Sunday, October 10

The History Behind Halloween Traditions - Unit Study

 
Halloween began with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off spirits. Over time, it has evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating treats....but how did we get here?


Ancient Origins

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated the ancient festival of Samhain on November 1.  This day marked the end of summer harvest and the beginning of the cold winter, a time of year that was associated with death.  Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. 

On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.  On this night, they built huge sacred bonfires and gathered to offer crops and animals to sacrifices to the Celtic gods. During the celebration, they wore costumes, usually animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.


Mixing with the Past

In 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV established the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day in the Western church. Pope Gregory III later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May to November.  Within a few centuries, the influence of Christianity had spread northward, where it blended with Celtic rites. 

In 1000 A.D., the church made November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead.  This day was celebrated like Samhain, with bonfires, parades, and costumes of saints and sinners.  It was also called All-Hallowmas (derived from the Middle English term for All Saints' Day).  The night before it came to be known as All-Hallows Eve....eventually turning into Halloween.


Halloween in America

Originally, Halloween was not celebrated because the Protestant colonies of New England were very strict about their beliefs.  However, as different customs and beliefs came with new immigrants, an Americanized version of Halloween was created.  This celebration included telling ghost stories, making mischief, dressing in costumes, and holding autumn parties.

You may notice that Samhain sounds similar to Dia de Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, celebrated on November 1st in Mexico.  On this night, they also believe that the spirit world is able to cross into the land of the living.  Unlike Samhain, however, this is not a holiday to be feared, but one where family and friends pray for and remember family members who have passed.

Read
Watch
Make / Do




Pick up the entire History Behind Our Holidays unit study bundle!

Includes eight American holidays. Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student the holiday’s history and customs.

  •  Introduction
  •  Valentine’s Day
  •  St. Patrick’s Day
  •  Easter
  •  Mother’s Day
  •  Father’s Day
  •  Halloween
  •  Thanksgiving
  •  Christmas

In addition to text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students. You will also find a short list of reading books and fun hands-on activities!

Product Samples:   Valentine's Day & Christmas Traditions

Monday, October 4

Calico Captive & the French-Indian War + GIVEAWAY HOP!

October 7, 1763 - King George III issues the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which outlines the newly conquered territory. It continues to guide relations today between the government of Canada and the First Nations.

The French and Indian War (1754–1763) pitted the colonies of British America against those of New France, each side supported by by Native American allies. At the start of the war, the French colonies had a population of roughly 60,000 settlers, compared with 2 million in the British colonies.  The outnumbered French particularly depended on the natives.  Fighting took place primarily along the frontiers between New France and the British colonies, from Virginia to Newfoundland. 

The European nations declared a wider war upon one another overseas in 1756, two years into the French and Indian War, and some view the French and Indian War as being merely the American theater of the worldwide Seven Years' War of 1756–63.

Between 1758 and 1760, the British military launched a campaign to capture French Canada.  Ultimately, the French ceded Canada in accordance with the Treaty of Paris (1763).  Shortly afterward, orders for the deportation were given by Commander-in-Chief William Shirley, without direction from Great Britain. The French-Acadians were expelled, both those captured in arms and those who had sworn the loyalty oath to the King. Natives likewise were driven off the land to make way for settlers from New England.

France also ceded its territory east of the Mississippi to Great Britain, as well as French Louisiana west of the Mississippi River to its ally Spain in compensation for Spain's loss to Britain of Spanish Florida. (Spain had ceded Florida to Britain in exchange for the return of Havana, Cuba.) France's colonial presence north of the Caribbean was reduced to the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, confirming Great Britain's position as the dominant colonial power in northern North America.

Read

  • Calico Captive
    • In the year 1754, the stillness of Charlestown, New Hampshire, is shattered by the terrifying cries of an Indian raid. Young Miriam Willard, on a day that had promised new happiness, finds herself instead a captive on a forest trail, caught up in the ebb and flow of the French and Indian War. It is a harrowing march north. Miriam can only force herself to the next stopping place, the next small portion of food, the next icy stream to be crossed. At the end of the trail waits a life of hard work and, perhaps, even a life of slavery. Mingled with her thoughts of Phineas Whitney, her sweetheart on his way to Harvard, is the crying of her sister’s baby, Captive, born on the trail. Miriam and her companions finally reach Montreal, a city of shifting loyalties filled with the intrigue of war, and here, by a sudden twist of fortune, Miriam meets the prominent Du Quesne family, who introduce her to a life she has never imagined.

