Listen and Write

Listen and writeIf you follow At Home on Facebook, then you may have seen this video that I shared there. We got some sleet and snow last night and I thought today was a good day to use this video for a creative writing exercise.

This video is of Lake Superior, or so I am assuming because of the page that posted it. You see the ice on the lake and the beautiful frost covered tree in the foreground. You hear the chime-like sounds of the ice clinking together. It is beautiful. Check it out here://


I played the video for the girls but they were not allowed to see it. They could only listen. It is short, only about a minute. So I played it twice. In between, I told them how many adjectives they had to use to describe the sound in their journal. E had to use six; L had to use 4-5; J had to use 3.

After listening the second time, they went and sat with their journals and wrote about what they think they heard. They also had to draw a picture of what they think they heard. Here is their work:

listen and write L listen and write J

L – age 8                                                  J – age 6    listen and write E                                       E – age 10

Having completed the writing and drawing about what they think they heard, we talked about what they thought it was. I then showed them the video with sound. We discussed how the sounds were similar or how they were different, now that they knew what they were hearing. We talked about how sight can affect hearing and vice versa.

The final part of the exercise was writing another page about what it actually was they heard and how they reacted when they found out what it was. This is fun and fits right in with our weather discussions going on with Katy and the Big Snow, our current FIAR selection. We looked up pancake ice and found some additional videos and photos of it. We used it in our discussion about the states of matter and how it differs from snow and water.

Here are the reflections from E and L.

listen and write L reflection listen and write E reflection











This was a fun writing activity using a sound prompt. Using something different for a prompt helps them think outside the box. What interesting prompts have you used? I am always looking for ideas.

At Home.

R is for … Rainbow

R Rainbow Reading Chart


Rainbows are such an inspiration to me. They make me smile because they are beautiful and bright. They warm my heart because they remind me of God’s love and promise. They make me happy because the sun has cleared away all the dark and damp. There is just so much to love about rainbows.

If your weather has been anything like ours, and I know a lot of you have had much worse, you are ready for the rainbows and sunshine of spring to show. In honor of that hope that spring is on its way, I created a reading chart with rainbows.

Click on the link below the picture to get a PDF to print a copy of the chart.

Rainbow readingRainbow of Reading chart

Q is for … Quit ye like men

Q Quit ye like men

This verse has been running through my head for several days now. It is a verse that really sticks with me. Partly because we put a catchy little tune to it so that the girls could remember it. Partly because it applies to my life every single day.

Quit ye like men; be strong. What does that mean? Simply put – be different from the world and be strong enough to hold tight to what we are supposed to be: holy, hopeful, faithful.

Practically put, that is really hard to do. You see, I have a lot of hopes and desires that will never be met here on this earth. I put my faith and my hope in my God and He will pull me through.

Being like men, like others on this earth, is so easy to want. Acceptance – yes please. Friendship with one who will enjoy doing things with me and my family – of course. A nice house, plenty of money  – mmm, yea. Time to myself every day – yes, thank you. Who wouldn’t want these things?

But God calls us to be different and it is hard. People see us as different and don’t invite you along. Even among church family, we can be so different that we don’t fit in. And this is where the second part of the verse comes in – Be Strong.

Be Strong. Repeat that to yourself and remind yourself of what it means. It means that we see ourselves as God sees us, not as those around us see us. God sees our heart and that is what we need to look at when we are finding it hard to be strong. Satan wants us to feel the pain of not being like men. But God gives us hope and joy and love and strength and peace when we remember His directives – Quit ye like men; be strong.

You don’t have to follow the crowd. You don’t have to dress like them, vacation like them, spend money like them, exercise like them, or do anything else like them. You don’t have to prove anything to the people of this world. God has given us the directive and the way to do it.

Quit ye like men; be strong. Lean on Him. Pull out His word and search it. Listen to it. Listen to Him. Hum His words to yourself and know the peace that comes from not being like men and being strong in Him.

Quit ye like men; be strong. I Corinthians 16:13


At Home.


A TOS Review: In Freedom’s Cause

Hidden away in her room, the CD player went on and on. And I didn’t care one bit. Because she was listening to the newest audio theater production by Heirloom Audio Productions. It is titled In Freedom’s Cause: The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce. This is one of The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty. And E absolutely loves it.

History comes alive

When E, age 10, found out that we were going to be reviewing In Freedom’s Cause, she wanted to know exactly what came with it. We reviewed the In Freedom’s Cause Single Package.

This included:

  • 2 CD set of the audio theater production; and
  • MP3 download of the production.

It comes with several bonuses as well.

  • study guide and discussion starter
  • A copy of The Prayer Of William Wallace (Psalm 23 in the Latin Vulgate); and
  • In Freedom’s Cause Soundtrack MP3 download

Last year, we reviewed Under Drake’s Flag and we really enjoyed it. We couldn’t wait for this one to come out. As much as we enjoyed that production, Heirloom really outdid themselves here and this one is even better.

working a puzzleIn Freedom’s Cause, featuring the voices of a number of well known actors and actresses, introduces us to the true story of William Wallace and the fight of the Scots for freedom from England. Wallace is a brave Christian man who wants the best for his family but more so for his country. His faith and belief in God gives him the strength necessary to lead the peasants and merchants and regular folks of the country against the biggest, strongest army England could muster. Wallace’s faith, courage and conviction gave inspiration to the leader who eventually gained Scotland’s freedom, King Robert the Bruce.

One of our favorite activities to do while listening to an audio story at home is to do a puzzle. So I pulled out a new puzzle that we had and put on the CD. All of us became quickly captivated by the story and sat through the whole thing in a single sitting, even the giggly girl who DID NOT want to hear the story. (She actually ended up listening to it more than once, by choice.)

After listening to the story, I printed out the study guide and put it into a notebook. I gave this to E, who was begging to listen to the story again. I gave her instructions about answering a few questions in each section of the guide on each page and let her work independently. She worked through all that I asked her to in about two days and then went through it all again because she wanted to answer more of the questions. She would come in with a question once in a while but she worked independently on the entire guide, answering about 2/3 of the questions. These questions included:

  • defining words that are unique or unusual in their useage;
  • listening well questions which required listening to the story itself; and
  • thinking further questions which challenge the listener to think more deeply about the story, the characters, their motive, their beliefs and the action of the story.

video and study guideThe thinking further section also included activities such as looking up places on a map, visiting the British Museum online, looking up other important people, learning to research, and visiting the website for Westminster Abbey. The study guide also has some pages of information on Scotland, G.A. Henty, William Wallace, three short Bible studies, and some bibliographical information for further study.

We were given access to some amazing resources, in addition to the material that comes with the single package. We were given a link to a behind the scenes video about the making of the production. That was a wonderful video and led to a discussion about recording studios, how to study history and research it, and more. The Celtic knot came up more than once in the materials and recording. We did some research on that and made a necklace with a Celtic knot in it. Celtic knot necklaceAnother resource that we are just beginning to get involved in is the ebook of the G.A. Henty story, illustrated by Heirloom Audio Productions. It is beautiful!

E really enjoyed In Freedom’s Cause. And I let her listen to it over and over. She has probably listened to it 6 or 8 times. But really, it is wonderful for her to be learning the true story of a man who had such great faith in God that he called the word of God his most important fighting tool, more important than his sword. The reliance on God, in hard and trying times, was a key element to this story and I am more than happy to let E listen to that over and over, influencing her life as well.

coverHeirloom Productions brings history to life with audio theater. They have invested a lot of time and energy in researching the true history of some of the greatest heroes of the past. Using the stories written by master storyteller G.A. Henty, they have created a larger-than-life but historically acurate production that grabs you and pulls you right into the story, right into the action. We can hardly wait for their next one: With Lee In Virginia. It promises to be exciting. At Home.


You can find In Freedom’s Cause on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Find out more about what other Review Crew families thought. Click below.

In Freedom's Cause Review

Crew Disclaimer



Experiencing Poetry

The theme for this month’s Poppins Book Nook is poetry. We love poetry and experience it in a variety of ways all the time. One of the giggly girls enjoys pulling poetry books off the shelf and reading them just because. She also enjoys writing poetry and her gifts always include a poem written just for you.

I never really enjoyed poetry all that much but maybe that is because I don’t know how much poetry I experienced until I was in junior high and high school and having to read the “classical” style poetry. (That being said – I remember really liking Beowulf.) I don’t think that exposure at that level is bad but if you have had a good experience with it a number of times before that, I think you’ll enjoy it a whole Stopping By Woodslot more.

