Friday, October 28

Books to Celebrate Thanksgiving


As part of our continuing series on Celebrating the Holidays through Literature, this month we are bringing you a collection of Thanksgiving stories to share with your children!  Download the entire holiday bundle of book lists for free.  Can't get enough of the holidays?  Incorporate the Bricks Through the Year and History of Our Holidays bundles into your homeschool year, too!


And of course, what Thanksgiving would be complete without watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, complete with The Mayflower Voyagers!

Happy Thanksgiving!

PS - Did you know we have a new Teachers Pay Teachers store?  
All of our products are still in the Cottage Shoppe, but we know that some of you want alternative payment methods.  Hop over and visit us...hit the little green star to follow...and download your free Gnome-themed Autumn Recipe Book!

Monday, October 24

To Kill a Mockingbird & Systemic Racism

Set in the 1930s, To Kill a Mockingbird is the story of a fictional white lawyer, Atticus Finch, who represents a falsely accused black man, Tom Robinson.  Told through the eyes of Atticus’ daughter, Scout, the book introduces readers to race relations and justice in the south.  Atticus defends Tom, and at one point stands up to an angry mob looking to lynch him...

Though our story is set during the Great Depression, America remains a deeply divided place in many ways even today.  Many Americans, of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, live in neighborhoods that are homogenous.  This often limits the opportunity to learn from, interact with, and befriend people who are racially and ethnically different.

Racism can take many forms.
  • Institutional racism is racism that seeps into society, including rules, laws, and guiding principles that inherently favor one race over another.
  • Structural racism is the way that all of these different components create an environment where outcomes will automatically favor one race of people because of the unfair disadvantages laid upon the other races.
  • Internalized racism is the racism that is within a person’s mind.  It shapes the way that they think and view others.
  • Interpersonal racism is the racism that one person can inflict on another in a personal interaction based on their prejudices.
  • Individual racism is the racism that a person feels and the way that racism influences how they treat others.
All forms of discrimination are harmful, but it is important to examine institutional and structural discrimination more closely, as they are often overlooked.  Systemic racism is not a single law or rule, but instead is the racism that is embedded in society.

Discrimination takes many forms.  The United States has made progress in eliminating some of the institutional, legalized racial discrimination of years past, such as slavery, Jim Crow laws, “separate but equal” facilities, and prohibitions on voting or owning land.  These hard-fought victories deserve to be remembered and celebrated, yet these advances are incomplete as data on social and economic welfare show disparities among races.

Categorization of our fellow human beings - whether by race, gender, religion, or some other defining characteristic - is a social construct, without which certain groups cannot be oppressed.  Each one of us, both professionally and personally, must decide what action we are going to take to address disparities.  Doing so will require grace, humility, and a growing sense of responsibility.  We cannot, however, overcome racism with racism, or discrimination with alternate forms of discrimination, without merely perpetuating these same wrongs.

**Parental Warning: Swearing and derogatory racial slurs occur throughout the book. One of the characters is on trial for rape.**


Our spine read for this unit is To Kill a Mockingbird



Get the entire unit in the World History Bundle!

Includes ten unit studies (plus a bonus!) covering World History. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning from Ancient Hawaii to modern-day. There is also a study of archaeological concepts. Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.
  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.
These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!

Product samples:   Motel of the Mysteries & Encounter

Includes:
  • Motel of the Mysteries
  • Island Boy
  • Encounter
  • The Odyssey
  • A Loyal Foe
  • Indigo Girl
  • Gold Rush Girl
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Number the Stars
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • House of the Seven Gables (bonus)

Tuesday, October 18

Gold Rush Girl & the Gold Rush

January 24, 1848, James Marshall discovers gold in California, kicking off the California Gold Rush – an event that not only helped define California, but the entire nation... 

Marshall discovered gold while working at a mill owned by John Sutter.  Sutter’s Mill was a water-powered sawmill in a sleepy little area in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Less than two weeks after he found a few flakes of gold in the South Fork American River, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in Mexico City, ending the Mexican-American War. Shortly after the discovery, a local merchant, traveled to San Francisco to spread the news that gold had been found on the American River....and the Gold Rush had begun! 

Once news began to spread, miners flocked to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. These “Forty-niners” were mostly unmarried men who came from all over the United States and around the world to strike it rich quickly. At the beginning of the Gold Rush, there were no laws about property rights.  People ‘staked claims’ on property and relied on an honor system. During this era, there was a lot of violence and most people lived very poorly.  

