I always think I’ll really plan ahead before holidays and post some resources far enough in advance that someone out there in the bloggy world can actually use them this year. Ah, well–there’s always next year! 🙂
Our Independence Day studies (I use this term loosely–we really aren’t finished yet) were inspired by the book How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A, written and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. We enjoyed Priceman’s How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World earlier this year, so when I saw this other title over at Homeschool Share (and the accompanying lapbooking activities), I knew I had to hunt it down. We made a trip to a library we usually don’t visit to find this book, and I am so glad we did. (We found a few more things that I hadn’t seen at any of our other libraries, but I’ll share more about that later!) While I don’t think the book is particularly well written (it’s too choppy for my taste), I do think it’s a worthwhile read because of all the opportunities for discussion that it provides. The idea of this book is sort of like the one in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie–not having the necessary tools and ingredients to make a cherry pie necessitates trips to the various places where the ingredients and tools are found. The focus of this book is on manufactured products like aluminum and glass and natural products like wood and granite. The story has the reader traversing the U.S. in search of the goods necessary for the pie, so there are lots of opportunities for discussion.
Imagine my surprise when I began to peruse my own shelves for American history and geography resources to go along with our study and found The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller. See, I had read an interview with Laurie Keller over at Bookie Woogie just last week, was highly entertained by it (and a wee bit jealous of the opportunity, truth be told), and thought the states book looked familiar. Well, duh! We own it! (Please tell me I’m not the only person out there who has forgotten about a book she owns, only to be delighted later at the discovery!) The Scrambled States of America is so much fun! In this story, Kansas decides she’s (he’s?) bored. Apparently landlocked life in the midwest can get a little dull. Kansas and best friend Nebraska convince the other states that a change would be good, so all the states switch places. Of course, they all soon discover that life was better for them in their original positions. This book is hilarious, thanks mainly to Keller’s cartoonish illustrations. (Go here to see actual pages from the book!) My girls liked this one, but I think it would be better enjoyed by slightly older children. I got a big kick out of it! (Look at these games and puzzles based on the book. I bet they’d be fun!)
I pulled out America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney thinking I would share only the information for the letter F with the girls in preparation for our flag art project. However, I just couldn’t resist sharing at least the basic information from this book because it’s just too pretty not to share. As the title indicates, this book is written in primer format, so each letter of the alphabet stands for soemthing related to America. Robin Preiss Glasser’s illustrations are gorgeous, and every page is full of information and sketches, from one edge to the other. (You might recognize the illustrator as the illustrator of the Fancy Nancy books!) America: A Patriotic Primer is a book that is good for all ages, and I hope that I can remember to pull it out year after year as we discuss our country. 🙂
In addition to enjoying these books together, we talked a lot about America. Before Lulu was born, Steady Eddie and I had the privilege of seeing a good bit of America, and I have the scrapbooks to prove it! I shared pictures of our trips to Washington, D.C., and Mt. Rushmore with the girls. (For some reason, Lulu is particularly enamored of Mt. Rushmore. We have briefly talked with them about maybe taking a trip Disney World some time next year, but all Lulu really wants to do is see those monumental presidents. She’s even saving her change in a Mason jar for the trip to South Dakota! 😉 ) In addition to looking at the scrapbooks, Lulu and I did a shared reading of Abe Lincoln’s Hat. As a part of her kindergarten reading, Lulu also read The Statue of Liberty and a short biography of George Washington. She also pulled out a puzzle that we’ve had for ages and put it together for the first time this afternoon. (This made me feel justified for keeping this Target dollar spot puzzle around when space is at such a premium! 🙂 )
I had good intentions this week of our actually making a lapbook for How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A., and we still might. However, I’m still trying to figure out this parenting-of-three-children thing, so some of my plans have fallen by the wayside this week. We did, however, manage to get around to our art activity yesterday. I originally saw this idea somewhere–either a link from The Crafty Crow or on this fabulous art blog I just found–Deep Space Sparkle. (Really–check this one out. It even has grade level links to what appears to be a curriculum on the sidebars!) We used watercolor paper, white crayon, and tempera paint to make this crayon-resist U.S. flag. I’m not sure that the tempera paint was the best choice, but since I was going entirely from memory as to the directions for the art project, I think it turned out fairly well. If you look closely you can see the stars and the white stripes. I really wish I knew more about art and the various mediums and how they work. I guess I’ll learn if I keep at this long enough!
Now we have something new to hang on our school room wall! 🙂
We’re looking forward to a fun time on Sunday with family, and we’ve had a good week of learning and fun in preparation for the holiday. I hope your Independence Day is a fun and festive one!