In Our Home
As the weather starts to cool down and the days get shorter, our outdoor adventures end earlier in the day leaving us time to read aloud and watch the telly. One of my kiddos had been asking questions about World War II and airplanes. This is always how it starts for me. They ask questions and I gather books and other resources that will help them find the answers they seek. Since so many folks ask me how the heck our homeschool works, I decided to try and show you this year. This will be the first post in a series documenting our travels through the times and days of World War II. Glad to have you in the trenches with us.
Where We Begin
I don’t remember exactly how it all started. I was probably in my car waiting for a child, in bed unable to sleep, or had an idea moment in the shower and just started to Google myself silly. Somewhere in that search for World War II resources, I found Time Travelers. It is a complete history program for World War II studies lapbook style. I paid $25 for it at a Christian bookstore. I will be using the maps, timeline and timeline figures for sure because my kids love these kind of visuals, but probably not much else unless one of my children takes a fancy to something while printing and browsing the CD. Yes, it is just a CD. You have to print what you will be using. Next, I searched “books with World War II themes for kids” and “homeschool read aloud books World War II” and a few other variations of those. I made lists of books and started searching locally and at places on-line like www.Thriftbooks.com and Amazon used books. Before long the packages will start to arrive and the kids will know that fall is on its way. While waiting for the books to arrive I started to compile a list of World War II themed movies in chronological order. When it was finished, I lost it. Yep, it vanished. Frustrating. Nope, I didn’t make another list. I am going to wing it as we go along. My days as a teen came rushing back and I start to sing Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi – changing up the lyrics to be more homeschooly. We’ll make it, I swear. Ohhhh, ohhhh, the list ain’t here. We’ve got each other and that’s enough. Ohhh, ohhh, living on a prayer. As I finished my hunting and gathering stage of preparing for our leap into WW2 learning, one of my kiddos tells me that they already know everything about WW2. Challenge accepted little one. Challenge accepted.
More Posts About World War II
Valiant the Animated Movie About World War II Homing Pigeons https://coldcupofwater.com/world-war-ii-homing-pigeons/
The Bad Guys of World War II https://coldcupofwater.com/ww2-bad-guys/
Reading & Watching Our Way Through World War II https://coldcupofwater.com/reading-watching-wwii/
Number on My Grandpa’s Arm https://coldcupofwater.com/numbers-on-my-grandpas-arm/
Unbroken and Unbroken: The Path to Redemption https://coldcupofwater.com/unbroken-unbroken-path-to-redemption/
Navajo Code Talkers of World War II https://coldcupofwater.com/navajo-code-of-world-war-ii/
Desmond Doss and Hacksaw Ridge Conscientious Objectors of World War II https://coldcupofwater.com/world-war-ii-conscientious-objectors/
The Evacuation of Dunkirk https://coldcupofwater.com/world-war-ii-evacuating-dunkirk/
Teaching Kids About Propaganda https://coldcupofwater.com/teaching-kids-about-propaganda/
“Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
We Go Through Seasons
While I was struggling to console my particularly needy baby and simultaneously wrangling my run away toddler, a mentor of mine whispered in my ear – “Seasons. We go through seasons.” That phrase became my mantra for parenting and eventually my mantra for all of life’s ups and downs. We go through seasons and they don’t last forever.
Let Go and Love
You won’t always be banished to the couch nursing an otherwise inconsolable child as a mountain of laundry grows around you, the dishes from yesterday sit in the sink, and your preschooler finds and eats half a block of cheese for lunch. This is a season. It doesn’t last forever. Dishes and laundry really can wait and anyone that criticizes the mess condemns themselves for not quietly offering to help. Just love the baby and let the toddler eat a less than ideal lunch. It will be okay. This is just a season.
