American History 2

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Books and Resources for American History 2

American History books

*Resources include books, workbooks, lapbooks, videos, and printables (including those found online for free).

I've scheduled in quite a few books (and other resources like videos and lapbooks) over this year's study. I've tried to include a pretty large variety of titles for both advanced AND reluctant readers as well as different learners and ages. Most of the titles have been chosen with my own son in mind (since this study is created for him after all!). He's a reluctant reader and likes a lot of non-fiction and visual books as well as engaging, fictional stories based on real events. Please note: you don't have to use all or even ANY of the titles I list. I've created a framework that you can feel free to change and tweak as you wish. If you have a book you would rather use - then schedule it instead! This is a pick-and-choose kind of history curriculum. There is plenty of room for change and adaptation. You may also want to merely browse the titles I have listed and add extra reading to any other history curriculum you may have purchased or are using. The titles I've chosen would go along well (in my opinion) with other literature based programs like Sonlight, Winter Promise, My Father's World, Ambleside, Veritas and others.

Before browsing the titles, you may want to take a look at my specific notes about each category of books below.

Skip the rambling and just take me to the books and resources!

Extras for High Schoolers or Kids Who Need More

Resources that are light gray in the printable schedule add in extra “meat” for high schoolers or super-motivated voracious readers (etc.). They are totally optional for other ages. Sometimes (probably more often than not) the resources for high school will be scheduled in so that they are read at a much faster pace than would be practical to read out loud to lower level students. They also may contain material that may not be appropriate. Use your own discretion and be on hand to edit or discuss, if you choose to use them with younger students.

I am not done creating work for older students so right now there are only a few extras for them. I’ll be working on adding in more when time permits. I may not have this portion of the guide completed for several years since we won’t be using it for that grade level until a much later date.

History of Us

I scheduled in the History of Us series (books 7-10) mainly because I got a request to do so (yes, you Ashley!) and also because I have them.  I have a lot of mixed feelings about these books. They have what I personally consider a liberal bias/slant to them and the writing style doesn't’t appeal to me. It feels very “chatty” and for whatever reason, that irritates me. When I went through the books the first time, I could barely stand to read them. My husband who happened to be listening in and my oldest son also felt the same way. My daughter, however, LOVED them. She loved all of the pictures. She loved the friendly text and all of the side bars, etc. They were her favorite history “text” by far. The History of Us series IS very colorful and does contain some interesting stories. I can understand why so many homeschoolers find them appealing.

I recommend you check out at least one of the books at the library before purchasing any of them, to see if they are “your” style and if they mesh with your political beliefs.
Also, I HATE how these books jump around from one date to another and back again. The stories are not in order by date. I’ve tried to plug the chapters in the best I can according to a combination of date and subject, but feel free to adjust everything to your own liking. This history study was NOT designed around these books. They were plugged into MY way of doing things.
If you use the History of Us series, you may want to take a look at some terrific free resources at PBS. These resources have all sorts of suggestions with a lot of wonderful printables including student sheets and teacher’s guides. They were designed for middle schoolers (I believe), although they would be terrific for high schoolers and you may also like some of the lessons (or at least pictures/printables) for younger students. I recommend you at least take a peek and see if there is anything you’d like to use.

You may also be interested in the series of videos available at Discovery Streaming that go along with the books: Freedom – A History of Us.


Readers are chosen with the idea that your student will probably read them silently, however they are fine for read-alouds too! They are usually “easier” and chosen with my reluctant reader in mind. History selections can be either read-alouds or readers depending on your child’s age, ability and interest. Some of the history selections may be too difficult for a younger student to read alone and may contain issues you want to preview or discuss as you read along. You can, of course, substitute any other book(s) of your choosing. Because I’ve organized weeks by topic/time period, it should be easy to plug in your favorites. Older students (like a high schooler) may want to skip the really easy reader selections in favor of some of the history selections you think are appropriate for this year’s literature. Don’t underestimate what you can learn from “easy” books though. I’ve personally learned more from homeschooling my children with “kid’s books” than I ever did from a textbook in high school.

