Standard Deviants Accelerate: Homeschool History and Geography

Picture Books for Black History Month

Picture Books for Black History Month from Standard Deviants Accelerate

Black history month has been recognized in the United States 1926. A this time Carter G Woodson and other prominent African Americans created what was then called,  “Negro History Week”. It is now an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.

Picture Books for Black History Month

1. The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson - Clover has always wondered why a fence separates the black side of town from the white side. But this summer when Annie, a white girl from the other side, begins to sit on the fence, Clover grows more curious about the reason why the fence is there and about the daring girl who sits on it, rain or shine. And one day, feeling very brave, Clover approaches Annie. After all, why should a fence stand in the way of friendship?

2. Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman by Alan Schroeder -As a young slave, nicknamed “Minty,” Harriet Tubman was a feisty and stubborn girl with a dream of escape, and whose rebellious spirit often got her into trouble. Pinkney’s expressive illustrations bring every emotion to brilliant life — from troubled sorrow to spirited hope for freedom.

3.  Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine - Henry Brown doesn’t know how old he is. Nobody keeps records of slaves’ birthdays. All the time he dreams about freedom, but that dream seems farther away than ever when he is torn from his family and put to work in a warehouse. Henry grows up and marries, but he is again devastated when his family is sold at the slave market. Then one day, as he lifts a crate at the warehouse, he knows exactly what he must do: He will mail himself to the North. After an arduous journey in the crate, Henry finally has a birthday, his first day of freedom.

4. Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter - This engagingly illustrated picture book tells the story of Peg Leg Joe, a white one-legged sailor and handyman, who hired himself out to plantation owners, and eventually made friends with slaves. It turns out that this was all part of his plan, the book reads, to “teach the slaves a song/that secretly told the way/to freedom.” When the song was learned, Peg Leg Joe would quit to work for another master. In this way, the song got spread around. The story chronicles, in simple unrhymed verse, the escape of one family, and how Joe’s song helps to lead and inspire them.

5. A Chair for My Mother - This story tells of a young girl, who along with her waitress mother, saves coins in a big jar in hopes that they can someday buy a big, new, comfortable chair for their apartment.There hasn’t been a comfortable place to sit in the apartment since a fire in their previous apartment burned everything to “charcoal and ashes.” Finally the jar is full, the coins are rolled, and in the book’s crowning moment mother, daughter, and Grandma search four different furniture stores, and after carefully trying several chairs, like Goldilocks, they find the chair they’ve been dreaming of at last.

6. Freedom on the Menu by Carole Boston Weatherford - There were signs all throughout town telling eight-year-old Connie where she could and could not go. But when Connie sees four young men take a stand for equal rights at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, she realizes that things may soon change. This event sparks a movement throughout her town and region. And while Connie is too young to march or give a speech, she helps her brother and sister make signs for the cause. Changes are coming to Connie’s town, but Connie just wants to sit at the lunch counter and eat a banana split like everyone else.

7. The Quilt by Ann Jonas – The new quilt is finished, and what a quilt it is! Here is a square from the proud owner’s baby pajamas, and one from the shirt she wore on her second birthday. There is even a square of the same material from which her mother made her stuffed dog Sally. How can she possibly sleep when there is so much to look at, and remember, and dream about . . . ?

8. White Socks Only by Evelyn Coleman – In the segregated south, a young girl thinks that she can drink from a fountain marked “Whites Only” because she is wearing her white socks.

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Why We Celebrate Presidents Day {Includes Activities}

Why We Celebrate Presidents Day {Includes Activities} from Standard Deviants Accelerate

George Washington’s Birthday, also known as Presidents’ Day, is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of February. The day honors presidents of the United States, including George Washington, the USA’s first president.

About Presidents Day

George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. He served two terms as president: 1789-1793 and 1793-1797. Before becoming president, he played an important role in the military, leading the American Continental Army to victory over the British in 1783. Washington is often seen as the father of the United States.

