WELCOME! I used this blog to share our family's homeschooling thoughts and experiences. Our oldest child, EL, finished her formal education in May 2017, and we graduated our son, JJ, from High School in May 2021. I will leave this blog up for anyone who wishes to read our curriculum reviews or see what types of field trips and/or activities we participated in.

Monday, May 31, 2021

FINAL POST On SONset Academy: JJ's Senior Year 2020-2021

I'm sorry to say I didn't do any blogging for JJ's Senior Year. It was a strange year with the Pandemic and everything else that was going on, and I just didn't have it in me to blog. But, last weekend, we graduated our son from High School, so I want to at least give a quick review of his Senior year... 

First Day of Senior Year

First day of first W-2 job: Dairy Queen

Visiting the Welding Program at Community College

Video Production Class

PROM with a sweet young lady.


Inside the house before making the graduation walk, all the memories we shared over the years came flooding in at once. All the good times we had. All the hard times we had. I wouldn't change any of it, not even the hard times, for it was those moments that helped us to learn and grow. I truly cherish this son of mine, and am thankful my husband and I chose to spend these years teaching him (and also his sister) in our private home school.

It has been 16 years since I first began teaching back in 2005 and, since our youngest child has completed High School, I am now officially RETIRED as a full-time educator.

With that in mind, this will be my last post on this blog. Thank you for reading and for following along through the years. I will be leaving this blog up for those who want to read my curriculum reviews, or read about our adventures through the years. You are always welcome to contact me with any thoughts or questions you may have. 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

What We Used for LANGUAGE ARTS in High School

For JJ's Language Arts in High School, we used a variety of curricula. Here is what worked best for us. 

  • Easy Grammar Plus for instruction in Grammar and Punctuation. 
  • Sequential Spelling for, well... Spelling, of course. 
  • Igniting Your Writing by Sandi Larsen for writing instruction. 
We did Grammar and Spelling Monday-Thursday, then focused on a writing lesson on Fridays. The schedule worked out well for us because it wasn't too overwhelming for my reluctant writer. The lessons in Igniting Your Writing are short, easy to follow, and easy to comprehend. They take you step by step through an assignment, and what I love is that it has 3 different difficulty levels to choose from for each lesson. You can choose to do the easiest level for a reluctant or new writer, or you can choose intermediate, or advanced. You can choose to do one, two, or all three assignments, depending on your interests and needs. It is geared for those who do not care about writing, and helps make things simple to do and more fun for them.

  • Queen Homeschool Language Lessons for the Secondary Child - Vol. 2
  • K12 Reader - Free printable Spelling curriculum for High School
  • Freewriting on Fridays using the ideas from Bravewriter - Set the timer for 5-10 minutes, give a topic, and have him write non-stop until the timer dings. Even if they write, "I don't know what to write" ten times, let them do it. At least they are writing and, eventually, they will figure out something else to write. 
  • Plus, for U.S. History, he was required to write a research paper, so we used "How to Write a Great Research Paper" by Book Builders as a guide.   
I purchased Igniting Your Writing II, and intended to use it, but it wasn't the best fit for us at that time. Volume I was great for us, but volume 2 we weren't ready for. 

  • Instead of using Igniting Your Writing II, I found something we liked better for Writing Instruction - Jump In from Apologia. 
  • 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know - A small book we used for Vocabulary

  • Movies As Literature - This is a complete, one-year high school English course that uses classic movies on video to introduce and study the elements of literary analysis. Student discussion and composition questions are provided for each of the 17 lessons.

Monday, May 11, 2020

JJ's JUNIOR YEAR - What Our Spring Semester Looked Like

This school year, (JJ's Junior Year) is definitely a year to remember. It was completed earlier than our years in the past, but it wasn't really by choice. You see, we were all looking forward to taking a 2-week Spring Break in April and go on a family vacation to Florida; but, then, the COVID-19 Pandemic broke out, and our vacation plans came to a halt. With nothing else to do but stay home, we decided to continue working through our Spring Break, and that allowed us to officially finish our school year at the end of April.

