Tag Archives: homeschool

Tour the Nina, Pinta, and (not the) Santa Maria!

13 Sep

IMG_0826

The Nina

For all of my CC friends, you are singing, “The Nina, the Pinta, The Santa Maria” in your head right now, aren’t you?!?! Several years ago, I had a friend tell me that she was driving all day to see the Nina in Chattanooga. I was confused. Did she not realize that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, and his ship had probably disintegrated into thin air after 500+ years? After further conversation, I learned from my friend Heidi that the Columbus Foundation¬† tours the waterways of the U.S. in life-size, fully-functioning replicas of the Nina and Pinta.

We were fortunate to see it last October while they were docked in Knoxville. We thoroughly enjoyed traipsing around both ships and listening to the tour provided by the knowledgeable crew. I have a greater understanding and increased respect for Columbus and crew who set out blindly on these ships back in 1492. I realized that I’m pretty wimpy! I don’t think that I would have signed up for this adventure. Ha! ūüôā

Are you interested in visiting the Nina and Pinta (sniff, sniff! If only there was a replica of the Santa Maria!)? You’re in luck! Here is the 2014 Port Tour Schedule. Hopefully, it will be in your neck of the woods this year! If not, maybe 2015 will be the year for you!

Here are some pictures from our tour!

IMG_0854

¬†The crew slept on the deck. Again, I’m a wimp! I don’t think I would have signed up on this adventure with Captain Columbus. ūüôā What about you??

 IMG_0837

I love maps! This was a map similar to what the crew would have used.

IMG_0830

Listening to our tour guide! These men and women were great fun! I asked them a million questions about what it was like to live and work on the boats. Many of them signed up to be a part of the crew for the sheer adventure.

IMG_0844

Boats are for climbing (duh!)

IMG_0856

Fighting off the “bad guys” trying to sink the Nina!

IMG_0832

I loved this picture because it gives you an idea of the magnitude of the ship’s size.

IMG_0860

How often do you see a ship like this sailing down the river?!?! I’m sure barges and tug boats do a “double take.”

IMG_0850

 A fun, memorable field trip!

Want to know more about what it would have been like on the Nina, Pinta or Santa Maria? Read Pedro’s Journal with your kiddos! We are reading it now and thoroughly enjoying it!

Advertisements

Crayola.com–FREE Cycle 3 Geography Resources

16 May

Tennessee coloring page

From my Pre-K and Kindergarten homeschooling days, Crayola’s website and I became bffs. Anytime we learned about a new country or new state, I would head straight to Crayola to find a FREE coloring sheet about a particular state or the flag of the country we were studying. For those of you who are involved with Classical Conversations, these coloring sheets would be a fun, FREE resource for your students as we work through the United States geography!

1) STATE COLORING SHEETS
All 50 states are included on Crayola’s site. Each state’s sheet includes pertinent information about the state: its capital and some of the official state items (tree, insect, bird, flag, etc.). These would be a great resource to add to your Classical Notebook each week.

Traveling to different states for summer vacation? I also recommend using the Crayola website to print copies of the states that you’ll visit and compiling them into a Travel Notebook for your children. The Travel Notebook can include coloring sheets of the states you will visit and a printed map showing the route of your trip. Fill your Travel Notebook with other coloring sheets/games to entertain them while you travel. We made a Travel Notebook on our big trek north last year to Wisconsin and Illinois. The Travel Notebook kept our sons entertained for¬†hours.¬†

US State Flash Cards - Tennessee coloring page

2) STATE FLASHCARDS
Another great resource on Crayola’s website are the State Flashcards. You could print Crayola’s State Flashcards for each of the 50 states and have your child decorate the flashcards of the states studied each week during New Grammar Geography. I would recommend printing on cardstock and laminating them (You know how I love my laminator!!!) after your child beautifies the cards with crayons, markers, or color pencils. You could hole punch the cards, add a metal ring and have your child’s very own homemade set of 50 States Flashcards!

