Our human biology and genetics curriculum (homeschooling)

Continuing my series publishing my lesson plans so parents who are interested in homeschooling can see how we do it in detail. This is our 4th grade human biology and genetics curriculum.

Our daughter is gifted and interested particularly in science. We go all out in studying science each year so she feels happy and challenged. She just turned eight years old, but we typically use late middle school and high school textbooks for her. When she was younger, we did not use textbooks at all. We systematically worked our way through the children’s non-fiction section at the library, reading thousands of books together over the years. There are so many high-quality STEM resources for children now. If you’ve passed those on to your kid and then show them a regular textbook geared toward elementary-aged children, they are going to tell you it’s for babies. And they aren’t wrong. Somehow general curriculum has become more basic as our society has become technologically advanced. It’s a fascinating phenomenon.

I say this all the time, but having the ability to teach your children at their real intellectual level – as opposed to what the government thinks is average for their chronological age – is one of the best arguments for homeschooling. Our daughter specifically asked to study genetics this year. I can’t even fathom how much we’d be suppressing her intellect by putting her in a traditional school.


McDougal Littell Science, Human Biology

McDougal Littell Science, Cells and Hereditary

Margaret Matt, Human Anatomy Coloring Book

Silver and Wayne, My First Book About the Brain

Robert Griffin, The Biology Coloring Book

Other thematic non-fiction books (listed below)

Human Biology

  • Read Michael Bright, How We Became Humans: Our Incredible Evolutionary Journey
  • Read Chapter 1.1 – The Human Body is Complex; Notes
  • Activity – How Do the Systems in Your Body Interact?
  • Coloring Page – Systems of the Human Body
  • Read Chapter 1.2 – The Skeletal System Provides Support and Protection; Notes
  • Activity – Movable Joints
  • Coloring Pages – Skeletal System; Skull; Vertebral Column; Axial Skeleton; Appendicular Skeleton – Upper and Lower Extremities
  • Math in Science – Rates of Production
  • Read Chapter 1.3 – The Muscular System Makes Movement Possible; Notes
  • Coloring Pages – Muscular System; Muscles of the Face, Head, and Neck; Muscles of the Torso; Muscles of the Upper Limbs; Muscles of the Lower Limbs
  • Review
  • Read Chapter 2.1 – The Respiratory System Gets Oxygen and Removes Carbon Dioxide; Notes
  • Activity – How Does Air Move in and Out of Lungs?
  • Coloring Pages – Respiratory System; Nose, Nasal Cavities, and Pharynx; Mechanisms of Breathing and Swallowing; Larynx and Trachea; Alveoli; Breathing Mechanism
  • Read Chapter 2.2 – The Digestive System Breaks Down Food; Notes
  • Activity – How Does the Digestive System Break Down Fat?
  • Activity – How Does Saliva Affect Starch?
  • Math in Science – Internal Measurement
  • Coloring Pages – Digestive System; Mouth and Esophagus; Stomach; Small Intestine; Larger Intestine; Accessory Organs of Digestion
  • Read Chapter 2.3: The Urinary System Removes Waste Materials; Notes
  • Coloring Page – The Urinary System; Kidneys
  • Activity – How Does the Skin Get Rid of Body Waste?
  • Activity – Modeling a Kidney
  • Review
  • Read Chapter 3.1: The Circulatory System Transports Materials; Notes
  • Activity – How Fast Does Your Heart Beat?
  • Activity – Heart Rate and Exercise
  • Coloring Pages – Circulatory System; Heart; Pulmonary Circulation; Arteries; Veins
  • Read Chapter 3.2: The Immune System Defends the Body; Notes
  • Activity – How Does the Body Keep Foreign Particles Out?
  • Activity – How Do Antibodies Stop Pathogens from Spreading?
  • Coloring Pages – Lymph System
  • Read Chapter 3.3 – The Integumentary System Shields the Body; Notes
  • Activity – What Are the Functions of Skin?
  • Activity – How Does Oil Protect Your Skin?
  • Extreme Science – Artificial Skin
  • Coloring Pages – Skin; Scarring, Nails, and Coloring
  • Review
  • Read Chapter 4.1 – The Nervous System Responds and Controls; Notes
  • Activity – Can You Name the Scent?
  • Coloring Pages – Nervous System; Nerve Cell; Brain; Spinal Cord; Sensation Sites; Autonomic Nervous System
  • Discussion – What is Consciousness? What is a Coma? What is Intelligence? Historical Experiments Testing Awareness and Artificial Intelligence
  • Activity – Are You a Supertaster?
  • Coloring Pages – Cerebrum, Cerebellum, Brain Stem, and Nerve Cells
  • Coloring Pages – Making Sense, How You See, How You Hear, Keep in Touch, How You Smell and Taste
  • Coloring Pages – Left Brain / Right Brain, Corpus Callosum, Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Keeping Balance, Cranial Nerves
  • Coloring Pages – Nerves and Involuntary Faculties, Grow that Brain, Comparing Human and Animal Brains
  • Coloring Pages – Feelings, Memories, and Dreams
  • Read Chapter 4.2 – The Endocrine System Helps Regulate Body Conditions
  • Coloring Pages – Endocrine System
  • Activity – How Does Your Body Temperature Change When You Exercise?
  • Connecting Sciences – Heating and Cooling
  • Read Chapter 4.3 – The Reproductive System Allows the Production of Offspring; Notes
  • Activity – How are Egg and Sperm Cells Different?
  • Math in Science – Twins and Triplets
  • Coloring Pages – Reproductive System; Female Reproductive System
  • Review
  • Read Chapter 5.1 – The Human Body Changes Over Time; Notes
  • Activity – Are There Patterns of Growth?
  • Activity – Life Expectancy
  • Read Chapter 5.2 – Systems in the Body Function to Maintain Health; Notes
  • Activity – Food Labels
  • Read Chapter 5.3 – Science Helps People Prevent and Treat Disease; Notes
  • Activity: Cleaning Your Hands
  • Review

Dissection Week

  • Dissection of sheep’s brain
  • Dissection of sheep’s heart
  • Dissection of sheep’s kidney
  • Dissection of sheep’s eyeball

