Monthly Archives: January 2014

Thomas Jefferson

Week 5:  Thomas Jefferson


READ K – 3: A Picture Book of Thomas Jefferson by David Adler OR Thomas Jefferson by James Cross Giblin

* Also Highly Recommended reading: Worst of Friends by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain

4 – 6: Meet Thomas Jefferson by Marvin Barrett

7 – 8:  Thomas Jefferson by Veda Boyd Jones



(Highly Recommended Reading for Grades K- 3)


  • What was Thomas Jefferson’s greatest hobby as a boy? (reading)
  • How old was Thomas when his father died? (14)
  • Describe Jefferson’s feelings about slavery? (felt that slavery was wrong and he hated it, yet he always had slaves of his own, felt property couldn’t be run without them)
  • What was Jefferson’s first job after college? (worked as a lawyer)
  • The house Jefferson designed is very famous.  What did he call it? (Monticello – means little mountain)
  • What was Thomas’s wife’s name? (Martha)
  • Describe the heartache Thomas experienced in his family? (all but 1 of his children died before him, wife – Martha died)
  • What famous document did Thomas Jefferson write? (Declaration of Independence)
  • How did Jefferson work politically with George Washington ? (secretary of state) with John Adams? (Vice President)
  • Thomas Jefferson became the _____ president of our country? (3rd)
  • Describe the Louisiana Purchase? (Jefferson purchased land from Napoleon of France – it doubled the size of the U.S.)
  • On what day did Jefferson die? (4th of July)
  • Look at a quarter, dime, nickel, and penny.  Can you guess which coin has Jefferson’s face on it? (the nickel)

Questions for grades 4 – 8:

  • Describe the relationship Thomas Jefferson had with John Adams when John Adams was president? (they disagreed over many things and did not get along, eventually, when Jefferson became president, they stopped speaking to each other.  Later, in their old age they renewed their friendship again)
  • Describe Jefferson’s money troubles near the end of his life? (had many debts, sold 1000’s of his books to Congress to pay debts but still behind, was in danger of losing Monticello, committees of American people worked to raise thousands of dollars to pay his debts.)
  • What did Jefferson want to be remembered for? (Declaration of Independence, Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, Father of University of Virginia)
  • What friend of Jefferson’s also died on the 4th of July? (John Adams)
  • Why was this particular 4th of July so special? (50th anniversary of signing of Declaration)

ACTIVITIES: K – 2:  Coloring page:

3 – 4: Complete this worksheet:

5 – 6: Thomas Jefferson crossword:

7 – 8: Write an essay describing the positive and negative aspects of Thomas Jefferson’s character.  Include information on the following: Declaration of Independence, Slave owner, Relationship with John Adams, Term as President, Choice of Meriwether Louis, Louisiana Purchase, Establishment of University of Virginia, and Financial troubles.


Copyright January 30th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette

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Eli Whitney

Week 4:  Eli Whitney (1793)


VIEW K – 2: AND READ “NOTE” below.


READ 3 – 6: Eli Whitney: Great Inventor by Jean Lee Latham AND view :

7 – 8:  Maker of Machines by Barbara Mitchell AND view:


 Unfortunately, no free image of Eli Whitney: Great Inventor by Jean Lee Latham is available to me.

Note: Eli Whitney was born on December 8, 1765.  From the time he was very young he was skilled at making things.  At the age of 10 he took apart his father’s watch to figure out how it worked.  He was then able to put it back together again.  The watch continued to work perfectly.  When he was only 12 he made his own violin.  During the American Revolution he made nails to sell to farmers.  After the Revolution, he began selling hatpins for ladies’ hats.  After attending Yale University he moved south to teach.  While there he discovered the need for an invention that would separate cotton seeds from cotton.  He was able to build such a machine in only 10 days.  Even though he received a patent for his machine, it was easily copied by others and unfortunately, he never made much money from the invention.  The invention revolutionized the cotton industry.  Before this time cotton was not a popular crop to plant because it was so difficult to remove the seeds.  After the invention, cotton became one of the most popular crops to plant in the South, which unfortunately, increased the demand for slaves to pick the cotton.  Later Eli Whitney invented a musket(gun) that could be mass-produced.  They were used in the War of 1812.