The likeness and name of George Washington can be seen in many places in the United States. There is the portrait of him and three other American presidents (Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt) carved into Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. His image is also used on the one-dollar bill and the quarter-dollar coin. Many places are named after him as well like the capital of the United States, Washington D.C., Washington State and at least three universities.

Washington’s Birthday was first celebrated as a holiday in the District of Columbia in 1880. and was made a federal holiday in 1885. The holiday was originally held on the anniversary of George Washington’s birth, on February 22. In 1971, this holiday was moved to the third Monday in February.

Presidents Day Activities

1. Learn About Our National Currency – Take a look at our coins and paper bills. Can you identify the figures on each one? Are they all presidents? What significance did each person have that might have earned them their place on our currency?

2. Make A Presidents Day Book – Print out coloring sheet head shots of all the presidents (or pick a few major ones you would like to cover). Have your kids color the photos and then write some major facts about each president on the back.

3. Do a President Scavenger Hunt – Use the Internet to find places and things in the United States that are named after our presidents.

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Just The Facts: U.S. Constitution Facts

Just the Facts U.S. Constitution Facts from Standard Deviants Accelerate

The Constitution of the United States is a document that outlines the basis of our federal government. It was written in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 55 men at the convention are called the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Men like George Washington, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton are just a few of the Founding Fathers.

U.S. Constitution Facts

The Constitution is composed of a Preamble (an introduction), the main body (which consists of seven articles), and amendments (additions to the Constitution made after the Constitution was created).

Outline of the Constitution:

Preamble (Introduction) – Explains that the Constitution proposes to establish a more perfect government complete with justice, tranquility, and liberty

ARTICLE I – Establishes the Legislative Branch (House of Representatives and the Senate).

ARTICLE II – Establishes the Executive Branch (headed by the President).

ARTICLE III – Establishes the Judicial Branch (a system of courts and judges).

ARTICLE IV – Establishes the relationship between the states and the federal government. Describes how to admit new states to the Union.

ARTICLE V – Describes how to amend the Constitution.

ARTICLE VI – Establishes the Constitution as the supreme law of the USA. Authorizes the national debt (Congress can borrow money). Public officials must take an oath to support the Constitution.

ARTICLE VII – Lists the requirements for ratification of the Constitution.

Amendments 1-10 (Called The Bill Of Rights was added in 1791.) – Preserves the rights of the people.
Amendment 1 – Freedom of religion, press, speech
Amendment 2 – Right to bear arms
Amendment 3 – Limits the quartering of soldiers
Amendment 4 – Search and seizure of property
Amendment 5 – Right to a trial if accused, no self-incrimination required, no double-jeopardy (you cannot be tried twice for the same crime)
Amendment 6 – Right to a speedy trial by jury and confrontation of witnesses
Amendment 7 – Right to a trial by jury in civil cases
Amendment 8 – Prohibits cruel and unusual punishment
Amendment 9 – People may have other rights, even if they are not listed here
Amendment 10 – The federal government’s powers are limited to those listed in the Constitution

Amendment 11 (1798) – Judicial limits
Amendment 12 (1804) – Method for choosing the President, Vice President
Amendment 13 (1865) – Abolished slavery
Amendment 14 (1868) – Rights of citizenship to all people born in USA or naturalized
Amendment 15 (1870) – Gives the right to vote to all citizens, regardless of color or race, but women are not mentioned
Amendment 16 (1913) – Income tax authorized
Amendment 17 (1913) – Senators elected by the popular vote
Amendment 18 (1919) – Prohibition – Liquor prohibited
Amendment 19 (1920) – Women’s suffrage (voting rights)
Amendment 20 (1933) – New terms of office for the President and Congress
Amendment 21 (1933) – Amendment 18 repealed (overturned)
Amendment 22 (1951) – Presidential term limited
Amendment 23 (1961) – Presidential vote given to Washington, D. C.
Amendment 24 (1964) – Poll taxes barred (you cannot charge people to vote)
Amendment 25 (1967) – Presidential disability and succession
Amendment 26 (1971) – Voting age lowered to 18 years old (same as the age at which men can be drafted into the army)
Amendment 27 (1992) – Congressional pay increases go into effect only during the next Congressional session.

