My dd11 used All American History 1 independently in 6th grade from 2006-2007, and she loved it. She kept asking if she could keep reading and not stop at the end of the lesson. We supplemented with books from the library that pertained to the time period we were studying. There are long lists of suggested books for each of the units separated by age group in the TE.
The TE and Activity book are very important to making it different from a textbook approach. The activity book has a notebooking-type page where the student relays information from the chapter. There is a little mapping that goes with the lesson. Then there is a multiple-choice review for each lesson.
The TE has information for all the For Further Study ideas. It also has a large list of living book suggestions as well as ideas on how to adjust the material for younger or older students. There are also family activity ideas to cement the teaching.
I would feel comfortable using it starting with 5th grade and into high school as it is easily expandable for the older student. My 4th grader was not getting much out of it so we dropped it for her.
My plan was to do at least one of the For Further Study activities each lesson but found that there was plenty of material for a 6th grader without it. For a high school student, I would just add all the For Further Study activities and then have them do additional research and report writing. There are forms for researching individual battles (vs just learning about the wars), individual Presidents, individual colonies, European explorers, and Native American tribes.
The main negative for me was that it was a little difficult to break the material into lessons, as the text portion is quite long for each chapter. It would also be nice if there was more variety in the student activity manual.
All American History 1 is comprised of a Student Reader, Student Activity Book, and a Teacher Manual. You can make as much out of this curriculum as you want. I feel it is a great combination of a textbook, notebooking, and literature-based curriculum.
You can see samples of this curriculum at the Bright Ideas Press website.
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