Girls of American History ~ Felicity: Review

Girls of American History

There are very few girls over the age of five living in America who are not aware of the American Girl collection. When I was a little girl I looked forward to getting my Pleasant Company catalogs in the mail and one birthday I received Felicity, the doll I had dreamed about for so long! Felicity still graces our home and my husband sweetly expanded her wardrobe for Christmas one year.

My girls are now at an age where they not only love the dolls they appreciate the stories which go along with them. It is the perfect opportunity to begin teaching unit studies and I was blessed with the opportunity to review a unit from the Girls of American History created by Justine Gamble which incorporates a multisensory approach to learning. Since we already own the Felicity series this was a great place to start. I love how each unit is structured in itself. You can choose to travel through history or simply pick the units you want to study. 
The Felicity study has been much fun for my girls. My oldest two especially enjoy our story time each day. Story time is something I have been making an effort to do more faithfully. Schooling three lovely ladies alongside working part-time has been a balancing act. There are lots of good things I’ve let slide and this has been an excellent way to bring reading aloud back to our day. Quite often the girls draw or color while I read and it is such a sweet time for us. The books are easy to finish in a week’s time and this is just the beginning of the fun!
Unlike traditional literature studies, there is not a question an answer guide for the books. As an English teacher I was surprised by this, but not disappointed in any way. The idea of these units is to engaged children in literature and history through active learning rather than passively answering questions. Student can create a lapbook as they study, there are excellent arts and crafts activity suggestions, and an extensive list of resources for further study on history, biographies, and geography. This is such a unit which allows you to go in any directions you want…or many directions at the same time! 
One of the suggested crafts was embroidering a bookmark. Rose already had a cross stitch pattern started which she continued on with. She has gotten quite good at this!

She also studied about George Washington as well I really how easily it is to add in more history with units likes this. The girls love history already which I attribute strongly to our use of living books. Seeing them excited to learn is every teacher’s dream. 
At the beginning of our unit we took a trip to Williamsburg with their grandparents. It was such a fun time and you can read more about our trip here! 
They all had colonial dresses and were simply adorable. My favorite part of the trip was the tea house. It was so very yummy and very interesting. Grace really loved this too. Since she is only 4 her interest was not as fully with me for the majority of the unit. However, experiencing history and some of the same activities has been excellent for her and a great start to planting seeds of historical interest for the future. 
After our trip the learning continued with more books and more activities! I usually stick to a prescribed curriculum, but it was a nice change of pace to let the girls explore things they found interesting on their own. Beth became very interested in colonial dress and has thoroughly enjoyed coloring in her book and reading about the different styles. Rose enjoyed learning to write with a quill pen and has written a handful of letters and poems using it. She now very much appreciates writing with a pencil! 
Each of these 12 units are intended to last 6 weeks, but they can be lengthened or shortened based on your needs or desires. I love the flexibility of this type of study and think we will look at some more of these to use over the summer. For anyone looking for unique unit studies this is a really good fit and I believe your children will be thoroughly engaged throughout our time with them! 
Disclaimer: I received the Girls of American History Felicity unit in exchange for my honest opinion and review of the product. I was not required to give a positive review. These opinions are my own. 

Colonial Williamsburg: Field Trip

Colonial Williamsburg is one of the places I’ve been anxiously waiting to take the girls! I wanted them to be old enough to enjoy it and appreciate as much of the history as possible. Rose and Beth have experienced a lot of history already through Heart of Dakota and Grace is soaking in all that her sisters do. This year the homeschool days for Williamsburg seemed to line up perfectly with our schedule. My parents were able to tag along as well which was nice since they have season passes and could offer some advice about which areas the girls would enjoy the most.

The girls each had a colonial dress which was also fun! Beth’s was the last to get done. I didn’t make any of these and Rose and Grace’s were given to us. I found the one for Beth on e-bay. It was very nicely made, but needed some minor alterations including a rather large hem job! I thankfully have a good friend who comes and helps me with sewing projects if I get stuck and she was just so helpful!

I’ve also been reading the Felicity books to the girls in preparation of our trip. I was hoping to get through more than one book, but now we have first-hand experience in Williamsburg so I think they’ll really enjoy the books. Starting next week I’ll be doing activities with the girls each Friday along with these books. I’m really looking forward to this and can’t wait to share our experiences with you!

Her are some of the highlights of our few days away. I loved that so many of the reenactors took the time to actively engage the girls!

This is the print shop where the girls learned all about printing. They had a cute kitty there too! The paper had to be kept moist for the ink to set. They were surprised how wet it felt!

The Silversmith’s shop was LOUD! They said it wasn’t normally that loud, but on that particular day the things they were working on all needed hammering!

The nice lady at the apothacary offered to pull Beth’s loose tooth, but she politely declined with a, “No thank you!” 

We all enjoyed the music teacher! I guess this is what I would have looked like back then.

Whatever they did, I guess they were in on it together! Rose didn’t want any part of the stockades!

They really enjoyed the palace tour and seeing all the weapons in the armory. Grace loved the maze of bushes behind the palace!

My silly soldiers kept laughing and their sergeant was so gruff! Grace got tired of the soldiering after a while, but Rose and Beth were ready to go through training again! 
It really was a lot of walking for my girls in the 3 days we were there, but they really did well! Grace was carried quite a bit of the way, but the weather was cool enough and we had drinks all day long. 
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the ladies dying the yarn and seeing the workings of the weaving shop. The girls were a bit grossed out by the fact that bugs were used to dye yarn. They were even more disgusted when they found out they still use them in some food dyes! 
I was really surprised how much they loved the model of Williamsburg in the visitors center. Every time we went there they wanted to stop and take a peek!
We all thoroughly enjoyed the tea house. We each had chocolate which needed quite a bit of cream and sugar to make it taste yummy. Next time we go I think I’ll try some tea. Grandma and Grandpa really like their coffee. 
I’m sad to say this is our one and only family picture! 
I’m usually really good about making sure we have a few family shots, but I just forgot this time. 
Here are some of the treasures the girls came back from Williamsburg with. Rose loves her quill pen and ink and Beth adores her coloring book of colonial fashion trends! Grace has a sweet little horse and lamb, but was adamant that they did not want their picture taken! 
I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into our trip! The girls all asked, “When do we get to come back?” That tells me they had a really good time! 
Family Friendly: 10
Kids Engagement: 10 (This sort of depends on their ages!)
Likelihood to return: 10