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Notgrass History – An Inspiring Elementary American History Curriculum

Let me share with you how I came to even consider Notgrass History and Our Star-Spangled Story, an elementary American history curriculum by Notgrass History. In the summer of 2022, a sweet friend of mine and I went to a homeschool convention together.

Notgrass History

Friends, my mind was BLOWN.

We sat in presentations from Pam Barnhill, Andrew Pudewa, and, my personal favorite, Sarah Mackenzie. I left insanely inspired.

Which was a fun surprise – considering when she asked me to go with her, I had sole intentions of hanging by the hotel pool and relying on notes she took when we’d meet for dinner.

My Great Homeschool Convention Sessions 2023

I’m a mama to four – I thought I’d snag the opportunities presented!

But, thank goodness I didn’t.

Because, per the incredible speakers’ presentations, this has been our most fruitful year yet.

We’ve been homeschooling just over 6 years. Once I no longer harbored the all-too-common paralysis of wondering if I’d actually teach these four miracles entrusted me a single thing, I’d always fancied myself an eclectic homeschooler; clinging to my goal of keeping them curious and engaged in ways personalized to them.

Not to say I’ve abandoned those philosophies. But as the summer drew to a close and our first day of 7th, 4th, and 1st grades approached, I was a well-researched, uber-prepared hip homeschool mama – all our proverbial ducks were in a row!

I was set on subjects.

I was pleased with the ratio of bookwork to creative “work.”

And then I was given the Notgrass History curriculum, Our Star-Spangled Story, for our 4th grader.

Elementary American History Curriculum by Notgrass History

Notgrass History – Designed for Connection

As I got ready to dive in, the two ideologies sticking out to me most about the Notgrass History company were how they valued the connection between parent and child first and foremost, stating it was “…designed to connect with your child in a meaningful way,” and how, “we believe you are in charge of your child’s education.

From the standpoint of behavior is communication, I’ve taken a deep dive into neuroscience lately. It’s been proven time and time again that children’s brains are not primed for learning without first experiencing meaningful connections. When there is a genuine connection during schoolwork, children’s brains release dopamine, which acts as a motivator, encouraging more time and attention spent.

Basically, at Notgrass History, they’re making the juice worth the squeeze.

Not only was it written so thoughtfully, I was able to ask our 10-year-old to start reading her lesson while I prepped her brothers’ work, but it also inspired verbal collaboration when she completed end-of-lesson activities, like building Noah’s Ark from LEGOs or making one of George Washington’s favorite breakfasts, cornmeal pancakes!

Being one of our four children, she was elated to get that little bit of extra one-on-one time with me.

While the content itself was making me swoon, Our Star-Spangled Story wholeheartedly believes we are in charge. Us! I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely come across curricula that intimidated me – could you imagine trying to pass that on to a child with a still-developing brain?

Hard pass!

When we’re able to have more influence as to how we present a curriculum to best meet the needs of our babies, the brain works best for optimal retention. Generally speaking, it’s when we’re using a curriculum that isn’t quite the right fit that it can go a little bananas.

When the still-maturing brain of the child perceives some sort of threat, the amygdala sets off a code red, shutting down logical thinking, and making learning a near-impossibility.

Elementary American History Curriculum by Notgrass History

But, not here!

The learning and harmonious planning of lessons in a history curriculum with a beautiful balance of work to creativity made for deeply enjoyable school days.

Homeschooling these incredible people allows us to honor where each of our children is, compared to none. This philosophy is as important to Notgrass History as it is to us. 

Elementary American History Curriculum by Notgrass History

Benefits of Notgrass American History Our Star-Spangled Story

I didn’t fall in love with history until the past few years.

It was something never really popping up on my radar.

Until recently, following along the behavior is communication standpoint, I wanted to more deeply understand the personal belief I’ve held that “everyone is the way they are for a reason.”

This is exactly what history dictates.

Notgrass History explains, “American history is about people.” It’s not to be liked or disliked, but teaching for future generations; it’s a study of “problems overcame, victories celebrated, people to help, & faith to share.”

As Maya Angelou noted, “…when you know better, do better.”

I adored the insightful conversations we’d have about the lives of native people, Vikings, explorers, pioneers, and many more. Combining the lesson reading with the activities reached our girl in a deeper way – it made these various groups real to her. She said she felt like she had stepped into history.

But, for 15 minutes.

Did I mention one of the biggest benefits of this American history curriculum?

There are 90 lessons, divided into 30 units, and they only take 10-15 minutes to read through – additional time is taken at personal discretion.

This time spent with our sweet girl allotted in interesting content, deeper connection for the two of us, and her feeling like she was stepping into other points in time, all centered around bringing glory to God.

I’m not sure how it gets better than that!

Elementary American History Curriculum by Notgrass History

Why I love Notgrass History and Our Star-Spangled Story

I love this most because it’s faith-based.

A sort of family motto to which we cling is, “it’s our job to get you to heaven, not Harvard.”

I made that up myself. Tell the others.

There will, most likely, be gaps. No matter the method of schooling.

But if I can continue to point our 4th grader to Jesus, while learning history, while connecting more deeply, while (hopefully) spurring her on toward a greater love of learning – I think I’ll just evict the concern about possible gaps from my noggin; they don’t get to live there rent-free!

And that’s not what Notgrass History wants for us; they want the neural networks strengthened through curiosity to be found in an engaging history curriculum and child-/family- led.

They delivered.


Those same neural networks strengthened by curiosity are at varying degrees of development regarding abstract thought at the ages for which this curriculum is designed, 1st-4th graders. But because it brilliantly turns on a dopamine faucet, creative thinking is enabled, and the end-of-chapter activities are more easily seen through to completion.

This is an inspiring elementary American history curriculum! Suffice it to say our previous history curriculum was demoted to the garage storage totes.

11/10 stars. Totally recommend!

And now I can’t wait to try the other Notgrass History products!

Notgrass History Curriculum for All Ages

If you’re curious about Notgrass History, too…

From the beginning, trying this curriculum has been supremely enjoyable. It truly has inspired a deeper connection to the material we are studying and helps my children make connections with the content. So if you’re like us and want to see what else they offer, check them out here!

You can read our other Notgrass History reviews from other homeschooling parents.

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