Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Oregon Trail Unit Study

*Here it is!  The long awaited unit study from our Oregon Trail road trip.  Our internet has been spotty, so this post has been in process for weeks.*

Since we were preparing to travel along a portion of the Oregon Trail, I thought it fitting to go ahead and do a unit study.  After mapping out where we were going, I wanted to plan a few educational stops but didn't really know where to begin.  I started out with Google and found this page from DIY Homeschooler.  There are so many links there it was a little overwhelming, but eventually I stumbled on Traveling the Oregon Trail guidebook which was written for "modern pioneers".  This was really the perfect book for our travels, because not only did it list and describe each major Trail Stop, but also places to eat, places to stay and fun things to do along the way.  I read the part of the book describing the part of the trail we would be traveling and picked stops I thought we could make.

With the journey part done, I was then able to set up traveling workbooks for the older three kids.  I printed off coloring pages from the BLM's Oregon Trail Site along with any other pages I thought appropriate for each child's age.  I then printed out a map of the Oregon Trail and put that on the front as a cover.  This was all stapled together and given to the children while we were on the road, along with a new clipboard and a set of crayons (my dear husband said absolutely no to the markers I was going to bring originally.  He's more forward thinking than I am, and a good thing too!).  I also went through the places and things I thought we were likely to see and made a scavenger hunt for the second grader and kindergartener.  We didn't find everything, but we came close and it helped the older two pay more attention to the things they saw out of their window.

Because Fritter is beginning a study of states and capitals, I printed off a western states blank map from Enchanted Learning.  Each new state we drove through, he colored the state and wrote out its capital.  I don't think he will ever forget that the capital of Oregon is Salem, or that the capital of Washington is Olympia!

From this website, I printed off a little Oregon Trail game (scroll down the page to Activities) and brought it along for quiet evenings in the camper, but we never did get around to playing it.  Hopefully we can do that soon.

So books.  I ordered The Time Traveling Twins on the Oregon Trail from Paperbackswap (discloser: if you sign up using my link, I'll get a credit for it!) and we read that as sort of an introduction and for our evening read aloud we went with Seven Alone.  This book is a true story about a family with seven children (the oldest is a boy of 13) whose parents pass away on the trail and they decide to continue on their own.  I quickly and gently glossed over the saddest parts (Fritter is only 7) but other than that we have really enjoyed the story.  And because we traveled parts of the trail ourselves, we recognize many of the sites in the book and can relate just that much more!

For myself I checked out from the library The Way West.  Overall, I thought it was a good book, and again I could easily picture the story based on the sites we visited and names we read about in our guidebook.

When we finish our read aloud, I plan on finishing everything up with a lapbook.

So there you have it!  Our Oregon Trail Unit Study.  For reference sake, we have a second grader, Kindergartener, a three year old preschooler, and the baby.

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