Abeka's history courses for grades one through eight are all written from a patriotic view and reflect a biblical worldview (Protestant). Both student textbooks and teacher editions are softcover books.
My America and My World, fifth edition (first grade)
This very brief overview of the United States and the world is patriotic and upbeat. It offers tidbits about famous people and places (including the fable about George Washington and the cherry tree) along with an introduction to citizenship through lessons that explain our basic freedoms. "World" study features a few paragraphs about selected countries. You might want to purchase only the teacher edition. It has easy-to-read images of the student pages surrounded by instructional information. A child could look at the text and read along if they wish. The instructional information fleshes out and enlivens lessons with additional information such as a suggested way to teach about the words to the song "America, the Beautiful." The teacher edition also has discussion questions, comprehension questions, geography, and writing activities. Of course, this requires teacher presentation, but it should require minimal or no preparation time.
Our America, fifth edition (second grade)
This 176-page textbook provides an introduction to our country's history and the 50 states. It teaches about our flag, patriotic holidays, and songs (music included), then shifts to brief historical vignettes and/or summaries about the Native Americans, Separatists, colonists, pioneers, athletes, and immigrants. Occasionally, it inserts a story. Plenty of full-color pictures and large print make the appearance appealing to children. Although it has a good deal more text than does the first-grade book from Abeka, Our America still covers topics briefly. Comprehension questions are presented throughout the book, and vocabulary words are shown in boxes. The teacher edition has easy-to-read images of the student textbook pages surrounded by instructional information such as comprehension questions (with answers), discussion questions, and enrichment suggestions. Lesson plans for the course are included in Homeschool History, Science, and Health 2: Curriculum Lesson Plans. There is also a Homeschool History, Science, and Health 2: Activity Book which has its own separate teacher key. The activity book has some fill-in-the-blank and labeling activities along with coloring pages, puzzles, and mazes. I would consider the activity book optional.
Our American Heritage: People in U.S. History, fifth edition (third grade)
This colorful book is essentially brief biographies of famous Americans. You can read with your child or have him or her read aloud if they are able. You might want to consider reading full-length books about people mentioned in this textbook who interest your child. Our American Heritage Maps is an ancillary workbook with map and geography activities. Homeschool History 3 Curriculum Lesson Plans is a 210-page, spiralbound book with complete lesson plans that include scripted questions and answers for discussion, comprehension questions and answers, and suggestions for hands-on and creative writing activities. Quizzes and tests are available in a separate book, and there are individual answer key books for the student textbook, the maps workbook, and the quizzes and tests. In my opinion, the textbook and the maps book with their answer keys are the most important items.
The History of Our United States in Christian Perspective, fourth edition (fourth grade)
For a fourth-grade level history book, this has more comprehensive content coverage than average. It covers U.S. history, emphasizing patriotism and the spread of the Gospel. The political view is clearly conservative. The text includes comprehension questions throughout each chapter, with a lengthier "chapter checkup" at the end. Lush, full-color illustrations, timelines, maps, and photographs give this text unusually strong visual appeal. You will probably want to use the separate Geography/Maps & Reviews workbook. There are separate answer keys for the student text and the geography/maps workbook. The History of Our United States Quizzes and Tests book has 35 quizzes, 16 tests, and quarterly exams. There are also six state history quizzes and two state history tests for the teacher to adapt for the state being studied. The quizzes and tests book has its own answer key. History & Geography 4: Curriculum/Lessons Plans correlates the two components and suggest a few additional activities, but I think it is of marginal benefit to homeschoolers. However, it does show how to incorporate a study of state history into the course since that is sometimes a requirement in fourth grade.
Old World History & Geography in Christian Perspective, fourth edition (fifth grade)
This book is an introduction to eastern hemisphere history with an emphasis on geography that dictates the book's organizational structure. Study begins with the Fertile Crescent, moves through the Middle East, central and southern Asia, Egypt, and Africa, then on to Europe and Australia. As students study each geographic area, they are also studying history from ancient times through the present, albeit very briefly.