U.S. President George Washington coloring page

3) U.S. PRESIDENTS
Crayola’s website also has free printable coloring sheets for each of the 44 presidents. This would be a fun resource to use throughout the year, particularly in Classical Conversations Week 24 when the children learn all of the U.S. Presidents!

I am so excited about Cycle 3 and American geography and history! What other free resources for Cycle 3 have you found to share?

Book It Program: Homeschool Registration for 2014-15 is OPEN

1 May

I wrote about this last year, and I’m excited to share it again this year! Drum Roll, please! It’s time to register your kiddos for Book It!!

What is Book It, you ask?!?! The Book It Program is reading incentive program where children can earn a free Pizza Hut personal pan pizza by reading! The Book It Program is available through public and private school children, but did you know it’s also open to homeschooling families? Registration for the 2014-15 school year is OPEN as of today for homeschooling families. To register your Kindergarten through 6th grade kiddos, visit this link. This will be our 5th year to participate in Book It, and my boys love, love, love it! They love it probably¬†just as much¬†as their Mom did when she was a girl! Enrollment is free! You will receive your Enrollment Packet in the fall with your free Pizza Hut personal pan pizza coupons per eligible child. It always seems like the Enrollment Packet will¬†never¬†arrive as the fall approaches, but it always does. (Don’t panic like I usually do! ha!)

So, stop what you’re doing and register your children! As a Mom, I feel like Book It is a special treat for me, too. I always save the boys’ pizzas for lunch on a school day. It’s so nice to have one day a month “off” from being the “school lunch lady.” ūüôā

 

Kindle On Sale-$49

29 Apr

Just saw that Amazon Kindle (the “basic” model) is on sale for $49 (a $20 savings)! Thinking to do some birthday shopping for our oldest two since they’ve hijacked their parents’ Kindle. ūüôā Why have they hijacked their parents’ Kindle you ask?It’s the library’s fault! ūüôā Our library has thousands of children’s books that can be virtually checked out–for FREE! To say that our boys love¬†this reality would be an understatement! They think it’s pretty cool and “grown up” to read on the Kindle! I think whatever keeps them interested in reading, right?!?!

The Kindle Paperwhite with Wi-Fi¬†and various various Kindle Fire models¬†are also $20 off. It appears that there is one deal per customer.¬†This is a Mother’s Day sale, so snag this deal before it’s gone.¬†

One other perk that our family uses. ūüôā If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get to check out one free Kindle book a month from Amazon. If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, enjoy a 30 Day FREE Trial!

Friday Favorites: Favorite Places to find FREE Audio Books

11 Apr

FRIDAY Favorites

I’m wrapping up my last post about audio books today in my Friday Favorites series. In the previous 2 posts, I wrote about an apologetic for incorporating audio books into our children’s (and family’s!) lives and a laundry list of my boys’ favorite audio books¬†divided into three age ranges: Preschool, Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary/Middle School. As promised, I am writing today about my favorite places to find FREE audio books.

Free Audio Book Resources

LibrivoxThis is an online resource that contains audio versions of public domain books. Anytime you see the phrase “public domain,” it is safe to assume that these books are¬†old¬†and the majority of them are in the Classics genre. Copyright stays with a book for a specific length of time, and once the said length of time has transpired the book becomes “public domain.” ¬†Public domain books, therefore, can be used as you like. photo 1
On Librivox’s website you can search through-literally-hundreds of¬†free¬†audio books. Once your selection is made, you can simply listen (aka “live stream”) to the audio files via Librivox’s website or download the files to your computer or iTunes.¬†Librivox’s website contains detailed, “how-to” instructions¬† for downloading the audio book files. Once downloaded onto your computer or iTunes, you can burn the audio book onto cds and enjoy in your car, or your child can use the CDs in his/her room at naptime/restime. By downloading to iTunes, you can use an MP3 player/iPod/iPad/iPhone to listen to the audio books. I especially enjoy having this audio book-on-my-iPod option for exercising. I listened to Stepping Heavenward (by Elizabeth Prentiss) thanks to Librivox, and it was great motivation for exercise. I only permitted myself to listen to the book while exercising. I was so enthralled and drawn in by the book that I easily made exercise a priority because I wanted to listen to the next chapter! ūüôā

