Monday, March 30, 2015

Patriots, Redcoats and Spies {Children's Book Review}

By Robert J. Skead, with Robert A. Skead 
Published by Zondervan

When I look for books for the kids, I look for books that are not just entertaining for the reader, but hopefully educational as well.  We don't have many books in our personal library about the Revolutionary War, so when I had the opportunity to review Patriots, Redcoats and Spies, I knew it would be a good addition.  My two oldest children are boys who like all things war, spies and adventure, and this book delivers.

Patriots, Redcoats and Spies is part of the American Revolutionary War Adventures series.  The book follows 14 year old twins, John and Ambrose, who not only witness their father Lamberton Clark being shot by a British Redcoat soldier, but must carry out his war mission.  Upon finding out their father is a spy (though Lamberton prefers the term patriot), the boys realize they must carry the message their father was supposed to deliver to General George Washington.

The book is full of brotherly love and mischief.  I have three sisters and a brother, and they definitely treat each other like any sibling would.  In the good times and the bad.  I'm not sure how accurate all of the conversational language was to the time period, it sounded fairly modern to me, but their was still a lot of historical research that went into the book.  The author, Robert Skead, worked with his father to develop this book.  They are members of the Sons of the American Revolution and descendants of the real Lamberton Clark.  This book was written to include historical facts about the war, and there is some great information in the back of the book to go along with the story which helps add to the historical framework.  The book is probably suited for the 8-12 year old reader, but as a read-aloud I found it perfectly suitable for my 5 year old son as well.  I would consider this a modern living history book.  It would be great as a stand-alone book, but also perfect for including with Revolutionary War studies!

I review for BookLook Bloggers

©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

FIAR: Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel

After much discussion and deliberation, it was determined that Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
by Virginia Lee Burton would follow our Katy and the Big Snow row.

This post contains affiliate links.  

Social Studies
Age of Steam Power and Industrial History
To go along with the lesson, we read about the first steam shovel patent and then we watched the video of an antique steam shovel.  Emory was also asking about steam rollers, so we had fun searching for pictures and videos of those too.

Story Disks
We placed our disk on . . . South Dakota.  No real reason.  We did discuss fictional towns in literature though.

Language Arts
Personification, Literary Classics
Elliott immediately recognized the personification of Mary Anne the steam shovel.  After the story, I asked how this book was similar to Katy and the Big Snow.  "They are both personified and big machines that like to help others."  We discussed how they were written by the same author.  Elliott even asked when the book was written, and I showed him the copyright date.  How awesome that all his observations and questions fit right into the lessons from the manual, before I even got there.

When we read The Little House later, the boys were intrigued that Mike and Mary Anne were in the illustrations, and Elliott commented that Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel had to have been written first or she couldn't have put him in another book.

We fit copywork into our row as usual.  Elliott's came from Homeschool Share, and I made Emory's online.  He had been learning /m/ in his reading program, so I made it to say Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne, and I had him trace every capital "M" on the page.  {I think this M was actually too big to trace!}

Literature Connections
We also listened to a few different audio versions instead of reading the book.  One day we listened to the Kiddie Records Weekly version while we did art, and another day we listened to an audio version that also included Katy and the Big Snow and Maybelle the Cable Car.  It's from this Mike Mulligan Travel Activity Kit.  The kit also has a small paperback book of Mike Mulligan, an activity book and crayons, postcards and stickers.  Eleanor enjoyed the stickers!

Applications of Math in Construction; Geometry
I started simple with the "neat and square" theme, by starting with Eleanor and Emory.  I read a couple of books to them and we got out the pattern blocks.  The Shape Of Things shows how we can see shapes in everyday objects around us, while Imagination Shapes is about a girl using blocks to create all kinds of things!  Eleanor enjoyed playing blocks with Granny (my grandmother) when she was visiting one day.

Then up a step for the boys, I read the instructions from Shape Monsters.  I traced a plate on a sheet of paper for them though, because we didn't need Halloween monsters in March.  They enjoyed following the instructions and then seeing how the other made their shape monster look!

Then I upped it even more for Elliott because I knew I would have to take a different angle to challenge him more.  We discussed the importance of math in construction, and then we discussed perimeters, such as the perimeter of a building or the perimeter of a room.  We did a couple of examples with craft sticks, and then he checked his understanding by calculating the perimeter of squares and rectangles.

States of Matter
I tried to do the steam activity in the manual, but it didn't work the way I anticipated.  I did explain what was supposed to happen though, and they understood.  So instead I read What Is the World Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases which was great.  I really like this series.

Then we did this activity from homeschool share, to check our understanding.

Fine Arts
As soon as the boys decided on this row, I immediately ordered the Maestro Classics production based on this book.  We've enjoyed additional titles since our review last year, and this was no exception!  We listened to it in the car, because everyone is quiet and attentive in the car.  Eleanor loved the sound effects!

Art - Trees
We are currently reviewing ARTistic Pursuits, so here's a little sneak peak!  There was a lesson that tied in perfectly with the art lesson on trees from this row.  (The watercolor paper is too large for our FIAR notebooks, so I cut them in half so I could put the art in page protectors, and it would save paper too.)

Emory's Summer and Winter Trees 

Elliott's Summer, Autumn and Winter Trees 

Steam Shovel Coloring Page from About Homeschooling
Antique Erie Steam Shovel video from YouTube
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel from Homeschool Share
Mike Mulligan audio from Kiddie Records Weekly
Letter M from Twisty Noodle
Perimeters of Squares and Rectangles from Great Schools
Shape Monsters from

Our next row will be The Salamander Room, because the boys wanted to study insects!

©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: An Eye for Science

Wordless Wednesday at Life at Rossmont

©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.