“Those who forget the past, are doomed to repeat it.” That is a phrase that I have heard many times in my life. American philosopher, George Santayana, understood the need for learning history. It is because of this expression that I want my children to have a strong historical foundation. I want them to understand the history of our country and the events that have led us to where you are now. Not only this, but I want my children to have a biblical worldview. It is because of this that I was very interested to review Pathway to Liberty’s US History-Level 2 from Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum.
About Pathway to Liberty
“Through education, we can change tomorrow”. This is the slogan found on the Pathway to Liberty’s website. The goal of Pathway to Liberty History Curriculum is four-fold. To provide an education that makes sense, has a biblical worldview, teaches Christian history within the context of world events, and teaches upstanding America’s founding principles.
There are four years of curriculum that can be used K-12.
Year one is entitled “Universal History”.
Year two is entitled “The Middle Ages”.
Year three is entitled “U.S. History”.
Year four is entitled “World History”.
Within these years, students can begin their home education at any grade or level. Level 1 is designed for grades K-3. Level 2 is designed for 4th-6th. Level 3 is designed for 7th-9th. Level 4 is designed for 10th-12th. By leveling each year’s curriculum, it allows the user to personalize their learning experience. For example, if a 5th-grade student just starts using Pathway to Liberty’s History Curriculum for their homeschooling, they would choose Year One-Universal History, Level 2.
Each year includes a teacher guide and a student guide. These are color coded for convenience. Teacher guides contain a red spiral binding, whereas the student guide contains a blue spiral binding. A breakdown of what each guide contains can be found in the image below.
Each week, students will be provided with an education that includes: scripture, history with lesson plans, maps, vocabulary, and writing assignments, and word studies.
To see how the curriculum works, click the company’s logo below.
About Pathway to Liberty’s US History-Level 2
The specific product we were given to review was Year Three-US History-Level 2. Year Three-US History was designed to allow the homeschool child the ability to understand the foundations of our American Republic. The lessons begin by providing the learner with the founding principles of the United States and concludes with the Civil War. There is a strong emphasis placed on the Founding Fathers, and how the Bible was used to write the Constitution.
The website provides a list of extensive questions that are answered throughout the use of this curriculum. These questions include:
Beginning with the Christian Founding, we study the principles of liberty and answer questions like;
Why is America the most free and prosperous nation that has ever been founded?
What was the source of America’s greatness?
Who was highly influential in the cultivation of liberty?
What rights are outlined in the Declaration of Independence?
What are our God-given rights and duties?
What is the individual’s responsibility with regards to self-government?
What is the role of the Constitution?
What are the key areas of American expansion?
What does liberty give birth to?
How did the Founding Fathers view slavery?
There are required books that are needed to complete this curriculum. These books are as follows: The Bible, Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary, The Chain of Liberty, The Light and The Glory, Trial and Triumph, The Bible and The Constitution, From Sea to Shine Sea.
How did we use it?
Originally, I was scheduled to use this with just one child, as I was given a physical product. However, due to shipping issues Pathway to Liberty sent me the digital product as well. It is because of this that I was able to use it with all three of my children. My children are in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th.
We used this curriculum in our homeschool four days a week. Usually, we worked on it Monday-Thursday and took Friday’s off. In my children previous educational experiences, Social Studies was not taught consistently due to the focus on Reading and Math. It is because of this that my children have a very limited Social Studies foundation.
During my review period, we were able to work through the first five weeks of lessons. The first two weeks were called “Foundations”. During these weeks we learned key concepts such as what history was, how to do a word study and self-government. The first two weeks took us much longer than the suggested 20-60 minutes each day.
The third week focused on Jamestown. We studied the early colonies of Roanoke and Jamestown. We learned about the role John Smith played in the settlement and survival of Jamestown. During this week we watched a video on Roanoke and Jamestown.
Week four focused on the Puritans and the Pilgrims. We learned key ideas and concepts such as the Mayflower voyage, and the Mayflower Compact. We watched a video on the Pilgrims Journey.
Week five focus on the Plymouth Colony. We examined the Mayflower Compact more in-depth. we watched a video titled “Plimoth Plantation: Virtual Field Trip.” Yes, that is the correct spelling for the video 😊
What did we think?
A mom’s take on things:
As with any curriculum, there are definitive pros and cons of this curriculum. One of the biggest pros’s for me was that this curriculum provided my children with a very realistic, in-depth view of who John Smith was and what the settlement of the colonies would have been like. Movies like “Pocahontas”, and even some text-books give us a “rosy” view of what it would have been like during this time.
For the most part, the videos were very educational and informative. There were some issues that the teacher’s guide pre-warned us about. For example, in one of the videos, there was the talk of cannibalism. The teacher’s guide gave me a warning about this, so I was able to talk about this with my children in advance.
The curriculum was easy to use and laid everything out nicely, so I didn’t have to search for what we would do next.
I liked that there were options for writing, so each of my kids could choose which writing they wanted to complete.
The word studies were a bit overwhelming for my children. We are used to doing word studies where we define the word, write synonyms and antonyms of the word, and use it in a sentence. The word studies that were required for us to complete were more elaborate. We had to write the definition, as it was written in the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, and underline two to three keywords in the definition. Then, we had to define those keywords using shorter sentences. Next, we had to use relevant scriptures of the word and record these scriptures. After that, we had to write a definition in our own words. Finally, we had to write how it relates to our life personally, educationally, and governmentally.
A kid’s take on things:
Kisha. Age 11. “I really liked learning about the early settlements of Jamestown and Roanoke. The videos were really neat, but sometimes they were hard to understand. Seeing the first Thanksgiving was awesome. There was a lot of writing. Like, a lot. Sometimes my hands hurt when I was done. I also think that sometimes it was kind-of judgey of people. Like, I felt like when the “Chain of Liberty” book talked about welfare it made it seem like the people who use welfare are stealing from other people. I didn’t know what welfare was but my mom explained it to me as it’s money or help that a person gets from the government to get food or things they need. The Bible says we should help one another and love one another. If our government is helping people, then I think they are just doing what the Bible says to do.”
Josiah. Age 10. “I liked learning about John Smith and Pocahontas. I saw Pocahontas at Disney World so it was really neat getting to learn about her. My favorite thing was the videos. My least favorite was the word studies. They took a very long time to do. Sometimes I would get confused after writing the word so many ways.”
Zathan. Age 8. “It was good but hard. I didn’t like all of the writing. I even cried a couple of times because I was tired. The videos were fun. I really liked learning the scripture and about the Mayflower Compact. But I think they could have written that, so it wasn’t so confusing. If I would have written it, it would have been easy to understand. I liked learning that about the ears of corn that the Pilgrims found.”
My kids want to keep using the Pathway to Liberty’s Homeschool Curriculum, but we would modify all the writing that it entails. While I think writing is important, I think there are other ways to learn or express yourself besides writing. I also think that we would slow down the pacing some. Rather than doing four days a week, we would probably do three, and expand the lessons so that they would take two days to complete rather than one.
Looking ahead in the curriculum, I see that there is a major focus on the Founding Fathers, the Monroe Doctrine, and the Civil War. These are very important concepts that I want my children to learn.
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