The Civil War Unit Study and Lap Book

by | Jul 18, 2013 | American History, Civil War, Lap Books | 12 comments

The boys have been creating Lap Books as we make our way through American History!  I think, for some children including my own, Lap Books can be an excellent tool for teaching.  Not only do they encourage creativity, they are a great way to reinforce and record the information that is being studied.  Yes, Lap Books do take extra work for both the kids and (especially) mom, but I think that it is time well spent, and it is a sacrifice I am willing to make.  That said, I am usually very selective on which Lap Books I decide to create, choosing only quality materials, and topics my children love, to make it worth the extra time.

The next on our list of Lap Books is the boys’ Civil War Lap Book which they made while the girl’s created one based on the Addy American Girl series.   I have been very pleased with the high quality mini-books from the Time Travelers series – though I do make some modifications to incorporate our Catholic Faith.   

You can find my additional mini books below.

B is for Battle Cry and Safari Toobs: Union Soldiers & Confederate Soldiers

.:  Resources and Book Lists for Unit Five – The Civil War :.

Core Text
From Sea to Shining Sea (Chapters 16-17 – The Civil War Part 1 and Part 2)
From Sea to Shining Sea Worksheets

Additional Books read by the Boys: 

Barefoot: Escape on the Underground Railroad
Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
If You Grew Up with Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln (Dell Picture Yearling Special)
Just a few words, Mr. Lincoln: The story of the Gettysburg Address
Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers
Abe Lincoln and the Muddy Pig
Abe Lincoln Remembers
Abraham Lincoln: Lawyer, Leader, Legend
A Picture Book of Robert E. Lee
Civil War On Sunday (Magic Tree House #21)
B is for Battle Cry: A Civil War Alphabet
Cassie’s Sweet Berry Pie: A Civil War Story
Thomas Finds a Treasure: A St. John Neumann Story
Willy Finds Victory: A Blessed Francis Seelos Story

The boys took turns reading various picture books, including Cassie’s Sweet Berry Pie: A Civil War Story, to the little ones… 

. . . If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad
Go Free or Die: A Story About Harriet Tubman
Young Abe Lincoln: The Frontier Days: 1809-1837
Abe Lincoln: Log Cabin to White House
Meet Abraham Lincoln (Landmark Books)
The Long Road to Gettysburg or Gettysburg (Civil War Times Illustrated Special Edition)
The Last Brother: A Civil War Tale (Tale of Young Americans)
My America: My Brother’s Keeper: Virginia’s Civil War Diary, Book One
Robert E. Lee: Young Confederate (Childhood of Famous Americans)
Behind the Blue and Gray: The Soldier’s Life in the Civil War (Young Reader’s Hist- Civil War)
Ghosts of the Civil War
If You Lived At The Time Of The Civil War
Classic Starts: The Red Badge of Courage
Abraham Lincoln and the Heart of America – Jim Weiss Audio

Coloring Books:

Activities and Games:  (A list of ideas… We don’t own all of these.) 

.: Timeline Entries :.

  • 1807-1870 Robert E. Lee
  • 1811-1860 St. John Newmann
  • 1820-1913 Harriet Tubman
  • 1824-1863 “Stonewall Jackson”
  • 1861-1865 Lincoln – 16th President of the United States 
  • 1861-1865 Civil War 
  • July 1-3, 1863 Battle at Gettysburg
  • 1863 Emancipation Proclamation
  • April 9, 1866 Civil Rights Act

I asked the boys to choose a few people or events from the list above to add to their History Through the Ages Record of Time timeline book during this unit. The listings in bold are the ones that they choose to include this year. Here are a couple pictures:



.: INSIDE VIEW #1 :.

