Independence Day Unit Study
This year has been so filled with uncertainties and unknowns. Perhaps, there has never been a time to renew a sense of patriotism and unity within our homes. Though we're technically on summer vacation, I decided to tie together some resources for a week long “Independence Day Unit Study.”
We began with an important video to understand the background of the Declaration of Independence, and then watched a moving five minute video of what happened to many of the signers of the Declaration. I got quite teary at the end after getting a glimpse of the cost of freedom.
Next, we worked towards memorizing my favorite part of the preamble from The Declaration of Independence.
I made two worksheets to help familiarize my kids with the preamble. One was suitable for practicing writing the words, while one was for younger learners and involved coloring the words.
We followed our learning with some great books:
Old Glory walks through important stages of American History, while focusing on the importance of the American flag.
Wonders of the USA is a fun "shine-a-light-book" where kids can use a flashlight to see hidden pictures on the pages.
Red, White, and Blue is an easy read book about the creation of the American Flag.
The Story of George Washington is another easy read book chapter book that tells the story of George Washington's life.
The Children's book of America is a treasury of beautiful stories!
This week, I selected "I hear America Singing," by Walt Whitman.
"The Bravery of Abigail Adams,"
and the Story of "The Star Spangled Banner"
Finally, we concluded by sewing some patriotic clothes to wear for July 4th!
I'm sure some yummy baking and grilling will also be in order!
How has your family celebrated the 4th of July? Any fun book recommendations?
Lyme Disease Rash Progression
Well, I had intended to share a little girls dress pattern with you all this week, but life through a boomerang and my four year old was diagnosed with Lyme Disease.
I had pulled a tick from behind her ear about a week ago and froze it in the freezer, than thought nothing more of it. But, Monday evening, she complained that her ear hurt. When I looked, I could see a red rash around where I had pulled the tick. The next morning, she spiked a fever and we saw a doctor through the convenience of zoom. She started antibiotics right away, and her temperature continued to climb over 105 degrees. I had never seen numbers like that on a thermometer, and we started a round the clock battle to keep her temp below 105 with ibuprofen and acetaminophen to avoid a hospital trip.
Thankfully, she seems to be healing and improving each day. One of the most startling experiences has been watching the Lyme Rash. We're certainly not strangers to Lyme, living in Connecticut, I've been treated for it 3-4 times. But, I had never watched a rash develop like this- so I wanted to share the images for other people who might encounter strange rashes and not be certain how to identify it.
The flash was on for this photo, so it looks bit worse in the picture than in person. I do believe it's healing. We're using neosporin and antibiotics 3x a day.
Thanks for keeping her in your prayers!
Sewing Girls Dresses
I've been running on well past empty these last few weeks. Trying to balance work, school, and homeschooling, plus the demands of four kiddos has absolutely drained me. With all the writing assignments due for school and work, it is hard for me to want to write another sentence. So, yesterday I took out my sewing machine to take a break from reality.
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I would go in pinterest and look at all the cute sewing dress patterns. Then, she was born, followed by two more kiddos and my lovely idea of sewing cute dresses vanished between the diapers, and craziness of life.
I love the style of the circular neckline on one of her dresses, I'm not sure of the technical term, but it's just elegant and adorable. So, I traced the outline on to some white knit fabric and hand stitched the delicate pieces for the neckline. I don't recommend using a delicate knit, at all! Though it looks lovely, I'm concerned it won't hold up in the washing machine.
You do, however, want to use a flexible fabric that will stretch over their heads. For the second dress, I decided to cut the neckline from an old t shirt in my "donate pile" and stitch it to the bottom dress pieces.
Both dresses were simple, easy, and managed to capture the vision I had in my mind. Plus, the sewing process was a needed mini naptime vacation for this tired mama.
How do you refresh when you're on empty? I'd love to hear in the comments!
The French Revolution is often remembered in America as the overthrowing of the French Monarchy, and Marie Antoinette telling the hungry people to eat cake instead of bread. Both ideas hold a semblance of truth, yet whitewash an entire historic chapter which has replayed itself across many countries failed revolutions.
