curriculum reviews, history, homeschooling

White House Holidays Unit Studies Review

White House Holidays Unit Studies from Silverdale Press LLC are a great way to keep learning happening while taking a break from regular history studies.  We started this unit study as our school year was coming to a close.  It was just what we needed to transition to our “summer break”.   Little do the kids know that we are still continuing doing “school” but in a much more active and creative way.

White House Holidays Unit Studies is a digital product to download.  This came to me  in individual studies and downloaded very quickly.  These individual units made it easy to find the study we were working on without going through the whole file.  I printed some for quick reference, but used most of the information right from my computer screen.  The kids followed along as I read.  Each study has reading and suggested activities for Kindergarten through sixth grade and one for 7th through 12th.  We used the one for younger children.

The first study we completed was the one about Labor Day.  It had 3 lessons.  I read it to David (12) and Evie (7).  They really had no idea what Labor Day was other than school started immediately after that day.  The information seamed to be a little over Evie’s head, but she did get it.  We worked through all of the lessons and had a lot of great discussion.  David and I just finished learning about the Civil War.  One of the things we read about was about how children of all ages worked in mills and factories.  We learned about how dangerous these conditions were and how wages and hours were not regulated like they are today.  He was able to apply what he was learning in this study back to what we had just learned.  It was one of those great light bulb moments that you love to see when your children get it!!

We read about labor conditions, formation of labor unions and looked at some photographs from that time period.  We learned about Eleanor Roosevelt, the controversy about who really should be credited with beginning the Labor Day holiday.

Valentine’s Day was the next study that we did.  This one was 5 lessons had some fun hands on activities.  We read love letters that John Adams and his wife Abigail had written to each other.  David and I enjoyed this because we had read a biography about John Adams not that long ago.  We had a little more background information about the times those letters were written.  Mr and Mrs Adams were separated for long periods of time and it was neat to see what they wrote to each other.  They expressed their love, but also discussed politics and everyday issues for them like small pox and the new vaccine that was just starting to be used.

We made love letters on old paper.  That was one of the suggested activities.  Well I made an old love letter, Evie made an old treasure map.  We tried to follow the suggestions.  The good thing is she did understand the lesson.

John Adams was just the first lesson.  The other lessons covered Ronald and Nancy Reagan, John and Julia Tyler, Grover and Francis Cleveland, Jacqueline Kennedy’s television tour of the White House.

The other holidays in the study are Christmas, Martin Luther King Jr, Thanksgiving and Veteran’s Day.  We really enjoyed these unit studies and will be pulling them out again as we get closer to each holiday.  It was nice to learn about how these holidays came to be and how presidents were involved in them. They will become more relevant as we do them again closer to that holiday and as my little ones get older.

You can find Silverdale Press LLC on these social media sites:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/SilverdalePress/   Tag: @SilverdalePress
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Many other families on The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review White House Holidays Unit Studies.  Click on the banner below to see how they used it and what they thought about it. Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers was available to families with older children.  Those reviews are here also.  Please take a few minutes to learn about that one too.

Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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crafting, history, homeschooling

Heroes of History: Abraham Lincoln Review

YWAM Publishing offered us several choices from their Heroes of History series of books and we chose to review Heroes of History- Abraham Lincoln.  YWAM Publishing also sent us a Study Guide to go along with our book.

My son David and I are finishing up his second year of American History.  We have taken the last few months to learn about the Civil War and are at the tail end of our study.  This book about Abraham Lincoln was a perfect book to take a closer look at the man who was president during this time.

The book begins when Abe was a young boy.  It was interesting to learn about Mr. Lincoln’s very humble beginnings and all the hardships in his life.  He was very hard working and determined to learn.  There were very few opportunities for Abe to have formal schooling but he constantly sought out ways to be educated.

His family moved west when he was young, he helped his father build their family’s home.  Sadly, Abe’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln died from “milk sickness” in 1818.  This was an interesting bunny trail that we followed.  We learned that when cows ate white snakeroot they would pass this poison through their milk before they showed any signs of being sick.  People would drink the milk, then the cow would get the “trembles”.  When this happened people knew it was just a matter of time before those who drank the milk would die.  We learned that it wasn’t until 1928 that the white snakeroot plant was discovered to be what caused the mysterious trembles.

This was a sad time in the Lincoln house.  Thomas (Abe’s father), Sarah (Abe’s sister) and Abe mourned the loss of Mrs Lincoln.  Fourteen months after her death Thomas declared he was going back to Kentucky to get a wife.  He returned with his new wife Sally Johnston and her three children.  Abe was not sure how this new arrangement would work out, but Sally was a wonderful step mother and the children quickly all became like siblings.

The story then follows Abe through a series of jobs.  He chops wood for steam boats, ferries people to missed steam boats, he helped build a flat bottom boat and delivered a shipment of sweet potatoes and corn to New Orleans.  With each job he learns more, collects more books and observes more people.  He works in general stores, a post office and eventually has an interest in law.  He works very hard and becomes a lawyer.

This book has so many details about Abraham Lincoln’s life.  It is written in a conversational tone that is great for read alouds.  Many ages can come away learning so many interesting things.  The study guide is a great addition to this book.  There is a map of the United States and a map of Illinois.  This was great to see where things in the story were taking place.  There is also a timeline.  We love using timelines to get an ideas of the order of all these events.  We like to compare them with things we’ve learned in the past.

The study guide also contains many great activities to do as you read through the book.  There are questions for the end of each chapter, the answers in included at the end.  There are vocabulary words to define, writing prompts to use and suggested reading and movies.  Crafts, field trips and a culminating event are also suggested.

David and I used the end of the chapter questions and the writing prompts.  He is also planning a culminating event.  He wants to have a dinner showcasing food from that time period.  He is also hoping to watch one of the documentaries listed in the guide.

I can honestly say I love all the Heroes of History books that we have read!  We have also read one Christian Heroes books too. I’m seriously considering using the Christian Heroes books for a study about missionaries next year.

Here are the ones we have read and reviewed in the past:

You can find YWAM Publishing on these social media sites:

Christian Heroes, Heroes of History & Study Guides {YWAM Publishing Reviews}

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curriculum reviews, history, homeschooling

Home School In the Woods: A La Carte File Folder Game Review

We have been making history fun with hands-on   Á La Carte products from Home School in the Woods.  We chose to review The War Across Five Aprils File Folder Game  (4.95 digital download). This went right along with the time period we are studying. David (6th grade) and I have taken and in depth and leisurely stroll through American History.

We are about the finish the Civil War period and move forward.  I’m a little sad because there is so much more to learn.  Living just south of the Virginia Beach, Virginia area we are in such a rich historic location.  We have Roanoke Island and Jamestown.  We are not too far from Williamsburg. We also have Richmond and many other notable Civil Wars locations.  I know we will never get to every detail, but I hope I am  instilling a love of learning and a curiosity in my kids that will take them on many journeys throughout their lifetime.

I can tell you that I love Home School in the Woods!!!!  I use it to supplement EVERY history time period we work on.  I love that you can purchase items  Á La Carte now.

We knew from playing other Home School in the Woods games, that they super challenging.  I took the time to read the directions and suggestions thoroughly this time and learned a few helpful tips.

  • One: two different levels of play are given
  • Two: it is suggested that you take a shorter stack of question cards and go over them before playing the game.

Although the second suggestion is rather obvious I would have never thought of it on my own.  David and I worked through just a fraction of the cards and learned the answers.  We thought we remembered from our studies, but some we didn’t.

Armed with some confidence we started the game.  The play was pretty basic, but we quickly saw the strategy involved and became quite competitive.  He gets that from me, so it was a pretty intense game!  In the easier game play if you answer a question correctly you can move a cap or caps a total of 3 spaces.  You win by getting six of your caps into enemy territory.

In the more challenging game play you can capture your opponent making it harder to get your players in enemy territory. If you answer a question wrong you lose your soldier that was closest to crossing the border.

Here are a few other items that we have used that are now available A La Carte:

Greek Weekly Newspaper

Ancient Egypt Timeline

We just finished up Time Travelers: The Early 19th Century.  We have also used the Make A State Activity Pak, Hands On History Lap Pak: Elections, Project Passport: Ancient Greece, and Project Passport: Ancient Egypt.  I am just about to order Time Travelers: The Civil War to finish our school year and we will start next year with Time Travelers: The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression.

I love, love, love this company and think that you will too!!!

You can find Home School in the Woods on these social media sites:

Many other families on the Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to try one or more A La Carte items.  Click on the banner below to see what they thought about the items they shared with their families.

À La Carte Projects - Individual projects designed to enhance your studies! {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

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history, homeschooling, Us!!!

Civil War Trails

We have been studying the Civil War for the past few months. I love how the Sonlight Curriculum looks at this time period from all perspectives. We have enjoyed the books we have read aloud: Across Five Aprils, Freedom Train and Shades of Gray.

It is common place to see the Civil War Trails signs here. I recently picked up a brochure and checked the website. There are many sites in this area that have have a sign with info.

Our goal is to see as many as possible and document them in a photo album

Here are two recent stops:

Gatesville North Carolina

Elizabeth City North Carolina

We went to the waterfront which had 2 stars on the map. One was a water battle and a year later it was the site of an execution. We also visited the Museum of the Albermarle.