Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Amistad

Week 13: The Amistad


READ K – 6: Amistad Rising by Veronica Chambers

7 – 8: Amistad by Walter Dean Myers OR The Amistad Slave Revolt by Karen Zeinert



  • From what continent were many people taken to become slaves? (Africa)
  • What was it like on a slave ship? (many people chained together, no toilet, little room, terrible smells, disease)
  • Was slavery legal at the time of the Amistad? (Yes, but new slaves couldn’t be stolen from Africa.)
  • What country were the slaves taken to? (Cuba)
  • What was the Amistad? (ship taking slaves from Cuba to Cuban plantation)
  • Did the slaves have enough to eat on the ships? (No)
  • Why was Cinque afraid of the cook? (The cook, Celestino, joked that the slaves would be eaten. Cinque believed him.)
  • How did Cinque escape? (picked his lock with a loose nail)
  • Describe the mutiny? (Cinque freed the other prisoners; used knives to kill the captain, & the cook, and took over the ship.)
  • Cinque ordered the remaining sailors to take them back to Africa. How did they trick Cinque? (sailed back towards Africa by day, but towards the U.S. by night)
  • Who were the abolitionists? (people in Northern U.S. fighting against slavery)
  • When Cinque and his friends went to court, the judge listened to their story. What did he determine? (They were taken illegally from Africa and should be set free.)
  • Why did the case go to the Supreme Court? (President Martin Van Buren requested that the attorney file an appeal so the case would be heard again.)
  • When the case went to the Supreme Court, who argued for Cinque and his companions? (former President John Quincy Adams)
  • What was the Supreme Court’s ruling? (Cinque and his friends should be set free and sent back to Africa.)
  • Were they able to return right away? (No, it took a long time before they were able to raise the money for a trip back.)

Question for grades 7 – 8:

  • Was Cinque able to find his family when he went back to Africa? (No, his village had been raided, his family may also have been sold into slavery.)

ACTIVITIES: K – 3: Coloring page from of the Amistad. Click HERE:
4 – 5: Cinque traveled from Sierra Leon, Africa to Cuba to New London, Connecticut (Close to New York).   Using this map for help:, mark Cinque’s journeys on this blank map: AND Then write a short paragraph describing conditions on a slave ship.
6 – 8: Complete the map work listed above (for grades 4 – 5) and choose one of the following topics for a 5 paragraph, 3 proof essay:

  1. Describe the conditions Africans faced on a slave ship voyage OR
  2. What made Cinque such a powerful leader?

Copyright March 27th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette

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Trail of Tears

Week 12: Trail of Tears


READ K – 5: Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac

6 – 8:  Only the Names Remain by Alex W. Bealer



  • In what state did the majority of the Cherokee live and have their capital in the early 1800’s? (Georgia)
  • Who was Sequoyah and what did he do? (Cherokee Indian, invented written Cherokee language)
  • What was the Cherokee Phoenix? (Cherokee newspaper written in Cherokee & English)
  • During the 1800’s to 1850’s how was the Cherokee  Nation different from many other Indian tribes? (built houses, children went to schools, many were wealthy plantation owners & farmers, lived and dressed like white men)
  • What was the Indian Removal Bill (Policy)? (Plan to move all Indian tribes west of the Mississippi)
  • Why did the Cherokee feel betrayed by Andrew Jackson? (Many had fought by his side in the War of 1812)
  • How did the discovery of gold in Georgia cause problems for the Cherokee? (Many white men came to their lands to get the gold)
  • Why did many Cherokee lose their homes? (White men came to take their land; government would not help them)
  • Who was John Ross? (Chief of Cherokee nation)
  • How did he try to help his people? (went to the Supreme Court to argue for the well-being of his people)
  • What did the Supreme court rule? (that the Cherokee nation should be protected; land should not be taken)
  • Who was in charge of enforcing the Court’s decision and what did he say? (President Andrew Jackson; said the Supreme Court would have to enforce the law themselves; he wouldn’t do it.)
  • How did a small group of Cherokee betray their people? (went to government without the approval of the Cherokee nation and agreed to give their land away)
  • What was the Trail of Tears? (Entire Cherokee Nation forced to travel west to Oklahoma during the winter months.  Had to leave their beloved home land.  Not enough  food or warm clothing.  Many got sick.  Thousands died along the way.)
  • What happened to John Ross’s (the Cherokee chief) wife? (died along the way.)
  • Who was Tsali? (Indian who fled with many Cherokee people to the Mountains of North Carolina.  He was killed.  But many of the people who fled survived there.  Their descendants still live in the Mountains of North Carolina.)
  • In what state(s) do most Cherokee live now? (Oklahoma/Arkansas.)

ACTIVITIES: K – 3: Listen to the Cherokee language being sung!   ; Then, draw your own picture of the Cherokee Nation moving west on the trail of tears.

4 – 5: Listen to the Cherokee language being sung!

Then, Using the information on this site for help, try to write your first and last name in Cherokee.

6 – 8:

  1. Listen to the Cherokee language being sung!
  2. Then, Using the information on this site for help, try to write your first and last name in Cherokee.;
  3. Finally, do Trail of Tears worksheet (click here): trail of tears worksheet

Copyright March 21st, 2014 by Gwen Fredette

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Nationwide Homeschool Art Contest (2014)

Homeschool Art Contest!!! (2014)

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m hosting my first nation-wide Homeschool Art Contest!  Here’s the details:

For Who:  Any child currently being homeschooled (either traditional or virtual charter school) in the U.S. in grades K through 8.

How to Enter:  

1) Read and abide by the Contest Rules.  Please click here to obtain the rules: Art Contest Rules (doc) OR Art Contest Rules (pdf)

2.) Create a work of art according to this theme: “Reading and Imagination”.  Your art work should also meet these requirements:

  • Art work should reflect the theme “Reading and Imagination”.
  • Any homeschooled student in grades K – 8 can participate.
  • Must be on 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper
  • Art work can be done in any medium (pencil, marker, crayons, colored pencil, paint, markers, etc.)
  • Art work must be created from the student’s imagination or through direct observation.  (No copying!  See contest rules for details.)

3.) Fill out and mail in your entry form and art work.  Please click here to obtain the entry form: Entry Form ART Contest (doc) OR Entry Form ART Contest (pdf)

Deadline:  All entries must be post-marked by Saturday, April 12th, 2014.

Where to Send Art Work:  Please see “Art Contest Rules (doc) or Art Contest Rules (pdf)” for details.

Categories:   Entries will be separated into 3 categories:

  • Grades K – 2
  • Grades 3 – 5
  • Grades 6 – 8

Prizes:  1st, 2nd, & 3rd prizes will be given for each category.

1) 1st prize:

  • Art work Published on Philadelphia Homeschool Blog
  • Artistic Pursuits Art Curriculum (Book 1)
  • Art Supplies courtesy of Miller Pads & Paper
  • Christian CD courtesy of K Love Radio Station
  • Christian Readers (some prizes may be on CD) courtesy of Finding Christ in Books publishers
  • Trailblazers novels on CD courtesy of Dave & Neta Jackson from

2.) 2nd prize:

  • Art work Published on Philadelphia Homeschool Blog
  • Artistic Pursuits Art Curriculum (Book 1)
  • Christian CD courtesy of K Love Radio Station
  • Christian reader courtesy of Finding Christ in Books publishers            (grades 3 – 5 & grades 6 – 8 only)
  • K Love Pens & Key chains (grades K – 2 only)

3.) 3rd prize:

  • Art work Published on Philadelphia Homeschool Blog
  • Artistic Pursuits Art Curriculum (Book 1)
  • Christian CD courtesy of K Love Radio Station

All entrants: will receive a certificate for participating in the contest.

Winner Notification:  Winners will be notified by email and announced on the Philadelphia Homeschool blog by the middle of May, 2014

Judging:  See panel of judges listed below (following the sponsors).

Special Thanks to the Sponsors who helped make this contest possible!

