6 month (26 weeks) baby schedule/summary- Baby #5

Oh my goodness! Baby 5 is getting sooo big. The days are so much fun with him in them, we are all just in awe of his sweetness.  The boy only cries if he really has a complaint, and even then it isn’t much. He like to be in the middle of everything and has started a little signing (for “milk”). At 5 months he was over 99% on length and 88 or so on weight. He is going to be tall like his daddy.

Right now, at 27 Weeks, Sir is eating solids for 3 meals. First he nurses, then takes a bottle of supplemented formula/pumped milk, then he downs almost 2 cartons of Stage 2 baby food!  He is a big eater, to say the least. Im not making his baby food right now, I just don’t have the time. The most I do is grind oats for adding to his purees. But he doesn’t like solids from our plates yet, only purees.  He gets sooo excited to eat, but put a solid in his mouth and he isn’t a happy camper. haha

He is napping after 2 hours of wake time.

Right now his 3.5hour routine looks like this:

  • 730am- nurse, bottle, solids
  • play time with siblings in the floor/watch mama work out
  • 930- nap
  • 11am- nurse, bottle, solids
  • play time with siblings, sibling read books to him, play in floor
  • 1pm-nap
  • 230pm-nurse, bottle
  • outside play time- biggest sister pushes in stroller outside, play on picknick planet, parent wears for walk in woods
  • 430pm- nap
  • 530- up, nurse
  • 6ish solids, family time (especially loves hanging with daddy), bath some nights
  • 700pm-nurse, bottle, in bed by 73opm

Sir’s play time consists of all the things above, including time with me, being read to, laying on my bed while I get ready, being toted by siblings, etc. haha. He get SO excited when big sister puts on his coat to go walk outside. He loves being outdoors, in true Wright Baby fashion.

Developmentally, he is trying to talk. He will move his mouth while watching yours, as you talk. We practice “mama” a lot, but he isn’t quite there yet ? He has just started reaching for things, like his toy ball. Tummy time, belly surfing, and spinning around are so much fun right now. For about 3 weeks he started practicing rolling in his sleep, and wouldn’t roll over from his belly to back, but would just cry instead. So one of us would go in and flip him over …

But now he has started flipping over and sleeping happily on his belly. Yay! He LOVES bathtime and really gets excited to play in the water.

He is such a sweetie; we could not ask for a happier baby. He’s been such a blessing to our family.

—————-

In the next month or 2 I expect his naps will get super messy (ie- fighting the cat nap before bed, not being able to nail down a good wake time length for the other naps, thus getting over tired), and we will take the leap to a 2-3-4 schedule. This is when baby takes a nap 2 hours after Morning Waketime, then 3 hours after that nap he takes a 2nd nap, then 4 hours after he wakes from nap, he goes to bed. This is the last nap change before dropping to 1 nap around a year old.

baby #5 has definitely been different than my others.  His naps have been a dream *knock on wood* and he is a higher sleep needs baby- meaning he needs longer naps plus his solid 12 hours at night, than typical. So he may hang out at our current routine longer than my others. By 7 months I think most of my others were on a 2-3-4 schedule ( which is definitely easier than chasing the infant optimal wake time length!).

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Easy Homeschool “Beauty” Resources

Maybe you’ve heard it before, “homeschooling isn’t school at home.”

It isn’t crisis schooling, or virtual school. Homeschooling goes beyond “school time.” Homeschool is where we can explore art, history, music, handicrafts, Shakespeare, astronomy, and creation without limits. These (and other) subjects are often what we call the “beauty” subjects.

Homeschool is about keeping the love of learning, that fire of curiosity God gave us at birth, lit. Homeschool mamas (and dads, too) want to educate our children well, but do it in such a way that encourages our children to be life long learners.

We have an abundance of resources at our fingertips to help add a little excitement and beauty to our homeschool.

Pic Source – CC0 Licence

What’s In The Mail Today?

My children are obsessed with getting mail. One set of grandparents sends postcards from all of their travel locations, and the kids send and receive letters to all their grandparents. How exciting! If you dont live near town, there are lots of places that sell stamps besides the post office . You can set up a writing station (my kids use a giant boot show box) with envelopes, stamps, pens and paper. Let them write to their little heart’s content. We still have a lot of practice to get writing friendly letters down, but the 9 year old has it down just about perfectly.

of course it is also a perfect way to connect with those we love.

