Tag Archives: history

Last Week Before Christmas Break

The Homeschool Mother's Journal Ah, the week is over!!   We are taking a few weeks off schooling till after New Year’s.  I am personally looking forward to this break.  How long do you guys take off??

Unit Study

This week we started a 2 week study of Ancient Greece.  The kids enjoyed this study as much as they liked Ancient Egypt!  They dove right in to the kid version of the classic Greek tales and the Olympians.  I saw it during play time when Odysseus and Zeus came out to play 😉  I took a picture of the books they have really been into this week.  I appreciated the kid version because they cleaned up, or rather, covered up the folks in the illustrations.  The Ancient Greeks were quite into nudity.

I will happily share the titles and ISBN with you for any future Greece studies.  We hit up the local library, I mean, free books right??

I never thought I would ever HS via unit study.  I grew up in the traditional public school setting, my educational bend is classical education with its focus on rote memorizing at the young ages I have… but I truly am seeing a benefit to this unit study style.  It is really working for my kids!!  Now, we still do classical in many senses, but I really love homeschooling for the variety and the ability to be eclectic with the kids’ education.

What’s Working or Not Working for us

The blasted TV!!  The kids were getting so focused on the reward of TV or trampoline play that I was finding lots of school work un-done, or straight up hidden under binders…. or in  the trash 😦

So during our school week, there is no electronics use (except for our Latin DVD and typing program) until after supper.  I would love to say it make instant improvement, but we all know children and reality.  We have also had some fit throwing and problems with motivation.  It happens.  I remember this phase with my oldest boy, so I am not looking forward to the battle with my 3rd child, but we got through it once… I keep reminding myself about that 😉

Boot Camp

I am doing a mild version of Boot Camp with my 4 yr old son.  Both my hubby and I were military and we know what it looks like.  The whole theory behind Military School is discipline, control, and order.  When my hubby was deployed in 2007, I had to institute it due to bad attitudes and behavior.  It was rough, I got pretty exhausted (especially being pregnant), but it helps and works for my boys.

In a nutshell, Boot Camp means that my 4 yr old has no opinion, no free time, and lots of physical exertion.  There are push ups, flutter kicks, and lap running in between activities, and NO free time, whatsoever.  It truly is tiring, but with a very nasty attitude, and the normal forms of discipline aren’t working, this is a necessary step.

Video to Share

A blogging buddy has some great videos on napkin folding for a Holiday meal or any dressed up dinner.  You may want to turn the volume down, however, since her dog was adding narration along with her.  You simply need to watch what she is doing anyway 😉

The activities

We didn’t leave the house, per se, but the activity of the house this week is dealing with a toddler on top of everything else 😉  Noah has decided that he has a definite opinion about everything and apparently was given both hubby’s and my stubborn streak… all in one child!  So he wants a bowl of cereal with milk in it… and yes there is a lot of spilled milk as he works it out.  He really doesn’t know that I have been barely adding a pittance of milk into his bowl and I hand him a baby spoon so that he really can’t use it.  The bright side: he has decided that bibs are now cool, so he is wearing it during this whole ‘independent eating’ phase.  Woo hoo for mommy.

Book List

Classical Kids, Laurie Carlson  #1556522908
this is an activity guide to ancient Greek life, art, dress, food…. great book!

The Arrow and the Lamp, Margaret Hodges  #0316367907
this is the story of Psyche

Jason and the Golden Fleece, C.J. Naden  #0893753602

Theseus and the Minotaur, Warwick Hutton  #068950473x

Hercules, Robert Burleigh  #8015201667

King Midas and the golden Touch, Nathaniel Hawthorne  #0152428003

The Olympians, Leonard Everett Fisher   #0823405222
this is a great, short, little narrative on each of the Greek gods, with none of the gruesome details 😉

Odysseus and the Cyclops, Warwick Hutton  #0689800363
again, great little retelling with no gory details shown, though the one soldier does get eaten, it just doesn’t show the details, nor does it actually show the cyclops being blinded.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a MUST SEE for everyone!!  We had an absolute blast there.  It is the oldest State Park in our nation.  We stayed on the USA side of the falls, and I was saddened to discover that the US side is a bit dumpy and unkept.  The Canadian side has built up with hotels, suites, restaurants, and such.  I will admit that this probably has MUCH to do with the fact that the view of the Falls is marvelous from their side.  You get the full on view of all 3 falls.

During the Industrial Revolution of the early 19th Century, the natural beauty of Niagara Falls began to suffer as eager industrialists built mills and factories along the river to harness its power. By the late 1860s, a small group concerned about the preservation of the falls founded the Free Niagara movement, which held that the natural beauty of the land surrounding the falls should be protected from exploitation and free to the public. Members urged New York State to reclaim the falls and the surrounding area.

