Sea to Shining Sea Book List and Lesson Plans

Are any of you using Sea to Shining Sea by Catholic Textbook Project this year? If you have a middle schooler studying American history this year, you should really consider it. It’s been one of our favorite history texts. Sea to Shining Sea is written in an engaging story-like style and has wonderful color pictures and maps.

Here are samples of the text and samples of the workbook.

For your convenience, I have lesson plans and booklists for each of the chapters. Historical novels make history come alive and give students an appreciation for the time period they are studying.

The lesson plans incorporate supplemental resources such as time line figures, map work, and other fun activities such as Mission U.S.

Because we use the supplemental resources and read historical novels, we usually take two years to go through the text.

Here is Part I of the American History Lesson Plans.

Here is Part II of the American History Lesson Plans.

Last year my son completed the whole text in one year for 7th grade. We skipped all the supplemental stuff except for the map work. Instead, we focused on note taking and studying for each of the chapter tests (available in the teacher’s manual).

Here are Lesson Plans for Sea to Shining Sea in One Year.

Did you know we have lots of lesson plans available to you for free? Check them out under the Lesson Plans tab at the top of the Home Page.

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12 thoughts on “Sea to Shining Sea Book List and Lesson Plans

  1. This is so helpful, Thank you! I’d started with another curriculum for my 4th grader, but was considering this one when I also discovered your amazing resources. In your lesson plans, what does CC# stand for? (p.s. I just received your 20 Saints Reading Comprehension Workbook from Amazon and I am so thrilled to be using that for a reading comprehension component!)


    1. HI Michelle!
      CC# stands for Chapter Check Up. At the end of each chapter in the text there is a review called “Chapter Check up”. Instead of having my kids answer all the questions at once at the end of the chapter (which can be overwhelming), I had them answer the questions as the topic came up in each section. FYI – Sea to Shining Sea is recommended for 5-8th grade, and I know many parochial/private schools use it for 8th grade. So it might be a little challenging if your child is in 4th grade unless he/she is an advanced reader. Thanks for getting the 20 Saints Workbook! I hope you enjoy it!


      1. Thank you for the follow-up! That is a great idea – and I know mine find a huge list of questions overwhelming, so that will be very useful.


  2. Your resources are amazing and so we’ll planned. Thank you for all that you do! I have a question regarding From Sea to Shining Sea versus the Story of Civilization 4. Which do you prefer? I can’t seem to choose if Catholic Textbook Project is the way to go or Story of Civilization. We don’t utilize the audio dramas, just the books. Positives and negatives?


    1. Hi Stephanie!
      We have not used Story of Civilization 4, so I can’t tell you which we prefer. I really appreciate how SOC is written like a story, and for children who benefit from the audio, it’s definitely the way to go… at least for a few years. One drawback to SOC is that their test books and activity books mostly encourage narration/ regurgitation of the material, which is appropriate for the grammatical stage (Gr. 2-5). But kids in dialectical stage (Gr. 6-9) need to start thinking critically and analytically.

      I think that the questions in a text are just as important as the information, because the questions will guide our students’ thinking, and the right questions will help our students to think analytically. Sea to Shining Sea does a better job, I think, of asking kids to think beyond what’s written on the page. The Sea to Shining Sea workbook is mostly regurgitation also, but at least there are some good thinking questions in the text. At the end of each chapter, there are “Chapter Activity” questions which invite the student to think more deeply about what they have read. This is lacking in the SOC series, at least in Vol. 1 and 2. (I haven’t used vol. 3 and 4, so I can’t say for sure).

      One American history text that does an excellent job of asking thought-provoking questions and questions that develop critical thinking skills is Our Pioneers and Patriots. This is what Mother of Divine Grace School recommends for fourth and fifth grade. But, it’s an older text without the beautiful color pictures and maps which make Sea to Shining Sea so attractive.

      So, I guess it really depends on what grades your children are in and what your goals are. Short answer: I’d recommend SOC for gr. 4-5, maybe 6. For Gr. 6 or 7-9, I’d go with Sea to Shining Sea and be sure to do that Chapter Activities at the end so your child is learning to think critically and beyond the page.

      Finally, for examples of questions in history that help develop analytical thought, check out this post:

      Hope this helps!


      1. Thank you so much for your response. You have given me much to think about. I was leaning toward From Sea to Shining Sea and this really helps me feel like I am going in the right direction. Again, thank you so much. Many blessings to you and your family!


  3. Using sea to shining sea this year for my 6th and 7th graders following your 1 year plan. I’ve gathered most of the literatures books. Wondering how you fit it in with all the reading the text, the book suggestions and a literature program (we are using Memoria press literature). Did you do any together or the student read all independent? Thanks 🙏🏼


  4. Hi,
    My kids have generally read the text independently and most of the historical novels on their own, too. They have usually read historical novels in the evenings or during free time. Some historical novels I would read out loud during lunch, which was great because then we could really talk about the book. Johnny Tremain makes an excellent read aloud. Don’t feel pressured to get your kids to read all the literature books. For many years, I have given them the list of history novels the summer before. Hope this helps!


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