America: Covenant and Calling Review

Review Roundup

Have you ever wondered how you could create a curriculum from the books The Light and the Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Sounding Forth the Trumpet by Peter Marshall? Well, Peter Marshall Ministries has done just that with their new high school humanities curriculum – America: Covenant & Calling.

Using the America’s Christian Heritage Series books: The Light and the Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Sounding Forth the Trumpet as the core texts, Mary E. Marshall and Laura Horvath take students on a journey through American history starting with Christopher Columbus and ending with Abraham Lincoln. The goal is for students to learn about America’s history and see that God had a plan for America. The four major themes that are seen throughout this series of books are: call, covenant, repentance, and the leader as a servant.

America Covenant and CallingIn this curriculum, students are not just reading about past events and taking tests. Instead, they will be actively thinking about the concepts being presented and critically analyzing the information being presented. In addition, it is recommended that students participate in a semester long community-based project where they can implement the ideas/concepts being studied. Students will also create a reflective notebook where they will record their thoughts about a variety of topics being presented within the readings.

The curriculum itself contains a suggested course of study which will cover the material in roughly 18 weeks. Because the curriculum is flexible, students can move slower or faster depending on the route they take with the study. The idea behind the 18 weeks is to allow the student to cover all over American history in one year, if desired. The 18-week study of this material would mean that the students would cover American history up to the Civil War in the first semester, and then they could use a different curriculum to complete their American history study from the Civil War to the present.

The curriculum is broken down into 49 parts (sections). Each part contains a reading selection from one of the core books, an introduction, objectives, themes, list of key words and concepts, list of key people and places, and suggested activities. The activities include things such as viewing movies, clips, maps, and/or art, reading additional materials, listening to music or readings, creating projects, writing assignments, oral presentations, discussions, and research projects.

As we made our way through a few of the sections in the curriculum, I found that I really needed to screen the recommended resources as there were several that we, personally, would not use for our 13-year-old daughter. Each home will have their own standards on what is and is not acceptable within their home and with their students, so I highly recommend parents thoroughly go through the resources before allowing students to view/read the resources.

Americas Christian Heritage SeriesAnother thing that we noticed is that the curriculum is set up to be used within a group setting. While it can be used for an individual homeschool student, to get the most out of the curriculum, it would best be implemented in a multi-student situation. Because discussions, debates, oral presentations, and group projects are part of the curriculum, a single student needs to find a different way to implement these particular activities or just skip them.

The set-up of the curriculum was easy to follow. I was able to easily look at the recommended resources and plan for the upcoming weeks. Because I did need to research the resources, there was a little extra planning involved on my part. A few times, I just completely ignored the video resources and sought out my own that I felt were more appropriate for my daughter. Several of the resources were difficult to locate due to their age as well as the fact that some videos (at the time of this writing) were only available on vhs. (We no longer have a working vhs player.)

The appendixes include the following information:

  • Information about the Dominant American Values
  • How to set up a Reflective Notebook and ideas for content
  • Information about the Covenant Project
  • Information about the Uncle Sam/Lady Liberty Project
  • Information about the American Values Multi-Media Project
  • American Film Resource List
  • Film View Guide
  • Book Reading Guide
  • Art Study Guide
  • Ideas for Final Assessment
  • Supplemental Reading List
  • Teaching Resource List

Overall, I felt the curriculum was well laid out and fairly easy to follow and implement. I had some concerns about the suggested resources, but this is just personal preference. Because of this, I had to do a little more preparation for the lessons as I looked for alternative resources. Having only one student going through this particular curriculum did present a few challenges. While it wouldn’t deter me from using the curriculum with one student, I would lean towards using it in a group setting such as a homeschool group, classroom, or co-op.

America: Covenant & Calling is available through Peter Marshall Ministries for $35.00. They also offer a package deal that contains the curriculum as well as the core texts, The Light and the Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Sounding Forth the Trumpet, for $110.00.

I received an electronic copy of America: Covenant and Calling to help facilitate the writing of a frank and honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own.

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