Many parents have been forced into schooling their children at home these past couple of months, and I can imagine how hard that must be for them. For us, it hasn't been as much of a shock to our family dynamic because we were already homeschooling. However, the Pandemic has certainly changed the way we have done things, has "messed up" our plans, and has produced lonely and stressful situations for all of us. I can say for certain, schooling at home during a stay-at-home order is not a typical way of homeschooling, and we are hoping/praying that next school year will allow us do things the way we are used to doing them.

Here's a brief update on our
Spring Semester:

NUTRITION CLASS:  JJ and CV were almost finished with Nutrition class before they could no longer meet together for lessons. For their final project, they were supposed to plan a menu, shop for ingredients, and cook a meal for both of our families. They got as far as planning the menu but, unfortunately, were unable to shop and cook as a team. The boys enjoyed learning together while it lasted.

Comparing nutrition labels on cereal boxes

CAREER EXPLORATION:  During 1st Semester, we finished our book-work and visited a Funeral Home, a charcoal artist, and the local Post Office. We had planned on visiting several more businesses in the 2nd semester, but plans changed big time once the Pandemic broke out. We did manage to get a Career Fair in that was held at the High School, and JJ was able to get some new ideas about potential jobs from there. He also visited a friend at the local Subway, then filled out and turned in his first job application. Again, the Pandemic stopped that job possibility from happening. He will try applying for a job again at a later date.

Career/Job Fair
STRENGTH & FITNESS CLASS:  The gym where JJ has his classes, of course, closed its doors during the Pandemic, which was sad. But, JJ has been able to continue with his class via Zoom meetings. He is very dedicated to getting and staying fit, and does not want to miss a class if possible. I'm glad the Zoom meetings became an option for him.

MODERN WORLD HISTORY:   This is one of the classes the Pandemic did not change. After finishing Ancient World History in 1st semester, JJ used a history textbook to get a good overview of Modern World History. He read a portion each day, wrote a brief summary, and watched a topic-related video.

ALGEBRA I:  Again, no change in this class, but whew! We made it through it, and JJ passed with a C grade. That's really about all I have to say about that! Then, with the few weeks we had left over, he moved on into an introduction of Geometry.

JUMP IN (WRITING):  No big changes with this class either. JJ completed all his writing assignments. Honestly, he didn't enjoy writing them, but at least he got through the course and learned a little more about how to organize his thoughts. The final assignment was to do a book report. JJ chose the 3rd book in the Michael Vey series which I read aloud for us both to hear. Because of our time at home, we were able to get in some extra reading time and finished the book quicker than we normally would have.

Typing a Book Report


Volunteering at a local food distribution

Helping Dad change the kitchen faucet

EL taking part in a Zoom "show and tell"

Church at Home

Mom wearing a mask at a doctor appointment

Mowing the lawn

Assembling one of 4 Star Wars puzzles

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

JJ's JUNIOR YEAR - FALL 2019 Field Trips

Here's a quick peek at some of the interesting places we visited during JJ's first Semester of Junior year. . . .

September 16, 2019 - We stopped at a local cafe' to watch charcoal artist, Mack Leighty, in action. It was interesting to have our questions answered and to watch him work. His charcoal drawings are so incredibly detailed that they look like black and white photographs. 

One of the finished drawings.

September 18, 2019 - A fun trip to Casey, IL, to see all the BIG things, many of which are in the Guinness Book of World Records. JJ is pictured here in a big bird cage with two of his cousins.

November 16, 2019 - JJ took his first college trip with a group of friends/family to visit the campus of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

Post Office

November 21, 2019 - We took a visit to the local Post Office to see how things are run behind the counter.

We are still exploring job/career options this year, and hope to be visiting several more businesses during this final Semester of Junior year.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

JJ'S JUNIOR YEAR: 1st Quarter Review

We are off to a great start this year, probably our best year of High School so far. The work has not been tedious, and JJ is able to do most of his work independently now, as long as I give him instructions ahead of time. He has chosen to do most of his book work in the evenings before bed (because he is not a morning person.) However, I still sit with him mid to late mornings as he goes through Algebra lessons & Ancient History; and also guide our Nutrition class in the afternoons.

ANCIENT HISTORY - We are currently watching Drive Thru History's Ancient History DVD series, along with answering the provided discussion questions. It is interesting and educational material, especially for visual learners.

