Saturday, December 10, 2011

School Wrap Up

This school year has been quite the adventure! We used a new curriculum this year and there was a lot of excitement and nervousness over it. Everyone was excited about it, but I confess to a little bit of nervousness in regards to changing from our former curriculum. The nervousness was a waste of time because we throughly enjoyed ourselves this year.

Despite several moves {not just our own, but family members}, and other hiccups that can naturally occur during a year we were able to always pick right up where we left off. In the past we've always followed a 3-6 week on rotation with a 1-2 week off one. This year we didn't seem to follow that, all though we did enjoy time off for spring break, camping, and out of town company.

The past month or so we've been quickly racing to the finish line. I was so torn on permitting the boys to keep up their galloping pace and finish or hold them back and leave some to pick up with when we regrouped after Christmas break. In fact, I probably put way too much consideration into this and in the end stopped fussing over it as we galloped to the close.

We learned a great many things that caused the boys to say, "Really?" and others that wowed me as Morgan sat there and retold some amazing information to his younger brother. I mean seriously, when on earth did I teach him about the Trail of Tears, or did he read a book about this on his own? I've no idea, but there he sat retelling tales to his brother. There were a lot of mixed feelings about the Native American happenings, but Jaydens one main question was always, "Is this one still alive?"

We read about the Erie Canal and made a pop-up book depicting the scene from the first trip made down the entire length. The boys were amazed I'd written on it, and in horror that I could still remember & sing Low Bridge Everybody Down.

We learned about the Oregon trail & only briefly touched on The Mormon Trail. We googled up some pictures of names etched in Chimney Rock, wagon ruts, and some of the remains of old forts along the way. Thanks to the book On To Oregon, which didn't last long in our sidebar because we simply devoured the book, we felt like we were actually right there on the trail. Did you know that the majority of the people who went along that trail at first did so, once again, to defeat the British? We learned that both British and the US had steaks in the west as both claimed land. It was then decided that whomever could have the most people there by a specific time frame would get official rights to it. American's weren't about to give up the land they'd fought so hard for that quickly and off many of them set.

We learned about some rather amazing mountain men who came off as quite fearless, and while he's not on the page above we even covered Kit Carson. However, I think the one mountain man that will ever remained embedded in the minds of my children will be John Colter. We read about him in various books and each time we filled in a bit more of his story. One account told us he'd saved his own life by running naked from a tribe of Indians. We actually found another source that could give us more detail and as it turned out he had to literally race for his life, because whomever won the race got to live and whomever lost was to be killed. Not once did Colter do this but twice!! His stories really are quite interesting to read.

We read about the Alamo, something my boys truly won't be forgetting as I had their wrapped attention as I read them Susanna Of The Alamo. Mind you, I think they thought, at first, that it was suppose to be about Custer & his last stand, but the story of Susanna was so action filled and amazing they didn't complain afterwards that it wasn't the story there were expecting.

We learned about the underground railroad and read as William & Callie raced towards freedom. The boys were really impressed to be learn that one slave managed to escape to freedom thanks to mailing himself express mail in a wooden crate! It took him two days to reach his destination, but we had a great laugh imagining the looks on people's faces when they opened up that crate! We found Fredrick Douglass' boldness quite amazing as well, & we're intrigued by the Missouri Compromise considering the emancipation proclamation hadn't happened yet. {In short the government wanted to keep the amount of free states vs slave states equal so no one had more balance or power over another, this effected states joining the union!}

Our notebooks are full to bursting now & the boys have had so much fun all ready going back over what they've learned. They are eagerly waiting to start up again in 2012 when we will finally reach the Civil War, one of the few wars they know very little about and can't wait to find out about. We've had such a fun year, but are looking forward to our summer break!


Dawn said...

What great history lessons. We start with the Civil War soon too. Have a wonderful break.

Julie said...

That is one big notebook! It looks like ours. :) We are going to do 3 of these CDs next year with SL Core D, hoping to go on to the last CDs with Core E. I can't wait to start digging in and seeing which projects we may want to do. Thanks for blogging with so many great pictures.