Mattie Richardson, Author, and Her Horses of History Series ~ a Crew review

Horses In History Series from author Mattie Richardson

Books that dive into history in a unique way are highly appreciated by this mom, who is constantly looking for new ways to interest my sweet girls in different things. When the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series of books from young author Mattie Richardson came up for review, I jumped at the chance to read them. I had seen them previously but had not been able to get them at the time. Wow, have we been missing out!

Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books started writing these books when she was about 13. She has picked up a very interesting and unique way to look at different events in history with this series of books – from the perspective of the horses. What a fabulous outlook to take, especially when you consider her age as she started writing them. Well, since the first one, she hasn’t really stopped writing. Taking on the idea of how the horses might have seen different historical events was a stroke of genius.

Mattie Richardson books

There are 4 books in this series and we received each of them to read and review:

  • Appaloosy,
  • Dusty’s Trail,
  • Golden Sunrise, and
  • Day and Night.

We also received the new ebook enrichment guide to go along with Day and Night.

Appaloosy by Mattie RichardsonAppaloosy – This book takes a look at the final freedom of the Nez Perce tribe. Storm is a beautiful Appaloosa with unique markings who belongs to the tribe. The story follows the attempt by the tribe to maintain their freedom from the desires of the white man. War breaks out in Idaho, disrupting the life of the stunning young stallion. We follow Storm through many different owners, including both horse thieves/rustlers and kind owners. As the story continues, we follow Storm’s struggle for freedom, both against owners and his own heart.

Miss J and I read this book out loud during the review period, reading a chapter a night together. It was an interesting story about a time that she did not know anything about. The history of the struggles of the Nez Perce tribe as seen through the eyes of the horse made it an event that wasn’t too hard to read. There are some situations that sensitive children might have a harder time with but they are very important to the history of the events. They are handled carefully and are well done, emphasizing just the right amount of the scare or concern or fright while allowing the proper influence on the story because horse thieving, fights, battles, hunger, and more are all a part of it. We enjoyed reading the story together and seeing it all play out from a bit safer of a view point – the horse.

Dusty's Trail by Mattie Richardson

Dusty’s Trail – The call of the newspaper ad is just too strong for the young boy and his horse. The Pony Express! What an adventure it would be. Against his mother’s wishes, young Levi takes off on his horse Dusty. Dusty tries to let Levi know that this isn’t the best plan but Levi wins out and they become part of The Pony Express. Amid attacks, heat, cold, missing relays, and more, the story of how The Pony Express worked through the eyes of Dusty is a joy.

Golden Sunrise by Mattie Richardson

Golden Sunrise – The palomino pony, Cheyenne, is at home on the ranch when Jared decides he just has to be a part of the changes occuring in Texas in the 1830s and 1840s. The Texas fight for independence was just too appealing to the young lad and so with his horse, they join up. Being a part of the war may just be more than Cheyenne bargained for, though as she learns about the war she knows it is a just cause. Right in the midst of it all, Cheyenne and Jared are part of the big battles and meet many of the people who came to be important in the history of it all.

Day and Night by Mattie Richardson

Day and Night – The American Civil War was anything but civil, even for the horses. Two horse brothers, Tucker and Shiloh, are separated from each other as their lives diverge. One ends up on the side of the North and the other ends up on the side of the South. One ends up carrying a high ranking official. The other ends up carrying a boy, um – girl dressed like a boy who lied to be able to fight. From the border wars and the fights on the western front of the war, to the bloodiest battles fought, to protecting the lines and taking care of their riders, these horses saw it all and learned so much about the war that maybe we should learn from them.

