Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions & People Colors Pencils

I received a message today that was just in time to influence my New Year's Resolution.  Many thanks to C for letting me know that my blog is receiving some traffic and is of some use to someone out there!  So I've made it my New Year's Resolution to post to my blog at least 3 times per week or more.  I would love to make it a resolution to post every day, but I don't want to fail at keeping it.  ;-)

I want to mention some awesome colored pencils that I came across on Pioneer Woman's Homeschooling blog.  They are called People Colors Jumbo Pencils and they are exactly what I need for my 6-year-old!  He draws pictures and creates books for hours every single day.  In his Batman phase we went through black crayons and black colored pencils like you wouldn't believe.  Now that he's moved on to a wider variety of topics he's constantly trying to find the "right skin color".  I just wish I had seen these before Christmas!  Oh well, it's about time to stock up on supplies for next year, so I'll be adding these to our shopping list, along with the crayons and maybe the paint and paper that they also offer!  My little guy is going to be sooooo excited!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Science Spot

A recent post on the WTM message board has me inspired to set up a science spot in our house now that Little Man (age 4 1/2)  is old enough to leave it alone. 

Now I just have to convince someone to make this awesome folding workbench for me so I can get started!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ancient Greece

I apologize for my long absence; the holidays are always very busy.

We're finally into our studies of Ancient Greece and the boys are so excited!  We've only been at it for a week and already I've finished the first three books in Mary Pope Osborne's Tales from the Odyssey series.  Once I start reading the boys just won't let me stop!  :-)  I wish our library carried all six of the series, but unfortunately they only have these three.

Books We Read:
 Pegasus by Jane Yolen
The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky  
The Children's Homer  by Padraic Colum
Tales from the Odyssey #1: The One-Eyed Giant by Mary Pope Osborne
Tales from the Odyssey #2:  The Land of the Dead by Mary Pope Osborne
Tales from the Odyssey #3: Sirens and Sea Monsters by Mary Pope Osborne

PASS World History Part 1 - Unit 5: Ancient Greece Part A  Part B

On the Shores of the Great Sea by M.B. Synge, we are beginning with the chapter "The Story of Carthage"
Digging Up Greece printable game by Ellen McHenry (we're saving this for the logic stage)

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Discovering Great Artists"

Have you seen this book yet?  No?!  Go find a copy!  Having finished up the Art Book that we've been working on since the beginning of the year, we're now moving on to lessons from Discovering Great Artists by MaryAnn Kohl and Kim Solga.  When we first bought the book we pulled it out and did one of the activities, Botticelli "Art in the Round".  Then I decided that we should probably cover some basics like primary and secondary colors, warm and cool colors, texture, etc, before we moved on to creating actual works of art.  I'm so glad we did, but we are ready to get back to Discovering Great Artists!

We concentrate on visual arts on Fridays, and this week we will be completing the Giotto "Egg Paint" activity.  I'll be back with photos once I have them!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


My mother just returned from a trip to Florida and came bearing gifts for my boys.  One of those things was a little booklet of butterfly tattoos.  The boys love them!  We looked up their butterflies online and during my search I came across these beautiful printable Butterfly Identification Cards from Iowa State University's Reiman Gardens.  I'm going to print the ones found in our area out on cardstock and maybe laminate them.  I'll stick them in a basket by the window or near the door and I'm sure we'll spend a lot of time reading them, and in the future (when fair weather returns again) searching for them on our summertime nature walks.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bird Notebooking

After coming across Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Feeder Birds Coloring Book (pdf file) I was inspired to have Nik create a bird notebook highlighting the birds we read about in The Burgess Bird Book for Children.  I'm so pleased with it and how much interest Nik has shown in the birds we've read about.  He continues to ask me to play bird sounds in the background while he completes his notebooking pages.  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds page is my favorite guide and includes sound clips of the typical voice of each bird.  I wish I could carry it with me when we go on nature walks!

