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Girls of American History Curriculum Unit 5 - The Civil War Review by Deann Hadley

A Literature Guide and Unit Study for Addy, An American Girl - Time Period 1864
Justine Gamble
Girls of American History
Hendersonville, TN USA

As a homeschool parent I want to help my children learn as much as they are able. That means making school and lessons memorable. I have three girls who love American Girl dolls, and two of my girls own Addy, thanks to a grandmother who shared her love of history. When we were offered the opportunity to review the digital download of Girls of American History Curriculum Unit 5, that corresponds with Addy and The Civil War, we couldn’t wait to get started.

First, please understand this unit study is not just for girls! The unit is meant to be used with the American Girl historical fiction book series that corresponds to the doll and her time period mentioned in the title. These books have strong male characters and the unit studies have activities that all children will enjoy.

You can use the original set of books or the newer Beforever set of books. Many libraries have these sets available. You do not need to own the corresponding American Girl doll. The books needed are: Meet Addy, Addy Learns a Lesson, Addy’s Surprise, Happy Birthday, Addy!, Addy Saves the Day, and Changes for Addy.

The author bases her curricula on the pattern of “Read it, Hear it, See it, Write it, and Do it.” This reaches all learning styles and engages children in multiple learning methods. The unit study is written to be used over six weeks, but you can go faster or slower as you feel is best for your family. The file is thirty-seven pages and can be printed in black and white. Some of the pages are for the children to complete as you study the books together.

The downloadable PDF includes instructions for completing the unit, suggested books and materials, and an extra reading list. I love that the author has included other books and curriculum brands that work well with this unit. The PDF also contains a list of suggested crafts and games, field trips, and a suggested schedule. The website contains a list of links to the resources listed in the PDF.

Each of the Addy books is read over one week, with a lapbook, crafts, and games to go along with it. There is a celebration planned at the end, which is something we always do when we finish studying any unit. I was very happy to see that this file contained suggestions for that celebration!

Included is a list of words to be used for spelling and vocabulary. There are three project suggestions, and the PDF tells you to adjust expectations for the age of your child. All of the projects can be done with children in 1st to 12th grade. We chose the Portfolio and created a booklet with our notes, maps, artwork, timeline, and study material. The other options are Notebooking and a Diorama.

There are many literary elements studied through this curriculum. You and your children will study the characters and determine their character traits and locate examples that show each trait. You will pick out details that are fact and fiction and identify the plot and conflict. You can compare what life was like during that time period to ours. There are pages included so you can study any states or countries that are relevant to the series.

We enjoyed using this unit study and found that it was a great addition to our Civil War studies. By using the American Girl book series along with it, it made it seem less like studying history and more like getting to know Addy. There were plenty of opportunities (and included suggestions) to learn about Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, and other important figures and facts from this period of U.S. history. The curriculum is easily adapted to the age of your children and the needs of the family, so you can spend as long as you like with it.

-Product review by Deann Hadley, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2018