america the story of us lesson plans complete american history curriculum for high school FREE


After watching these videos, I knew that I wanted to create an American History full year curriculum for my daughter based upon these shows.  Well this was the year we decided to do it and I want to share it with you for FREE.

This is based on a 40 week school year.  I broke it up into weeks and then let your child work at their own pace.  Typically each week they are required to do the following:

  • define the vocabulary words as state in the study guide
  • read a little background on each video
  • read a book and write a page report on it
  • watch 1-2 videos that deal with the time period being taught
  • complete additional activites, if applicable.

You can either purchase these videos, which I would recommend doing if you are having a hard time obtaining a copy , or borrow them from your local library.

Here is the link to the study guides, I copied the information and put it in the downloadable yearly lesson plans.

Some of the books, I have recommended have the words Melcat written after them, that is just to inform my daughter that they are available through the inter library loan program.  Most of the videos are from our local library or available on Netflix.

I am using this for a high school course, you can probably use with an advanced middle schooler as well.

Click here to download the complete FREE lesson plans for America the Story of Us.




29 responses to “america the story of us lesson plans complete american history curriculum for high school FREE

  1. Thank you for sharing these. We just completed a year of US History using this series. I spent a bunch of time last year compiling and creating our lessons plans. I like how concise your plans are. Ours got a little overwhelming and complex in nature as I clearly tried to tackle too much!

  2. I was curious about the books you chose for the curriculum. Its showing a new book every week, I am assuming you are choosing short enough titles to complete this task? Also,do you happen to have these written down on a list? I guess I could go through and copy and paste them into a list myself. 🙂 One more question, how do you go about documenting your highschooler’s progress/courses completed for transcript or dipoloma sake? I have a daughter starting 9th grade and want to know how your free classes fit into this?

    • Hello, yes each book should be completed in one week’s time. There were a few I think that I gave her a few weeks to read. I don’t have them written down separately.
      We live in Michigan, we don’t have to document any type of schooling. But I did get a book one time and it was called High School Form+U+l+a. That taught me a great deal on how to document schooling based on “real life” learning as well as my own “made up” lessons. I did that for my oldest and then realized I did not have to do it. So I have since not done that for my other children. Hope this information helps. Be blessed, Amy

  3. TatumWeaver

    I am not able to get to he per. It keeps taking me to a comment page. Can you help me with this, or email me the lessons. Thanks!

  4. I went through and created a video and book list. I hope it is accurate. Thanks so much for the resource.
    Book List
    Blood on the River by Elisa Lynn Carbone
    Cabin on Trouble Creek by Jean Van Leeuwen
    Amos Fortune, Free Man Elizabeth Yates
    Life in the American Colonies (Way People Live) Ruth Dean
    Cast Two Shadows: The American Revolution in the South Ann Rinaldi
    Sarah Bishop by Scott O’Dell
    The Winter of Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory
    The Acclaimed History, with Letters, Maps, and Seminal Artwork David McCullough
    Lewis and Clark (In Their Own Words) George Sullivan
    The Captain’s Dog by Roland Smith
    The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk by Donald Sobol
    “The Diary of Patrick Breen” from American Experience on PBS site
    Eli Whitney and Cotton Gin by Regan Huff
    Come Juneteenth Ann Rinaldi
    Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
    12 Years A Slave Solomon Northup
    The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg Rodman Philbrick
    Chasing Lincoln’s Killer James L. Swanson
    Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker: A Novel Jennifer Chiaverini
    The Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane
    A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich
    All of a Kind Family Sydney Taylor
    Father and I Were Ranchers Ralph Moody
    Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule Harriette Gillem Robinet
    How the Other Half Lives by Jacob A. Riis
    City of Orphans by Avi
    The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire by Jessica Gunderson
    Immigrant Kids Russel Freedmon
    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer—illustrated classic series by Dover Editor Malvina Vogel
    The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
    Mama’s Bank Account Kathryn Forbes
    Who was Albert Einstein? Brad Meltzer
    The 1920’s Decade in Photos: The Roaring 20’s by Jim Corrigan
    The Life and Times of Al Capone by Tom Stockdale
    Migrant Mother: How a photograph defined the Great Depression by Don Nardo
    To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
    The Winged Watchman Hilda Van Stockum
    Number the Stars Lois Lowry
    Journey Home Radhanath Swami
    We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance David Howarth
    Stones in Water Donna Jo Napoli
    Summer 1990 Firyal Alshalabi
    Within Reach: My Everest Story Mark Pfetzer, Jack Galvin
    Girl of Kosovo Alice Mead
    A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Ishmael Beah