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Artistic Pursuits: logo_v20 00

At Artistic Pursuits Inc., we believe every child can understand the concepts of art and enjoy the process of putting ideas and visual images on paper. We’re committed to the goal of helping children become visually aware of the wonderful world we live in, and be able to work in creative ways within this world. We offer parents and teachers a simple way to give children a quality art education that will prepare them to meet creative challenges in their future endeavors.  Children learn and love the freedom they have to select their subject, working from direct observation using quality art materials.

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Miller Pads & Paper: Pads and Paper

We are a family based business, started by Randy and Renee Miller, located in southwest Wisconsin and have been in business for more than 26 years! We strive to supply quality products at great prices for all your art and educational needs. We specialize in art but also have a wide variety of educational supplies and games for the family. Feel free to visit our website at or call us with any questions at 608-375-2181.

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K Love:

K-LOVE is a pioneer in the non-commercial, listener supported Christian music format. With over 446 signals across the United States, K-LOVE reaches millions of listeners each week and strives to deepen their relationships with Christ. K-LOVE features positive and encouraging music 24/7. Through the support of listeners, K-LOVE is committed to improving local communities by building strong partnerships with churches and other organizations. You can listen to K-LOVE in Philadelphia at 106.9, on our free app, or online at

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Finding Christ in Books:

Tom and Carol Robb started Finding Christ Through Fiction in 2009.  It is a retail on-line store filled with many resources for growing in Christ, homeschooling, Christian fiction and Christian biographies.  Three years ago, they started Finding Christ Books, a publishing company focused on providing solid Biblically based fiction for all ages.  Stories reach into people’s hearts, and they hope that many people will grow in their walk with the Lord as they read Finding Christ Books’ godly fiction that points to Christ.

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Our family has loved the Trailblazer books!  They make a great supplement to your history curriculum!
The award-winning TRAILBLAZERS by Dave & Neta Jackson are action-packed historical fiction novels introducing great Christian heroes. Each page- turning book portrays a significant period in a hero or heroine’s life and ministry as seen through the eyes of a young protagonist. A page in the front of each book explains exactly what is fiction and which events and characters are historical, and a “More About” chapter at the end provides a brief biographical overview of the hero’s life. They help kids learn about pioneer missionaries and other important Christians . . . while having fun doing it.

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Special Thanks also to the panel of judges who are helping to make this contest possible:
Georgia Franchetti:
Georgia Franchetti is a homeschooling mother of five.  She and her husband, Matt, met as children in a homeschool group and have been involved in the homeschooling community for most of their lives.  Georgia studied art at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, and studied costume design at Temple University and Penn State.  She has worked as a summer camp art instructor, mural painter, and seamstress.  Always eager to try new things, Georgia has made jewelry, dolls, prom dresses, quilts, and has recently been learning to crochet.  She currently teaches homeschool art classes from her home.
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Sara Klein: CAM00383 (768x1024)
Sara is a wife and homeschooling mother of three.  Sara received her BFA degree from Tyler School of Art, Temple University where she studied Jewelry, Metals and CAD-CAM.   Her professional life included stints as a CAD-CAM modeler, designer and prototype creator.   However, none of these things could adequately prepare her for the challenge of motherhood…or homeschooling!  Sara currently runs a Classical Homeschooling community, tutors SAT students, teaches Sunday school, sings on her worship team and tries to find time to take a shower.  She still finds art in the beauty of the everyday.
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Anne Macha:Anne Macha
Anne Macha, BFA (Illustration, Arcadia University) is married with two children and lives in Philadelphia. Anne teaches art at a local school and has developed her illustration style through exploring art and design in diverse cultures.
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Julia is an artist, wife, mother, homemaker, and Jesus-lover who has lived in Philadelphia for eleven years. She graduated from Tyler School of Art in 2006 and thrives on creativity in daily life. Her hobbies include writing, photography, handlettering, and spending time with her daughters. She and her husband blog very occasionally at

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Audrey Reid:Audrey

Audrey Reid is an art lover, book lover, and JESUS follower living in Philadelphia, PA. In 2005 she earned a BFA in fine art and art education from Moore College of Art & Design. In the past she has judged the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) annual fine arts competition. Audrey works for the Free Library of Philadelphia where she serves the neighborhood of Roxborough by providing homework help and after school programs for children and families. She, her husband, and precious son Samuel worship at Epic Church and can often be found hiking the Wissahickon trails.

