Memoria Press American History ~ Review

Throughout our homeschooling years the hardest subject for me to teach and stay on track with has almost always been history. We have tried textbooks, but found them boring. We tried unit studies but often found ourselves taking too long on each topic and not finishing. And literature based history often had us not able to keep up with the reading while completing our other subjects. I was struggling to find a good program that would cover American History for next year.

It seems I am given the chance to review a product when a need like that comes up. A majority of time, those items that I get to review end up being a huge blessing for us. They fit exactly what we need. That was my hope for The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set and the 200 Questions About American History set from Memoria Press. While it is written for middle schoolers, I thought with a few tweaks it would be perfect for AJ’s high school credit. We were blessed to receive both sets, together they round out a solid year of American History.

The Story of the 13 Colonies and The Great Republic

This set comes with a Teacher Guide, Student Guide, and a book. You will need a student guide for each student, but the book could easily be shared if you have more than one student working on the course.

The Book

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Cover)

The book is a combination of two books. Both were written by H. A. Guerber. Memoria Press edited the books and combined the two into a single book. It is smaller than a normal text book and is soft covered, making it easy to read.

The book is 211 pages long and broken up into 85 chapters. Most of the chapters are about two pages long. There are a few smaller topics that are only one page long and then some that are around three pages long. There are pictures to go with every chapter. Some include maps, others have sketches of people or famous events in history. The book covers topics from the explores to the Spanish American War.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Pic of open book with sketches of history)

The writing in the book is more like a story than a text book. It is interesting and tells more than just the basic facts. We did find that some of the wording was a little odd in a few places. There were a few times AJ had to reread a sentence in order to understand it. Once she got use to the way it was written she was fine. By the fourth or fifth chapter she didn’t seem to need to reread parts of the book. So far she has found the book enjoyable. Even though we have studied American History before, she is learning a lot of new things. And honestly, so am I.

The Student Guide

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Pic of Student Guide Cover)

The Student Guide is broken into 32 lessons. Each lesson begins with Facts to Know. This section lists important people, events, or terms that the student should know before reading the lesson.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Pic of Facts to Know Section)

The next step is vocabulary. Sometimes the definitions of the words can be inferred from the reading, other times the student needs to understand the definition to understand the reading. We started looking up the words before the reading to make sure that she was able to understand what she read. From using products from Memoria Press in the past, we knew that their tests usually have a lot of vocabulary. In the past AJ would study her definitions but they would be different from the choices on tests.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Pic of vocabulary work)

We decided back then that we would do the vocabulary work for Memoria Press a little differently. She verbally tells me the definitions, and looks up any words she isn’t sure of before she reads. But she doesn’t write those definitions down. After she completes the other parts of the lesson, she copies the definitions from the Teacher Guide. Then when she studies, she has the correct definitions. It seems to work well for us. These tests have a place for the student to write in the answers for some of the vocabulary, but I still like her to copy down the official definition.

After Vocabulary there are questions about the reading. There is a good mixture of questions based on facts from the reading, and questions that require the student to use higher level thinking skills and infer or explain why things happened.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Pic of questions about reading)

The final part of each lesson is the Enrichment section. This section varies a little bit each week. Some of the things it can include are:

  • Map – Where the student locates places on a map, or labels sea routes or different aspects on the map.
  • Timeline – They add dates or events to their time line.
  • Research – The student researches a topic and writes about it.
  • Composition – The student is given a writing assignment. One that AJ did was to write a journal entry from one of the Native Americans when Columbus arrived.
  • 13 Colonies Chart – They add the name of the colony, the year it was established, and the founder.
  • Primary Source – The student reads a primary source like a letter from George Washington to his wife or the Mayflower Compact.
  • Recitation – The student memorizes a poem and then recites it.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review (Enrichment activities)

AJ did all of enrichment activities that she came to except for the compositions. She skipped a few that she didn’t find interesting. We haven’t come to any of the poetry memorization yet. We will take those a poem at a time and decide if she will memorize them. I like that there are a variety of activities to choose from. She liked that there were a variety of primary source documents. Having them right in the same student book made it simple.

The back of the book has a few maps, the 13 Colonies chart, and all of the Primary Source Documents. The only thing I feel it is missing is a blank time line.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review Primary Source

Teacher Guide

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review Teacher Guide

The Teacher Guide is almost exactly the same as the Student Guide. It just has all of the answers. I love that I can look at the teacher guide and easily know what she needs to do. It makes checking her work easy. The Teacher Guide also includes the four tests and answer keys.

200 Questions About American History

The second set we received was 200 Questions About American History. It comes with a Student Book and a Teacher Guide. Each set can be used alone, or they can be combined. The same book is used with both sets. For the 200 Questions About American History, you will also need an additional text. The one they recommend is Story of the World volume 4.

13 Colonies & The Great Republic ~Review Schedule

There is a suggested schedule to follow. If you follow it you should be able to answer all of the questions, take all of the quizzes, and complete the tests in 34 weeks. You will be able to find the answers for the first 24 weeks in the book written by Guerber. The rest of the answers you will need to find in another source.

The Student Book

200 Questions About American History Review (Student Guide)

The 200 questions are simple short answers. They include names, dates, and definitions. The student book has the questions broken up into four sections.

Drill Questions – There are 150 drill questions. These are varied and while the answers are straight forward and easy to find, there are a lot of facts to learn. You will learn all about the different explorers and who did what. You will also answer questions about specific people. An example :

Question 19 – “Native Americans who aided the Pilgrims” The answer is Samoset and Squanto.

