Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Studying History Through Connecting Past Events to Today: A Review of The Mayflower at Cape Cod

Text: Studying History Through Connecting Past Events to Today: A Review of The Mayflower at Cape Cod; background image of seashore

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Our family enjoys studying history so anytime we have the chance to review a new history resource we are happy to do so. For the past several weeks our teen has been helping me review The Mayflower at Cape Cod - Stories, activities, and research that connect 1620 with life today by Rebecca Locklear. It is a seven-unit resource aimed at grades 6-12 which looks at what happened during the five weeks that the Mayflower was anchored off Cape Cod in 1620.

cover of The Mayflower at Cape Code: Stories, activities, and research that connect 1620 with life today

What Is the Resource?

text: Studying History Through Connecting the Past Events to Today: A Review of The Mayflower at Cape Cod; Cross-Disciplinary Educational Resource for grades 6-12; book cover; ship clip art; logo of A Mom's Quest to TeachDepending upon how you would like to purchase The Mayflower at Cape Cod - Stories, activities, and research that connect 1620 with life today, you can order a print copy or a digital copy. We received the book digitally for the purpose of our review. The PDF is 74 pages long including the cover, table of contents, lessons, appendices, sources, index, and acknowledgments.

Each of the seven lessons opens with an objective and continues onto a reading, several activities, and research topics based upon the lesson. There are a number of photographs, maps, and sketches spread throughout each lesson.

There are 70 activities and 80 research topics which span a variety of topics and methods for learning the material.  So depending upon your children's interests and strengths you can pick different activities for each lesson. For example, you could cook with seafood and cranberries in Lesson 5 when reading about Native culture and discussing the different local and seasonal food if your children love to be in the kitchen. Or if your children are artistic, they could create leaf art as outlined in the activities for Lesson 3. One of the objectives for Lesson 3 is to analyze the survival situation and identify trees so this fits in perfectly.

Activity chart that lists lessons and which learning topics they met

leaf art
Leaf art by our son

The appendix offers a handy chronology of events on Cape Code, statistics about the Mayflower (like the ship being dismantled in 1624), answers to the questions, and game cards you will need for the lessons.

How Did We Use the History Homeschooling Resource?

Our teen had recently completed his World History course for the homeschool year so I asked him to complete activities and research projects from the lessons to jump-start our next homeschool year. I emailed him the PDF and asked him to read one to two lessons a week. As we are nearing our summer break, I required significantly fewer assignments than if this was in the middle of our homeschool year. For each lesson, I requested that he would pick one or two activities and research topics to complete. He then could email them to me or present them to me (as in the case of the artwork I asked him to complete).

The one objective of the first lesson was of interest to our son: "To recognize that history is told by the side of the victor and to be aware of both sides." He enjoys reading about the American Civil War and World War II, so he was able to apply the lesson of examining the first encounter between the Natives and the English to his prior knowledge of other events. And much like expected, he chose to complete the activity discussing who had more responsibility in winning World War II: Great Britain or the United States. In a short essay, he discussed the various Allied powers and their impact on defeating Hitler. In conclusion, he wrote: "All in all, I think the U.S. helped teeter the Allies' power over the Axis, causing the Nazis to be defeated."

I was pleasantly surprised that for another lesson he completed a poetry activity where he wrote an acrostic poem using the word Thanksgiving. It was nice to read his poem about God never failing after the lesson dealt so heavily with the negative impact of Europeans on the Natives (disease, war, slavery, etc.).

As I believe primary documents, like the Mayflower Compact, are very important to read and study, I requested our son complete the art activity to complete a stamp commemorating the signing of the Compact. We have a small collection of stamps, so it was nice to tie in these lessons with the stamp collection of my grandfather.

postage stamp drawing
Our son prefers to draw in just black & white – hence the lack of color.

What Did We Think?

The resource is very well organized. There are a great number of activities and research topics that the lessons could take weeks to complete if a homeschooling family completed everything. Some of the activities are better suited to small groups rather than one student (like our son) such as the corn game, cultural game, or greeting game.

There are very heavy topics in The Mayflower at Cape Cod including cultural appropriation, environmental ethics, stereotyping, immunization, epidemics, and slavery. I think parents should preview the entire resource before deciding if it is appropriate for their children in grades 6-8. I think once children reach 9th grade, they might have a maturity to be able to have healthy discussions about these topics. For example, one of the research topics asks students to reflect upon "Why did Europeans in the 1600s feel they had the right to settle America? Interpret their justification for taking Native lands, including the designation of being 'unpeopled' and 'devoid of all civil inhabitants.'" This is not an easy topic to discuss so I think parents should carefully go through the entire work.

Lesson 7 objectives
Beginning layout of the lesson showing objective and the lesson starting with the story

I think our son was able to really think about the events surrounding the Mayflower being at Cape Cod and how we need to be careful to view and interpret history. One thing as a family we try to stress is the importance of examining the past through the eyes of those who lived it by using primary sources and be thoughtful students of history. My hope is that by reading more about different events, like the English arriving at Cape Cod, our son will become a more astute student and adult.

Would You Like to Know More?

Rebecca Locklear offers many resources through her website including a newsletter to which you can subscribe for blog and book news (click here to sign up). You can read more about the connection she sees between history and drama and can order her books and materials for your homeschool.

Rebecca Locklear photograph
Rebecca Locklear

In addition to reviewing The Mayflower at Cape Cod - Stories, activities, and research that connect 1620 with life today, the Homeschool Review Crew also had the chance to review Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1878-1915: 17 Student Workshops with 120 Activities by Rebecca Locklear. Be sure to check out the reviews to see how they used these two resources in their homeschool.

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  1. We reviewed Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service and we have really had fun with the activities we have done so far! The Mayflower at Cape Cod looks really good as well.

    1. The US Life Saving Service one sounds so interesting from what I have read in other reviews.

  2. It is so important to connect the past to the future! There are a lot of lessons to learn there.

  3. This was a great resource. I can't wait to use it when we are studying this time period!

  4. That does look like an interesting study. Thanks for sharing!

  5. If we ever need history recommendations, I'm coming to you! You always have such unique ways to learn about history! :)