Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall, the Renaissance, and some great printables (it's week 6!)

I'm getting started pretty late tonight.  I may not get to post ALL of the things I want to, but I'll definitely hit some highlights.  One thing I'm excited about are some FREE printables that I think are really going to help with our Classical Conversations materials, so I'll definitely post links to those.  As always, I'm pinning like a mad woman on Pinterest, so please check out some of my boards: Classical Conversations Cycle 2, Homeschooling, First Grade and name a few.  Honestly, Pinterest is a great stress reliever and provides some great, crafty things that I can do that will lead to further stress relief.  I need a crafty outlet ; ).
Let's dive in with our letter of the week, "F".  Here are some ideas:
Fancy Nancy books
fish (Rainbow Fish book)
fall--we did an activity today that I found where you trace your hand in brown on a paper plate, color it in (to look like a tree trunk) and glue leaves on the tree.  You could do any kind of cute fall picture or activity.
Just Google it if you don't have Pinterest.  Here are some links to some good fall activities/sheets:
fall coloring sheet
fall tracing sheets
farm (field trip idea!)
field trips
frog craft and book ideas for letter F
Like I said, I'm doing this quickly tonight...lots to cover!

Classical Conversations Memory Work...Cycle 2, Week 6
History: The Renaissance (da Vinci, Shakespeare, Michelangelo, and Copernicus)
Here is a great intro video: (warning: when talking about one of the sculptures (David and Goliath) it shows a drawing of the nude sculpture)

Here is a blog post on one point perspective drawing...which would go right along with the above video.
*Another video on the Renaissance ("Horrible History")....funny but definitely gets the history in : )
*Wonderful blog with some week 4, 5, and 6 color sheets and printables, but not all of them are free and I'm not quite sure how to access some of the freebies.  But it definitely has some great ideas and possibilities.
*Shakespeare: BBC Shakespeare Animated tales (A Midsummer Night's Dream)...I didn't watch the whole thing, but it looked good and understandable...easy way to introduce Shakespeare
*A good blog post on studying Shakespeare with kids
*FREE Shakespeare games, activities and info for kids
*A great resource for lots of Shakespeare stuff
*FREE printable of the Globe Theater
**I'm just going to stop there for Shakespeare...because there is a TON of stuff on him.  I think this is a good mix of things, though, and probably about all we'll do (IF we even get to all of that! : ))**
*Copernicus: Concise, informative video biography
*da Vinci: This looks fun!  Might have to take a trip to Hobby Lobby : ).  We'll also read Katie and the Mona Lisa by James Mayhew (that my sister actually bought us when she was at the Louvre!)
*More Renaissance project ideas
*This Renaissance lapbook looks amazing.  I really want to do this!  I think all the printables are free, including a Renaissance timeline.

Geography: European Mountains
*We're still printing these geography them!
*Here's some cute European mountains songs

Latin: future tense
*These free pronounciation helps are now printed and labeled!  I'm hoping this will help me tackle this Latin memory work.  I'm still feeling a little lost.  On this post, she also has the link to the free file folder game, which I have also made and it really helped me with labeling my pronounciation cards.

Science: pollution
*Pollution for kids video (I thought this video was a little cheesy, but ok)
*Brain pop video (yay!) on air pollution and one on water pollution (I didn't try to watch them, so I hope they're free!)
*Facts and tips on air, water, and land pollution

English: possessive pronouns
*Free printable pronoun packet...I LOVE the printables that Suzanne puts on her blog!  Very colorful!

And that's all for now!  There are so many resources for many of these's hard to get to them all.  I printed a lot of cards this week to help us out but I was not sure how I was going to store them.  What I decided to do is get a mini coupon holder at Walmart (97 cents!) and I'm going to file them in there so we can access them they'll be labeled.  That way we can even use them for review later.  I'm not putting my geography cards in there because I have them in a zip lock bag, but the Latin and grammar cards are definitely going in.

