Our American History curriculum (homeschooling)

Continuing my series on what our lesson plans look like for anyone who is considering homeschooling. This is 4th grade American history.


Abeka, The History of Our United States from a Christian Perspective

Various Non-Fiction Children’s Books (noted below – there are a lot)

Age of Exploration and First Settlements

  • Introductory discussion – What distinguishes the American experiment from other countries
  • Read Chapter One – Europe: Where the New World Began; Columbus Discovers America
  • Chapter One, continued – North America is Claimed for England; America Gets Its Name; Did Anyone Ever Find a Sea Route to the Indies; A New Ocean is Formed; Ponce de Leon Explores Florida
  • Read Chapter Two – Spain: The Conquest of Mexico; France: Cartier Explores the New World
  • Chapter Two, continued – Spain: Coronado’s Search for the Seven Cities of Cibola; Spain: DeSoto Discovers the Mississippi; England: Drake the Dragon; France: The First French Settlement in the New World
  • Field Trip: St. Augustine Colonial Quarter

Native American History and Culture

  • Read Chapter Three – The Differences in American Indians; Indian Games; Indian Way of Life Changes; Missionaries to the Native Americans
  • Read Marie and Douglas Gorsline, North American Indians
  • Read Ellen Levine, If You Lived with the Iroquois
  • Read Peter and Connie Roop, If You Lived with the Cherokee
  • Read Ann McGovern, If You Lived with the Sioux Indians
  • Read Geraldine Woods, The Navajo
  • Read Bill Martin and John Archambault, Knots on a Counting Rope
  • Read E.K. Caldwell, Bear
  • Read Jonathan London, Fire Race: A Karuk Coyote Tale
  • Read Tim Jessell, Amorak
  • Read North American Indian (DK)

The Colonial Period

  • Read Chapter Four – Planting a Colony; England and the Bible; The Lost Colony
  • Chapter Four, continued – Jamestown: The First Lasting English Colony
  • Read Joyce Milton, Pocahontas: An American Princess
  • Chapter Four, continued – The Pilgrims: Lovers of Religious Freedom
  • Read Ann McGovern, If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
  • Read Chapter Five – Settling the North; The Massachusetts Bay Colony; The Puritans; Governor John Winthrop: Rhode Island and Roger Williams; New Hampshire; Connecticut
  • Read Avi, Finding Providence: The Story of Roger Williams
  • Read Chapter Six – New York; Delaware; New Jersey
  • Chapter Six, continued – Pennsylvania and the Quakers
  • Chapter Six, continued – Virginia; Maryland; The Carolinas; Georgia: England’s Last Colony; Many People, One Land
  • Chapter Seven – A Picture of Colonial Life
  • Read Ann McGovern, If You Lived in Colonial Times
  • Read Barbara Brenner, If You Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Times
  • Introductory discussion – What was the “Great Awakening” and how did it shape American culture?
  • Read Chapter Seven – Jonathan Edwards: A Great Puritan Preacher; John Wesley: Founder of the Methodist Church; George Whitefield: The Great Evangelist to America; Missionary Work in America
  • Read Chapter Nine – New France and Its Colonies; The Differences between French and American Colonies; The French and English Become Enemies
  • Chapter Nine, continued – The French and Indian War and Its Historical Significance

The American Revolution and Basic Civics

  • Read Chapter Ten – Thirteen English Colonies in America; The American Colonies Demand their Rights as Englishmen; Stamp Act; More Problems
  • Chapter Ten, continued – The Colonists Speak Out; New Taxes; The Boston Massacre; The Boston Tea Party
  • Chapter Ten, continued – The Revolutionary War Begins; The Colonists Prepare to Fight; The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
  • Read Esther Forbes, America’s Paul Revere
  • Read “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Chapter Ten, continued – The Second Continental Congress; The Battle for Bunker Hill; Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys; More Decisions
  • Chapter Ten, continued – The Declaration of Independence
  • Read the Declaration of Independence
  • Read James Cross Giblin, Thomas Jefferson: A Picture Book Biography
  • Chapter Ten, continued – The War Continues; The Colonial Army in New York City; Patriots Who Risked Their Lives; The Colonial Army at Trenton, New Jersey; A Flag for Our Country
  • Chapter Ten, continued: The Colonial Army at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; The War on the Frontier; A New Navy; The War in the South; Victory at Yorktown, October 1781; Treaty of Paris
  • Read, Kay Moore, If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution
  • Read Chapter Eleven – After the War for Independence; The Articles of Confederation; The Constitution of the United States; A Brand-New Government
  • Read Elizabeth Levy, If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution
  • Read Syl Sobel, How the US Government Works
  • Read Elissa Grodin, D is for Democracy: A Citizen’s Alphabet
  • Chapter Eleven, continued – The New Republic; An Election; A New Capital
  • Read Ruth Belov Gross, If You Grew Up with George Washington