WORLD GEOGRAPHY - JJ is using The Geography Coloring Book by Wynn Kapit. This is a book for all ages that gives great practice in paying attention to detail, while also learning geographical locations. He is not thrilled with it, but is doing the work and learning from it.

ALGEBRA I - This has been one of our easiest years with Math so far. We are using SchoolYourself.org, a FREE online curriculum that covers the basics of Algebra. The lessons are short, and he is understanding them for the most part. Some areas he still struggles with, but we are working through the program with much less struggle this year than in previous years.   

WRITING INSTRUCTION - We are using Jump In, by Apologia (A workbook approach for reluctant OR eager writers). So far, he has learned how to write an "Opinion" paper, and is currently working on a "How-to" paper.  Writing is not his favorite subject, but I love how this workbook breaks things down into easy steps and is helping him learn the benefits of different forms of writing. Someday, he'll thank me for putting him through it. (I hope.)

VOCABULARY - We went over all of the words in 1000 High Frequency Words listed on K12 Reader, covered several new words in 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know, and he is also using Explode the Code for some additional phonics/vocabulary review.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE - We decided to drop a foreign language for now. The Tok Pisin he had chosen on UTalk.com did not work out as well as we had hoped. He already finished one year of Spanish his Freshman year, so we will wait and see if college is something he wants to pursue. If it is, then another year of Spanish would be a good option during his Senior year. If he does not pursue college, then Foreign Language isn't really necessary. So, we aren't stressing over it at this point.

CAREER EXPLORATION - We finished the main workbook from 7 Sisters Career Exploration, took an Interest Assessment on Career One Stop, and have been watching career videos on You Tube to see which jobs/careers might spark some interest. So far, he has a few things he is showing interest in, most of them hands-on types of jobs. He knows for certain he does not want a desk job, or anything that requires a lot of Math. 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION - He is still going strong with attending a teen strength and fitness class at a local gym. They meet on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. He is being challenged, and is enjoying seeing how he improves.

NUTRITION - We meet to have this class once per week with our friend CV. It is going well. The boys have so far learned about the essentials of drinking water over sugary drinks, different forms of carbohydrates and fats, the importance of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. We are using Janice VanCleave's Food and Nutrition for Every Kid, related videos on TedEd, and several Nutrition worksheets by Milliken.

NUTRITION EXPERIMENT:  Which banana tastes sweeter, the less ripe or more ripe? ANSWER:  The more ripe. WHY? Most fruits grow sweeter as they ripen because the starches in the fruits digest (break down) into sugars.

STRATEGY CLUB - After Nutrition class, the boys choose a game to play that requires strategizing skills. So far, they have played Checkers, Connect Four, Battleship, and Stratego. They have been enjoying this and learning from it.

OTHER ACTIVITIES this year have included Boy Scouts twice a month, volunteering at a local food distribution once per month, attending church on Sundays, Youth Group on Wednesdays, and also a teen hangout on Saturday nights. In his spare time, he is also learning to play songs on the keyboard (self-taught by using You Tube), learning Aurebesh & Huttese (an official Star Wars alphabet and language), and has been involved with making and editing short videos for his and cousin Jon's You Tube channel, JON SQUARED. One of their most-liked videos so far is THE MAGIC CLOSET. Check it out, and subscribe to their channel to see more. 

NOTE:  JJ is at the age where I don't like to post his personal business without his approval. So, he read over this with me and allowed me to post. Our friend, CV, also approved the photos that include him.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Back to School 2019 - JJ's Junior Year

Traditional breakfast: Toaster Strudel and a banana

Today was the start of  JJ's Junior year. He has a good load of courses again this year; but won't be doing everything all at the same time. David and I (with a bit of input from JJ also) came up with a course of study that will hopefully be challenging, but not too boring, for a visual, hands-on learner.

