Homeschool History: Our Plan for 2012/2013

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We are taking a little side trip for history this year.  I love the chronological order of classical history and we thoroughly enjoyed studying ancient history for the past year.  However, one question continued to crop up from Firefly, now age 8.  “But, Mom,” he asked, “what was happening here?  In the United States?”

Well, I couldn’t really answer him, beyond the fact that there were Native Americans here when Columbus arrived, but what about before that?  A few vague facts swam around in my head about Ponce de Leon, but that was it. That is either a reflection of a poor memory on my part or evidence that our educational system missed the boat, so to speak, when I was in school.  Either way, I was curious, too. What did happen, in ancient times, in what we now call The United States?

So, we are taking a step in the child-led direction and we are going to learn all about very early American history, starting with pre-historic times.

We are going to use Joy Hakim’s books, A History of US, to begin our journey.  What I love about Hakim’s books, is that they read like a story. And that is just what we will do. We’ll read the stories. And we will add in a craft or activity here and there, a field trip or two or more.

And, even more of a change, the Creekside Dad is going to step into the role of teacher for Firefly. He loves U.S. history and volunteered for this assignment.  I can use all the help I can get around here, with a third grader, a first grader and preschooler this year.  And besides, I am really thrilled that he will be taking more of a role in our homeschooling journey.

Creekside Dad and Firefly will start with Volume 1 of Hakim’s 11 book series:  The First Americans: Prehistory-1600 A History of US Book 1.  I love the quote on the cover:

This book begins in the Ice Age with some people who hiked and canoed from Asia to a New Land and, thousands of years later, got called Indians by Christopher Columbus, who didn’t know where he was.

The plan is to cover this text in 20 weeks, from August to December.  Then we hope to start the next volume, Making Thirteen Colonies: 1600-1740 A History of US Book 2
so that by Spring we can take advantage of the wonderful historical places our state (Virginia) has to offer (Williamsburg, Jamestown, etc.).

What about The Queen Bee, my first grader, you ask? She’ll be doing some of this along with us, but probably not so in-depth as her older brother. We’ll use more storybooks from the library and do some more crafts with her.  She will love the field trips, too.

Do you have any resources for early American history that you could share? An activity, a great go-along book, a Pinterest board? Please leave me a comment. I’d love to hear what made this part of history exciting for your family.


  1. Thanks for sharing this resource. Looks like something we could use this year, too. Earlier this summer we started using Beautiful Feet Early American History. It’s note booking using living books we check out from the library. It begins with Leif Erikson and follows through to Buffalo Bill. We’re taking it easy this summer so we’ve only gone through our first book, but my son seems to enjoy it. But then again, what little boy doesn’t like a Viking?!

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  2. I was homeschooled 6th grade through high school and am now looking forward to homeschooling my two sons. We’re not quite to US Hostory yet (they are two and ten-months), but my mother did use Hakim’s series last year with my two youngest siblings and they loved it! I am excited to see what your family adds to it so I can take notes for later. Thanks for sharing such great ideas on here!!

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    • Thanks for your comment, Kali! Love it when I hear from adults who were homeschooled growing up. All the best to you with homeschooling your boys. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Amy! Found it and added it to our instant queue so it is ready to go!

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  3. We belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so in addition to reading the Book of Mormon regularly, I’ll be using the Book of Mormon in conjunction with our history curriculum. It helps to fill in historical gaps in the Americas from about 600 b.c. to 400 a.d. We are going to be using lots of information that I’ve gotten off of the Internet as well. There are so many resources out there, it’s a little overwhelming!

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    • Thank you, Susan! Pinned it. 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Cindy!!! I am off to check these out right now. I am sure I will be pinning away.

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  4. I like the Joy Hakim books. We will not be able to use them until 3rd grade though sigh. This upcoming year second grade we are covering middle ages. I will be checking back to your post to see how your little one is enjoying the trek through American History.

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  5. I haven’t seen this resource before, I will have to keep them in mind for when we get to US History. We’ve only just touched on the early history going chronologically. We did get the free DVD from PBS (I think) called the Story of US…..

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  6. Hi Julie! I am replying to your comment on my America: The Story of Us post.

    I do have a place where you can sign up for an e-mail subscription on my blog. It is just above the “Followers” box. I would love for you to follow. Unfortunately I do not participate in any social network sites, so I can’t help you there.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. We haven’t used those book yet but we will in the future as they are part of some of the Sonlight cores. Can’t wait to hear how you guys like them.

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  8. I love seeing what others are studying – thanks for sharing! And as always, thanks for linking up to TGIF =-)

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  9. I have just purchased the History of Us set to use this year for a complete survey (I hope) of American history with my 6th, 9th, 11th, and 12th graders. I plan to use the Drive Thru History DVDs as well. I hope to read from something Christian based as well and have them read several “living” books as we go along. At this point I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with the planning. I want to include vocabulary and spelling, a fair bit of writing, hands on projects (like related cooking), and so on. I’m just not sure of how to proceed now with all my resources and ideas. Does anyone know of an overall schedule, or a student notebook plan, or something to give me the bones on which to hang all this good learning we will be doing? Thanks! This will be my 22nd year homeschooling, but I am still learning better ways of doing things!

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  10. We are planning to use this also this year. After SOTW my daughter was the same way, “What was happening here Mom?” There have been so many times I have said, “We will study that when we get to it” that I just said lets do this. However we are starting with right after the Civil War. We have studied the early US in previous years. Keilee is going into 7th. I am planning to use the PBS site Susan mentioned and also lots of notebooking. 🙂

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  11. EVAN MOOR HISTORY POCKETS!!!! I am using the Native American History pocket and Plymouth Colony History Pocket this year and we are loving it!!! I got the level 1-3 for my 1st and 4th grader to use together, and it is plenty advanced for the older one. It has coloring, crafts, pasting, charts, etc for each of the early American units. This sounds like exactly the time period y’all are studying. It’s reproducible- so you only need one copy for the whole family! This has been the #1 history resource we have found in my 6 years homeschooling! Best wishes!

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  12. I’m planning to start A history of the US with my son, (1st year homeschooling!) but have no idea what I’m doing! Any help or suggestions would be great. Is there a study guide or activity book other than the PBS webisodes, that goes along w the series? Thanks in advance..

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    • Rosita,
      We wound up just scouring our library’s shelves for historical fiction and easy-to-read non-fiction that went along with the book. You can see some of that in my Jamestown post.
      There is no study guide or activity book that I am aware of but my son learned so much via the library books, pretend play with the Toob characters, field trips and more. We also loved the Liberty’s Kids series which you can download on Amazon to go along with Book 3 in Hakim’s series.
      All the best to you as you begin your homeschooling journey! I’d love to hear how it goes.

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