We’ve been learning about difficult times in history.
The Great Depression was a dark time in American history. And it led into a dark time for the world.
Some of our books were hard to read and the imagery was hard to view.
We are so fortunate and have never known hardship.
Being a military family overseas, we have ration cards for certain luxury items we can purchase on the US base. We discussed and compared that to the ration cards during the world wars and Great Depression.
We listened to ragtime and learned about the music of the times.
The girls read lots of books – nonfiction, living books, and fiction.
We completed notebooking pages and a lapbook.
We studied the causes and effects of The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.
We learned about erosion, crop rotation, wind.
We discussed how wind can be destructive or beautiful and helpful.
We looked at wind in art. We love to study van Gogh’s paintings of wind. We looked through our pictures of recent museum tours.
We studied the photography of Dorothea Lange and read biographies about her.
We really enjoyed the books Restless Spirit by Elizabeth Partridge and Migrant Mother by Don Nardo.
We always love biographies by Mike Venezia.
We also looked at photography in these books: The Dust Bowl Through the Lens by Martin W. Sandler, Who We Were by Michael Williams, and We Were There Too by Phillip Hoose.
I asked the girls to go out and photograph beauty from ashes, something that might not be an especially lovely or photogenic scene, to search for beauty and find it in austerity.
Tori chose this bark-stripped tree stump with moss, lichen, and mushrooms growing from it:
Kate found the bricks under this train trestle bridge lovely in their patches of color and the dampness seeping through:
They also photographed rocks, grass, moss and a peeling, rotten wooden bench.
They see beauty everywhere.
Resources we use and love:
Elizabeth is currently 14 and in 9th grade and Tori and Kate are in 3rd grade. These are the resources we enjoyed, with supervision.
Notebooking and Lapbooks:
- American Presidents pages (we studied Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal)
- Ration book activity and lapbook materials from Homeschool Share
- The Great Depression Express Lapbook from A Journey Through Learning
- Notebooking pages from Homeschool Helper
- Kit books from the American Girl series by Valerie Tripp
- Mimmy and Sophie by Miriam Cohen
- Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
- Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- Potato by Kate Lied
- Children of the Great Depression by Russell Freedman
- Children of the Dust Bowl by Jerry Stanley
- Children of the Dust Days by Karen Mueller Coombs
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
- Sounder by William H. Armstrong
- The Green Mile by Stephen King
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Of course, use discretion. Not all of these are suitable for all audiences. My younger kids did not watch many of these.
- The Great Gatsby
- Cinderella Man
- The Godfather
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- Radioland Murders
- Shirley Temple movies
- Modern Times or any Charlie Chaplin film
- O Brother, Where Art Thou?
- Public Enemies
- Road to Perdition
There’s a lot of crossover with the books being made into movies, and I usually want the kids to read it before they watch it. We only have so much time and Liz probably won’t get to do year 4 again.
maryanne @ mama smiles says
What a great study unit. I recently learned that a butterfly beating its wings can affect the weather patterns on the other side of the planet. Well, some critics say it’s more like the beating of a seagull’s wings, but that is still crazy to me!