Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Peek at Our Week: January 15-19

So the virus that hit our house last week made its way through the rest of the family. I'm the last one down and have no voice at this point. I am starting to feel better, but having the entire household sick means we didn't get much work done this week.  Rose finished up the work from the previous week she didn't get a chance to complete because she was sick. Beth came down sick on Monday, so she had the week off like her sisters did the previous week. Grace did little bits of learning here and there, but it was pretty much just independent whatever she felt like.

We also got a beautiful and rare snowfall! Eleven inches is a big deal in the south. Unfortunately the girls didn't get to play in it as much as normal because of being sick. 

 Buckets out in preparation of making snow cream! We also tried to make maple candy like Laura Ingalls did, but that didn't work out so well. I'll have to read up more on how to make that happen.

 Once their coughs calmed down a bit, I let them hang out on the porch long enough to build a little snow buddy. 

Take a look at what my Crewmates have been up to this week!

Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up

Preserving Memories: Week of Jaunuary 14

In between handing out doses of medicine, rolling on essential oils, and pouring glass upon glass of juice, I did a little scrapbooking! I'm enjoying taking some time to scrap photos from my childhood and family history. The snow pictures are from the previous week when we got just a light coating of ice. Enough to enjoy a little sledding/snowboarding for a few hours!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Review of Historical Stories of Survival Unit Studies

In our family history and literature are the core of our studies. It is always exciting when the two overlap and the girls get to see interdisciplinary learning at its best! This is the case with the Historical Stories of Survival series of unit studies written by Justine Gamble. 

We had the opportunity to review the following two studies: 



 We already owned several of these engaging historical fiction books, but they are readily available at libraries across the nation. They are enjoyable for a wide variety of ages. While they are recommended for grades 3-5, my 2nd grader was fully engaged and my 7th grader finds them enjoyable. If you think your kids are not quite ready for the reading level they also make very engaging read aloud books which would work very well for these units for family learning.

Thanks to these fabulous unit studies, the book is only the beginning! The author has created a fully integrated unit study with varied learning style activities which will appeal to a large age range. I used them as independent studies for Beth and Grace. Beth studied about Hurricane Katrina and Grace studied about the San Francisco Earthquakes. My girls did fine with the stories, but remember they are fictional survival stories of historical tragedies. The idea of death as well as natural disasters and man-made tragedies are explored. You should absolutely take into account the sensitivities of each child when choosing a study. 

I love that the literature is fully covered. Students identify various literary elements and write about different aspects within the novel. This is compiled into a lapbook. Lapbooks aren't a regular part of our day-to-day learning so the girls really enjoy it when they get the chance to create one. Guided literature questions will assure your students are retaining what they read and vocabulary/spelling lists will help them build their skills with word usage.

In addition to the literary elements there are excellent questions guiding students to learn more about the historical period and scientific investigations to engage the learners in the science behind the disasters. Students will create timelines, learn about the cultural and social aspects of the times studied, and learn about the geographical region of the novel. My girls had the chance to learn more about earth quakes and hurricanes, two really fascinating natural disasters! Hurricanes were especially interesting to Grace because her grandparent's had just spend time preparing for one that came through South Florida.
Grace's only concern was if she had to fill up all the space provided. That is the wonderful flexibility of this unit study! You can have your kids write as much or as little as is appropriate. This makes is a great fit no matter the age. She is in 2nd grade, but is advanced because she has a later birthday. Still, she gets overwhelmed with too much blank space on a page. I easily fixed this by marking the lines part-way down and telling her where she needed to aim.

  The girls' favorite part far and away were the games included! I had the girls cut and prepare the games for each of their units. This built up quite a bit of anticipation by doing it themselves! For Grace's game we grabbed some game pieces from another game to be our "people".

They also played together! The really cool part about this was that since each of them studied a different historical event, they spent time explaining various historical facts through the game-play. I never told them to do this, but it was an excellent way to assess their actual learning as I listened to the interaction. I played as well and they loved that I participated! 

In addition to the games each unit also has suggested field trip ideas and several artistic creations which can engage those students who love hands-on learning. 

If you are looking for a new way to spice up your homeschool studies or even just as a new way to engage with literature, I highly recommend Historical Stories of Survival from Justine Gamble. Your kids will love learning as they dive into any one of these studies! 

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of each of these units for use with my family for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Preserving Memories: Week of January 7

 I've slowly been scanning and restoring family photos of my and my husband's families. I decided to do a little family history scrapbooking this week! One of the really fun things about digi scrapping is I'm working on maybe 4-5 albums at once. If I'm not inspired by one thing, I can jump to something different without any trouble! 

(FYI, the qualities of these is actually quite a bit higher than presented here. Due to size restrictions these pages are made smaller. That is important to note for anyone thinking of jumping into the wonderful world of Digi-Scrapping!)


This was a painting class some mom friends and I had at our church last spring. It was so fun! 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Peek at Our Week: January 8-12

You will notice there aren't many pictures of Grace this week! I teach an English class for middle school homeschoolers on Mondays and my husband teaches our girls. When I got home from my class poor little Grace (who was bouncy and lively when I left) was plopped on the couch and running a fever. She spent the rest of the week resting and is still getting over that. This is pretty much what her week consisted of...

Rose: Revival to Revolution Unit 5 (7th Grade)

Rose has really made strides in time management this year. She loves working ahead and actually finished almost the entire week's worth of history assignments on Monday while I was working! She does not have less work than Beth, but finishes before her nearly every day. 

We had an interesting thing happen that has dramatically improved our math time. My husband and I have always felt Rose's so-called struggle in math was because it wasn't something that came fast and easy. She understands the concepts and can work out the problems, but because it felt tedious to her, she thought she was not strong in this area. After testing with the Woodcock-Johnson test last week where she tested a full grade-level above her current work. This not only shocked her, it gave her a boost of confidence like I have never seen! Not only was math faster than ever before, she never once complained and even worked ahead!

And then on Wednesday, she came home from her science class and asked to go to bed. Yup, she came down with what Grace had! 

Beth: Creation to Christ Unit 19 (5th Grade)

 My dear Beth has not yet caught what her sisters have! This is a wonderful blessing because she battled a very serious illness in November. This sweet girl really loved the more individualized attention she was given on Thursday and Friday. I always work with her, but it was just her and I doing school the last two days and she loved it. 

For her Bible study she enjoyed listening to a dramatized, word-for-word recording. She followed along in her Bible and it was a fun change. She did well in all her studies and I was blessed that she helped me out more than usual around the house on her own initiative since her sisters were sick.

Free Learning Friday

After reading what my blogging friend Misty from Joy in the Journey had to stay here on Instagram...

... I decided to give it a try. It went great! Well, 1/3 of my children enjoyed it. The other two spent the morning on the couch. I told them in advance they could decide what they wanted to learn about on Friday and I would do my best to comply.

Beth decided to study about Australia. I have a fabulous unit study from Amanda Bennett and was all set! Then the internet wouldn't work. Then the printer wouldn't work. Then both were fixed and the links wouldn't work! No worries though, I pulled off several atlases and a couple of other resources and we dove right in. She loved it! Sometimes our plans don't pan out, but we can still have fun learning. It was a great lesson for both of us in being flexible.

So that was our week! Honestly, plans were derailed and very little went as I had imagined between illness and internet woes and printer issues. I could have griped and grumbled and let the days be ruined. Instead, I chose to just go with it, and our week was lovely in an unplanned kind of way.

How was your week?

Click here to see what some of my Crewmates from The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew are up to!