Notgrass American the Beautiful

Notgrass History, in particular the course called America the Beautiful, has been one of my favorite curriculum choices. The two hardback textbooks along with the hardback book of speeches and original documents called We the People, are beautifully done and written in a conversational way. The two review books, timeline book, and map book are appropriate for grades 3-5. The books themselves are enjoyable for ages 7 and up.

I read the two volumes of America the Beautiful aloud to my 5th and 8th graders last year. As a lover of history, I truly loved this book. The photographs were amazing and I especially enjoyed reading about the National Parks and biographies in the book. Most history books overlook National Parks or only mention them in passing. With this course, you will learn about an American landmark, usually a National Park, each week! I have added Crater Lake to my list “to visit” places in the USA thanks to Notgrass. I doubt you will read about Fred Rogers in another history book, yet his biography was one of my favorites and quite moving. You will also read about the Presidents, main events of history, and the actual words of those who lived during the times in the book We the People. The books are written from a Christian worldview, which is very important to our family.

I also enjoyed using the literature program with Notgrass. I read the following books aloud, and have reviewed them below:

Note: Two of the selections, Little Town of the Prairie and All of a Kind Family, we had already read aloud together as a family, so we did not re-read them. They are both wonderful stories which we highly recommend.

Sign of the Beaver (near the bottom of the post, please scroll down)

Amos Fortune: Free Man; Brady; Bound for Oregon (all in one post, scroll down)

Across Five Aprils

Blue Willow

Homer Price

It took me between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours to complete the read aloud portions each day. By the time I was finished teaching my youngest, helping the others with math, and grading everyone’s work for the day, I was exhausted. For this reason alone, I have chosen not to do Notgrass this year. However, I have saved my books and plan to use it with my youngest two children in the future. It is a wonderful history program that brings the family together to share in learning, and in making memories. To me, that is the very heart of homeschooling.

With love,


6 thoughts on “Review of Notgrass History: America the Beautiful

  1. Is the literature program included with the history? Perhaps in the lesson plans as the suggested book to read? Or is it a separate item to be purchased? It sounds wonderful! I’ll have to keep it in mind for Gracie when she’s a little older.


    1. The literature books are sold separately (on the Notgrass website, or Amazon) or can be borrowed. The assignments are at the end of the lessons each day in the main volumes of the books. There are five questions from each book (can always add more or write your own, of course) at the end of the unit for which they are assigned. The questions are located in the lesson review book. Hope this made sense. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Cassandra says:

    This is why I probably couldn’t do this curriculum. I have been curious about it. I am like you, though, exhausted, (mainly mentally) at the end of each school day. I go from homeschooling to teaching piano two nights a week. It sounds interesting, though.


    1. Yes, it was time consuming. It took all that was in me to finish it. Ha. It helps that I was enjoying the lessons, too. Probably more than the kids. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Katy Austin says:

    Valerie what History / Social Studies would you recommend that isn’t so time consuming?


    1. We love using ACE curriculum. They use individual booklets, called “PACES”, which have all the information the student needs to complete the work. They can even grade their own work (supervised, of course). There is no teacher prep and only minimal grading required by the teacher. You can find out more at or I hope this helps! Thanks for the comment.


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