 

Listen To That Music

 We know music is excellent for brain development so adding it into our days has been important to our family.  It can also be great to create a calming environment for children (and mom) to work, so this could be something to think about.
However, if you do have instruments in the house, then you may want to include these in your plans. After all, it’s always more fun to use our bodies, rather than just work with paper.

Something like a keyboard and an app is simple and fun. Piano Maestro is one of our favorites; my kids have learned so much by using it just 1-2 times a week. We subscribe to Practice Monkeys for violin and will soon start piano.

Some of our Favorites

Resources such as Read Aloud Revival Premium Membership, You Are an Artist!, and Audible can all be great additions to homeschool.

Encouraging a love for learning can be as simple or as involved as we want. How you educate your children is up to you. And it is beautiful!

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Free Mother’s Day Devotional from Hachette Book Group

I *love* working with Hachette Book Group, and here they are again with freebies for moms-

Send the mamas in your life a little encouragement for all that they do and all that they are.

Authors Denae Jones and Jennifer Gerelds will send a 6-day e-devotional directly to her, just fill out the form found at the link below!
You can even add a personal note AND select devos specifically for her stage of motherhood, from pregnancy to grandparenting and every stage in between.

https://bit.ly/MothersDay2020Devotional

Happy Mother’s Day!

Free Devotional Everyday Grace for Moms EDevo

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Crisis Schooling at Home Simplified

Today parents all over the world find themselves crisis schooling their children- This is much different than homeschooling. Even homeschooling families that always homeschooled are crisis schooling, because homeschooling like normal has been brought to a halt. There are no field trips, group hikes, zoo trips, play dates, nature walks with friends, or in person homeschool co-op classes happening.

Most of the schooling new families find themselves doing is indoors, or on the back porch, with cramped spaces, with what they perceive as not enough supplies. But I promise, you can do it, and with limited resources.

————

Attempting to educate multiple kids at once isn’t always easy. It’s hard to maintain one child’s focus, let alone several who aren’t used to being taught at home by their parents, or virtually by teachers.

Here are five useful hacks that will take your homeschool to the next level:

Crisis Schooling Simplified

Turn The Garage Into An Open-Air Classroom

Even as a homeschool family that homesteads and spends a lot of hours at home, we all get stir crazy if we are stuck inside. Thankfully, a homeschool classroom is flexible because it doesn’t need to be in a specified place. As you know, the kitchen or living room are fantastic alternatives. We do our “table work” at the kitchen table because it tends to be windy in Kansas for outside paper work, but we do a LOT of other learning out of doors- nature study, reading aloud, reading independently, playing, and just moving our bodies are all done outside.

Even better, you can add a summery element by turning the garage into an open-air classroom. All you have to do is set up the lessons as usual and open the garage door. With the sunshine and cool breeze flowing through, you’ll find that the kids are far more responsive. Homeschooling homeowners love this idea so much that lots of them invest in barndominiums and make the switch permanent.

We have a friend that has an entire separate “rec” building on their property that is a pole barn style. The open space, full kitchen, and lovely porch make for the perfect school house. I would *love* to do this one day! Making a school shack out of the shed, building a new small multi-purpose building, or just schooling on the garage floor all make for great switch-ups.

Anybody who doesn’t have a garage can use the backyard, trampoline, or play house out back. Laying a rug or quilt on the floor adds an extra element to the learning environment. Rather than centering the lessons around the dinner table, you can sit on the floor and mix up the activities. Get creative!

Make Individual Schedules

Each of my school aged children have a weekly schedule hanging on the school cabinet- this has a list of daily work, plus work to be done independently (or with me) on certain days. It keeps us on task, helps us clearly see what needs to be done, and simplifies life for everyone!

Use a simple piece of lined paper to make out the daily work list and hang where ever your family does the most learning.

Utilize Wall Space

Lots of studies show that many young children are visual and tactile learners. Of course, most of us don’t have an electronic whiteboard or smart board, so it’s not as if we can create PowerPoints to teach from (not to mention, this is NOT necessary for learning). More to the point, a boost in screen time isn’t healthy.

