Biographical History: Helen Keller

I love to introduce biographies to my children, especially since I’m still confused about what history curriculum, if any, would ever be a good fit for our family. We own a few great biographical books, including Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World.

So this past week I chose to delve into Helen Keller. We first borrowed Annie and Helen from the library. The girls were so intrigued! They loved closing their eyes and feeling my attempt at spelling words into their hands. This reminded me of another book that we own, The Black Book of Colors. We received it as a gift a few years ago, but the girls were too young to appreciate it. Now, they poured over the book, feeling all of the pictures, as if for the first time. (This book is in black, with raised pictures and braille, to give seeing people an experience of using touch to experience the world around them….very cool!)

A few days later, we were at the library again, picking up a few books, when M spotted another Helen picture book on the “staff recommends” shelf. So we checked that one (Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller) out too. It is another great biographical picture book, and I loved how it discussed Helen’s accomplishments and contributions in her adult life as well.

Today, the girls watched a cartoon movie about Helen Keller on YouTube (FYI, Brain Pop has a video too, if you have a subscription) and did some coloring pages and worksheets from here. We talked a lot about how to communicate when blind/deaf, especially before learning language, wrote our names in braille, and talked about how to discover our world using just our sense of smell or touch. We remembered that last spring we had spent some time exploring our sense of smell and identifying foods in a blindfold smell test. M insisted that we play a similar game today, identifying objects by touch while blindfolded. The first thing C told Dada when he came home tonight was that she watched a movie about Helen Keller.

collage of Helen Keller Books

  • "Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is. " - John Holt
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