Using Smilebox and Playmobil for Book Report Fun!

This is another one of those If I had been blogging when... posts.

I read to our daughter Apple Bough by Noel Steatfield and she decided to do a project using and Playmobil.

On Smilebox there are many templates that you can use for school projects. For this book "Little one" decided to do a newspaper for one and a photo collage for the other. She gathered the playmobil and made many different scenes of the book. This was a lot of fun.

After she did these projects she forwarded them to our teacher. 

Since this creative endeavour our daughter has made many other educational Smileboxes. They are a great way to do a project!

Our daughter has done many projects through the website Some of the tools that she has used are:

Character Trading Cards
These have been great to use with a character study of a main character in a novel or a biography. She has also used them to help clarify characters that are going to be part of a story. 

She has used the Postcard Maker.  She has used this several times to extend a novel or story by writing a Postcard from one character to another. 

Many times she has summarized the plot, setting, characters and theme with this story map.  It is straight forward and easy to use. 
She has used the Comic Strip Creator as well. It is simple and easy to use.
In some ways read.write.think is low tech. You can’t slide in pictures or links. You can only print off the materials or save them by the PDF format. However, the simplicity somehow ensures staying on task. It has been a great resource for our family over the years. 

Free Classic Ebooks sorted by Country/Continent

I have just posted a Classic Novel Free Ebook list sorted by Country or Continent on my Homeschool Launch page.
Many of these are also in an audiobook format through

Free Ebooks - Canadian List

I have just uploaded to my Homeschool Launch page a list of Canadian free ebooks.
There are some literature, poetry and non-fiction titles and they are in no particular order. I hope that these might help you. Please feel free to add to the list by commenting below.

Trading Day Co-op

Trading Day - Canada's Trading Partners
One of the topics I thought would be fun to cover as a co-op day was Canada's Trading Partners. We had a great trading day!
The resource I most used for this day was Canada and It's Trading Partners.
To start with I began by asking the children if they knew about trading terms. We discussed the meaning of imports, exports, trade deficits, trade surplus, trading partners, GNP, Free Trade and others. I then had the children get into two groups. One had a term and the other a definition. I mixed them all up and they had to find the child that matched them. 
I then handed out to each of the children two cards. One represented a country and the goods or services that country imported to Canada (these had a red border), the other was the goods or services Canada exported to that country (these had a black border). I got the information for the cards from Canada's Trading Partners.

Each child read aloud from their cards and placed their cards on a map that I had brought. I used this map so that they could also see the development of that country.
By the end, we had a map covered with many different countries around the world that Canada trades with.

The next thing we did was a string trade exercise which again I got from Canada's Trading Partners. I had a large ball of wool. Each child received a piece of paper with who they imported from and who they exported to. They then sent the string over to their trading partner holding on to their end. By the time all the children had read aloud their pieces of paper and passed on the wool, we had a web of trading partners. This was a great exercise to see the interdependence of countries and how much they rely on trade.
You can find the Import/Export Cards and the Terms and Definition Cards on my Homeschool Launch page.

Finally, we had a return of a Kidsboro trading day! (refer to this post: time, we again had a variety of goods and services, including a spa, a photography studio with dress up clothes, a bakery, a craft shop, a 2nd Hand shop, a candy shop, a bakery and so on. This was again a wonderful time for the children. This was an indoor event and so much fun. Many of the children had learned from our last Kidsboro event and had an even greater time with their goods and services!!

Co-op Fun - Ice Cream Party Election

Elections Co-op Day
I was wondering one day how we could study elections that would be fun and engaging for our Homeschool group. I decided that it would be fun to have an Ice Cream Party Election. We had three parties. The Chocolate Party, The Strawberry Party, and you guessed it... the Vanilla Party.
Before our Co-op day, I asked three of the youth if they would be willing to be party leaders. Other's volunteered to type up ballots, to make ballot boxes and to be there on the day with ice cream scoops in hand.
Here is how the day went:
I interacted with all the children about our levels of government, electoral process, political parties and current elected officials. I shared some statistics about how much money an election costs that really shocked them!
I gave each of the party leaders information about the nutritional value and benefits of their ice cream.

The children divided up into parties and made a poster to represent their party. I had run off some clip art for each party if they wanted to use some. As a group they presented their poster.
They appointed a spokesperson, and that person gave a speech about why other's should vote for their ice cream. They highlighted what they saw as the benefits of their ice cream.
We then voted. Each child was given a ballot and we had scrutineers who then tallied the ballots.
We announced the winner and everyone had ice cream. Neapolitan of course!
It was a great way to hold a mock election and I think that the kids had fun!


If I had been blogging when... Shakespeare for Grade 6

Last year we explored Shakespeare. I didn't want our grade 6 daughter to come to high school and have no prior knowledge of Shakespeare. My goal was just exposure, but I felt that we learned much from this unit! One bonus was Shakespeare is such a great way to learn about plot, theme and characters.

We read the plays from two sources:

Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit

We used these fabulous Notebooking pages Homeschool Share.

During our study we read the novel The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood. This really rounded out our study as we learned about the theatre of the time, of Shakespeare's life and about the history during his lifetime. This was an engaging book that had many twists and turns in the plot!

It amazed me just how much Shakespeare challenged our daughter's thinking about stories and how they are written. As we read Romeo and Juliet she assumed that this was going to be a "happily ever after" story. When it turned out to be a tragedy, she was shocked! She just couldn't believe that Shakespeare would write it that way!

We did watch a few of these videos:

This is an awesome resource for all things Shakespeare!


The Baldwin Project and Heritage History

We have enjoyed many titles over the years from Yesterdays Classics/ The Baldwin Project and are looking forward to using Heritage History.
The reasons I have really enjoyed investing in these books are:
The natural way that God is woven into the books
How the morality of the characters are very clearly presented
The depth of the stories
The fascinating facts about nature, history and people we have learned from reading these books
Both the Baldwin Project/Yesterdays Classics and Heritage History now have Ebooks available. The cost is very reasonable.
You still have the option to read the books on both these sites for free! The Baldwin Project even allows you to print the books without a charge!
Here are just a few of the titles we have enjoyed from The Baldwin Project.

Among the _______ people by Clara Dillingham Pierson ( these were wonderful to learn about animals in their habitats)

Fifty Famous Stories by James Baldwin (and his other Famous Stories titles-these were fascinating short biographies that we read more than once!)
Our Island Story by H.E. Marshall (our daughter loved the way this book was written)

The Burgess Bird Book by Thornton Burgess (and many other titles) Thornton Burgess is a master at weaving a story but teaching about animals at the same time.
The "Twins" series by Lucy Fitch Perkins (great stories about children from foreign lands)
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (wonderful, rich fairy tales but not for the faint of heart!)
The King of the Golden River by John Ruskin (a great story with a moral)
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb (we used these just last year for a study of Shakespeare)

Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by E B Nesbit (we enjoyed these interpretations as well)
Viking Tales by Jeannie Hall (this book was great for our study of Vikings)
Stories of Robin Hood told to Children by HE Marshall (two years ago we did a literature unit of Robin Hood using this book)

This year we are going to be using more titles from both of these sites as they have extensive collections for Egypt, Greece and Rome. We are looking forward to using them next year as well - they both have many titles that will be fabulous for our year in the Middle Ages.
I will keep you posted of our some favourites! Blessings!

If I had been blogging when.... Kidsboro

The far reaching learning for our daughter from the Kidsboro CD's that are part of Focus on the Family's Truth Chronicles for Children, has amazed me. The concept of Kidsboro was quickly embraced by our "little one" and many of her friends. They began planning Kidsboro events, inviting members, appointing them roles, and learning about business and local government in the process.

Last summer they had what they called 'Open Air'. It was an outdoor trading market that took place on our deck. The children each received an invitation with details on the market. When they came, the mayor who ran the market, gave them each play money that they could use to trade.
We had bakeries, candy shops, a stuffed animal zoo and rental service, a bow and arrow shop, several craft shops, a herb shop, a pet rock shop and on the list went.

There was much to be learned:
1.     Supply and demand was the first lesson for many shops. Some items were high in demand, and some were too high in supply and vice versa.
2.    The second lesson learned was value and price points. Some of the children had to lower their expectations of what their product was worth. Some learned that discounting was part of "moving their products".
3.    Marketing was another lesson, how they got others interested in their product. This was fascinating to me and very entertaining at times!

I thought that the market would last an hour or so, and the children would lose interest and want to go and play, but I was very wrong! They were still enjoying Kidsboro several hours later when their parents came and picked them up!
It was such a rewarding experience with very little work on my part. I just cleaned up from lunch and helped with some of the children's practical needs like tape, string, scissors etc.

Free Ebook List for Ancient History

I have just loaded a Free Ebooks for Ancient History list on my Homeschool Launch Page. Blessings!

Canadian History Booklist by Topic

Hi All,
I have uploaded the Canadian History Booklist by Topic to my Homeschool Launch page. Thanks to all of you who have gave suggestions to add.

If I had been blogging when.... Window on the World

I wanted to do a few posts from time to time called "If I had been blogging when...." In this post I wanted to tell you how we used the book Window on the World by Daphne Spraggett and Jill Johnstone. Each time we read about a country or people group in Window on the World our daughter looked at the prayer and praise items, chose ones that she wanted to focus on and copied them on a 3x5 card. She then attached the card to the wall and connected it to our world map by string. By the end of the year our wall was covered with countries we had read about and prayed for. This was a wonderful way to learn geography, study countries and pray for them. Sorry the picture is a little fuzzy, hopefully you get the idea. Blessings!

Free Ebooks List for Study of 1600-1815 - The Revolutions

The Boston Tea Party

I have added a Free Ebooks list for your study of 
 1600-1815 - The Revolutions 
to my Homeschool Launch Page. 

Free Ebook List for Study of the Middle Ages

I have just uploaded a list of free e-books for you to use in your study of the Middle Ages.

Impromptu Science

"Little One" as we affectionately our youngest daughter loves science experiments. This one she decided to do on her own after seeing something similar in a store. She was comparing regular nail polish to Piggy Paint. The regular nail polish are the blue and a glow in the dark and the Piggy Paint is white. A picture is worth 1000 words. Science experiments like this have such application. It made me want to go out and buy Piggy Paint for myself!!

God King

We have begun reading God King by Joanne Williamson as part of our Ancient History studies. I have many books on our shelves from Bethlehem Books, and I have yet to read one that I haven't found engaging and informative. God King has been one of those books that our daughter has consistently begged for more chapters. It is set in the time of King Hezekiah.

If you are interested in taking a look at Bethlehem Books many titles, here is the link

Planning For the Fall

I love planning!! I love to plan my work, and work my plan. I love seeing a plan come together. I love working out the intimate details of a plan. To begin planning, I have learned to do three things.
1. Consult God - pray and ask for guidance
2. Consult my husband
3. Map out the big picture before getting down to the details - what are some of the life changing things we want to accomplish this year
On the whole we tend to follow what I plan, yes we change it and adjust it (tossing aside a book here, adding one there) but all in all we follow it pretty closely.
For years now I try my best to plan three terms of 10 weeks each. I plan us ending our term around the time we need to hand in a portfolio.We begin a little earlier in the summer to facilitate this, and then we end a little earlier as well.We take a nice long break at Christmas time and a few weeks break in the spring for Convention and rest.
When my daughter was younger I always planned for what I wanted us to accomplish in a week like this
but now that she is a bit older I now have chosen to plan 4 days per week so that she can complete and check off what is done each day. This year I am using IStudiezPro on my Ipad:
In the past I have used many systems including Homeschool Tracker Basic , a notebook, a teacher planning book, a Microsoft Word table, Calendar Programs and the list goes on and on.
As you plan your year, find out the system that supports you and your family. Place it where you can refer to it daily or weekly. Know the direction you are headed.
And trust in God's Word "In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths" Proverbs 3:6

It's Time to Begin

For so long I have been a blog lurker, it is time to be a participator. It is time to share our home education journey. I am looking forward to sharing some of our experiences with you. I look forward to sharing resources with you. I hope to do some reviews of homeschool treasures we have used in the past and ones we are using now. Beyond that, God will lead. It is my prayer this blog will be a blessing to those who come and spend some time.
Thanks for reading,

Canadian Government Lapbook

I have uploaded a Canadian Government Lapbook. This is a lapbook that will help you in your study of Canadian Government. There are a total of 9 pages of lapbook pieces, a cover page and an overview page. I hope that this will be a blessing to you. You can check out the link below.
Blessings, Natalie