How It Works
All of the instructions for how to use the course are included in Uncle Sam and You Part 1 and Part 2 so you do not need a separate Teacher's Manual. The daily instructions are very easy to follow. Most students will be able to follow the instructions on their own. At the beginning of each weekly unit, an introductory page gives a list of the lessons and a list of what additional books the student will be using while studying that particular unit. While this course is designed for children in grades 5-8, younger children can listen to the lessons and participate in the family activities.
Your child can read the daily lessons on his own or you can read the lessons aloud. The full-color pages are richly illustrated with both modern and historical photographs and illustrations. At the end of each regular (non-holiday) lesson is a list of several supplemental activities. Students are not necessarily expected to complete all of these activities. You may choose which activities you wish to assign. Depending on how many activities you assign, most students will need 45-90 minutes to complete one lesson. The types of activities vary from day to day. They include:
- Thinking Biblically assignments
- Creative writing assignments
- Vocabulary assignments
- Short research assignments to look something up or ask a family member
- Assignments to draw a picture or take a photograph
- Reading assignments from The Citizen’s Handbook or a literature title
- Assignments in the Student Workbook or Lesson Review
One special family activity is assigned each week that corresponds with the holiday lesson you choose. These activities include craft and art projects, themed meals, and other multi-age activities. Your student may need extra time for Uncle Sam and You on the day you do the family activity.
What the Lessons Cover
Uncle Sam and You Part 1 and Part 2 each contain fifteen units for a total of thirty units. Your child can study Part 1 during the first half of the school year and Part 2 during the second half. Each unit has four lessons. At the back of each book are fifteen lessons on America’s patriotic holidays. You may do one of these lessons as the fifth lesson each week. You might enjoy using these lessons and the corresponding activities on a family night so that everyone can join in.
An important part of civics is celebrating holidays with family, friends, and communities. Since families who homeschool can schedule their school year in many different ways, we designed Uncle Sam and You so that you can choose when to study the various holidays. If you start the curriculum in January, you don’t want to study Thanksgiving in April! We arranged the holidays in chronological order from Independence Day to Inauguration Day in Part 1 and from Martin Luther King Day to Father’s Day in Part 2. Each holiday lesson has a corresponding family activity.
View the Table of Contents.
The Books Used
The Uncle Sam and You Curriculum Package includes the first four books listed below. You may also purchase the optional, consumable Student Workbook or Lesson Review; and any of the recommended literature.
- Uncle Sam and You Part 1
This book has 75 lessons that introduce the American system of government and focus on elections, the presidency, and Congress.
- Uncle Sam and You Part 2
This book has 75 lessons that cover the military and emergency workers, state and local government, the judicial system, and government involvement in transportation, tourism, and more. It also includes an index to the curriculum.
- The Citizen's Handbook
This is a collection of primary sources related to American government, politics, and civics, such as letters, memoirs, speeches, articles, songs, and poems. The book also includes Virtue Stories about how Americans have served and sacrificed for the benefit of others.
- Uncle Sam and You Answer Key
Includes answers for the end-of-lesson assignments, Student Workbook, and Lesson Review.
In addition to these core books, we offer two optional books to help measure your student's understanding of the material. Most parents choose one or the other for each child, though you can use both for one student if you wish.
- Student Workbook
A book of crosswords, find-a-words, matching, drawing assignments, and other handwork activities which review and reinforce information learned in the daily lessons. It also has weekly tests. This book is designed for students in 5th and 6th grades, but it is suitable for older students who enjoy these kinds of activities.
- Lesson Review
A book of daily lesson review questions, literature review questions, and weekly tests that help you see what your child is learning. This book is designed for students in 7th and 8th grades, but it is suitable for younger children who prefer this kind of review.
Eight works of literature are assigned in the Uncle Sam and You curriculum to give your student a richer perspective on the various topics studied. The student is usually given two weeks to read each book, with 1-3 chapters assigned each day. The first three books go with Part 1, and the next five books go with Part 2.
- Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman (Units 5-6)
- A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt by C. Coco De Young (Units 10-11)
- Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry (Units 12-14)
- Basher Five-Two by Scott O'Grady (Units 16-17)
- Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry (Units 18-19)
- The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Units 22-24)
- The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane by Russell Freedman (Units 25-26)
- Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler (Units 29-30)
An assignment checklist and other supplemental downloads are available.
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About the Authors
Ray and Charlene Notgrass are followers of Jesus and veteran homeschooling parents. They met at Middle Tennessee State University in the political science department. After graduating they were married in 1974. Ray went on to earn master’s degrees in history and New Testament. 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.
Mary Evelyn McCurdy and Bethany Poore were homeschooled by their parents, Ray and Charlene Notgrass. Mary Evelyn enjoys traveling, sewing, and exploring the outdoors with her husband and their children. Bethany enjoys being in the kitchen, delving into history and literature, and spending time with family and friends. She is blessed to be a wife and mommy.