Tag Archives: history

The Great American Solar Eclipse

Monday, August 21 is the date of the Great American Solar Eclipse.  However, there is much to learn and observe before the event!  Below is the collection of online resources we’ll be using for eclipse lessons and to prepare for the viewing.

Everything You Need To Know About the Solar Eclipse – Explanations, Diagrams, DIY Safe Viewing Projects, and more!

Animated and Interactive Eclipse Maps  –  Find out when and where

Eclipses: Crash Course Video

Eclipse Live Stream

Eclipse History –  NASA’s collection of historical eclipses starting with about 5000 BC including Chinese, Babylonians, and Greeks to current times.

Ancient People and the Solar Eclipse  –  Video

Solar Eclipse Folklore, Myths, and Superstitions

Eclipse in the Bible

A Day With Two Dawns  –  Free Eclipse Ebook and Resources from Apologia

Eclipse Kit   –  Resources and STEM activities from NASA

Lapbooking and Notebooking Printables

Eclipse Quotes

Eclipse Vocabulary List with Games and Puzzles 

Free Eclipse Printables and Resources

Eclipse Art Projects

Math Lesson  –  Geometry of a Solar Eclipse

Our town is one of the prime totality viewing spots. We’ve decided to avoid the crowds that are expected at the various events and have our own back yard party.

For the party!

Ideas and Planning Tips

Music Playlist


Sun, Moon, and Stars Coloring Sheets (most of these are suitable for teens and adults)

betty jo





Louie Armstrong

Short Biography


Museum Collections

Photo Gallery

Jazz Terms Glossary 

Jazz Slang     (Parental Guidance Alert! Not all the words in this glossary are appropriate for children!)

Greatest Hits Playlist


Read Aloud –  When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat


Coloring Pages

Later, Cool Cats! Catch ya on the flip!

betty jo




Special Days and Biographies

I’ve been asked several times, “How exactly do you teach from your Special Days lists?”  The answer to that comes in multi-parts, but usually starts with “Biographies, lots of biographies!”

Every Special Days list includes birthdays of famous people throughout history.  I’ll ask the boys what they know about that author/artist/scientist/historical figure/religious leader.  If they are not familiar with him/her, we’ll do biography study!  Some days we only have a brief discussion about the person, or a review if we had studied him or her in the past couple of years.  Other days we will go more in depth and I’ll include reading resources, videos, and quotes into the lessons.  Some biography studies can be finished in a couple of hours.  Some biography studies catch a bigger interest and I won’t stop the study until that interest is satisfied, even if it means having to cancel my other special days lesson plans for a week or more.  Whoever we miss, we can try to catch next year or the year after when their special day happens again.

This past school year we started notebooking some of our biography studies and plan to continue with this for the upcoming school year.   We arranged the pages in a timeline order and as the notebooks fill up, we can start a new one.  However, the boys prefer projects over notebooking, so we’ll do some of each.

Below is my “go-to” resource list for online resources for biographies, how-to’s, and notebooking printables.  Also, our local library has a wonderful collection of biographies and Youtube has many video biographies suitable for children and youths, so don’t forget to check those when you are looking for resources.

Alternatives to Writing Biographies  –  Biography Project Ideas 

Lesson Plans for 6 sessions of the “Writer’s Workshop  – The Biographical Sketch” http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/writers-workshop-biographical-sketch-1039.html?tab=4#session1

How to Write a Biography  –                                                           http://www.howtowriteabiography.org/

100+ Biographies and Printables (These are short and written for younger readers, however older students will find these helpful as a starting place when researching a historical person.  Also the printables are a useful for work samples for portfolios or history based notebooks)   http://gardenofpraise.com/leaders.htm

Artists Biographies  –                                                                 http://www.vangoghgallery.com/artistbios/

Composer Biographies with Music Selections                                   http://www.classicsforkids.com/

Kid Safe Scientist Biographies Resources-                                                   http://www.kidtopia.info/science_biography.html

President Biographies Resources  –https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2014/02/14/resources-for-presidents-day/

Church Leaders, Missionaries, Hymn Writers, and Evangelists Biographies  http://www.wholesomewords.org/biography/index.html

Kid Safe Online Encyclopedia  –            http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies

1000’s of Biography E-books to download or read online  http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Biographies_%28Bookshelf%29#Pierre_Abelard

When we write biographies, we generally include the person’s birth and death dates, where they were from, a childhood fact or two, and their accomplishments as adults including spouse and children.  We will usually add a quote to the notebooking page, too.

