View Full Version : World War II help please

Leslie Nelsen
05-26-2013, 01:55 PM
Hi All,

After spending more time talking with my boys, I have decided to tackle exploring WWII next year with them. This will be potentially a big part of their day IF I can figure out how to do it.

I have some questions that I would love your help and feedback on.

1. How far back in history do you think it would be helpful to go in order for them to have a solid foundation for understanding WWII? I had thought of just starting at the turn of the century and moving forward.

2. Ideas on things that could be included in our studies? Here are some that I'm considering:
*Biographies (do you have suggestions here for books? I have Douglas MacArthur from YWAM for example.)
*Missionaries of that time and in different countries (Deshazer, Bonhoffer, Aylward, etc)
*Science - inventions of this time period, advances made, famous scientists

3. Any great resources that you would recommend? Has anyone used this or one from this company?


4. Any other ideas or suggestions? Books, movies, etc?

I feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants, but it is what they are interested in doing and I want to make it happen for them. This will be our first year departing from FIAR (they finished all of it) for my 11 and 13yos. I'm excited but also want to vary our learning so that the year is fun for me too. (This is not my favorite topic. lol)

Thanks for your help!

Paige P
05-26-2013, 02:39 PM
Not a whole lot of ideas,, but a few book recommendations ;) (and maybe more as I go along....)

* btw, Kendra has used Homeschooling in the woods things, I think, so if she doesn't see this, ask her.....

* Escape from Warsaw was always one of my favorite books about that age http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=escape+from+warsaw

* Snow Treasure if you haven't already read it -- http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Treasure-Marie-McSwigan/dp/0142402249/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1369596356&sr=8-3&keywords=treasure+in+the+snow

* Anne Frank? Even if they're not ready for the full-fledged book, they'd be ready for excerpts

* Twenty and Ten -- http://www.amazon.com/Twenty-Ten-Puffin-story-books/dp/0140310762/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369596583&sr=1-1&keywords=twenty+and+ten Have ya'll read this one yet? It's great. I know there's a movie in French, but is there one in English?

* All the Children Were Sent Away -- my mom used to read this to her 5-6th graders about the children we were evacuated from London during WWII http://www.amazon.com/All-children-were-sent-away/dp/0878880933/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369596644&sr=1-1&keywords=all+the+children+were+sent+away

* We just got this book about the Navajo Code Talkers: http://www.amazon.com/Code-Talker-Novel-Navajo-Marines/dp/0142405965/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369597243&sr=1-1&keywords=code+talker

* Here's a kids book about Corrie ten Boom -- http://www.amazon.com/All-children-were-sent-away/dp/0878880933/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369596644&sr=1-1&keywords=all+the+children+were+sent+away

Some other thoughts....
* It would be a great time to learn the European countries and capitals.
* What about D-day?
* Do you have any relatives or know anyone who fought in WWII? If not, are there any nursing homes nearby that may have veterans? Anyone from church? You could have the boys interview them and then write about their experiences.
* If you had clearplay or any other way to edit out all the foul language :perplex: Saving Private Ryan might be a movie they'd enjoy. I remember lots of violence and LOTS of bad language......
* The Pacific involvement is also important -- Japan, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Interment Camps.......

* some different/interesting for them to do may be to have a period of time where they have/use ration cards ......

Just some thoughts....

DD in IL
05-26-2013, 07:09 PM
The Wall series. First book "the candy bombers"

Lindsey Carter
05-26-2013, 07:43 PM
I am doing a WWII study with my ds per his request. I am using an Intellego unit study as a s sort of spine. We actually started with their WW1 study which goes through WW1, the Russian revolution and the roaring 20’s. The WW2 study starts with the crash of the stock market and the great depression before it gets into WW2. I like that the Intellego unit study has a lot of multi-media elements (photos, posters, maps, music you can listen to, documentaries and articles to read). It is light on the literature side so I have added in some chapter books. Because there are so many good books on the topic, I plan to read widely, but quickly. I’ve also purchased Great World War Two Activities That You Can Build Yourself for some fun hand’s on stuff. If it wasn’t so expensive to ship here I would have bought Axes and Allies board game, too. We’ll see about playing it online instead.

