Welcome to the first post in my Missouri Monday series! The kids and I are doing a year long study of Missouri this year, all prompted by the spontaneous purchase of this book at my favorite consignment store for $5.
When I purchased this book I had no idea that it would serve as a launching pad for a full year of very exciting studies, activities, and field trips, and quickly become our very favorite subject.
The whole idea for studying Missouri History came as we made a tentative decision to send Brynne back to public school next year starting in 7th grade. (This is a very difficult decision for us, but if she is going to be able to play sports in middle and high school she will have to attend a public school. The decision is still up in the air, but we need to be prepared.) Students in our public school study Missouri History in 4th grade. I didn't want this to be an issue when I went to enroll her next year, so I decided we would study it this year. I have recently learned from other kids her age that they really only spent a few weeks on the subject. With our way of learning, that's just not possible. If we are going to study it, we are going to study it! In fact, we are practically going to wear it for this entire school year.
Missouri: Then and Now is broken up into short chapters. We are able to read about three to five pages a day to get a chapter finished in a week. At the end of each chapter is a New Words list, Matching Partners activity and/or Fill-in-the-Blank, Testing Yourself questions, Things to Do, Things to Talk About, and Research resources. At this time we are answering the Testing Yourself questions each day that correspond with what we have read, and then at the end of the week the kids do the Matching Partners or Fill-in-the-Blank activity. Our plan is for them to also choose a Things to Do activity to complete on Fridays, but we haven't gotten into a good groove with that yet.
On Fridays we also watch a short video from the Finding Missouri: Our History and Heritage series. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has a full website with resources for studying Missouri History using Missouri: Then and Now, including links to the videos that correspond with each chapter. It's a nice way to wrap up what we have read and studied that week.
We are also planning to go on field trips twice a month. I have field trips planned through April of 2017. I tried to schedule trips around what we are learning in the chapters from Missouri: Then and Now, but there are some special days planned at some of the sites that have us a little off track. That's okay, though.
So what has our first two weeks of studying Missouri History with Missouri: Then and Now looked like?
Chapter 1 - The First Missourians
We learned about Early Hunters, Woodland Indians, Hopewell People, Mississippi People, and Osage Indians. We learned about the Bering Strait, the transition from Hunters to Hunter-Gatherers to Farmers. And we learned about the changes to indian life after the Europeans came to Missouri.
Our focus was on the crossing of the Bering Strait land bridge so we watched a Youtube video and conducted a hands-on demonstration.
Eli chose to make a wigwam and Brynne chose to do a poster highlighting the life of Big Soldier. We are still working on those.
Chapter 2 - A Rich Land
This week focused primarily on Missouri's Four Geographic Regions: The Northern Plains, The Western Plains, The Ozark Highland, and The Southeast Highland. We also talked about Missouri's largest cities, its rivers and lakes, and its climate.
The kids each made a salt dough map of Missouri, including labels for the largest cities and the geographic regions. Then they painted them to reflect those regions and the major waterways in the state.
We traveled the 3 hours to Defiance, Missouri, to Homeschool Day at the Daniel Boone home. This is the home that was built by Daniel's son, Nathan, where Daniel and his wife Rebecca lived until Daniel's death in 1820. The home was quite extravagant for the day. The main floor had a parlor, large main entertainment room, and Daniel and Rebecca's bedroom. Upstairs were two very large bedrooms for Nathan, his wife and their many children. The basement housed the kitchen and family dining area.
The historic site is now home to Lindenwood Village. We went on a self-guided tour of the village seeing demonstrations such as fiddle playing, weaving, spinning, musket shooting, ax throwing, pottery, candle dipping, etc. The kids played some period games.
After our time at the Daniel Boone home, we drove the 30ish miles to St. Charles, Missouri. The historic section of St. Charles is astonishingly charming! The roads are brick, it's one block from the Missouri River and the railroad, and there are tons of shops and restaurants. I'd love to go back there for a weekend with my hubby.
We had lunch at Bradden's Restaurant. And then we went to Missouri's First State Capitol building. This was the most fascinating tour, and I am so glad that we decided to do it. In fact, all I could think while we were there is how deprived our public school kids are in their education. I wish I could take small groups of kids on trips to St. Charles for this tour. I learned so much, and so did the kids!
We sat in the exact room where the Missouri Compromises and Missouri Constitution were negotiated! It was overwhelming! We learned a lot of fun facts.
We walked through the office that housed four Missouri governors in just 5 1/2 years. The first Missouri governor actually beat out William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame in the first election. Clark's wife had become ill and he had to go to care for her and wasn't able to be on the campaign trail. Also, Alexander McNair was wealthy and was able to spend $10,000 on his campaign.
The capitol rooms were on the second floor of the Peck brothers' property. We also toured the grounds and saw the gardens and the wells. It has all been beautifully restored! In fact, it took 10 years to restore the property because the team did all of the restoration with period techniques and materials.
The first two weeks have been a lot of fun. Join us next Monday as we talk about Chapter 3 in Missouri: Then and Now.