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Delmalyn Vaughn:delmalyn
Delmalyn LaBrake Vaughn has a BFA from Kutztown University with a concentration in Communication Design.  She has completed numerous art courses at Main Line Art Center and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  Delmalyn has exhibited work in community art shows in Phoenixville PA, Haverford PA and a juried show in Gwynedd Valley PA.  She also has participated in and contributed paintings to various volunteer community art projects for non-profit organizations in Philadelphia PA.   Oil, water color and acrylic are mediums of choice and she is always ready for any opportunity to spend time working in a studio with other painters !
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I am not a judge on this panel but will be working as facilitator and contest coordinator. Here’s a quick bio of me:
Gwen lives with her husband and 4 beautiful children in Philadelphia, PA, and has been homeschooling for over 10 years.   In addition to writing weekly in her blogs, Philadelphia Homeschool and U READ Thru History (a free online homeschool history curriculum), Gwen has written three homeschool science curricula and has been busy at work on her first children’s novel.   A committed Christian, Gwen seeks to exalt Christ in all of her work.
Homeschool Writing Contest Posted by Gwen Fredette on March 20th, 2014

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Erie Canal

Week 11: Erie Canal (1826)


ALL GRADES: Watch this clip on Youtube explaining how locks work by clicking HERE:

READ K – 3: The Erie Canal  by Peter Spier  (This book can also be found on youtube by clicking HERE:

AND Read “NOTE” below.

4 – 8:  The Story of the Erie Canal by Conrad Stein

Note for K – 3: The Erie Canal is a man-made channel for water.  In the 1800’s water was the best way to move things (especially heavy things) quickly.  Building of the canal began in 1817 and continued until 1825.  It is located in New York state and stretches over 350 miles.  (That’s over 6000 football fields stretched end to end!)  De Witt Clinton spearheaded the project, who was then governor of New York. 

A tremendous amount of work went into building the canal.  Ditches needed to be dug, sometimes through thick forests or muddy, mosquito infested swamps.  Sometimes aqueducts had to be built over other rivers and streams.  Sometimes rock had to be blasted away.  Locks had to be built to carry canal barges upstream.  Locks are kind of like water elevators.  The barge floats into a lock and doors close behind it.  The chamber is filled with water, raising the barge up.  Then doors on the opposite side of the chamber are opened and the barge floats out.  The barges were filled with goods to sell and pulled by mules. 

Most of the workers hired to dig the canal were local farmers and Irish immigrants.  New York residents were thrilled when the canal was finished.  It became the first “super highway” in the colonies to transport goods and was called the “8th Wonder of the World”.  Just a few years after the canal was opened, cities and towns along the canal route became booming places of business and the population of New York greatly increased.    The song you just heard on You Tube was a popular song at the time.    A pair of mules could pull a barge for about 15 miles before they would need to stop and rest.  Then a new set of mules would take over carrying the barge.



  • Why did New Yorkers want to build a canal across the state? (easy way to ship goods from one place to another; way to link east and west parts of the state)
  • Who pushed for the canal to be built anyway? (New York Governor DeWitt Clinton)
  • What problems did construction workers face? (commissioners had never built a canal before; workers had to work through swamps, mosquitoes, many caught malaria, had to build locks to raise barges, hundreds of miles, had to dig through limestone.)
  • Who did most of the work? (at first local farmers, then Irish immigrants)
  • Describe how locks work? (Ships sail in, door is closed behind them, water raised, ship rises to new level)
  • What did people say after it was finished? (8th wonder of the world)
  • Did the canal succeed? (Yes, began making money immediately, much cheaper way to ship goods from east to west, much quicker way to ship goods.)
  • How did the canal change the state of New York? (Population greatly increased, cities and towns built along route.  Buffalo and Rochester became major cities.)
  • What pulled the barges along the original canal? (mules)