Hope you all have a great week and God bless!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "Rebellious Heart" and "Fired Up"

Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund

Set in 18th century Massachusetts, Rebellious Heart is a story that follows closely to the real-life love story of John and Abigail Adams...with a few name and event changes.  Susanna Smith is the daughter of a well respected family in Braintree, Massachusetts.  Brought up in the upper end of society, Susanna has the same aspirations that most young ladies in her position would--to marry well and live in comfort.  The only thing lacking for Susanna is the ability to be educated as much as her brother.  She loves reading and learning, but is restricted to just knowing the basics.
Benjamin Ross is a young man whose family has sacrificed so that he could attend college and become a lawyer.  He is passionate about defending those who are helpless and wants to fight against the harsh policies of the ruling British government.  Seeing Susanna again brings back old memories of a childhood encounter, but soon Ben looks beyond Susanna's well-to-do behavior and sees a woman of courage and conviction.
When Susanna gets involved in helping someone in need, defying the laws the British have imposed, Ben agrees to help.  In the mean time, two murders have occurred in Braintree and Ben is trying to figure out who is to blame.  Mystery, suspense, and romance, right along with the historical backdrop of 18th century America, make Rebellious Heart a great read!

When I opened up the book and started to read, I wondered if Susanna was going to be a snobby female that I was going to get bored with.  I'm glad to say she wasn't!  Susanna had great character development and as the novel went on, I began to appreciate her courage and growth.  Benjamin Ross was likable from the start...defending the helpless and speaking out against injustice.  But I can honestly say I'm glad he wasn't perfect!  He had some selfish aspirations just as Susanna did, but they both learned what was truly important. The romance was clean but definitely pulse raising!  For me, I appreciate an author that can capture a simple moment between a man and a woman and show how truly romantic it can be!  I really loved the suspense aspect in the novel as well.  As Ben and Susanna are being pursued by an evil British soldier, I couldn't read fast enough.  And honestly, even though I knew how I hoped the book would end, I wasn't sure how it would come out.  Rebellious Heart had every element of a good novel...I would definitely recommend it!

If you'd like to get to know Jody better, here is an interview I did with her a while back...including one of her favorite recipes!

Fired Up by Mary Connealy

Fired Up is the second book in the "Trouble in Texas" series.  This story picks up right after book one, Swept Away.  The band of Civil War brothers that we met in the last book are still together and still running into trouble.  This story focuses on Dare Riker, a self-taught doctor in a rough, mostly male, town.  In the last book, Dare led the guys in freeing Glynna Greer from her abusive husband, Flint.  When Dare saw what was happening to Glynna, his heart was stirred with compassion and interest.  Now that she is free from Flint, Dare can't help but look at Glynna in a romantic way.  If only her son would stop threatening him to stay away from her.
While Dare is trying to sort out his feelings for Glynna, someone apparently has got it in their mind to kill him.  Whether it's surviving an avalanche or a house fire, Dare is fighting for his life at every turn.  With the help of his closest friends, Dare is on a mission to discover who is after him as well as figure out how he can have a life with Glynna.

Who doesn't love a book that starts out with a dangerous avalanche?  : )  I would expect nothing less from a book by Mary Connealy.  Her books often start out with a bang and don't slow down.  Her characters are funny, endearing, and tough.  The leading men in this series are no exception.  The "regulators" have stuck together through the tortures of Andersonville, and they'd do anything to help one of their brothers.  There is an unspoken protectiveness among them, and I really like that aspect of the story.  That protectiveness is especially evident in Dare, as he has taken on the role of doctor so he could establish himself in town.  He can't stop himself from helping those in need, no matter what his insecurities are about being a good doctor.  Glynna is a woman who is sweet, not as tough as some of Connealy's other female characters, but she has a more quiet endurance as she has survived being married to two awful men, one of which abused her terribly.  She is hesitant about entering into a relationship with Dare, but as they spend more and more time together, he's pretty hard to resist.  I love the witty banter that is a trademark in Connealy's books. Even though Dare's life being threatened several times, the guys in the book joke about it...even Dare himself.  I couldn't help but smile when I was reading that.  If you're like me, and like a book that's going to have clean, but passionate, bursts of romance, humor, action, and'll enjoy this book!