Cell Structures and Genetics

  • Read Chapter 1.1 – The Cell is the Basic Unit of Living Things; Notes
  • Activity – Does a Candle Show Signs of Life?
  • Coloring Pages – Being Alive; How Science Began; Scientific Method Today; Matter and Elements; Compounds and Mixtures; Elements in Living Things
  • Activity – Using a Microscope
  • Read Chapter 1.2 – Microscopes Allow Us to See Inside the Cell; Notes
  • Coloring Pages – Subatomic Particles; Atomic Structure; Ionic Bonds; Covalent Bonds; Water Molecules; Unusual Properties of Water; Acids and Bases
  • Coloring Pages – Cell Theory; Sizes of Things; Student Microscopes; Research Microscopes; Cell Preparation for Light Microscopes; Cell Preparation for Transmission Electron Microscopes; Interpreting Thin Sections
  • Activity – How Do Plant and Animal Cells Compare?
  • Coloring Pages – Animal Cell; Plant Cell; Prokaryotic Cells
  • Read Chapter 1.3 – Different Cells Perform Various Functions; Notes
  • Activity – How Do Roots Differ from Leaves?
  • Activity – Cell Models
  • Review
  • Read Chapter 2.1 – Chemical Reactions Take Place Inside Cells
  • Activity – How Are Different Types of Molecules Important in Your Everyday Life?
  • Activity – What Happens When You Combine Oil and Water?
  • Coloring Pages – Carbohydrates I; Carbohydrates II; Lipids; Protein; Amino Acids; Protein Structure I; Protein Structure II; Nucleotides
  • Read Chapter 2.2 – Cells Capture and Release Energy; Notes
  • Activity – How Can You Tell if Fermentation Releases Material?
  • Biosphere 2 Documentary
  • Read Chapter 2.3 – Materials Move Across the Cell’s Membranes; Notes
  • Activity – How Do Particles Move?
  • Activity – How Does Cell Size Affect Transport?
  • Activity – Diffusion
  • Coloring Pages – Membrane Properties; Osmosis; Evidence of Membrane Ultrastructure; The Fluid Mosaic Model
  • Review
  • Read Chapter 3.1 – Cell Division Occurs in All Organisms; Notes
  • Activity – How Does DNA Fit Inside the Nucleus?
  • Connecting Sciences – Chemical Dyes Show Nerve Growth
  • Read Chapter 3.2 – Cell Division is Part of the Cell Cycle; Notes
  • Activity – How Can You Model Mitosis?
  • Activity – Stages of the Cell Cycle
  • Read Chapter 3.3 – Both Sexual and Asexual Reproduction Involve Cell Division; Notes
  • Activity – Which Part of Plants Can Reproduce?
  • Math in Science – Divide and Multiply
  • Review
  • Read Chapter 4.1 – Living Things Inherit Traits in Patterns; Notes
  • Activity – Offspring Models
  • Read Chapter 4.2 – Patterns of Hereditary Can Be Predicted; Notes
  • Activity – How Can Probability Help Predict Results?
  • Activity – Do Probabilities Affect Each Other?
  • Coloring Pages – Introduction to Genetics; Mendel’s Peas; Flower Color Hybrids
  • Coloring Pages – Gene Symbols; Two-Character Cross
  • Read Chapter 4.3 – Meiosis is a Special Form of Cell Division; Notes
  • Activity – Why Does Sexual Reproduction Need a Special Form of Cell Division?
  • Activity – How Can You Model Fertilization?
  • Coloring Pages – Mitosis and Meiosis; Summary of Mitosis and Meiosis
  • Activity – Are Traits Linked?
  • Coloring Pages – Linkage in Fruit Flies; Chromosome Crossovers; Sex Linkage I; Sex Linkage II; Sex Linkage III; Blending Inheritance I; Blending Inheritance II; Codominance and Blood Types
  • Review
  • Read Chapter 5.1 – DNA and RNA Are Required to Make Proteins; Notes
  • Activity – How Does a Template Work?
  • Activity – Extract and Observe DNA
  • Coloring Pages – DNA Discovery; DNA and Transformation; DNA in Neurospora; DNA in Bacteriophage; DNA Base Pairing
  • Coloring Pages – The Double Helix; DNA Replication; Protein Synthesis – Translation; The Genetic Code
  • Coloring Pages – Charles Darwin; Artificial Selection and Natural Selection; Natural Selection We Can See; Speciation; Communities; Biochemical Cycles
  • Read Chapter 5.2 – Changes in DNA Can Produce Variation; Notes
  • Activity – What Happens to a Code If Small Changes Occur?
  • Activity – How Does a Large Number of Non-Coding Sequences Affect Mutations?
  • Math in Science – Percents and Populations
  • Read Chapter 5.4 – Modern Genetics Uses DNA Technology; Notes
  • Extreme Science – Modern Genetics Meets the Dodo and the Solitaire
  • Review

Portfolio – Science in the News

  • Keep a collection of news articles about human biology. At the end of the academic year, discuss new developments and concerns in the context of what you’ve learned.

Our read-aloud literature for 4th grade (homeschooling)

Continuing my series publishing our lessons plans so families that are considering homeschooling can see how we do it in detail.

Each morning, we start with reading a chapter or two from excellent children’s literature. This is a great way to prepare your child for learning while they wake up and eat breakfast. This year, we are reading books with some connection to American history.

Here’s my list:

Elisa Carbone, Blood on the River: James Town 1607

Jean Lee Latham, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

Elizabeth George Speare, The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Lois Lenski, Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison

Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain: A Story of Boston in Revolt

James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier, My Brother Sam is Dead

Elizabeth Yates, Amos Fortune Free Man

Harold Keith, Rifles for Watie

Patricia MacLachlan, Sarah, Plain and Tall

Lois Lenski, Prairie School

Marden Dahlstedt, The Terrible Wave

Carol Ryrie Brink, Caddie Woodlawn

Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows

Doris Gates, Blue Willow

Scott O’Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins

Sydney Taylor, All-of-a-Kind Family

Virginia Sorensen, Plain Girl

American Folk Music, Folk Art, and Folk Tales curriculum (homeschooling)

Continuing my series detailing our homeschooling curriculum for 4th grade for anyone who is considering homeschooling to see how we do it in real detail.

As I explained in an earlier post, I try to take an interdisciplinary approach to homeschooling. This year, our theme is our identity as Americans. We are studying American history, American literature, and I created a special unit on American Folk Music, Folk Art, and Folktales. I put so much work into researching resources for this unit and I am quite proud of how it turned out. I tried to work in a lot of content on the music and traditions of Native Americans and the African-American community. If anyone out there has any suggestions or ideas, please send them along.

American Folk Music and Patriotic Songs

TEXT: Wee Sing America

  • We Love the USA
  • John F. Kennedy Quote
  • The Star-Spangled Banner
  • Preamble to the Constitution
  • You’re a Grand Old Flag
  • Three Cheers for the Red, White, and Blue
  • The Stars and Stripes Forever
  • There Are Many Flags
  • America
  • Thomas Jefferson Quote
  • Abraham Lincoln Quote
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Quote
  • America, America
  • America the Beautiful
  • Statue of Liberty Excerpt
  • The United States
  • Presidents of the United States
  • Yankee Doodle Boy
  • Yankee Doodle
  • Old Abe Lincoln
  • Abraham Lincoln Quote
  • Dixie
  • Battle Hymn of the Republic
  • George Washington Quote
  • When Johnny Comes Marching Home
  • Goober Peas
  • The Caissons
  • Marine’s Hymn
  • Patrick Henry Quote
  • Anchors Aweigh
  • Sweet Betsey from Pike
  • I’ve Been Working on the Railroad
  • John Henry
  • Drill, Ye Tarriers
  • Paddy Works on the Railway
  • The Old Chisholm Trail
  • Goodbye, Old Paint
  • I Ride an Old Paint
  • Git Along, Little Dogies
  • My Home’s in Montana
  • Old Texas
  • The Boll Weevil
  • Pick a Bale o’ Cotton
  • Cotton Needs Pickin’
  • Shuckin’ of the Corn
  • Old Settler’s Song
  • Sacramento
  • Blow Ye Winds
  • Cape Cod Chantey
  • Blow the Man Down
  • Erie Canal
  • Down the River

TEXT: Wee Sing Fun ‘n’ Folk

  • Crawdad Song
  • Bought Me a Cat
  • Polly Wolly Doodle
  • Shortin’ Bread
  • Oh, Dear! What Can the Matter Be?
  • There’s a Little Wheel A-Turnin’
  • Jennie Jenkins
  • The Wabash Cannonball
  • Grizzly Bear
  • Train Is A Comin’
  • The Rattlin’ Bog
  • Great Granddad
  • Billy Boy
  • Father Grumble
  • Hold On
  • The Old Gray Mare
  • The Big Rock Candy Mountain
  • Cindy
  • Old Joe Clark
  • Frog Went A-Courtin’
  • Grasshoppers Three
  • The Bee and the Pup
  • Little Red Caboose
  • The Bear
  • The Arkansas Traveler
  • Keemo Kymo
  • Goin’ to Boston
  • The Railroad Cars Are Coming
  • Old Dan Tucker
  • Had a Little Rooster
  • Little Liza Jane
  • Put Your Little Foot
  • Hop Up, My Ladies
  • The Frog in the Bog
  • Pawpaw Patch
  • Buffalo Gals
  • Turn the Glasses Over
  • Turkey in the Straw
  • Jingle at the Window
  • Shoo Fly
  • Rig-A-Jig-Jig

Native American Culture and Music

Audio Resource: Sacred Music: Chants and Dances of the Native Americans

  • Introduction and Prelude: How the West Was Lost
  • Winter Ceremony
  • The Counter-Clockwise Circle Dance
  • Celebrate Wild Rice
  • The Cradlesong
  • Advice for the Young
  • Wishes of Happiness and Prosperity
  • Elevation
  • Intertribal Song to Stop the Rain
  • Heal the Soul
  • Brandishing the Tomahawk

TEXT: More than Moccasins: A Kid’s Activity Guide to Traditional North American Indian Life

Everyday Life

  • Tepee
  • Backrest
  • Wigwam
  • Pueblo Village
  • Weaving
  • Burden Basket
  • Pottery
  • Boxes
  • Parfleche
  • Bark Containers
  • Pouch
  • Canoe
  • Fishing Lure
  • Duck Decoy
  • Special Shield
  • Coup Stick
  • Wampum
  • Peace Pipe

Things to Wear

  • Vest
  • Breechcloth and Apron
  • Leggings
  • Armbands
  • Cuffs
  • Anklets
  • Fancy Dance Bustle
  • Women and Girls’ Capes
  • Pueblo Dress
  • Headbands
  • Warbonnets
  • Plains Bonnet
  • Bonnet Case
  • Iroquois Headdress
  • Pipe Bone Breastplate
  • Bear Claw Necklace
  • Shell Necklace
  • Shell Gorget
  • Shell Etching
  • Fetish Necklace
  • Seed and Corn Necklace
  • Silver Bracelet
  • Earring Loops
  • Bounty of Beads
  • Face Painting
  • Mud Head Mask
  • False Face Mask
  • Kachina Mask

Song and Dance

  • Musical Rasp
  • Gourd Rattle
  • Turtle Shell Rattle
  • Whale Rattle
  • Drumbeats
  • Bull Roarer


  • Cradleboard
  • Cradle Charms
  • Corncob Doll
  • Hunting Toys (Deer Hat, Spear)
  • Kachina Doll
  • Dog Travois
  • Spinning Top


  • Hubbub
  • Stick Game
  • Bowl Game
  • Throw Sticks
  • Wooden Dice
  • Shell Dice
  • Stick Dice
  • Walnut Shell Game
  • Kainsish
  • Stick Counting Game
  • Hidden Stick Game
  • Hand Game
  • Moccasins Guessing Game
  • Feathered Darts
  • Hoop and Lances
  • Hoop and Darts
  • Buzz
  • Pin and Target
  • Racket Ball
  • Shinny
  • Ball Race
  • Juggling
  • Pokean
  • Standing Cob Game
  • Cat’s Cradle
  • Ring Toss
  • Foot Races


  • Fry Bread
  • Kneel-Down Bread
  • Baked Pumpkin
  • Corn and Pumpkin Stew
  • Wild Rice
  • Corn Soup
  • Hominy
  • Steamed Clover
  • Baked Squash
  • Fried Squash Blossoms
  • Fish Soup
  • Boiled Eggs
  • Popped Corn
  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • Beef Jerky
  • Fruit Leather
  • Raisins
  • Peanut Butter
  • Maple Sugar Candy
  • Drinks


  • Puzzling Petroglyphs
  • Pictographs
  • Sign Language
  • Totem Poles
  • Sandpainting
  • Winter Count
  • Smoke Signals
  • Story Stick
  • Owner Sticks
  • Birch Bark Transparencies
  • Talking Feather
  • Storytelling
  • Cherokee Alphabet
  • Navajo Code Talkers

