Friday, May 24

Natural Electrolytes

Working out in the heat of summer can take its toll on your body!  Today, we're going to focus on how you can address this serious summer concern with a homemade solution.  

I like to make up about a gallon ahead of time to keep on-hand in the fridge for use as needed.  (As an aside, I've also had friends and family use the replenishment drink as part of colonoscopy prep, with good results.)

Why should we care about electrolytes?
Our bodies rely on a balance of calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium chloride, hydrogen phosphate (a mineral), and hydrogen carbonate (a salt), which are vital for survival. 

If we dilute them too much, it can lead to death by “water poisoning.” They regulate our nerve and muscle function, our hydration, the pH of our blood, rebuilding damaged tissue, and determining blood pressure.

During strenuous exercise or exposure to excessive heat, you sweat and lose electrolytes.  These homemade recipes will help to replenish the electrolytes without all of the added chemicals found in marketed versions.

Electrolyte Replenishment Drink
Ingredients  (makes one quart)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups fresh water, depending on how strong you want the flavor
  • 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons natural sugar or honey, to taste
Directions
  • Blend everything together.
  • Pour a glass over ice.


Lemon Barley Water
Ingredients
·         2 medium sized lemons
·        -1/ 4 cup pearl barley
·         3 cups water
·         1/ 8 to 1/ 4 cup honey

Directions

  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest of the lemons, avoiding the pith.
  • Put the zest in a medium saucepan with the barley and the water.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice into a cup and set aside.
  • Bring to a boil , reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, until barley is soft.
  • Strain and discard the barley and the zest.
  • Stir in the reserved lemon juice and honey.
  • Chill before drinking. 

Tuesday, May 21

Introducing Novel Studies at The Old Schoolhouse!


BIG NEWS!!

We're guest posting this week over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew - all about encouraging Struggling Readers in the Upper Grades.....stop by and learn new strategies for approaching this sometimes-daunting task....but first, you can enter to win a prize package of books that are featured in our Hi-Lo Novel Studies!


VISIT THE SCHOOLHOUSE REVIEW CREW BLOG on 5/24 {Friday}
lifes a beach



We're partnering with The Mommy Island and The Kids Did It for a giveaway hop this summer. Good luck!




We're blessing one reader with this fabulous box of books to get your student on track for excellent reading adventures! (Giveaway ends 6/4 -- Open to US. Winner will have 24 hours to respond)

Monday, May 20

We Were There at the Normandy Invasion


***Pick up your FREE Activity Pack***

Back in the spring of 1940, toward the beginning of World War 2, Germany had invaded and seized control of France.  Four years later, in 1944, the Allies took it back…

In one of the best-coordinated military operations of modern history, General Eisenhower (later to be President Eisenhower) commanded ‘Operation Overlord’ to take back France.  Based in Britain, the Allies began the invasion by landing a huge army in Normandy, located on the northwest coast of France.  They landed on five beaches in the area – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword – on the morning of June 6, 1944.

Before arriving by ship, the Allies came by plane, attacking the Nazi defense and dropping paratroopers behind German lines.  They were assisted by local French Resistance fighters, who helped to communicate and to sabotage Germans in the area.

There is no exact count of how many men died, but it is estimated that 425,000 (including both Germans and Allies) were killed, wounded, or missing after the D-Day campaign.  Hitler lost control of France, however, and it was a major turning point in the outcome of World War 2.

Though its code name was ‘Operation Overlord,’ this event is often referred to as D-Day.  The D actually stands for "day."  Typically, any important military invasion was dubbed D-1, and the days after were D+1, D+2, etc.

Read 
Make / Do
  • Research what paratroopers and soldiers did on Omaha Beach.  Choose a role, and write a journal entry about your D-Day experience.
  • Use this free cloth map activity to see where the troops are and figure out where your character should be stationed.
  • Study troop movements with this interactive map.
Watch
Define / Identify
  • casualty 
  • draft 
  • infamy 
  • liberation 
  • onslaught 
  • premeditated 
  • propaganda 
Think
  • What helped Operation Overlord to be successful? Why was Hitler not prepared?
  • How would you have kept up the morale of your troops after the devastating losses on the beaches of Normandy?