Manifest Destiny and Its Consequences

  • Read Chapter Twelve: America Pushes Farther West; Daniel Boone and the Wilderness Road; Settling the Northwest Territory; The Land Ordinances
  • Chapter Twelve, continued: The United States Doubles in Size; The Louisiana Territory; The War of 1812 and Its Historical Significance; Our National Anthem
  • Read Joyce Milton, Sacajawea: Her True Story
  • Chapter Twelve, continued: The Purchase of Florida; The Second Great Awakening
  • Chapter Twelve, continued: The United States Gains the Southwest; Texas Decides to Fight for Independence: The Alamo; War with Mexico; The Gadsden Purchase
  • Read Elaine Landau, The Alamo: Would You Join the Fight?
  • Chapter Twelve, continued: The Great Rush to California; The Oregon Territory; An Education System Evolves
  • Read Joseph Bruchac, The Trail of Tears; discuss how forcefully relocating Native Americans was a destructive aspect of settling the former colonies and new territories


  • Read Ellen Levine, If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon
  • How It All Began
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Mapping the Way
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – The Decision to Go West
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Wagon Trains
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Hardships on the Trail
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Popular Routes
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – The Transcontinental Railroad
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Building Homes
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Frontier Farming and Food
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – At Home and At School
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Fun and Holidays
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Cowboys and Indians
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Documenting the West
  • Play the Oregon Trail board game
  • Read Tod Cody, The Cowboy’s Handbook: How to Become a Hero of the Wild West
  • DK Eyewitness Books, The Wild West
  • Read Bree Burns, Sitting Bull and Other Legendary Native American Chiefs

Slavery in America

  • Read Chapter Thirteen – The North with Slavery; The South with Slavery; Troubled Times
  • Read Patricia McKissack, Amistad: The Story of a Slave Ship
  • Read Anne Kamma, If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America
  • Somersett
    • Quaker Protest
    • A Prince
    • A Vanished Slave and His Return
    • A Kidnapped Child
    • Jenny Slew
  • Read Virginia Hamilton, Many Thousand Gone: African-Americans from Slavery to Freedom – Part Two
    • Elizabeth Freeman
    • The Right of Chloe
    • Advertisements
    • Th Gabriel Prosser Uprising
    • Josiah Henson, Running-Away and Guide
    • A Slave
    • The Nat Turner Rebellion
    • Some Conductors on the Underground Railroad
    • Eliza
    • Isabella, Sojourner
    • The Captain of the Pearl
    • Solomon Northrup
    • Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey
    • The Brave Conductor
    • “All Right, Sir!”
  • Read Virginia Hamilton, Many Thousand Gone: African-Americans from Slavery to Freedom – Part Three
    • Anthony Burns
    • A Mother’s Despair
    • A Slave from Missouri
    • A Kentucky Runaway
    • Alexander Ross, Down from Canada
    • Jackson, of Alabama
    • Wisdom
    • An Unnamed Fugitive
    • Three Fugitives
    • Exodus
    • Proclamation
    • Deliverance
    • The Tide of Freedom
  • Read Ellen Levine, If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad
  • Read Monica Kulling, Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman
  • Read Marie Bradbury, More than Anything Else

The Civil War

  • Chapter Thirteen, continued – The Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation
  • Chapter Thirteen, continued – The Battles in the Civil War
  • Read Ann Turner, Drummer Boy: Marching to the Civil War
  • Read Kate Boehm-Jerome, Civil War Sub: The Mystery of the Hanley
  • Read Patrick O’Brien, Duel of the Ironclads: The Monitor vs The Virginia
  • Read Jean Fritz, Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln: The Story of the Gettysburg Address
  • Read D’Aulaires’ Abraham Lincoln
  • Read Ann McGovern, If You Grew Up with Abraham Lincoln
  • Chapter 13, continued – The Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln
  • Read Stephen Krensky, A Man for All Seasons: The Life of George Washington Carver; discuss what life was like for former slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation, opportunities and problems

