This review was written by Jennifer Eccleston
I’m a gal who knows my limitations. I love that we chose to home educate our children. I love having all of our ducklings at home, so to speak. I enjoy hearing about what they’re learning in their courses. But the truth is, my friends, I’m not a great homeschool mom. I can organize, lesson plan, cook, ferment water kefir and sauerkraut, clean, launder, iron, etc.
But, education is NOT my forte.
I appreciate the diversity in our homeschooling community. I have friends who flourish at doing unit studies with their kids – who wake up EXCITED about the thought of sitting down and actually teaching their children – like, seriously, teaching them lessons. They love science experiments, Latin, algebra, all time-periods of history, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Their homes are full of meticulous models of our solar system, maps of the continents, and carefully colored timelines from Creation to present day. They are smart. Their children are smart. I wish I could be like them.
But the truth is – I. Am. Not. ANYthing. Like. Them.
I’ve been a founder and administrator in homeschooling academic co-ops for the past several years – one for middle school and now, high school. My reason for starting these co-ops was simple: I had two kids in middle school (and now high school) and I wanted them to have a great education – an education that I knew I couldn’t provide alone.
This is where great literature and curricula come in.
ENTER: Notgrass History (I bless the day Ray Notgrass was born!)
There are many reasons why this curriculum has been a blessing to our family. First and foremost, it’s very important to my husband and me that our kids have a solid Biblical worldview. We want everything they see and hear in this life to be processed and understood through the lens of God’s Word. Notgrass History does just that in a marvelous way. Woven throughout the pages of the textbooks is the Bible, putting what they are learning into perspective and giving God the glory.
Another thing I love about Notgrass is that this ONE curriculum is actually worth THREE high school credits. Yes. You read that correctly. Upon completion, your child will receive a credit in history, English, and an elective credit in Bible. (This applies to World History and American History. The new Exploring Government is worth 1/2 credit for high school government and an additional ½ credit for Literature. Economics is worth ½ credit.)
Notgrass History is easy to use, understand – and predictable (in a good way.) Your student will complete one unit each week and every unit contains five lessons. The unit begins with an introduction page explaining in more detail what to expect for the week (in the way of reading, projects to choose from, books used, etc.). At the end of each lesson, there is a colored box with assignments. To make this even easier, Notgrass has provided free downloadable Assignment Checklists for each day. These checklists are a beautiful thing. We print them off and keep them in the front of our children’s notebooks so they can see the assignments each week and check off what they’ve finished. (After all, who doesn’t feel accomplished when they check something off a list?)
After each lesson, there are Student Review questions to answer, some relating just to the textbook, and some relating to books they were assigned to read. Every Friday (if you’re doing lessons Monday – Friday), there is a quiz to take. Every fifth unit (every 5 weeks), your student will take an exam for history, English, and Bible (applies to World History and American History). The Student Review questions and quizzes are important because they will allow your student to study for the exams. We chose to have our kids type out the questions from the Student Review and then type their answers to the questions, print it out and file away in their notebooks. This made it easy for them to study because the questions and answers were right there. Every few days I would grade the questions from the answer key to make sure they were studying the correct answers for the exams.
Notgrass also uses carefully selected top-notch literature to coincide with what the students are studying in history. In addition to the beautiful textbooks and literature books (You may purchase the books used for the English credit in the Literature Package that coincides with the history purchased.), the curricula comes with a hardcover book which includes historical documents, poems, speeches, essays, hymns and short stories that will be assigned throughout the year.
My son has really enjoyed the reading and talked often of what he was learning and how interesting the books and documents are that he’s read for history. At this point, very little of what I said in the above paragraphs should matter. What better affirmation can there be than to hear a 15-year-old boy talk excitedly about history and literature?
So much is happening in our world today, and unfortunately, many are trying to rewrite history to meet an agenda. How refreshing and comforting it is to have a solid history curricula such as Notgrass History, that my kids actually learn from and enjoy.
Carrie Fernandez is the founder of Homeschool Giveaways and owner of Daily Skill Building. She has been homeschooling for over 18 years, has two girls and works side by side at home with her awesome husband. She has been saved by grace, fails daily, but continues to strive toward the prize of the high calling of being a daughter of the Most High God.