Paths of Settlement 2nd Edition - Teacher Guides

by Debbie Strayer & Linda Fowler

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Paths of Settlement is the second step on the Trail Guide to Learning. Key events studied include the Colonial Period, the Revolutionary War, the war of 1812, the Civil War, and Westward Expansion. Learn about the accomplishments of great Americans such as George Washington and Patrick Henry who built upon the trial blazed by brave explorers. Their actions teach us the principles of freedom and citizenship - founding and expanding our country, strengthening us in times of war and binding us together in times of struggle. This full one-year course is targeted for grades 4-6, but the lessons can be easily adapted for 3rd and 7th grades as well.

Activities include period crafts, cooking, watercolor painting, state studies, making a wind gauge, and more.

The second edition is a fully revamped version with improvements, updated games, and some color pages. It includes 6 books corresponding to each of the 6 units. Each book includes a section of color and perforated pages with activities, instructions, and game cards in the back. Student pages are available separately in your choice of printed pages by unit and grade, or all grades in digital format.

Student Notebooks

Required student notebook pages are available for each grade level and are an integral part of this curriculum. Notebook pages provide maps, charts, space for copywork or dictation and any other template page needed throughout the year. Student Notebooks are not included with the Teachers Guide, but you can order them here. Buy 5 units and get the 6th free when you order student pages for all 6 units together. Digital downloads of all three levels (4th, 5th, and 6th grades) of the Student Notebooks are included with the Complete Package and with each individual Unit Package.

Extensions Available

Extensions provide additional assignments and activities for the age groups below. They do not stand alone, but are meant to be used alongside the main Teacher’s Guide. Ideal for use when there is at least one other child in the family in the target range - 4th -6th.

  • Older Extension, grades 7-8
  • Younger Extension, grades 1-3...coming in 2019!

Improvements and Updates

The Second Edition of Settlement is now produced as six, soft-back books. Each book contains one unit which provides six weeks of lessons. You can now purchase the curriculum one unit at a time, or save $45 when buying all six together. Each book has been redesigned with a new look and includes full-color removable perforated game cards for convenient use. You will also find the Lesson at a Glance pages (available for viewing under the “Samples” tab) in the back of each unit. Easily keep a log of completed work by checking off assignments as they are complete.


Growing Pains Summary

No one could say that life in colonial America was easy, yet shipload after shipload of newcomers from all over Europe arrived daily, each person filled with dreams of a better future. Against the backdrop of the French and Indian War, our literature provides glimpses into everyday life and adventure in the colonies. As we explore common values and behaviors of the time through George Washington’s writings, alongside compelling issues like indentured servitude and cultural differences, students are challenged to discuss and apply concepts within the framework of family ideals. At the same time, since successful colonies were so closely linked to an area’s normal conditions, study of the atmosphere, climate, soil, and weather follows naturally. Building further on the settlement theme, research and mapping states in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions is enhanced by learning about igneous rocks, and the fun of regional cooking, great games and hands-on activities!

Unit 1 Growing Pains 

In addition to the core resources Unit 1 uses the following materials:

  • Growing Pains teacher manual
  • Growing Pains Student Notebook pages (available in printed or download formats)
  • Abigail Adams
  • Ambush in the Wilderness
  • The Courage of Sarah Noble
  • The Matchlock Gun


Freedom Decided Summary

Wars are very expensive to fight, and by the end of the French and Indian War King George needed money. But when the British king decided that citizens in America should provide that additional cash, it sparked a lot of anger. So much anger that it eventually led Britain into yet another war—this time with its own colonies! While learning about events surrounding the Revolutionary War, students are challenged to copy and understand the Declaration of Independence and portions of the Constitution. Literature transports us back to this exciting time through the eyes of George Washington, a 12-year old boy, some young patriot soldiers, and an adventurous water molecule. Of course, getting to know this little molecule leads directly to an investigation of atoms, molecules, water, clouds, and storms. State research and mapping continue through most of the Southern region, along with study of the seasons and rock cycle—all topped off with regional cooking and period songs, games, and activities!

Unit 2 Freedom Decided

In addition to the core resources Unit 2 uses the following materials:

  • Freedom Decided teacher manual
  • Freedom Decided Student Notebook pages (available in printed or download formats)
  • The American Revolution (Munford Adventure)
  • Guns for General Washington
  • George Washington
  • The Eve of Revolution

You will need to print student pages from the PDF download file included. For your convenience ready-to-use printed student pages are available for each grade. The six weeks of student notebook pages are only $15 for each grade level.   (Hint: preprinted student pages save time, pre-planning, and wear on your printer/toner cartridges.) We really want to make life easier for you - if you buy all 6 units at once we'll give you one of them free!


