A book for the up-and-coming American history curriculum is on sale!

Today’s Kindle Daily Deal is one of the books that is going to be scheduled in our up-and-coming high school American history curriculum! Get it while it’s on sale (Kindle version) for 2.99!
News of the World
In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust. News of the World is a National Book Award Finalist.
Click here to purchase it on Amazon! You don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle books. The Kindle app is available on iOS, Android, Mac & PC. Click here to access the app and more info!  I’ll be watching the Kindle deals to see if any of the other American history books pop up and posting about them here, if they do!


High School American History Update

Civil War map







Do you know which states were aligned with the Confederates, which were aligned with the Union, and which were considered border states during the Civil War? Your students will after using Guest Hollow’s up-and-coming high school American history curriculum! 😉 I’m hand drawing maps for the workbook / study guide! Civil war map








I’ve always been a big believer in using maps while studying history. 🙂

High School American History Update

american history booksThis is what it looks like as I’m working on a curriculum! The people at the library know me by name, lol….This pile doesn’t even show the books I’ve already returned or the books I’ve managed to get on my Kindle (my reading preference).

american history books

I’m reading through TONS of books for the future high school American history curriculum to decide what I want to use and what I don’t! I’ve already culled quite a few and have added others to the YES list. 

I’m glad I’m a fast reader. Usually I can read an average of 400-500 pages a day (give or take). I’m making sure every book choice meets my standards and has that “interest” factor. My husband and I will also be watching quite a few movies in the weeks to come. Let me know in the comments if you have any early American history favorites!

I’ve also started working on the study guide! YES, there will be a study guide with this program as there is with chemistry and physics. I plan on putting some comics in this one to add a little humor and to help students remember concepts. I can’t wait to share more!!

A giveaway!!

giveaway2It’s that time of year again, when everyone is planning for the new school year next fall (for those of you who don’t school year round, lol). This is the first year that I’m not participating in that process myself, but in honor of all those hours I spent pouring over curricula and thinking of our homeschool budget, here’s a giveaway to help make things a little easier on someone’s pocketbook!

I’ve always loved Compass Classroom’s products. I started using their Visual Latin program way back when they were just a new, baby company (lol), and have watched them grow over the years with lots of high quality offerings. I love that you can stream a lot of their products, and you can also purchase a monthly subscription that allows you to stream a multitude of homeschool curricula without committing to a huge upfront purchase price.  You can try a curriculum out and cancel if it’s not a fit for your family, or just pay for it a month at a time!

In this giveaway, you have your choice of any one of the streaming versions of the following:

All I ask for each entry is that you spread the word about Guest Hollow! Pin one of our graphics, post about us on your blog, share the news or like us on Facebook, tell someone in your homeschool playgroup, etc. Just spread the Guest Hollow love. 🙂 Now that I’m no longer homeschooling, I need my little Guest Hollow home business to pick up, or it will have to be a hobby instead of a business. Please help our site thrive by spreading the word, so I can do this full-time and bring you LOTS of new curricula and printables!  I have tons of new ideas that are just waiting to be created!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

History Timeline Schedule Update

Homeschool History Curriculum

It was recently brought to my attention that some visitors to my site couldn’t access the entire right-hand side of the online Awesome History Timeline Schedule pages. I’ve fixed the html and now you should be able to see ALL of the assignments, even if you have a smaller monitor screen. Just scroll back and forth horizontally using the bottom of your browser bar.

For those of you unfamiliar with this FREE homeschool history curriculum, it’s completely based on WHEN things happened and covers both American and world history at the same time. It’s set up so that you can study American history by itself, world history by itself or both together (my preference). It’s totally flexible and can work as a stand-alone curriculum or can be used to supplement any other history program.

I designed it because I got sick and tired of history curriculums jumping from one event to the next going back and forth in time. How confusing!  It was always difficult to keep track of what was happening in the context of time. It was also nearly impossible to see how so many events in history are interrelated! With the History Timeline Schedule, a student can immediately see in a VISUAL context things like how the French Revolution followed the American Revolution, what was happening in the Americas during Henry the VIII’s reign, and that Victoria became Queen of England right after Texans lost the Battle of the Alamo.

As with all my other homeschool programs, I’ve scheduled in lots of goodies like “living books”, colorful non-fiction, hands-on activities, video suggestions, map assignments, art & music studies. It’s probably best used as-is for 6th graders and up, but you can easily adapt it for 1st grade to adult learners.

