With Thanksgiving looming, the history of the United States is on all our minds. We have a checkered history–some very good, some very bad, but all of it is good to teach our littles. Knowing our history can teach us what works for our society and it can keep us from making the same mistakes as our ancestors. If we pay attention.
Every part of the U.S. has local historical sites that can teach us about our very beginnings. One of the good things about being such a young country is that we still have monuments from our founding that have not been destroyed by time or war or any of the other things that erase history before we get a chance to learn it.
Explore your local history
We are lucky to live within driving distance of some amazing historical sites. We’ve visited just about all of them. Conner Prairie, Spring Mill, Lincoln’s Boyhood Home, the Angel Mounds, New Harmony, Levi Coffin’s home. Pioneers, Native Americans, the Underground Railroad… Yeah, Indiana’s history is rich. I’m betting it wouldn’t take more than a quick internet search to find as many sites near you. The great thing about historical sites is that they make wonderful field trips. Your littles will often get to see history hands-on, and that’s so much better than just reading about it.
Not that there’s anything wrong with reading about it.
I’ve recently discovered a wonderful new author (and homeschooler) who is all about celebrating history with littles. You can check her out at Storybook Ancestor. When you subscribe to her newsletter, you get a free download of her e-book: Writing Family History for Kids: A Workbook and Guide. It’s a brilliant way to get your littles started learning about their own history and how your family became part of this great country, so be sure to go check it out.
If you’re interested in Indiana history (and you understand there’s nothing wrong with reading about it), here are a few excellent fiction books to share with your littles:
Cool story behind this one. Portia Sperry moved from Fort Wayne to Brown County, Indiana during the Depression. ( Now, if you don’t know Indiana, you don’t know that Brown County is a huge tourist destination here, kinda like a little Gatlinburg with the shops and hand-crafted items and all.) So Portia gets a job at the Nashville House Hotel and becomes gift shop manager. Guests start asking about locally hand-crafted items, so Portia designs a rag doll named Abigail. It becomes hugely popular, which prompts her to write a story about the doll and her person traveling from Kentucky to a new home in Brown County by covered wagon in the 1830s. This is that book. A book about history with a history. I mean, I can’t even.
If you’re looking for an real introduction to Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) for your littles, this is the one. Plus, it’s about the hardships of pioneering in Indiana, so there’s a lot to be learned from it. And this one’s got a cool history, too, because Ms. Douglas was a congresswoman from 1945-1947, the first woman to precede her husband as a congressperson. How cool is that?
This one is about a young boy who moves to central Indiana in 1832, when the area was still heavily forested and being a pioneer was tough. The story is based on a real boy whose family homesteaded on the current site of the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
You’ve heard of this one, right? This one combines my two favorite things–history and nature. Limberlost was a swamp in northeastern Indiana where the author lived after she married. Unfortunately, it has since been drained for agriculture. It makes this book a little more important to me, because it captures a place that pretty much no longer exists. And that’s sad. But man, can you learn a lot about swamps by reading it.
This is another Depression-Era novel, with the main character Seely, moving to the hills of southern Indiana (the most beautiful place in the world) to survive the Depression. It’s hard work, but Seely learns to appreciate the rich plant and animal life and find the beauty in her new surroundings.
Well, I mean, she’s not stupid. And I did warn you, this is the most beautiful place in the world. What’s not to love?
Come back on November 15 for a full review of a wonderful new novel based on Indiana history, Going Over Home.
What to Read Wednesday
The most popular post from last week was:
And now for the link up!
Our hosts will still share a themed selection of our favorite books each week.
If you’d like to join us as a co-host for What to Read Wednesday, please contact Anne.
This list has our book themes, but you don’t have to stick to that to link up–any family-friendly posts are welcome. So, come on! Join in the fun!
If you’d like to link back to What to Read Wednesday, here is a pretty button for you!
Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post
Don’t forget to enter to win a free copy of Chloe’s Little Secret!
Read all about this cute picture book here.
Winner will be announced on November 8.