It Pays Off
Seasons go by faster than you think. And, its not all for nothing. The returns are pretty awesome. My once needy baby just graduated from homeschool and is the thoughtful person responsible for the “love you” note pictured above. She loves deeply and sincerely and gives freely and cheerfully. The cheese eating toddler is twenty-one. Guess what? I can’t think of a more fearless independent capable young woman. Mama, hang in there. You are only one person and God knows that. He will work things out for good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Even School Can Survive a Season
My homeschool graduates were eight and eleven when their next sibling was born. They went through a season of being third in line to mom. Shortly after the arrival of the new baby, we spent several months in and out of town helping care for a sick relative. Despite days and often weeks when school didn’t go as planned, they both still graduated with no limits to their future plans. Mama, don’t be discouraged by a season. Its just one of many seasons. No plan of His can be stopped – not even by laundry, dirty dishes, needy babies, or incomplete school work. God is bigger and better than our temporary seasons.
I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2
Charlton Heston in the 1956 blockbuster film The Ten Commandments plays out in 20 minutes shy of a full 4 hours and could be considered torture for almost any kiddo. That said, its a gem of an epic classic film and a terrific homeschool family resource for teaching about the Passover. We watch it almost every year but I do my best to keep it fun and interesting. Keep reading below to see how I keep things interesting.
Spread It Out
We never watch it in one sitting or even one day. Often the evening begins by reading the scripture that pairs with the scenes we will be viewing.
- Day 1: Moses Drawn Out of Water – Exodus 2:1-10
- Day 2: The Burning Bush – Exodus 3
- Day 3: Let My People Go – Exodus 5-6:1-8
- Day 4: The Plagues & The Release – Exodus 7-12:17-42
- Day 5: The Parting of the Red Sea – Exodus 13:17-15:21
- Day 6: The Golden Calf – Exodus 32
- Day 7: The 10 Commandments – Exodus 20:1-21
Edible Plague Night
I will admit that the most anticipated and remembered night is when we eat the ten plagues and discuss the Ancient Eqyptian myths that each one mocks. We give each child a basket to catch their plagues in instead of baskets and candy on Resurrection Sunday. See the pictures below for the names of the Egyptian myth associated with each plague. And yes, my kids eat the real crickets! I didn’t.
- Plague 1: Nile Turns to Blood – Strawberry Applesauce or Juice
- Plague 2: Frogs Invade Egypt – Gummy Frogs
- Plague 3: Lice – Sno-Caps
- Plague 4: Flies – Gummy Flies
- Plague 5: Livestock Dies – Frosted Sprinkled Animal Crackers
- Plague 6: Boils – Bullseye Candy
- Plague 7: Hail & Fire – Mini Marshmallows and Red Hots
- Plague 8: Locusts – Crickets
- Plague 9: Darkness – Oreos with Eyes
- Plague 10: First Born Dies – Sour Patch Kids
In an effort to help keep Jesus a focal point in our living room and not the television, we constructed and hung a large cross for our living room wall. I say “we constructed” but in reality it was the effort of my handy husband. Along with being a visual reminder of our savior’s work on the cross, it also serves as a prayer wall. Nails placed all over the cross act as a place for us to hang our burdens, prayers, and thankfulness in written form – if we choose. The nails also serve as a reminder of our sins being nailed to the cross of Jesus. Being the horse loving family that we are – the nails we selected for this project are farrier nails. I thought they looked like miniature versions of the stakes used in the hands and feet of Jesus.
He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us, he took it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:14-15
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Passion Week Preparations
When Passion Week comes along we make a few additions to our cross. First, we cover our cross with a curtain made to resemble the one used in the temple. This is the curtain that would have separated people from God. We did our best to adhere to the instructions in Exodus 26:31 “Make a veil of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, with cherubim skillfully worked into it.” but my golden cherubim look more like golden plump pigeons might not meet God’s “skillfully” done requirement. This is just another reason to be thankful Jesus took this requirement away from us.
