Thursday, March 31, 2016

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

The School House Review Crew March Blog Hop is in full swing! Read some of these tips for homeschool parents by clicking on the links below! Come back here tomorrow for tips of Enrichment Studies in a Charlotte Mason Homeschool.

Tiffany @ The Crafty Home

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Memoria Press Review: 6th Grade Literature Guide Set {TOS Review}

My children and I love good literature, so we were happy to be chosen to review the Sixth Grade Literature Guide Set from Memoria Press.

What did we receive?

Memoria Press generously sent us the entire sixth grade set - 4 Teacher's Guides and 4 Student Study Guides. The four books that are used in this set are:

  • King Arthur 
  • Adam of The Road
  • Robin Hood {used by Eli, my 5th grader}
  • The Door in the Wall {used by Mikaela, my 7th grader}

These literature guides focus on spelling, comprehension, vocabulary, and composition skills. Each lesson in the Student Study Guide has six parts. I will briefly describe each part.

  • Reading Notes: This section is completed prior to reading the chapter {or chapters} in your book. There are key places, events, and vocabulary words that may not be familiar to your child. 
  • Vocabulary: There are 3-6 words per lesson. I had my children read the vocabulary words before reading their portion of the book, look for and highlight the words in their books, and we would discuss the meaning. 
  • Comprehension Questions: There are 4-6 comprehension questions for each lesson. The answers may be written in complete sentences on the lines provided or answered orally. Eli answered his questions orally, but Mikaela wrote her answers down and then we discussed them.
  • Quotations: A short quote from the reading selection is provided, and the student must answer who said it, whom they were speaking to, and what they meant by it. This was, by far, Eli's favorite part of the guide.
  • Discussion Questions: There are 2-5 discussion questions that are to be answered orally. 
  • Enrichment: This section is different every day. There may be mapping activities, drawing, research, literary terms, or poetry work. 
There are also Unit Review and Quizzes every few lessons, and a Final Comprehensive Test is included. The appendix also has maps, poetry, and extra information about the time period.

{Some of Mikaela's work}

What did we think?

We try to follow a Charlotte Mason homeschool approach, which does not include formal literary analysis. We have not used a study guide like this before, and there were things we liked and things we didn't like. I'll start with what we did like.

  • My kids loved their books! The book selections are really top-notch, living literature. Eli has thoroughly enjoyed reading "Robin Hood", and Mikaela was pleasantly surprised at how well she enjoyed "The Door in the Wall". 
  • The literature guides are very complete. I enjoyed my children learning the vocabulary words and about the time periods their books were set it.
  • The Teacher's Guide was also well done. The lessons look exactly the same in both books, but the Teacher's Guide has the answers provided on the lines {with the exception of the Discussion Questions - those are found in the back of the book}.
  • I enjoyed being able to discuss the questions orally. Eli doesn't like to write, and some of the answers were lengthy. He was relieved when I started to allow him to answer the questions orally if he answered in complete sentences. 
  • The literature guides are beautiful - the covers are glossy and bright, and the paper is nice and thick.
Now, what we didn't like.

  • I think there were too many questions per lesson. 
  • Some of the questions were difficult to answer {or even find in the book}.
  • The guides took Mikaela a long time to complete every day. Eli didn't take as long because he answered orally.
  • I feel like the guides took some of the fun out of reading. There was too much dissecting.
  • We don't give tests or quizzes in our homeschool, so I skipped those. Plus, the quizzes and tests were way too long! 
{The Discussion Questions and Answers in the back of the Teacher's Guide}

Are these guides all the same, or do they differ?

These literature guides are all set up in the same manner, but the content does differ some. For example, "The Door in the Wall" is by far the shortest book and literature guide. There are no quizzes in this guide; rather, there is a mid-term exam and a final exam. "Adam of the Road", on the other hand, includes 5 quizzes and a final exam. Also, some of the Appendixes in the guides have more information than others. "Robin Hood" includes a 7-page glossary, 2 pages of maps, several poems, and information about Mendicant Friars. "King Arthur" also has a large appendix and longer quizzes and tests. Each literature guide includes the 6 parts I discussed above, an appendix, and quizzes or tests. The discussion questions and answers can be found in the back of the Teacher's Guide of each set.

Do we plan to continue using these literature guides?

I think so, but modified. Mikaela and Eli both want to read "King Arthur" next, so I may let them both read the assigned chapter a day, and then we will discuss the literature guide orally. It would be fun to do the same book, and I know they would enjoy being able to talk about it together. Mikaela enjoyed the literature guide more than Eli did, so she may do them next year for her 8th grade year.

Memoria Press is a wonderful company providing classical homeschool curriculum to many families. I have looked at their website extensively, although we don't use a classical approach to homeschooling. They offer these Literature Guide Sets in every grade, and they even have complete curriculum kits for each grade level. The preschool and junior kindergarten curriculum sets look really amazing, with lots of rich literature.

Check out Memoria Press on:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Charlotte Mason Homeschooling, Part 2: Multiple Ages

This is the second in a three part series of Charlotte Mason Homeschooling. These are the other posts:

Day 1: The Early Years
Day 2: Multiple Ages
Day 3: Enrichment Studies

Most homeschooling families have more than one child, and some have quite a few! I have five children, which seems like a lot at times and not enough at others! Homeschooling multiple children of multiple ages can be tricky. Having to juggle three, four, five, or even six different curriculums would be, in my opinion, impossible. I much prefer, as do many families, to have Family Learning for many of core subjects.

How can you homeschool five kids with a ten year age gap? How can a 13 year old learn alongside a 5 year old? Won't one of them suffer? How is this possible? These are questions I have been asked, and questions I have asked myself at times!

The core subjects that are most easily combinable are history, geography, science, Bible, and enrichment studies {artist, composer, and poetry studies}. Math and grammar will have to be done individually at each child's grade level. However, the core subjects I listed above are very easy to adapt to fit each child's level, while everyone is learning the same thing.

We use BiblioPlan for history and geography. It is written for grades Kindergarten through 12th grade. Of course, my older children understand and remember more, but my younger children do remember key events and people, learn mapping skills, and enjoy creating projects from the time periods we are studying. Here is a post where I explain how we use BiblioPlan for multiple ages.

We are using Christian Kids Explore for Science. It is written for grades Kindergarten through 6th grade, but is very easy to adapt to older children. Simply add more literature, more research, or more experiments.

Here are some things to keep in mind when homeschooling multiple ages with one curriculum:

  • Notebooking! This is a wonderful tool that any age can participate in. I simply give a few guidelines for my children's notebook page {a topic or theme} and they create their own pages. My 5 year old may draw a picture and write a word or two, while my 13 year old creates wonderfully illustrated and fact-filled notebook pages. You can also print notebooking pages from sites like,
  • Mapping! I make copies of the same map for all 5 of my children. My youngest two don't really know what they're doing, but they are learning to follow directions, mapping skills, and pre-writing skills.
  • Literature! Buy or borrow a few living, picture books for your younger children that correspond with the same time period or science topic. This will help them understand what you're talking about and creating interest.
  • Family projects! Instead of creating 4 or 5 paper crafts each week {that will no doubt be thrown away}, work on a family project from the time period you're studying {or the science topics}. That way, your children will learn teamwork and will work on something that will be useful and kept for many years to come.
  • Keep little hands busy! Allow your little ones to play quietly with play-dough or color a picture while you are reading longer passages. Their minds will be listening to you, but their hands will be busy and their mouths will be quiet.
  • Narrations! Allow each child to give a narration from different literature or passages read, adjusting expectations for their ages.
I hope these tips have helped you! Check back here tomorrow for some tips on Charlotte Mason Enrichment Studies.

Read some more posts from participating Crew members for more tips for homeschooling parents!

Emilee @ Pea of Sweetness

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Logic of English: Foundations A {TOS Review}

Silas, my 5 and 1/2 year old son, has learned uppercase and lowercase alphabet recognition and is now ready to learn how to read! I was very excited when I was chosen to review the Logic of English's Foundations A program.

What is Foundations A?