Check out all of our We Were There unit studies!

    Wednesday, May 15

    Midsummer Night's Dream & Celtic Mythology


    **Many thanks to our 15yo son, who created the Modern Mythology posts!**

    Many of the Celtic myths derive from superstitions and folklore. There is a lot of crossover between the mythologies like that of Arthur and that of the Romans and Norse. Both cultures had quite a bit of influence on the legends, as they both controlled the land for quit some time. This led to many of their customs and legends becoming similar. 

    One example is the fact that Lugh, an important god of Irish mythology, had a magic spear just as Odin had Gungnir, his spear. There is also a important figure named Dagda, who is shown to have a giant club and a skin draped over his shoulder, much like Heracles with his club and the skin of the Nemean Lion. 

    Unfortunately, there isn't much to write about the actual myths themselves. Most of the mythologies of places such as Wales and Scotland were lost with the coming of Christianity. The myths, which were retold through oral communication, were altered by the Christian faith.  Some were even lost to history!

    Read
    • A Midsummer Nights Dream - This book is a little easier to understand, and it appeals to a love of Legos!
      • The story takes place in Athens. Theseus, the Duke of Athens, is planning his marriage with Hippolyta, and as a result he is a planning a large festival. Egeus enters, followed by his daughter Hermia, her beloved Lysander, and her suitor Demetrius.  Add a few sprites and fairies, and trouble ensues!
      • Read the full book synopsis here.
    • King Arthur - This an abridged and easier-to-read edition of the classic story.
    Make / Do
    Watch
    Vocabulary
    • fairy
    • sprite
    • Arthur
    • Merlin
    • Excalibur
    • Gungnir
    • Lugh
    • Dagda
    • Heracles
    Think
    • How else do you think other mythologies have affected the evolution of Celtic myths?
    • Can you think of some books that have been influenced by Celtic myths?

    Tuesday, May 14

    How to Write a Business Letter (and Why!)

    As students become teens, it’s time for them to learn how to write a business letter. The goal of this writing is to articulate a concern and seek or suggest an action.

    Whether you've experienced troubles or enjoyed your stay, a business letter or follow-up to a phone call is a life skill that all teens should learn. These letters aren't just for expressing displeasure -- they're also a great opportunity to point out what's right with your product / service...although all too often, these letters aren't the ones that get written. 

    Business letters are used for the following situations :
    • To praise a product, service supplier, or staff person
    • To compliment a speaker
    • To compliment or praise an author
    • To praise someone for an achievement
    • To complain about poor product quality or poor service
    • To ask for political or social action or change
    • To write a letter of recommendation
    • To request information
    A few notes :
    • Letters may be written in block or indented form. See examples of both here.
    • Be professional.  A business letter should be on par with a resume; clean and precise.  It should also be fair and not abusive (if it is a letter of complaint).
    • Write clearly and to a point.  Use active writing and short paragraphs.  Keep it to a single page, if possible.
    • Single space your letter and leave a space between each paragraph. Use a plain font like Arial or Times New Roman.
    • Use underlining or bold print to emphasize a few words or a phrase that is the most important part of the letter.
    • Be persuasive.  Suggest a solution and provide sound reasoning for the suggestion.
    • Proofread your letter!!  I cannot stress this enough.


    ***************************************************************************
    Writing Assignment

    Use the sample letter below to practice writing a letter to one of these recipients :
    • City council member 
    • State legislator, representative, or governor 
    • Owner of a local business 
    • President or CEO of a corporation 
    • College or university admissions department 
    • Chamber of Commerce (to request brochures or travel information

    ***************************************************************************


    Sample Letter Format

    Contact Information (Your contact information. If you are writing on letterhead that includes your contact information, you do not need to include it at the start of the letter.)
    Your Name
    Your Address
    Your City, State, Zip Code
    Your Phone Number
    Your Email Address

    Date

    Contact Information (The person or company you are writing to)
    Name
    Title
    Company
    Address
    City, State, Zip Code

    Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name: (Use a formal salutation, not a first name, unless you know the person extremely well. Note that the person's name is always followed by a colon (:) in a business letter, and not a comma. If you do not know the recipient’s name, it is still common (and safe) to use the old-fashioned “To Whom It May Concern:”).