This is what we have chosen to use for his curricula this year:

  • World History Overview (1 credit) - Drive Thru History's Ancient History, and The History of the Modern World textbook are the spines we will branch out from.
  • World Geography (1/2 credit) - The Geography Coloring Book by Wynn Kapit. (This may sound like a children's book, but it's for all ages. The coloring provides practice in paying attention to detail, and also helps memorization of geographical locations.)
  • Algebra I (1 credit) -We will be starting with SchoolYourself.com, a FREE online curriculum that covers the basics, and might also use other online resources for more help and/or practice.  
  • English/Writing Instruction (1 credit) - Jump In, by Apologia - A workbook for reluctant OR eager writers that teaches how to write persuasive papers, expository essays, descriptions, narration, and poetry. For Vocabulary, we will be going over 1000 High Frequency Words as  listed on K12 Reader, as well as covering one new word per day from 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know.
  • Foreign Language: Tok Pisin (AKA Talk Pidgin, one of the three official languages of Papua New Guinea (1 credit) - UTalk.com
  • Bible (1/2 credit) - We will be doing this with Dad in the evenings. Our spine is Drive Thru History's DVD series of "The Gospels"
  • Physical Education (1/2 credit) - A membership to a Teen strength and fitness class at a local gym. He did this last year and loved it, so will be continuing this year as well. Classes are held 2x per week starting in September.  
  • Nutrition & Health (1/2 credit) - Using a variety of resources, including Janice VanCleave's Food and Nutrition for Every Kid and several Milliken worksheets on Nutrition
  • Career Exploration (1/2 credit) - Using the 7 Sisters Career Exploration curriculum.
  • Extracurricular - Strategy Club with a friend.
We are looking forward to a great school year!

Friday, August 16, 2019

What We Used for AMERICAN HISTORY in High School (for a Visual Learner)

During JJ's Sophomore year, we covered a good overview of American History. Since JJ is a visual learner, and does not retain much from reading textbooks alone, I ended up making my own lesson plans using a variety of resources. See below for a breakdown of our 34-week lesson plans. You can also view or print a copy of it on Google Docs through this link here:

NOTE:  Feel free to use this lesson plan for your personal use, or send the link to whoever you want, but selling it is prohibited.

SONset Academy's


Rebels - Defecting from England, Coming to a new land
-American Revolution
-Declaration of Independence
-George Washington

Civil War
-Civil War
-Transcontinental Railroad
-Statue of Liberty
-Henry Ford and the Model T

World War II
SET 1:  Columbus and the Pilgrims to the Freedom Trail
  • Episode 1: The Discovery: Introduction, Christopher Columbus, the Khan‑Polo Connection, Florence, Setting Sail in Spain, Amerigo Vespucci
  • Episode 2: The Pilgrims: Driving to Scrooby, The Separatists, The Pilgrims in Holland, The Mayflower, Plymouth Rock, The First Thanksgiving
  • Episode 3: Boston & Beginnings of Revolution: Boston’s Heritage, War Brewing, The Old North Church, Lexington & Concord, Battle of Bunker Hill, Dorchester Heights
  • Episode 4: George Whitefield, The Freedom Trail, Granary Burial Ground, Old State House, Faneuil Hall, USS Constitution
  • Episode 5: William Penn, Pennsbury Manor, Henry Muhlenberg, Christ Church, Jacob Duché, Betsy Ross
  • Episode 6: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Ben Franklin, The Declaration House, Carpenter’s Hall, The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall
  • Episode 7:  Philadelphia, Thaddeus Kosciusko, Germantown, Benjamin Chew House, Fort Mifflin, Valley Forge
  • Episode 8:  The Jamestown Colony, Pocahontas, Peter Mulenberg, Colonial Williamsburg, The Battle of Yorktown
  • Episode 9:  Mount Vernon, Slavery in Colonial America, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, James Madison’s Montpelier, Dolly Madison
  • Episode 10:  Battle Hill, The Battle of Long Island, Hessian Huts, Morris Manson, Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, Lombardi’s Pizzeria, Fort Washington
  • Episode 11:  Wall Street, Federal Hall, New York Stock Exchange, St. Paul’s Chapel, The Battle of Saratoga, Benedict Arnold, West Point
  • Episode 12:  Crossing the Delaware, The Battle of Trenton, John Witherspoon, Princeton, Morristown, Battle of Monmouth


NOTE:  We spent a little more time on the Civil War time period because that was a topic of interest for our son.

