Friday, November 6, 2009

America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty - A Review


Product: America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty

Company: American Heritage Education Foundation

Price: Free online and in CD format. $19.50/level for printed binders

Where to buy: AHEF

Brief Overview:

I think AHEF's mission statements says it best:
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.

As does Thomas Jefferson:

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

In-Depth Look:

AHEF offers a K-12 teacher lesson plan resource, for

"Understanding of our nation’s factual and philosophical heritage to promote Freedom, Unity, Progress and Responsibility among our students and our citizens".

It is in conjunction with The Houston Independent School District and the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation. You can receive as a download or CD for free. Or you can request a printed binder for $19.50 per level. I received the CD for review.

The CD is broken up by grade levels: Elementary School, Elementary School (Spanish), Middle School and High School. I briefly looked over the Middle and High School levels, but spent most of my focus on the Elementary Level, since that is the age of my children.

It contains some important and interesting quotes.

Our Founding Fathers also emphasized that a democratic republic cannot survive without a high degree of literacy and knowledge. – Dr. Richard Gonzalez , co-founder AHEF

Everything that government gives to the people must first be taken from the people.

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

Each level is set up in the same basic format and include some of the same lessons, but in varying degrees of difficulty. Some of the lessons for the elementary level are the Declaration of Independence, George Washington, Thanksgiving, the U.S. Flag, and the Statue of Liberty. Some for the middle school

are Lives, Fortunes, & Sacred Honor, The Bill of Rights, The Gettysburg Address, and The Pledge of Allegiance. And for high school,

The Mayflower Compact, Federalist 47, The First Amendment, and our National Documents Each lesson focuses on at least one theme: Freedom, Unity, Progress or Responsibility. Dates are also listed in the Table of Contents.

A unit’s intro has the purpose, objective, theme, core knowledge for elementary grade levels (NCSS for middle and high school), time and materials required, preparation required and the focus. Activities vary and include lots of extras: charts, pictures, songs, games, puzzles, bookmarks, finger puppets. At the end of a unit is an idea for closure, such as a small group discussion or a short essay on the theme.

AHEF makes mention of some important American holidays, including

Loyalty Day – April 30th

American Heritage Month – November

Religious Freedom Day – January 16th

At the end is an interesting resource, called Religious Expression in the Public Schools.

The resource on Religious Expression in the Public Schools contains lots and lots of information on the guidelines that both staff and students should follow regarding such acts. It is very detailed and insightful. Although I think it is a crying-shame that such regulation exists in the first place.

Since it is nearing Thanksgiving, I printed out the activities on that. It includes a History of Thanksgiving and a crossword puzzle. I also printed out the lesson on the Statue of Liberty since we recently discussed that. It included Lady Liberty's real meaning and a puppet. It is a nice supplement to what we have already studied.

In my opinion, this material covers a much-needed gap in most curriculums. It is very important that we know where we come from. It is important to know the history of our nation. We must not forget what God has done for us. We must not forget the sacrifice that great men made before us. We must know what it means to be an American. I think these lesson plans are a great start in the right direction. Of couse, it is only a supplement. Parents and teachers must do what they can to continue what this has started (as I know many already are), to pass on the Christian heritage of our nation.

It is free. So why not give it a try? If it is not a good fit for your family, you aren't out anything. If you gain even a bit of something from it, it will have been worth it.

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Disclaimer: I received this CD free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

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