Each of these stories is told from the horses’ point of view. Each is well told and highlights issues surrounding the events that might not be immediately obvious or the part that we have learned about in past history studies. These unique looks at the events of the stories will broaden the reader’s idea of what it is like to fight in a battle, seek freedom, work hard on a horse, ride for hours on end, or be a part of something bigger than themselves.

enrichment_guide

The Day and Night Enrichment Guide is a full-on unit study designed to help the reader get more out of the book. There are 8 parts to the guide, with all of the first seven following the same format. Each part contains

  • reading comprehension – questions to help guide the reader’s understanding of the story
  • vocabulary – words used within the story that might be new or unfamiliar to the reader; most are fill-in-the-blank activities with one matching activity
  • a soldier’s life – designed to help the reader understand more about the different aspects of a soldier’s life, there is information on food, bugle calls, medicine, camp life, and more
  • living history activity – these activities help bring to life the things that a soldier would have experienced, such as making butter, eating hardtack, or having johnnycakes; some of these include making a diorama or studying a reenactment
  • geography – because geography was important to war, there is a study of the states involved in the story, landmarks of the battles, rivers, and other big picture ideas of the civil war
  • horses and history – a look at the role of the horse in the civil war, including tack and equipment, purpose of the cavalry, breeds of horses, and more
  • creating your own stories – working one element at a time, the reader begins to create their own stories
  • biography – a look at an important person from the story
  • further reading/advanced track – additional books to read to further develop understanding of the Civil War

Part 8 is the completion of the story the reader was writing and suggestions for field trips.

The enrichment guide can be used as is but it would be very easy to pick the pieces of it that fit your need or your family and use just those. In whole, it is a solid literature, history, and geography study, with writing included. In pieces, it will be a good supplement to the story. Either way, it is a recommended addition to the book.

Horses In History Series from author Mattie Richardson

While we have not yet used the enrichment guide, I am getting it printed out and into a binder so that we can use it in the spring for our history with Miss J, age 10. We will not

use the further reading section, but all the others will be interesting and really create a solid study of these battles in the Civil War.

I am excited about using these four books from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books as the base for a history unit. These books are easy to read and chock full of the details of history that truly bring it to life.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought about the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series. Please click on the banner below to visit the Crew blog and read more reviews.

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Each Step of the Way ~ hymn

I walk with the Savior

If you were to walk with someone of great importance, how would you do it? Would you walk in front of them? Probably not because that would make you appear as though you thought of yourself as more important. Would you walk next to them? Again, probably not as that is somewhat presumptous about your status with them. Would you walk behind them? This is the most likely scenario, at least for me. I can’t imagine myself even walking close behind someone of importance, though. I would follow but not very close.

But with Jesus, we have something different. This man of importance walked among man, showing us how we are to walk. God gave us this very specific example and many were given the beautiful opportunity to literally walk beside Jesus, to be with Him, to walk along the road with Him.

And when we seek scripture, we see many where God walked among His people and asks us to walk with Him.

My favorite: Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And the walk humbly with your God?

In Genesis 3, we see God walking through the garden, seeking Adam and Eve. Genesis 5:22 tells us of Enoch walking with God. Psalm 23 is a well known passage where we hear of God walking with man, specifically in verse 4. In Malachi 2:6, we read of Levi having walked with God in peace and equity.

These are just a few of the verses referring to walking with God. But do you see how few of them have man trailing behind, waiting to see what happens? God has provided a way for lowly me to walk alongside Him, for Him to be my protector, for Him to be peace and provider for me. What a blessing that is.

This hymn discusses walking with Jesus and allowing Him to guide and provide. A lovely song that I enjoyed singing this morning at worship. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Each step of the way

Each Step Of The Way

words and music: Thelma M Jordan (1962)

I walk with the Savior
Each step of the way,
I trust Him to guide me
By night and by day;
Not dreading tomorrow
Nor what it may bring,
I’m safe in the keeping
Of Jesus the King.

Refrain:
Each step of the way
By night and by day
Leads nearer the home
Eternally fair,
Where we shall meet loved ones,
Awaiting us there,
Who walked here with Jesus
Each step of the way.

With joy we shall enter
The city up there,
Of wonderful beauty
And mansions all fair;
His own shall be changed and
Made like Him that day,
Because we’ve walked with Him
Each step of the way. Refrain

 

The Finest Hours ~ Book Club

The Finest Hours

This month’s selection is by Michael J Tougias and Casey Sherman. It is titled The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue.

I had read a review of this book on A Net In Time and immediately went to the library site and put it on hold. It sounded fascinating and I was not disappointed.

