Paul Revere’s Ride
We recently spent a week with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s classic poem Paul Revere’s Ride in a book illustrated by Ted Rand. It’s one of the Five in a Row titles I’ve been saving until Ian was a little older, but it fit in with our artist study (a portrait of Paul Revere by John Singleton Copley) so I decided to give it a shot. We immersed ourselves in the early days of the American Revolution, and while we didn’t do a whole lot of activities outside of the Five in a Row manual (Vol. 3), I did come across several audio and video resources that I thought I’d share. Audio:
- Ian enjoyed the drama of a radio show called “Listen My Children” from Homeschool Radio Shows. (It also has a PDF Listening and Discussion Guide, but we didn’t use it.)
- The Adventures in Odyssey episode #197 “Midnight Ride” was great for the end of the week. It discussed some of the inaccuracies in Longfellow’s account and told more of the story. It helped to be familiar with the poem first, which is why I’d recommend it for at least a few days into rowing this book.
- I gave Ian a quick introduction to the reasons behind Paul Revere’s famous ride by watching an old Schoolhouse Rock clip called “No More Kings.” (There’s also another Revolutionary War clip called “The Shot Heard Round the World,” but he didn’t understand that one very well, and since it happened after Paul Revere’s ride, I didn’t spend much time trying to explain it.)
- The boys both really enjoyed “The Flame Returns” from an episode of Animaniacs, which was basically an animated reading of the poem. (Warner Bros. has since had this clip removed from YouTube.) Even now, a couple of weeks later, they keep quoting their favorite part.
- We spent lunchtime each day watching the show Liberty’s Kids, culminating with the fifth episode, “The Midnight Ride.” (You can get the whole series of 40 episodes on DVD for only $8.25. I jumped on it when it was on sale for even less because I knew we’d use it for homeschooling at some point.)
- Finally, we watched “The Birth of a Revolution” from the Learn Our History series. If you get any homeschool emails, you’ve probably been bombarded with offers about this series by Mike Huckabee. We tried it just to get the free “One Nation Under God” DVD, but Ian liked it so much I decided to keep the subscription coming. The animation is pretty cheesy by today’s standards, so I really didn’t think he’d be that into it, but he requests various DVDs from the series over and over. They really do have good information about American History, so we’re going to keep getting the DVDs each month for now.
The only lesson from the manual that I wanted to share about was our art lesson. We talked about the use of light in all the pictures, and looked at how the moon was reflected in the water in several of them. I wasn’t going to attempt anything hands-on until I read Heather’s post at blogshewrote.org, in which she described her children’s experience with this lesson. Ian wasn’t terribly excited about drawing his picture (though he did enjoy using the special oil pastels I broke out for the occasion). He still finds drawing rather frustrating, and having me do a picture along side him didn’t help. Sometimes it inspires him, but this time it just made him ask me to take over his picture because he couldn’t make it look the way he hoped. Still, I kept encouraging him, and in the end he managed to capture the whole idea of the reflection (at least with the masts and the moonlight), so I considered it a success and praised him for his efforts. I’m glad we ended up rowing this book now. I love history, especially American history, so it was fun to start teaching Ian about the birth of our nation.