So, what’s the alternative? Well, there’s always wall space! Throwing paint on the walls isn’t always ideal, but using chalkboard paint isn’t a bad idea. We have a small chalk board wall in the kitchen.

However, there is a way to let them learn visually without changing the walls- create a writing wall. A sheet of MDF wood works perfectly, and it’s thin enough to hide behind a cabinet. Another option is to use IdealPaint and Krylon products for dry erase surfaces- you can easily paint a sheet of wood from a hardware store. Again, this sheet can be used and then slid behind a cabinet or couch against the wall, when not in use.

I enjoy using a dry erase board for writing out Bible verses we are memorizing, spelling rules we are learning, and other things we need handy and in our face (vocabulary words, phonics rules, and grammar rules are some other ideas).

Spruce It Up

I *love* decorating my house, organizing, and making small changes. Simply adding an art piece (think an original from Etsy), a family photo collage, or new curtains always make me feel fresh and renewed in my home.

When it comes to home or crisis schooling, organizing and creating an inviting space is important. The easier it is to do the work, and the more inviting it is, the more likely we are to stick with it. Adding old maps, wooden frames, or vintage light switch plates to a space can make it fun and enchanting.Check out Etsy for inspiration!


Making homeschooling less complicated for everybody shouldn’t be a grind. Hopefully, these tips will make the process a lot smoother!

Stay Connected To Family & Friends During Lockdown

5 Ways To Stay Connected As A Family During Social Distancing And Lockdown

Image Credit: Pexels, Free to Use Licence. 

 

COVID-19, social distancing measures and lockdown have put restrictions on families and friends, stopping them from visiting one another and gathering in close groups. For elderly relatives, or those living alone, this can be a very isolating time, so it is important for families to come together and to stay connected-somehow. If you’re missing your family gatherings and have relatives who are confined to their homes alone, then here are 5 ways you can stay connected safely. 

Write to everyone 

There’s something very special about receiving a handwritten letter in the mail. We just got letters and “specials” from some friends that we are used to seeing often. The kids were so excited to each receive their own mail and of course, they felt connected to the family that sent them.

Why not have an arts and crafts day and create some beautiful cards to send to your loved ones. Let the little ones go wild with dot paints, crayons and water color pencils. If you want to add an extra special touch then you could even use an embossing folder to create a 3D effect.

The lovingly created designs will brighten anyone’s day.

Host a family quiz

Who doesn’t love a quiz? Get your family together online through a platform such as Zoom or Skype and host your own weekly family quiz.

Name your teams, answer the questions, have a laugh and enjoy each other’s virtual company. To keep the questions varied and to ensure that no one person has to always put in the work, let the winner of the quiz choose someone to host it the following week. If you really want to go all out, get all the different families that will join on Zoom the same game (we love Trivial Pursuit) and play together virtually.

Have a cook-along

Missing Granny’s pot roast? Then have a cook along and recreate her dish using her recipe. Circulate a list of ingredients that everyone needs to get ahead of time and then arrange a time and day to come together via a video link. Whoever is leading the cook-along is in charge of this cooking show, so simply follow their lead and in no time everyone should be eating a perfect replica of the family favorite. You could even set the table and sit down altogether from behind your screen to enjoy it.  

Video chat 

Although a cook-along or quiz may be fun, sometimes all you need is a good, long video chat. Set up your video link, get comfortable with a cup of tea or coffee, and simply catch up on the activities you have been doing and how you are all feeling. Isolation and lockdown can be very trying on our mental health, so offer a sympathetic ear to those in need and have a laugh to make you all feel better. Be there for those that get especially down during isolation, or who have fears during this time.

Throw a Netflix party

Finally, if you’re looking for a way to relax together while staying apart then throw a Netflix Party.

Netflix Party allows you to synchronize the playing of your favorite shows and also has a built-in group chat so you can discuss the plot and keep the conversation flowing. What’s more, Netflix Party is completely free to use for Netflix members and with more than a million shows to choose from, you won’t be running out of things to watch any time soon. 

 

Surviving social distancing as a close-knit family may be hard, but together we’ll get through it, and be stronger, more appreciative, and have better habits when it is all done!

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Perfect Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

I have scavenged the internet and cookbooks alike for a perfect gluten free sourdough bread loaf.

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread

Needless to say, it wasn’t easy … and NO ONE seemed to have what I was looking for. Lots of recipes called for added yeast, no sourdough starter at all, lots of different flours, gums, and additives. There were many that used gluten free flours that I don’t keep on hand, or recipes that weren’t for a bread loaf.

But alas, I have done it! After at least a year of messing with recipes, I’ve mixed, matched, and played with it until we finally have a perfect gluten free bread loaf recipe!

For best results, use a gluten free starter like this one, and an all purpose gluten free baking mix

You will need to start feeding your starter the day before you plan to bake bread. For example, if I want to make bread on Wednesday, I will feed my starter on Tuesday, and make the dough that night. It will ferment overnight, and then I will do the short second rise Wednesday morning, then bake.

If you want to make it for an evening meal, just do the fermentation during the day, short second rise, then bake.

**Tip- I feed my starter and put it in the oven, with the light on, to keep it warm. I keep our house pretty cool, so it would take a while for it to really ferment on my counter.

Don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe! The steps are short and I promise they are simple- much easier than it looks at first. After you make this the first time, you will have no problem making it again and again!

Perfect Gluten Free Sourdough Bread Recipe

See Detailed Nutrition Info on

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free sourdough starter FED
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 TB melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 TB honey
  • 2.5 cups all purpose gluten free flour mix/baking mix
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, eggs, butter, milk, and honey.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined
  4. Then beat the mixture on medium/high for 3 minutes
  5. With damp fingers or wet spatula, smooth the surface of the dough flat.
  6. Spray the top with oil/Pam (we use coconut oil Pam)
  7. Cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap, and let ferment for at least 4 hours, up to over night (I do overnight)
  8. Oil a 9x5 loaf pan, sprinkle with flour, and with a damp spatula pour the dough into the pan. It will be less of a dough and more like a pancake batter consistency.
  9. Smooth out the top of the bread and, spray the top with Pam again, cover loosely and let rise for about an hour, up to 90 minutes. It should reach the top of the pan.
  10. Preheat oven to 400degrees
  11. Remove plastic wrap and place pan in the oven- turn down temperature to 350 degrees, and bake about 50-55 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting.
  12. I tried removing the bread at 40 and 45 minutes but it was not done all the way. I took it out at 50 minutes and let it cool. It was just about done. Another minute or 2 and it would have been perfect.
  13. The middle of the bread should be 200 degrees if you have a meat thermometer handy.

 

When you are done using the 1 cup of starter, you can feed your “mother” starter, and place it back in the fridge to live happily until the next baking day. I often go ahead and feed mine again for sourdough pancakes, while I have it out.

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

How to Make Easy Kombucha at Home {DIY fermented foods}

Here are the simple instruction for how we make kombucha at home- our whole family enjoys kombucha, especially the kids. It is so fun in summer when it gets a really wild, fizzy taste from the warm, humid air.

Easy DIY Kombucha at Home

I keep our kombucha in a 2 gallon crock like this one. You can find a SCOBY here.

One-Quart Batch:

  • 1½ teaspoon loose tea or 2 tea bags
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2-3 cups water
  • ½ cup starter tea or vinegar

Half-Gallon Batch:

  • 1 tablespoon loose tea or 4 tea bags
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 1 cup starter tea or vinegar

Gallon Batch (I double this for the 2 gallon croc):

  • 2 tablespoons loose tea or 8 tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 13-14 cups water
  • 2 cups starter tea or vinegar
  1. Make the sweet tea by boiling the water, adding sugar, and steeping tea according to instructions; allow to cool completely (hot tea will kill the SCOBY)
  2. Add tea, SCOBY, and starter to the croc/jar and let ferment for 5-7 days.

The more kombucha you make with your SCOBY, the better the flavor will become. Older SCOBYs produce a much more flavorful batch than baby SCOBYs.

What I Use

I like to use a combo of oolong and black tea. You can really use any kind of caffeinated tea. I also like using tea from  Strand Tea. My friend who introduced me to kombucha started me using their teas, and I still use them.