What first needs to be established is that France essentially went bankrupt over the idea of liberty [and to get a jab in at their enemies]. They miraculously aided the American’s in overthrowing British rule by pumping money into a cause that couldn’t even cloth or feed its soldiers, sending 6,000 soldiers to American soil to fight and die for the cause of liberty. Then, Rochambeau and Lafayette went back to France and stoked the flames of liberty in the hearts of the oppressed. These men risked their lives for freedom in America, but would eventually be considered to blasé for the radical revolutionary spirit that ensued.
Let’s consider the similarities from then and now:
The cause was just
In France, people were genuinely hungry for change. They were hungry for bread. They were just in their cause and their cry for freedom! They united under Robespierre “the incorruptible” who became the voice of the oppressed in the third tear of the King’s Council. He pushed the boundaries of freedom, spoke up for the rights of the African population, and believed in words as power rather than brute force- even standing in opposition to the death penalty.
Today, people unite over the horrid death of George Floyd, to give a voice to those who have suffered unjustly because of their race. Is there a more noble cause than speaking up for others suffering? Uniting to bring peace and heal wounds? The cause is righteous and people’s pain is genuine.
The French Revolution was stoked by extremist media, the “L’ami du Peuple” written by Jean-Paul Marat who stoked flames of radicalism under the guise of advocating for the lower class. It was quick to draw accusations and cared little for truth or balance. As the Revolution progressed, the media got to the point where it would list names in the paper of those against the cause, and they’d be executed the next day.
We currently have a media that’s run rampant with “clickbait,” false headlines, and cares more about perpetuating an ideology than reporting the truth. The mere fact that The New York Times fired the editor after publishing an op-ed contrary to the Times bias confirms this- yet is only the precipice of a problem that plagues our media today. As hysteria increases, we see public shaming, calls to step down, and the firing of people who hold opposing views. Though I don’t foresee actual deaths of “dissenters,” they face a social death and the loss of their job over freedom protected in our Constitution.
Attempted to re-write history
The French wanted to be sure that they didn’t just topple the government, but established a new social order based on freedom and equality. To mark their new order, they changed their calendar and started at year one, erasing the old Gregorian calendar and replacing it with the new republican calendar. As ideas progressed and radicalized into the reign of terror, anyone who used the proper French terms “Madame” or “Monsieur” rather than “citizen” was subject to execution.
Currently, revisionist history runs rampant changing the narrative to what they deem politically correct. A land that was once found on freedom is not merely a vicious perpetrator of hatred and sin. The Founding Fathers, who failed to abolish slavery at America’s independence, set their sights on abolishing it after independence. Ben Franklin became the president of Philadelphia’s abolitionist society. Samuel Adams never owned a slave and went on to fight for equal rights, but revisionists seek to erase the truth to fit their narrative. Likewise, many face persecution based on “improper” use of gender pronouns, like during the French Revolution.
Backlash at Law Enforcement
For the French rioters to captured the King and his family, they had to first slay their guards. They cut off the guard's heads, mounted them to poles, and made them ride in the carriage with the royal family back to Paris, where the heads were again paraded as a symbol of power now resting in the people’s hands. In our current situation, police are being physically attacked, killed, and voices are rising to defund and abolish the police (a foundational cry of both Black Lives Matter and Antifa).
Later in the Revolution, after Louis attempted to escape, all of his guards were massacred before the royal family was killed. When this was witnessed, all the law of the land fled Paris for fear that they’d be next, leaving a city of chaos and terror. I can only predict on the historic basis that this too will happen as police funding is lost. We reap what we sow.
Leave no “traitor” alive Robespierre, “The Incorruptible,” famously touted, “Virtue without terror is powerless.” As this radicalized “freedom” spread like wildfire in France, women were raped, priests disemboweled, 1,600 left dead within days. This was the revolution for “justice and equality for all,” yet it turned to a blood savage witch hunt. Even the British scoffed, “are these the rights of men, the liberty of human nature?” Jacques Mallet du Pan famously remarked, “Like Saturn, the Revolution devours its own children”
Today, if your views differ from the religion of woke-ness, you’re a racist, white supremacist, beneficiary of white privilege, or suffering from white fragility, to name a few things. Yet, the radicals devour their own faster than the opposition. As the rules of the social game tighten after every player’s turn, so the objectives morph and the base of enemies widens, penalizing those who once were in the lead. .
