Tag Archives: history

Bandelier National Monument ~ field trip

Bandelier giant pottery

When the girls and I went on our New Mexico trip a couple of months ago, one of the places we really wanted to visit was Bandelier National Monument. At Home Dad and I went a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Since Miss E has been interested in the National Park and National Monuments for a while, this was a good one to put on the “must visit” list. Miss L had asked to study ancient civilizations this year so we were able to add this to her hands-on experiences in learning about them. (It also gave us a chance to visit my brother in Santa Fe!)

Bandelier is where an ancient puebloan civilization lived about 1150. While living here, they built homes that they carved out of the volcanic tuff walls, creating caves or cliff dwellings. They did not plant within the steep walls of the canyons, instead planting on the flat top of the mesa. They cultivated corn, beans, and squash, supplemented with plants that grew naturally here. They hunted for meat, eating deer, rabbit, and even squirrel. There was a fresh water stream that flowed through the canyon.

circular village

After about 400 years, the land was beginning to fail and was no longer able to fully support this civilization. Once a drought appeared, the people could no longer stay. By about 1500, they had abandoned this canyon almost completely and were living along the Rio Grande River.

Bandelier is a unique place. The people who lived here built their homes along the canyon walls and in the canyon walls to take advantage of the heat and protection they offered. Using the volcanic tuff, they also built a large circular village on the canyon floor. It is estimated that the village held around 400 rooms, all stacked and layered, made from volcanic tuff blocks. They used mud to mortar the blocks.

But what makes this place really unique is that the visitors are able to walk among the ruins, the homes, the kivas, even going into some of them. The hiking path takes you along the canyon floor and then to the canyon walls, highlighting many of the important places. Some of the caves have ladders placed so you can climb up and enter. Some of the caves are so small you can barely move around and probably served as storage. Others are multi-roomed caverns that you can stand up in and walk around. We climbed into several and got a neat view of the canyon.

Alcove House

The hardest climb, though, comes at the end of the canyon. It is up to Alcove House. Alcove House is carved out of the canyon walls approximately 140 feet up. It is reached by several ladders and sets of stone steps. It is believed that people did indeed live here but it was probably ceremonial. There is a large kiva, many viga holes in the walls (the supporting beams for roofs or second stories), and remains of walls and caves in the walls. It is a hard climb but if you are in shape for it, definitely worth it!

Bandelier is a wonderful place to visit and one that our family really enjoyed. Even if you choose not to visit Alcove House, getting to set foot inside caves that once house ancestral peoples is pretty neat. If you are planning a trip to NM, add this one to your list.

At Home.

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Independence, Texas – field trip

Independence, Texas, is a place all its own. It has a pretty good claim to fame here in Texas – Sam Houston lived here. But also, two universities got their starts here – Baylor University and University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (originally the Baylor Women’s College). Independence was once an important educational and religious site.

Baylor University beginnings

There are several historic structures in the town and the cemetery is really quite interesting. There is a neat visitor’s center with very helpful, friendly staff. The walking/driving tour is well marked and interesting. At Home Dad and I visited this summer while the girls were at camp. It was so interesting for us that we went again not long ago and took the girls.

Baylor Hill

We visited the historic sites by driving. Even though it was October, it was a very hot day, so we drove. (And got some ice cream at the lone spot in town where you can buy anything!) We visited the Baylor sites and the rose garden. I’ll share that in another post just because we took so many pictures there.

historic buildings

During our summertime visit, At Home Dad and I also went out to the cemetery. Fascinating place!!! There are plenty of historic headstones, many of which have fallen into disrepair. While we were visiting, a man was working on restoring these important stones. Many are from founding families of the state, including Sam Houston’s family and some soldiers from various battles. It was a really neat cemetery to visit and talking with this historian made is even more interesting.

Independence, Texas, is a neat little place to visit. You can see it all easily in just an hour or two. We definitely recommend a visit here if you have the time.

At Home.

Captain Bayley’s Heir (Heirloom Audio) ~ a Crew review

Captain Bayley's Heir cover

If you have been around for any length of time, you will know that our family absolutely, without a doubt, thoroughly enjoys Heirloom Audio Productions and the historical audio dramas they create based on G. A. Henty books. Their most recent production is set in the time of the California Gold Rush and as we enter the story, we get to listen in at a campfire as the story is told of Captain Bayley’s Heir.

SUMMARY (spoiler alert):

Mr. George is heading to the American West to do some research for his next story. As he and his guide settle down for the night, Mr. George launches into one of his tales. This tale begins in London with a well-off family, the family of Captain Bayley.

