Friday, January 30, 2009

Slavery Unit

We (the younger kids and I) are in the middle of our second year of studying American History. I use Sonlight 3 and 4 as a skeleton and add on lots of different materials. We did this with great success last year. (You can see the complete year here.) We finished Lewis and Clark back in September and then began reading about the westward expansion; however, I decided to plunge ahead with slavery and then the Civil War now, and then we'll spend several weeks later discussion the Oregon Trail, etc. So here's what we've used for our unit on slavery. Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling (This is an excellent book; please don't leave this one out!) Harriet Tubman (Animated Hero Classics by Nest Productions): I was not crazy about this video. I'm going to try to find and preview the movies Race to Freedom, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and/or A Woman Called Moses as the biographical, animated video fell way short of telling much of Harriet's story. Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom by Margaret Davidson (I loved this as a child and was thrilled to find it at our local library sale for a quarter!) Uncle Tom's Cabin (Young Folks Edition): This is essential, in my opinion, because so many other books refer to Harriet Beecher Stowe's book as pivotal in the recognition of the evils of slavery in America. Although I had a copy of the book, this children's edition is available online, too. If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine (I think this whole "If You..." series is fantastic) Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson, ill. by James Ransome (nice picture book about one family's journey on the Underground Railroad) Show Way by Jacqeline Woodson, ill. by Hudson Talbott (Traces the author's heritage from mother to daughter back eight generations, with a wonderful thread of quilting, piecing together, writing, and freedom. Love this one.) Alec's Primer by Mildred Pitts Walker (Picture book retelling the true story of Alec Turner, born a slave in 1845, who was taught to read by his master's daughter. Ultimately Alec runs away from the plantation to join the army during the Civil War. We loved this story because it is based on a real person.) The Wagon by Tony Johnston, ill. by James Ransome (Wonderfully poetic story of a child born into slavery and his subsequent freedom after the Civil War.) "The Tale of 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'" from The Children's Book of America by William J. Bennett Addy: An American Girl series My America: Corey's Underground Railroad Diary (3 books in series) I Have Heard of a Land by Joyce Carol Thomas (about the land rush in the late 1800s, post-Civil War) In the Hands of a Child has a slavery lapbook. I downloaded this once when it was free from CurrClick, but I thought the information was too ponderous for my 2nd grader. I'd recommend it, though, for grades 6 and up. The Homeschool Learning Network also has a Harriet Tubman unit study for only $3.50. While I felt like reading the literature above was an excellent study of slavery in America leading up to a study of the Civil War, I think the lapbook and unit study would be an excellent addition for older kids. Next up: the Civil War!


  1. now you should come to cincy to the freedom center....underground railroad museum! i haven't been yet, but i've heard it makes you think long and hard.

    i know somewhere you could stay:)

  2. What a wonderful list of resources! When I get to this era, I'll come back and take a look. At the moment, I need to get through Ancient Greece.

    Blessings to you this week.

  3. Thank You so much for sharing! We just began our study of slavery and the Civil War yesterday and I am trying to find some good sources for my two younger children that will not go over their little heads! I found you through Google and I was so happy to already have some of the resources you mentioned-especially "From Sea to Shining Sea"-that ws exactly what I was looking for to use with today's lesson. I found Uncle Tom's Cabin,for children, free and the net.
    We plan to go to the Underground Railroad Museum in the next couple of weeks.
    Thanks so much for sharing the info and I will be linking you to my blog.
    God bless

  4. We're jumping into slavery and the Cival War soon, too! Thanks for the ideas.


  5. Oops, make the Civil War. That's what I get for typing too fast!


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