    Video List
    America The Story of Us by The History Channel 12 part, 9 hours
    The New World: Nightmare in Jamestown by National Geographic 1 hr
    Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower by The History Channel, 2 hours
    Salem Witch Trails by The History Channel
    American Experience: We Shall Remain by PBS 3 dics
    First Freedom by PBS video
    April Morning TV Movie 1988 on Netflix
    The Patriot, Mel Gibson 2000
    Lewis and Clark by National Geographic on Netflix
    The West with Ken Burns (PBS) on Netflix
    Stagecoach, 1939 or 1986
    Underground Railroad by The History Channel, (2002)
    The Civil War with Ken Burns by PBS
    The Men Who Built America, The History Channel, 2012, 3 disc
    Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, BBC, 2003
    Secret Yosemite, National Geographic
    Ken Burns: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, PBS
    Statue of Liberty with Ken Burns, PBS
    Mark Twain America, The History Channel
    Anne of Green Gables, TV series, or Christy, TV series
    The Dust Bowl, by Ken Burns, PBS Netflix
    Grapes of Wrath, 1940 Netflix
    The Great Gatsby, 2013 Netflix
    Eleanor Roosevelt (American Experience) David McCullough PBS, 1999 Netflix
    The Nazis: A Warning from History, BBC TV Series, 1997
    Pearl Harbor, 2001
    Berkley in the Sixties, 1990 Netflix
    Vietnam’s Unseen War, National Geographic, Netflix
    When We Left Earth, The NASA Missions, Discover TV Series, 2008
    The 20th Century: A Moving Visual History, 2000

  5. I wasn’t sure which video was meant by Slaves on Netflix so it is not included. Sorry.

  6. I have decided to use your lesson plans, along with my video, “America: The Story of Us, for my son this year to meet his requirement for American History. I was wondering if you had an answer key that you used for the definitions and questions that are in the lesson plans?

    • Wonderful, I am glad that they will be of use to you and your son. Unfortunately I do not. After my child did her work, I read through the answers and they sounded correct to me. If she had a problem, we looked up the answers together. If you want to keep your answers and submit them to me, I will include them for someone else to use. Just an idea:) Enjoy

  7. Signe Freed

    I would love to see the the high school US History information. Thanks

  8. Beth Anspach

    Anybody know what the Slaves on Netflix was supposed to be. I would love to try to search for it but I really don’t know where to begin. Is it a PBS, History Channel, or Nat Geo video? Help if you know or if you substituted something else

  9. Vanessa Zahel

    Under the books, which Journey Home did you use? I have found two.

  10. Thanks so much. I greatly appreciate your putting so much time into this and then sharing it.

  11. I would love a copy of lesson.

  12. Great resource – thank you!! Can you tell me approximately how much time to expect this to take on a daily basis?

    • It is going to vary. I would take the book that they are to read and divide it up by how many chapters they are to read each day. The movies, my daughter chose to watch them all in one day. She took the paperwork and broke it up into two days. Divide it up based on how your child would prefer working, ask them:) Hope that helps. Be blessed

  13. I am very interested in doing your lesson plan!! Thank you for sharing it! I do have a question. My concern is the books being read in one week. My son is not an avid reader. (He does have high functioning autism) Would it be okay, in your opinion to not read all the books?

    • I completely understand! And yes yes yes! Do whatever works best for your child. I’d go through my elementary American history course and see the books that we read for that and maybe get some of those to use instead. My junior high schooler learned from simple stories about history as well as readers . Or do a Google search for ” living history books”. To get some other ideas. Hope that helps! Amy

  14. How many hours per week did it take your kid to watch the assigned videos, answer the questions in the study guide, read the book, write the book report, and write out the vocabulary definitions? How many other subjects did your kid do at the same time as this? Did this count as your English class or did you have separate literature assignments for that? This just looks like it would take more than the 7 hours a week usually assigned to one subject, so I was wondering if you used it more as a unit study covering multiple subjects.

    • For this particular class it took about an hour per day and she worked on reading a book per week. Some nights she read extra so it would be more hours. She didn’t do any other reading this year but for this history class. It is more work, but much was watching videos and learning from them. So it wasn’t a lot of
      “book” work. She enjoyed the vidoes as we did. If some of that is too much, take a bit off. You are the teacher, you decide what you think your child is capable of doing—the positive of homeschooling:) Hope this helps.

  15. This is a great site! I wish I would have seen it last year when teaching in a co-op, but I plan on using the Home Economics lessons for my daughter. This makes it so much easier. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the time it must have taken you to put this all together. God Bless

  16. My high school daughter is half way through this! Thank you SO MUCH! The format is so easy to use and add to or tweak for personal interest. So glad we came across this and thanks for putting it out there for all of us to use!

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