**I received these books for free from Bethany House publishers to give an unbiased review**

Happy reading!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Letter E...Cycle 2, Week 5

My blog post titles are not too creative with these school updates : ).  Honestly, I'm worn out after our co-op days (I'm working with 3-5 year olds every Monday).  I love it, though, and love seeing how much the kids are learning!  I'm going to dive into what we're going to be studying this week because I know this post is going to take me a while.  Please check out my last post...I'm giving away a free children's board book that is very cute....Rufus and Ryan Go to Church!. All you need to do is comment on that post and you're in the drawing.  I'll be picking a name on Friday of this week.

Letter E
All I could think of with letter E was elephants and eggs.  There's a good place to start.  But there's also eagles, earth, Easter, and even eggplant.  Here are some things we started with today:

Letter E coloring pageseggselephant, and my friend has a page that she prints that has the dots on it.  I'm going to try and find it....Here's one...but not as cute as the one she had.  I'm going to ask her about it and post it next week.  She said she bought her bingo paint things at the Dollar I'm going to check those out because it's easy and fun for the kids.

*We played a little game today with some of the alphabet cards I mentioned in this post.  And to continue my alphabet card obsession, I started printing these last night...adorable!  They are bigger than the other ones, so I just propped them up on the chalkboard.  Basically I laid out several cards from letter A to D on the floor.  I let the kids take turns trying to find one letter card.  It was a good review of the letters we've learned so far.  And because each card has a different picture of something starting with that letter, it was a good way for them to identify the letter with different words and its sound.  (I hope that makes sense!)

A cool foamy egg and other "E" crafts
Elmer the Elephant idea and other crafts/resources


And another yes...great idea!  My daughter is supposed to be learning this verse at church, too, so it'll be a good activity for her.

And let's not forget eggplant.  You could do a whole vegetable ABC's activity...I think I saw that somewhere and thought it was a cute idea.

So if we get to all of that "E" stuff, we'll be doing good!  Now for the memory work.

Cycle 2, Week 5 (wow...we're already at week 5?!)
History: The Hundred Years War/Joan of Arc/King Charles VII/black death
*Short, but informative video biography of Joan of Arc
*animated Joan of Arc video--this looks like something my kids will like
*Middle Ages for Kids--good background info
*Great, short video:

*Black death info

Science: How do animals react to environmental change?
*Info with definitions, links, and activity ideas
*How Animals Get Ready for Winter (clip) video-kind of looks like a video I might've watched in school! : )
*Animals in Winter cards--$3.29
*Lesson idea on adapt, migrate, and hibernate.  I have the book "The Mitten" so I'm probably going to read that this week.
*Yay!  A FREE game...definitely going to print this.  I'm probably not going to print the questions, but the cards with the info to go on the back of each will be great!
*books: Magic School Bus Sleeps for the Winter...couldn't find a video for this one : (.  I doubt we'll be able to find the book at our library, but some of you might be able to find it.
The Mitten by Jan Brett
The little mouse, the red ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR   by Don and Audrey Wood--I haven't read this one, but I LOVE the authors, so I think it would be a good one.

Geography: probably the most I'm going to do with this is print out the Geography Cards from And Here We Go! blog.  I really like those cards.

We'll also listen to some songs from our Geography Songs cd.  It's a great, fun way to learn.  You can also get the MP 3 on Amazon if you don't want to buy the cd.

For English, we'll watch the YouTube video that has all the grammar memory work in song.  The kids have loved that, too.

Well, it's bedtime for the kiddos and I could use some rest myself!  Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rufus and Ryan Go to Church! review and giveaway

In Rufus and Ryan Go to Church!, four-year-old Ryan explains to his stuffed monkey, Rufus, what is happening as they attend church on a Sunday morning.  He lets Rufus know when it's time to sing and to pray and to be quiet.  Author Kathleen Bostrom presents this experience in a light way, even showing a moment where Ryan is being too light and his mother, with a smile on her face, encourages him to be quiet.  Children everywhere will relate to the idea of explaining their surroundings to their favorite companions as they go about their daily activities.