Picture Books/ Easy Readers

If you have a younger sibling tagging along, a very reluctant reader, an adopted child learning English or a learning disabled child you can read (or assign) the week’s picture book (or easy reader) choice instead of the more involved books. Picture books are also a good option for those weeks that are really busy and you just don’t have time to do the read-alouds, but don’t want to get behind schedule. They will cover the same basic material or time period but just not as in depth. Sometimes I schedule a “harder” picture book as a reader. You can also use picture books as a “book basket” item. These are books you make available, but don’t necessarily assign. The books in this category are going to be pretty simple (sometimes even just a few lines of text on a page) and usually much more visual than the other choices. Anyway, do what you want with these recommendations. Use ‘em, toss ‘em or keep them in reserve. ;-)

President’s Study

The President’s Study is optional. I’ve chosen to schedule in the series of books by Mike Venezia as well as some DK biographies and other titles. A less expensive, less hassle alternative to the individual book titles is to purchase ONE book featuring the presidents. I suggest either of the following: Have Fun with the Presidents: Activities, Projects, and Fascinating Facts (for younger students as it has activities, crafts, games and recipes, etc.) or National Geographic’s Our Country’s Presidents (listed on Amazon for grades 5-8). Another good book is Time for Kids: Presidents of the United States (listed on Amazon for grades 3-6). A FREE option is to just use this free printable book from Home of Heroes.

You can see a free Google Books preview of Have Fun with the Presidents to get an idea of the content.
The National Geographic book is beautiful with nice, glossy pictures and large, easy to read text. Quick facts are next to a full page size picture of each president and there are 3-4 pages of information presented in an attractive fashion. There are also sections interspersed throughout the book about different subjects like the White House (with a cut-away illustration, the powers of the president, presidential landmarks, kids in the White House and more.

The Time for Kids book has only one page per president with a more juvenile feel to the graphics and layout. On each page spread it has a “timeline” of key dates and there are a few other sections too like one on the White House, the three branches of government and more. Otter actually likes this book better than the one from National Geographic, maybe because there is less to read, LOL….or maybe it’s more kid-friendly (to him). J
Feel free to choose your own books or use information from the Internet to complete each week’s study.

 If you don’t do the president’s study, you may still wish to enter each presidency into your timeline for a better understanding of who fit in “when”.


I’ve scheduled in some optional science related studies that are related to this year’s history. These items do not make up a complete year’s worth of science though, so I recommend you choose a separate science program. You can consider these items to be part of your history study, basically. They are just small unit studies that enrich specific time period coverage or some of the novels/books that are being used. If you don’t have time for them, just ignore.



This year I tried to schedule in a variety of lapbooks. I’ve found that lapbooks help my son retain what he’s learning. Besides making information stick, we think they are also fun to make and then look through when you are done! You can find more information about lapbooks online, like at this Squidoo Lens by Jimmie. I tried to include lapbook freebies, but I’ve also scheduled in a few lapbooks you would need to purchase, if you choose to do them. Some kids love lapbooks and others don’t. If you have one that doesn't’t, you may want to skip them. For some kids, it helps to already have the materials cut out ahead of time and available in a Ziploc bag. That way your child is only doing the writing and then pasting the items into his/her folder. You can also put lapbook items onto cardstock and store the pages in your notebook.
By the way, lapbooks aren’t just for little kids! Older students may enjoy making them too. If your older student is interested in lapbooking, you may want to approach it more like making a learning scrapbook. Your older student can even design his/her own lapbook elements.


My daughter was always a workbooky kid. She LOVED workbooks. I’ve scheduled in two workbooks to keep the continuity from my first year program and for those of you who like this method of teaching/learning. They are nice in that they sum up material pretty succinctly and they also give kids some practice with “traditional” school type materials. They also give kids some practice with working more independently.  You have to have the ability to summarize material and choose the most correct answers, etc. Some of these skills may help with those who have to do some yearly testing. They are also nice for moms who want a little reassurance. Workbooks aren’t evil, LOL! They can work in nicely into a literature rich curriculum to add a little “extra”. If you hate workbooks, just skip them.

