You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, November 08, 2009

TOS Review American Heritage Education Foundation

The latest product to come our way is from the American Heritage Education Foundation, Inc. (AHEF). They are a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation dedicated to the ideal that understanding and teaching of America's factual and philosophical heritage to promote constructive citizenship. Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility are the pillars of this education.

AHEF provides - for free - a downloadable comprehensive history supplement for elementary, middle and high school levels. The elementary level is also available in Spanish. You can also request a free CD which is what we received.

I asked my 12th grader history buff to take a look at the high school level material. He said it did include a lot of information and activities but wasn't very interesting to read. In defense of the material, we use living books for our history and literature studies, and this is written for use in public schools so it's a bit textbook-y for our taste.

I read through the elementary school material and came to the same conclusion. For example, the section on Freedom discusses the Statue of Liberty and includes an article from the Wall Street Journal pondering the real meaning of Liberty Enlightening the World (the statue's full name). I found it interesting only because I enjoy reading about such things. The kids, however, did not.

It goes on to talk briefly about the history and building of the statue, but they don't really get into any of the tidbits of history... like the fact that the pedestal wasn't built when she arrived from France, or what an amazing engineering feat she was for the time. Interestingly the size and dimension of Liberty are barely mentioned. She's huge; one eye is 2.5 ft across. The activities they suggest are ok for a group setting, but I don't know that they would keep the attention of a smaller group of younger students. When we learned about Liberty last year, we cut out two eyes and an index finger (8ft) just to get an idea of how big she is.

In a nutshell, I think this is a great springboard. If you're stuck on a topic and need facts or ideas for group activities, this is a great place to start. They use reputable sources for their information, and they cover a wide range of topics the American Revolution to What It Means to Be an American.

I also like that their sidebars are full of great historical quotes. It's a small detail, but again, I enjoy reading such things. :)

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." ~Ronald Reagan

Head over to AHEF, and check them out!

And don't forget that this product is FREE! You can request a free CD or download it here. If you prefer a hardcopy, you can purchase a printed version with a binder for $19.95 per level.

Be sure to read what other TOS Crew members are saying about this product by clicking here.

*I received this product free of charge so that I may provide my opinion of it. No other compensation was received.

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