Friday, April 29, 2011

Civil War Tribute

Occasionally we go downtown just to wander. The weather was too gorgeous today to stay inside so we wandered.

First stop was the Arkansas Statehouse, which is the oldest standing state capital west of the Mississippi.

Inside are some neat exhibits, of paricular interest is one showcasing Civil War veterans and memoriabilia. The exhibit opened today.

Tomorrow (Saturday 9am-7pm) there is a flurry of Civil War activity planned. We'll probably wander on back.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Comm. Central Review #3 Crossword

Comm Central Review 3

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Scholastic Warehouse Sale

There's another Scholastic Warehouse Sale in Maumelle! Click here to sign up for coupons.

Scholastic Book Fairs Warehouse
700 Burkhalter Commercial Drive
Suite 1
Maumelle, AR 72113
(888) 412-9123
Thu., 05/05/2011 - Wed., 05/18/2011
Weekdays (May 5-18): 11 a.m.-7 p.m.Saturdays (May 7 & 14): 8 a.m.-3 p.m.Closed Sundays

Animated Shakespeare!

YouTube has a number of tales of Shakespeare animated by the BBC--and Hamlet is one of them, as well as a number of our research topics this week. Check 'em out! We just watched Macbeth.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Important note #2: Video

For the love. I was incorrect this morning: The video that talks about Shakespeare impregnating Anne Hathaway is the text-and-photos only video. I do apologize for those of you who have suffered because of my mistake. Please forgive!

Important note: Video

In the :52 video above, there is one mention about Shakespeare "impregnating" Anne Hathaway at 18. I wanted to make this clear in the event you hadn't watched it so you wouldn't be fielding unwanted questions...

I remembered this when I was trying to get to sleep last night, so I apologize for the late notice!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Shakespeare for kids

Our history fact could be put to "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands:"

In fifteen ninety-nine
William Shakespeare
an Elizabethan playwright
performed his political
and social plays
at the Globe
Theater in Lo-on-don. had this :52 video on Shakespeare. Here's a text-and-photos-only biography. This video explores the Globe, his theater.

This site is basically Shakespeare for kids, even with coloring and puzzle pages, and this site also has Shakespeare for kids. Here's another site with links, powerpoints, games, and stuff for teachers.

There are some wonderful free audio links, printables, teaching suggestions (including Charlotte Mason) and other resources on this site--the must-click for this week--though they are more about his plays (i.e. Hamlet!) than his life. Links include a trip to the Virtual Globe and a site with a free printable poster of Shakespearean quotes. If you get through all of the stuff on this site within a month, you are a greater woman than I.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Don't toss your eggs!

Idea: KEEP YOUR EASTER EGGS. They're great for matching games: you can write a word in permanent marker on one half and a part of speech on the other, then have your child match up the eggs (to make it trickier, don't let the halves match in color). Or, put a math fact on the top and the answer on the bottom.

Alternatively, hide clues, instructions, or parts of a poem in them (ahem, Hamlet) to have your child put in order. Maybe you would hide writing prompts in them, and your child selects one from the basket. Maybe you'd put physical activities on slips of paper inside, and instruct your child to select five eggs--five physical activities. Or, hide the names of countries on the eggs, and they need to find the countries on your globe or map. For end-of-year review, hide memory work clues ("Elizabeth I"; "volcanoes") inside the eggs, and your child selects an egg and recites the fact.

The possibilities are many! It may even be worth picking up some eggs on the event that you can stand seeing them after this weekend's sugar high.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Twenty Things...Shakespeare

Twenty Interesting Things about Shakespeare
Some of these facts are not appropriate to tell our children but many of them will make Shakespeare even more fun to the kids - especially the list of phrases attributed to him. (Take heed; you might inadvertently start a round of "knock knock" jokes.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Arkansas Strawberries!

'Tis the season! STRAWBERRIES are here!  Make sure to grab some this weekend at the farmers market.  Or make a quick run to Cabot to Holland Bottom Farm.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Shakespeare - funny? Yes!

I just LOVE that the Bard's birthday and poetry month are all tying in so nicely to our studies. I received this article link today from and it seemed quite appropriate so I wanted to share.  I'll be reading the young reader's Usborne version of Romeo & Juliet with Baker next week and I can hardly wait. We saw "Gnomeo & Juliet" and he loved it. It's quite cute and I'm sure he's going to love "connecting all of these dots" of past to present. Truthfully, I'm enjoying it as well and learning so very much.
(FYI, I don't agree with hurling insults at anyone but the truth is that we all get frustrated sometimes and humor is a fantastic way to diffuse some of that. I can already hear the giggles that would happen over here.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pith not Pitch

My son is prone to arguing. I'm not sure where he got that most unsavory character trait.  :)

Today he told me that I was teaching him the Hamlet lines incorrectly.  I checked and rechecked the Comm. Central notebook.  Then I emailed Kristi.

He was right.  I had to apologize.

This week's line should read:

And enterprises of great pith and moment

Jolly Good Printable and Activity Site

This is just too fun to keep to myself! Since we are hitting the Elizabethan Age and the Victorian Age is coming up, I looked across the pond for a treasure trove of great color sheets, activities and much more Activity Village is easy to navigate and chock full of free stuff. Of course, there is a great deal of Royal Wedding fun as well. What a great way to connect the past with current events - part of the point of a classical education. Have fun! (I think I may be doing some of the Royal Wedding stuff myself. Shhh, don't tell.)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Songs for this week

Our science fact can still be sung to the fact of "Yankee Doodle" as we continue memorizing the planets.

