Tuesday, July 22, 2014

American Girls Collection: Meet Samantha Curriculum

     During the Spring I began reading the original American Girl series to Marley.  I have been excited to introduce it to her, so we gave it a try and she adores the series.  She runs to me with her book in hand reminding me to read another chapter.  These books are so kid friendly with the short chapters and darling icon illustrations that appear between the paragraphs.  The plots are very simple and fun for children. And my favorite part is that it introduces a period of history to Marley.  An era of many changes, petticoats, washboards, introduction of electricity and motor vehicles, is quite interesting and fun to explain to a 4 year old.

     I was able to buy most of the original series on Ebay for about $1 each book.  We started off with Meet Samantha.  Right away Marley was enthralled with the introductory illustrations for the cast of characters. I think this is great for young visual learners who need a bit of a foundation for their imagination. She enjoyed the book so much that every time we read more, Marley would run to her daddy when he arrived home from work and tell him about the characters and what happened in the book.  I was thrilled to see her enjoying the book.
     I found that each chapter gave me an idea for an activity I could do with Marley that related to the book.  These enriching hands on ACTIVITIES can enhance the educational experience as well as create beautiful memories.

     CHAPTER 1: Bake Jelly Biscuits recipe link.

     CHAPTER 2: Simple sewing practice link.

     CHAPTER 3: Make a tin can phone tutorial link.

     CHAPTER 4: Stitching a plastic canvas.  (This can be done with young children if you use a dull needle and you monitor their work. This toy needlepoint kit is great.)


     CHAPTER 5: Playing with dolls. Maybe have a doll pretend tea party.

     CHAPTER 6: An act of service.  (The moral taken from the book was to be considerate of others, so maybe do a favor for a neighbor or leave some change at a vending machine.  Teaching children to think of others is a priceless lesson. More examples

      After we finished the book, I took her on a field trip to the Newland House Museum.  The house was built in 1898, so it was a perfect way for Marley to see in person how Samantha might have lived.  Marley was adamant to carry her book with her throughout the tour.  I enjoyed flipping through the pages showing her similarities we could recognize, such as the long underwear, the quilts, and an antique sewing machine.  It was a lovely little field trip for both of us and very memorable.

     We took a break from the series, because I didn't want to burn through it so quickly. Now we are working on Happy Birthday, Samantha!.  Marley is enjoying this book even more than the first.  Now that she is familiar with the characters, she feels more connected with the stories.  I love when I say the name Eddie Ryland, and Marley responds with "Oh no! Not Eddie."  Haha!  Seeing her develop a love for the characters is so precious.  It also gives her incentive to learn how to read.  I occasionally remind her that once she can read on her own, she can read all the books she loves by herself.

Homeschooling goal: Establish a love for learning.