Sunday Sweep: The Men Who Built America, Adios Amigos, Memorize Academy

Updated: Jun 10, 2018

Time for the Sunday Sweep! Favorite resources that fueled our curiosity this past week.


Hello. I'm Jessie, and I am a documentary junkie. Growing up, I got stuck with the job of ironing the clothes for our household of six. I would start up a documentary - about tectonic plate activity, about Saharan desert life, about Russian pair skaters Gordeeva and Grinkov - rewatching the same VHS tapes over and over.


I have not outgrow the obsession.


Early in our homeschooling, I found excuses to bring the boys along with me as I fed my habit. Oh look, a short documentary about the Boston Tea Party. Perfect, since we're covering the Revolutionary War. Oh my, a short documentary about giant squid. Perfect, since we're studying marine life...


This year, I gave up looking for excuses and just admitted it: cuddling up with my kids over a bowl of popcorn and pressing play on a juicy documentary is the apex of my homeschooling day. And since it brings each one of us so much joy, it's going to happen Every. Single. Day.

This past year, we've enjoyed hours of fascinating documentaries about the rise and fall of Rome, the Hindenburg disaster, the battle of Shiloh, Bog Bodies, brain science, space probes. I often pick documentaries in conjunction with books we are reading, but not always. Sometimes, I pick them because they look too good to resist. So, to inaugurate my first Sunday Sweep, here's what we were busy watching this week:


Documentary of the Week: The Men Who Built America



This eight-part series about the titans of American industry is a must-see. Reenactors interspersed with interviews with historians, a soundtrack that presents these guys as the rock-stars they were...it just doesn't get better than this. At the end of each episode, we are shouting, "No! Not yet! You can't end it there!"



I was fascinated at how much these big names were intertwined with each other - as apprentices, competitors, investors, suppliers. Rockefeller got his big break thanks to a deal with Vanderbilt. Carnegie was driven to do more because of a rivalry with Rockefeller. Carnegie was the protege to a chief competitor of Vanderbilt's who tried to undercut him by cutting a secret deal with Rockefeller.

In addition to the historical information, the other thing I love about this series is the rightful lionization of the entrepreneurial spirit. The majority of these guys came from nothing. Nothing. And they found a product and often created a market for it where there previously hadn't been one. If Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford and JP Morgan could see the amazing world we live in today, I think they'd just smile and say,"You're welcome."


*Oh my gosh, oh my gosh...there's a new edition to this series out this year! The Men Who Built America: Frontiersmen! We'll definitely be checking this out, especially since we recently were on a Lewis and Clark kick. Check out the preview:



Game of the Week: Adios Amigos




At least one day a week, we chuck the math books and just a play a game. We have a rotating stack we go through and this week's pick was Adios Amigos. Why we love it:


-Simultaneous play (no "waiting for your turn")

-Take out your opponent with pistol counters and silver shells (Boys. That's all that needs to be said)

-You get to say "Adios Amigos" in your most intimidating voice to start off the round of play (so, this counts for foreign language, too, right?)


Here's a quick video of some random YouTuber's game play so you can get a feel:



Bonus Awesomeness: MemorizeAcademy - US Presidents


Here's a cool little trick to be able to do: spout off the names of all 45 presidents. Even cooler: be able to hear the name of any president and know instantly which other two presidents he's sandwiched between. Not enough for you? Here's the kicker: learn then all in under an hour.


Uh-huh.


Memorize Academy is a totally fun way to memorize lists of information. Our instructor has a cool Australian (or Kiwi) accent and uses whiteboard animations and silly word associations as his trademark memory technique. We broke it up into ten per day and - BOOM! - presidents memorized! Here's a teaser for his method:



Got a favorite resource that fueled your curiosity this week? Leave a comment and point me in the right direction!


#Homeschool #Curiosity #Memorizeacademy #historydocumentary #themenwhobuiltamerica #mathgame #adiosamigos


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