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Monday, October 30, 2006

Cicero and Plato for Kids

A thank you to Roodee for sharing that he has acquired Stories from Plato edited by Mary E. Burt because when I went searching for it, I found it free and online at the Baldwin Project.

Stories from Plato and Other Classic Writers by Mary E. Burt

Roman Life in the Days of Cicero by Alfred J. Church

The Aeneid for Boys and Girls by Alfred J. Church

West African Folk Tales by William Barker

362 of the Best Online Classic Children's Books Listed

There are so many wonderful books listed at the Baldwin Project, and instead of purchasing the book, you could download a collection of stories and have them printed up and bound yourself. There are 7699 stories at Baldwin Project, 362 books and some of them are available for sale at Yesterday's Classics. Yesterday's Classics provided books that are used in Ambleside Online and Living Books Curriculum.

This is so exciting! You need to explore Yesterday's Classics website and see if there are any books you'd like to use! Yesterday's Classics, the Baldwin Project and Project Gutenberg are a classical homeschooler's (looking for good wholesome texts to read) dream!


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Little Man's First Night

We went grocery shopping today (I wonder does it take anyone else 5 hours?) for the month and while in WalMart, I looked for Thomas sheets. A little explanation: I have a 2 year old boy and anything cars, trucks or trains right now excites him. He especially likes Thomas but we're not completely Thomas crazy. He will play at the bookstore (they have a Thomas table in the children's area) for hours without thought to food, drink or anything else.

Well there is Thomas sheets for a twin size bed, but none for a toddler bed or crib size. We have a convertible crib that converts into a little day bed. It's just a crib without one wall. So, we did see a Cars (the movie) pillowcase for $3.96 (gotta love WalMart). I picked that up and DS drooled all over it.

Then we went to the baby's dept and found a Tonka truck fitted sheet for cribs (another cheer for WalMart, this was $7.96). He's excited the entire way home, dd and I unpacked the sheet and pillowcase so he could get a better look. He ran into the house and showed Daddy his new acquistions.

Well, he's in his bed now with his tonka truck sheet and cars pillowcase and he's been there for 15 minutes. We'll see how the night goes. I guess I better plug the monitor back in...



Thursday, October 26, 2006

It took me 5 minutes to figure out to post!

You'd never know that I've designed blogs! Well, I have this account so I can comment on my friends. My weblog is at


Friday, October 13, 2006

Reading Plan for Read-Alouds

We are using The Well-Trained Mind as a navigational tool in our homeschooling journey and one of the hardest parts to decide about is what to read aloud. There are so many wonderful books!

Here's what TWTM suggests for first grade and how we are going to use this at Trivium Academy:

Bible: Reading from Egermeier's Bible Story Book every night during our family reading time. We have also read various other related Bible story books as Camille has wanted to read them.

Homer: We have already read Rosemary Sutcliffe's The Wanderings of Odysseus. This was a long read so we moved on after this- it took us two months.

Greek and Roman Myths: I purchased A Child's Book of Myths and Enchanting Tales from Books-A-Million for $9.95 and Mary Pope Osborne's Favorite Greek Myths but I still feel like I need to get other books from the library. I'll have to see what I might have on hand for Roman Greek myths. TWTM has a list of recommended titles that I'll get as we study about that time period.

Aesop's Fables: I don't have a single book with just Aesop's Fables, I do have multiple books that have them though.

About Aesop and other stories: I have purchased books that have a multitude of stories from different sources so that I wouldn't be spending money for each type.

What Your First Grader Needs to Know by Hirsch Jr.
(This is a very valuable source with numerous read alouds for under $10! We will be using these books for every year);

The Identical Dolls and other Folktales
which includes Indian, West Indian, Swedish, Arabic, Old English, African, Native American, and a few Modern;

Storyland Favorites (linked to Ebay listing for $4.50) by Harold Shane
this is a 1961 schoolbook reader. I buy these whenever I can find them in good condition, they are very wholesome and God is front and center. Inside Storyland Favorites: Aesop, German folk tale, Robert Louis Stevenson, American Indian folktale, Norse folk tale, Mother Goose, Scandinavian folk tale, East Indian folk tale, and other poems.

