Silverdale Press LLC White House Holidays Unit Studies Review

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Voting Rights Posters! (yes I saw the typo 😉 )

When I signed up to review the White House Holidays Unit Studies by Silverdale Press LLC my plan had been to incorporate parts of several of the studies into our existing history program. I figured that I could condense them down and work through several of them that were applicable.

However, while I personally looked over several of them we only did one complete one as a family. Not because we didn’t enjoy them but because I felt like they were so good that we didn’t want to skip around and miss out on valuable content. I wanted to take the time to go through the entire unit study and really let it sink in.

These unit studies are broken down by holiday but I made my choice based on the fact that we were studying the civil rights movement as a key part of our history last month. I had planned to use several resources and supplement them with parts of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Study. When we received the unit studies I realized that I would not need to supplement our studies with anything other than our family discussions.

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In our home we typically do history studies twice a week and as civil rights was only one component of the era we were studying we decided to devote one day each week to the unit study and complete our studies of the other events of that time period on the second day.

While this was a Martin Luther King Jr. unit study it also talked about other people involved in the civil rights movement and as the name White House Holidays Unit Studies it also focused on how Martin Luther King Jr. interacted and worked with the men who were president during his time as a civil rights activist.

Each week I would read one of the lessons aloud to my children. This would inevitably bring about family discussions about this very difficult time in the history of our nation. Once I had read and we had discussed any questions the children had we would complete the various activities that were included for that week.

There was a timeline that continued throughout the study and each week that would add the events that had been discussed to the timeline. There was also a map that they could mark the various cities where the event occurred. There was a printable map included at the end of the study which is sufficient but after a couple of weeks my children decided that it was more fun to find them on our big wall map.

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In addition to the timeline and maps each week, there were various activities broken up by ages. Some activities for grades K-6 and some for 7-12. I went through each week and chose those that I felt fit best for our family. The children’s favorite activity and possibly one of the most eye opening activities was completing a quiz that was used as a barrier to keep blacks from registering to vote. They were surprised at how difficult the quiz was and how unimportant and random many of the questions were. Honestly, I was surprised. By most standards, I am a very educated voter and there were questions on that test that I could not answer.

Other activities included listening to freedom songs, making protest posters, analyzing speeches and participating in a service project. There were craft activities for those children that learn well in that modality, writing activities that could easily count towards your language arts program, and other relevant and engaging activities.

Each lesson also included links to various video clips. We watched a couple each week to help the children get a better understanding of what we had read and discussed that week. My son was particularly enthralled with one of the clips which featured the President on the phone with Martin Luther King Jr. We had just recently traveled to the Eisenhower National Historic Site as we studied through that era in history. So my children were very excited to make the connections of the Civil Rights movement with President Eisenhower.

In addition to the Martin Luther King Jr. study they have studies for Labor Day, Valentines Day,  Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and one coming soon about George Washington. These studies could be done as your curriculum for a week leading up to the holiday or spread out over a month as we did. You could pick and choose a few of the activities or go all in and complete all of the option. We chose to use a study that correlated with our history studies that were in progress but they could easily stand alone. They can be done around the holiday but this one also worked just fine being done during a different time of year. I am looking forward to doing the Labor Day study in September as we get started on our new school year.  Which White House Holidays Unit Study sounds most interesting to you? Please let me know in the comments and use the link below to check out reviews of other studies by our wonderful Crew!

Persuasive Writing & Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers & White House Holidays Unit Studies {Silverdale Press LLC Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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Creating a Book Club Culture (Read Aloud Family)

“Home is the only place where our children have a fighting chance of falling in love with books. “

When our children are small, it is so easy to read to them for their enjoyment. We sit down and we read picture books with them and point out all of the animals or trains. Sometimes reading the same books over and over again at their request. I loved watching their eyes light up when they brought me a book to read.

As children get older and start formal schooling (be that at home or in a public/private school building) reading tends to become less about pleasure and more about work. It is so easy during this time for children to lose that love of books. Don’t get me wrong it is important that children learn to read and I think it’s ok to sometimes specify what book they need to read. However, I think and this chapter affirms that it is so important that they be able to just sit back and relax with fun books that they choose.

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Sometimes it is easy to fall into the mindset that they need to be focusing their time on challenging books or nonfiction books that correlate with our studies. There is nothing wrong with those types of books but we don’t need to forget that they need the chance to read what they enjoy if we truly want them to love reading. For my daughter that meant sticking with shorter chapter books long after I thought she should be reading more challenging material. For my son, that means reading the Little House on the Prairie series more times than I care to count. At times it was frustrating but now they both love reading.

I told the ladies in my book study that this might be my favorite chapter because it combined brownies with books! I love how she talks about making those memories and making books fun. Howe much fun is it to sit around the table with tea and cookies while reading or to curl up on the couch with brownies and milk. We even sit on our front porch with lemonade and snacks to read a good book. This helps foster a love of learning and make memories that will last a life time.

What is your favorite suggestion for making your home a book club culture?

Deals and Freebies!!

You ARE an Artist is having a 20% off sale on all of their nature themed studies. We have been enjoying the summer camp themed series!

Peter Rabbit Collection Audiobook for only .48 cents! (at the time of posting always check prices)

The Last Archer (Green Ember Series) is only $.99 (prices subject to change)

The Black Star of Kingston (Green Ember Series) is FREE (again always check Amazon changes prices frequently)

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Poetry Pack from Write Shop! 20 Printable Activities and Worksheets, including: Practice exercises, brainstorming worksheets, poem planning worksheets, word banks, and colorful lined writing pages

 

Resource Library

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

 

Field Trip Friday: Gettysburg National Battlefield Park

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During our whirlwind mid-Atlantic trip we made our way as far north as Pennsylvania before heading back home to North Carolina. We made a lot of stops and saw some really neat places. We all enjoyed the trip but everyone had their own favorites. For my husband and twelve year old son, Gettysburg National Battlefield Park was certainly one of the highlights. This was a ‘bucket list’ item that we were all grateful to have the chance to visit.

Due to our schedule we only had about half a day to visit Gettysburg. If you are interested in history you could easily spend two days at the park in order to get the full experience. To make the most of our time we chose to purchase the guided tour on CD. We wanted the benefit of the guided information but the flexibility of being in our own vehicle on our own schedule. With a four year old and a baby we sometimes need to stop more frequently than a regular tour would allow. Having the tour CD also gave us the opportunity to listen to parts of the story later even if we did not have time to see the entire park that morning.

The CDs told the story of the Battle of Gettysburg as well as the Gettysburg Address. They gave us directions to follow and told the story of each location as we drove. There were various stops along the way to get a closer view of some of the monuments and other important locations. There were three different tour options depending on the amount of time you had for your tour.  The stories and the sound effects were riveting and well done. It made it easy to imagine that you were there watching the battle those many years ago.

For those that prefer an actual guide to the CDs they offer both bus tours and guided tours where you pay a tour guide to ride in your personal vehicle as you tour through the park.

On the day we were there it was unseasonably cool but sunny. We had the opportunity to talk with a reenacting group that had set up a camp near one of the monuments. This allows for the children to see what they would have been wearing, eating, and even the sleeping conditions.  They also offer various walking tours and demonstrations throughout the park at different times and dates. You can check the calendar prior to arriving or check at the ranger desk inside the visitors center for that day’s schedule.

Since we decided to spend the afternoon at the Eisenhower National Historic Site we did not get a chance to watch the movie or tour the museum that are inside of the visitors center.  You can enter the visitors center for free (this is where you will get your National Park Passport stamp if you participate in that program) to enjoy the restaurants, gift shop, restrooms, and information desks. However, admission to the museum and movie areas are ticketed.  If your children wish to participate in the Junior Ranger program you will also want to stop here when you first arrive to get the free Junior Ranger booklet for them to work on as you complete your tour.

If we are able to make it back in the future I look forward to visiting the museum. You can find more information about the museum portion of Gettysburg on the Gettysburg Foundation website.

We felt that this was a wonderful field trip. There is so much to see and learn at Gettysburg and it has an important place in American History. I truly recommend it to anyone that can make the trip. If you cannot make an actual trip to Gettysburg, there are many videos and pictures on the website. They even have a virtual tour of the National Cemetery.

 

 

Where: 1195 Baltimore Pike Gettysburg, PA 17325

Hours of Operation:

Park Grounds and Roads

April 1 – October 31: The park is open daily from 6 am – 10 pm
November 1 – March 31: The park is open daily from 6 am – 7pm

Museum and Visitor Center

April 1 – October 31: 8 am – 6 pm
November 1 – March 31: 9 am – 5 pm

Costs: Visitors Center and Grounds are Free. The museum and other features have varying ticket prices. There are also paid tours available.