Here’s what we need to learn:
The French demonized their opponents, stripping them of the very freedoms they sought to bring to society. They let the fear of opposition lead to the streets flooding with blood. In America, we need to embrace differences, not villainize our opponents and respect the Constitution which protects each person’s rights.
The French glorified the eventual murder of Marat (the crazy newspaper writer) as a Christ-like martyrdom, forgetting the evils he had caused and essentially worshiping a lunatic. We need to not blindly accept media narratives, do our own research, and come to our own conclusions on matters at hand
The French united behind Robespierre “The Incorruptible,” until his radical views made his very supporters subject to the guillotine. When we empower radical ideas under the guise of a blanket statement like “equality,” we follow organizations and leadership which care nothing for us and will quickly turn on their supporters when power is achieved.
The French revolution stomped out all religious influence, destroying churches and changing the names of streets. The Sabbath was destroyed in the French’s new ten-day week, with the hope that no one would notice. The clergy were murdered with the rebels. Our American Constitution protects the rights of Religious Freedom, rights that deeply offend radicals. The foundation of America has been that I can hold my beliefs, and you may hold yours, but the radical movements seek to destroy these freedoms and we must not let that occur.
The French Revolution failed to identify a specific enemy, thus the enemy changed as people and ideas were killed. This left every citizen in danger. When movements fail to identify a specific enemy and plan of action, they can fall into the same trap. Instead of the civil rights movement of the past, which had leadership and planned objectives, mob rule movements quickly turn on their own and cause widespread destruction.
The United States of America is facing the calls of revolution in its streets, in its government, and across the media waves. We must recognize the concept of liberty as defined by our Constitution and the cries of liberty which sent France into a gruesome turmoil. Learning from history is to better the future. Let us not be found ignorant.
 Munro, Andre. 12 Months of the French Republican Calendar. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/list/the-12-months-of-the-french-republican-calendar
 The London Times, Monday, Sept. 10, 1792
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.
Spelling is an area that requires constant practice and repetition to master new phonics patterns and difficult words. Online games can add an element of fun to a tedious learning task. My family was excited to try out Spelling Shed so that my 8 and 5-year-old could improve their spelling. We also were able to practice math facts in a similar game format through the Math Shed program!
When we started, I created each child a student account from my teacher account and then simply let them log in and play. They enjoyed the program until the words began getting harder and harder. Then, I knew I needed to adjust the difficulty levels on my end. This presented ME with the challenge. Spelling Shed allows teachers to formulate their own spelling lists and assign them to their students, but each time I would try to assign them something, they would go to play and it wouldn’t be the assigned content. Finally, I found all the spelling lists I had assigned to my students on the student's accounts, under the “more…” tab. The ability to make custom spelling lists is really helpful for adapting this to each student in a way that complements their current learning curriculum.
If you aren’t looking to assign spelling lists, you can simply select a spelling curriculum for your students to work through. I was able to assign beginner phonics for my five-year-old and I started my 8-year-old with “first 100 words.” They offer a variety of well-known spelling lists such as Dolch's, Fry's and UIL lists for grades 3-8.
The Math Shed program doesn’t require the teacher to select curricula or assign content. Instead, the level and topic is adjusted at the game level, so my students could log in and click on the topic they needed to practice. My five-year-old practiced addition from 1 to 10 on the easy level and enjoyed her work. My 8-year-old had many more options to explore. He enjoyed the multiplication and basic division and would work through the ten questions, focusing on speed and accuracy to earn more points.
Ultimately, this wasn’t a good fit for our family. My students didn’t want to play the games, and I felt the amount of stages, levels, and material made it overwhelming for me to sift through and make sense of for our family’s use. I can see how it would be beneficial to school programs or co-ops that are looking for some educational quiz games for larger amounts of students to play. If a larger group logs in at once, it seems that the children could play games against one another, which could be fun for students!
Many other members of the Homeschool Review Crew tried out EdShed and you can check out their thoughts on the program below to gain additional perspective!
