Monday, August 12, 2013

TOS Crew: Notgrass Review




History is a favorite in our house. My son and I absolutely love to read and learn about history. When we were offered to review America the Beautiful curriculum by Notgrass Company, we jumped on it.


About the Notgrass Company:

They has a wide selection of curriculum choices, like Art, Economics, Government, English, and more! Most of their products are meant for Middle School children to High School children. They do have some products for K-8th as well. The Notgrass family started homeschooling in 1990, and first began to publish in 1999. You can read more about each family member here.


America the Beautiful Curriculum Package:


America the Beautiful was written by Charlene Notgrass. This is meant to be one year, American History, Geography and Literature course rolled into one. This particular curriculum is geared toward 5th-8th grade.

Helping your child move through the American History chronologically and helping them remember key events, people, and places!

This curriculum package offers 6 books with it:

  • America the Beautiful Part 1
  • America the Beautiful Part 2
  • We the People
  • Maps of America the Beautiful
  • Timeline of America the Beautiful
  • America the Beautiful Answer Key


Now I will tell you a bit about each one!

America the Beautiful Part 1 & 2 are really nice hard cover books. They both have 75 lessons covering life with Europeans, to the civil war, America’s expansion into the lands west of the Mississippi river, and ending with the modern times. Part 1 is 452 pgs, and Part 2 is 572 pgs. Both containing very pretty color and black and white photos.

We the People is also a hard cover book, with black and white photo’s. This book has a collection of 150 original journal entries, newspaper articles, poems, songs, and more from American History. It contains 220 pgs.

Maps of America the Beautiful is full of 30 maps drawn just for this curriculum for your child to complete with each lesson. It is paperback and contains 61 pgs.

Timeline of America the Beautiful is another paperback book with facts that go with the lesson for your child to be able to produce a timeline. This book is 57 pgs.

America the Beautiful Answer Key includes all the answers from the Timeline, Lesson Review, Vocabulary Assignments and Student Workbook! This book contains 55 pgs.


In addition to all that is listed above, you can also purchase two other books to accompany your curriculum. Those two books are:

  • America the Beautiful Student Workbook
  • America the Beautiful Lesson Review


America the Beautiful Lesson Review contains daily reviews of the lesson your child just read. Literature questions, weekly quizzes, etc. This book is designed more for the 7th-8th grade levels. It is spiral bound and contains 110pgs.

America the Beautiful Student Workbook has some extra things on the side for your child to enjoy. Making the work a bit more fun, with drawing assignments, codes, puzzles, and more. This is geared more towards 5th & 6th grade students. This also is spiral bound and has 150 pgs.





How we used the program:

As soon as the box arrived, we were super excited to break into it. It was like Christmas for Monkey Man and I.

The day after it arrived we put it on our schedule for our school day. We chose to read the lessons together. As we love to learn together, and discuss the things we learn. Ask each other questions, and find the answers.

After we would read a lesson, Monkey Man would then work on his lesson review, and map activities. He keeps a separate notebook for his vocabulary assignments. He enjoys the extra puzzles, so on the days we are not reading a lesson, he works on those, and reads his Literature that goes with the previous days lessons.  We used the materials 4 times a week, but only read a new lesson 2 times a week.


Monkey Man’s Thoughts (11yrs old):

He really enjoyed it, he is excited to keep using this curriculum all year. He loves the books, and the pictures that are in it. As far as History curriculum goes, he told me this is his 2nd favorite, maybe even first, it was a tough choice. He also really enjoys the We the People book that accompanies the curriculum. He says that he loves the little extras he gets to read in there.




My thoughts:

I love that there is not a lot of prep work to go with this curriculum. Essentially if I am busy, he can take the book and go read his lesson and to the work all on his own. We really have enjoyed reading this, and learning about American History. I to, am anxious to keep using this during this school year. I have to say, this is my favorite History curriculum so far!


I would say that it diffidently stays true to its age group. It was a bit to hard for my 3rd grader to do. She still sits in and listens sometimes when we are reading the lesson, but just a tad bit over her head still. We plan to keep it for her to use in the 5th grade though!

I loved the extras that accompanied it too. It wasn’t to much, or overwhelming they all seem to fit in nicely, and just give it that little extra, without it becoming to much!

The lessons are just the right length for them not to be to much as well. Overall I really love this program, and would recommend it to any homeschooling mom! As a still pretty new homeschooler myself (4th year and still trying to figure it all out), I think this is a great choice. Not to overwhelming, not a lot of prep, and not to frustrating.



As prices go, you really have to choose what works for your family. I am willing to pay more for something if I feel it is a great fit. Or if I can use it for more than one child. This absolutely would be something I would splurge on. I think it is totally worth it!

America the Beautiful Curriculum Package : $99.95

America the Beautiful Student Workbook : $11.95

American the Beautiful Lesson Review : $9.95



See what the rest of the TOS Crew members are saying about Notgrass!



1 comment:

Charlene Notgrass said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed America the Beautiful. Thank you for your kind review.

Charlene Notgrass