Homeschool Discount: There are group rates available for the museum and film.

Website: https://www.nps.gov/gett/index.htm

Food:

There is a restaurant and snack bar back at the Gettysburg Visitors Center. There are also places for picnics.

 

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Deals and Freebies!!

 

Peter Rabbit Collection Audiobook for only .48 cents! (at the time of posting always check prices)

The Last Archer (Green Ember Series) is only $.99 (prices subject to change)

The Black Star of Kingston (Green Ember Series) is FREE (again always check Amazon changes prices frequently)

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Poetry Pack from Write Shop! 20 Printable Activities and Worksheets, including: Practice exercises, brainstorming worksheets, poem planning worksheets, word banks, and colorful lined writing pages

 

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When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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The Good and The Beautiful: A Guest Review

I am pleased to bring you this guest review from my friend and fellow home school mom Crystal Levin. She has been homeschooling for 12 years and has children ranging from 16 years old to 4 months. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and I’m excited to have her share about the new curriculum she is using this year.

The Good and The Beautiful

 

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I have been promising this review for a while but with life and new babies it just got pushed back.  However it’s because of the new baby that I even tried this curriculum.  I am a homeschool mom to 8 wonderful children, but I had noticed that even I was dreading school. When that happens I know it’s time to reevaluate what we are doing.  Enter The Good and The Beautiful.  This curriculum is fairly new to the homeschool scene and made all kinds of promises.  I have to tell you they were promises that I loved.  It combines grammar, Art study, handwriting, spelling, literature, and geography into ONE.  All of this and and zero prep, it was really too good to be true.  I decided that at the price point I didn’t have too much to lose so I bought Pre K, Kindergarten and Level 5.

The quality of the materials is amazing. The pages are a heavier paper and it is in full color, something that’s important to my girls.  It truly is zero prep, I open the book and read the lesson with my girls and we are done.  Each lesson is packed with ONLY important information. I cannot tell you how much that means to me, I do not need 20 worksheets on the A sound but give me a card to review for a min or so before the lesson and I’m good.  The Pre K and K is just what you’d expect there is phonics work and poetry memorization along with letter formation practice and practice using each new sound you learn.  Pre K also goes over numbers and even starts Art Study.  The phonics cards are laminated and numbered and each lesson tells you what you need.   The Pre K even has hands on activities that use house hold items such as pennies or cotton balls.  The best part, It only takes me about 10 to 20min per kid for the pre K and K and in that time I feel like they have had a full, meaningful lesson with zero fillers.

Now once you get to the upper level it’s a bit different.  Each child has a check list that tells them what they are to do for the day.  The book TELLS the child how their week will be structured. They do poetry memorization every other day and alternate days between grammar flash cards and geography flash cards. As the parent I spend about 5 min reviewing these with my student (I have 2 in level 5 at the moment) Next you do sentence dictation. Each day you read 5 sentences to your student, they write them down and you check, any words misspelled they correct and then write 5 times.  This takes maybe 5 or 6 min depending on your student.  Then my favorite part is the shared reading. You and your student take turns reading to each other.  Each day it’s about 2 ½ pages. Once that’s done the student completes the work in their book and you are done.  The student then does independent reading in their reading book for the time you decide. In our family it’s 10min.

 

Every aspect of this curriculum is very well laid out. Everything has been planned for you and it is wholesome.  It truly lives up to its name, The Good and the Beautiful.  They don’t just stop at grammar however they also do Science, History and Math as well as Art. They also have a Nature Notebook and Creative Writing Note book.  Right now we are also using their science and my daughter wanted the Creative Writing Notebook.

I love how easy the creative writing notebook is for her to use. It starts out by giving you the tools to write. It has you describe colors and sounds, textures and colors.  Once you have done that it starts building your creative writing skills. It has made a nice addition to her school work and is something she actually ASKS to do and as a mom it doesn’t get much better than that!

