Wednesday, June 1, 2011

American History Literature Resources

You'd think that since this is the close of our school year I'd be ready for a break, but I am SO excited about Classical Conversations Cycle 3 material because we'll be studying U.S. History for the first time.  There are hundreds of great resources out there to supplement our memory work!  I'm just glad we'll be doing Cycle 3 again in a few years, since there is no way we can do everything that I'd like to do.  (I have to really pull in the reigns on myself here.  Really.  I get carried away...)

If you use Sonlight curriculum, you know that Cores D&E focus on American history.  If you don't use Sonlight, don't worry.  We don't either.  (Though I think we may in the future!)  Because we like to be literature heavy around our home, here is our list of books (both read-alouds and individual reading) we plan to read as we study American history. Because we start our school year before we start Classical Conversations, we plan to study Native Americans before Columbus.

Chapter Books: 
Picture Books:
  • The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
  • Pocahontas by Jan Gleiter
  • The Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall
  • The Log Cabin Church by Ellen Howard
  • Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illustrated by Ted Rand
  • If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution by Elizabeth Levy
  • A Picture Book of George Washington  by David Adler
  • So You Want to be President? by Judith St. George
  • Johnny Appleseed by Reeve Lindbergh
  • Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express by Eleanor Coerr
  • Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rappaport
  • Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek:  A Tall, Thin Tale by Deborah Hopkinson
  • The Transcontinental Railroad by Jean Blashfield
  • If you Traveled on the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
  • If You Lived with the Cherokee by Peter and Connie Roop
  • The Oregon Trail: Pathway of the Great Migration by Ray Dizazzo
  • Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson
  • Wagon Wheels by Barbara Brenner
  • The Story of Inventions by Anna Claybourne (Click here for a free on-line version.)
  • The Pledge of Allegiance Pop-Up Book by Carrie Jordan
  • The Railroad Book by E Boyd Smith
  • When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest
  • Pearl Harbor - National Geographic
  • Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
  • Let's Read about Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges
  • How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the USA by Marjorie Princeman
  • Postcards to Mary by Laura Maxwell
  • Williams Bennett's The Children's Treasury of Virtues (For a list of Cycle 3 readings from this book, visit Chasin' Raisins.)
Reference books (from which excerpts will be read):
  • Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Presidents and Their Times
  • National Geographic American Heroes
  • Tennessee History for Kids
  • Lewis & Clark: Voyage of Discovery
  • Settling the West
  • Story of the Great American West
  • Comanche Codetalkers
If you click on the above items, it will take you to the corresponding Homschoolshare (or other) unit study if it is available.  Homeschoolshare also has American Revolution resources that include notebooking pages and a timeline.  We will be using more narration, dictation and copywork this year using the literature we've selected.  Because our 3rd grader likes lapbooking, we may choose to lapbook a couple of the books, but we won't have time to do all of them because of A Journey through Learning's Overview of the 17th Century Lapbook (sign up for their newsletter for this free resource) and some new lapbooking and notebooking resources I came across recently at Practical Pages.  Be sure to explore the Practical Pages website for more free resources, including a famous artists lapbook, famous musicians wall chart, and Bible lapbooking templates and other activities.  The key here is to take some time to figure out which lapbooks or unit studies you would like to complete, or just stay tuned to find out what we're doing.

We will also be using the Draw Write Now books 2, 3, and 5.  Click here to see the Table of Contents for each book and click here to for free samples, including one on the Transcontinental Railroad.  The boys love to use these to practice drawing skills!

To summarize, here are the main websites we will be using for our literature and history tie-ins:
The first three sites contain all free resources - be sure to explore these sites because there is MUCH MORE available that ties into Cycle 3 than what I mentioned here. We hope this is a useful collection of resources to everyone! (At a later date, I will be updating this post to include lesson plans for when we will be reading which books.)


  1. Great resources in this post, Brandy!

  2. Okay, I'm pregnant so I have an excuse for planning ahead. Is your excuse really just excitement? :-) LOL
    We love the Draw Write Now Series, it great for what I call the "Bewitching Hour", ie. around 4:30pm when the boys start to loose it each day. For your oldest you might look at this series too: "Draw & Write Thur History", they add some copy work and more advanced drawings.

  3. I really am excited, but I also have to plan ahead of time because of my husband's work schedule. I'm a bit scatterbrained when he's gone, so it's simply a survival skill.

    Thank you for the link! That looks like a great resource to add to our collection!

  4. Just found a new source for used books you might want to try. In some cases I found books for about 1/3 amazon, in others amazon is cheaper, so check both. The reason I think abebooks is cheaper sometimes is they let the seller set the shipping cost, also they have some books I haven't been able to find elsewhere.