Thursday, October 8, 2009

Review: American Heritage Education Foundation

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." ~ James Madison

Normally this is where I'd mention that "As part of the TOS Crew I was provided with a free CD from American Heritage Education Foundation for the purpose of this review." Which I was--but this time, not only do I receive this freebie but so can you!

According to their website, the American Heritage Education Foundation (AHEF) is a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation (501.c.3) dedicated to the understanding and teaching of America's factual and philosophical heritage to promote constructive citizenship and Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility among our students and citizens.

AHEF accomplishes this patriotic mission by writing, producing, and distributing FREE K-12 lesson plans to teachers, students, and families in all 50 states and through additional initiatives, programs, and partnerships.

AHEF is inclusive of individuals of every race and creed and every religious or non-religious persuasion. (This means that while their materials do touch on our country's Christian foundation, it's not to be considered a Bible-based program.)

Their CD titled "America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty" contains 4 e-books filled with hundreds of pages worth of supplemental/basic education in American History for all grade levels:
  • Elementary (184 pages)
  • Elementary (Spanish edition)
  • Middle School (182 pages)
  • High School (187 pages)
Information for the teacher, such as the length of the lesson, necessary materials, lesson objective, etc. are also included.

The lessons incorporate games, puzzles, discussion questions, information, and plenty of additional activities. However, being that this curriculum was designed to be used in a classroom setting, some of the activities aren't well-suited for the homeschool setting. Several had to be adapted, which was fairly easy to do. But overall, it would've been easier if we'd had more people. (Please disregard that comment if you plan to use this at your local co-op, or happen to have a larger-than-is-typical family.)

In addition, "the elementary lessons meet the nationally applicable Core Knowledge Skills (grades K-6) (national edition). Each middle and high school lesson plan correlates with the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) standards (national edition)." While this fact bears no weight in my final verdict of the product, I did feel it deserved an honorary mention as many fellow homeschoolers like that sort of thing. :)

My Opinion:

I'd been looking for an effective way to cover history with my little brood for some time now. History isn't one of their top five favorite subjects (or even among their top two!), but it's important that they understand their country's foundation and where it is now in comparison.

I loved the fact that every grade was included on one CD, making it easy to zip between my children's respective grade levels. The teacher planning is done for you, which means all I had to do was gather our materials and hit "print".

While like I said, some of the games and such just weren't possible with our little group, the overall gist of the lessons were simple and effective to use. I felt we'd covered more American History in this one brief review period than we have over the past few years. (And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, the materials added a nice bonus to our Colonial America discussions!)

Best of all--everything's absolutely free!

You can download their lesson plans directly from their website in pdf format or request a free CD by clicking here. A printed version is also available for $19.50 per grade level.

To learn more about the American Heritage Education Foundation, please click here.

We give American Heritage Education Foundation's "Adventures in Liberty" CD 1.5 thumbs up. (It would've earned a full 2 thumbs if it'd been a decidedly Christian product. Not too keen on the whole "separation of church and state" thing.)

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