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Stories of America:
European Settlement

Angel Selden will share her passion for U.S. history through firsthand accounts (and scholarly analysis of those accounts), classic literature, sound historical fiction, and founding documents. Our study of the settlement of the Americas and founding of The United States begins with the stories of the people who lived here before Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492.  Our first meeting we will discuss Peacemaker, by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki scholar and writer)--a historical novel about how peace was achieved between the five warring tribes of the Iroquois, told from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy. We will supplement this novel with select chapters of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, by Charles Mann. We finish this year's course of study with the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Magna Carta. Angel will present the syllabus of works we will study at the open house.

Angel's goal is to engage the youth with these stories and present as many firsthand accounts and reading of original documents as possible so the youth can empathize, see nuance, discuss these accounts with their parents and begin to develop their own framework of understanding the roots of U.S. history and culture. Angel will help them make connections between the literature, ideologies and events. Discussions will also span language arts, art, music, politics, economics, science, psychology and sociology, human nature and the scholar's own role in society and the history of the world.

There will be several options for challenge level most weeks--whether you choose to study at the level of a high school AP (Advanced Placement) U.S. History course, or at a more basic level. Angel is able to converse with each youth in a way that is stimulating and engaging at all levels of involvement; students learn from each other as well as the facilitator. Recommended for ages 13-17, though some 12-year-olds may thrive here, as well. We may read up to 100 pages some weeks (but only read a document, listen to music or look at art other weeks); but you may also begin reading during the summer months to diffuse the load. You are also welcome to opt out of pieces that aren't a good fit for your youth. Youth will also be expected to share thoughts or questions in the Zoom discussions. Feel free to email Angel at to see if it's a good fit for your youth.

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