This 2010 text has a rather broad focus, encompassing modern United States history, world history, geography, government, economics, and cultures.
The first two chapters discuss boundaries, geography (world), and transportation. Then history begins abruptly with an extensive discussion of WWI in chapter 3. Chapter 4, titled “Nations of the Earth,” breezes through the concepts of cultures, the study of history from both primary and secondary sources, archaeology, geography (natural resources and land features), capital cities (using Washington D.C. as an example), and national symbols (flags and anthems). Chapter 5 is a whirlwind tour of U.S. geographical regions that concludes with a look at six different architectural styles found in the U.S. The Roaring 20’s then gets an entire chapter’s worth of attention. Following this, chapter 7 is devoted to economics with a discussion of basic, but essential concepts to which children in elementary grades are rarely exposed. The economics background should be helpful for the discussion in chapter 8 of the 1929 crash of the stock market, the Great Depression, and the New Deal. Chapter 9 continues the historical thread, focusing on Russia and the rise of Stalin; Italy, Mussolini, and Fascism; Hitler; and the Show Emperor of Japan—all leading up to chapter 10’s discussion of WWII. Chapters 11 and 12 wrap up with U.S. History through the election of President Obama.
The Teacher’s Edition provides discussion questions scripted for the teacher as the student works from the student text. The teacher also should use visual aids such as a globe and those printed or displayed from the CD-ROM that is packaged with the Teacher’s Edition. Students work independently in their Student Activity Manual, an essential element of the course. Heritage Studies 5 includes many hands-on activities such as games, building cardboard models of homes in various architectural styles, and creating artifacts out of salt dough.
Students should maintain a notebook for the course to keep together completed pages from the Activity Manual (already three-hole punched), research, mapwork, and other coursework.
A “Resource Treasury” at the back of the text (and TE) features a mini-atlas and a glossary. The TE also has a section on “Bible Action Truths” and “ Bible Promises,” a chart showing connections to NCSS Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, a list of materials needed for each lesson, and reproduced, reduced-size pages of the Student Activity Manual overprinted with answers. A “Teacher’s Toolkit” CD-ROM at the back of the TE provides printable game boards and pieces for seven file folder games, instructional aids for lessons (blank maps, charts, worksheets), visual aids, chapter quizzes and answer keys, a “resource treasury” that reproduces some pages from the student text, and scoring rubrics.
This text shifts from extremely shallow coverage of some topics (e.g., architecture) that might have been omitted to in-depth coverage of others. The various wars seem to dominate disproportionately. On the other hand, the inclusion of the economic perspective and its impact on history is a useful element. The entire presentation is based on a biblical Christian worldview and a conservative political outlook.
The home school kit includes Student Text, Teacher’s Edition, Student Activity Manual, tests, and tests answer key.