In years past, we've been working our way through Story of The World by Susan Wise Bauer. This year, however, we are taking a break from world history and studying American history. We joined a co-op and one of the classes the kids are taking is Hands On American History. Originally, I had planned on continuing Story of the World at home. We are about half-way through Vol 3, early modern history, so in some ways the lesson would coincide. I quickly realized, however, that it wasn't going to work. In class they do a lot of games and skits to make history come alive; but I also wanted to supplement what they were learning with some living books. There just isn't enough time to do the reading for both. For now, we've pressed pause on Story of the World and will probably pick it back up come May when the class ends.
We are just wrapping up our books on the America Revolution and the Founding Fathers; I thought I'd share what we read.
Jean Fritz is one of my go-to's for American history. She has written a plethora of historical and biographical children's books. Her books are quality - she is a Newbery Honor recipient, winner of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. We ended up reading several of her books. One of the things that I like about Fritz's books is that while she in noway tears down the founding fathers (she writes eloquently about their brave, wise, and radical acts) she doesn't glorify them either. She presents them as real humans with failings and a few funny quirks.
- Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?
- And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?
- Why Don't You Get a Horse, Sam Adams?
- What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
- Can't You Make Them Behave, King George?
- Shh! We're Writing the Constitution.
- Alexander Hamilton: the Outsider - this is written to a little bit older of a crowd (middle school instead of elementary school) than Fritz's other books but our family still really enjoyed it.
- Early Thunder is also written for an older crowd but is a great read aloud; especially, if you have boys.
Another one of my go-to's for history is Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire. Every one of the books I've read by this husband and wife team has been a delight. They are a joy to read aloud and the illustrations are fabulous. They are also Newbery Honor recipients and winners of the Caldecott Medal.
Alice Dalgliesh, is also one of my favorite children authors, especially for younger historical fiction. She is a also a three time Newbery Honor recipient.
Several of the above books are hand-me-downs from Jeremy's mom; she used them when homeschooling Jer and his sisters.The next couple are also hand-me-downs - it's been such blessing to have resources that you know are quality and enjoyable.
- ...if You Grew Up with George Washington - these 'If You Grew Up' books were some of Jer's favorites as a kid. This one walks you through what life would be like during early colonial times.
- Boy and Girls of Colonial Days - this chapter books contains several little snippets from a variety of children during colonial times. It begins with the pilgrims and ends after the Revolutionary War.
The rest of the books we read were ones that we stumbled upon at the library or recommendations from Instagram.
- Let it Begin Here! Lexington and Concord: First Battle of the American Revolution - this was probably Big Buddy's favorite book. It walks you through the first battle with dates and times. It describes all the major players and offers a point view from both sides.
- Revolutionary Rogues: John André and Benedict Arnold - I remember as a kid being fascinated by Benedict Arnold. This books explains why he became a traitor and about John Andre, the British guy, on the other side.
- Paul Revere's Ride - I had Big Buddy memorize the first part of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, Paul Revere's Ride and Charles Santore's illustrations were my favorite.
- George vs George: The American Revolution as Seen by Both Sides - One of the things that I really want my kiddos to take away from our study of history is that while most conflicts have to have a winner and a loser it doesn't necessarily mean that the loser was a villain or evil. Or that the winners were perfect. We are all fallen people, we are all sinners. No one person (other than Christ) is 100% heroic. I like that this book presents both views...while he made lots of bad choices, King George wasn't an evil man; he was a ruler trying to keep his country stable and financially afloat.
- Katie's Trunk - this book is very different from the one above, but we read it for similar reasons. Katie's family are Loyalists, most of her neighbors are not. Her neighbors, 'on the right side of history,' let their emotions get the best of them and begin to ransack Katie's house. One of Katie's neighbors, however, sees that Katie is in danger and protects her.
- The Founding Fathers!: Those Horse-Ridin', Fiddle-Playin', Book-Readin', Gun-Totin' Gentlemen Who Started America. This was the final book we read. It gives a brief description, with stats, on 14 of America's founding fathers. The pictures and some of the facts can be worded a bit silly, but it really emphasized that our founders were all very different men who had held differing opinions. I loved ending on this note - that our country didn't become great because it was homogeneous but because men of different opinions and strengths were able to work together.
This is our first in-depth study of the founding of the United States of America, but for the last several years we've read books related to the topic every June and July. A couple years ago I shared some of our favorites, which you can find here. It differs a bit from this list; the selection is geared towards a younger crowd.
Next up in history we will be reading about westward migration. If you have any book suggestions, I'd love to hear them.
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