Saturday, March 20, 2010

In Search of American History

In my search for the Perfect High School American History Course, I have stumbled across some interesting info.

On my parents bookshelf I discovered The Federal Union by John D. Hicks (Third Edition), which covers history from 1492 until 1877. It's wonderful! I also found Government and Politics in the United States by Harold Zink (Third Edition). My Father used both books when he was in college. I plan to have Lord Epa read both books before we start using the official classroom textbook. Which thanks to Tracy I now have. We will be using Glencoe's History of a Free Nation. While it's not perfect it does a good job of presenting different viewpoints and it has a TON of resource material. Many thanks, Tracy

Scott Powell also suggested several books that I plan to have Lord Epa read, they are:
1. Woodburn, Moran, and Hill, "Our United States"
2. Montgomery, "The Leading Facts of American History"
3. Harlow, R.V, "Growth of the United States"
4. Bassett, J.S., "A Short History of the United States"
5. The American Heritage Pictorial Atlas of United States History
Scott, thank you so much for the book list.

Speaking of Scott Powell, he has developed A Remote History Program for Children offered by VanDamme Academy which will be available to homeschoolers. This new program is the same curriculum Scott uses to teach his students in the elementary grades, and will be offered as a teleconference, like A First History For Adults.

And now for a brief interview with Scott Powell

(Alasandra)What lead you to develop the Remote History Program?
(Scott)The basic reason is I love to teach history! I am a historian working at fantastic private school, but to this point I have not been able to specialize in the one area where I truly feel a passion for teaching. I was driven to create the "Remote History Program" because I want to teach history, and only history! By reaching out to the homeschooling market, I hope to make that possible and to provide a product that students and their parents will really love.

(Alasandra)Can Homeschoolers receive credit for it?
(Scott)That is an interesting question. If I understand the question, let me try to answer it this way: At VanDamme Academy we have students up to 9th grade, so we usually face questions of accreditation when it comes to the acceptance of our students into high school. Typically, our students are so well prepared that it's not a problem. (The more academic the school, the easier it is for our students. Public high schools are far more rigid, and, quite frankly, irrational.)

(Alasandra)Are there textbook and test to go along with it? If not how would I asses my child's progress in the course?
(Scott)That's an easy one. I provide tests, quizzes, small homework units, and writing assignments as part of the course. I also provide grading keys to everything. So every aspect of the course is taken care of in that area. Also, I offer bi-weekly "teacher-teacher" conferences so that parents can get tips on implementing the program from me, and get answers to other questions.

(Alasandra)What makes your program different from the others?
(Scott)There are many important differences between this program and others typically available to homeschoolers. For one, you get direct access to me, a specialist in the subject. The most important dimension of the program, however, is that it takes seriously the idea that history--and I mean history, not "social studies"--is accessible and indeed essential to the education of a child. What sets this program apart is that it covers all of Western civilization in three years. It is not a series of disparate units, but rather an integrated story, that shows children, on a level accessible to them, the most important people and events of the past, culminating in the present.

(Alasandra) Thanks Scott, and good luck with your Remote History Program For Children.

This is an old post but I thought it would prove useful to those of you looking for an American History book.

Other additions:
The Making of America by The National Geographic
Chronicles of America
Chronicles of America Series
A People's History of the United States

Any textbook you can not buy directly from the publisher can be purchased from The HomeSchool SuperCenter or


  1. You mentioned on our blog:

    that you had reviewed endless American History books. I'm curious, did you ever happen to check out "The National Experience" by Blum and others? How did it compare to other American History books?

    This was the book I used in high school years ago. I liked it enough to track it down and buy it. It was for a AP course, to earn college credit.

  2. Thank you so much for listing Scott Powell's book recommendations on American history.

    I just ordered every single one from!

    Sean M.

  3. Hi Henry I didn't mean to ignore you. Most of the American History books I reviewed were the new editions that are readily available and what is being taught in our public schools today.

    I am still looking for
    The National Experience" by Blum to review. I need to check with my librarian about it. She has been wonderful about tracking down copies of old textbooks for me to look at.

    I remember my high school history books with fondness and in fact used my college World History Book (which I was able to keep) with both kids.

  4. Oh fabulous! This is just the stuff I've been looking for. Not being a native born Yankee I am at a bit of loss when it comes to deciding which American History text books are the most objective. You provided a good selection. Thanks a ton!


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