See more history and fun facts here at the Niagara Falls State Park website.  There are some things you may need to know:


  • There is a beautiful B&B right near the entrance of the park, no pets allowed at the Red Coach Inn, however I would happily stay there next time we travel through!!
  • When booking hotels through a discount website, always do directions, the hotels along Niagara Falls Blvd are a straight shot along that road (which does change names) takes you right to the various visitor centers and parking for the complex.
  • The biggest hotel on the American side of the falls is a casino.
  • We stayed at Motel 8 on Rainbow Blvd.  They had adjoining rooms (necessary for our large, young crew) and a free continental breakfast.  The breakfast was donuts and cold cereal, but it fed kids.  the rooms were spacious, the queen beds in kid’s room was soft, our king bed was hard, but the location of the hotel bothered me.  It was on a corner of a busy intersection, parking surrounded the building ‘alley’ style and none of the entrances were kid friendly with the smoking area right there!!  But hey, it was cheap!!!  Next time we will stay farther out on Niagara Falls Blvd where the hotels were what I am used to with landscaping and parking lots.


  • If you enjoy Indian cuisine, you will love the offering in Niagara Falls.  We counted no less than 5 Indian buffets within short walk of the Falls complex.
  • Down Niagara Falls Blvd we enjoyed an Asian buffet that was fresh and tasty called New Star Buffet.
  • For lunch, we enjoyed a local ‘dog’ joint that was lots of fun called Whistle Pig!!  Not only do you get a hot dog just how you wan it (after living in Chicago, this is always fun) but the fries were single cut off the tater and super fun!!  The other benefit of this joint was the passing of Wal-Mart 😉  A family vacation staple 😉

Must Do:

  •   You must ride the Maiden of the Mist!  It is the boat ride that takes you right under Horseshoe Falls and past the other 2!  You are going to get damp from the spray, however you get a free blue poncho that is longer than most shorts, very handy!  For this reason, you may want to do this ride first and use this longer poncho for the Cave walk.
  • Cave of the Winds.  This is the decking that used to take you into a cave at the base of Bridal Falls, however centuries of erosion has opened it up.  This little walk will be a soaker!!!  It is also very loud down there, I had terrified youngins.  However, my hubby had lots of fun getting his glass of falls water for his boss 😉  My children still remember their experiences on the hurricane deck!!
  • Parking on the Sister Islands is only $10 and worth it if walking is a huge problem for you.  Getting into the lot before 9am guaranteed us a front row space and a quiet morning view of the falls where we sipped coffee and the kids sat to enjoy the views.
  • You can find parking for free along the roads for free and the walks are just beautiful, but they are long.

Next time we visit Niagara Falls, we are hoping to experience it from the Canadian side for the views and hotel options.

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Happy Reformation Day


Happy Reformation Day everyone!!  This weekend we had a Reformation Party in lieu of Halloween.  Linking in with Memory Lane blog, I want to share some of my favorite memories of the party Saturday night.

*Please note: this sort of thing is not meant to be anti-catholic.  It is merely the celebration of the history of our faith.  The Catholic friends we have agree with us that this period of Church history is ripe with abuses and corruption.  We learn from history so as not to repeat it.

The party rules were simple: dress up as a reformation character, explain who you were and the part you played in the reformation.   This year we had Tetzel’s sister, John Knox, a French Princess, Jane Grey, an early bounty hunter, a stable boy, several knights, several monks, and a bar wench.

My friend Ginger did a quick back story as Gertruda, Tetzel’s sister, explaining why her brother was trying to raise money through the sale of indulgences.  She did a fantastic German accent for her tale and the kids had a ball listening!

We also played ‘Reformation’ which looked very similar to the good old marshmallow eating game “chubby bunny”.  We had a child actually get 9 large marshmallows into his mouth and still said “Reformation” pretty clearly 😉

My hubby made up quizzes of 2 levels and handed out German chocolate to the winners.  Our big prize of the night was a copy of Luther, which is a very good movie!!

A great little, easy to read book on the Reformation is The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World.  My husband thought it would be a great history book for the home educator.

Feel free to hop over and share your memories with me at Kay’s Korner.

Memory Lane


Johnstown Flood

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We love history!  What I mean by that is the adults in this home love history and we drag the children in this home to any historic site we can get to.  In June we took a week-long vacation traveling … Continue reading


Fall Family Days, Tryon Palace

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“A Kid’s Life for Me” Fall Family Day at Tryon Palace529 South Front StreetNew Bern, NCA Time Travel Adventure Saturday, October 159:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  Regular admission Time travel to the 18th and 19th centuries and experience the adventure … Continue reading


WW: Noah’s Ark

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Whew, what a week!!  This week we have actually stayed on track with our school work, I have actually checked all things in the kids’ bins… I almost don’t want to write that down 😉  Have you ever had a … Continue reading


Cotton Mills

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If you enjoy visuals for your kids with history, I have a delightful suggestion for the cotton mills of the industrial revolution. North & South is a delightful, clean, movie delving into the Industrial Revolution in northern England.  Margaret’s father … Continue reading



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Over Memorial Day weekend, we drove down to the hill country of South Carolina to see Daddy. We had loads of fun at local parks, the hotel pool, but of course, our family vacation is never complete without some history … Continue reading


Junior Rangers

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If you would like to get your kids involved with the national historic sites during visits, I highly recommend asking at the ranger station for a Jr. Ranger book.  These books get the kids involved during the tours and through the … Continue reading