Observing Presidents’ Day in Your Homeschool
There are so many different holidays; some we celebrate, some we simply acknowledge, and some lend themselves to including in our homeschool.
Why Should We Incorporate Presidents’ Day in our Homeschool?
Presidents Day is a great one to incorporate into the lesson plans. It has the obvious tie-ins to history, but you can also include literature, music, art, and even food.
Incorporating Presidents Day activities into your day is a great way to make learning a little more interesting while covering some significant parts of our American history.
What Exactly is Presidents’ Day?
Most people agree that we celebrate George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on Presidents’ Day. Other folks like to incorporate other presidents into the celebration. I had always believed that it was officially the celebration of both Washington and Lincoln.
However, a little research shows that on a federal level, the holiday is officially a celebration of George Washington. The holiday was initially established on his birthday but was moved to the third Monday of February when several other federal holidays were changed to always fall on a Monday.
There was a push to include Lincoln (whose birthday is also in February), but it did not have enough support and was dropped. Since then, it has become popular to celebrate both presidents and call it Presidents Day, but it is still officially Washington’s birthday.
How Do I Incorporate Presidents’ Day in my Homeschool?
While there are many ways to incorporate Presidents’ day into our homeschools, our favorite is reading.
Good books are an easy way to encourage our children to learn about any topic, and they are readily available. You can read aloud during your morning time, assign a biography to your older students, or even have them on display for students to pick up and read as they have time.
Having a display of books can entice children to learn more about a particular subject.
Picture Books for Presidents’ Day
I have divided the book list into picture books and chapter books for ease and convenience. However, please note that picture books are not just for younger children, and many of these would be great for various ages.
A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln and A Picture Book of George Washington are older books that do a great job giving a short picture book style biography of the presidents.
When Washington Crossed the Delaware is specifically about how General Washington led his troops across the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War. This book has stunning illustrations.
We the People: The Story of the Constitution focuses on the writing of the constitution but includes Washington’s role. It also has excellent illustrations.
Everybody’s Revolution looks at various people that play a role in the revolution, including Washington. It also makes a point to discuss lesser-known people, including women and those of African American descent.
George Washington’s Teeth is a rather comical story that tells how George Washington lost his teeth and had to use dentures. Throughout that story, it includes important historical facts and an excellent timeline that gives more information. This book would be great for a reluctant reader who needs to engage through comedy and rhyme.
Vinnie and Abraham is a beautifully illustrated picture book about the young woman who sculpted the statue of Abraham Lincoln that stands in the Capitol rotunda. It tells of how she met him and sculpted him before his death and then how she had to fight to get the commission because many people did not believe that a woman could create the sculpture.
The House That George Built is a cute story about the White House and George Washington’s role in having it built. The story has a sing-songy rhyming style that will keep young children engaged and provides pages with lots of historical information.
Chapter Books for Presidents’ Day
These chapter books would work well for a read-aloud to older children or as independent reading for upper elementary and middle-grade children. Our family has also enjoyed listening to the YWAM biographies on audiobook.
George Washington: True Patriot and Abraham Lincoln: A New Birth of Freedom are biographies in the Heroes of History series by YWAM. They are excellent chapter books that are well suited for anyone from upper elementary to adults. These would be perfect as a family read-aloud or the basis of a unit study.
Who Was Abraham Lincoln? and Who Was George Washington? are shorter biographies that are a part of the Who Was series. These books are suitable for elementary-aged students or a quicker family read-aloud.
George Washington, Our First Leader is a good chapter book biography that includes some lovely black and white illustrations.
In Their Own Words: Abraham Lincoln is a shorter chapter book that uses many of Lincoln’s own words to tell his story. It is a great book to use to teach children about first-person sources.
Music Appreciation and Presidents Day
In the SQUILT LIVE! Plus curriculum we will be enjoying a special event to learn even more about Presidents Day.
Matthew Sabatella, of Ballad of America, will perform and teach our children about the songs that were popular during Washington and Lincoln’s time. Mr. Sabatella has a passion for American history and music, and his programs are always excellent!
Membership is always open, so become a SQUILT LIVE! Plus member to enjoy this event – and over 105 recorded lessons in the archives, along with two new live lesson each month!
Reading, creating, playing, and incorporating music are great ways to build relationships and learn about history.
I hope you find something I’ve suggested to focus on and enhance your study of Presidents Day in your homeschool!
Dawn is a passionate follower of Jesus, wife to Chris, and homeschool mom of four. In her spare time she loves to read, hike, and write on her blog Schoolin’ Swag. She enjoys reviewing curriculum and helping moms find the right fit for their family. Some of her favorite parts of homeschooling are hymn studies, living history, and read alouds. She and her children also enjoy incorporating food into their studies as often as possible.
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