African-American Music and Culture

TEXT: Virginia Hamilton, The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales

  • Animal Tales
  • The Real, Extravagant, and Beautiful
  • Tales of the Supernatural
  • Slave Tales of Freedom

TEXT: Velma Maia Thomas, No Man Can Hinder Me: The Journey from Slavery to Emancipation through Song

  • Remember Me: Songs of Africa (Audio: Drumming)
  • The Middle Passages: Songs that Carried Us Over (Audio: Kum Ba Ya)
  • Lord, How Come Me Here: Holding on to Songs of Our African Past (Audio: Lord, How Come We Here?)
  • When the Hammer Rings: Songs of Work (Audio: John Henry)
  • There Must Be a God Somewhere: The Birth of Spirituals (Audio: Balm in Gilead; Ride On, King Jesus)
  • Have You Got Good Religion: Songs of Biblical Stories (Audio: Were You There?)
  • Love Songs: Songs that Made Our Hearts Sing (Audio: Baby in a Guinea-Blue Gown)
  • Everybody Sing: Songs of Community (Audio: Trampin’)
  • Little Sally Walker: Lullabies and Songs of Play (Audio: Little Sally Walker; Mr. Rabbit)
  • And Before I’ll Be a Slave: Songs of Rebellion and Freedom (Audio: Sing Low, Sweet Chariot)
  • Activity: Coded Messages in Spirituals
  • John Brown’s Body: Songs of Our Soldiers (Audio: John Brown’s Body)
  • The Day of Jubilee: Songs of Emancipation (Audio: Down by the Riverside)
  • From Plantation to Palace: Preserving Our Songs (Audio: Fare Ye Well)

TEXT: Doreen Rappaport, No More! Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance

  • Harriet Wheatley, “My Pa Was Never Slave”; Overview of Slavery; The Story of Olaudah; The Story of Peppel
  • In this unfamiliar land…; The Story of Vina; The Story of Adeline; “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?”
  • The Story of Frederick; The Story of Suzie King Taylor; “Steal Away to Jesus”
  • The Story of Caroline; “Gospel Train”; “Go Down Moses”; The Story of John Scobell; “Many Thousand Gone”; The Story of Booker T. Washington

TEXT, Doreen Rappaport, Free at Last! Stories and Songs of Emancipation

  • “Listen Children”; The Story of Jane Kemper; The Story of Booker T. Washington (continued); “Free at Last”
  • The Story of Harriet Postle; Black activists campaigned…; The Story of John Solomon Lewis; The Story of Ida B. Wells
  • “Incident”; “John Henry”
  • The Story of Booker T. Washington (continued) ; “We Wear the Mask”; “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”; “I, Too, Sing America”
  • The Story of Kenneth Clark; The Story of Thurgood Marshall; “Ain’t I Glad We Got Out of the Wilderness”

TEXT: Doreen Rappaport, Nobody Gonna Turn Me ‘Round: Stories and Songs of the Civil Rights Movement

  • Margaret Walker, “For My People”; historical discussion
  • The Story of Mose Wright; The Story of Rosa Parks; The Story of Jo Ann Robinson
  • The Story of Elizabeth Eckford; The Story of John Lewis; The Story of Diane Nash
  • “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize”; historical discussion; “Oh, Freedom”; “We Shall Overcome”
  • The Story of Fannie Lou Hammer; historical discussion; The Story of Sheyann Webb; “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Tun Me ‘Round”

American Folk Art

TEXTS: Richard Panchyk, American Folk Art for Kids with 21 Activities

           William Ketchum, Jr., Grandma Moses: An American Original

           Tovah Martin, Tasha Tudor’s Heirloom Crafts

  • The Origins of Folk Art – Art and Civilization; The Emergence of Folk Art; Geography; American Folk Art
  • Folk Painting and Drawing – Academic Painting and Folk Painting; Folk Portraits
  • Activity: Paint a Folk Portrait
  • Folk Painting and Drawing (Continued) – Landscape Paintings; What Makes It a Good Painting; Watercolor, Pastel, and Tempura Paintings
  • Read William Ketchum Jr, Grandma Moses: An American Original
  • Folk Painting and Drawing (Continued) – Maritime Folk Art, Religious Painting; Sketches, Doodles, and Odds and Ends; Calligraphy; Tokens of Love; Silhouettes; Memorial Pictures
  • Activity: Calligraphy Picture Activity: Silhouettes
  • Activity: Reverse Painting on Glass
  • Activity: Make a Shadow Painting
  • Howard Finster
  • The Decorative Arts – Fraktur; Painted Furniture; Rewards of Merit; The Hex Sign; Stencils; Theorem Painting; Stoneware; Other Pottery; Toleware
  • Activity: Make a Hex Sign
  • Activity: Make a Stencil; Folk or Fake?
  • Activity: Create a Paper Cutout
  • Fabric Sewn and Stitched – From Plant to Blanket; Weaving; Basket Weaving; Knitting and Crocheting; Folk Costumes; Lace; Embroidery and Needlepoint; Hooked Rugs; Samplers; Quilts; Rag Dolls
  • The Mennonites and Amish
  • Activity: Design a Quilt
  • Chiseled, Carved, and Hammered – Carved Furniture; Inlaid Wood; Canes and Walking Sticks; Gravestone Folk Art; Decoys; Tramp Art; Whittling, Carving, and Cutting; Models and Miniatures; Pyrography; Scrimshaw; The Little Town that Carved; Weathervanes and Whirligigs; Games and Toys
  • Read Tovah Martin, Tasha Tudor’s Heirloom Crafts
  • Elijah Pierce
  • Activity: Make a Scrimshaw
  • The Shakers of Sabbathday Lake
  • Found Objects and Scraps – Trench Art
  • Activity: Make a Memory Box
  • Activity: Recycled Fun
  • Mr. Imagination
  • Activity: Decoupage a Box
  • Public Folk Art – Product Design; Trade Cards and Advertising; Cigar Store Indians (Cigar Store in St Augustine); Trade Signs; Building Signs; Tavern and Inn Signs; Roadside America; Murals, Frescoes, and Building Decorations (Note the murals in Flagler Beach, Cocoa Beach, Ft. Lauderdale)

Our American History curriculum (homeschooling)

Continuing my series on what our lesson plans look like for anyone who is considering homeschooling. This is 4th grade American history.


