Our American History boxes include books, games, puzzles, and activities to learn the major concepts in our history. We recommend starting each topic with a quick video to learn background information before reading the books included in the box. We love the videos found on http://www.havefunwithhistory.com/HistorySubjects/index.html because they are short, engaging, and full of great information.
Another great option is to listen to the free Khan Academy lectures on each time period. You can find them here: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/us-history/history-survey/us-history-survey/v/us-history-overview-1-jamestown-to-the-civil-war
Including a variety of resources when learning history helps kids to internalize the major concepts and ideas in our history. We recommend watching a short video for each topic, then read the books in your box, and finally complete the activities in the workbook. We encourage families to talk about the topics and to try to:
- Put the concept in the context of the time period. What else was happening in the U.S. at that time?
- Put the concept in the context of today. How do we look back on that person, event, or idea? How do we think about it now?
- Put the concept in the context of the country in which you are currently living (if possible). What was going on in your host country during this time period?
For additional materials or resources, write to us at http://www.afterschoolplans.com.
If you were to create a list of major concepts and events that every elementary child should know about American History, what would that list look like? After consulting the Virginia Learning Standards, the Common Core Standards, several elementary level history books, and a couple of adult history books, we have come up with the following list. Did we leave anything critical out? Remember, if this is for elementary students it needs to be shorter and accessible. We are looking to create a framework for future learning!
- Exploration and Discovery
- The Pilgrims and Colonialism
- Continental Congress and a New Nation
- The Revolutionary War
- Native Americans
- The Civil War and Reconstruction
- Westward Expansion
- Industrialization and Progressivism
- World War I
- The Roaring 20’s
- The Great Depression and the New Deal
- The Civil Rights Movement
- World War II
- The Cold War
- The Korean and Vietnam Wars
- Modern Times
- States and Capitals
- The Presidents
- Famous and Important People
Is this list a bit too long? What would you delete? What would you add? Do we need to have a separate category for Women’s Rights or can we put that under Progressivism? What about recent conflicts and concerns. Should we expand the “Modern Times” category and include the War in Iraq, Computerization of America, etc.? It is very difficult to create a short and manageable list of major concepts and events in American History. It always feels as if something major is being left off. But, we want to keep our list manageable for growing minds who are just learning about our history.