Our PBN selection just happened to line up perfectly with our Five In A Row selection: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost with illustrations by Susan Jeffers. This lovely poem and accompanying illustrations opened up a whole lot of learning for the giggly girls.

One of the activities that we did in our FIAR study was to learn about poetry, rhyme, rhyme scheme, and more. We used a lovely set of posters that we have that give us examples of many different styles of poetry. We looked at them and read the example of the poem. Then we talked about what it was like: number of lines, rhyme, rhyme scheme, subject, fact or fiction, and whatever else the girls could notice about the poem. Then we read through some of the information about that poetry style. This is something we do a few times a year and it helps the girls’ awareness of the use of poetry that they come across in the bigger world.


We read through Stopping By Woods a number of times and the girls read it on their own, as well. J’s reading is coming along nicely and she was able to read a good bit of the poem without help. A good activity to do with a poem like this is to look closely at the rhyme scheme. It is actually a very interesting rhyme scheme. It is AABA in each stanza. The next stanza takes its A rhyme from the B of the previous stanza. It ties the poem together really nicely. We looked closely at that and the girls recreated it with counting crystals.poetry & pattern

We then experimented with various changes to the rhyme scheme: ABAB, ABAC, AABAB, ABACAD, etc. Each one was recreated with counting crystals to show comprehension. (Also – you get a math cross-curricular tie-in here.)

After that, the girls created their own rhyme scheme and wrote a poem to fit their rhyme scheme.

L poem

This was a fun day in our studies. If you are looking for further activities to do with Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening, check out our FIAR post about this book. There was so much to do with it!

And, as a final note, this will be our last post a co-hosts of the Poppins Book Nook. It has been a fun year but with all the changes that we naturally go through in a year, being a co-host of PBN is just not right for us for the next cycle of the PBN. It has been a fun year and the themes mixed things up for us some. Thanks Poppins Book Nook!


Poppins Book Nook main image 2014 - 2015

Clip art by MelonHeadz

If you want additional ideas for this month’s theme, please visit Enchanted Homeschooling Mom and the other co-hosts of Poppins Book Nook.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom~Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things~Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ My Bright Firefly ~A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~Where Imagination Grows ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~Simple Living Mama

FIAR: Stopping By Woods

Stopping By Woods

Wintertime is beautiful. There are so many beautiful things about it! I am sure there are many of you that might choose to disagree right about now since I know you are buried under snow many feet deep and your temperatures are rather cold. Overall, though, winter will show us many beautiful things. We have chosen to use January and February to go through some of the Five In A Row stories that involve snow and cold. That is about the only time period in which there is a tiny little chance of us getting some of the white fluffy stuff.

We took about a week and a half and went through Robert Frost’s Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening, illustrated by Susan Jeffers. The illustrations in this version are beautiful and provide a lot of opportunity for discussion. There are other lovely versions of illustrations out there but this one is extremely high quality and we got a lot of joy out of this.

We did follow a lot of the material from the Five In A Row, volume 1 manual. I also added a lot to it.

Math: We talked about pattern, which flows naturally out of the discussion in poetry on rhyme scheme. The girls, especially J, used counting crystals and created a pattern based on the rhyme scheme of the poem. We expanded from there creating a bundle of various patterns, gradually increasing the difficulty level.

exploring rhyme scheme

Math: The illustrations allowed for some interesting discussion on symmetry and asymmetry.

Poetry/Math: In conjunction with the pattern work in math, the girls created their own rhyme scheme pattern and wrote a poem that fit that rhyme scheme.

Poetry: We talked about many of the aspects of poetry and poems, including repetition, rhyme, rhyme scheme, and types of poetry. We have a set of posters that my mom used while teaching that cover 12 different styles/types of poetry and give examples of each. We pulled those out and looked at them. The girls used their knowledge of poetry to write a poem about snow.

L poem E poem

Geography: In order to place the FIAR circle for this book, we discussed where we might encounter this type of weather in the US. We looked at those areas on the map and talked about what they were called. (United States, New England, state names, Canada, and more)

Geography: We discussed the landforms that are more prominent in those areas and contribute to the climate of that part of the nation.

Science: There is so much that could be done with this one! We reviewed snowflakes from when we studied snow and snowflakes last year. We discussed the states of matter and where snow fits into all of that. We talked about the water cycle as part of this discussion.

