

Activity book pages are perforated and three-hole-punched so they can be easily removed and put into a binder. At the end of the activity book are Optional Forms for Further Study. These forms require students to do more in-depth research on topics such as a Native American tribe, a Revolutionary War or World War battle, or a United States President....

The course for each volume is broken down into four units, with eight lessons (chapters) per unit. The activity book has review questions for each lesson, but it also has a test at the end of each unit. An additional set of high school level tests are available.

The teacher’s guides include reduced reproductions of all student activity book pages with completed answers and information to serve as your answer key for all but the For Further Study assignments....

The teacher’s guides have additional activity suggestions and recommended reading lists for three levels: kindergarten through fourth grade, grades five through eight, and grades nine through twelve....

Part of the reason this course is so suitable for homeschooling is that while the ideal audience is probably junior high, it easily expands for use with younger and older students....Bright Ideas Press has also come out with optional All American History Junior courses for both volumes that give students smaller amounts of material to read, add age-appropriate literature study guides, and provide alternative map work, activity pages, folder book projects, puzzles, and notebooking and coloring pages. The Junior program substitutes for the student activity books, but you still need the student readers and the teacher’s guides.

It’s even easier with high school students. While you choose from among the optional activities for students in elementary grades, older students complete most of the optional activities, especially the For Further Study questions and the optional forms. The student readers cover most topics very briefly, so it is essential that high school students delve deeper into some topics. They need to read at least one book per unit from the recommended reading lists....

Another plus regarding this course for homeschoolers is that the components are very reasonably priced, especially the teacher’s guide....

The books are very professional in appearance and presentation, but other than the covers, they are printed in black-and-white throughout. This should not be a big issue for most students.

Note that Year 4 of Bright Ideas Press’ Illuminations is a wrap-around program that uses All American History as a spine. Illuminations integrates history, Bible, language arts, literature, science, fine arts, geography, and life skills. You might want to consider using AAH within the Illuminations Year 4 program.

Pricing

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  • All American History, Vol. 1: The Explorers to the Jacksonians, Student Reader

    All American History, Vol. 1: The Explorers to the Jacksonians, Student Reader

    Celeste W. Rakes

    All American History, Vol. 1: The Explorers to the Jacksonians, Student Activity

    All American History, Vol. 1: The Explorers to the Jacksonians, Student Activity

    Celeste W. Rakes

    All American History, Vol. 2: The Civil War to the 21st Century, Student Activit

    All American History, Vol. 2: The Civil War to the 21st Century, Student Activit

    All American History Volume II Student Activity Book

    All American History Volume II Student Activity Book

    All American History Vol II Teacher Guide/Answer Key

    All American History Vol II Teacher Guide/Answer Key

    All American History Vol II Student Reader

    All American History Vol II Student Reader

    All American History Vol 1 Tchr Gde/Ans Key

    All American History Vol 1 Tchr Gde/Ans Key

    All American History Vol 1 Student Activity Book

    All American History Vol 1 Student Activity Book

    Celeste W. Rakes

    All American History Vol 1 Student Reader

    All American History Vol 1 Student Reader

    Celeste W. Rakes

    Instant Key

    • Learning Styles: all
      Suitable for: Requires some group or one-on-one work and some independent work
      Audience: grades 5-8, but extends to younger and older students
      Need for parent/teacher instruction: 
      moderate to high--less for older students
      Prep time needed:
      minimal 
      Need for Teacher's Manual:  required
      Religious perspective:
      subtly Christian

    Publisher's Info

    • Bright Ideas Press

      PO Box 192
      Magnolia, DE 19962
      877.492.8081
      e-mail: info@brightideaspress.com
      www.brightideaspress.com