Back when most Americans saw themselves as citizens first and consumers second, February was known not only for Valentine’s Day, but also for the celebration of the births of two very important men in our country’s history: Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.
You wouldn’t know this to look around America today. Stores have been trimmed in red, pink and white hearts since five minutes after the Christmas clearance sales ended. But at one time, honoring two of our presidents on their February birthdays was a big priority for Americans.
In recent years, their birthdays have been combined into one shopping event called Presidents’ Day, but we can still celebrate their actual birthdays by teaching our children about George Washington, our first president, and Abraham Lincoln, the president who held the union together. As homeschooling parents, we have the time and opportunity to do this.
To get you started, here’s a list of helpful resources. Most are online, while others can be found in your public library (if necessary, via interlibrary loans). The ages of your children will determine what you choose to use. Keep in mind that even preschoolers can be taught something about these fine men, while teens could surely do with a review. I’ve only listed one good book for each president, as you should be able to find many others at your public library without too much effort.
George Washington (born February 22, 1732)
Official biography at White House Web site:
Silhouette to print, color and cut out:
Drawing to print and color:
(see left side of Web page for several other Washington activities listed under “George Washington Activities & Games”)
Interactive George Washington sites:
PBS’ George Washington Timeline (first of four pages)
Virtual tour of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home:
Interactive study of famous painting of George Washington:
Movies to watch:
“The Life of George Washington”
(free online movie, 35 minutes in three parts)
“George Washington” (1984 mini-series)
Beautiful read-aloud book: