Tag Archives: Pennsylvania


Week 12: Gettysburg


Read K – 3: Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln by Jean Fritz

4 – 5: Gettysburg: The Graphic Novel by C.M. Butzer

6 – 8: A Three-Minute Speech by Jennifer Armstrong


  • Who won most of the battles in the beginning of the Civil War, the North or the South? (South)
  • In what state did the battle of Gettysburg occur? (Pennsylvania)
  • About how many Southern soldiers were killed in the battle of Gettysburg? (20,000)
  • About how many Northern soldiers were killed? (23,000)
  • Who won the battle of Gettysburg? (the North)
  • Why did people decide to create a special cemetery in Gettysburg? (so many died there; to honor fallen soldiers)
  • Who was to be the special guest speaker that day? (Edward Everett)
  • Who was invited as an afterthought? (President Lincoln)
  • About how many people went to Gettysburg the day the cemetery was dedicated? (15,000 to 20,000 people)
  • How long did Mr. Everett speak? (2 hours)
  • How long did Abraham Lincoln speak (a few minutes)
  • Did Lincoln believe people liked his speech? (no)
  • What did Mr. Everett say about Lincoln’s speech? (The president had said more in 2 minutes than he said in 2 hours.)
  • How do you think people feel about his speech today? (considered to be one of the best speeches of all time)

Questions for Grades 4 – 8:

  • Who was the general in charge of the Southern army at the battle of Gettysburg? (Robert E. Lee)
  • Describe Lee’s reputation? (considered to be one of the greatest military commanders of his generation)
  • Who was the general in charge of the Northern army at the battle of Gettysburg? (George Meade)
  • Why did the Southern army have the disadvantage in this battle? (The Northern army had the high ground; it was easy to shoot the Southern army as they stormed cemetery ridge.)
  • Why was creating the cemetery so difficult? (so many thousands died; had to be buried quickly)

Questions for grades 7 – 8:

  • What supplies did the Confederate army desperately need and hope to find in Gettysburg? (shoes)
  • Did people live in Gettysburg before the battle? (yes)
  • Where did they go? (Some hid in their basements; Some ran to find safety elsewhere)
  • Did the battle of Gettysburg end the war? (no)
  • Why didn’t Meade pursue the Confederate army? (army was exhausted; so many dead and wounded to care for)
  • Why were the bodies decaying so quickly? (broiling July heat)
  • What did the townspeople do with the dead horses and mules? (burned them)
  • What made Lincoln’s speech so special? (He didn’t dedicate a cemetery; he dedicated the whole war to the pursuit of freedom and democracy.)


Activities K – 3: Coloring page Battle of Gettysburg: http://www.usa-printables.com/Events/Civil_war/02-civil_war-010.htm

4 – 5:  Complete the worksheet, “Understanding the Gettysburg Address” on page 4 of this pdf file: http://www.illinois.gov/alplm/museum/Learning/Documents/The_Gettysburg_Address.pdf

6 – 8:  Complete the reading and worksheet on the Gettysburg Address by clicking on this link: http://chnm.gmu.edu/7tah/unitdocs/unit3/lesson1/gettysburgorigins.pdf.  Also, complete the worksheet, “Understanding the Gettysburg Address” on page 4 of this pdf file: http://www.illinois.gov/alplm/museum/Learning/Documents/The_Gettysburg_Address.pdf


Copyright March 25th, 2015 by Gwen Fredette




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3rd & 4th Grade Winners, Homeschool Writing Contest 2014

Writing Contest Winners 2014 — 3rd and 4th Grades

Congratulations to the following 3rd and 4th grade winners of the “PHB” Homeschool Writing Contest!!!

1st Place: Vivian, a traditional homeschooler in Grade 3 from Lansdale, PA for the story entitled “Shelter Troubles”.  Vivian’s wonderful winning story is reprinted below.

2nd Place: Charlotte, a traditional homeschooler in Grade 4 from Thomasville, NC, for the story entitled “Grapple the Cat and Evil Catsten”.

3rd Place: Isabella, a traditional homeschooler in Grade 4 from Coppell, TX, for the story entitled “A Wonderful Secret”.

The winners have been notified and will be receiving their prizes from the sponsors shortly.

Special thanks to all the students who participated!  You did a fantastic job!  We can tell that you all worked very hard.  I hope to host more writing contests in the future.  Please try again!

