Lesson Plan - The Home Front
Civil War
Lesson Plan

The Home Front

You are here

A Civil War Curriculum Lesson

Grades: Elementary

Approximate Length of Time: 50 Minutes

Goal: Students will be able to list examples of work done on the home front and describe how news traveled to the home front.


  1. Students will be able to discuss the role of women, children, and slaves on the farm and in the home.
  2. Students will be able to discuss how women and slaves supported the soldiers at war.
  3. Students will be able to identify ways news of the war traveled to the home front, using primary sources such as newspapers, photographs, and letters.


Download the lesson plan, along with the following materials and PowerPoint, at the bottom of this page.

  • Children’s Voices from the Civil War
  • The Civil War Home Front PowerPoint
  • Absolom Harrison Letter I
  • Absolom Harrison Letter II
  • Letty Barnes Letter
  • Rebecca Barrett Letter
  • Sarah S. Sampson Letter
  • Analyzing a Primary Source Letter
  • My Life in the Civil War


  • Civilian-a person who is not a soldier or member of the armed forces

Anticipatory Set/Hook: 

  1. Read excerpts of Children's Voices from the Civil War aloud to the class.
  2. Ask students why they think children had these types of experiences.
  3. Tell students that today they will determine how the Civil War impacted civilians.


Print out the PowerPoint with notes prior to class. There are notes included with the slides that can be on the printed slides, but won’t be seen by your students during the presentation.
Print out and give a copy of The Home Front PowerPoint to each student. Four slides per page leaves room for note taking.

Activity 1

Present The Home Front PowerPoint presentation, following the discussion questions in the notes section.

Activity 2

  1. Divide students into 5 groups.
  2. Pass out one of the following primary source letters to each group:
    1. Absolom Harrison Letter I
    2. Absolom Harrison Letter II
    3. Letty Barnes Letter
    4. Rebecca Barrett Letter
    5. Sarah S. Sampson Letter
  3. Pass out a copy of Analyzing a Primary Source Letter to each group
  4. Have each group read its primary source letter and analyze it using the Analyzing a Primary Source Letter.


  1. Read some quotes from Children’s Voices from the Civil War as a group.
  2. Ask students to then write a paragraph discussing their life as a child during the Civil War using My Life in The Civil War.

Assessment in this Lesson: 

  • Notes taken during PowerPoint presentation.
  • Informal assessment of responses to questions during PowerPoint presentation.
  • Analysis of primary source letters.
  • Completion of My Life in the Civil War.