Science is set up as unit studies and takes about 8min of prep.  You have to look at the material list for the experiments (all house hold items) and maybe print off a sheet for your children.  I took about an hour and laminated all the vocabulary cards and put together all the mini books so I wouldn’t have to do that later.  Each lesson is easy to follow.  You review words that you need to know, do an experiment if applicable and read.  There are options to find other books on the topic you are studying as well as how to go beyond the basic lesson for your older students. With the Water Unit there is the option to buy a book pack and I did. I cannot tell you  how much I love the curriculum I have used so far. It has truly helped me simplify my homeschool while still having a solid quality curriculum.  This is a Charlotte Mason style curriculum and so it reflects the values found in the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling.

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So, how much will you spend on this? Not very much at all, I find this is a very affordable curriculum. You can either purchase the PDF which is very inexpensive or buy the physical curriculum.  I chose to buy the physical because after look at printing costs and the expense of my time I would much rather buy it all done.  Their website is very well laid out and the folks that monitor their Facebook page are very responsive. I will continue using this curriculum with my children.  We are all using the Science and so far 4 are using the literature.  I have another child who uses her own thing. I have been using this for a few months now and so far I’m really happy!!

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There are a few great Kindle deals going on right now!

The Last Archer (Green Ember Series) is only $.99 (prices subject to change)

The Black Star of Kingston (Green Ember Series) is FREE (again always check Amazon changes prices frequently)

Reading Goals Update

It has been awhile since I’ve done a reading update but not because I haven’t’ been reading. I am still not picking up a book quite as often as I’d like but I’m meeting my goals and with summer coming I’m hoping to pick up the pace (its always a little easier when I take some of the homeschooling off my plate).

Last time I updated I had finished Heroes Next Door and Finding Selah. I was also getting ready to start Eat with Sinners: Loving Like Jesus. That is a great book that I got a bit side tracked on when the baby came but I’m going to go back and finish it soon. I have also completed reading The Unhurried Homeschooler which was not in my original list of six but proved to be a great book and an easy read.

I’m currently reading Do Hard Things, The Lifegiving Parent, and Read Aloud Family.  I am leading a book study on  Read Aloud Family and it is a truly great book. Even for those parents that already enjoy reading aloud it has a wealth of information in an easy to read style that is sure to encourage.  In the fall I will be leading a study of The Lifegiving Parent but I’m going ahead and reading it now. It is a little more dense than some of the Clarkson books and it takes me a little longer to read and work through what is written but it is time well spent.  The third book, Do Hard Things,  I’m working on I’m actually reading with my son. We are each going to read a chapter and discuss it before moving on to the next chapter. My husband read the book last summer and we are hoping to use this book to challenge my son as he approaches his teen years.

When I finish those books I plan to enjoy some fun summer reading. I want to read at least one and maybe two more of the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. They are such fun books that make me want to relax on my front porch with tea and scones. They are clean and wholesome with a bit of adventure.  For my more educational reading I am hoping to get into Pocketful of Pinecones. This book is designed to help teach about nature study but it written in a warm story fashion which should make for great summer reading.

If I complete all of those books by the end of August, that will put me at nine or ten books with four months left to complete my goal of twelve books. When I was younger my default activity when I had down time was reading. Unfortunately, I’ve found that I tend to default to e-mail or social media these days and I’m still working on breaking that habit. I do find that the more I read the easier it becomes to make that my default. I have also been doing more reading aloud with the children and they are really enjoying the books we have been able to read together.

I would love to know what books you have been reading and what recommendations you might have! Tell us in the comments about a book you have read recently.

Friday Deals and Freebies!

Peter Rabbit Collection Audiobook for only .48 cents! (at the time of posting always check prices)

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Poetry Pack from Write Shop! 20 Printable Activities and Worksheets, including: Practice exercises, brainstorming worksheets, poem planning worksheets, word banks, and colorful lined writing pages

 

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When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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Kids in the Kitchen: Where Do I Start?

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When my youngest son was born in February I was reminded of the benefits of having my children help in the kitchen from a very young age. Both of my older children (10 and 11 at the time) were able to pitch in and help make sure that we continued to have healthy and delicious meals even when I could not spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  These are skills not only help our family now, but will follow them into their adult lives.

The two questions that I hear most often are “when do I start?” and “how do I start?”  For our family the answer of when is as soon as they are old enough to stand up and follow SIMPLE instructions. Our children start helping us in the kitchen when they are toddlers. They can pass us various items, help stir, put napkins and silverware on the table, and other simple tasks.

Mixing is one of the first activities a toddler can help with and maybe the most fun. They love stirring up the pancake mix or the fruit salad. Sometimes I have to go back behind them and mix a bit more to make sure things are thoroughly mixed or give them something like a small bowl of rice or beans to ‘mix’ when there is not anything that actually needs mixing.

As they get a little older, they want to start learning how to cut fruit or salads. We start our children with some of those basic cutting tasks around age three. I know that can seem young and probably scary to some folks but we use these great kid safe knives (aff) and close supervision. They can learn to cut up the lettuce for a salad or apples for snack.  This is a great way to get them active and engaged in the kitchen.

As they are learning those basic skills, they are watching our actions in cooking the meals. It is amazing how much they soak up simply by being in the kitchen with us. As they get a little older they begin to want to tackle entire recipes by themselves. At that time, we have them help us make the recipe. If that goes well the next time (or several depending on the child), we allow them to make it under supervision. Once they have mastered the recipe they can make it on their own. We repeat that process through various recipes until they have the skills needed to follow most recipes.  We are still available to help as needed, but at that point they are free to try new recipes without our direct help.

Another frequent question is how to choose recipes for children to try. There are many children’s cookbooks but unfortunately, they are often full of overly processed ‘boxed’ foods that do not work well for us. We do enjoy some great children’s cookbooks but often the recipes are simply the ones we use for foods the children enjoy. For example, my daughter loves pancakes. So, when she wanted to learn how to make pancakes we taught her the recipe we were already using to make pancakes.

You may be thinking about the mess and time that can be involved in having children in the kitchen. It can be a challenge but the benefits far outweigh the challenges. At the toddler/preschool age the benefits include quality time spent together, fine motor skills practice, and often encourages them to be more adventurous with food. As they get older, they work on math skills, life skills, and they can begin to contribute to the family through cooking meals or preparing snacks.

I am so grateful for the time I’ve had cooking and working in the kitchen with my children. I love knowing that they are learning valuable life skills even as we spend quality time together. Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing posts with more details about knife skills, using cooking in our homeschool, and other ideas for helping children in the kitchen. Tell us in the comments when your children start helping in the kitchen and what is your biggest question or struggle with kids in the kitchen.

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When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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Memoria Press Classical Composition I: Fable Review

 

 

Classical Composition I: Fable Set

Finding a writing program for my twelve year old is one of the biggest challenges I face in our homeschool. I had heard great things about Memoria Press and I was excited to review their Classical Composition I: Fable Set. This set includes a teachers manual, instructional DVD, and a consumable student book. The book has twenty lessons, each featuring a different fable, and we were completing a lesson over the course of two weeks. Depending on your child you could move faster or slower than we did.

For each lesson my son would watch the video instruction and then complete a series of eight assignments. During the instruction the fable was read aloud and they discussed the vocabulary and various components of the fable.  Those assignments included looking for examples of the three plot components of recognition, reversal, and suffering. Then they would look into variations using synonyms to vary sentences from the fable associated with that lesson. Then they summarize the fable by creating an outline. I loved that in the instructional video they went step by step through the outline for the first lesson to show them how to create an outline and give them a good example moving forward.

Next, they are asked to do a written narration of the fable. They include a scoring guide for the written narration if you choose to score those. Depending on your child you may also want to start with a verbal narration and then do the written narration.

Then they move into a set of two paraphrases. The first paraphrase they are asked to use three different figures of description. For example in lesson 2 they are asked to use anemographia, dendrographia, and ethopoeia in the first paraphrase. Depending on the lesson they are asked to write the second paraphrase either by reduction, leaving out all extra details, or by starting at a place other than the beginning of the story.

Next the student completes the Variations Part 2 component. This is again using synonyms to vary sentences from the fable. This helps them work on using creativity but still keep the meaning of the original sentence.

Finally, the students finish the lesson with a final draft of one of their two paraphrases. They take the paraphrase that they wrote and find any mistakes or omissions. Then they write a final draft of that paraphrase. This is the culmination of what they have learned in the lesson and helps prepare them to write other papers in the future.

I loved the video instruction for this course. By having it on video it took the pressure off of me as the writing instructor and allowed my son to do some of this independently. I still worked closely with him since writing is a struggle for him. The instruction was easy to follow and included examples to show the student what was expected. Since it was broken into the various components it was easy to watch just the instruction we needed for that day.

This is a very thorough and classical education style writing program. It is well written and easily implemented. That said, my son did not like the program. He found it to be too repetitive and a little overwhelming.  He struggles with writing and while this program would probably help improve his writing, it was a struggle to get him to complete the lessons because he disliked the repetition of narrating, multiple paraphrases, and a final draft of the same story. While it was not the right fit for my son, the technique is sound educationally and would benefit many students who want to improve their writing.

If you are looking for a classical style writing program that is well presented and easy to implement then I recommend the Classical Composition I: Fable Set. If your family like ours is used to a more relaxed ‘Charlotte Mason’ approach to writing, this will be very different and may be a little overwhelming to your student. Memoria Press has many wonderful products and our Crew has reviewed a variety of them so click the link below to read more reviews.

New American Cursive & Traditional Logic {Memoria Press Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Modern History and Technology 1980-Present

In some ways it seems odd to be planning on teaching my children about things that happened in my lifetime as a part of their history program, it makes me feel a little old. However, there really have been a lot of important events over the almost forty years that this section spans. There have been great improvements in technology from the average home not having a computer to the average adult having a smart phone, from the giant satellite dish that my grandmother got in her backyard for television to wireless data and cable. There have also been troubling times including the Gulf War, September 11th, and the Global War on Terror.

Last month we talked about finding those people that had experienced the Vietnam War and the Space Race but this month it gets even easier. The vast majority of adults have lived through these changing times and been impacted by at least some of the events that we are going to discuss this month. While many of these things are interconnected we plan to split our month up into three main focuses: technology, President Reagan and his policies and the changes that happened during his administration, the wars of our modern time with an emphasis on September 11th and the Global War on Terror. There are also many important figures from our time and I hope to spend some time reading biographies about some of those great leaders including Billy Graham and Ben Carson.

If you have very young children I highly recommend Fireboat: Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey when studying about September 11th. It is a great way to help them start to learn about that day in an age appropriate way. For older children who want a better understanding of the culture in Afghanistan I recommend Extra Credit. We read it as a read aloud last year and it brought up a lot of great discussion points. I have ordered Science Year By Year (this is a timeline of science and technology in a book. It does reference millions of years) to help the children get a better feel for just how rapidly things are changing in technology compared with centuries past. I plan to start the technology conversation with an episode of The Jetsons. I think it will be a fun way to start the conversation about how technology has changed.

In addition to our reading and discussions we always like to include a little bit of food in our history study. We will be indulging in a few foods that were popular in the ’80s and ’90s as we study through those Eras. Can anyone say Capri Sun and pizza bagels? I also learned that the ‘Hot Sign’ for Krispy Kreme was developed in 1992. That seems like reason enough for a field trip to me. I’ve included several lists of iconic ’80s and ’90s foods in the resource guide.

In our field trip list this month I kept the space related field trips as the space program was still growing and active through part of this period. June is a busy month for us but we would love to make it to see the Airbornne & Special Operations Museum and the Billy Graham Library.

I would love to hear you share your favorite part of this era in history or tell me your favorite resource in the comments. Check out our Free Resource Library for a more complete list of resources and join us as we wrap up this Journey Through History.

Resource Library

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary Review

The Critical Thinking Co.™

When my son was younger he, like many children, had big dreams of being a famous detective. He even had a ‘detective agency’ with his sister and several friends for a couple of years. They searched for a missing dog and always hoped they would get a big case! At age 12 he has outgrown that career goal, but I knew he would still really enjoy this review that let him think like a detective while learning new vocabulary words. We worked through Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary by The Critical Thinking Co.™  together as a way to increase both children’s vocabulary.

Each lesson is set up as a mystery that you have to solve and includes 18-25 new vocabulary words. In order to solve the mystery you have to understand that new vocabulary words that are used the story. You are given a paragraph or two of background information that includes some of the vocabulary words and then below that you have pictures and statements from four different suspects.

For our family I would read that case and stop whenever we came to a new vocabulary word. My two oldest children (10 years and 12 years) took turns looking up the words in their dictionaries. Once I finished the case information we talked about it to make sure that they understood both the new words and the case itself. Then we proceeded through each suspect in a similar manner. Once we had read through the statements for all four suspects we would go through and decide who we could eliminate based on the information provided.  Then they would tell me who they thought was guilty and I had them explain why. In general they agreed but once they did not and we had a discussion about why each one thought their answer was correct. In addition to being a vocabulary lesson it was an opportunity for critical thinking and being sure they were paying attention to details.

