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Paths of Settlement

by Debbie Strayer & Linda Fowler
Your Price: $160.00


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.

Home School Curriculum.

Paths of Settlement

Binding: Hardback
Page Count: 800
Publisher: Geography Matters
Grade Level: Elementary

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"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

"What I love about Paths of Exploration:

  • All of the lessons are planned out for me. I simply print out any worksheets or maps I need for the week, grab the curriculum and follow along.
  • Biblical worldview.
  • The curriculum covers History, Geography, Science, Grammar, Reading, Art, Nature Study, and Spelling.
  • All of my children are learning the same thing for all subjects {except math}.
  • The Unit Study approach ties all of the subjects together in a way that really furthers retention.
  • There are extras that you can add-on for even more learning {lapbooks, Bible supplement, Middle School Supplement}.
  • It is rooted in the education philosophies of Dr. Ruth Beechick.
  • POE marries nicely with Charlotte Mason.
  • Encourages engagement with dictation, discussion, and writing.
  • The kids love it. There have been no complaints about school with Paths of Exploration. They love the readings, enjoy the maps and activities, and clamor for the Nature Study. They even enjoy the copywork and dictation! And, they finally get regular art in each week.
  • The living books chosen as the base for this curriculum are wonderful. You even get to cook, using the cookbook, Eat Your Way Around the World, by Jamie Aramini.
  • I finally have a guide to incorporate Nature Study into our homeschool.
  • Geography Matters is a home-based company, located in Kentucky.
  • The cost-I am going to break this down into two options. If you have a wonderful library, you can get away with spending only $150.00 {which is for the textbooks and CD-ROM}. You can also buy the Paths of Exploration curriculum, and all of the books you will need for the year for $375.00. That is for all subjects except Math, for an entire year. For me, I am using that with 4 children this year, which is an amazing deal in my book.
  • Non-consumable! The student pages are printed from the included CD-ROM, so everything else is reusable year after year. {The price gets even better when you factor that in!}

What I don’t love- Truly, honestly, I don’t think there is anything I would change. If I did, I would tell you-trust me. This curriculum has been an answer to prayers! Since we began Paths of Exploration, our days have been better, the kids have loved the lessons, and mom finally feels peace about how everything is working together. Our homeschool feels like we are on the right path. {No pun intended!}" —Sam's Noggin Blog

"I am anxiously awaiting the release of the program. If and when you plan on taking preorders, please let me know. I have most of the books already and we are raring to go. My boys (yes, I do mean it) really want to start the program. We used the sample and by Friday, they were asking for it. Even the writing part. God's Blessings to you and all who worked so hard on this curriculum." —K. Phillips

"I very much enjoyed the historical fiction books. They helped in making the history more real and come alive for my kids. The Reader's Digest N. American Wildlife is a great quick resource. I enjoyed watching my kids draw pictures from it. The work for the kids was just about right. It wasn't too much or too little. My son is not crazy about drawing. But, I have to say, his drawing seemed to get better and better each time. My daughter liked the drawing and we all enjoyed reading the historical fiction stories. My son is pretty independent with his school work and by using Paths of Exploration, it allowed us the opportunity to come together with the reading time, discussion, etc. which is something I really enjoyed." —M. Lindsey

"Here's a fun story. One school day I couldn't find Surviving Jamestown on the bookshelf. When I asked the children to help me find it, my daughter ran to her room and retrieved the book. After apologizing, she said she wanted to know what happened in the next chapter and ended up reading the entire book! Now, how could I be upset with that? " —Reader

"When we received our resource books for the program, we were a bit intimidated by the thickness of some of the books. In fact, the kids said 'Whoa Mom, what have you gotten us into now!' It is amazing how I have found my son, more than once, reading the North American Wildlife Guide 'just for fun'. Thanks for the 'intimidation.'" —R. Nelson

"Dr. Beechick's principles are the basis for this curriculum. During its creation, I had the privilege of consulting with her. Teaching in a natural manner is important to her and we reflected her values by incorporating language skills and history as a unified part of the everyday routines. Thank you, Dr. Beechick." —Author, Debbie Strayer

