Lady Liberty: A Biography

A Book Worth Reading: Lady Liberty by Doreen Rappaport (book review from the Homeschool Share Blog)

Over one hundred years ago, a group of French men joined together and discussed a 100th birthday gift to America. The two countries had a history of friendship, even to the point of French soldiers joining in the fight for American independence. After a decade, the discussion led to concrete plans for the Statue of Liberty, and the story of how she came to be is told through the eyes of many of the different people involved in the process in Lady Liberty: A Biography.

Doreen Rappaport begins by sharing the story of her grandfather, a Latvian immigrant more than a century ago, who saw the Statue of Liberty as he first came to his new home. She then tells the story of how the statue came to be, from the first thoughts of a gift from France to America to the design and the construction and all the way to the unveiling of the completed statue in 1886. There are well-known people in the stories, like Gustave Eiffel and Emma Lazarus, as well as lesser known individuals who had a hand in bringing the dream of Lady Liberty to life. To complete the collection of perspectives, the author finished by including quotes from different immigrants about their first thoughts on seeing the Statue of Liberty. Also included in the back of the book are different dates and statistics related to the statue that your fact collectors will love!

Of course we’ve all seen pictures of the Statue of Liberty, but illustrator Matt Tavares manages to help us see this well known monument with fresh eyes. The statue is shown in various stages of construction and completion. I especially like the picture looking down into the statue as workers climb the scaffolding and hang from ropes to do their jobs. Tavares also shows many of the individuals in their everyday lives. With the last vignette there is a fold out picture of the completed statue that is beautiful and helps younger readers gain more perspective on the size.

We all know the facts about the Statue of Liberty, but Lady Liberty: A Biography brings those facts to life for readers!

Note: You can find a free printable lapbook for this title at Homeschool Share!

Lady Liberty: A Biography Lapbook Printables from Homeschool Share

Worst of Friends

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A Book Worth Reading: The Worst of Friends (Thomas Jefferson and John Adams)

Americans today are all too familiar and fed up with political fighting, but we sometimes forget that even the founding fathers had disagreements over how the government should work. Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the True Story of an American Feud reveals the story of how two of our most famous presidents went from being friends to bitter enemies and back to friends again, showing us that disagreement over politics has always been a part of our country and reminding us that even though we may not agree, we can still be kind.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were complete opposites in many ways, from their personalities to their physical appearances, but they were good friends anyway. As the American colonists grew weary of King George’s unfair laws, the two worked together first to convince their fellow Americans that they should be free and independent and then to convince other countries to support the new nation. After so many years of working together toward a common goal, though, they found themselves with radically different ideas about how the new American government should be run. Instead of talking it out, the two friends fought it out. For more than twenty years–and both of their presidencies–the two men argued and neither one was willing to budge an inch, no matter how much their friends begged them.
Finally, as 1812 began, John Adams sent Thomas Jefferson a letter wishing him a happy new year. A month later, a letter arrived from Jefferson, and after that, the two friends corresponded frequently. The two men admitted their fault in the arguments to each other and resumed their friendship until the day they died–both on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after America declared its independence.

Suzanne Tripp Jurmain’s book is a great way to spark discussion with your children; it takes a philosophical disagreement between two historical figures and makes it relatable to kids in the 21st century. After all, almost everyone has had an argument with a friend before. What makes this situation different from all the political fighting we see today, though, is that these two men chose to set aside their differences for the sake of their friendship, which is a valuable lesson for kids to learn.  We do not have to agree on every point in order to extend kindness and grace to others, and our nation would be better off if we would all put this into practice.  During this election season, share Worst of Friends with your kids and they can learn about history and friendships!

10 Unit Studies Featuring Famous People

Ten Free Unit Studies Featuring Famous People
We have so many unit studies and lapbooks at Homeschool Share that sometimes even I forget how much is offered. Did you know that we have TEN unit studies featuring famous people? You could include these as part of your regular history and science lessons or they could be part of a giant study– Famous People! Either way, don’t forget to check out these wonderful biographical studies!