ETA ~ Angela posted a wonderful companion guide to The Burgess Bird Book on her blog, Satori Smiles.  She calls it A Burgess Bird Book Companion and it is awesome!!! 

Although we have read the first five chapters of The Burgess Bird Book For Children he has not completed notebooking pages for all of the birds highlighted.  I will continue to update this post as he completes new pages.  And yes, he picked the background papers himself.  :-)

Pages 2 & 3

Carolina Wren

American Robin

Eastern Bluebird

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Reading Skills Assessment

Earlier this week I decided to give Nik a reading skills assessment out of curiosity.  He seems to be reading really well, and I wanted to see if I was imagining things.  :-)

I used the first assessment in this article.  It doesn't assess reading comprehension, but it was free and quick, and I was only looking for a general idea anyway. 

So for the 3rd month of his kindergarten/1st grade combined year, Nik is reading at approximately a 2nd grade, 4th month level. 

I plan to use the assessment a couple of times throughout the year to see how he progresses.

Halloween Costumes


 (who wouldn't stand still long enough for a good picture)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Science Blogs

These blogs, all by the same person, look amazing!

Home Biology

Home Chemistry

Home Physics


Secular Charlotte Mason has my favorite list of handicrafts.  I've printed it out so I can use it as a checklist and for inspiration.

Grammar Links

Living Books
Grammar-Land by M.L. Nesbit

SparkleBox KS2 Grammar

Online Games
Crazy Libs
Clean Up Your Grammar
The Grammar Gorillas
Grammar Practice Park

play Mad Libs (for beginners, print out flashcards and let them pick from a stack of noun, adjectives, etc. until they are comfortable coming up with ones on their own)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Organizing and Checklists

I love Ambleside Online, but I have found organizing all of the information to make it usable for our family to be a bit of a headache.  I finally created a bunch of checklists for Year 1 and shared them in a previous blog entry.  I also created a checklist for the Formidable List of Attainments For a Child of Six and shared it in a separate blog entry.  Lastly, this literature list from Higher Up and Further In (which she has since moved to Charlotte Mason Help) has been a huge help!

What I have done is to print off a copy of Lindafay's Higher Up and Further In booklist, which was originally a list of Ambleside Online's suggestions.  I 3-hole punched the list and put it in a folder like this:


Then I created my own little key and wrote in on the first page, like this:


In a separate folder, I placed all of the checklists I created (and linked to above) with the Daily/Weekly checklist placed inside a page protector in the front so I can use a dry-erase marker on it.

The other pages follow, for example:

Now, whenever I want to peruse the used bookstores I can take along my booklist folder so I buy the things we need.  And when we accomplish a task or finish a book we can check it off of our list.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Devolve Me

Wow!  After receiving the newest e-mail from Charlie's Playhouse I immediately went to the site and discovered a really fun link.  It's called Devolve Me and it's from The Open University.

Check out my kids:
Nate Devolved
Nikolai Devolved

Some other fun links from Charlie's Playhouse

Ambleside Online Year 1 Checklists

I needed to create a document that I could laminate and use as a checklist when I schedule our lesson plans in Homeschool Skedtrack and thought it would be nice to share it with anyone else who wants to use it.
Ambleside Online Year 1 Checklist

And some more:

Ambleside Online Year 1 Checklist for History and Geography

Ambleside Online Year 1 Checklist for Literature

Ambleside Online Year 1 Checklist for Poetry

Ambleside Online Year 1 Checklist for Natural History & Science

A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six

Have you heard of Charlotte Mason?  No?!  What rock have you been hiding under? ;-)  To learn more, I highly recommend that you visit Ambleside Online and do some reading!

