Posts Tagged ‘modern history’

Modern History Notebook

Monday, September 14th, 2015

modern-history-notebookThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Today I will be showing you our modern history notebook that we put together during our study of American history. We made two notebooks for the year: one for the Civil War and one for the true modern culture starting at the turn of the century. In our series on modern history, I have shown you many hands-on activities, field trips, and themed parties that help to bring this time period to life. Now I will focus on the written work.


We used the charts and maps from All American History, Volume II. I liked the fact that my kids had to color and cut out the flags of the different countries involved in the wars. World War I and World War II are especially important to keep separate and are often taught in the schools one after the other. I purposely spent longer than a week (3 weeks!) on World War I so that the kids understood trench warfare and early airplanes. I did NOT want the two world wars to blur together  in their minds.


As you can see in the demonstration video at the bottom of this post, we decorated the cover of the modern history notebook with 3-dimensional stickers from World War II. We divided the binder into different sections:

Take a look at our finished Modern History Notebook:

World War II Writing Assignment

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015


Each of my kids wrote a summary of World War II for their Modern History Notebooks. I told them that they needed to include the following topics:

  • Hitler
  • The Holocaust
  • The cause of World War II
  • How the U.S. entered the war
  • How World War II ended

As long as they included these major topics, they could write the report in whatever style they wanted. Here is an example:

World War II Writing Assignment

At the end of World War I, the Versailles Treaty was ridiculously hard on Germany. It asked for so much money that Germany’s government printed more money, which led to inflation. Hitler told everyone he could make things better. He said would get rid of the terrible Versailles Treaty, kill every last Jew for no reason, and take over the world!!! Muuahahahaha!!! Hitler was so evil that the entire world was appalled. Everyone hated Hitler, except Germans, who were brainwashed against the Jews anyway, and liked the sound of ruling the world.

First, Germany broke the Versailles Treaty by putting soldiers in the Rhineland. Britain protested. Then Germany took over Austria and threatened to take over Sudetenland. A big meeting took place where Hitler was told he could take over Sudetenland, but nothing else. He promised to do what they said, then promptly broke his promise and took over the rest of Czechoslovakia. Germany made a non aggression pact with Russia, then took over Poland. Britain and France finally declared war on Germany. But Germany used planes and tanks to capture Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, France, and Belgium. Great Britain was the only nation left. It held its own for over a year. Then Germany attacked Russia, breaking the non aggression pact.

The Germans were always murdering Jews by bringing them to concentration camps. The weak were killed immediately, and the strong were worked to death. All this became known as the Holocaust. This was justified by the idiotic reasoning that the Germans were “a more highly evolved race” and Jews were inferior. The Japanese also taught that they were “more highly evolved” so it made sense to rule the world. So they captured a whole bunch of islands.

Then the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, infuriating all of the United States, who finally entered the war. As a result, the U.S. made so many war things, it gave a whole lot of jobs to people who desperately needed them, pulling us out of the Great Depression.

Bombing raids were when airplanes flew over a city, and they dropped bombs on it. Some bombs exploded; some bombs burst into flames. During the night, people everywhere turned off the lights so enemy bombers couldn’t see where the city was.

Operation Torch, Operation Husky, and Operation Overlord were successful invasions by the Allies. The Battle of the Bulge was a big victory. The United States used a leapfrog strategy to recapture islands from the Japanese. Then the atomic bomb was invented.

The United States told Japan to surrender, but they didn’t. So the U.S. flattened Hiroshima, which killed more than 138,000 people, including civilians. The Japanese government didn’t believe this would ever happen again, so they still wouldn’t surrender. But then the U.S. dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Then Japan finally surrendered, and the war was over.

Modern History: 1970’s Party!

Monday, September 7th, 2015

modern-history-1970's-partyThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

During our study of modern history, we decided to throw a 1970’s party. I wanted our kids to experience what the American culture was like in the 1970’s. We read about the 1970’s in the book All American History, Volume II, so the kids were able to learn about the major events from the 1970’s.