Mining was extremely difficult work, and it was the merchants who tended to enjoy the most success in finding fortune. Although tens of billions of dollars of gold was recovered, that wealth only went to a few. Most of the miners who came seeking fortune earned little more than they had started with…or lost. That first flake of gold was shipped to President James Polk, and is now on display at the National Museum of American History in the Smithsonian Institute.

With the flood of newcomers, new cities and towns sprung up all throughout the area. The new stores, theaters, and saloons found success in the business from miners. Stockton, Sacramento, and San Francisco are all towns that boomed during the Gold Rush.  Not only this area, but all of California experienced this kind of growth at the time -- it went from a state of less than 20,000 people in 1845 to a state of 200,000 by the end of the 1850s.  Most newcomers came from across the United States, as well as China, Australia, and Mexico. This mass immigration, plus the money the gold brought in, changed the region profoundly.  In 1850, California became a US state.


Our spine read for this unit is Gold Rush Girl (Avi)

Get the entire unit in the World History Bundle!

Includes ten unit studies (plus a bonus!) covering World History. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning from Ancient Hawaii to modern-day. There is also a study of archaeological concepts. Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.
  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.
These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!

Product samples:   Motel of the Mysteries & Encounter

Includes:
  • Motel of the Mysteries
  • Island Boy
  • Encounter
  • The Odyssey
  • A Loyal Foe
  • Indigo Girl
  • Gold Rush Girl
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Number the Stars
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • House of the Seven Gables (bonus)

Monday, October 17

Homestead Education for Upper Grades

Are you following us over at Instagram? If so, you'll know that we had a chance to check out the new Homestead Science curriculum from Homemade Revelation before it dropped (I know, we were so lucky!!), and I cannot say enough good things about it. Here's what we had to say the first week...

🌿🍁Ok, but for real...I am LOVING this new curriculum from @homestead_education !!!

Peek through the photos and you'll see that it is multi-modal and incorporates all the subjects!! My son is using it this year, but mom is learning alongside him as well. There's always something new to learn in the #homesteadlife...

Now that we've really had a chance to utilize it, I want to break it down and let you see inside so that you can decide if this is a good fit for your family. Similar to many curricula, the course has daily reading and vocabulary, additional research projects, hands on projects both short and long term, and applied mathematics. Being an introductory course, there are some topics that are covered more in depth than others. The author says there will be future curriculums covering additional topics more in depth, but you could easily use only this course and reap a great deal of knowledge!

Middle / High School Learners

Created for upper grades learners, Introduction to Homestead Science contains 18 interactive units that teach agriculture science, life skills, applied mathematics, and character lessons.  Each of those units includes eight lessons, spanning two weeks, for a total of thirty-six weeks.  Each lesson has accompanying workbook activities and projects.  The curriculum also includes tests, quizzes, and six homestead projects (no acreage required).

Units include:
  • Building & Land
  • Tractors & Small Engines
  • Poultry
  • Companion & Predator Animals
  • Dairy & Fiber Animals
  • Meat Animals
  • Compost & Soil
  • Insects, Bees, & Bugs
  • Gardens
  • Orchards & Vineyards
  • Grains & Forage Crops
  • Food Preservation
  • Home Cooking
  • Off-Grid Life
  • Hunting, Fishing, & Trapping
  • Foraging & Herbs
  • First-Aid
  • Homestead Accounting
Homestead Science is available in both digital and print versions. Both versions come with an answer key for busy parents to utilize, too!

Homestead science focuses on real life skills that can be used in practical applications. This also includes some trial and error along with insightful questions on how to improve the projects.
Some projects include:
- Electric fence to keep slugs out of raised beds
- Hot compost
- Drip irrigation
- Calculating feed rations and costs
- Herbal salves
- Capturing sourdough
- Planning home cooked meals
- Water purification
- Wilderness navigation
- Homestead accounting
- Real life research projects
- Opportunity for advancement in quality of character
- and many more!


Peek inside the Homestead Science curriculum!


This is just one of the pages from the table of contents, showing how in depth this course really goes!  The textbook component uses a combination of visual aids and well-researched text for instruction, and the student pages provide a place to check that knowledge.



After each lesson, there is a vocabulary check to ensure students understand what is being discussed.  I prefer to have my students do the vocabulary section of the journal BEFORE reading the lesson so they will be primed to pay attention to certain words and will already have a basic understanding of the meaning.  Each lesson also has 'life skills' aspects, such as this piece on assessing and responding to emergencies.


Within the course are several hands-on projects...some in the kitchen, some in the garden, and some around the homestead.  This gives students a chance to apply what they are learning in a real-world scenario!  Don't have a large parcel of acreage?  No worries.  These projects don't require a lot of space, and there are suggestions for things to do if you are in an apartment or otherwise unable to utilize any land at all.  The cooking projects are both practical and tasty, and (if you're like me) you'll enjoy turning the kitchen over to your teens for a bit...