This book offers a great way to talk about church, what your child might see in a church service, and what worship can look like.  It might be one way in your church, but a different way in the church Rufus and Ryan go to.  When my daughter saw the book, she immediately picked it up and started reading.  My son was able to listen attentively as the pictures were appealing and story line was short, but engaging.  They can also relate to having a "pet" in the form of a stuffed animal.

Here are some suggested ways that you can introduce your child to worship:
1. Attend a child-friendly church.  
2. Bring your child to church on a day other than Sunday morning.  Many churches offer services on Wednesdays or Sunday nights.
3. Take home a worship bulletin and go through the service at home.  Show your child that there are times to sit, stand, sing, pray, and listen.  You can prepare offering envelopes and explain why the offering is important.
4. Play "Let's go to church" at home.
5. Read the Bible and pray at home.  There are many age-appropriate Bibles available.  You could read a Bible story, let your child handle the Bible, and encourage questions.
6. Sit near an aisle or in a place where you can make an exit if needed.
7. Be prepared with a worship notebook or bag.  Bring supplies to keep your child engaged throughout the service.  Colored pencils, paper for doodling, or coloring pages from a Bible coloring book.  This will help your child listen more attentively.  You could have your child draw a picture of the songs they hear during worship or things from the sermon.
8. Teach basic church etiquette. Speak to people before and after worship, and teach your child how to shake hands and greet others.  If your child is shy, don't force it, but practice at home and let your child see you greeting others.
9. Get to know the pastor. Introduce your child to the pastor after worship, and participate in church activities so that the pastor becomes a friend.
10. Don't give up!  It may take awhile for your child to become comfortable in worship, and to learn how to sit quietly.  The best way for this to happen is to attend worship on a regular basis.

I am excited to let you know that I am giving away a FREE COPY of Rufus and Ryan Go to Church!.  If you would comment on this blog post and let me know why you would like this book, your name will be put in the drawing.  We'll draw a winner on next Friday!  I may be doing some other blog posts in the mean time, but don't let it stop you from commenting through the week.  Thanks so much!!

*"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."*

God bless~

Monday, September 16, 2013

Letter D and Cycle 2 Week 4

We're dealing with some sickness this week, mainly in the form of colds, but I'm determined to plan out our week and hopefully get some things done.  One thing I wanted to girl made 100 on her first spelling test last week!  Yay!  So proud of her!  I really like the spelling list we're using, and just last week a friend of mine who teaches first grade mentioned a website that is full of resources.  I haven't checked it out completely yet, but at first glance it looks good.  Here is the link to Story Town resources for first grade. This site is geared towards spelling, word frequency, etc.

This week we're doing letter D, and I found some (I'm trying not to use the word "cute" so much!) helpful ABC pages.  It's set up so that you can print it and make your own "abc" book.  I didn't start doing this at the beginning, but we're not so far in that I can't start this week.  I think my son would like to see his progress.  We did the "D" page today and I wasn't sure if he was able to do the letter tracing.  I found that he was interested in trying it, so for me it's worth printing out the pages.  This blog post from "123 Homeschool 4 Me" has the links to the sheets.  There are uppercase and lowercase options.  We might do both, but for now I'm focusing on the uppercase.
Some other ideas:
*D is for donuts...mmmm the possibilities!  We have a donut maker and we love making homemade donuts!  Here is a post I did about our homemade donuts...including the recipe we used  : ).
*I read "Little Dog, Big Dog" by PD Eastman to the kids.  They enjoyed it.
*We also read "Danny the Dinosaur" and colored a dinosaur picture.
*One of the co-teachers printed out a D picture that had dots on it, and the kids used bingo markers to make dots on their paper....great idea.
*The kids had a play time with plastic dinosaur and dog figures.  I'm sure you could find some of these at a discount store.
*This blog has some good ideas for some letter D crafts.