Watch

Make / Do

  • As a colonist, write an editorial column for the local newspaper telling how you feel about the British, the French, and The Indians...and why you feel the way you do.
  • Discover important battle locations with this interactive map.
  • Two important locations in this war were Fort Ticonderoga and the Fort at 4.  Take a virtual road trip to each!
  • Make a beaver felt hat and bear claw necklace to use for trading.
  • Write a diary entry from the perspective of an American or British soldier fighting in the war (or you may choose to write from a Native American perspective). Include thoughts on the war and what daily life is like.

Identify

  • William Pitt
  • Fort Duquesne
  • Seven Years War
  • Jeffery Amherst
  • James Wolfe
  • Battle of Quebec
  • Treaty of Paris (1763)
  • Pontiac's Rebellion
  • Iroquois League
  • King William's War

Think

  • How did the French-Indian War set the stage for the American Revolution?
  • Why was colonization so important to European powers? How did this contribute to tensions in North America?


Enjoying this unit? You might like Beautiful Book Studies!

Each unit addresses a new topic, including science, history, and geography.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the topic to life.

Table of Contents

  • The King’s Fifth
  • Red Falcons of Tremoine
  • Golden Hawks of Genghis Khan
  • Red Hugh of Ireland
  • Calico Captive
  • The Story of Eli Whitney
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • The Lost Kingdom
  • The Secret Garden
  • Heidi
  • Girl of the Limberlost
  • The Winged Watchman
  • When the Dikes Broke
  • Using the Good & the Beautiful in High School

The books selected for these unit studies can be found in the upper grades areas of The Good and the Beautiful Book List.  However, Homeschool On the Range and Sparks Academy are not employed by or affiliated with, nor do they receive any compensation from, The Good and the Beautiful.  It has simply been their curriculum of choice for many years.  These unit studies are not endorsed by The Good and the Beautiful or Jenny Phillips.




One lucky reader is going to win the Beautiful Book Studies Bundle!

(Winner has 24 hours to respond - giveaway ends 10/19)


Friday, October 1

50+ Living History Books about World War 2

World War II was a pivotal time in world history.  In order not to repeat the past, we must understand it.  We must know.  We must remember.  It's said that from kindergarten to third grade, children learn to read.  From fourth grade on, they read to learn...

The best way kids can understand World War II (WWII) and the Holocaust is to read historical stories, both fiction and nonfiction, that immerse them in the experiences of people who lived through it.  These page-turning reads will bring insight into what life was like for both children and adults, on the battle field and on the home front.

Some of the books have unit studies to accompany them.  We will add to this list periodically, so be sure to bookmark it for easy access!

The elementary list covers lower elementary to middle school.  We have tried to put them in order by age-appropriateness.  Ditto for the upper grades list, which covers middle and high school.

--->   Download the Book List!   <---


World War 2 Books for Elementary


World War 2 Books for the Upper Grades


More World War 2 Resources


For more resources, check out the Expansion, Independence, and War history class from SchoolhouseTeachers! It covers both American and world history. Students will learn about major conflicts in American history, spanning from the French and Indian War to the September 11 terror attacks.





Jewish Holidays in Literature Bundle

Each of the ten unit studies in this year-long bundle centers around a book for middle school level and includes videos, cooking projects, hands-on activities, writing assignments, and more.  There are also resources for younger children in eight of the ten units (not in *).

  • Introduction to Judaism
  • Solomon and the Trees + Tu B’Shevat unit
  • The Queen of Persia + Purim unit study
  • Devil’s Arithmetic + Passover unit study
  • The Secret Shofar of Barcelona + Rosh Hashana unit study
  • The Yom Kippur Shortstop + Yom Kippur unit study
  • The Mysterious Guests + Sukkot unit study
  • All-of-a-Kind Family Hannukah + Chanukah unit study
  • Broken Strings + Fiddler on the Roof + Persecution unit study*
  • The Golem & the Jinni + Kabbalah unit*
Product samples – Purim unit & Introductory unit


American History Novel Studies Bundle

Includes sixteen unit studies covering American History. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning the Revolutionary War to Vietnam.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.
  • Some units also have cooking projects.

These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!

Product sample:  Paper Son & Angel Island Immigration  & Within These Lines & Japanese Internment





World History Novel Studies Bundle


Includes seven unit studies (plus a bonus!) covering World History. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning from Pompeii to World War 2.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.

Product samples:   The Night Witches & Women in Aviation   &   The Lookout Tree & the Great Acadian Upheaval

These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!


Thursday, September 30

Red Hugh of Ireland & the English Civil Wars

The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of England's governance and issues of religious freedom...

After years of conflict between Parliament and King Charles I, the king tried to arrest five members of Parliament in 1642 who had been actively disagreeing with his policies. These members fled into the back streets of London, but when the king went after them, the citizens expelled him angrily from their city. This was a direct violation by the people of the supreme power of the king and marked the beginning of the English Civil War.