Foundations A is a beginning reading program focused extensively on phonemic awareness. Using fun games and lots of motion, children will learn how to read and write the lowercase and uppercase alphabet and start decoding short vowels sounds and consonant blends. Speech tips are included to help your child articulate sounds.

What did I receive?

I received the Foundations A Teacher's Manual, Student Workbook, Doodling Dragons: An ABC Book of Sounds, Basic Phonogram Flash Cards, Phonogram Game Cards, Phonogram Game Tiles, Rhythm of Handwriting Tactile Cards, Student Whiteboard, Rhythm of Handwriting Quick Reference, and Phonogram and Spelling Rules Quick Reference.

What did I think of the materials?

The materials are top-notch. The flashcards are heavy cardstock and very durable! Even the game tiles and phonogram cards seem very durable. The Doodling Dragons book is very colorful, with thick, glossy pages. The Teacher's Manual is a hardback book, while the Student Workbook is a thick paperback workbook.

The Teacher's Manual is laid out very well. Each lesson, which is designed to take as long as your child needs, has three main parts: Phonemic Awareness, Handwriting, and Phonogram Practice. {In the later lessons, spelling words are included. We haven't made it that far yet!}

At the beginning of every lesson, there is a box with Objectives and Materials Needed {and Optional}. This is great! I can glance at the next lesson or two and determine if I need to gather any materials. There is very rarely something I need to purchase, and if there is, there is usually a substitution. For example, on Lesson 20, it says "sensory box with salt or whipped cream or shaving cream". It is very easy to use what you have on hand.

The Phonemic Awareness section introduces and practices segmenting words, beginning and ending sounds, and vowel sounds in the middle of words. This is done by playing word games and using the Student Workbook. For example, in Lesson 18, I had to segment a word for Silas to blend together. Then, he had to act out the word. If  I segmented "laugh" {l-a-f}, he had to say the word, and then laugh! He loved playing this game, as it appears many times in the lessons.

The Handwriting Practice section teaches different handwriting strokes and writing letters. You can choose Manuscript or Cursive; we chose Manuscript. I was really concerned that Silas would get confused in this part, as he had to learn several different strokes - the down stroke, the roll stroke, the drop-hook stroke, etc - but he did much better than I expected! The white board is used in this section to practice the letters or strokes, and then the child is instructed to draw a few in his workbook. There are different sized lines, and Silas always used the large lines.

The Phonogram Practice section is full of games! You don't have to do everything in this part; it is mainly for extra practice. I always try to do at least one game. There are some fun ways to practice phonograms! For example, playing Bingo with chocolate chips or shooting a Nerf gun at the phonograms. Silas loved playing these games, and they helped him so much!

There are helpful Teacher Tips on nearly every page! I read these, and they were very helpful. There are also extra activities spread throughout the lesson under a Multi-Sensory Fun box. An example of this is "Multi-Sensory Fun: Let the student slap the phonograms with a fly swatter or sticky hand."

Following every 5th lesson is a Review lesson. I loved these. There is a handy chart with the skills learned and mastery level needed to move on. There are 3 mastery levels - 1 means the skill should be mastered before moving on; 2 means the skill should be familiar to the child, but still working towards mastery; and 3 means the skill does not need to mastered before moving on. There are extra practice ideas for children who have not mastered the skills yet.

I also really love the Speech Tips included in the lessons. Silas has had to have speech therapy for his speech issues, and so many of the techniques we use for his speech therapy are used in this book! Recognizing voiced and unvoiced sounds and nasal sounds, observing the way your mouth moves when you make a sound, and singing vowels are all things we have or will be doing with his speech therapist. I really think this has helped him to recognize and form certain sounds, as he has to think about the whys and hows of his mouth formation, feel the air blowing from his mouth, and feel the vibrations on his throat for some sounds.

Do we plan to continue Foundations?

Yes! We plan to continue Foundations A and then move on to Foundations B. Silas enjoys this program and is moving along at a nice pace. I like how the lessons encourage motion, hands-on activities, and phonemic awareness.

I have talked about all of the things I love about Foundations A, but there is one thing I don't love about it. I don't like how all the sounds a letter makes are taught at once. For example, when Silas learned the "s" sounds, he had to say "sss" and "zzz". This is confusing to him, as he told me, "The Z says 'zzz', not the S!" And the "i" had four sounds to learn! I understand the reasons they use all of the sounds, but I don't like it! I may be doing something that I will regret later in the program, but I am just teaching Silas the short and long vowel sounds and the most commonly heard consonant sounds. So, for the "s", we just say "sss"; although, I do tell him that sometimes the "s" says "zzz", like in "was".

It's not a deal-breaker for me {yet} because we love everything else about this program! I highly recommend this for any child who is about to begin reading, especially the child who doesn't like to sit still!

Check out the Logic of English on:


5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

The School House Review Crew Blog Hop is in full force! I'm only posting mine on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Check out some of the participating member's tips for homeschool parents:

Melanie (Wren) @ finchnwren
Melissa @ Mom's Plans

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Monday, March 28, 2016

Charlotte Mason Homeschooling, Part 1: The Early Years

My family is moving toward a Charlotte Mason homeschool, and I am learning so much along the way. I hope to share some of what I've been learning with you this week as I take part in the School House Review Crew March Blog Hop - 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents. I'll be sharing on the following topics:

Day 1: The Early Years
Day 2: Multiple Ages
Day 3: Enrichment Studies

Preschool and Kindergarten are what Charlotte Mason called "The Early Years". The early years are very important to a child's future education. However, Mrs. Mason did not encourage formal lessons at this age. In fact, she thought it best for a child to be at least 6 or 7 years old before he started formal school lessons, and even then, that they be kept short and interesting.

So what exactly do the early years look like? Shouldn't children be learning to read and write? Should a child be allowed to run around in total freedom? I'm going to talk about five aspects of a Charlotte Mason education that should be introduced {and expanded upon} in the early years.

Handicrafts and Skills

Handicrafts are different from arts and crafts. While learning to cut and paste are very important skills to learn, paper crafts aren't "handicrafts" as defined by Charlotte Mason. A handicraft is a skill learned that produces something useful. {I have a page on my blog listing some of the handicrafts we have done, if you are interested.}

A few examples would be:
  • lacing beads and cards
  • watercolor painting
  • making simple toys
  • beginner mosaic crafts
  • beginner sewing or embrodiary
  • making a bird house {we use tin cans}
  • baking cookies or bread
  • building with Legos or wooden blocks
  • learning hygiene {brushing teeth, washing hair, getting dressed}
  • making wind chimes
  • making Christmas ornaments
  • play-dough and modeling clay

There are many more handicrafts that children this age can create and many skills to be learned. We try to do one handicraft a week, but some weeks we do several and some weeks we may not do anything other than watercolor painting.

Nature Study

Nature Study is such a simple thing to incorporate into your daily homeschool. Of course, playing outside can be considered nature study, as many young children are constantly observing insects and frogs, picking flowers and looking at the roots and petals, and asking a myriad of questions. But making a point to do a formal nature study once or twice a week is a simple and important thing you can do in the early years {and really, in all the years!}

A few things you can do for formal nature study would be:
  • bird watching
  • planting seeds and watching them grow
  • observing the clouds and wind
  • keeping a weather chart and checking the thermometer
  • watching ants or other bugs
  • having a picture scavenger hunt {certain plants and bugs to find}
  • having a sound-only scavenger hunt {listening for birds, the wind, crickets, and such}
  • feeding ducks at a pond
  • making nature bracelets {use packing tape, sticky-side up, wrapped around your child's wrist}

Living Books

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

Reading books is usually a given when you have small children. All of my children have loved to be read to from a young age. Having a nice size supply of living books available for your children to explore is a great idea.

What is a "living book"? I took this definition from Simply Charlotte Mason:

Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The books pull you into the subject and involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject “come alive.” They can be contrasted to dry writing, like what is found in most encyclopedias or textbooks, which basically lists informational facts in summary form. You might be surprised to find that living books are available for most school subjects — even math, geography, and science!

There are many living books for the early years that your child will enjoy, and he will learn through simply reading a book to him! A few of our favorite living books series for the preschool and kindergarten ages are:

You don't have to do any fancy activities or add anything to rich literature. Simply read and let your child soak in the knowledge.