Reconstruction and the Gilded Age

  • Read Chapter Fourteen – Rebuilding the South and The Last Frontier
  • Chapter Fourteen, continued – Indian Reservations; Railroads; The Homestead Act; The Oklahoma Land Rush; Cyrus McCormick
  • Read Chapter Fifteen – Immigration
  • Read Ellen Levine, If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island
  • Read Elvira Woodruff, The Memory Coat
  • Read Amy Hest, When Jessie Came Across the Sea
  • Read Russell Freedman, Immigrant Kids
  • Discussion – Immigrants in our own family from Finland, the Netherlands, and Switzerland; Catholic heritage brought with them
  • Read R. Conrad Stein, The Story of the Erie Canal; discuss the role immigrant labor played in massive public works projects like canals and railroads
  • Chapter Fifteen, continued – Steel and Oil; Famous American Inventors
  • Field Trip – John D. Rockefeller’s House in Ormond Beach
  • Read George Shea, First Flight: The Story of Tom Tate and the Wright Brothers
  • Read Chapter Sixteen – Alaska and Hawaii
  • Watch “The Great Alaskan Race”; discuss the origins of the Iditarod
  • Chapter Sixteen, continued – The Spanish-American War and the Rough Riders; The Panama Canal
  • Read Chapter Seventeen – World War I
  • Chapter Seventeen, continued – The Roaring Twenties
  • Documentary on the Roaring Twenties
  • Chapter Seventeen, continued – The Great Depression
  • Read Steven Otfinoski, The Great Depression
  • Read Don Nardo, Migrant Mother: How a Photograph Defined the Great Depression

The World Wars and Modern American History

  • Chapter Seventeen, continued – The World Between the Wars; The Rise of Communism, Fascism, and Nazism
  • Read Angela Gluck Wood, Holocaust: The Events and Their Impact on Real People; DVD of Holocaust Survivors’ Stories
  • Read Michelle McCann, Luba: The Angel of Bergen-Belsen
  • Chapter Seventeen, continued – World War II Begins; The United States Builds Its Armed Forces; Germany Attacks England; Hitler Surprises the Russians; Three Wars in One
  • Chapter Seventeen, continued – The Attack on Pearl Harbor
  • Read Shelley Tanaka, Attack on Pearl Harbor: The True Story of The Day America Entered World War II
  • Watch “Midway” movie about the war in the Pacific
  • Read Shelley Tanaka, D-Day: A Day that Changed America; discuss great-grandfather’s role in storming Normandy
  • Chapter Seventeen, continued – Victory Comes at Last; Continuing World Problems; Berlin is Divided; the Korean War; discuss family members who served in Korea
  • Chapter Eighteen – Freedom and Opportunity for All Americans
  • Read Robert Coles, The Story of Ruby Bridges
  • Read Ellen Levine, If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King
  • Read Philip Caputo, 10,000 Days of Thunder: A History of the Vietnam War
  • Read Vietnam War (DK); discuss experiences of Vietnam veterans in the family
  • Read Judy Donnelly, Moonwalk: The First Trip to the Moon
  • Read James Buckley Jr., Home Address: ISS, International Space Station
  • Field Trip: Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral
  • Read Mitch Frank, Understanding September 11th: Answering Questions about the Attack on America
  • Reflections on what we’ve learned about our country

Unit on Florida History

  • Abeka, My State Notebook (research project)

TEXT: Abeka, Geography Teaching Maps

  • The World, Charts 1-2
  • North America – Physical Map, Charts 3-4
  • North America – Political Map, Charts 5-6
  • Early Settlements, Charts 7-8
  • The 13 Original Colonies, Charts 9-10
  • Our Nation Grows, Charts 11-12
  • Landforms, Charts 13-14
  • United States – Political, Charts 15-16

TEXT: Abeka, The History of Our United States, Geography / Maps and Reviews

TEXT: Kate Siber, National Parks of the USA

  • East
  • Central
  • Rocky Mountains
  • Southwest
  • West
  • Alaska and Tropics

Jason Chin, The Grand Canyon

Susan, Goodman, On this Spot: An Expedition through Time

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