Screenshot 2019-11-05 at 8.02.06 PM

In 1952, there were many large oil tankers that had been produced during WWII still a float on the sea. Often, they were now de-commissioned from the armed services and being used by commercial groups. This was not unusual and the men on them served their companies well.

In the winter of 1952, mid-February, New England was slammed by a nor-easter. It was a terrific storm and wrecked havoc all up and down the sea coast. However, it was on the water where the worst was happening.

In the early hours, an oil tanker sent up a distress call. They were floundering and knew they were unlikely to survive the storm. Their hull was cracking, quite literally. Manufactured quickly during the war, the materials used were not quality and they were breaking apart. While the Coast Guard sent boats to their rescue, it was hard going. The Coast Guard typically used smaller vessels to head out to sea to help and these small vessels were having to battle waves that were 70 and 80 feet high, much taller than their small ships. However, they set out to help the oil tanker.

The Coast Guard, however, was in for a huge surprise. While looking for the oil tanker, a plane noticed an oil tanker broken in half. Yet, it didn’t appear to be the one he was looking for. Sure enough, a second oil tanker had broken in half during the storm before they were able to get a distress call off. By luck, they were found and additional rescue boats were sent their way.

The Finest Hours details the rescue of the men on the two oil tankers and the lives of the men who set out to rescue them, knowing they were likely to not return home. These were definitely “the finest hours” of the Coast Guard rescue teams.

Based on a true story, this one is worth reading. It is captivating and invigorating. It was one I could not put down and read into the night to find out what happened. As you might imagine with this type of storm and this many people involved, not everyone survived. Without the Coast Guard, though, it is likely none of the men would have survived. This is a story of possibility because of the men who went out in those small Coast Guard boats.

A Must Read.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

These Are A Few of Our Favorite Books! G – Blogging Through The Alphabet

Favorite Books G cover

These will be published out of order. I know. I am sorry but I need to since the one for F is not done yet. Oops! Half of it is written but part is still needing to be done. So, you’ll get G ahead of it. 🙂

The Giver – Lois Lowry

(science fiction)

Set in a futuristic community, 12-year-old Jonas has been chosen for a very special honor. In his “perfect” world, everyone has an assigned family, job, they apply for a spouse and then a girl child and a boy child, and even their everyday meals are assigned. And no one knows the whole truth. Jonas’ job is to be the keeper of all of that knowledge, but in the process of his training Jonas learns the ugly truth of his community. But now he has to decide what to do about it.

E –  So I got the third book in this quartet, Messenger, and read it first. The wonderful thing about this series is that you can read any of the four books first and it can be a stand alone book. But then when you read them together, there is so much more to the story. That was one of the things that appealed to me about this book. I also liked how Jonas had to decide what to believe in, based on what he knew and the advice of the people nearest to him.

The Glass Castle – Trisha White Priebe

(christian fiction)

In a far off kingdom, the king is growing old and ill and he doesn’t have an heir to take over the kingdom. But the rumor that is going around says that the king does have an heir. When his wife died in childbirth 13 years ago, someone hid the child. And that is why someone has gathered all of the 13-year-olds in the kingdom and brought them to the castle. Avery, the main character of the story, and her new friends, Kate, Kendrick, and Tuck, are in charge of all of the 13-year-olds in the castle and help keep things running smoothly. When they discover that one of the 13-year-olds may be the lost heir to the kingdom, and the child of the man who wants them dead, the four friends have to try to find the heir first. But in the midst of all of the chaos, the teens still make the time to give glory to God.

E – I think that I liked this series because it was a good mystery even though there wasn’t overwhelming details all over the place. It wasn’t paced slowly at all, but the “action” scenes weren’t just battles and races and stuff. I felt like I could connect with Avery because our thought processes are so similar. I also really liked how God was a part of their decision making most of the time. Maybe the only thing that I didn’t like about this series was that there was always so many mysteries. As soon as you figure one out, there was a new one. But at the same time, I also like books like that, so I really enjoyed it.

Hopefully, I can get the F post up soon but until then, happy reading. If you have a favorite G-titled book, would you please share it? We enjoy finding more books to read.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Favorite Books G

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Why I Will Not See The Passion of the Christ

Why I will not see The Passion of the Christ image

Recently, I was part of a discussion about when it might be appropriate to show the movie The Passion of the Christ, about Jesus’ crucifixion to children. What age? And how did they respond?

