Friday, June 13, 2008

Our Year of American History

June 13, 2008

Back in November I blogged about how I was making adjustments to my beloved Sonlight material to better match my younger two children in 1st and 5th grades. As I explained in that post, I dropped the spine Sonlight offers for American History: The Landmark History of the American People. We also dropped a few others and added in more hands-on activities. We used Peter Marshall’s The Light and the Glory and began his From Sea to Shining Sea in place of the Landmark History.

The result has been wonderful. My daughter began this year saying, "I hate history," and I can happily say that she now loves history. Adding in all the hands-on activities was exactly what she needed. We took the year slowly, not adhering to any particular time-frame. We began with Native Americans and went through the Constitution. I thought we might finish with Lewis and Clark, but we didn't quite get that far. I look forward to starting next fall on the trail of those great explorers! I think we'd all agree that one of the best parts of the year was making our Revolutionary War lapbooks. Well, that and our trip to Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown!

And so, our year in American History:

Unit 1: Native Americans
The Story of the USA: Chapters 1 & 2
North American Indians (Marie and Douglas Gorsline)
If You Lived With the Sioux Indians (Ann McGovern)
Om-Kas-Toe by Kenneth Thomasma
Evan-Moor History Pockets: Native American
American Indian Prayer Guide
Come Look With Me: American Indian Art
Various recipes from the internet, including Indian fry bread and Maple Popcorn balls.
(During American Heritage Girls summer camp, we did the Native American badge and primarily used More Than Moccasins as a craft and food book. I highly recommend this.)

Unit 2: Columbus
The Story of the USA: Chapters 3-5
The Light and the Glory: Chapters 1 & 2
Pedro's Journal by Pam Conrad

Unit 3: Jamestown
The Story of the USA: Chapter 9
The Light and the Glory: Chapters 4 & 5
Pocahontas and the Strangers by Clyde Robert Bulla
A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla
My America Series: Elizabeth’s Jamestown Colony Diaries: Our Strange New Land; The Starving Time, and Season of Promise
Movies: Story of Pocahontas (Nest Family Movies); Disney's Pocahontas

Unit 4: Mayflower
Story of USA: Chapter 10
Light and the Glory: Chapter 5
If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 (Ann McGovern)
American Adventures #1: The Mayflower Adventure (Colleen Reece)
Dear America: A Journey to the New World (The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple)
American Family Paper Dolls: Pilgrim Period (Tom Tierney)
Colonial Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in the New World (Laurie Carlson)—begin various crafts, recipes, etc.

Unit 5: Plymouth
The Light and the Glory: Chapter 6-7
American Adventures Series: Plymouth Pioneers; Dream Seekers; and Fire by Night.
Movies: William Bradford: The First Thanksgiving (Nest Family Entertainment); Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale (Disney)
Pilgrim Coloring Pages
Pilgrims from American Family Paper Dolls

Unit 6: Life in the Colonies (late 1600s-1770)

Light and the Glory: Chapters 8-9
Story of USA Book 1: Chapters 11 & 12
American Adventures: Smallpox Strikes
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
The Sign of the Beaver (novel and movie)
Colonial crafts from Colonial Kids: braided rug, sock dolls,
Colonial crafts from Colonial America Easy Projects: log cabin for Sign of the Beaver
Dear America series: Standing in the Light: The Captive Diary of Catharine Carey Logan (1763)

Unit 7: Countdown to the Revolution (1770-1775)
Light and the Glory: Chapters 10 & 11
American Adventures: Boston Revolts
Johnny Tremain
Movie: Johnny Tremain
Colonial America Easy Projects: Boston town meeting, map of Boston
What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
Can't You Make Them Behave, King George?

Unit 8: The American Revolution (1775-1776)
Light and the Glory: Chapters 12 -14
American Revolution: A Magic Tree House Research Guide (Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce). Fantastic guide to life in the colonies and the American Revolution. Great amount of information—not too much and not too simplistic.
Boston Tea Party: Excellent picture book of the events leading up to the Revolutionary War.
Meet George Washington
George Washington's Teeth: a picture book describing the real story of GW’s “wooden teeth.” The timeline at the end is especially interesting.
George Washington (video—Nest Entertainment, Animated Hero Classics)
My America Series: Hope's Revolutionary War Diary: Five Smooth Stones; We Are Patriots; and When Freedom Comes
Phoebe the Spy
Meet Thomas Jefferson
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?
Hands-On History American Revolution projects: Boston Tea Party flip book, Mini-book of Paul Revere’s Ride, Declaration of Independence quiz panel.
Websites: Paul Revere's Ride ( and here
American Independence (video—American History for Children series by Schlessinger Productions)
History of US flag coloring book dowload (
Make Revolutionary War lapbooks
Source for famous quotes

Unit 9: A New Nation
The Light and the Glory, Ch. 15
From Sea to Shining Sea, Chap. 1
The Story of the USA, Book 2: Chap. 1 and 2
If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution
Shhh! We're Writing the Constitution!
Family Trip to Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown!

Unit 10: Moving Westward
The Cabin Faced West
(to be continued next fall!)

1 comment:

  1. I have stumbled across your blog and am in love! your work has not been done in vain! Blessings to you!


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