  • Watch DRIVE THRU HISTORY Episode 1 (Referred to as DTH from here out)
  •  Read Fun Facts page (printed from disc)
  • Answer Questions, Check Answers (printed out from disc)
  • Choose one Discussion Question (printed out from disc) and write out your answer, or choose several Discussion Questions and answer verbally
  • Watch a movie/video based around time-period
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch DTH Episode 2
  • Read Fun Facts page
  • Answer Questions, Check Answers
  • Choose one Discussion Question and write out your answer, or choose several Discussion Questions and answer verbally
  • Watch a movie/video based around time-period
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch DTH Episode 3
  • Read Fun Facts page
  • Answer Questions, Check Answers
  • Choose one Discussion Question and write out your answer, or choose several Discussion Questions and answer verbally
  • Watch a movie/video based around time-period
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK “No More Kings”
  • Look up and copy the following definitions to prepare for “America The Story of Us” Episode One (found on the History Channel website as listed in Resources above):
1.      Alluvial
2.      Aristocratic
3.      Coercion
4.      Contraband
5.      Fedgling
6.      Infringements
7.      Labyrinth
8.      Pre-emptive
9.      The Proclamation Line
10.  Wampanoag
  • Watch AMERICA THE STORY OF US Episode 1: Rebels - “This is the story of how, over seven generations, a group of European settlers survive against all odds, claw themselves up and then turn against their colonial masters. A diverse group of men, women and children are about to become truly American.”
  • Fill out Video Review and/or answer these Discussion Questions:
  1. What was the Powhatan Confederacy and how did this group interact with the British settlers?
  2. What were the most difficult challenges faced by the Plymouth and Jamestown settlers? Do you think they could have done anything to prepare more adequately for life in the Americas?
  3. What role did disease play in encounters between native groups and the first British settlers? 

  • Watch DTH Episode 4
  • Read Fun Facts page
  • Answer Questions, Check Answers
  • Choose one Discussion Question and write out your answer, or choose several Discussion Questions and answer verbally
  • Watch a movie/video based around time-period
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch DTH Episode 5
  • Read Fun Facts page
  • Answer all multiple-choice Questions, Check Answers
  • Choose one Discussion Question and write out your answer, or choose several Discussion Questions and answer verbally
  • Watch a movie/video based around time-period
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch DTH Episode 6
  • Read Fun Facts page
  • Answer all multiple-choice Questions, Check Answers
  • Choose one Discussion Question and write out your answer, or choose several Discussion Questions and answer verbally
  • Watch a movie/video based around time-period
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK “Fireworks”
  • Look up and copy definitions:
1.      Alacrity
2.      Bayonet
3.      Colonial
4.      Inoculation
5.      Prodigious
6.      Redoubt
7.      Resilience
8.      Siege
9.      Skiff
10.  Typhus
11.  Traverse
  • Watch AMERICA THE STORY OF US Episode 2: Revolution - “July 9, 1776. The Declaration of Independence is read to crowds in New York. America’s 13 colonies have taken on the might of the world’s leading superpower, and by 1783, America is free.  As the British leave, a new nation, the United States of America, is born.”
  • Fill out Video Review and/or answer these Discussion Questions:
1.      Who was Daniel Morgan, and what role did he play in the American Revolution?
2.      Why was it important for the Americans to win the support of France during the Revolution?
3.      What change in the construction of rifles helped the Americans during the Revolutionary War?
4.      What were some of the innovative ways Americans fought disease during the Revolution? What were the risks and potential rewards of these methods?
5.      What are three major reasons the Americans won the Revolutionary War? Give some specific examples from this program or from your own reading.