Special thanks to the following Sponsors who helped make this contest possible:

Special thanks also to the panel of judges who worked to select the winners:

  • Marlene Bagnull
  • Pam Halter
  • Michelle Lofton
  • Rosario Cintron
  • Julia Melone &
  • Kay Ben-Avraham

As promised, following is a reprint of Vivian’s fantastic winning story:

“Shelter Troubles”

     I looked around, but I realized with a sudden dread there was no way out.  I was trapped!

     You see, it all started out when I was hunting in the woods one day.  It was my morning meal, and I was hungry.  It was snowing; birds were scarce.  I was looking for bugs or possibly a nest with chicks in it, but the only things I found were a few measly flies and millipedes.  Of course, it would hold me off for the morning.  I don’t have a big appetite; I can hunt fairly well without getting too skinny.  I have claws like needles and teeth like daggers — I am a wildcat.

     You might be wondering how I was raised.  Both my mother and my father were wildcats, but my father died right after my birth.  Yes, I do have siblings, but I do not need to mention their names right now.

     For a bed, my mother scraped leaves into a large, flattish pile on the ground, usually under a tree.  Dead leaves that had fallen from the trees were best for making beds like these, but they were not always available.  When we were old enough she taught us how to make these beds and how to hunt.  But she wasn’t like other mothers and widows that would be house pets.  She was tough.  She did mourn over my father’s death, but not for very long.

     Like I was saying before, the day was gloomy.  Everywhere I looked I saw white, white, and more white.  I learned to not mind walking through snow, rain, and dew.  All wildcats learned to do that.  I jumped onto a branch on a tree and climbed up.  I peeked into a bird’s nest, but it was empty.  I sighed.  Then I leaped down and sat in the snow.  Little did I know what was ahead of me and that it would change my life forever.

     As I trudged though the cold snow, I felt the presence of another creature behind me.  A car had driven up and screeched to a halt at the corner.  No cars ever drove in the winter time!  The streets were sheathed in ice.  As I sat wondering about this,  I felt arms grab me.

     I was shoved into a cage and driven away in the car.  Never had I experienced this before!  I clawed at my cage, meowing, but no one let me out.  I looked around, but I realized with a sudden dread there was no way out.  I was trapped!

     Soon the car stopped at a big shelter.  I could hear dogs barking and parakeets screeching as someone brought me into the shelter.  I was put into a different cage, one that was clear plastic.

     I was scared.  I didn’t know where I was.  Hours went by as I sat in my small cage.  There were two dogs next to me, barking and howling their heads off.  I tried asking them where I was.

     “Hey, you dog, over here!” I said.  The dog turned his head toward me.

     “What do you want?” the dog asked.

     “I want to know where I am!” I hissed.

     “Oh, you’re in a pet shelter.  People come and take you home.”

     “People?” I wondered aloud.  I didn’t know much about people.  But before the dog could explain to me why people were going to take me away, the lights were switched off.  I heard a bell ring and the sound of keys locking something.  I was locked in the shelter at night!

     I freaked out.  No one was going to bring me out of here!  I was stuck for a whole night with only little nuggets as food.  Did they expect me to eat these?  They didn’t have meat in them!  They were hard and unappetizing things.  I would rather starve than eat these!

     Soon all the barking ceased.  The tweeting and screeching stopped.  Everyone one was asleep!  How I longed for one of those colorful parakeets right across from my cage!  I soon found myself getting quite drowsy.  I yawned and fell asleep on my hard little carpet that was at the bottom of my cage.

     The next morning the whole shelter was alive again.  People swarmed the shelter.  Some people bought fish and parakeets, and occasionally a cat or a dog.  No one wanted me.  I wondered if it was because of the little sign that was stuck on my cage.  I soon found what it meant.

     A little kid and his mom came up to me.  The little kid pointed to me.  The mom read the sign aloud.  “Not up for adoption.  This cat is not neutered.”  She led the kid away from me.

     After a few days of waiting patiently in my cage, I was taken out of it and driven to a veterinary clinic.  They brought me in and set me on a while little desk.  The entire room was white!  There were scary machines all around.  It had a funny smell.  I was getting nervous.  So just as a vet walked in, off I zoomed!

     I leaped off the counter, skidded out the door, and stopped when I saw pets and people everywhere.  I ran down the stairs, under people’s legs, until I was at the bottom floor of the clinic.  I looked around frantically.  Where should I go? What should I do?  I spotted a door that led to outside. I crouched down and ran under the chairs that people were waiting in.  There were screams, and just as a person opened the door, I was out!

