Our second unit or topic for our US History studies this year was the early settlers through the pre-revolutionary colonial period (approximately 1609-1780 — Check out my post last week about our studies of American History prior to European settlement). We just finished this unit up the week before last (although last past week we were still finishing up a couple read alouds that fit with this time period).
I originally planned nine weeks for this unit — that turned out to be way too long! We ended up spending about five weeks (or was it six weeks?) on this topic. The vast majority of books we found for our “book basket” in particular focused on the topic of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower (and fewer about Jamestown, the Puritans, the French and Indian Wars, and everything else in between). And we read two longer chapter books about the Puritans. So by about the fourth week, Miss M let me know that she felt like we had been talking about Pilgrims and Puritans forever.
Here are a few highlights of the resources we used:
Longer Read Alouds (links to my blog posts about these books):
- Margaret Pumphrey’s Pilgrim Stories
- Puritan Adventure
- Witch of Blackbird Pond
- Sign of the Beaver (review coming soon)
- The Matchlock Gun (review coming soon)
- Pocahontas and the Strangers
- A Lion to Guard Us
- Skippack School (might be classified as a long picture book. The copy we had from the library was old and gorgeous. I meant to read it also before we had to return it, but I might have to get it again to read it sometime!)
- Courage of Sarah Noble
- Fire by Night (from the series, The American Adventure)
Miss M enjoyed all these books, and although I am not sure she would have picked any of these completely on her own, she seemed eager to read them most days. I keep forgetting to ask her which was her favorite — but just judging by her tendency to read more than the minimum assigned amount of reading on a given day, it might have been Pocahontas the the Strangers.
We again had a full book basket of picture books for this topic, weighted heavily toward books about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims. Miss M’s favorite books were again titles from the “If you lived…” series, while the boys really enjoyed the humorous tone of “You wouldn’t want to Sail the Mayflower”. We also read two titles in the American Story series by Betsy and Guillio Maestro — The New Americans and The Struggle for a Continent — to give us an overview of the entire time period. The boys particularly enjoyed the latter due to all the information about battles in the French and Indian wars. 🙂 A somewhat complete list of books we had in our book basket can be found in the file linked to on my US History Year One page.
Despite spending a lot of time browsing through craft and activity books, Miss M only selected one craft during this unit. She made her own ink using strawberries, and then used a feather she found as a quill pen.
We didn’t attempt any other written work during this unit. Miss M has little interest in notebooking or lapbooking at the moment. I am encouraging a bit more notebooking for science, so I am not going to force it with history. I ask her to tell me about what she read (oral narration) and we are calling it good at that.
We’re also not making much progress on a timeline. Miss M seemed excited about making a timeline at first. But when the rubber met the road and I couldn’t provide printables to glue in the timeline that were exactly what she had in mind, she wasn’t very motivated. I still might stick a few dates in myself. 🙂
Given that we’ll cycle back to American History about four years or so, my main goal is just exposure and introduction to the key concepts. I’m imagining that by middle school (when we do American History again) Miss M will be far more ready for serious notebooking, timelines and maps!