    The first paragraph of your letter should provide an introduction as to why you are writing so that your purpose is obvious from the very beginning.

    In the following paragraphs, provide more information and specific details about your request or the information you are providing.

    The last paragraph of your letter should reiterate the reason you are writing and thank the reader for reviewing your request. If appropriate, it should also politely ask for a written response or for the opportunity to arrange a meeting to further discuss your request.

    Sincerely / Thank you,   (Choose one.)

    Leave four lines for a Handwritten Signature (for a hard copy letter — use blue or black ink to sign the letter)

    Typed Signature

    Monday, May 13

    Ten Best Vintage Novel Series for Boys

    We live in a throw-away society that places a premium on all things new and shiny.  Toaster breaks?  Buy a new one.  Car not working right anymore?  Buy a new one.  New is supposed to be better.

    But I don’t think that’s true…..especially when it comes to literature.

    In 1944, C.S. Lewis stated, “There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books.”  He went on to say, “If a reader must read only the new or the old {books}, I would advise him to read the old.”

    Reading aloud with my children - regardless of their ages - is one of my greatest mom passions.  I began reading to them in utero and am still keeping it up...umpteen years later.  I know that they are going to choose the more modern books to read in their free time, so we often choose vintage literature to read together as a family.

    Why?
    • Vintage literature tends to be cleaner and teach good morals.
    • Vintage literature encourages children to dream, but also teaches them to help.
    • Vintage literature provides a unique ‘primary source’ perspective on historic events.
    When I discovered that Amazon carried Megapacks of these books, it was a Happy-Dance kind of day!!  These are such an amazing find, and here's why --
    • Each megapack has between eight and fifty (!) books in it.
    • They are priced from 59 cents to 1.99.  (That's for the whole pack, not per book.  A steal!)
    • They're accessible anywhere, and I can loan them out just like a regular book.

    G.A. Henty
    Henty's stories typically center on a youth who is about 15-16 years old at the start of the story and run for the next five or six years. The story shows the virtue of education, discipline, and hard work...plus a lot of luck. There is quite a bit of history tucked into the pages as well!  These are the well-loved stories that have been adapted into Heirloom Audiobooks.

    The G.A. Henty Megapack collects 20 classic adventure novels -- more than 4,500 pages! -- by the great Victorian author.

    Dave Dawson
    Robert Sidney Bowen, Jr. (1900– 1977) was a World War I aviator, newspaper journalist, magazine editor and author. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and died of cancer in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the age of 76. Bowen is best known for his boys’ series books written during World War II, the Dave Dawson War Adventure Series and the Red Randall Series. He also worked under the name R. Sidney Bowen and under the pseudonym James Robert Richard. 

    Included in this volume are 14 novels in the Dave Dawson War Adventure series.
    Tom Swift
    Tom Swift seems to have unfathomable resources to do pretty much anything he wants. He can build things, do things, go places, and have extraordinary adventures!  Similar to the Rover Boys, but set just a bit before them, these will appeal to fans of Hardy Boys adventures.

    The Tom Swift Megapack presents the first 25 volumes of the famous series in proper order, with original cover illustrations.
    Sherlock Holmes
    The stories in this collection are relatively new; they are also short and conventional.  All but a few follow the comfortable and familiar, tried-and-true formula of having Dr. Watson serve as narrator.  The combination of plot, character, and setting are as expected from a Sherlock Holmes mystery.

    This volume assembles a mammoth collection of modern Sherlock Holmes stories -- no less than 25 tales -- by modern masters.
    The Rover Boys were precursors to the Hardy Boys -- three brothers who solved mysteries and had adventures at boarding school, on vacation, and abroad. They were considered to be decent, honorable chaps, and never mean-spirited. They were fun-loving, red-blooded American lads who had numerous adventures involving cars, boats, motorcycles, trains, airplanes, guns and other fun things. Their adventures often took them to grand and exciting places.

    For fans of Indiana Jones and The Hardy Boys, this set contains all twenty volumes of the series.

