Are you in the holiday spirit yet? Some places are more festive than others-- for example, when we lived in Russia, I was feelin' it by mid-October, but to be honest, it never felt like Christmas during our time in Morocco...
So, if YOUR FAMILY needs a boost, I've made a list of my very favorite things-- books!
Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders will enjoy:
The Jolly Postman
A Christmas Carol
The Night Before Christmas
3rd, 4th, and 5th graders should take a look at:
The Family Under the Bridge
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
The Last Holiday Concert
Jake & The Gingerbread Wars
6th, 7th, and 8th graders can immerse themselves in
these American Christmas classics:
Gift of the Magi
A Christmas Story
I wouldn't want to leave out High school/Adult readers:
Mr. Dickens and His Carol
Christmas in America
Christmas 1945: The Greatest Celebration in American History
AND if you're looking for a new Christmas movie to add to your family's must-watch list, check out The Man Who Invented Christmas. You're welcome!
If you or your kiddos are bookworms like we are and have already read through this list, shoot me an email and I'll send you more suggestions directly to your inbox!
We are only a week away from opening up registration for the school year. Remember, I’ve been saying that we’re mixing things up for our 5th year in business and here is one of the big changes. As a result from your survey input, we have eliminated the standard box of books the we sent each child for their course and instead have replaced it with a age appropriate suggestions for books, games, and activities and a $150 Amazon gift card.
I love this new model because it eliminates your household from receiving duplicate materials! Or, you can purchase only the digital versions of the books if you like to really save space! You get to pick which items you want or you can even choose something that’s not even on the list. And trust me, $150 will buy a lot of books!
So, seriously, mark your calendar, put a reminder in your phone, sign up to get notified, or whatever you have to do to remember to register on August 29th.
I’m going to give you a sneak peak of the suggested purchases for each course. The lists are too fun not to share! So, click download to view this this gift guide pdf.
We have touched on a lot of topics over the summer. Educational apps, American idioms, U.S. Presidents, All-American movies and audiobooks, Colonial and American Revolutionary history, and U.S. Civics. Do you know what we haven’t looked at? U.S. geography and famous attractions!
I’ve put together a fun game that you can play with your kids. It works like this.
* Use the button below to print out the question and answer cards.
* Each card has ten clues on it listed from hardest to easiest.
* One person will read the card and the others will try to guess the answer before anyone else. BUT, if you guess incorrectly, you are out for that round.
* If you are the first to guess correctly then you get to hold onto that card.
* The person with the most cards at the end, wins!
I am a tourist attraction...
I am on an island...
In the American Civil War, I was a military barracks...
My name means “pelican” in Spanish...
In 1933, I became a federal penitentiary....
I have been the setting for many movies...
My nickname is “The Rock.”...
Al Capone and the Birdman spent some time here...
I was “liberated” twice by a group of Native Americans...
Where am I?
If you guessed Alcatraz before anyone else, then you would win the card!
Simple and fun, right? So go ahead and download your free printable and you can start playing right away!
I can honestly say that I have the BEST job. I get to interact with kids and parents who value the importance of keeping up with American history studies while living overseas.
If you haven’t already, read the blog post where I point to an article about a former Ambassador who talks about how he spent his childhood overseas, but was turned down form the Foreign Service twice because they felt he didn’t know enough about the U.S.
However, we live in age where our kids can keep up with their U.S. History studies with online lessons! I created these courses specifically for Foreign Service kids and have included all of the components required by the Fairfax County Schools standards of learning.
The lessons were designed for students to spend about 30-45 minutes one time a week to complete over the course of a school year. Check out the testimonials page to see what students have to say about the lessons. The say the funniest things and give rave reviews!
Well, I have rave reviews for the amount of effort and enthusiasm that my students put into each lesson. As I’ve said before, these kids are already so busy and involved with their school, community, and extra-curricular programs, but they are still willing to take on the extra responsibility of keeping up with American history! Good job to the all of my students and I also want to give a shout out to the PARENTS who are ensuring that our Foreign Service kids are excelling in this lifestyle.
As you know, I offer a lot of freebies and bonuses to my students, but here’s something for all of you supportive parents-- I want to treat you to a Starbucks coffee today! We, as parents of Third Culture Kids are all in this together. We're all working hard to make sure that our kids turn out “normal” at the end of this adventure. So, to honor you and show my gratitude for your service and commitment to our children, please, if you are in the U.S. (and I’m hoping that the timing of this will mean that many of you are either on R&R or Home Leave in the U.S…) but if you are in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, Australia, or Mexico today, then go get a #CoffeonUSHistoryAbroad!
You’ll find the barcode over in the FS Bidding Tools Facebook Group which is a place for all members of the Foreign Service Community to discuss overseas schools, post morale, EFM employment, and much more. If you haven’t joined, request to do so NOW because this gift expires Thursday night.
Citizens of the United States of America enjoy rights that many people in the world don't share. Of course, Americans also share great responsibilities too. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are built on and support these American values.
Students in Course E learn about what citizenship means, why we have government, what values the citizens of the United States hold, and the duties and responsibilities of United States citizens.
Even though kids of American parents are automatically U.S. citizens, sometimes Foreign Service kids grow up outside of the United States and fail to learn the basics about U.S. government and history. I hope you are helping your child get the resources and instruction in place so they won't feel embarrassed down the road.
Here's a sampling of some typical questions that could be asked on the naturalization test. Can your child pass?
I’m not trying to rush the end of summer, but the reality is that for Foreign Service families, we have to start thinking about "back to school" right now. Either you have to pick up school supplies to take back to post with you, or you need to get them ordered from Amazon or Walmart asap so they get delivered to you in time.