There are also questions about laws wars and rebellions. An example:

Question 26 – “War between France and England” In America ______ In Europe _______

The answers are the French and Indian War and the Seven Years’ War.

Some of the questions have multiple answers, like number 99. It asks you to list all 11 states in the Confederacy.

I was very surprised by the quality of the questions. If a person really learned and memorized the drill questions they would have a very good understanding of American History. I am learning right along side with AJ.

Timeline of American History – This section has 30 dates that your student needs to fill in. They include important moments in American History like the Louisiana Purchase and the Gold Rush. Most of the dates are of different wars or battles.

Notable Quotes – This section has 20 famous quotes. The student is asked who said it, and what the occasion was. I like that they have to know what was going on, not just who said it.

It includes quotes I was familiar with like, “ I have a dream” and “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” There were also others like when Lincoln said, “If I can ever hit that thing, I’ll hit it hard!” I had never heard that quote before, so I read ahead and found out he was talking about slavery.

Presidents of the United States – This has 45 questions. A fact is listed about each president. The student has to fill in the name of the president and the years they served. I like that they don’t simply memorize the order of the president, they learn a little about each one.

The back of the book has a copy of the Star–Spangled Banner, Old Ironsides, and O Captain! My Captain!

Teacher Guide

200 Questions About American History Review Teacher Guide

The teacher guide has everything that the student book has. It also has all of the answers filled in. In the back of the book it has all of the tests and quizzes along with the answer keys.

There are seven tests. The first six are on specific section such as, The Civil War. The final test covers material from the entire book. The tests have multiple choice, matching, and short answer questions.

Flash Cards

There is a set of 200 flash cards that go with the 200 Questions About American History. They can be used by themselves to simply go over facts, or they can be used along with the set. The flash cards are broken up into the same four sections as the book.

You can use them how ever they best work for you. We found that it works best for us to go through the cards each day before she starts her lesson. Then we add any new cards for the day and go through them again when she is finished with the lesson.

200 Questions About American History Review

Right now we have less than 25 cards that she is working on. Once she takes the first test we will start reviewing the cards from the current section daily. Then we will review the other cards up to 25 each day. That way she will review the material for the current test every day and the rest of the questions we have answered at least twice a month. We will add any that she struggles with to the daily pile.

The flash cards make studying the material easier than simply studying from the book. She can take a few cards and go through them if she is having trouble, or go through them when she has a few minutes. I originally didn’t think we would really use the cards, but they are one of AJ’s favorite part of the school day. Younger students would probably enjoy playing different games with the cards to help them learn and retain information.

How We Use the Program

In the beginning I was a little confused on how to best use this program. The Story of the 13 Colonies and The Great Republic set doesn’t have a suggested schedule. I assumed it was designed to complete one lesson a week to make it last a year. That schedule didn’t fit with the schedule found in 200 Questions About American History. The lessons in the first set didn’t match with the chapters to be read in the second set.

To answer the first week of questions from the 200 Questions book you need to read 7 chapters. But two lessons in the 13 Colonies book was 6 chapters and three lessons would have you read 9 chapters. I decided not to worry about that schedule too much.

200 Questions About American History Review

We decided to have AJ complete two lessons a week, since it is summer. Once we are back to our normal schedule she will complete three lessons. Then at the end of each day she answers any of the questions from the 200 Questions book that were answered in the days reading. We are not quite on track with the schedule. The nice thing is that for each scheduled test they schedule a week to study and a week to take the test. She won’t need that long so I think that she should have enough time to complete both books within the year.

Depending on how fast AJ reads and which enrichment activities are scheduled, a lesson can take her between an hour to an hour and 45 minutes. I have her work for about an hour each day. I think a student in middle school would be able to complete two lessons a week if they work on history for about an hour each day.

200 Questions About American History Review

Since this program is designed for middle school students, I will have to add to it to make it count for a high school credit. Each week she picks one of the composition or research assignments and expands on it. I also have her pick one topic from the reading to study further. One week we were learning about Captain John Smith. She researched the story of Pocahontas and then compared it to the Disney movie. She is also reading a few historical fiction books and watching some videos.

Our Thoughts

This product has been a blessing for us. It will be AJ’s core for her history next year. The text is interesting and full of information. The questions have a good variety. She enjoys the map work and has had fun writing some of the compositions. The 200 Questions set is a simple part of her day and has helped her learn so much. I feel it will be one of our best years of history.

200 Questions About American History Review

There were only two things that we wish were different. AJ said that she wished there was a timeline in the first set, or that there were spaces for all of the events that she was told to add in the 200 Questions set. She didn’t want to have two timelines, so she has been adding in dates on the timeline that is included in the 200 Questions set. Unfortunately, they didn’t fit very well. So she started a new timeline where she will add all of the information. I think it would be great to see a blank timeline that had space for all of the information from both books in one place.

The second issue is based on the same idea. I like that the books can be used separately, but they work so well together. I wish there was a schedule that better showed how to complete both sets at the same time. We found a work around, but I think it would make planning a little easier if a schedule for both was included.

We are very happy with the products we received. I would highly recommend both of these sets to anyone who wants an in-depth study of American History!

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed different products from Memoria Press. There were writing and grammar courses for younger students, and another history set for older students. Find out what they thought by clicking on the graphic below.

Classical Writing & Spelling, American History & Jewish Wars {Memoria Press Reviews}
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