Any kind of white sugar will do for making the tea sweet; because the SCOBY eats it, you don’t need to worry about drinking sugary tea. =)

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

2019/2020 Homeschool Year- 3rd grade

Instead of posting everything we are doing in one very overwhelming post, I thought I would break it down by grade level this year. I am late … I know. I’ve been in a deep first trimester exhaustion of random naps and no motivation beyond sleeping and eating. We’ve been sick with one stomach bug after another, and of course with 6 people in the house, it takes forever to get over 1 thing just in time for another to hit! (But I’ve stepped up my elderberry syrup and vitamin C game for the family, so hopefully the rest of the winter won’t be so bad).

And I’m feeling better now, that I’m closer to second trimester! Woo Hoo!

This year, my 9 year old is doing 3rd grade, for all intents and purposes.

Math- CLE Grade 3 math. We like this math so far because it is clean, simple, straight forward, and has students becoming more independent at an early age. I am involved in their lessons, but they aren’t dependent on me for learning 100%. I like this because one of our goals as homeschoolers is to create intrinsically motivated, self taught students who love to read and learn as they grow.

Grammar/Writing/Language Arts- This area is a little more gray. We are using The Good and the Beautiful, and also Easy Grammar (which we have reviewed before). For my 3rd grader, this is working out very well. I would like something that is a little more consolidated so I am not using 2 different programs (we don’t use the reading and spelling in TGTB). I’ve ordered BJU English which includes writing, grammar, and mechanics all in one book. I found it used for super cheap, just so I can look through it. We will see how it is, and may give it a try. Other than using 2 different programs, I *really* like TGTB and also Easy Grammar. Both bring a lot of their own qualities, and most importantly, my daughter enjoys both and does well with them.

Reading and Spelling- This is still All About Reading, and All About Spelling. We don’t really use AAR very often … she just doesn’t need it as much as spelling. I have started implementing he reading aloud to us from our History Core, so I can hear her reading, and help with any difficult words. She is a very fast reader, which is great when you’re studying or looking for key words in notes, or need specific info. But I want her to slow down and enjoy what she is reading, read with inflection, and wait for the good parts. haha  When she reads on her own, it is fast and for the purpose of finding out what happens … which is also great; however reading aloud is so beneficial and she is willing to do it with joy!

Homeschool 2019/202 3rd grade

All About Spelling is what we are working through with her brother, still. They just do it together since he is naturally a great speller, it is easy for them to do it together (and takes some pressure off of me to get one more thing done in the day).

Science– Oh dear science, how we love you. We have really slacked in science since last year, short of nature exploration. So it is my intention this winter to take this season of cold weather, and do a *LOT* more science. We will utilize Apologia’s Creation series because frankly, it is just so good. We love listening to the text on audio, and the activity book that goes along is also great. We have reviewed Astronomy and Anatomy, and really love both. I can’t wait to try their Botany and zoology series.

History/Bible/Read Alouds- This is Sonlight Core C for us, this year. We are finishing up our second year of world history, and will move on to American history next year. I am not entirely sure if we will use Sonlight Core D for American History. I *think* we will, but I also want to look around and see if there is anything else we may want to use for AMerican history years.

Other Stuff- We are using Wordly Wise for vocabulary. I do like to pull words from our read alouds for the kids to learn, but this is something they all really enjoy, can do on their own, and helps develop more than just vocabulary skills. These books are simple, yet awesome.

We get to use lots of other fun stuff throughout the year, like Lit Wits, STEM activities, and foreign languages. We have co op and of course all our handicrafts and arts we enjoy freely.

This homeschool year I definitely feel more organized, and like we have stayed on top of things better so far. Last year was full of concussions, flu, puppies, baby goats, and travels. We got behind and did math through August! NOT FUN; I didn’t enjoy it at all. I DO like doing school year round, because we want to … not because we have to, if that makes sense.

So this school year we do math every single day, whether we are sick or not, or we double up if we miss. Any independent or workbook pages are divided into week in folders, like every year. We put that work each week on their clipboard. Some weeks we do 2 weeks worth of work when things are going really smoothly, to account for any sick days we may have.

Baby #5 should be here in June, so I want us to have plenty of time to enjoy the spring weather, play in the pool, and be homeschool work free! Life is going to change a lot with a newborn, so it will be important for the kids to have a solid routine, without me having the stress of “we must finish.”