Frank, Fred, and Alice are three cousins (well, Alice is not really a cousin but lives with the Captain who is her guardian) who get along well. Amidst their daily lives, they meet Harry when his dog falls into the river and Frank rescues it. This shows us the quick and compassionate spirit that lives in Frank and gives us a glimpse of the spirit that ends him up in the center of  a problem – a theft at his school. Frank is accused of the theft and, though innocent, finds he must flee England. So he heads for America.

Once Frank arrives in America, much adventure and trial awaits him. As Frank makes his way up the Mississippi and westward to the goldfields, he meets some men whose experiences and faith offer Frank much encouragement. From storm to shipwreck to Indian attack, Frank holds to his integrity and acts with courage and bravery. Hailed more than once as a hero, Frank makes his way to the goldfields of California. While there, he continues to act with love and grace towards his neighbors and friends. This allows him to be a part of partnership that brought much wealth to Frank.

It also opened up a discussion which was alluded to often in the story – grace. Specifically, the grace of God. We cannot earn God’s grace and nothing we can do will bestow it upon us. This is brought to Frank’s attention several times and became a strong theme that we all ought to pay attention to.

In the end, Frank is able to be reunited with his family from London, his name is cleared of the theft, and his family is expanded with new-found members (the dog rescue early on early on? turns out the dog belonged to a long-lost cousin).

As Mr. George’s story concludes, his guide has been given a lot to think about, including the grace of God and how it might change his own life.

study guide and CDs

STUDY GUIDE:

The study guide has been created to add a study element to Heirloom Audio Productions, to take the listener deeper into the ideas, thoughts, and Christian elements explored in the story. The study guide can serve as a discussion starter or as written assignments for students. It is extremely adaptable and contains so much that it is one that can be revisited over and over without exhausting the possibilities.

The study guide follows the story with chapters which allign to the CD tracks. This is extremely helpful and each page of the study guide identifies which track it goes with. The chapter title is also at the top of the page, along with the timing for the CD (example CD 1, track 1 is on the top left and 00:00 – 05:06 is on the top right).  Each chapter/track has three parts: listening well, thinking further, and defining words.

Listening well is a series of lower level thinking questions. Many of these are simple recall, prediction, or inference questions. These are pretty easy to get the answers to simply by listening to the production.

Thinking further questions are designed to really push the students. These are higher level questions that may require additional knowledge. There are application questions where the student might be required to take a theme or idea from the story and discuss how that affects their life. An example of this type of question from CD 2, track 3: “Harry says he has never been ashamed of being a cripple until now. Why does he feel ashamed now? Should he feel ashamed? Why or why not?” There were also many Bible verse application questions in this section throughout the tracks. An example of one of these comes from CD 2, track 6: “Abe says that we can’t earn God’s acceptance or love. Is he right? Where does the Bible say this? Read Ephesians 2:4-9, Galatians 2:15-21, and Titus 3:4-7.

Defining words is just that – vocabulary words to define. There are not specific uses suggested making it easily adapted to what works best for your family.

Along the way are little sidebars of information that add interest and ideas to the study. One of the sidebars talks about the gold rush mining camps. Another gives some brief information on important people during the gold rush. Yet another educates us on Victorian money. There are several more scattered throughout the study guide. There is also a short bibliography of additional resources if a student wants to do additional reading on Victorian England or the American West.

Included in the study guide are three Bible studies. Bible Study I is on God’s Grace. Bible Study II is on Becoming a Christian. (This study does not go deep enough in the study of what must be done to be saved.) Bible Study III is titled Honoring Your Parents. The Bible studies each are written with a summary at the top, followed by an outline format of the study with ideas and their corresponding Bible citations. These can be used in a number of different ways and can be adapted to suit your family’s needs.

online quiz

LIVE THE ADVENTURE CLUB:

Purchasers of Captain Bayley’s Heir can also purchase access to the Live The Adventure Club. In doing so, you gain access to a number of interesting features. These include the Study Guide, online listening access, a read-along script, online comprehension questions and thinking further questions, vocabulary words, and more. There is access to a copy of the original Henty book, in e-book format, and the official soundtrack to download or read online. There is also a cast poster, an inspirational hymn poster (Amazing Grace), and desktop wallpaper to download. This bonus content is only available to those who have purchased access to the Live The Adventure Club.

The Club also gives you a significant amount of other content, unrelated to the Heirloom Audio Productions. There is a library of old-time radio broadcasts that has all sorts of history topics with multiple broadcasts each. There is a civics course on the Constitution and history textbooks from the 1700s and 1800s. In the parent resources area, there are podcasts, interviews, movie reviews, recipes and more that will add a depth to history studies or just help mom or dad to know more about interesting topics.