So, I was called a racist today for the first time because I issued a “blanket peace” statement about our current crisis in America. I shared a post on Facebook which was a quote by Elizabeth Elliot that read, “Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.”
I added the comment, a similar one to what I posted on twitter, “This is so true in America right now. This country was founded upon freedom, liberty and justice for all. Don't destroy what needs reform. History tells of many times citizens destroyed what they opposed only to make way for far worse.”
Apparently, I am the problem in America today.
To clarify my statement further, it was in reference to all the rebellions that united people around common beliefs so that they’d over throw their government, and then become enslaved to something far worse. I was thinking of France in 1789, Cuba in 1953, Iran in 1979 and Egypt in 2011, though I'm sure there are plenty more examples.
Being called a racist and part of the problem has left me with a lot of questions, ones that I’d genuinely like to hear some answers to, so I’ll pose them on my blog for an open, respectful discourse, comments that are disrespectful will be deleted.
The damage that's been done far surpasses burned churches and destroyed businesses, the lines in the sand have been starkly drawn. I have friends of different races, backgrounds, religious beliefs and have always felt that diversity is part of the beauty of our world, but I'll not bow for a sin that's not mine. That gives it far more power than it previously ever had, deepening wounds rather than bringing unity.
There's a difference in protests and riots
protesters and looters
justice for all, or justice for one at the cost of many more
This is a horrible time in this country, and I'm genuinely afraid for the world my children will grow up in, especially after a white friend was attacked in a target parking lot by a gang of black men seeking "justice" for George Floyd. No answers will come from more violence, name calling, burning, destroying. The peaceful leaders of the past, who had a goal and accomplished it, would be disgusted at the lawlessness in our streets today.
But, I'm white, so I'm the problem?
Page A Day Math Review
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.
Understanding new math concepts are one of the major hurdles of elementary math. The key to success is practice, practice, practice! That’s exactly what Page a Day Math offers young students, practice developing their math abilities, one step at a time. We were able to download their Addition Starter Kit, Subtraction Starter Kit, Division Starter Kit and checked out their Amazing Adjectives handwriting practice over the last few weeks!
Each of their math kits offers a series of books, and each book is composed of 14 days of practice and 550 math problems. I’m sure that you guessed your student will be practicing a “page a day,” and that’s correct- except if you print out a day’s work, rather than purchase a physical kit, then technically they will be doing two pages a day- which my five-year-old made sure I was aware of!
My kindergartener started the program with the Addition Starter Kit. She was already familiar with some addition from 1-10, so I was excited that this program would help give her some extra math practice. Book One featured plus one equation, which was too simple for her, so we started in book two with plus two equations. I was pleasantly surprised that within the first few days, her ability to write the numbers beautifully improved. This is an awesome bonus of the program, especially in a world where much learning is done online; handwriting practice often is left in the dust.
Here’s her improvement:
Now, we teach addition and subtraction simultaneously as well as multiplication and division at the same time because they’re such similar processes. So, before she cruised through the addition worksheets, we switched over book two of the Subtraction Starter Kit so that she could see that subtraction was merely going in the reverse number direction from addition. The Subtraction Starter Kit presented subtraction in a similar way as the Addition Kit. Book One features -1 equations, Book two is -2, and so on.
My 8-year-old also enjoyed Page A Day Math practice. He is pretty solid on his multiplication tables, so we had him try out the Division Starter Kit. The Division Kit features 12 division books. Book one goes over each number divided by one. The second book goes over division by twos, while also reviewing each number divided by one equals itself. The repetition was really helpful for memorizing equations, and improving handwriting. I was very pleased with the results, and my kids enjoyed the worksheets!
I feel like Page A Day Math offers excellent math practice to use along side any math curricula. As we enter into the summer season, where math skills tend to simmer on the back burner, I feel that these workbooks will be extra helpful in practice and improving skills before we start the next level of math in the fall. I'd recommend this program to homeschoolers and traditional students as well as everyone can benefit from the practice!
Many other members of the Homeschool Review Crew checked out Page A Day Math, be sure to check out their reviews below!
is a writer & tired homeschooling mom of five.