Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Ring Out, Wild Bells
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Happy New Year!!

Thanks to Graphics Fairy  for the Bells Illustration 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Story of the World: Vol 1 - Chap 4 - Making Mummies

I know this is labeled as a "Story of the World" post, but we actually didn't use the text for this lesson.   However, all the activities work perfectly with Chapter 4 - Making Mummies, if you were using that.

We had already read about the mummification process in several different library books on Egypt, so I wanted to take a different tack and look at the science behind how mummification works.  Also, technically, I knew that the mummification process described in Chapter 4 of Story of the World was really not fully developed until the New Kingdom (though I don't know if I would have cared enough to tweak this if there hadn't been other reasons to).

For our alternative text we used a page from "Science of Ancient Egypt:  Mummification" (part of a larger bundle on Ancient Egypt by Dr. Dave's science which I bought after falling in love with his free sample unit on The Nile).   It covered some things that the other books we read didn't about the science behind making mummies.

You may notice that Unit is for 4th - 7th graders...and when we did this my son was a 1st grader with a Kindergarten sized attention span.  So, why would I do a crazy thing like that?   Well, because my son loves science, because this presents that science in an engaging way, and I had a feeling he would listen, even if he didn't understand absolutely everything.

I didn't try to cover the whole unit though, since I knew that would be an attention span stretch.  In stead I  used a couple of pages from it for this lesson, and I did what I always do...added some tactiles and visuals, and of course, lots of questions. 

First, we reviewed Egyptian mummification with this video...

Then, before we dug into the text, I took my son outside to see something I knew had been sitting out by the fence in our yard...the remains of a dead bird.   I knew it would be a great example of what happens to an animal after it dies...and how microorganisms take part in that process (though I'm sure ants took a part too).

I pointed out the bones and the beak and the feather, and asked my son "What do you think happened to the rest of it, all the bird's muscles and stuff?"

He gave a guess about the bird going to heaven (theology lessons pop up when least expected, don't they?).

"Well, the Bible doesn't say whether birds go to Heaven.  Some people think they do, and some people don't, but we don't know.   But when people go to Heaven it says God gives us new our old bodies stay here when we die.   So even if animals go to Heaven it doesn't mean their bodies do too.  So what do you think happened to the bird's body?"

I let him give a couple more guesses and then said, "Lets go inside and find out!"  That got him interested and he listened intently as I read the whole page on "Preserving the Body"  which talked about how microorganisms break up and consume dead things and how the mummification process prevents that.

At that my son expressed some fears about microorganisms eating I told him about how when we're living that our cells have ways of fighting bad bacteria and germs, and that other bacteria lives in our body and doesn't hurt us, but when someone or something dies than its cells die too, and so the microorganisms then start to eat the dead cells.

(Yeah, all was all off the cuff and I wasn't sure if that was completely correct, though it did assuage his fears.  Later I checked up on it and got this great answer from someone on  I was pretty on target...but he gave some extra details that were really great.)

We skipped the next page to come back to after we had done our egg experiment (as it gives away the end), and read the first paragraph of "The Chemistry of Salt."  This first paragraph talks about how salt is a mixture and how there are different kinds of salt (even baking soda is, chemically, a salt).  So, I showed him some.

Aw, the salt looks like a funny monster face.
Click on it to see the different salts enlarged.

We looked at regular salt, coarse ground sea salt, Himalayan sea salt, Epson salts, and baking soda.  I left these out on a dish for him touch and play with while I read the next paragraph about natron.  When we got to the last paragraph about where the Egyptians got natron (in the Natron Valley, in the Nile Delta), we looked it up on our map.

Then, we did an experiment where we mummified a hard boiled egg.  I've seen this done with apples too, or a whole chicken (as suggested in the SOTW Activity book).

  1. Hard boil an egg (or two if you want to have a "control" egg...see section below).  Peel off the shell.
  2. Measure the egg with flexible tape ruler and write down results.
  3. Weigh egg and write down results.
  4. Mix an equal amount of salt and baking soda to make an approximation of natron (you can just use salt in stead)...enough to cover an egg.
  5. Put the egg in a cup or open container and cover completely with natron mixture.
  6. Uncover egg and repeat steps 1 - 3 every day for several weeks until the weight and size remains constant.

We also put another egg outside in an open container to see what happened to it (but did not measure it, because I knew after a while we wouldn't want to touch that one).  In stead we took pictures.


Below are our pictures of our egg mummy (left) and control egg (right). OK, yes, that first picture is the same egg reversed...cause I didn't take a picture of the mummified one before we put it in the salt.  It's not consecutive days because we didn't take a picture every day (the days shown are as follows:  Day 1, Day 2, Day 5, Day 9, Day 12), and the sizes are not completely to scale, though I did try to show how they shrunk (it was a little more dramatic than the pictures here show, actually).  But you can still get the general idea.

