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Saturday, December 30, 2006

From Our Home Library

These are books I've pulled from our shelves to be read-aloud. I put an asterisk (*) besides the ones I'm not sure about reading yet. I have a few books that I have ordered/will order because they are Ambleside selections for Year 1, hopefully they will be here next week. I'll list them after the ones we already have.

We are currently reading Milly-Molly-Mandy.

Next from our shelves:

  1. James Herriot's Treasury for Children
  2. Stories and Fables (Childcraft How and Why Library)
  3. The Wind and the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  4. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers*
  5. The Adventures of Chatterer the Squirrel by Thornton W. Burgess
  6. Giant Treasury of Beatrix Potter
  7. Favorite Greek Myths by Mary Pope Osborne
  8. Roman Myths by Geraldine McCaughrean
  9. A Child's Book of Myths and Enchanting Tales (compliation from older books) illustrated by Margaret Evans Price
  10. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White (switch to independent read)
  11. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter* (switch to independent read)
  12. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (switch to independent read)
  13. Homer Price by Robert McCloskey* (switch to independent read)
Books that have been ordered:
  1. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
  2. Our Island Saints by Amy Steedman
  3. The Book of Fables and Folk Stories by Horace E. Scudder
  4. Reading-Literature The Primer by Free and Treadwell (independent read aloud)

Books that will be ordered:
  1. Burgess Animal Book for Children
  2. Burgess Bird Book for Children
  3. Pinocchio
  4. Understood Betsy
  5. Christian Liberty Nature Readers (Books 1-3) (read aloud to me)

Our history read-alouds are for reading during the week as well but I find it's better to read them right after we do our history lesson. If a history read-aloud is longer, it generally is read during our nightly reading time. If you have any input about these books for a 6.5 year old, I'm open to suggestions or warnings.


New Year's Resolutions

1. Be there.
I find there are times I get so wrapped up into being busy that I neglect to "be there" for my children. There are moments that are lost when I say, "yes, sweetie" without really looking and celebrating what my children have done. I want to be there and celebrate each victory and build-up when there's been a loss or failure. Nothing is more important. This is also for my dh, I tend to be too busy for him with the children and I want to make more of an effort to "be there" for him as well.

2. Read GOOD books to my children.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately and realizing that just because a book is visually appealing to a child, that doesn't make the message good. I knew this when I decided to homeschool classically but it takes time and reading a lot of reading lists and books about reading aloud before you get the hang of it. I'm not an extremist, I don't want to only read Christian books or only read long unabridged titles. I do however want our reading selections to reflect the virtues that we value.

3. Play as much as we can.
I don't want to lose sight of the fact my children are 6.5 and 2.5, this is sometimes hard when you're in charge of their education and discipline. I don't do it often because we dance, we play and we run but there are times I find myself wishing they were a little older. : ) I guess this is a part of Resolution #1.

4. Create a yearly scrapbook
I'm doing this though my blog and taking pictures of Camille's artwork. Once a week, I'll post pictures of Camille's work- her choice. This will be printed out at the end of the year and saved for her.

5. Remember ME
I tend to leave personal pleasures by the wayside for my family's preferences. I need to remember to paint my own nails every now and then. I just need to carve out a little pampering for myself from time to time.


Friday, December 29, 2006

The Month-long Week

How can you make a week seem longer? How about making a week as long as a month? Let's see, grab a 2.5 yo boy, throw in a 6.5 yo girl, mix with grandparents that wish to spoil the 2.5 yo boy rotten, a handful of brother and sister in laws with opinions about how you're parenting and stir.

Then repack your vehicle, drive to your parents house and unload. Literally, unload. Go through transitioning with 2.5 yo boy back into disciplining routine while under your own parents' supervision. Go after-Christmas shopping with your mother. Repack, cram, stuff and stack your vehicle with the Christmas booty. Drive eight hours home with 2.5 yo and 6.5 yo wanting to stop every half hour or ask how close we are.

That is how a week can seem like a month. We haven't done the actual drive yet but tomorrow I will be tackling it with dh and grateful to see our own front door. There should be a medicine or something to help deal with visiting family back to back. Why not? There's a medicine for everything else! Lol.

We've had a great Christmas though, the kids are excited about their new toys and I'm 85% happy with what was given them. Playmobil is a new toy that will be requested in the New Year for birthdays and Christmas.

I cannot wait to sleep in my own bed, for my 2.5 yo to sleep in his own bed and be able to tackle the New Year in our own home. I'm thinking about resolutions- although I would be making changes even if we weren't approaching a new year. I'll write about that next.

All I can say is that I am grateful dh brought his laptop along for the ride and that both my inlaws and parents have wireless service. I don't think I could have added arguments about what to watch on tv to the mix. I already have a Wii-crazed dh that swears using it wouldn't get out of control. Say it with me, "yeah, right!" The Wii is pretty cool but I don't want my children to grow up with video games. I stressed the point that we have brand new board games to play, as well as other games on their way once I order Camille's 2nd grade curriculum. BTW, I hope I will be able to say that I've ordered it and it's on it's way this month. Cash is a wonderful Christmas present!

I needed this break from our lessons, it has given me a chance to regroup and refocus. Taking a week off at home just isn't the same as getting away for a week. I'm excited to be going home tomorrow.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Read-Alouds: A little more Charlotte if you please...

I've been thinking about read-alouds lately, among other things, and I've realized that I am naturally drawn to the books available at and James Baldwin, Jennie Hall, Alfred Church and others have been enticing me for months now. Meanwhile, I've struggled to decide what children's literature to read next aloud to Camille.

We have wonderful books on our shelves and it is very hard to decide what is good for her at her age now and what will razzle and dazzle her. I also have a little problem with lack of imagination in Camille. She's very sequential and structured, always wanting to know what is next and what to expect. I don't know if Mary Poppins by Travers will be a good pick for her or which books are a little too old for her at her stage. I know without a doubt I want to read James Herriott's Treasury for Children after we finish Milly-Molly-Mandy but what next?

What exactly is the "plan"? I guess I'm a little sequential and structured myself. I need a plan or at least a path. Lol. I want to know what I'm reading to her and why. This makes everything a little harder for a mother who hasn't read the books herself in over 10 years.

I'm contemplating mixing The Well-Trained Mind's literature list and Ambleside Online's literature list for each year. Ambleside Online uses the books I've been drooling over and I feel my goals spiritually for my children are addressed by AO's selections. However, I need to use the books I have on hand too. Hmm. I know without a doubt I am adding more of a Charlotte flavor to our homeschool, at least with picture study, literature selections and poetry study. Nature study is touch and go with us, it hasn't been the blazing success I envisioned in my mind when we first embarked on this journey but I hope that it will become a standard in the months to come.

