This week is a shorter week due to our Labor Day holiday which was spent at the Pawtucket Red Sox game in RI. We also met for our first Geography themed homeschool Co-op this week so there went half of Wednesday. :) Therefore, I chose a book which didn't have as many accompanying activities for this “four” in a row week.
They Were Strong and Good by Robert Lawson is a simplistic tale of the narrator’s parents and grandparents. These include a Scottish Sea Captain, a Dutch girl who lived in NJ, and a Southern preacher. His father fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, so this book is a gentle way to introduce this time period.
The lovely ink illustrations outshine the story, but there is plenty of food for thought. The book was written in 1940, so it does come across as dated. If the same kind of story were written in 2011, I would hope that the overall theme would be the ancestors written about were human. That would make it easier for any generation to relate to the people who came before us. We all may like to believe our ancestors were perfect beings, but they dealt with similar struggles in their everyday lives as we do today. It is important to keep that in mind instead of idolizing people. This can be said for historical figures, leaders and celebrities as well. /tangent
As Genealogy is a hobby of mine, we have done some lessons to look at census records and photos of W’s own ancestors on both sides of the family, and made a family tree. We talked about the countries that his own ancestors came from including Ireland, Italy, England, Scotland, and Germany. We have the Europe GeoPuzzle so that is useful for learning the shapes of the countries and locating them on a map. He also learned about one of his own Civil War ancestors who was from New Hampshire. W thought it was cool that he was a farmer and lived in the same state that we do.
Resources for They Were Strong and Good can be found at Homeschool Share and googling printables for the states and occupations mentioned. Check out Ancestry.com to build your own family tree online, or print out a basic chart for your child to fill out.
Next week begins our monthly Five in a Row Co-op with some other homeschooling families. We are excited to share ideas and choose a story for September and October that other kids will “row” along with us. This will be our initial meeting and information session for parents who want to look at the curriculum materials before jumping in.