I know that you would rather be enjoying time with your family at the pool, visiting with grandparents, or squeezing in a few more family vacations so I’ve made it easy for you and have created all of your checklists and put them into ONE download.
This freebie gives you a list of your child’s school supplies, breakfast ideas for each day of the week, after-school snack ideas, and a clothes shopping checklist.
PLUS I’ve also included a 2018-2019 academic calendar that you can print out and add all of the school projects, parents-teacher conferences, and other school-related appointments to it. If you are able to, you should print it out on 11x17 paper, it’s totally worth it!
P.S. Don’t forget to get your props ready for those 1st day of school pictures.
"Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start..." Obviously, it makes the most sense to learn history in chronological order. This can be difficult for Foreign Service kids because when you move around a lot, you might enter a grade at a school that is working through the American Civil War, but you haven't learned about the 13 Colonies or the Revolutionary War yet. Also, it's very possible that your International school does not teach the subject of American history at all, so there's that.
There's the simple solution to this problem though: U.S. History Abroad's online American history courses are designed for kids constantly on the move, who would otherwise miss out on learning about the people, places, and events that make up our Nation's history. You know what they say, "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots."
Today's freebie is a fun 20-question Quizlet for you and your kids to test your knowledge on the history of early America. In our online courses, your child will listen to stories, watch videos, hear songs, and have other activities that teach the historical information that kids need to know, but this quiz is just a little something that I created for everyone to enjoy right now.
Step 1. Click the red button to work through the online flash cards.
Step 2. Once you've mastered the material, change the "Choose a Study Mode" to MATCH and race for the top score. (This is usually the kids' favorite part.)
I hope you enjoyed brushing up on some early American history topics. Keep your eye out for an American civics blog post coming SOON!
We’re only about half way through the summer and I’m already receiving Summer Reading Program forms back from kids that have finished reading 8 books and have chosen their free book from U.S. History Abroad. (It's not too late to join!)
Here’s the thing, and I should have said it from the beginning, but YES, audiobooks count too! In our family, we are rarely in the car without an audiobook playing so I want to share some of our favorites with you. Especially if you have young kids who may not be ready to tackle reading some of these titles on their own.
Do you prefer the downloadable pdf checklist?
To me, the 4th of July is the REAL kick-off to summer. I know, we’ve been having cook outs and late nights for a few weeks already, but for some reason, this week, the week that we celebrate the day when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the 13 colonies, it’s the main highlight of the summer.
Many of our students live outside of the United and may or may not get to celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July. Last month’s newsletter had some awesome ideas on how to celebrate the 4th of July while living abroad, but if you’re just now hearing about it, it’s probably too late to get all of the supplies, decorations, and stuff prepped for the activities. :( BUT, why not pop some popcorn and put on an all-American movie for the kids?
Use the link below to download your list of classic American movie titles that are available to rent on iTunes or Amazon Prime. Some are even available to stream on Netflix if you have a subscription. This movie list will give you so many ideas, you’ll be set for your movie nights for the rest of the summer!
In Course D for 3rd-5th grade students, I have an entire section on U.S. Presidents. By the end of the lessons, students will be able to name all of the presidents in order and provide a brief description of their accomplishments.
However, today’s blog post is for everyone! I'm going to give a little refresher on what the qualifications are to become president. These are all questions that elementary kids will know the answers to so I'm sure you won't have any trouble either. :)
What age must you be to in order to serve as the president? (At least 35 years old.).
Do you know who the youngest elected president was? (John F. Kennedy) and how old was he when he took office? (43).
There are also some pretty great benefits that presidents receive:
For example, the president travels for free, whether it’s in a limo, a Marine One helicopter, or flying on Air Force One. That is just “plain” awesome!
The president also gets secret service protection while they are in office and for 14 years after they leave.
Obviously they are living for free in the White House, but did you know that at the end of each month, the president gets a bill for his and his family’s personal meals and toiletries? It gets deducted from his annual salary.
What is the current annual salary for a U.S. president? ($400,000 a year while they are the president and then afterwards, they receive a pension of just over $200,000 a year, plus free postage for life.)
All these fun facts about presidents get me pretty excited to share this week’s freebie with you. You’re going to love it! I was able to license a U.S. Presidents poster with super fun cartoon drawings of each president. It’s yours to download for free for a limited time so click the blue button below to claim yours.
Once you've downloaded it, you might want to try to incorporate some learning games. You could ask your child questions like:
Which presidents were also Founding Fathers?
Who are our wartime presidents?
George Washington (Revolutionary War)
James Madison (War of 1812)
James K. Polk (Mexican-American War)
Abraham Lincoln (Civil War)
William McKinley (Spanish-American War)
Woodrow Wilson (World War I)
Franklin D. Roosevelt (World War II)
Harry S. Truman (World War II, Korean War)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (Korean War, Vietnam War)
John F. Kennedy (Vietnam War)
Lyndon B. Johnson (Vietnam War)
Richard Nixon (Vietnam War)
George H.W. Bush (Persian Gulf War)
George W. Bush (Second Persian Gulf War)
Barack Obama (Second Persian Gulf War)
Which presidents were former Secretaries of State?
John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
Which presidents were born in log cabins?
Ulysses S. Grant
James A. Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
P.S. Were you looking for the answers to the email trivia questions?
- The only president who never married was James Buchanan.
- Whose grandfather had also been president? Benjamin Harrison.
- Who was the heaviest of all our presidents, at over 300 pounds? William Howard Taft
- Who was the shortest and lightest president at 5'4", 100 pounds? James Madison
- Who is the only president to have been divorced? Ronald Reagan