Parade of Stories: another old school book of complied stories, poems and folktales. I shop thrift, used books, Goodwill stores and find wonderful wholesome treasures like these that are often barely used.

Childcraft's Stories and Fables -folktales, Aesop, Grimm, myths, legends, Hans
Christian Andersen, Rudyard Kipling. I love the Childcraft How and Why Library!

I spent $10 maximum collecting these books from thrift stores, used book stores, etc.


Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Virgil: What am I supposed to use for these? I found biographies but not a Plato for Kids type books. I guess I'll use biographies- like the ones I found in a previous post- Looking for Cicero. There is an adaptation of Aeneid.

Here's a list of books that has been created by an Amazon user: Myth & Literature Adaptations

Egyptian Myths: We've been reading these in various books and I bought Jim Weiss' Egyptian Treasures: Mummies and Myths. Jim Weiss has a wonderful selection for audio stories. I still like to read aloud so I don't use too many audiobooks although these are great.

Indian Folktales, Chinese and Japanese Folktales: I'm going to rely on the library again for this. I have a few books that have tales from all over world like The Identical Dolls. These are included in book I listed above.

English, Irish and Welsh Folktales: I have The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm and a few folktales scattered in other books like The Identical Dolls. These are included in the books I listed above.

That concludes TWTM's suggestions but I also want to read some other books from our home library:

The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne √
Pilgrim's Progress by Helen Taylor
A Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson √
A Bear Called Paddington
by Michael Bond √

The Railway Children
by E. Nesbit
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Atwater
The Finches' Fabulous Furnace by Roger Drury
The Wind in the Willows by Grahame
Giant Treasury of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter
A Treasury for Children by James Herriot

I just don't know if we'll accomplish all this! I see other books I want to read to them, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, The Penderwicks, and other books that I feel might be better appreciated when she's older. Of course, we still have a lot of shorter readers to read and Camille is enjoying reading to us! Last night she read Dr. Seuss' Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You?

I don't list the books she reads to us as finished reads because we have so many and they are so short or the ones we read that are short. I need to see if there are "reading guides" to the books we have. I found that website I mentioned in the Looking for Cicero post that asks Philosophical Questions with children's books and I think that's an excellent way to get the children thinking about what we're reading and how it effects them.

What are some reading selections from your homeschool?


Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Finding a Science Curriculum Part Three

It has been a while since I first wrote about this (August 23) so I will recap what I am doing. I am a plan-ahead type of person, I already know what curriculum we will be using next year all except science.

We use The Well-Trained Mind as our academic guide for homeschool and for second grade (earth science), Usborne encyclopedias are suggested for use with a few activity books. In comparison to prepackaged curriculums this is a very relaxed approach which focuses more on discovery and ignitng a spark of interest in the child than rote memorization of facts. What I also like about this approach is that it is easier to feel comfortable about exploring a topic further without feeling like we're getting off schedule.

These are some questions I was concerned about in the beginning of this project:

  • Will I give her enough information to keep that spark of interest alive and growing?

  • Can I find resources for experiments easily and inexpensively? 

  • Can I create grade-level lessons myself?

I found out the answer is "YES!" to all the questions. If you are curious to see what prepackaged curriculums I looked at go to The Science Project Part Two.

The problem that I had with the prepackaged curriculums was they seemed geared toward older children or my expectations didn't match up with the product. Some were very pricey, especially when you added in the materials, experiments and extra books to purchase.

This is how I'm creating lesson plans based on WTM's suggestions. I have purchased Usborne's First Encyclopedia of Our World ($9.95) and First Encyclopedia of Space ($9.95).

These are the core spines of the lessons.  I also acquired More

Mudpies and Magnets
, as per WTM's suggestions. I have decided not to use it because the experiments don't mesh well with the studies of the two encyclopedia books. I have decided to use The Geography Book  by Caroline Arnold. I'm still figuring this out.

 Please don't get me wrong, these books are merely WTM's suggestions, you don't have to use them, there are comparable books available on the market. I found Kingfisher's First Science Encyclopedia for $2.00 at Goodwill, which I might use a supplement throughout the year just because we have it.

