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Homeschool Crew Review: America’s Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty

 

 

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free,

in a state of civilization,

it expects what never was and never will be.” 

Thomas Jefferson 

The United States is, undeniably, facing difficult times.  The American Heritage Resource Education Foundation says these problems arise partly because the citizens are forsaking their roots, expecting to remain civilized and free while being ignorant of the past. The website proclaims, “The experts agree–America is in such significant social, cultural, philosophical, governmental, and educational decline that, if continued unabated, it will result in the death of the country.”   

 

For a country built on the concepts of “individual rights and the four key themes  of Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility,” disaster looms when these concepts are no longer taught and reinforced in schools and institutions.

 

The mission of the American Heritage Resource Education Foundation, Inc. is to promote constructive citizenship among students and citizens by teaching, reinforcing, and practicing these four themes.  That is why they put together the Adventure in Liberty curriculum supplement for grades K-12.  In its three levels, Elementary, Middle School, and High School, it discusses basic US documents, songs, and symbols, and teaches some US history and citizenship. 

 

The elementary level of An Adventure in Liberty  features a silly radio play containing the chorus “We got to get independence.”  It also includes the Independence Game (to understand the effects of colonial rule), some crosswords of poor quality,  a silhouette of Washington, pictures of the signers of the Declaration of Independence(poor quality), president cards (decent quality), a list of Presidential Fast Facts (very interesting), and finger puppets.  Topics such as Thanksgiving Day, the flag, the Star Spangled Banner, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Motto are discussed as well.  For us Canadians, the information about the presidents is worthwhile, but the rest of this curriculum level is quite nationalistic.

 

The middle school level   is much more appealing.  It contains the same Independence Game as the elementary level, but no poor quality puzzles.  Various documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Gettysburg Address are included and discussed.  The US motto is explained, with references to the Masonic affiliation of some of the founding fathers.  The Statue of Liberty and the Pledge of Allegiance are also included, as is a discussion of what a citizen is.

 

The high school level of An Adventure in Liberty contains the above documents, as well as the Mayflower Compact, a discussion of the First Amendment, and Federalist Paper #47.  These and other documents are carefully explained.  This level also includes a fascinating chapter about four successful entrepreneurs, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Hill, and Rockefeller.

 

I have a few issues with the premise of this curriculum.  The four values (freedom, unity, progress, and responsibility) were not, it seems to me, foundational to the vigor of the early United States.  The credit for that should go to the Christian beliefs of the majority of the people, and to God’s blessing.  You can’t expect to repair the structure of the country without going back to the foundation, Christianity, and this may not be taught in US public schools.  What is more, it was the people who were Christian; many of their leaders had abandoned the historic faith and hints of this are evident in the documents they drafted. 

 

For US citizens  this is a valuable collection of source documents, presented in an appealing way.  It would benefit both homeschools and day schools.  I also think that everyone could benefit from reading the preface (see page 9 in the link), which is identical in the different levels.

 

Being Canadians, we are not enthusiastic supporters of the revolution, and I was repelled by some of the nationalism in the elementary curriculum.  The other two levels are more factual and contain important information about the United States that can benefit citizens of every country.

 

The real value of this curriculum for our family is as a collection of source documents, often with illuminating discussions.  I also appreciate the mini-biographies in the high school curriculum as well as the Presidential Fast Facts in the elementary curriculum. An additional document, focusing on character education, has resource lists about famous men and women.  Since the topics in the elementary, middle school, and high school character education syllabus are similar, this is an excellent opportunity for the entire family to study the same famous person or topic. It is available on the website but not on the CD.  

 

You can read opinions of other Homeschool Review Crew members on the Crew blog.

 

Where to Get It

All three levels of America’s Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty(including the elementary level in Spanish) are available as free downloads from the website.  The chapters of each level can also be downloaded individually as needed.  To choose what you wish to download or to examine these curriculum supplements more closely, please see the elementary level outline,  the middle school level outline, and the high school level outline.

  

Those with a dial-up internet connection would be better off requesting the free CD that contains all three levels of the curriculum.  A printed version is available for $19.50 US per level.  

   

Donations and other support to the American Heritage Resource Education Foundation are welcome. 

 

Disclosure Policy:   As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a free CD with all three curriculum levels. 

One Comment

  1. proverbsmama says:

    Thanks for this info. I ordered a copy of the CD to use as a supplement.

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