Questions Grades 4 – 8:

  • What did President Jefferson and the Federal Government think of the plan? (too much money, wouldn’t fund it)
  • Who paid for the building of the canal? (New York state government)
  • What day did construction begin? (4th of July)
  • What great invention sped up the work on the canal? (stump puller)
  • What was an aqueduct? (Bridge carrying canal water and barge over natural rivers and streams.)
  • Many people were against the project.  What did they say about it and governor Clinton before it was finished? (madness, too expensive, “Clinton’s folly”, “Clinton’s ditch”.)
  • How long was the canal? (over 300 miles)

ACTIVITIES: K – 3: Make your own barge!  You will need about 16 plastic drinking straws, scotch tape, and “cargo” for your boat (like coins or Legos.)  Place the drinking straws right next to each other on a table so the ends are even with the end of the table.  Put a piece of scotch tape along the top ends of the straws and then another along the bottom edges of the straws.  Flip the straws over and do the same thing to the other side of the straws.  Fill a sink or large basin with water.  Your “barge” should float!  How much weight can your barge carry?  Experiment with coins, Legos or both!

4 – 8: Using this map:,  and the map on this page for help:

make a map of the Erie Canal with this blank map:

Be sure to label the following:

  1. Erie Canal
  2. Albany
  3. Buffalo
  4. Hudson River
  5. Lake Erie
  6. Lake Ontario
  7. Canada
  8. New York

Then, answer the following question in paragraph form:  Why was the Erie Canal called the 8th wonder of the world?


Copyright March 14th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette

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Star Spangled Banner

Week 10: Story of Star Spangled Banner


READ K – 5: By the Dawn’s Early Light by Steven Kroll

6 – 8:  The Star-Spangled Banner by Deborah Kent



  • What type of work did Francis Scott Key do? (He was a lawyer)
  • Why did the British arrest Dr. Beanes, Key’s friend? (Dr. Beanes had 3 British stragglers from the British army thrown in jail for making trouble.)
  • Was Dr. Beanes unfair to British soldiers? (No, he had cared for many of the wounded British.)
  • Who was President during Dr. Beanes’ capture and the War of 1812? (Madison)
  • During the War of 1812 what happened to Washington D.C.? (Burned by British)
  • Who went with Key to ask for Dr. Beanes’ release? (Colonel Skinner)
  • Why is this song so important? (National Anthem)
  • What is the Star Spangled Banner? (our flag)
  • How many stripes were on the flag? (15) Why? (15 states)
  • When is this song often played? (sports events, Olympics)

Questions Grades 6 – 8:

  • Why were Key, Skinner and Beanes forced to stay on board the boat “Surprise” while the British fleet sailed up the Chesapeake? (the men had been on board long enough that they knew some of the British plans of attack.  The British didn’t want them to go home and sound the alarm to help American citizens.)
  • What fort did the British attack? (Fort McHenry)
  • What city was the fort located in? (Baltimore)
  • Describe Key’s view of the attack? (He was watching the attack from the boat.  Heavy bombing went on hour after hour; the noise was great and the sky was filled with smoke.  Key kept looking for the flag during the bombing because if it was still there, it meant the British hadn’t won.)
  • When did the battle finish? (at dawn)
  • What was Key’s poem originally called? (Defense of Fort Mc Henry)
  • What is the title of the song now? (Star-Spangled Banner)

ACTIVITIES: K – 4: Listen to the Star-Spangled Banner on You-Tube and try to learn the song:   then, using red, white, and blue construction paper, Create an American flag with 15 stripes and 15 stars.

5 – 8: First, listen to the Star-Spangled Banner on You-Tube and try to learn the song: .  Then, look up the words listed below in the dictionary and write a definition for each one.   Finally, copy the first stanza of the Star-Spangled Banner neatly on a sheet of paper.  You can find the words by clicking here:

  1. Dawn
  2. Twilight
  3. Perilous
  4. Ramparts
  5. Gallant

Copyright March 8th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette


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