A brief and incomplete primer on the American Revolution

A couple weeks ago I got on the library’s catalogue system and began hoarding all the great 4th of July books to my holds account. I came home later with a bunch of fantastic stories. Plus a few others from our home library have been floating around the house since we got really behind in our American history studies and are just now finishing our book (How Our Nation Began). The beautiful irony about this and one of the reasons I love homeschooling is that by getting off-track with so many side tangents in American history, we inadvertantly delayed getting to the climax–the American Revolution– until this week! How timely and wonderful is that?!

At any rate, the kids are eating up this history and I’m happy to let them explore all the great titles we have and borrowed from the library.

So our favorite books so far are the D’Aulaire biographies of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin but we have a couple other non-fiction books worth mentioning too. One of the most pleasant surprises has been found in the great purchase I made of Farmer George Plants a Nation. Biographical picture books just might be my favorite genre since they add so much depth to meaningful learning in a child’s brain. And Farmer George is a treat. Not many words are spent talking about our first president’s glory days as a soldier or his political dealings. Instead the book focuses on the much lesser known accomplishments of this man as a farmer and entrepreneur; he really did have a brilliant mind! We also have a funny little book called Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George?which offers a great and historically accurate perspective on the Revolution from the other side of the Atlantic. Then there’s Thomas Jefferson: A Picture Book Biographywhich isn’t as fascinating as Farmer George but it does offer an important look at an important man whose ideas still shape our world.

In addition to these are the myriad of books related to celebrating the Fourth itself. Star Spangled Banner books, Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land (great illustrations), America the Beautifuland the like. This topic is ripe with good books.

This Fourth of July, my children will be playing lawn games, eating hot dogs and apple pie, watching fireworks and hopefully having a small sense of wonder at just how it is that our nation began…