Tag Archives: history

All About Egypt

This year, my younger children are  going to be diving back into world history. Because we did a little bit over the summer, I decided to start off the new school year by reviewing ancient Egypt. While we’re using the Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer as our primary text, we’re also supplementing with some great books from the library. And, as always, I’m learning a lot right along with them!

If your family is studying ancient Egypt, here are some resources you might like to look into:


Ancient Civilizations – Egypt by Christy Steele.  A nice book to read aloud together or assign as silent reading for older elementary students. Includes a glossary in the back.

The Great Pyramid by Elizabeth Mann – The story of the Pharaoh Khufu and the construction of the Great Pyramid. Contains both actual photos and traditional illustrations. While older students could read this book  on their own, it’s one I would choose to read to them, as we could go over all the information as it’s presented.

Tutankhamun by Robert Green – A book full of information about King Tut and the discovery of his tomb. Contains  interesting photos, including one of Tut’s mummy and one of the dig site at the Valley of the Kings.

Great Ancient Egypt Projects You Can Build Yourself – To add in some hands-on learning, check out this book with projects such as making boats, papyrus, bread, jewelry, and hieroglyphs.


Other Resources:

Ancient Egypt Unit Study and Lapbook by Jodi Small – Contains a library list and over 30 “minit” books.

Ancient Egypt Lapbook by JoAnn S. – Includes a reading list, activities, crafts, and cooking ideas.

Ancient Egypt Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities
by Mr. Donn – lots of lesson plans featuring the geography, history, religion, art, and daily life of ancient Egypt.

Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery for Kids
– Ancient Egypt – online activities featuring ancient civilizations, including Egypt.


Photo by embalu

Read, Write, and Learn…With DevoKids!

About a year ago, I first found out about DevoKids.com, a fun and safe site for students. Part of Christian Devotions Ministries, DevoKids’ mission is to entertain children while sharing with them the love of Christ. There’s so much for kids to read and learn about — and they can even contribute, too!

Devotionals are posted weekly on the site, and each one is based on a particular scripture or passage. The link “Music Dudes and Divas” contains articles about different types of music and various musicians.  In “DaVinci’s Playground,” kids will find ideas for crafts and experiments. There are also links for puzzles and games, cooking ideas, nature and history articles, and money tips.

And there’s more! You’ll find two writing sections to the website, “The Write Buzz” and “Write Now!” In “The Write Buzz”, award-winning author and teacher Christopher Maselli answers questions about writing, while the “Write Now!” column features tips for kids by published authors such as Margot Finke, Carol Baldwin, Donna Shepherd, and Patti Shene.

One of my favorite features of DevoKids is that the site is open to submissions from students, too! What can kids send in? They may choose to write devotions, or they can give directions for making their favorite recipes. If they’ve found a good way to earn money, they can send that in, too. DevoKids is also looking for students with stories about saving, tithing, investing, and giving. Or, if your child has an idea that would fit in the music column, he can submit that as well.

DevoKids is constantly adding new articles, so it’s a site to return to again and again. And because it has so many opportunities for children to learn, create, and grow, you’ll want to do just that.

Ending the School Year?

Mid-May seems to be the time of year when a lot of homeschoolers are finishing up the school year and looking ahead to next fall. Our co-op classes finished last week, and because we had company visiting as well, we took the week off of schoolwork. And that’s how our year has gone; when things come up or company comes to visit, we take time off. And it’s during those times we all think, “Homeschooling’s great!”

But then, we have yet to finish up our school year in May. Or June. We usually keep schooling through July, taking time off here and there to travel or spend time with family and friends. And though the kids are moaning a little, I’m still thinking, “Homeschooling’s great!”

Sure, we’re still working on math, reading, and grammar through the summer, but as we do, they’re keeping their minds sharp and prepared to learn. They also have things to work on in the afternoons when it’s too hot to stay outside; instead of playing video games or watching t.v., we’re doing science and history projects. And simple summertime activities, such as planting tomatoes or catching fireflies, take on a whole new meaning when paired with unit studies in botany and entomology.

So even though our school year isn’t ending quite yet, we’ll still enjoy the lazy days of summer. We’ll get up a little later, sip on lemonade during lessons, and play on the slip and slide during break time. We’ll work on house projects and go swimming during free time.  We’ll spend more time hanging out with friends and visiting with family. And when September comes, we’ll be ready to get back to a regular schedule and co-op classes. And I know we’ll all be thinking, “Homeschooling’s great!” 🙂



Photo by PenyWise

The Josephina Story Quilt


If you have a young or reluctant reader, The Josephina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr is a great choice, especially for girls. Written for readers in grades 2-4, it’s part of Harper Trophy’s “I Can Read” series.

In The Josephina Story Quilt, Faith and her family are headed west to California with other settlers in a wagon train. Before they leave, Faith convinces her father that she needs to bring Josephina, her old pet hen. Along the way, Josephina causes some problems, such as startling the cattle and horses and falling into the river while the wagons are trying to cross. She does save the supplies, however, as she alerts the settlers to a couple of robbers who have come to take their blankets.