    Tom Corbett, Space Cadet
    When these books were written, it was believed that Mars had artificially-built canals filled with water,that Venus contained life and could be colonized, and that the planets in our solar system could be readily reached in just a few days.  This collection features Tom Corbett, Space Cadet series, plus Rip Foster Rides the Gray Planet, by Blake Savage; Star Born, by Andre Norton; and The Secret of the Ninth Planet, by Donald A. Wollheim.

    This set has ten sci-fi novels - all except the very last book of the series, Robot Rocket.
    King Arthur
    Matters Arthurian have been a theme in literature since the Middle Ages. King Arthur, Excalibur, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Quest for the Holy Grail are now part of popular culture.
    These stories employ the Arthurian legends, ranging from early epic poems to 19th and 20th century novels and stories, showing how these myths and legends continue to enjoy new life.


    Fans of knights and kings will enjoy these 19 stories!
    Boy Detectives
    This collection includes several stand-alone novels (not part of a series) that feature mysteries with boy detectives.  The tales feature boy detectives, from Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer, Detective" to entries in the Mercer Boys, Ken Holt, Hal Keene, and Skippy Dare series, and lots more -- over 1,400 pages of great reading! 

    This collection features twelve stories.
    Aeroplane Boys
    Published between 1910 and 1913, the Aeroplane Boys series consisted of 8 books aimed at boys fascinated by the new technology of flight. It was written by H.L. Sayler under the pseudonym “Ashton Lamar” and focused on the adventures of a group of amateur flyers.

    The collection includes eight full-length novels.
    Dick Hamilton Boys' Adventure
    The Dick Hamilton series chronicles the adventures of a boy who struggles to keep the family fortune after his mother’s death. Fortune-seekers, a greedy uncle, and other perils await Dick around every corner.  Although not always politically correct by current standards, the stories are rollicking adventures. Fans of the original Hardy Boys, Rover Boys, Motor Boys, and other similar series will enjoy them.

    The set includes six books from the series.

    Though not available in an e-book megapack, one of our all-time favorite read aloud series with the boys is Tales of the R.A.F.  There are six books in the series by Don Patterson.  They are set during World War 2 in England, and follow the lives of a Royal Air Force squadron and young Harry Winslow.  These brave, adventure stories with good morals will delight you and your children!

    Friday, May 10

    Ten Best Vintage Novel Series for Girls

    We live in a throw-away society that places a premium on all things new and shiny.  Toaster breaks?  Buy a new one.  Car not working right anymore?  Buy a new one.  New is supposed to be better.

    But I don’t think that’s true…..especially when it comes to literature.

    In 1944, C.S. Lewis stated, “There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books.”  He went on to say, “If a reader must read only the new or the old {books}, I would advise him to read the old.”

    Reading aloud with my children - regardless of their ages - is one of my greatest mom passions.  I began reading to them in utero and am still keeping it up...umpteen years later.  I know that they are going to choose the more modern books to read in their free time, so we often choose vintage literature to read together as a family.

    Why?
    • Vintage literature tends to be cleaner and teach good morals.
    • Vintage literature encourages children to dream, but also teaches them to help.
    • Vintage literature provides a unique ‘primary source’ perspective on historic events.

    When I discovered that Amazon carried Megapacks of these books, it was a Happy-Dance kind of day!!  These are such an amazing find, and here's why --
    • Each megapack has between eight and fifty (!) books in it.
    • They are priced from 59 cents to 1.99.  (That's for the whole pack, not per book.  A steal!)
    • They're accessible anywhere, and I can loan them out just like a regular book.

    Five Little Peppers
    Margaret Sidney's wonderful tales of the Pepper family growing up together in the 'Little Brown House" have charmed readers of all ages for many decades. Under the loving care of the hard-working widow 'Mamsie' Pepper, the Five Little Peppers get into adventures and scrapes, but always benefit from being together as one happy family.  Between them they grow up, fall in love and eventually have children of their own - filling the Little Brown house with another generation of happiness and laughter.
    Includes all twelve 'Five Little Peppers' Books by Margaret Sidney - published in consecutive order.
    Frances Hodgson Burnett
    Being both British and American, she writes with a 19th century sensibility, a belief in the ability of hearts to heal and love to conquer. There is so much hope in her core. Her protagonists move from the natural selfishness of childhood to a broader view. Burnett writes vivid descriptions of poverty, ghettos, travel, hurt, chases, food, starvation, and human trancendance and cruelty.

