Written for eighth grade students, The American Republic is an introduction to United States history that continues up through the beginning of the Obama presidency (2009). If your teen has already studied United States history at an elementary or junior high level, and if he or she is mature enough to handle the deeper philosophical questions, you can skip to the BJUP eleventh-grade-level United States History, which is more interesting.
This third edition has excellent graphics, illustrations, and maps. The text differs from many others in that it clearly presents a conservative (politically), Protestant point of view. It has a more opinionated tone than do most texts for eighth graders. (Those familiar with earllier editions will spot some reorganization and rewriting of material from earlier editions with some addtions, especially the updating for the past decade. Some changes, such as less attention on Christopher Columbus in questions at the end of the first chapter, are a little more significant than others.
This text has useful discussion questions, with thought questions added to each section review. American geography and social development coverage, plus periodic original documents and biographical sketches enhance the text.
The two-volume teacher's edition includes valuable background information that will significantly enhance lessons if you are able to use it. It also has complete lesson plans and slightly-reduced, full-color reproductions of student pages with answers printed in border areas surrounding student pages. The teacher's edition also includes a CD-ROM with printable support material such as maps, charts, historical documents, and articles.
The Student Activity Book is useful. While it includes some fill-in-the-blank questions, it also features construction of graphs and charts, map work, and other more analytical, thought-provoking activities. For example, one assignment has students complete a chart contrasting constitutional opinions regarding states rights, then describe and defend their own position (p. 114). You will also want the teacher's edition for the student activity book.
The homeschool kit includes the student edition, Student Activity Book, teacher's editions for both books, tests, and tests answer key. You might want to consider supplementing with two other BJUP books, Free Indeed: Heroes of Black Christian History and/or Faith of Our Fathers: Scenes from American Church History.