So, I did a thing.

In 2017, I purchased a curriculum that included the second half of an intro to American History starting with slavery. We had already completed the first half of U.S. History through the same curriculum company the previous year. 

That year, I pushed through and found myself having to supplement with other materials, because there was just not enough focus on the plight of Native American nations who were undergoing genocide while the white settlers argued about who was a witch. I don’t know if you can relate, but I was growing weary of all of the stories (even the historical fiction) told from the perspective of the white settlers, never truly stopping to consider the perspective of the displaced. It felt like nearly every encounter with a Native American was told from the perspective of the colonizer. In some books, Native Americans and enslaved Africans weren’t even mentioned— as if they didn’t exist or factor into the story. There was even a tone of nostalgia for a simpler time and more wholesome way of life—ignoring what I knew to be true about how others were experiencing this time period.

Oh Freedom! curriculum uses A Young People’s History of the United States (Zinn), A Different Mirror (Takaki), and Heart & Soul (Nelson) and many other books.

Still, I purchased the next set of books for U.S. History, part 2, because I couldn’t find a better alternative. But from the minute I began glancing through what I had just purchased, I could tell there would be a lot of supplementing and replacing of books and other activities. I refused, for example, to encourage my kids to learn the assigned songs of Americana, like Dixie and Cotton Needs Pickin’

And then, if that wasn’t enough, some of the things written in the assigned text made me want to scream. For example, the textbook was written from the perspective that God established the U.S. government “based on God’s word,” that despite requiring the genocide of Native people, “God expanded her borders from one sea to another.” I couldn’t stomach it. I was not going to be tortured like this all school year or expose my kids to this skewed worldview and constantly have to reframe and reteach the material. Homeschooling gave me the freedom and power to tell the truth about history and I was going to step into that freedom. Even if it meant a lot of extra work and money spent buying additional books. And even if it meant I would have to write out my own curriculum (something I said I would never do).

This guide is the pretty version of what I did that year — figuring out my own way to navigate U.S. History with my kids. And it’s now selling at