We spent the past two weeks (ending last Friday) learning all about Memorial Day. I found some online resources and coupled them with my new NotebookingPages.com Lifetime Membership (review on that in a few weeks) to create a unit study for the big boys. We’ve always found unit studies to be our favorite way of schooling, but we haven’t done one in a long time. We were definitely overdue.
The holiday was originally called Decoration Day because it was a time to decorate the tombstones of fallen soldiers. It was first celebrated during the Civil War, and for the 100 years of its inception, it took place on May 30th (regardless of the day of the week). In the 1960s, there was a congressional order to change certain holidays to create convenient 3-day weekends for American workers; Memorial Day was one of those. Now we celebrate it on the last Monday in May, and a lot of people see it as nothing more than a time to get away and the unofficial beginning of summer. For this reason, there’s a grassroots movement to move it back to May 30th rather than keeping on the Monday for the sake of a long weekend.
For this unit study, we:
- Read a lot of information (mostly online) about Memorial Day and the American flag and recorded the information on notebooking pages (see the image above).
- Wrote letters to three soldiers (two active duty and one retired)
- Learned proper flag etiquette, as well as how to fold the flag and what the folds mean
- Discovered why the red poppy has become the symbol for Memorial Day, and made our own flowers
- Did copy work featuring The Star Spangled Banner (first verse only)
- Made a graph showing American casualties in various wars
- Wrote an opinion essay with the subject Would You Ever Want to be in the Military? Why or why not? (Both of my boys decided they wouldn’t voluntarily join the military, but they would join up if there was a real need.)
I found most of the ideas for this unit study on Free Homeschool Deals. There were even some ideas there that we didn’t get to. It ended up being an invaluable resource for me as I planned this unit study.
Some of our activities were done each day (copy work), some were done multiple days (writing to the soldiers – we didn’t do all of those on a single day), and several of them were done just once. I’m so glad we have our notebooking pages to help us remember all that we learned about this important American holiday.
I hope you all have a blessed Memorial Day. Take some time today to remember fallen soldiers and thank those who are still with us.