Click to see larger pictures.

(We missed taking a picture of the mummified egg that last day shown, but I thought the changes in the other egg were interesting).   The control egg eventually withered away to nearly nothing and we tossed it.  The mummified egg eventually turned rock hard and gray, but alas I didn't take a final pic. I left it outside and then forgot about it a long time and it was gone (guess it didn't stay forever, but we live in a humid area, not the dry Egyptian desert).  Plus, some animal may have eaten it.

This was a fun lesson and my son really enjoyed it.  I would recommend this experiment for any kids interested in mummies.

Alternative Activities

You can find this post on the Family Friday Link-up,


Story of the World - Revised Version Changes - Volume 1 - Chapters 1 - 5

Below is a list of the substantive changes I found made in the Revised version of Story of the World, Volume 1 for  Chapters 1 -5.   Minor changes such as splitting up paragraphs are not noted, nor are picture changes.  There may be other changes I didn't notice as well.  For a full list of changes by chapter click hereClick here to view all my Story of the World posts.

Chapter 1 - Section 2:  The First Nomads Become Farmers
There were a few semi-substantive changes/additions, in addition to a few minor wording changes (not mentioned here).


Original - Paragraph 1 (last sentence)

And it was called "fertile" because plenty of rich grass, wild barley, and wild wheat grew there.

Revised - Paragraph 2
And it was called fertile because two rivers, called the Tigris and Euphrates, ran through it.  Rich grass, wild barley, and wild wheat grew in the damp soil of the river banks.


Original - Paragraph 3

Nomads who settled in the Fertile Crescent had to feed themselves without wandering around to find wild leaves, nuts and berries. Soon the people who lived in the Fertile Crescent discovered that wheat or barley seeds, dropped onto the ground, grew into new plants.  They found out that these plants needed extra water to flourish.  The land near the rivers was damp enough to make growing easy, but further away, the land was dry for much of the year.  So the new farmers learned to dig canals from the river out into their fields.  That way, even if it did not rain, they could bring water to their crops.

Revised - Paragraph 4-5
Nomads who settled in the Fertile Crescent couldn't just pick leaves, nuts, and berries to eat.  Soon they would run out of wild plants to harvest.  Instead, they had to begin to plant grain for themselves.  The nomads of the Fertile Crescent were turning into farmers.

These new fields of grain needed extra water to flourish.  The land near the rivers was damp enough to make growing easy.  But it didn't rain very much in the Fertile Crescent, and father away from the shores, the land was dry for much of the year.  So the farmers learned to dig canals from the rivers out into their fields.   That way, even if it did not rain, they could bring water to their crops. 

The following sentence was added to the end of paragraph 10 of the Revised Verion (paragraph 7 of the original).
The tower was 35 feet high--taller than a two story house!

CHANGE 4 (Endnotes)

Note to Parent:  Nomads roamed through the Fertile Crescent c. 6000 BC/BCE.
Note to Parent:  Nomads roamed through the Fertile Crescent c. 7000 BC/BCE.  The stone wall at Jericho dates to around 6800 BC/BCE. 

 Chapter 2 - Section 1:  Two Kingdoms Become One

Original - In Paragraph  5

...The Egyptians who lived in the Nile delta were called the "Lower Egyptians," and they were ruled by a king who wore a red crown.  The Egyptians who lived along the straight part of the river were called the "Upper Egyptians."  They were ruled by a king who wore a white crown.  The White Crown King and the Red Crown King fought with each other, and the Upper Egyptians and the Lower Egyptians sailed up and down the Nile and fought with each other too.

Revised - In Paragrph 5 -8

...The Egyptians who lived in the North, in the Nile Delta, were called the "Lower Egyptians." The Egyptians who lived along the straight part of the river, further south, were called the "Upper Egyptians."

When you look at a map, "north" is usually at the top and "south" is usually at the bottom.  So it might seem to you that the Nile Delta should be "Upper Egypt."  After all, it's on the upper part of your map.

But the ancient Egyptians didn't think about the world in that way.  The Nile River flowed from the mountains in the south, down to the delta in the north.  So the ancient Egyptians thought about the southern part of their country, Upper Egypt, as "up the river," and the northern part, Lower Egypt, as "down the river."  If you turn the map at the top of this page upside down, you'll see the world as the Egyptians did.

The Lower Egyptians were ruled by a king who wore a red crown, and the Upper Egyptians were ruled by a king who wore a white crown.  Both kings wanted to rule over all of Egypt.  So for years, the White Crown King and the Red Crown King fought with each other, and the Upper Egyptians and the Lower Egyptians sailed up and down the Nile and fought with each other too.