Abeka, The History of Our United States from a Christian Perspective

Various Non-Fiction Children’s Books (noted below – there are a lot)

Age of Exploration and First Settlements

  • Introductory discussion – What distinguishes the American experiment from other countries
  • Read Chapter One – Europe: Where the New World Began; Columbus Discovers America
  • Chapter One, continued – North America is Claimed for England; America Gets Its Name; Did Anyone Ever Find a Sea Route to the Indies; A New Ocean is Formed; Ponce de Leon Explores Florida
  • Read Chapter Two – Spain: The Conquest of Mexico; France: Cartier Explores the New World
  • Chapter Two, continued – Spain: Coronado’s Search for the Seven Cities of Cibola; Spain: DeSoto Discovers the Mississippi; England: Drake the Dragon; France: The First French Settlement in the New World
  • Field Trip: St. Augustine Colonial Quarter

Native American History and Culture

  • Read Chapter Three – The Differences in American Indians; Indian Games; Indian Way of Life Changes; Missionaries to the Native Americans
  • Read Marie and Douglas Gorsline, North American Indians
  • Read Ellen Levine, If You Lived with the Iroquois
  • Read Peter and Connie Roop, If You Lived with the Cherokee
  • Read Ann McGovern, If You Lived with the Sioux Indians
  • Read Geraldine Woods, The Navajo
  • Read Bill Martin and John Archambault, Knots on a Counting Rope
  • Read E.K. Caldwell, Bear
  • Read Jonathan London, Fire Race: A Karuk Coyote Tale
  • Read Tim Jessell, Amorak
  • Read North American Indian (DK)

The Colonial Period

  • Read Chapter Four – Planting a Colony; England and the Bible; The Lost Colony
  • Chapter Four, continued – Jamestown: The First Lasting English Colony
  • Read Joyce Milton, Pocahontas: An American Princess
  • Chapter Four, continued – The Pilgrims: Lovers of Religious Freedom
  • Read Ann McGovern, If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
  • Read Chapter Five – Settling the North; The Massachusetts Bay Colony; The Puritans; Governor John Winthrop: Rhode Island and Roger Williams; New Hampshire; Connecticut
  • Read Avi, Finding Providence: The Story of Roger Williams
  • Read Chapter Six – New York; Delaware; New Jersey
  • Chapter Six, continued – Pennsylvania and the Quakers
  • Chapter Six, continued – Virginia; Maryland; The Carolinas; Georgia: England’s Last Colony; Many People, One Land
  • Chapter Seven – A Picture of Colonial Life
  • Read Ann McGovern, If You Lived in Colonial Times
  • Read Barbara Brenner, If You Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Times
  • Introductory discussion – What was the “Great Awakening” and how did it shape American culture?
  • Read Chapter Seven – Jonathan Edwards: A Great Puritan Preacher; John Wesley: Founder of the Methodist Church; George Whitefield: The Great Evangelist to America; Missionary Work in America
  • Read Chapter Nine – New France and Its Colonies; The Differences between French and American Colonies; The French and English Become Enemies
  • Chapter Nine, continued – The French and Indian War and Its Historical Significance

The American Revolution and Basic Civics

  • Read Chapter Ten – Thirteen English Colonies in America; The American Colonies Demand their Rights as Englishmen; Stamp Act; More Problems
  • Chapter Ten, continued – The Colonists Speak Out; New Taxes; The Boston Massacre; The Boston Tea Party
  • Chapter Ten, continued – The Revolutionary War Begins; The Colonists Prepare to Fight; The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
  • Read Esther Forbes, America’s Paul Revere
  • Read “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Chapter Ten, continued – The Second Continental Congress; The Battle for Bunker Hill; Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys; More Decisions
  • Chapter Ten, continued – The Declaration of Independence
  • Read the Declaration of Independence
  • Read James Cross Giblin, Thomas Jefferson: A Picture Book Biography
  • Chapter Ten, continued – The War Continues; The Colonial Army in New York City; Patriots Who Risked Their Lives; The Colonial Army at Trenton, New Jersey; A Flag for Our Country
  • Chapter Ten, continued: The Colonial Army at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; The War on the Frontier; A New Navy; The War in the South; Victory at Yorktown, October 1781; Treaty of Paris
  • Read, Kay Moore, If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution
  • Read Chapter Eleven – After the War for Independence; The Articles of Confederation; The Constitution of the United States; A Brand-New Government
  • Read Elizabeth Levy, If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution
  • Read Syl Sobel, How the US Government Works
  • Read Elissa Grodin, D is for Democracy: A Citizen’s Alphabet
  • Chapter Eleven, continued – The New Republic; An Election; A New Capital
  • Read Ruth Belov Gross, If You Grew Up with George Washington

Manifest Destiny and Its Consequences

  • Read Chapter Twelve: America Pushes Farther West; Daniel Boone and the Wilderness Road; Settling the Northwest Territory; The Land Ordinances
  • Chapter Twelve, continued: The United States Doubles in Size; The Louisiana Territory; The War of 1812 and Its Historical Significance; Our National Anthem
  • Read Joyce Milton, Sacajawea: Her True Story
  • Chapter Twelve, continued: The Purchase of Florida; The Second Great Awakening
  • Chapter Twelve, continued: The United States Gains the Southwest; Texas Decides to Fight for Independence: The Alamo; War with Mexico; The Gadsden Purchase
  • Read Elaine Landau, The Alamo: Would You Join the Fight?
  • Chapter Twelve, continued: The Great Rush to California; The Oregon Territory; An Education System Evolves
  • Read Joseph Bruchac, The Trail of Tears; discuss how forcefully relocating Native Americans was a destructive aspect of settling the former colonies and new territories


  • Read Ellen Levine, If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon
  • How It All Began
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Mapping the Way
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – The Decision to Go West
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Wagon Trains
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Hardships on the Trail
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Popular Routes
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – The Transcontinental Railroad
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Building Homes
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Frontier Farming and Food
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – At Home and At School
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Fun and Holidays
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Cowboys and Indians
  • Rachel Dickinson, Great Pioneer Projects – Documenting the West
  • Play the Oregon Trail board game
  • Read Tod Cody, The Cowboy’s Handbook: How to Become a Hero of the Wild West
  • DK Eyewitness Books, The Wild West
  • Read Bree Burns, Sitting Bull and Other Legendary Native American Chiefs

