The 4th of July is a rather big celebration in our home. So a few years ago when my husband announced that he would like to do an annual lesson with the kids on Independence Day, I was not at all surprised. He jumped right onto his computer and before I knew it he had printed out photos, planned snacks, and told me what supplies he would need for some crafts that would help illustrate what he would be teaching the kids that day.
This was not a touch-and-go lesson by any means, and every year it has grown to cover more and more of our nation’s history. Yet somehow he seems to have it all fit into about a 45-minute block and the kids are never bored on a day when everyone else is outside having fun. Subjects covered include:
- The Pilgrims: Their journey for religious freedom, how difficult it was, and how it was so worth it.
- Opportunity and the difference between equal opportunity and equal results.
- King George III and the relationship between the colonies and the monarchy.
- The Boston Tea Party: What caused it, what it represented, and where it led.
- The Liberty Bell: What it means and the inscription it bears from Leviticus
- The Revolutionary War and the sacrifices of soldiers, then and now
- Our Flag: Its different iterations, what it symbolized, and what it stands for today. Respect, Patriotism, etc.
- What actually occurred on the 4th of July.
- The Declaration of Independence: The intro, preamble, and indictment. Who authored it, who it was to, and what it was about. The significance of the founders actually signing their names to it.
- What makes America different: Liberty, In God We Trust, E Pluribus Unum
He was originally inspired by this article from Dennis Prager on having an annual Seder for 10 minutes on the 4th of July. We’ve since adapted it to be a homeschool lesson and have made it fit for our family. Our children’s favorite part is the snack of pretzels, tea, and berries with whipped cream. My husband’s favorite quote from this is “National memory dies without national ritual. And without a national memory, a nation dies.”
Another favorite of our family is to take Founders Academy’s Independence Day live class on CurrClick.com if we are able to that year. Mrs. Schott has a fun way of explaining our history to the kids along with ideas for crafts, snacks, and more.
As for crafts, it varies in our home. Some years we do a simple craft with items from the dollar store or buy a kit from the craft store. Some times we are more elaborate. One year we all pitched in and made a large wooden flag to hang in our living room. Each person in our family had a part in building our flag, including the baby who did a couple of strokes with a paintbrush.
One item we use every year is our Wee Sing America cd. Truthfully, we listen to this all year round, but it does get a lot of play in late June and early July.
What I have learned from this is that while teaching history to young children can seem intimidating at times, it doesn’t have to be. It can actually be rather fun!
How does your family celebrate Independence Day?