Review: Golden Prairie Press

Does the thought of reading a history book make you yawn with boredom?

Well,  Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum  from Golden Prairie Press may just help wake you up and get you excited about learning!  This thirty week history curriculum is designed primarily for 1st through 6th grades and retails for $98.99.  Part One covers the years 1000 to 1837 and Part Two covers 1837 to Present.

 

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This curriculum was developed by Amy Puetz, a homeschool graduate who has a passion for sharing stories about historical events from a Christian worldview Amy also serves a a columnist for Home School Enrichment Magazine.

Amy Puetz

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The curriculum we received for this review came in PDF form and included:

Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 1 (ebook)

Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 2 (ebook)

Additional Materials Downloads: Includes printable timelines, instructions and entertaining videos, color artwork, coloring pages, and much more.

Historical Skits ebook:  Contains nineteen skits from the time of Columbus to World War II.

Sing Some History Audio Download:  Listen to some of the songs that are mentioned in the curriculum.

Listen to Some U.S. History MP3 Audio Download:  An audio collection of original speeches, poems, sermons, and documents.

Optional Literature Books (not included) :

    • Ten Girls from History by Kate Dickinson Sweetser
    • Heroines of the Past: Bible Study by Amy Puetz
    • Two Little Americans in Spanish California by Frances Margaret Fox
    • Jack and Jill by Louis May Alcott
    • Ten Great Adventurers by Kate Dickinson Sweetser

Other fun activities included in Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum are games, recipes, songs, crafts, and experiments.

Answer keys and supply lists make preparation for the teacher super easy!

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One huge benefit of the Heroes and Heroines curriculum is that most lessons provide two separate reading assignments depending on each child’s approximate grade level.

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For example, the above lesson is separated into two levels:  Grades 1st-2nd and Grades 3rd-6th.  The younger lesson is printed in a larger font and covers basic information, while the older version is printed in a smaller font and contains more detail.  This is very helpful for families who are teaching different ages, while allowing them to still study the subject together!

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One of my favorite things about Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum is the hands-on activities that make history “come alive” for the students.  I believe that children need to touch and experience the things that they are learning about.  Which would you remember the most?  Reading about how the Native Americans built teepees, or actually building your own?

Unfortunately it was raining on the day we were scheduled to build ours and Ryan wanted to build his outside using branches.  Amy suggested that we build a teepee using the handles of various brooms and mops, but since I don’t enough with long handles we we adapted our plans by grabbing a few sticks and making a smaller, indoor model.  I think it turned out great!

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Other activities are more simple like the one below where Ryan colored a copy of the Columbus Coat of Arms.  This was simple, but effective as it kept his hands busy while I read the lesson of the day.

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IMG_1645Map work is also included to aid in geography skills. We found the maps in  Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Part 1 somewhat hard to read and blurry when printed.  Even Ryan had a hard time reading them, so I know it wasn’t just my old eyes 🙂 !  There are several larger maps that are can be printed from the supplemental materials, but they only cover maps of Cuba (p. 599) to the Battle of the Bulge (p 706).  It would be helpful to have larger, high-definition versions of the maps for the PDF version of the curriculum.

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Ryan and I both enjoyed the Examining Historical Art sections which include beautiful copies of various artwork!  The questions that Amy asks are very helpful in making you stop and truly look examine and analyze the paintings.  We were surprised at how many details we would have missed if we had not been answering the questions provided!

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Timelines make it easier to “visualize” the sequence of events.

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Question:  Do your kids normally cringe when you mention a writing assignment?

Guess what?  Mine do too 🙂 , but this curriculum often offers two choices for writing assignments!  Ryan liked getting to choose which assignment piqued his interest.  I really think it helps to give the students some “ownership” in their choices.

 Many of the assignments help the student to “put themselves into the historical characters’ shoes” and think about how that person would feel.  Often Ryan would add details of the historical facts that we had read earlier, confirming that he comprehended the information covered.  YAH 🙂 !!!

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Another fun part of Heroes and Heroines of the Past are the skits!

I was VERY SKEPTICAL as to how the boys would react to these activities, but was pleasantly surprised when they went along with it!

One of the skits that we acted out was, The Court of Ferdinand and Isabella, King and Queen of Spain. Sorry that I don’t have any pictures to share, but it was the only I could get the boys to participate 🙂 .  Brendan played Columbus, Ryan was King Ferdinand, and I played Queen Isabella.  We had never done a skit before, but it was a lot of fun!

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Check out Golden Prairie Press on Facebook!

 I think that Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History is a well-rounded unit study.  I do feel that the $98.99 price is a little steep for the digital version, and was surprised that a printed version is available for the same price on the website.  I would have preferred to have the printed books as I love to actually hold my curriculum in my hands, highlight passages, add sticky notes, etc.

Personally, I feel like the price of the digital version should be less than the printed books.  Because our family uses the workbox system, many times I printed off the pages which requires a lot of ink.

We had already purchased a US History curriculum before being chosen for this review, but I will definitely be adding some activities and reading from Heroes and Heroines as a supplement next year!

  Click the Review Crew picture below to see what other homeschool families thought:

 

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