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Silverdale Press White House Holidays Unit Studies ~ a Crew review

Silverdale Press White House Holidays

Over the past few weeks, we have spent some time working through some unit studies on holidays. Silverdale Press LLC has a unique set of unit studies available – White House Holidays Unit Studies. These are a set of studies on various holidays and their connections to the White House, particularly when the President set them aside as national holidays.

There are six holidays covered in this unit study set:

  • Labor Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Valentine’s Day

Each holiday unit delves into the history of the holiday, including important background events or occurrances that influenced the creation of the holiday. The history, the political settings and background, the presidential influences, and traditions all play an important role in how each of the national holidays came to be. Within each holiday, the White House and those in it played an important role.

One of the richest parts of these unit studies is the inclusion of primary sources. From the inclusion of speeches to photographs to letters, these primary sources are an important part of understanding history. Their inclusion here really strengthens the understanding of the background and history of these holidays that are celebrated and remembered nation-wide.

Each study has three to five lessons. Each lesson includes an overview, a materials list, learning outcomes, and a lesson plan. An answer key is also provided in a separate document. With each lesson there is a number of activities to accompany the lesson. Some unit studies have separate lessons for K-6 and 7-12 while other studies have the same lesson for all of them with different activities for the two levels.

White-House-Holidays-Unit-Study-Veterens-Day

Veterans Day

We started with Veterans Day and worked with a K-6 student and a 7-12 student. This is one of the studies that has different lessons for the two different age groups. That actually made it a bit difficult to do these lesson together because the readings for the older group were much more detailed and included much more information. So, I ended up working with Miss J on the K-6 lessons and Miss E worked on the 7-12 lessons by herself.

There are 3 lessons in this study and it begins back at Armistice Day (November 11, 1918) and World War I. The history of that day, how the world responded, and what the aftermath of WWI was like were all a part of this discussion. The poem in Flanders Field was discussed and the symbolism of the poppy. The lessons talked about the effects on the economy of entering the Great War. We learn more about President Wilson and future President Hoover. The taxes and loans system was also a part of the discussion. We also covered President Eisenhower’s childhood, service, and presidency while moving through WWII and into the Korean War history. President Eisenhower changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954 so that all veterans of military wars and service would be honored, not just those from WWI.

We did several activities related to these lessons. We created poppies (K-6), talked about the poem In Flanders Field (included in the study for K-6)), and completed a crossword puzzle (7-12). We talked about our own military history and family and friends we know who have served in the US military. Miss J created food conservation posters while Miss E studied the 14 points from Wilson’s speech on lasting peace and then wrote her own 14 points (we ended up with 12, I think) in response to Wilson’s Fourteen Point Speech (a primary source included in the study). The discussion about the 14 points was really quite interesting and thought provoking. For our final activities, we listened to the girls’ dad play Taps on his trumpet and talked about the significance of that. We looked at how to display and store the American flag properly. We looked up online the various monuments to veterans in Washington, D.C., and talked about some of the ones we know of closer to us, as well.

This was a fun and interesting study to cover. It tied in really well with the study of WWII that Miss J did not too long ago and the timeline she has for that was very helpful in studying this holiday. The presidents that were influential in the history of this holiday were interesting to learn about and seeing history come together is fascinating.

White-House-Holidays-Unit-Study-Labor-Day

Labor Day

The Labor Day unit study includes three lessons. There are separate lessons for the two age groups, allowing for independent study or group study within age groups.

The Labor Day study delves into child and immigrant labor and the poor conditions that were experienced by workers 100 years ago. From tenements to factor work, the life was hard. Studying photographs of the time helped us understand a bit more about children working and how families struggled to survive. Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the people that tried to make things better. This study covers her life and work for the children and immigrants. Looking back on others who tried to bring light to the conditions of workers, we saw folks back in the 1880s organizing “labor day” parades to bring some hope and light to the workers. The lessons also talk about unions and strikes, including the Pullman strike and President Cleveland’s response to it. A discussion of economics and how a strike can affect much more than just the single company was part of the lesson for us.

labor day parade

We analyzed photographs as primary source documents and discussed what it showed about child labor and tenement conditions. We looked up the life of Eleanor Roosevelt and read an article she wrote. Miss J studied the picture of the first Labor Day parade and then created her own placards to carry in a parade. She and her sisters then had their own Labor Day parade. We visited the Library of Congress and looked up images related to Labor Day. We read parts of speeches from presidents related to labor.