Constitution Quick Facts

  1. The Constitution was signed September 17th, 1787.
  2. The preamble is the introduction to the Constitution.
  3. There are 7 Articles in the Constitution.
  4. The Constitution has been amended 27 times. To amend is to change.
  5. The 3 branches of government are Legislative, Executive, Judicial.
  6. The first 10 amendments are called The Bill of Rights.
  7. The main job of the legislature is to make the laws.
  8. The Legislature has two houses called Congress, which is divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate.
  9. There are 435 members in the House of Representatives.
  10. There are 100 members in the Senate.
  11. A Bill has to go through both houses and then the President before it can become a law.
  12. Congress has the power to tax, print money, and declare war.
  13. The Executive Branch enforces laws and is lead by the President.

Other History Related Articles:

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History Shows for Kids

History Shows for Kids from Standard Deviants Accelerate

I have found that supplementing our studies with the help of related television shows or videos not only enriches the learning but makes it more fun for the kids! Whether you look for a show to supplement what you are already learning, or build your learning around the shows, you will find that they have something to offer beyond the pages of a book.

History Shows for Kids

  1. Dear America – (ages 7+) The Dear America show is based on a series of historical fiction novels published by Scholastic. Each episode tells a different story from the point of view of a teen girl who writes in her diary of her observations and experiences during a point in American history.
  2. Hero Animated Classics –  (ages 8+) This is a series of educational animated shows that is geared towards elementary school aged children. It includes 20 biographies of both male and female scientists, inventors, explorers, and social champions including such people as George Washington, Joan of Arc, Helen Keller and more.
  3. Liberty’s Kids – (ages 8+) The purpose of Liberty’s Kids is to teach about the origins of the United States by telling stories with young kids surrounding the major events in the Revolutionary Way days.
  4. Little House on the Prairie – (ages 6+) This is an American western drama about the Ingalls family living on a farm in Minnesota in the 1870s and 1880s. The show is an adaptation for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series of Little House books.
  5. Drive Through History – (ages 10+) a series that speeds through ancient civilizations, the Holy Land, the founding of America, allowing the viewer to experience the people,places, and events that shaped our world.

* Remember when viewing new programs it is best to screen them for your children. Only you know and can decide what is appropriate for them.

You Might Also Like:

10 Science Shows for Kids
STEM Activities for Elementary Age Kids
The 9 Parts of Speech
Pumpkin Parts – A Science & Art Project

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3 Easy (and FREE) Geography Games

3 Easy (and FREE) Geography Games from Standard Deviants Accelerate

Geography is an important piece to understanding history as well as the current events happening each and every day. Thus incorporating geography into your homeschool is essential. Now to be honest, I hated geography as a kid. Sitting around memorizing all these places I had never seen and couldn’t pronounce was not my idea of fun. So what is fun then? Games!

3 Easy Geography Games

For no cost at all you can create fun and easy geography games to help your kids with learning where places are in our world.

1. Where in the World? Create geography cards or even just write a list (or print a list) of places you would like to tackle. Maybe pick one continent to focus on at first, or even just the United States. Then pull a card and see who can find the location first. Whoever finds it first keeps the card,or just keep a tally on a sheet of paper, and whoever ends up with the most cards or tallies wins!

2. Create Your Own Atlas – There are tons of free printable black outline maps to be had with a quick Internet search. Print a map of your choosing, or theirs if you wish and take to labeling and coloring. My kids have thoroughly enjoyed making their owns maps to keep and reference instead of looking at a book.

3. ABC Atlas – Using the alphabet and either a globe or flat map of your choice, you can play ABC Atlas. The games involves finding things that start with each letter of the alphabet. So if I am using a map of the United States I might start with Alabama for A, and then whomever I am playing with might choose Boston for B, and so on. As each person goes they have to do all the previous letters by naming what was said and pointing to it on the map. So by the end (Z) you should be naming and pointing out 26 places! You can choose to do this with just countries, or capitals, states, landmarks, etc.

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