Free stuff, people – We homeschoolers love free stuff, right? American Heritage Foundation has a slew of free U.S. History lessons online at www.americanheritage.org. The organization will send you a CD of the materials (free!) that includes differentiated lessons for elementary, middle and high school levels. You can also download pdfs of any of the lessons. (My download speed is actually faster than reading a CD, so don’t be deterred by the file size if you have high speed access.)
The lessons are built on four themes: freedom, unity, progress and responsibility. The program is essentially what was called “civics” back in the day, but grew out of favor over the years. American Heritage designed this curriculum to counteract that trend. Some of this material is quite useful – I haven’t gone through all of it, so as always, we will use what works for us and disregard the rest. Though it was designed for public schools, it is very, very adaptable for homeschool use. And it’s free. Did I mention it’s free? (You can order the lessons in a printed form for a fee, but go check out the pdfs first.) There is a distinct focus on the primary documents the resulted in the formation of our country, as well as character education. And if you are in Texas, you get the double bonus of a version that is specific to state standards.