I've had to get creative about planting a garden this year. In the past, we'd simply load up the car, head to Walmart, and buy some plants to put in the garden. This year, taking a trip to Walmart with my kids is impossible due to Connecticut's coronavirus restrictions.
Instead, I dug out old seeds I had in the garage and did my best to start a garden from seed with what we had. Many of my seeds "expired" years ago.. we're talking 2015, so I don't even know when they were purchased.
I went with the tried and true method of paper towel sprouting to see just what would actually grow. If you haven't done it before, all you do is take a paper towel, wet it so that it's damp, place the seeds in it, put it in a ziplock bag, place the bag in a dark area, and check back in a week to see if any seeds have sprouted.
I was amazed at how many of the expired seeds sprouted! The ones that didn't were the zuchini and tomatoes... luckily it's early in the season so I'll try some more!
Next, I planted them in soil. Again, I had to get creative about pots because normally we buy more mature plants and put them right in the ground. Considering how much snow we've had this April, that would be pretty unwise!
Instead, I went to the recycle bin for planters and used a leftover bag of soil.
As of now, I'm out of dirt and will have to get digging for some more to transplant my seedlings in that have outgrown their first containers.
This has been a unique experience for sure, but I'm thankful for the experience. If you consider the cost of buying older plants, versus a pack of seeds that you can use for years, it definitely makes sense to buy or save seeds. This has helped pull me closer to nature, and I hope my kids have learned a bit too! At least I know they like the dirt!
When I get to Walmart... one day... I'm excited to try out some creative strawberry planting ideas for small spaces! Any tips?
Last year, we studied universal history with Pathway to Liberty. This year, we were excited to continue our journey into the Middle Ages. My own recollection of the Middle Ages was very narrow and essentially boiled down to burning people at the stake for printing Bibles and Christopher Columbus sailing the ocean blue, so I was personally looking forward to rounding out my own viewpoint of the Middle Ages with this course as well as teaching my 7 and 5 year old about it!
One thing I love about Pathway to Liberty is the unique perspective it brings to studying history. The curriculum not only offers a Biblical worldview, but also follows the “chain of liberty,” or chain links which join elements of history together, and help us learn meaningful lessons for today.
Pathway to Liberty's lessons can easily be conducted as "family style," where mom teaches one lesson and each child can do corresponding work for that lesson at their own level. This is awesome for larger families and simplifies your schooling time while allowing kids to learn together at their own pace! Though I was technically working through this with my 8 year old, my 5 year old listened to the lessons too and discussed the topics with us!
We used the level one workbook for assignments, but the levels continue up to a level four for older students!
This course starts with a bit of a refresher from the previous year as we discussed what history is and established a Biblical foundation for our studies. Week 2 covered the dawn of nations and principles of self-government.
Week 3-6 brought us to Rome, where we studied the Roman Empire with the broader perspective of how Rome influenced the proper setting for the spread of the Gospel. Students will learn about daily life in Rome, as well as how it served as the perfect setting for the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus “in the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4). They will also learn about the persecution and triumphs of the early church by reading the book, “Trial and Triumph” by Richard M. Hannula. I hadn’t heard of “Trial and Triumph” before starting this course, but it’s an amazing book and I highly recommend reading it in its entirety!
In Week 7, the tides change and students learn about Constantine the Great and what his leadership meant to Rome. They will also understand the principal of Divine Providence behind his tole in history.
Weeks 8-9 discuss the formation of the Bible through readings in “How the Bible Came to Us by Meryl Doney,” and write interesting facts they learned throughout the reading.
In weeks 10-12, level 2-4 students will learn about Muhammed, Islam, and the Crusades, while level one, which was us, learn about Leif the Lucky and his expeditions. For level one students, you’ll read “Leif the Lucky by D’Aulaire” in these weeks and students will fill out their study guides in the workbook. There is also an assortment of Viking crafts for hands-on learning. My kids enjoyed cutting and pasting Viking clothes on the Viking!
Week 13-16 focuses on transforming nations. Level one students will read, “Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney,” Older students will focus on Saint Patrick and read about him in “Trials and Triumph.” Week 14 brings you to a study of Charlemagne, where students will read about him in “Story of the World” and older kids have the option of watching a short video on about the king. Week 15 continues the theme of a leader transforming a nation with Alfred the Great. I loved the scriptural principals behind the transforming nation's section, “Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city,” (Ecc. 7:19). The teaching principal echoed from this verse is, “God brings his Kingdom into the hearts of individuals who He then uses to transform nations.” What a great message for kids to learn!
Learning about these great leaders brings students to Week 16- 17, where they learn about the Magna Charta and individual rights. Here, you’ll use “The Magna Carta by James Daughtery” to dig deeper into this idea.
Weeks 18-21 focused on prominent reformers and how the seed within them impacted nations and the world. Students will learn about John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Calvin, Anne Askew, John Knox, and Renee. Then, they’ll put their learning into practice by beginning to write paragraphs about each reformer.
Weeks 22-26 enter into the age of exploration. Here, you’ll use “Columbus by D’Aulaire” and “The Light & the Glory for Children by Peter Marsha & David Manuel.” Students will learn more about the explorers on Biography.com and make a fun art craft!
This positions learners perfectly for year three, learning about U.S. History!
Books Needed for Level One:
Level One Students will need some additional books. The complete list of books needed for each level can be found in the beginning of the Teacher's Guide as well as on the Pathway to Liberty Website.
Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
How the Bible Came to Us by Meryl Doney
Trial and Triumph by Richard M. Hannula
The Magna Carta by James Daughtery
The Story of the World Volume One: Ancient Times, by Susan Wise Bauer
Leif the Lucky by D’Aulaire
Columbus by D’Aulaire
The Story of the World Volume Two: The Middle Ages by Susan Wise Bauer
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
The Light & the Glory for Children by Peter Marsha & David Manuel
This curriculum is 26 weeks, which is unique when you consider most school years run for 36 weeks. I loved that it was a 26 week program because it allows for amazing learning detours! We spent extra weeks studying ancient Rome and didn’t have to worry about falling behind! Each week has 4 lessons, which could be taught in 20-30 minutes and worked perfectly with our schedule! I loved seeing the connection between Scriptural principals and actual history that occurred, and think it’s incredibly meaningful to teach our children likewise!
On top of learning about history, I saw my son's writing ability improve through this curriculum. By the end, he was able to write a paragraph about each reformer, which really complemented the 2nd grade work he was doing in his English course! I feel like Pathway to Liberty is an awesome curriculum for families looking to learn about history through a Biblical Worldview. The lessons, and teaching concepts behind the historic events are unique and inspiring for the entire family!
To learn more and see all that the program has to offer, check out PathwaytoLiberty.com!
There's a new something special on this page... can you spot it??
Here's a hint: it's in the top right corner....
a lovely award from RankedBlogs.com !
I'm so excited to be ranked among the top homeschool blogs! They rank their pages based on votes, Page Authority, Domain Authority, number of linking domains, and Twitter followers. It's an honor to be included on their list, and certainly makes the endless hours feel valued :)
If you have a moment, I'd love for you to vote for my page! There's no log in or sign up, just simply scroll through the names and hit the "thumbs up" button!
If you're looking for more homeschool content, I'd recommend checking out the list of top bloggers. Many of the ladies I consider friends and have benefited from their awesome content!
Here's the link: https://www.rankedblogs.com/homeschool
Have a great week!
Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
Reading Unlocked Simplified Reading Program helps emerging readers learn to read with 10-15 minute online lessons. By teaching phonics and then gradually expanding concepts, students will grow their reading ability lesson by lesson. While students are learning to read, they’ll also practice their writing ability, auditory recognition, abstract words, and read clever poems at the close of each lesson with a parent or teacher.
One thing that drew me to wanting to try out Reading Unlocked is that it reminded me of language learning software I had used in the past. The program intuitively incorporates matching letters with pictures for beginning readers. It also asks students to write words on paper, as well as in the air so that students receive more than just computer learning practice. The program offers a structured lesson rather than a game, like many programs out there today, and that was something I felt would be valuable to my daughter’s learning.
My five-year-old used Reading Unlocked 3-4 days per week. We started by checking out the first lesson of level one, which started with the letter “c” and by the end, my daughter was reading the word “cat.” She was already familiar with those basic words, so we decided to try level two. Lesson one of level two started with a capital “T” and guided her to match capital letters with its lowercase counterpart. The level two lessons built up to “st” digraphs words like “step” and “list”. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my 5-year-old was doing well on level two. Once children understand the basic sounds and blending, they might be ready for blending consonant sounds in level two!
Reading Unlocked did an exemplary job by providing amply auditory practice. Lessons would include activities that would give the child tasks like “turn sit into pit,” which would teach listening comprehension as well as helping build phonics awareness. The one downside, I felt was when you log in to the program, it takes you immediately to the lesson. When the lesson is complete, you’re logged off. This was a bit cumbersome if you wanted to do more than one lesson, or felt the need to repeat a lesson. Individual lessons can be selected in the "settings" section, if you feel your student needs to practice a concept again, but a map or ticker to track progress might be fun for kids to see! Overall, we enjoyed using Reading Unlocked and feel like it’s a great choice for parents looking for online reading lessons! If you’re looking for structured online reading lessons, this is a great program to check out!
More members of the Homeschool Review Crew checked out Reading Unlocked with their students! Check out there thoughts below:
There is no doubt that we are living in crazy times. If you had told me in January what we'd be facing now, I would have thought you were absurd. Life is turned on it's head- even for homeschoolers who are at least accustom to at-home learning.
I've found myself researching the best face masks to sew in order to make protective masks per the CDC's new guideline. There are five prominent mask patterns out there on the web, but the one that many hospitals are requesting people sew is the Oslon Mask, which houses a pocket to place filtration material. Filter material can be taken out of household air filters for extra protection, and double sided skin tape can be applied for safety.
I spent part of Sunday evening making masks for my family and parents, though I don't have the filtration material or double sided tape. At the very least, the three layers of fabric will aid in protection during simple grocery store visits. The masks took roughly 20 minutes to make- and reminded me of how much I miss sewing!
Since I started the masks, they've added children's sizes, so I plan to use those as well!
Check out the Oslon Mask Pattern and tutorial from of Sew Can She!
A few weeks ago, we introduced some basic cloud vocabulary through Montessori Cloud Cards, and then went on a Cloud Scavenger Hunt. We decided to round out our cloud study with some fun crafts and baking.
For this craft, you'll need some paper of choice. We used brown paper, but blue, black or grey might be more authentic!
You'll also need glue, cotton balls, and some white and black paint.
I bet you can guess the directions already!
To start, we used a cotton ball to paint wispy cirrus clouds.
Then, my kids dove into gluing cotton balls into clouds-like forms for cumulus clouds. I tried to emphasize that cumulus clouds usually have a flat bottom, but art is of course subjective! haha
Finally, we made some cumulonimbus clouds by mixing in some black paint and glue and getting a little cloud crazy.
To finish the cloud unit study, I recommend something yummy- cloud cake!
Check out this recipe, and let me know what you think!
is an author, blogger, and homeschooling mom of four, giving her excellent credentials to run her own circus one day!