California Out of the Box Curriculum

“There is a big hole for a cohesive California history curriculum, so I am delighted to share with you more about this holistic approach with a strong literature component.”

Read more of this review at The Contemporary Homeschooler Blog

Spring 2024: Revised curriculum coming soon!

California Out of the Box coming soon!

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“We are just finishing up the California History Out of the Box curriculum.  I have to say it’s one of the best types of curriculum we’ve experienced.  I love the historical fiction books you chose.  And most importantly I admire how the curriculum is from the point of view of the people who lived here first.  It reminded me of the book A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn.”

Ann MArie S., Homeschool Mom

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For More Information

  • Curriculum FAQs (link to blog post)
  • Sample pages
  • Content and Common Core Standards Alignment


“This interdisciplinary approach based on historical fiction promises to be a more interesting option than a traditional textbook.”

“California Out of the Box: An Interdisciplinary History Curriculum takes a unit study approach to the study of California history, incorporating geography, science, language arts, and critical thinking. While the curriculum covers the California State Standards for fourth grade (up through the 1930s) it can be used with grades three through six.

A parent or teacher will present the course from this 301-page book along with eight additional required books. Stories from Where We Live: California Coast and the National Audubon Society Field Guide to California are both used throughout the study. The other six books used in each of the course’s six units are Island of the Blue Dolphins, Valley of the Moon: The Diary of Maria Rosalia de Milagros, A Gift for Abuelita, By the Great Horn Spoon!, The Earth Dragon Awakes, and Esperanza Rising.

The historical fiction books serve as the anchors for the study, providing students with context for learning aspects of California history. Like many unit studies, California Out of the Box offers opportunities for lots of hands-on activities, including choices to suit different types of learners.”

Read more of this review by Cathy Duffy – Cathy Duffy Reviews

This book is a terrific curriculum for home school families. It is also a rich resource for teachers in public school.

“California Out of the Box is an excellent interdisciplinary history curriculum created by Christine Echeverri. Designed for children in grades three through six, the material covers the time from California’s prehistory to the 1930’s. Echeverri uses an interesting approach to the study of California history in that she pairs pieces of historical fiction along with discussing factual aspects of the story of California, not only its history but also information about habitat, ethnic make up, geography and science…

…The material is organized into five sections, meant to be taught over a period of thirty-six weeks. The curriculum is well-organized and easy to use.”

 Read more of this review from Deborah Prum, Author of Rats, Bulls and Flying Machines

What do all parents want for their child’s education? It’s the same thing: engaging material to inspire curiosity while children develop skills that will serve them well in life. Christine Echeverri has created a wonderful curriculum, “California – Outside the Box” that truly meets this desire.

“While she calls her work a History Curriculum, in reality it is so much more and that is where the strength of this work lies. Her presentation of material is chronological, which I appreciate, yet each unit is like a panoramic view of an era rather than a the telescopic view of textbooks that seem to march to an inevitable end – the present. Echeverri uses high interest historical fiction to bring each era alive and incorporates science, geography, poetry, technology and culture as well, thus creating a more holistic understanding of an era. As a classroom teacher, I find reading historical fiction aloud a great way to begin a lesson by igniting interest and empathy and Echeverri creates a great pacing guide for each of her units. She is sensitive to the variety of peoples who had a hand in populating California and the literature she selects provides for a greater understanding of who is a Californian, and how are we Californians?

The variety in each unit will definitely keep students engaged. I love that she’ll take one unit to a geological level and habitat studies and another unit has a lesson on “US Citizenship: How to Apply”. What a wonderful lesson on the steps modern immigrants take while studying the Great Depression through the lens of the book Esperanza Rising.”

Read more of this review from J.Frazee.