Homeschool Support And Resources


Shopping Reviews Forum Home  

Go Back   The Homeschool Library > Homeschool Information Interactive Book Stacks > 500.00 Curriculum Reviews > 520.00 History Curricula Reviews

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-20-2010, 08:15 PM
SusanwithaGoodBook's Avatar
SusanwithaGoodBook SusanwithaGoodBook is offline
"A library is the only single place you can go to learn something new, be comforted, terrified, thrilled, saddened, overjoyed, or excited all in one day. And for free." ~ Amy Neftzger
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: trying not to get in too much trouble...
Posts: 14,729
Post Thanks / Like
Thanks (Received): 285
Likes (Given): 1583
Likes (Received): 891
Total Awards: 4
Location Information Writer Essay Writer Book Review Writer Curriculum Review Writer 
BookShelves A History of US by Joy Hakim

Review - A History of US by Joy Hakim

Common abbreviation: HOUS

Ages this curriculum is designed to be used with: junior high

Educational Philosophy: textbook

Worldview: Secular (and considered rather liberal politically)

Historical period: American History from ancient times to modern

Geographical area: The USA


A quote from the website:
Open one of these beautifully illustrated books and you'll see, this is American history as it's not usually presented. You'll meet nasty King John, who had to deal with habeas corpus (and you'll learn what those words mean); you'll strategize with William Johnson (a British/Mohawk Indian hero); and you'll fight with some revolutionary men and women. History is filled with adventures and stories--that all happen to be true. History dull? Not in these books.
Have you used this curriculum? Yes. We used it as a supplement when we did Sonlight 3 and 4 and I've kept the set to use as a reference.

Review: "A History of Us" is a set of 10 books which cover the whole of US history from pre-history to modern times. These colorful books are chock-full of interesting tidbits of information and loads of pictures, maps, and other little touches that make them fun to use. Each book includes a chronology and index to enable you to get more information as you need it. Included in the complete set is a "Source Book and Index" which includes quotes from the original documents discussed in the series and an index of all of the books in one place.

Strengths: Colorful, concise, and thorough. MANY additional resources available including tests, worksheets, games, etc. Also a great website on pbs that adds lots of good stuff to the set:

Weaknesses: Mrs. Hakim's personal biases are the basis of serious controversy over this series. Her liberal point of view is evident in many places. There are definite errors and omissions that need addressing, so anyone using this set should be aware of these and compensate as necessary. For more on this please see the comments below.

Comments: Entire articles and websites address the problems with these books and like many things there is both good and bad to the series. I cannot begin to address all of the controversies here so I link you to the best website I know on this subject:

Have you used this curriculum? Please share your thoughts and comments below!

FTC Disclosure:
This site is independently owned and operated. The opinions expressed here are those of the independent reviewer/poster who has either used or sampled the product under review. The Library makes commissions on products sold through affiliate and advertiser links. The products reviewed here are sometimes sold by one of our affiiates. For a full list of current affiliates, check out the Affiliate Forum or the links on our Shopping Page.

--- I am a Christian,
--- a wife to my dh of 27 years
--- and mother to one beautiful young lady, age 23, married, and working as a Reference Archivist because she has a Master's Degree In Library Science

Click Here to Support the Library by Shopping at Amazon
Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2010, 09:46 PM
Maverick_Mom's Avatar
Maverick_Mom Maverick_Mom is offline
...he took care to produce the very finest and longest words of which the vocabulary gave him the use
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 40,543
Post Thanks / Like
Thanks (Received): 730
Likes (Given): 3888
Likes (Received): 4017
Total Awards: 5
Library Donor Location Information Writer Curriculum Review Writer Essay Writer Book Review Writer 
We used a couple of the Hakim volumes this year for American history -- volume 4 (The New Nation) and volume 5 (Liberty For All?). I also purchased the Teacher's Guides for each volume so that I'd have discussion questions and writing prompts.

In the books themselves, there is a lot of "meat" and, as Susan said, a lot of suggestions for additional reading. Author Joy Hakim goes way beyond the names, dates, etc. of history and puts everything into context. To her credit, I think she *tries* to present a balanced perspective. For instance, rather than paint a monolithic picture of Southerners as pro-slavery monsters and Northerners as anti-slavery human rights advocates, Hakim shows us that reality was not that clean-cut -- there was the Southern plantation owner who searched his conscience and ultimately freed his slaves before the law required him to do so, and there were crimes of intimidation committed by *Northerners* against abolitionists. *However,* I have read several reviews (Rob Shearer's at Greenleaf Press, for instance, and the review at Rainbow Resource) that indicate that Hakim's perspective is not uniformly balanced throughout the series. Of particular concern to many is the volume that deals with the Reagan presidency and beyond. If you plan to use this series (not just that particular volume), I recommend borrowing one or more of the books from another homeschooler or seeing if your library has them, before buying them.

My problem with Hakim's books is the presentation. Visually, it's overwhelming The books are slightly smaller than your average textbook, and the publisher has stuffed them to the gills with photographs, quotations, historical notes, maps, and period cartoons -- in addition to the text itself! I also found the text to be a little disjointed. Some chapters stay focused on one topic; other chapters tackle multiple topics, and the effect is kind of choppy. But the thing I think I dislike the most -- and in all honesty, this is probably what many people *like* the most -- is Hakim's style. I think she was going for something informal and conversational. To me, it comes across as an adult trying to humor a child by "talking down" to his level. Hakim also occasionallly waxes philosophical in her narrative -- "Did he find all the answers he sought? Probably not. Perhaps no one ever does" (volume 4, The New Nation, p. 145). It's a bit distracting. But this is all very subjective on my part; your mileage may vary. :wink:

A lot of work has gone into this series. It's a refreshing change from most history texts, and my son said that the two volumes we used were very interesting.

The Teacher's Guides seemed more geared to a classroom, although there were some excellent mapping activities. You can purchase tests separately if you want to use them for evaluation.
Wife to my dh
Mom to my 4 blessings
In our 14th year of eclectic homeschooling

"The great love of my life is a homicidal maniac. Nobody's perfect." ~ Sherlock Holmes, "Elementary"
Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2010, 10:09 PM
susan_t's Avatar
susan_t susan_t is offline
Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred.
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: in grace and mercy
Posts: 959
Post Thanks / Like
Thanks (Received): 0
Likes (Given): 0
Likes (Received): 0
Total Awards: 1
Location Information Writer 
These are the texts for Sonlight Core 100, which my son, a 9th grader, is currently working through. I recently asked him if he thought John's notes balanced Hakim and he said "Yes, you get more than one view/side."

I remember him mentioning a couple of crazy things that Hakim says in her books... one comment was so outlandish & out of place regarding evolution in the Gettysburg part in Book 6 that he laughed out loud as he described it to me.

He says that she has very strong views but *that* makes him think harder and clarify the truth... he's not always crazy about John's notes either, but says all of it makes him think.

Thinking is what we want.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump

New To Site? Need Help?

Site Meter
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:58 AM.