A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six
from a curriculum outline of a CM school in the 1890's

1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns.
2. To recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm.
3. To add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters.
4. To read--what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child.
5. To copy in print-hand from a book.
6. To know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows.
7. To describe the boundries of their own home.
8. To describe any lake, river, pond, island etc. within easy reach.
9. To tell quite accurately (however shortly) 3 stories from Bible history, 3 from early English, and 3 from early Roman history (*Note ~ Americans might want to substitute early American for early English).
10. To be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views.
11. To mount in a scrap book a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves (one every week); to name these, describe them in their own words, and say where they found them.
12. To do the same with leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees.
13. To know 6 birds by song, colour and shape.
14. To send in certain Kindergarten or other handiwork, as directed.
15. To tell three stories about their own "pets"--rabbit, dog or cat.
16. To name 20 common objects in French, and say a dozen little sentences.
17. To sing one hymn, one French song, and one English song.
18. To keep a caterpillar and tell the life-story of a butterfly from his own observations.

Here is the checklist I created to keep track of what my children have accomplished.
Ambleside Online a Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six Checklist

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Balance Scale

Some of Nik's math problems have been giving him a bit of trouble.  He does excellent with the following types of problems:

2 + 3 = __
5 - 2 = __
__ + 4 = 4
__ - 2 = 2
2 + 2 + 1 = __
5 - 2 - 3 = __
3 - 2 + 2 = __

But if he sees problems like the following he gets very confused:

2 + 3 = __ + 1
5 - 2 = 4 - __
4 - __ = 3 - 0

So to help him out, I drew a balance scale similar to those he has seen in other MEP problems and told him that both sides of the equation need to be equal to each other (or balanced).  I think he gets it!  Woohoo!  I'm going to make up a sheet of problems for him to do tomorrow to see if he did truly get it.

Here's a pic of the balance scale. I have no idea why the paper looks pink, though!  lol  It was just a white sheet of cardstock.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Viking Voyages

The Viking Voyages game from Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop is an awesome FREE game that goes along with any study of Vikings very nicely.  You need to supply your own die and 4 playing pieces.  I used pieces of Bendaroos rolled into a spiral.  This is our board all put together.  See the little Bendaroos spirals sitting on France?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Egypt and a Very Happy Birthday Boy

We adore Playmobil toys!  The very happy birthday boy received a ton of really nice gifts today, including some Egyptian grave robbers and the Sphinx, and he has spent the last 5 hours playing with them!  lol  Now I need to pry him away for bedtime. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Learning a Foreign Language

I can't decide when to start.  Now or in a few years? 

I can't decide what to use.  Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur?   (Our library system carries Pimsleur, so I'm leaning towards that or a combo of both.)

I can't even settle on what language to study!  Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, French?



Wow!  I have another great find today.  It's a public domain book titled Grammar-Land (pdf file) by M.L. Nesbitt that I downloaded to my Sony Reader and it looks awesome!  I highly recommend you check it out.

Noble Knights of Knowledge

I need to win the lottery!  I re-discovered a math program named Noble Knights of Knowledge that I read about a couple of years ago, when Nik was far too young to think about math curricula, and I NEED it!  :-)

Seriously, I think Nik would love it, considering he enjoys math and is all about knights these days.  I printed a couple of the sample pages so I can try it out, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be saving my pennies so we can buy this program to supplement the MEP program we're using as our main math curricula.

I would love to hear you review if you have used the program.

ETA~ I finally found a used copy and Nik LOVES, LOVES, LOVES it!!!  I really wish they were still selling this program.  If you have a child who is into everything story-based and resists "regular" math, do try to get your hands on a used copy of this program!

Nature Study

We don't get to nature study as much as I would like, but we are trying.  I simply adore the Outdoor Hour challenges from the Handbook Of Nature Study blog.  The challenges utilize the book Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock, which is available for free online.

We also do a lot of reading about animals found in our area.  We really enjoy books by Thornton W. Burgess (The Burgess Bird Book for Children, The Burgess Animal Book for Children, and Mother West Wind's Children are favorites.)