Finger Plays, Rhymes and Songs

Product Details

I'm not sure if Charlotte Mason actually advocated for this, but I found it a gentle and effective way to teach your younger children. We use songs to learn the days of the week, months of the year, skip counting, and Bible stories. We use finger plays to learn the days of creation and counting. We use rhymes to learn, well, rhyming words! You can use songs to teach scripture memorization or poetry memorization, states and capitals, and animals and their sounds. Here is a list of some great fingerplays and rhymes you can do with your children. Besides being educational, they are just fun!

Hands-On Pre-Reading, Pre-Writing and Math

This is not necessary for the early years, but some parents really want their preschool and kindergarten children to learn how to read and how to add and subtract. I do introduce and use many math and pre-reading and pre-writing manipulatives and toys at this age, but I don't do "formal" lessons until around mid-Kindergarten {and even then, they are short - 10 minutes each}.

Some great items to have would be:
Some activities that can be done at this age are:
  • word building with letter tiles. Just write a word on an index card and allow the child to build the word with the letter tiles and practice sounding them out. You can work on word families {cat, bat, mat, rat} or words from a book you have been reading.
  • letter building with playdough, craft sticks, or pipe cleaners.
  • learning to add and subtract with dice. Or Legos. Or beans. Or counting bears. Just make it a game, and your child will love it!
  • playing concentration with alphabet flash cards. Use a few letters at time, preferably some the child is learning.
  • writing letters in shaving cream, whipped cream, or a salt try.

I hope that you understand the main point of this post: The early years should be a gentle introduction into learning. Don't push worksheets and reading lessons on your young child. They will learn all they need to learn and more by the activities listed above. Enjoy your child. Read books. Play outside. Read more books. Play outside some more.

I am actually in the process of writing a "The Early Years: Preschool Guide" curriculum guide. It is a 5-day, weekly schedule with nature study, reading, alphabet and math fun, and Bible lessons. I'm hoping to have it done early May, so I can use it with my almost-4 year old, Titus.

Come back tomorrow for the next post in this series: Charlotte Mason Homeschooling - Multiple Ages.

Visit some of the other participating Crew Members for their Tips for Homeschool Parents.

Annette @ A Net In Time
Cassandra @ A Glimpse of Normal
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Crystal @ Crystal Starr
Danielle @ Sensible Whimsy

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Upcycling is a little different from recycling, but both are great ways to cut back on waste and trash and teach your child to reduce, reuse, or recycle things!

I keep a big box in my room, and we are constantly filling it with things to upcycle! Here are some things in my box right now:
  • tin cans
  • straws
  • bubble wrap
  • toilet paper rolls
  • paper towel rolls
  • sour cream carton
  • paper bags from the grocery store
  • plastic wrap
  • scrap cardboard - macaroni box, amazon box, pancake on a stick box
  • twisty ties from garbage bags {we don't use these on our bags, so I save them}
  • magazines
Here are some things I'll be looking to save:
  • old T-shirts
  • socks without a partner
  • broken toys {for parts}
  • Styrofoam
  • glass jars
  • plastic jars
  • ribbon and buttons
  • newspapers
  • printer paper {maybe paper that misprinted}
We use our "upcycle box" to create lots of handicrafts! We often use them with some other craft items to create something really neat.

One of the things my daughter made was a Tin Can Bird Feeder! It was really simple. She painted the tin can and then we hot glued some yard around the bottom and top. We filled it with birdseed and hung it in a tree! It was a fun craft, and we all enjoyed watching for birds.

If you look under the tab titled "Handicrafts" at the top of the page, it will take you to several different things we have created, all of them upcycling something!

I like to save things because it gives me such a good feeling to reuse them, even something as simple as a straw from a fountain drink! What sorts things do you save? What have you upcycled? Please, give me some more ideas!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 Agenda 2 {TOS Review}

My husband and I love to watch a good documentary! Call us nerds, but we both enjoy them. Several years ago, my mother gave us a movie to watch called "Agenda". It was a great documentary by Curtis Bowers about the fall of America. When I was chosen to review "Agenda 2: Masters of Deceit" from, I was very excited to watch it!