There is another place that was kind of fun to poke around in – Kids Activities. In this part of the site, there are links to the online access of the productions. There are coloring pages that are tied to different scenes in each of the productions that have been made. There are also word searches on this page that can be printed or completed online. Lastly, there are some hands-on activities related to the different productions.

online word search

FINAL THOUGHTS:

As always, we thoroughly enjoy this production. We have listened to it more than once and Miss E has listened several times. It is a fun story that brings all the adventure of the American West and the gold rush to life. With the high quality we have come to expect, Heirloom Audio Productions does not disappoint with Captain Bayley’s Heir.

Captain Bayley's Heir inside CDs

If you are interested in other productions they have created, you may visit these reviews:

The Cat of Bubastes ~ a TOS review

Beric the Briton ~ a TOS review

The Dragon and the Raven ~ a TOS review

With Lee In Virginia – a TOS review

A TOS Review: In Freedom’s Cause

A Review: Under Drake’s Flag

We also own, but did not review, In The Reign of Terror. I do believe that while all of them are fantastic, The Dragon and The Raven is Miss E’s favorite.

At Home.

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read what other families thought about Captain Bayley’s Heir.

 

Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

The Greatest Inventors ~ a Crew review

The Greatest Inventors

Looking for a simple way to start our new school year, we decided that a week-long unit study would be great. Enter A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks and their stand-alone lapbook product, The Greatest Inventors .

Greatest Inventors Lapbook with Study Guide

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks has been around for a while and got its start when a couple of homeschooling moms realized that what they wanted was not to be found. So, they created it! How’s that for ingenuity? That was the start of A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks (AJTL).

AJTL has many products to fit many needs. Whether you are looking for a stand alone study or something to accompany a curriculum you have purchased, AJTL may have just what you need. And if you don’t know exactly what a lapbook is, well, they have a page for that, too. Head over to their site to watch their video about lapbooks. But quickly – lapbooking is a way to simply document learning by completing mini-booklets in different shapes and sizes, keeping the documentation varied and interesting for the student.

We were able to use The Greatest Inventors, a stand-alone lapbooking unit. What that means is that the downloadable product (you can also get a printed version) contains all of the mini-booklets to create the lapbook as well as all the information in a study guide to be able to fill out and complete the lapbook. Each mini-booklet has its own page of information to read. It was a simple unit to complete and we were easily able to use it with our girls, ages 8, 11, and 13.

working on the book report form

How We Used The Greatest Inventors

I printed out all of the mini-booklets from the PDF file. I did not print the study guide pages; we accessed those on the computer when we needed them. I also checked out a book on each inventor from the library, since the study guide was not as high a reading level as I wanted for the two older girls. They needed more of a challenge. (The reading level was perfect for our 8 year old, though.) I placed the books and pages together on the table and the girls took turns picking the inventors they were interested in.

Some of the inventors –

  • Jonas Salk
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Guglielmo Marconi
  • George Eastman
  • Louis Braille
  • The Wright Brothers
  • and many more.

Each day that week, the girls worked on one or more of their inventors. They read the study guide and the books. In some cases, we looked up more information or pictures on the internet with a simple Google search. Then, the girls completed their mini-booklets, as well as the book report form that is included in the PDF.

working on da Vinci

The book report form is a simple form, asking for the name of the book and its author. It asks about the birth and death, the time period, and information about what was understood from the book. It also gives them a chance to be creative, designing a stamp for that inventor. It was fun to talk about stamps being a way to honor someone and their achievements.

Miss J presenting her researchMiss L presenting her research

At the end of the week, we had a presentation. The girls took turns presenting their inventors, the book report, and showing the mini-booklet that was created. We also used this time to open up a discussion about how each invention helped or changed the world. It was a fun day, full of unexpected learning.

Miss E presenting her research

Now, we went pretty far above and beyond the lapbook product itself. But this is a great example of how easy it is to extend these products to include the entire family in learning. Our oldest students got some good research experience, as well as having to present, while it fit perfectly the reading ability and interest level of our youngest. We could easily have just used the mini-booklets and the study guide and we still would have learned a lot.

everyone can change the world

AJTL has simple to use products, though you do need access to a computer and printer if you are purchasing their downloadable products. If that doesn’t work for you, they have printed versions available, as well.A Journey Through Learning

The Homeschool Review Crew had several products that the families were using. These included

These are just a few of the hundreds of titles that A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks has available. There is something for just about every study you can imagine. Visit their page to see what else they have.