World War One Books
-The Lord Of The Nutcracker Men
-Dear America: When Christmas Comes Again
-The War To End All Wars: World War One

The Russian Revolution Book
Angel On The Square
Animal Farm

1920’s book
The Chase

1930’s books
-Meet Kit (American Girl book as his sister may be joining in on the study)
-Kit’s World
-Out Of The Dust

WWII books
-The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey
-Dawn of Fear
-Meet Moly (American Girl book)
-World War Two An Interactive History Adventure
-Baseball Saved Us
-For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy
-Code talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of WWII
-Number the Stars
-Twenty In Ten

Radio Drama’s by Focus on The Family
-The Hiding Place
-Bonnhoeffer The Cost of Freedom

- - - Updated - - -

I also have a film list, with most of the films being about World War Two

World War One Films:

Gallipoli (has a few questionable sceenes)
Farewell To Arms (we didnít watch this one)
War Horse (this is good, but a bit graphic, plugged in online has a good review)

1930ís Film

-Dustbowl by PBS

I also have an extensive World War Two film list and Iím pretty sure that they are all either PG or not rated. However, I have not watched them all so you should prescreen.

-The Bridge Over the River Kwai
-The Great Escape
-The Big Red One
-From Here to Eternity
-Mrs Miniver
-The Battle of Midway
-The Guns of Navaron
-1940ís House (this is a PBS reality show/ where they put a British family into an authentic 1940ís house and have them live as if it was during the war (It is very educational and also clean and about as non-violent as a WW2 film can be).
-Lawrence of Arabia
-The Longest Day
-A Bridge Too Far
-Kellyís Heroes
-They Were Expendabale
-Destination Tokyo
-Flying Leathernecks
-Battle of Britain
-Von Ryanís Express
-The Best Years of Our Lives
-In Harmís Way
-The Great Dictator
-Back to Bataan
-The Train

Other WW2 Movies that are Free With Amazon Prime

-To Have and Have Not
-The Silent Enemy
-We Dive At Dawn
-Spitfire-The First of the Few-1942
-The Battle of San Pietro
-Merrillís Marauders
-The Gallant Hours
-True Glory
-The Deep Six
-USS Franklin Honor Restoured
-Crusade In the Pacific: The Navy Holds
-Crusade In The Pacific: At Japanís Doorstep
-The Admiral Was A Lady
-One of Our Aircraft Is Missing
-Q-Planes 1939
-Stage Door Canteen
-In Which We Serve
-The Limping Man
-Gung Ho
-Angles One Five
-The Malta Story
-The One that Got Away
-The Captive Heart
-Fraulein Doktor
-Secret Mission
-China Doll
-The Bells Go Down
-The Black Tent

Lindsey Carter
05-26-2013, 07:47 PM
As a side note, my ds is in 5th grade and a sensitive kid so we are going pretty lightly through the Holocaust. That has impacted a lot of the choices of materials I've chosen to use. ;)

Lindsey Carter
05-26-2013, 07:54 PM
Other heavier holocaust books
-The Hiding Place (my all time favorite book)
-The Diary of Anne Frank
-Trapped In Hitlerís Hell
-Selected to Live (excellent biography about a Jewish girl who is saved while hiding in a pastors home)

Sunshine C
05-26-2013, 08:05 PM
* Do you have any relatives or know anyone who fought in WWII? If not, are there any nursing homes nearby that may have veterans? Anyone from church? You could have the boys interview them and then write about their experiences.

I was going to suggest this too. You could also use some of this info to research some specific regiments/brigades (or whatever the offical term is).

There's a list of living books (some of which would be good for their age group) here (http://www.livingbookslibrary.com/2011/04/top-10-historical-fiction-books-about.html) and here (http://missourihomeschool.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/world-war-ii-history-lessons/). On the first list is Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, which I loved as a child. The main character is a girl, so your boys may or may not enjoy that...

The music of WWII era is at this site (http://www.6thcorpsmusic.us/).

Some great resources and links at this page (http://practicalpages.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/world-war-ii-notebook-pages-maps-timelines-online-resources/).

This site (http://adventuresinmommydom.org/us-history-victory-in-europe/) is a blog post about teaching the victory in Europe, especially great ideas for maps (and a link to some good ones).

