Unit studies are a favorite around here. I often use that method of homeschooling to study things that fall outside our core curriculum choices that my children have expressed a specific interest in. Recently we had the chance to review the White House Holidays Unit Studies by Silverdale Press LLC.
The White House Holidays Unit Studies teach the history behind the following American Holidays:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- Valentine’s Day
- Labor Day
- Veteran’s Day
These studies are fantastic to use with your entire family because one study will work with kindergarteners through high schoolers. I know that sounds impossible but it truly isn’t. Every lesson in these studies is broken down by age. All three of my school age children ages 8, 10, and 12 were able to get a lot of use out of these studies. All I had to do was spend a little bit of time reading through the lessons ahead of time and I was able to pick and choose how to use the materials in a way that would suit my children. These studies are so flexible and that is probably my favorite thing about them.
We did all of the lessons as a family. There are interesting read aloud sections provided for you. The history provided to you in these lessons is fantastic. They use lots of primary sources like transcripts from speeches, photographs, letters and more. It adds such a richness to the lessons. Far more fascinating than a textbook.
These units all include optional hands-on projects mostly intended for the elementary student. They are simple and don’t require too extra supplies. Most homeschool families have things like crayons, and paper around the house.
The most intriguing thing about these unit studies is that they are all taught from the perspective of the president who sat in the White House when the holiday was first created. What a unique take on American history! My children, if I haven’t said it before, eat up American history like candy. Finding new spins on the topic is a bit of a challenge. These unit studies definitely had then rethinking and seeing some events they had some knowledge of in a while new way.
How We Used The White House Holiday Studies
I let my children choose which holiday we would begin with. They chose Labor Day since it is the holiday up next on our calendar. It also seemed to be the one we actually know nothing about. Before this study, all I could say about the holiday is to the best of my knowledge its a holiday to celebrate the American worker. To my surprise (or maybe not, it is a national holiday after all) there is plenty more to it than that.
There is so much information about this holiday in this unit study. The Labor Day Unit is done over three lessons and we took more than a full week to complete each one. You’ll need a couple of days at least to do each lesson well. We spent time reading the lessons, diving into the primary sources, and completing at least some of the activities. Taking the time with each lesson let is really mull over some of the bigger more weighty topics.
My children are huge Amerian History buffs and this unit was right up their ally. They learned about events in the history of our nation that I had never heard of before. There was Pullman strike, Eleanor Roosevelt, and her work with child labor laws, the first Labor Day parade and more.
We also chose the Veteran’s Day Unit Study which we are still working on finishing up the last little bits of. We are very much a family that likes to mull over our lessons and these unit studies are best served if you honestly take your time with them. They are just so rich.
Just like the Labor Day lessons we began with the reading and moved into studying the primary sources. There are other activities to help you sort of digest the material and study things like vocabulary words with activities like crossword puzzles and the like. In our lessons, we learned the holiday was originally called Armistice Day. We dug in speeches and discussed President Eisenhower’s transition as a military leader from General to President.
One part of this unit we haven’t tackled yet is interviewing a veteran. We have someone very special in mind. He is a Vietnam veteran my children greatly admire. I think it’ll be wonderful and moving experience when we can get his schedule to coordinate with ours.
This may be one of our most favorite reviews ever. The quality here is outstanding. We will absolutely complete every unit study in this bundle. And we will most likely enjoy every bit of it. I absolutely cannot recommend Silverdale press to you enough!