Child Labor – Industrial Revolution Lesson

The Industrial Revolution and Child Labor

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In researching and making plans for our unit on the westward expansion, I was reminded about another important event in history that I couldn’t possibly leave out of our learning time – the Industrial Revolution, including the subject of child labor.  My children were very much moved by the thought of children working so hard, especially when they found out that so many children around the world are still effected by this practice.

We found and read two living literature gems that I had to pass along.

The Gate In The Wall

Set in England rather than America, we found The Gate In The Wall by Ellen Howard to be an excellent piece of living literature as well as giving us a clearer picture of the effects of child labor.

The Bobbin Girl

Set in 1830’s New England, The Bobbin Girl by Emily Arnold McCulley is a superb picture book on the topic.

Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor
Growing Up in Coal Country

And not living literature, we found Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor by Russell Freedman and Growing Up in Coal Country by Susan Campbell Bartoletti at our local library.  Both gave information and pictures that made the topic real to my children.

While reading, I found a coloring sheet in The Story of the World Activity Book Three: Early Modern Times to occupy busy hands and the back served as a nice place to notebook about child labor.

If you’re interested, Homeschool Share has a unit on The Bobbin GirlMr. Donn has several interesting links, too.  And this site looked intriguing, although I haven’t used any of the activities yet.


  1. Thanks, Cindy. I’m going to add those first two to my library list.

  2. Thanks! This is something we’ve been talking about lately, so I appreciate the books and website suggestions!

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