The Sad End of Middle Ages Week

September 28, 2007 at 11:10 am (Uncategorized)

Sigh….My daughter and I put about 8 hours of work into her really elaborate Middle Ages lapbook this week.  It was looking great….Then the doorbell & phone rang at the same time….I got distracted & left the table followed by my daughter.  We returned to find that her 3 year old brother had "helped" finish the lapbook.  He had done this by coloring on every single one of the 20 booklets!  Sigh…I have tried to console both of us by pointing out that we had a lot of fun doing them and we still get to retain the knowledge we learned from the process.  Meanwhile we have no beautiful lapbook to show off our efforts!  I don’t think either of us are up to starting over at this point!

This is what we had done….

Middle Ages Lapbook Based on
The Magic Tree House Knights & Castles Research Guide

1.    When Where the Middle Ages? (page 14)
2.    Why are the Middle Ages Sometimes Called Medieval Times? (page 14)
3.    Lord & Ladies (pages 18-19)
4.    Castles (pages 32-38)
5.    How To Become A Master Craftsman (pages 28-29)
6.    Castle Life (Chapter 4)
7.    The Feast (pages 48-54)
8.    Festivals and Fairs (Chapter 5)
9.    Religion (pages 56-57)
10.    Market Days & Trade Fairs (page 58-61)
11.    Knights (page 63)
12.    Becoming A Knight (page 64-68)
13.    The Code of Chivalry (page 68-69)
14.    Armour (page 80-81)
15.    Coat of Arms (pg 82-83)
16.    Weapons (Chapter 8)
17.    Tournament (page 90-91)
18.    Battles & Sieges (page92-99)
19.    The Dungeon (page 100-101)
20.    The End of the Age (page 103)

Part of what makes me so sad about this is this is a the first lapbook we have done after I realized I could use the graphics in one of my digital scrapbooking programs to make the booklets.  They looked really good! (And I had put a lot of time into designing the booklets.)

I can post pictures of her Coat of Arms she made.  (He somehow only colored on the inside this one!)

I had asked her to draw things on the Coat of Arms that she felt represented who she is.  Inside she had to tell me why these things represented her.  This is what she had me write:

1. Cross – I am a Christian
2. Flowers – I am a girl, I am pretty, I like pretty things.
3. Heart – I love my family and I am loved by my family.  God loves me too!

Maybe we will get some energy and decide to try and salvage this another time.  Who knows?  For now I have one cute little 3 year old boy I am tempted to sell!  LOL  It is all just part of education at home! 

I don’t think we have had a school day with this much drama (caused by a younger sibling!) since the "The dog ate my homework." episode.  LOL

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Middle Ages Feast!

September 27, 2007 at 11:37 am (Uncategorized)

Yesterday we had a Middle Ages Feast with some of our homeschool friends!

1st we read from The Magic Tree House Research Guide for book 2 on the feast. 
We learned that food was served on a piece of bread called a trencher.  The trencher wasn’t eaten but given to the beggars outside the door once they were saturated with food. (yuck!) We also learned that they were really messy!  They ate with their hands (no silverware), used their dogs and the table cloth for napkins and even spit and threw food on the floor!  (yuck!)  I drew the line at throwing food & spitting on the floor!  But, we had a lot of fun eating with our hands and using the table cloth for napkins!  LOL

Here is our bounty of food!
Grilled chicken, bread, cheeses, apples, pears, and honeycomb!  (The honeycomb was great!  I had never had it before!)  We also had roasted potatoes and grapes.

Our little princess enjoying eating with her hands!

My oldest dressed in his Link costume from last years Halloween.

The whole gang resting after the feast!

Check out these awesome helmets my friend made with her kids!
These are made from poster board and foil.

My daughter just had to try on the Knights Helmet!

Of course their were also pirates in the Middle Ages!
I am doubtful they were as cute as this one though!  LOL (He is all in to Pirates right now because he is waiting for The Pirates That Don’t Do Anything Veggie Tale Movie!

I asked my kids if they learned anything from our fun day and my 13 year old quickly piped in "Yeah, I never thought about using the dog for a napkin before!"  LOL 

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Death by Chicken Bone or Why I Love Sonlight! LOL

September 27, 2007 at 10:14 am (Uncategorized)

"Mom, you know how I just read that book Guns for General Washington in Sonlight?  Well I was just reading in A History of US and the main character from Guns for General Washington was just being talked about.  Is says he died from digesting a chicken bone! It got stuck in his intestine.  I love how they can take several books and have me read about the same event at the same time!"

