Updated: Jun 3
Are you interested in a U.S. History curriculum that is well rounded and helps reinforce reading comprehension skills? Look no further than The Critical Thinking Companies U.S. History Detective Book
One. I received U.S. History Detective book one from Timberdoodle Co in exchange for my fair and honest review. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I would never recommend or promote an item that wouldn't benefit my family or other families who homeschool. I was very excited to receive this curriculum because we had already planned on doing U.S. History this year and we've used items from The Critical Thinking Co before and have loved them. I had high hopes that this would continue the stellar reputation I had come to expect from this company. This is part of Timberdoodle Co 8th grade non religious kit. This book is intended for grades 8th-12th. I used it with my 5th and 8th grader. It definitely was easier for my 8th grader but, with some slight accommodations my 5th grader was able to keep up with the work. I wouldn't recommend for a child any younger than that unless it was to follow along to the reading only.
Things I Loved
I loved how much time it covered. From pre colonial era to the reconstruction era there was so much to learn. I appreciated they took the time to talk about the people whom were here before the U.S was colonized. While some of the info is based on speculation from ruins and a lack of records. There was not a lot of time spent on this but, it was refreshing to see as most don't bother.
With both of my children struggling with reading comprehension and finding the answers from a text this curriculum was so perfect for them. The multiple choice question at the end of every section make you prove your answer choice. I appreciate this as a parent because its easy to take a guess on a multiple choice question having to defend your answer lets me know they really looked for the answer. I love that there are multiple ways they test their knowledge on what they just learned. There was multiple choice, fill in the blank, true or false, fact or opinion, written/essay response, and graphs/charts to fill in. It really is a great set up for future college testing.
I loved the sections are kept short. Having two children with ADHD large chunks of reading cause them to zone out and loose focus. The paragraphs are indicated by the alphabet and every sentence is numbered. There are plenty of pictures and maps to help kids whom are more visual learners. The fun facts boxes were filled with neat little tidbits that are great conversation starters at dinner.
Things I Didn't Like
While the sections being short are a positive in one aspect its also a con. It really does cram a lot of information in but, with the span of the book being so large there is so much barely covered or glossed over completely. I wish the answers were in a separate teacher book. While it is nice not having an extra book to buy, having them available can cause some temptation to take the easy way out when doing the assignment if the parent is not right there. It is also harder to check your kids work having to flip back and forth from the front to back when grading the work.
With the name "U.S. History Detective" I thought it would be structured a little differently. I thought it would have some sort of sleuth aspect to it. I thought it would be a little more fun and engaging than it was. My daughter is not much of a history fan so I thought it would be a more fun way to learn history. It was just a regular history curriculum.
This is a great curriculum if your looking to really cover a broad time gap in U.S. History. If you are wanting a more in depth study this could be more of a companion piece. It really can help serve a dual purpose with helping them find things in the text and learning how to reference or back up an answer. It really does cover some topics that don't seem to be covered in some of the other curriculums making it in my opinion a little more well rounded.
There are 9 sections and 65 different lessons so this definitely can be used for a full years curriculum. However the lessons are on the shorter side so if your child is more advanced you could do both U.S. History Detective Book One and their second book U.S. History Detective Book Two.
We give U.S. History Detective two very big thumbs up.
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