Free History Studies: George Washington and the Cherry Tree

George Washington earned an early reputation as being honest.

Read the current chapter online: “Washington and His Hatchet”

This poem will serve as an introduction to Washington whom we will meet again after the next lesson.  In this lesson, we’ll cover his boyhood and other basic facts; the remaining lessons will focus on his military service and presidency.

  • Map the following (you’ll find mapping resources below):
    • Virginia
    • The Rappahannock River where Ferry Farm, Washington’s childhood home, was located
  • The poem was written for Arbor Day.  Learn more about Arbor Day.
  • Learn about cherry trees.
  • The Bible has quite a bit to say about telling a lie.  Find a favorite verse on this theme to copy.
  • Narrate the story of George Washington and the cherry tree.
  • Write your own poem about George Washington using the poem in the lesson as a model.
  • When Washington was young, he transcribed the Rules of Civility.  Read these rules.  Some will sound very odd to our ears!  Choose one rule to copy and illustrate. (You’ll find more Rules of Civility resources below.)
  • Read about George Washington’s career as a surveyor and mapmaker.
  • More about George Washington from the Book of Knowledge:

    On February 22, 1732, in a homestead in Westmoreland County, Virginia, a boy was born who was to alter the history of a nation.  The name of that boy was George Washington.  His father died when the boy was eleven years of age, and he spent much of his time at the home of his half-brother, Lawrence.  Good schools were not common then, and the future president did not attend at all after he was eleven years old….When he was but sixteen, the real work of Washington’s life began.  He was placed in charge of the survey of the estate of Lord Fairfax in the Shenandoah Valley.  With but one companion, another young lad by the name of George Fairfax, he started out on horseback to ride to the Shenandoah Valley, a distance of 100 miles through the forest.  Upon their return to Mount Vernon, Lord Fairfax was so much pleased with Washington’s work that he had him appointed a public surveyor.For the next few years the young man’s life was spent largely in the forests.  He was gaining self-reliance and a knowledge of the country that was to stand him in good stead in the days to come.”Two Famous Presidents,” The Book of Knowledge

Further Investigation

George Washington
A ThinkQuest biography.

George Washington’s Boyhood
Biographical information from The George Washington Foundation.

The Cherry Tree Story
Excerpt from The Life of Washington by M. L. Weems.

Legends and Truths About George Washington
The cherry tree and other myths from The George Washington Foundation.

Trouble With Teeth
Ten things you probably didn’t know about George Washington’s teeth at!


Virginia Map/Quiz Printout

Interactive Map Maker {Free}
Make your own maps.

George Washington’s World for Kids
Step into the life and times of George Washington in this interactive from the Mount Vernon Ladies Association.

George Washington Cherry Cobbler
Just because. Yum!

George Washington’s Rules of Civility
An NPR broadcast taking a look at Washington’s Rules.

George Washington

George Washington by d’Aulaire
One of our favorites from the d’Aulaire series of children’s biographies.

“George Washington and His Hatchet”
Another retelling from Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin.

“Young George Washington”
Chapter from A First Book in American History also by Eggleston. Includes narration prompts.

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

Going by the Rules
Lesson plan at the Mount Vernon Ladies Association focusing on the Rules of Civility. Copywork pages are included.

Manners and Mores of Washington’s America
Lesson plan at the Mount Vernon Ladies Association that analyzes the Rules of Civility and has the student classify them into one of four categories (scroll down).

You Can Be Like George Washington
Designed to go with a visit to George Washington Birthplace National Monument, this 30-page National Park Service download stands well on its own with background and biographical information and discussion questions.

Printables & Notebooking Pages

United States Map map for locating Virginia.

Virginia Map
Map for notebook, useful for locating the Rappahannock River.

George Washington and the Cherry Tree Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations, or wrapping up.

Enjoy the complete series:
Free History Studies: Stories of Great Americans
Free History Studies: Stories of Great Americans

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