Abraham Lincoln

Annie Oakley

Benjamin Franklin

Christopher Columbus

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman)

Leonardo da Vinci

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Maria Mitchell


All Things Little House on the Prairie…

Learning with Little House on the Prairie


“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” 
― Laura Ingalls Wilder

I think we can safely say that we all need a little more Little House in our world today, wouldn’t you agree? If you’re thinking of learning a little bit about the prairie life, specifically Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Little House on the Prairie, you’ve come to the right place!!

First things first, if you aren’t sure what all Homeschool Share has to offer on this topic, you’ll want to take a peek! Little House in the Big Woods lapbook,  Little House on the Prairie Story Study Lapbook, By the Shores of Silver Lake lap book, Farmer Boy Story Study LapbookLittle House in the Big Woods lapbook, Little Town on the Prairie Story Study Lapbook,  On the Banks of Plum Creek Story Study lapbook, The First Four Years Lapbook, The Long Winter Lapbook,  These Happy Golden Years  lap book. Also, not in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, but another one that would fit with your unit study is Prairie School, with a unit and lap book also!

“As you read my stories of long ago I hope you will remember that things truly worthwhile and that will give you happiness are the same now as they were then. It is not the things you have that make you happy. It is love and kindness and helping each other and just plain being good. ” 
― Laura Ingalls Wilder

Would you like to add some cooking time to go along with your studies? I think that spending time in the kitchen should accompany every study, but especially when learning about prairie life. We probably will realize just how blessed we are when we see all the advantages we have in our kitchens!

“Home is the nicest word there is.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder

In the book, On The Banks of Plum Creek, Laura tasted lemonade for the first time at Mrs. Olsen’s house! Try this recipe or this one from the Little House Treasury.  When we find Laura in By The Shores of Silver Lake, she is showing Mrs. Boast how to make Sour Dough Biscuits. Would you like to try them also? Making butter is a fun pioneer activity! If you have a garden, why not gather vegetables in your apron as the pioneers did also! In Farmer Boy, Almonzo and Laura discuss how no two popcorn kernels are the same…ask your children how they think the pioneers made their popcorn! Would they believe it is possible without a microwave? 🙂 And for dessert, maple candy might be a fun treat!

What about a Christmas meal like Laura’s family had together?

Ma was busy all day long, cooking good things for Christmas. She baked salt-rising bread and ‘Injun bread,’ Swedish crackers, and a huge pan of baked beans, with salt pork and molasses. She baked vinegar pies and dried-apple pies, and filled a big jar with cookies, and she let Laura and Mary lick the cake spoon.”
– Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Now that we have a bounty of prairie foods, let’s take a look at some fun activities to enjoy with our children!

The Crafty Crow shows this simple fabric activity of hanging the wash! I am sure our children would be amazed at how much work laundry was in Laura’s time! But before you can hang the clothes out to dry, you must introduce your children to the washboard! Word Play House has so many fun ideas to do with Little House books including laundry ideas, hand-dipped candles, cross stitch sampler and more! And this little house made of pretzel rods looks fantastic!!

Laura Ingalls: Ma, how long is all this learning going to take? 
Caroline Ingalls: We start learning the minute we’re born, Laura. And if we’re wise, we don’t stop until the Lord calls us home. 
Laura Ingalls: THAT long? 

What about school work? I listed the unit studies and lap books from Homeschool Share above, but there are also some great finds around the web also.  Here a is a covered wagon journaling page. A few word searches and word scrambles can be found here. This 3-dimensional model of the Little House is fabulous! This teacher turned her classroom tables into covered wagons! Love it!  These covered wagons (scroll down a bit) with tissues are creative. What about an edible covered wagon?? Some people are SO creative! Little House on the Prairie stamp coloring page and some fun Little House printables here, too.

How about setting up a mercantile for pretend play that will work in some math at the same time?? Thanks to Oh Amanda for this idea, she has lots of cute ideas from her daughter’s Little House party!

Little House Mercantile Store Table

Still need more ideas? Here is a board FULL of Little House on the Prairie Inspiration!

Well, I hope you have been inspired to jump into these fabulous books with your children!! And don’t forget to watch the shows with your kids too…they just don’t make tv shows like Little House on the Prairie anymore, do they??