We recently finished part of our colonial era studies in early American history with our Beautiful Feet Books curriculum. I simply chose to split this study for the blog write-up before we studied George Washington and the American Revolution. We covered several books and watched a few documentaries for this section. I added a couple of books to this section and some hands on projects. We also enjoyed a few recipes mentioned in a couple of the books.
The first two books (The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh and The Matchlock gun by Walter D. Edmonds) are about the early colonial years and the French and Indian War. We enjoyed the story of Sarah Noble and her bravery. Instead of using coloring pages the kids drew their own pictures of events from the story. I felt so sad for Tall John when he returned Sarah to her family that Oldest had to take over reading for me. I never read any of these books as a child and I enjoy them just as much as my crew. Sparkles loved this book and has read it twice since we finished with it.
My crew also drew their own pictures for The Matchlock Gun. We also googled (is that a word yet?) matchlock guns on the internet and studied them in Edwin Tunis’ Weapons. This story was a bit intense and we finished it in two sessions. The kids (and mom)refused to wait over several lessons to find out what happened.
Next we read Benjamin Franklin by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire. The kids really enjoyed this study. We watched a few episodes of Drive Thru History (episodes 5, 6, and 7). I also added Jean Fritz’s What’s the Big Idea Ben Franklin and we looked up several of his inventions including the Glass Armonica. Since Franklin’s father was a candle maker and he worked in his father’s shop we made our own beeswax dipped candles.
We purchased some beeswax beads and wicks at a hobby store. You will also need two empty cans (we used green bean cans). Fill one of the tin cans half full with beeswax and then almost to the top with water. The wax beads will float to the top. Place the tin can in a pot and fill the pot with water a little over half full with water and heat on stove until the wax melts. Add cold water to the other tin…maybe an ice cube or two to keep the water cold. Tie the wick to a chop stick (or any stick) and dip it into the wax once it is melted. Then dip the wick into the cold water and repeat. You may have to
straighten the candle out a few times at first. We also discovered that food coloring does not work to change the color of the candles. You can change the color of the candles by melting some crayon shavings into the beeswax.
The guide suggested during this study they memorize America The Beautiful. I had them copy the poem into their notebooks and requested they learn the song during piano lessons. Our wonderful piano teacher found a version of the song they could play and they all spent several weeks learning to play the song.
Coloring pages for the notebook were provided for the Benjamin Franklin study. When we got to the part when Franklin was invited to speak to the king of France, Oldest remembered when Leif Ericson also stood before a king. He also connected the Proverbs verse from the previous study to Benjamin Franklin. “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.” Proverbs 22:29
Our next book was A More Perfect Union by Betsy and Giulio Maestro. This book was about the founders of our country getting together to write the Constitution. The kids enjoyed Benjamin Franklin’s observations about George Washington’s chair. We had to look up the chair on the internet and they made drawings of the chair’s design in their notebooks. I also had them copy the Preamble into their notebooks. I found a free copywork page at Copycat Books.
Our next book in the guide was Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry. I just loved this book! Oldest had to take over reading for me at the emotional parts until I could get myself together. You can read a fantastic review of the book at StoryWarren. I really could not write a better review so go read theirs! I gave the kids a Native American bead project to work on while I read the story to them. I wish I had known about Benjamin West or I would have found an art project. He is considered the Father of American Painting!!! We should have made our own paints and paint brush like he did in the story. (Littlest will go through this study in a few years…) One of the foods mentioned in this book is called a syllabub. You can read about this dessert at Historic Foods. Traditionally syllabubs are made with wine, port, or sherry but I used cranberry grape juice to make a kid friendly version. They can also traditionally be made with apple cider. These are delicious and easy to make.
This recipe will make about four servings. You need pretty parfait type glasses but I used wine glasses since I did not have any fancy dessert dishes. I enjoyed this dessert so much that I am making the port version for our ladies night out tomorrow! Dissolve one cup sugar into one cup juice (or wine, cider, etc.) Stir in the juice from one lemon. Most of the recipes I read also added lemon zest but I omitted the zest since I do not enjoy eating it in foods. Whisk in two cups of cream for a couple of minutes. But do not whisk too much or you will have butter! Pour equal amounts of liquid into your glasses and leave on the counter for several hours…do not refrigerate. Best to make then the night before eating for supper the next day. Yummy!
Our next book was George Washington’s Breakfast by Jean Fritz and is a really cute book. It is a story about a boy who wanted to know what George Washington ate for breakfast. Eventually the boy learns that he ate Indian hoecakes with honey and butter for breakfast with three cups of tea. Naturally, we had to make hoecakes for lunch. You can find some recipes at Eatocracy.
We are loving our studies with Beautiful Feet Books’ Primary Early American History. They have each already asked to “help” Littlest when it is his turn to read through these books! Well, I may just keep that joy for myself…they can help him with math or something else.