Rose loves history. I love providing her with resources which capture her interest and cause her to want to know even more, I”m sold! We studied Sacagawea about 2 months ago through our core history curriculum. She couldn’t wait to delve into the biography, Sacagawea: Brave Explorers Every Child Should Know, from Knowledge Quest. Knowledge Quest was founded by a veteran homeschooling family dedicated to providing solid resources for history and geography for home education. Click here to read more about their story!
The e-book was originally published in four installments which can each be purchased separately for $1.49. It is also available in its entirety for $3.99. I feel it is an excellent value for a uniquely written and produced piece of accurate biographical literature. It is intended for ages 8-14, but younger students can certainly enjoy this as a read aloud. My daughter is 7 (5th grade reading level) and read this independently.
We study literature by genre once we move past the emerging reader stage. Rose is reading several grades above her grade-level, so I felt this would be perfect for our biography unit…I was right! The Sacagawea e-book is an interactive biography told in the first-person narrative. The two aspects I liked most about this book was that it had links to a variety of topic right in the text for further study and it was written from Sacagawea’s perspective telling the story to her son, nicknamed Pompy. Our core curriculum advocates living books and this fits that description beautifully.
To go along with our literature study Rose completed several activities. She kept a log of words she wasn’t familiar with so we could look them up together, a char which indicated how she was the same and different from Sacagawea, a timeline, and two post-reading projects I’ll talk about later. While we added these items in for our literature study I feel this book stands alone nicely. The integrated links to websites which give further information about the topics adds a unique dimension to reading. This would also be excellent for read-loud as a family and then exploring the links together.
Rose usually does her literature studies during the girls’ quiet time and would typically curl up on the couch or in her bedroom. Every once in a while she would choose the school room, but not usually. It took her about two weeks to finish the book reading 1-2 chapters a day (or three if she missed a day!)
At the end of the book she filled out a literature page which helps her identify aspects of literature such as main characters, genre, setting, conflict, etc. She did this completely on her own for this unit and I was pleased with her retention from the story and attention to detail. This shows me how captivating the story was to her.
I asked her what her favorite part of the book was and she told me it was being able to click on the links. She particularly enjoyed learning more about Native American culture as well as the variety of animals mentioned in the story. Once again I was shown how nice modern technology is for research. Kids love using the computer to study. The vibrant illustrations and valuable information at a moments notice provides extended learning far beyond what many ever imagined would happen. I also know I can trust Knowledge Quest to include links I don’t have to worry about. I learned alongside her as she navigated the various links, but I was never once concerned about the content she would be accessing.
One of the post-reading projects Rose completed was an acrostic of Sacagawea’s name. I was pleased with how many facts she retained! She wrote the poem with me and I copied her ideas on the whiteboard to make the writing process a little bit more fluid. I also helped her figure out how to turn some of her sentences around and assured her that because it was poetry it was okay to be creative!
She was kidnapped
A new medicine she made
Charbonneau was her husband
A member of the Shoshone tribe
Guided Lewis and Clark
Able to speak Shoshone
Went to get horses for the journey
Even ate roots and berries
A son she had named Pompy
Another activity we did was make trading cards of some of the historical figures Rose learned about. She really liked learning more about Sacagawea’s family so that is what her trading cards focused on. We found the pictures for her trading cards through some of the links which were found within the pages of the pdf file. This is another fun way for her to remember who she read about. Also included within the story were a handful of illustrations including portraits and maps. While Rose is well beyond the picture-book stage, she always enjoys seeing illustrations.
I highly recommend this living history book be added to your library. Sacagawea is a fascinating character from American history who is often only taught about in the context of her help to Lewis and Clark. While this was a very important event in her life, there was much more to her as a person and this e-book portrays the many other events of her life beautifully.