Quick Break for a Homeschool Update

I want to use this blog to keep track of what we do in homeschooling, so here’s what we’ve been doing lately.

    I read Sam Houston by Jean Lee Latham last week, thinking that we would be moving to Houston. It was good to learn about another great American even though we didn’t get the job in Houston. We won’t hold that against Sam Houston.

    I’m reading the second book of the Wilderking Trilogy, The Secret of the Swamp King. We really get a kick out of the antics of Aidan and the Feechiefolk. I love reading this book aloud to the kids. This is one accent I can do without effort. Southern twang.

    Morgan is reading all of The Box Car Children books. He is telling me what he reads. He says he’s even learning some history like Captain Cook discovering vitamin C and its healthful benefits, especially protection from scurvy. He has read four books so far, and is now starting from the beginning of the series.

    Kelsey has read several books lately: My Evil Twin; Junie B. Jones– lots of titles; McBroom’s Wonderful One-Acre Farm -Three Tall Tales; Trumpet of the Swan; Living In a World of White; A Little Princess with Daddy.

    I’m reading aloud to the oldest six:

    The Great Little Madison by Jean Fritz
    The Laird’s Inheritance by George McDonald
    I just started The Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy, recommended by Edith Schaeffer. It looks like it will be a good one. It reminds me of At the Back of the North Wind.

    There are so many other books I want to read to them.¬† I’m thankful for the time and opportunity to read with them.¬† What a bonding experience it is.

    Copy work for Kelsey and Morgan about the first six Presidents.

    Math – the older kids have been using YourTeacher.com for free this summer, and it’s actually working pretty well.

And on… and on

On Friday, these hungry caterpillars ate through apples, pears, strawberries, oranges, muskmelon, and even pickles. The pickles were not on my menu (I’m not a big pickle person), but the boys must have read the book and noticed that a pickle was included in the caterpillar’s Saturday menu. Anyway… they ate through all of these foods, and guess what!!! They were still hungry!!!

Developing a Unit Study on Early American History – the Spirit-led Way

We have been doing a unit study on Early American history… for a while now. Many moons ago, I asked Shawn if there was an area of history that he felt we hadn’t covered well enough. He said that he didn’t really know much about the Colonial period of American history.

So I ordered an Early American history lapbook from In the Hands of a Child.

I happened to get a book from Goodwill called Rehoboth by Angela Elwell Hunt. It was a Christian novel, but as I read it, I realized that it was about the Wampanoag Indians and King Philip’s war right after the time of the first Pilgrims. It told about the ministry of John Eliot to the Indians. I read it first, then I read it aloud to my oldest children. We all really enjoyed the story, told from the perspectives of the Indians, the white missionaries and the Indian missionaries.

I got the Time Travelers – Colonial Life from Homeschool in the Woods.

I made this model of Jamestown settlement that I got from Homeschool in the Woods.

I looked in my book All Through the Ages for some books about the Founding of America and the Colonial period. I found a book called This Dear-Bought Land by Jean Lee Latham about Jamestown and Captain John Smith. We had never studied Jamestown in depth, so I was happy to read a book by an author that I already loved from reading her book Carry on, Mr. Bowditch years ago. My children really enjoyed this book about Captain John Smith, and we really got a feel for the time period and the dangers they faced from starvation, poor leadership and organization, lack of people willing to work and hostile Indians.

Simultaneously, I read a book about Pocahontas that I happened to have, The Story of Pocahontas by Brian Doherty, a Dover book.

We watched the HBO mini-series about John Adams. Not being from a Christian perspective, it was slightly depressing. It lacked the element of hope and the strong biblical foundation that our Founders actually worked from. I read aloud a library book about Abigail Adams, a biography by Dorothie Bobbe.

We then studied Thomas Jefferson by reading books from the library about him. I read a book aloud called Thomas Jefferson: Champion of the People by Clara Ingram Judson. In reading about Thomas Jefferson, we also read about the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Louisiana Purchase. I read several other books myself for background information but didn’t have time to read them all aloud. We wrote an essay together about Thomas Jefferson.

I also read a library book called Grand Papa and Ellen Aroon by F. N. Monjo. It was about Thomas Jefferson written from the perspective of his granddaughter. It was a sweet book that was informative and enjoyable.

I got several videos by David Barton of Wallbuilders, and we watched some about the American Revolution and the Foundations of American Government.

Somewhere in there I read aloud Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry. In this story, the main character, Joel Goss, went and fought in the War of 1812 and actually met President Monroe.

After doing all of this reading and soaking in the time period, we are now putting together that lapbook I ordered from Hands of a Child. The children are writing about the things they have learned from reading (or hearing me read) many living books about early American history. The lapbook goes up to the era of the cowboys and the Gold Rush, so I have had Kelsey and Morgan read some books about Davy Crockett and will probably read a few novels about Westward Expansion before I end this unit. I have been finding a few books in our home library from this general time period and assigning them to different ones of the children to read independently.

We have been working on this unit for about a year. The lapbook is our culminating activity. I have learned so much about American History through this study. I have a much better grasp of what happened when and why. We are so blessed to be able to learn this way – all together. We have had many discussions that have caused each one of us to think deeply about the Declaration of Independence and the biblical foundations of our government and the principles of freedom that so many of our people have died for. And we have become even more thankful for the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and for the Constitution that they provided for us.

Here is our lapbook so far:

This is an example of Spirit-led homeschooling.