Biography Notebooking Printables from The Notebooking Fairy






Timeline Facts

For Any Person 

Inventors (from Homeschool Share)

Missionaries  (from the Proverbial Homemaker)

Composers (from Homeschool Giveaways)

Portraits of Historical Figures (public domain)  for when we want a photo to print off for the notebooking page                                                   http://www.lib.utexas.edu/exhibits/portraits/index.html

Sometimes we’ll look over a history timeline to get the idea of what was going on in the world during our subject’s life.                                                             https://www.factmonster.com/us/timeline-archive

In accordance with my state’s homeschooling regulations, I keep a daily subject checklist.  On biography days I will check off the relevant History/Science/Art/Music and Reading Comprehension boxes. And, if we made a notebooking page I’ll check off Composition and Penmanship, too.  Don’t you just love it when one topic can cover multiple subjects!

And every now and then we’ll bake and decorate a birthday cake because …

I’d love to hear how you go about biography studies!  Please share about them in the comments.

(This post is actually ‘Part 2’ of a series in which I’m explaining how my family learns across the curriculum with topics selected from the Special Days list.  For the series introduction, Special Days and the Evolution of Morning Calendar Time, click here. For Part 3, Special Days and Geography click here. For Part 4, Special Days and Science click here)

betty jo








Special Days in June, 2017

June is loaded with holidays, observances, food themes, awareness days , historic figures and authors birthdays, science and historic based anniversaries, and more! Whether you’re looking for something special to study, trivia, a day to celebrate, or a food to add to the menu, this list of special days in June gives you plenty to choose from!

June Awareness/Observance Days and Themes:

  • Accordion Awareness
  • Adopt a Cat
  • Aquarium
  • Audio Book Appreciation
  • Bathroom Reading
  • Black Music
  • Camping
  • Caribbean-American Heritage
  • Childhood Cancer Awareness
  • Child Vision
  • Children’s Awareness
  • Effective Communication
  • Entrepreneurs “Do It Yourself” Marketing
  • Fight the Filthy Fly
  • Fireworks Safety
  • Forest System
  • GLTB Pride
  • Great Outdoors
  • International Men
  • Perennial Gardening
  • Potty Training Awareness
  • Rebuild Your Life
  • Rivers
  • Rose
  • Safety
  • Skyscraper
  • Smile
  • Sports America Kids
  • Student Safety
  • Surf Music
  • Zoo

June’s Food Themes:

  • Aprium
  • Beef Steak
  • Candy
  • Corn
  • Country Cooking
  • Cucumber
  • Dairy
  • Dairy Alternative
  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
  • Ice Tea
  • Lemon
  • Mango
  • Okra
  • Papaya
  • Pluot
  • Soul Food
  • Steakhouse
  • Turkey Lovers

June’s Daily Specials:  (the * means that the special day does not fall on the same date every year)

June 1

  • Barefoot Day
  • Dare Day
  • Flip a Coin Day
  • Global Day of Parents
  • Heimlich Maneuver Day
  • Kentucky Statehood 1792
  • Nail Polish Day
  • Olive Day
  • Oscar the Grouch Birthday 1969
  • Pen Pal Day
  • Say Something Nice Day
  • Stand for Children Day
  • Tennessee Statehood 1796
  • Volunteers Week begins
  • Mormon Leader Brigham Young born 1801

June 2

  • Bubba Day
  • Doughnut Day *(1st Fri.)
  • Leave the Office Early Day
  • Milk Days
  • Radio Patented 1896
  • Rocky Road Ice Cream Day
  • Rotisserie Chicken Day
  • Yell “Fudge” at the Cobras in North America Day

June 3

  • Boating Week begins *
  • Chimborazo Day
  • Chocolate Macaroon Day
  • Egg Day
  • Fishing Week begins *
  • Prairie Day * (1st Sat.)
  • Repeat Day (I said “Repeat Day”)
  • First U.S. Space Walk 1965
  • Trails Day *(1st Sat.)