There is an expansive list of genres available on Librovox: Children’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Poetry, ¬†just to name a few. Best of all–the books are FREE! (I love free!!!)

photo 2

Books Should Be FreeThis is another website similar in concept, access and functionality as Librivox. In fact, some of Books Should Be Free audio books are accessed via Librivox. There are a few distinctions to note on Books Should Be Free. This website makes available audio and eBook versions of books. If an eBook version of a book is available (Kindle, Nook, iBooks, .pdf) in addition to an audio book version, it will be indicated on the specific page dedicated to the book. If your kiddo enjoys following along in the Kindle version of the book while he/she listens to the audio book version, Books Should Be Free will be a tremendous resource for you! you can download both audio and eBook versions from the same page!

Another distinction with Books Should Be Free boasts itself as “a primarily visual browsing experience.” This evidences itself when perusing through their website. Instead of listing book titles in alphabetical order with pages of text, text, text to sort through, Books Should Be Free includes a photo of each book’s cover. The visual images of the books make navigating through their website simpler. Searching for a specific book becomes less of a wild-goose chase filled with frustration and more of an attainable goal with a happy ending.

Books Should Be Free mirrors Librivox in that you have the option to listen to the audio book online via live streaming or to download it to your computer, iTunes (including via Podcasts), or MP3 player.

Library–Don’t forget one of the most accessible places for FREE audio books is your local library. Our library’s children’s section has a vast expanse of audio books available for checkout. At any given moment, you’ll likely find 3 or 4 different audio books from our library in our home. All 3 of my boys (currently ages 8, 6, and 4) usually have about an hour of rest time each day in their rooms (and consequently, me, too! Woot!). The boys LOVE this time of day because 99.9 % of the time this one hour of rest includes an audio book! Another plus, thanks to audio books, is that they rarely complain about rest time; they’re eager to listen to the next chapters in their current audio book!

If your library has a limited, small, or non-existent audio book collection, don’t be discouraged! Talk to your librarian! You may have these options:

  • Audio Book downloads via your library’s website–With advances in technology, many libraries are expanding their online access for digital and audio versions of books. Through our library’s website, I can download audio books from my library’s collection to iTunes for a specified length of time.
  • Petition for audio books to be purchased–Most libraries add to their collection each year. If your library’s audio book section is less than ideal, communicate your desire to see their audio book collection expanded. Most libraries are eager to hear input from their patrons.
  • Make Interlibrary loan your BFF–Just hearing the words “interlibrary loan” (ILL) makes me think of my college library. ILL¬†is a program allowing a library patron to borrow a book that is unavailable at his/her library from a partnering library. I was continually ILL-ing books during my undergrad and graduate years. I never thought of a local library having ILL; I had only associated it with college libraries. However, when my quest to find a classic, well-loved children’s book at our local library left me striking out, I mentioned this to the librarian, and she suggested using interlibrary loan. I gladly obliged. (As a note of encouragement to the previous bullet regarding suggesting books to your librarian, I noticed several months later that the book I borrowed via ILL had been ordered and added to our library!) Your librarian can assist you with the interlibrary loan process at your local library.

So, now that I’ve encouraged you to make audio book listening a part of your life and provided resources where they can be accessed for FREE, what will be your or your kiddos’ first/next audio book?!?!? If you have any suggestions to share with Suzanne Shares leaders, please comment and include them below!

Thanks for stopping by for today’s Friday Favorites!