We've been focusing this year on the Burgess Bird Book for Children, as scheduled for year 1 by Ambleside Online (more about this free online curriculum in another post, coming soon!)  To go along with it, I found these awesome cards that I can't seem to find online again! lol  Isn't that the way it always goes?  I'll try to find them again and post them, because they are awesome.   Also, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology there is a coloring book that has some of the birds in it.

A book that we discovered at the thrift store yesterday instantly became a favorite; it is Feathers For Lunch by Lois Ehlert.  We sat down a few minutes ago to read the story together and Nik said, "I can read this one!"  So he did read it, and with very little help.  It has illustrations of some common birds and lists their names and shows the sounds they make. 

We also had an opportunity to observe some non-native birds when we pet-sat some parakeets for my  cousin, a fellow homeschooler.  The birds go home today, and we're very sad to see them go.  Jay-Jay (the jet plane) and Twilight gave us many hours of fun and allowed us to observe birds up-close.  Mom and Dad might just have to buy themselves some birds as a Christmas present to ourselves.  ;-)

The Art Book

One of the free resources we are using for visual arts this year is The Art Book by Maryanne Messier. The lessons instruct you to use 12x18 construction paper to make the book, but we just printed the handouts smaller and fit everything onto letter-size paper so we could insert them into page protectors.






Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Learning About Art and Ninja Turtles

It sounds like a funny combo until you think about it! After all, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are named after four famous artists: Raphael Sanzio da Urbino, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi or Donatello.

My 6-year-old loves all things super-heroish, and TMNT qualifies. My husband planted the idea to study these 4 artists after I mentioned the book we read a few minutes ago titled "Portraits: A First Discovery Art Book" and the picture of the TMNT Leonardo that my son was drawing while I talked to Dad on the phone.

I had to get the idea down, but I don't have a plan formed yet. As always, I'll continue to update with links as I find interesting resources.

Web Gallery of Art

ArtsEdge: Let's Talk About Painting
Web Gallery of Art
Stanford - The Digital Michelangelo Project

Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Institute and Museum of the History of Science
Web Gallery of Art
Museo Scienza
Museum of Science
Vinci: Leonardo's Home Town

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Web Gallery of Art

Homeschooling in NY State

New York State Education Department (NYSED)
NYSED Home Instruction
New York Home Educators' Network (NYHEN) I highly recommend you visit this site!
Diploma Requirements For Students Entering Grade 9 (pdf file)
New York State Education Department Virtual Learning System
Learning Standards of New York State

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Math Links

MEP Main Page
MEP 101
The School Bell: Number Families
NOVA | Hunting the Hidden Dimension
ABC Teach: Shapes
Tux of Math Command
Count On Math Games
Math Fact Cafe Free Math Worksheets free worksheets
CSMP Mini Computer
Learn NC Math
Think Zone Shortest Shortcut
Don Potter Math
Learning Wave
Aunty Math
Geometric Paper Constructions
Money Instructor
Funschool Math Games
Hands on Equations
Math Printables from SEN Teacher
Houghton Mifflin Math
McGraw-Hill Math
Roman Numerals Snakes and Ladders Game
Triangular Math Facts Cards from Donna Young
Addition Facts Copywork from S.J. Murphy (look along the left under the heading "Math Downloadable Worksheets"

Geography Links

Time For Kids: Around the World
Growing Up Around the World: Books as Passports to Global Understanding for Children in the United States
World Atlas "The List"
World Atlas Outline Maps
National Geographic Maps: Tools for Adventure
National Geographic: Geography Action!
Houghton Mifflin Education Place: Outline Maps
Library of Congress: Cities and Towns Maps
Holling C. Holling: A Literature Approach to Geography
World Landmark Cards Created by Susanne von Saalfeld
Kids Konnect World Geography
Ideas on How to Study the Middle East from TWTM message board
National Geographic Earth Pulse
Visual Geography Series
Geography Matters


