Monday, August 12, 2013

Notgrass Company: America the Beautiful {A Review}

The Notgrass Company sent us their America the Beautiful Curriculum Package for grades 5-8 ($99.95) and The America the Beautiful Student Workbook for grades 5-6 ($11.95) to review and as a bonus we received America the Beautiful Lesson Review (grades 7-8) for future use.

First Thoughts
When this enormous package came in the mail, I was stunned. Everything is so absolutely beautiful and it is such a complete curriculum, combining history, geography, language arts, reading, music, arts and crafts, cooking projects, and more. If you wished, you could make this your sole curriculum by adding in a dash of math.

What's Included
America the Beautiful is designed to be used as a one-year unit study course with a textbook-based approach. The lessons are in chronological order. There are daily lessons (5 days a week). If you have additional children using the program, you would only need to purchase the consumable books (Maps of America the Beautiful and Timeline of America the Beautiful; and either the Student Workbook or Lesson Review).

The America the Beautiful Curriculum Package incorporates 6 books:

America the Beautiful Part 1 is a hard backed book that covers the years 1000-1877 beginning with life in America before Europeans came and continuing through the first years after the Civil War. There are 75 lessons. 

Marble bags

America the Beautiful Part 2 is a hard backed book that covers 1800-modern times beginning with America's expansion into the lands west of the Mississippi River and continuing to current times. There are 75 lessons in this book as well.

We the People is an amazing collection of 150 primary resources: journal entries, newspaper articles, advertisements, poems, songs, letters, short stories, speeches, and other historic documents from American history. It is a hard backed book.

Maps of America the Beautiful has 30 maps drawn especially for this curriculum. Many of the lessons in the America the Beautiful books contain a map to accompany it and it is recommended that the child has it out when reading so that they can refer to it throughout the reading. This book is soft cover and consumable. 

Timeline of America the Beautiful is an illustrated timeline of American history from AD 1000 to the present designed specifically to include facts learned in the lessons. Some facts are already printed on the timeline and others are to be written in as the child works. The timeline is soft cover and includes black line drawings. This book is a consumable.

America the Beautiful Answer Key has answers for the Timeline, Student Workbook, Lesson Review, and the vocabulary assignments included in the main text. It is soft cover.


For additional purchase, you could choose America the Beautiful Student Workbook or the America the Beautiful Lesson Review:

I wouldn't consider America the Beautiful Student Workbook to be a typical workbook. It consists of crosswords, find-a-words, matching, codes, drawing assignments, and other handwork activities. This is a consumable, soft cover book.

America the Beautiful Lesson Review is a book of lesson review questions, literature review questions, and weekly quizzes. This book is designed to help parents measure their child's comprehension of the material. This is a consumable, soft cover book and is designed for older students that aren't using America the Beautiful Student Workbook.

Making a Long House

Additional materials:
  • various materials for the end of the week project
  • a 3 ring binder and notebook paper
  • 10 recommended literature titles (available for purchase from Notgrass for $59.95)
    • The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
    • Amos Fortune: Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
    • Brady by Jean Fritz
    • Bound for Oregon by Jean Van Leeuwen
    • Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
    • Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    • All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
    • Blue Willow by Doris Gates
    • Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
    • Katy by Mary Evelyn Notgrass
  • colored pencils
  • pencils
Tea crate

How we used it
Every day we started out by reading the text pages assigned. Then Ceesa would complete the additional assignments that incorporated some of these each day: reading, map work, primary resource readings, time lines, additional vocabulary assignments, projects, workbook activities or lesson review, reading the additional literature recommendations, creative writing, thinking biblically, and family activities.

Our version of fry bread

How much time is involved:
For the parent, you may simply assign the work and check in to see how things are going, if your child is an independent reader or can work through assignments alone. Or you may choose to read the assigned readings to your child and complete the major projects with him/her. Every week there is a large creative project that will require someone to purchase any materials necessary.

To complete each lesson as directed took Ceesa about an hour and a half. There are several components to complete for each assignment.

What Ceesa Thought and Learned
Ceesa says she liked that we worked on the readings together. She especially liked the larger recommended projects. Each page has several illustrations and she was glad to see examples.

She learned a lot about Native Americans and very early settlers from Europe to America. 

Wishing you homeschool blessings,

Click here to read more reviews from Schoolhouse Review Crew. *Our review was in the Top Ten on pinterest!! To see all ten click here.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for reviewing America the Beautiful, Bethany. I loved seeing the photos of your projects. Ya'll did a great job.

Charlene Notgrass

Bethany said...

Thanks so much Charlene! We enjoyed reviewing it for you! Ceesa loves history so it was just what she likes best.

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