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Friday, July 2, 2010

Making Your Own U.S. History Resource Books


My husband and I often talk about the idea of homeschooling our children.  And at the very least, we will definitely be supplementing their education at home.  I know a lot of my readers are home school moms, and I know even more of you who are not homeschool moms like to have learning activities for your kids.

So with 4th of July upon us, I decided to share one of my ideas for part of a U.S. history curriculum.  As a history major myself, I believe the best way to teach our kids about U.S. history and government is to go to the original documents and sources, so we can draw our own conclusions.  However, we may not always have these immediately at our finger tips.  And if you're on a budget it may be difficult to buy all the books and materials you'd like, so one of my ideas is to create a History Resource Book.

Essentially you'll just need a 3-ring binder, and you will fill it with the documents and resources that you'd like to have on hand to share with your kids.  Documents to have in your book include copies of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.  I'd also include a list of the presidents, states & capitals, a timeline of events, and basic facts about the government and how it's structured.  It could also include a copy of the Articles of Confederation and a copy of The Federalist Papers, especially if you're doing a close study of American colonial history.

To get you started on making your History Resource Book, I've looked up these documents for you, as well as some other pages which may be helpful to you.

Historical Timeline  - While I don't emphasize the memorization of dates, I always find it helpful to have a general timeline for reference purposes and in order to keep track of when events happen in relationship to other events.  Here's a comprehensive timeline of United States history, from the original landing at Roanoke up to the 2009 inauguration.  This is also a good list for general historical topics of study.

Declaration of Independence - Full text. And resource links.

Articles of Confederation - Full text of our first constitution.

United States Constitution - Full text of the Constitution, including Ammendments, signers, important dates, notes, and sources.

The Federalist Papers - Full text of The Federalist Papers, a series of 85 articles/essays advocating the ratification of the United States Constitution.

Presidents of the United States - I've always found it curious that I never had to memorize the Presidents in school.  This site not only has a list of the Presidents and the years of the term(s) in office, but each President has his own page of facts, including their homestate, religion, party, election results, cabinet secretaries, major events, and interesting facts. (I think it would be great to go down the list and teach about one president each week, and these facts would give you a good foundation to start and be a good quick reference for the kids to refer to.)

Government 101 - About.com and wikipedia may not be legitimate sources for your college papers, but I usually find them helpful when I need to look up some basic facts or background on a subject.  This page breaks down the three branches of government for you, and there's also a section on Federalism and our historic documents.

50States.com List of all the 50 states. You can also look up all the state flags, birds, flowers, and seals. They also have all the state governors, famous people, statistics on the states, state mottos, attraction, and more.  (It could be fun to look up all the information on your homestate and share it with your child. Also, I think kid's might enjoy looking at all the flags, or even reading the state mottos.)

USA Flag - This site teaches about the history of the flag and also rules of etiquette regarding the flag.  And there's also lyrics to some patriotic songs and some links to other resources.

Other Sources:
USA.gov Government Made Easy - All the basic information on the current agencies of government and our current offcials, including biographical and contact information. There's a list of all the current Executive Departments/Cabinets (definitely worth learning!).  And there's even an A-Z index of all the U.S. Departments and Agencies with links to all their websites (probably not worth printing because there are so many---but definitely a must see, just to give you an idea of how big the government really is).

I recommend the following two books as secondary sources: One is a history of the United States, and the other is about the Founders and the 28 Principles of Freedom, upon which the country was founded.































-Jerri

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5 Comments:

  • At July 2, 2010 at 10:17 AM , Blogger Karen said...

    Hi Jerri,
    Thank you for your comment today and your visit.
    I know that if my sons were little again I would surely be thinking about home schooling. I think it is a great option!
    Take care and you and your family have a wonderful 4th of July!
    Karen
    Ladybug Creek

     
  • At July 2, 2010 at 4:30 PM , Blogger Stacia said...

    I passed on the Beautiful Blogger Award to you!
    http://thedomesticengineerblogs.blogspot.com/2010/07/beautiful-blogger-award.html

     
  • At July 2, 2010 at 11:50 PM , Blogger Suzy said...

    Love your history book idea. I was a history major myself once upon a time :-) Cute ideas for the holidays! Thanks for stopping by my blog and I do hope you'll join in on the Ice cream social. It should be fun.

     
  • At July 4, 2010 at 8:40 PM , Blogger Tiffanee said...

    What a great idea!! We can all use to brush up on those items. Thanks!!

     
  • At July 11, 2010 at 5:58 AM , Blogger Jane said...

    What a great idea!! :)

     

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