We studied the War of 1812 last year during cycle 3 of Classical Conversations. The minute the boys saw our topic of study they launched into the corresponding song, “The war of 1812, gave confidence to the US to write the Monroe doctrine…”
I made several recordings of their young warmly voices as they sang out “The Star Spangled Banner.” Its difficult to imagine what they will sound like a few years from now.
We recreated the Battle of Ft McHenry in our bathtub. We will not be sharing those pictures. Suffice to say, there was a great deal of water outside the tub when it was all said and done!
After spending the first two days of our unit reading about the War of 1812 and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner, the boys asked if we could take a detour with Lewis & Clark. I love homeschool detours. We always learn so much! Here’s what happened…
We jumped in with our Interactive 3D American History maps.
We looked up the various Indian tribes and geographical features mentioned on the map. The boys were very excited about researching these terms in their child craft encyclopedias.
We made a lap book from Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus. All the printouts were free and easy to assemble. We listed defining characteristics of various tribes, studied botany and mapped out Lewis and Clark’s route.
We printed out the corresponding coloring sheets to fill in while I read aloud from our Louisiana Purchase book list (see below).
We played a really fun Lewis & Clark Westward Bound board game. The cards relay information about the trip at each stop along the map.
Lastly, I purchased a few pounds of white sculpty clay and the boys fashioned pieces for our Corps of Discovery diorama. I read aloud from a few books written from the experience of Seaman, the massive Newfoundland dog that accompanied Lewis and Clark on their journey.
We baked the pieces in the oven and then painted them a few days later.
This was a great project! I love how hands on it was. I also got a lot of reading in while they worked and afterwards, while they played.
On Friday, we went for our usual nature walk. The boys had spent the week cataloging the plants in our backyard. We dissected a bird of paradise flower and labeled each part. I had seen a great link for making your own grocery bag nature journals, a la Merriweather Lewis. I had planned to let the boys fill their homemade journals with drawings of native plants as though they were the original discoverers.
In the end, I opted to just let them enjoy the great outdoors with a project in mind.
When we returned home, they worked on their natural journals and sketched a large piece of brood comb from one of our pine trees. They also sketched a honey bee and labeled its parts.
I’m glad we did this instead of the journal. They were much more excited to sketch bees today. Some days, its better to let them lead their own learning.
We ended the week by playing one of our new favorite board games, Wildcraft, in honor of those crazy botanist/explorers Lewis & Clark.
Louisiana Purchase, Lewis & Clark Expedition Reading List
How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis and Clark by Rosalyn Sanchez
Lewis and Clark: The Story of Our Nation from Coast to Coast, from 1801-1850 by Sally Isaacs
Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President by Shirley Raye Redmond
The Louisiana Purchase: Would you close the deal? by Elaine Landau
The Lewis and Clark Expedition (Graphic History) by Jessica Gunderson
Seaman’s Journal: On the Trail with Lewis and Clark by Patricia Eubank
We’ll be taking the next week off and I plan to read “Of Courage Undaunted” by James Daughtery.