Monday, January 5, 2009

Betsy Ross

Today was History Presentation Day at co-op. Hannah's curriculum doesn't start history until second grade, so this one was totally up to me. After much thought, I finally decided last week to teach Hannah about Betsy Ross so she could tell her co-op friends about her. Just to make that clear, the Betsy Ross decision came last week; the Betsy Ross teaching did not.

I knew that we were going to be gone on the trip to Bertram Bobb right before co-op met again, so like a responsible homeschool mom, I printed out information from several web sites, packed it up, and took it to Oklahoma with us. But because I'm not just any responsible homeschool mom and I'm me instead, we didn't exactly take it out and look at it while we were there. Any. At all. In fact, I kind of forgot about co-op until 9:00 last night when I was sitting in Greg's truck waiting for him to finish returning the rental car.

So from 9:00 until 9:30, I told my sleep-deprived, recovering-from-a-trip, 5-year-old child everything I could think of about Betsy Ross. I thought I did an outstanding job myself, but when I asked Hannah to relay the information back to me, somehow Betsy Ross ended up being the first President of the United States of America. "Oh no," I thought. "What will the other moms think?!" Fortunately, we were all exhausted enough that we just came home and went to sleep.

When I woke up this morning, I had an idea. I got six brown paper bags and put props in each one to help her remember the story of Betsy Ross. The bags were numbered, so all she had to do was find the next bag, see what props were in it, and tell her friends what they represented. For example, Bag #1 had a Little People girl, a plastic needle and a piece of yarn, and three pennies; so she emptied the bag, looked at those props, and told her friends that she wanted to tell them a story about a lady named Betsy Ross who earned money by sewing things. Bag #2 had a small Bible and a dollar bill, so she told her friends that Betsy Ross went to church with a man named George Washington. And so on.

It ended up being a really neat presentation. I think it gave her confidence to have props to rely on rather than just relying on her memory, and I think it might have also made it fun for the other kids to see the props and wonder how they related to the story.

Oh, and an added bonus: Millie heard Hannah tell the story enough times this morning that she knows that Betsy Ross made the first American flag and that "Washington America" was our first President. How cute is that?!

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