At Home.

 

Lapbooks for Classical Conversations, Apologia, Inventors & 20th Century {A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Hands-On History from Home School In The Woods ~ a Crew review

 

When learning something that is full of ideas and images, such as history, hands-on learning brings a concrete element to it. Home School in the Woods (HSITW) is a hands-on history company that brings some understanding to ideas, elements, and cultures that we cannot get without a tactile activity. We have had fun this summer with some relaxed learning about our home state of Texas through HSITW’s new product, Make-a-State Activity.

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-StateMake-A-State is a part of the Activity-Paks series. Other titles in the series include:

*The Old Testament
*The New Testament
*Composers
*Artists

HSITW is a company focused on bringing history to life through hands-on activities and informative readings. Each of the products in the HSITW lines are well-researched and well-written. The information is written at a level that upper elementary students and older are generally able to read and understand it on their own. However, with just a little bit of help, even younger elementary students are very capable of using and learning with all of the HSITW products that we have used over the years.
(Project Passport: Ancient Greece, Project Passport: Ancient Egypt, U.S. Elections)

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-StateMake-A-State is a Activity-Pak that can be used to study any state in the U.S or Washington D.C. The activities all work together to create a lapbook that includes more than 20 mini projects. All together these projects will give an overview of the chosen state. Most of the topics are generic in theme, allowing it be created specifically for your state. These topics include things like the agriculture of the state, the industry, the climate and the government. Also included are projects about the wildlife, the state song, and sports teams. From the history of the name of the state to the native peoples that live there, many topics are similar from state to state. Creating a tourist brochure and a mini newspaper are a couple of the projects that take a tad bit longer but are well worth the increased efforts.

There are also some projects that are designed to be specific to your state. These include a recipe, the motto, and the state bird and flower. There is also a map to create for your chosen state that you can personalize or mark in a way that fits what you are emphasizing for your state. Not to be forgotten, each state also has a state quarter that is designed to well-represent the state and there is a project to show that off, too.

Lastly, there is a folder game included to help learn about all of the United States. There are three versions of the game included and a set of double sided cards to cut out. Depending on what you are wanting to focus on, you use a different game board but the cards stay the same. Here’s a video of me attempting to explain the variations and how I put them together in a single file folder.


How We Used  Make-A-State:

We chose to use this Activity-Pak as a family. Since we are planning some field trips after the weather cools down to some places related to the history of Texas, we decided to use this as a fun summer projects. And it was well enjoyed. There were several days when the first thing that the girls wanted to do was to work on a mini book or two from Make-A-State (even before breakfast).

We divided up the projects and each of the girls chose something that she was interested in to work on. We used the included information sheet about Texas to get some of the information from (such as for the timeline). We also used the internet to do some research, mostly accessing a known Texas history and information site. For many of the images we needed, we used a Google search for black line coloring pages and printed them at a reduced size of about 30%.

Over the course of several days, working an hour or two a day, we completed the project. We finished it by placing each of the mini books onto blank paper and putting it into a three-prong folder. This way it can sit on our bookshelf easily and as we add to out states collection, they will all be similar. Here is a quick video showing you how it looks put into the folder.

A Couple of Notes:

We have not found a good double sided tape to use for these projects. We have also found that glue sticks don’t work for most of them. White glue really would not work due to the required drying time. So, our solution is to use tape. If you know my girls, you know that we have a deep love of tape. 🙂 Tape works really well and can hold up to the strain that some of the folds put on the projects.

We have become pretty familiar with Home School in the Woods and the ways in which their projects work. There is a bit of a learning curve with this company but it is well worth taking the time to beat that learning curve. Each project in a pack is put together a bit differently to create variety. This means that each project needs a little bit of thinking to put it together right. There are detailed instructions included but, honestly, it still takes some thinking to put some of them together. There are always images included of the completed project and those are terribly helpful.

Printing can also be tricky. You do have to know your own printer. Due to the differences in printer, each page of a project is presented to you separately with printing instructions (print 1-b on the back of 1-a, or something like that). You do need to read through those and print them as instructed to make the projects easier to put together. If you are like me, each time, I have to experiment a bit to remember which way to take the first page out and put it back in the printing drawer to get it printed in the right direction on the back. But, again, it is well worth taking the time and effort (and sometimes paper) to figure it out. My youngest still remembers working on Project Passport: Ancient Egypt from, what, 3 years ago?

