As we wind down our school year and the weather is warming and the summertime activities are gearing up, we are all looking forward to a bit of a break from the regular lesson schedule we keep up with Ambleside Online. I am also going to use this opportunity to create some morning time plans to give our days some structure. I do this almost every summer. A few years ago I created and we enjoyed these Charlotte Mason Washington State History Plans. In our usual schooling with Ambleside Online we have a heavy focus on reading engaging living books and the children narrating or retelling back what they read. These history plans are meant to be used the same way. Simply read aloud together and have the children take turns narrating back!
We love summer break, however, I do not like us to have no routine or structure at all through the summer. So a couple years ago I created some plans for a little study of our local and state history. This is something I wanted to cover anyway but it would be too much to add it to the school year on top of all the other books we are studying. As I was researching I also discovered that here in Washington state students are supposed to learn some state history in both elementary and high school:
Washington state history and government requirements.
(1) Grades 1-6. A one-semester course—i.e., 90 (50 minute) hours of instruction—or its equivalent in Washington state history and government shall be required in the common schools in grades one through six combined, but not at each grade level.
(2) Grades 7-12. A one-semester course—i.e., 90 (50 minute) hours of instruction—or its equivalent in Washington state history and government shall be required in the common schools in grades seven through twelve combined, but not at each grade level. Such course shall include a study of the Washington state Constitution and is encouraged to include information on the culture, history, and government of the American Indian people who were the first inhabitants of the state.
-from the Washington State Legislature website
My plan simply incorporates these Charlotte Mason Washington State history plans into a short morning time all together 2-3 times per week through the summer. We did not try to cover a comprehensive overview of Washington state history this time around. My goal was to get a taste of various events and people in our state and even our local region. I am going to share our plans and a few printables for any of you who might enjoy a similar study with your children. Some of the books I have chosen are very specific to our region here in northeast Washington, however if you live in a different area of the state I would encourage you to do a little digging for resources specific to your region. You might just find some gems.
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Our Main Book
Now on to our plans! The first book I am going to talk about is It Happened In Washington by James A. Crutchfield. This is a fun book that covers 31 events in Washington History. The chapters are short and engaging. It was short and interesting enough to hold all of my children’s attention. This is going the main text or “spine” as it is often called in Charlotte Mason circles. I read about 2- 3 chapters per week depending on what else was going on in any particular week.
Next, I chose a couple of picture books. These were good to interest my younger ones, but my olders enjoyed them, too.
I especially enjoyed that A River Lost by Lynn Bragg caught the interest of all the children. We live near Kettle Falls which was an important salmon fishing ground for the Native Americans before the building of Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River therefore covering the falls. This is that story told from a natives perspective.
The other picture book E is For Evergreen is a simple Alphabet book that we already have on our shelf. It includes people and places from our history, as well as state symbols and industry.
Also not pictured are Eagle Boy: A Pacific Northwest Native Tale, Seaman’s Journey, and Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest.
Books for Extra Exploration
Out of the huge stack of books I checked out from the library to preview I also choose three books to use as extra resources for our studies: The Mapmaker’s Eye, Historical Atlas of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, and Images of America Stevens County. These have lots of photographs, maps and even artwork of our county, state and region. The book of photographs on the top of the stack above is specific to our county, but I did notice it is part of a series and there seem to be many other regions available.
Local Historical Fiction
This next book is a fun read aloud. We commonly have a read aloud going at lunch time or any other time we feel like it! I am so excited about this book because it is written by a local author and the story takes place right in our area!
We all really loved, Love, Mary Elizabeth by Christy Martenson and it is really fun. It is written in letter form between an eleven year old girl and her parents. She has been sent to northeast Washington to stay on her Aunt and Uncle’s homestead while her mother recovers from Tuberculosis in the year 1924. The adventures she experiences are reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie and Caddie Woodlawn. It has been especially fun to recognize the familiar places mentioned in the book. There are also a few sweet black and white illustrations.
We also enjoyed learning our state’s folksong, Roll On Columbia, Roll On(it was fun to discover that our state had one!), learning some of our other state symbols(bird, tree, flower, flag),artist study, and doing a bit of map work. For our artist I chose to study Paul Kane. He was a Canadian artist but painted some of the major landscapes in our area such as this one of Kettle Falls. For map study I created these maps to label.
Books for Mom
I also found a couple of books for myself to read to enrich my own knowledge of Washington state history. The top one, Sources of the River by Jack Nisbet is the story of David Thompson who was one of the first explorers to go through this area and along the Columbia River. The second book, Washington State: A Literary Chronicle is an interesting collection of letters, journal entries and other writings of various people who were a part of Washington history in some way. I didn’t completely finish reading them before they had to go back to the library, but I found them fascinating.
Here is a download of our sample schedule. You will notice a few other books and ideas on there which are optional. We always sing a hymn and recite Scripture verse during our morning time so they are on the schedule even thought they have nothing to do with Washington State History. Feel free to use this schedule as a guide or follow it exactly. I was able to find most of these books at my local library so I would check yours first, but I have included Amazon links to all of them. I will recieve a small commission for any purchases made through my affiliate links.
Hopefully these Charlotte Mason Washington State history plans have been helpful! Have you found other living books about Washington State? I would love to hear about them! Leave a comment below.