Other titles that are suggested for supplements are: Glow-in-the-Dark Constellations, Stargazer's Guide to the Galaxy ($6.99) and, Spotters Guide to the Night Sky (Spotter's Guide). I personally don't think you need all these books. It would be best to realistically think about how you're going to incorporate viewing the night sky and constellations and choose the books that you'd best utilize, of course it would be best to preview these books in a bookstore before purchasing them.

If you live near a Books A Million, Barnes and Noble or other bookstore, most of the time they will order a book for you for you to preview before purchase. This does save money on shipping, allows you to look at the book before committing and the best part is being able to take the book home with you once you made the decision. Another plus is all the bookstores have a discount club of some sort that you can utilize.

We have a telescope but if we didn't, we would buy one. A few other purchases that we want to make is a planetarium and maybe a rock and fossil hands-on activity. I found this Activity Rock Kit at Rainbow Resource for $4.75. We're going to use a few of these items as Christmas presents (shh, I didn't tell you that).  Instead of purchasing a solar system model, we're going to make one, probably out of foam balls.

Science is quickly becoming one of my favorite subjects to teach, there are just so many ways to spark the imagination with hands-on activities and it's not just about making crafts to stick on a shelf. An additional plus is that when children do something hands-on, the experience stays with them longer than just reading a book about it. The more hands-on activities we do in art, science, history stay with them longer, and that mamma pride comes out when they share their excitement with others!

I am currently creating lessons with activity sheets, experiment pages, nature journal entries, suggested books to read (biographies, non-fiction and fiction), science vocabulary words, and other features this time.

I need to go back and redo the life science lessons I've already done to make it a more complete package. I will probably create lesson plans for the entire grammar cycle but this is still to be determined. I will be posting about when the Earth/Space Science lessons are done so that you can download them for yourself for free. With the holidays approaching and knowing what church/family commitments I have, the project completion date is estimated for February/March 2007.


I don't know what I'm doing yet.

I don't know if I want to have this blog or not but I want to comment on a friends' blog that only accepts blogger people. Can you say aggravating?


Monday, October 2, 2006

Finding a Science Curriculum Part Two

I'm looking for an Earth/Space curriculum for our second grade year. Now that I know what I am looking for in an elementary science curriculum (see post about Part One), it is time to start looking at the curriculums available that seem to fit my wishlist.

1. Science in the Creation Week by David Unfred  

This is a challenging hands-on science curriculum that gives your child the opportunity to understand science in the context of Creation. Broken down into six unforgettable sections, one for each day of Creation, the book covers Light & Energy, Water & Weather, Minerals & Plants,the Solar System, Birds, Sea Life, Land Animals and Human Biology. A scope-and-sequence chart is included in the book so that you can use it whether your child is at a second-grade level or as high as a fifth-grade level. This book is a fabulous, Christian introduction to the major sciences!

Best Price is at at $14.99 and the only website I could find that provides sample pages

As a rule of thumb, I read as many reviews as I can about a product that I "think" I might want to purchase. That way, when I do actually purchase, I don't get those -Oh, what if this would have been better- thoughts.

Cathy Duffy's Review of Science in the Creation Week. parent review of Science in the Creation Week.

This is a highly recommended and seemingly unknown elementary science curriculum. It's is not glossy, it is not expensive, it is not filled with fluff.

2. Living Learning Science - Level 2:  Earth/Space

Advertised as following The Well-Trained Mind's suggestions

Topics Covered:

The Earth's Crust, Seasons, Rocks & Fossils, Soil, Disaster Preparedness, Volcanoes, Earthquakes, The Water Cycle, Weather & Storms, Rivers & Caves, Seas & Oceans,

Rockets and Spaceflight, Stars, Galaxies & Constellations

Space Shuttles, Astronauts, Telescopes

Each unit in the Teacher's Manual contains all of the following:

- Easy Planning Checklists - Lesson Plans

- Annotated Library Lists

- Kid Friendly Internet Links

- Fun Project Ideas

$24.00 for Teacher's Manual (required) and Student Pages are $8.00.

