Civil War Letter

July 29th, 2015

civil-war-letter

My 11-year-old son wrote a Civil War letter as a writing assignment for his Civil War Binder. I read many Civil War letters to my kids to get a flavor for what would be going through the mind of a Civil War soldier. While studying Civil War letters, I came across a poignant letter. (You can read it here.)

My son chose a specific battle so that he would be able to make reference to finding Lee’s secret orders:

September 18, 1862

From J. Mitchell

To my loving wife,

I am writing this in a hospital tent, for I was shot in my right arm. So I will be writing this with my weak hand. We are at a river called Antietam Creek, and it was the bloodiest battle I have ever seen. I reported that twenty-five thousand at least died here, including my friend of whom we are all acquainted. It was gruesome watching him fall from that tree. He was a sniper, and he had shot at least a dozen enemy soldiers in the front lines. I also reported that you could walk across the battlefield on the bodies of the dead without touching the ground.

My night watch wasn’t good either. If anyone came by, I would say, “Stop,” three times. If he didn’t stop, I would shoot because it meant that he might be an enemy scout or spy. I couldn’t see very well, but if the soldiers were friendly, they would stop.

One time I was nearly hit when a cannonball whistled past my head and made a tree fall on a few of the soldiers in our ranks. It came as a complete surprise. One of those cannonballs could go right though you, killing you and the person behind you.

Guess what I found five days ago? Three cigars wrapped in paper. My friend and I delightedly picked them up and sat down under a tree, for my feet were hurting. Suddenly I found a message on the paper I was about to throw away. It was Lee’s orders for his next attack! I can’t tell you how exited I was when I showed it to General McClellan. Before, we didn’t know where Lee was; now, we knew exactly what his battle strategy was!

What a battle it was! I had to hide behind the bodies of the dead to survive, making barricades out of them! After the battle I saw a dead soldier hanging on a fence with fifty-seven bullets in his body. Some soldiers must have tried to hide behind him to survive but failed, for I found dead bodies behind him, too. It was a gruesome sight.

Hope you’re doing better back home. Best wishes to the kids,

J. Mitchell

Historic Tour of Spokane

July 27th, 2015

historic-tour-of-spokaneThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

We did our own historic tour of Spokane, where we walked around downtown Spokane, identifying old buildings and structures that were over a century old. We did some brief research before heading downtown, and I mention a few brief facts about each place.

We are studying modern history, and one of the field trips listed in All American History, Volume II is to take a historic tour of your city, so that you can visualize what life was like back at the turn of the century, or even before!

Historic Tour of Spokane (Video Tour)

Join us as we explore the historical places in Spokane:

List of Historic Sites in Downtown Spokane

These were our stops during our historic tour of Spokane, Washington. If you would like more information on each place, click the links to read more about each location:

  • Riverfront Park Clock Tower: built in 1973 for the World Expo ’74. This article shows you the inside of the clock tower.
  • Looff Carousel: built in 1909, this elaborate antique carousel was built by a man named Looff. He built it to delight his daughter.
  • Suspension Bridge: built so that pioneers could cross over the river. Beautiful view of the Spokane River and waterfalls.
  • The Spokesman Review: the daily newspaper for Spokane. In 1890 there were two newspapers, The Spokesman and The Review, and they combined into one newspaper.
  • Old Post Office: over a century old, this is the oldest post office in Spokane. It has marble floors, gorgeous pillars, and ornate architectural decorations inside.
  • Statue of Lincoln: bronze sculpture of Abraham Lincoln, built in 1930.
  • Steam Plant: burned coal to boil water to create steam which would be pumped through pipes under the city streets and up through the radiators to heat most of the downtown buildings for over 70 years, beginning around the turn of the century.
  • Davenport Hotel: built in 1914, the most luxurious hotel in Spokane. Has housed Houdini, Charles Lindberg, and many Presidents of the United States. Beautifully ornate interior.

Davenport-Hotel

I hope you enjoyed our fun whirlwind historic tour of Spokane!

Are Most Americans Superficial?

July 24th, 2015

are-most-americans-superficial

At the risk of ticking off this whole country, I am going to address this issue head-on, from the point of view of a missionary kid—a person who grew up outside of the U.S. but then returned to the U.S to live as an adult.

Before answering this question: “Are most Americans superficial?”– I would like to clear the air and say that some of my closest friends are Americans, and they are not superficial. Those I relate to the most are people who have gone through suffering in their lives and have a real walk with God. These are the exception to the rule, and I married one of them.

I recently offended someone on my Missionary Kid Page when I said that missionary kids that return to the United States are shocked at how superficial Americans are. The Missionary Kid page exists to show how missionary kids perceive the world, not how other people perceive the world. Missionary kids don’t care about being politically correct. Our world view is opposite to most Americans. We’ve never truly belonged to any nation, so there is no reason to pander to anybody.

