June 20, 2018

Learning More About White House Holidays with Unit Studies from Silverdale Press LLC {Product Review}

White House Holidays Unit Studies by Silverdale Press ~ A ReviewWe recently were given the White House Holidays Unit Studies from Silverdale Press LLC to review. We are big fans of unit studies, so I was curious to see if these were a style that we could use in our home to learn more about some holidays we haven't spent as much time going over.

About Silverdale Press

Silverdale Press LLC provides homeschool unit studies and curriculum on history, social studies, and writing. They currently carry the following
curriculum: White House Holidays Unit Studies, Presidential Election Unit Study, and a year long language arts curriculum Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of  Great Writers. There are also some free lessons available for people to try before purchasing the larger unit studies.

We reviewed the White House Holidays Unit Studies. These are unit studies designed for students grades K-12 and are geared to give your students knowledge about the history of several of the major American national holidays. Included in this are the following:

*Labor Day Unit Study
*Veterans Day Unit Study
*Thanksgiving Unit Study
*Christmas Unit Study
*Martin Luther King, Jr. Unit Study
*Valentine's Day Unit Study

This product is designed for students of all ages with different activities for the older and younger students. There are several detailed lessons for each holiday covered. Each of these lessons gives important history relating to the holiday. Each of the units in the White House Holidays Unit Studies includes information about a president involved during that time period, and also includes primary sources like speeches, posters, letters, and photographs. Each holiday unit study can be purchased separately for $20 each and is a digital product.

Our Thoughts on Silverdale Press

We were sent all the White House Holidays Unit Studies and out of all the holidays on the list, we opted to pick two of them to complete. We opted to do the Labor Day and Veterans Day unit studies, as these are the two we knew the least about history wise. I downloaded both of the units and put them into a binder for easy reference. Because they were a mix of black and white photos with colored photos, I printed accordingly.

I decided to start with the Labor Day Unit Study. There are three lessons in this Unit Study. I discovered there are two different sets of lessons for the grades. K-6 has three lessons and 7-12th has a different set of three lessons--I have noted them below.

Lesson 1: Eleanor Roosevelt and Child Labor/Labor Conditions and Eleanor Roosevelt
Lesson 2: McGuire, Maguire, and the First Labor Day/The First Labor Day, Pullman Strike, and President Cleveland
Lesson 3: President Cleveland and the PUllman Strike: A Holiday Declared/A Holiday Declared

Each of the lessons contains an Introduction & Overview for Teachers, a lessons, and then a lesson activity. I looked over the Introduction and Overview to get an idea of how each lesson was going to play out and the activity. There is a lot of information to help me out with seeing how to do the lesson each day because of the detailed lesson plan. There are lots of prompts and guides to help anyone. Lesson 1 introduced child labor and the horrible working conditions 100 years ago. There were many real photographs included. The boys didn't realize that they at their current age would be working the long and unsafe hours everyday. Lesson 2 talks about the men behind the starting of the first labor day and examines some of the posters that were being used during the strikes and parades. The third lesson focuses on the Pullman Strike which led to the starting of Labor Day as a National holiday.

Here are some photos from our Labor Day unit study...

Example of lesson notes and then a page from the lesson itself. 

Lesson 2 activity: To make their one Labor Day posters

The Lesson 3 activity was to make a storybook of the events of the Pullman Strike which lead to the founding of Labor Day as a National Holiday. They had to look up pictures online to print off to tell the story. We broke it into six pages with each boy writing three pages. They really enjoyed both of the projects included with this unit study.

I chose to put the boys together in the same grade level work since they are coming off of 2nd and 6th grade. I did look at what was in the 7th-12th grade materials. The lessons are longer and there is more primary source materials like documents for the students to read. There is more question/answer activities for debate and discussion. Also more writing involved in the activities with less "creative" activities. Definitely geared for a higher level of student.

The second holiday unit study we completed was the Veterans Day Unit Study. It is laid out exactly like the Labor Day unit study with three lessons each of grade appropriate material as follows:

Lesson 1: President Woodrow Wilson and the Story of Armistice Day (same for both)
Lesson 2: President Wilson and Food Czar Hoover at War/Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points
Lesson 3: The Story of Dwight Eisenhower and How We Got Veterans Day (Same for both)

The unit study begins with a crash course lesson on WW1 and the signing of Armistice Day on November 11th. The activity related to lesson 1 is all about In Flanders Fields (the poem) and the significance and history of the red poppy. The boys were fascinated with how much money was made by "the Poppy Lady". Now they are determined to donate money to all the veterans tables to get red poppies to wear. The second lesson dove into the starting of WW2 and introduced the idea of food conservation. They enjoyed looking at the posters included in the lesson to figure out who they were for and what they were trying to get them to do. My oldest recognized a few and showed me that he had studied similar things in his American history this year. We looked at the various "-less" days to decide which would be the hardest. They decided going wheatless would be the hardest. LOL. The final lesson discussed Dwight Eisenhower and the official declaration of Veterans Day. The activity was easy to do--and will be easy to do this year. The boys Papaw is a Veteran and we have a Vietnam war vet at church and more significantly one of the only remaining WW2 veterans attends in our local congregation too. The boys love talking to both of them. We also bought some small flags to put up around our property.

The older grade work was similar in style with the previous unit study.

In summary, we found these unit studies actually pretty open and go if you printed everything off. Unlike some unit studies, there is a great lesson plan included for the teachers AND the lesson is already printed off. There are links included in the lesson for completing the activities or to further research. I love the primary sources and real photographs that are include. The lessons were just the right length of time and we were able to complete the lesson AND the activities for each lesson in about 45-60 minutes depending on what was involved--and this was the suggested time. We all learned more about the holidays and won't be just thinking about the cookouts we will be having. Especially on Veterans Day.

I think these unit studies are an excellent thing to add the week of the specific holiday. They let you understand more what went into making them National holidays! We did one lesson a day with our summer schedule. We easily completed the unit studies during our review period.

Cons--because we are a family that enjoys unit studies, I don't really have any cons with the curriculum itself. LOL. I think the main thing is that there are separate history lessons for each grade--so if I needed to use an higher grade with a lower grade and wanted to teach them together, I would have two different levels of history lessons. I think though, that it would be easiest to just let my older child read their lesson and do more independent work. Another con would be that each unit study is $20.00. I think it would be great if there was a discount if you bought more than one. There is a lot of material in these unit studies and because they are geared for K-12 they would be a great study to incorporate in a co-op.

All in all, I would happily give this product 4 1/2 stars out of 5 and would use it again!

Want to Know More About Silverdale Press?

We recently reviewed the White House Holidays Unit Studies from Silverdale Press LLC. We chose to do Labor Day and Veterans Day and enjoyed our studies. I encourage you to visit other crew members to see what holidays they chose to do, as well as see how the Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers works.
Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}

We are a history family, and we all really enjoyed learning more about the National Holidays we enjoy celebrating!

No comments: