Planning for Addy – American Girl Club

March 9, 2010 at 8:47 am (Uncategorized)

My daughter with her Addy doll that she picked out for her birthday last month.

This week we will start our study of Addy in American Girl Club.  This week will mark the 35th week that we have met for American Girl Club!  (We did 6 weeks each on Kaya, Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten and 10 weeks on Samantha.)  Out of all the studies we have done together Addy is going to the the toughest.  Honestly, I have been wondering about how exactly to handle teaching Addy since we started American Girl Club last year.  The problem is that slavery and the Civil War are just a really difficult period of American History.  One of the beauties of studying American History through the American Girl books is that the girls get emotionally attached to the characters in the book.  Which is great, except in this case it makes the subject matter even more difficult.  Our club has a wide range of girls from different backgrounds.  Plus our girls range in age from 6 to eleven. I have been struggling for weeks on how to teach this material in a sensitive and appropriate way. 

Last weekend I sat and read through all 6 Addy books at one time.  WOW, I cried a lot!  What I decided was that it is best for our group for the girls to read the stories at home with their mom’s and then discuss them with their mom’s.  Normally we start our time together discussing the books, but this time we are not going to discuss the books at American Girl Club.  This way it will leave it up to each mom to decide what their daughter is ready to hear. 
And it’s not just the slavery issue that I want to be sensitive about. (Although that is a big one.)  But, there are plenty of other issues like leaving a baby behind, being separated from dad, extreme poverty, war, and even amputation. Whew! 

I have prayed and prayed over the best way to teach Addy. We will still be discussing many of the issues raised in the Addy books, but we will be using other materials and activities to make it all not so personal.  After much prayer this seems the best way to approach this for our group.  If you are teaching an American Girl Club I encourage you to prayerfully plan what you will be doing and discuss with the mom’s in your group what will work best for your girls.

Below you will find my week by week plan for Addy which represent many, many hours of planning and research.  Please feel free to use it and change it in any way that will better fit your American Girl Club. If I have linked to pictures that we took on our trip to the East Coast please feel free to share those with your girls too.

Week 1: Meet Addy – Book 1
Theme: Slavery and The Underground Railroad
Snack – Cornmeal Mush
Craft – shell necklace, kerchief, N. Carolina, Pennsylvania and Philly Worksheets
Activity – Read The Listeners and Under the Quilt of Night
Read From In Addy’s World: Pages 1 – 7

  1. Talk to the girls about being sensitive to each others feelings, asking their mom’s if they have questions and why we study history. (Include quote "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." and Genesis 1:27)
  2. Show pictures of Slave Quarters.

Week 2: Addy Learns a Lesson – Book 2
Theme: Addy starts school in Philly / Difficulties starting a new life after slavery
Craft: Applique Pillow
Activity: Read
If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War
Black Eyed Peas and Buttermilk Biscuits
Read From In Addy’s World: Pages 8 – 11 and 28 -33
Other Ideas:

  1. Bring a Abacus and slate for the girls to try out.
  2. Take an online tour of the Betsy Ross home. This is VERY similar to the home Addy and her mother stay in and where her mother works as a seamstress.
  3. Have a Spelling Bee.
  4. Talk about what school was like during this time.

Week 3:
Addy’s Surprise – Book 3
Theme: Christmas/ New Life in Philly/ Helping other escape slavery
Craft – Shadow Puppet and a Scarf for Mama
Activity – Sing Joy To the World and This Little Light of Mine
Snack – Sweet Potato Pudding
Read From In Addy’s World: Pages 12 – 23
Other Ideas:

  1. Take a Kerosene lamp for the girls to look at.
  2. Write a poem about an event in Addy’s time and recite to the group.
  3. View a Shadow Hand Puppets Book from 1859
  4. Watch this video of a cool shadow puppet show.

Week 4: Happy Birthday Addy – Book 4
Theme: Spring/ Addy’s Birthday/ Emancipation
Craft: Hobby Horse
Activity: Jump Rope
Snack: Make Ice Cream in a Bag
Read From In Addy’s World: Pages 34 – 37 and 40 – 41
Other Ideas:

  1. Bring ice for the girls to snack on while I read from Sojourner Truth.
  2. Read a Brer Rabbit story.

Week 5: Addy Saves the Day – Book 5
Theme: The Civil War is Over
Craft: Spool puppets
Activity: Read book Abe’s Honest Words.
Snack: Molasses Cookies and Iced Tea
Read From In Addy’s World: Pages 42 – 47
Other Ideas:

  1. Take pictures of Ford’s Theater and the house Lincoln died in to show the girls.
  2. Find slide whistles for the girls.
  3. Put on a puppet show.

Week 6: Changes for Addy – Book 6
Theme: Getting the family back together
Craft: Rag Dolls filled with beans
Activity: Read Emancipation Proclamation, have a Emancipation party,
Snack: Have a Potluck! – Ham, collard greens, peas, rice, cornbread, rice, biscuits, mock apple pie, yams, watermelon, goobers/peanuts, etc.
Read From In Addy’s World: Page 48 – 58
Other Ideas:

  1. Take pictures from the Smithsonian on all the steps it took to do laundry back then. 
  2. Show girls the pictures of the tables and chairs used to sign the terms of surrender to the Civil War.
  3. Play Mancala on our homemade boards!

Ongoing project at the end of the evening – Have the girls continue to work on their rag rugs that they started in our Kirsten study.

So that is the plan.  I we may not do everything and I know things may change as we move along, so stay tuned.  I will be posting each week with pictures and details as we go. 

Happy Homeschooling,




  1. Anonymous said,

    Great plans! And it sounds like you are being very sensitive to the girls in your group. Awesome! Another thing that is great about homeschooling – tailoring it to the development and ability of each one.
    Continue to love your blog, on a daily basis!
    Shannon in Indiana

  2. AthaSchool1 said,

    I love reading about the American Girl project! Makes me wish I had some girls! Too bad there aren't equivilent American boy books!

  3. Zinnada said,

    Hello, I found your blog due to looking for information and ideas as to how to end our study on slavery. I'll be back. I like some of your ideas and activities.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jessy said,

    …you lived in Maine! LOL My little girl would LOVE LOVE this, but I'm not able to find many little girls in the area that would participate in an American Girl Club.

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