 

What We’re Reading Wednesday: Installment #3

9 Apr

What We're Reading WEDNESDAYS

Welcome back for installment #3 of “What We’re Reading Wednesday.” See previous posts here. As always, please comment and share what¬†you’re¬†reading!

image

The Field Mouse and the Dinosaur Named Sue¬†(by Jan Wahl)–I was excited to find this book at Goodwill a couple of months ago. ūüôā It’s taken us that long to read it. ha! ūüôā Our family went to Chicago last year for vacation. We visited the Field Museum, so I wanted to read this with the boys and learn more about Sue. If you’re heading to Chicago and the Field Museum in the future, this book is a great way to introduce “Sue” to your kiddos before you meet her in person!¬†Just a disclaimer that I had to do some “editing” on the fly as we read it. It tells of how many millions of years old the dinosaur bones were.

Time for Bed¬†(by Mem Fox)–This sweet bedtime book is a classic that we’ve just now discovered! My parents were in town when we got this book, and my Dad was able to read it to my boys. My boys will always remember this book as “Pop’s book” that he read to them. ūüôā I love how books create lasting memories with loved ones.

Books by Lois Ehlert–As I mentioned in the last installment of “What We’re Reading Wednesday,”¬†I have introduced a principle into our family since reading Honey For A Child’s Heart. Once I discover a recommended author or an author my kiddos idolize, I check out copious amounts of books written by him/her. One of this week’s “clean off the library shelf” author selection was Lois Ehlert. ¬†We checked out about 10 of her books! We have enjoyed Color Zoo, Color Farm, Pie in the Sky, Nuts to You!, and¬†Snowballs¬†this week. I enjoyed the nature themes in the books that we read, but most of all, I adored the vibrant colors, unique mediums used to create the illustrations. To say that they were pleasing to the eye¬†would be an ¬†understatement.¬†These books are written toward a preschool audience, but even my school agers enjoyed them! We haven’t read it yet, but I’m hoping to read¬†Leaf Man¬†by Ehlert with them this week. We actually used leaves to make a man during Fall a couple of years ago. (Thanks to Pinterest!) Now, I know that the idea was probably inspired by this book.

The Moon Shines Down¬†(by Margaret Wise Brown)–Our second “clean off the library shelf” author for the this week was Margaret Wise Brown. If you’ve read only one children’s book, there is a high likelihood that it was Brown’s¬†Goodnight Moon, clearly a classic. We have read lots of Margaret Wise Brown’s books; she wrote heaps of books. I was drawn to¬†The Moon Shines Down¬†because the book’s cover indicated it was a lost work of Brown’s. The book is based upon the prayer, “God bless the moon, and God bless me.” A little koala embarks around the world, visiting various locations. The koala’s trek around the world was especially joyous to read with my boys because of the numerous connections with the Geography locations we learned this past year in Classical Conversations Cycle 2. So, so fun! Here is a list of other¬†books by Margaret Wise Brown, including two others that we enjoyed this week–The Sailor Dog¬†and¬†Four Fur Feet.

Who Was….? Series¬†(by various authors)–My oldest son has been devouring these books! He¬†adores¬†history, and he also¬†adores¬†reading on our family Kindle. He broke his arm last week, and it was his writing hand, which has impacted some of our schooling plans. ūüôā Therefore, he’s had lots of free time on his hands, so he’s wanted extra time on the Kindle. When any of our boys¬†ask¬† to read, we try not to squelch it! ūüôā He has gotten into these “Who Was…?” books, and we can check out the Kindle version of many of them via our local library. Who Was George Washington?, Who Was Davy Crockett?, Who Was Paul Revere?, and Who Was Jackie Robinson? have been some of his favorites. If your child is eager to start “chapter” books on his/her own, these might be a good place to start.

Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother¬†(by Carolyn Mahaney)–I am reading this with some younger women from my church. It is based on Titus 2 and walks through 7 virtues of a godly wife and mother. I read it 7 years ago when I was a young mom, and I loved it. I’m enjoying reading it as the “older” mom with the younger moms. This is a great read for any woman! If you are a young woman and desiring to be mentored, grab this book and an older, godly woman and read through it together. Or, if you’re an older woman and desiring to mentor younger women, this would be an excellent resource for you. There are study questions at the conclusion of the book that can be used to guide small group discussion.