I'll be putting our history fact to "The Wheels on the Bus:"
In 1558, Elizabeth the First
became the Queen of England
now called Elizabethan En-gland, a
rich and powerful era
famous for its writers and composers.

This next one's a bit of a stretch. I'm just gonna come out and admit it. But in the event that you or one of your kids is like me and a song just makes it you go. To "Mary Had a Little Lamb:"

Let the word of Christ dwell in
you richly
as you teach
and ad-mon-ish one a-no-ther
with all wi-is-dom
(repeat tune)
and as you sing psalms, hymns, and
spir-i-tual songs with gra-ti-tude
i-in yo-ur hearts to God.
Co-lossians 3:16!

Elizabeth I

This trailer for Elizabeth: The Golden Age would probably be very interesting to our kids--amazing costuming and a mention of Sir Walter Raleigh and the Spanish Armada. It's brief, but dramatic, so I would recommend watching it first just to make sure it wouldn't be scary for your children. It doesn't give a lot of information, but gives a striking visual picture of all they've talked about.

This is the extended version of the trailer (5:22), which offers even more of the whole story and thus makes it very memorable, but even more so--do watch this to see if it's appropriate for your particular children and movie-watching standards. There is a man pointing a gun at Elizabeth, as well as the implication of Mary Queen of Scots' beheading around 2:30 (sound effect included) and of a man being hanged around 4:00.

This is an...interesting music video (with a side of overstimulation) on Elizabeth I designed by history teachers to make it fun. also had this video on Elizabeth I. This page was designed to offer fun facts for kids, and this five-page pdf is a brief unit study with activity pages and interesting graphics.

Here's a British video on the Spanish Armada.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jacksonville Swim Lessons for Homeschoolers

The Jacksonville Community Center will be offering home school swim lessons.

Dates:  April 25 - May 18th on Monday and Wednesdays from 1 - 1:30

All levels.

Cost $40 and $32 for each additional within the family household (that live under the same roof)

Registration forms and payment must be completed at the Jacksonville Community Center.

Please register soon, so they have an idea of how many to expect.

If you have any questions you can email or call Crecy Ragan:: 7ragans AT att DOT net

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Keyboarding Practice Kristi gave us this link at the beginning of the school year for our children to practice their keyboarding skills. I can highly recommend using it- We really like it a lot!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gratitude journals--and more

This link was almost pastoral to me: a wonderful blog post on helping raise grateful children. As a bonus, studies are showing that children involved in some of these gratitude exercises not only showed improved outlook and attitudes, but even better school performance. Take a look!

Comm. Central Review #2

Here's another review crossword constructed from this year's memory work at I've put the word bank on here; if that makes it too easy, you might get out your permanent marker. :)

Art project: Eric Carle-style art

I've always been fascinated by Eric Carle's techniques in books like The Hungry Caterpillar and Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? So we tried a version of this technique last week. My kids are still a little young for their art to look as cool as these student examples, but it was fun to try. I also tried making pictures, as he did, by cutting shapes out of photos in magazines. Maybe I'll have the kids try that this week.

Songs for this week

This week's verse may be sung to the tune of "Oh, Be Careful Little Eyes What You See":

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called
to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
Oh, Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts!

Our history fact could be sung to "Did You Ever See a Lassie?"

In  1584
Sir Walter Raleigh
who began
an English co-lo-ny
a-at Roanoke
in North America
which failed in 1590
was also a raider who attacked and stole
treasure from Spanish ships. (Note: to sing this line, repeat the tune of the last line.)

Our house will sing the science fact to "Yankee Doodle," as well!

Since we've already done some postings about the solar system here and here, as well as links here and coloring pages here, I likely won't post any additional links.

Sir Walter Raleigh

Here's a five-minute video on Sir Walter Raleigh and the lost colony of Roanoke, and another more British video. also has this 4:17 video on The Lost Colony of Roanoke.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review crossword

Here's a crossword I created at that reviews just a handful of facts from this last semester's memory work. I hope to do one each week for him until the end of the school year...yeah, we'll see how realistic that is.

Comm central review 1

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More Proof of Comm. Central

My neighbor had this picture in their garage. The husband jokingly asked John Isaac about the artist. When answering correctly it was Michaelangelo, the guy about had a cardiac arrest. In jest, he continued by asking about the name (because he didn't know) and John Isaac surprised him even more by telling him it was Creation of Adam.

The guy said, "Do you want it?!"

Of course he did. How many other first graders have this kind of art in their bedroom?

He's one of a kind. I think I'll keep him.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Jacques Cartier for kids

Here's a video from a Canadian history producer on Jacques Cartier; it's about eight and a half minutes long. And here's another more brief, three-minute summary of his explorations. Here's a summary of facts on his life (I didn't know he named Canada!).

Songs for this week

A few songs may help with memory this week.

The verse can be sung to the tune of "Happy Birthday":
And over all these
virtues put on love
which binds them all to-ge-ther
in perfect u-ni-ty!

If you'd like to add the reference, tack "Co-lossians 3:14" on the end in the same tune as the last line.

For our history song, try it to "Old McDonald":
In 1534, Jacques Cartier*
a French explorer
won sailed along the east coast
of Ca-na-da
searching for a western route!
to China!
later sailed up
the Lawrence River!
and cla-imed Mont-re-al fo-or France.

The moon phases can be sung to "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" or "The Ants Go Marching One by One."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring Trees

Spring is my favorite time of the year.

If you're looking for a fun and easy art project, check out this one. Blowing paint with straws for realistic results.

Proof of Comm. Central

"Come here Pope Gregory! Give me my hat. I'm the real Pope! I'm Pope Leo."

This was over heard on the trampoline - definitely said by two Comm. Central kids. Hubby and I laughed out loud.