Curriculum Haul | Homeschool | American History | US History | High School | Living Books

We are kicking off our American History units with the Colonial times. We did an introduction to American History with a small unit on Columbus, but this is our first official unit of a series of units that will span several months.

Now that all our materials have arrived, I can work on separating them into smaller units. Once they are all sorted ( we got a lot of material!!), I can begin lesson planning.

The first step in lesson planning for me is figuring out how long each book, project or kit is going to take to complete. I use full back sticky Post-Its to help me in this part of the process. I adhere a Post-It on the back of the book or kit and I write whatever information can help in the lesson planning process. For instance, I write long long the book will take to complete and how many chapters I have to read each day to complete the book. If we aren’t going to read a book cover to cover, I write what pages or sections we’ll cover. If my children are going to read the book, I mark who will read it and how long it will take to complete. If it’s a project book, I mark the projects we plan to do with Post-It flags, as well as mark what supplies I’ll need to find or buy for the projects. I keep all these materials, books, etc. in a bin. Right now they are stored in our school room’s closet, but we are fast running our of space. I’ve used some additional storage right outside our school room, and again this year, I’ll need to shuffle some things  so I can keep these new units accessible throughout the year. I especially like open bins for storing our unit studies.

 

Once the general lesson planning is completed, I can more onto the detailed day to day lesson plans and figure out how long I want to spend on a unit. I usually make up our weekly lesson plans on Sunday. I sometimes plan a whole unit (6 weeks or so) at a time and that’s very helpful, too.

See the complete list of American History Haul videos. You can get the complete list of materials we are using for all our American History Units by click here or visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

Here’s a complete list of the resources we used for our Colonial Times Unit Study:

Great Colonial America Projects You Can Build Yourself by Kris Bordessa

Information and activities for all of elementary 

Grade Level 2nd grade and up

Reading Level: 6th grade and up

Don’t Know Much About: The Pilgrims by Kenneth C. Davis

Witty illustrations with captions. Written in question and answer form

Grade level: 2nd and up

Reading level: 5th grade and up

If You Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Times by Barbara Brenner

Written in a question and Answer form

Grade level: 1st and up

Reading level: 5th and up

You Wouldn’t Want to Be an American Colonialist by Jaqueline Moley

Witty narrative with whimsical illustrations

Grade level: 1st grade and up

Reading level: 5th grade and up

The Adventurous Life of Myles Standish and the amazing but true survival story of the Plymouth  Colony by Cheryl Harness

Seven chapters, informative

Grade level: 4th grade and up

Reading level: 6th grade and up

The World of Capt. John Smith by Genevieve Foster

First published in the 1800’s

Grade level: 4th and up

Reading level: 7th and up

Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla

Easy engaging read

Grade level: 2nd and up

Reading level 4th and up

Historical Fiction:

Colonial Times:

American Dream: The New World, Colonial Times, and Hints at the Revolution by

1620-1765- Sisters in Time – Follow four girls through history

Grade level: 2nd and up

Reading level: 4th and up

Activity Books/Supplements:

Colonial Times:

Colonial Kids: An activity guide to life in the new world by Laurie Carlson

Activities and projects for elementary aged kids

Grade level: 1st and up

American Kids in History: Colonial Days Discover the Past with Fun Projects, Games, Activities, and Recipes by David King

Narrative activity book with projects to do inspired by life in colonial America

Grade Level: Elementary

Great Colonial Projects You Can Build Yourself by Kris Bordessa

Projects and activities

Grade level: elementary 

*Drawing America’s California Sights and Symbols by Jennifer Quasha

Drawing book

Grades 2nd and up

Games and Pretend Play:

Colonial Times:

Colonial America Historical Replica Coins

1616-1688( 6 coins)

American Revolution:

American Revolutionary Coins- Replica Coins

1776- 5 coins

Professor Noggin’s Revolutionary War Card Game

Grade level: 3rd and up

*American Trivia

Trivia board game

Grades 6th and up

Audio CDs:

Colonial Times:

Colonial America CD Spirited Sounds from Across the Sea to the Shores of the New Land by Hesperus  Early Traditional Ensemble

Audio CD with songs from colonial times

Grade level: all

*Heroes of America CD by Amanda Bennett

Audio CD From  1492-1865

Grade level: all

Of all the units we’ve put together, I think I’ve gotten the most supplies for this one! So much that I had to split it up into multiple units: Columbus, the Pilgrims, the American Revolution, the Civil War & Slavery, the Westward Movement, the Lewis & Clark Expedition, Native American Indians, and ending with California History and the Gold Rush.