Science/Current Affairs: There is so much of the US that is getting record snowfall this winter that amazing pictures are out there. Pull up some pictures of the snowfall and take a look at it all. (This also fits REALLY well into the Katy and the Big Snow book, which is where we actually did this. You could work it in great here, too, though.)

Science: We talked about New England and what the seasons look like there. We used several books from the library that discussed various weather types and climates.

checking out tracks tracks in snow

Science: We discussed the illustration where the man is leaving food for the animals and why that would be important. One of the things we noticed about the illustrations in the book is that many of them included animal tracks and other tracks of various kinds. We pulled out a poster that has animal tracks on it. We also pulled up an app for the Kindle that shows the tracks of North American mammals. The girls studied these and discussed how tracks in the snow could be good and bad. They drew some on the dry erase board. We then pulled out the pretend snow we made last year and the girls made different tracks in the snow.

Science: Another thing you could do is animal research about animals that prosper in the snow and cold.

Literature Connections: We pulled Snowflake Bentley from the library and looked at that book again. That was a favorite from last school year. We talked about On The Banks of Plum Creek and how it connects to the Robert Frost poem, as well as other Little House books.

Literature Connections: We talked about other poetry books that we have on our shelves or have borrowed from the library. The girls each chose a book of poetry and read it for a while, studying the poems to choose one they liked. They then shared that poem.

Art: Again we used a lot out of the FIAR guide. We discussed medium (pen & ink, pencil), hue, value, color, illustrations, viewpoint, and mood. All of these were a pretty easy discussion to have because of the vividness of the illustrations. The girls created a drawing using pencil and then used color to draw attention to the focal point of their drawing.

Art: Another art piece that could be created to go along with this would be to choose a favorite illustration in the book and then pick a viewpoint from which to draw it. You could also do this with a snowman, looking down from on top of him, with younger kids that would have difficulty thinking about the viewpoint of something as large as the forest.

Fun: There are so many options to do further activities with this book! One that I wanted to do but we never got around to because of some of the girls feeling crummy was to make a snowflake sculpture with marshmallows. With other wintery books coming up, I’ll bet we can do that with one of them.

Fun: Okay – the kids may not agree with me on the fun part of this but I’m leaving it here anyway. This was an easy poem to memorize and memorization is good skill for children to learn. This is a classic poem and the rhyme scheme makes it fairly easy. The girls memorized this without too much work since we were reading it every day at least once for the lesson.


Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening was an extremely fun unit. I definitely recommend it. At Home.


P is for … Pizza

P pizza nightPizza – the food of joyful giggly girls. At least at our house. Pizza seems to bring out all the cheerful spirits that like to disappear a various times during any given week. But come Friday night – pizza time and cheerful seem to magically reappear. We make our own pizza. For several reasons – its cheaper, its P pizza crust recipehealthier, and we can make it work for our giggly girl with food allergies.

We use Pampered Chef stones for our pizza. There is nothing like them! They make the crust so yummy and crispy. We also use a modified version of Pampered Chef’s pizza crust recipe. Our modifications include using half white/half whole wheat flour and adding a couple of tablespoons of Italian seasoning to the dough. I also don’t bother letting it rise but put it into a cold oven.

P goat cheese pizza

We make three pizzas each Friday, unless we end up with guests and then we’ll make more or add a salad or something. All three have a tomato paste sauce with Italian seasoning added to it. The one for L has a very, very thin layer of sauce (she is allergic to tomato); turkey pepperoni; ground turkey seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic; and grated goat cheese. The other two giggly girls like to have a layer of sauce; turkey pepperoni; ground turkey seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic; and grated mozzarella cheese. The last one is for me, though I’ll share it with anyone who wants some. It has a thick layer of tomato sauce; whatever is left of the pepperoni and ground turkey; red, yellow, and green bell peppers (generally frozen); chopped fresh onion; sliced black olives if we have them; and mozzarella cheese. YUM! Is it Friday? Actually – it is! Yea! It’s pizza night. So I guess the secret is out – pizza night is not only a favorite of the giggly girls. I enjoy it, too.

We’ll put on some Little House on the Prairie and we’re going to have a great dinner! At Home.


*There are no sponsored links in this post. However, if you would like to look over some Pampered Chef products or are looking for a consultant to order from, this link will take you to the page for Jenn Dulka. She’d be more than happy to help you out! I don’t get any benefit from you clicking through or ordering from Jenn.


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