When I signed up to review the White House Holidays Unit Studies by Silverdale Press LLC my plan had been to incorporate parts of several of the studies into our existing history program. I figured that I could condense them down and work through several of them that were applicable.
However, while I personally looked over several of them we only did one complete one as a family. Not because we didn’t enjoy them but because I felt like they were so good that we didn’t want to skip around and miss out on valuable content. I wanted to take the time to go through the entire unit study and really let it sink in.
These unit studies are broken down by holiday but I made my choice based on the fact that we were studying the civil rights movement as a key part of our history last month. I had planned to use several resources and supplement them with parts of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Study. When we received the unit studies I realized that I would not need to supplement our studies with anything other than our family discussions.
In our home we typically do history studies twice a week and as civil rights was only one component of the era we were studying we decided to devote one day each week to the unit study and complete our studies of the other events of that time period on the second day.
While this was a Martin Luther King Jr. unit study it also talked about other people involved in the civil rights movement and as the name White House Holidays Unit Studies it also focused on how Martin Luther King Jr. interacted and worked with the men who were president during his time as a civil rights activist.
Each week I would read one of the lessons aloud to my children. This would inevitably bring about family discussions about this very difficult time in the history of our nation. Once I had read and we had discussed any questions the children had we would complete the various activities that were included for that week.
There was a timeline that continued throughout the study and each week that would add the events that had been discussed to the timeline. There was also a map that they could mark the various cities where the event occurred. There was a printable map included at the end of the study which is sufficient but after a couple of weeks my children decided that it was more fun to find them on our big wall map.
In addition to the timeline and maps each week, there were various activities broken up by ages. Some activities for grades K-6 and some for 7-12. I went through each week and chose those that I felt fit best for our family. The children’s favorite activity and possibly one of the most eye opening activities was completing a quiz that was used as a barrier to keep blacks from registering to vote. They were surprised at how difficult the quiz was and how unimportant and random many of the questions were. Honestly, I was surprised. By most standards, I am a very educated voter and there were questions on that test that I could not answer.
Other activities included listening to freedom songs, making protest posters, analyzing speeches and participating in a service project. There were craft activities for those children that learn well in that modality, writing activities that could easily count towards your language arts program, and other relevant and engaging activities.
Each lesson also included links to various video clips. We watched a couple each week to help the children get a better understanding of what we had read and discussed that week. My son was particularly enthralled with one of the clips which featured the President on the phone with Martin Luther King Jr. We had just recently traveled to the Eisenhower National Historic Site as we studied through that era in history. So my children were very excited to make the connections of the Civil Rights movement with President Eisenhower.
In addition to the Martin Luther King Jr. study they have studies for Labor Day, Valentines Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and one coming soon about George Washington. These studies could be done as your curriculum for a week leading up to the holiday or spread out over a month as we did. You could pick and choose a few of the activities or go all in and complete all of the option. We chose to use a study that correlated with our history studies that were in progress but they could easily stand alone. They can be done around the holiday but this one also worked just fine being done during a different time of year. I am looking forward to doing the Labor Day study in September as we get started on our new school year. Which White House Holidays Unit Study sounds most interesting to you? Please let me know in the comments and use the link below to check out reviews of other studies by our wonderful Crew!
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