What are you using for homeschool this year?

 

Sonlight Curriculum All About Reading Botany Apologia Astronomy

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Homeschool Unit Study Lesson Plans {a review}

LitWits LogoLitWits takes the hassle out of literary unit studies- everything you need for a unit study based on your favorite literature can be found in on click. We have been using LitWts for review and love them! These are also going to be perfect for summer and holiday projects when we read aloud a book, and need something hands on to go along with it. Y’all- LitWits have met all my needs! Like so many homeschool mamas, I *love* literature based learning and literary units-this was my favorite thing to do in college while getting my education degree. This. Is. My. Jam.

But the thought of collecting all the Pinterest and blogger ideas, supplies, and foods, coming up with writing projects, combining them into a unit study myself, and trying to implement it all is just not happening right now. But now LitWits has done it for me!

And not only have they done it for me, but it is organized, beautiful, and more than just a black and white printable file with instructions.

It has everything, it beautiful full color.

LitWits covers

What Are LitWits Kits?

LitWits Kits are literary workshops for kids! Each kit is a 30-40 page PDF full of projects, activities, ideas for discussion, and handouts. Each section is professionally organized so you aren’t scrambling back through the file looking for what you need. Everything is so well organized for you- At the end of the unit, you will find Learning Links, About the Author, Story Supplements, Beyond the Book, and entire Audiovisual Collection section featuring pictures that help bring the book to life, and Great Quotes from the book.

But these aren’t your typical PDFs-when you go to your account with your purchased kits, click on the one you want to access. The kit will have a big, beautiful header with section titles:

LitWits- Anne of Green gables- complete literary unit studies

Of all the many LitWits Kits available, we chose: Anne of Green Gables, Island of the Blue Dolphins (I looooved this book as a child), The Secret Garden, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to start off with. We have already read all of these books together, except for Island of the Blue Dolphins. (I cannot wait to read this in one of our homeschool cores coming up!) It will be such fun to go back and review using the LitWit Kits. The activities in The Secret Garden kit will definitely appeal to my green-thumb kiddos, Island of the Blue Dolphins with studying the stars, rocks, and cave art is going to be a favorite of my boy, and how can you go wrong with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and green glasses, tornadoes in a jar, and the wonderful topics in the handouts.

As a mama and teacher, I appreciate that the creators of LitWits know how children learn and understand their multifaceted learning needs, especially when it comes to hands on:

 … we always try to focus on two important categories: props that are unique to the setting, because they help kids understand “what that was like,” and props that are symbolic of themes, because they make big ideas visual and tangible.

In our Anne of Green Gables kit we enjoyed making our own slate pencils, using carpenter’s pencils and fun crafting supplies.

LitWits- Anne of Green gables- complete literary unit studies

LitWits- Anne of Green gables- complete literary unit studies

Collecting suggested props for the overall bookwas easy- a scrap of fabric, old books, an antique reader, flowers (though we didn’t have the right kind, we pretended), and poetry books.

LitWits- Anne of Green gables- complete literary unit studies

Of the hands-on fun, we chose to do the scene charades instead of acting out the optional scenarios. This was cute!

 

LitWits has narrowed down for us the many study topics to choose from in the Takeaways section-

… But such abundance can also sound pretty overwhelming! We’ve narrowed the focus to three bite-sized (but rich) areas, and based most of our activities and prop choices around these three “takeaway topics.”

This takes so much pressure and frustration out of putting together a unit study- thank you LitWits!

I really like that the handouts cover so many topics in depth.

“People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven’t you?”

We learned about storylines, using context clues to deduct the meaning of an old fashioned word, and characterization. What’s even more great is all the answer keys for the handouts are included after their blanks page, so it is easy and concise to find answers when you need them. Also, this can help mama when she needs her creativity jogged for helping with different literary elements. There were activities that involved creative writing, and a simple character essay; there is a great focus on rich vocabulary as well. I love how simple LitWits made writing an essay- this can be expanded upon for older/advanced writers, or kept simple for those just learning.

When it comes to resources we will use in our homeschool, LitWits is definitely at the top of my list! We will continue using these for our favorite books.