The student journal also has space for applying information in a real-world scenario, such as running and agricultural business.  Students are asked to do more research, create theoretical (or real, if you have the space and inclination) entrepreneurships, and figure out how to make them work.  These 'life applications' are something I love most about this course!

Elementary Learners

Little Learner's Homestead Science is an excellent curriculum for elementary aged students. It's an interactive homeschool curriculum that will introduce your child to small scale farming.  While it tends to be light on the reading, it has lots of activities, visuals, and gives a full understanding of all the parts of a homestead, including where food comes from, which allows them to take ownership in providing food for the family whether that’s understanding what they are choosing at the grocery store, helping you tend to the garden, or gathering eggs from your chickens.

Little Learners is available in both digital and print versions.  There is also an accompanying 2 foot x 3 foot wall poster to help your student visualize what is being learned.

For families who just want to dip their toe into the homesteading world, or like the idea of using farm materials to teach, The Homestead Alphabet associates farming facts with the alphabet using coloring pages and a variety of homestead activities. This is a great preschool through 2nd grade curriculum.  It can be used independently, without any other pieces, but it should be noted that if you are planning on using the Little Learner's Build Your Own Homestead, the Homestead Alphabet is already part of it so there is no need to get both.  

The Homestead Alphabet is available in both digital and print versions.

Finally, for families who just want some read-alouds or short readers, there is the the reader box set.

This boxset of Homestead Education Stories contains wholesome children’s books about homesteading and teaches positive character traits.  The set has nine homestead story books at a discount price and includes the audiobooks, too!

The stories are clean, represent traditional families, and are secular. If you opt for the full curriculum, Little Learner’s Homestead Science, you get copies of these stories in that.
  • Wade’s Treehouse
  • Quailetta’s Giant Egg
  • County Fair
  • Thomas the Tomato
  • My Favorite Squash Plant
  • Weekend at Grammy’s
  • Famous Whole Wheat Flour
  • Daddy’s Tractor
  • Grandpa’s Fishing Knife

Freebies

If you just need a little piece here and there, snag one of the free printables available on the site.  These may seem like little things, but having this information on hand makes a busy homesteader's life a lot easier!  


Homeschool Helpers

Whether you're tackling the Little Learners or the full Homestead Science, these Homestead Student Planner Pages will help you keep track of lessons as well as teach older students record keeping and problem solving.  These planner pages and journals are your documentation that while you got the kids away from a desk and into more hands on learning, they were still meeting state requirements.  Included are suggestions for how to use the planner.



Interested in learning more about Homesteading?  You're going to LOVE our Word of the Year for 2023!!  πŸ˜‰

Sunday, October 16

Learning Classical Music through Cartoons

Do you remember Saturday morning cartoons when we were kids?  Even now, it's not unheard of for me to grab my coffee and curl up in front of some vintage cartoons with the kids on the weekends...

Back in the 1930s, classical music was used in the earliest cartoons, introducing children to this musical genre at a very early age.  These earliest cartoons and their successor, the Looney Toons generation, have fallen out of favor in recent years for (what I would deem) more crass cartoons, but there is still a place for them.  More children than you probably imagine still watch these, many alongside their parents, even today, continuing that legacy of teaching character, morals, and even classical music.

Why classical music?

Cartoons began before the age of 'talkies,' moving pictures that also had audio.  These earliest cartoons had no dialogue, and the audio ran completely separately from the visual components.  If you've ever seen a cartoon, though, or even a scary movie, you know that the audio track is important in setting the stage, building anticipation, and helping the audience to understand the mood of what they are seeing.

The easiest music to access for these earliest cartoons was classical.  Many were well-known tunes at the time, and as the years passed, classical music became an integral part of the cartoon business.  Disney, Tom and Jerry, and Looney Toons were some of the biggest names in this business, and I'm sure you've seen at least one or two of their pieces...or maybe the vintage Fantasia, narrated by a full symphony orchestra.

Classical Music through Cartoons 

At Music In Your Homeschool, we stumbled upon this cute and fun course that worked out perfectly for an all-family study!  To be honest, I haven't included a lot of music education in our homeschool, beyond the History of Rock and Roll.  Sure, we've gone to see The Nutcracker a few times, and even spent a semester taking guitar lessons online, but classical music / band / symphony just isn't in our wheelhouse.  However...Saturday morning cartoons are!

