American Frontier Life

James P. Beckwourth, from a daguerreotype c. 1855

James P. Beckwourth, from a daguerreotype c. 1855

We finished Chapter 3 of the Heritage Studies 3 book.  I can’t post the test I made for this, because I wound up using one of BJU’s maps in the test, and therefore don’t have the permission to share.  Sorry.

Anyway, the first 2 lessons in Chapter 4 are about American Frontier life.  The book has a few pages about long hunters – Folks like Daniel Boone & Davy Crockett.  To satisfy my Diva, I reminded her that while the men were out on their long hunting trips, it was the women who were back at home, tending the garden/farm, caring for the kids, defending against Indian attacks, and so much more.  I also found a few resources about what women’s lives were like in the Frontier times.  Enjoy:

Dangerous Life of Frontier Women

Frontier Women of the American West

Also, we read the story of James Beckwourth, the African-American man who found a pass over the Rocky mountains.


The second day, we read a story about a little boy named Daniel Drake.  I’m not sure if the boy in the story in the book is supposed to be Dr. Daniel Drake, but it seems highly likely considering the Daniel in the book moved to Kentucky as a young boy.  However, neither the student text, nor the teacher’s text elaborates on Daniel Drake.

clothing.Par.51166.Image.-1.-1.1.gifTo accommodate my darling Diva, I found info about 1800’s clothing:

1800’s Women’s Clothing

Women’s Fashion in the 1800’s

1800’s Pioneer Dress Clothing for Women

Two Weeks In…

Here we are two weeks into our current school year, so what have I learned?

— My Diva wants to learn cursive.  This will be hard considering I HATE cursive and haven’t used it in years.  Guess I’d better remember quick. Good thing I’ve got the internet.  There are plenty of resources, freely available, including fonts.  The best resource, however, is likely Donna Young’s Cursive Handwriting.  Lots of worksheets, animations, and more.

— Diva hates our current history curriculum because there aren’t enough females taught about in the text.  So, Google to rescue again! I’ve been supplementing the book with research about females from the era.  Luckily we are headed into the Exploration/Frontier life era.  I just happen to own all the Little House on the Prairie books.  Thank you Laura Ingalls Wilder!

— After a week of spelling, I’ve learned that while my youngest boy is doing a decent job learning to read, his spelling is atrocious. Then I found (via a friend on facebook) this article about good readers who spell horribly, and realized…  I need to take my boy back to phonemes.  We need to try to intervene in these neural pathways and make sure they being formed properly.

— After the above breakthrough, I had another breakthrough with my youngest.  It seems that his vision is all sorts of wonky again.  He’s seeing everything, but it’s off to the right and down from where it’s actually printed. IE:


So apparently spelling is the least of his worries.  We’ve got to get those eyes back on track.  Sigh.  Guess it’s time to visit Dr. Wescott again.

— Capt 740 is doing well, and learning how to do all this stuff on his own.  It’s kind of a relief to finally have one old enough to work on his own primarily.


Post Revolution Napoleonic France

After the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte took over in France.  Here are some resources we used.


Biography channel has the full episode online here –

Plenty of interesting stuff at

And for the girls, some interesting tidbits about the effects of the French Revolution on Fashion.

Lafayette & the French Revolution

“I go to defend Liberty as a friend. The happiness of America is intimately tied to the happiness of all mankind. One day she will become the safe haven of tolerance, equality and peaceful liberty.” – The Marquis De Layfette, in a letter to his wife explaining why he wanted to go to America.



The French had helped us win the Revolution, but now their people were in trouble.  They had been taxed so much by their kings, kings who had borrowed way too much from foreign countries, that they were tapped out.  They saw what had happened in America. The ideals of Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood took root.  Before long, the commoners had stormed the Bastille, and demanded the king give up much of his power and influence. The Marquis De Lafayette played a big role in the French Revolution. With a little help from his good friend Thomas Jefferson, Lafayette drafted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, which became the French version of the American Declaration of Independence.

Later, Lafayette would be forced to flee France when Robispierre took over and delcared The Marquis to be an instrument of the royalty.  Eventually the new Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, got Lafayette out of jail in Austria and allowed him back in France.  This did NOT win Lafayette’s loyalty. To the contrary, Lafayette was opposed to Bonaparte’s rule, and helped overthrow him.


Lafayette Thanks Citizens Who Stormed the Bastille

The Marquis sent the key to the Bastille to Gen. George Washington.

Bio of Lafayette


My boys loved this one by Horrible Histories:

My Diva loved this one:

Nobody liked this one, but I’ll include it here anyway:

Preamble & Ratification of the Constitution

preambleRead the Preamble. Play “what’s the missing word”. Write Preamble on whiteboard, have kid close eyes, then erase a word. See if kid can tell you what word you erased. Continue until kid can say Preamble by memory.

**If you have an Ipad or Iphone, you can buy an app to help you learn about the Preamble to the Constitution here.

Federalists V. Antifederalists

Once again, Education-Portal has a great video on this topic. Sadly, they don’t allow for embedding, so watch it here.

— The Antifederalists felt that the Congress had overstepped. Congress was supposed to have modified the Articles of Confederation, not create an entirely new document.  Because of this, they were against ratification of the Constitution.

  1. ratification

    making something valid by formally ratifying or confirming it; “the ratification of the treaty”; “confirmation of the…

— The Federalists wanted the Constitution ratified.  Three men; John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, wrote 85 essays to help convince the American people that the Constitution was good.  Those essays are now known as the Federalist papers.

Votes to RatifyThe people wanted a Bill of Rights added to the Constitution.  Leaders promised that would be the next thing they worked on, after the vote. Only nine states were needed to ratify the Constitution, Delaware was the first, New Hampshire the ninth.  Virginia was the 10th state to ratify the constitution.



Other Resources:

Enchanted Learning has a printable book.

“Mrs Clark’s 4th grade” has a presentation at Slideshare.

There is a power point at which you can view for free on the site, but have to pay to be able to download.

And of course, no lesson on the Preamble would be complete without SchoolHouse Rocks!


Constitutional Convention

From Wikipedia

It took me so dag-on long to get this one together, mostly because I just sort of winged it due to other events in my life.  But the one thing both of my kids really liked, was the video & companion quiz over at  They liked the video there better than the dumbed-down textbook we’ve been reading through.  That’s a big part of why I do a lot of supplementing the American Heritage Series.

My youngest son loved it so much, he blogged it.  He’s been busy blogging all of his history lessons lately.  He just loves history.  My Diva, however, is thoroughly bored with the subject.  She pays attention, and does the lessons, but, unlike her momma, history is NOT her favorite subject.  Oh well.


Anyway, another good resource for information about the Constitutional Convention is  How did I not know about these websites before?  Both will definitely become go-to places for future lessons.