America the Beautiful

Complete Middle School U.S. History Curriculum

America the Beautiful Curriculum PackageAre you looking for a U.S. history curriculum for your middle school student that is complete and easy to use? America the Beautiful is a one-year course centered in God's Word that makes learning American history exciting for homeschooling students and parents.

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Who Can Use It

Author Charlene Notgrass designed the curriculum for students to use successfully in 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, or 8th grade. It combines the flexibility and richness of a literature-based unit study approach with the simplicity of a textbook-based approach.

Daily lessons guide your child chronologically through the history of the United States, highlighting key events, people, and places. With the lessons planned for you, you can enjoy learning history with your student, or your student can use the curriculum independently.

What's Included

The America the Beautiful Curriculum Package includes everything you need for a successful study. The course is flexible, so you can choose the assignments and activities that work best for your child.

  • Two beautiful hardbound books feature narrative lessons with hundreds of colorful photographs and historic illustrations.
  • A book of primary source documents reveals what people were thinking and feeling in the past.
  • Students complete assignments in a timeline book and map book as they go through the lessons.
  • Each unit includes Bible study, vocabulary, and creative writing activities, plus a recipe, craft, game, or other hands-on project.

We suggest ten literature titles that coordinate with the lessons and enhance your student's understanding of each time period. We also offer optional review activities and tests.

Watch our intro video and keep reading to learn how the curriculum works, see sample lessons, and read what parents are saying.

Quick Overview

America the Beautiful is a one-year course that combines U.S. history, geography, and literature. The material is divided into 150 daily lessons with clear instructions on what to do each day. Many students will be able to follow the instructions on their own, and you can be involved as much or as little as you wish.

America the Beautiful Part 1 and Part 2 are full-color, richly illustrated hardcover books that include the lessons to read and instructions for using the other components. You do not need a separate teacher's manual. You can choose the assignments you want your child to complete. For example, you might expect an 8th grader to do all of the suggested assignments while a 5th grader might only complete a few. The choice is yours.

If you prefer a video overview, watch author Charlene Notgrass explain how the components work together as she walks you through a sample unit from the curriculum.

What's In the Curriculum Package

The America the Beautiful Curriculum Package includes these six books:

    America the Beautiful Part 1

    America the Beautiful Part 1

    Part 1 has 75 lessons beginning with life in America before Europeans came and continuing through the first years after the Civil War. It includes a biography of each president from George Washington through Ulysses S. Grant.

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    America the Beautiful Part 2

    America the Beautiful Part 2

    Part 2 has 75 lessons beginning with the late 1800s and continuing to the present. It includes a biography of each president from Rutherford B. Hayes to Joe Biden.

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    We the People

    We the People

    This full-color hardback book is a collection of original journal entries, newspaper articles, advertisements, poems, songs, letters, short stories, speeches, and other historic documents from American history. Assignments in Part 1 and Part 2 tell students when to read each of these primary sources.

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    Maps of America the Beautiful

    Maps of America the Beautiful

    The map book has 30 maps drawn specifically to accompany this curriculum. Assignments in Part 1 and Part 2 tell students when to complete activities on the maps.

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    Timeline of America the Beautiful

    Timeline of America the Beautiful

    After each lesson in Part 1 and Part 2, your child will add an event mentioned in the lesson to this full-color, illustrated timeline.

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    America the Beautiful Answer Key and Literature Guide

    America the Beautiful Answer Key and Literature Guide

    This book contains all of the answers you need for the vocabulary assignments, the timeline entries, and the optional Student Workbook and Lesson Review activities and tests (see below). It also has notes for parents about the literature.

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Optional Resources

We offer two optional consumable books to help measure your child's understanding of the material. You can choose to use one, both, or neither. We also offer a literature package with ten recommended titles.

    Student Workbook

    Student Workbook

    This book includes one handwork sheet for each lesson. It also includes weekly unit tests and literature review questions.

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    Lesson Review

    Lesson Review

    This book includes daily lesson review questions, weekly unit tests, and literature review questions.

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    America the Beautiful Literature Package

    Literature Package

    All ten titles are available individually or as a package. Each book is assigned at a particular point in the course to enhance your student's understanding of that time period.


What the Lessons Are Like

America the Beautiful is divided into 30 chronological units with five lessons each. You can complete the curriculum in one year by doing one lesson per day for 150 days during your school year. While this course is designed for middle school students, younger children can listen to the lessons and participate in suggested family activities.

Your child can read the daily lessons independently, or you can read them aloud. The lessons are filled with color and black-and-white historical photographs, illustrations, and artwork.

At the end of each lesson is a list of about four to six activities. Students do not have to complete all of these. You know your child best, so you can choose which activities work well for the age and ability of your student.

