Archive for February, 2015

In Freedom’s Cause Review


It’s that time of year, for us anyway, when it’s nice to take a little break from our regular curriculum and change things up a bit.  We have been using an online history program this year and Hailey was starting to get a little bit tired of it.  So, when I was given the chance to review In Freedom’s Cause Single Package  from Heirloom Audio Productions I thought it would be a nice break from our regular curriculum.

Sometimes history can get a little bit dry and boring, but the goal of Heirloom Audio Productions is to bring real history to life.  As they researched and prepared to make this production, they actually traveled to Scotland and walked where the main characters of this story had once walked.  So you know they are serious about making the story exciting!

In Freedom's Cause Audio CD Review
We received In Freedom’s Cause on CD- there were two CDs, with over 2 hours of entertainment to cover the entire story.  The story is about William Wallace and Robert Bruce and how they fought to try to gain Scotland’s freedom.  Scotland was suffering due to cruelty of their English leader.  Even though it seemed impossible, William Wallace took a stand and struggled to gain freedom and inspired many others.  Even though he would not live to see Scotland gain freedom he was the inspiration for Robert the Bruce, who later defeated the English.

This audio CD is more than just a reading of the story- it is like you are listening to a movie.  There are all sorts of sound effects and great music.  There are some pretty big name stars among the cast including Joanne Froggatt (from Downtown Abbey), Billy Boyd (from Lord of the Rings), Skandar Keynes (from Chronicles of Narnia), James Cosmo (from Braveheart), plus more.

We also received the In Freedom’s Cause Study Guide (Digital Download) to go along with the CD.  There is a set of questions to go along with each track on the CD.  In each set of questions there are three parts- a Listening Well section, Thinking Further questions, and a Defining Words section.  The Listening Well section is basically questions that you will find the answers to by listening to the story.  The Thinking Further section is just what it sounds like- it makes you think about what you heard by asking deeper questions.  Lastly the Defining Words section goes over new words that your child heard in the story.

In addition we received In Freedom’s Cause Soundtrack (MP3 download) which has all of the original music, and the Printable copy of the Prayer of William Wallace. (digital download)

So, how did we use this?  We took a break from our regular history curriculum and listened to part of the CD each day for history.  After we listened to part of the CD we would stop and go over the questions in the study guide.  Hailey enjoyed listening to the story and there were even parts that made her laugh.  She decided it would be fun to talk like the characters and she developed an accent after listening each day :-).  She did enjoy the story but also said that sometimes she was a little confused about who was talking.  We used the study guide for the beginning tracks but found that most of it was too difficult for Hailey (age 8, in 3rd grade). Although it is recommended for ages 6 and up, I think the study guide would be more for a middle school aged child.  I think it would have been nice to have included an answer key with the study guide because there were a couple of questions where I was unsure of the answer.

Overall, it was a good story.  I would recommend listening to it all at once, rather than a little at a time as we did.  When we listen to it again we will do it in the car on a trip.  I think it would be easier to follow along listening to it all at one time. I would recommend it for older children- probably middle school and up. It would be a fun addition to your history curriculum and Heirloom Audio Productions definitely knows how to bring history to life.

In Freedom's Cause Review
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The Snowy Day


One of my favorite winter books is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and we recently had a lot of fun doing a unit to go along with the book.  Hunter loved the book too, and asked to read it every day.


Here are the activities we did to go along with book:


After we read the book, Hunter made his own snowy day scene.


We mixed up some shaving cream and glue (equal parts) to make some puffy paint and then he added it to his scene.


Hunter’s snowy day scene


In the book, Peter sees the older boys having a snowball fight.  It has been super cold where we live, so Hailey and Hunter had an indoor snowball fight using socks.


We also brought some snow inside.  Hunter used a stick to make lines in the snow just like Peter did.


We kept the snow inside to see what would happen to it.  It melted, just like the snow in Peter’s pocket did.


Then we made some delicious snowflakes.  We cut tortilla shells to look like snowflakes.  Then I fried them in butter and put cinnamon and sugar on them.


They tasted so good that Hailey and Hunter requested to make them again when Rich came home from work.


Hunter did this paper from Homeschool Creations about which clothes he would wear during winter and summer.


We made this really cool fake snow- you mix shaving cream and baking soda together.  I added the shaving cream first and then I stirred in the baking soda until it looked like snow.  It was really neat- it could be molded like real snow and it even felt cold.  (If it happens to get spilled all over your dining room floor- it does not vacuum up easily.  You will end up having to scrub your hardwood floor to get it off.  But, it will smell very nice.  Don’t ask me how I know.)


Hunter had a great time playing with it.  When he was all done using it, we poured some vinegar in it to watch the snow erupt.

We had such a fun time doing this unit!!

100 Day Celebration



Today was our 100th day of school! I can’t believe we are more than half way through this school year. I wish time would stop going by so fast.


When Hailey and Hunter came out to the dining room this morning they found some 100 day decorations.


All ready for our 100th day!


This was on the first day of school back in September.  I can’t believe how much they have changed since then… it seems like so long ago, but such a short time ago.

Anyway… on to some of the fun things we did today.


I gave Hailey 100 cups and told her she had to build something using all 100 cups.


Here is what she came up with- pretty cool! She really enjoyed this activity and asked if she could do it again after school.


I gave Hailey and Hunter a 100 that I cut out and told them to make a picture using the numbers.


Hailey got to work making her picture.


Hunter said he wanted to make a car, so I helped him put it together and he colored it.


Hailey made her picture so that it was a mask if you hold it one way…


…and a dress if you turn it over.


We made a 100 day snack- we took 10 different snacks and counted out 10 pieces of each kind of snack to total 100 pieces.


I saw this cute idea on Around the Kampfire.  Hailey made what she thinks she will look like when she is 100 and then wrote a paragraph about what she will be like when she is 100.


This is also from Around the Kampfire.  Hailey wrote about something she has been told 100 times and drew a picture to go with it.  She wrote about how I told her she could do a pullover on the bar at gymnastics.  She has been working on getting her pullover since September and she finally did it last week- we are so proud of her!

It was a fun day!  I still can’t believe how fast this year is going by.

Third Grade Update



Wondering what we’ve doing in third grade lately?  Here’s a little look:

Language Arts:


We are still using Daily 6-Trait Writing.  Hailey is working on organizing thoughts, and how to group similar ideas and details together.



I ordered the next Old Testament Overview from Grapevine because Hailey has enjoyed it so much.  We are now working on Part 2- Joseph to the Promised Land.



We use Daily Geography Practice.  It is supposed to be done every day, but we only do it once a week and get everything done in one day because it’s pretty simple.  It’s been great for learning how to read maps, but we definitely need to add some more.



Hailey learned in health how nutrients travel through your body.  We used red water and a celery stick to show how nutrients can travel.


The leaves turned all red even though they were never in the water.



Hailey has been learning about the scientific method, why science is important, and why we do experiments.  I’m using this Intro to Science Unit.


Hailey has been practicing using the scientific method by doing some experiments.  In this experiment she put 4 different colored M&Ms into a bowl of lukewarm water.

Then we observed:




It’s nice to do some fun, simple experiments while learning the scientific method!

So, there is a little look at just a few of the things Hailey has been working on.  I need to remember to take more pictures of what Hailey is working on so I can do third grade posts more often.

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