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US History Detective Review: Colonial Era to Reconstruction Era

US History Detective Review

US History Detective: Colonial Era to Reconstruction Era

This book was provided to me for review purposes by Timberdoodle. I received no compensation for this post.

History Detective Review

US History Detective Book One

US History Detective is a history textbook is designed for grades 8-12. This textbook is 314 pages long. 

I was excited to review US History Detective because is published by one of my favorite curriculum publishers, The Critical Thinking Co. We have been long-time fans of The Critical Thinking Co. because of their efforts to encourage logic and thinking skills as opposed to just learning facts. Their Mathematical Reasoning books made it to my favorites list in my post about Homeschooling the Early Years.

US History Detective Quick Facts

US History Detective Review. Homeschool history curriculum for grades 8-12.

This history curriculum is 314 pages long. It is divided into nine sections or units for a total of 65 lessons. The US History Detective begins with three full pages of a teacher overview explaining to parents how to use the curriculum and explaining the reasons behind including each type of activity and text. I really love the explanation being laid out so clearly.

Fact or Opinion?

One of my favorite features of US History Detective includes reading passages designed to help students distinguish the difference between facts and opinions. 

An example in the introduction is, “ ‘The Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776’. We know this happened because we have the original document. The men who wrote and signed it wrote about the document and observers wrote about it as well. There is no double in anybody’s mind at the facts in this statement are true. An opinion is an expression of somebody’s ideas and is debatable. Opinions that are based on facts and sound reasoning are stronger than opinions not based on facts. In history, opinions alone tend to be less persuasive than opinions supported by facts. 

Which of the following sentences are facts and which are opinions

  1. George Washington was the first president of the United States of America
  2. George Washington was the nation’s best president.
  3. The fact ”that the US federal government is more powerful than state governments is what makes US citizens free.
  4. The United States  of America has 50 States
Full two-page spread from US History Detective.

US History Detective Curriculum Layout

The basic setup of this curriculum has the student reading a passage and then answering questions. The coolest part though, is it has hte kids thinking critically, not just reading the passage and regurgitating the information. This is what makes this curriculum one of the best out there, in my opinion.

The book includes color maps, easy-to-read timelines, photos, and drawings interspersed throughout the lessons. Each lesson contains a variety of multiple-choice and essay questions. Some chapters include maps for the students to fill out or Venn diagrams. Unit reviews include concept maps to help students figure out how what they are learning fits into the bigger picture. Bonus sections throughout include historical and spiritual songs from that historical era.

Inside peek at US History Detective curriculum.

Perforated Pages Make US History Detective Easy to Use

This workbook has perforated pages so lessons are easy to remove. US History Detective has the answers right in the back of the book which is convenient for mom or dad, but may be too much of a temptation to cheat, depending on your students. 

US History Detective includes a thorough vocabulary in each lesson as well as in the review sections. A large vocabulary contributes to higher test scores, SAT scores, and improved reading comprehension. 

US History Detective Review

US History Detective is half workbook, half textbook that is much more interesting than most history textbooks I have looked at. The book is geared toward grades 8-12 which is a wides pread, but as a homeschool mom, I like the flexibility. We have never been ones to worry too much about grade level as long as the kids are learning and growing.

The Only Con to History Detective

The only con to History Detective is the fact that since it is a workbook each student will need their own copy. But since this is easily the most simple and thorough history curriculum I have seen for homeschooling, to me, it balances out. It could easily be adjusted to teach a variety of grades and ages (important if you have a large family). Also, if I had more homeschooling students (it’s just Apollo at the moment) this could easily be combined with Story of the World Volume 4 which includes coloring pages, maps, and activities for every chapter.

Overall, I think this is a great history curriculum…one of only two I use in my home.

US History Detective can be purchased alone or as part of Timberdoodle’s 8th Grade Curriculum Kit.



  1. Olga

    Hello! I tried sending you an email but the function on your website did not seem to work for me. I’ve been following your blog for over a decade now! I was wondering if Apollo has been tested for 22Q11 deletion/DiGeorge syndrome. The heart problems/feeding/tongue-tied and the psychiatric difficulties are all possible symptoms. May be worth checking it out?

    • Renee

      Olga, so sorry you weren’t able to get ahold of me via email. Apollo has not been tested for 22Q11 because he doesn’t have symptoms. I know that a double aortic arch has been associated with 22Q11, but that is really the only correlation. His feeding problems were caused *by* the vascular ring and he has always been on-target developmentally and does not have the features of 22Q11. I appreciate your input though!

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