June 4

  • Aesop born 620 BC
  • Applesauce Cake Day
  • Audacity To Hope Day
  • Business Etiquette Week begins *(1st full week)
  • Cancer Survivor’s day * (1st Sun.)
  • Cheese Day
  • King George III born 1738
  • First Ford Built 1896
  • Hug Your Cat Day
  • Old Maid’s Day
  • Pet Appreciation Week *(1st full week)
  • Shopping Cart invented 1937
  • Tienanmen Square (Beijing) Massacre 1989

June 5

  • Patriot Nathan Hale born 1755
  • 1st Hot Air Balloon Flight 1783
  • Gingerbread Day
  • Author Richard Scarry born 1919
  • Veggie Burger Day
  • World Environment Day

June 6

  • D-Day 1944
  • Drive-in Movie Day
  • Gardening Exercise Day
  • Higher Education Day
  • Russian Language Day
  • Yo-Yo Day

June 7

  • Chocolate Ice Cream Day
  • Daniel Boone Day
  • Muhammad (Islam Founder) born 570
  • Running Day *(1st Wed.)

June 8

  • Best Friends Day
  • Suction Vacuum Cleaner patented 1870
  • Upsy Daisy Day
  • Inventor Frank Lloyd Wright born 1867
  • World Ocean’s Day

June 9

  • Donald Duck debut 1934
  • Peter the Great born 1672
  • Inventor George Stephenson born 1781
  • Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day

June 10

  • Ball Point Pen patented 1888
  • Black Cow Day
  • Herbs and Spices Day
  • Ice Tea Day
  • Knit in Public Day *
  • Author Maurice Sendak born 1928

June 11

  • Corn on the Cob Day
  • ET premiered 1982
  • Jacque Cousteau born 1910
  • German Chocolate Cake Day
  • Great Barrier Reef discovered 1770
  • Making Life Beautiful Day

June 12

  • Baseball Invented 1839
  • President George H.W. Bush born 1924
  • Children’s Day
  • Crowded Nest Awareness Day
  • Ann Frank born 1929
  • Jerky Day
  • Loving Day
  • Men’s Health Week begins *
  • Peanut Butter Cookie Day
  • Red Rose Day
  • Shavuot
  • Superman, Man of Steel Day
  • World Day Against Child Labor

June 13

  • Kitchen Klutzes of America Day
  • Sewing Machine Day
  • Weed Your Garden Day
  • Poet William Butler Yeats born 1865

June 14

  • Bath Day
  • Flag Day
  • Pop Goes the Weasel Day
  • Race Unity Day *(2nd Sun.)
  • Author Harriet Beecher Stowe born 1811
  • Strawberry Shortcake Day
  • US Army established 1775
  • World Blood Donor Day

June 15

  • Arkansas Statehood 1836
  • Celluloid patented 1869
  • Dump the Pump Day * (3rd Thurs.)
  • Benjamin Franklin’s Kite Experiment Anniversary 1752
  • Electricity Day
  • Fly a Kite Day
  • Global Wind Day
  • Lobster Day
  • Magna Carta signed 1215
  • Nature Photography Day
  • National Day of Prayer for Law Enforcement Officers
  • Smile Power Day
  • Worldwide Day of Giving

June 16

  • Bloomsday
  • Flip-Flop Day *(3rd Fri.)
  • Fresh Veggies Day
  • Fudge Day
  • Recess at Work Day

June 17

  • Apple Strudel Day
  • Battle of Bunker Hill 1775
  • Cherry Tart Day
  • Eat Your Vegetables Day
  • Artist/Mathematician M.C. Escher born 1898
  • Composer Igor Stravinsky born 1882
  • World Juggling Day * (Sat. closest to the 17th)
  • World Sea Turtle Day *

June 18

  • Animal Rights Awareness Week *
  • Carpenter Ant Awareness Week begins *(last full week)
  • Father’s Day * (3rd Sun.)
  • Go Fishing Day
  • International Panic Day
  • Picnic Day
  • Napoleon defeated at Waterloo 1815
  • Splurge Day
  • Sushi Day
  • Turkey Lovers’ Day * (3rd Sun.)

June 19

  • Garfield the Cat’s birthday 1978
  • Juneteenth Day
  • Scientist Blaise Pascal born 1623
  • Slavery Abolished (US) 1865
  • Theologian Charles Haddon Spurgeon born 1834
  • Statue of Liberty arrived in US 1885
  • Watch Day
  • World Sauntering Day

June 20

  • Bald Eagle Day
  • Daylight Appreciation Day *
  • Hike with a Geek Day
  • Ice Cream Soda Day
  • Composer Jacques Offenbach born 1819
  • Surfing Day
  • Summer Solstice *
  • Vanilla Milkshake Day
  • West Virginia Statehood 1863
  • World Refugee Day