Those English who supported the King (the Cavaliers) had support in north England and Wales, and the Parliamentarians (Roundheads) had support in the rest of England. Despite the fairly even start, however, the Cavaliers were fought back and in 1646 the Roundheads forced the King to surrender. However, at the ceasefire negotiations, Charles would not agree to the Roundhead terms, and after a stalemate, the war erupted again in 1648. Once again, the Cavaliers were defeated, but this time the Roundheads did not accept a surrender and instead captured and executed Charles in 1649. Thus England found itself with no King. 

For the next 11 years England was a Republic of sorts. It was ruled from 1653 to 1658 by a general named Oliver Cromwell, who was was a fundamental Protestant but an extremely cruel man. He was given the title 'Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England', but he had been active in Ireland long before he undertook that role.

In 1641, just prior to the Civil War, the Irish of Ulster had begun an uprising and attacked the planters who had been settled 30 years before. Between 10,000 and 15,000 Protestant planters were murdered by the Irish at places such as Portadown. Due to the war, the English did nothing about this and the death-toll became heavily exaggerated over time. In 1649, after the Civil War had ended, Cromwell landed at Dublin with 12,000 men with the intention of punishing those who had uprisen. He first attacked Drogheda and captured it, killing over 3000 people. He then marched on Wexford town and massacred several hundred people there. The surrounding towns of Cork, Bandon, Kinsale and Youghal surrendered. Cromwell left Ireland in 1650 having dealt a severe blow to the uprising Irish.

A problem of equal concern to Cromwell after the Civil War, however, was the fact that most of the soldiers in the Roundhead army still needed paid for their time served in the Civil War, but Parliament had no money to give them. So Cromwell decided to pay them in land. He forcibly moved thousands of Irish from their homes in Munster and Leinster and resettled them in counties Clare, Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. This was by far the poorest land in Ireland and, as well as this, they were not allowed to live within 3 miles of the coast. This strip, called the 'Mile Line' was given to Cromwell’s soldiers. In 1652 the newly cleared land in Munster and Leinster was given to Protestants in what was called the 'Cromwellian Settlement'. There was now no part of Ireland where Catholics owned more than ½ of the land. The main reason for this was Cromwell's belief in fundamental Protestantism and hatred of Catholicism. He claimed to be acting on God's behalf and expelled about 1000 Catholic priests from Ireland.

Read

  • Red Hugh of Ireland 
    • The year is 1587. Fair Ireland and her proud people are being crushed by the iron fist of English rule under the unyielding Queen Elizabeth. Sir John, the Queen’s Lord Deputy to Ireland, and his conniving henchman, Dragos, are determined to quash the last of the resistance by any means necessary. Young Hugh O’Donnell is everything his family could wish him to be—clever, handsome, generous, and fiercely loyal to Ireland and the O’Donnell clan. So when he and Art O’Neill, the son of a rival clan, are kidnapped by the evil Dragos and held hostage in Dublin Castle on condition of their families’ surrender, all hope seems lost. However, Hugh and Art have friends outside their prison walls, waiting to help the boys and their country to freedom.
  • English Civil War: Beginning to End

Watch

Make / Do

Identify

  • Trial by Ordeal
  • Divine Right of Kings
  • Charles I
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Scotland
  • England
  • Parliament
  • Long Parliament
  • Short Parliament
  • Rump Parliament
  • Cromwell
  • House of Commons
  • Henrietta Maria
  • Restoration

Think

  • Red Hugh of Ireland is set just before the English Civil Wars.  How can we see foreshadowing to future events in the book?
  • How were the English Civil War and Commonwealth periods seen as models for and precursors to other European and American political revolutions in the Era of Revolutions (1688-1789)?

Enjoying this unit? You might like Beautiful Book Studies!

Each unit addresses a new topic, including science, history, and geography.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the topic to life.

Table of Contents

  • The King’s Fifth
  • Red Falcons of Tremoine
  • Golden Hawks of Genghis Khan
  • Red Hugh of Ireland
  • Calico Captive
  • The Story of Eli Whitney
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • The Lost Kingdom
  • The Secret Garden
  • Heidi
  • Girl of the Limberlost
  • The Winged Watchman
  • When the Dikes Broke
  • Using the Good & the Beautiful in High School

The books selected for these unit studies can be found in the upper grades areas of The Good and the Beautiful Book List.  However, Homeschool On the Range and Sparks Academy are not employed by or affiliated with, nor do they receive any compensation from, The Good and the Beautiful.  It has simply been their curriculum of choice for many years.  These unit studies are not endorsed by The Good and the Beautiful or Jenny Phillips.