I have listened to thousands of missionary kids over the years, and here are the real reasons why we perceive Americans as being superficial:

1. Most Americans care about and pursue trivial things.

They love to talk about TV shows, sports, celebrities, and other topics that have no substance. After living in a third-world country my whole life, I perceived that part of the reason is that Americans are pampered because they have way more money than they need to survive. If they don’t, they use their charge cards to pursue the frivolous pampering that they “deserve.”

People in third-world countries are concerned about survival. When you are surrounded by suffering, your conversations are different. The conversations are more relational and less about trivia.

2. The U.S. educational system has churned out brainwashed, mindless idiots.

Ask any random American walking down the street basic information about any topic, and they just don’t know and don’t care. All they want is to be entertained and to stare down at their cell phones, snapping selfies to post to Facebook.

The reading level of this nation has been dumbed down so much that what was previously considered 5th grade reading is now college level. The majority of Americans do not read in their spare time—they watch TV for tens of thousands of hours, which brings us to the next point.

3. Whoever controls the media controls the minds of the U.S. population.

The morals of our nation are eroded as we watch sin and practice sinning over and over in our minds. Pretty soon we are actually committing the sin because we have been de-sensitized to it. Even if we don’t practice the sin ourselves, we allow the sin in the lives of the people around us because it’s so normal to us now.

We can’t perceive the heart of God on major issues because our hearts are so calloused to God because of the media.

The media is controlled by the world. We are told in Scripture to not be a part of the world, but instead we have morphed into the world. American Christians ARE the world.

The U.S. population is like a huge mob. The media can actually CAUSE riots and other problems by brainwashing people to believe lies. Then everyone is in an emotional frenzy, and if you stand against the emotional mob, you risk being killed. That’s because they no longer can think clearly.

That’s just it. Most Americans can’t think independently. Whether they are afraid of public opinion, or whether they have just been told their whole lives by their teachers and the media what the right answer is, who knows?

4. The American church is in a babyish catatonic state.

When talking about the deeper things of the Lord, very few people even understand what we are saying. Their eyes gloss over, and they would rather talk about fashion or what they are doing on Friday. The majority of American Christians do not pursue holiness—they even say that pursuing holiness is a sin because everyone is imperfect. Even if they have unrepented sins, you have to look the other way and not tell them that what they are doing is causing their misery.

I have never been in a third-world church where the native Christians were so apathetic about the things of God. True delight comes from pursuing God full-tilt. I guess if you’re poor, you have less to lose when you give up your life to gain Christ.

So I ask you, do you sense that most Americans are superficial? Does it disturb you? When you mention it, do people get offended and stomp off, like the woman on my Missionary Kid Page?

Make a Confederate Flag

July 23rd, 2015

make-a-confederate-flagWhen you are studying the Civil War, why not make a Confederate flag? The Union flag was similar to today’s flag but with fewer stars. The Confederate flag, however, was different and interesting while using the same colors of red, white, and blue.

You will need red and navy blue card stock paper, scissors, white school glue, a ruler, silver star stickers, and a silver marker.

confederate-flag-craftCut out a rectangle of red card stock paper. This will be the background of your flag. Using the red rectangle as a sample, cut a navy blue piece of card stock paper to the same size as the flag. Now cut V’s out of the two sides, and larger V’s out of the top and bottom. It should look like an X. Glue it down.

confederate-flag-craft-2Stick 13 star stickers on the blue paper. We put three star stickers on each blue leg of the cross, and one star in the middle.

confederate-flag-craft-3Finally, grab a ruler and outline the design with a silver marker, going over the top, the bottom, and the two sides. Now your Confederate flag is complete!

confederate-flagIf you enjoyed how to make a Confederate flag, you will love all the exclusive Civil War demonstration videos inside the Unit Study Treasure Vault!

Civil War in the Graveyard

July 20th, 2015

civil-war-in-the-graveyardThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

We experienced Civil War in the graveyard by doing several hands-on activities, including searching for a gravestone of someone who lived during the time of the Civil War, doing a crayon rubbing of the gravestone, and reciting the Gettysburg Address. We are using All American History, Volume II this year for our American History studies, and searching for a headstone from the time of the Civil War was one activity mentioned in the book.

civil-war-in-the-graveyard-2It was a sunny day in the autumn, and we were scattered around the graveyard, trying to find the oldest gravestones. I told my kids to look for actual headstones instead of the modern grave markers that were flat to the ground. Soon we found a gravestone of a man who lived during the time period of the Civil War.

gravestone-rubbing

I had someone hold the butcher paper while doing the crayon rubbing. We used dark-colored oil pastels, with the crayon on its side. Take a look at how we did this activity:

After finishing the crayon rubbing, one of my sons recited the Gettysburg Address while dressed up as Abraham Lincoln. You need a black top hat and a brown beard. You should also wear a suit and tie. The Gettysburg Address was delivered at a cemetery, making this activity appropriate for the graveyard.

abraham-lincoln-graveyardWe had a great time doing these fun activities to re-enforce the Civil War time period!

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