Category Archives: American History

Resources to use with your “American History in a Box”

Short Movies about History

U.S. History: Crash Course https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtMwmepBjTSG593eG7ObzO7s These short videos that take you through the major time periods in American History. This is a great way to start any history lesson. Let your child watch the video for background, then read the book in your box on that topic. Finally, complete the activity for that time period in your activity book.

Watch Know Learn http://www.watchknowlearn.org/Category.aspx?CategoryID=116 You will find a variety of short videos about every topic in American history. After reading about a concept, explore this site for more information!

Video Series

This is America, Charlie Brown http://www.amazon.com/This-America-Charlie-Brown-Complete/dp/B00I462XSY/ref=sr_1_6?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1460333366&sr=1-6&keywords=american+history+video&refinements=p_n_theme_browse-bin%3A2650365011 This series covers most major events in our history and is great fun to watch!

 Liberty’s Kids http://www.amazon.com/Libertys-Kids-Complete-Walter-Cronkite/dp/B00CMDPTTA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460302092&sr=8-1&keywords=libertys+kids This video does a great job of teaching children about Colonial America. Then, visit www.libertyskids.com for games and activities to reinforce that learning!

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? http://www.amazon.com/Where-World-Carmen-Sandiego-Classic/dp/B00002SANG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460302171&sr=8-1&keywords=where+in+the+world+is+carmen+sandiego This fun video series helps children learn about geography and major sights around the world. Use the atlas in your history box to pinpoint where she is!

Primary Documents https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/PrimDocsHome.html  The Library of Congress shares many important documents in our history. Explore their website and check out their book lists for adults and children!

American History Music                                                                                                                  Songs for Teaching http://www.songsforteaching.com/store/learning-american-history-by-song-pr-58495.html You will find many wonderful songs from all time periods in history with this website. After learning about a time period, check out some of the songs that were being sung, played, or composed!

Schoolhouse Rock http://www.amazon.com/Schoolhouse-Rock-Special-Anniversary-Edition/dp/B00005JKTY/ref=pd_bxgy_74_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1Z7RXYHW95K1HAAVSV9W Many parents will remember these catchy songs including “This is a Bill,” and “Mother Necessity!”

American History Crafts                                                                                                                         A Book in Time: http://www.abookintime.com/crafts/projectsmainamerica.html Search for crafts by time period. After completing your activity for the time period you are studying, see if you can find a fun craft to do with your family!

Families Love “American-History-in-a-Box!”

We are excited to share some of our more recent comments about our “American-History-in-a-Box” program. We are always so happy to hear from our customers! Thank you for sharing! If you want to read previous comments, click here.

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I was worried that my kids didn’t know much about American history. Thanks to your boxes, they now have a good foundation for future classes! The books are fun and interesting and the activity book is really great.

Love the box! We are going to order another for our younger son!

Hey – we just got your box and it’s awesome! Just wanted to let you know that you have another fan!

Thanks again very much — we just received our reimbursement payment from FSC, and our kids are loving the program.

Studying all the awesome contents of the “American History in a Box” – what an excellent model for kids living outside of the US to learn about American History! Thank you Leah Moorefield Evans – now we have books and activities to keep us busy!

My daughter loves her box! She is working her way through it and sharing what she learns with me. Thanks so much for putting this together!

We got the boxes yesterday and my kids are already playing the games and reading the books. Thanks for helping us figure out the reimbursement process.

My kids love their boxes!

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Thanks again to everyone who has supported our business. We are thrilled that the history boxes help bring the story of America to children living abroad. If you have any suggestions or ideas, or have any questions about the boxes, please email us at afterschoolplans@gmail.com. Happy holidays!

American History Through Music

Like most human beings, my kids love to listen to music. I enjoy watching them zone out and sing, sway, and feel music with every ounce of their being. They love to learn songs, to sing, and to dance. They see music as a treat, a joy, and an integral part of life. Many teachers use this love of music to inspire kids, and history teachers are no exception. If you are talking about American History at home, do it with a few songs that kids are sure to love. These are a few of our suggestions although you can find many more fine options with a quick Internet search. Search for these songs on YouTube. Please preview the songs before sharing them with your children. Some, especially the songs about war, are only appropriate for older kids.

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General Learning

The 50 States and Capitals Song, Tim Pacific

The 43 Presidents Song, Tim Pacific

America the Beautiful

Proud to be an American

The Star Spangled Banner

The Declaration of Independence, Learning by Song

In the Constitution, Learning by Song

Government, Jim Thompson

Exploration and Discovery

Age of Exploration, Learning by Song

Christopher Columbus, Kathleen Wiley

Colonialism

The First Thanksgiving, Learning by Song

When I First Came to This Land

Native Americans

Sacajawea, Kathleen Wiley

Squanto, Kathleen Wiley

Slavery

Free at Last, Linda Brown and Dr. Thomas Moore

Freedom Riders Got to Ride, Vitamin L

Civil War

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, The Band

Westward Expansion

Echo Canyon (Building the Railroads)

World War I

Over There, Billy Murray

When This Lousy War is Over

The Roaring Twenties
Louis Armstrong

Duke Ellington

Ella Fitzgerald

Civil Rights

Rise Up, Martin Luther King Day, Jack Hartmann

Rosa Parks, Andy Glockenspiel

World War II

Sing, Sing, Sing, Benny Goodman

The White Cliffs of Dover

Cold War

Masters of War, Bob Dylan

Nothing to Fear (But Fear Itself), Oingo Boingo

Memorial Day

Memorial day is the American holiday for remembering people who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. armed forces. After the Civil War, Decoration Day was among one several days marked to honor the fallen but they all eventually merged into what we know as Memorial Day. This holiday is held on the last Monday in May and is often celebrated with parades, parties, and moments of silence. Cemeteries will be decorated with flags, flowers, and personal mementos by family members.

For more information, visit:

Many schools in the U.S. require that students know the meaning and history of national holidays. To share more information about this holiday with your elementary children, read them these books:

  • Let’s Get Ready for Memorial Day, Lloyd G. Douglas
  • Memorial Day Surprise, Teresa Golding
  • The Wall, Eve Bunting
  • Memorial Day, Christin Ditchfield

Looking for an activity to celebrate the holiday and learn a bit more about the history? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Write a letter to a thank you letter to someone currently serving in the armed forces.
  2. Research the U.S. military and the different ways in which a soldier can serve. Create an organizational chart with a brief description of each branch and then list some of the jobs available in each section.
  3. Visit a nursing home or neighbor and ask what they remember about our countries wars. Write down their responses. Then, write a thank you letter thanking them for their time.
  4. Make a list of each war and the dates. Then, visit a cemetery and try to find someone who fought or died in each war. Leave flowers at three graves (if allowed by the cemetery.
  5. Flag activities! Make a flag out of tissue paper balls, construction paper, or fabric. Research the history of our flag. Read a book about Betsy Ross. Learn a new song about the flag. Go out as a family and buy an American flag for your front door.Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 3.15.50 PM

Should I order an American-History-in-a-Box set?

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 8.19.28 AMIs an American-History-in-a-Box set for me?

If you have children in grades K – 8 who do not currently learn American History in school, then this box is for you! Currently, in the U.S., children learn American History at every grade level and take high-stakes tests in the subject starting in Grade 3. Testing is cumulative, so if you plan to return to the U.S. it is a good idea to make sure your child is familiar with the major concepts required by your state. For more information, go to your state education site for a list of standards and the testing schedule.

Do I qualify for reimbursement?

If you are a State Department family currently living at post, you may qualify for reimbursement. International corporations also usually reimburse for these classes. Children abroad can receive additional funding for classes or materials that are usually provided in the U.S. as part of the regular curriculum but are not included at your current school. If you do not have grammar, computer, or U.S. History classes, for example, you can be reimbursed for materials or classes that cover that need.

The FMO at post decides if there is funding and if you qualify. Most people do qualify if they have supplemental funding available ($4,100 per child per year) however, if you have used it all up then you have to wait until next year. For more information, contact your FMO or the Office of Allowances at AllowancesO@state.gov. You can also read information about supplemental allowances here: http://www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/c21944.htm.

When can I order a box?

You can order a box at any time. But, if you hope to be reimbursed, you need to order before the end of the school year. Contact us at afterschoolplans@gmail.com for the Reimbursement Approval Form. You can give that to your FMO to figure out if you qualify for supplemental funds.

Order your box here: https://afterschoolplans.com/american-history-in-a-box-for-expats/

Is there a way to assess if my children learn the material in the box?

Absolutely! After your child finishes the workbook, we will send an assessment to be completed. After you send it back to us, we will give you a mastery-learning sheet that suggests additional materials and resources for deeper learning.

How did you choose the books and games for the box?

We chose books that are fun, interesting, and compelling for each age group. Some books are more challenging and might require parental assistance. Some are very easy for the age group but include information that make them valuable or are so beautifully written or illustrated that we couldn’t resist them. We tried to make sure that the books were accessible for a variety of learners and a variety of interests. We also worked to make sure they specifically address American History standards and review the major concepts. Our main goal is to make sure kids read, learn, and enjoy the books.

What are the grade levels for each box?

We have grouped the grade levels so we have kits for Kindergarten and first grade, second and third grade, fourth and fifth grade, and a box specifically for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. If you child is a sports fanatic, we have a box that looks at American History from the point of view of sports. Each book covers a sporting event or sportsman through the lens of history.

What will they learn with American-History-in-a-Box?