A-La-Carte Options:

Home School in the Woods has recently introduced an a-la-carte option for some of their projects. This is a way for you to grab and use one or two of the projects, without having to commit to a longer study of the topic. Perhaps you are reading on a subject and your student shows an interest, you could head over to HSITW and see if there is a single hands-on project to do related to that topic. Or it could be a jumping off point. For example, here is a post about the mini unit study we did last week on the Erie Canal based off of the a-la-carte projects HSITW is offering (free at the time of this writing).

 

Thoughts:

This is a company that we enjoy a lot. Their products are well-researched, well-put-together, and lots of fun. Add to that the retention of information, and this hands-on history company is one worth looking into for your history needs.

At Home.

There were 100 families using products from Home School in the Woods. Click the banner below to read about what they thought from the product lines that were reviewed:

Time Traveler American
*New World Explorers
*Colonial Life
*The American Revolution
*The Early 19th Century
*The Civil War
*Industrial Revolution through Great Depression
*World War II

Lap-Paks
*U.S. Elections
*20th Century in America
*Wonders of the World
*Benjamin Franklin
*Knights

Activity-Paks
*The Old Testament
*The New Testament
*Composers
*Artists

Timeline Trio

 

Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Erie Canal and Locks

Erie Canal and Locks

Home School in the Woods, a fantastic hands-on history company, has begun offering a new type of product – a-la-carte projects from their history packs.Erie Canal project from HSITW

HSITW has an offer right now (don’t know how long the offer is good) for a project on the Erie Canal that looks simple and fun. So, I sat down and printed it out and put it together so I could show it to the girls. I had not idea just how much hands-on history would happen with that little project.

Miss J, age 8, was terribly interested. So we talked about the project, looking at the map, discussing the information inside of it, and how it would have been used. I also sang her the Erie Canal song that I knew. That settled it – more information was needed so she asked about whether we could find pictures or videos of the canals and locks.

We started out on A Net In Time, looking at the pictures of the field trip they took to Welland Canal.

Homeschool Coffee Break has a field trip discussion about visiting the C&O Canal, as well as a link to an earlier discussion about canals.

Then some videos and webpages:

The Erie Canal page has animated drawings of locks in use.

Here is a video of going through some locks:

This video is about the canal and about the mules used to pull the barges along:

A video of mules actually pulling a boat along:

And this one, not of the Erie Canal but a fascinating look at locks, even on smaller waterways:

So, with just a simple hands-on project from Home School In The Woods, we expanded our learning across continents and waterways, using maps, music, history, commerce, and more. Not bad for a Friday afternoon in the summer.

At Home.

Passive Teaching – Middle School Monday

National Parks and passive teaching

I often forget just how effective passive teaching is. By passive teaching, I mean setting up a situation where the student is “invited” without words to participate in something that will educate.

A year or so ago, I stumbled across a set of DVDs about America’s national parks. They have sat on the shelf. I have often thought it would be interesting to pull them out to view but the right opportunity just never appeared. Until the other day.

I had some time and wanted to watch TV. I saw those and decided that I wanted to watch them. I knew the girls were in the living room and honestly, I expected them to leave to play in their rooms or outside when I put these on. Guess what? They didn’t.

National Parks DVDs

They hung around, still doing their own things. But they were listening. I know because every once in a while, from behind the couch, I would hear “wow!” or “I bet that’s neat.” It was whispered and not necessarily meant to be heard, so I never responded. I loved that they were paying attention, even if they were only hearing things, while keeping their hands busy with activity.

Then again, the other evening, I put a disc on to watch. My oldest daughter was on the couch reading. She very quickly put her book down to watch with me. She often commented about things she thought were neat. At one point she got up and left the room. I thought “Nice while she was here and I’m glad she watched as much as she did.” Just a moment later she returned with coloring materials in her hands. She proceeded to watch more with me. And, when I was about to turn it off, she asked if I would leave it on and watch more with her. So, I did. We still have 2 discs to go, too!

I had no thought that in doing something interesting for myself that it would attract their interests. I always hope so. But I never plan for that. Now, though, I have a daughter who has an interest in visiting a number of different national parks. In fact, she asked if she made of list of the ones she wants to see, if we could go visit some of them in the next couple of years. She understands that some are very far away and we can’t just up and go. But her interest is piqued. And isn’t that what we are hoping for? Interest?

It may be short lived or fleeting. But it is there. If we feed that interest, who knows where it will go. So, on our next trip to NM, I am hoping we can detour through Carlsbad (not really too far out of the way) and visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park again. It is first on her list.

At Home.

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