Audio books that we’re “reading”

With the past two Friday Favorites posts (read them here and here) about our love of audio books, I thought I would include audio books in our “What We’re Reading Wednesday” series. Our boys are enjoying these books this week:¬†How to Eat Fried Worms¬†(by Thomas Rockwell) and two Boxcar children audio books:¬†The Boxcar Children The Great Bicycle Race Mystery¬†and¬† The Boxcar Children Collection Volume 43¬†(by Gertrude Chandler Warner).

So, that’s a wrap for Wednesday! Please comment and share with all of us what¬†you’re¬†reading this week!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Friday Favorites: Our Boys’ Most Beloved Audio Books

4 Apr

FRIDAY Favorites

This is the 2nd in a series of 3 posts about Audio Books and Children. See the other two posts here and here.

I had GREAT feed back from last week’s Friday Favorites post about Audiobooks and Children. Several of you indicated your shared love of audio books while others expressed excitement about incorporating audio books into your family life and/or home school. I was so encouraged that you guys were encouraged! A few of you contacted me and asked ¬†for my family’s favorite audio books. I thought that topic would be a great follow up to last week’s post. In next week’s Friday Favorites post, I will share about my favorite places to find FREE audio books because, let’s be honest, these bad boys aren’t cheap!

In the list below, I have included some of our favorite audio books, and I have divided them into 3 categories–Preschool & Younger, Lower Elementary School and¬†Upper Elementary School/Middle School Children. I also have included some pointers on tracking down quality audio books for the kiddos in your life. Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully, it will give you some initial direction for integrating audio books into your life and the lives of your children!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†


Preschool and Younger
Brown Bear & Friends (by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle)-When our youngest son was 3,  not to be outdone by his older brothers and their audio book-listening-coolness, HE decided that he wanted an audio book for himself. I was excited to find the Brown Bear & Friends (read by Gwyneth Paltrow, I might add) for his listening enjoyment. This set contains Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?, and Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?, which are wonderful classic books for preschoolers. We had read these books to him before, and he enjoyed hearing them on his cd player in his room. (Mimicking his older brothers brought him much joy.) He listened to this one cd over and over and over and over. 

Children’s Bible on cd-I have written previously about Children’s Bibles that we love. ¬†The Word and Song Bible on cd¬†was our family’s first introduction to audio books, and it had a dramatic impact on our family (See last week’s Friday Favorites to read how.) If you have a favorite Children’s Bible that your preschooler enjoys, see if it has an accompanying audio cd. Your child can listen to it, hold the Bible and “read” it simultaneously. Two of our favorites, The Big Picture Story Bible (Book with CD) and The Jesus Storybook Bible (with cd) both have accompanying audio cds. Obviously, Children’s Bibles on cd can be used with your grade school children as well. I wanted to highlight it in the Preschool category because that was when we first introduced them and found great benefits from doing so at a young age.

Just a side note that a preschooler won’t be able to follow along with the Bible’s text, word for word, and that’s okay! The simple action of sitting down with a book and mimicking what he/she has seen you do with a book–observing pictures, turning pages–is a step forward in reading readiness.

Lower Elementary School Children
Frog and Toad Audio CD (by Arnold Lobel)-If your child hasn’t met Frog and Toad,¬†please¬†introduce them. My boys¬†love, love, love¬†Frog and Toad, so I was delighted to find the audio book at our local library. I loved hearing son #2 cackle like a giggly girl while he was listening to it; I couldn’t resist walking back and forth outside his bedroom to hear those sweet giggles. I quickly tracked down another Arnold Lobel Audio Collection CD¬†with other Lobel classics, Owl at Home and Uncle Elephant, and it solicited the same bellows of laughter. Score for Mom!

