Ahh, Independence Day. From childhood I have loved this day with its picnics, ice-cream, watermelon, fireworks and family. It was also my Dad’s birthday and with Dad being an American history teacher, we always got some history lessons along with his ice cream and birthday cake.
Dad loved to teach us about history. He would take us to the places where history was made…Little Bighorn, the banks of the Mississippi, the Oregon Trail, Pony Express stations, Gettysburg, Washington D.C. and more. But, it was not till I read Johnny Tremain to my children that I really understood what “The shot heard ‘round the world” meant.
In fact, when my children and I did Core D+E I learned more American History than I had learned through all the vacations, field trips and stories my father could provide.
Now, when I raise the flag on the Fourth of July I remember Dad, of course, but I also have a keener understanding of the people who fought for our Independence. Books like And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?, If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution, Toliver's Secret and Winter at Valley Forge made the events and people come alive for my children and me.
In fact, after we got done with Core D+E we ended up buying the readers and read-alouds from Cores D and E that weren’t in the combined core so we wouldn’t miss any of the great stories. The books are that good!
If your kids think that Independence Day is just about fireworks and picnics, or even if they have some understanding about the day but you haven’t read these great books, I encourage you to choose one or two to read [or re-read] this summer so they can appreciate the people and events which helped establish the United States as a free and independent country.
I hope you have a great day today. I am off to our small-town festivities which include our homespun parade, 25 cent hot dogs, watermelon, Ale-8-1 [a local soda], homemade ice cream and a spelling bee for the children.
I hope you have a wonderful day as well.