  • Name two of Eli Whitney’s most famous inventions. (Cotton gin &  machine-made muskets)
  • T/F Eli Whitney did not begin to invent things till he was an adult. (F)
  • What did the Cotton gin do? (removed seeds from cotton plants)
  • Describe the problems he had with his cotton gin. (Idea stolen by many; people began creating it themselves so he wasn’t paid for his invention.  He spent much of his time in court fighting for the rights to produce his invention. )
  • Did Eli Whitney become rich from creating the cotton gin? (no)
  • Why were muskets so expensive to create? (each one was hand-made)
  • How did Eli Whitney changed the musket industry? (he was able to make them by machine, with interchangeable parts, he was the first man to mass produce muskets)
  • When were his muskets used? (war of 1812)

Questions for Grades 3 – 8:

  • How did Eli’s cotton gin change slavery in America? (increased the need for slavery because more workers were needed to plant and pick the crop)

ACTIVITIES: K – 3: coloring page:

4 – 8: Using the data on the “Slavery and Cotton Production” chart on this website:

Make up your own bar graph to show how cotton production and the number of slaves increased during the 8 decades listed.    You can use this graph paper to create your chart.


Copyright January 24th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette

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Filed under Charlotte Mason, Colonial America, Westward Expansion

Daniel Boone

Week 3:  Daniel Boone


READ K – 5: Daniel Boone by Tom Streissguth

6 – 8:  Daniel Boone by Richard Kozar



  • Where did Daniel like to spend his time? (Exploring the forests & the land)
  • Name some of Daniel’s talents? (excellent hunter, could find his way through the wilderness)
  • What mountains lay between the colonist’s land and the land to the West? (Appalachian Mountains)
  • Many American settlers wanted this land.  Who did it really belong to? (Native Americans)
  • What was the “Cumberland Gap”? (Gap between the Appalachian Mountains)
  • Why did Daniel Boone want to travel west? (wanted open land, wanted to be head of his clan, wanted to be able to hunt plenty of game animals)
  • How did the Cherokee and Shawnee Indians feel about new settlers moving to their land? (angry – didn’t want them there)
  • What state did the “new land” Daniel Boone explored become? (Kentucky)
  • What happened to Daniel Boone’s son? (killed by Indians)
  • What was the “Wilderness Road”? (A road Daniel Boone & his men built leading through the mountains.  They built bridges over swamps and creeks to create an easy way for pioneers to travel)
  • Why did the Wilderness Road become so important? (Created a way for thousands of pioneers to travel west)
  • What was the name of the new town Daniel Boone started in Kentucky? (Boonesborough)

ACTIVITIES: K – 3:  Coloring page:

4 – 6: Cherokee & Shawnee Indians had been originally assured (According to the Royal Proclamation of 1763: ) that the land west of the Appalachians was theirs and that American citizens would not move into their land.  Do you believe it was right for the Native Americans to attack Daniel Boone’s party?  Write a paragraph.

7 – 8:  Answer all of the following questions in paragraph form:

1.) Cherokee & Shawnee Indians had been originally assured (According to the Royal Proclamation of 1763: ) that the land west of the Appalachians was theirs and that American citizens would not move into their land.  Do you believe it was right for the Native Americans to attack Daniel Boone’s party?

2.)  Daniel’s Boone’s son was killed and his daughter was captured.  Do you believe he did the right thing by trying to form a new Settlement in Kentucky?

3.) You can check out images of Daniel Boone’s “Wilderness trail” by clicking on this site:  (Click on the “Photo Tour” tab.) Why do you think Kentucky was such an appealing place for Daniel Boone to live?  Explain.


Copyright January 16th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette

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The Bill of Rights

Week 2:  Bill of Rights


READ K – 3: The Bill of Rights (Chp 4 – end only) by Christine Taylor-Butler

5 – 6: The Bill of Rights (entire book) by Christine Taylor-Butler

7 – 8:  The Bill of Rights by Judith Lloyd Yero



  • What are the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution called?  (The Bill of Rights)
  • The 1st Amendment guarantees 5 basic freedoms.  What are they and describe each one?
  1. Religion – Worship as you please
  2. Speech – Say your opinion
  3. Press – Write or say your opinion through the media (newspapers, TV, radio, or internet
  4. Assemble – Get together with others for any peaceful reason
  5. Petition – Tell government what you don’t like or what you’d like to change
  • The 2nd amendment gives people the right to bear arms.  What does this mean? (gives people the right to fight and protect themselves)
  • T/F  The 3rd amendment says no one has to house a soldier in times of war.  (F – in times of peace)
  • According to the 4th amendment, can a police officer enter your house to search through your things without permission? (no)
  • According to the 5th amendment, a person is innocent until they are proved _______? (guilty)
  • Can a person be forced to talk if they don’t want to? (no)
  • What is a jury? (group of people chosen to rule on evidence in a trial)
  • Do all people have a right to a lawyer? (yes)
  • Do people have rights other than those listed in the Constitution? (yes)
  • T/F  The government can take on powers not listed in the Constitution.  (F)
  • T/F  Initially the Bill of Rights was only written for white men.  (T)