Nation Building Summary

Things were finally settling into routine for the young USA. Then, less than 30 years after winning independence, conflict with Britain erupted once again in the War of 1812. But despite that, settlers didn’t give up their hopes and dreams, and pushed ever westward away from the Atlantic coast. Looking back at this huge ocean leads to an exploration of salt water, continents, waves, tides, and sedimentary rocks—as well as unseen things like underwater mountain ranges and volcanoes. Great literature immerses readers in this important time of war, building, and expansion. As students copy verses from “The Star Spangled Banner,” they’re challenged to reflect on its rich imagery and outline its rhyme patterns. Along with continued research and mapping of the Southern and Midwest state regions, a study of Presidents begins in this unit. And as always, regional cooking and period songs, games, and activities add depth and focus to an exciting time in America’s history!

Unit 3 Nation Building

In addition to the core resources Unit 2 uses the following materials:

  • Nation Building teacher manual
  • Nation Building Student Notebook pages (available in printed or download formats)
  • The Cabin Faced West
  • Justin Morgan Had a Horse
  • Francis Scott Key


House Divided Summary

Fast forward through almost 50 years of mostly peaceful expansion and settlement, to the 1860s. That was when tensions between the North and South finally boiled over and ignited the Civil War, also called the War Between the States. This unit’s literature introduces Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, and opens windows into the lives of both ordinary families and great leaders on opposing sides. Students are challenged to think about, compare, and contrast the different points of view at the heart of this epic struggle. Even greater insight is gained from copying and discussing portions of speeches by Abraham Lincoln. Since state research and mapping are centered on the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions, the way is prepared to examine things like weather forecasting, air masses, wind systems, severe storms, and metamorphic rocks. Study of our Presidents continues, along with the fun of regional cooking and period songs, games and projects.

Unit 4 House Divided

In addition to the core resources Unit 4 uses the following materials:

  • House Divided teacher manual
  • House Divided Student Notebook pages (available in printed or download formats)
  • Robert E. Lee
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Clara Barton
  • Yankee Blue or Rebel Gray?


Unity Restored Summary

Following the Civil War, the United States entered a difficult period of rebuilding those things and places that had been destroyed. But restoring trust and healing to our deeply wounded nation were slow to happen. Through their reading, students experience pioneer life, follow the adventures of a newly freed slave, and meet Samuel Francis Smith, author of “America.” While copying this favorite patriotic song, they explore its themes, imagery, and rhyme patterns. Investigation of the Presidents continues, and research and mapping of the Southwest and Pacific Coast regions complete this year’s state study. Because of a newly realized need for standardized time, and the unusual features of the west, students are introduced to things like climate and time zones, continental plates, earthquakes, volcanoes, and crystals. Regional cooking, along with period songs, games and activities once again work together to unify the various topics of this action-packed time in our history.

Unit 5 Unity Restored

In addition to the core resources Unit 5 uses the following materials:

  • Unity Restored teacher manual
  • Unity Restored Student Notebook pages (available in printed or download formats)
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder, Young Pioneer
  • Janie’s Freedom
  • Samuel F. Smith
  • Good Ol’ Cowboy Stories


Sea to Shining Sea Summary

Sea to Shining Sea focuses largely on revisiting the previous five units with reviews of the Steps for Thinking, Spelling, Vocabulary, Editing, History, Science, and States sections. Unit literature plunges us into the midst of the Klondike Gold Rush, and introduces students to our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt. Along with exploring the history of political parties in the United States, they are once again challenged to discuss themes, identify rhyme patterns, and illustrate imagery in verses copied from “America the Beautiful.” Plus, as a culminating activity, students research, design, and create their own home-state projects. This, along with the fun of cooking, painting, period songs, and projects completes the year-long study in Paths of Settlement!

Unit 6 Sea to Shining Sea

  • Sea to Shining Sea teacher manual
  • Sea to Shining Sea Student Notebook pages (available in printed or download formats)
  • The Klondike Gold Rush (Munford Adventure)
  • Theodore Roosevelt


Check out our convenient Paths of Settlement 2nd Edition Packages for significant savings. (Save both your time and money!).


"If you think POE is great, just wait until you get to POS... even better!"

—J. Rugh, from the Trail Guide to Learning Facebook Page

Publisher: Geography Matters
Edition: Second Edition, 2017
Format: Various

What is Dr. Ruth Beechick's philosophy?

Developing thinking skills are paramount; that learning different subjects (science, history, geography, etc.) is done best in a unified and focused manner; that stories are great teaching tools; and that language skills need to be learned in the context of content, not as isolated subjects. The first 3 levels of the Trail Guide to Learning Series focus on American History. Building a preliminary sense of identity with our past as a nation is important and enjoyable to students of this age group, as well as in keeping with their developing thinking skills.

For what grade levels was this curriculum written?

Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth

Can you adapt this program for older students if so, how?

