Learning State History

One of my favorite memories of school when I was in elementary grade was studying the history of California, my home state.  History has long been one of my favorite leisure subjects.  But there was something that was so connecting to know what happened in my local area.  There were so many interesting people and events all wrapped up in our state.

So with our own daughters right in the middle of their elementary years, Melinda and I decided that we should spend one term studying our local areas with them. 

Not only is it a great delight to study our home states with our daughters, but it is such a delight to deepen our roots in the states where we live.  Having lived and traveled in many states, it is so awe-inspiring to see the vast variety and uniqueness in each state. 

As we’ve talked with others about the beauty and uniqueness of Nebraska, we have found that so many are surprised to find this state in the Great Plains beautiful.  But how can it be anything else?  The unique and rich history of the state and the people who have lived here created a legacy worth knowing.  It is there just waiting for the (literal and figurative) travelers to show up and bask in what it has to show us.

Melinda put together an amazing free resource for those who want to learn and savor the history of Nebraska with their elementary aged students, and you can receive it for free when you sign up for our newsletter.  The book list is an amazing resource that gives you lots of different options across many different subjects.  You can choose to add one or two books to the school that you’re already doing.  Or you can chose to incorporate all of the books on the list. Regardless of what you choose, you will have an absolutely delightful time exploring the state of Nebraska.

But just to whet your appetite, here are some fun additional resources on Nebraska history.

The Nebraska state song is Beautiful Nebraska by Jim Fras, who composed it in 1967.  Jim Fras was born in Russia.  His father died after being interrogated by the Russian authorities.  Jim and his family ended up relcating to Germany and eventually to the United States.  Jim grew up to be a professional musician and went on to write this song that sings of the majesty of Nebraska.  (For more information on Jim Fras, check out this website.) 

In 1929, the beautiful Western Meadowlark officially became Nebraska’s state bird.  It can be easily identified by its bright yellow chest.  That beautiful, bold, and vibrant color is also found in the state flower, Goldenrod.  The bright pops of yellow spark happiness when these state emblems are spotted while traveling on the highways that intersect the state.

Nebraska has so many fun field trips!  Often people see it as a state that must be traveled through to get somewhere else.  In reality, Nebraska is an amazing state to travel to and spend several days exploring.

Carhenge – Jim Reinders created a replica of Stonehenge in Alliance, Nebraska…but he made his replica out of cars.  It is such a fun and quirky way to see the size and magnificence of Stonehenge.  (So this also makes a great introduction to studying Stonehenge as well!)

The Archway Museum in Kearney – The fun architecture of this museum entices visitors to turn off the interstate and take a relaxing break learning about Nebraska history.

Pony Express Station in Gothenburg – Stopping to see one of the stations that the brave riders of the Pony Express passed by on their amazing journey from Missouri to California and back again.  Make sure to check out the events page to see what other fun things you can find here throughout the year.

Chimney Rock – This was one of the most recognizable landmarks on the Oregon Trail, and it feels so historic to stand in the museum looking across the flat lands to see Chimney Rock rising in the distance. 

Stuhr Museum in Grand Island – Immersive history experiences are always enjoyed by our children!  And so the opportunity to walk on dirt roads and see buildings from the past impacts and changes your view on life and the comforts and conveniences of today.

Sign up for our bookish newsletter to get book suggestions for learning about Nebraska history and geography, for learning about Native American history in Nebraska, and for learning about a Nebraskan poet and artist.

~ Carrie ~

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