America is a complete program (except math) for 3rd, 4th, 5th, and/or 6th grade students. Rather than use the word grade in the study, I refer to grade three students as Level 3, grade four as Level 4, etc. There are ten weeks of regular instruction and one week at the end for summary projects and activities.
Each student should have a daily work notebook for assignments. When I began writing the studies, I debated whether students should write in notebooks or use worksheets. I chose to use the notebook method for two main reasons: 1) you can use this curriculum for more than one student, and 2) it is less expensive for us to produce so we can sell it for a lower price. Each day students should write the day of the week and the date in their notebook in the following manner: Monday, September 1, 1999.
Peter Marshall and David Manuel's books differ from traditional textbooks in several ways. They are written in story form, so the reading is more interesting than a textbook. Also, the authors have a specific spiritual theme through the books: They call people to repentance and right living before God. In the Bible section of the studies, students read and memorize Bible verses and passages that relate to Mr. Marshall and Mr. Manuel's message and to ideas found in the fictional books used for reading (see the Book List). Students are encouraged to apply Biblical principles to their lives.
Approximately five weekly spelling words are provided for two levels (3/4 and 5/6). Additional spelling words can be taken from the Dolch sight word list (in the Appendix) and from the student's writing. Suggestions for practicing spelling words and common spelling rules are also found in the Appendix. Students will practice spelling the days of the week and the months of the year daily as they write the day and date in their daily work notebook.
Students practice handwriting during spelling and/or English lessons. For reference, a list of easy-to-copy cursive letters is printed in the Appendix. Several things to keep in mind as you are teaching handwriting: Keep it simple and remember the purpose of cursive - to connect letters to enable one to write faster. Also, don't rush your student. If he or she is not ready for cursive, wait a while and begin again. Students should practice good posture when writing by sitting with their feet on the floor and tilting the left side of the paper slightly toward the body. If a student is left-handed, he or she should tilt the paper toward the right side of the body.
Students study grammar, capitalization, and punctuation in the English section of this study. Writing is taught in the Writing section, but writing assignments are also found in all subjects. Students will study, copy, and write poetry and create a poetry booklet. I recommend that, in addition to the writing assignments found in this study, students write one friendly letter or formal letter each week. The format for these types of letters is found in the Appendix.
Students label locations on maps for their Geography study. They will also create a book of presidents and a state book as they work through the "From Every Mountainside" and "Let Freedom Ring" studies.
Two science lessons and related activities are provided at the beginning of each week; you can choose where you want to use this material. Two possible options: 1) Read the lesson one day and do the related activity/activities the next day (in this way you would have science four days each week), 2) Read the lesson and complete the related activity or activities on the same day (this method would result in two days of science).
Lesson plans for Fridays include art/craft projects, music activities, and time line work. There is no problem, however, if you homeschool four days a week instead of five. If you choose to use this method, complete one day of the America curriculum each day you have school and ignore the week designations or include Friday's work in your Monday through Thursday assignments.
Other materials offered in America: a list of goals and objectives, an extended reading list, notes to the teacher, time line figures, suggestions for younger/older students, and a complete answer key (located at the end of each study).
About the Student Workbook for America
Year 1 of America has now been available to homeschooling parents for several years. One request from some parents is to have a student workbook available. Although I decided to create a workbook for each year, it is an optional item. This workbook is available in three sections, one for each 11-week study; it is available in 3-hole-punch format. See several sample pages at the end of this information.
The workbook is designed to be used instead of the daily work notebook that is mentioned throughout America. Most English exercises, short written assignments, lists, and dictations are examples of work that will be completed in this student workbook. A sample of the workbook is found after the sample week (below).
The workbook also eliminates the need for a teacher to create a daily assignment sheet; all reading and independent work is included in the workbook. When an activity is not included in the workbook, it should be completed with the teacher or in a group. Please note that students who use this workbook will still create an English Rules and Definitions Booklet and a Bible Memory Book. Students will write and copy poetry on separate paper so they can put together a poetry book at the end of the year. The state and president pages that they begin to make in the second 11-week study will also be put on separate sheets so they can form state and president books at the end of the year. Students are instructed to write some writing assignments on separate paper. These assignments can then be punched with a hole punch and added to the workbook.
A suggested schedule for using this workbook follows:
1) Begin the school day with prayer.
2) Have a pre-America time with your student(s). Note that the highlighted parts of the sheets tell you what information/teaching your student needs before working independently.
3) Student works independently. (Levels 3/4 students will probably need help during this time.) Have the America study available in a consistent place so student(s) can read parts when their workbook instructs them to do this.
4) After your student has read and worked independently, have a post-independent time to ask and answer questions and to complete group activities.
Now that a student workbook is available for each year of America, parents have a choice:
1) Each student may use a spiral notebook as the daily work notebook (inexpensive option),
2) You are able to purchase a workbook for each student for daily work (more expensive option)
Keep in mind, however, that America is an interactive program. Although a portion of the work will be completed independently, the discussions and interactions between the teacher and the student(s) are important parts of the curriculum. My desire is that making America available in another form will enable more parents to choose to teach with an integrated curriculum. The advantages to an integrated program are numerous: Students of varying ages can learn together, less time needs to be spent in school, and information is reinforced in all subjects, so it is learned more thoroughly.
Parts of America: An Integrated Curriculum are available for instant digital download from TeachersPayTeachers -- and more will be coming! Download the first two weeks of "Land of the Pilgrims' Pride" plus the Appendix and the Answer Key -- FREE! This gives you an opportunity to try out the program before you purchase more weeks; click on the link:
"Land of the Pilgrims' Pride" (Introduction/Weeks 1-2, Appendix, Answer Key)