Chapter 3:  The First Writing


Original - Paragraph 5

Because the Sumerians lived between two rivers, they had plenty of damp clay.  And instead of carving their pictures onto stone, they would mold this clay into a square tablet.  Then, while the clay was still wet, they would use a sharp knife or stick to carve their own picture-writing into the tablet.  After the message was carved into the clay, the Sumerians would bake the clay until it was hard.  The Sumerian picture-writing was called cuneiform.

Revised - Paragraph 8

The Sumerian picture-writing was called cuneiform.  Because the Sumerians lived between two rivers, they had plenty of damp clay.  Instead of carving their pictures onto stone, they would mold this clay into a square tablet.  Then, while the clay was still wet, they would use a sharp knife or stick to make the cuneiform marks.  After the message was carved into the clay, the Sumerians could either wipe it out and write another message (if the message were something unimportant, like a grocery list), or else bake the clay until it was hard.  Then the message would last for a very long time.

The following section, which I've bolded,  was added to the end of the last sentence of paragraph 9 of the Revised Version (paragraph 6 of the original). need a whole lot of space--whole buildings full of rooms for even a small library.

Chapter 4 - Part 1:  Making Mummies

Between Paragraphs 1 - 2  some dates were added as well as a long explanation of BC/BCE AD/CE dating structures.

Chapter 5
No substantive text changes.

Story of the World - Volume 1 - Index of Changes to Revised Version

Here are the changes I'm aware of in the Revised version of Story of the World.
  • Illustrations changed and (for the most part) improved
  • Fixed Typos
  • Changes in typesetting and font to make the book more attractive and easier to read
  • Some longer paragraphs split into shorter paragraphs
  • Some other non-substantive changes in wording 
  • A few substantive changes and additions (changes which affect the content)
  • Several added appendixes:  A Chronology, a Name Pronunciation Guide, and a Note to Parents regarding the Abraham Story.
Minor changes such as splitting up paragraphs are not noted, nor are picture changes.  There may be other changes I didn't notice as well.  I haven't finished adding these changes, but will add new ones I find with each chapter I post lessons for.

(Sorry...I had high hopes for doing this for all chapters, but as it turns out, this took too long...I will add some of the more notable changes I remember, but may not get to all chapters.)

Chapters 1 - 5

Chapters 6 - 11

Chapter 12


New changes for later chapters will be added here when I complete and share the lessons for those chapters.  You can find our Story of the World Lessons here.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Tree Coloring Page

Enjoy a free Christmas Tree coloring page I designed! I also have several other Scribbleprint coloring page designs to choose from.

Click on the picture below for the printer size version.

(Non commercial or classroom use only)

If you or your little one color one of my coloring pages and would like to share what you made, please e-mail me at ecarian at yahoo dot com and show me it! Let me know if I can use it as an example on my site, and if you post it up on your blog send me the link so I can link to it. :-)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Scribbleprints Stocking Stuffers Giveaway

Did you know I also have a site where I sell cool stuff with my artwork?   Well, I do, and I'm holding a giveaway with some stocking stuffers?  Enter below to win any five items below...

(4 stickers, not full sheet)

Hair Bands and Buttons
(Buttons may have alternative plastic backs, or be smaller)

TO ENTER:  Enter on the rafflecopter form below.  You must be a US resident over 18 to enter.   Prize will five of the items above of your choice (in designs shown).  See full rules here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 7, 2016

Story of the World: Chapter 3 - The First Writing

Post contains some affiliate links, through which I can earn commission...mostly for books, which I suggest looking for at your local library. 

In this series I share our Story of the World lesson, but even if you're not using SOTW, if you're studying ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia, you might enjoy the activities and info in this post about ancient forms of writing (Hieroglyphics and Cuneiform).  

This chapter of Story of the World was easy to break into 3 different parts, which I read to my son on different days to make it easier for his wiggly wompus short attention span.

Day 1:  Egyptian Writing
The paragraphs are split up differently in the original and revised versions, so I tried to note both locations below)

Paragraph 1- 5 (Original: 1-2)

There's something interesting that you won't find in most kids books on Egypt (and that isn't mentioned in Story of the World either)...that there were TWO types of writing in Egypt.


Hieroglyphics is the type of writing most people associate with Egypt...the type that looks like picture writing. This was the type of writing you'ld find carved into temple walls and monuments.   BUT, it was not the only type of writing being used in Egypt at this time....and not even the most common type.

Hieratic Writing

Picture by Nic McPhee - From British Museum - Adapted Under Creative Commons

The common Egyptian used a shorthand form of writing called hieratic.   It derived from hieroglyphics but was used alongside it (it didn't replace hieroglyphics).    While priests and monument carvers still used hieroglyphics, merchants and traders and everyone else was using hieratics to write their grocery lists and love notes.