With poetry, I am eagerly waiting for the opportunity to purchase The Harp and the Laurel Wreath (along with the rest of our 2nd grade year books and curricula). I want to create a poetry copybook for Camille that will have a place to draw a picture narration of the poem and then tackle the poem two lines at a time. This has worked beautifully for us so far. We are both loving having more poetry in our day that Camille reminds me if I forget to read a poem before I read Story of the World or if I don't read a funny poem before our math lessons. I have a math poetry book coming from my recent splurge at the dollar for dollar sale (ends Dec. 30th).

I want to tap into as much goodness as I can with our readings and I feel most comfortable using older books to accomplish this. Milly-Molly-Mandy is a prime example of this, MMM exemplifies character traits that I would like Camille to emulate. Camille is soaking this book up and is enjoying reading a chapter a night aloud. I want to continue this, although I could do it with a book that doesn't twist my tongue all into knots. *grin*

On a homeschooling message board I participate in, we recently had the discussion about whether the Magic Tree House series was worth reading. It was interesting to find out what my fellow classical homeschoolers thought about these books and although I left with the impression- "I have them on the shelf, if Camille wants to read them they are there." I don't really want her to read them. I don't like series books, in fact I'd like to stay far, far away from them with the exception of Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie. I like these mostly because the children grow and their experiences change and they are faced with growing pains and overcome them. Books like Magic Tree House where the characters stay the same and the surroundings change are a little too much twaddle for my tastes.

Just to clarify, I bought the Magic Tree House books 1-29 from Scholastic while Camille was in public school kindergarten. I thought it was a great buy considering the price of these separately. I did not know what twaddle was or even consider these mind-candy at the time. I thought they were great readers, easy on the child but added in a little dash of history and adventure. Now, that I know more about good literature for children, what is available out there and keeping our goals in mind, these really don't fit us.

I don't have a plan of action yet for the read-alouds, maybe after I get back home and compare the WTM literature list, Ambleside Online's list and our books that are currently on the shelf, I can piece together something wonderful. All I know is that I would like a little more Charlotte, if you please.


Early Resolution

I know I'm a little early, I tend to do that. Sometimes I have to be held back! Anyways, my friend Sylvia has a fabulous idea and I wanted to share it and get the idea written about before I wander off to the in-laws for more Christmas joy.

She took a year's worth of her blog and had it printed at a print shop into a book. I think this is a fabulous (see I'm missing doing Fabulous Friends Friday, which I'll start up again soon) idea! To implement this idea without using all my useless banter, I'm going to start a category called Camille's Work. Once a week, we'll photograph her work to be displayed. It'll be either a full day of work or just one piece that she wants to share. Then after we're done, we'll print a Camille book. Of course when Danny is old enough, he'll have his own category.

So go check out Sylvia's post and start thinking about those New Year's Resolutions! Merry Christmas everyone!



Saturday, December 23, 2006

Our Christmas


Friday, December 22, 2006

A Click is a Click.

Although it is really nice to find out that I was appreciated while my blog was at, I'm still a click away. At some point others had to click on a link that brought them to my blog at HSB, well now instead of staying in homeschoolblogger, that same click brings you to blogger. No difference.

If the difference is the links back to homeschoolblogger, not a problem! I was going to work on links to my friends anyways. I have numerous blogs that I want to link to so that I may visit and wreak havoc at my lesiure. LOL. I'm in a very good mood. We're about to make sugar cookies for Santa and the kids are cleaning up their rooms. Camille has it in her head that if she doesn't put away every single toy, Santa won't leave her anything. I told her that wasn't so but that we clean up because we like our things and want to take care of them. That was a wasted teachable lesson because the next thing out her mouth was, "Danny, Santa's not going to leave any new toys for you if you don't go pick up your room!" Geesh. No wonder he cried when he sat on Santa's lap at the mall.

Personally, I'm about tired of Santa. We'll see after tomorrow. Dh is making dinner tonight-a church member sent us a Omaha Steak package so we'll be eating good tonight. I'm finishing up laundry and wrestling the kids so I'll end here. I had to take a little break from cleaning, I know you know what I'm talking about.


Today is our Christmas Eve

I know it's a few days early but we have to do it this way in order for our children to have a Christmas that isn't rushed. Tomorrow is Saturday and they'll have all day to play with their Christmas goodies and then we'll attend Christmas Eve services Saturday night. Yes, even the services are early this year. Sunday we'll have normal services and then we're hi-tailing it dh's parent's house.

So, yes today is our Christmas Eve and we're going to make sugar cookies for Santa, read Twas' the Night Before Christmas and read our Christmas devotion. I have half of the presents wrapped already, so tonight will not be the mad rush it has been in the past. Dh refuses to wrap presents, he says he "can't" - I'll admit it is a mess when he does it so it's left to me. Which is fine, I like to make the presents pretty. Lol.

I decided we'd take our Grammar, Reading and Math lessons with us to the grands' houses just in case we need a break from the grands. Shh. I didn't just say that. Of course, if you do the visiting thing you know what I'm talking about. Everyone needs a break from being told what to do, the suggestion drops, and the constant- "oh, look at what he did! Danny is so smart!" I'm also taking a few library books to read to the kids. I love our nightly reading time, it's as if the world stops for us just to sit and listen to stories.

Another reason to dislike Bratz dolls- sweatshop conditions in China, CNN just reported on it. I didn't need another reason to dislike Bratz but hey, it works for me. We're reading Milly-Molly-Mandy right now and although I get tongue-tied more times than not, it's a wonderful book. I recommend it for all little girls 8 and below.

I have a few thoughts just rolling around in my head so bare with me. What is up with the FREEBIE that's not FREE? If you're going to entice customers with the word FREEBIE, give it for FREE. Don't try to get a customer to buy something to get something free. Especially homeschoolers. If you're homeschooling, I'm sure your email box has been filled with deals from your favorite online stores, and I check out every single email that says "free" or "freebie"- I completely respect the companies that actually do give away an item once a month for FREE, no strings attached. Getting off the soapbox before I say something I shouldn't.

I'll post Christmas pictures tomorrow, it's one of the pleasures of doing Christmas a little early. I can't wait.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Our First Grade Lessons

Here is a recap of our First Grade using The Well-Trained Mind among other resources.

Bible (in order of how we used them)
Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schooland
Big Thoughts for Little People by Kenneth Taylor
Right Choices by Kenneth Taylor
Explorer's Bible Study Beginnings I: Old Testament

also learned/memorized
The Lord's Prayer
The Apostles' Creed
Our House Rules (scripturally based)
Hymns from Explorer's Bible Study that are on the cd "My First Hymnal"

D'Nealian Handwriting Practice by MCP until we switched to copywork with scripture, then switched to poetry. Started Classically Cursive by Veritas Press (also D'Nealian)

Poetry Memorization
First Language Lessons and Poem Copybook of "A Child's Garden of Verses" by R.L. Stevenson. We also read poems that pertain to anything we're studying, any subject or just to have a good laugh.

Horizons 1 box set, I like the Teacher's Manual, also bought RightStart Math Games but haven't used it but 3x. We will probably use it more as the concepts get more complicated in our math studies.

Life science studies based on WTM rev. ed.'s suggestions. See the right hand sidebar for the Life Science download. We've raised a frog but won't do butterflies this year, we did catch caterpillars but they died b/c we couldn't find their food source.

SOTW Vol 1. with Activity Guide reading Egermeier's Bible Storybook alongside with schedule from We've added the VP History cards/CDs for memorization purposes and we love them!

Will also read Peace & Peril by Mindy & Brandon Winthrow at the end of SOTW 1 to start church history. We've done about 10 projects throughout the year for history.

Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading with Dick and Jane, Bob Books, Nora Gaydos readers (Now I'm Reading) series. We tried the McGuffey Readers but we just didn't stick with it.
Books we've read:
Click here to see the list
It needs to be updated but I took pretty good record. I also started dd on a reading log, she's to read 10 books on her level or just about and write in a log:
Favorite character:

this will increase as her reading skills do.

First Language Lessons with the audio cd and Ruth Heller's books about grammar as well as poems I've found about grammar.

Spelling Workout A (finished in 4 months)
Spelling Workout B (finished in 4 months)
We're done a little dictation throughout the year, really just about spelling words. We've increased from being able to say 1 letter at a time to saying 4 or 5 letters.

We've decided to learn French, in fact- becoming a bilingual family. DD6, DS3 and myself are working towards being able to speak French all day and read/write in French. We're using a bunch of different resources, The Easy French is the curriculum I chose. We're putting off Latin until 3rd or 4th grade.

We decided to focus on Art this year so we used Artistic Pursuits, K-3 Book 1. This went very well, dd's favorite subject! I'm combining Artistic Pursuits into history next year so we can study music as a separate subject. We also used Harmony Fine Arts ( which combines art and music á la Charlotte Mason in chronological order.

Other activities:
-DD started piano lessons (1x a week)
-We tried Recorder but she couldn't finger the holes correctly (used Recorder Fun!)


Our 2nd Grade

As classical homeschoolers using The Well-Trained Mind as a guide, we will be studying the Middle Ages/Early Renaissance & Reformation period in history.

Here's my purchasing list for 2nd grade and I put an asterisk by items we've already acquired. (I find it's useful to buy a little at a time.) We are buying most of our items from because they have the best selection and price.

The Harp and Laurel Wreath by Laura Berquist
Girls Think of Everything: Stories Ingenious
Writing Without Fear CD by Susan W. Bauer*
Science in the Classical Curriculum CD by Susan W. Bauer*

Daily Morning Study: Explorer's Bible Study-Beginnings II, Precious in His Sight (NT). Evening Reading: We also intend to keep reading Egermeier's Bible Storybook. I recently found a wonderful book called Beautiful Bible Stories by Patricia Summerlin Martin, and will use this as a follow-up to Egermeier's.

Prima Latina with CD, DVDs, flashcards, Lingua Angelica CD and songbook.*

Classically Cursive from Veritas Press. Since Camille has learned D'Nealian handwriting this is perfect for us, it uses scripture and catechism for cursive instruction copywork. I'm also looking at creating our own copywork books based on free resources from the web using literature and poetry.

We're continuing our Horizons usage with Horizons 2 box set. We are very happy with Horizons and Camille is excelling.
Extra: Daily Mental Math Student Book - Grade 2, we also bought Right Start Math Games Kit (K-6) and love it.

First Language Lessons, second grade portion. Thankfully, Jessie Wise will have another installment of First Language Lessons for third grade available in 2008 but if for some reason we don't use it, we'll move onto Rod & Staff's English 3. I did purchase the First Language Lessons audio cd and I am very pleased with this.

We're finished with Spelling Workout A and we've just started the B workbook. This is working well for us and Camille enjoys it. If she keeps up the current pace we'll be using Spelling Workout C and D for 2nd grade. Games: What’s GNU Game

I'm creating my own lessons for Earth/Space and I'm incorporating Geography, there is no better match up! What we're using: Usborne's First Encyclopedia of Our World, First Encyclopedia of Space, and The Geography Book by Caroline Arnold as our spines. The Geography Book has wonderful age-appropriate activities that align perfectly with earth science study.

Other items:
Hands-On Earth Science (this is great!)
Weather Gr. 1-2 (Brown Bag Science)
Color & Learn: Space Exploration
Color & Learn: Dinosaurs
Color & Learn: Rocks and Minerals,
Color & Learn: Solar System
My Calendar Book
Seeing Stars
Break-Your-Own Geodes (Box of 10)
Nature Reader Book 1 & 2
Cheap Charts - Solar System
Fun with Nature: Take-Along Guide
Glow-in-the-Dark Constellations
Stargazer's Guide to the Galaxy
Global Puzzle*
A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky* (I highly recommend)
Professor Noggin's Earth Science, Scientists Card games
Activity Rock Kit at RR($4.75)
Galileo and Stargazers CD by Jim Weiss
Planet Quest game

We found a planetarium at Walmart that allows you to rotate the planets around the sun for $20, a deal in comparison to ones seen online. It does reflect the stars on the ceiling but this wasn't my purpose in buying it. I want a visual aid to show the alignment of the planets and their orbit around the sun.

We're also going to use Men of God, Men of Science* by Henry Morris to do a short monthly biographical study of scientists, which I will create a worksheet to use for this.

We're going to continue our journey with Artistic Pursuits K-3, Book 2. It has been super simple to use and Camille loves it. I have added other art books to enhance our learning experience and I absolutely love Harmony Fine Arts' art and music curriculum for this reason. We're going to continue with a weekly nature journal and weekly art lesson, if Camille had her way she'd do art everyday.

Other than private piano lessons, which are dependent on funds, we'll be using Classical Magic. I absolutely love their six year schedule for classical music appreciation. Music will be our main focus of our 2nd grade year and we'll be learning a little musical theory as well. I'm still looking for a great book to introduce us but we will get these flashcards- Essentials of Music Theory Note Naming Flash and Music for Little Mozarts Music Activity Board to help with showing musical notes on a scale. I'm assuming our teacher for piano lessons will have a preference book for theory or will be able to suggest an excellent one. If not, I have one in mind, Let's Learn Music series by Hayes. We're also getting Stories of Great Composers Book and CD for biographies. I'll figure out how to intermingle these things once I have them.

The Story of the World Vol 2: Middle Ages with Activity Guide. Here's the books I'm going to buy, the books we own have an asterisk. Any other books will be borrowed from the library.

To Enhance Biblical History

Fox's Book of Martyrs*
The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History* by J. Stephen Lang, Randy Petersen
Church History in Plain Language* (I'll use to help me along, not for dd)
Peril & Peace* by Mindy Withrow
Monks & Mystics* by Mindy Withrow (these are excellent, highly recommended)

Story of King Arthur & Other Celtic Heroes (love Padraic Colum)
Eric the Red & Leif the Lucky
Historic Communities - Life on a Plantation
Whipping Boy
Making of a Knight
From Akebu to Zapotec
Who Were the Vikings?
If You Lived in the Days of the Knights
Minstrel in the Tower
Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess
Before Columbus (Landmark Books)
Medieval Feast / Aliki
Joan of Arc (Landmark)
Montezuma (Historic Bios)
St. George and the Dragon
Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Readers by Nesbit
Who in the World Was the Acrobatic Empress? The Story of Theodora
Who in the World Was the Unready King? The Story of Ethelred

Books we already have
Beowulf: A New Telling
Tales from Shakespeare
The Bard Of Avon
Around the World In a Hundred Years by Jean Fritz
Favorite Tales from Around the World
Medieval Times: Art and Civilization
Kings and Queens (Famous Lives)
Raiders and Traders (All In A Day's Work)
Aztec & Maya Life in an Ancient Civilization
The Children of Odin: The Book of Northern Myths
Meet Christopher Columbus
East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Old Tales From the North
Exploring lost cities (Explorer books)
Favorite Celtic Fairy Tales (Dover Children's Thrift Classics)
Favorite Medieval Tales
Good Queen Bess : The Story of Elizabeth I of England
How Children Lived
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Kings and Queens of Britain
In the Daily Life of the Vikings
The Story of King Arthur
King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table (Puffin Classics)
Tales of King Arthur (Paperbacks) by Felicity Brooks
The Knight of the Lion
Medieval Times by Pasquale, Giovanni Di
Middle Ages: Everyday Life
The Mightiest Heart
Pirate waters
Sword In The Stone, The (level 2) (Hello Reader)
The Three Musketeers
Who in the World Was the Forgotten Explorer?: The Story of Amerigo Vespucci (Who in the World)
Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (Great Illustrated Classics) by Howard Pyle

I know I have a few different King Arthur books and we'll decide what to use as we come to it.

Activity Books, Kits, Games and Charts
Knight’s Treasure Chest
Leonardo Da Vinci & Renaissance Treaure Chest
Vikings Treasure Chest
Shakespeare Treasure Chest*
Shakespeare for Kids*
Knights and Castles
Marco Polo for Kids
Prof Noggin’s Explorers, Medieval Times, Ancient Civilizations, Earth Science, Outer Space card games
Middle Ages Chronology/Town Life Charts
Renaissance Chronology/Artists Charts

Coloring Books
these are for our read-alouds
Shakespeare Coloring Book
Castles of the World Coloring Book
Celtic Gods and Heroes Coloring Book
Columbus Discovers America Coloring Book
Exploration of North America Coloring Book
Indian Tribes of North America Coloring Book
King Arthur Coloring Book
Middle Ages Coloring Book
Norse Gods and Goddesses Coloring Book
Story of the Vikings Coloring Book
Medieval Alphabet to Illuminate Coloring Book

I learned a few lessons this year, if you can invest in books that will be used multiple times do so. The library, although it is a homeschooler's best friend, is not as dependable as I would like it to be. I've waited 3 weeks to get a book through interlibrary loan with no good reason and it was, of course, a particular story I wanted to read for the time period. These are books chosen from multiple lists- Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, Veritas Press, WTM, All Through the Ages, and others. I haven't even seen the AG for SOTW 2 so any books from the SOTW AG will come from our library.

I've also decided to get more manipulative items this year, and I'll be forthright, my Rainbow Resource list totals just under $800. Most of what we're purchasing in non-consumable so this is not only Camille's 2nd grade year, it's Danny's too. We've bought the books that we already have through, thrift/antique stores, used bookstores, Goodwill, Salvation Army and I've gotten a good many from swapping books at Book Mooch.

We're also going to be doing a dinosaur study during our month off and starting an informal U.S. Geography/State study using Hold That Thought's U.S. Geography cd. Two states a month is enough for us, like I said this will be very informal.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Coffee Cake and Books

Tomorrow we're doing our lessons, wrapping presents for the grands and I'm going to attempt to make a coffee cake. We cleaned house today, including adding one more 5 shelf bookcase to Camille's bedroom. She now has two. Our parsonage is a good size but the rooms are a little awkward, plus no matter how much I'd love to put certain pieces of furniture into storage and line the walls with bookcases, it's not a good idea.

Actually, I'm just about book-ed out. I'm still mooching books at Book Mooch and I've gotten some really wonderful books for my children and myself. I also participated in the Dollar for Dollar sale at, where no matter what you spend, they give you that amount in free books (of course from their list of books for free). Next month, we're buying our 2nd grade curricula and other than the books from Book Mooch, I'm done buying books. The rest will be housed at the library, lol. My dh says I need to read. I know.

I try to buy books that we would like to read longer than the library would like us to and books that serve multiple purposes or good reference books. That reminds me, I have to go to the library tomorrow and pick up this week's books.

I've got to pick up:
Fire into ice : adventures in glass making by James Houston
The seven voyages of Sinbad the sailor by John Yeoman
Great wonders of the world
by Russell Ash
Teaching children about life and earth sciences : ideas and activities every teacher and parent can use
by Elaine Levenson.

By waiting until tomorrow I'll also get to pick up (hopefully):

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Cox, Reg.
The king in the garden by Leon Garfield
My First Book about Georgia by Carole Marsh

I have a love/hate relationship with our interlibrary loan system. I love to get the books I need but hate to get in random order or a week before/after we're studying the topic. I also wish they would include audio/video in the interlibrary loan options. However, I can drive to just about any Georgia library and check out whatever I'd like and have it returned through my library.

I better make the ladies at the library a coffee cake too. That means I'll have to make them tomorrow morning. I also have a writing project that I'm working on when I can collect my thoughts to write it.

We're leaving Sunday to go to the grands, dh's parents first then 3 days later, my parents. Stressful. First you go where you know you're going to be bossed around for three days and then you leave to go to another place where your dh is going to be stressed from being bossed around. I pray this year will go smoothly- the 8 hour car ride home gets to be more relaxing once we're an hour away from the place we left. LOL. It's amazing how our parents want things to be a certain way and only give you a little wiggle room for your own preferences. I love them dearly and can't wait to see them.

Geesh, is my rambling finished yet? Yes. It is.


She's a Visual Learner

Yikes. I knew that see preferred some things visual but I had Camille tagged as an auditory learner for most of this school year. My fellow WTMers enlightened me regarding our problems with narration- saying that it might be contributed to the fact she's not an auditory learner.

I guess those Jim Weiss cd's won't be needed, although *I* still want them. I can't justify getting them just because I want them though. It pains me not to be able to utilize something so wonderful but I am very grateful I didn't invest in them yet or the Story of the World audio cds! What stumps me is that she loves for me to record some of our memorizations on cassette tape where she can listen and repeat with the tape. Thinking about it, she usually has the item halfway memorized when she does the tape.

We did a little test to see if the Jim Weiss cd's are completely out of the picture or not- we talked about it (Camille and I) and she said that if she can draw a picture while listening or in a coloring book, she'd try her best to listen. She's such a doll!
It didn't work. She colored a beautiful picture from the Ancient Egypt Dover coloring book but didn't absorb much from the Jim Weiss cd, Egyptian Treasures.

I did get the History Scribe notebooking files for history and biographies to beef-up our history notebook, now I realize what a great buy they were for her. This makes our history notebook more like a workbook- something she needs as a visual learner. We also have charts on our walls, I guess I'll need to invest in those with the money I was going to spend on Jim Weiss.

Since she's visual this means all the wonderful things like Classical Kids cds, Jim Weiss' cds, pretty much all audio files don't do it for her. Urgh. I'm glad to know this but it's a little disheartening. Thankfully I haven't spent too much money on these items but I also guess that I need to cancel our membership to Simply Audiobooks. This is a little hard for me, I enjoy audiobooks. Nobody reads to me anymore. : ( Yeah, I know- "get over it, Jessica." I am very grateful to know what my dd's learning style is at this point. Hopefully by utilizing this fact we can finally avoid some of the more frustrating moments in our daily lessons.

The dvds that I picked up at Sam's Club are going to be invaluable to us. I'm going to learn all I can about having a visual learner, including the struggles they have and what obstacles need to be overcome. First, I need to modify my Rainbow Resource wishlist and see how much money we're going to save by not purchasing the Jim Weiss cds. LOL. I'm still going to get the coloring books so that she can color while I read-aloud to her if she chooses.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday in December

I cannot believe we're a week from Christmas! Thankfully, we have all our shopping done and completed. The wrapping is a whole other ballgame. See, I can hide unwrapped presents but once they are wrapped, I have to worry about tearing the paper, smooshing the bow or the tag falling off.

DH says that we should put the gifts under the tree without wrapping them. Yeah, right. He says that only because HE doesn't gift wrap. Online buying is ingenious! I've bought my dad a gift and sent it to my mom, she's got to wrap it- but it comes back on you too. In-laws sent me a gift for dh that's too big to travel with, guess who's got to wrap it? Maybe I'll just take that one out of the box, lol.

I'm going to pick up Camille today, post-NYC trip. I hope she'll be excited to tell me all about it. I can't wait to see photos, which I'll share, of course. There are webcams in NYC that allows you to see live feeds, the only problem is that only PCs can use it, I'm on a very cool Mac. So, I didn't get to "see" her in NYC but she was excited on the phone when they called to check in.

We're doing school Tuesday- Friday this week. Our 3R's are Reading, Math and Grammar. We do these everyday without fail. Bible is in that too but if we miss it, I don't worry about it. Oh, that sounded very sinful. I think we'll have a regular week but I'm not going to stress too much. We're having problems with our narrations and I've known this- I thought it would improve with time. I figured she would understand what I'm asking her to do if we just kept moving forward. Guess what? She doesn't get it.

So back to square one with narrations. We're going to do this everyday until she becomes comfortable, using the Aesop Fables. We're making a narration jar so that I don't ask the same questions all the time. I can get quite boring that way. LOL.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

What Homeschoolers Give For Christmas


Friday, December 15, 2006

I had a GREAT day!

I'm still shaking. I took Camille to her dad today (they're going to NYC for the weekend, lucky her) and I had the rest of the day to myself. Danny stayed home with Daddy. I. had. the. rest. of. the. day. to. myself. Me, myself and I. Do you know how RARE that is? :)

Okay, so I went to my usual haunts Goodwill, Salvation Army and then to another town's Goodwill, antique stores. When I took a chance and combed the antique stores I hit paydirt.

On the shelf were encyclopedias. Not just any encyclopedias. I started shaking when I saw them and I'm shaking just typing this! The. Great. Books. of. the. Western. Civilization. Encyclopedia. Set. NO JOKE. The ones listed on Amazon brand new for $995.00, I bought today like-new with only ONE previous owner for $3 per book (my negotiated price). I paid $147.00 for the entire set. Do you hate me? Oh, I would! LOL. I'm on cloud 209!

Now when I saw them, I played it cool. I went to the shop owner and asked him if he would accept a credit card number and expiration date if I called home and got it. My credit card was in our file cabinet to prevent useless spending and to pay the card off. I told my husband about the books and he got the card. He didn't quite understand why I was doing what I was doing but God Bless him for not arguing! LOL.

Okay, I had the credit card number, do you think I stopped at the Great Books? I had the credit card number...hello! No, I also got Captain's Courageous by Rudyard Kipling, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Bambi by Felix Salten, Toby Tyler by James Otis, Heidi by Johanna Spyri, Five Little Peppers by Margaret Sidney, Myths Every Child Should Know by Hamilton, Wright, Mabie and Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift of the Junior Deluxe Editions. These too are in perfect condition, I would even say brand new condition. Also pictures is The Family Treasury of Children's Stories by Pauline Evans.

From the same antique store I also got, a hardback copy of Luther's Small Catechism, Neighbors on the Hill of The Alice and Jerry Books (a reader book like Dick and Jane), A Treasury of Great Poems English and American with the Lives of the Poets selected and integrated by Lous Untermeyer, and A New Treasury of Poetry Compiled by Neil Philip. Very, very nice. My children do not even understand the degree of how GREAT these all are, but I do and I am ever so thankful! Camille does know the difference between old books and new books, and being my daughter, she prefers the old books. I found out today that the Basal Readers we have (about 12 of them) are worth between $20-$40 each! (I paid between $1.00-$5.00 per book) At least that's what one antique dealer told me when I scoffed at the price of $35.00 for an old Dick and Jane that was falling apart.

If you're not sick of me yet, I'll also tell you I bought about 20 books at Salvation Army for $2.44. Including a hardback Freddy The Pilot by Walter R. Brooks. Oh, and I picked up the Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli for $9.00 instead of the $27.00 list price, brand new condition.

Do you understand why I'm on cloud 209? Okay, I've got to get these entered into LibaryThing now.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Create Categories in Beta Blogger

This is SUPER easy. I thought I was going to have to follow the instructions on other websites (called hacks) where they want you to create a blog for each category or use delicious to tag your posts.

I don't know how code translates here so I'm going to replace the
"<" with [ and the ">" with ].

Those labels that you can add to your post in the editor? Use them! Figure out what you want to label your posts. You see my categories on the right-hand side and you can see the labels I assigned this post. These labels will show any posts that you label a certain name. So what I did was take the LINK CODE to the labels and created categories!


What I put in my template:

[a href="
label/Trivium%20Academy"]Trivium Academy[/a][br]
[a href="
label/About%20Homeschooling"]About Homeschooling[/a][br]
[a href="
Homeschool%20Products"]Homeschool Products[/a][br]
Now you can put as many as you'd like but you have to remember to use them when you post or they won't be categorized. What's great about the labels input box is that it is set-up for auto-fill. You type 2-3 letters and choose the label that you've used before. Super simple.

If this information was already out there, I didn't find it. All I found was more complicated ways of doing the same thing.
Hope this helps someone!


Great Article on Poetry and Memorization

I'm linking an article by Michael Knox Beran about poetry and memorization in education.

Kids need both the poetry and the memorization. As educators have known for centuries, these exercises deliver unique cognitive benefits, benefits that are of special importance for kids who come from homes where books are scarce and the level of literacy low. In addition, such exercises etch the ideals of their civilization on children’s minds and hearts.

I'm am quickly becoming a huge fan of poetry and memorization in education- especially homeschool. Why? Because I see the evidence of it in my own daughter. In fact, the importance of poetry is portrayed in most children's books that are written in rhyme. Love Dr. Suess? It is one of those little undeniable facts that we miss as we read books to our children. I'm blown away at my daughter's ability to memorize poems, she's already memorized some of Robert Louis Stevenson's poems- Bed in Summer, A Thought, At the Sea-Side, Whole Duty of Children, Auntie's Skirts and The Cow. She's also memorized The Lord's Prayer, The Caterpillar by Christina G. Rosetti, Work by Anonymous, Hearts are Like Doors by Anonymous. We started in July! Now if I had understood how poetry and children work from the beginning, she'd have even more memorized by now.

Guess what her favorite part of each lesson is right now? It's whatever poem I've found it read alongside what we're studying. I'll talk about this more in an upcoming post, How To Use Poetry in Lessons.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I need a little help

This blogger template is coming around, which I am grateful. I still have a few kinks to work out. If anyone can help me, I'd appreciate it.

1. The line spacing in the main text- I think I'm missing code to control this. The lines are too close together for reading. I've tried inputting Line-Height: ?em; into several different areas of the code. This hasn't changed a thing.

2. I would really like for the sidebars and main background color to extend to the bottom even if there is not content. I'd used to using tables but this code is not set-up for that.

Help a new Blogger out? Please.


Why Poetry?

Here's a glimpse of what others have said about poetry and children.

Kym Wright, printed in Practical Homeschooling #18, 1997


Loving the wonderful poems of Robert Frost and others, I make a beeline for any portions of curriculum that deal with rhyme. We include reading and writing verse, to satisfy my desire to instill in them a fondness for poetry, while teaching them how to write it themselves. Encouraging my children to "just write a poem" doesn't work, so we use a program for writing poetry to continue for several weeks or more. Sometimes, it helps to use a topical resource from the library. Reading poetry with everyone encourages "familiness" that we so enjoy, but they write on their own level. Beginning with the basics, we practice specific points each week: identifying rhyming words (those with the same vowel and ending sounds); saying words that rhyme with a word I give; writing couplets (two sentences or lines that rhyme at the end); composing a simple rhyming poem; haiku, cinquain, multiple verses; and so on.

Sylvia M. Vardell, Ph.D. and Mem Fox

Poetry helps children move forward in their literacy development by introducing new vocabulary and figurative language, reinforcing phonemic awareness through sounds and rhymes. It is rich in imagery and sensory language and stimulating to the imagination. It is meant to be spoken and heard, and thus provides practice for oral language development, listening, and oral fluency. Author and literacy expert Mem Fox states, "Rhymers will be readers; it's that simple. Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they're four years old, they're usually among the best readers by the time they're eight." (From Reading Magic: What Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever, Harcourt, 2001)

David Campbell, author quotes Mem Fox

Poetry's important role is emphasised by Mem Fox on her website: "Children adore rhyme, rhythm and repetition . . . Young children are mesmerised and enchanted by a predictable pattern of language which is fun for them to say and pleasing for them to hear."

Poetry is thus a wonderful tool in the development of language, reading and writing. Rhymes and chants help children to see the relationship between oral and written language and assist in developing listening and concentration skills.

Most importantly, poetry is meant to be read aloud. Mem Fox tells us to: "Read aloud with animation. Listen to your own voice and don't be dull, or flat, or boring. Hang loose and be loud, have fun and laugh a lot."

Charlotte Mason from PART V - Lessons As Instruments Of Education in The Original Homeschooling Series

Reciting and memorizing are two different things. It is good to store a lot of poetry in a child's memory, and it doesn't have to take any work to learn it. A few years ago I visited a lady who was raising her niece using her own educational approach. She handed me an oversized sheet of writing paper with the names of poems. Some were long, difficult poems, such as Tintern Abbey. She said that her niece could repeat any of them that I wanted, yet she had never consciously attempted to learn a single verse by heart. The girl did repeat several of the poems on the list, quite beautifully and without stumbling.

Then the lady told me her secret. She thought she had stumbled on an amazing discovery, and I agreed. Here's what she would do. She would read a poem all the way through to the girl. The next day, while the girl was sewing a doll's dress or something, she would read it again. She might read it the next day while brushing the girl's hair. She would get in maybe six days of this, depending on the length of the poem, reading the poem at various times, once during each day. And after a few days, the girl could say the poem that she 'had not learned.'

Ruth Beechick, Language and Thinking for Young Children (K-3)
pg. 45, Enjoying Poetry

"Poetry expands the child's knowledge of English sounds, words, rhythms, phonics, sentence forms, and other aspects of language itself. And poetry expands the child's way of looking at the world and his life.

How can you know when you have taught your child to enjoy and appreciate poetry? When you see the child do one or more of the following:

1. Ask for you to read or say a poem.

2. Say parts of a poem for the fun of it.

3. Use prayer poems.

4. Laugh at funny poems.

5. Recite one or more poems from memory.

6. Express his thoughts in rhythm and rhyme."

Laura Berquist, The Harp and Laurel Wreath: Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum

From the Introduction

Little children are good at memorization: they pick up jumping-rope rhymes and dogerel verses without effort. Encourage this inclination and ability by having the children memorize fine poetry, among other things. This will strengthen the imagination and memory, as well as prepare the children for subsequent stages of intellectual development. Since poetry draws attention to specific aspects of experience, regular exposure to poetry will reinforce children's observational powers.

Read this article: Using Poetry to Teach about Minerals in Earth Science Class

Poems in Math Class? Yeah, Write! by Greg Tang

Poetry Memorization: Methods and Resources
by Susan Wise Bauer

A Children's What? by the editors of The Poetry Foundation

As you can probably tell, I'm researching poetry and it's use in a child's education. I will be sharing some wonderful resources I've found and the books that are the most highly recommended.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Frustrated Blogger

I give up. Since Feburary 2006, has hosted my blog, I've now moved here. I will be deleting the old blog as soon as I have satisfied myself that I have everything I wish to have from it. I've written a lot of posts but realize that transferring them will be time-consuming and a waste. I'll just start over. I have new ideas anyways.

Why the move? Is it for political reasons? No, nothing as juicy as that. Honestly, I just want to start over- I've grown a lot in the past year and I want this blog to reflect that. I wanted to keep my links and I don't know how to do that other than to have a three-column blog. I couldn't figure out what type of three column blog I'd like so I'm sticking with the old blog design, just different template. I'm still getting used to the Blogger template. HSB was a mix of HTML and CSS code and Blogger seems to be the same just different. Yowsers.


Get United Streaming Free in Georgia

There are times that you just want to JUMP for joy! I just found out that Georgia's PBS has Discovery Channel's United Streaming available for all Georgia's teachers- including homeschoolers. If you don't know what United Streaming is check it out here.

Georgia Public Broadcasting United Streaming
Pass Code Information

Dear Homeschool Friends,
I contacted Discovery and PBS to find out more. They gave me directions on how to receive this information, so I compiled it all for you so you can just sign up for the "free" service with out having to research it. Please keep any awesome homeschool finds and information coming in to share with our homeschooling friends!
Dawn (Commerce Community Homeschool Group)

I have received information that is wonderful for homeschool families. As an educator in Georgia you are able to apply for a free passcode for unitedstreaming. This is paid for by Georgia Public Broadcasting Education for Georgia Teachers.

Thousands (at least 4000) of free educational video downloads from Discovery Education are available to all Georgia homeschoolers courtesy of Georgia Public Broadcasting. You only need internet access and a computer monitor screen suitable for video streaming.

Access to these educational videos normally costs a homeschooling household $199 per school year. But, thanks to a partnership between Georgia Public Broadcasting and Discovery Education, this video streaming service is available to us at no charge! Georgia Public Broadcasting has purchased a subscription for all teachers in Georgia and I've been told by GPB that they definitely plan to continue paying for this service beyond the current school year.

IN Order to receive the pass code for United Streaming you must send
the following information:

1. A statement that you would like a passcode to access the GPB video
streaming content
2. A copy of your declaration of intent to homeschool
3. Your name, address, phone number and email address

Send information to:

Jascenda Pasley
Georgia Public Broadcasting Education
260 14th Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30318

OR Fax infromtation to:
attention Jascenda Pasley 404-685-2556.

If you do not have a fax machine and want to fax it- an option for
you to go to your local Ingles Store and pay them to fax it for you. I
did this today and it cost me $1.00 per page plus tax, so for $2.14 I
sent in my statement with all my information and my declaration of
If you choose to do this, make sure you type on the statement, please
do not reply to this fax, I am sending it via a public fax machine,
please contact me with my contact information listed!

May this bless as many Georgia homeschoolers as possible! We're talking access anytime you wish to almost all the broadcasted programs on Discovery Channel, PBS, TLC and Animal Planet. I think The History Channel is included in this as well but I'm not 100% sure.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Earth Science the Easy Way

I've been working hard on science lessons for next year because I looked around at the prepackaged curriculums and decided they were either too advanced, too serious, too involved or too costly. I've been looking free worksheets on the web, creating my own, finding coloring pages to use.

At first I didn't understand why others were saying I was wasting my time or that what I was doing was not necessary. I thought I was doing a good thing and doing it for my sanity and for Camille's future enjoyment. I also had a little phobia of using workbooks until I realized that I was creating a workbook! While exploring Rainbow Resource, I found a workbook or activity book called Hands-On Earth Science by Carson-Dellosa. Lo and behold, it's perfect!

Contains 62 hands-on, easy-to-repeat experiments with simple instructions and inexpensive materials. It's the perfect companion to science lessons for students in elementary grades.

Astronomy, Geology, Meteorology, Oceanography, Paleontology, Rocks and Minerals.

This resource includes:

* Full color illustrations
* Materials list, step-by-step instructions, and a time reference for each experiment
* Easy-to-understand explanations of scientific principles
* Extension activities

We'll check out books from the library to supplement and I'll share my list once I'm done formulating it. No more lesson plans! Yippee! And for coloring pages the Color & Learn series is great.

Color & Learn titles for Earth/Space Science:
Space Exploration
Solar System
Rocks and Minerals

That makes everything so much more easier! I looked at activity books before but I didn't find these particular ones, someone had suggested Hands-On Science but the hyphen makes it a completely different brand and product! I know now, this is what they were trying to tell me about.

Our 2nd grade Earth and Space curriculum

* The Usborne Internet Linked First Encyclopedia of Our World
* The Usborne Internet Linked First Encyclopedia of Space
* The Geography Book by Caroline Arnold
* A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky: The Story of the Stars, Planets, and Constellations--and How You Can Find Them in the Sky by Michael Driscoll
* Hands-On Earth Science by Carson Dellosa


* Cheap Charts- Solar System
* Seeing Stars: An Introduction to the Night Sky by Charles Hobson
* Galileo and the Stargazers by Jim Weiss (using for history too)
* Magic School Bus Space Adventures DVD
* Roaring Water, Thundering Earth, Whirling Winds (Awesome Forces) DVDs
* Solar System Sticker Book
* Color and Learn coloring books listed above


* Break Your Own Geodes
* Activity Rock Kit
* Professon Noggin's Earth Science Card Game
* Planet Quest Game
* My Calendar Book (Weather recording activites)
* The Global Puzzle
* Space Rummy card game

OTHER BOOKS: (already own)

* Rocks & Minerals (Reader's Digest Pathfinders) by Tracy Staedler
* Simon & Schuster's Guide to Rocks and Minerals
* The Sky Observer's Guide: A Handbook for Amateur Astronomers
* The Stargazer's Guide to the Galaxy by Q. L. Pearce (1991)
* Moonwalk: The First Trip to the Moon
* Journey into a black hole (Let's-read-and-find-out-science book)
* Fossils: A Guide to Prehistoric Life
* Stars and Planets (Kingfisher Knowledge)
* The Magic School Bus Inside The Earth
* The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane


* Planetarium & Museum
* Meteorologist (at local news station, maybe)
* Providence State Park, GA's little Grand Canyon (pictured)

Over the summer we will be doing a Dinosaur study, I'll post on that later. We're homeschooling year round with weeks off throughout.


Saturday, December 9, 2006

DVDs for Homeschool Enrichment

I don't know even how to start this entry! I don't have a clue of what I want for Christmas and my dh has said that I can have a certain amount of money to spend however I wish because I can't give him the famous list that I have in previous years. Truly, all I want is homeschooling materials - next year's curriculum or enrichment items that I normally wouldn't buy.

This is how the quest for finding DVDs to add to our homeschool library got started. I would love to have an encyclopedia set as well but the price is far above my budget right now and I don't see a true need for them in the elementary years. I don't know if we will ever buy a set as long as we have a library nearby that absorbs the cost of it for us.

We have a Sam's Club about 40 minutes away from our house and I consider it one of my homeschool sources for enrichment items. I have found wonderful books like the Nora Gaydos' Now I'm Reading 20-book sets, collections like Dr. Seuss and many others at discounted prices. The problem with shopping at Sam's Club for these items is that once it's there, you have to buy it because if you wait- it'll be gone.

I found these at Sam's Club yesterday and I'm thrilled, the price is unbeatable, especially after looking at them online.

For History/Culture/Religion:

Walk among the ancients in this fascinating “you are there” series!

Volume #1: Rome and Pompeii
Volume #2: Athens and Ancient Greece
Volume #3: The Land of the Pharaohs
Volume #4: Fall of the Aztec & Maya Empires
Volume #5: Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Volume #6: Cleopatra: The First Woman of Power
Sam's Club Price $19.88; Online Price $59.99

Here in one box set are over sixty-seven of man's most spectacular achievements from around the world. Learn the secrets behind history's most awe-inspiring creations.

Disc 1: World Wonders Beyond Time
Disc 2: Secrets of the Holy Land
Disc 3: Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Disc 4: Ancient Greece
Disc 5: Ancient Rome
Disc 6: Ancient Egypt
Sam's Club Price $19.88, Online Price $59.99

Academy award nominee Edward James Olmos narrates this mesmerizing 13 part series that guides viewers on an epic journey to some of the world's most sacred places. Reverent, historically accurate, and beautifully photographed, Mystic Lands chronicles a diverse array of spiritual practices around the world, including the established monotheistic practices of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon
Greece: Isle of Revelation
Peru: Kingdom in the Clouds
Egypt: Cycle of Life
Myanmar (Burma): Triumph of the Spirit
Taj Mahal: Heaven on Earth
Anasazi: The Ancient Ones
Haiti: Dance of the Spirits
Bali: Island of 1,000 Temples
Australia: Dreamtime
Maya: Messages in Stone
Jerusalem: Mosate of Faith
Varansazi: City of Light
Sam's Club Price $19.88, Online Price $59.99

Questar also has other wonderful DVD sets for science, math, world geography and U.S. History under the title Getting Ahead. The different sets are for different age ranges, divided by K-3 and 5-9. The sets online are $59.99 each but I haven't looked at buying them elsewhere.

For Science:

I looked at the Moody Science videos because I hear that they are wonderful but they are really geared toward middle school or high school. The 20-set DVDs are on sale at for $149 if you are in the market for these.

There are many titles other than the ones I'm showing, I'm just sharing what I decided to purchase due to our studies. To see the other titles please visit and

Really Wild Animals: Dinosaurs and other Creature Features DVD
Travel back to the days of raging raptors and the terrifying Tyrannosaurus rex, when dinosaurs ruled the earth! Plus, see some of the world's creepiest creatures such as spiders, ants, dung beetles, and more. Includes Bonus Program: I Love Dinos as well as Interactive Prehistoric Creature Feature with fun facts, quizzes, sounds clips, and maps. Approximately 50 minutes. For ages 4 to 10. $14.95

Get Your Passport DVD
Winner of the Parents' Choice Award!
Filled with delightful animation and world music, these DVDs take kids on a song-led series of global journeys to visit different cultures, explore exotic habitats, and attend amazing events. From Mount Everest to the Trans-Siberian Express to Carnivale, there's no end to the fun. Interactive menus offer sing-along subtitles, a world map, and more. Winner of a 2003 Parent's Choice Award. For ages 3-10.

The Journey Continues DVD
Winner of the Parents' Choice Award!
Filled with delightful animation and world music, these DVDs take kids on a song-led series of global journeys to visit different cultures, explore exotic habitats, and attend amazing events. From Mount Everest to the Trans-Siberian Express to Carnivale, there's no end to the fun. Interactive menus offer sing-along subtitles, a world map, and more. Winner of a 2003 Parent's Choice Award. For ages 3-10.

The set of two on sale for $35, normally $18.95 each.

We will also be purchasing The Magic School Bus Space Adventures DVDs and Thundering Earth, Whirling Winds, and Roaring Waters (Awesome Forces) by Moody in our 2nd grade curriculum purchase from Rainbow Resource. (Great prices, by the way!)

It is possible to find affordable video enrichments for your homeschool, if you've been looking for something-I'd look now while everything is on sale. I spent some time looking at these so I decided to share this in case anyone else is looking.


Friday, December 1, 2006

Approaching U.S. Geography

As we approach our studies, I keep remembering how I studied certain subjects in public school. For the record, I loved school-I loved the interaction with my teachers, fellow students, the activities and clubs. Of course the main thing I didn't like was the socialization aspect of public school. I feel homeschooling is a much more healthier environment for a student socially and academically if the parents are willing to involve their children in activities outside of the home after a certain age. I don't think this is truly a problem with a lot of homeschoolers, sometimes the problem is that there are too many outside activities.

I happen to have fond memories of my school years, including elementary social studies. Granted, we used textbooks but it was interesting learning about U.S. history and about the world we live in. I've been thinking about 2nd grade for Camille and since we're going to touch a little on the discovery of America, I decided it would be best to start a little U.S.A. project.

The original thought was to read a few books about Georgia and do an informal study, but after finding out this isn't necessary for standardized testing purposes, I decided to expand that idea. We're going to start a notebook of the states. There are a few products in the homeschooling world to help with this. The one I am most impressed with and will use is Hold That Thought's United States Geography notebooking cd. It is for 4th grade and up but I figured that we could use whatever forms we'd like and add to the notebook as Camille matures in her studies.

Another one that caught my attention was Homeschool EStore's My Book of State History. It is along the same lines as the Hold That Thought product but doesn't seem to have all the same features. It is cheaper though.

Notgrass has a few state history curriculums but is for older students and a little pricey for my taste. Carole Marsh is an author that has written state books for every state in a fun and interesting format that is perfect for ages 5-14. You can find her books at Amazon, some of the homeschooling online stores and your public library. The best thing about Carole Marsh's books is that they are approved by each state's educational standards so most libraries have them on their shelves. Another resource for state histories can be found at

This link will enrich any study of the U.S. - How about books to read for each state?

My plan is to make this very informal, studying one state every two weeks or one state a month in the order in which they became states. We'll learn about state birds, flowers, songs, etc. The fun stuff. I won't be requiring any memorization about this, it's just a little side project that's meant to be fun.