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US History is such a fun subject to teach! I want my kids to know much about the founding of this great country, and the events that have shaped us to where we are today. Finding a curriculum that doesn’t water down the Christian-Judaeo principles our country was founded on, that you can use with multiple ages isn’t always easy, so I was thrilled to review Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum on US History.
Pathway to Liberty Homeschool Curriculum offers a biblical worldview, which I appreciated. It’s broken into different levels, meant for different age brackets. But, the levels all work together. So, you could have a couple of children working on Level 1, and another working on Level 2 or something. The kids would all be learning the same basic content, but there would be age-appropriate ideas and activities for each level you use.
What Is This Product?
I received a digital copy of the Level 1 Year-3 US History curriculum. This included a teacher edition and a student edition. Level 1 is designed for students in grades K-3, so it was a great fit for my younger crew. Since this was a digital product, I could have multiple children using it. The physical workbooks are consumable, so meant for one child.
The student guide has a red marking on the side, and the teacher guide has a blue one. This didn’t matter so much for me – I have a black and white printer! 😀 But, if you purchase the physical version, the color coding makes the two easily distinguishable.
The student guide is 371 pages, and the teacher guide is 299 pages.
One neat thing about this product is that it’s designed to be immersion based. Often, history is taught from a survey point of view. It’s like students “fly over” the past and take a peek at what happened.
And while they may glean some useful tidbits, their actual understanding will be much lower. They simply weren’t exposed to enough to get interested and dig for details.
Immersion based learning, on the other hand, dives deep into topics. It interlinks subject matters, allows students to read real books on the topics at hand, and provides time for projects and further learning. It’s how I prefer my kids to learn, as I think they learn much more.
There were so many great books woven into this curriculum. Here’s a peek at the book list for US history. In this chart, you can see how there are different recommendations for each level. That’s because the levels are for different grades. So we focused on the books in Level 1.
I wasn’t able to track down all of the books at the library, but we got most of them. The D’Aulair books are beautiful, and I’ll definitely be adding those to our homeschool collection soon. But for now, the checked out ones worked just as well. 😀
The Chain of Liberty for the older grades is one that Jayme, the author of this curriculum, wrote. Since it wasn’t used in Level 1, I didn’t really dive into this product. Several other reviewers did though, so if you are interested in learning more about it, please click on the banner at the bottom of this post!
How We Used This Product
This curriculum is designed to have four lessons a week, which worked well for us. We only homeschool with book work four days a week. Each lesson took about half an hour. Some were a bit shorter, and some were a bit longer.
I don’t typically work through everything that’s provided. I mix and match and cut and adapt to make things work better for my kids.
One thing I liked is that each week started with an overview for both the student and the teacher. Having everyone know where we are heading and what the objectives are is important!
There is a scripture for each week (taken from the NIV), a principle that guides the direction of the lesson, and a leading idea. Then, you can see what students in the different levels are supposed to do. Here is a copy of the weekly overview for week 3 on Jamestown:
The directions for the projects and things can be found in the Teacher Guide. The older grades had a video to watch. I appreciate that Pathway to Liberty has their own YouTube channel. It makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.
The first two weeks of this curriculum seemed long and tedious. They’re called the foundation weeks, and they’re meant to lay a strong foundation on which to build your history knowledge. They point everything back to God. One of the major learning goals for these two weeks is for students to realize that, “History is the record of God using men and nations to advance His kingdom” (student guide p. 10).
This is a writing heavy curriculum, with a lot of fill-in-the-blank type pages. My kids don’t typically spend a ton of time writing in the early years. We do more oral assignments. So, I made some modifications and we did a lot of discussion.
There are hands on projects, like beading a necklace and drawing answers to questions. My kids enjoyed these tasks the most!
My little kids enjoyed the coloring pages. There were several throughout the units we finished, and I could easily print out a copy for my toddler and preschooler to enjoy along with us to practice coloring:
What I Thought Of This Product
There are many great things to like about this history curriculum. It uses real books as core books, which is great. I love that it integrates so much language arts into the curriculum. The older grades especially have in-depth word studies and writing assignments.
I’d say even though Level 1 is meant to be for grades K-3, it really is written with the third grader in mind more than the kindergartener. The assignments were a bit much for my K and 1 students. But, my third grader found them enjoyable.
So if you are looking to start a young child, you will need to do some adapting of assignments to make sure it’s not discouraging.
The teacher guide is easy to use. This curriculum takes some time to get used to, but once you do, it follows a pattern and is easy to teach.
This is supposed to be a 26 week study. But, the final two weeks are all for catch up, with no new material introduced or any assignments except to finish up. Since this curriculum is already shorter than a traditional school year by 10 weeks, I was disappointed that it was cut even shorter.
I was also disappointed that it stops at the Civil War. I know it’s an immersion based curriculum so it can’t move as fast, but there is SO MUCH history in the US after the Civil War.
But, all in all it was a solid history curriculum. I’m going to keep using it, though I’ll slow the pace down a bit since we have extra weeks to play with. See What Other Families Thought
I was one of 59 reviewers for Pathway to Liberty. Other history products were also reviewed, so you can learn more about the entire line of history texts by clicking on the banner below: