Reading and Learning About the Moon (Poppins Book Nook With a Giveaway!)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

Every month I’ve been enjoying bringing books and activities as part of the Poppins Book Nook book club. This free monthly book club has many reading and activity suggestions, all centered around a monthly theme. Cohosts of the club each share what they’ve done with their families for the month.
poppinsoctThis month’s Poppins Book Nook is all about books that are “beyond our planet.” The younger girls and I studied astronomy last year and found some fun books and activities, so for this month’s book club, I decided to revisit one of those really fun activities and expand it by reading some books about the moon.

We used two main books, and I found an activity from a Jan Van Cleave book (one of my favorite science resources.)

51h-0gyuEPL._AA160_Many Moons by James Thurber is a fiction picture book. In the story, the princess is ill and cannot seem to get well. Her one request is for her father to get her the moon. The story unfolds as the king attempts to deliver the moon to his princess.

The Best Book of the Moon is a nonfiction book by Ian Graham. It has large, colorful illustrations that51CwWrPSSWL._AA160_ have great detail, and it answers many of the questions kids have about the moon.

I love all of the Jan Van Cleave science experiment books, and I found an 51MmYK2oFlL._AA160_ interesting activity in the Janice VanCleave’s  the Solar System book. [Read more...]

Review of Clued in Kids: Treasure Hunts for Kids

I don’t know too many kids who don’t enjoy a treasure hunt. Mine are no exception. Over the years, I’ve come up with treasure hunts for a number of things: birthday parties, surprise gifts, and sometimes just for fun. I’ve always enjoyed making them up for my kids. But I’ve never thought about a premade treasure hunt. When I learned about Clued In Kids, a company that makes treasure hunts for you to print and set up for your kids, I was excited to try it out.


We received two different treasure hunts to review:

  • Multiplication Dragons- This is a set of five treasure hunts. They let kids practice their 2x-6x tables as they search for treasure. This is a digital product that you print at home. It’s intended for kids ages 7-9. The set sells for $19.99 on the site.
  • Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt-This is a Thanksgiving themed treasure hunt. It is also a digital product and will be printed out when you are ready to use it with your kids. It contains 12 clues and instructions for parents to set up. It’s fun for any age. (As the site says- 4 to 104!) It sells for $5.99 on the site.

The Clued In Kids Hunt are simple. You receive a PDF file of a treasure hunt. The clues are already written, and there are instructions for you as the parent to know where to hide each clue. There is also an “answer key” of sorts that you can hold on to as the kids do the hunt so you know where they are supposed to look next. You simply print the file, cut apart the clues, hide them, and let the kids take off. You do have to provide your own treasure. The following video shows how it’s done.

We began with the Multiplication Dragons hunts. I was using the hunts with my younger girls who are 10 and 9. They haven’t memorized the multiplication tables- at least the more difficult- so I let them use a multiplication chart to find the answers if needed. Some of the clues didn’t require multiplication to solve.



I had the girls wait in my room while I hid the clues around the house. We were doing this first hunt at night, so I didn’t want to hide anything outdoors. One clue required a plant pot, so I got a little creative and put one on our table as a centerpiece. The girls decided to take turns figuring out the clues, so I had them take a pencil and begin hunting.


Some of the clues are deciphered by a riddle, some by a code word, some with a secret picture, and some with a “dare” the kids have to perform to get the next clue. Because we were using the multiplication hunt, all of the clues had to do with solving multiplication problems.


Although the website says that this can be used for 1-10 kids, my two had a difficult time taking turns and not rushing each other. They finished the whole hunt-12 clues- pretty quickly. I believe it took them about 15-20 minutes.



For the hunt pictured here, I used “coupon cards” as the prize. These coupons are good for gum at our next shopping trip.



The Thanksgiving hunt was a little different from the multiplication hunts because all of the clues were Thanksgiving themed. The website lists this as being appropriate for ages 4 to 104. My girls at 9 and 10 could figure out most of the clues but needed help with some. There are some fill-in- the blank clues about Thanksgiving that I knew but that they did not. There is also no answer key for these, so be prepared to do some Thanksgiving research if you need to brush up on your facts.



Again, I had the girls wait while I hid clues. I noticed with these clues- as with all of the multiplication hunts- the clues are pretty much hidden in the same places on all of the hunts. Hairbrushes, sock drawers, freezers, dryers, plan pots, toothbrushes- many of the clue sites are the same. So, by the time my girls got to the Thanksgiving hunt, they would begin to decipher the clues and then guess based on the fact that they knew the typical hiding places.



The Thanksgiving hunt had the same types of clues- fill-in-the blanks, riddles, codes- but they were all Thanksgiving themed.





For this hunt, the prize was candy corn- a very “fally” sort of prize,




So what did we think about the Clued In Kids treasure hunts?

  • The girls had lots of fun. There is a magic of deciphering clues and following them to find “treasure.” Even my older son wanted to get in on the action in one of the multiplication hunts.
  • These are very simple hunts to set up, and it is nice to have everything right there for you.
  • I’m not sure how well the hunt would work with a large group. I think it would be possible to have the kids take turns reading and solving clues. But there are only 12 clues- at least in all of our hunts- so that would mean not many clues for each kid to solve.
  • The fact that all of the hunts- at least ours- use many of the same places for hiding makes it less and less of a challenge as kids play more hunts. I’m sure that they have to use general places to make sure that all homes would have the items listed, but it does make it easier and easier for the kids to solve as they go along.
  • I think that using the hunts could make for a fun playdate activity if there were only two or three kids. I could even see my girls wanting to reuse the hunts we have and hide the clues for their friends for themselves.

If you want to know more, you can visit this page to sign up for a free hunt. You can also read this page to find out the pretty amazing story of Helen- the founder of Clued In Kids. (As someone who has found relief from an autoimmune disorder by eating gluten free, I was very interested!) And here’s a video of the Playdate treasure hunt (reviewed by some of our Crew).

The Facts:

Company: Clued In Kids

Product: Multiplication Dragons (set of five multiplication based hunts); Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt

Age: 7-9 recommended for Multiplication Dragons; all ages (4-104) recommended for Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt

Price: $19.99 for Multiplication Dragons; $5.99 for Thanksgiving Treasure Hunt

Connect with Clued In Kids:

Twitter: @cluedinkids

Crew Disclaimer
You can read what other Crew members thought about these and other treasure hunts from Clued In Kids by clicking below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Review of The Forbidden Book From New Liberty Videos

Last year, the kids and I were privileged to go to a traveling exhibit that showed us the history of the Bible and the difficulties that were encountered as the Bible was translated and made available for the common man. So when we had the opportunity to review a video about the Bible being preserved and made available for the common man, I was very interested. We received The Forbidden Book from New Liberty Videos.
new liberty video


The Forbidden Book is made for a general audience. There is material covered that younger kids won’t get, and there are some things that might frighten younger kids, so I would recommend a parent preview before kids watch it. I watched the video and have not shown it to the kids yet. I do not think my younger girls- 9 and 10- will “get” some of it. And I do think it would frighten them. The video comes as a physical DVD that can be played on a standard DVD player- or in your computer- and sells for $19.95 on the site.

New Liberty Videos is a company that produces Christian films. The founder, Brian Barkley, has been in the motion picture business for over forty years. After he became a Christian, he began to produce Christian movies. The Forbidden Book is a documentary that demonstrates how the Bible was preserved over the years when superstition and intellectual darkness would have hindered it.

I wanted to preview the movie to determine (1) if the kids would understand and be able to listen and (2) if there would be anything too frightening for them.

The movie jumps right in in the introduction giving facts about the Bible through the ages. Craig Lampe, PhD is a Bible historian who narrates some of the film. He traces the history of the Bible from the very beginning when Moses received the Ten Commandments directly from God through the other physical authors of the Bible. He also talks about the ancient Jewish manuscripts of Scripture. The video then goes on to discuss some of the early church fathers and how they determined which books to put in the Bible.

Then we move into the Dark Ages and what the church was like during that time. With false doctrines- such as that of indulgences sold to cover sins- the church wasn’t exactly in line with Scripture. The video goes on to talk about some the men who stood against these doctrines of the church. In Northern Scotland a group called the Culdees began a Bible college that was maintained throughout the Dark Ages and provided a way to protect the Scriptures during these times.

The video shares the stories of John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and others who stood for making the Bible available to the common man even when it led to their death. Martin Luther and his desire to focus doctrines on Scripture alone, not on the traditions of the church, is discussed.

Information is given about how we have the books of the Bible that we now have. And there is information about the early translations of the Bible- including the popular King James Bible. The invention of the printing press and the spread of the Bible is discussed.

The video is just under an hour long. The DVD contains the film presented in a regular style and then again in closed caption with the words on the screen.

After watching the film, I haven’t shown it to the kids yet. It is likely that I will show at least the older kids at some point. I don’t think there is anything too disturbing. There are some parts about the martyrs that might be a little frightening for my younger kids- ages 9 and 10. But I think it will be appropriate for my older crew.

I enjoy documentaries. I really like historical documentaries. So I was prepared to like The Forbidden Book. The presentation, however, is rather slow. And there are parts of the video that just seemed to just drag out. I was still interested in most of it because the subject matter was very interesting to me. If I show it to the older kids, I’ll probably break it up into segments instead of watching for the whole hour.

I did think that the information here was very complete. There was some very good research. I really appreciated the comments from the Bible historian and the sharing of his knowledge about the history of our Bible. And if you are really looking to learn the history of our Bible, you will likely enjoy The Forbidden Book.

The Facts:

Company: New Liberty Videos

Product: The Forbidden Book physical DVD

Age: General ages; may want to preview for younger viewers

Price: $19.95

Crew Disclaimer
Other Review Crew members watched this and other videos from New Liberty Videos. You can check out their reviews by clicking below.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Weekly Wrap Up: The Creation Museum

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

Not much formal school went on for us this week, but we did learn lots. We spent most of the week at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. The Creation Museum was founded by Ken Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis. The purpose of the museum is to be a display of Biblical history. And it was. The displays are incredible, and there was so much good information presented. We got to hear Ken Ham speak in person while we were there also.

The Creation Museum is in a very small town in Kentucky. We rented a house to stay in because with eight of us- including my mom and dad, a hotel isn’t a great option. The house we found is actually listed on the museum website. It’s one of three houses rented especially for visitors of the museum.

The house itself was a great vacation spot. It was a Victorian home overlooking the Ohio river. Jason, Charles, and the younger girls all fished with my dad in the Ohio River on Tuesday.



The museum is set up to display the 7 Cs of History- the method that Answers in Genesis uses to teach Biblical history.

  • Creation- Everything was created in 6 literal, twenty-four hour days of creation, including dinosaurs on day 6.
  • Corruption- Man sinned, introducing sin into the world. This resulted in disease and death and suffering. It also caused men to constantly have to sacrifice lambs to pay for their sins.
  • Catastrophe- Man’s sin became so rampant that God judged the world with a worldwide flood. Eight people were saved- Noah, his wife, and his three sons and their wives. The flood resulted in climate and geography changes all over the world.
  • Confusion- After Noah and the flood, men increased again and disobeyed God’s command to scatter and populate the earth. Instead they built a tower to reach the heavens. God confused their languages to cause them to scatter over the earth and populate it.
  • Christ- Christ came to earth as a man through the line of Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel.
  • Cross- On the cross, Christ took the penalty for our sin, becoming the final sacrifice.
  • Consummation- One day Christ will return, and those who have trusted Him as the payment for sin, will be in heaven with Him.

One of my favorite displays was the ark display. We could see what it would have been like to live on the ark. We also saw the plans for the Ark Encounter, the new project that will open in 2016 and be a life-sized reproduction of the ark based on Biblical directions.




We want to be able to go back to the Ark Encounter in a few years.





One of the other things that was really neat to learn about was the difference between changes within species and families and changes from one species to another. Evolution says that one species will gain some information and turn into a different species. But that isn’t ever observed. Instead, we see species losing information, becoming more “specialized” as they change and adapt to different environmental stimuli.



Of course, there are lots of dinosaurs because all kids love dinosaurs. We learned how dinosaurs were created on day 6 with other land animals, what they ate at their original creation, how they could have fit on the ark, and what might have happened to them after the flood.



The museum had some beautiful gardens and a petting zoo outdoors. We didn’t do too much outdoors because it was very cloudy and cool. (The tickets are always two day tickets, but it was yucky outside both days.)



We did decide to zipline on the second day. Ashlyne and Rachel were too small, so I went with them on a kids course. Jason, Charles, and Kathryne along with my mom went on the big zipline course- three ziplines.



The folks on the big zipline had it much easier because the kids course was hard to navigate.



The girls did well, though, and we had fun.



Kathryne and I took time to walk around the little town where the house was. It’s only a mile around the perimeter, so we could walk the whole thing. It’s an historic town with many homes that are marked as historic houses and several historic markers.




The only negative thing about the trip was all of the riding. I spent many hours in this position over the four days. I would love to be able to fly if we could go back.



We had a very good week. The museum was great, and I’d love to see it again. I will be ready for some routine next week, so it’s back to the regular grind.


I’m linking up with Weekly Wrap Up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Blogging Through the Alphabet: Z is for Zoology-Favorite Animal Study Resources

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

All kids love to study animals. Birds, bears, frogs, turtles- animals have lots of kid appeal. In this post I’m sharing some of my favorite animal study resources.


download Exploring Creation book series from Apologia- This series for elementary aged students  includes:Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day , Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, Land Animals of  the Sixth Day . I reviewed Flying Creatures on the blog here. We’ve loved using it!


The Great Animal Search from Usborne books- There are several animal search books in this series. 516GFCECMML._AA160_Made for elementary aged kids, the books feature animal seek and find pages focused on different animal habitats.


dinosaur-activity-book-cover-4th Dinosaur Activity Book- All kids love dinosaurs. This book for elementary  aged kids has puzzles, mazes, games, and more.


The Complete Zoo Adventure: A Field Trip in a Book -This book can be a great accompaniment for a trip  to the zoo. With all kinds of information about the animals and the zoo, kids can learn before, during, complete-zoo-adventure and after their zoo trip.


World of Animals-This is an incredible animal reference book with information about over 1000 51gfmdAh6cL._AA160_animals. Written from a Christian perspective, it can guide kids to appreciate God’s design of the animals.


Uncovering the Mysterious Woolly Mammoth-This book is written from a creationist perspective and gives kids a view of the ice age and the conditions during that 10-2-296time.


God’s Amazing Creatures and Me! (Devotions for Boys and Girls Ages 6-10)-This is a devotional that uses 10-1-163 information about the amazing creatures that God has made to teach boys and  girls about Him.


Do you have any favorite animal resources around your house?

I’m linking up with Blogging Through the Alphabet with Ben and Me.

blogging through the alphabet sm.

Homeschooling Through the Seasons (of Life)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

As we head into a new season- fall- I’ve been reading (and writing) lots of fun posts about seasonal things to do in our homeschooling. And as I began to think about seasons, I found my mind wandering to the seasons of our homeschooling.

Instead of the seasons with changes in weather and the conditions outside, I’ve been thinking quite a bit of the season of life that our homeschool is in. With two highschoolers and no little people anymore, this has been a little heavy on my mind; and I find myself missing the days of the fun activities that little people enjoy.

Homeschooling, just as everything else in life, seems to go through seasons. And in each season, I’ve learned important things about homeschooling, about my kids, and about myself.


The spring days of our homeschooling were when my oldest children were 2 and 3. I had always wanted to homeschool, and my husband was definitely agreed. So when the kids were still preschoolers, I began to join homeschool support groups so that I could surround myself with other, more experienced moms who could show me the ropes.  Although I didn’t want to do formal instruction with my children at those young ages, we did have a “Gather at the Table Time” (as I called it) a few times a week. We had a letter for the week and a number for the week, and we would say things with that letter and count the number. And we read. We read lots!

In the spring of our homeschool, I learned that very young children don’t need formal instruction. They are like little sponges, absorbing all that they can about everything around them. Surround them with great books and facilitate free playing time, and they will learn more than you could imagine.

In the summer of our homeschooling, I had two young school-aged children and a toddler and a baby. Life was crazy busy. And I had to learn how to juggle the needs of an infant, a determined toddler and two elementary -aged kids. “Doing school” had to become very flexible, as I figured out how to fit everything in- and keep the toddler from swinging from the chandelier!

In the summer of our homeschool, I learned that being a mom had to come first. I was the mom before I was the teacher. And sometimes the baby needs to nurse, and the toddler needs cuddles. I learned that homeschooling can come in many forms- not just sitting at a desk with perfectly arranged workbooks.

We’re in the fall of our homeschooling now. I have two high school students and two upper elementary students. My older two work independently for the most part, and the younger girls and I are enjoying our days together. We still have times that we all read aloud together or do a project together, but I see the days coming when the kids are more and more independent.

As we’re homeschooling through the fall, I’m learning several things. I’m learning, as a parent of teens, that all the time we’ve spent together and the relationships we’ve built are paying off. It reinforces what I learned in the summer- relationships are the most important thing. Academics comes much farther down the list. I’m also learning that different children will learn in different ways and will take different paths. And the path may not be one that’s convenient to me or that I would have chosen. Each of my high school aged kids learns very differently. And what worked for one when she began high school did not work for the other. And so we adapt and adjust.

