Wednesday, January 25, 2012

President of the Week

A few months ago, Jack started memorizing the presidents. He was learning them using the Mouthwash Method--the same way he learned his multiplication tables. While he swishes his mouthwash, Jay says the list of presidents. After he spits, he repeats them back. Obviously they had not gotten through all of the presidents since I'm pretty sure Jack couldn't swish that long.

Jay had taught Jack a few important facts about the ones they had learned and had mentioned maybe doing some reading with him about them. I went so far as to dig out my stash of president books, but then we kind of fizzled. Around December, though, I came up with the idea of learning about one president each week and was excited to find that there was just enough time to cover them all before the election in November--really with a week to spare since I was giving Grover Cleveland two separate weeks in my calculations.

So what are we doing? For starters, we have the nifty display you see above. This doesn't do a whole lot, but it is important because it keeps me from fizzling out. Some people I know in real life read this blog, and if it were April and they came over and say, Martin Van Buren was still up, I would be embarrassed. If it's right in front of me, I'll keep up with it. (I got the pictures from a book we got on a vacation to Washington DC when I was 8. I tore them all out and laminated them while watching The Help, which was good, but not nearly as good as the book.) We're reading a book or two about the president, watching a DVD if we can find one, and filling out a flap book from Homeschool Share to put in his notebook.

There's no way I'm going to be able to keep up with listing the books each week, but I will let you know when I find some gems. I have several books telling about all of the presidents so I almost passed this one up when I saw it at the bookstore, but I went ahead and got it. Jack has really enjoyed reading through it and was especially excited to find a mistake--Lyndon Johnson is between Kennedy and Nixon, but for some reason it says he is the 43rd president.

The Declaration of Independence came up last week since we were learning about Thomas Jefferson, so I pulled out this great book I used to use with my fifth graders. It is the actual text taken phrase by phrase and illustrated to make it easier to understand. Much of it was still over Jack's head, but he got the gist of it.

We're also trying to have one of the president of the week's favorite foods! Some are pretty easy, like pancakes (Jefferson) or ice cream (Washington, Jefferson, Madison). I'm not sure what we'll do when we get to William Henry Harrison, who liked squirrel stew and hard cider.

If I come across a craft, we'll do that, too. I found these cute George Washington faces on Pinterest. There's not a whole lot of Rutherford B. Hayes craft blogs out there, though, so we'll see how that goes.

Other stuff:

Here's my Pinterest Board of things I've found on the presidents.

Already sick of hearing negative political ads? Check out these awesome attack ads from the early 1800s.

Jack has really enjoyed the Getting to Know books and DVDs by Mike Venezia. We've also used some of these in our artist studies.

And finally, my latest review at Homeschool Share is on So You Want to Be President!

If you know of any great picture books on any of the lesser-known presidents (in other words, not Washington or Lincoln!), I would love to hear about them!


Amber said...

The wall looks great! We are doing one Prez per week, too. Stolen from you, of course! :-) It is working out nicely.

Michele said...

What an excellent idea! I need to do this with Kaden! Justin has known the Presidents since he was 4 and can recite them forwards and backwards and knows more facts then anyone should know about them! LOL. I know though he will love this too!

April said...

You are so awesome. I want to come to your house and play; I mean learn.

Kendra said...

We were going to do them one a month but I never got going.. I like this idea one a week. except my library has NO books on presidents obviously. lol

BUT.. did you know there is a Cookie Cookbook for Presidents? Simply Presidential is a book full of books about each president. I've considered purchasing a few times. Anyway, there WAS a blog with cookies for each president but it went down and eventually I couldn't even access it through the back door.. so now I debate buying the cooking book. lol