Even the most well-meaning authors of history textbooks will inevitably bring some of their own biases to their writing. The whole purpose of a textbook is to summarize and simplify complex events and ideas into an easier-to-understand format. This summarization forces the author to highlight the things that they believe are important. Using primary sources – that is, reading the speeches and letters of those who made history – takes that bias out of the equation.
It's a simple concept! If you want your students to learn about the Declaration of Independence, have them read the Declaration of Independence! Curious about the Civil War? Read Lincoln's speeches and letters!
Our curriculum is designed to let students work independently. It provides them with Guiding Questions to consider before they read each document. These questions help them know what to look for as they start reading. Each unit also includes companion documents that will help your students understand the context of the primary document in the unit. Each unit's reading assignments will paint a picture for your students that will give them a much stronger understanding of history than they could ever get from a textbook.
These documents do demand conversation, though. Learning about them is easier when you discuss the concepts with others. For that reason, we offer a free monthly webinar with one of our professors who will help your students understand the more challenging aspects of the document being covered in each unit while leading a conversation with students from across the country.
From the Declaration of Independence to King's "I Have a Dream" Speech, your student will go on a year-long journey through American History.
Get an hour of live instruction from our nationally-recognized faculty each month to supplement your student's reading and help them understand difficult concepts.
Taking history instruction out the textbook and into primary sources makes it more fun and interesting to students who may not have a natural affinity for the subject.