Sunday, October 25, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: American Revolution, Part 2

We are just about done with the American Revolution.  A highlight of our studies was our trip to Valley Forge, PA. They had a special Homeschool Day program where they lined up the kids for military drilling, complete with fake wooden muskets,  and had various stations for the kids to learn about what they wore, how they built their huts, how they cooked, rules they had to follow, etc. It really brought to life what we were learning about. We toured the house where George Washington stayed during the winter at Valley Forge, as well as checked out the memorial dedicated to the soldiers of the war.

George Washington's Headquarters
We also stopped by Washington Crossing in PA, since that was close enough by. To be honest, it wasn't that thrilling, but there was a museum with artifacts and information from that time period. But still, it's pretty cool to stand where they embarked on the crossing and see the replica boats.

So during our 2nd half of our American Revolution unit, we covered from Valley Forge, through Saratoga, and on to Yorktown.  We read comic book biographies on Thomas Jefferson and Benedict Arnold from the Graphic library, and read "Why Not, Lafayette?" by Jean Fritz...All of them I would highly recommend. Lafayette, especially, was a fascinating person and had quite a notable life! I honestly knew NOTHING about him, other than that he came from France to help the Americans. I really loved learning about him alongside my kids.

This week, we are planning to wrap up the American Revolution with an emphasis on George Washington's life, using the following books:
George Washington's Breakfast

 George Washington True Patriot
George Washington True Patriot

If you Grew Up with George Washington

This post is linked up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschooler's Weekly Wrapup.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: American Revolution, First half

Over the past month, been interspersing a week of 50 states geography, with a week of the American Revolution. This week was our 2nd week on the American Revolution.

The first week, we covered the events leading up to the war and the events of 1775:
  • Stamp Act, Sugar Act, other Intolerable Acts
  • Boston Massacre
  • Paul Revere
  • Lexington and Concord
  • Bunker Hill
  • Fort Ticonderoga
  • Henry Knox
We've read short books about each of the topics above, none of which are that noteworthy-just books we pulled off the shelf from the library, but these are few highlights among the books we've read:

  • Mr. Revere and I - Historical Fiction, from the point of view of Paul Revere's horse. This was a fun overview of all the major events leading up to and including Lexington and Concord.
  • And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?  - This was a good biography written by Jean Fritz. She does a great job of adding humor to the biographies.
  • Guns for General Washington - This covers a not-too-well-known event in the war-a trip lead by Colonel Henry Knox from Boston to Fort Ticonderoga, and back again, in order to get weapons to General Washington's troops, across mountainous terrain in harsh winter conditions.
We have also been watching Liberty's Kids videos also and we are loving them! The kids always want to watch more episodes, but I don't want them getting too far ahead of our timeline! It does a great job of portraying the differing points of views of the colonists and the loyalists, and touches on other important issues of the day, like slavery and the treatment of Jews

This week was our second week of the American Revolution and we covered up through 1777:
  • Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Liberty Bell
  • Nathan Hale
  • Washington's crossing of the Delaware
  • Saratoga
  • Valley Forge

The kids each read a book about civilians serving as spies for the Continental Army:
Bunny read Daughter of Liberty by Robert Quackenbush about a woman who retrieved some important papers for General Washington in New York after the British took over his headquarters.

Monkey read The Spy and General Washington by William Wise about a man who posed as a Tory in Griggstown, NJ and served as a double agent, pretending to by a spy helping the British, but actually reporting to Washington, giving information that helped launch the attack on the Hessians in Trenton.

Both books claim to be factual, but I guess after so many years, some people question whether these stories are authentic or folklore. Regardless, they sure were exciting stories and a glimpse into life during the war.

We also read biographies about Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock by Jean Fritz.  We are really enjoying these biographies by this author! It's very kid-friendly, while still being really informational.  We've also enjoyed some of a series of comic books ("Graphic Library") of some of the various topics, like Valley Forge, as well as some Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type books in the "Interactive History Adventures" series.

Bunny especially has been getting interested in the colonial period. She bought a shirt at Colonial Williamsburg when we visited this summer, and this week, we made a mob cap and apron for her. She also sewed part of another 'gown' for an alternative colonial outfit. 

Both kids also wrote up their own 'pamphlet' to convince colonists to join the cause of freedom (like Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"...but on a much more basic level!) this week as their writing practice, and did copywork from the Declaration of Independence. 

We also worked on our wall timeline:

For review, we played charades with the names of various key players during the Revolution! The kids had a blast with that.

I asked the kids whether they wanted to do the 50 states next week or continue with history, and Bunny said "History!". Coming from the girl who HATED history a few months ago, who would groan and throw a fit whenever history was mentioned, this was a HUGE milestone! I looked at her questioningly, and asked "History?!??!" in disbelief and she replied, "I'm kinda interested in it now!"

***This post is linked up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers' Weekly Wrap-up. ***