Hope these help. :)

Paige P
05-27-2013, 07:25 AM
I just remembered two picture books (a little more advanced picture books) that my kids LOVE about WWII --

Boxes for Katje tells about an American city after WWII who sent boxes of food/goodies to a town in Holland that helped them survive post WWII. A fantastic story that's based on truth :thumb: http://www.amazon.com/Boxes-Katje-Candace-Fleming/dp/0374309221/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369657225&sr=8-1&keywords=boxes+for+katje

The other is Blueberries for the Queen -- another story based on truth :) Queen Whilemena (sp?) of Holland leaves The Netherlands with her 2 daughters (including Julianna, who becomes queen in the 1980s) and spends the summer in New England. Meanwhile a local boy dreams of being "big enough" to fight and help the war effort. http://www.amazon.com/Blueberries-Queen-Katherine-Paterson/dp/B005UVZHKC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369657332&sr=1-1&keywords=blueberries+for+the+queen

* Another idea I thought about is what about the Tuskgee Airmen? That then leads into a bit about segregation and what comes later in history.
* Remember, it's WWII where fighting from the air became so important. What about The Red Baron (Germany's ace fighter pilot)? What about the air raids on England? The Japanese kamakazi pilots?
* WWII is when they realized that for the Navy, destroyers USED to be considered the most important part of the navy, but they realized that aircraft carriers were the future.
* German U boats and their role in the war.

05-27-2013, 11:11 AM
My WWII buff (oldest ds) is downstairs at the moment. If you want his take on things, let me know. He'd have ideas on what's good for 11 and 13yos. One thing I wanted to throw out there is that I wouldn't recommend Saving Private Ryan at all for this age. :no: It's not just the language (but there's that, too), but it's extremely violent and realistic. My oldest isn't sensitive, but he didn't watch that movie until he was 16.

My 11yo loves The Great Escape (movie). It's about 3 hours long, though.

Dover makes several very inexpensive coloring books of WWII. Planes, uniforms, etc. My boys have really enjoyed these.

For a time frame, I'd probably just begin with what led up to WWI and its aftermath.

My ds chose to write papers on MacArthur and Patton, and he owns both of those movies. You may or may not think they're appropriate, though -- the language is an issue. These are movies that my oldest has seen, but not my 11yo.

05-27-2013, 03:44 PM
I just remembered, Dover makes a WWII "kit" with most of their WWII stuff in one box.

My ds suggests:

Eisenhower & Truman

Sands of Iwo Jima
The Longest Day

Check and see if there is a WWII reenactment or encampment near you.

My ds has enjoyed making models of tanks, airplanes, etc. bought at Hobby Lobby.

Paige P
05-27-2013, 04:07 PM
Rebe, I'd wondered about Saving Private Ryan. It's been MANY years since I've seen it. Glad you chimed in with a more recent screening ;)

BUT, I thought of another movie -- how about The Dirty Dozen http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+dirty+dozen

and when I looked that up, I saw a 4-disc set of "older" WWII movies. Maybe they're appropriate, too? http://www.amazon.com/TCM-Greatest-Classic-Films-Collection/dp/B001PO556E/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1369688739&sr=8-6&keywords=the+dirty+dozen

Kendra AU
05-27-2013, 04:22 PM

We studied WWII last year as part of our second half of US History. So we started at the time of the Civil War & moved forward. I don't think one needs to go THAT far back to understand what was going on & why WWII happened though. However, I do think that if you cover WWII, it would be fantastic to move forward after that a little bit to see how hard it was to rebuild & come back after that time period. For my boys studying WWI first was really interesting because we saw history unfold in such a way we could see it repeating itself when we got to WWII & how the effects of too much power/control lead to The Cold War. I guess it really depends on how much your boys want to study. My younger son really wanted to cover he wars last year & the second half of US history did just that for him. The Winter Promise resources I mentioned {AA2 or AC} would cover all of that, but it might go back farther then you'd really want to go.

Here are some of our favourite resources:

HSITW Cds -- You mentioned those. We used them & loved them. There are hands on projects, recipes, games, notebooking, lapboking, & a newspaper the kids can work on through the entire study. The Pak family really knows how to bring history to life. It's a six week study of WWII that you can take as long or as short with. The 6th week generally only has a couple of days of study & then it's finishing off your notebook or lapbook & preparing for a big celebration based on what you just learned. I blogged considerably about the contents of that cd last year because we had THAT much fun with it. :)

The World Wars -- This is a Scholastic Book & quite thick too. It's beautifully done & my boys loved it. Most of what's presented in there is presented at their level all though there were two pages that had more disturbing material on. One of which I slightly edited the wording of. The book is also internet linked so that when you read about something if it has the symbol to let you know there's a link for it you can check it out. This allows you to look up close at some of the locations or things mentioned in the book. This book takes you from what caused WWII all the way through the other side of it.

The Winged Watchman -- This is a hisorical fiction book set in Holland during WWII. It's about a little boy who sees a US Pilot shot down near his home. When he finds him he helps hide the man until they can get him out of the country.

Ultra Hush-Hush -- is a Non-fiction book about all sorts of people & contraptions used during the war. It was really really interesting to hear how some of these people pulled off being double agents or even just a regular spy!

The CHocolate Flier -- another non-fiction book which describes the US soldier who dropped the chocolate to the children in Europe.

Memoir '44 -- This is a board game. You can purchase expansion packs, but just working with the original is fantastic. The game works the children through each of the battles that happened during WWII {thus the expansions}. They have to set up the board in a specific way, there are advantages given to one side or the other based on the actual happenings leading up to that battle, & there are even historical notes one must read out before the game/battle begins. It's simply a fun game, but on a learning aspect it really helped them see what was going on.

Chocolate Cake With Hitler -- I didn't read this to my boys, but read it myself a few years ago. It's actually Junior fiction material based on actual facts. If your boys are sensitive you might want to give it a miss. The book is told from the perspective of a child who's father is Hitler's Right-hand man. The children are kept in Hitler's Bunker during most of WWII and are eventually poisoned by their parents just before the adults poison themselves. There are historical notes to explain this, but I wasn't sure how my eldest would cope with that information last year.

Number The Stars -- is another great one. :)

05-27-2013, 06:11 PM
Rebe, I'd wondered about Saving Private Ryan. It's been MANY years since I've seen it. Glad you chimed in with a more recent screening ;)

BUT, I thought of another movie -- how about The Dirty Dozen http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+dirty+dozen

and when I looked that up, I saw a 4-disc set of "older" WWII movies. Maybe they're appropriate, too? http://www.amazon.com/TCM-Greatest-Classic-Films-Collection/dp/B001PO556E/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1369688739&sr=8-6&keywords=the+dirty+dozen

Yes, I think my 11yo has watched The Dirty Dozen, too. I don't know about the other ones, but they're probably okay. As with all movies, the older ones are much safer than anything from about the mid-'60s on. Then you have to be much more careful.

I've seen only two brief scenes from Saving Private Ryan. One was okay (a quiet "talking" scene), but one was a battle scene that was very graphic -- quick, but enough to put images into my head that will be there forever. But then again, war movies aren't really my cup of tea. I just happened to be walking through the room when dh and ds were watching it.

05-27-2013, 07:04 PM
We did Modern History. My 13 yr. old read 39 Steps (WWI,) and The Hiding Place (WWII.) For family read aloud we read War Horse (WWI--excellent book,) Number the Stars and Hana's Suitcase (WWII, another excellent book--this is a true story.)

Paige P
05-31-2013, 03:09 PM
I have to come back and report that I just finished reading Code Talker, and it was fabulous :thumb: It would be a great book for your boys, not only about the Navajo Code Talkers but also the whole Pacific portion of WWII. You could follow many rabbit trails from it or just let them explore with a map :) There was no bad language and no extreme violence. Yes, some war descriptions were included and some specific wounds (one guy had his throat slit), but no "gruesome" depictions (sometimes the images on tv are so much more "visual"/graphic than just reading black and white, make sense?).

It was very enlightening book, and I'd have no problem letting my 11 or 13 year old read it (I'd even go as young as 9 or 10 if their reading level and interest were there :) ).

05-31-2013, 07:05 PM
Patricia Polacco has some books about WW2 as well, but I think they are mainly set in Poland or France maybe (I'm thinking of The Butterfly, although I am sure there are others). For an alternate view, I read the book book "Baseball Saved Us" by Ken Mochizuki, about the Japanese Internment camps - it obviously doesn't paint America in the best light, it wasn't all that negative either. I also remember an Allan Say book that discussed these camps too - I think it was called "Music for Alice". Although this, and another book by Eve Bunting - Far from the Sea, focus a lot on life after the internment camps. I am all about the picture books (especially Allen Say), I think that at any age they are a great way to introduce a topic - and since you are a FIAR user, I am guessing you are not adverse to them either.

Heather W
06-09-2013, 08:39 PM
Leslie, we have the WWII Homeschool in the Woods Time Traveler CD. My 11yo will be going through it at his own pace probably this summer. I have several of the other ones and they are all very good. I think it would be enjoyable for your boys. The projects are great and there's lots to learn with those.

He's become an expert on WWII era planes and made tons of models. He also did his 4H public presentation on four of them. He read everything in site about the planes and just had a great time. Hence the purchase of the CD and my idea to just let him run with it.