"Agenda 2" is the follow up documentary to "Agenda". Curtis Bowers, Idaho legislator, and his family produced this film about the ground-shift changes in America, from the rise of socialism and communism to the corruption of our education system.

Most Christians can see the drift away from God and toward evil that has been happening in our country in recent years. But what can we do about it? That's what I love about "Agenda 2" - Bowers gives us real and practical ideas to combat the evil in this country.

Our kids sat down and watched this movie with us. {I've watched it several times.} We learned quite a bit about communism {and socialism and liberalism} and how evil and twisted it really is. We learned about inflation, the propaganda {lie} of climate change, and how our education system is determined to "dumb down" our children. We learned about the rise of Islam and the corruption of the church. My children realized how important it is that we are homeschooling, as opposed to them being in public school where they will be indoctrinated. They were very moved by this movie, as was I. I feel like there is so much we can do, as Christians, to help change our country for the better. I know I felt convicted that I don't pray for our country nearly enough. The children and I are going to try to do a better job at praying for this nation.

Curtis Bowers presents this information in an interesting and very understandable way. The way demonstrated inflation was very eye-opening and surprising for me and my husband. Bowers doesn't want to scare us, but he does call us to wake up and fight the political forces that are trying to destroy our Christian faith and take away our freedoms.

I highly recommend that all Christian families watch this film and get pro-active about restoring America as a Christian nation. is a great website with tons of Christian movies! They are broken down into categories such as "Children's Movies", "Christmas Movies", "Documentaries", "End-Time Prophecy" and "Comedy". They have the "When Calls The Heart" series and movies by PureFlix Entertainment {which we love!}. There is also a "Bargain" section with movies as low as $5.00! There are the "What's In The Bible" movies for around $10.00. I am very impressed with wide selection of movies to choose from. I have a feeling I'll be buying lots of movies in the future from for our movie nights. There are so many movies we haven't seen, or even heard of, that look amazing! has great prices and offers free shipping for orders over $40. Also, if you sign up for their email newsletter, you will receive 10% off of your order. Right now, they are having a drawing to win a 5-DVD prize pack, over $80 in movies. The movies included in this prize pack are:

"War Room"
"The Ultimate Gift"
"Superbook: A Great Adventure"
"My Son, My Savior"
"Owlegories 2"

All you have to do to enter is join the email list by clicking HERE. What a great way to add to your movie collection!

Check out on

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, March 21, 2016

Junior High Juntion: Math for Next Year

Welcome to the Junior High Junction! I took off a week last week, but if you wrote a post, I hope you'll link it up today!

I know it's only March, but already I am obsessing over next year's curriculum choices! I've been pondering what has worked for us, what hasn't worked for us, and what we would like to change. The biggest obstacle I'm facing right now is math for Eli, who will be in 6th grade next year.

We have jumped around in math this year quite a bit. I don't like to change curriculum mid-year, but I have done that way too much this year. Eli started the year in Singapore math. He completed the first workbook, but we didn't move into the second. It was too abstract for me, with little to no instruction. I bought him a Spectrum math workbook, which he actually liked. But, it didn't have enough review. It had around 5 lessons per topic, and then it moved on. Next, he started working on Khan Academy for math, but he didn't like it. Now, I have bought him the Life of Fred: Fractions book. He enjoys the stories, but it's too easy for him. I also don't think there is enough "meat" in it for him. He is reviewing an online math program, but I don't see us continuing it.

Here are the three math programs I'm looking at for next year. We are thinking about doing a light summer schedule - an hour a day of schoolwork, looping through subjects, just to keep our minds fresh. So, I may start him on one of these pretty soon.