PASS World History Part 1 - Unit 4: Ancient Civilizations in India and China  Part A  Part B
KidsGeo Asia Map Match Game
Draw Dragon Dot Eyes: An Old Chinese Fable from StarFall
EDSITEMent: The Great Wall of China
Time For Kids: China

World History Links

Middle East Interactive Atlas
Story of the World Ancients Google Map
CIA World Factbook
Paula's Archives Movies to Supplement History list
Google Books preview: A Little History of the World by Ernst Hans Gombrich
MacroHistory and World Report
Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoonists Index Teacher's Guide
Woodlands Junior School: World History


Scholastic: The First Thanksgiving
Plimoth Plantation's You Are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving

American History Links

Links that don't fit in just one category or don't warrant an entire post to themselves.

This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall (free online)
Ambleside Online's This Country of Ours breakdown
Jump Back In Time from America's Library
The Pledge of Allegiance: A Short History
Freedom: A History of Us from PBS
Betwixt Fate and Folly (1774 Williamsburg)
George Washington's World for Kids
Harvest of History (1845)
Command the U-505 (WWII)
American Journeys: Eyewitness Accounts of Early American Exploration and Settlement
Guest Hollow's Memorable Places American History Curriculum
Liberty's Kids episode Midnight Ride
Ben's Guide to U.S. Government (grades K-2)
From Colonies to Revolution from TeacherOz
Slavery in America
From Revolution to Reconstruction


Useful links:
Dinosaur SUE at the Field Museum
YouTube: Bill Nye the Science Guy - Dinosaurs
YouTube: Bill Nye the Science Guy - Fossils
PBS: What Killed The Dinosaurs? game (requires Flash)
Dinosaurs: Discovery Channel
Dinosaur Crafts from Kaboose
Dinosaur Illustrations
D'Aiguebelle Dinosaur Skeletons

Related blog posts:
Dinosaur Lapbook


TCOO: How the Vikings of Old Sought and Found New Lands

Viking Tales by Jennie Hall

Vikingapyssel This site isn't in English, but there are some neat things to check out.

BBC Primary History: Vikings

Viking ship coloring page from Crayola

Friday, October 16, 2009

Classical Music Composer Study for Second Grade

I explained how I have planned to do Composer Study in a previous post. Now I'll list the actual composers we're studying for second grade and link to the resources we're using.

1. Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (b. 1840)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)

2. Antonin Dvorak (b. 1841)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)

3. Edvard Grieg (b. 1843)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)

4. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (b. 1844)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)
    Rimsky Korsakov's Scheherazade: Learning About Symphonic Music

5. Claude Debussy (b. 1862)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)

6. Zoltan Kodaly (b.1882)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)

7. Sergei Prokofiev (b. 1891)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)

8. George Gershwin (b. 1898)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)

9. Aaron Copland (b. 1900)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)

Classical Music Composer Study for First Grade

I explained how I have planned to do Composer Study in a previous post. Now I'll list the actual composers we're studying this year and link to the resources we're using.

We're trying to study them chronologically, but I've found it hard to decide exactly how to do that! I've gone mostly by date of birth, but some composers may be slightly out of order because I also tried to keep composers of certain eras together.

I'll update any missing links as soon as possible. We're all sick right now, so if I don't get around to it feel free to remind me!

(Podcasts to Download) Unfortunately this list won't take you directly to the composer, so you'll have to look through the whole list to find the composer that you want.

1. Antonio Vivaldi (b. 1678)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)
    ArtsAlive ~ Vivaldi Activities

2. George Frideric Handel (b. 1685)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)

3. Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)

4. Franz Josef Haydn (b.1736)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)

5. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. 1756)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)

6. Ludwig van Beethoven (b. 1770)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)
    ArtsAlive ~ Beethoven Activites

7. Franz Schubert (b. 1797)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)
    ArtsAlive ~ Schubert Activities

8. Johannes Brahms (b. 1833)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)
    Brahms in 1890s Vienna: Learning About Chamber Music

9. Modest Mussorgsky (b. 1839)
    (Activity Sheet - pdf) (Listen Online) (My YouTube Playlist)
    NY Philharmonic Kids ~ Orchestration Station

How To Design your Own Composer Study Using Classics For Kids

Classics For Kids is my absolute favorite resource for classical music composer study.