     I was free!  I am now more careful around cars and I rarely interact with people anymore.  Yes, sometimes I have to move from bed to bed, and yes, sometimes I have a struggle finding food, but for the most part, being a wildcat is better than being a house cat!

I am a wild cat, and the first cat ever to escape a visit to the vet!

Posted by Gwen Fredette on December 12th, 2014

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Revolutionary War (Part II)

Week 10: Revolutionary War (Part II)


READ:  K – 5:  Liberty or Death: The American Revolution (pgs 33 – end) by Betsy & Giulio Maestro

6 – 8: The American Revolution (pgs 52 – end) by Michael Weber



  • What British general defeated Fort Ticonderoga, Fort Anne, & Fort Edward but then was defeated at Saratoga? (Burgoyne)
  • What Patriot General became a traitor? (Benedict Arnold)
  • Which army took control of Philadelphia? (British)
  • Where did Washington’s army camp after the defeat in Philadelphia? (Valley Forge)
  • Describe the good and bad experiences of Washington’s army at Valley Forge? (not enough food, clothes, blankets, etc.; Baron Friedrich von Steuben instructed the troops in military, soldiers learned discipline, became better trained)
  • What good news came from France? (decided to help Americans; sent supplies & later, troops)
  • Who won most of the battles in the South? (the British)
  • Many of the Battles in the South were in which state? (South Carolina)
  • What French general came to help the Americans? (Rochambeau)
  • In what city did the British officially surrender? (Yorktown)
  • How did the Americans win that battle? ( Washington, Von Steuben, Rochambeau & the French surrounded British General Cornwallis; he was trapped; they had no way out and supplies couldn’t get in)
  • How did the British feel about being defeated by the Americans? (angry & embarrassed)
  • What was the final Peace treaty called? (Treaty of Paris)


K – 3: Congress approved a new flag for the United States on June 14th 1777.  Color in this page from patriot coloring pages by clicking HERE and ask your parent to read the caption below it.

4 – 8: Print this worksheet from eduplace.com by clicking HERE.   Then label the following battles/places on your map: Fort Ticonderoga, Saratoga, and Yorktown.  Draw a triangle at Valley Forge.  British victories should be marked in red.  Patriot victories/camps should be marked in blue.  Next, color in South Carolina red.  Many battles were fought in this state and won by the British.


Copyright June 22nd, 2013 by Gwen Fredette

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Revolutionary War (Part I)

Week 9: Revolutionary War (Part I)


READ:  K – 5:  Liberty or Death: The American Revolution (pgs 1 – 32) by Betsy & Giulio Maestro

6 – 8: The American Revolution (pgs 1 – 51) by Michael Weber



  • Why did the British begin taxing the colonies? (They were in debt from French & Indian war)
  • Explain the Stamp Act? (all official papers sold in colonies had to have a British stamp on them)
  • What does the idea “no taxation without representation” mean? (colonists felt British shouldn’t tax them if they had no representative in Parliament who could speak for them)
  • Why did the British government remove the stamp tax? (colonists refused to buy them; letters were sent to the King asking him to remove the tax)
  • What does the word “boycott” mean? (refuse to buy goods).  Why did the colonists boycott British goods? (new taxes were put on these products from Britain)
  • Describe the Boston Massacre? (British soldiers & colonists began arguing.  Colonists began throwing snowballs & shouting threats; shots were fired & 5 colonists were killed)
  • How did colonists get around the tax on British tea? (they began drinking Dutch tea)
  • Why did colonists throw British tea into the harbor? (angry because British ships blocked Dutch ships from entering the harbor.)
  • Why did King George III close the port of Boston? (angry because the tea shipments thrown into the harbor were worth thousands of pounds.)
  • What other “intolerable acts” did his soldiers enforce? (took away Massachusett’s government power, banned town meetings, & forced families to house British soldiers)
  • What were militias and minutemen? (volunteer fighting units; ready within a minute’s notice)
  • Why did the British want to arrest Sam Adams & John Hancock? (spoke out against British laws)
  • Describe the Battles of Lexington & Concord? (British went through the towns looking for hidden weapons; a shot was fired and a battle began; the colonists lost 50 men but they had fought admirably against one of the greatest armies in the world)
  • Who was chosen as commander-in-chief of the new American army? (George Washington)
  • Who won the Battle of Bunker Hill? (the British, but the Americans killed 200 and wounded almost half of the British soldiers)
  • Describe some of the challenges Washington faced as commander-in-chief? (not enough supplies, not enough men, not enough weapons, not enough food, not enough warm clothing & blankets for cold winters, disease, men had farms and businesses to attend to, weren’t used to being soldiers, didn’t always obey orders)
  • Who wrote most of the Declaration of Independence? (Thomas Jefferson)
  • T/F Battles between the British & Americans didn’t start until after the Declaration. (False)
  • Which army had control of New York through most of the war? (British)
  • Describe Washington’s attack on Christmas night? (Hessians (hired German soldiers) had spent the night eating & drinking; Washington took them by surprise)
  • Why did Congress send Ben Franklin to France? (to ask for their help in the war)