  • Rod and Staff math. It's such a simple, very traditional math program that we have used in the past. There are pros and cons, but the cons are very easy to adjust. For example, there are a ton of math problems per lesson. Easy to fix - break the lesson into two lessons, or just do half of the problems and call it a day. I thought we may just do half the problems, and if he gets 90% correct, let him move on. If he doesn't get that many correct, he can complete the rest of the lesson the next day.
  • Key to ... Series. Mikaela used the Key to Fractions series at the beginning of the year, and it was very beneficial to her. I'm considering the Key to Decimals and Key to Percents for Eli.
  • Math-U-See. Silas is doing very well with the first level, but I'm not sure how someone would do moving into it at a higher level. I also don't know if Eli would enjoy using the blocks.
So, do any of you have any suggestions for 6th grade math? Eli is very good at math, and he has an abstract mind. He usually catches on to a new concept extremely fast. He doesn't need a teacher-intensive program, but I would like some teacher guidelines, as I am not a mathy person.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Ancient Egyptian Paddle Dolls

We finished Week 7, and Unit 1, in BiblioPlan: Ancients this week, and we haven't completed any craft projects. I decided that we would make an Egyptian Paddle Doll to conclude Unit 1. My kids do love making things, especially toys.

Paddle dolls

What you need:
paint or markers
yarn or string
wooden beads
hole puncher

Step One: Cut the cardboard into the shape of a paddle.

Step Two: Paint the cardboard to look like a doll - the bigger end on the bottom, and the smaller end on top. I had the kids try to paint Egyptian designs on the doll, but ultimately I let the project be totally their own.

Step Three: String wooden beans on strips of yarn or thread. Tie them well, so they don't fall off!

Step Four: Punch 4 or 5 holes around the head of the doll, and tie the beads on the doll.

Step Five: Admire your new paddle doll! {And try not to break her...}

We love such simple projects! Hopefully, the kids will remember a little about Ancient Egypt when they look at their dolls.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Thinking Tree: All About Horses Horse-Lovers Handbook

My 13 year old daughter, Mikaela, loves horses. She learned to ride with her best friend, Sarah. Sarah has a lot of horses and barrel races. Mikaela has learned so much from Sarah. Recently, we acquired 3 horses. They are being taken care of by my father-in-law and a good family friend while we are in North Carolina. Mikaela hopes to start riding them when we get home in a few months.

When Sarah Janisse Brown sent me the "All About Horses Homeschooling Journal" to review, Mikaela was ecstatic! She wanted to start using it right away! I ordered a huge lot of horse books from Ebay for Mikaela to use with this journal.

If you are familiar with Sarah's journals, you will recognize quite a few of these pages. However, there are also lots of new pages created just for this journal. You will see the usual "Reading Time", "Spelling Time", "Copy Work", and "Nature Study" pages. The new pages in this journal are all about horses! Your child will practice drawing horses, writing stories about horses, reading books about horses, and coloring horses! There are real pictures of horses in the journal, including some humorous pictures.

Mikaela uses this journal in her spare time. Your child could totally use this as a complete unit study, as they will be learning science, spelling, language arts, drawing skills, creative writing, and even history if you pick the right books.

What we love about these journals is the ability to pick our own books! When my kids choose their own books, they feel like they are taking ownership of their learning. Mikaela has learned so much from these books we bought. She is learning how to take care of horses, why horses do certain things, and the illness and injuries horses can incur. She loves reading about horses!

This journal is perfect for the horse-lover in your family. You can buy it here. Right now, it's on sale for $9.00! What a steal! Check out Sarah's other journals and do-it-yourself books on Amazon!


Clothespin Race Cars!

The kids and I made these adorable Clothespin Race Cars this week! It was fun painting them, although I had to do most of the wheel-work, as it involved hot glue!

Here's what you need:
  • clothespins
  • acrylic paint
  • bamboo skewers
  • straws
  • buttons {at least an inch, more is better}
  • hot glue
Here's what you do:

Step One: Let your child paint the clothespin however he wants. It needs to dry for several hours {we let ours dry overnight}.

Step Two: Cut the bamboo skewers into about two and half inch pieces. Cut the straws a little smaller than the skewers. {Measuring is not important. Some of ours weren't exactly the same size and they worked fine!}

Step Three: Hot glue one end of the bamboo skewer to the center of a button. Thread the straw piece on and then hot glue the other button to the other end of the bamboo skewer. Let dry.

Step Four: Open the clothespin and insert one wheel axel. Hot glue the other to the back of the clothespin.

Step Five: Race them!

Let me know if you make one of the Clothespin Race Cars!