Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bright Ideas Press ~ TOS Review

For two months, our family has been studying All American History, Volume 1 by Celeste W. Rakes. This curriculum is offered by a very well known publisher to many in the homeschool community, Bright Ideas Press. All American History is written for grades 5-8, but we have been successfully adapting it for 2nd grade. The teacher's book is full of wonderful and creative ideas to adapt this curriculum for younger children, which include things like book lists and family activities for each lesson.

We are an eclectic homeschool family who is strongly influenced by the Charlotte Mason method of education. At first glance, you would not immediately think this history curriculum would be a good fit for our family, but we have enjoyed using it as the foundation of our study of history this year. We are using the textbook as a guide, and reading any type of literature we can find at our local library to enhance and add life to our lessons, because the text book is written above our children's grade level. I do use the text book when I can't find anything at the library . I will often times read it quickly, and narrate it back to the children on their level. My oldest son enjoys looking at the pictures and the maps in the text book also.

We update our timeline with each lesson, do oral narration, draw pictures of ships, and other events, trace explorer's routes on a map, and make our own maps. The student activity book has a page for each key person you are studying. For instance, when we studied Prince Henry the Navigator we cut out a flag of the country he was born, a flag of the country he explored for, and a picture of him. The children glued these items to the appropriate places on their notebook pages. Then they filled out information about Prince Henry such as when he was born, when he died, and where he explored. We are beginning to have a nice looking Social Studies notebook! When the children are older and we re-use this curriculum, I will require them to do more than the fill-in-the blank forms included in the student activity book. They will be required to do their own written narration about what they've learned.

I look forward to going through this entire curriculum with the children. When we complete it we'll put it on our shelf for a while, and pull it down to go through again in a few years and dig even deeper. The teacher's guide is full of wonderful ideas to further your family's study.

The curriculum comes as either a packaged set, or you can purchase the books individually.

All American History Set (All 3 books included) $68.00

Student Reader (Hardcover, 443 pages) $44.95

Student Activity Book (soft cover, perfect bound, 3-hole punched and perforated, 312 pages) $16.95

Teacher Guide With Answer Key (Soft cover and a must have to use the program, especially if you desire to adapt this for younger children, 268 pages). $18.95

Volume 1 covers the age of European exploration through 1840.
Volume 2 is also available and covers the civil war through the early 21st century.

Go to the Homeschool Crew Blog to read more reviews on other products from Bright Ideas Press.

1 comment:

Samantha said...

Thank you for this review. I'm trying to decide between a few different American History programs for next year so this review was helpful.