You can get the complete list of materials we are using for all our American History Units by click here or visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

 

Looking for a complete history of the US? I have five American History series that would be suitable for all elementary and high school. The History of US by Joy Hakim would work for students as young as 5th grade through high school. The books are sold separately or as a set and you can also purchase student workbooks and teaching guides to accompany each volume.

You can get the complete list of materials we are using for all our American History Units by click here or visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

 

While putting together our units for history this year, I discovered that this unit on the American Civil War and Slavery was quite a bit smaller than our other units. After shooting this video, I went to Rainbow Resource and ordered more supplement material to complement this unit. I ordered historical play figures, books and games.

You can get the complete list of materials we are using for all our American History Units by click here or visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

 

Pulling together books for our American History Unit, I knew I wanted a substantial amount of material on the Lewis and Clark expedition. We did a the westward movement and Texas history back in 2012-2013 while living in Dallas for a year, and I really enjoyed learning about the Lewis and Clark expedition and wanted to expand on it this time around.

While putting together history units, I aim to get books in the following areas: biographies, reference or resource books, cultural, geography (or climate and environment), mythology or religion, historical fiction, picture books and ‘actual’ history. And by actual history, I mean books that present important dates, events, and people. I also like to include field trips, hands-on projects and games whenever possible.

Don’t forget you can see the whole playlist, and I will be continuing to add to it as we do projects for each unit. I also plan to share the lesson plans and “How to put together an American history unit” on that playlist as the videos become available.

You can get the complete list of materials we are using for all our American History Units by click here or visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

 

 

The Westward Movement spans over 100 years in American History, so within this unit, there are other sub-units: American Civil War, Lewis & Clark Expedition and California History & Gold Rush. Even so, I still have a lot of material, and may choose to split this unit up further.

Most of my history units include historical fiction, picture books, history books, resource and reference books, project and activity books, specialty books (like cooking or reading comprehension), books on religion or mythology, workbooks, games, kits and toys.

This unit may not include all those areas, but as part of a larger American History unit, there will be adequate variety. Though this unit may only be 3-4 weeks, our American History units will span several months.

You can get the complete list of materials we are using for all our American History Units by click here or visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

 

I debated whether I should have a separate unit for Native American Indians because the stories and history of the Native Americans spans the whole history of the US. This is a small compilation of supplies that would stand alone as a unit, but what would be more authentic is to distribute these materials over all our other American History unit, as currently each unit only has a little bit of relevant Native American material.

While most of these supplies came from Rainbow Resource, there are a few books that were hand-me-down. Our Indian Fire Drill was purchased many years ago (possibly from a museum gift shop), but looks like something a crafter or woodworker could make. Don’t forget to check out the complete playlist!

You can get the complete list of materials we are using for all our American History Units by click here or visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

Here’s a complete list of the materials we used for our Native American Indians Unit:

 

The Native American Book of Knowledge by White Deer of Autumn 

Book of information and mythology

Grade Level 3rd grade and up

Reading level 6th grade and up

Custer’s Fall: The Indian Side of the Story by David Humphrey’s Miller

Dense. 1800’s

Grade level: High school

Reading level: High School

In Their Own Words: Pocahontas by George Sullivan

With illustrations, 1600’s

Grade Level: 2nd grade and up

Reading level: 5th grade and up

North American Indians by Marie and Douglas Gorsline

Picture book, nice illustrations

Grade level: KG and up

Reading level: 5th grade and up

Thirteen Moons and a Turtle’s Back: A Native American Year of Moons By Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London

Picture book, legend

Grade Level: KG and up

Reading Level: 6th grade and up

Explore Native American Cultures! By Anita Yasuda

Project and activity book. 25 projects. Includes information, vocabulary and activities with supplies list

Grade Level: 1st and up

Reading Level: 4th grade 

New England Indians

Resource book

Grade level: 4th and up

Reading level 7th and up

North American Indian Tales by W.T. Larnerd

Picture book

Grade level: KG and up

Reading level: 4th and up

If you lived with Indians of the Northwest Coast by Anne Kamma

Easy read, lightly illustrated

Grade level: KG and up

Reading level: 5th and up

If you lived with Sioux Indians by Anne McGovern

Easy read, lightly illustrated

Grade level: KG and up

Reading level: 5th and up

Historical Fiction:

American Indians:

Remember My Name by Sara Banks

Female main character

Grade level 2nd grade and up

Reading level 6th grade and up

Kitaq Goes Ice Fishing by Margaret Nicolai

Picture Book, beautifully illustrated

Grade level: KG and up

Reading Level 5th grade and up

Island of the Blue Dolphin by Scott O’Dell

California, Indians, girl

Grade level: 2nd and up

Reading level: 5th grade and up

Boy Book of Indian Warriors and Heroic Women by Edwin Sabin

Grade level: 5th and up

Reading level 7th and up

Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

Grade level: 2nd and up

Reading level: 5th and up

Moho Wat: Sheepherder boy attempts a rescue by Kenneth Thomasma

Grade level: 2nd and up

Reading level: 5th and up

Kunu: Winnebago boy Escapes by Kenneth Thomasma

Grade level: 2nd and up

Reading level: 5th and up

Moccasin Trail by Eloise Jarvis McGraw 

Grade level: 4th and up

Reading level 6th and up

Activity Books/Supplements:

American Indians: 

More Than Moccasins Activity Book by Lauri Carlson

Grade level: 2nd and up

Reading level 5th and up 

Games and Pretend Play:

American Indians:

Dig, Discover and Display: Indian Relics

Grades 4th and up

Easy to make Indian Teepee village

Cut apart book

Grade level: 2nd and up

Easy to Make Pueblo Village 

Cut apart book to make Pueblo Village

Grade level 2nd and up

Headband Kit

Leather material to make headband

Audio CDs:

American Indian:

Exciting Events CD album

Audio CD-Native American Heroes

Games and Pretend Play:

Cowboys and Indians:

Wild West Mounted Cowboys and Indians

Plastic figures-pretend play

Grade level: KG and up

Powhatan Indian Toob

Plastic figures

Grade level: KG and up 

Jumbo Wild West Cowboys and Indians Play Set

Plastic figurines playset

Grade level: KG and up

Wild West Cowboys and Indians Battle Bucket 

Plastic figurines playset

Grade level: KG and up

 

California history including the gold rush make up this unit. It’s a mix of biographies, historical fiction, resource books, kits and a ‘how to draw’ book. I think I’m most looking forward to the kit we got for panning for gold. We also really like the ‘Who Was…” books for their simplicity, content and illustrations. No unit of mine would be complete without a hands-on activity and this unit includes a ‘gold’ excavation kit.

You can get the complete list of materials we are using for all our American History Units by click here or visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

 

Finding high school material for a highschooler that wasn’t a traditional textbook was not easy to find. This series of books by Joy Hakim covers US history from pre-history to 2008 in 10 well-written and illustrated volumes. The 11th volume is source book with original sources and documents to supplement the series or to be used on its own. You can also supplement these books with workbooks special designed to complete each volume in two grade levels! One set is suitable for students 5th-8th grade and the second level is for high school.

Looking for a complete history of the US? I have five American History series that would be suitable for all elementary and high school. The History of US by Joy Hakim would work for students as young as 5th grade through high school. The books are sold separately or as a set and you can also purchase student workbooks and teaching guides to accompany each volume.

 

Don’t forget to check out the American History Curriculum Haul Playlist. You can get the complete list of materials we are using for all our American History Units by click here or visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers page.

 

Colonial America Unit Study

https://youtu.be/86Np4XiHRZY

Unlike our typical history units, this Colonial America History Block was fairy short in comparison lasting 1-2 weeks. I gathered together resources we already had from the last time we did this unit a few years ago. We didn’t purchase any new material for this unit, but there ended up being a couple additions we didn’t have the first time. We also omitted a few resources for the sake of time, and even then, we didn’t get through everything we had.

One book we ended up not doing at all this time around was The World of Captain John Smith. I thought this would be the perfect book for my 13-year-old son as assigned reading as I liked it so much the first time around. But alas, he didn’t get into it as much as I hoped and instead he read the Life and Times of Myles Standish.

For our lesson plans, I basically wrote a list of the materials I hoped we’d get through. I didn’t schedule time or days for this, but did restrict the length of the unit to just one week and in reality it took almost two weeks. We worked daily on the our main lesson block reading and doing projects for about 2 hours each day on average.

Our main project for this unit was the weaving project that both my 8-year-old daughter and 13-year-old completed, though it took them until the end of all the history units to finish it. Following this unit, we did a unit on the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the American Revolutionary War.

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