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Free Friday and our Drawing Winner!

May 26th, 2017

{photo by Aaron Burden}

Our most recent blog drawing is over, and we loved hearing from you! We took all the entries, assigned each a number, and one was chosen using a random number generator. We’ve kept you in suspense, but today we want to announce our winner: Kary Antoniadis

Congratulations! Look for your SLOCA store gift certificate in your family file next week! 

Thank you to everyone who participated and left comments about what you’ve learned this year. For those who missed it, we asked, As a parent, one thing I learned about American History this year is ________.” Here are the responses we received:

One thing I learned about US History this year is the personal accounts of runaway slaves and the underground railroad through the true stories of January's Sparrow, and Pink and Say by Patricia Polaccio. Through these stories, I learned how it felt to be on the run, with a family. Somehow it struck me even more than Elijah of Buxton. Details like these stayed with me: how part of the Underground Railroad was the woman rowing the family across the river and never showing her face so if questioned they wouldn’t need to/couldn’t lie. Or the kindness of the black mother nurturing both her son and the white boy soldier like her own until their injuries healed.

I learned communication was so vital from the American History readings. Whether a soldier partaking in the American Revolution or an essential link in the underground railroad, communication was a matter of life or death. We have such sophisticated technology today, it is difficult to fathom how military maneuvers were accomplished. The underground railroad had it's own way of communicating safe houses. I just think how the people back 200-300 years ago were able to accomplish such amazing heroic feats without the Internet, telephone, FedEx, etc. AMAZING!

What has really stuck with me this year, is how our founding fathers were at odds with each other and how hard they worked to strike compromises to craft our Constitution. I just never realized how much they disagreed and yet, they still wrote the Constitution--certainly not a perfect document. I have more admiration and respect for that group of men. 

I can tell you I'm only scratching the surface when I say I gained a deeper, jaw dropping respect for people like Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman for their determination and courage displayed in acting and speaking out against slavery, and the hardships endured to attain freedom. This has been a springboard into reading slave narratives, essays from abolitionists, and books about this period of history. I wasn't aware of how deeply the Reconstruction efforts failed and were thwarted by legislation. Truly eye-opening for me.

I've learned how the errors of history feel eerily similar. How so many of the same conversations and missteps, while different in the details, feel ripped out of the headlines of today.

I learned so, so much this year right alongside my third grader! Far more than I ever learned, or retained, in history as a high schooler. However, one of the most insightful and touching things I learned this year was the origins of the Star Spangled Banner and how it was written in response to the bombing at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. I just never knew this! I always thought it was written about the birth of our country in 1776. I have such a renewed reverence and respect for the beautifully penned words of this poem/song and now when I hear it or sing it I know exactly why the words were written and what they mean.

This year, by far, has been the most impactful American History cycle yet for me. Perhaps it’s because it is our second time going through this. Or perhaps it is because my oldest, being in lower middle school now, is providing us even deeper, more insightful conversations at home. Either way, I have never been so overwhelmed by the History of this country. Entering this country at the young age of 16 as an immigrant, I was ignorant of what it truly meant to be an American. Not until I had to study to get my American citizenship a few years later at the age of 21, did I begin to recognize how deeply affected I would be. I remember standing in a large room in Los Angeles with hundreds of others, speaking the words, “that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America,” and tearing up with the revelation that I am no longer just a resident but a CITIZEN! I take my American citizenship very seriously, and having the privilege to go deeper in our studies this year and learning more about the founding and history of our country has never hit closer to home. Understanding where our freedom truly comes from and how much was paid for it gives me and my family an ever deepening love and appreciation for our country.

Reading these comments from other parents is so inspiring! It’s certainly been a full and fantastic year – thanks for learning along together with us, and for taking the time to share something you’ve learned. (Feel free to add more in today’s comments below, if you want to!)

There are no classes on campus Monday and Tuesday as we celebrate Memorial Day, but come see what we’ll have for you on those days here on the blog! And have a glorious Memorial Day weekend – did you download the Memorial Day resource packet that was in the weekly update? It’s full of background info, ways to celebrate, and books and movies that go along with this holiday. Don’t miss it!