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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Homeschool: Childhood of Famous Americans books

I'm so happy to have stumbled across a few of these books at our local library.  My sons and I love them!  History can be so fun and interesting.... if taught the right way.  I didn't enjoy history until high school, when I had a great teacher who made it fun.  Plus, my grandmother told great stories of her youth which I loved (telling your kids fun family stories will also help them to love history!).

School history textbooks can be so dry.  They're great to use as a guide, but I like to supplement with something fun.  A field trip, a fun story.  Something.  These books filled that something.  I came across the Henry Ford story first.  The books are subtitled "Childhood of Famous Americans".  The Henry Ford story told of how he built his first prototype car but didn't have the money to build more.  So, he and a friend entered a car race to win money to start his company.  The race is described in great detail, with great illustrations.  The kids love it!  Best of all, the stories are true.  The kids will definitely not remember if I read some bland story in a textbook that tells of Henry Ford starting the Ford Motor Company and bringing affordable cars to the masses.  But... they will remember Henry Ford who raced with his friend Spider to win a money prize so he could build more cars.  Fun!

We also found a book about George Washington.  My oldest knows that he was the first president, but really... what does that mean?  It's just a fact he memorized.  But, now he knows that George Washington was a great animal lover.  He kept many animals on his farm, Mount Vernon, and had many dogs.  He loved his dogs, and gave them very endearing names like Sugarpie (I made that one up, I can't remember them exactly :-)).  During the American Revolution, an unknown dog wandered over to the American soldiers while engaged in a battle with the British.  Gasp!  The dog's tag showed that it belonged to the British general!  What would George do?  Why, return the dog, of course!  The white flags were raised while soldiers accompanied the dog back to his British owner, along with a note from George.  What a great true story.

Another book we read was about Paul Revere.  We adults know that he rang the bell to announce the arriving British troops.  But.... did you know that as a child Paul and his friends created a bell-ringing club?  They convinced a local church to allow them access to the church bells.  They would ring in the time, but also... create music & songs with the giant bells.

I can't wait to order more of these books from our inter-library system.  They're great!  I don't know who enjoys them more... the boys or I!



  1. Those do sound great! Making history come alive is the best way to teach, heck making any subject come alive is the best way to teach!

  2. Those are cool books. We took the boys to the Witte Museum yesterday. There are pics on my blog plus the links for the Witte. I am still researching 'home schooling.' I have pretty much decided we will be going to home school. How do you stay on track, grade level, assessments?

  3. I've never seen those before! How cool!