This was an interesting study to do as it tied in with some of the stories and movies the girls have seen regarding child labor and working conditions in factories. It was a good discussion about why things needed to change and to see how the change came about.

Martin-Luther-Kind-Jr-Unit-Study

Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The MLK, Jr. study has five lessons. The materials for these lessons are the same for both grade levels, with the differentiation coming in the activities. The written materials were a big long for the K-6 level in my opinion, so I ended up not have Miss J complete very much of this one. We read together some of the relevant bits of the text and we watched the videos that were relevant to the lesson. She worked with Miss E on the timeline and map some. Miss E did most of this study on her own. She read each lesson and completed the activities for them. I always pre-read the lesson and knew what discussions we would need to have, so we did take time to sit down together for those discussions.

The study covers the history of the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s own personal history. From the bus boycotts to the Ruby Bridges case to the relevant court rulings, from President Eisenhower to President Kennedy to President Obama, there is a huge amount of information in this unit. Most of it is written text or video links, with inclusion of court verdicts and speeches as primary source documents.

video on MLK Jr

Many of the activities in this study are responses to information and call for answering questions, particularly for the older students. We did these as interactive discussions because that really opens up the discussion for understanding rather than just a response to a question with a text to look back on for an answer.working on MLK Jr study

This study, as written, is really too much for the K-3 or K-4 levels. There is just too much information. Had we spread it out over three or four weeks, it might have worked fine but there is just so much text and the information is very difficult to process for that age. They are so trusting and don’t understand much of prejudice and treating others badly. That makes this study, as written, something that just doesn’t fit well.

Other Studies

There are three other studies that we have not used yet.

The Thanksgiving study has five lessons. It begins at the search for freedom in the New World and includes primary source documents of two men who experienced life in the New World in the 1620 at Plymouth Plantation. The study looks at the history of harvest festivals and moves all the way through having students look up the current president’s Thanksgiving proclamation. Many presidents have had a prominent role in Thanksgiving over the years and those roles are covered in this study. There are a number of activities to go along with this unit and quite a bit of information. I can see this one easily taking at least a couple of weeks to work through with younger students. The text is the same for both age levels but there are different activities, including more in depth readings and analysis of primary source documents for the older group.

The Christmas study has four lessons. It covers Mrs. Kennedy and The Nutcracker tradition, Mrs. Ford and gingerbread houses, and Mrs. Bush with her story books, to name just a few things covered. From baking to reading presidential Christmas addresses, there are quite a few activities to choose from for each of the lessons. The text is the same for both age levels with differentiated activities. The activities will be a lot of fun and for many families will co-ordinate with their own holiday traditions. Once again, there is quite a bit of text and when you add the activities that include a written text, there is a lot here for younger students. It would be best to break the text up over a few days for each lesson, making the unit take a few weeks to work through. After adding in the activities, this unit could easily occupy a month.

Valentines Day is one that doesn’t really interest me much. I have only glanced at the history of it here. The overview in this study includes a page of possible credits for high schoolers, something I didn’t see in any of the other studies.  There are many love letters between presidents and their loved ones included in this unit study.

reading from computer

Final Thoughts

These are fine studies that really address the history of holidays, something we don’t see a lot. I am looking forward to seeing any additional holidays that are to be added in the future, as they are planning more.

Blessings,
At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought of the White House Holidays Unit Studies. Some of the families worked with a writing program instead that is titled Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers, aimed at ages 14-18. Both programs are from Silverdale Press LLC. Click the banner below to read reviews.

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Quick festive dessert

Want a fun, easy dessert for this evening? Here you go . . .

Easy Festive Dessert

I made a sugar cookie recipe and baked it in a bar pan until done. Now, you can just do that according to your normal, favorite recipe. Or you can go buy a roll of sugar cookie dough and roll it out in the pan. Or you can do what I did: modify a recipe so everyone in your family could eat it.