It has gotten me thinking. My initial response was this:

I am not old enough. It is not one I will show my children. If they choose to watch it later, that is fine but I will not be showing it to them.

Consider greatly their sensitivity and how long their mind holds onto difficult, violent, and gory details. If, in any way, they tend to hold these things, it may not be the right choice to show it to them.

These types of visuals do not make me more sensitive or appreciative of what Christ went through. They trouble me and give me nightmares and other issues so I choose to avoid them.

I bring this up because in our current world, it seems that we are constantly bombarded with visually stimulating materials. This may not be bad but that doesn’t make it good. In this particular case, let’s take a quick look at what we are given in the Bible.

Mark 15 is what I read this morning. It happened to come right along the day after the discussion on the movie occurred. Please, take a minute to read it. Here’s a link to it on the Blue Letter Bible site. Read it more than once. I did. Absorb it and think about what is shared.

Consider for a moment the descriptive language used by Mark. Yes, it shares plenty with us to see that Jesus was mistreated, beat, scourged. He was handed over to an entire garrison to be mistreated. He had a crown of thorns placed on His head. He was crucified. A brutal, cruel punishment He did not deserve.

But, again, look at the description of the violence He underwent for my sake. It is not highly detailed, yet it is effective. It is not gory. It is not designed and described in such a way that I have an ongoing movie of gore and violence in my head. It focuses instead on Jesus, on His agony, on His love, on His purpose.

Why I will not see The Passion of the Christ

To emphasize this, take a look at the same scenes in the other books of gospel – Matthew, Luke, and John. None of them include extremely graphic language yet focus instead on the act of love and sacrifice by my Lord for the purpose of salvation.

 

Why do we choose to stray from the way God presents this scene to us? Is it really easier for us to understand when we view a 2 hour movie of violence? Am I truly going to understand Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross any better just because it has been played out visually before me? No.

I ask you to consider also the purpose in the movie. For many years, the gospel was preached and shared without the assistance of movies. God gives us all we need in His word. Share that, rather than movies.

Yes, movies have their place in entertainment. But the story of Jesus on the cross is not entertainment.

 

**As a side note: Documentaries and movies are not the same thing. Documentaries seldom go to the extremes that movies do to “show” you what is going on. Documentaries are important and I do believe they can share a great deal of information and strengthen understanding.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Math from Channie’s ~ a Crew review

Channies workbooks titling

Workbooks often have a bad reputation but we have had great success with some of them. This review was somewhat of a surprise for us in this regards and what a good surprise it has been. Having not heard of Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math workbooks before, giving their math workbooks a chance seemed like a good thing to do, though we were having a good run with our current math program. After all, practice time is always good with multiplication. So, we requested One Page A Day 2 Digit Multiplication Practice . We were pleasantly surprised to open the package and find One Page A Day Level 1 Fractions, also. Both of these products have a suggested grade range of 3rd-5th.

Channies_multiplication

We chose the multiplication workbook because Miss J, age 10, just doesn’t have the multiplication tables memorized yet. The One Page A Day format of this workbook works in conjunction with any other program you are working with for math because it is a short practice page each day. One page. That’s it. It starts off gently, working through simple 2 digit times 1 digit examples. Each problem is set up within a grid, helping the student keep the steps of the equation lined up. Perfect for that gently reminder.

Channies_multiplication_sample1

This first page was multiplying 2 digits by 1 digits. These single digits are 1s and 0s. Really easy but a great way to build confidence. Next comes a page of 2s, then 3s, then on up through 9s. One page each. There are a few pages of mixed single digits to multiply by and then they move on to the next difficulty level – 2 digit by 2 digit.

Again, though, it starts them out easily and gently with this new step. 2 digits multiplied by 10, with the grid system with color coding to help them keep their numbers lined up correctly. A great teaching system.  Then green is for when you are multiplying by the ones place and the grey is for when you are multiplying by the tens place. As the book continues to progress, these colors are eventually done away with, keeping the grids in place. This gently removing of the aids allows the student to continue to feel strong and confident as they work through the multiplication page-a-day program.