 ACTIVITIES: K – 5: Using your internet, get onto Google images and print out 5 pictures to complete this worksheet:  5 basic freedoms (word)  or this one: 5 basic freedoms (pdf).  You will need pictures of the following:

  • a)  A church
  • b) Someone giving a speech
  • c)  a TV
  • d.) An assembly
  • e.)  A petition

Grades 6 – 8: Complete this online worksheet:;  Answer key:


Copyright January 10th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette

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Filed under Charlotte Mason, Government

The Constitution

Week 1:  The Constitution


READ K – 4: We the People by Lynne Cheney

5 – 6: The Constitution of the United States by Christine Taylor-Butler

7 – 8:  The Constitution by Paul Finkelman



  • The first set of rules America adopted for governing the country didn’t work very well.  What were they called? (Articles of Confederation)
  • What were some of the problems our country was having before the Constitution was adopted? (Couldn’t collect taxes, each state had its own money, couldn’t defend itself or pay soldiers, British refused to move out of military posts, no court system, Americans fighting each other.)
  • Where did the Constitutional convention meet? (Philadelphia)
  • Who was president of the Convention? (George Washington)
  • Who came up with much of the plans for the Constitution? (James Madison)
  • Why did delegates from big and small states disagree with the plans for Congress? (Big states wanted more representatives, small states wanted equal say)
  • What was the “Great Compromise”? (Split Congress into 2 houses: The Senate & the House of Representatives.  The Senate would have 2 reps for each state; the House would have a number of representatives based on state population)
  • Why was slavery an issue in determining how many reps a state would get?  (Southern states wanted more reps because of slaves.)
  • How was this resolved? (5 slaves counted as 3 free people)
  • What important historical figure urged the delegates to sign the Constitution even if they didn’t agree with all of it? (Ben Franklin)

Questions for Grades 5 – 8:

  • Why are there 3 branches of government? (Checks & balances to make sure no branch had too much power)
  • What are the three branches of government? (Legislative, Executive, & Judicial)
  • What does the Legislative Branch do? (Makes laws: consists of the Senate & the House of Rep)
  • What does the Executive Branch do? (Enforces laws: consists of president & his staff)
  • What does the judicial branch do? (Interprets laws, makes sure laws are used correctly: consists of courts)
  • What are Amendments? (Changes to the Constitution)
  • What are the first 10 Amendments called? (Bill of Rights)
  • Name some other famous Amendments? (to end slavery, right to vote for women)

ACTIVITIES: K – 5: Get a piece of poster board and use Google images:

to find and print pictures of the following:

  • ·The Constitution
  • President of the Convention: George Washington
  • Planner of the Constitution: James Madison
  • Negotiator of the Convention: Ben Franklin.

 In the Constitution our delegates planned our country to have 3 branches of government.  Using google images, find a picture of each of the following:

  • The Executive: picture of the President or the White House (or both)
  • The Legislative: picture of the Capitol building
  • The Judicial: Find a picture of the Supreme Court building or Supreme Court Judges (or both)

Divide your poster board into 3 rows.

  • In the top row paste your picture of the Constitution.  Write “The Constitution” under the picture.
  • Divide the second row into 3 equal  boxes.  Paste your pictures of George Washington, James Madison, & Ben Franklin into these 3 boxes.  Write “President of the Convention” under George Washington’s picture, write “Planner of the Constitution” under James Madison’s picture.  Write “Negotiator of the convention” under Ben Franklin’s picture.
  • Divide the third row into 3 equal boxes.  Write “Enforces Laws” under the picture of president or the White house. Write “Makes Laws” under the Capitol building, and  Write “Interprets Laws” under the Supreme Court Building or the Judges.

6 – 8: Choose one of the following essay options:

  • Which 3 delegates attending the Convention were probably the most influential in the forming of the Constitution? Why?  Write a 5 paragraph- 3 proof essay.
  • Look at this picture of George Washington’s chair in Independence Hall:  According to this site, George Washington used this chair for nearly three months of the Federal Convention’s continuous sessions. James Madison reported Benjamin Franklin saying, “I have often looked at that behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now I… know that it is a rising…sun.”  Write an essay explaining what you think Ben Franklin meant by this comment.

Copyright January 3rd, 2014 by Gwen Fredette


Filed under Charlotte Mason, Government, Westward Expansion