The Activity Sheets are full of great info about the composers, as well as activities.

Combine the Activity Sheets with the Podcasts (there are four podcasts for most of the composers), add a few YouTube videos, and you have a complete composer study!

How To Design your Own Composer Study Using Classics For Kids:
Step 1
~First decide which composers you will be studying for the year. (We will be studying 9 composers this year. There will be more to come on the composers we're studying in another post.)
~Print out the Activity Sheets for each composer selected.

Step 2
~Download all 4 Podcasts per composer.
~Create playlists in iTunes (or your favorite MP3 player software).
~Burn your playlist to a CD.

Step 3
~Visit YouTube and do a search for the composer.
~Select four to eight videos per composer. Try to select videos that contain the entire piece of music. (Note ~ When completing the weeks lessons; if you save more than four videos for a composer, watch two videos some weeks.)
~Add your selected pieces to your Favorites list.
~Create a Playlist for each composer and add the selected videos to it.

Step 4
Composer 1, Week 1
~Listen to the 1st Podcast about your selected composer at least once (more if your child enjoys it.)
~Watch/listen to the 1st YouTube video you saved to your composer Playlist.
~Complete the Activity Sheet to go along with your selected composer.

Composer 1, Week 2
~Listen to the 2nd Podcast about your selected composer at least once.
~Watch/listen to the 2nd YouTube video you saved to your composer Playlist.

Composer 1, Week 3
~Listen to the 3rd Podcast about your selected composer at least once.
~Watch/listen to the 3rd YouTube video you saved to your composer Playlist.

Composer 1, Week 4
~Listen to the 4th Podcast about your selected composer at least once.
~Watch/listen to the 4th YouTube video you saved to your composer Playlist.

Repeat for each composer.

The composers we will be studying for the early elementary years include:

Baroque Period
Antonio Vivaldi
George Frideric Handel
Johann Sebastian Bach

Classical Period
Franz Josef Haydn
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ludwig van Beethoven

Romantic Period
Gioachino Rossini
Frederic Chopin
Johannes Brahms
Modest Mussorgsky
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Antonin Dvorak
Edvard Grieg
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Modern Period
Scott Joplin
Sergei Prokofiev
George Gershwin
Aaron Copland

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Free Audio Books List

LibriVox is the best resource that I have ever seen for free audio books.  The following is a list of some of our favorites, or ones we have on our "to-listen-to" list.

LibriVox » The Insect Folk by Margaret Warner Morley  We're really enjoying this audio book!
LibriVox » The Stories Mother Nature Told Her Children by Jane Andrews

Peeps at Many Lands: Ancient Egypt by James Baikie
LibriVox » The Iliad for Boys and Girls by Alfred J. Church
LibriVox » Famous Men of Greece, by John H Haaren and AB Poland
LibriVox » Famous Men of Rome by John H. Haaren and A. B. Poland
LibriVox » Famous Men of the Middle Ages by John H. Haaren and A. B. Poland
LibriVox » Famous Men of Modern Times, by John H. Haaren and A.B. Poland
LibriVox » Men of Iron by Howard Pyle historical fiction about knights
LibriVox » Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle a story about medieval times
LibriVox » Our Island Story, Part 1, by H.E. Marshall
LibriVox » Our Island Story, Part 2, by H.E. Marshall