K – 8: Print this worksheet from eduplace.com by clicking HERE.  Using maps from the book you read, do the following:  Mark a small black star where Philadelphia (Continental Congress) should be; Put a small red dot where New York City (major city in the colonies; British won victories here) should be and a dark blue star where Boston (Harbor King George Shut down) should be.  Color the state of Massachusetts light  blue (considered by King George to be the rebellious colony).  Create a “key” for your map, labeling the marks you’ve made.

3 – 8: Do map work listed above and print this worksheet from eduplace.com by clicking HERE.   Label Bunker Hill with a red dot and  Lexington & Concord with orange dots.  Create a key for your map.

7 – 8: Do map work listed above and Go to your original map of the 13 colonies and mark a blue dot where Trenton, New Jersey should be (where Washington defeated the Hessians on Christmas)  Mark a purple dot where Princeton should be. (Washington defeated more British forces.) Add these places to your key.


Copyright June 15th, 2013 by Gwen Fredette

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Benjamin Franklin

Week 6: Ben Franklin (1706 – 1790)


READ:  K – 2:  A Picture Book of Benjamin Franklin by David Adler

3 – 4: Meet Benjamin Franklin by Maggi Scarf

5 – 6:  Benjamin Franklin by Victoria Sherrow

7 -8: The Amazing Mr. Franklin: Or the Boy Who Read Everything by Ruth Ashby


  • Where did Ben Franklin live as a boy? (Boston, Massachusetts)
  • When Ben was 12, he went to work for his older brother.  What did his brother do?  (printed a newspaper)
  • Ben wrote secret articles for his brother’s newspaper.  How did he sign them? (Mistress Silence Dogood)
  • Why did he keep his identity secret? (he thought his brother would not publish them if he knew Ben had written them.)
  • How did James feel when he found out? (he was angry and wouldn’t publish any more articles)
  • Why did Ben leave Boston? (he and his brother didn’t get along)
  • To what city did Ben move to? (Philadelphia)
  • What newspaper did Ben start in Philly? (Pennsylvania Gazette)
  • Name some of Ben’s most famous “wise sayings” (Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man health, wealthy, and wise.  Haste makes waste.)
  • What are some of Ben’s other accomplishments? (set up fire and police departments, started a lending library, started first hospital in America, postmaster, invented Franklin stove, bifocals (glasses), lightning rod, proved lightning is electricity, acted as a representative from Massachusetts to the colonies, acted as a representative from the colonies to England and France, helped write Declaration of Independence, worked at Constitutional Convention, spoke out against slavery)


K – 2: Take a white piece of paper and fold it in half; then fold it again.  In each of the four sections, draw a picture of something Ben Franklin did.

3 – 4: Complete this crossword puzzle about Ben Franklin by clicking HERE.

5 – 6: Read the following pages of quotes by Ben Franklin from “Famous quotes and authors” website by clicking HERE.  Copy 2 quotes that you like the most.  Then, write a paragraph: of Ben’s 3 major occupations, writer, inventor, and representative, in which one do you think he was most helpful to society?

7 – 8:   Read the following pages of quotes by Ben Franklin from “Famous quotes and authors” website by clicking HERE.  Copy 2 quotes that you like the most.  Then, write an essay: of Ben’s 3 major occupations, writer, inventor, and representative, in which one do you think he was most helpful to society?