June 21

  • Atheists Solidarity Day
  • Day of the Gong
  • Go Skateboarding Day
  • Make Music Day
  • Peaches ‘N’ Cream Day
  • New Hampshire Statehood 1788
  • Reaping Machine patented 1834
  • Selfie Day
  • World Handshake Day
  • World Humanist Day

June 22

  • Chocolate Eclair Day
  • Onion Rings Day
  • Stupid Guy Thing Day

June 23

  • Don’t Let Nouns Get You Down Day
  • Hydration Day
  • Let It Go Day
  • Pecan Sandies Day
  • Pink Day
  • Public Service Day
  • Saxophone patented 1846
  • Take Your Dog to Work Day *(Fri. after Father’s Day)
  • Typewriter patented 1868
  • United Nations Public Service Day
  • US Secret Service established 1865

June 24

  • Great American Backyard Campout *(4th Sat.)
  • Fairy Day
  • Pralines Day
  • Swim a Lap Day
  • U.F.O. Day

June 25

  • America’s Kids Day *(4th Sun.)
  • Battle of Little Big Horn 1876
  • Author Eric Carle born 1929
  • Catfish Day
  • Eid-Al-Fitr *
  • Catfish Day
  • Log Cabin Day
  • Scientist Walther Nernst born 1864
  • Author George Orwell born 1903
  • Strawberry Parfait day
  • Virginia Statehood 1788
  • Watermelon Seed Spitting Week (last Thurs. – Sun.)

June 26

  • Beautician’s Day
  • Bicycle patented 1819
  • Chocolate Pudding Day
  • Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
  • Forgiveness Day
  • Please Take My Children to Work Day *(last Mon.)
  • Toothbrush invented 1498

June 27

  • Columnists’ Day *(4th Tues.)
  • Decide to be Married Day
  • “Happy Birthday To You” song published 1924
  • Helen Keller born 1880
  • Orange Blossom Day
  • PTSD Awareness Day
  • Sunglasses Day

June 28

  • American Flowers Week begins *
  • Paul Bunyan Day
  • Artist Peter Paul Rubens born 1577
  • WW1 Began 1914

June 29

  • Bomb Pop Day *(last Thurs.)
  • Camera Day
  • Handshake Day * (last Thurs.)
  • Hug Holiday
  • Parchment day
  • Waffle Iron Day

June 30

  • Gone With the Wind published 1936
  • Meteor Day
  • NOW (National Organization for Women) Day
  • Social Media Day

For specific Special Day Resources  for June https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2017/06/03/june-resources/

My “Go-To” list of Resources when planning lessons for Special Days         https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2016/07/31/learning-resources-for-special-days/

I make my monthly special days calendars by using several sources including old calendars, holiday books, newspapers, and the web. If you know of a special day that I do not have listed, please comment and let me know what it is so I can add it in. Below are the links to my favorite online special days and calendar resources.







Happy June!

betty jo

Lionel Trains – Special Day August 25

COMICAD lionel trains catalog

According to Special Days in August the 25th is the birthday of Joshua Lionel Cowen, one of the best known toy train manufacturers of all time.  A couple of years ago, we made Cowen and toy trains a Special Day study. Below are the web links we followed as we learned.

Biography of Inventor Joshua Lionel Cowen  http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventors/cowen.htm#ON%20THE%20WEB:

Vintage films on Youtube

Inside Lionel’s Train Factory  Part 1

Inside Lionel’s Train Factory Part 2

Showroom Layouts, Part 1  –

Showroom Layouts,  Part 2  –

Play Interactive Train Games  http://www.trainarcade.com/

Read Train Stories, Play Train Games and Watch Train Videos  http://trc.trains.com/Trains%204%20Kids.aspx

Classic railroad songs playlist from the Smithsonian  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUSRfoOcUe4bjeu8QIfbrejTyT0hYVncE

And we couldn’t build an electric train, but had fun making a toy train out of recyclables!  This ended up as a bank.  Perhaps Z will start saving for a Lionel of his own?


Do you keep a timeline for your studies?  This “Timeline Add-on : Toys” is currently on sale for only $ 0.22!  http://www.currclick.com/product/36820/Timeline-AddOns-Toys?term=toys+timeline&test_epoch=0&it=1

This was one of several history studies that the kids deemed “Not Boring”!

betty jo










May Resources

May is the end of the school year for many families, but it’s not the end of learning!  Here’s some wonderful resources for learning through the month of May.