Along with the curtain, we hang a purple robe, a staff made from a stick, a crown of thorns, and a sign that reads “King of the Jews”. If the purple robe looks a little rough its because we found it in the dress-up bin. I believe I made that for my oldest daughter during her Narnia phase. Not a penny was spent making the curtain or the accessories. The fabric was in my scrap bin and the crown of thorns and staff were compliments of nature right here on the farm. I don’t remember but I wouldn’t doubt that the sign was made using cardboard from pizza the night before. “They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him.” Mark 15:17-19
GOOD FRIDAY CHANGES IT ALL
“And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Mark 15:38 As Jesus died on the cross, the temple curtain was torn in two signifying our ability to have fellowship with him through his son. Hidden in our homemade curtain is a vertical strip of Velcro. When Good Friday arrives, the kiddos get to rip the curtain – year after year. The cross has a light feature mounted behind it which remains off during the dark three days following the death of Christ. Come Easter morning the light is turned on as we celebrate our risen savior!
In Him and through faith in Him we may enter God’s presence with boldness and confidence. Ephesians 3:12
Do You Have a Special Tradition?
Do you have a Easter tradition that helps your family keep their focus on Jesus Christ? Please share your ideas in the comments. Thank you for reading. Have a blessed day!
Our family just finished reading Little Pilgrim’s Progress and following along with Little Pilgrim’s Progress Adventure Guide. Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegorical book written by John Bunyan in 1678 about a Christian’s spiritual journey. Little Pilgrim’s Progress is a children’s version of the book written in 1947 by Helen Taylor. Taylor simplifies the language and vocabulary while keeping the story true to Bunyan’s original work. Afterwards we watched the 2008 film Pilgrim’s Progress. My kids were not super impressed with the movie – its a bit cheesy, but it still served as a decent way to visualize the book and reinforce the learning. We did enjoy the Pilgrim’s Progress board game. It comes with a nicely illustrated children’s book that summarizes the story. Literally the minute we finished reading Little Pilgrim’s Progress, I learned of an animated version being played in theaters during Passion Week 2019. God’s timing has no coincidences. We don’t see many movies in the theater but felt led to support the Christian entertainment industry and indulge ourselves in the treat. The animated version of Pilgrim’s Progress will ONLY be in theaters April 18th and 20th. Since our theater had just two show times we purchased our tickets in advance.
When you purchase the books, video and game using the links in this blog post, I receive 10% of the purchase price as an Amazon Affiliate.
Purchase the Pilgrim’s Progress movie here:
Purchase the board game here:
Purchase your copy of Little Pilgrim’s Progress here:
Purchase your copy of the Little Pilgrim’s Progress Adventure Guide here:
My kids and I had an impromptu discussion about the Electoral College that led to us plotting out the past twenty years worth of election results on blank maps. We looked for consistencies, patterns and of course – flip states. Pictured here are the results of our work. Not so neat and tidy but it served it’s purpose.
Before ending our discussion, we created a map showing our predictions for the 2020 election. First the kids colored in the states that have consistently been either a Republican (red) or Democratic (blue) state AND they believed would remain so. If they thought the state had the potential to flip in this election, they colored it grey. After they made their predictions, we searched for predictions made by the media and other sources on-line and marked those states with a dark green dot. Some were the same as their picks. While we believe that the entire west coast will likely remain blue, the kids guessed that there might be enough civil unrest (fires, riots, vaccination mandates, covid policies) to give way to a miracle flip???
We are planning to follow the 2020 election on November 3rd and track the results using a laminated wall map and dry erase markers. FedEx printing will print a poster size map in black and white on blueprint paper for $2.50 each and an additional $3 a foot will get it laminated. I opted for an Amazon purchase to save me time and a trip to town – click here for a link. It came in a cardboard tube with a lid which makes it easy to store for future election night fun.
Besides tracking the results, my crew will be making some patriotic snacks, watching a movie to pass the time (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), and playing a few rounds of a new game called Election Night. What will your family be doing? Any good movie recommendations?
We are knee deep in World War II studies and along comes the first Presidential Debate of the 2020 election. No better time to learn about propaganda. Whether it is used in war time to gain the support of citizens, a way for a candidate to win your vote, how a company convinces you to buy their product or service, or a way of reporting the news – propaganda is basically the same. It is a form of manipulation designed to influence people to believe and support something or someone and often misrepresents or hides the truth.