And isn't this a cute idea?!  You make individual boxes, labeled with a letter of the alphabet, and as the year goes on you put little things you find in the box that is the beginning letter of that object.  (picture and idea from

On to the memory work!
Geography: I'm planning to print the geography cards that I posted about last week.  I really like these!
*This Global River Cruise site has almost all of the rivers on the map and when you click on the river it shows a picture of it in real life and a description of what you see while traveling on the river.  Kinda neat!
*Here's another map from a cruise line. never know what can help you out!
*My kids love little videos like this:

*We didn't do a whole lot with the European waters last week, but I thought this was a cute video to try for review.
History: Magna Carta
A short, informative video:

^ This video is AWESOME!  Interesting and helpful.  A little longer than the first one and probably geared towards upper elementary to high school students, but I thought it was very good.  Thanks, Mr. Zoller!
*Magna Carta for kids background info.

It's getting I'm moving on! : )
Science: The Natural Cycles...water, carbon and oxygen, and nitrogen
I'm finding several activities and experiments that look great, so I'm probably just going to post several links here with some brief descriptions...
*Cloud in a Jar (water cycle) activity...this link is to Teachers Pay Teachers, but it's a free download

< Carbon Cycle

And again : )

*Natural Cycles song--kind of wordy, but informative
*Nitrogen Cycle video--more like something my kids would get
*Nitrogen Cycle image
*Water Cycle worksheet...looks good!
*Water Cycle video from Nasa
*Weather Study packet (includes water cycle assessment page)--$4
*Teaching the water cycle...looks like a good activity
*Water Cycle Maze printable
*Carbon Cycle video
*Carbon Cycle lesson

An experiment that looks good...I just couldn't find a link....

*Water cycle wheel...I like this!  Here is where the printout is.
*Last, but not least, our favorite...Magic Schoolbus "Wet All Over"
(That's A LOT of stuff!!)

Ok, folks...that's all I can handle for tonight! : )

Later this week...I'm reviewing and giving away a copy of the children's book, "Rufus and Ryan Go to Church!"  Both of my older kids enjoyed reading and listening to the story.  And like I said, I'm giving away A FREE COPY! : )  Stop by later!

God bless~

Monday, September 9, 2013

Vacation learning...Cycle 2, Week 3...and letter C!

Last week we took our "summer" vacation, even though technically summer is over after Labor Day (right?).  We've actually found that going to the beach in September is perfect.  The weather is not quite as hot, the crowds are not as large, and it's still really nice.  One of the joys of homeschooling : ).  Another joy is really making learning a natural thing...not just compartmentalized into a school time.  And really, you don't have to homeschool to do that!  Anyone with school aged kids can do fun learning things when you're on vacation or in your "off time".  Our learning experience actually came unexpectedly.  A couple of us got sunburned and my little girl was having an allergic reaction to something, so we decided to take a day off at the beach.  We ended up driving over to Fort Frederica (St. Simon's Island, GA).  It was so fun!  It was only $3 each for us to get in, and there was a great, interactive museum, a historic video, and the excavated grounds and fort for us to see, complete with a lot of artifacts.  We loved it.
 There was a dress up area...we all got into it!  : )
The grounds were so interesting and beautiful.  The trees were dripping with moss and it honestly felt like a fairy land.  The museum provided us with a scavenger hunt that was just right for Sophie.  We had fun looking for all the items.  I would definitely say that we had a field trip in the middle of vacation! : )