This is really a geography/social studies book more than history. It includes church history and frequently addresses forms of government, particularly communism. Throughout the book, Christianity and the Bible are used as the standard and measure of comparison for all cultures and ideas. One entire chapter is titled: "Christianity: The Greatest Force in History."
Historical coverage seems more extensive in regard to ancient civilizations than it is for modern civilizations. For example, more than six pages are devoted to Sumer, while France gets about three pages. Treatment of ancient civilizations is also wider ranging, and, consequently, more interesting than treatment of countries such as Italy and France. For example, in reading about Sumer, we learn about archaeology, the invention of the wheel, cuneiform writing, their culture, geography, religion, education, and history. In comparison, the study of France seems very narrowly selective. It begins with its location and geography. Next, two very general aragraphs introduce "People and Events," which includes snippets on famous men and women. Next are two paragraphs on John Calvin and the Huguenots; a single paragraph each on the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and Napoleon; two paragraphs on modern France; and a few geographical highlights. Comprehension questions follow each subsection within each chapter, and there are "Chapter Checkup" tests at the end of each chapter. The Old World History & Geography: Answer Key has answers to the textbook questions.
Within the student textbook, there are plenty of maps and full-color illustrations as well as interesting sidebars throughout the text. Towards the back of the book, a "Geography Handbook" includes an atlas, continent studies (which students should work through in conjunction with the appropriate chapters), and geography facts.
Old World History & Geography: Maps & Activities has maps and review worksheets that are useful. This workbook has its own answer key.
Annoyingly, quizzes and tests are available in two separate books. If you use these, you need to also purchase the separate answer keys for each one.
You should follow this text with Abeka's New World History & Geography. If you begin with Old World History, it is difficult to jump to another history book for coverage of the New World because of the organizational structure.
Yet another ancillary item is Homeschool Old World History & Geography Maps A. Each of the 14 maps in this set has labels identifying places and features on one side but is unlabeled on the reverse.
New World History & Geography in Christian Perspective, fourth edition (sixth grade)
This is the 2010 revision of Abeka's study of western hemisphere history that emphasizes geography and cultures. It covers United States history very selectively up through the first decade of the 21st century. Note that Abeka's Old and New World History books are not chronologically divided, but geographically. This book should be used following Old World History and Geography.
The text is generously illustrated in full color. A large section of maps at the back is followed by “Geography Facts” assignments that correlate with chapters within the text. Some parts of this text are lively, but when it tries to tell all about the geography and history of each country in a very few pages the presentation is very dry. You need to accompany at least some sections of this book with more lively supplements if you want children to enjoy history.
Comprehension questions are presented after segments of a chapter; there might be three or more of these brief sets of questions within a chapter. Chapter Checkups quiz students on the entire chapter and are typically two pages long. All of these questions as well as the map study questions deal mostly with factual information rather than analysis or interpretation. Answers for textbook questions are in the New World History & Geography: Answer Key.
New World History & Geography: Maps and Activities book is the student activity workbook. Students work on maps and activity pages that reinforce the content of the textbook. This book has its own answer key.
As with the Old World course, quizzes and tests are published in two separate booklets, each with its own answer key. You might want the quiz and test booklets for cumulative testing purposes, but it seems to me that there are plenty of questions at the end of each chapter for assessment. Note that both test and quiz booklets as well as the maps and activities book are included in the Grade 6 Child Kit along with the student textbook. A Geography Bowl Quiz Team Book also comes with the Child Kit, but this really seems superfluous.
In addition, there is a set of Homeschool New World History &Geography: Review Maps B that can be used along with the course. Each of the 14 maps in this set has labels identifying places and features on one side but is unlabeled on the reverse.
You might consider using A Beka's Nation Notebook for an in-depth study of one country during the school year.
Children can use the Nation Notebook to study a single country. Instructions at the beginning teach how to do research, including how to write letters to get information about a country. The book helps students frame their searches for information by designating topics for each page with specific "research questions" in the far left margin. Students paste pictures and postcards directly on the pages, then complete their drawings and written information.
Pages have headings like "Climate," "Capital City," and "Language." The completed pages of this book are the finished product. Parents might want to select which pages to use, depending upon how extensive they want the project to be.