The History Timeline Schedule is totally flexible! Don’t like a book I scheduled in or can’t access it at your local library for free? Replace it with ANY other suitable book. Just plug your book (or activity or video) into the correct time slot. It’s that easy! Want even more book and video suggestions? Visit my free History Shelf that follows the same timeline format but has hundreds and hundreds more book and video suggestions for an even greater variety of ages.

Happy homeschooling!

Book Review: Living Through the Mexican-American War

 I’m always on the lookout for engaging books to use with my history curriculum. Sometimes it’s hard to find a good book that’s affordable, covers a topic with enough depth and yet isn’t something a student has to “slog” through. Non-fiction can be especially challenging because I have fairly high standards. Each book has to be something Otter is going to connect to (unless there really isn’t anything else to choose from and it’s something I want to cover!).

I recently was on the lookout for a book on the Mexican-American War – a conflict that still has some present day repercussions and one that I think is generally ignored in most history programs but shouldn’t be! Living Through the Mexican-American War by John DiConsiglio does a great job of presenting this conflict as well as other related stories covering the years 1821-1849. The book itself is colorful and has a nice layout. There is a mix of maps, photos, illustrations and colored sidebars that bring some visual interest to the pages. I like the added touch of the “burnt/worn” edges look on each page. It’s details like this that set this particular book above the rest I’ve looked at for this topic.

The Mexican-American War

Even though it’s 80 pages long, Living Through the Mexican-American War is a fairly quick read that shouldn’t take your students more than a day or two to finish. Or, if you prefer to use it as a read-aloud, you can easily get through it in a week.

All throughout the book more difficult words and terms are presented in bold and defined via a glossary in the back. Here are a few examples:

  • Whig Party
  • Manifest Destiny
  • sovereign
  • chaparral
  • fortified
  • adobe
  • guerrilla
  • dysentery

If you like to combine assignments, it would be super-easy to pick out words your student isn’t familiar with and assign them for vocabulary study.

Based on the vocabulary and the writing style, I’d say this book targets the upper elementary to middle school age bracket, although I think it’s perfectly appropriate for high schoolers as well. Even I learned a thing or two after reading it and it’s written/presented in such a way that I think most students will retain most of it.

There is also a small “Find Out More” section in the back with a list of books, websites and DVD’s to explore, if interested.

I feel the book does a good job at presenting both sides of the Mexican-American War. It gives you a great understanding of the circumstances surrounding it from various perspectives and not only gives an overview of incidents like the Battle of the Alamo but various sections cover some of the people involved and topics like weaponry and hardships. There is even a section about Sarah Borginnis “The Heroine of Fort Brown” so your girls don’t have to feel too left out amidst all the battle-talk.

The Mexican American War

The Mexican-American War happened because of a variety of factors and if affected different people in a variety of ways. Living Through the Mexican-American War doesn’t shy away from these topics and yet covers them in an age-appropriate way. Portions of the book cover various interesting facts about things like yellow fever, deserters, Irish immigrants, the Donner Party and more. It’s written in a way that shows your students how all of these different things were connected. I like that.

Since there are no previews that I can find online, I’ve pasted an example of a small section below so you can get a feel for the writing style.

Mexican American War

After reading through the book I’ve decided it’s a winner! I’m planning on including it in my Awesome Timeline History Schedule, which will be posted here in the next several months (hopefully!) on my website. It’s an excellent resource that should help any student learn about this important part of our nation’s history. Click here to take a look at it on Amazon.

*Note: We received this book for free after I requested it for the purpose of reviewing it. However, our review was not in anyway influenced by this fact. All our reviews reflect only our personal opinion(s) of materials. We aren’t experts! We’re just a homeschooling family with ideas of our own about what works and what doesn’t for US. smile

Itchy-Almost-Done Time of the Year


It’s getting to be that itchy-almost-done-time-of-year again! I’ve noticed our site is getting TONS more specific homeschool curriculum searches via Google and other search engines. I guess all you homeschooling mamas out there are starting to look into your next year’s materials! 🙂

Now I’m feeling the bug too! We are starting to wrap up our year with WinterPromises’s American Story 2 program and I’m finding myself condensing some of the read-alouds from the schedule so we can finish them earlier. I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by! We’re already getting into gear for this coming August by working on curriculum, making some orders, etc. From the look of our site logs, I’m not alone!

I’ve noticed via a bunch of blogs and forums that there are quite a few of you out there that are using our American history curriculum. Thanks for all the great comments and passing the word along! It’s such an encouragement to know that others are using the materials on our site!

More soon…