Homeschool High School American History - Frugal and FREE Curriculum and Resources

Homeschool high school American History frugal curriculum and resources. Including map work, living literature, original sources, art related to history and more. We even found some U.S. History videos for FREE. #homeschoolhighschool #ushistory

Summary:  Homeschool high school American History frugal curriculum and resources that we loved and also some U.S. History videos for FREE.  This post may included affiliate links to products that we love and have used in our own homeschool and  please see see our disclosure policy 

Are you looking for frugal resources for U S History for your high schooler?  Do you like to put your own course together, or used a prepared curriculum? 

Today, I'd like to share frugal and free resources for both, making your own course, and using a prepared curriculum.  

Let's start with making your own course, using some very frugal resources that I have found.  Then after that I will share some prepared curriculum for U.S. history.

Our Homemade Course in U S History

When it came time for our high school US History studies, we used a variety of sources, and made our own course.  To do that, we picked a spine, then added in some geography, literature, and a little art history, for fun.  My teen was a big part of putting it all together. 

So, I'd like to share with you how we went about putting together this course, which included:

- a spine
- literature options
- geography
- a  primary resource
- and some art.

1.  First we needed to find a spine for our learning.

We searched for something that would cover everything and also encourage critical thinking. This book caught my eye.

We found this book to be engaging while covering all the essentials of our country's history, in it's 11 chapters, each of which included:

-1.  Time Line - related dates for each chapter
-2.  Activating Prior Knowledge - questions to look for as you read
-3.  The text, with sidebars and brief biographies
-4.  Critical thinking questions
-5.  Activities - map work, reviews and puzzles.... click here above to read the rest of my review of this frugal book.

2.  Next, we wanted to add in some living literature...

There are lots of ways to add living literature to your history studies.  Of course, if you add in American Literature, then you will be doing two high school credits, US History for one, and American Lit for another high school credit.

You can pick and choose fiction and non-fiction such as:

Uncle Tom's Cabin
The Federalist Papers
Tom Sawyer
Miracle at Philadelphia
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Edison - from Heros of History
(there are so many other choices, of course)

At our house, my daughter wanted to add in some living literature and make that a course as well, so we looked around and we found the following course. 

That gave my teen a credit for English as well as one for US History. We combined the two courses and got 2 credits done together!

Another option for American Literature is made by our friends at 7 Sisters Homeschool.  

This is a 100 + page resource can be used for a whole year long credit in English, and it includes literature guides for so many of the great classics of American Lit. 

American Literature by 7 Sisters is ideal for independent study because it is written by homeschoolers, all set up for your high schooler with no busy work.  

Great for getting that English course done, and also super for learning critical thinking and literary analysis. 

7 Sisters Homeschool also offers tons of choices for:
  • English Year Long Courses
  • Literature Guides for over 40 books
  • Writing 
  • Electives
  • Social Studies
  • and more.
And all of their easy to use PDF courses are FRUGAL, under $30.00 for most of their no busy work courses.

3.  Our third step was to add in some geography.  We did not do every project in this book, but it was a great supplement to our studies..

This book is set up in a workbook style, which my teen enjoyed, with comprehensive mapping activities for each major event in US History.  

By answering the questions and mapping out each historical event, my daughter got a hands-on feel for each major event, my teen got a hands-on feel for what she had studied.  It's from Rainbow Resource also, very frugally priced.

4.  Next we found a frugal resource for primary resources, called...

The Patriot's History Reader

This book goes back to the original sources, including documents, speeches, and legal decisions that helped to shape our country. 

It was so convenient to have this at hand, and it eliminated the need to search the internet for these.  Click here to read the rest of my review.

Middle Way Mom has resources for decolonizing U.S. History here.

5.  Then we wanted to add some art, too.

This book added a lot of fun to our studies.  

The Boston Massacre, Paul Revere's Ride, the End of the Civil War, are all famous paintings included in this book, which teaches about design, rhythm, and perspective...and it is offered as a book or a cd.