The Boxcar Children (by Gertrude Chandler Warner)-We were driving around town today running errands and listening to the Boxcar Children-Henry, Benny, Jessie, and Violet-solve their latest mystery. I did not read this series as a child but read it to my sons after the recommendation of a friend. My boys love the¬†mystery¬†element of each book, and they love to try to out sleuth Henry, Benny, Jessie, and Violet by solving the mystery first. This series is marvelously wholesome and pure. I love that my boys can’t get enough of The Boxcar Children!image

Upper Elementary School/Middle School Children
The Chronicles of Narnia (by C.S. Lewis)-Our oldest 2 boys received this audio book set for Christmas from their grandparents when they were 4 and 2. Clearly, it was a little too old for them at the time; they were a little scared by Aslan’s roar. (We had asked my parents to buy it for them and didn’t think about them being a wee bit young. Just call us “eager beaver” parents! ha!) My boys are older now, and they thoroughly enjoyed listening to all of the books in the Narnia series. Sadly, it looks like the complete Narnia series is out of print, but you can buy the books individually. YAY!

The Narnia set that we have is from the Focus on the Family Radio Theater audio books¬†series. I¬†love, love, love¬†the audio books in this series because they are¬†radio dramas, which means actors and actresses play the characters in the story and dramatize the telling of the story. The book is performed rather than read verbatim by a lone narrator. This Focus on the Family series is excellent! We have A Christmas Carol ¬†in the same series as well. The series also includes The Hiding Place¬†(the story of Corrie Ten Boom), Anne of Green Gables , and the story of Squanto¬†(which is one our favorite stories!) and many others! I can’t say enough good about these audio books!

Story of the World-Volumes 1-4 (by Susan Wise Bauer)-I mentioned in last Friday’s post that we started out using Story of the World as our history curriculum. However, as staple school subjects like Math, Phonics, Reading and English Grammar began requiring more of our family’s homeschool day, I began feeling my personal limitations and began to consider stopping our history studies. However, when I discovered Story of the World audio books, my boys were able to listen individually to the chapter readings and continue their studies. This curriculum covers history from the ancient civilizations to fall of the USSR. The title¬†Story¬†of the World¬†says it all; it is written in the narrative form and truly reads (or listens!) like a story. It has given our sons a breadth and depth overview and understanding of history. I truly marvel at all they’ve learned through these audio books! They tell me little history tidbits and factoids all the time. I have no idea where they’ve learned it, so I’ll ask them, “Where did you learn that?!?!” Their answer always ¬†seems to be the same, “Story of the World, Mom.” (There might be a hint of sarcasm when they answer!)

Finding Beloved Audio books
These audio books above are ones that we enjoyed. Some were so loved that we bought them! How did we stumble upon these? How can you find quality audio books? Here are a few tips:

1) Choose books that your child already knows, has read, or loves-The repetition of hearing a book over and over and over again is beneficial for your child. If your child is a preschooler, just know that is typical and expected for children that age. (Yes, you may scream at hearing Brown Bear, Brown Bear fifty times, but remind yourself that it is good for your kiddo and so worth it!) Let your child have fun with literature!

2) Follow your favorite author-Does your child like a particular author? Find audio books for the author’s works and introduce them to your child in audio book format. Need new authors? Use Honey For A Child’s Heart as a resource for discovering new ones.

3) Introduce classics-My boys have “read”¬†way more classics than I have, and we have audio books to thank for that. Our family usually has one or two “read aloud” books going on at a time. However, if I depended on “read aloud” time alone to introduce them to the classics, we will run out of time. This is where audio books have become our BFFs. My boys have “read” books like Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Huck Finn, Black Beauty and many, many more thanks to audio books. Yes, the books in paperback might be 400+ pages, and no, my boys would not be able to sit through those as a “read aloud.” However, they can easily tackle them in audio book format. So, don’t be afraid to “stretch” them (and yourself!) with the audio book versions of classic, stood-the-test-of-time literature; they can handle it and will love it!

