If you’ve homeschooled for any length of time, you know the fantastic feeling of finding the perfect curriculum for your kids. They are learning and enjoying the process and there is peace throughout the land. Then, it happens.
As with all good things, curriculum comes to an end. Your child may complete the curriculum or may simply age out and you are stuck again trying new curriculum and resources while your child wallows and moans at everything you try. A great darkness falls.
That’s where we were. After 3 years, my son completed his history curriculum and it was time to find another. Ugh. I showed him many good options and we tried a couple. Nothing seemed to fit. He was bored. I was miserable. Then, I had a fortuitous meeting.
*This post contains affiliate links.
My Re-Introduction To Notgrass History
A few years back, I went to my first local homeschool convention. There were many great speakers and popular vendors. However, there seemed to be a buzz around a certain couple. Everyone was telling me I just had to attend their workshop and I should definitely check out their curriculum. Unfortunately, their speaking schedule didn’t work out with mine and there was such a crowd around their booth, I didn’t get to spend much time there.
Fast forward, to last fall. I am part of the 2:1 Conference team. The 2:1 Conference is a blogging/social media conference specifically for the homeschool market. This past October, that same couple that caused such a buzz at our local convention attended 2:1. I made it a point to seek them out and I’m so glad I did.
I instantly fell in love the with heart of Ray and Charlene Notgrass. They are veteran homeschool parents whose children are now homeschooling and helping them with their curriculum company, Notgrass History. They have servants’ hearts and a keen understanding of what homeschool children and parents need.
As I spoke with them about our homeschool journey and my struggles finding the right history curriculum for my son who was just entering the middle school age. Ray smiled “We wrote this curriculum with your son in mind”. While I know he didn’t mean my son specifially, he meant kids like my son. Kids who get bored easily and need something to keep their attention. The same thing day after day just would not do.
That’s when he walked me through Notgrass History’s From Adam To Us. I got so excited. It seemed perfect, so I took it home. Ray was right. He did write it for my son. History curriculum problem solved.
What I Like About Notgrass History
Notgrass History Is Comprehensive
Notgrass History has homeschool history resources for middle and high school students. We are using From Adam To Us. This is a full year history and literature course for students in 5th through 8th grade. That’s the official course description noted on the website and in the textbook, which I think is way to limiting. From Adam To Us is more like history, geography, anthropology, archaeology, Bible, and literature rolled into one globe-trotting adventure.
Each unit is divided into 5 lessons. Each lesson covers something different about the theme of the unit. These daily categories are: Our World Story, God’s Wonders, World Landmark, World Biography, Daily Life.
Notgrass Makes History Interesting
I happen to love history, but there is nothing worse than a dry, boring history books listing just the facts and dates. My adventure loving boy needs more to hold his attention (as do I). From Adam To Us is written in a descriptive, narrative style that draws the reader in.
“The sounds of a busy seaport fill the day. Seamen call out to the dockhands to help them bring their vessels to shore. Captains bargain with merchants to arrive at a price for the cargo they have on board. Traders instruct slaves where to place merchandise that they have just unloaded from the ships. The creaks and groans of wooden ships in the harbor, the reluctant grunts of camels and other beasts of burden, and the wheels of wagons bringing goods from trade routes to the shore and taking other goods to the marketplace and to their farther destinations all fill the air.” –description of daily life in the ancient city of Carthage
After reading this passage, students not only know that Carthage was a seaport, they have a mental picture of how the seaport worked, sounded, and looked like. It takes the reader on an adventure. This is much more memorable and exciting.
Reading rich descriptions is so very helpful in understanding a subject. Pair that text with vibrant pictures, illustrations, and maps and you aid the student even more. From Adam To Us is full of beautiful images of historical landmarks, landscapes, people, and animals that relate to the lessons, making them come alive.
Even though the recommended age for From Adam To Us is grades 5-8, younger children can certainly listen in and learn. Younger children will, also, love the images in the textbook. The entire family can participate in a family activity suggested at the end of each unit. So far, we have created a Stonehenge out of rice krispy treats (then we ate it) and we had a worldwide dinner with foods from around the world.
These family activities are fun, but they can serve as an important educational tool. When the student is participating in a family activity based on their lesson, it allows the student a non-pressure opportunity to chat with other family members about what they are learning. Recalling information from their lesson and relaying it to others helps the student retain the information and move it from knowledge to understanding.
Notgrass History Is Flexible
At the end of each lesson, there are suggested activities to reinforce the text. The student can fill out a timeline, do map work, answer comprehension questions, read source documents, or do an activity. You can choose to have your child do all, some, or none of the suggestions. The work load can be tailored to fit your child.
We usually do all the work in the workbooks that come with the From Adam To Us package and then add a documentary from Netflix or Amazon Prime.
My Son Likes It
When it comes down to it, no matter what my preferences may be, if my son likes a curriculum I love it. There is nothing worse than dragging a student through their lessons. Homeschooling is much more enjoyable for all when the student enjoys their curriculum. We are very blessed in 2017 to have a seemingly inexhaustible amount of homeschooling resources available to us. There is no sense in staying with a curriculum that the child hates.
My son completes his Notgrass History lessons with no complaints and often wants to start the day with them. He is learning and understanding. What more can I ask for?
More Information About Notgrass History
The Notgrass History website has tons of information about the family behind the company, their curriculum, and homeschooling in general. You can learn about their many middle and high school history offerings. You can even download free lessons to see if the curriculum is right for you.
Follow Notgrass History on Facebook for up to date company and homeschooling information.
Do you need a little encouragement? Visit Daily Encouragement For Homeschooling Mothers from Charlene Notgrass.