After each case there was a review page of sentences with blanks for a missing vocabulary word and a word bank of the word choices. I had the children work on this independently as a review after we had completed the case together.

The cases typically took us about 30 minutes to complete which was great because we could easily finish a case during our morning time a couple of days a week. As they got back into practice with using the dictionaries (a skill I had been neglecting) it went a little faster than in the beginning.

Each sentence in the case was numbered and the back of the book included an answer key with an explanation. The explanation used the sentence numbers to help the students find where the clues were and better understand the answers that were given if there were any questions or confusion.

Overall, we really enjoyed this book and I intend to continue using their products once or twice a week during our morning basket time. I think that it would have been too difficult for my 10 year old by herself but she is at the very youngest end of the recommended age range. However, by working through it together I think she benefited from the program. The children both enjoyed it and were excited to do another lesson which has honestly never happened for us with a vocabulary program before. If you are looking for something to strengthen your child’s vocabulary or critical thinking I suggest checking out Critical Thinking Detective: Vocabulary or one of the other products by The Critical Thinking Co.™ . Click below to read reviews for this and other The Critical Thinking Co.™  products by our other Crew members.

As an added bonus you can get Free Critical Thinking Puzzles!
A $75 Value! Delivered weekly to your inbox. Choose PreK – Grade 8. Sign Up Now!
https://www.criticalthinking.com/toscrew and use the coupon code TOSCREW18 for free shipping and 15 % off.

Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Read-Aloud Family Chapters 3-4

Capture
Our favorite hero tale, even if we are a bit biased.

 

Sometimes I watch the news (or my newsfeed) and I get fearful for the world that my children will live in as adults. I know that 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV) However, it can be so easy to worry about preparing them for the troubles of this world without inundating them with problems at a young age.  I love how chapter three of The Read-Aloud Family talks about the effects of reading aloud about great heroes and the positive effects it can have on our children.

I want my children to grow up to be prepared to stand up for truth. I want them to be willing to do great things for the Lord even in the face of adversity. I know that they may well face persecution for staying true to their beliefs and I’m often not sure how to prepare them for that possibility without unnecessarily scaring them. Realizing that I am preparing them to stand up to those challenges simply by reading them stories of others that have acted heroically.

When we read the Chronicles of Narnia or the Green Ember my children learn that there may be difficulties, ‘white witches’ and ‘lords of prey’ but that they can stand up to them and fight the battles that lie ahead. We read about sad times and troubling abuse in The War that Saved My Life but they learn that people can make  a real positive difference in the lives of others. All of these important life lessons simply through picking up a book and reading.

We have to push forward and make decisions about what is worth out time and what is not-about what gets our best attention, what gets our peripheral attention, and what gets no attention at all.

In chapter four, she switches from the ideals of heroism to the academic effects of reading aloud. Often I think we tend to worry that when we focus on our ‘ideals’ we neglect the academics or vice versa and struggle to find that balance.

I struggle in trying to challenge them academically, guide and nurture them spiritually, spend quality time enjoying each other, and all of the other necessary tasks in life (for some crazy reason my kids all want three meals a day and a number of snacks.) This means that my attention is pulled in many directions and I sometimes have to say no to good things in order to focus on what is best.

I love how these two chapters show that reading aloud is beneficial both in sharing our family ideals and in strengthening academics. We do not have to choose, we can work on both at the same time. The story of the young college student who thought she was short changed because she had less math and science but more reading really stuck out to me. I have often said that if you could read you could learn anything you needed to know, but I love seeing a real life example of that philosophy.

I’ll end this post with the quote that ended chapter four because I think it sums up so well the benefits of reading aloud. ” And so, while I continue to daydream and wonder about what my children will one day become and what great vision God has for each of their lives, I’ll do the one thing I know will best prepare them for it all. It’s free. Its easy. And it’s the most effective way to help my kids succeed academically. I’ll read aloud.

Deals and Freebies!!

 

Peter Rabbit Collection Audiobook for only .48 cents! (at the time of posting always check prices)

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Poetry Pack from Write Shop! 20 Printable Activities and Worksheets, including: Practice exercises, brainstorming worksheets, poem planning worksheets, word banks, and colorful lined writing pages

 

Resource Library

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.