Here is how to create a tall tales unit study for homeschool high school.
How to Create a Tall Tales Unit Study for Homeschool High School
When I was a very young child, we lived in Texas. This was back before air conditioning and television was young so there wasn’t much to watch. In the evenings when the stars were coming out and the jackrabbits were invading the neighbors’ gardens, family and friends would gather in the backyard and “set a spell” (sit around for a while) spinning yarns and retelling famous tall tales.
My kids grew up with me telling them tall tales, although I don’t think I have the skill that those old-timers had. When my kids were old enough, we made writing tall tales of their own part of their curriculum, especially in high school years. I believe it is important to study them!
We made telling tall tales into a unit study of sorts. Here’s how to create a tall tales unit study for homeschool high school (and the whole family).
1. Start with a quick overview of American Westward Expansion. Here is History.com’s article with some useful videos.
2. Read about these famous tall tale heroes.
- Here’s a quick introductory YouTube about the tall tale literary genre.
- Pecos Bill AmericanFolklore.net
- Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe AmericanFolklore.net
- John Henry AmericanFolklore.net
- Calamity Jane (who was an actual person) Wikipedia article
3. Check out this post with tall tale discussion ideas.
4. Watch this delightful movie: Tall Tale (1995) starring Patrick Swayze.
- Here is Disney’s Paul Bunyan cartoon.
- Here is Disney’s Pecos Bill.
- There are animated tall tales (perhaps better for younger siblings).
5. Have your teens write their own tall tales. Our 7Sister homeschool high schoolers have enjoyed this etext for years. It’s fun, self-guiding and great for understanding part of American history and the literary genre that illustrates it. Download a copy of Tall Tale Short Story Writing and get started on your unit study!