Friday, October 19, 2018

Studying The Westward Expansion with Multiple Ages

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The Westward Expansion deserves a well in depth study as much as our infamous Thanksgiving studies or other well known Americana eras. It was truly a historic time in young America that built our country up and truthfully brought some of it down (just teach that part to the older kids). We are so lucky today to have many journal's and stories of folks living in that era that show us how much determination a living soul would have and how far they'd go to set their families up for success. It's a story, a time of pure unrivaled growth, a tale of right's and wrong's, and a journey so worth remembering for years to come. 


This topic will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first history lesson I taught when I started homeschooling. My son was in the middle of his 7th grade year when we pulled him out of a charter school. I figured we should just pick up where he left off. While we took our time researching core curriculum, the Westward Expansion was studied and studied well. 


Oh how I wish we had the the knowledge of game-schooling and reading novel's to get into a lesson back then. Today you can find so many wonderful resources to tie into this amazing topic. You can tailor it to meet a 3rd grade level, all the way up to high school. Using hands on history, your youngest can make her own pictograph's on a brown paper animal hide while your oldest tries out a fruit leather recipe!! You can weave this lesson together with multiple ages so easily by adding in a fun game or two and virtually go on a journey with Lewis & Clark, meet Sacajawea, or dive into the Gold Rush!! The possibilities are endless!! 


As my young one and I are starting this Westward Expansion unit study now, I wanted to share with you our top picks and how we incorporate them! 


First and Foremost...Books! 

My eyes were opened to the vast wide world of books when we started homeschooling. You mean Barnes & Noble doesn't have it all??!! Exactly...posts like these, from other homeschoolers have opened the door to so many books and we jump on that!! You can find a book on anything nowadays...literally..anything. Young readers would prefer to read a novel over a textbook, so encourage that (it's like sneaking cauliflower into "mashed potatoes" but with knowledge). 




Workbooks! 
 These are great for grades 5-8! We used the Westward Expansion and Migration. It's very in depth and has fun activities plugged in!



Hands-On Play Learning 

I love to set out our play sets when we learn about specific topics because I have a fidgeter...she cannot sit still. Doing this allows her to move and easily ties into the lesson we are talking about. 




Games 

If you asked a high schooler if they'd rather do their regular school work or play a game, guess what their answer would be...You got it...play a game! Why not make it educational and inspire them to read a little more about a word that pops up or a character we haven't read much about yet. Games are treasures!!








Handicrafts 

Make things!!!! One of the greatest values of this unit is teaching our children about the old ways. Make your own beeswax candles, or a mini covered wagon, or build a teepee!! The kids can have so much fun with this and you might too! 




Also consider keeping out a Nature Journal, bug or flower specimens, and magnifying glass. Or go on nature walks!




The Westward Expansion is absolutely a fun unit to study no matter the age. I hope our list of activities and resources pull you into the journey as well. With books to read, games to play, things to make, your family is sure to love the adventures of Lewis & Clark as much as ours!! 




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