The above statement is word for word what my 13 year old said to me yesterday.  I could NOT have said it better myself!  This is exactly why Sonlight is so wonderful!  Sure, I could get their catalog and have him read all the books they mention.  But the true beauty of Sonlight is the timing on the books being read as assigned by the teachers manual!  I can’t even tell you how many times a question that we had from one Sonlight book was answered in another Sonlight book we were reading the same day!  It’s like magic!  This is our 6th year to do Sonlight and the magic is still happening!  This is the 1st year (8th grade) that my son is doing all the reading on his own.  (Oh, how I am missing those great books!  Although I did pre-read quite a few over the Summer.  hehehehe)  I feel so blessed that we found Sonlight and that my kids are able to learn with a Curriculum that they LOVE.  We took 1 year off from Sonlight because I wanted to do the Story of the World Books through our homeschool Co-op and my son actually complained because he missed the books!  That is a winning Curriculum to me! 

(BTW, I don’t start Sonlight with my kids until 2nd grade.  That’s why I am doing the Magic Tree House Books this year with my 1st grader.)


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Dr. Ruth Beechick

September 26, 2007 at 12:00 pm (Uncategorized)

Some of you may have noticed that the past few weeks I have been contributing an article to The Homeschool Minute.  It is not a full time gig, I just fill in writing about Homeschool Freebies when the regular Author can’t write it for some reason.  Nancy Carter had contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I would like to do it and of course I was honored!  So this morning I am reading the latest copy of the newsletter and suddenly it hits me…I have an article in the same newsletter as RUTH BEECHICK!  How did that happen? 

If you are a Sonlight user you know who Ruth Beechick is.  On her website is says this:

Dr. Ruth Beechick is a skilled teacher and curriculum developer who happens to think that home is the best place to learn and that parents don’t give themselves enough credit for being the best teachers!  CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

When I started homeschooling back in the dark ages there was no internet for support.  Half the great stuff written today was not in existence!  But, with God’s help I found found Sonlight and through Sonlight I received my 1st Ruth Beechick book!  For years I carried her books around with me like a shield!  Here was a lady who is also a Doctor and she was saying I am capable of educating my own children!  Hooray!!!  There are no words to say what her wisdom and encouragement meant to me! 

So, if you are not familiar with Dr. Beechick I would encourage you to visit her website!  There is a lot ofgreat stuff there! 
She is such a wonderful encourager and educator.  There is lots of encouragement and tools to help you along your homeschooling path on her wesite.  (Plus you can buy her books there, which I highly recommend!)

And just in case Dr. Beechick would ever read this I just want to say THANK YOU!  Thank you for being there when I was a newbie, half scared to death I was in the process of ruining my 1st child!  LOL  Thanks for speaking up for Home Education when most of the population had never heard of such a crazy thing!  Thank you…from the bottom of my homeschooling Mommy heart!


(Oh, and BTW if you don’t get The Homeschool Minute Newsletter you should!  You can subscribe by clicking HERE. )

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Cleaning Out The Junk Drawer

September 26, 2007 at 11:01 am (Uncategorized)

This is the most fun way I can think of to clean out the junk drawer!

First,,,Did you know you get a cool FREE box when you buy a new air conditioning unit after yours is blown out after a power surge?

After acquiring your "cool" box (Pun intended! LOL) go to your junk drawer and find all the cool things you will never use again. (Straws, batteries, fuses, plug in, old radio, juice lids, drawer knob, spool with string, etc.) With a glue gun attach them to a shallow box.
Then hot glue your newly created control panels to the inside of the box.

Add a old cellphone, flashlight and some tap lights the neighbor is throwing away…Also make sure you include an old piece of string to set traps with!
You now have the coolest Rocket Ship in town!

(Not to mention one happy 3 year old boy!)

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You Know You Live In The Desert When….

September 26, 2007 at 10:11 am (Uncategorized)

Unless you have lived in a place where the temps are commonly over 100 degrees from May through Sept. you many not truly understand this….

Our weather has finally begun to cool! For the last week we have been having highs in the low 90’s and High 80’s.  We have the A/C off and are enjoying the "cool" weather.  Yesterday my 6 year old came down for breakfast.  I had the back door open and the window open in the dining room.  She took a deep breath and proclaimed "Wow, with this weather it feels just like Christmas!"  LOL

Yeah, she’s right…This IS just what it feels like at Christmas time! 

You have got to love it! My children will have memories just a tad bit different than their Mother, who grew up in Kansas!

I’m dreaming of a 80 degree Christmas, just like the ones I use to know…..lalalala


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Art Bags

September 25, 2007 at 10:40 am (Uncategorized)

My 2 oldest children are taking an Art Class on Mondays. They came home last week with a art pad, pencils and etc. that needed to be contained. I went to Micheal’s and bought them canvas tote bags. It just seemed wrong to take a plain canvas bag to Art Class though! LOL The 1st week of class they practiced drawing silhouettes, so that inspired us to try this:

Cool huh?

These were SUPER easy to do and the kids LOVE them!

