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History and Geography Curriculum

History Helps for Parents

Curriculum: U.S. History

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Featured resource

The Landmark History of the American People (Volumes I and II)

The original version of The Landmark History of the American People was written by Daniel Boorstin, a historian and former Librarian of Congress, with assistance from his wife Ruth. It was published in 1968 and 1987. John Holzmann, cofounder of Sonlight Curriculum, Ltd., has revised The Landmark History of the American People, to make it more practical to use and more visually appealing.

Published as a two-volume series, it might be used with students as young as fourth grade and up through high school. On their website, Sonlight shows it as appropriate for grades three through six, but the two volumes together are equivalent in the amount of text and most of the topics covered to many high school level texts for United States History. Because of this, I am hesitant to recommend it for fourth graders, much less third graders, even as a read aloud. However, it should be great for fifth through eighth grade students.

The books are heavily illustrated, and the illustrations are of a higher caliber than we find in many texts. Many historical painting, drawings, cartoons, and photographs, are mixed with what appears to be custom artwork created for these volumes.

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Curriculum: World History

Supplements: U.S. History

Supplements: World History

History-Included Programs

Special Topics


Geography On the Web

Check out the (mostly) free modern and historical maps online from the University of Texas at

Students (and others) can practice identifying the location of the states with this online puzzle: has free, challenging Map Snap games at

National Geographic has a free map tool that allows a great deal of customization. You can create and print completed maps or outline maps and selected versions between both at

Seterra has more than 100 different geography games and exercises at This is a free site that you can access online or download to your computer. It drills on states, countries, and capitals, but also covers provinces and territories within countries, oceans, lakes, rivers, flags, mountains, and important cities. It's a very simply designed program--click to assign a label to the correct location. Labels sometimes overlap each other, making it difficult to use, but it's still very good for a free resource.

Sheppard Software has some great geography games for both the U.S. and the world at These are free and quick to access, and they are especially good for practice identifying states and capitals as well as countries and their capitals.



Core Knowledge Classic Lesson Plans for social studies for grades K-8. See my review.

Many documents are available free at:

Graphite is a site that hosts teacher reviews and ratings for online games and websites as well as apps. Free and no registration required.

Historical Fiction for Children and Young Adults has annotated historical fiction recommendations arranged by time period, geographical, area, and reading level.

The National Archives Experience: Docs Teach - using documents from The National Archives, this site makes primary source documents from U.S. history available and also provides extensive detailed lesson plans for teaching specific topics from our history. Lessons cover only selected topics so this is supplemental material.

PowerMyLearning is a free online site that helps you find games, videos, and software by grade level, subject area, standards covered. You can create your own playlists.

Social Studies School Service has a website page with descriptions and links to a number of primary source-based learning resources as well as huge range of other social studies resources in all media formats at