"Oh my goodness yes it arrived!! We have already started this week and are really having fun with it. It's all I can do to keep the children from reading everything out of sequence. The only complaint I've had so far is the reading selections from day to day are just too short! They want more...didn't expect that with Columbus...thought I'd get it later with Squanto or Lewis & Clark for sure. Thank you for the quick service and for another wonderful curriculum selection! You have certainly blessed this family with your talent and insight." —Deanna

"We have enjoyed Paths of Exploration and are just finishing Lewis and Clark. We have enjoyed looking back at all the wonderful material completed. Their improvement in writing and drawing have really stood out. I have also liked the critical think elements such as "reflective thinking." We have used [curriculum X] in the past and love literature based material but this curriculum has really eased our load without compromise. In fact, since it is more user friendly I find we are completing more material. Thanks for having my kids and me in mind when you designed Paths of Exploration. We are already looking forward to Paths of Settlement." —Vicky

"I ordered Trail Guide to Learning this past Tuesday and received it a mere two days later! Wow! Kudos to your customer service department! I am so happy with the curriculum thus far. It is extremely well-laid out and very easy to implement. I have [curriculum X] I've tried to use [curriculum Y] and ended up selling them after a few weeks. You have brought together the best elements of all of those and then some and put it together in a way that makes sense and is easy to use. The Handbook of Nature Study has been sitting on my bookshelf for years but I could never really incorporate it into the curriculum we were using, but now, with Trail Guide, I can! I know people will want to tweak and add things, especially grammar, but I'm with Dr Beechick and plan to wait until high school for formal grammar instruction. I also love the teaching notes. They provide handholding without being scripted. They help me to understand what my children should be taking away from each lesson and provide opportunities for discussion. Your curriculum is an answer to my prayers. Thank you!" —Ann

"Paths of Exploration has restored my joy and confidence in our homeschooling. My children have not only enjoyed school more but they have grown tremendously in their ability to think through and communicate ideas with clarity and depth. We have many thrilling stories of triumph that started in struggles as my children were challenged beyond their natural abilities to discuss, to write, to draw or present their work. I am eternally grateful for how my own views of what learning really is have been transformed so that we can be free to love learning together." —Elyce

"I have been using Paths of Exploration this past school year and I am very happy with it. I am looking forward to Paths of Settlement. I am wondering if a list is available for the books that will be used so I can begin planning and preparing. Thanks so much for any information you might have and thank you for this wonderful, innovative curriculum!" —Amy

"My 11 y.o. is on the third year of this curriculum and it has been a great curriculum to use, with enough variety of activities to keep even this mom from getting bored :) while staying organized with the lessons written out…" —M. Martin

"I have to say after discovering Trail Guide to Learning ( we are in our 2nd year of it ), that I finally enjoy homeschooling. This has been our first curriculum that we all decided we wanted to do again. I had my children write about what they liked about their school year and my daughter wrote, 'I loved everything.' From a child who struggles, this was a huge blessing. Thank you all!!!" —K. Grass

"I am using Trail Guide to Learning: Paths of Exploration this year with my 11 year old and 8.5 year old. As you have probably realized, this was written by the same two women who wrote the LLATL series (Debbie Strayer and Linda Fowler).

I give this program my highest recommendation. This is by far one of our best years in homeschooling. I don't know how many children you have, or how old they are, but this curriculum has been the perfect fit for my family this year.

I love that all subjects, with the sole exception of math, are woven together—my kids are absorbing so much more and are enjoying their learning in the way that I've always hoped they would. Each week, we are reading together, drawing together, learning about geography, science, history together. My children are appreciating more of the reasons WHY people did the things they did:

  • what motivated Christopher Columbus to explore
  • why didn't Columbus sail directly west into the Atlantic Ocean?
  • what about John Smith's life prepared him to become a leader in Jamestown?
  • what were the reasons the Pilgrims felt lead to leave their comfortable homes in England to seek a new land in which to live?