Now that we're back, I've got lots of planning to do!  We had our co-op group today, so I didn't plan much for us to do at home.  Tomorrow it's on!  Here are some things I found for us to do.  I'll start with my Pre-K ideas.  Our letter this week is C.  I pulled all the books I could find at our house that started with C.  Here are some ideas:
Clifford the Big Red Dog books (Norman Bridwell)
The Very Clumsy Click Beetle (Eric Carle)
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Laura Joffe Numeroff)
Flora McDonnell's ABC book
Alphabet City (Stephen T. Johnson)
(easy chapter book) Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa (Erica Silverman)
and our main book for today was: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Here is the link to a previous post from last year when we did a week study of Eric was a lot of fun!  Today we kept it pretty low key, and probably will for the rest of the week.  But I found some really fun ideas.  There are honestly TONS of creative people who have put together some amazing caterpillar activities to go with the book.  You can Google it. Or Pinterest it.  Or follow my Pinterest "Pre-K" board ; ).  Here are a few I thought were cute:
Here is a link to a blog post with LOTS of fun ideas.
I'd love to do this.  I also saw an edible version, too....marshmallows for eggs, gummy worms for caterpillars, tootsie rolls for the chrysalis, and a butterfly shaped cracker.  I know my kids would love that!
Here is a link to Bing images for the book.  Tons!  One coloring page we used today was located on the Eric Carle website.  It's a good resource for some of his other books, too.  

There are so many other fun things you can do with letter C.  I have to confess a recent obsession with alphabet cards...especially the vintage ones!  The Handmade Home has a complete vintage alphabet that is adorable!  Their C card was for camper.  So you could do some really fun things with camping, cooking outside, etc.  I also have a book called "Camping" or "Camping Out" by Usborne books that's really cute.  I saw one idea where you can make lunch in a muffin tin and put things like crackers, craisins, cookies, carrots, etc. in each space.  And the ideas are endless for cookies.  One of our favorite books is "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom".  Here is my link to when we did activities with this book.  My video link isn't working now, but try to look it up on is SO CUTE and the kids love the song.  I will probably pick a few different C things and do something fun each day for my PreK boy.  My oldest will enjoy it, too!  

Now on to week 3 for Classical Conversations Cycle 2.  Every week I'm excited to see what part of medieval history we're learning about (love it!!).  It's still in the back of my head to try and get us some tickets to Medieval Times in Atlanta.  I really want to go.  : )  We'll see!  But here are some resources and ideas for this week.

I'll just start randomly with Science...the food chain.  Here is something I've already printed off.  Looks easy enough for my kids but could be for older ones, too.

Here is the link to a FREE food chain unit.  I love this!  I haven't printed anything yet, but I really like the food chain cards and the way it incorporates last week's info, too.

A food chain video.  I love Brain Pop stuff, so I'm looking forward to showing this to the kiddos!

More food chain activities are here.  Some look pretty fun!  I like this food chain pyramid worksheet.  I hope it's free ; ).  A food chain stacking cups activity also looks interesting.

Sola Gratia Mom's blog has a nice food chain activity along with a Crusades activity.

On that note...let's move on to the history sentence, shall we? (Crusades, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Richard the Lionhearted)
Information from "Middle Ages for Kids" to get you started (I know I need this!).
Video on how they would arm a Medieval Knight:

This diagram on the parts of the armor will go well with the video.
Worksheet on Eleanor of Aquitaine.  It only got 3 out of 5 stars on its review, but I don't know much about her so anything would be helpful to me.  I'm not sure if it's free or not.
Here is a blog that has an idea for illustrating the history sentence.
Video and information on the Crusades.  It looks geared towards older kids, but I'm going to try it with mine.
Another video and info on the First Crusade and it's cause and effects.
Three minute Crusades video from  I would say for older kids, but I like it so we'll probably watch it.

Geography (Western European Countries):
I like this European Countries video.  Even my hubby started remembering them by listening for just a few minutes : ).
Map puzzles for many countries around the world.
Here is a link to some geography cards that you won't want to miss!  And Here We Go!'s blog is a great resource and she has made some geography picture cards for the first half of cycle 2.  These would be great for review, too.

For the pronoun order, we'll probably just go back to the video I posted a few weeks ago.  I'm still working on how to tackle this Latin. I'm going to try.  I really like this video, though.  It mainly goes with weeks 1 and 2, but it's "catchy" (as Sophie would say) so I think we'll go back this week and review some.

And that's all I have time for, folks!  I have other links on my Pinterest board (Classical Converations Cycle 2), but I tried to post as many as I could from there onto here.  I doubt I'll get to all of this, but it's nice to have it all here at my fingertips!

Hope you all have a great week and God bless~