Canadian Province Notebook
Canadian students will find A Beka's Canadian Province Notebook a useful tool for focusing research and organizing the presentation of information for their studies. Instructions at the beginning of the book tell how to do the research. The remaining pages can be used for the actual presentation. Pages have headings, boxes for illustrations, specific spaces such as the one for drawing Canada's flag, and general directions for completing each page. Time line and map pages help children gain historical and geographical perspectives. Research must be done from other sources, but this notebook saves students' time by narrowing research topics and providing a ready-made presentation format. (Suggested for 4th-6th grade levels.)
The History of the World in Christian Perspective, fifth edition (seventh grade)
History of the World begins with creation and continues through the beginning of the twenty-first century. Reflecting A Beka's Christian (Protestant), patriotic, conservative stance, this text teaches history with purposeful intent. It serves as an overview rather than an in-depth study of world history. (Students will cover material more deeply at high school level.) Full-color illustrations and an interesting format enhance the text.
An answer key and a teacher's edition are both available to provide answers for the questions in the student textbook, but you only need one or the other. The less expensive answer key will suffice for most homeschooling families.
Additional, but optional, materials are a test booklet, a quiz booklet, teacher keys for both items, World History Maps, Eastern Hemisphere Map Skill Cards, and World Atlas and Geography Studies: Eastern Hemisphere.
World Atlas and Geography Studies: Eastern Hemisphere
World Atlas and Geography Studies: Eastern Hemisphere should be used along with the seventh-grade textbook although it is not absolutely essential. (It might also be used on its own aside from that text.) The World Atlas is the first of two supplemental geography books, with the second covering the western hemisphere for use in eighth grade. It has numerous map activities and related questions. It follows the same format as Geography Studies and Projects: Western Hemisphere which is reviewed after the eighth-grade text below. The World Atlas has its own answer key.
America: Land That I Love, third edition (eighth grade)
Abeka offers America: Land That I Love as its eighth-grade text for United States history. This text is relatively up-to-date with the third edition having been published in 2016. Updates to this textbook have included additional coverage of women, Native American, and minority groups. This textbook strongly reflects Abeka's boldly patriotic, conservative, Christian (Protestant) point of view—it is obviously opinionated. Some might see this as a negative, but as long as these positions align closely with yours, this makes the book far more interesting than one that strives to be neutral.
The reading level is appropriate for junior high. The book is over 400 pages in length, but the print is large enough for comfortable reading and there are numerous full-color illustrations.
Questions are a mix of factual recall, map reading, and thought questions. Within each chapter are periodic section reviews with factual questions and identifications. Chapter reviews have more extensive questions, map work, and thought questions. Between both types of questions, there are enough that using both the quiz and test booklets might be unnecessary. (I would prioritize the test rather than the quizzes.)
The teacher's edition has answers to text questions, but the less expensive America: Land I Love: Answer Key to Text Questions will suffice.
Support materials include Geography Studies and Projects of the Western Hemisphere (and its answer key), Western Hemisphere Map Skill Cards, and a Civics Activity Book. The Civics Activity Book is fairly superficial, so you might want to skip it and cover government much more extensively using Abeka's high school text for American government or another resource at a later date.
Geography Studies and Projects: Western Hemisphere
This geography worktext was designed to be used with Abeka's America: Land That I Love at the eighth-grade level. A similar volume, World Atlas and Geography Studies: Eastern Hemisphere, is used in seventh grade. Be aware that Abeka divides studies by hemispheres, an unusual approach not commonly found in other textbooks.
The first part of Geography Studies and Projects: Western Hemisphere consists of maps and data on the countries of the western hemisphere. However, the United States is divided into sections and given more attention than South America, for which there is only one map and minimal information about each country on the continent. Students will need to refer to these maps as well as historical maps, such as those in America: Land That I Love, to complete the "geography projects" in the second half of the book. These projects are fill-in-the-blank exercises and map marking. Although this is not an exciting way to learn geography, the format is colorful and students have to search out information and do some analysis to figure out some of the answers.