Our Homeschool “Home” History Lesson


We often talk about hands-on history and learning through living books, but how often are the history lessons right in our own backyard? Or our own house? Such is the case with JoAnn, whose home is the homeschool history lesson!

Our Homeschool "Home" History Lesson ~ life in a historic home

Guest Post by JoAnn of Grover’s Manse.

Being a baptist, I didn’t have a clue what a manse was. We’ve always called the preacher’s home a parsonage. The Presbyterian church, however, refers to their minister’s home as a “manse,” and as a matter of fact, I never thought I’d ever live in one, either.  Seven and half years ago, we became dwellers and owners of the former First Presbyterian Church’s manse. The real estate agent did tell us the home had been moved, but was not sure about when and where it was moved from.  Thus, began our research…and even better,  it could also serve as a history lesson for our daughter, Morgan.

As I mentioned from my first post, my daughter and I have been investigating the history of our house or former manse.

Over the course of the last 7 1/2 years, we’ve visited our county courthouse and library digging in to the past. We’ve also got an archives building at the old county seat we’ve visited and met people who’ve been very helpful.

From these visits, or field trips, we’ve traced our house back to the year 1924. That was the year it was built, less than a block away from The First Presbyterian Church. Reverend Grover Cleveland Currie and his family were the first family to reside here. From my ancestry research, I discovered Reverend Currie came from North Carolina to here in little ol’ Northeast Arkansas. Anything historical or genealogy related is right up my alley!

Pictured below is a copy of the city’s plat in June 1929. A plat map is a map drawn to scale, marking the division of property. The manse and a small building on the property is drawn on the plat, running alongside to W. Gum Street. We are guessing the small building could be storage, or possibly an outhouse. We do have two bathrooms in our home. I’m not sure if they were in the original house plans.

This picture below is a copy of property taxes paid on the manse in 1927. Wow! A whopping $3.60. Our property taxes now are about 300 times that amount.


One of the men I met at the archives building happens to attend The First Presbyterian Church and was gracious enough to send this photo of our house below circa 1940’s. You probably recognize this photo from the top of my blog. I have blown the picture up to an 8×10 and framed it. It’s sitting on a table in my living room for all to see. It’s also without the garage, that would be later added after the manse was moved. If you look toward the back of the house, it looks like there is a back porch, which is now my laundry room.



Do you have any nearby history lessons to explore?



About the author:

JoAnn Greer is a wife to a small business owner and a mom to one teenaged daughter, who competes in archery tournaments. They began their homeschooling journey back in 2010, when they removed their daughter from public school. JoAnn enjoys crocheting, soap making, vintage movies, and tracing her family’s ancestry. In the fall and winter, she’s cheering on her favorite football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. She blogs at Grover’s Manse.


Not Consumed Resources

A Word From Our Sponsors

An Elementary Writing Curriculum
Read the next post: »

Presidents’ Day {Internet} Scavenger Hunt

Editor’s note: Since today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and the Presidents’ Day holiday is coming up on Monday, I thought it would be fun to share this presidential facts internet scavenger hunt again. I have also gathered a list of free and frugal Presidents’ Day homeschool resources, which you might want to check out after you complete this Washington and Lincoln trivia. Have fun! ~ Sara


Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? Just for today, toss those history textbooks under the bed, grab some pencils and paper, fire up the laptop (or mobile device or desktop computer) and challenge your kids to find the answers to the following questions. There are some fun (and silly) little known facts along with the more serious. How about taking the challenge with them or offering a small prize (cherry pie, anyone?) to the contestant who finds the most correct answers in the shortest amount of time.


Presidents' Day Facts Internet Scavenger Hunt @hsbapost


Spoiler alert: answers are provided below — be sure to obscure them before giving the questions to your history hunters!

Come back here after you’re done; let us know how you did and what other cool facts you may have discovered that you didn’t know before.

George Washington


  • Where did George Washington live during his presidency?
  • Did George Washington introduce the mule to America?
  • What was his favorite subject in school?
  • How did President Washington view political parties?
  • How many children did George Washington have?
  • What was George Washington’s middle name?
  • In 1775, Washington was appointed commander of what army?
  • Did George Washington wear a wig?
  • What provision did George Washington make in his will for his slaves?
  • What did Martha Washington do with all the letters George sent her?
  • What branch of the US military did Washington’s presidency found?
  • Washington left money in his will for Liberty Hall Academy which later became which university?
  • In 1754, Washington led an attack that started which world war?
  • How much did Washington pay a Dr.Watson to have one of his teeth pulled?
  • How many times was George Washington wounded in battle?

Sources: Key Facts About George Washington and President’s Day Scavenger Hunt

Abraham Lincoln

  • To which political party did Abraham Lincoln originally belong?
  • What were Lincoln’s two nicknames?
  • When Abraham Lincoln was seven years old he did something he felt really bad about. What was it?
  • Abraham Lincoln was essentially homeschooled, receiving less than a year of formal education. He cleaned his math problems off his board with what tool?
  • What plant killed Lincoln’s mother?
  • in 1830, Abraham Lincoln’s family moved from a farm in Indiana to what state?
  • Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd had four sons. One died while they were in the White House. What was his name and how old was he when he died?
  • With what politician did Lincoln engage in debates concerning the question of slavery?
  • Lincoln ran for the Senate against Stephen A. Douglas. The vote was 54 to 46 — who won?
  • Where did Lincoln store his important papers?
  • What famous speech did Lincoln make in Pennsylvania in 1863?
  • After receiving a letter from Sarah Hale, what national holiday did President Lincoln establish?
  • Where did General Robert E. Lee surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant?
  • What play was Lincoln watching when he was shot?
  • Does Abraham Lincoln have any direct descendants?