Preparing for a 1970’s Party

We began preparing for the party by collecting 1970’s costumes from a local second-hand store during October. We found enough costumes for our whole family, including bell-bottoms for me and an afro for my husband. He was a good sport and looked incredibly crazy, as you can see from the picture. My 13-year-old son wore stick-on sideburns from a local party store.


We played 1970’s music in the background of the party, and we set up a refreshment table with a punch bowl and snacks. We bought some old-fashioned records for ten cents each, and we used packing tape to tape them to the wall as decorations. (See video demonstration to see how the snacks were arranged, along with the records on the wall.)

lava-lampThe decorations in the dining room were simple: we threw a dark blue bed sheet on top of the table, threw down some sparkly star confetti, and plugged in a lava lamp that we bought at Walmart for $10. The lava lamp looked like red lava bubbling out of a volcano and was groovy.

1970’s Cake

Speaking of groovy things, here is our 1970’s record cake! I show you how we made this cake in the demonstration video at the bottom of this post. It was super easy and fun to make, but we needed an extra large cake pan. We personalized the information in the center of the circle by printing it out as a green circle with the words on it. We laminated the circle with packing tape so that the icing wouldn’t soak through it.

1970's-record-cakeAn Old Picture of Me in the 1970’s

We interrupt this party description to give you a real photo from the 1970’s. Yes, I was alive during the 1970’s. (I know, right? There’s no way I’m that old!) I’m the red-head on the right. That’s my gorgeous mom, wearing those bell-bottoms, yes, the genuine thing. Notice the 1970’s hairdo on my mom. My mom is holding my younger sister, and by big sis is posing in her 1970’s kid clothes.

1970's-photo1970’s Disco Ball

We resume our party description by adding a disco ball, which we attached to the ceiling. It was mesmerizing to watch the ball spinning around after turning off the lights. My daughter and I were lying down on the floor watching the cool patterns on the ceiling, like a kaleidoscope of colors.


How to Throw a 1970’s Party

1970’s Couple

My husband posed with me in this cute picture:

1970's-coupleWe had so much fun posing in our 1970’s costumes! Why not throw a 1970’s party of your own?


Modern History: 1950’s Party

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015


If you are studying modern history, you might want to throw a 1950’s party! You will want to grab some poodle skirts from a local costume shop (or at a yard sale!) Match those pink poodle skirts with white or pink shirts, and you will have a 1950’s look. The men can wear white T-shirts and jeans. They can slick back their hair with jell, while the women can wear a pony tail or two. Ribbons can be wrapped around the pony tails.

If you have a 1950’s diner where you live, you can go out for a hamburger and a malt. Back when I lived in California, I took my dad to the local 1950’s malt shop. Unfortunately Eastern Washington does not have a 1950’s diner, but you could create a similar ambience in your home.

If you want to make your dining room into a malt shop, that can be fun. Back when I was in college, my friends threw a 1950’s-themed murder mystery party, and the entire downstairs was transformed. Use your imagination.

How to Make a 1950’s Jukebox Cake


If you are throwing a 1950’s birthday party, you will want to have a cake. My dad loved the 1950’s, so I made him a jukebox cake for his birthday. I started with a long rectangular pan, and I baked a chocolate cake. I rounded the top part of the cake, and I frosted it with chocolate frosting.

Next I mixed some white vanilla frosting with some food coloring to make yellow, red, and gray frosting. I put each in a ziplock bag and cut off a hole in the corner to place the icing where I wanted it. I make an outer arc of red and an inner arc of yellow. I flattened it out with a table knife.

I made a red rectangle with yellow bars across it for the speaker. Then I used gray frosting for the bottom of the arcs and the bottom part of the jukebox. I cut two Peppermint Patties to place on the top and middle of the cake in the configuration shown in the picture. I used red M&M’s as embellishments.

When we lit the candles, it looked like the jukebox was lit up from the inside!

1950’s Music

You can find plenty of 1950’s music on YouTube, and you can play it in the background of your 1950’s party. One of the most famous songs of the 1950’s was “Rock Around the Clock” by Haley and the Comets. Watch the fun 1950’s dancing and the styles of clothing back then:

Have fun throwing your very own 1950’s party!