We've been watching the Columbus Day, video clips, on the History Channel's site, and reading all the Columbus Day books we can get our hands on, this weekend. Our favorite, so far, has been Elaine Landau's Columbus Day, Celebrating a Famous Explorer.
It's part of the Finding Out About Holidays series. I like it, because it doesn't present Columbus as either a villain, or a hero, and because it has a short chapter on how Columbus Day is celebrated today. At the back of book are Internet links, for further study, and a glossary of "words to know".
There is also a craft suggestion - the usual walnut shell boats, which we decided to skip this year. Instead, I wanted a craft to help explain Columbus' journey, to the younger children, who were finding the flat maps confusing.
So, we started by blowing up two, blue, balloons, one larger than the other. Part of what we've learned about Columbus is that he thought the world was smaller than it really is.
I printed two world map coloring sheets from Printable Coloring Pages, and the older girls cut out the two groupings of continents.
On the smaller balloon we glued only the the European/Asian grouping - the world as Columbus knew it. But, on the larger balloon, we also glued on North, and South America - the world as it is (almost).
Then, the little ones took turns holding a popsicle stick, with the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria glued to it, printed from here. The older girls turned the balloons, showing the journey Columbus planned to make - starting in Spain...
...across the ocean...
...and the journey he actually made, bumping into South America (or there abouts).
It's great to be a homeschooler.