Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Immigrants Flock to America (1880-1914) and Presidents Hayes to McKinley

 This week we studied about immigrants coming to America in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
 We talked about the Chinese coming to San Francisco and the Europeans coming to New York.
We reviewed a bit about the Statue of Liberty.
Grandfather's Journey
"The funny thing is, the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other." -Allen Say

Grandfather's Journey was a perfect book for us to read about immigrants as we had so recently studied Japan and this book speaks of the struggle of being an immigrant to America and still having a heritage in Japan, and the feeling of being a bit out of place in both countries.


We studied a number of presidents this week.
Rutherford B. Hayes
19th President
Served: 1877-1881
Party: Republican
Colonel in the Civil War, wounded 4 times
Events in Presidency: Won by a very close margin
Gold discovered in the Black Hills, South Dakota resulted in attempted removal of Indians from their reservations
Battle of Little Big Horn
First President to use a telephone in the White House

James Abram Garfield
20th President
Served: 1881
Party: Republican
Assassinated only 4 months into his presidency. One bullet grazed his arm, the other lodged in his body and couldn't be found. Lived for 80 days after the shooting

Chester Alan Arthur
21st President
Served: 1881-1885
Party: Republican
Became President after the death of Garfield
Redecorated the White House before moving in,
Rutherford Hayes bought 2 wagon-loads of furniture from the White House

Alex uses the timeline cards to write in his notebook; pictures from Presidents Lapbook at Homeschool Share.

Grover Cleveland
22nd and 24th President
Served: 1885-1889, 1893-1897
Party: Democrat
Events in Presidency (2nd term): Economic panic of 1893

Benjamin Harrison
23rd President
Served: 1889-1893
Party: Republican
Started the annexation of Hawaii

William McKinley, Jr.
25th President
Served: 1897-1901
Party: Republican
McKinley Act – high tariffs
Treaty of Paris – acquired Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippine Islands
Shot twice and seemed to be recovering, but later died.
Namesakes: Mount McKinley, Alaska
$500 bill

from Homeschool in the Woods
"Arriving in New York City, ""The Land of Promise, " immigrants would discover.."  these famous landmarks.

We added then to our timeline.
We learned about:
Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Institute, 1881
Nikola Tesla and alternating current, 1881
George Eastman invents flexible film, 1884
Buffalo Bill present his first Wild West Show, 1883 and Annie Oakley joins in 1885
Chicago's Haymarket Riot, 1886

We also played "500," a card game invented in the USA, and promoted by the US Playing Card Company, who copyrighted the rules in 1904.

related posts:
  • Grandfather's Journey, Allen Say
  • Mr. Blue Jeans: A Story about Levi Strauss, Maryann N. Weidt (4th-6th grade) Narrative of the life of the German Jewish immigrant who settled in New York and then San Francisco after the Gold Rush, making millions selling denim work pants, that we know and love as blue jeans.
  • Shoes for Everyone; A Story about Jan Matzelinger, Barbara Mitchell, (3rd grade/age 8 and up), "A biography of the half-Dutch/half-black Surinamese man who, despite the hardships and prejudice he found in his new Massachusetts home, invented a shoe-lasting machine that revolutionized the shoe industry in the late nineteenth century."
  • All-Of-A-Kind Family, Sydney Taylor, (3rd grade/age 8 and up), Story of a poor immigrant family living in New York's upper east side on the eve of World War I
  • The Great Wheel, Robert Lawson, (5th grade/age 10 and up) Story of an Irish Immigrant who helps to build the first Ferris wheel—then the largest wheel in the world and the showpiece of Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.
Book Not About Immigrants, but Set in Same Time-period:
  • Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, Hildegarde H. Swift (Pre-K and up),  "Built in 1880 of cast iron and steel, the 'fat and red and jolly' little lighthouse sits on the bank of the Hudson River in New York City. When the great, gray, and powerful George Washington Bridge is built overhead, the little lighthouse feels very, very small. But he soon comes t understand that he is still needed to guide boats through the dark and stormy weather." 
  • The Terrible Wave, Marden Dahlstedt, Story of a flood in Johnstown, PA after a dam breaks in 1889. Not about Immigrants but set in same time period. 
  • The Wright Brothers, Quentin Reynolds (4th grade/age 9 and up), Also not about immigrants, but set in this time period as they invent the world's first flying machine in 1903. 
  • Helen Keller, Margaret Davidson (2nd grade/age 7 and up) 
  • River of Dreams: The Story of Hudson Bay, Hudson Talbott; Does have immigration in it, but it covers many other topics: 
    • early American explorers and American history
    • New York City's beginning as a Dutch outpost to growing to the business capital of the world
    • types of boats that were seen on the river ~ sloop (workhorse of the Hudson River), bark, schooner, and Fulton's steamboat, the Clermont (1807)
    • building of the Erie Canal
    • Wall Street
    • ice harvesting and ice boating
    • industrial revolution
    • the first bridge on the Hudson at Poughkeepsie for trains built in 1888
    • Statue of Liberty (1886) / Ellis Island / Immigrants to America
    • The importance of the Hudson River as America's first superhighway, the inspiration for the first American art movement, and the birthplace of environmental activism. 
    • fish of the river (shad, striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon) and the environmental changes that saved them.
inspiration and sources:


  1. I love "My Grandfather's Journey" ! I made a Squidoo lens about it some time ago ... http://www.squidoo.com/my-grandfathers-journey

    I like how you weave together the immigration study with that of the presidents.

  2. I like your use of index cards for president info. It seems so simple, yet effective. I will need to keep it in mind when we study the presidents.

    We also use the 3-d maps book (although, we haven't made the immigrants map yet). I love it!

  3. You know, I have Grandfather's Journey for one of our studies at some point......

    We're going to be using that map later this week :)


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