Slavery in America

  • Read Chapter Thirteen – The North with Slavery; The South with Slavery; Troubled Times
  • Read Patricia McKissack, Amistad: The Story of a Slave Ship
  • Read Anne Kamma, If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America
  • Somersett
    • Quaker Protest
    • A Prince
    • A Vanished Slave and His Return
    • A Kidnapped Child
    • Jenny Slew
  • Read Virginia Hamilton, Many Thousand Gone: African-Americans from Slavery to Freedom – Part Two
    • Elizabeth Freeman
    • The Right of Chloe
    • Advertisements
    • Th Gabriel Prosser Uprising
    • Josiah Henson, Running-Away and Guide
    • A Slave
    • The Nat Turner Rebellion
    • Some Conductors on the Underground Railroad
    • Eliza
    • Isabella, Sojourner
    • The Captain of the Pearl
    • Solomon Northrup
    • Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey
    • The Brave Conductor
    • “All Right, Sir!”
  • Read Virginia Hamilton, Many Thousand Gone: African-Americans from Slavery to Freedom – Part Three
    • Anthony Burns
    • A Mother’s Despair
    • A Slave from Missouri
    • A Kentucky Runaway
    • Alexander Ross, Down from Canada
    • Jackson, of Alabama
    • Wisdom
    • An Unnamed Fugitive
    • Three Fugitives
    • Exodus
    • Proclamation
    • Deliverance
    • The Tide of Freedom
  • Read Ellen Levine, If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad
  • Read Monica Kulling, Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman
  • Read Marie Bradbury, More than Anything Else

The Civil War

  • Chapter Thirteen, continued – The Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation
  • Chapter Thirteen, continued – The Battles in the Civil War
  • Read Ann Turner, Drummer Boy: Marching to the Civil War
  • Read Kate Boehm-Jerome, Civil War Sub: The Mystery of the Hanley
  • Read Patrick O’Brien, Duel of the Ironclads: The Monitor vs The Virginia
  • Read Jean Fritz, Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln: The Story of the Gettysburg Address
  • Read D’Aulaires’ Abraham Lincoln
  • Read Ann McGovern, If You Grew Up with Abraham Lincoln
  • Chapter 13, continued – The Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln
  • Read Stephen Krensky, A Man for All Seasons: The Life of George Washington Carver; discuss what life was like for former slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation, opportunities and problems

Reconstruction and the Gilded Age

  • Read Chapter Fourteen – Rebuilding the South and The Last Frontier
  • Chapter Fourteen, continued – Indian Reservations; Railroads; The Homestead Act; The Oklahoma Land Rush; Cyrus McCormick
  • Read Chapter Fifteen – Immigration
  • Read Ellen Levine, If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island
  • Read Elvira Woodruff, The Memory Coat
  • Read Amy Hest, When Jessie Came Across the Sea
  • Read Russell Freedman, Immigrant Kids
  • Discussion – Immigrants in our own family from Finland, the Netherlands, and Switzerland; Catholic heritage brought with them
  • Read R. Conrad Stein, The Story of the Erie Canal; discuss the role immigrant labor played in massive public works projects like canals and railroads
  • Chapter Fifteen, continued – Steel and Oil; Famous American Inventors
  • Field Trip – John D. Rockefeller’s House in Ormond Beach
  • Read George Shea, First Flight: The Story of Tom Tate and the Wright Brothers
  • Read Chapter Sixteen – Alaska and Hawaii
  • Watch “The Great Alaskan Race”; discuss the origins of the Iditarod
  • Chapter Sixteen, continued – The Spanish-American War and the Rough Riders; The Panama Canal
  • Read Chapter Seventeen – World War I
  • Chapter Seventeen, continued – The Roaring Twenties
  • Documentary on the Roaring Twenties
  • Chapter Seventeen, continued – The Great Depression
  • Read Steven Otfinoski, The Great Depression
  • Read Don Nardo, Migrant Mother: How a Photograph Defined the Great Depression

The World Wars and Modern American History

  • Chapter Seventeen, continued – The World Between the Wars; The Rise of Communism, Fascism, and Nazism
  • Read Angela Gluck Wood, Holocaust: The Events and Their Impact on Real People; DVD of Holocaust Survivors’ Stories
  • Read Michelle McCann, Luba: The Angel of Bergen-Belsen
  • Chapter Seventeen, continued – World War II Begins; The United States Builds Its Armed Forces; Germany Attacks England; Hitler Surprises the Russians; Three Wars in One
  • Chapter Seventeen, continued – The Attack on Pearl Harbor
  • Read Shelley Tanaka, Attack on Pearl Harbor: The True Story of The Day America Entered World War II
  • Watch “Midway” movie about the war in the Pacific
  • Read Shelley Tanaka, D-Day: A Day that Changed America; discuss great-grandfather’s role in storming Normandy
  • Chapter Seventeen, continued – Victory Comes at Last; Continuing World Problems; Berlin is Divided; the Korean War; discuss family members who served in Korea
  • Chapter Eighteen – Freedom and Opportunity for All Americans
  • Read Robert Coles, The Story of Ruby Bridges
  • Read Ellen Levine, If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King
  • Read Philip Caputo, 10,000 Days of Thunder: A History of the Vietnam War
  • Read Vietnam War (DK); discuss experiences of Vietnam veterans in the family
  • Read Judy Donnelly, Moonwalk: The First Trip to the Moon
  • Read James Buckley Jr., Home Address: ISS, International Space Station
  • Field Trip: Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral
  • Read Mitch Frank, Understanding September 11th: Answering Questions about the Attack on America
  • Reflections on what we’ve learned about our country

Unit on Florida History

  • Abeka, My State Notebook (research project)

TEXT: Abeka, Geography Teaching Maps

  • The World, Charts 1-2
  • North America – Physical Map, Charts 3-4
  • North America – Political Map, Charts 5-6
  • Early Settlements, Charts 7-8
  • The 13 Original Colonies, Charts 9-10
  • Our Nation Grows, Charts 11-12
  • Landforms, Charts 13-14
  • United States – Political, Charts 15-16

TEXT: Abeka, The History of Our United States, Geography / Maps and Reviews

TEXT: Kate Siber, National Parks of the USA

  • East
  • Central
  • Rocky Mountains
  • Southwest
  • West
  • Alaska and Tropics

Jason Chin, The Grand Canyon

Susan, Goodman, On this Spot: An Expedition through Time

Our curriculum for Religion and Philosophy (homeschooling)

Our daughter is only eight years old, but she is starting to ask some very philosophical questions about God, good and evil, truth and knowledge, etc. So I decided that I would include religion and philosophy as regular subjects in our homeschool, beginning with this academic year, to help her work through those questions.

