Freedom’s School: learning Black History through Living Books ( + free journaling sheets!)

“We want a wider range of knowledge than the life about us affords, and books are our best teachers.” – Charlotte Mason, Ourselves

Our family has been learning about and focusing on the 1800s in American History all this year. We’ve learned about wagons and Gold Rushes and have made our way smack into the Civil War in the past couple of weeks.

Our kitchen table and couch has been a series of good discussions about hard things and parts of our nation’s past that we aren’t proud of. In a time of history were it is easy to want to just look at timelines and learn about battles, we are stopping to step into the stories. We are allowing, as Mason puts it, “books to be our best teachers.”

There is a children’s book called Freedom’s School that has been on our shelves and read often with my oldest; but it was the first time my son (1st grade) really sat in on the reading and observed the pictures this year. And his questions came, just like my daughter’s did at his age.

Why didn’t white people want Lizzie and Paul to learn?
Why weren’t they ever able to go to school before?
Why didn’t they have the same things as the white school?
Why did their school catch on fire?
Why did they call it Freedom School?

It is such a thought-provoking book, and opens the door for discussions about prejudice + racism, hatred, emancipation, education, and what freedom is and how it comes. It became a bridge for us to talk about how the end of the Civil War didn’t mean that all was well and freedom and justice for all just magically happened.

Freedom’s School is a great one to add to your shelves at home, but if you can’t grab a copy or get to the library, here’s a video of the book being read aloud.

I also created some journal sheets to go along with the book for my 1st grader, and I’d love for you to be able to use them as well. Go ahead and download them and use them for your family. If you enjoy them, please feel free to pass this post along to your friends so they can benefit from the pages as well.

You’ll find a coloring page, drawing sheet, narration section, copywork from the story, and suggested spelling words (also from the text).

It is my hope that these pages will help document your journey through this fabulous story and others like them!

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