This was reviewed in Cathy Duffy's Top 100 Picks for Homeschool Curriculum (which I own). Other parents I have asked have said that this is a great "simple" approach to elementary science and it would only be as great as the homeschooler makes it.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine review

3. Christian Kids Explore Earth & Space

by Bright Ideas Press

Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space breaks our universe into manageable bites, offering units about Earth and its structure, the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and weather, as well as a unit investigating the universe and its components. The 24 lessons and six unit reviews present the material in an easy-to-teach manner. Students are encouraged to keep a science notebook as they learn. Hands-on activities include building a model of Earth and its layers, using eggs to understand plate tectonics, and simulating a volcanic eruption. Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space guides your journey as you dive into the wonder of our universe.

offers views of the table of contents and a sample lesson. There is also a supply list available for viewing. It isn't available until mid-September but it can be pre-ordered for $29.95.

Cathy Duffy's Review of Christian Kids Explore Biology
, featured in her Top 100 Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine review of CKEB. parents reviews (a few counter-reviews for CKEB).

4. God's Design for Heaven and Earth

by Answers in Genesis

There are three books that are combined to create GDHE: Our Planet Earth ($19.99), Our Universe ($19.99) and Our Weather and Water ($19.99). If you buy all three as a set it's only a whopping $49.99.

There are sample pages and table of contents available to view. And there's more resources to buy. This "looks" good but I've read too many parent reviews that say it's boring, too much for elementary students, etc. Read for yourself-IF you have a different opinion, please tell me! parent reviews

Okay, well that concludes the contenders. If you know of something that is worth looking at that fits my "wishlist" (see Part One, linked above) then PLEASE tell me.

Part three will consist of what I'd use to create my own lessons.



Sunday, October 1, 2006

Finding a Science Curriculum Part One

If you know me, you KNOW I love to research and ask questions.

This is year is our first grade year and I followed The Well-Trained Mind's suggestions for science:

10 weeks of Human Body studies with the Kingfisher First Human Body Encyclopedia, followed by 20 +/- weeks of Animal Kindgdom studies using the Kingfisher First Animal Encyclopedia and finishing with studies in the Plant Kingdom which uses Green Thumbs: A Kid's Activity Guide to Indoor and Outdoor Gardening for the final 6 weeks.

After purchasing the books and reading them I decided to add, Childcraft's How and Why Library: The Green Kingdom and What Your First Grader Needs To Know by E.D. Hirsch.  The above Childcraft link goes to Amazon where you can buy the book used for $0.01!


I created my own lesson plans, which are on the right-hand sidebar for your perusal. Pretty much I organized the Human body lessons and threw in activities and games. Our Animal lessons are more activities, I created worksheets to use and planned field trips to an animal park. Our Plant lessons, I beefed up from Green Thumbs- we'll be doing a lot of activities but also learning more from The Green Kingdom book and Hirsch's book. Those are done and being used right now.

What about next year? I looked at The Well-Trained Mind again. More Encyclopedia spines. Which means I get to create lessons all over again. Well, Earth Science is a touchy subject- what exactly does a first grader need to know?

  • Will I give her enough information to keep that spark of interest alive and growing?

  • Can I find resources for experiments easily and inexpensively? 

  • Can I create grade-level lessons myself or should I use a prepackaged curriculum?

Welcome to my Science Project!

This is my "wishlist" for our science lessons. Watch out! I may add/subtract as this project progresses!

1. A planned curriculum with simple instructions; adaptable to 2x a week.

2. Easy on the parent, but interesting for the child- experiments

3. Introduction to the scientific method without being too formal

4. Supply list or kit to purchase for experiments

5. Follows the WTM study cycle for Science: 1st-Life, 2nd-Earth, 3rd-Chemistry, 4th-Physics

6. Total cost would be less than creating the curriculum myself.

7. A plus would be an integrated study on scientists and/or inventors.

8. Gives God the credit but isn't lean on providing facts understandable for my first grader. Follows the National Science Education Standards

9. The books that accompany the curriculum doesn't add exurberant costs to the price of the curriculum. (referring to additional spines not included in curriculum cost)

10. Be able to purchase by May 2007.

See, I'm not picky. Please share with me what you've used, I'll do the research and share it with you but I'd really like to start with a poll.

What science curriculum has your homeschool used and enjoyed?

I'd love to hear why too, plus tell me what you've thrown out!

What hasn't worked is just as important as what has.

The Science Project Part Two...