Channies_fractions

As I mentioned, we were pleasantly surprised when we opened the package and saw that Channie’s had also sent us Level 1 Fractions. It follows well with the multiplication and again is a very gently system for walking the student step-by-step in learning to work with fractions.

starting_fractions

The program begins with what fractions are, coloring in a shape with the fractional amount. After just a couple of pages, the student is moved into addition of fractions with like denominators. The student is also introduced to the idea of a fractional amount of 1, such as 5/5 = 1. So the student adds the fractions and then determines that the amount is actually equivalent to 1. Subtractions of fractions comes next and quickly is followed by the concept that fractions are just a form of division. Several pages are spent on this concepts, since it is one that often trips students up.

Equivalent fractions are where we are at now and the workbook will spend a number of pages on it. We had to introduce multiplying fractions, using the concept of 5/5=1. By the time we finish this book, Miss J will have dealt with equivalent fractions in many ways, reducing fractions, and working with fractions through different operations. Because she has not dealt with fractions nearly as much, I am actually teaching her a good portion of the time on the new concepts instead of this being a practice. But it works this way, also. I just sit beside her while she begins each page, seeing if she understands it.

Each of the workbooks has an answer key at the back.

Since these are only one page a day programs and we are doing two of the simultaneously, we are spending between 20 and 30 minutes on math. This is a solid amount for Miss J, as so much of that is intensive thought for her. These two combined have been just wonderful.

Channies_workbooks

Channie’s is a company that has a large selection of products to try. Each of their products is designed to have a unique practice approach to an area that children often struggle with, whether it be letters, numbers, handwriting, or math concepts. When you look at their shop, there are over 70 items! These include the items I have shared with you here, as well as the items that the Homeschool Review Crew are sharing in other reviews:

Channie’s Dry Erase Flashcard For Alphabet & Number  (Better for ages 4-6)

Channie’s Dry Erase Flashcard for Sight Words (Ages 5-6)

Neat Numbers (Ages 3-5)

And who knows? There could have been others like our family who were blessed with something not on this list! And I may just order their One Page A Day Beginning Division workbook for some more practice in that area. Channies workbooks for math

I want to point out that there are some practice pads and dry erase boards for some of the items in the shop. What a wonderful tool these would be for early writers and learners. I know when my girls were young, they really enjoyed using dry erase boards so these are wonderful products.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to click on the image below to see what other families from the Homeschool Review Crew thought about the products they used from Channie’s Visual Handwriting & Math workbooks.

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Quick Halloween Treat

Are you looking for a quick and healthy-ish treat for your trick-or-treaters? The youngest giggly girl decided this year that she wanted to give away popcorn. Because it is healthier and because everyone gives candy. So why not have something different?

Quick and easy trick-or-treat wrap for microwave popcorn

It was fairly inexpensive to purchase. We spent less on it that we would have on purchasing candy for the number of expected trick-or-treaters at our church trunk-or-treat last night. And it was easy to make cute and fun. We had tons of great exclamations and surprise statements. It was wonderful to see the kids get excited about a whole bag of popcorn going into their treat bags.

But, we did choose to do a quick spruce-up and make them cute. I found a jack-o-lantern face on the internet and just copied it. I also found a fun Boo! and copied that. I pasted each of those into a Google Doc. I put the first one about 1/3 down the page and the other on the last 1/3 of the page. I was able to fit two of each, side by side on the page. Print those things and then cut the page in half down the center. Wrap each of the popcorn bags with one of them, tape it down, and voila! You have cute bags of popcorn for the kids!

The most difficult part? The toner for the printer went out after printing just three sheets. So, we made a quick run to the grandparents to get them finished in time for the trunk-or-treat last night!

bags of microwave popcorn in a cute wrapper for Halloween

bags of microwave popcorn in a cute wrapper for Halloween

What are you planning to share with your trick-or-treaters this year? Have you already had your fun? Then save this for next year!

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

an easy to make wrap for simple bags of microwave popcorn

an easy to make wrap for simple bags of microwave popcorn

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