My goal is to provide a survey of the primary texts in each of the world’s major religions / wisdom traditions, starting with the Bible and Christianity as that’s our family’s background. I am going to pair that with attending a religious service for whatever religion we are studying. I would like for our daughter to be able to relate to anyone she meets, regardless of where they come from. I have resources lined up for other religions in future years, but I still need a good one for Judaism. (Recommendations welcome!)

I am going to try to make this year special by taking her to a Latin Mass. We are also going to read through the stories of dozens of Catholic saints.

And we are going to work our way through a couple philosophy textbooks.

Here are my lesson plans for this year:

TEXT: The Bible Book (DK) / Oxford Annotated Bible


  • Creation
  • The Garden of Eden
  • The Fall / Original Sin
  • Cain and Abel
  • The Origin of Prayer
  • The Flood
  • The Tower of Babel
  • Covenants
  • Sodom and Gomorrah
  • The Testing of Abraham
  • Esau and Jacob
  • Jacob Wrestles with God
  • Joseph the Dreamer

Exodus to Deuteronomy

  • Moses and the Burning Bush
  • The Ten Plagues
  • The Passover
  • The Exodus
  • The Ten Commandments
  • The Golden Calf
  • The Ark and the Tabernacle
  • The Twelve Spies
  • Balaam’s Donkey
  • Only One God

The Historical Books

  • Entering the Promised Land
  • The Fall of Jericho
  • Gideon and the Judges
  • Samson
  • Ruth and Naomi
  • The Prophet Samuel
  • David and Goliath
  • The Wisdom of Solomon
  • A Prophet in Hiding
  • Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
  • The Chariot of Fire
  • The Fall of Jerusalem
  • Queen Esther
  • Rebuilding Jerusalem

Wisdom and Prophets

  • The Psalms
  • The Nature of God
  • The Suffering of Job
  • Proverbs
  • Song of Songs
  • The Suffering Servant
  • The Prophet Jeremiah
  • Lament for the Exiles
  • The Prophet Ezekiel
  • Daniel in Babylon
  • The Disobedient Prophet
  • The Prophet Micah
  • Call for Repentance
  • The Day of Judgment

The Gospels

  • The Annunciation
  • The Birth of Jesus
  • The Magi
  • Herod’s Infanticide
  • A Child in the Temple
  • The Coming Salvation
  • The Divinity of Jesus
  • The Baptism of Jesus
  • The Temptations of Christ
  • The Calling of the Disciples
  • Sermon on the Mount
  • The Golden Rule
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • Parables of Jesus
  • The Good Samaritan
  • The Prodigal Son
  • The Temple Tax
  • Workers in the Vineyard
  • Demons and the Herd of Pigs
  • The Raising of Lazarus
  • Feeding the 5,000
  • Jesus Walks on Water
  • The Transfiguration
  • The Nature of Faith
  • Jesus Embraces a Tax Collector
  • Cleansing the Temple
  • Jesus Anointed at Bethany
  • The Last Supper
  • Betrayal in the Garden
  • Peter’s Denial
  • The Crucifixion
  • The Repentant Thief
  • The Empty Tomb
  • Road to Emmaus
  • The Great Commission

Acts, Epistles, and Revelation

  • The Day of Pentecost
  • The Healing of the Beggar
  • The Word Spreads
  • The Road to Damascus
  • The Council of Jerusalem
  • Paul’s Arrest
  • The Way of Love
  • The Holy Trinity
  • Fruits of the Spirit
  • Salvation through Faith
  • Armor of God
  • The Power of Resurrection
  • The Body of Christ
  • The Bible as God’s Word
  • Faith and Works
  • Holiness
  • The Final Judgment
  • The New Jerusalem

TEXT: Finding Faith (Level E Philosophy Curriculum Guidebook from Royal Fireworks Press)

  • Chapter One: A Disturbing Note
  • Chapter Two: Why Will is an Atheist
  • Chapter Three: Anselm’s Ontological Proof
  • Chapter Four: Anselm’s Ontological Proof, Continued
  • Chapter Five: The Fujimotos and Buddhism
  • Chapter Six: The Haunted Forest and Buddhism
  • Chapter Seven: Thomas Aquinas and the Argument from Design
  • Chapter Eight: Response to the Argument from Design (Evolution)
  • Chapter Nine: Descartes’s Perfect Idea in an Imperfect Mind
  • Chapter Ten: Response to Descartes
  • Chapter Eleven: Pascal’s Wager
  • Chapter Twelve: Response to Pascal’s Wager – Competing Wagers
  • Chapter Thirteen: Finding Faith

TEXT: Philosophy for Kids (David White)

Part One: Values

  • Question #1: Are you a fair and just person? (Plato)
  • Question #2: How do you know who your friends are? (Aristotle)
  • Question #3: Should you be rewarded for your efforts in school? (Confucius)
  • Question #4: Should you let little things bother you? (Marcus Aurelius)
  • Question #5: Is it your duty to give to charity? (Moses Maimonides)
  • Question #6: Will having fun make you happier than studying? (John Stuart Mill)
  • Question #7: Should you ever tell a lie? (Immanuel Kant)
  • Question #8: Are there times when you should be violent? (Martin Luther King Jr.)
  • Question #9: Do you sometimes feel weird when you are with others? (Simone de Beauvoir)
  • Question #10: Do we control technology or does technology control us? (Martin Heidegger)

Part Two: Knowledge

  • Question #11: How do you know for certain that things move? (Zeno)
  • Question #12: What makes something you say true? (Aristotle)
  • Question #13: Can you doubt that you exist? (Rene Descartes)
  • Question #14: Does a tree make a sound if it falls in a forest with no one around? (George Berkeley)
  • Question #15: Are you certain that the law of gravity is really a law? (David Hume)
  • Question #16: How can you tell when you know something? (Immanuel Kant)
  • Question #17: Can another person understand your feelings? (Ludwig Wittgenstein)
  • Question #18: Can you lie to yourself? (Jean-Paul Sartre)
  • Question #19: Do you perceive things as they are or only as they seem to be? (Bertrand Russell)
  • Question #20: Can computers think? (Daniel Dennett)

Part Three: Reality

  • Question #21: Can you think about nothing at all? (Parmenides)
  • Question #22: Does anything ever happen by chance? (Democritus)
  • Question #23: What happens to numbers when you are not using them? (Plato)
  • Question #24: Are numbers and people equally real? (Aristotle)
  • Question #25: Is time what you see when you look at a clock? (St. Augustine)
  • Question #26: If the universe came from the Big Bang, where did the Big Bang come from? (St. Thomas Aquinas)
  • Question #27: Are you the same person you were five years ago? (John Locke)
  • Question #28: Do you have a free will? (Thomas Hobbes)
  • Question #29: Does anything depend on everything? (Georg Hegel)
  • Question #30: Are impossible things ever possible?