Step #1
I taped a piece of freezer paper to the back of my laundry room door. (The only room I have that has no windows, so we could make it dark!) Then I sat each kid down on a stool and using a flashlight to make a shadow I traced them.  (This was the hardest part!  I found it worked best if I had them actually lean against the paper on the wall while I traced them.) We cut out each of the profiles and ironed them onto the canvas bags. (Freezer paper has a wax coating on one side do the wax will make it stick tight to the bag.)

Step #2
Start painting!

We used cut up pieces of a kitchen sponge to apply the paint.  For paint we used left over latex wall paint. You might notice our bags seem to match the chair my daughter is sitting in!  LOL  (It also matches my children’s bathroom!)

It took a  couple coats to get it how we liked them!

The latex paint seems to stick just fine. I decided since we all have paint clothing stained with paint from past projects that surely it would stick to our bags!

Once the paint was dry we peeled off the freezer paper and had our final products! It should be pretty easy to tells who each bag belongs to!

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Homeschooling For Free

September 25, 2007 at 10:39 am (Uncategorized)

HERE is a new website with TONS of links to things you can do for school for FREE!!!  It is organized by topics and is VERY easy to find all kinds of excellent resources on the web.  Click over and check it out!

Here are a few on my favorite categories:

FREE E-Books

FREE Bible Links

FREE Unit Studies

FREE Music

This is just the tip of the iceberg! Go check it out!

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Middle Ages Week

September 24, 2007 at 9:52 pm (Uncategorized)

For anyone who is keeping tabs on what we are doing for school around here…This is Middle Ages Week!

Here is what I have planned so far:

Read:  Magic Tree House Book #2 Knights At Dawn and the Research Guide.

Make:   a lapbook about the Middle Ages based on the Research Guide.  (We have friends who are also studying this period coming over Wednesday to work on the lapbook together.) 

Fun:  We will also dress up in medieval outfits and have a feast of foods from the period. (Grilled Chicken, roasted potatoes, crusted bread & fruits.) of course this will all be served medieval style with NO silverware!

Field Trip –  We actually won’t be doing the field trip this week, but there is a Renaissance Fair in Oct. so we will do our field trip for this week then.

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Family Day – September 24, 2007

September 24, 2007 at 10:38 am (Uncategorized)

From the Family Day Website….
Did you know that eating dinner frequently with your children and teens reduces their risk of substance abuse?

Research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA)* at Columbia University consistently finds that the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs. 

CASA created Family DayA Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children in 2001, as a national movement that encourages parents to frequently eat dinner with their kids and be involved in their children’s lives as simple, effective ways to reduce substance abuse among children and teens. Family Day is celebrated on the fourth Monday in September.


I sure wish that CASA would have talked to my parents before they spent money doing research on this!  You see they raised my sister and I back in the 60’s and 70’s and they knew the importance of the family meal long before any research was done on it!  As a matter of fact, not only did we eat dinner together we also didn’t watch T.V. while eating dinner!  Amazing!  (Thanks Mom!)

Years later I find it very sad that our society needs a special day to tell us to eat dinner together as a family!  As homeschoolers I expect most of us are eating approximately 3 meals a day with our kids!  I found it interesting when I ran across this website because I was actually just thinking about this the other day.  I heard a story about a girl who is currently a teenager & deeply involved in drugs.  She had started doing drugs when she was 11!  My 1st thought was HOW?  You see I spend time mostly with homeschoolers and I don’t know any that at the age of 11 (or 12, or 13, or 14, etc.) who would have the opportunity to do drugs!  It is hard to get stoned when you are with your parents 24/7!  But it is more than that.  When you are homeschooling the main influence in your life is your family.  You hang out with your siblings, your parents, your grandparents, etc.   So my point is maybe we homeschooler are on to something?  Maybe spending unlimited time with our kids is beneficial to more than their education?  Maybe it teaches them how to live?  Here is some other info I found on the Family Day Website:

Regular family dinners aren’t the only way to help keep your kids substance free. Here are some other important things you can do: 

  • Set a good example.
  • Know your child’s whereabouts, activities and friends. 
  • Set fair rules and hold your child to them.
  • Maintain open lines of communication.
  • Surround your child with positive role models.
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of teen substance abuse and conditions that increase risk.

Sounds to me like we as homeschooler are on the right track!  (Although I will admit I don’t know much about the last one in the list.)

With all that said…I did see this awesome boxes of cards over at the CASA website. They are loaded with questions to ask each other the dinner table!  When I was pregnant with my 3rd child my oldest son had an opportunity to go to Hannukah at our Midwives house. She had a box like this they used over dinner.  I never knew where she got them, until now!  HERE is the link.  (Of course you know me I am already thinking about what questions I could type up so we could make our own version of these cards!)

Bon Appetit!! 

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