LibriVox » The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
LibriVox » The Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Grahame
LibriVox » Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge
LibriVox Aesop’s Fables
LibriVox » Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin
LibriVox » The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, by Howard Pyle 
LibriVox » Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children by James Baldwin
LibriVox » Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter
LibriVox » The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
LibriVox Anne of Green Gables
LibriVox » Little Wizard Stories of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
LibriVox » The Emerald City of Oz by L. Frank Baum
LibriVox » The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
LibriVox » The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
LibriVox » The Colors of Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley
LibriVox Edith Nesbit stories
LibriVox » Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
LibriVox » Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll
LibriVox » Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
LibriVox » Princess and the Goblin, The by George Macdonald

A list of the audio books we have listened to for Kindergarten/First grade year.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit

I just downloaded the MP3 of Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit from LibriVox.  I adore the My Audio School website where I originally found the LibriVox download link; there are some beautiful illustrations on the site.

I've had A Midsummer Night's Dream scheduled to be read for two weeks and haven't managed to squeeze it in yet.  I finally decided an audio book to listen to in the car might be the way to go or we may never end up getting to it!

The track list:
00 - Preface and A Brief Life of Shakespeare
01 - A Midsummer Night's Dream
02 - The Tempest
03 - As You Like It
04 - Winter's Tale
05 - King Lear
06 - Twelfth Night
07 - Much Ado About Nothing
08 - Romeo and Juliet
09 – Pericles
10 – Hamlet
11 – Cymbeline
12 – Macbeth
13 - The Comedy of Errors
14 - The Merchant of Venice
15 - Timon of Athens
16 – Othello
17 - The Taming of the Shrew
18 - Measure for Measure
19 - Two Gentlemen of Verona
20 - All's Well That Ends Well

Unfortunately, I couldn't fit the last track (All's Well That Ends Well) onto my 4th disc, and didn't want to burn a CD for just the one track. We'll have to remember to listen to that one sometime when we're near the computer.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I don't think I've mentioned the science program we decided to use this year.  We chose it because it was free.  We figured first grade life science was a pretty easy subject to cover without a curriculum, so we didn't want to pay a fortune.  We're using Scott McQuery's Classic Science: Elementary Life Science and we're enjoying it so much that we're pretty sure we'll fork over the $50 for the next book.

The unit that we're about to begin covers the biomes of the world.  I found some nice notebooking pages for biomes at the Yahoo Group Notebooking2Learn.

Exploring Nature has some nice illustrations of the biomes of the world that I'm thinking of printing onto cardstock.  Plus a pdf file habitats of the world activity.

More later.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Explorers of the World

This blog has some nice resources for a study of the explorers of the world.  I particularly love the Explorers Cards!

Imagine of Leif Erickson for timeline 
Image of Christopher Columbus for timeline  
Image of Hernán Cortés for timeline
Image of Francisco Vaquez de Coronado for timeline
Image of Ponce de Leon for timeline
Image of Hernando de Soto for timeline
Conquistador coloring page

Teacher Oz has a nice list of links for Exploration and Discovery.

The Mariners' Museum also has some nice resources on Exploration Through the Ages.

We hear so much about European explorers, but what about explorers from other parts of the world?  Chinese mariner Zheng He (Cheng Ho)

American Journeys is full of eyewitness accounts of exploration in North America for the older student.

Social Studies for Kids has lots of good info about a dozen or more explorers.

Thirteen Colonies

I came across a nice resource for the thirteen colonies that will be useful to us in the future.  This is a set of downloads for printable wheels that would be great for a lapbook.

Thirteen Colonies Wheels

Ancient Egypt

It's nearly time for us to study Ancient Egypt.  I'm gathering resources to use right now.  The problem isn't finding activities, it's limiting them because I've found sooooooo much!

PASS World History Part 1 - Early Civilizations in Ancient Egypt  Part A  Part B free pdf text

My newest find came this afternoon in a Playmobil newsletter.  Did you know that Playmobil now has an online game called The Nile Game?  They also have a little movie titled The Magic Key.  Scroll around the screen to find the links to them, for some reason I cannot link directly to them.  The Nile Game is on the ship and The Magic Key is in the pyramid.  There are other things like an Activity Sheet, which appears to be a printable coloring page, and a Quiz!  My boys are going to be so excited!