  • Watch DTH Episode 7
  • Read Fun Facts page
  • Answer Questions, Check Answers
  • Choose one Discussion Question and write out your answer, or choose several Discussion Questions and answer verbally
  • Watch a movie/video based around time-period
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch DTH Episode 8
  • Read Fun Facts page
  • Answer Questions, Check Answers
  • Choose one Discussion Question and write out your answer, or choose several Discussion Questions and answer verbally
  • Watch a movie/video based around time-period 
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch DTH Episode 9
  • Read Fun Facts page
  • Answer Questions, Check Answers
  • Choose one Discussion Question and write out your answer, or choose several Discussion Questions and answer verbally
  • Watch a movie/video based around time-period
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch DTH Episode 10
  • Read Fun Facts page
  • Answer Questions, Check Answers
  • Choose one Discussion Question and write out your answer, or choose several Discussion Questions and answer verbally
  • Watch a movie/video based around time-period
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK “Preamble”
  • Watch DTH Episode 11
  •  Read Fun Facts page
  • Answer all multiple-choice Questions, Check Answers
  • Choose one Discussion Question and write out your answer, or choose several Discussion Questions and answer verbally
  • Watch a movie/video based around time-period
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch DTH Episode 12
  • Read Fun Facts page
  • Answer Questions, Check Answers
  • Choose one Discussion Question and write out your answer, or choose several Discussion Questions and answer verbally
  • Watch a movie/video based around time-period
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK “Elbow Room”
  • Look up and copy definitions:
1.      Commodity
2.      Convulsion
3.      Cumberland Gap
4.      Decree
5.      Exploits
6.      Frontier
7.      Keelboat
8.      Toil
9.      Uncharted
  •  Watch AMERICA TSOU Episode 3: Westward - “As the American nation is born, a vast continent lies to the west of the mountains, waiting to be explored and exploited. For the pioneers who set out to confront these lands, following trailblazers like Daniel Boone, the conquest of the West is a story of courage and hardship that forges the character of America. America now stretches from "sea to shining sea. 
  • Fill out Video Review and/or answer these Discussion Questions:
1.      How would you describe Jedediah Smith? What do you think were his most important characteristics?
2.      Who was Susannah Dickinson, and what role did she play in the Alamo conflict?
3.      What was the significance of Daniel Boone’s clearing of the Cumberland Gap? How do you think this affected the Shawnee Indians and other native groups?

  • Look up and copy definitions:
1.      Abolitionism
2.      Aristocracy
3.      Cotton Gin
4.      Espionage
5.      Industrialism
6.      Ingenious
7.      Ravine
8.      Rupture
9.      Textile
  • Watch AMERICA TSOU Episode 4: Division - “America becomes a nation at the moment a revolution in commerce and industry sweeps across the western world. This vast new country, rich in resources, experiences a rapid change‑‑in trade, transport and manufacturing‑‑quickly turning America into one of the wealthiest nations on earth. Now two different Americas, united in prosperity, but divided by culture, face each other across a growing gulf. The issue is slavery.
  • Fill out Video Review and/or answer these Discussion Questions:
1.      Why did U.S. leaders want to build the Erie Canal? How did the canal change the U.S.?
2.      Some historians refer to the increase in highways and roads in the U.S. during the 19th century as a “transportation revolution.” How did the addition of many more roads and highways affect the U.S.?
3.      When was the Fugitive Slave Act passed, and what were the consequences of this law?
  • Look up and copy definitions:
1.      Cavalier
2.      Chloroform
3.      De facto
4.      Emancipation
5.      Invincibility
6.      Minie ball
7.      Munitions
8.      Ploughshares
9.      Pragmatist
10.  Telegraph
  • Watch AMERICA TSOU Episode 5: Civil War - “The Civil War rages. It is 20th century technology meeting 18th century tactics and the result is a death toll never before seen on American soil. After General William Sherman's March to the Sea, the South is definitively crushed, and the industrial might that allows the Union to prevail leaves America poised to explode into the 20th century as a global superpower.”
  • Fill out Video Review and/or answer these Discussion Questions:
1.      How did the invention of the minie ball bullet shape the Civil War? What were some other important inventions that affected the course of the war?
2.      Who was Clara Barton, and why was she significant?
3.      How did the telegraph help the Union side achieve victory in the Civil War?
4.      When was the Emancipation Proclamation signed, and how did it shape the Civil War?

