Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: Girls of American History - Literature and Unit Study Guides for American Girl Books

Have you seen The American Girls Collection of historical fiction books for kids? It's been a FAVORITE of my Cati for years. I wouldn't be surprised if she's read through the series 3, 4 or 5 times. So, when Justine Gamble from Girls of American History: A Multi-Sensory Curriculum wanted product reviewers, we signed up for Addy!

"...Read it, Hear it, See it, Write it, and Do it.." - Justine Gamble from Girls of American History

What We Reviewed
Girls of American History Curriculum Unit 5: The Civil War - A Literature Guide and Unit Study for Addy, An American Girl - Time Period 1864
Published by Justine Gamble 2012
Individual Literature Studies $7.95 / Full Set $72.00 (prices subject to change)
Free Samples Available Here

Quick Peek
• Multi-sensory Approach to Learning
• Using Popular Literature
• Suggested Weekly Schedule
• Required and Suggested Reading List
• Field Trip and Craft Lists
• Templates
• On-line Additional Resources

Planning and Preparing
The first thing I did was download the 17 page literature and study guide, print it and slip the pages into a plastic report cover. I recommend these covers as they keep print-outs protected during use and are inexpensive to purchase and reuse.

I used the Overview of Content to gather books (from the library) and arts and crafts supplies. There were also additional resource and reading lists, suggested field trips (none in our area), and a weekly plans and schedule graph. All handy, quick resources to plan your unit study!

A lapbook was suggested to go along with the multi-sensory study, and, as ALWAYS, I downloaded from my favorite lapbook resource on-line. And because Cati doesn't enjoy the cutting-out-and-folding-mini-books part of lapbooks, I did that for her (while watching TV in the evenings). There were also suggestions for craft activities, which we already had 2 kits of.

What We Did
Everything was placed in a handy-dandy plastic basket, and Cati independently worked on the study during her leisure times. As a 6th grader, she was ready to "spread her wings" and take charge of some of her learning...and this literature study was easy enough for her to follow and implement with only a minimum amount of guidance from me. We made a schedule together - one book and one section of the lapbook per week. Definitely doable with her core classes, heavy band schedule, and scouting commitments!

She worked on these studies several times a week, sometimes skipping a few weeks as life happened. It was easy for her to pick-up where she left off and continue on. We borrowed the required reading books from our library, so no purchase was necessary. (Since this is a popular series of books, most libraries should have copies available.)  She's looking forward to completing her study with the Emancipation Party suggested in the study guide. It includes recipe suggestions and time-period games.

What We Didn't Do
Follow the weekly plans and schedule graph. Although a wonderful resource for planning your studies, Cati opted to work at her own pace, reading additional books, watching You Tube videos, doing additional crafts. Definitely a curriculum that can be tweaked to fit whatever your learners' needs and interest take them! 

She hasn't finished the unit study at this time. She's completed a number of weeks, but sometimes studies take longer than planned when following interests. Learning shoudn't be rushed! Fortunately, Girls of American History can be done both as a main history study AND as a supplemental study over different lengths of time.

Our Thoughts
Girls of American History is suggested for grades 2-6. Being in 6th grade, Cati found the unit study suggestions and work too simple. She's read the books before and are below her ability level; each one takes her about about 45 minutes to read. She wanted "more" from Girls of American History, but fortunately it's an easy guide to tweak, adding more detailed, in-dept work from other sources. Our suggested grade levels are advanced 1st - average 4th.

Otherwise, Girls of American History are a go-to for students who love the American Girl series of historical fiction! Super easy to print-out, implement and use, and can be changed up in a variety of ways to meet individual learners. You can focus on a specific girl and period of time, or get the 12 unit set, a complete study of American history that can be finished in two school years.

For more information, click on the following links:

 Disclosure: A Great Balancing Act was given a PDF download of the Girls of American History Unit 5 The Civil War literature study and subscriber access on-line for our honest review. All thoughts are our own.


  1. This looks like a fun curriculum. My daughter loved the American Girl books and I look forward to studying American History with my two younger kids.

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  3. I hope all is well! Thinking of you<3

  4. I have been thinking of you. I do hope you are well.