My modification? Instead of flour, I used a half and half combination of Pillsbury Gluten-Free flour blend and almond meal/flour. I chose the half and half because with the Pillsbury brand, I have found the cookies crumble really easily. Adding the almond flour really adds some strength and some flavor.

After the cookie was cool in the bar pan, I made the icing. I combined one block of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of butter, 1 tsp vanilla, and enough powdered sugar to get it to an easily spreadable consistency (about 2 1/2 cups).  {My girls have approved the icing. In fact, they would have enjoyed just eating it all by itself but thought it was really good with fruit dipped in it as well. So that’s another way you could use this. A bit thinner and use it for fruit dip. Hmmm. . .}

Spread that over the cookie as thick as you want.

Add fresh fruit. I added washed and dried blueberries and strawberries.

We will eat it after lunch. Yum!

Enjoy!

At Home.

I shared this recipe with a LinkUp at A Net In Time, so you can hop over and read some other great recipes… I know there is a great one for Lemon Loaf and one for cookies that are flour-free!
Recipe Link Up

 

The Nutcracker Ballet

the-nutcracker-2016

Two of the giggly girls were selected to dance roles in The Nutcracker ballet when it was performed locally. Miss J performed an angel role and Miss L performed a soldier role. While it was  a lot of work over several months, they enjoyed the opportunity immensely. The final performance was wonderful and the experience of working with a professional company made it invaluable. Miss L wants even more to grow up to be a ballerina now.

Since the local symphony only performs The Nutcracker Ballet every two years, it will be a while before the girls have a chance to audition once more. I am glad they can savor the experience for a while and be proud of the work they put in.

Here are a few of the dress rehearsal shots of the girls in costume.

miss-l-the-nutcracker-2016

 

miss-j-the-nutcracker-2016

We will watch a DVD of The Nutcracker tonight and enjoy all of the dancing and costumes.

Merry Christmas Eve!

 

At Home.

Happy Halloween

 

Happy Halloween to everyone. Yes, we enjoy dressing up and having fun. We spend time with friends and family. We play games. We enjoy just being who we are (or maybe who we are dressed up as).

happy-halloween-2016

We don’t worry about the implied connotations that others try to place on this day. We don’t stress about what others may think we are condoning or approving by dressing up as fun characters and sharing the day with others. We celebrate being alive another day and living the life God gave us.

We dress up for dance classes. We dress up for trunk-or-treat at church. We dress up because it is fun. We dress us because we like to see how well we can make our costumes. We just enjoy having fun. Be like a kid and just enjoy life.

And, since this is Monday, I’m tying it into my common Middle School Monday post. These costumes are almost completely made by the girls. Miss E did the sewing for her minion outfit using fabric we had in our stash. We did buy the yellow shirt but everything else came from the house. Miss L was given the butterfly wings for her costume. Everything else she put together from her closet. Well, except for the antennae headband. We didn’t have a dark headband or black pipe cleaners so we did buy those so she could make antennae. Miss J is Astrid from Race to the Edge. She cut out all the pieces for her costume and she sewed the skirt. I did the hot gluing for the studs on it, which we bought. She made the shoulder covers and the necklace. Her sister made her the ax. We did have to buy the shoes but she was due for some new ones anyway that would keep her feet warm so it fit right in. And there you have it – the costumes the giggly girls made for having fun.

At Home.

The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury ~ a TOS review

christmas-treasury-review

Funny . . . silly . . . full of fun. The The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury – Audio Collection will cheer your family this holiday season while ushering in the spirit of family fun. Brought to you by The Familyman, Todd Wilson, this collection of holiday tales will brings gales of laughter to the entire family.

The Christmas Treasury is a set of 6 holiday tales written by The Familyman himself. Available either on CD or as Digital Downloads, these tales will thrill the listeners as they giggle at the man in town who sits in trees and chats with squirrels, live through memories of Christmases past, quake at the sound of a knock at the door, or become a super hero who changes the world, and not for the better.

