Category Archives: history

A Look at Time Capsule: Medieval England


I think it is well know that I love unit studies! You can delve into a subject as deep as you want and have a ton of fun with it. But I am lazy so I don’t put unit studies together for my kids like I might enjoy. So I was stoked to receive a copy of Time Capsule: Medieval England!

This is a 12 week unit study with over 300 pages. It is aimed at 2nd through 8th grade so it is great for multiple kids in a family. This is one of those books that you just have to open and go!

It is broken up with daily lessons so you can take bite sized pieces. I personally won’t be doing it every day but interweaving into all else we are doing. I love the fact that the fun and creative activities are layed out for me. This not my strong suit so it is great to get a hold of something that lays out step by step an immersion experience.  And a fun one like that!

This is more of an immersion curriculum and not a facts and figures one. Meaning you will learn all about the instruments and what they sounded like or dress up like a monk. You may not learn the details of battles;).  But you will learn a lot! I am using it with a variety of more date and fact specific books that we can check out for free from the library to just round it out for my older kids. 

In addition to the book, you get reading lists along with supplemental downloads and links to related information. What more can you want? 

You can pick up a copy of Time Capsule: Medieval England from Amazon in both print and Kindle versions! What are you already doing for Medieval history? I don’t remember doing much in school with it myself so I am really enjoying it. Did you study it in school?


(Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for this piece! But all thoughts and opinions are mine alone!)

Who?Comics App

Thank you to who?Comics for sponsoring this post and encouraging my child to read biographies in comic book form! Please click here to learn more about the app. And follow who? Comics on Twitter for updates

As you all know, I am a big fan of reading and an even bigger fan of learning! So you can just imagine how excited I was to  receive the opportunity to use the who?Comics app on my iPad with my kids!

Who?Comics is a free app and it comes with 2 books. There are 27 other books available for purchase. Some are sold individually but there are also packs available.  Which of course, are a better deal;). So I got the Scientists pack (surprise, surprise;).  Right off we checked out Marie Curie and Thomas Edison!

Here is a little detail you should know going in. These comics are not the super quick, over view type comics. There are 150 pages of details about the subject’s personal life. Which means it isn’t a quick read! I was very familiar with Marie Curie and I learned so much! NerdPie and I even cried at 2 different spots.

So what is my overall feel? Well, I love the idea of having these on the iPad for easy access! The art is clear and the story line moves at a good clip. This isn’t going to be a situation where you can read the whole thing in the doctor’s waiting room and that can be a good thing. This app was developed over seas and so there are a few translation issues. Due to that and the fact that these really deal with real life situations, I would make sure you child is near you when they read them. I had to explain about certain illnesses and certain historical events that were mentioned in the books we read. There was an assumption that the kids understood everything but mine had quite gotten there yet. (For example, why and how Poland was being occupied By Russia and how they weren’t supposed to speak Polish.)

My kids thoroughly enjoyed these comics! My kids are even asking for books from the library so they can learn even more! Both about the people in the stories and the science they discovered!

Thank you again to who? Comics for sponsoring my post. Please click here to learn more about the app. Visit who? Comics for updates. I was selected for this opportunity by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own. #CleverWhoComics #spon

Frugal Homeschooler: Free Educational Dvd’s

Sometimes homeschooling frugally just means keeping your ear to the ground. Opportunities can just crop up that you need to seize! I stumbled across some educational dvds on some of my homeschool yahoo groups and thought I would share!

Nasa and the American Museum of Natural History are offering a free dvd and educator’s guide! It is called Journey to the Stars and they say it is available for both teachers and parents. As a homeschooler I am filing as a teacher.
The History Channel has a new series called America: the Story of Us going right now. I know many people who are dvr’ing it but don’t bother (unless you want to see it now;). They are offering it on a free dvd! You have to request it before July 1, 2010 and they won’t send it until August.
For both of them you just fill out a form!

Reading and Learning While Little

Recently I have been part of a few discussions about how hard it is to find non-fiction books for young readers. I can say here in the NerdFamily house it has always been a challenge. With our oldest we struggle with a child who can read quite well for his age but at the same time the non-fiction books at that level contain such advanced data that it is hard for him to really comprehend the information. With NerdPie she wants to learn real information but is still really developing her reading ability. Then we have our 4 year old. He can’t read but he loves to be read to. I want to encourage him to understand what I am reading so I don’t want books that are to hard. With all of these kids it would be a shame to lose this sponge like time.

At my local library I have found a few different series that we have used. Typically what happens is that I find 1 in a series, like it, and then request every other book they put out. So in order to help others, in a way I wish someone would have helped me, here are a few series that I have found. I am not going to really talk about math because I have already posted a bit about some good options here and here.
Time for Kids Series (they have great history and science)

Our Galaxy and Beyond Series

Let’s Read and Find Out! Series

So there are just a few. What do you use with your early elementary school kids?

Frugal Homeschooler: History

So I have just a few history links to share with you all.

First up is this great site that NerdDad found called HyperHistory. It is easy to look around and has maps, people, events and more. It is great because when you finish reading a book on history you can just pop over and get more info. After we finished reading a book on the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World I just popped over and looked under connections. One of the options was a page on the 7 wonders. This covers all of history versus a specific time.

The other resource is specifically for the Underground Railroad. It is actually called Aboard the Underground Railroad. It has maps, links to sites and more.

If you have any other history sites that you like, please share. As always remember homeschooling doesn’t have to be hard or expensive!(Yes, I am trying to develop a tagline;)

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

My kids and I just finished this book and it was really good. One of the aspects I appreciated the most was how the author was very clear about the unknown aspects of the wonders. Lynn Curlee made the subject come alive with really great illustrations and lots of facts. She was clear in defining the line between what we “think” they were like and what we know. This ties in real well with SOTW year 1 but it would be great as just a quick pick up and read. We will definitely be using this for the younger ones when they get a bit older (2 and 11 months are a little young;). This is a read aloud just because of the foreign names. A first grader could definitely read this to you if you are willing to jump in with the names.

Frugal Homeschooler: History

Here are some free history resources.

First up are some fun and interesting sites from the BBC. They have one history section for ages 4-11 and another for 11-16 year olds. They have some interesting history games. They also have stuff on specific time periods(WWI and WWII, etc) and on specific people.

Kids Dig Reed give virtual tours of the 19th century Reed Farmstead in Virginia. It also gives the specific history of the site, talks about artifacts and has games and puzzles.

Colonial Williamsburg
also has a great site with cool history resources. The front page has some games but the real learning is under the Teachers/Parents tab. It has an electronic field trip, info on people and the place. It even has a lesson plan.

So that wraps up this Frugal Homeschooler. Look, explore, use and if you have any great resources please share with me. As always remember homeschooling doesn’t have to be hard or expensive!

Who put the B in the Ballyhoo?

The kids and I read this interesting book this week. NerdBug picked this out at the library a couple of weeks ago and I wasn’t real sure. It wasn’t questionable but I was didn’t think it would hold all 3 kids attention. Boy, was I wrong! They all loved it. It is a colorful book filled with actual posters from the circus. It follows the alphabet with different adjectives describing the different acts. I was prepared to edit on the fly because we all know that the circus can be a bit questionable but, I didn’t need to. It was all quite tasteful and interesting. The kids were so intrigued they have talked about the cool and weird things they saw. I would recommend this book for all ages. The 2, 4 and 6 year olds all give it a thumbs up!

It’s Disgusting and We Ate It!

We read It’s Disgusting and We Ate It! True Food Facts from Around the World and Throughout History as an additional historical read for Chapter one in Story of the World (Nomads) and it was very good. While it seems a book of modest page count, the information (and words) was astronomical. It focused on what used to be eaten, what is eaten other places, and what we eat that others find gross. All of my kids loved it. In addition to the typical paragraphs there was also a variety of poems and rhymes. The illustrations were also entertaining all on their own. This is something that I would like to have on my bookshelf for my kids. The drawback…. I go this book from the library as a read to go with the history lesson but due to it length we read it separate. I had alloted about 45 minutes in the morning to read it and it took considerably longer. This isn’t a flaw with the book but something to be considered when working it in with other material for a history unit. I think we might have this book to just read for edification not just for a history chapter. We will be using this again!