Part Four: Critical Thinking

  • Question #31: Is it important to speak and write so you can be understood?
  • Question #32: Should you always listen to the opinions of others?
  • Question #33: Should you criticize people or the opinions people have?
  • Question #34: Why is “because” such an important word?
  • Question #35: Is it easy to tell what causes things to happen?
  • Question #36: If many people think something is true, is it true?
  • Question #37: Do two wrongs balance out and make an action right?
  • Question #38: “I am lying.” True or false?
  • Question #39: Can something logical ever not make sense?
  • Question #40: “I wonder…” What it means to define something.

TEXT: The Book of Saints (Loyola Kids)

  • What is a Saint?

Part One: Saints Are People Who Love Children

  • St. Nicholas
  • St. John Bosco
  • St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
  • St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Part Two: Saints Are People Who Love Their Families

  • St. Monica
  • St. Cyril and St. Methodius
  • St. Therese of Lisieux
  • Blessed Frederic Ozanam

Part Three: Saints Are People Who Surprise Others

  • St. Simeon Stylites
  • St Celestine V
  • St. Joan of Arc
  • St. Catherine of Siens

Part Four: Saints Are People Who Create

  • St. Hildegard of Bingen
  • Blessed Fra Angelico
  • St. John of the Cross
  • Blessed Miguel Pro

Part Five: Saints Are People Who Teach Us New Ways to Pray

  • St. Benedict
  • St. Dominic de Guzman
  • St. Theresa of Avila
  • St. Louis de Monfort

Part Six: Saints Are People Who See Beyond the Everyday

  • St. Juan Diego
  • St. Francis of Rome
  • St. Bernadette Soubirous
  • St. Padre Pio

Part Seven: Saints Are People Who Travel Far from Home

  • St. Boniface
  • St. Peter Claver
  • St. Francis Xavier
  • St. Francis Solano
  • St. Frances Xavier-Cabrini

Part Eight: Saints Are People Who Are Strong Leaders

  • St. Helena
  • St. Leo the Great
  • St. Wenceslaus
  • St. John Neumann

Part Nine: Saints Are People Who Tell the Truth

  • St. Polycarp
  • St. Thomas Becket
  • St. Thomas More
  • Blessed Titus Brandsma

Part Ten: Saints Are People Who Help Us Understand God

  • St. Augustine of Hippo
  • St. Jerome
  • St. Patrick
  • St. Thomas Aquinas
  • St. Edith Stein

Part Eleven: Saints Are People Who Change Their Lives for God

  • St. Ambrose
  • St. Gregory the Great
  • St. Francis of Assisi
  • St. Ignatius of Loyola
  • St. Camillus de Lellis
  • St. Katharine Drexel

Part Twelve: Saints Are People Who Are Brave

  • St. Perpetua and St. Felicity
  • St. George
  • St. Margaret Clitherow
  • St. Isaac Jogues
  • The Carmelite Nuns of Compiegne
  • St. Maximillian Kolbe

Part Thirteen: Saints Are People Who Help the Poor and Sick

  • St. Elizabeth of Hungary
  • St. Vincent de Paul
  • St. Martin de Porres
  • St. Joseph de Veuster

Part Fourteen: Saints Are People Who Help in Ordinary Ways

  • St. Christopher
  • St. Blaise
  • St. Anthony of Padua
  • St. Bernard of Montjoux

Part Fifteen: Saints Are People Who Come from All Over the World

  • St. Kateri Tekakwitha
  • St. Paul Miki and Companions
  • Blessed Peter To Rot
  • Blessed Maria Clementine Anuarite Nengapeta

African-American spirituals – educational resources for kids

This is a follow-up to my earlier post, Searching for an educational resource on African-American spirituals. Our homeschooled daughter will be studying American history this year, and I am gathering folk music to pair with our daily lessons. (See our curriculum here.)

I did end up finding several very good books (with accompanying CDs) on spirituals to share. I am posting the Amazon links, so you can read summaries and reviews there. I am delighted to have found music not only from the period of slavery, but from Emancipation and the Civil Rights Era as well. (And I threw in some other related books and websites.)

No Man Can Hinder Me: The Journey from Slavery to Emancipation Through Song

No More!: Stories and Songs of Slave Resistance

Free at Last!: Stories and Songs of Emancipation

Nobody Gonna Turn Me ‘Round: Stories and Songs of the Civil Rights Movement

The People Could Fly: American Black Folk Tales

Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom

The Story Of Ruby Bridges


African=American Spirituals – Beth’s Notes

The Spirituals Database

Hidden Messages in Spirituals – PBS

Slave Songbook : Origin of the Negro Spiritual (YouTube)

African American Music from the Civil War Era (YouTube)

Blues as Protest – Library of Congress

Reading lists and podcasts

As my family and friends know, I am a bibliophile in the extreme. Our house is so cluttered with books that it would give Martha Stewart or Marie Kondo a nervous breakdown. And I have more or less been that way since I was a young child.

I have started a project to check off the major books in the Western Canon in my possession and then purchase what I don’t have. (Thankfully, I have a lot of them, so this is not as expensive as it sounds.) I would like for our daughter to enter her teenage years with a solid home education in the humanities, as I share Harold Bloom’s concern that such a thing does not exist at universities anymore. Hopefully, that will change.

At any rate, I have been working from several lists that I thought I might share:

Harold Bloom’s list of books in the Western Canon

Mortimer Adler’s reading list (from How to Read a Book)

List of Penguin Classics

Oxford University Press World’s Classics

While I am at it, here are some podcasts on history, philosophy, and whatnot that you all might enjoy:

Hardcore History

The History of Rome

50 Things that Made the Modern Economy

History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps