Ironically, we started our American Girl History Units on a birthday...the birth of our nation...and we are ending it on one too...the birth of...well, ME. Fitting that the era of history we are looking at today is the era of my birth, the 70s. As our guest writer, Susan Mathis, points out, the 70s were a rather dark time in our country's past. But, as has been said...If we don't study history (and all its parts), we are doomed to repeat it. Because of some of the themes of this particular American Girl Series many moms, myself included, have opted to forgo reading them...at least for a little while. But, I encourage you to tuck Susan's thoughts away for future reference.
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If you are just joining us, and would like to learn more about how you can use American Girl books to enrich your study of American History, be sure to begin at the beginning where Susan shares some wonderful tips on getting started.
Frankly, Julie's era is difficult for me to write about because I lived through it. However, because I was raised in a conservative, Christian home, my experience, and thus my perspective, was very different than the norm. We must take care to not unduly romanticize what was a very traumatic era in our country's history.
- Mark Julie’s home in California on the map. Note that, while most of the girls we’ve studied recently lived on the eastern half of the United States, Julie is a West Coast girl.
- Find 1974 on the Timeline, as well as 1964, the year Julie was born. Check out the internet to find other events happening in America at about that time. For Julie, the most important events were related to social upheavals and the peace movement. This is a good chance to discuss that all was not as good as it sometimes seems to be in the Julie books.
- Choose a craft to work on while you’re studying Julie. Obviously bead necklaces would be a good choice. You can also mention that there was an interest in the 70s in all things Native American, hence the crafts were similar to what you did for Kaya.
- Remind your daughter that Julie would be 48 years old now. Have her interview a woman who is about that age and see what she thinks of the Julie books.
- Again, because Julie’s values may be different from those of your family, now is a good time to address that; for instance, standing up for the right thing sometimes means submitting to lawful authority rather than rebelling against it.
- Plan a fondue party for your extended family. Invite all the adults to bring pictures of themselves and/or their families from the 70s.