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews

The Familyman, Todd Wilson, is a well-known name. Focusing on the mission “to remind dads of what’s most important” is what The Familyman does. Whether it is through speaking, audio, or writing, Mr. Wilson’s humor, experience, and straight forward talk makes him a favorite. He has written books such as Help! I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom and appears as a guest with Focus on the Family. His wit and humor come through clearly in The Familyman’s Christmas Treasury.

The Treasury tales are Captain Chaos and The Manger Blaster, Cootie McKay’s Nativity, The Stranger, The Bishop’s Dream, Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest, and Gladys Remembers Christmas. We also received It’s Called Christmas and The Secret of Snow Village. We received all of these as digital downloads and also Cootie McKay on CD.

Captain Chaos is a story of what you probably expect from the title: a superhero who is not so super and creates chaos for the young boy of the story at Christmas time. The story was fun and we laughed a bit, though it is certain to be appreciated more by boys than by my giggly girls. This story was quite a discussion starter and gave us a chance to talk about biblical salvation. We also had the opportunity to talk about denominations vs what the Bible says.

Gladys Remembers Christmas was a sad but thoughtful reminder of our blessings. Gladys was cleaning out her childhood home when unexpected finds brought joy to her life once again. This story of traditions and memories was a sweet reminder of how one small thing can spark wonderful changes.

The Stranger challenged us to live by Jesus’ words and example. One by one, the members of the church turned away the stranger who came to them. A door was finally opened to him on Christmas Eve and that brought suprises, beautiful ones, to that family. Miss J said, with heartfelt enthusiasm and relief, “I’m glad someone finally let him come in!” It was a lovely story about entertaining angels.

familyman-cd

Cootie McKay’s Nativity was probably my very favorite. I listened to this hilarious story more than once and I laughed pretty hard each time. In this story, the town’s nativity needs replaced (the reason is hilarious so I’ll leave that for you to listen to) and Cootie McKay is the one to do it. What starts as a way to let Cootie know what is needed for the nativity turns into a study of the Biblical account of the nativity and a study that touches the heart. This story had several meanings for me: people rise to meet a challenge, there is great joy in God’s word, and do not underestimate the power of God’s word.

Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest was a beautiful story about how God touches our lives through others. When Harold Grubbs chooses to change his life and follow God, the whole town is surprised. His change touched everyone and his Christmas Vest became a yearly reminder of God’s ability to touch life. This was a very pleasant story and I enjoyed it very much. It is another opportunity to talk with our children about Biblical salvation.

These are wonderful family stories that will prompt laughter right alongside thoughtful discussions that will grow your family in God. Be prepared to discuss and correct Biblical teachings. There are references to various denominational churches and that salvation is received by “asking Jesus into your heart.” Because these are not Biblical teachings, we did not let the girls listen to these without a parent the first time so that we could guide and teach them according to God’s word.  These are teaching and learning moments so don’t let that keep you from considering the purchase of this collection of wonderful stories.

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews

The Familyman’s Christmas Treasure is a lot of fun; we have really enjoyed the stories and the laughter. This is a great product to bring your family some fun time together this holiday season.

At Home.

Want to read what other Homeschool Review Crew families thought? Click the banner below.

The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection {The Familyman} Reviews
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Happy New Year

As your new year begins, our family wishes you hope and joy and peace.

Happy New Year

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry SauceI don’t know about you but the holidays aren’t the holidays without some yummy cranberry sauce. Now, let’s be clear about one thing. If it comes in a can and stays in that shape, it is NOT cranberry sauce!

Cranberry sauce starts with cranberries. The real things!

Add some orange juice and a little bit of white sugar. Simmer and voila! Cranberry sauce! Seriously – it is that easy.

Miss L is the one who enjoys cranberry sauce as much as I do and it is now her job to make the cranberry sauce for meals. She is pretty good at it. And I sure do enjoy eating it.

Cranberry Sauce

In fact, since it is so hard to find cranberries during the year except in November and December here in Texas, I buy several bags and put them in the freezer. That way we can make lots of cranberry things, including yummy cranberry sauce, throughout the year.

I won’t leave you without the simple recipe, though.

 

Cranberry Sauce recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a printable copy of the recipe, click below.

Cranberry Sauce recipe PDF

 

Enjoy making fresh, yummy cranberry sauce.

At Home.

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