January & February Themes
One of the most popular things we do each year is our annual history challenge. We want to help you be successful with this year's challenge so we're giving you some ideas and themes that may be helpful to you. We're going to do our best to put out a new list each month or 2. This year we created 2 different challenges for you to choose from, below you'll find some ideas to help you with each of them. If you still need a copy of our annual history challenge you'll find it right here: 2023 Heritage Letter History Challenge!
We hope our challenge enriches your homeschool journey this year as you learn more about US history with your family!
Challenge Option #1
2 - Attend 2 Historical Outings
Outdoor historical outings might be hard to come by in the winter, but here are a couple of tips to get you started finding outings to plan for the warmer months:
-This time of year, I like to check the traveling exhibit schedules for our local museums to see what exhibits are on the calendar that we might like to see. So far, I’ve found a Monet to Renoir Exhibit coming up in February at our favorite art museum in Oklahoma, the Philbrook in Tulsa. We also found an exhibit at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum I'd like to visit. It features western games after 1970 including Oregon Trail, which came out when I was in grade school & was often the highlight of our weekly computer lab time at school.
-One other exciting thing we’re doing this year is to visit more of our state historical society museums as part of our self-directed Oklahoma History lessons to fulfill our kids’ high school state history requirement. I purchased a one year membership to all of our historical society museums to help us make this happen.
0 - Celebration Freebie
Pick 1 US Holiday & learn more about it. Here are some ideas that might help you out with this!
2 – Georgia Statehood Day
Celebrate the day Georgia became the 4th state in the USA.
3 – Alaska Statehood Day
Celebrate the day Alaska became the 49th state in the USA.
4 – Utah Statehood Day
Celebrate the day Utah became the 45th state in the USA.
6 – New Mexico Statehood Day
Celebrate the day New Mexico became the 47th state in the USA.
8 – Battle of New Orleans
State Holiday in Louisiana
9 -- Connecticut Statehood Day
Celebrate the day Connecticut became the 5th state in the USA.
14 – Ratification Day
On this day in 1784, the Treaty of Paris was signed at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland, officially ending the American Revolution.
26 – Michigan Statehood Day
Celebrate the day Michigan became the 26th state in the USA.
29 – Kansas Statehood Day
Celebrate the day Kansas became the 34th state in the USA.
13 – Stephen Foster Memorial Day
Listen to one of his masterpiece’s Beautiful Dreamer. Also, if you'd like to learn more about Stephen Foster, we have a Heritage Letter from him!
29 – National Puzzle Day
I just ordered this 550 piece Route 66 puzzle for my kids to work on the 29th! I meant to order it when we wrote our Route 66 American Heritage Adventure Letter and forgot so I’m excited to work it now!
Black History Month
6 – Massachusetts Statehood Day
Celebrate the day Massachusetts became the 6th state in the USA.
12 – President’s Day
14 – Oregon & Arizona Statehood Days
Celebrate the day Oregon became the 33rd state in the USA & Arizona became the 48th
8 – National Kite Flying Day
9 – National Pizza Day
You know what I think would be an excellent dinner plan for this day!
11 – International Day of Women and Girls in Science
26 – Carpe Diem Day
Seize the day and try something fun and exciting today!
2 - Deep Dive into the Lives of 2 Historical Figures
Each month I’ll recommend 2 historical figures for you to study and give you a book recommendation or 2 for each of them. One may be from our current letter and one may be from a previous letter or just someone new you may want to learn about. For this January and February, I’m recommending:
Booker T. Washington (focus of our January 2023 Heritage Letter)
With Books and Bricks by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
George Washington Carver
In the Garden with Dr. Carver by Susan Grisby, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
Also, if you'd like to learn more about George Washington Carver, we have a Heritage Letter from him! (We're sold out of the snail mail version, but our digital version is always available.)
3 - Read 3 Books about History
Biographies/Autobiographies, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry...
For January and February, I’m recommending the following:
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
Steamboat School by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Ron Husband
Prairie School by Lois Lenski (Really anything by Lenski is amazing! This story features students being trapped in their schoolhouse by a blizzard in South Dakota. A truly great winter read!)
For Parents or High School Students:
Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington
I read most of this while researching Washington’s life and it is simply beautiful. It's full of rich details about his life and so much more. I really wish I could buy him a cup of coffee and tell him what an amazing life he led!
Challenge Option #2
H - Heritage
Learn about your family's heritage.
This month see if you can find out something new about one of your parents or grandparents.
Here are some questions to get you started:
Where were you born?
What states or countries have you lived in?
What is the furthest place you have traveled to?
I - Independence
Read the Declaration of Independence.
This one’s kind of a one and done situation, so here’s a link to the Declaration of Independence and a book recommendation to help you learn more about it…
If you don’t own a copy of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, now’s a great time to get one! Here's a bundle I'd recommend: US Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights
If you’d prefer it in book format, this book looks great: The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and Other Important American Documents
The Journey of the One and Only Declaration of Independence by Judith St. George, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
S - State
Learn about your state's history.
This month for state history, see if you can find out 2 new facts about your state:
1) when your state gained statehood, and
2) what your state's motto is.
T - Tell about History
Tell someone what you're learning about history.
Here’s a topic to help get you started…who is your favorite person you’ve learned about in history recently?
O - Organize History
Create a timeline of historical events.
Do you know what year the Declaration of Independence was written? Or the years that the American Revolutionary War occurred? Or what day the United States Constitution was ratified?
R - Read a Book about History
Read biography/autobiography, historical fiction, non-fiction, poetry or other book that focuses on history.
Here are 3 of our family’s favorite historical fiction authors:
1. Laura Ingalls Wilder
For a delightful winter read, I’d pick Little House in the Big Woods!
2. Elizabeth George Speare, try her book The Sign of the Beaver
My kids loved Sophia’s War by this amazing author!
Y - Year
Pick one year & list 4 events that happened that year.
1776 is one of the most significant years in US history. Can you find 4 things that happened that year that make it so important?
One final thought...
The best tip I can ever offer you to add more history into your life and the life of your family is to make it enjoyable and relatable. Read books by and about amazing people. Attend living history events. Visit all the museums. Listen to the stories of the older generations in your family. Find people in history who you admire and who inspire you. Happy learning!
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