You can use the Enrichment activities included in the sourcebook to make it appropriate for a seventh grader. In addition to that take them to the library and get whatever books you can find, or use the internet to find as much as they can on the unit topic (Revolutionary War, Civil War, etc) and as they read their resources, have them compare (tell what is the same as our resources) and contrast (tell what is different from our resources). This is a good critical thinking idea. Another quicker and easier way to do this is to find videos on each topic that you think are appropriate and then compare/contrast them with what our resources have to say about these folks. Encourage your older students to share the information they find out with you. This is a good thinking/presenting skill, as well as a way to develop summarizing ability.

A Middle School Supplement is also available to provide guidance for older students. Content follows along with the sourcebook but at a higher, more challenging level. Including higher level literature books, writing assignments, activities, and thinking skill points. Connect all your students to the same time period, and type of learning with the Trail Guide to Learning series Middle School Supplement. Available in digital format.

How many levels are used to teach American history?

We teach American History using a three year program. Here is a summary of the three Paths.

Paths of Exploration — (Grades 3-5) The character and experiences of explorers who shaped us as a nation with their vision, determination, bravery and sacrifice. They blazed a trail for others to follow. The focus here is on the type of thinking, leadership and skills that were needed to open up the way for others to follow. Primary science focus involves acquiring the basic skills of observation and recording (both drawing and writing), beginning life science through studying the animals and plant life of explored areas, including habitats and the relationship of these factors to the explorers. Some key figures studied: Columbus, the Jamestown settlers, the Pilgrims, Daniel Boone and Lewis and Clark.

Paths of Settlement — (Grades 4- 6) The settling of our nation is examined through the lives of leaders who made a difference by standing for their beliefs and making a way for us as a nation to follow and grow. Key events studied - the Colonial Period, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War and Westward Expansion. What does it take to build a nation? Blazing a trail was the first step, building a foundation for growth and government is next. Primary science focus - Earth Science (geology, weather, land forms, climate) and the impact of these factors on settlement. Basic economics and international relationships are also addressed. Some key figures studied include George Washington, Paul Revere, Abigail Adams, Francis Scott Key, Clara Barton, Robert E. Lee, and Abraham Lincoln.

Paths of Progress — (Grades 5-7) To grow as a country, another group of leaders had to step forward during our history - scientists and inventors. They used their talents and abilities to answer questions that provided better ways of living and working. The lives of these devoted individuals and their contributions will be examined throughout our history, into the Industrial Revolution and the beginning of the 20th century. Primary science focus — physical science (such as energy, motion, atoms and molecules) and the geographic and economic impact of each development. Some key figures studied: Ben Franklin, Samuel Morse, George Washington Carver, the Wright Brothers, and Thomas Edison.

Why do you start with American history?

Children learn best by starting with the familiar. Studying American history first lays the firm foundation of your family's beliefs and shows what a good leader, government, and citizen look like. It also gives your children needed time to build thinking skills. When students are older they are better able to understand the events of world history, and more importantly, the causes and results of those events. With greater maturity in place, students are then ready to compare ancient times and events to our history and lives, learning the powerful lessons that can come from such a study.

What are the resources necessary to complete the Paths of Settlement? Are they included, or do they need to be purchased separately?

Students will need the readers, read-aloud books, and a number of other reference materials and activity books. Every item is available separately and also packaged in discounted sets. 

Settlement Complete Package includes the 6 curriculum teacher manuals, all resources listed and digital download of student pages.

Student Notebook Pages. Printed ready-to-use student pages are available by grade and by unit. Buy 5 and get the 6th free when you order all 6 units together.

Core Resources - these are used throughout the year

  • Weather of North America
  • Explorer's Guide to Rocks and Minerals
  • Wee Sing CD/Book
  • U.S. History Atlas
  • Desk Atlas of the United States
  • Eat Your Way Through the USA
  • Profiles from History: Volume 2
  • Watercolor for New Artists
  • Rock Study Kit
  • U.S. Presidents Flash Cards
  • U.S. PlaceMap
  • Large Outline Map of the U.S.
  • Mark-It Timeline of History
  • USA Activity CD
  • State Notebook with Stickers
  • Discovering America’s Founders Drive Thru History DVD 

    Unit 1 Resources

    • Growing Pains teacher manual
    • Growing Pains Student Notebook pages
    • Abigail Adams
    • Ambush in the Wilderness
    • Abigail Adams
    • The Courage of Sarah Noble
    • The Matchlock Gun

    Unit 2 Resources

    • Freedom Decided teacher manual
    • Freedom Decided Student Notebook pages
    • The American Revolution (Munford Adventure)
    • Guns for General Washington
    • George Washington
    • The Eve of Revolution

    Unit 3 Resources

    • Nation Building teacher manual
    • Nation Building Student Notebook pages
    • The Cabin Faced West
    • Justin Morgan Had a Horse
    • Francis Scott Key
    • The Eve of Revolution

    Unit 4 Resources

    • House Divided teacher manual
    • House Divided Student Notebook pages
    • Robert E. Lee
    • Abraham Lincoln
    • Clara Barton
    • Yankee Blue or Rebel Gray?