Although there is consistency in some skill areas from day to day, there is also a tremendous variety in what we are doing—this keeps it fresh for the kids.

The student notebook at first glance appears dull—black and white pages that I print out and put into a binder for the kids. However, as they are adding their writing and drawings, completing maps, etc. in the notebooks, they become a wonderful body of work that they already are enjoying going back and reviewing.

I have used various different curricula over the past number of years with varying levels of success. I can honestly say that for me, at this point in our family/homeschooling life, this is the best fit." —Liz

"Paths of Settlement arrived yesterday, and I wanted to tell you how excited we are to begin school soon!  I also wanted to thank you for putting all of the teacher's resources on the cd-rom with the student resources.  That is such a huge help, and I wanted to tell you that I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and attentiveness in helping to make homeschooling flow even more smoothly for us Moms.  This homeschool curriculum has been such an answer to prayer for us, and such a rich blessing in so many ways. My kiddos I'm homeschooling are in 4th and 6th grades this year, so we are so grateful we found POE last year and are growing with this curriculum series." —J. Garrido

"In the spring, while learning about Daniel Boone, my father was cutting hay and noticed a bee swarm…(he personally in 40 years of farming had never seen one) he called us to come see it b/c he had heard my children talking about bees and Daniel Boone one day.  I can tell you that we would not have normally cared one bit about a bee swarm…until POE.  Not to mention our trip to Jamestown…we live in Virginia and have passes to Williamsburg/Jamestown and we have never experienced Jamestown with so much excitement and knowledge until POE as well!  I appreciate this forum, the writers, and users of TGTL, thanks again for answering my question and putting together an awesome adventure in homeschooling." —D. Amiss, posting in the Trail Guide to Learning Series Yahoo Group

"I am so excited about this new curriculum I am using I just have to share! It is called Trail Guide to Learning and it is produced by the Geography Matters people. It is based on Ruth Beechick's methods. I am just loving it. We just finished the first 6 weeks—which completes the first unit. It was such a sense of accomplishment to finish the unit and then do the included assessment on my kids. They really retained the materials! It has everything included except math. The lessons are short and easily geared to lower level students. It's so simple, I feel like I am short-changing them, until I did the assessments and found out how much they learned. There are lapbooking activities for my 2nd grader and much harder writing assignments for my 5th grader. We do everything together, so I don't have to prepare two totally different lesson plans. I really love the books that we are reading. I just love this curriculum! … I am doing the Paths of Settlement. If you are looking for something, check this one out!" —G. Moss

For more feedback about this series, read our Trail Guide user profiles from our monthly newsletter


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 level 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. Below is a list of books in three packages. We also have The Complete Package which includes the curriculum and all three packages which will comprise all of the required books.

1.)The Core - these are used throughout the year in both volumes
DK Pocket Weather
DK Pocket Rocks and Minerals
Klutz Watercolor Book
Wee Sing CD/Book
U.S. History Atlas
Children's Illustrated US Atlas
Eat Your Way Through the USA
Profiles from History: Volume 2
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

2.)Volume 1 - Used only within the three units of Volume 1
Courage of Sarah Noble
Matchlock Gun
Ambush in the Wilderness
Abigail Adams
The American Revolution
Guns for General Washington
George Washington
The Cabin Faced West
Justin Morgan Had a Horse
Francis Scott Key
The Eve of Revolution
Drive Through History, America

3.) Volume 2 - Used only within the three units of Volume 2
Robert E. Lee
Abraham Lincoln
Clara Barton
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Young Pioneer
Janie's Freedom
Samuel F. Smith
The Klondike Gold Rush
Theodore Roosevelt
Yankee Blue or Rebel Grey
Good Ol' Cowboy Stories

There are 2 Volumes with 3 units in each volume. How long does it take to do both volumes?

The Second year of the Trail Guide to Learning series is called Paths of Settlement, and 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. It will begin with Ancient History and start with grades 6, 7, and 8. These levels will also be multi-age for the convenience of homeschool families.

In addition plans are already 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.

View all books by Debbie Strayer & Linda Fowler