First Peoples, Geography, Historical Thinking Concepts, History, Nunavut, Teaching Resources

Continuity & Change – Inuit

Traditional Inuit were hunters and gatherers, moving seasonally to follow the food source. Even today, modern Inuit still harvest the land by hunting and fishing. Imported foods such as vegetables and milk are very expensive because of transportation costs. Inuit communities today have modern houses and lifestyles, yet there is an effort to maintain language and traditions of the past.

Children can watch videos about a Inuit boy and his father and keep a list of things that are different between traditional and modern cultures, and things that are the same. This is the practice of the historical thinking concept, continuity and change. See more…

Activities, Canadian History, Goldrush, History, Klondike, Teaching Resources, Yukon

Cremation of Sam McGee

Robert Service’s ballad about Sam McGee, the miner who could never get warm, was published with great popularity in 1907, and has been a classic every since. Explain to your kids that the story is an embellished and humorous look at the hardship of the Yukon gold rush.

The real Sam McGee was a successful miner from Ontario, who struck it rich and, in 1909, retired to fruit farming in Summerland, BC. He never met Robert Service, who used his name after McGee made a deposit at the bank in Whitehorse where Robert Service was a teller. On his 2nd return to the Yukon, Sam McGee found his fellow passengers on the steam-ship were buying “genuine ashes of Sam McGee”! It’s not everyday one can buy one’s own cremated ashes! McGee’s cabin is now part of the exhibit at the MacBride Musum in Whitehorse, YK.

Hear a marvelous rendition of the ballad at this link.

Activities, Canadian History, Geography, History, Homeschool conference

Order Ahead – Conferences

There’s nothing like a homeschool conference to get close-up and personal with books that will make or break your next school year. You know your children better than anyone and what materials will engage them most.

You can get the most out of a conference by shopping online ahead of time, knowing exactly what you want to view, and even ordering ahead to just pick up and go without the shipping costs.  On our site, to order online, choose the Pay by Cheque option and add a note in the comments field as you are finalizing your order, about where you want to pick it up. (If you miss the comments field, just send an instructional email to We’ll subtract the shipping added and have your order ready for pick-up.

Just make sure you really intend to pick up though. Look forward to seeing you.

Conference Schedule 2018

Black History, Canadian History, History, Teaching Resources

Black History Month

Mathieu Da Costa may have been the first black freeman, acting as an interpreter, to visit Canada with de Mons & Champlain, celebrated in this Canada Postage Stamp.

People of African descent have had a part in shaping Canada’s identity. Some Loyalists who came during and after the American Revolution and settled in East Coast provinces, were black. As far back as the War of 1812, Black Canadian soldiers defended our country and made sacrifices. Black History Month is a focused time to learn about the important contribution of Black Canadians in the history of our country, and to celebrate with Black Canadians the role and importance their ancestors played in the fabric of our society. See videos and resources here to make this easy for you to talk about Black History Month with your students.


David Thompson Series … #1

David Thompson might have been small and stocky, but he is larger than life in reputation. I can hear his laugh, imagine the twinkle in his eye, see him urge his companions to exhuastion, and glimpse his star-gazing calculations on a frosty night. There is a lot written about Lewis and Clark, but Thomson can be considered the greater of the geographers. Not only that, but as a trader he was a perceptive businessman, respectful of the native peoples and the French Canadiéns with whom he operated, and unique to his peers, he was a loyal family man.


David Thompson’s great aptitude for surveying allowed him to map almost one-fifth of the continent with unusualaccuracy.  His maps were regarded as authoritative well into the 20th century. Thompson completed a large map in 1814, which was still being used by the Canadian government 100 years later.  Explorer Alexander Mackenzie once said that Thompson did more in ten months than he would have thought possible in two years.


Time and again Thompson proved his good judgment in commerce. He respected the Native chiefs with whom he conducted business and managed the relationships of traders and Natives with shrewd insight. The following amusing incident, which Thompson records in his journal, shows just how clever he was at diverting conflict and keeping his trading colleagues in good humour (text appears as it was written).

 The Salish Indians were a fine race of moral Indians, the finest I had seen, and set a high value on the chastity of their women…two chiefs…entered the hall to smoke, but now with grave faces. I supposed they had heard of some chance of war: they soon broke the silence, …You know our law is, that a man that seduces a woman must be killed; I said I have no objection to your law, to what purpose do you tell me this;…one of your men has been every day, while we are hunting, to my tent with beads and rings to seduce my daughter. Looking round on my men, he said he is not here, (on their entering my servant had gone into my room, I knew it must be him; the men and myself were every day too much fatigued to think of women.) But wherever he is, we hope you will give him to us that he may die by our law. I told them I had no inclination to screen the Man, but…they must give me a Man to take his place…they looked at each other, and said we cannot find a man capable, besides his going among strange people where he may be killed;…then what is to be done, exclaimed the Orator. I replied, let him live this time, and as you are noted for being a good gelder of Horses; if this Man ever again enters your Tent, geld him, but let him live; at this proposition they laughed, and said, well let him live but so sure as he comes to seduce our women, we shall geld him; after smoking, they retired in good humour. But my men, all young and in the prime of life, did not at all relish the punishment.1 

As a family man, Thompson was loyal and committed. The love story between David and Charlotte, his Metis wife, is legendary. In a time when most fur traders left their country wives and families behind when they returned to civilization, David Thompson remained faithful for life during 57 years of marriage. For her part, Charlotte traversed mountains, withstood hardship and encountered danger to travel with her husband, even with young children at her side. When David passed away in poverty and obscurity in 1857, Charlotte followed him in death only three months later. Their love was a testimony to their faith in God and their commitment to each other.

1Thompson, David. David Thompson's narrative of his explorations in Western America, 1784-1812. Ed.  Joseph Burr Tyrrell. 
Toronto: Champlain Society, 1916. 17 May 2007.  p. 422-423


Teaching about New France

Children remember more of their history lesson when they can be involved in that period of history. Parks Canada has a great page to teach your children about New France and what it was like to live there between 1640 and 1740 AD. Your children can go to this link and defend New France.

Caroline Soucy,Parks Canada 2003
Caroline Soucy,Parks Canada 2003

They can go to Widow Chaure’s (click on soldier) and then build the palisades ordered by the Comte de Frontenac.
Cadet and sergeant of the Compagnies franches de la Marine between 1750 and 1755  Illustration by Eugène Lelièpvre / Parks Canada
Cadet and sergeant of the Compagnies franches de la Marine between 1750 and 1755 Illustration by Eugène Lelièpvre / Parks Canada

They can keep track of information in a free printable Soldier’s Notebook.
These are only a few of the activities from this website that your children can participate in.
More teaching ideas will be coming in future posts!