One of my children wanted to learn about World War I this summer as part of this year’s Summer Camp. Fighting, bloodshed and carnage isn’t exactly my idea of a fun filled week, but my I wanted to support my son in his interests. The children wanted to focus more on the weapons, than on the icky war part. One of my other children had studied WWI this past school year and still had access to her online textbook, which made our experience very interactive.
We started off learning about how the war started and what alliances developed. I had forgotten how much the geography had changed from the early 1900’s to now. There were several countries then that have new names and different borders.
Next we learned about trench warfare and more about the soldier’s life on the war front. I knew the term “trench warfare”, but I never thought about how horrible it would have been to spend days in such a confined space. I also hadn’t thought much about why soldiers came home with trench foot and that there were more dangers than just the enemy. After all the dangers and discomfort, it was an ineffective way to fight.
While today’s soldiers aren’t usually stuck in a trench, they still struggle with conditions on the war front and from being so far from home. We found a few websites that helped us know where to send letters to soldiers currently defending our freedom.
We learned about what life was like for the citizens on the home front. They planted Victory Gardens and collected scrap metal for the war effort. They bought bonds and rationed food. We learned about how the government drafted men to fight in the war.
We each wrote a letter to one of the family members as if they were serving on the war front and included a “care package” (aka a cookie). To make it more of a game, we hid it and guided them to it by telling them if they were warmer or colder.