Week one of literature-based 20th-century U. S. history:
- I passed five blank cards out to each child and asked them to write the following dates on the cards: 1492, 1776, 1860, 1865, 1900. We discussed each of these dates and why I want them to remember them. (1900 is just a big round number, useful for that reason. Last year, I made them memorize that McKinley was president in 1900.)
- I passed out another card and had them write "1918" on it.
- First we read about World War One. We used Joy Hakim, History of US, volume 9, Preface, which explains the start of WWI and the Americans' entry into it. Then I read selections from three library books -- almost any random WWI books will do -- to talk about trench warfare, submarines, and poison gas weapons.
- Then we discussed the "Spanish influenza" epidemic. I read the short children's novel Hero Over Here by K. V. Kudlinski, which is the story of a boy who has to take care of his flu-stricken family and friends when the epidemic hits his town. It's about 55 pages.
- Then I had them repeat the two things I want them to remember about 1918: the end of WWI, and the flu epidemic.
It went by pretty quickly. Next week: WWII. Part of it, anyway.