  • Watch THE BLUE AND THE GRAY miniseries - Disc 1 in two parts
  • Watch THE BLUE AND THE GRAY miniseries - Disc 2 in two parts
  • Watch THE BLUE AND THE GRAY miniseries - Disc 3 in two parts
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Read The Gettysburg Address and memorize at least the first paragraph:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle‑field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate ‑‑ we can not consecrate ‑‑ we can not hallow ‑‑ this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us ‑‑ that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion ‑‑ that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain ‑‑ that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom ‑‑ and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

  •  Read the book, ACROSS FIVE APRILS - Chapter 1 - 4 (or another book of choice about the Civil War time period)
  • Read ACROSS FIVE APRILS - Chapters 5 - 8
  • Read ACROSS FIVE APRILS - Chapters 9-12
  • Watch SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK “Great Am. Melting Pot” (Immigration)
  • Look up and copy definitions:
1.      Dysentery
2.      Formidable
3.      Gradient
4.      Inert
5.      Nitroglycerin
6.      Redundant
7.      Stealthily
8.      Treaty
  • Watch AMERICA TSOU Episode 6: Heartland - “The Transcontinental Railroad doesn't just change the lives of Americans, it alters the entire ecology of the continent. It's the railroad that creates a new American icon‑‑the cowboy‑‑who drives cattle thousands of miles to meet the railheads and bring food to the East. In less than a quarter of a century, the heartland is transformed‑‑not by the gun, but by railroad, fence and plough.”
  • Fill out Video Review and/or answer these Discussion Questions:
1.      Why do you think President Lincoln decided to support the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, a very expensive project, even though the Civil War was still going on?
2.      What were some of the benefits of the Transcontinental Railroad? What were the human costs of its construction? What groups of people built the railroad?
3.      In this episode, the bison is described as a “mobile general store” for Native Americans on the plains. What does this phrase mean? What were the consequences of the destruction of the bison population for Native Americans?

  • Watch SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK “Mother Necessity” (Inventions)
  • Look up and copy definitions:
1.      Audacious
2.      Filament
3.      Irrevocable
4.      Molten
5.      Rogue
6.      Tenement
7.      Unscrupulous
8.      Veritable
  •  Watch AMERICA TSOU Episode 7: Cities - “Between 1880 and 1930, nearly 24 million new immigrants arrive in America. Many go to work building a new frontier: the modern city, one of America's greatest inventions.  This new urban frontier draws rural migrants and newly arrived immigrant workers. Powered by steel and electricity, the city begins to be tamed and defined by mass transportation, stunning skylines, electric light...and the innovative, industrious American spirit.”
  • Fill out Video Review and/or answer these Discussion Questions:
1.      What was the Bessemer steel converter? How did this invention shape U.S. history?
2.      Why do you think so many everyday Americans contributed money to help build the Statue of Liberty?
3.      What was the “rogues’ gallery” and what was its importance? What were some of the other methods used to curb crime?

  • Look up and copy definitions:
1.      Apparatus
2.      Bedrock
3.      Derrick
4.      Detrimental
5.      Exorbitant
6.      Fusion
7.      Rotary
8.      Temperance
  •  Watch AMERICA TSOU Episode 8: Boom - “In 1910 in California, a column of oil nearly 200 feet high explodes out of a derrick and sets off a chain of events that will turn America into a superpower. Mass production and job opportunities prompted by the First World War draw African Americans to northern cities like Chicago, but racial conflict follows. A popular campaign to ban alcohol succeeds, yet when it comes, Prohibition triggers a wave of organized crime.”
  • Fill out Video Review and/or answer these Discussion Questions:
1.      How did the U.S. change after huge amounts of oil were discovered in Texas in 1901? Do you think this event still shapes our lives today?
2.      Why did Los Angeles city leaders need to seek water sources outside the city? What do you think were the risks of bringing in water from beyond the city limits?
3.      What was the “Great Migration” and when did it take place?
  •  Watch movie/video from WWI time period.
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Look up and copy definitions:
1.      Adversary
2.      Aspiration
3.      Astronomical
4.      Consumer
5.      Emblematic
6.      Foreclosure
7.      Immortalized
8.      Mesmerizing
9.      Resilience
  • Watch AMERICA TSOU Episode 9: Bust - “In October 1929, the economic boom of the 1920s ends with a crash on Wall Street. The American Dream has become a nightmare. The stock market crash coincides with the start of the Great Depression. The New Deal and public works projects aim to save America from despair and destitution.  However, world conflict is brewing in Europe, and it is brought home to Americans by the symbolic boxing match between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling.”
  • Fill out Video Review and/or answer these Discussion Questions:
1.      What was the “bank run” of 1930 and what are some of the reasons it happened? What were the effects of the bank crisis in the U.S. on international politics?
2.      How would you describe Frank Crowe? What were some of the innovations that made the construction of the Hoover Dam possible?
3.      What was the significance of the construction of the Hoover Dam and Mount Rushmore? How did these projects affect the U.S. economy?