I recently found another great art book that is make to add art to your American History studies.  And it is full of American landmarks! Your student will be learning all about our famous historical landmarks, which will fit so well with their American history studies.

Here's another lovely art offering that I wish I had found out about years ago.  

This easy to use ebook is made by my friend, Tricia, from You Are an Artist, and is full of historical landmarks to make.  

The lessons are taught by a professional artist, and will give your high schooler a nice introduction to art using chalk pastels.  It is available at a very frugal price here.  

Those are the key resources that we pulled from for our homemade course.  Which ones might be helpful to you? 

Next, I's like to switch gears and talk about some prepared curricula for American History.  

I recently found some frugal prepared curricula for US History, if you would rather use a complete course, instead of piecing one together. 

Are you looking for prepared U.S. History homeschool high school curriculum?

Frugal or Free US History Course

First let's look at a course from Glencoe:

American Vision offers a complete US History book, a student center that goes along with it, and free videos for each chapter. 

It can do all the work of putting together a solid and creative history course for you. And it is a very frugal choice as well.  

This course explores American History from 1775 through the 21st century, through an interdisciplinary approach that includes literature, art, and biographies. 

First let's look at the book itself, which includes:

  • 1.  Vivid and Accurate Re-telling of US History
  • 2. US Geography with National Geographic Maps
  • 3. Primary and Secondary Sources
  • 4. Related Activities
  • 5. Appendix with Supreme Court Case Summaries- American Lit Library
- Plus Critical Thinking Lessons, such as "Find the Main Idea, and Determining Cause and Effect"

This book is available on Amazon here for around $20.00, with some used copies for less than $10.00.  That's the student edition.  

I recommend also getting the teacher's edition, as it has all the answers in it.

Now, let's look at the student center...

Here they offer many more online activities, and it is a part of the Glencoe Online Learning Center, which has a whole lot of go-to activities, links, and more.

To add a lot to your study of The American Vision, check out the web activities, vocabulary cards, e-puzzles and games, interactive maps and more. And they offer some free videos too...

I love how Glencoe puts together their history books.  We used their World History book in 10th grade, and it taught so many of the critical thinking skills to my daughter. 

And they had primary sources, references to art, and great essay questions to ponder as well.  There was a quiz at the end of each section, which we used at times.  

Just click Videos for Chapters for some free videos that teach the important history concepts that are included in those chapters. (I noticed that some of the chapter videos are no longer available, but many still are.)

Emily at Table Life Blog offers tons of excellent U.S. History resources for you at: 100 Ways to Study the American Revolution 

What are your favorite resources for high school US History?  I love reading your comments so please share your knowledge with others here.

Are you looking for more tips on homeschooling your teen?

After my own daughter graduated from our homeschool, I put together all my best tips for homeschooling high school, into this kindle book below:

It's already been bought by thousands of families.  For more info: Homeschooling High School with College in Mind - 2nd Edition

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is a Christian and mom to her college grad whom she and her husband homeschooled starting from the early years. She blogs at BJ's Homeschooland wrote 

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  1. My youngest child and I are getting ready to study about the US in history for next school year, and I'm so glad I came across this article! The timing was perfect. :) Thank you for linking up with us at Hip Homeschool Moms!

    1. Thanks, Wendy Hilton, of Hip Homeschool Moms, for stopping by! I hope you have a good time with your US History studies,

  2. I have just ordered the American Vision book for next year. I hope it works out for us because I am very excited about it.

    1. Thanks, Carie Black, for stopping by, and I hope that this resource is working out well for you, or will, if that was for next year. I am sorry that I missed your comment and are just getting back to you now, lol!

  3. is there a printable schedule anywhere and how long is the course a year or a semester? Looks very cool!!!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Adamant Academy. It is a whole year long course, and making a printable schedule is a great idea! I just used a planner and took it one week at a time for our course. If I make a printable, it will be on my blog, so you could see it here. Thanks again for the great idea!


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