4) Ask for recommendations from others-Many of the books that we’ve stumbled upon were highly recommended from dear friends. Do you have a friend who loves books (as much as I do?!?!)? Ask him/her for a list of favorites. Do you know the children’s librarian at your local library? If not, get to know him/her by name. When I am “stuck” and don’t know which book to throw in my book bag, I stalk¬†¬†track¬†down the children’s librarian at our library. I guarantee he/she will have a few (or a few¬†hundred)¬†endorsements for you!

Have fun introducing your children to quality literature!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Olympics, World War II, and Classical Conversations

7 Feb

I just finished watching the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics. For my CC readers, I realized how much I learned our first 16 weeks. As Olympians from countries like Estonia and Latvia entered the arena, I smiled knowing that two months ago I would not have been able to locate these countries on a map. Also, I almost embarrassed myself as I screamed at our television when they showed the map of Greece, which was the first country to enter the Olympic Arena. “It’s the Balkan Peninsula! Look, boys! It’s the Balkan Peninsula. See it?!?!” (Yeah, I kinda love and freak out about maps and all-things-geography.)

As we gear up to look at World War II in Classical Conversations over the next couple of weeks, I wanted to highlight a couple of  Olympic/WWII tie ins since the Winter Games will be running parallel with our WWII studies.

I am a HUGE fan of missionary/Christian hero biographies (particularly this series, Christian Heroes: Then and Now), and I love reading them with my boys. We read about Eric Liddell two ¬†years ago when we were gearing up for the Summer Olympics. Eric Liddell is well-known and remembered for refusing to run on Sunday for the 100m race in the 1924 Olympics. I knew that tidbit of information about him prior to reading the book. However, I learned that he became a missionary to China after his Olympic running shoes were retired. His life was directly impacted by the events of World War II while in China due to Japan’s actions on the Eastern front. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I am going to omit the details. Please, go read it.) ūüôā

One of my favorite books in high school was The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. If you don’t know the story, STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW and read this book!¬†It’s a memorable, captivating story of courage and God’s protection. The first time I read it–I literally read it in 3 days; I could not put it down. It’s the story of Corrie’s family who lived in Holland and helped Jewish families escaping from Hitler’s Nazi Germany. ¬†There is a Corrie Ten Boom version in the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series that I mentioned above. Again, I am not going to go into elaborate detail of the events of Corrie Ten Boom’s life because I want you to read it!

Also, if you’ve not heard of the Imagination Station series, which is by the Focus on the Family and similar in concept to the Magic Tree House series, there is a book focused on Corrie Ten Boom, called Escape to the Hiding Place. Can you tell I love the story of Corrie Ten Boom?!?! So many different books that you can read about her! Any of them would be an excellent way to gently introduce World War II and the Holocaust to children.


This movie is another Olympic-themed resource. It has NOTHING to do with World War II but rather the Cold War. (You could tie this in with the respective Timeline Card, CC readers.) I watched this movie several years and did not previously know the story of the 1980 Winter Olympic gold medal hockey game which pitted the USSR against the United States. It gave me insight into the Cold War and the intense animosity between the two countries during that period of history. I’m sure the Hollywood glitz on the film is generous, yet the events actually happened. I was awestruck at how one game–USSR vs. USA–personified the political climate and events simultaneously transpiring between the two countries. A nail bitter this one was!

Do you have any great Olympic-themed and/or World War II reads? If so, please share them with us!

“Love Is…” Mobile & Valentine’s Day Books (FREE PRINTABLE)

6 Feb

I Corintians 13.4 to 7

Here’s my fun Valentine Day-inspired FREE Printable! Download by clicking here:¬†I Corintians 13.4 to 7

We used this in the preschool Sunday School class that I teach when they were memorizing I Corinthians 13:4-7. I printed these off, cut them out, and the children colored them. I then mounted them on foam hearts that I got at Michael’s. We punched holes in the top and bottom of each heart, and they made a mobile with the verses. They were SO CUTE! I encouraged the children to hang then in their rooms, so they could remember (and their parents) all of the truths God taught us about love.