Sources: Timeline of Abraham Lincoln for Kids, Abraham Lincoln for Young Readers, Abraham Lincoln Web-quest, Lincoln Fast Facts and  President’s Day Scavenger Hunt



{George Washington}

  • Not in the White House; in New York and then Philadelphia
  • Yes
  • Math
  • He disapproved of them, feeling they were divisive
  • None of his own; he had two step-children
  • He didn’t have one
  • The Continental Army
  • No
  • He arranged to free those slaves belonging to him upon his wife’s death
  • She burned them
  • The Navy
  • Washington & Lee University
  • The Seven Years’ War
  • 5 Shillings
  • He was never {seriously} wounded in battle

{Abraham Lincoln}

  • Whigs
  • “Honest Abe” and “Illinois Rail-Splitter”
  • He shot a turkey; he never hunted again
  • A knife
  • White Snakeroot
  • Illinois
  • “Willie” died from typhoid fever when he was 11
  • Stephen A. Douglas
  • Stephen A. Douglas
  • He tucked them into his tall black hat
  • The Gettysburg Address
  • Thanksgiving
  • Appomattox Court House in Virginia
  • Our American Cousin
  • No, in fact he only had one son live to reach adulthood and marry
Angela (30 Posts)

Angela is co-founder of Mosaic Freeschool and a homeschooling mom to two never-been-to school kids. Born in Southern California and raised on the East Coast, Angela had a bit of an unconventional education, but did not consider homeschooling seriously until her first child was born. Believing that young children learn best from those that love them most, Angela and her husband John chose homeschooling for their two boys. She is dedicated to the advancement of alternative education choices, creating the web-site Raising Autodidacts in 2011 to further explore the idea of fostering the self-taught individual. In June of 2013, she started an instructional writing service called Gathering Ink .

A Word From Our Sponsors

Write Through the Bible Junior
Read the next post: »

Doomed to Repeat It? Learning from History’s Stories

Guest post by Jaron Pak.

How many of us have crammed for a test in the past? We might have aced it, or maybe we passed it by the skin of our teeth. But who remembered all of the information a week later? How about a month? A year? I think we all know cramming information into our heads is not a genuine way to learn something. And yet when it comes to teaching history, memorizing dates, names, and facts in order to pass tests has been the standard practice for a long time. Far too long, if you ask me. The time has come to break the mold! We need to stop teaching plain facts and start teaching real history! The focus needs to be moved from the facts to the life lessons, the choices, and the consequences. We need to do more than just learn the history, we need to learn from history. History isn’t just another school subject, it is a unique way that we can learn from the past in order to improve our future – both individually and collectively.

Doomed to Repeat It? Learning from History's Stories @hsbapost


How often do we, as human beings, make mistakes, learn from them, and then improve our behavior? The way we can adapt and improve ourselves is one of our greatest attributes. But learning that the stove is hot by getting burnt is very different from oh, say learning that violence is bad by fighting a war. The former involves a brief period of pain and healing, while the latter involves months or years of destructive and deadly behavior. It’s O.K. to learn that the stove is hot by touching it a couple of times. It is not O.K. to learn about the horrors of war by fighting a couple first. Learning our history is a vital way to avoid many of the more serious poor decisions and accompanying consequences in life. It allows us to see how those in the past faired when they were faced with similar choices.

Many of us living in the modern world – this small, technological, instant-gratification world – are always charging forward trying to get to “the next thing.” The call needs to be made to slow down and look backwards for a minute. I’m not saying let’s all become Luddites, but if we don’t take the time to slow down and learn from those who have lived full, meaningful lives in the past and have made similar choices that we’re faced with, we are going to find ourselves making the same mistakes in the future. I think we’ve all heard the classic saying by Edmund Burke, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

And this idea of learning from history includes recent and local history as well as the big picture stuff. I can’t tell you how many times I watched my elders as I grew up and decided to learn from their decisions and consequences, particularly the negative ones. I didn’t feel like I needed to go out and make the same mistakes they did myself before I could learn the lessons. It was right there in front of me, if I chose to learn from it. And I do realize that some things simply need to be experienced to be learned, but I think that mindset unchecked often leads us into more trouble than good. Sometimes we can take a look at the past and say, “Yeah, if that’s what happens then I’m just not going to go there.”

So consider this the call. We need to do more than learn the names and dates. We can recite the facts until we’re blue in the face, but if we don’t take the time to learn from the choices – and the mistakes – of the past, we are most certainly doomed to repeat them. Not only that, but of course we are often inspired by the good choices and decisions throughout history. Some of my best role models, inspirations, and heroes are rooted in the past. History, recent, ancient, and everything in between, is simply a massive compilation of the most important decisions and consequences that human kind has ever made.

So, if possible, try to stop worrying about making sure your children are ready to pass all the tests. The real job of an educator, when it comes to teaching history, is to teach the stories, and create that spark of interest in the past that will grow over time. It’s time to make history-time story-time!



Jaron Pak - Home School in the WoodsJaron Pak is the chief researcher and writer at Home School in the Woods. He is also heavily involved in marketing and sales for the company. He has a passion to bring history to life for young students, and considers history to be one of the most vital subjects we can teach our children. You can contact him at jaronpak@homeschoolinthewoods.com.



A Word From Our Sponsors

Write Through the Bible Junior
Read the next post: »