Sunday, November 8, 2009

American Heritage Educational Foundation, a TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Celebrate American Heritage Month in November!

“American Heritage Month gives us all an opportunity to reflect on our roots as Americans from a fresh perspective. It is a time to remember that we Americans have brought with us many different heritages, but we have joined together in this country as one people. The Declaration of Independence sets forth our fundamental values, and the Constitution serves to protect those values. Our schools, teachers, students, and other citizens help preserve and strengthen the miracle that is America. As Thomas Jefferson said, ‘If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.’”

The American Heritage Education Foundation, Inc.

 Copyright American Heritage Education Foundation,

One eye-opening presentation at the homeschool convention in Cincinnati in the spring was that of college history professor Larry Schweikart. He reminded me how important teaching our children *real* history is, making sure they get good foundations that are accurate and true. I want my children to have a better understanding of American history than I did in school. And now I have one tool to help me do just that.

American Heritage Education Foundation shares this perspective, and the founders have developed a curriculum that is built around four themes: FREEDOM, UNITY, PROGRESS, and RESPONSIBILITY. I've known about the American Heritage Education Foundation web site for a while. I've looked at elementary level lesson plans with my homeschooler in mind. For this review, the entire crew received the "An Adventure in Liberty" CD, valued at $150. This product is FREE to you, too! The information is available via download at the American Heritage Education Web Site or you may order your own free CD here (or you may purchase a printed copy for just under twenty bucks).

I have reviewed many resources that offered my readers a free *sample* or a discount, but reviewing a product that is free to EVERYONE is a first.

The CD contains material geared for general-ed elementary through high school levels with a Spanish option for the elementary level. The elementary level is 184 pages long, contains games, puzzles, quotes, info, and what to do for each grade level. The middle school level is 182 pages long and the high school level is 187 pages long.

The web site explains that, "

Each resource book includes an introductory essay regarding the curriculum rationale, lesson plans to specifically consider the American heritage themes, and activities in which students assess and analyze their own identities as Americans. The elementary school lesson plans include lessons about the colonists' experience under monarchy; the context for the writing of the Declaration of Independence; the creation of important American symbols, songs, and holidays; and the character traits modeled by great national leaders and presidents. The middle school lesson plans include lessons focusing on concepts within the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and other important texts and American symbols as well as the ideals for which many fought and sacrificed their lives. The high school lesson plans include lessons for in-depth analysis and understanding of the ideas, intentions, arguments, rights, and meanings addressed in significant texts from the Mayflower Compact and the Declaration of Independence to Federalist 47, the First Amendment, and a government letter on religious expression in public schools. A brief summary of each lesson plan can be found at the appropriate grade-level links."

The CD provides a wealth of information and activities and covers an incredible amount of territory -- I searched through the elementary levels for something to do with my daughter. My homeschooler is not quite ready for the first grade level -- I would rather begin with her when she's more ready (and the material would require fewer modifications from mom). The nice thing about getting all three levels is that customizing lessons for a child with scattered skills is something doable.

(A side note: The section on the U.S. Flag is interesting as two of my children have been responsible at school for raising and lowering the flag each day.)

My Crewmates with older c hildren, on the other hand, were able to use more of the resource than I. Check it out!To find out what my Crewmates think about this free to everyone resource, go here.

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