Copyright May 25th, 2013 by Gwen Fredette

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The Declaration of Independence (Part II)

Week 5: The Declaration of Independence (Part II)


READ:  K – 4:  The Declaration of Independence by Elaine Landau (Chapters 3 & 4)

5 – 6:  Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began by Lucille Recht Penner  OR The Liberty Tree by Lucille Recht Penner (Read page 20 – end)

7 -8:  Give Me Liberty! By Russell Freedman (Chps 5 – 9)



  • Why did some people want to remain British citizens? (they liked Great Britain’s protection, they liked trading with Great Britain, many had relatives there or went to school there)
  • What happened at the Second Continental Congress? (Delegates argued over whether they should declare their independence from Great Britain.)
  • Was Great Britain’s army dangerous? (Yes, strongest army in world)
  • What were militias and Minutemen? (Groups of men willing to fight for independence; Minutemen could be ready to fight in a minute’s notice.)
  • Who was selected as Commander-in-Chief of the militias? (George Washington)
  • Who won the Battle of Bunker Hill?  Why were the patriots happy? ( The British won, but they lost half of their men)
  • Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? (Thomas Jefferson.)
  • Why was it brave to sign the Declaration of Independence? (If the men were caught they would be hanged.)
  • What did the Declaration say? (That men were entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that all men were created equal, it also listed many grievances against King.)
  • On what day was the final version of the Declaration approved? (July 4, 1776)
  • T/F King George was happy to take his troops out of the colonies and give them their own country. (F)


K – 2: Read the 1st sentence of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence with your parent (use this site from government archives by clicking HERE , then color in this page from Calvary Williamsport by clicking HERE.

3 – 4:  Using the above site from government archives, copy the 1st sentence of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence and memorize it, then complete the following wordsearch from kaboose.com by clicking HERE.

5 – 6:   (See above website) Copy the 1st sentence of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence and memorize it, then complete the following tougher wordsearch from kaboose.com by clicking HERE.

7 – 8:  Read the entire Declaration of Independence.  (See above website) Copy the 1st sentence of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence and memorize it.   Then choose 10 complaints listed in the declaration and rewrite them in plain English OR write an essay describing why many colonists favored independence (use the declaration for help) and why many others chose to be loyalists.


Copyright May 18th, 2013 by Gwen Fredette

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William Penn

Week 10: William Penn: Founder of Pennsylvania (1682)

READ: K – 2:  William Penn: A Life of Tolerance  by Jennifer Boothroyd

3 – 4:   The Story of William Penn by Aliki

5 – 8:  William Penn: Founder of Democracy  by Arthur Schlesinger and by Norma Jean Lutz OR William Penn: Founder of Pennsylvania by Ronald Syme

These images were obtained from Amazon.com.  No legal book images are available for William Penn: Founder of Democracy  by Arthur Schlesinger and by Norma Jean Lutz or William Penn: Founder of Pennsylvania by Ronald Syme.

  • Describe Penn’s life as a child? (Enjoyed studying; father was an admiral, wealthy family)
  • Why did Penn become a Quaker? (believed people should worship as they choose, wanted to have a true relationship with God, believed in peace, helping others)
  • How did Penn’s father feel about his religious conversion? (furious)
  • What did Penn study at school? (law)
  • Why was Penn imprisoned a number of times? (Quaker beliefs)
  • How did Penn acquire the land of PA? (king owed his father a large sum of money, gave William land in America to cover the debt.)
  • What did William Penn want the land for? (the Quakers)
  • Why was the colony named Pennsylvania? (after the king’s friend and William’s father, “Sylvania” means “woods”, so the name means: Penn’s Woods)
  • What was the original capital city of Pennsylvania? (Philadelphia)
  • Who named it and why? (Penn named in Philadelphia because the name means “city of brotherly love”)
  • Who designed the city of Philadelphia? (Penn)
  • Why was his design important? (It was later followed by others in designing American towns)
  • Describe Penn’s feelings about the Native Americans? (wanted them to be treated fairly; always tried to be kind to them; he learned to speak their language)
  • Why was Penn’s plan of government so important? (His plan was a government for the people, by the people.  It later became the framework for our national government.)

ACTIVITIES: K – 3: Coloring page of William Penn from resources for history teachers.  Click HERE.

4 – 6: Write an essay: Compare and contrast the colony of Pennsylvania with the Virgina colony. Write at least 2 paragraphs.

7 – 8: Write an essay: Compare and contrast the colony of Pennsylvania with the Virginia colony. Write at least one page.

Copyright October 14, 2012 by Gwen Fredette

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