Exploring America


Quick Start Guide

"My children love Notgrass, and we plan on using it throughout high school. It truly is open and go."

Lisa T., Alabama

The First Thing

Thank you for choosing Exploring America for your family. We are honored to be part of your educational journey.

Read the "How to Use This Curriculum" section at the beginning of Exploring America Part 1 (the red book with the ships on the cover). Start on page vii after the Table of Contents. That will help you see how all the books fit together and what you will need to do each day and each week.

If any questions come to mind after you review the rest of this page, or later as you are using the material, please contact us any time.

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Video Walkthrough

Exploring America has 30 units with five lessons each. If you'd like a video walkthrough of how one unit is laid out, here is author Ray Notgrass to explain it.

The Literature

We chose twelve literature titles to go along with this curriculum. You can find a list of the books and when they are assigned on page xvi in Part 1.

If you want your student to earn English credit, the literature is a vital part of the course. However, if you want to focus only on the history credit, reading the literature is not essential to understanding the history lessons.

We included instructions on when to read each book in the lesson assignments at the end of lessons. The first literature book we assign is The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Your student starts it in Unit 2 (see the literature introduction on page 26 and the assignments on page 31).

The Student Review has literary analysis and review questions for each book.

Notes About the Literature

We deliberately chose quality literature that will enrich your student's study of history. The books we recommend have some content that we want you to be aware of in advance. We provide specific notes about each book in the Guide for Parents and Answer Key. If you did not purchase the Student Review Pack, you can download the Guide for Parents at no charge.

Suggested Supplements

Notgrass History curriculum is self-contained. You don't need to add anything else unless you want to. However, if you are looking for videos, virtual field trips, interactive websites, and other resources to supplement your studies, check out the resources we have listed at Homeschool History.

Need an extra book or two?

If you ever need an extra consumable quiz book or a specific literature title, you can shop for any of the individual books on our website.

Looking for our bonus downloads?

All of the instructions and assignments for each lesson are included in the Exploring America Part 1 and Part 2 lesson books. Some of our customers have requested that we provide a lesson assignment checklist to help keep track of what their students are doing. You can download this checklist from our website, if it's helpful.

If your student has already read some of the assigned literature, reading them again while learning about the history of the same time period in the lessons can be a great idea. If you want something different, or if your child is a voracious reader who wants more, we also have a list of additional literature titles you might consider using.

We also have a handful of corrections and supplemental links available.

Don't feel like you have to use all of these extra downloads to do a good job! They are tools that some parents find helpful. We don't want you or your child to feel overwhelmed by our curriculum. We trust you to teach each child the way you know works best for him or her.

Have other questions?

We've posted answers to frequently asked questions about using our high school curriculum. If you don't find the answer you need there, please email, call, or text us.

Keep up the good work!

We admire your dedication to giving your child a great education at home. May God give you strength, courage, and wisdom. Sincerely, Ray and Charlene Notgrass

Notgrass History