I wanted to show my son not just hieroglypics, but hieratic too.  Luckily, one of the books we had, Time Traveler, had a description of hieratics and hieroglyphics, along with a great example of how they were used.  So, at paragrph 4, I stopped and used the Time Traveler description in stead, taking time to look at hieroglyphics in some library books about Egypt, and hieratic in pictures I found online.  When I taught this section at our co-op I also used this excellent free printable comparing hieratics and hieroglyphics I had found after our lesson the previous year at home. 

But I changed things up also because paragraph 4 (Original: 2) is a little inaccurate. 
The Egyptians use pictures to write with.  We call these pictures hieroglyphs.  The pictures stood for certain words. The Egyptians use to carve these hieroglyphs into stone tablets.
Hieroglyphs didn't just stand for words, they stood for sounds too...whether they stood for a sound or a word depended on context (the activity book shows this too).  I realize she was trying to keep it simple, but it doesn't take much more to tell this corrently.  When reading this passage you could change it like this...
The Egyptians used pictures to write with.  We call these pictures hieroglyphs.  The pictures sometimes stood for words, and sometimes stood for sounds.  The Egyptians used to carve these hieroglyphs into stone tablets.
AND, if you wanted to, you could add in info about hieratic to it like this...
The Egyptians used pictures to write with.  We call these pictures hieroglyphs.  The pictures sometimes stood for words, and sometimes stood for sounds.  The Egyptians used to carve these hieroglyphs onto stone tablets, or even into the walls of their temples.
The stone tablets lasted for a very long time--but they were heavy to carry, and carving the pictures into stone took weeks of work.
That's why most Egyptians didn't write in hierogyphys.  In stead they used a type of writing we call hieratic.  It was based off of hieroglyps, but simpler.  In stead of carving it on stone slabs, they would write notes in ink to each other on small rocks and bits of broken pottery, which were cheap and easy to find. 
You could follow that up by showing this printable picture of hieroglyphics and hieratic.  There's also some really great pictures of scribe tools (including papyrus plants, which comes in handy later in this chapter) in the DK Ancient Egypt book if you have that at your library.


I helped my child write his name in Hieroglyphics on a cartouche print-out from the free Ancient Egypt Unit Study at Royal Baloo  (in stead of the examples from the activity book, which I thought were so-so, we used the Hieroglyphics from History Pockets - Ancient Egypt because they were simpler and larger, so easer to copy from.  A quick online search will bring up lots of Hieroglyphics charts you can use for free that are also well done. 

We did the online Egyptian Tomb Adventure Game.  It fit well with this section because it has some hieroglyphic "decoding" worked in, but it also has some map work and exploration about mummies, symbols, and Egyptian burial practices  (so, you could save this for the chapter on mummies).  This was very cleverly done, and my son liked it quite a lot.

 When we did this chapter with our co-op group, I gathered up smooth rocks at a local garden center, and also broke ups an old terra cotta pot, which we painted hieroglyphs and hieratic on with red and black paint (the most commonly used ink colors in ancient Egypt).  Kids learning to be scribes in Egypt would practice hieroglyphs on flat rocks and broken potter writing hieroglyphs on these is just as "historical" as writing on papyrus.  I also made reed "brushes" and scribe pallets (a craft I found in Make It Work: Ancient Egypt) for the kids to use.   Probably should have let them help me make them, but the craft involves an sharp knife, and there was mixed ages.



For Stone Painting
  • Red and Black Paint (goes in Pallet if you make that)
  • Flat-ish stones and/or a terra-cotta pot (and hammer + trash bag or safety glasses) 
For Scribes Pallet:
  • Balsa wood strips (find at hobby store)
  • Harder wood strips for base (optional...see note in instructions)
  • Wood Glue 
  • Round object (see step 8)
  • Cardboard to cut on (a cereal box folded flat works well)
  • Utility Knife

For Reed "Brushes":
  • Any old reed-like weedy grass
  • Scissors


1.  Collect stones or break a terra-cotta pot.  It's a toss up which is better to use.  The terra cotta is smoother and easier to paint on, but has jagged edges  (though not as sharp as glass). Many garden centers have stones you can buy, or will not mind you taking smaller broken pieces from larger flat stones they sell.  But if you choose to break a terra cotta pot with a hammer in stead, wear safety glasses OR put the pot in the plastic trash bag before breaking to keep broken bits from flying up.  Make sure to sweep area thoroughly afterwards.  (Fun alternative if you have a second story:  clear all people from the area and toss the pot from a 2nd story window.  You can tell I enjoy destruction...just a bit).