Warning! I have not been able to preview each and every item or video in this schedule yet! Use at your own discretion! What’s OK for one family may not be for another so please check everything out to make sure it aligns with your family’s beliefs, etc.!  This is a study that I am ultimately designing for my own son and simply sharing what we are going to do. What may work for us, may not for you. Keep this in mind! If you come across something you think should have a warning or be eliminated, please email me at

Reading levels are taken from and other online sources.

If you want to help support my website, any purchases you make via Amazon from the book links are very much appreciated as I get a small commission.

Please note that some books may begin in one section and "bleed" over into another. These books will only be listed in the section where they START.

Scroll below the links for a printable resources list.

Click on the categories below to check out the resources I've scheduled.

Great American Artists

American Art Study
This optional study of American art is scheduled for the entire year. Learn about different artists and create your own works of art.


The Civil War 1861-1865 (5 weeks: weeks 1-5)
Some topics: Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, Tales of Brer Rabbit, Underground Railroad

Reconstruction 1866-1877 (3 weeks: weeks 6-8)
Some topics: Reconstruction, Chicago Fire, Andrew Johnson, Jim Crow, Ulysses S. Grant, Railroads, Prairies

The Gilded Age 1878-1889 (2 weeks: weeks 9-10)
Some topics: Thomas Edison, Wild West and the Plains, Big Business & the Labor Unions, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland

The Progressive Era 1890-1913 (7 weeks: weeks 11-17)
Some topics: Immigrants, Working Children, Strikes, Benjamin Harrison, Statue of Liberty, William McKinley, Harry Houdini, America Becomes a World Power, Wright Brothers, Teddy Roosevelt, Henry Ford, San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Daily Life, Taft, Titanic

World War I and the Teens 1914-1919 (2 weeks: week 18-19)
Some topics: World War I, Woodrow Wilson, Women's Suffrage

The Roaring 20's (3 weeks: weeks 20-22)
Some topics: Prohibition, Skyscrapers, Great African American Migration North, Life in the 20's, Harding, Music in the 20's, Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Coolidge, Babe Ruth

The 1930's and the Depression (3 weeks: weeks 23-25)
Some topics: The Great Depression, Daily Life, Dust Bowl, Hoover, Food & Music in the 30's, Al Capone (older students), The New Deal, FDR, Hindenberg Disaster

The 1940's and World War 2 (4 weeks: weeks 26-29)
Some topics: World War 2, Pearl Harbor, Daily Life, Japanese Americans and Internment Camps, D-Day, Truman, The Beginning of the Cold War

The 1950's (2 weeks: weeks 30-31)
Some topics: Korean War, Polio Vaccine, Civil Rights, Eisenhower

The 1960's (3 weeks: weeks 32-34)
Some topics: Martin Luther King Jr., More about Civil Rights, Kennedy, Ruby Bridges, 60's culture (older students), Cuban Missile Crisis, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, LBJ, Andy Warhol, Vietnam, Space Age

The 1970's (2 weeks: weeks 35-36)
Some topics: Watergate, More About Vietnam, More about the Space Age, Nixon, Ford, Carter

The 1980's - 1990's (2 weeks: weeks 37-38)
Air Force Captain Scott O'Grady's downed plain (Bosnia/Serbia conflict), The End of the Cold War, Ronald Reagan, Computers, Clinton, Persian Gulf War, Y2K


If you'd like to print out a planning sheet, you can download a resource list that shows all of the items from the above pages in one handy document:

Click here for a PDF resource list.

Adobe Acrobat Get the free Adobe Acrobat PDF reader.

Click here for a Microsoft Word resource list.

If you don't have Microsoft Word, you can download the FREE Open Office program and use that instead.

Links are clickable in both of the above documents.
The printable list does not have picture representations of the books or descriptions as the pages here on the site do. There is a square by each item so you can check off if you have it on hand already or want to use it.









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