In our boxes, children will learn the major concepts, read about some of the important people in our history, and review some of the most significant events. The boxes provide an overview and a scaffold for future learning.

Is the box the same as a U.S. History course in the U.S.?

No, the box does not cover all of the material that a child would learn during a full year in a U.S. history course. The box provides an overview and an introduction to the major events, people, and concepts.

How do I order a Box?

Simply go to www.afterschoolplans.com and click on the “American History in a Box.” If you would like to order more than one box at a time, email us at afterschoolplans@gmail.com and we will send you an invoice.

Do you have any other resources for Expat Kids?

Of course we do! We have an American History Coloring Book that is great for all ages. It covers the major concepts, people, and events in American History.

We also haveKids on the Move, A Relocation Workbook” for kids in transition. Your child will love the activities, coloring pages, and places for saving pictures and memories. The first section helps your child collect memories of your current home, the second section helps with processing the move, and the third section helps your child get excited about their new home.

Finally, if you are new to embassy life or just want to review all those acronyms, our Embassy Kids Coloring Book has over 40 pages that explain who works at an embassy, what you might find there, and what those offices actually do all day!

Questions? Email us at afterschoolplans@gmail.com.

Travel and History, Part II

IMG_2955It is spring break and your family is exploring Boston, Massachusetts, and learning all about the American Revolution, a few of our founding fathers, and to top it all off you visit Plimouth Plantation and go to view the big rock in Plymouth Harbor. How can you make sure your kids internalize what they learn, have fun processing the information, and have something they can share with friends and family at home? Here is a list of our favorite ideas!

  1. Keep a photo journal. Give your child a camera and ask them to take pictures about the historical sites they visit. Print out all the pictures at the end of your trip and make a photo album. Work with your child to label the pictures and add relevant dates and time periods. Alternatively, create the photo album on Shutterfly.com or Snapfish.com. Use online sources to find out more information about each historical site and add it to your comments.
  2. Keep a daily journal as if you are living in a different time period. We always love to have our children write a daily journal during vacations. Of course, it doesn’t always happen, but we do have good intentions. A fun twist is to have your child write their journal entry from the point of view of the time period they are learning about. So, if you visit Plimouth Plantation, have your child write about what they learned as if they actually lived there during that time period!
  3. Complete a timeline with the people you learn about, the places you visit, and the pictures you take. After your trip, select a series of pictures taken from historical sites. Figure out when that site was important and label it with the date. Then, create a timeline using butcher paper, a string and index cards, or a paper taped into a timeline. First, add basic dates from American History to the timeline. It might be fun to also add important dates from your family history if you know them! Then, post pictures and information about each picture from your vacation on the timeline.
  4. Start a collage scrapbook using brochures, postcards, and fliers from your visits. To make a collage scrapbook, simply keep every piece of paper you can find from your visits to historical sites! Then, create either one large collage or a series of collages by cutting out pictures, comments, and dates.
  5. Write a history web page or Facebook page and share it with friends and family. Include information that you have learned, pictures from your visits, key information to know, and then write quizzes or tests for each post you write! Perhaps you can offer simple prizes for anyone who gets 100% on your quizzes?

How do you record your child’s learning during vacations?

Travel and History

Are you going on a American family trip for spring break or over a holiday? Here are our tips for incorporating history lessons into your trip! Do you have any other suggestions? Add them to our comments!

  1. Find a couple of books for kids about your destination. No matter which region in the U.S. you plan to visit, there should be books about American Indians. For book suggestions and activity ideas, visit the National Museum of the American Indian here: http://www.nmai.si.edu/.
  2. Don’t forget to talk about how geography affected movement, habitat, clothing, and food resources. You can learn about our geography at National Geographic here: http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/north-america-physical-geography/?ar_a=1. It is also fun to be able to talk about why the landscape looks the way it does while spending time in a car or airplane.
  3. Look up famous Americans that come from your destination. Kidport.com has some great biographies, you can find them here: http://www.kidport.com/Reflib/SocialStudies/FamousAmericans/FamousAmericans.htm. Check out books on these individuals from the library and see if you can find a museum to visit or a house to tour. Every state has plenty of famous Americans to choose to learn about during your visit!
  4. Want to find some historical sites to visit? The History Place has a list of sites sorted by state. Look up the places you will visit and see if you can incorporate a little history exploration! Their website can be found here: http://www.historyplace.com/tourism/usa.htm.
  5. For time spent in restaurants, cars, or airplanes, take along this American History coloring book, found on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/American-History-Coloring-Moorefield-Evans/dp/1511441151/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1429630324&sr=8-3&keywords=leah+moorefield+evans. Full disclosure, this is our coloring book but we recommend it for an overall review of American History to give kids a sense of where individual people, places, and events fit into the larger picture.

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