2.  For the pallet, I liked using Balsa wood strips for the top part, but a harder wood strip in the same size for the back, to add strength.  Because I was making several of these it was actually cheaper to do this (the harder wood cost less than balsa), but if you were making just one it would cost less to cut one strip of balsa in two and use it for both top and bottom. I found my pre-cut wood strips at Hobby Lobby.

4.  Cut the bottom and top strips to exactly the same length (8 - 10 inches). 

5.  The original craft called for cutting out the ink wells with a craft knife, but I thought it would be easier to press them in the soft balsa wood in stead (you can see how this turned out in the pictures).  It does make for a shallower bowl, so if you want to cut them out with a knife for a deeper ink well, do so during this step.   Otherwise, I think it would probably avoid some of the warping I got later to press them after gluing (though I have not tried this)   For the area to hold your reeds cut a rectangular strip from near the bottom of the top later of balsa wood...leaving about two inches at the top for your inkwells, as shown below.

7.  Glue your top balsa piece to your bottom wood piece...put a book on top to press them pieces together while they dry. 

8. To press out your inkwells (if you haven't choosen to cut them in step five), find a hard object with a small rounded surface.  I used the handle of a small hammer.  You could also use a screwdriver handle or even a marble.  Press the rounded object into the balsa wood hard until it makes an indentation.  (The example below shows only one layer because I made the mistake of pressing before gluing the top and bottom layers).

This is one step that even a young child can help with.  Wha-la...your scribe's pallet is it need some reeds to fill it.

9.  Go outside and look for some weedy grass...something long and skinny, not wide and flat.  Cut off any "seed heads" and cut into segments just shorter than your reed holder.

10.  Last, put a drop of red and black ink in your pallet inkwells, grab your rocks or terra cotta pieces, and start painting hieroglyphics and hieratics!


Day 2:  Cuneiform

Paragraphs 6 - 9 (Original 3 - 5)
On the second day of our lesson we looked at the page about writing in our  Mesopotamia book while we read, and found Mesopotamia on our wall map.

Afterwards we wrote a message with cuneiform in clay (I had whittled a stylus the night before.)   They aren't hard to can find a how to here.   There's also a great video with someone demonstrating writing cuneiform here. We also made some other things with the clay afterwards.

My son wrote a message to his friend, also doing Story of the World

My can't really see the triangle shape on the tip.

Our clay creations - my son made the vase and I mad the crocodile.  (I was pretty proud of that crock...used the stylus to make the scales on his back)

NOTE:  There were some significant changes to paragraph 5/8 in the Revised version, which you can see here.

Day 3:  Papyrus

Paragraphs 10 - 12 (Original 6 - 8)

This is another place where the book has an error.  Papyrus was not made by "mashing" papyrus into a pulp...this is how people learned to make paper later in other places, but this was not how it was made by the Egyptians, the first inventors of paper.  The Egyptians cut papyrus into thin strips, pounded them flat, soaked them in water, then wove the strips and flattened it even more with stones.   Other places didn't have papyrus, so had to figure out other ways to make paper.  (The first paper made out of pulp I believe was from China).

You can see how the Egyptians made papyrus in the video below.  They also demonstrate how strong this paper was (really quite tough).   It holds up much better than modern paper does, which is why we still have some sheets of papyrus from thousands of years ago (but of course, as the book points out, it doesn't hold up as well as stone, so we don't have as much of it).

So, we just watched this and then I sort of summarized what Story of the World said about how paper was useful in ways stone or clay wasn't, but how it  didn't last as long as stone or clay so that meant that we have less of what Egyptians wrote on papyrus than what they wrote on stone.     We talked something the book also doesn't mention---that common people didn't use papyrus OR stone because it was expensive, but would write on broken pieces of pottery,  which also last a long time.  (Broken pottery is called "ostraca" in by archaeologists...and writing messages on it was common in many ancient cultures). 

While I didn't talk about leather, I was curious if that was used by the Egyptians to write on as well, and I found out that it was when I stumbled on an article about the  Oldest/Longest Ancient Egyptian Leather Manuscript Ever Found.   I learned that animal skins were "considered a very precious writing material in ancient Egypt. It was the principal writing medium to record holy texts and great historic events as it was more practical than papyrus due to its flexibility and durability."  However, papyrus, while less durable in the short term, held up better over time in Egypt's dry climate, where "leather objects quickly perished."  They may have perished even more quickly because Egyptians hadn't learned how to tan leather to soften and preserve it, like people to the north of them in Europe had.


We did not do an activity related to papyrus.  However, there is an activity for making your own "faux papyrus" using paper strips here. I'm also very curious whether you could make any sort of paper, in small amounts, by pounding, weaving and drying regular grass (the wide flat kind).  It would not have the same exact properties of papyrus, but it would be a fun experiment to try.  I've heard that "fake papyrus" has been made from palm fronds, so if you live where you could get a palm leaf, that would be something fun to try also.

Linking up on A Little Bird Told Me, Blessed MOMdays, The Homeschool Nook, and more great link-ups!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

An Alien Helps With Reading and Writing

Reading and writing has always been a challenge for my son.  Ever since I pulled him from public school, getting him to work at these subjects has been like pulling teeth.

I've shared some ways that we've used imagination to help motivate him.  Here's one more.   I created an alien character that could ONLY talk through writing....that could only speak or understand written communication.  I drew him on a dry erase board so I could easily change his expression and what he wrote.  My son loved it.  He read with absolutely no tears, and I kept the writing at his level (or helped him.).

This year the struggle was writing.  I could not get my child to free write...AT ALL.  He'd do copywork or spelling words or worksheets, but did not want to write down any of his own thoughts.  So, I brought back the alien, and encouraged him to ask him questions in writing, and respond to what the alien replied...and it worked.   I'm actually really happy about that badly mis-spelled sentence above, because it's HIS words and HIS spelling that he did it by himself without help (...well, except for the word "why"--I did jump in on that a little.  But generally, unless he asked for it I didn't interfere or correct.)  This was so needed not only so he could practice sounding out unknown words and work out his own phrasing, but so that I'd have a record of how he was really doing that wasn't pre-corrected. 

So, how do you motivate your child to read and write?

This post is linked up on various linky parties including the Preschool and Kindergarten Link-up (cause even though my son is past that age, we used this technique with him late in KG too).

Monday, October 31, 2016

Story of the World Vol 1: Gods of Ancient Egypt (Chap 2: Part 2)

Post contains some affiliate links, through which I can earn commission.
Mostly for books, which I suggest looking for at your local library. 

We did this part of Chapter 2 in one setting, since the intro was so short and the rest was a single story about Isis, Set, and Osiris.  Sadly, you may have to explain the difference between "Isis" the Egyptian deity, and ISIS, the terrorist group, if your children have been listening to the news at all.

Because we are Christians, I also took the time to explain some of the differences between what Egyptians believed and what we believe (many gods for different things, vs. one God over everything, for example).   If you have older children, you might be interested in having them read the short sections on Egyptian religion and morality in the Ancient Egypt Guide I wrote (It was a guide for volunteers playing Egyptians in a living history style VBS about Joseph in Egypt, so I wrote it specifically with some of the contrasts and similarities between Christianity and Egyptian religion in mind, such as how they viewed sin and a the afterlife.)


For illustration on the first two paragraphs we looked at a coloring page found of the Egyptian god Horus...and some other gods in a library book on Egypt (you can find pictures of Egyptian gods and goddesses in nearly any children's non-fiction book about Egypt).  You might also look for pages that show artifacts owned by a Pharoah and see if you can find any of the symbols they mention (the staff) OR images of a hawk (the animal representation of Horus).

For the story about Isis, Osiris and Set we used pictures from the Story of the World Activity Book and pictures and coloring pages I found online  (I don't remember which one exactly, so I am sharing several I considered below).  You can print out the pictures you like best and staple them together to make a little storybook that you flip through as you read this story.

Whole Story Illustrated
   NOTE: There is a version of this story where Set cuts apart Osirus' body, and these illustrations pictures that, but the other pictures you could use. 
All Gods Mentioned (Horus, Osiris, Isis, Set)
Isis Coloring Page
Horus Connect the Dots
Horus Picture from Heading (Public Domain/Pixabay)
Osirus Connect the Dots
Set/Seth Coloring Page

The following is from a book written in the 1900s
and should be in the public domain.  Click the Picture for a larger version to save and print.   Sorry I don't remember where I got this from originally.

A picture of Osiris ruling in the underworld, with Isis standing nest to him (and another goddess...not sure which one).  (From the Papyrus of Hunefer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).  Click on the picture for a larger version you can print.

And, while we listened to it a while after we did this chapter, I will say I love the longer version of this story as read by Jim Weiss in the CD Egyptian Treasures (which a friend of mine lent me).

Since this chapter talks about how Pharaoh was considered a God, this is a great place to talk about the Egyptian social classes.  Many picturebooks on Egypt in your library would cover this.  The free sample pages for  Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt deal with social classes, and the sample even has a great "lift the flap" social classses pyramid that would go great in a lapbook, and a couple printable games, including Senat.  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Butterflies and a Big Green Spider

I love the ability to change plans on a dime in homeschool.  Because how could we plan for a beautiful day where SO MANY BUTTERFLIES visited our lantana bush (the one nature planted outside our front door several summers ago).  Here's my son trying to lure one on to onto a flower we cut.  That one didn't take his bait, but another did...a little brown jet like butterfly I didn't get a picture of, which I think was a Little Glassywing.

There were 7 types of butterflies that came to visit--the four shown here, the Little Glassywings, a pretty little yellow butterfly who I didn't catch a photo of, and a Monarch who stopped to visit for the briefest of moments, and made my sons day (he's a little obsessed with Monarchs ever since learning about them on the Wildcrats).    He drew this picture afterwards...

With the help of some friends online we found the names for most of them...

Tawny Emperor

These brown pretties are a frequent visitor to my yard.

Gulf Fritillary

This is a Gulf Fritillary...a male one, to be specific (the people in my local garden forum are amazing...that's the only reason I know this).   These have been in my garden many times before, but I just now learned their names.  Isn't "Fritillary" the best name for a butterfly?  Sounds positively Victorian.

Giant Swallowtail

The caterpillar form of these beauties LOVE my dill and parsley, and are just as fascinating to watch as they are in butterfly form.

Pipvine Swallowtail

But this blue/black stunner stole the show.  What a beauty!   She was always in motion so it was hard to get a good picture of her, though I sure tried.  And every time she moved she shimmered!    I had never seen this type before, but several have visited since.

Here's a picture of her in flight.  I didn't realize when I took the picture that this butterfly nearly became dinner.  Can you find the giant green spider in this picture?

No?  Keep scrolling...

Still have trouble seeing it?   Keep scrolling...but warning, it's creepier up close.

This is a Green Lynx Spider, sitting on it's egg sack, which looks pretty close to hatch.  This one, as most I've seen, are over an inch long.  (Click picture to see it larger, if you dare!)

My son drew a picture of it too....


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Freebie Faves

Some printables aren't worth the ink...but some are.  Here are the latest batch of my favorite newly found inkworthly freebies....


Big Picture History*
*I haven't tried this one out yet but it looks good.  Theres a monthly free topic...not sure if it's videos or live sessions.  November is China.


Muscular System Lapbook 

Free Skeletal Systems Lapbook

Cloud Types Worksheets

2016 Presidential Election Notebooking Pages

E-Book on Elections and the Constitution

Language Arts

Character Guides
Huck Fin Character Guide
The Tempest Character Guide

New Free Curriculum
While I have NOT previewed these to see if they are inkworthy,  I always like to share updates on the latest full-length curriculum I've added to my Free Homeschool Curriculum List. 

Free Christian Biology Textbook 

Free Charlotte Mason Spelling Curriculum

Monday, October 24, 2016

Story of the World: Vol 1 - Chap 2 - Two Kingdoms Become One

Post contains some affiliate links, through which I can earn commission.
Mostly for books, which I suggest looking for at your local library.

This section is about the Nile river, and about the king who united upper and lower Egypt into one Nation.  Because my son has a short attention span, we broke up the section into two parts to shorten it--and to shorten it a little more I crossed out a few lines here in there (this was one of our "Readers Digest Condensed Chapters *wink*).  We also did what we usually do--stopped and asked questions during the text and looked at pictures from other sources which we read.

We had a lot of resources for this and didn't use all of them, but I'll share some good resources we found to add visuals below.   Finding books on Egypt than contain good illustrations of the things mentioned in this chapter is EASY.  If you don't have the books mentioned below, you should be able to find something else in your local library that works.

DAY 1 (Paragraphs 1-4)
Farming on the Nile

Before Reading
Before starting the reading we looked at some maps of Egypt and then found where it was on a world map.

Paragraph 1 -2

These paragraphs can be supplemented with a map from the activity book, but we had a full color illustrated map I thought he'd enjoy more (from the Usborn Time Traveler), so in stead of coloring the map, I had my son find the Nile Delta on that picture. 

I like the colored map too because it showed a green area around the Nile, and pictures of desert outside that area, so I could ask my son where people could live and farm.  We also looked at an aerial picture of Egypt that showed how green that area around the Nile actually was.  Seeing real pictures really brings home the difference between the area near the Nile, and the desert surrounding it.   (More map/picture suggestions below)

Also, this is one of the places where I edited out a few lines (about the word Delta being from the Greek letter "D") to make it shorter for his attention span.

Suggested Online Pictures/Maps of the Nile
Aerial Nile Photo - Delta (what we used)
Aerial Nile Photo - Long
Illustrated Map
Egypt With Cartoon Landmarks 

Books With Great Nile Illustrations
The Usborn Time Traveler
Make It Work: Ancient Egypt
Egypt Insiders by Joyce Tyldesley**

**You can preview the illustration of the Nile in this book using  the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon

Paragraph 3 - 4

Here is a good topographical map that shows the mountains that feed the Nile, as mentioned in paragraph 3. 

I found some books with some GREAT illustrations of Egyptian farming mentioned in paragraph 4.  Here is the one we used...

But I wanted to share some of my other favorite illustrations from books we found at our library too...

This book uses dioramas to illustrate (and is full of crafts kids can do).  I like how this book showed the steps in farming the land, and talked about the three Egyptian seasons.


This book on pyramics had a nice picture with a Nile map AND farming illustrations, so if you wanted to cut down on the amount of resources you used, you could just use this one for both.

Don't have any of these books at your library?   There's a sample of Horrible Histories magazine that features a great Nile farming illustration (just scroll to pg 14-15). 


Silt Demonstration
This activity shows how flooding brought silt onto the Nile banks.  It's not amazingly exciting, but it does demonstrate the concept and my son enjoyed pouring the water.

white piece of paper
baking pan or dish (to catch water)

  1. Place a bowl on a piece of white paper on a larger ban, dish, or lipped plate. Fill up a small bowl half way with water, and add a little dirt.   Let the dirt settle. 
  2. Pour in water until the dish overflows.   Note the pieces of dirt on the white the same way the Nile deposits silt on the area around it when it floods.

Egyptian Meal
Have an Egyptian Meal, like we did at our co-op.  You can find a list of recipes and foods they had here. A fun things to talk about is how the foods they ate may have tasted different, because years of farmers choosing seeds from the tastiest plants changed what the plants.  For instance, initially no one ate the fruit of the watermelon, but would only eat the historians believe that watermelon originally didn't taste sweet.

Alternate Activities
  • Make a Shaduf - Egyptians used shadufs too, so if you haven't already made a shaduf for Chapter 1 (where they describe it) that could be  fit in here.
  • Plant and Egyptian Garden - Plant a garden with food crops like the Egyptians planted (cucumbers, onions, garlic, raddish, peas, etc.  See full list here.).  
  • Learn about Egyptian Daily Life - A great follow-up on this section is learning about daily life in Egypt.  I have a free Egypt Guide* with lots of pictures related to daily life in Egypt, including a comparison of a common Egyptian home vs. the home of an Egyptian elite, and a fun activity might be to create and imaginary Egyptian character and draw a room in their home.  (*The guide was originally for VBS volunteers at my church when we did a living history style VBS program.)
  • Do Lapbook activities (scroll down for suggestions at the bottom of this page)

Supplemental Reading/Extension For Older Kids
Nile River Unit - Dr. Dave's Science
This very readable printable unit on the Nile River by Dr. Dave's science makes for great extension reading to bring in some science (suggested for ages 4th - 7th, but I think a lot of younger homeschoolers might enjoy it too.)    The free sample of first 10 pages covers the Nile ecosystem and flooding, and the full package ($3) goes into more detail on about Egyptian farming methods, food, papyrus, and the damning of modern Egypt. 

DAY 2 (Paragraphs 5-9)
Upper and Lower Egypt Become One

Note that the paragraph numbers are different for the Revised and Original versions.

Paragraphs 5 - 7 (Original: 5)
For these paragraphs we again looked at the maps we had of Egypt and Africa, and pointed out all the things they were talking about.   In the Revised version they explained why the names for "Upper and Lower" Egypt  make sense even though it looks backwards on our maps (because in stead of "north" and "south" they thought of things in terms of the way the river flowed--"up river" or "down river").    We  turned our map upside down when they mention that was how the Egyptians saw the world.  After this section I stopped to ask which part was Upper and Lower Egypt and why they were called that before moving on.

Paragraphs 8 - 9 (Original: 5-6)
We continued to use the maps for this section.  We also looked at the single and double crowns in the page about the Pharoah in the Usborn Time Traveler (you could find pictures of these crowns in almost any picture book about Egypt, or at the links below). 

Crown Image 1 - Black and White
Crown Image 2 - Black and White
Crown Image 3 - Colored
History Pockets has a great map showing all three crowns (pg 37)

We didn't do a special activity for this section, but you could make an Egyptian Double Crown.

Egypt Lapbooks

Lapbooks can be a great way to supplement Story of the World.  I actually like using a small blank-book in stead of the traditional folder method, and adding items from various lapbooks as we reach those topics in SOTW.  You can make your own books with folder paper and staples or use inexpensive blank books like these  (I also often see square blank books 5 for $1 in the Dollar Section of Target).

Free Egypt Lapbook 1
This one has a nice map of the Nile with an Egyptian border, graphics of King Narmer and the double crown, among other things.

Free Egypt Lapbook 2 - Homeschool Share
This lapbook has a lift the flap Nile item that would be a good fit for this chapter.

History Pockets
This is a great resource for using while studying Egypt.  Related to this chapter it has a map of Egypt illustrated with kings wearing the crowns of upper and lower Egypt, and excellent cut and paste activities for life on the Nile.  I was lucky to find this used at a local homeschool sale.