    Unit 5 Resources

    • Unity Restored teacher manual
    • Unity Restored Student Notebook pages
    • Laura Ingalls Wilder, Young Pioneer
    • Janie’s Freedom
    • Samuel F. Smith
    • Good Ol’ Cowboy Stories

    Unit 6 Resources

    • Sea to Shining Sea teacher manual
    • Sea to Shining Sea Student Notebook pages
    • The Klondike Gold Rush (Munford Adventure)
    • Theodore Roosevelt

      There are 6 Units in Settlement.  How long does it take to do each unit?

      The Second year of the Trail Guide to Learning series, Paths of Settlement, contains 36 lessons (each designed to take 5 days to complete) in 6 units, as follows:

      Growing Pains — 6 weeks
      Freedom Decided — 6 weeks
      Nation Building — 6 weeks
      House Divided — 6 weeks
      Unity Restored — 6 weeks
      Sea to Shining Sea — 6 weeks

      Is your scope and sequence based from typical state standards? What was the criteria for the inclusion or exclusion of material?

      Yes, the criteria by which content and concepts were chosen is the typical course of study for the grades included. They were also chosen by the author's experience as an educator (for 30 years) and our experience as homeschooling parents with now grown homeschooling graduates. Since our base is the philosophy of Dr. Beechick, this also influenced our choices as to what was taught and the order in which skills were introduced.

      Is there testing over the material? How and why?

      With the tutorial, interactive approach used in TGLS, and the Student Notebook work, the parent has ample opportunity to "keep her finger on the pulse" of what is being learned and retained. This fact would/should render formal testing somewhat redundant. However, in reality it's often reassuring to have an assessment that can be scored and added to a child's portfolio to "document" that such and such was covered and learned.

      These assessments are available on a separate CD since they are not used by everyone. The assessments are formatted for each of the levels in the book, and are designed to be administered at the end of each unit. Also, additional copies of various Student Notebook pages can be made, if desired, to recheck comprehension.

      Just FYI, the last week of each unit contains a good bit of review, and each week of the last unit (Sea to Shining Sea) focuses on review of one of the previous 5. For instance, Lesson 1 of Sea to Shining Sea contains review of Growing Pains.

      Is there mention of other world events going on during the study of each unit?

      World events are incorporated only on the occasion when something is mentioned in the real books that would warrant further examination.

      Will this curriculum continue beyond 8th grade?

      Yes. We will be adding to the series each year. After the three years of American History in the Paths...there will also be three levels of World History in Journeys. It begins with Ancient History and starts with grades 6, 7, and 8. These levels are also multi-age for the convenience of homeschool families.

      A second year of Journeys is expected to be available by 2020. In addition plans are in the works for High School which will center around Modern American History, Modern World History, and Government and Economics.

      Does Paths of Settlement use Timelines?

      Timeline activities are part of the Profiles from History Volume 2 resource book.

      Are the readers, the notebooks, and this curriculum written with Christian values throughout?

      Our books and resources are definitely Christian-friendly.

      Is the Light for the Trail specific to one denomination? Did you write it? How is it incorporated?

      We wrote Light for the Trail in such a way as to be friendly to all denominations. Actual instruction on application of scripture remains firmly in the hands of the parent.

      Light for the Trail integrates into the program as an extension of Beechick principles. Although it incorporates verses that focus attention on a specific character trait for each unit such as Perseverance or Faith, and students are asked to draw relationships to what they are studying—its primary focus is committing scripture to memory, and using it to change heart attitudes (both very dear to Dr. Beechick's heart). It is based on 4 days of examination and memorization of a verse, with the 5th day (or part) set aside for review and possibly completion of activities. It is not a commentary or a "fill in the blank," but rather a guide for meaningful discussion and an opportunity for children to write down their personal thoughts and insights. Parents are given occasions to share their own experiences that relate to the study—to tell their stories—because those are the things that bring spiritual truths to life. In addition to the weekly memory verse, there are two longer memory projects per unit.

      Can living books of the parents choice be incorporated without overloading the child?

      Absolutely. If the books are recreational they can be incorporated into Independent Reading time (if the child is interested and they're consistent with his reading level) or used as bedtime (or other time) read-aloud. If they're academic they can be incorporated into research (students are often directed to find out more about topics at the library or on the Internet.) Every family has its own style and preferences, and TGLS recognizes and tries to accommodate that fact.

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