The course includes thirty-seven separate composer studies, each with music to listen to -- by cartoon! The cartoons range from the very vintage (1931) to the very modern (computer-generated graphics), and each lesson contains movement activities to get the kids off the couch and moving their bodies to the music.  Included in the course are printables, such as the Study-a-Composer printable pack and Dynamics flashcards. There is also a two-question quiz at the end of each lesson.

How We Used the Course

We completed this course over a month-long period, doing one or two lessons each day (and five or six on the incredibly rainy weekend days) with students ranging from seven to eighteen...and though the older ones pretend to act like they are too cool for school, they really enjoyed it, too!  Mom read the informational text, then we did some listening to composers, learned about the musical instruments and dynamics (some of which the olders had also learned from Little Einsteins), did some exercises together, and then curled up with our popcorn together to snuggle in for cartoon watching...and we call it school!  (Don't you just love homeschooling?)

To flesh it out a bit for the older kids, we added in some composer notebooking pages and the Composers Activity Pak, while the younger kids did some free-interpretation drawings about the music itself and listened to the activity pak lessons.

Try it out for yourself with a free lesson --> J. Strauss Jr. and "Tales from the Vienna Woods

Peek inside the course!
  
  


Here are a few of their other freebies:

Some of the other courses that piqued our interest:

If you're in a state that requires a year of music & fine arts, these high school courses fit the bill!

And if you're just looking for something to print and go:

Interested in giving it a go?  Check out the free samples above, and then use code 2022MUSIC to get 15% off any course!  (memberships excluded)










Saturday, October 15

Enjoy the Season with Thanksgiving & Autumn Studies

We're all about the #HolidayHomeschool fun!  Why not incorporate the seasons into your homeschool?  You'll be excited, your kids will be excited, and it mixes things up a bit.  Here are our two favorite family-style units that we've used and loved for autumn.  These include most core subjects, hands-on projects, character work, and a lot of family togetherness!

A Gentle Thanksgiving

**November 1st through the 7th, save 25% on this unit, no code needed.**

These morning time plans, scripture journal, and activities will make your gentle learning a delight for this season of gratitude and reflection.  A Gentle Thanksgiving brings your whole family together for a delightful study of thanksgiving and worship for the month of November!  There are 24 days of lessons, activities, and Scripture journaling to focus hearts and hands on service, gratitude, and praise.  Some days are shorter, and some are longer, so you can work around your schedule.  These are designed to be done family style.

I love the way that the Gentle series is set up because we can do them family-style, and that's become a rarity these days with everyone in 9th grade or above.  We did many family-style studies through the elementary and into the middle school years, but once the kids hit high school, they began to go their separate ways with academics.  A Gentle Thanksgiving (and the Gentle Advent units) give us a chance to reconvene and learn together again.  At Christmas time, we typically take a few days completely off of school and utilize the studies for a full week of fun, but with A Gentle Thanksgiving, we are doing one lesson each day in our morning time.  Some days take a bit longer than others, and I've shuffled those longer lessons around into days that are less crowded with appointments, dual enrollment classes, and whatnot, but each lesson has been relaxed, engaging, and a nice throw-back to those days of family learning.  I'm thankful for getting to revisit them before another graduates, leaving only one at home next year!

A Gentle Thanksgiving includes:
  • history
  • nature study
  • read alouds (with a recommended reading list)
  • hand-crafts
  • baking
  • poetry tea time
  • life skills
  • music & hymns
  • art study
  • artist study
  • composer study
  • copywork

Take a peek inside A Gentle Thanksgiving!!




Planning ahead for the #HolidayHomeschool season?




Autumn

This Charlotte Mason style unit study is designed for the entire family to use together.  You'll choose your read aloud (and can snag it from the library), and the unit has everything else you'll need (excepting art supplies and baking stuff).  This is a great family project as it has a wide range of activities offered that covers all grade levels.

Autumn includes:

  • Schedule 
  • Memory Work 
  • Recommended Books 
  • Artist Study 
  • Hymn/Folk Song 
  • Composer Study 
  • Copywork 
  • Poetry 
  • Geography 
  • Tea Times 
  • Nature Study 
  • Shakespeare 
  • Handicraft 
  • Art Lesson 
  • Mother Culture 
  • Brush Drawing 

Take a peek inside the Autumn unit!



If these look a little similar to you, you're not wrong!!  A Gentle Thanksgiving is hosted by the Homeschool Garden, which recently sold most of its stock to Awaken to Delight.  I've heard from some readers that links are not working to access units, such as the ones below, but they will soon be available again at the new site.  

Also...it's definitely worth the wait.  These are amazing units -- check out the reviews to peek inside them.  I've had a chance to check out the revised units at the new host, and they don't lose any of the good stuff....they've just added even more handcrafts, projects, and fun stuff!