  • Look up and copy definitions:
1.      Barrage
2.      Catalyst
3.      Infinite
4.      Infrastructure
5.      Mobilize
6.      Munitions
7.      Oscilloscope
8.      Prosthetic
  • Watch AMERICA TSOU Episode 10: WWII - “The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brings America into another world war, changing the nation from an isolationist continent to a global player‑‑and ensuring economic prosperity once more. America launches a war effort, and as always, bigger is better. The might of America's strategy and supplies turns the tide of war. A new world order has been created‑‑and America has changed forever.”
  • Fill out Video Review and/or answer these Discussion Questions:
1.      Why did the U.S. avoid involvement in WWII until December 1941? Why was the Pearl Harbor attack such a shock to the U.S.?
2.      Why was the invention of penicillin so important in the context of WWII? What were some other advances in medicine that were important during the war?
3.      How were women affected by WWII? Do you think the war advanced the rights of women?
  • Watch SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK “Sufferin’ til Suffrage”
  • Look up and copy definitions:
1.      Authoritarian        
2.      Counterculture
3.      Definitive
4.      Exceptionalism
5.      Innovation
6.      Prosperity
7.      Silicon
8.      Suburbia               
  •  Watch AMERICA TSOU Episode 11: Superpower - “The country becomes enmeshed in a second Civil War of sorts‑until, at long last, the Civil Rights Movement brings the words of the Declaration of Independence home to all Americans. America is united once again, but a new threat is on the horizon: Communism. The conflicts of the late 1960s and 1970s remind America of the rifts that divided the nation before the Civil War, but the boom of the 1980s heralds better times. America's confidence is rocked by 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, but the country remains the world's superpower. As the nation launches into the 21st century, what does the future hold?”
  • Watch movie/video from time period 
  • Fill out Video Review
  • Watch AMERICA TSOU Episode 12: Millenium
  • Fill out Video Review and/or answer these Discussion Questions:
1.      What inventions do you think have been most important in U.S. history and why?
2.      What do you think have been the five most important events in U.S. history since WWII?
3.      If you could interview one American about our nation’s past, who would it be, and why?

Write at least a 3-page paper on an American History topic of your choice. (We used the book “How to Write A Great Research Paper” as a guide.)
  • Do some brainstorming: Write down a time period of American History that interests you. EXAMPLES:  The Civil War, Slavery, The Old West, WWI, Prohibition, WWII.
  • Narrow your topic down to a title that asks a question about one specific idea.
                  -What Happened at the Battle of Bull Run?
                  -Why Did Lincoln Write The Gettysburg Address?
                  -How Was Slavery Abolished?
                  -Who Built the Railroad and Why?
  •  Research your topic and write sources and notes on index cards -Use the Internet, textbooks, library books, notes you have taken, documentaries, etc.
  • When you are done, organize your notes (index cards) in the order you want to write about them on your paper.
  • Make a simple outline of what you want to include in the paper.
            I.  First Main Topic
                A.  Subtopic
                       1.  Detail
                       2.  Detail
                B.  Subtopic
                       1.  Detail
                       2.  Detail
            II. Second Main Topic
                 A.  Subtopic
                       1.  Detail
                       2.  Detail
  • Write your THESIS STATEMENT: An important sentence that tells your readers the main idea of your paper.
  • Begin writing a rough draft of your History paper by using 3 simple steps:
1.      Tell your readers what you’re going to say (Thesis)
2.      Say it (The body of the paper)
3.      Tell them what you said (Conclusion) - Sum up all your main points
  •  Complete the Final Draft - nicely written or typed, double-spaced. Be sure to have correct spelling and punctuation.

Compiled by: Victoria Stankus, 2018