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Level D - Intro to American History, 1 of 2

Great for ages 9-12

Two ways to choose your Sonlight Level D curriculum

Put together a customized program OR select the recommended everything-you-need package. Compare your choices and pick the path you want. Either way, a wonderful adventure in learning awaits you and your family.

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History / Bible /

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Sonlight® History / Bible / Literature Program Sonlight® All-Subjects Package Sonlight® Store
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Discover the foundation of the United States – and the civilizations that were already here

Year one of a two-year study, this course covers history from the world before Columbus to just before the Civil War. For the first time in the Sonlight progression, Sonlight D links together History, Geography, Language Arts, Read-Alouds, and Readers. Your children will make astonishing connections between the people, places, and events in American History.

  • Relive American history from the early Native Americans through the 1850s.
  • Guide your children with confidence: you get daily plans and complete materials for the entire year.
  • Embrace the innovative spirit that characterized early American history.
  • Bond with your children as you spark their love of learning with these American history books!

The central history book in this program tells fascinating stories about the social forces and cultural influences that have made Americans unique. Biographies, historical fiction, and absorbing readers add depth to your study. You’ll meet famous Americans like Pocahontas and Benjamin Franklin, and ordinary Americans who did extraordinary things for God, like Ann and Adoniram Judson. Your children will enjoy these wonderful connections between the people, places, and events in American History.

In this 36-week program, your children will come to know the context and progression of American history that represents true understanding in. Your children will learn about the civilizations that lived in the United States before the Europeans arrived. They’ll learn about the challenges that settlers faced as they came to a new land. They’ll learn about the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. In this program, you’ll focus on the hard-working, vibrant spirit that helped families of settlers, immigrants, pioneers, and pilgrims overcome big obstacles.

Estimated daily time for Intro to American History, Year 1 of 2 including your other subjects: Student: 3.5-4.5 hrs | Parent: 2-3 hrs

Prefer a one-year American History option? See Sonlight D+E.

Overview of the History

The overarching goal for this program, and its companion, Sonlight E, is for children to understand the context and progression of American History. We want them to grasp why people came to a new land, how they persevered and settled the continent, and that every day they faced decisions about how to live in the New World.

We begin with history before the Pilgrims and end in the mid-1800s. The foundation of the History program is former Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin's Landmark History of the American People. Boorstin specializes in the details: why Georgia struggled as a "charity colony" (and what does that even mean?); why the sea tied some colonies to England, yet opened others to the world; and why early settlers had to innovate. These are fascinating stories! This full-color text includes timelines, maps, and illustrations.

To supplement the stories of Boorstin, the schedule interweaves the Smithsonian's Children's Encyclopedia of American History, a book with short articles and copious illustrations.

Overview of the Literature

The D Read-Alouds are awesome! Of the dozen, more than half of them are Newbery Medalists and Honors: Secret of the Andes, about an Incan boy (it beat out Charlotte's Web for the Newbery that year!); The Witch of Blackbird Pond, a story of cultural differences, set in Puritan New England (and there isn't actually a witch in this story, though suspicious townsfolk wonder about a Quaker woman); Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, about a brilliant mathematician who made navigation more safe (such a great story!); Swift Rivers, a fascinating look at logging, from Minnesota on down the Mississippi River (you probably haven't ever considered this part of settling America, but it is fascinating!); Justin Morgan Had a Horse, the captivating true story of the runt horse who had the heart and drive to do far more than anyone could have predicted (you don't have to be a horse person to like this one); Johnny Tremain, set in Boston during the Revolutionary War (a perennial favorite); and Sign of the Beaver, in which a young settler, in danger of demise in the Maine wilderness, receives help from an unexpected source.

Sonlight customers routinely say that they would not have picked up these books of their own accord, but are incredibly grateful that they had the opportunity to read them.


The Level D Readers are a great collection! As your children move from "learning to read" to "reading to learn," they have interesting and exciting books to enjoy. From Pocahontas and Squanto, to settler stories, to the Revolution, these early chapter books are engaging and include several additional Newberys.

Sonlight D offers the option to choose Regular or Advanced Readers. The Advanced program schedules the Regular Readers at a faster pace and includes additional titles. Some customers choose the Advanced Reader package and use the extra titles for summer reading.

Click here learn more about Readers.

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