This past week was the lead up to the 100th Anniversary of the Landing At Gallipoli. This is a major part of Australian history & we took the week to really appreciate the sacrifices that were made at that particular time in Australian history.
We used the Anzac Unit Study I shared earlier. It was a simple unit, all be it emotional, with the books we chose to read. I'm not sure you can really study the pasts of any country & not find it a bumpy ride, or lacking of emotion.
Needless to say by the time Anzac Day arrived they were fully prepared to attend our local ceremony with a much greater understanding for what it was all about.
We started off our studies with a brief introduction of what sparked World War I. It's been a while since reading this book with them so it was a great reminder. Jayde is now super excited to learn he'll be using the book in full next year. Later in the week we also skipped ahead to the small bit of information shared inside about Gallipoli.
We spent a good deal of time this week mapping where various battles happened. This was a difficult task considering it all happened in such a small area, but they did the best they could with the map of Turkey we had. More importantly the names of the locations became very familiar to them, which was really important.
They had 2-3 vocabulary words to look up each day. Some were familiar to them & they enjoyed looking them up to see if they were right or not. Dictionary.com to the rescue for us, I really need to purchase a proper dictionary, but we really do appreciate that nifty website!
We read bits & pieces of this book as well. While the entire book applies to Anzac day we chose to focus only on WWI & more importantly what happened in Gallipoli due to this being the 100th anniversary of the landing. We picked this book up a while back at a local used book store, but it's really lovely if you can lay hands on it. It covers various aspects of the Australian military, all wars they've been involved in up to the time of publishing, uniforms, & medals, etc.
These were our 2 read alouds this week. Lighthouse Girl is a lovely light read. It's based on a true story about the Breaksea Island Lighthouse. There's newspaper clippings & photos scattered throughout the book which bounces back & forth between journal entries & story telling. In the very back there's extra information about the heroine, Fay, & the author explains which portions of the book are true & which aren't.
The Donkey Who Carried The Wounded was a completely different level of emotional reading. I should have pre-warned, when sharing about our Anzac books, that it's also best for the older readers as there's some language inside & sharing of gruesome details as you are taken to the horrors of what unfolded for the young men during their stay in Gallipoli. Knowing the history of Simpson, we knew he'd not make it out alive, but those were still some really difficult chapters to read!
It was summed up on someone's timeline rather well, especially considering a certain child gasped audibly when we got to that portion of the story. The book was really well written, but we've yet to not enjoy a Jackie French book. I love the way she really brings history to life, but isn't willing to gloss over even the hard & ugly parts.
This was our latest addition to our Anzac books. I like to try & purchase a new one each year, & there were two on my list I went into the shop for. Imagine the look on the boys faces when this was what I came out with instead! One book was unavailable & the other book had a WWII focus & as this year our focus was WWI I found myself staring at the unusually small amount of books available. Our local book shop is normally really amazing about keeping the shelves full, but I was a bit disgruntled by their lack of books on this topic this past month.
On the other hand, One Minute's Silence has to be the most amazing Anza picture book for older children I have yet to read. The pictures inside are all done on the same fashion as the cover with the black & white drawings, the words are incredibly simple, but the meaning behind it is just beautifully covered.
The book stars out in a classroom of fidgety looking teens who don't seem to really have much interest in whatever is being taught. So the question is posed, "In a moment's silence can you imagine.." It speaks of the things we all think of when the moment of silence arises at the Anzac Services, but it goes beyond that to hit on some much deeper topics. It has the perspective from both the Anzacs & the Turkish side, & it left my boys deep in thought when I closed it up after reading it aloud to them. In fact, when we went to pull it out the next day, as it has a couple of beautiful maps inside, it was "missing" & turned in the room they'd slept in.
We watched a couple of different movies on YouTube this week as well. One told us about the history of the poppy flower from the Canadian point of view, while another told us about it from the Scottish point of view. We also watched an amazing movie at the end of the week which brought everything to life for the kids entitled Anzac For Schools.
They each potted 2 different kinds of poppy seeds, we had a third enroute, but I don't think anyone ever planted any. Mind you, I think they planted the seeds they did use too deep as they've yet to sprout up yet. We may need to start that experiment over & try it in a plastic baggie until we have some good sized seedlings happening.
They tore up the Readers Digest at the end of the week to make covers for their little notebooks. Morgan was happy to just have a two-page spread picture where as Jayden wanted all the little bits & bobs he could get. The young boy on the cover of his notebook was the last surviving person from Anzac, & at the time of his passing actually lived a few hours from us. The photo has caused great debate, all week, about what age each person in our home thinks he was when he enlisted.
The notebooks contain their maps, vocabulary work, research work, timelines, & any other bits they collected during their study. I loved this picture above on one of the boys timelines of the 75th anniversary.
We made unofficial Anzac Biscuits. They can't be "official" ones because ours had to be gluten & dairy free. They were very tasty despite our adaptions, all though I'd like to try them again with a few more adaptations to see if we can keep the crisp in them a bit longer.
We did our memory box each day this week too. It wasn't much in the line of math to review all their multiplication facts, but I really wanted to ease back into our full-time studies & this provided that opportunity. We also had spelling as normal which only caused minor angst for one, & not the one you'd expect either!
Saturday we went down for the annual mid-morning ceremony. We wondered if a lot of people hit the dawn ceremony because this is the first year we've been able to stand close enough to see the people actually talking. Jayden was especially smitten that he could see the guard around the cenotaph. We all had a huge fright when a loud voice behind us said, "Excuse me Sweetie.." An elderly woman was at my elbow & needed help down the steep hill, but we were so engrossed in what was going on we hadn't seen her standing there!
Next week it's back to our normal fuller schedule.