When I signed up to review the White House Holidays Unit Studies by Silverdale Press LLC my plan had been to incorporate parts of several of the studies into our existing history program. I figured that I could condense them down and work through several applicable ones.
However, while I personally looked over several of them, we only did one complete one as a family. Not because we didn’t enjoy them but because I felt like they were so good that we didn’t want to skip around and miss out on valuable content. I wanted to take the time to review the entire unit study and let it sink in.
How Did The Unit Studies Work?
These unit studies are broken down by holiday, but I made my choice based on the fact that we were studying the civil rights movement as a key part of our history last month. I had planned to use several resources and supplement them with parts of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Study. When we received the unit studies, I realized that I would not need to supplement our studies with anything other than our family discussions.
In our home, we typically do history studies twice a week. As civil rights was only one component of the era we were studying, we decided to devote one day each week to the unit study and complete our studies of the other events of that time period on the second day.
While this was a Martin Luther King Jr. unit study, it also talked about other people involved in the civil rights movement. The name White House Holidays Unit Studies also focused on how Martin Luther King Jr. interacted and worked with the men who were president during his time as a civil rights activist.
How We Used the Study
Each week I would read one of the lessons aloud to my children. This would inevitably bring about family discussions about this very difficult time in our nation’s history. Once I had read and discussed any questions the children had, we would complete the various activities that were included for that week.
A timeline continued throughout the study and each week that would add the events that had been discussed to the timeline. There was also a map where they could mark the various cities where the event occurred. There was a printable map included at the end of the study, which is sufficient, but after a couple of weeks, my children decided that it was more fun to find them on our big wall map.
Activities for All Ages
In addition to the timeline and maps each week, there were various activities broken up by age. Some activities are for grades K-6, and some for 7-12. I went through each week and chose the best fit for our family. The children’s favorite activity, and possibly one of the most eye-opening activities, was completing a quiz that was used as a barrier to keep blacks from registering to vote. They were surprised at how difficult the quiz was and how unimportant and random many of the questions were. Honestly, I was surprised. By most standards, I am a very educated voter, and there were questions on that test that I could not answer.
Other activities included listening to freedom songs, making protest posters, analyzing speeches, and participating in a service project. There were craft activities for those children that learn well in that modality, writing activities that could easily count towards your language arts program, and other relevant and engaging activities.
Each lesson also included links to various video clips. We watched a couple each week to help the children better understand what we had read and discussed that week. My son was particularly enthralled with one of the clips, which featured the President on the phone with Martin Luther King Jr. We had just recently traveled to the Eisenhower National Historic Site as we studied through that era in history. So my children were very excited to make the connections of the Civil Rights movement with President Eisenhower.
In addition to the Martin Luther King Jr. study, they have studies for Labor Day, Valentine’s Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and one coming soon about George Washington. These studies could be done as your curriculum for a week leading up to the holiday or spread out over a month as we did. You could pick and choose a few of the activities or go all in and complete all of the options. We chose to use a study that correlated with our history studies that were in progress, but they could easily stand alone. They can be done around the holiday, but this one also worked fine for a different time of year. I look forward to doing the Labor Day study in September as we start our new school year.
Which White House Holidays Unit Study sounds most interesting to you? Please let me know in the comments, and use the link below to check out reviews of other studies by our wonderful Crew!
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