Depending on how many activities you assign, most students will need 45-90 minutes to complete one lesson. The exact activities vary from day to day, but they include:

  • Readings in We the People 
  • Map activities in Maps of America the Beautiful
  • Adding a sentence to the Timeline of America the Beautiful
  • Assignments in the Student Workbook or Lesson Review
  • Thinking Biblically
  • Vocabulary
  • Creative writing
  • Reading chapters in the literature titles

List of Activities for Lesson 33

Each unit has one special family activity. These include crafts, art projects, recipes, and other multi-age activities. Allow extra time for history on the day you do the family activity, or enjoy it as a family night or weekend project.

See Sample Lessons


Watch author Charlene Notgrass explain how the components of America the Beautiful work together as she walks you through a sample unit from the curriculum.

The units in America the Beautiful are in chronological order. Each unit focuses on a specific time period. To help students understand the story of U.S. history, each unit includes one lesson in each of the following categories:

  • Our American Story - These lessons provide an overview of significant events. Examples include "Europeans and Native Nations Meet on the West Coast," "Putting America Back Together" (Reconstruction after the Civil War), and "President Roosevelt and the New Deal."
  • God's Wonder - These lessons highlight amazing creations God placed in America. For example, students learn about Yellowstone when it became a national park (1870s); and they learn about the Black Hills when work on Mount Rushmore began (1920s).
  • American Landmark - These lessons explore places that have played an important role in America's history. For example, students study the Erie Canal during the early 1800s, and they learn about integration at Little Rock Central High School during the 1950s.
  • American Biography - These lessons focus on specific individuals. For example, First Lady Abigail Adams is featured in a unit on the early 1800s and baseball star Jackie Robinson in the unit on life after World War II.
  • Daily Life - These lessons showcase how everyday people lived and worked. For example, when studying the colonial period, students learn about craftsmen and merchants, and when studying World War II, they learn about life on the home front. Several lessons also highlight daily life for members of native nations in different parts of the country.


America the Beautiful Literature PackageWe recommend ten works of literature that complement the lessons in America the Beautiful. These books are not essential for understanding the lessons, but each one adds a valuable perspective on a different time period.

Your middle-school student can read the books on their own, or you can use them as family read alouds. Five books go along with America the Beautiful Part 1 and five books with Part 2.

  • Growing Up Dakota by Charles Eastman (Units 2-5)
  • Amos Fortune: Free Man by Elizabeth Yates (Units 6-7)
  • Brady by Jean Fritz (Units 9-10)
  • Bound for Oregon by Jean Van Leeuwen (Units 12-13)
  • Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (Units 14-15)
  • Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Units 16-17)
  • All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor (Units 19-20)
  • Blue Willow by Doris Gates (Units 21-22)
  • Homer Price by Robert McCloskey (Unit 25)
  • Katy's Box by Mary Evelyn Notgrass McCurdy (Units 29-30)


Read sample lessons and see sample pages from the consumable books with these PDF files.

Table of Contents / Introduction

Part 1

Part 2

We the People



Student Workbook

Lesson Review

Answer Key and Literature Guide


Best History Curriculum

"We have been homeschooling for 9 years and hands down this is the best history curriculum we have ever used. It is user friendly, rich in content, and [my children] are learning history! This is a comprehensive history book, obviously designed and written by someone who loves history. It is very clear and balanced." (Mississippi)

Makes Learning About History Fun

"I cannot rave about this program enough. American history is something we have not covered consistently and he is learning so much already and loves the mapwork, lesson review and worksheets part of his studies. Kudos on a great, well-rounded program that makes learning about history fun." (North Carolina)

Great for Independent Learning

"America the Beautiful is great for independent learning. My son enjoys the variety of assignments, original sources, and projects. It keeps my son's attention and interest much better than other curricula due to the variety of assignments." (Georgia)

It's All Laid Out for You

"Of all the curriculum I've used this has been the easiest to follow and actually get done! I love the way at the end of every lesson it's all laid out for you: workbook, map assignments, timeline, Bible, creative writing. It's so great to see it all on one page and have no guess work at what we should be doing. Also, it's not an overwhelming amount of work. It's manageable chunks of reading and the assignments at the end don't take a lot of time to complete. I also love how you have included the biographies and God's wonders into the units." (Illinois)

Retain and Tell

"My thirteen-year-old has a very hard time remembering facts, but with Notgrass History, he's able to retain the facts and then tell others about them." (Florida)


Ray and Charlene NotgrassCharlene Notgrass is a follower of Jesus and a veteran homeschooling mother. She received a bachelor's degree in urban planning from Middle Tennessee State University, where she met her husband, Ray, in the political science department. After graduating they were married in 1974. Ray and Charlene are lifelong history lovers and began writing homeschool curriculum in 1999. They enjoy classic literature, traveling together, and spending time with their children and grandchildren.


America the Beautiful Purchase Options

Are you ready to experience all that America the Beautiful has to offer? Order today with confidence. If you are not satisfied for any reason, we offer a full money-back guarantee.

​Use the product links below to order online or call 1-800-211-8793. If you have any questions about choosing the right options for your child, please call, text, or email us.

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