    The Frances Hodgson Burnett Megapack collects 40 classic works by the author of "Little Lord Fauntleroy," "A Little Princess," and "The Secret Garden." Almost 5,000 pages of great reading!

    Eleanor H. Porter
    Other than Pollyanna, our first experience with Eleanor Porter's books was through The Good & the Beautiful's High School course, which begins with Just David.  It is such a beautiful story!  I find myself curious about living in Mrs Porter's world, a place where people care about others...

    Eleanor H. Porter was an American novelist. She wrote mainly children's literature, adventure stories and romance fiction. Porter's most famous novel is Pollyanna and its sequel Pollyanna Grows Up.  This set includes 14 books.
    Lucy Maud Montgomery
    Montgomery worked as a teacher in various Canadian island schools. Montgomery did not enjoy her teaching career; however, she was content because it afforded her time to write. Beginning in 1897, she began to have her short stories published in various magazines and newspapers. A prolific talent, Montgomery had over 100 stories published from 1897 to 1907 inclusive.

    This set contains twenty novels, including the complete Anne of Green Gables saga, plus the continuing stories of Emily and Rilla.
    Girl Detective Adventures
    This volume features 25 novels by some of the top writers of young adult mystery fiction from the 20th century. With more than 2,900 pages of classic crimes, here are the complete Mary Louis Gay series, the complete Madge Sterling series, the complete Penny Nichols series, and many more!

    If you are a fan of Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys, many of these stories were written by the same authors.  Many of the stories are set in the world pre-WW2.

    Carolyn Wells
    Carolyn Wells was an American author of mysteries, verse, humor, and children's books. In 1910 she decided to devote herself to mysteries and became an early master of the genre, creating two memorable sleuths: Pennington Wise and Fleming Stone. Earlier in her career, she penned two humorous stories featuring Sherlock Holmes and a plethora of other great detectives, both of which are included here.

    This set includes seventeen full-length mystery novels.
    Bobbsey Twins
    Meet Nan and Burt, and Freddie and Flossie -- two sets of twins in the Bobbsey family. Their adventures have thrilled generations of young readers. These stories that give us insight into the lives of people living in the US over 100 years ago.

    There are 72 books in the complete series, which wrapped up in 1979.  Another series, written in the '80s, has another 30 books.  This volume collects the first 15 original Bobbsey Twins books (published between 1904 and 1922).
    Wizard of Oz
    Whether you are new to the Land of Oz or a returning friend, this volume offers hours of reading pleasure. Collected in The Wizard of Oz Megapack are no less than 17 complete Oz books -- 15 by Oz creator Frank L. Baum, plus two bonus novels by Ruth Plumly Thompson continuing the series.

    These books encourage love and loyalty, truthfulness and kindness, consideration, bravery and good manners...all traits to be encouraged in young and old alike. They have strong female characters and vivid imagery.
    Louisa May Alcott
    Beginning with the classic Little Women, Little Men, and Jo's Boys, the Alcott collection goes on to introduce readers to lesser-known novels, plays, short stories, and even a set of letters from Alcott herself.

    The set contains 39 works from Alcott, including her classics.  This edition also comes with a linked Table of Contents for both the list of included books and their respective chapters. Navigation couldn't be easier
    Jean Webster
    Jean Webster (pseudonym for Alice Jane Chandler Webster) was an American writer and author of many books including Daddy-Long-Legs and Dear Enemy. Her best-known books feature lively and likeable young female protagonists who come of age intellectually, morally, and socially, but with enough humor, snappy dialogue, and gently biting social commentary to make her books palatable and enjoyable to contemporary readers.

    This edition contains 7 Works, including Daddy-Long-Legs, Much Ado about Peter, and Just Patty.

    Though not available in an e-book megapack, one of our all-time favorite read aloud series with the girls is The All-of-a-Kind Family.  There are six books in the series by Sydney Taylor.  They are set around the time of World War I in New York City, and follow the lives of five stair-step sisters and their parents in a modest tenement.  These heartwarming stories with good morals will delight you and your children!

    Access all of our FREE Novel Studies for both modern and vintage literature here.