What Are We Going To Do With the Kids?: Curriculum Support for K-12 Students

Whether or not you are a supporter of homeschooling, the Corona Virus has taken over, and your kids are probably hanging around, sick of Disney movies, and whining about visiting friends. Homeschooling has come to you, and luckily, the history community is at your service. Below are three ideas for getting your young ones off the couch and into the past—check them out.

Coax Galusha and Hannibal into learning something by following the excellent path laid out by the folks who create oral history lessons. We are all living through a dynamic time.  Oral history offers a structured way to get people talking about it. Reading Rockets provides excellent introductory lessons in creating oral history for students in 3rd-8th grade. There are printable worksheets upon which information may be gathered and arranged in a variety of logical orders. Models for questioning are provided, along with writing frames to organize information. Students are encouraged to use their families as the primary source. There is a list of books for older children that presents a variety of oral histories from World War II and Vietnam.

Younger learners have a list as well, containing more personal histories. The names of several of these authors should be familiar to those of us who read to our children. This information can be found here: https://www.readingrockets.org/article/oral-history. Maybe the next time young Thurlow Facetimes Aunt PittyPat there will be to talk about.

Varina and Mary can access The American Battlefield Trust sites, even with their phones. The Trust has lesson plans grouped into three categories: elementary, middle school, and high school. Their lessons are standards-based and include online animated maps of battles for both the Civil War and the American Revolution. There are videos, “This Day in the War,” biographies, and visual collections—all available online. The Traveling Trunk is not available to the public, but a perusal of photographs make its contents clear, and most of these things can be ordered from battlefield gift shops. Creating your own “trunk” would be an excellent way to help a student understand the value of artifacts and to get a sense of the availability or reproductions: https://www.battlefields.org/learn/educators/resources/civil-war-traveling-trunk. A quick look through the ECW revealed at least one recipe for hardtack: https://emergingcivilwar.com/2013/12/30/top-15-posts-of-2013-number-5-making-hardtack/

Part of the Trust’s Traveling Trunk

Finally, perhaps Jefferson, Abe, and Elmer can join Rose and Clara in reading The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of Leroy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865. LeRoy Wiley Gresham wrote in his diary nearly every single day during the Civil War, providing us with a wholly unique perspective on civilian life from 1860-1865. He was an exceptionally bright young man and observed the social changes that War brought to his home in Macon, Georgia. Suffering from a terminal illness, LeRoy’s hope and ever-present optimism has captured the imagination of Civil War experts and novices alike. Publisher Savas Beatie has created a companion curriculum guide written for students in grades 8-12, supporting both English and History standards and written by veteran teachers. This guide can assist students and adults in the current homeschooling situation by introducing them to a teenager, also dealing with a world undergoing dramatic and unprecedented change. It may even encourage the keeping of a Corona Diary. If you would like to order a copy signed by the editor, please click on the link below. Shipping and tax will automatically be added to your order.





Leroy has a Facebook page as well. There you will find posts about the people and places that the Greshams would have been familiar with, wartime entertainments and practices, recipes, and a lot more!

So you see, Mr., Mrs., and Ms. History Buff–whether you are a parent, a sibling, an aunt, an uncle, or a grand, you have terrific resources literally at your fingertips. Check them out! These sites are adding more information and supportive resources every day. Find other links according to your interests. With 5G, AI, and 3D becoming more available, even classroom teaching is changing content delivery. When this virus ends–and it will–technologies might just have brought us all closer–well… closer than the six-foot recommendation anyway.


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