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High School US History Course

The high school US history unit that we use for our homeschool is simple to administer, very educational, and fun. Our kids have loved studying United States history.

A History of US: Text and Movie Study

A History of USWe start our study of US history following the ten book A History of US series by Joy Hakim. We read one book and follow up with a movie either about the time period or set in the time period being studied. A report follows each book/movie combination. (The eleventh book in the set is a sourcebook that include wonderful primary sources.)

Below are the books with the accompanying movies we use. There are many great movies you could use. If you have other ideas, please mention them in the comments and I’ll add them to the US History Movies list.

Book 1: Prehistory-1600

The First Americans

The First Americans

The Magnificent Voyage of Christopher Columbus

The Magnificent Voyage of Christopher Columbus

Book 2: 1600-1740

Making Thirteen Colonies Making Thirteen Colonies

Desperate Crossing DVD Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower

Book 3: 1735-1791

From Colonies to Countries From Colonies to Country

1776 DVD 1776

A More Perfect Union: America Becomes a Nation

A More Perfect Union: America Becomes a Nation

Book 4: 1789-1850

The New Nation The New Nation

Jeremiah Johnson DVD Jeremiah Johnson

Book 5: 1820-1860

Liberty for All? Liberty for All?

How the West Was Won DVD How the West Was Won

Book 6: 1855-1865

War, Terrible War War, Terrible War

The Civil War DVD The Civil War

Book 7: 1865-1890

Reconstructing America Reconstructing America

Dances with Wolves DVD Dances with Wolves

Book 8: 1880-1917

An Age of Extremes An Age of Extremes

Far and Away DVD Far and Away

Book 9: 1918-1945

War, Peace, and All That Jazz War, Peace, and all that Jazz

Grapes of Wrath DVD Grapes of Wrath

Book 10: 1945–present

All the People All the People

Rescue Dawn DVD Rescue Dawn

October Sky DVD October Sky

A Patriot’s History: Research Notebook

A Patriot's HistoryThe second phase of US history study is to read A Patriot’s History by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen.

While reading, the student creates a page for each chapter, outlining the most important historically significant events along with dates, people, and places that are important. They might add a images, drawings, or other visual reminders about the events. These are then organized into a notebook in chronological order as a timeline.

Founding Documents: Family Discussion

We read and discuss the following source documents:

      What Do You Do?

Please join in and share how you teach United State history to your homeschool high schoolers!

  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Constitution
  • The Bill of Rights
  • Amendments to the Constitution

We also discuss selections from the following source documents:

  • The Federalist Papers
  • The Anti-Federalist Papers

What Do You Do?

Please share how you teach United States history to high schoolers in your homeschool!

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Shelly Greenhalgh-Davis July 15, 2010, 12:21 am

    http://www.teachwithmovies.org is a website that lists movies that go with different periods of history as well as different subjects, like science, literature, etc.

  • Diane Hopkins July 15, 2010, 7:25 am

    I do this same type program for US History, but I break it into two years. The first year we do Book 1-5 and the second year we do Book 6-10 of the History of US, using book 11, the Sourcebook with source documents in it, all along the way. It includes readings from source documents for Book 1-10. As we read the History of US, we also have a historical fiction book of the time period going as well, and do discussion and weekly papers based on it. For example, during the civil war time period, we read Uncle Tom’s Cabin (one of my favorite books!). Here are some of the historical fiction books we used:
    Johnny Tremain
    Carry on, Mr. Bowditch
    The Witch of Blackbird Pond
    The Scarlet Letter
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Amos Fortune, Free Man
    Calico Captive
    Red Scarf Girl
    . . . .and lots more!

    We also do hands-on projects, like sewing a moccasin slipper from fleece fabric, while we studied Indians, or making Johnny-cakes while we studied Valley Forge.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Lucia Fullmer May 7, 2012, 11:39 pm

    Another movie that could go with the book From Colonies to Country is A More Perfect Union.

  • Alison Moore Smith May 8, 2012, 10:46 am

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll add it to the list!

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