We'll also be using Minnesota State University's Ancient Egyptian Culture page along with library books and books we already own.

ThinkQuest Ancient Egypt is not to be missed! ThinkQuest is an amazing resource!

Video Resources
~The are some History of Egypt videos on YouTube that we will be utilizing.
~And maybe the BBC documentary Pyramids - How They Were Built (also at YouTube.)
~And the National Geographic Tools For Adventure: Explore A Pyramid activity
~We will definitely use the Horrible Histories video (another YouTube one) called The Mummy Song.  My kids love the Horrible Histories!

Lapbook/Notebook Resources
~Homeschool Share Ancient Egypt Unit Study and Lapbook

Coloring Pages
~Kids-n-Fun Ancient Egypt coloring pages

I'll update with more links as I find them.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I have geography on the brain today.  I've found some really great resources in the last few weeks and I have to share them.

The first resource is a set of pdf files titled Growing Up Around the World.  Each file has a list of books depicting life in various countries around the world.  Every continent is covered with the exception of Antarctica (for obvious reasons...LOL.)  The US isn't covered, either, as the list is intended to give American children an accurate picture of what life is like for children in other countries around the world.

The second resource is National Geographic Maps.  Lots of neat things there.

Third is one that is a big favorite with my son.....the Map Match online game. 

Oops, I have to run!  I'll be back to add more later.

Sparkle Box - Free Printables

Ok, I have had a very successful hour of internet searching today!  First I came upon Sparkle Box, an awesome free printables site from the UK.  One of the printables was for story masks for the Hindu story of Rama and Sita.  We're studying Asia in geography right now, so these will be perfect!  That led me to search for the story online, which I finally found at another awesome site, Balagokulam, a Hindu website with activities and resources for children and teachers.  I copied and pasted the story into a MSWord document and uploaded it to my Sony Reader.  I'll add in the other stories I already checked out from the library and some map work and we're all set for our geography lesson for next week!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Native Americans

One of the main resources we are using for our Native American studies is a series of lessons about the People of America from Pronto Lessons.  These are free lessons, and are scripted if you like that thing.  (I don't, but it's not hard to ignore the scripting.)

The Native American tribes discussed and the extra resources we are using are listed below.  One of the best sites for what book NOT to use for Native American studies is the Oyate Books to Avoid list.  

Lore can be found at the Native American Lore Index from

Native American paper house models can be fun to make.

The Eye of the Needle: based on a Yupik Tale

Pronto Lessons: Iroquois Part 1 Iroquois Part 2
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Jake Swamp (check it out at Amazon)
If You Lived With the Iroquois Lapbook from Homeschool Share
paper model of a longhouse 

Pronto Lessons: Cherokee
Only the Names Remain: The Cherokees and the Trail of Tears by Alex Bealer  (check it out at Amazon)

Pronto Lessons: Cheyenne
paper model of a teepee
Buffalo Hunt by Russell Freedman

Pronto Lessons: Apache
portions of Geronimo: His Own Story

Pronto Lessons: Ute

Nez Perce
Pronto Lessons: Nez Perce

Pronto Lessons: Makah

Pronto Lessons: Wiyot

Other Native American studies links:
Native American Lapbook (corresponds to Pronto Lessons!) from Lapbook Lessons
Lesson Plans from Mr. Donn
Native Child
Learn About Native Americans (Arlington Heights School District 25)
Apples for the Teacher Online (and printable) Native American Coloring Pages
Andy's American History Worksheets
One State Many Nations
Chief Joseph
Famous Native Americans
Native Americans from Teacher Oz

The completed pages for the history notebook, as well as a very simple lapbook.  I think some of his drawings are very impressive for an almost-6-year-old!