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

1970's and Beyond, Modern History and Current Events, and Presidents Nixon- Obama

Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline 
Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan 
"Wheel of Fortune", Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide 
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz 

Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law 

Rock and roller cola wars, I can't take it anymore 

We didn't start the fire 
But when we are gone 
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on... 

-We Didn't Start The Fire, Billy Joel

I have been discussing with some of my online friends about how difficult it is to see events that have happened in our lifetime with clarity. Humans seem to need to space of time passing to be able to decide how it has affected us. For this reason, it is hard to teach this as part of their history curriculum. It is also hard not to mix in our own political judgments. I am not saying that it is bad to teach our children our own political judgments, but I think it is important not to teach it as factual history.
On the other hand, sometimes they need to understand a little of how we got to where we are now to understand what is happening currently. For that end, I tried to cover the basic happenings from the 1970's and beyond.
Map Quest (a tip from Ticia) has some good maps with suggestions on how to use them for these topics:

  • The Gulf War
  • The Attack on the United States (9/11)
  • The Conflict in Iraq
Another way of approaching it is to review your own family history, talking about what events you and your children's grandparents and great grandparents lived through and how these events affected these family members. How far back can you go in your family's history? Connecting this to timeline events can be a powerful way to give perspective to historical events.


We completed notebook pages for the presidents during this time

Richard M. Nixon
37th President
Served: 1969-1974
Party: Republican
Served as Vice President under Johnson
Ended Vietnam War
Watergate Scandal – bugging devices were planted on the Democratic Party in Washington D.C. Nixon denied involvement, but in order to avoid impeachment proceedings, Nixon was forced to resign
Well-known for his “thumbs up” hand signal and saying “I am not a crook”

Gerald Ford
38th President
Served: 1974-1977
Party: Republican
Appointed Vice President under Nixon, after Spiro Agnew resigned during Watergate.
Became President after Nixon resigned 
(First President to hold office without being elected to the
Vice Presidency or Presidency)
Pardoned Nixon for any crimes he committed
“WIN” campaign – Whip Inflation Now – due to rising Inflation
2 assassination attempts, both by women, within 3 weeks of each other in California
Betty Ford Center founded in CA after her struggle with alcohol and prescription drug addiction

“Jimmy” Carter
39th President
Served: 1977-1981
Party: Democrat
Professed Christian
Events in Presidency: Energy crisis of 1979, had solar panels installed in the
White House, and a wood stove
Inflation continued
SALT Treaty – Strategic Arms Limitation Talks – between USSR and the US
Iran hostage crisis – Iran takes 52 US hostages
Post-presidency: Lost re-election because of the hostage crisis
Retired to Georgia to his peanut farm
Wrote books
Key leader in Habitat for Humanity
Awarded Nobel Peace Prize
Trivia: The first president born in a hospital

Ronald Reagan
40th President
Served: 1981-1989
Party: Republican
Pre-presidency: Worked as radio announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games
Actor for Warner Brothers studios
Served as governor of California
Events in Presidency: Iran hostages released shortly after inauguration
1981 assassination attempt, bullet nearly missed his heart, hitting his lung
Air traffic controllers strike – Reagan announced that those who have not returned to work within 48 hours would be fired – over 11,00 fired
“Reaganomics” – decreased income taxes, produced many jobs, decreased inflation
Savings and Loan crisis – Stock market crash of 1987
Appointed first female Supreme Court Justice – Sandra Day O’Conner
Iran-Contra Affair – US sold weapons to Iran to release American hostages, then used the money to aid contras in Nicaragua
Cold War continued to grow – 1987 signed treaty to eliminate a class of nuclear weapons
1987 Berlin Wall torn down and Soviet Union collapsed
Post-presidency: Retired to California
Head injury from a horse accident in Mexico
Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994
Trivia: Only US President to be divorced
Oldest elected President at 69 years old


  1. My social studies teacher in high school taped the news each night (Canadian/world news) and typed out an outline for us to read while we watched it. Then, he quizzed us at the end of the year over all the headlines. It was a good way to get to know the world leaders - and different election schedules in various countries, as well as learning how regional conflicts could expand onto the world stage. The Canadian news had a leftist bias, even so, the news now is so much more bias, I'm not sure it could be used in the same way in the classroom.

    I'm going to have that song stuck in my head all day now.

  2. My oldest (just finished 6th) did modern history this year. We also integrated family history into it, both by photo timeline and by discussion. We talked about events and also life and trends during my childhood. He was utterly shocked to learn that I didn't have a computer in my house when I was his age!


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