What is it?
Golden Prairie Press is a company that provides history resources for homeschool families. The author is Amy Puetz, a homeschool grad and self-professed history-lover. Golden Prairie Press provides many historical resources that present history from a Christian-based and providential viewpoint.
Digital Heroes and Heroines of the Past: American History Curriculum is a new curriculum from Golden Prairie Press. This program contains 30 weeks of history lessons geared for children in grades 1-6 but could be used with older ages.
There are several components that come with this program:
- American History Part 1 and 2 are the texts of the program. These contain the readings, maps, pictures, review questions, activity ideas, writing prompts, craft instructions, and recipes. This is the heart of the program.
- Additional Materials download contains enlarged pictures for picture study and larger maps. This CD also contains helpful timelines of events such as the American Revolution and World War I. There are also game instructions and printables to go along with some of the crafts.
- Historical Skits contains 19 skits from the time of Columbus to World War II. These are scripted and are written for as few as 2 actors to more than 6 characters in the cast.
- Sing Some History MP3s contains 20 historical songs such as Lavender’s Blue, Yankee Doodle, All the Pretty Horses, and Battle Hymn of the Republic.
- Listen to some US History MP3s contains audio of 20 historical speeches and documents such as Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Patrick Henry’s speech, and the Bill of Rights.
How did we use this product?
The program contains a reading for each day of the week. This reading covers historical events, topics, and people. Some of these readings are divided into a shorter, simplified narrative for the 1st-2nd grade crowd, while the following pages include a more detailed narrative for 3rd-6th grade. Each reading contains pictures, diagrams, or maps. At the end of the reading for each day was a short “assignment” section. This could include review questions, ideas for writing topics, mapwork instructions for geography, activity ideas, timeline work, recipes, or an examination of historical art. Each week also had one suggested memory verse.
The audio files and plays were scheduled throughout the various lessons. There were instructions on which file to listen to or which play could be done to enhance the lesson.
I first began using this product with Curly (2nd grade) with Tiger (K) listening in. I quickly found that the reading selections were too long to hold Tiger’s attention so I only used the product with Curly for the rest of the review period.
I would read the reading section of the lesson to Curly and then give her assignments based on the provided questions, maps, pictures, writing prompts, and projects.
Later in the review period, Curly was doing most of the reading on her own and then doing the assignments that I indicated. It worked well for independent use on days when I was busy with other children. She was able to do some projects on her own and for others we worked together.
The assignments that she completed were the mapping assignments where she looked at the provided maps and made notations. She also completed the review questions on her own, writing down her answers for me to review later. We did not use the writing prompts because Curly isn’t ready for much independent writing. She did do all the historical picture studies and we discussed those together. We did a few crafts and a couple of the recipes such as making hot chocolate that the Spanish explorers would have enjoyed in South and Central America.
While we did listen to the audio files when suggested in the program, we found that we would sit and listen to the Sing Some History songs. There were quite a few that were old favorites such as Old Susanna but we were introduced to many other historical songs that were new to us such as Liberty Song and Bonny Blue Flag. Our favorite was When Johnny Comes Marching Home! Now we all know the words!
We also listened to several of the speeches and historical documents even though they weren’t quite scheduled in the program. It was fun to listen along with some that were familiar to us like Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. Curly was thrilled to hear parts of speeches that she had previously memorized. Love putting everything into context!
I read through some of the skits with Curly but they were more difficult for us to do since most of my kids cannot read to follow along in the script and it wasn’t quite as much fun if you had to play several of the parts yourself. If I had another reader or two these would have been very fun as a family project. So, we’re saving them for when we have some more “big” kids in our house.
What did we think?
Curly and I really enjoyed the narrative of each lesson. The historical information is well-written and very interesting for an older elementary child. Curly found that she liked to sit and read more than one day’s lesson at a time to learn about the time period and the people in each lesson.
I did wish that each lesson had a narrative for the younger students. Some days the narrative was for 1st-6th grade and I found that my son could not quite follow the lesson as it was too long for him or had too much detail. I really enjoyed the lessons that were divided by grade level and ability level.
I liked the summary questions at the end of most day’s lesson. Having Curly answer those gave me an excellent indication of how much she understood of the lesson and what she was learning. I had her work on these questions independently and then go over her answers with me. This led to some great discussions!
Curly’s favorite parts of the lessons were the picture studies where she studied pictures that depicted historical people or events and then we discussed them. It gave us such a window into the past.
We enjoyed all the audio files. I loved that this program surrounded our senses with not only great narrative and appealing pictures, but with recordings of historical songs and speeches. It was such a unique and fun way to experience history.
While the skits are really wonderful, it was difficult for our household with so many little ones. We needed a few more participants to make the skits really work for us. It would have been more fun if we had some friends over to do the skits with us. I think that’s how I would plan to use them in the near future.
I’ll admit that we didn’t do all of the crafts. Many of the beginning crafts included making things out of salt dough (playdoh) and that’s not something that really interests Curly. I found the crafts to be lacking in creativity. I was hoping for something more detailed or maybe even more artistic. I’m not sure older kids would find the crafts to be very inspiring or interesting. So for us, we spent more time on the readings, audio files, picture studies, and maps.
My wrap up!
We really enjoyed this history experience using Heroes and Heroines of the Past. Curly found the readings to be very interesting and we both learned so many wonderful historical facts that were new to both of us. I really appreciated that the history was presented from a Christian perspective and that Bible memory verses were suggested for each week. The various audio files really enhanced our history experiences and made this program feel very well-rounded and adaptable to students of various learning styles.
Overall, it’s a well-organized history study that is doable because it is clearly written and is very flexible.
The program is a digital download that retails for $98.99
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