Thursday, June 21, 2018

Silverdale Press Review - White House Holidays

The girls LOVE history. I think most kids do, especially when we take it out of the "textbook" context (not that my K and 2nd grade daughters are doing much in the way of textbooks) and turn it into a story. Two years ago, when Madison was in kindergarten, she loved learning about the presidents and she had such fun impressing random adults by listing the presidents in order, or throwing in random facts about the less famous terms. This year I hoped Reagan would pick up the baton (with two children both named after presidents, we had a legacy to keep up) but it wasn't the right year for her and we put it to the side. What hooked her back into learning about the presidents was the White House Holidays Unit Studies from Silverdale Press LLC. Now she had some context she really was interested in!

Silverdale Press

The White House Holidays Unit Studies teach the history behind the following American Holidays:
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

The beauty of unit studies is that we can all work on them together. Madison doesn't feel babied and Reagan doesn't feel like she's in over her head, and I'm learning new facts right along with them. This was clearly the case with these particular studies. They were easily adaptable to everyone. These units all include optional hands-on projects mostly intended for the elementary student.  They are simple and don’t require too extra supplies OR too much printing (a pet peeve of mine with printable curriculum or unit studies).

We started with Veteran's Day, because of a discussion that was sparked a few weeks ago by Memorial Day. We started talking about both holidays and what the difference was, and how they started. It seemed perfect. The most intriguing thing about these unit studies is that they are all taught from the perspective of the president who sat in the White House when the holiday was first created.
We moved on to Thanksgiving next, and quite honestly, we're still in the thick of it - only halfway through the four lessons. In our family, unless we have good reason to, work on each unit study over the course of a month, so we can dig in without abandoning the rest of our daily curriculum. Most of the holidays have 3-5 lessons, and you can complete a lesson in a day, so for us, that puts us right where I like to be at 3-5 weeks. I know plenty of families who make unit studies their primary curriculum and could complete one holiday a week - and that's an amazing thing! But that's not how we work, so in three weeks we just finished our Veteran's Day.  We'll keep working through Thanksgiving, which so far, seems to be correcting a lot of misconceptions my kids seemed to have picked up!

Overall, all three of us really enjoyed working on this together, and I think we'll keep up with the rest next year! These are engaging lessons that take things kids can really relate to - holidays! - and tie them in with how they came to be celebrated by a country at large.

Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}

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