 

Read more reviews from the Crew by clicking the banner below:

LitWits-Homeschool-Reviews-2019

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Horses in History with Mattie Richardson {a review}

Y’all know when there is a chance to review a book in our home, we jump on the chance. =) We have been reading the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books. Formerly known as North Dakota’s Teen Author, Mattie has written a series of books your children and family will love!

Appaloosy Books by Mattie Richardson

Each book centers around the story of a horse (or horses) from history-of course as a mom and homeschooler, this greatly appeals to me! My history buff daughter, 9, also loved the historical aspect of the books, and how the stories were told from the horse’s perspective. Mattie has written books full of love, adventure, integrity, and strength. All characteristics we want for our children. I hold my book standards pretty high; we don’t need ugly words and harsh language to get a point across, and these books definitely held up to my standards.


The first portion of each book begins with a dedication, which sometimes offers some insight to the author’s inspiration for writing the book. Dusty’s Trail, told from the view point of a horse on the Pony Express, begins with an article about the Pony Express, first published in 1860. Next, the reader will find a section of Words and Terms You Should Know. This section is in each of the books, with a small variation. In Day and Night, Mattie has made Civil War-era Words and Terms Used in this Book section. Golden Sunrise offers a Spanish Words Used in this Book section. So each book has a great intro to the topic through a helpful guide in the beginning; my daughter often referred back to this while reading, as did I. Appaloosy gives us the Nez Perce Words and Their Meanings as a helpful glossary to better understand as we read.

Appaloosy Series

The books are nicely bound, with a colorful paperback cover. Day and Night comes in at the thickest with 148 pages, Appaloosy with 125 pages,  Golden Sunrise with 98 pages, and Dusty’s Trail at 66 pages (plus a few un-numbered informational pages). Some books have a few illustrations throughout, the text is appropriate for early readers (not too small), and the pages are a smooth, high quality, crisp white.

Appaloosy is about a horse who wants nothing more than to be wild and free, until he finds the love of a girl named Faith. But when he is stolen and escapes captivity, Storm must decide if he wants his freedom or to go back to Faith on her family’s farm. My 9 year old says:

Faith gives her locket necklace to take Storm home from the man who had him. She was only the 2nd person he let ride him, of all the people that had owned or ridden him. I like his decision and the way the book ended.

Golden Sunrise tells the story of Cheyenne and Jared- “Jared is a man who wants to marry Olivia; they’ve been courting for about a year. But then he has to go off to war to fight for Texas’s freedom. He rides Cheyenne throughout the war, and they are buddies. Cheyenne becomes friends with Davy Crockett, which was really funny. I won’t tell you the end, but it is sweet.”

Golden Sunrise

Day and Night was my daughter’s favorite of all the books. “This book is about 2 horses, Shiloh and Tucker, they take turns having a chapter, so it can be confusing if you don’t pay attention. Tucker is the older horse and Shiloh is the younger sibling horse. Shiloh is lighter in color and smaller; he is gentle and gets very attached to people he likes. Tucker is older and brown. Neither of them wanted to fight in the war but Shiloh was stolen by a girl in the Confederacy, and Tucker got sold to the US army. You will have to read and see what they go through and if they find each other again.”

We also enjoyed using Mattie’s Enrichment Guide for Day and Night, along with the answer key. It includes: vocabulary, history, comprehension, creating your own stories, further reading, and even more! These include activities, coloring, developing character attributes for a story, biographies, geography, and the list goes on! This is definitely worth the small purchase price, and something you can integrate into your homeschool for a large range of ages.

 

Dusty’s Trail is about a boy, Levi who runs away with his horse, Dusty, to join the Pony Express. “When someone starts stealing the horses and killing their riders, Levi and Dusty push through more runs  (I think 3?) until they find someone they can tell. Eventually Levi gets captured, Dusty gets separated from him … and you have to read the rest (haha).”

Dusty's Trail

As you can see, the books were greatly enjoyed by my oldest daughter. They will be wonderful reads for my horse loving 5 year old. These books will be best understood by those 8 and up, but I think they can be read aloud to just about any age.

Mattie Richardson is clearly a talented young lady, she has more books coming out, that I know we will be reading! We have enjoyed the Horses in History Series immensely. There are countless way to use it as part of a homeschool curriculum, and they are wholesome books.

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

error: Content is protected !!