This video defines and gives examples of the seven main types of propaganda techniques. Knowledge is the power needed to see through the smoke and mirrors of propaganda.
Propaganda in a Nutshell
- Band Wagon: Don’t miss out on being a part of this new movement!
- Name Calling: My opponent is a liar!
- Testimonial: I am Taylor Swift and I endorse Joe Biden
- Glittering Generality: I promise to make America great again.
- Plain Folks: I grew up in Scranton eating macaroni and cheese.
- Card Stacking: I lowered the price of medicine, donated my entire salary and saved the wild mustangs.
- Transfer: If you vote for Trump, you are a racist.
Armed with these seven basic examples of propaganda we watched the first debate and browsed Youtube’s large selection of World War II propaganda films and cartoons. Even I was surprised by the amount and frequency of propaganda. Now the kids are seeing it everywhere and we are having great discussions about it.
I allow my kiddos to pick the subjects that we study and learn about but there are exceptions to this rule and the Constitution is one them. The U.S. Constitution organizes our government and gives each citizen the promise of certain rights that can never be taken away. No child should leave school and not know about these basic freedoms and the checks and balances of power that keep them secure. If we don’t know what our rights are, we can never hope to protect them.
“Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.” John Adams
One of my all time favorite resources for teaching the Constitution is a film called In Search of Liberty. Check out their website by clicking here. First, you need to know that the film is a little bit cheesy. A very authentic looking Ben Franklin living in modern times takes a family on weekend adventures in a motorhome to discover the Constitution. Ok, it is more than just a little bit cheesy. Ben also drives a time traveling Corvette. Okay, it is super cheesy but that is what makes it fun learning. My favorite moment is when the 4th amendment is presented with an illegal search of the family’s home done by what appears to be a cross between Agent Smith from the Matrix, Will Smith’s character in Men in Black and a Secret Service Agent. Don’t worry because Ben has mad Jedi skills and subdues the unwanted guests with a card trick. The movie ends with a trip to a carnival for a ride through the House of Horrors where the voice of Nancy Pelosi is projected from the mouth of a floating evil witch. The movie was pretty much non-partisan up to this point – falling out of my chair was a combination of being caught off guard and from laughing myself silly. As a matter of fact, we all laughed so much at the witch we had to rewind and replay the pirate and other characters in the House of Horrors – I will leave their identities a mystery. In summary, no homeschool kid should pass 8th grade without watching this film. It is a real hoot but does a great job of teaching the Constitution basics. What are some of your favorite resources?
I just asked my kiddos what their favorite World War II movie is so far and they replied “anything about Dunkirk because that showed how ordinary people became heroes.” Here is what you need to know – the Germans occupied France and had pushed Allied Forces back to a beach in Dunkirk. Large ships could not get to the beach to make a rescue and the Allies were just hours away from being destroyed by the Germans. Citizens from Dover offered up their small vessels to help the rescue effort. One of the first movies we watched was Mrs Miniver. I didn’t think an older movie without special effects would be on their thumbs up list! The more modern film Dunkirk gave them a front line view of the evacuation of British and French soldiers trapped on Dunkirk beach in France. Mrs Miniver is from the perspective of a family living in Dover, England.
Dunkirk Survivor https://youtu.be/SR9dDs7hU-Y
Dunkirk Beach Then and Now https://youtu.be/24ZJi_gDvYg
Dunkirk Survivor https://youtu.be/u_jbtrp7Zls
The film Hacksaw Ridge is a true story about a man named Desmond Doss – read more about his story here: https://faithofdoss.com/real-desmond-doss-story/. In a nutshell, Desmond’s Seventh Day Adventist faith does not allow him to fight but he volunteers to enlist as a medic. Doss is bullied and beaten down by others he is serving with that consider him a coward but goes on to prove himself a hero of epic proportions. His story takes place on battle fields in the Pacific.