Wife, Mummy, Nurse

29 April 2016

Y: You Can Do It, Sam #atozchallenge

Written By: Amy Hest

One of my favorite memories of Christmases in Iowa was baking cinnamon bread with my mum. After the loaves came out of the oven, we would go into town and deliver the freshly baked bread to my teachers-1 to my Sunday school teacher and 1 to my public school teacher. Afterwards we would come home and eat slices from an extra loaf.

In You Can Do It, Sam, Sam and his mother are baking cakes for their friends on Plum Street. Sam and Mrs. Bear wait for the cakes to be finished. Once they are completely baked, they tuck the cakes into twelve red bags to deliver to their friends. They go driving on Plum Street and stop at houses to deliver the cakes. Mrs. Bear tells Sam to take the cake. Surprised Sam says, "All by myself?" His mother gently encourages him to go; that he can do it. At each house, Sam took the cake and left it at the door. When the deliveries are made, Sam discovers there are two red bags leftover for he and his mom to eat. They sit by the fire eating their cakes on that winter day on Plum Street.

What's your favorite memory as a child from winter time?

28 April 2016

X: Except the Color Grey #atozchallenge

Written By: Arlene Alda

I was NOT looking forward to "X". So few book titles started with this letter, and the one or two I found, I had NO desire to read. Thankfully, in the children's section of the library I found Except the Color Grey. I picked it up just because "X" is the second letter in the title, and it looked safe.

If you are looking for a basic book to teach a toddler colors, Except the Color Grey would be a good option. The illustrations are photographs and clearly demonstrate the colors the author is trying to point out. That being said, Except the Color Grey is just so-so. It rhymes, but sometimes the rhyming seems forced. Plus the author seems to be contradicting herself, at the beginning of the book she says she likes most colors that she sees, except the color grey. But at the end, her favorite color is grey.

What's your favorite book that teaches the names of colors?

27 April 2016

W: When Washington Crossed the Delaware #atozchallenge

Written By: Lynne Cheney

One of my pet peeves with teaching history is that it is easy to fall into the trap of having students memorize the facts and spew it back out for testing purposes, only to have it immediately forgotten. This is what my history teacher did in high school, and as a result, I don't know as much as I would like, but one of the beauties about homeschooling is I can hopefully learn what I should have learned in high school.

When Washington Crossed the Delaware is written by Lynne Cheney. (Yes, that's Dick Cheney's wife.) I had no clue she wrote children's history books, but I'm glad I discovered this gem. When Washington Crossed the Delaware goes back to Christmas 1776. George Washington led 2400 men across the cold, icy Delaware River. On December 26, General Washington and the army surprised the Hessians at Trenton, New Jersey. The Americans won the battle after the Hessians surrendered.
Many of Washington's men had the right to go home at the end of the year, but Washington needed them to stay... He could see that they were cold. Many marched without shoes and left bloddy footprints in the snow... he [Washington] appealed to their love for their country. This was an hour of destiny, he told one regiment, a time that would decide America's fate. If they wanted their country to be free, they had to keep fighting.
Washington's men stayed at his side. Washington knew there were British and Hessian troops in Princeton, N.J. Wanting to surprise the British again, Washington organized his men to leave in the wee hours of the morning on January 3. Once again (in less than 10 days), Washington and his men surprised the British, this time in Princeton. The Americans won the battle.

I plan on purchasing this book for our family and reading it every winter to my children. It's wonderful and weaves the story of the battles of Trenton and Princeton throughout the book in an understandable way.

What's your favorite book about the Revolutionary War?

26 April 2016

V: The Very Hungry Caterpillar #atozchallenge

Written By: Eric Carle

When I was five years old, one of my favorite books was The Very Hungry Caterpillar (and it's still a favorite). The illustrations are captivating; they are bright. The text is predictable. Plus, it's educational; The Very Hungry Caterpillar teaches different foods (mostly fruits and junk foods), the days of the week, how to count to five, and how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. The only thing I dislike about this book is a butterfly comes from a chrysalis (NOT a cocoon), and yes, I usually change the word to chrysalis when reading it to my children.

Reading about the caterpillar tonight before bed.
What is your favorite book from your childhood?

25 April 2016

U: U.S. Presidents #atozchallenge

Written By: Dan Green

With the primary elections going on, I realized that Charis knows very little about who have been the Presidents of the United States. I want my children to have a better knowledge of history than I do. In high school, my history teacher, from 10th-12th grade, had us write down outlines verbatim. The day before testing us, he would give us a "review" with all the test questions and answers. I'd regurgitate the answers on paper and immediately forget what I learned. I wanted a book that is simple for Charis to understand, and yet memorable.

U.S. Presidents: The Oval Office All-Stars includes all 44 Presidents of the United States. Each President is given one page with 6 bulleted facts and a 2 paragraphs written in first person. Each President has a cartoon depiction on the opposite page. I plan on reading a different President each school day to my daughter, enough to help introduce her to the names.

What books do you like about the U.S. Presidents? Who is your favorite President?

23 April 2016

T: Tea Cakes for Tosh #atozchallenge

Written By: Kelly Starling Lyons

One of my favorite memories of my grandmother is her baking in the kitchen. When she baked a cake, it was not just one cake; she baked a dozen. When she make loaves of gingerbread, at least 6-10 would be made that day. I loved watching her. She knew the recipes from memory.

Tea Cakes for Tosh is about a boy (Tosh) who loves spending time with his grandma, especially the times she baked tea cakes. She often told him their family history about their people being enslaved. Tosh's great-great-great-great-grandma (Ida) was a slave and baked biscuits for her master. Sometimes Ida would pocket a few tea cakes to give to the children. Over time, Tosh started noticing his grandmother forgetting things-where the car was parked, her sister's phone number, and how to make tea cakes. (Side note: this is where I lost it. I worked as a nursing assistant in an Alzheimer's-Dementia unit at a nursing home, and that's how I became interested it becoming a nurse. Let's just say the tears started flowing at this part of the book.) Tosh helps jog his grandmother's memory, and she finishes the recipe. Later that night, Tosh asked his mother to help him make tea cakes.

This is a heartwarming story about families passing traditions on to future generations.

Do you have memories of your grandmother making family recipes?

22 April 2016

S: The Story of the World Activity Book One #atozchallenge

Edited By: Susan Wise Bauer

I am 99.9% sure that next year we'll be using The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 1 as part of Charis's education. I'm thankful our library system has the different volumes and activity books because I've been able to go through it in depth and come to a decision. I was on the fence about purchasing the activity book, but I will.

The maps. Charis LOVES maps; So much so, that I've printed out a map of the USA and as the different states have their primary elections, we've been coloring in the state for either Clinton or Sanders for the Democrats and Trump, Cruz, or for the Republicans.

The read aloud suggestions. One thing I have hope to do for a long time in being a mother is reading aloud to my children. I grew up with a mother who believed reading aloud to us was beneficial (even in high school). Eventually, I viewed myself as being too old to be read aloud to... but a little secret (or not so little secret), when I was in high school, I would often stop outside my mother's class room and listen to her read to her students.

The activity projects. Often I am unimaginative, but my daughter enjoys painting and art. She is a hands on learner.

For those wondering. No, I have not drunk the Kool-Aid and gone full force into Classical education (there are some issues that Drew and I have with Classical education). Even though we disagree with a few things does not mean we need to throw out everything and try to come up with something new.

Do you homeschool your children? What curriculum do you use?