The winter of our homeschooling is looming. It’s not something I want to think too hard about. The days will come when they will graduate from our homeschool one by one.

I’m not there yet, but I have friends who have been or who are now. I know life will shift dramatically as each one finishes and possibly leaves out to begin college or a career. I can’t tell you exactly how I’ll feel. But I know this. I am more thankful than ever for homeschooling. I am thankful that I can say that I was there every single day. I shared so many moments with these kids that I can head into the winter days with joy- joy in the relationships we have and the time we’ve spent.

I am truly blessed that God has allowed us to homeschool through the seasons of our lives.

Review of Middlebury Interactive Languages

In our homeschool, we begin the study of Latin around 3rd-5th grade. The assumption is that we will cover Latin through elementary school, and then when each of the kids reaches high school, he/she can choose a foreign language of choice for the high school requirement in our state. My older kids both went through three years of Latin, and I began with the younger girls last year. This year we’ve continued that study. But we are also studying geography this year and looking at countries and cultures all around the globe. So when the opportunity arose to try a new to us foreign language program- Middlebury Interactive Languages- I thought the girls might enjoy a brief study of one of the languages of a culture that we will be “visiting” in our studies.

middlebury titleFrom the French Courses offered, we received Elementary French 1: Grades 3-5. We received a six month course- one semester- of this program designed for 3rd-5th graders. The programs can be purchased as a course with an instructor who does the grading and can assist the students or without a teacher, meaning the student watches and learns from online instruction only. We received the “Without Teacher” option which costs $119. This program is online based. The computer system requirements can be found on the FAQ page, which also has an email to use for further technical help. In order to record speaking sections, you need a microphone. We don’t have a headset microphone, but the one in my laptop worked fine.

Middlebury Interactive Languages has been developed as an interactive, online language program using techniques that have been developed and used at physical Middlebury Language Schools for many years. The program uses an immersion approach to teach the languages (meaning only the language is used- no English- and students pick it up by context). The online program offers Spanish, French, German and Chinese languages. Some of the languages are offered for students in K-12th grade. This chart shows which grade levels are offered for which languages.


The language classes are purchased for a six month time period. During this time period, the students are expected to cover a semester’s worth of classes. The online program gives a suggested calendar for your particular class and grade level.


Students in grades 3-5 are recommended to do 2-3 days of study per week. Students can move at their own pace; however, the class subscription will be over at the end of the six months. We did different numbers of lessons each week. Sometimes the lessons were short, and we could cover more. Sometimes the girls got fidgety, and we would stop sooner.

The subscription is for one student, and because the program keeps records of activities completed (more on that later), you would have to pay for a subscription for each child in order to have a record kept for each. Because I do not need to record French as a grade, I let the girls watch the lessons together and then take turns answering questions on the interactive portions.


When you first open the program and log on, your welcome screen will have a place at the bottom that shows you exactly where your child left off and what lesson he/she is on next.



When you choose the lesson, the black and white pictures at the side show the items the child has completed. The colored items are the ones left to complete.


There are different activities that your child will encounter. There are videos that tell a story. For example, our program began with the French retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. As the story unfolds and the child watches the action, certain French words are emphasized. In our first unit, the girls were focusing on greetings. So throughout the story, the greetings that the characters spoke were emphasized.

After the child is presented with a story in French, they are given other interactive things to do. Explore sections allow them to click on pictures and learn the new words. Practice sections test them on the words and phrases they can remember with drag and match activities. Speaking lab sections have the child speak the new words and listen to them played back. With the no teacher option that we are using, there is no one to “grade” the speaking activities, but the child can record the speaking and listen to it. Quizzes are spaced throughout the unit- both word and phrase quizzes and speaking lab quizzes.

As the child completes sections, they can click on the check mark at the top of the page to be told how many are correct. When the activity is a quiz, those grades are recorded in the “Gradebook” that can be accessed at the top of the page, using the menu tab.


The gradebook records the results of the quizzes. Because there is no teacher grading, the speaking labs are just checked off as 100% participation. Because I was letting both girls use the program, they just did the activities together taking turns to drag and drop or to speak.


The menu tab also accesses a Table of Contents. This can be used to look back over the lessons, but activities cannot be repeated. It can be effective in just remembering information that has been presented.

The girls really like the program. We aren’t through and plan to continue using through the remainder of our semester. They enjoy the fact that the words and phrase are presented through stories and songs. The activities interest them, and they look forward to French.

IMG_2401I’m a little more undecided. I’ve noticed that they seem to be able to begin to match words and phrases to pictures without really grasping what the words and phrases mean. It’s just remembering a picture. I know that they are having fun. I’m just not sure how much they are actually retaining.

I do love the immersion approach to language learning. I’ve seen it work before, and I know it can be effective. So I do like that they are listening to stories and songs and learning words in context, rather than spending time just memorizing a list of words. And I like that the information is presented in an appealing way that makes them enjoy  learning.

If I were going to purchase this in the future and had the money to do so, I would probably go ahead and choose the option with a teacher. I think this would be much more valuable in determining whether or not the kids are really understanding and remembering.


The Facts:

Company: Middlebury Interactive Languages

Product: French Courses- Elementary French 1; Grades 3-5

Age Range: K-12 for the entire Middlebury program; Grades 3-5 for our course

Price: $119 Without Teacher $294 With Teacher

Connect with Middlebury Interactive Languages:

Google +:

Crew Disclaimer
Other Review Crew members reviewed different languages and grade levels, so make sure to click over and read the other reviews.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Fun Fall Learning Ideas (And a Printable Packet)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

Fall is well on the way. In fact, I’ve been traveling a little north of my home this weekend, and I can tell it’s definitely coming. We’ve been driving in the mountains, looking at the beautiful turning trees, and I’ve been thinking of all things fall. So, in this post, I’ll be sharing some fun fall learning ideas, and I’ll give you the link to a printable packet to go along with the ideas.

fall learning

Leaf Exploration

Fall is a great time to study leaves. There are usually plenty available lying around. Go outdoors with your child and gather some leaves. Choose leaves that are not crunchy and all the way dead yet. Bring your leaves inside and make some observations about them. Look up your leaves online and try to identify them, The Audubon Field Guide is free to use (you do have to register), and you can look up your leaves and try to identify them by color, size, shape. Have your child sketch the leaf to observe it better.

You can take this process a step further and talk to your child about types of trees. What types of trees lose their leaves in the fall? Why do they lose their leaves? This site has some great information about trees.

Apple Prints

For a fun fall craft, try making apple prints with your kids. Take an apple, cut it in half. Dip the apple face down in some paint and stamp the prints on paper. We’ve enjoyed doing this with fall colors so that our papers end up colorful for the season. Try cutting different types of apples to see if there is any difference in the prints they make.


If your child has an interest in types of apples, this webquest would be a great activity. In a webquest, kids are directed to places in the internet to learn certain facts. They learn how to do research and how to record information. In this quest, the kids will be able to learn about all different types of apples and compare them.

Leaf Rubbings

This is another favorite craft. It’s one that never grows old for us. Find some great leaves- not the crunchy ones- and bring them indoors. Place the leaves flat on a table with a piece if white printer paper. Peel a crayon and use the side of the crayon to run over the leaf, making a print. This sometimes takes a while for kids to figure out. If they rub with the tip of the crayon, like in regular coloring, it won’t work.

You could do this activity along with the leaf exploration to help you identify the types of leaves.


Fall Scavenger Hunt

This is a fun activity that involves heading outdoors. Give each child (or team) a list of fall items that can be found in the yard. It’s more fun if you can get the whole family involved. All begin at the same time with a scavenger hunt sheet in hand. Go at the same time and see who can find all of the items on the list the quickest.

Adapt this by pairing younger kids with older ones in teams. And choose things that are in your yard for the kids to find.

Pumpkin Writing

Use the pumpkin- a very traditional sign of fall- as a writing prompt for some creative writing. Tell the kids that you won’t be looking at grammar and punctuation, you just want them to write creatively. Talk about pumpkins and let them think for a while. Then set a timer for about ten minutes and let them write.

Kids can choose to write fiction- a made up story about a pumpkin- or nonfiction, including facts that they know about pumpkins. This page is a great resource for kids who want to know more about this traditional fall icon.


If you’d like some worksheets to go along with these activities, you can click here to access them. (You do need to subscribe to my mailing list. I promise no spam, just weekly updates!).


You can find some more great fall learning ideas from the Schoolhouse Crew carnival (live on 10-22-14).



This Week’s Favorite Read

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This week I haven’t finished the current book I’m reading for review so I’m sharing an older book that I read and really enjoyed. The Prayer Box is Christian fiction from Lisa Wingate.



Tandi Jo is a single mom who is struggling in every way. She’s hiding from an abusive  relationship. She has no job and not much money, and may soon not have a place to  stay. She’s living in a rental cottage on Cape Hatteras when she finds Iola Anne-the  owner of the cottage and the large house next door- dead. Tandi is given temporary  work to clean out Iola Anne’s house. When she stumbles upon some letters hidden in  boxes in the closet, Tandi begins reading, and Iola Anne’s letters touch Tandi’s heart.  Thanks to the letters and the friendships she’s developing on Cape Hatteras, Tandi  learns that God does love her and has a plan for her life. Read the rest at Leah’s Good  Reads.

Weekly Wrap Up: Before We Go On Vacation

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

This week was another fairly “normal” week of school. I have had a sinus infection and been pretty miserable, but I finally relented and headed to urgent care on Thursday. With an antibiotic and some decongestants, I’m feeling lots better. The doctor also heard some wheezing in my chest, so I’m glad I went ahead.

This next week we’re headed to Kentucky for a trip we’ve wanted to do for quite some time- the Creation Museum. As we’ve used so many great Answers in Genesis resources over the years, I’ve wanted to take the kids. We’re going with my parents this coming week. We’re all super excited for a vacation!



The girls and I were in Target (probably multiple times this week) and saw the Halloween things out in full force. I find it hard to believe it’s already headed toward the end of October! The kids have been planning out their costumes. Our church is doing a trunk or treat this year for the first time, so we’re excited to see how that turns out.



Another thing we’ve really enjoyed this week is a review item- Snake Oil. It’s one of the last Crew reviews for the year- a board game for the family. The girls and I played on Saturday night while the guys were gone, and then the whole family played on Sunday. It’s so much fun, and I can’t wait to review it!



Ashlyne, Rachel, and I crossed the border into South America this week in our My Father’s World. We headed into Brazil and have been reading about the land and the culture. We are all loving this. Ashlyne said the other day that her favorite subject is cultures. I would definitely agree!




This is my cute puppy picture for the week. When Charles was younger, he was terrified of dogs. Even when we got Blondie- almost a year ago- he wasn’t sure about her. But this sweet, sweet dog has won his heart.



Okay, here’s another Target picture. Rachel and I spend lots of time together these days on evenings when the big kids have football/cheer and Ashlyne is at gym. Looking at this picture, I can’t believe how grown up this baby looks!

Football is fast coming to an end. Our varsity played their last game on Friday. They didn’t make it into the playoffs. The JV have done a tremendous job and only have one loss. They’ll be going to championships this coming weekend. Although Charles hasn’t been able to play since his knee was injured, he’s been at every game on the sidelines supporting his team.



I caught Kathryne doing school this week! Seriously I hardly get pictures of her because she works in her room. She’s doing one of my favorites here- the timeline book.




Ashlyne and Rachel jumped back into Saxon math this year. I was a little worried because I felt like last year had been a somewhat wasted math year. And math seems to be the subject that we all struggle with the most. Both of them are doing well, though.

I watched them work a problem this week and was so interested in how they chose to work it. I love to see how my kids are thinking. There was an area problem that we drew out on graph paper- nine squares by nine squares. We were looking at area and at squares and square roots. After the girls both drew the problem on the graph paper, I asked them to figure out how to find 9×9. Ashlyne immediately began counting squares. Rachel immediately started writing this addition problem on her paper. It took me a while to figure out what she was doing. She was adding sets of 18 blocks. Of course, both processes came up with the same answer. It was a good lesson to the girls that thinking through the process is important because usually there is more than one way to solve the problem.




I had my hair cut yesterday. I haven’t changed my hairstyle in…forever. But when I went to get it cut like normal, the girl cutting was good at persuasion. She cut layers with a stack at the back. I love, love, love how much lighter it is on my head. When it is hot, I can feel so much cooler, and it’s super easy to take care of.





The girls and I went to help at the gym today with the fall festival. There were carnival style games, food, and raffles. We actually won a cornhole set and leotard! And it was pretty perfect weather.


fall festival


Tomorrow morning- early- we’re headed out toward the Creation Museum. I’m not looking forward to the ride, but I am excited about the museum.


I’m linking up with Weekly Wrap Up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Weekly Wrap-Up