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Artner Reader's Guide to American History

by Kathy Artner

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: Artner Reader's Guide to American History by Kathy Artner. Comb bound, 51 pages, $14.95. Published by Memoria Press. Please support by buying this program from our Christian Book Distributors link or Amazon affiliate link.

Are you looking for a "living" book, chronological American History study program on a shoestring budget? Kathy Artner, a homeschooling mom, has pulled together a simple, yet thorough program for grades three to eight using books that you can find in your public library.

Mrs. Artner begins the guide with a very interesting discussion of how to choose history books. She contrasts inaccuracy of historical facts, political bias, and negativity in many of today's books with the good writers and heroic themes of books of the past.

The Artner Reader's Guide to American History has eight units that the family can move through at whatever pace is appropriate. Each unit shows the following:

  • Dates and events to remember
  • People, places, and topics to read about
  • Topics from E.D. Hirsch's books (third through sixth grades)
  • Reference pages and suggested facts to memorize in "Everything You Need to Know about American History Homework"
  • Map, writing, and other activities for further thought

A reading list, consisting of Landmark books from the time period and other quality non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, prose, and songs, is at the end of each unit. In the first few units the reading list is broken into two levels to help the younger readers get acclimated to the program. The list also shows which books are out of print.

Recommendation: At $14.95, this guide is a great value if you are interested in a literature- based history program. It is well laid out, easy-to-follow, and flexible enough to allow you to go in the direction of your family's interests. Copybook and memorization are recommended, but the heart of the program is reading. The Reader's Guide does not contain a specific worldview so you are free to bring in your beliefs.

The Artner Reader's Guide to American History may not be for you if you are looking for a step-by-step, study question-oriented approach or a unit study program that integrates several school subjects. Before deciding on this program, you should check your library to see if most of the Landmark books and the E.D. Hirsch books are available, or you should make a commitment to buy these. You will have to supplement any hands-on activities, such as cooking, crafts, dress-up, etc.

Following this program with its suggested activities and memorization will give your elementary-aged children all the American history information they need (and more than most high school students have!) resources related to this review:'s History Section where you will find many "living" history resources!
Review of American history books by Lost Classics
Review of Drive Thru History America, Foundations of Character
Review of the Young American Patriots series of historical fiction
Review of Famous Americans, 52 Stories to Read with a Child by Calvert School
Review of Child's History of the World by Hillyer
Review of Child's History of the World CD-ROM
Review of Song of America's Presidents
Review of Song of America's Freedoms
Review of History Songs

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