Review: Kathleen The Celtic Knot

It wasn’t till I finished the last page that I noticed that Kathleen The Celtic Knot was an American Girl book. It also happens to be the first American Girl book I have ever read and I am looking forward to reading more of this Girls of Many Lands Series.

I picked this little book up pre St Patrick’s day as part of my goal to pre-read more books for my kids. This is just the sort of book I would have loved as a 12 year old and while the library has it listed as a 5th Level Advanced Reader, because of maturity of some content I will wait until my little ones are 12+.

Reading this book, I felt transported to 1937 Ireland and could easily imagine my like was Kathleen’s. I learned much about the culture, history and even Gaelic. The book includes a glossary that I reference often after I discovered it and clarified some unknown words or terms; and it includes a brief history of “current” Ireland with some color photos.

I’m expecting that some Step Dancing and having embroidery kits on hand for Celtic Knots will take the simple pleasure of this book to the next level. Oh, and maybe a loaf of Irish Soda bread too.


A Living Geography That Takes Your Family Around The World

Seriously I have nothing but the best things to say about Around The World Stories. Yesterday (St Patrick’s Day) we listed to 3 stories from Ireland. Then today at lunch (left over baked potatoes) we listed to the last story, The Potato Fairy. You should have seen the extra happy faces when I pulled out the coloring pages that the folk at Around The World Stories included with the story.

Since we first started listing they have upped their game with their Make It Interactive section that is included with each story. It has everything I would want to take the story to the next level with the ease of clicking on a link. No Pinterest searching needed…but if I did want to take it further, well they have Pinterest Boards too.

These stories not only teach us about other countries and cultures, but they are full of moral choices and inspiring characters. Characters and stories my children ask to hear again and again.

Well, the one story was not going to cut it today and while they requested to listen to the Ireland stories all over again. We had nothing on the agenda so I suggested one of the new Asian Stories from China instead. China was met with more giggles, and requests for another. Since we were not focusing on “lessons” today I let them listen to a Denmark story as well that included a trip to Lego land. Not to shabby for a Sunday afternoon.

Morning Nature Study

I recently listed to another great podcast over at Read Aloud Revival, all about nature study. What an inspiration. If you can take the time to listen, I suggest you do! It might fuel you with an abundant of inspiration as well. The big take away for me from the podcast was the use of living books for nature study.

I’m already a fan of living books and have a virtual book shelf full of them, but I’ve not been putting them to use like I could. Then I remembered when I wrote about the Slow Loop that Morning Time Nature Study is a perfect time to work those long beautiful books in. And use literature, like the above the podcast talks about, as some of those nature study readings all well.

This doesn’t mean we don’t get outside and study nature in person. It also doesn’t mean we don’t utilize other sources like movies or television shows. We will just do that at a different part of the day.

Here are a list of the books we have on our current reading list for our Morning Slow Loop.

Because we travel and shelf space is limited most of these books live on my kindle. We are currently reading Bear Brownie and it’s delightful to even hear Macaroons narrations from the readings. If shelf space wasn’t limited I would so very much rather have an illustrated copy of the book.

This post does contain affiliate links but only to things that I love.

Fun-Schooling Language Arts my 6 year old

IMG_20170517_150951_555Cupcake is in this in between learning stage. After spending the past 5 years learning more about teaching I’ve come to agree with the starting formal “school” at 7 that Finland and Charlotte Mason are both big components of. However, since she is showing a desire for more formal language arts lessons NOW I am working in some language arts fun-schooling for “kindergarten” or year .05

This post does contain affiliate links, but only to things I love.

The following are what we are using for Cupcakes one on one and learning with mom.

First Virtues: a book review

Generally I find toddler books that are to inspire “virtues” into children well…LAME. So when one of my fellow Charlotte Mason loving mama friend suggested First Virtues by Dr. Mary Manz Simon I appreciated her suggestion but I wasn’t in a hurry to go out and buy it. However, I did check my local library and they had a copy of Kitty Shows Kindness. Well, before our first reading was over my 4 and 2 year old were putting into practice what they were hearing. And now a week later a simple reminder of “be kind like kitty” speaks volumes for all my children.

Now before you think older brother (7) is not going to get anything out if this book, or that it will be too baby for him (and if it were just him it would be), he is getting the message too. Plus the ability to be the one who gets to READ the story to little sister and brother himself. Something big brother really enjoys is being the one to “teach” the little two.

Our full set of First Virtues arrived today, and I’m excited to choose our next virtue to focus on for the week. We purchased the hard cover compilation book and at the end of each story is some encouragement and suggestions for mom and dad too. By the way, I think this book would be a stellar addition to Before FIAR!

Here are the books that are included in my volume of First Virtues:

  • Kitty Shows Kindness
  • Piglet Tells the Truth
  • Bunny Loves Others
  • Duckling Is Patient
  • Tiger Forgives
  • Puppy Makes Friends
  • Squire Says Thank You
  • Bear Obeys
  • Lamb Is Joyful
  • Lion Can Share
  • Panda Is Polite
  • Koala Does His Best

***This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links I may receive financial compensation. That means more books for me to review for you!***

Almost Charlotte Mason

I started homeschooling my Pumpkin when he was 5, after he had two very fun years at a play based preschool we knew with the arrival of kindergarten homeschooling would start for our family. At that time our Cupcake was a little under 2 years old and Macaroon had just arrived and while I had been a preschool teacher in a life pre marriage, now I was navigating a whole new world of curriculum choices and styles.

Two years and much trial and error later (Pumpkin has been the BEST guinea pig ) I’ve learned more about creating a love of learning for my kids this summer then I had in the entire two years prior before it was too late. (Just kidding, it’s never too late.)

Enter my new friend Charlotte Mason. If you have never met her let me suggest 3 of my favorite websites. These folks can provide you more information then I would even want to attempt to share: Charlotte Mason Help, Simply Charlotte Mason, Ambleside Online. Then there is the good old Pinterest search, type in the name “Charlotte Mason” and prepare for your own crash course in all things her.

Here is the catch, I am not at all a purist. There is much of Charlotte Mason that we are embracing BUT I like to do some things my way. Enter the lovely folks who created Wee Folk Art and Five In A Row (FIAR). Both are literature rich living book based but instead of just text uses picture books. I LOVE PICTURE BOOKS! And so do my very visual children. And while the age gap is a bit wide between my oldest (7) and my youngest (2) these curriculum choices have become a great choice for our afternoon story time. Especially while my children are still so young.

If your homeschooling or not I suggest checking out the folks above, summers, holidays and after school are a great time to visit with them and build a love of learning right along side your kids.