BIG list of May holidays, theme, historic events, famous birthdays, and more  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2017/04/26/special-days-in-may-2017/

My “go-to” list of educational calendars and resources for every month https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2016/07/31/learning-resources-for-special-days/

Resources for Specific May Themes –

Presidents With May Birthdays –

  • Harry Truman born May 8, 1884
  •  John F. Kennedy born May 29, 1917

Learning Resources for Presidents https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2014/02/14/resources-for-presidents-day/

May Statehood Anniversaries –

  • Minnesota – May 11, 1858
  • South Carolina – May 23,1788
  • Rhode Island – May 29, 1790
  • Wisconsin – May 29, 1848

States Facts, History, and Videos –  http://www.history.com/topics/us-states

Resources for May “Daily Specials” –

 (The following is not yet complete.  May is when our state required “school” days are finished, and we take a bit of a break from daily studying.  So, I don’t have many resources to share from past studies as I have with other months.  I’ll be updating the daily specials with resources as we go through the month, so check back.  And, if you have special day resource favorites, be sure to let me know and I’ll edit them in.)

May 1  –  Save the Rhino Day  –  Lapbook Printables  http://www.homeschoolshare.com/rhinos.php

May 2  –  Play Your Ukulele Day  –    http://www.franw.com/2017/04/ukulele.html

May 3  – 1st Comic Book published 1934 –  Resources and Activities http://www.franw.com/2015/04/create-comic.html

May 4  –  Intergalactic Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You)  –  K-8 Unit Study and Printables    http://www.yearroundhomeschooling.com/free-star-wars-printables/

May 4 – Orange Juice Day – Orange Resources and Activities http://www.franw.com/2015/01/orange-resources.html

May 5  –  Cartoonist Day  –  Charles Shultz and Peanuts  are our favorites!  –  Learning Resources and Activities    https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2014/10/02/peanuts/

May 5 – Cinco de Mayo – Resource List      http://www.blessedbeyondadoubt.com/a-fun-list-of-cince-de-mayo-ideas-and-resources/

May 6  –  English Channel Tunnel opened 1994  –  Fun Facts  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/channel.html

May 7  –  Composer Johannes Brahms born 1833  –  Biography, Quiz, and Music  https://www.classicsforkids.com/pastshows.asp?id=191

May 7  –  Composer Tchaikovsky born 1840  –  Biography, Quiz, and Music  https://www.classicsforkids.com/pastshows.asp?id=17

May 8 – World Red Cross Day –   Stories of those helped by the Red Cross  http://www.redcross.org/stories/

May 11  –  Artist Salvador Dali born 1909  –  Lesson Plans, Resources, Project Ideas  http://elementaryartfun.blogspot.com/2011/03/salvador-dali-elephants-and.html

May 12 – Florence Nightingale born 1820     http://gardenofpraise.com/ibdnight.htm

May 13 – 1st Settlers arrived at Jamestown 1607 – Interactive John Smith and Jamestown Game  http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/games/interactiveadventures/john-smith/

May 14 – Skylab launched 1973 –  Watch this documentary from 1974  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rhpxpdrVKM

May 15 – Endangered Species Day * – Projects and Lessons http://kidworldcitizen.org/2014/10/02/endangered-species-projects-lessons-kids/

May 17  –  Physician Edward Jenner born 1749  –  Biography, Photos, Videos, and Interactives  http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/famouspeople/edward_jenner/

May 18 – Museum Day – 50 Famous Art Museums Around The World http://tammieadventuresinhomeschooling.blogspot.com/2015/03/50-famous-art-museums-around-world.html

May 22  –  Artist Mary Cassatt born 1844  –  Artist study, projects, and printables  https://homehearts.com/2014/05/22/mary-cassatt-a-unit-study/

May 23  –  Crohn’s and Colitis day  –  Article with audio  for kids  http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/ibd.html?ref=search#kha_11

May 23 – World Turtle Day – Learning Resources https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/05/23/world-turtle-day/

May 24  –  Brooklyn Bridge opened 1883  –  Multi Level, and Cross Curricular Bridges Study  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2016/05/27/bridges/

May 30  –  Lincoln Memorial dedicated 1922  –  Historic Footage  video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3l7wvOxuME

Remember to check back throughout the month for new daily resources that will be added as they become available!

Happy May Learning!

betty jo

The Super Bowl


A few years ago I put together a cross curriculum resource list for Super Bowl related lessons.  I have updated the post for 2017 and super Bowl 51!.







betty jo