Left Flap:

  • The Christian Commission
  • Carpetbaggers
Blue Center Page:
  • The Liberator
  • The North Star
  • Accoutrements, Accessories & Possibles of the Civil War Soldier
Right Flap:
  • Antietam: The Bloodiest Day
  • The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
Closeup Pictures of the mini-books:

The Liberator
Accoutrements, Accessories & Possibles – with descriptions on the back of each and stored in the Pocket/Pouch
Antietam – “The Bloodiest Day”
.: INSIDE VIEW #2 :.

Back of Left Flap:
  • Fort Sumter: The First Conflict
  • Federal & Confederate Weaponry
  • Battle of the Ironclads
Center of Folder: 
  • Causes for Conflict
  • Gettysburg: The Turning Point
  • Women of the Civil War
Battle of the Ironclads
Federal & Confederate Weaponry
Gettysburg: The Turning Point
Women of the Civil War
Rose’s favorite in Pink-uh!!!!
.:  Bonus Flap :.

The boys and I decided to include the contributions made by Catholics during the Civil War!

Additional Catholic Mini-Books:

Of course we listened to The Fighting 69th while assembling the Lap Books! 🙂

.: Fully Opened View :. 

The boys completed this Unit Study during our 4th quarter and then moved on to Unit Six – The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression, which I’ll (hopefully) be sharing with you all soon.  We are also currently studying World War II and the 20th Century over the summer, squeezing it in before we return to Ancient History in the fall!


  1. Amy

    Your timing is perfect for me! We just started the Time Traveler's Civil War lap book and I LOVE your idea of incorporating our Catholic Faith. I agree that it's worth the extra time and effort (and I have 7 kids under 14!). It really sticks with them and helps them make connections. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. God bless your beautiful family!!!

  2. 9peasMom

    I love this, thank you for sharing your mini-books and documents what a great lap book and Civil War study!

  3. Michelle

    Once again you have outdone yourself in creativity and generosity by sharing all of this with us. God bless you. Your boys sure are growing.

  4. The girl who painted trees

    Are you using a particular curriculum? When you say Unit 5 and 6, are those just units you came up with yourself or it it from a curriculum? It looks like you use RC History, but I know they aren't done with their last volume…Just curious as I am always on the look-out for good curriculum. Thanks.

  5. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you Amy! 🙂 It sounds like our families are very similar – our oldest turns 13 tomorrow!

  6. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you Michelle! And I was just looking through an old photo album last night and thinking the same thing… They are growing up so fast… God bless you too!

  7. Jessica Gordon

    Thanks Kathy! It really was such a fun lap book to create! 🙂

  8. Jessica Gordon

    We started out using RC History's Volume One in 2008-2009 and then moved on to Volume Two in 2009-2010. At that point Volume Three from RC History wasn't published yet, so we worked on some of the units as they were published in 2010-2011. (You can see a post from our study of the Vikings here.)

    In 2011 I decided to come up with my own plans for American History for the 2011-2012 school year. I choose From Sea to Shining Sea as the core text for the boys and searched through many resources for additional books to purchase or borrow from our library. I based my "Units" on the Time Travelers series so that I could incorporate the Lap Books – modifying them as needed to add some Catholic Historical People and Events as well.

    In December of 2011 I had another baby which really slowed us down, at least for History, and it has taken us two years to complete my plans – though we added in a Presidential Election Lap Book and Unit Study and are also currently working on a quick overview of World War II and The 20th Century.

    Creating my own plans made me appreciate all the hard work it has taken to create an amazing program like RC History! I am really looking forward to returning to it next year, especially now that some of my children are older.

  9. Unknown

    Wow! I've only been following your blog for about a month and I hadn't realized you had done these awesome American History plans. This is what I've been looking for and trying to do myself with no luck. I feel very blessed to come upon this. Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. Kimberlee

    These are fabulous, Jessica! (and great job, boys!) I love that you included Fr. Corby! I agree that lapbooks are worth their great effort as they are so nice for reviewing lessons learned and a great keepsake to look back on. And we all enjoyed listening to the 69th you posted!

  11. Unknown

    How do I buy this?

  12. Jessica Gordon

    Just updated the links in the post. 🙂


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