Medieval horse-inspired giveaway!

Okay, I smell a giveaway!!!

It's been too long since I've done a giveaway and the mood is upon me.

**Name the title of a favorite horse book and leave the title in the comments for a chance to win the book mentioned  in my Medieval Times review post earlier [and] also the book Guinevere's Gift, which is a great King Arthur tale with horses.


This giveaway is closed, congratulations to Ali, who is the winner!

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This is a fun book, here is the write up at Sonlight's Curriculum site:

"Award-winning author tells the story of a young boy and his rigorous apprenticeship and training at Vienna's Spanish Court Riding school, home of the famous Lipizzan stallions."

and a review from one of their customers: "Loved this story of a boys perseverance in pursuit of his dream. And my son loved watching YouTube videos of Lippizaners once we finished the book."


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from Random House:

"On the night of Guinevere’s birth, there was a prophecy that foretold she would one day be highest lady in the land and wed to a great king. But 13 years have passed, and the prophecy couldn’t be further off. Guinevere is now an orphan and a ward of her aunt and uncle, the king and queen of Gwynedd. Tomboyish and awkward, Gwen is no great beauty, and nobody takes the prophecy seriously–especially not Gwen. But then one day Gwen meets a strange young man in the woods who claims to be part of an ancient tribe whose mission is to guard and protect her. Then she stumbles across a sinister plot brewing within the castle walls–one she alone might be able to prevent. Guinevere is beginning to realize her destiny is more complex than it seems–and this is only the beginning."

***this giveaway is an independent giveaway, totally of my own dreaming up. Open only to the contiguous U.S. addresses only. Sorry. Void where prohibited.

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Medieval Times Partners In Education Program

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Did you know that Medieval Times has an educational program?  I didn't either, until we were invited to attend a matinee show along with other schools.

Medieval Times has an educational area on their website here *Medieval Times Partners In Education where  you can read about different aspects of Medieval life and printout pdfs for classroom use.  Schools and homeschools can plan a Medieval Times field-trip to complement their study on the Medieval Ages.

The Matinee program consisted of time to view the torture museum, the horse stables and the gift shop before the show.  We were then treated to a tournament show, interesting educational information on the role of women in the castle, the training of apprentices, the horses used in the show, and a yummy lunch.


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I don't know if Josie or Demi-Sky loved the jousting more.  Josie was definitely a fan of all the sword-play.  She was of the opinion that a great plot-surprise would be a girl as disguised knight.  I have to say that I agree.

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We all know which parts were Meg's favorite, right?  Answer:  all the parts with horses in them :)

The show breeds and trains beautiful Andalusian horses.  {sigh}  I used to be a horse-crazy girl like Meg.  These horses captivated me.

**Homeschool-Mom-Nerd-Moment*** raise your hand if you remember a book about this breed used in a Sonlight Core?

Bueller?  Bueller?

These horses are just beautiful, and are trained in the art of dressage and dance.

Art in motion. No hyperbole.

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Meg just stood, looked and inhaled.  She has applied for a job as a stable-hand here, but didn't get the call.  Could you imagine the scene in the house if she got the call?  Seriously, she would have mucked out all the stalls for free that day, and missed the show even, just to stand in the stalls and inhale the horsey-scent.  Yes, she is that horse-addled.

all in all, it was a great day!  The show was fantastic, the educational parts went well with the story of the show, the food was great...and we got a chocolate chip cookie!  A great day, indeed  :)

*Disclosure: I was compensated by Medieval Times with entry to the show in order to do my review of the program. My opinions and experiences are entirely my own.

around the house -back to homeschool organization

So, How long does it take an un-organized person to get ready for the new homeschool year?  Umm....Sky snapped this photo of me yesterday.  I am finally boxing up the Sonlight Cores we have used and making room on my shelves for this year's books.  Sadly, there is more in that closet there, but I don't know when I will get to it!


So, instead of organizing, we've had several days of this...

because back -to -homeschool is better served along with back-to-beach-homeschool :)

The beach is so much more empty and pleasant now that everyone else is back to school...We plan to visit as much as possible while the weather is nice.


Emma the Wonder-labradoodle hurt her foot recently.  She wasn't putting weight on it, so a trip to the vet was in order.  They took some x-rays...including this body x-ray.  It was very interesting and nice to know there weren't any way-ward socks or toys inside always made me nervous that she loved my fluffy bed-socks so much!

No breaks, just a badly bruised foot pad.  She is back to her normal self now.

I am excited to jump back into homeschool, having a Monday off was very nice, now I'm ready to hit the street running!

What's new at your place?  How was back to school?


good day in homeschool land

Monday was a really good day, at least homeschool-wise.
Well, beside the part about my van needing to be towed to the dealership twice in one day.  Yes, we towed it there twice.  Second time is the charm, I hope :) 

So, Monday was a really good day, we got so much done.  The secret?  I planned ahead.

Yes, 11 years of homeschooling- and I don't plan ahead much.  {secret confession}

Sunday I sat down, and not only did a smidgen of preparing, like I am apt to do...but I sat down and typed up schedules for DD16 and DD14 for the week.  I haven't been doing this, since Sonlight gives me these nice schedules all done (love it!)  

But, DD14 just finished Core 6 and we decided we don't have the funds for Core 7- so I will be putting together a History reading list for her, based on Story of the World vol.3 (which I adore)

DD16 does very well working with her Sonlight Core 100 schedule and using her syllabus for the classes she takes through the Biola Star program (Physical Science, Lit & Comp) but..she tends to get a bit free and loose with her other subjects.  I realized I need to type up what she needs to do for the week, so I can see when she doesn't do them...ahem.

I also planned out which subjects I wanted to tackle with the 3 younger students- and we started our first day with Writing with Ease .  The day went by very smoothly and clockwork. 

LOVE IT!  Sky is not surprised, it is a logical way to do things, but of course I am not logical.

I hope all of my bloggy-friends are having a great week, too! 
And that you don't have to tow your van ;)

Knights & Medieval history- learning without school

We are wrapping up our study of knights and the Medieval age with Sonlight's Core 2 World History.  I love Sonlight, and it is really working with my 8th and 10th graders...but lately, with my 3rd and 5th graders- we are just not feeling the love with the Usborne Book of World History and the Usborne Time Traveler.  They are interesting books, don't get me wrong...but they are difficult for reading out-loud, the kids lose interest.  They are nice for the individual kids to sit with and read, but they are just not working for our group learning.

I perused the shelves at our town library, and came home with 
"The Magic Tree House research guide-Knights and Castles"  We are reading these instead and using them to jump off into research/study areas.  I am planning to end with a video on Castles.
I love Sonlight because everything I need is on my shelf, and it is all scheduled- but I have mentioned before that I am a worksheet girl.  I ended up making my own worksheet for the Feudal System (as soon as I can get it scanned in, I will link to it here for anyone interested) And then, joy of joy- I stumbled onto a site called Homeschool Share.
I am all over the internet looking for worksheets and learning ideas, I do not know how I ever missed this site.  It is a mostly lapbooking-unit study site, but you don't necessarily have to make a lapbook. I am using some of their pages just as worksheets to re-enforce our learning.  Loving it!
the lapbook material for Level 2 Knights are all found here * level two knights templates
So far, we have used:
  • What happened next cards
  • the life of a knight tab book
  • Where did knights live?
  • design a shield
  • Kn in Knight phonics add-on
**We used the What happened next cards as a time-line, instead of putting them into a pocket.
We are using:
  • Protecting the castle
  • Code of Chivalry
  • Bible verse cards
  • Vocabulary cards
lots of learning and's what a life learning without school is all about :)

Snapshot, a day of homeschooling

Our homeschool day today, Friday looked like this...

8:00 Teddy arrives, I am getting ready for the day, getting the littles breakfast, Meg takes the dog for a walk.

8:30 leave to take Meg to horse riding lesson, the littles have instructions to finish the 30 min. video they are watching and then to do something else, they play with playmobil

I return and school begins with the 4 youngest.

Character Study with the 3 littles, then they move on to Math-today they are doing Math skills work for their grades using Flashkids workbooks, I am giving them a Math-U-See holiday today. Then we do cursive handwriting, Language Arts workbook -using adjectives to make sentences more interesting, and phonics (explode the code).

Josie does Math-U-See on her own, today she has a test. Then she does a page in her Language Arts workbook- using prepositional phrases to make writing more interesting, and then she works with Literature using Mosdos Press. I work with her a bit on the assignment, explain terms a bit.

I leave to pick up Meg at her riding lesson, the littles do a bit of quiet reading and then go back to playmobil...Josie tackles her History reading assignments from her Sonlight core 6 program.

I get back with Meg, she tackles her Math-U-See work, her grammar work and then her independent History reading. I set the 3 littles down again with drawings they did yesterday from our history reading, and have them write a paragraph beneath the drawing describing what the picture is about-from the read aloud History book.

I make lunch, set up the table in the family room so the 4 youngest can eat lunch and watch an Eyewitnnes DVD on Butterflies and Moths that I got at the library. This will be the introduction for Science work we will be doing on Monday.

We are done for the day at lunch. The 2 older girls will still have some history reading and comprehension questions/vocabulary later in the day, Josie still has to do some spelling, but the 3 littles are done.

After lunch, I have promised to take the kids to Barnes & Nobles for hot chocolate and reading fun.

this is a snapshot of our day today, a bit of a light day, but not totally unusual.

Thanks for visiting!

Viking studies with young students

Our studies with Sonlight Core 2 have taken us to the fascinating history of the Vikings.

We read about the vikings in A Child's History of the World. We then took paint to paper and followed the Vikings adventures, starting with the Viking homelands.

This is Amie's Viking settlements map.

We read more about Viking villages and Viking ship building methods in
the Usborne Book of World History. I had the kids draw a picture from the reading, and then write a narration about what they learned.

Window on the World is another Sonlight 2 book. I love this book. It's colorful, full of interesting facts, and outlines the role of Christianity in each country and gives the students points to pray for. This book is big on cultivating a heart for missions.

It helps my boys to have something to do during the read alouds. Here is a flag coloring page I found online.

My Sonlight history notes suggested we go outside and measure out a viking ship.

80 feet by 16 feet. I had no idea. Fascinating.

This is a glimpse into our history/geography studies last week. Thanks for visiting:)

This Week at home (a homeschool diary) part 3

A peek at our Homeschool Week that was...
-part 3 of a post that began here* with Monday & Tuesday

Friday began with Sky dropping Meg off at the Stables on his way to work. I then picked her up a little after 10 a.m. We had a late start in our homeschool day, we started with a Bible/Character story with the 3 littles around 9:30. Josie worked on her own Bible reading assignment from Sonlight 6, and also her own devotional reading from her youth group.

Our homeschool centers a lot around reading out-loud...which is a bit of a challenge for 2 wiggly 10 year old boys, and bordering on problematic for our bonus student, Teddy- who has an auditory processing disorder. (Frankly, I just don't know how to get around this until his reading is up to grade level..for now, I am better at moving through the material using we are doing what we can to adapt when we can, such as finding coloring sheets to anchor the reading material)

All of that to explain that I quit using the Sonlight Bible reading schedule with the 3 littles, it was just too much. Instead, I use the Awesome book of Bible facts they schedule, and I switch back and forth between the Miller books and The Child's book of Character building.

I then had to leave to pick up Meg at the stables, so I turned the kids loose. They immersed themselves in a new Playmobil set Demi got as a gift.

I returned home with Meg, and we began table-time. The kids all helped themselves to a snack and juicebox, bringing them to the table while they worked. Today we worked on Math, handwriting and a language arts worksheet. Josie worked on Math, her math notebook (copying times tables and area formulas) grammar (with some intro work with me) and then she got out her notebook with her Sonlight assignments which are history and literature. I spent a few minutes directing her with some map worksheets. Meg worked on the same subjects as Josie, but with different materials/books. (minus the math notebook).

We had a quick lunch.

We then put our books away and headed out to the skate-board park, which I count as p.e. We spent a little over two hours there.

When we came home, I set the 3 littles up with their phonics work ( 2 online and Amie with her workbook, she did 2 pages) Josie read more history work, Meg worked on a creative writing story she is doing on the computer. Then, we were done for the day.

I commenced cleaning and going to the store/baking a birthday cake. The kids played inside/outside/ at the neighbors.

We had a small party that evening with friends and family for Josie's birthday. She is 13 now...I officially have 2 teenagers in the house.

This friends, has been an accounting of our week.
I couldn't squeeze everything into my posts, I did not put in music practice, music lessons, fencing/tennis lessons, orchestra rehearsals...but I'm sure you get the picture!

Thanks for visiting!