Friday, July 8, 2016

Independence Day

Independence Day, better known as the 4th Of July to many, is a tricky holiday for some Expats. I'm part of a few Expats group & it was fun seeing how many rounded up anyone they could to come celebrate with them. We, too, have done in that in the past, but it's far easier when the holiday falls on a weekend then on a Monday.

With so much travesty in my homeland I was feeling especially drawn to the holiday this year. Perhaps the semi-after effects of being belittled & ridiculed for being American played a part in that this year, who knows.

Long gone are the days when we had drawers full of patriotic decorations to pull out, or decorations for most holidays. Hobby Lobby was amazing for that, especially when things were marked down.. I digress.

 The point being that I don't have a great surplus of decorations for Independence Day, so I dug up what I could find around the house, & in typical fashion many of those resources were handmade crafts or books.

Our fireplace, all though seldom used, is usually our mail place for decorating. This is part of our learning room & also happens to be where we gather each morning to start our day, & many times where we gather as a family to end our days as well.

The flag was something the kids made years ago when we did the HSITW Revolutionary War study. It was a fantastic study to really bring the reason for Independence Day to life for our gang. It was also the moment they fell in love with history. We revisit parts of it each year, & sometimes they giggle about the infatuation they had during that time for Liberty Kids.

The banner is something I made years ago & was sized for a particular location in another home, however it works well there & is hung up with small clear clips we became accustomed to using in our rental years. I keep telling the guys how I need to make more of it, someday..

Some of our very favourite books about the holiday were pulled off the shelf & placed around the room. It's amazing how many times people will pick up a book if it's just laying around vs having to go to the shelf & actually find it. The kids claim this is because I'm the only person who can be asked for a specific book, walk to the shelf & find it, but I'm not so sure about that..

Both are older library copies & have that beautiful old-book smell. I think I've shared about both of these books before too. I'm not sure that the Revolutionary War Hero book is still available for purchase but, you can find The 4th Of July Story over at amazon.

Please don't waste time telling me there are no heroes in war. There are heroes in everything when one makes a sacrifice for the good of others. The men covered inside that book knew that the actions they took, signing their name to a simple sheet of paper, meant they could be tried for treason if their efforts failed. Yet, they truely believed in what they were doing, & they did it anyway knowing what fate could possibly await them. There are heroes everywhere, if only we look to find them.

We own many of the Jean Fritz books based on US history, or Jean Fritz books in general for that matter. Most of ours have the funny new caricature type covers, but the words inside are the same. The Landmark book was one we discovered doing American History with the Winter Promise curriculum, & is often reread by the kids. The Secret Soldier tells Deborah Sampson's story & her part in the Revolutionary War.

The Declaration of Independence is written in it's entirety inside that book. It is, however, broken down & illustrated to help children understand what just how much the words mean. There's a lovely glossary in the back as well for harder to understand words, & a timeline of events that led up to & through the Revolutionary War. We've been reading that very copy for the past 8 years now, it's a 4th Of July tradition regardless of what day of the week the holiday lands on. Unfortunately, the book is now out of print, which is an absolute shame as it's well worth acquiring to read to children to really help them understand the meaning of the words. This video doesn't do a bad job of it either, but it's not the Declaration, rather the reasons why it was written. Please be advised some of the images in the video may not be suitable for all children.

The imagination station books were gifts for one of the boys a year or two ago when he was infatuated with this time period & made a perfect addition to a side table, not to mention the possible lure of someone reading them.

I ended up splurging this year & picked up a US flag bunting & a fun photo booth type opportunity for when we have our own celebration this weekend, unfortunately the latter arrived slightly bent so it's currently under a mattress being flattened out. No fireworks, of course, but sparklers are always a fun addition to our celebrations, & thankfully legal!

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