You could do a¬†million¬†things with this printable. You could make a mobile for your child’s room. You could make this and give it to a grandparent or a man or woman in a nursing home. You could use it as garland to decorate your mantle or fireplace. If you don’t have foam hearts, construction paper, scrapbook paper, or card stock would work. You could paint, finger paint, do-a-dot marker, or (dare I say it??) glitter the hearts. Each family member could decorate one heart, and then it becomes a family project. You could even laminate¬†them to use it every year!

Alas, I took a picture of our I Corinthians 13 banner and can’t find it. Since then ours has been destroyed. (Did I mention that I have three boys?!?!?) ¬†Maybe those of you with daughters will have more success with the permanence of this.

St. Valentine (Robert Sabuda)¬†–We read this because I enjoy unearthing the origins of holidays. I have no clue of its historical accuracy, but we enjoyed it.

The Legend of the Valentine: An Inspirational Story of Love and Reconciliation (Katherine Grace Bond)¬†-I love “The Legend of…” series and have enjoyed several of these during Christmas. I was excited to find a Valentine edition. This is the story of a young African American boy named Marcus in Alabama in the 1960s and a decision he faces regarding love or forgiveness. The story time warps back to Ancient Rome and tells the story of St. Valentine and relates it to Marcus’s dilemma. (For my CC readers, this would be a great tie-in to Ancient Rome and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.)

The Story of Valentine’s Day (Nancy J. Skarmeas)-This is on our “to read” list this year for Valentine’s Day. I love Candy Cane Press books, so I was excited to find a Valentine’s Day book by these great folks. Excited to check it out!

What about you guys?!?!? Do you have any fun Valentine Day traditions, activities or books? I would love to hear and¬†share¬†with other Suzanne Shares readers! ūüôā

CC Tutor Tidbit: The grammar of Physics

19 Jan

If you are a Tutor for Classical Conversations, you are very much aware that these next 6 weeks of science experiments focus on Physics. I took Physics in high school–circa mid-1990s–and I have only a few recollections of the class. I wanted a “refresher” course in order to review and understand the grammar of Physics particularly relating to the science experiments for Weeks 13-18. I stumbled upon these two gems from my library and wanted to pass them along.

The Science of Music (by Melvin Berger)This book was geared for middle/high school, so I don’t recommend this for class reading. ūüôā However, it was a helpful refresher on sound, sound waves, pitch, frequency, how our ears hear and detect sound (fascinating!!) for this Tutor! ūüôā This book is an excellent book in preparation for our 6 weeks of Orchestra! It goes through the Orchestra sections–percussion, woodwinds, strings, brass–and details the mechanics of how sound is produced by each type of instrument. I will most definitely reference information from the instruments section of this book for Weeks 18-24 of the Orchestra!¬†I loved the unifying of subjects in this book–science and instruments!

Rubber-Band Banjos and a Java Jive Bass (Alex Sabbeth)The subtitle to this book is aptly named, “Projects & Activities on the Science of Music & Sound.” This most definitely is geared towards elementary learners. There are wonderful, most simplistic definitions and introductions to sound, sound waves, frequency and how sound is taken in by our ears. There is also a section dedicated to instruments–strings, woodwinds, percussion–and how their sounds are made. This book is almost identical to the content covered. Both books are excellent, yet being geared for younger children this one is the simpler of the two to digest and understand (at least it was for this grown up!). It includes multiple activities to make and do with the concepts/ideas covered, and even has “instrument making” as several of the projects!

I know my Physics teacher, Mr. Wilson, would be so proud to know that I’m brushing up on my Physics. ūüôā Happy Physics learning in Weeks 13-18 of CC!