As they travel, Faith’s mother gives her a bag of fabric scraps and encourages her to create quilt squares to commemorate different parts of their journey. Faith sews one representing a wagon wheel and another for the desert they crossed. When Josephina finally dies of old age, she sews one for her hen — a pine tree representing the place where the hen was buried. Her patches are finished when they arrive in California, and in her new home she completes the Josephina Story Quilt and remembers their adventures on the trail.

This book has short chapters, making it a great choice for readers who are just starting out or may be struggling. And there are so many ways to use it in your homeschool. After reading The Josephina Story Quilt, you might:

  • Have your student design a quilt square commemorating a recent event in her own life. Did she go to a birthday party? Maybe the square will feature a cake with candles. Did she give a music recital recently? Have her design a square featuring a music note. Did she plant a garden? A square with a flower or vegetable would tell that story. Have your student color it in with crayons or markers.
  • Have your student learn more about the pioneer days. Why did people leave the homes they knew to travel West? What dangers did they face other than those discussed in the story? How long did the trip take?
  • Start a sewing project with your student. It can be as simples as sewing yarn through holes made in a piece of felt or as complex as choosing a pattern and using a sewing machine.

Books are a great starting place for enrichment activities, and The Josephina Story Quilt is no exception!


timeliner pics 003If you are looking for ideas for new lesson plans, take a moment to visit Viatouch.com. This education resource site has a great deal to offer both traditional classroom teachers and homeschooling parents alike.

Once you’re on the homepage, find the “Learning and Leisure” section. You’ll follow the link to a page with a number of categories listed on the left — these pages provide further links to other websites regarding these particular topics. If you’re searching the Internet for information about any of these subjects, this is a good place to start.

My favorite part of the site, however, is found when you click on “Teacher Resources.”  We use an eclectic mix of curricula (books from several different publishers), so I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. Under “Teacher-Created Resources,” you’ll find lesson plans for students from elementary through high school in a variety of subjects. The “Teacher Articles” section includes nonfiction articles for elementary students in science and history, as well as more lesson plans and teaching techniques for other subjects such as writing and math.

The site also includes a link called “Story Station” which features original fiction stories for children and young adults. These are also free to access.

And there’s still a lot of room for this site to grow. Every time I check back, new content has been added. And if you have resources you’d like to share, this site may be for you as well. Put your ideas in writing and submit your lesson plans, tips, charts, and articles for publication on the site. Viatouch offers payment for each teacher resource that they publish. Just follow the link for “Teacher Resources submission guidelines.”

The information Viatouch offers is free, so check it out. You might find something you’ll be able to use in your next lesson.

Order in the Classroom!

gaveljanjpgThis school year, like many of our previous school years, has gotten off to a bit of a rough start. But I’m working on changing some things that hopefully will get things flowing a little more smoothly.

Recently, I read an article online that said homeschoolers sometimes have a difficulty with delayed gratification. They are often used to having a question answered right away, and they have the freedom to make comments during a lesson. Although I know this isn’t true of all homeschooled children, I can say it’s true of mine. They interrupt me if I’m reading a science or history lesson aloud, often saying something that has nothing to do with the subject. If I’m helping one with math or reading, the others are quite comfortable breaking in with a question about their own work.

I know it’s not the children’s fault — this is how I’ve been schooling the last few years. I used to feel like I was multi-tasking, answering a question for one while teaching a concept to another while handing out an assignment to a third. But I wasn’t really multi-tasking — we were just losing time, as nothing was being accomplished efficiently. So this year, I’m bringing more order in — for their sakes, and for mine!

For the first hour, I’m working with my Kindergartener while the other three work on their math. If they have a question about a problem, they just have to skip it and go on to the next one. Their math work will continue into the second hour, at which time I’m free for questions.

After math we’ll go into our group lesson of history or science. Then it’s back to individual work in Language Arts, giving me time again to help with grammar, spelling, and writing if necessary. Reading and music practice are subjects they can do on their own.

The next few days will be hard — reminding the children again and again that they will have to wait. But once they get used to the new plan, they’ll have an easier time with school — and I will too!

Garden of Praise.com

cohdranknbarbarabushroseI first came upon this website over a year ago when I was teaching art lessons in my home. I was centering the lessons around famous artists, and I was looking for information online about the lives of the various masters. While I was glad to find the biographies of famous artists on this site and used them regularly as a resource, Garden of Praise.com offers so much more. 

One of the first sections you come to on the site is entitled “Online Tests.” After registering, teachers and homeschooling parents can have their students take tests about famous Americans or lessons in the Bible. After a test is completed, it’s instantly scored, and if any incorrect answers were marked, the correct answer is revealed. 

The biography section features leaders such as presidents, scientists, inventors, and educators. Each story is written at the elementary level and includes seven printables, including a study sheet, a coloring page, a word search, a crossword puzzle, a word scramble puzzle, a worksheet, and a test. Links to other helpful sites about the individual are provided as well. 

A Spanish section has songs (with music) for learning the months of the year, colors, and the parts of the head. Quizzes are available for numbers, the days and months, and the names of shapes in Spanish. 

You’ll also find pages that include literature-based reading lessons, plays, musical activities, and children’s Bible lessons. You can even view a slideshow featuring ideas for bulletin boards or wall displays designed by teachers. 

While this site is not an all-inclusive resource for any of these subjects, it does provide information, ideas, links, and printables to supplement the various subjects your children might be studying. And, best of all, Garden of Praise.com has made it all available for free!