Monday, August 11, 2008

When Will Summer End?

Yes, I know that I just posted about the end of school. And, I'm thankfull, right now, that school is not "in session". We are all sick. Xavier brought home a cold from Maine, and promptly passed it on to everyone else. It seems to be hitting Gabriel the worst, but since I've been up since about 2:30, I'd say that I'm not fairing well, either. I really just don't want to go back to bed and bother Gary. I know my tossing and turning was waking him up.

Anyway, we're ready to start school again, on some levels. There is a certain amount of boredom involved in being sick. You don't feel like playing and your mom won't let you just watch T.V. all day. I can tell Gabriel is really sick because he doesn't feel like reading. Poor kid. Plus, Xavier is starting to feel better, which means the house is getting noisy again and driving everyone else nuts. Dominic is only mildly ill, which means his throat hurts, but not enough to make him be quiet. I even heard him talking to the cats this morning at about 3:45.

Anyway, I am so excited about all the new things we're going to be learning about this year. We are studying the middle ages. I have added American History to the mix. Hopefully in a way that won't mess up the timeline in the kids' brains. We're doing unit studies for American History. I've got 6 planned for Gabriel. Xavier and Dominic will join in on some of them to a lesser degree. Here's what we've got:

Elections (We'll be studying this first, for obvious reasons!)
The American Revolution
The Bill of Rights and The Constitution
Government
The Presidents
Westward Expansion

The Elections study will include books about elections. We'll also work in the elections. We're already getting the kids involved in campaigning (an important part of elections). I want to introduce polling.

The American Revolution study will mostly be books. I want to use both primary and secondary resources to provide a good illustration of how the revolution came about and what it meant to our country and the world at that time.

The Bill of Rights and The Constitution study will be an intense study of both these documents. It will include discussion and debate about Supreme Court rulings. I fully expect some of the debates to get heated. One of my favorite things about Gabriel is that he doesn't just bow down and accept what someone tells him. He thinks for himself.

The Government unit will include studying how our government is set up. It will cover the three branches of government and the difference between states' rights and federal rights. It will also include a trip to the state capital. We know one of our state congressmen. Unfortunately, Gabriel will not be old enough to page until next year. However, we've been told to let them know when he's old enough so that he can go do that. He will love that. Gabriel's very much into politics.

The Presidents study will be different for the younger two than for Gabriel. For Xavier and Dominic, it will include a broad introduction to various presidents. Perhaps I will have them memorize the first 20 presidents in order. I'm not real sure what I'm going to do with them, yet. It will include lots of biographies, coloring, maybe some lapbooks... Gabriel wants to study some of the more obscure presidents. He knows a lot about the presidents already. He has his favorites (namely Abraham Lincoln), but he has always been fascinated by the presidents. While there is a lot written about the more famous presidents, there is less about the more obscure ones. He wants to dig for information about those presidents. So, I'll probably have him pick 6 presidents and do a research paper on each. He enjoys doing that kind of writing, even though he hates all other kind of writing. Go figure.

I am most excited about our last unit study. Gabriel will be studying the Westward Expansion through Louis L'Amour books. Specifically, we'll be following the Sackett family through history. This should be a lot of fun and will bring the "old west" to life for us. One of the good things about this is that the "curriculum" is already written for me. Louis L'Amour wrote The Sackett Companion. It's basically a research tool for the Sackett books. For each books, he includes all historical characters mentioned. He gives a bit of background information, etc. This will be a useful tool for doing more research behind the books. So, for instance, in the first book, Sackett's Land, L'Amour talks about Shakespeare, various pirates, and the fens of England. In The Sackett Companion, L'Amour gives background information on each of these things, plus points out which characters are real historical figures. This helps a novice in the world of historical fiction.

For Xavier and Dominic, we're going to finish reading the Little House on the Prairie series. Since he didn't finish reading Farmer Boy last year, we'll start with that and work our way through the rest of the books. We'll do projects and map their progress across the country. Since Laura's Pa had a "wondering" foot, we'll get to see a lot of the United States in the progress. Plus, Xavier should be able to empathise with Laura, since both his parents have wondering feet.

So, that's our American History plans for the year. Do you have any questions? Do you have any suggestions? Do you know of something or some book that I just have to include in my plans? Let me know! I'm always open to suggestions!

1 comment:

  1. Very cool - Papa started our US history with a Loius Lamour book. He wanted me to know why people would come to America, when they were very likely to die either on the way or once they got here. I think realistic fiction is a great way to study history. Oh, remind me to tell you about our passport through the genre's thing we have going at school this year. It's kinda fun.

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