Category: Homeschool Ideas

Some Catholic History Books for Elementary Students

Homeschool Ideas

When searching for history books for elementary children, we first look for literary classics, right? Things like D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths or Aesop. But what about concise histories for mom to read aloud to help her remember the basics? It is so easy to get bogged down in the amount of options out there, so I thought I would record a few of my favorites here with some very brief notes about what I like in each book:

Founders of Freedom is concise and aimed at a fourth grade reading level. It could be read aloud to the youngest students, or an older elementary student could read this book himself.

The Old World’s Gifts to the New by Sister Mary Celeste is history that tries to bring to life the daily life of girls and boys from the beginning of time up to early American history. There seem to be very few biases about what ways of life were better (i.e. which women had it better), so over all I would recommend the book. It could be read aloud, or an older student could read it himself.

Great Moments in Catholic History is a wonderfully illustrated book! It begins with Christ and moves through to the modern age, depicting moments in history that are most important to us Catholics. I would be hard-pressed to be without this book! It’s imagery is priceless!

Also, for Mom, I very much recommend A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich (in multiple languages!).

Shopping for Homeschool Co-op

Homeschool Ideas

Today, we went shopping for the homeschool co-op’s general supplies. We all added money “to the pot”, so to speak, to save money on supplies that are cheapest when bought in bulk. Here you can see construction paper, pencils, binders, and manila folders. There are also flattened, emptied tissue boxes to be used for dioramas this year. These have been being saved since January!

An Eastern Box Turtle for Science this week!

Homeschool Ideas
We also read about snapping turtles to emphasize where not to place one’s fingers in relation to a turtle.


The summer time is the natural time for animal science in the homeschool family. Animals literally leap out to be observed and examined! This Eastern Box Turtle was found in our mountain meadow while Mr. Rolling was cutting the grass. We brought her inside, read about turtles, looked online to identify the turtle, and just watched. The children were more than excited!  The next day we let her go in the woods next to the house, hoping to see her from time to time.


A Finished Liturgical Calendar

Homeschool IdeasThe Rolling Acres Farm

It took me four months to produce a finished calendar! All the pieces are cut out for March, April, May, and June, but it was not until July that I managed to velcro and laminate every thing. Family logistics are a wonderful thing. Thank you again to Sanctus Simplicitus for the templates and free printables!

We organize our weeks Monday to Sunday, so I made an adjustment for that. This hangs on our refridgerator.
This also hangs on the refridgerator but on the other side next to the chore chart.

An Art History Story Book for Children

Homeschool Ideas

Have you been looking for an art history book for your children that is told as a story? Look no further! One of my favorite resources for explaining art history to young people is A Child’s History of Art by V.M. Hillyer and E.G. Huey. This book is recommended for grades 4-8, but many adults enjoy the read as well. The art history of painting, sculpture, and architecture are covered. Here is an excerpt from the book:

“Now, animals can learn to do a good many things that human beings can do, but one thing an animal can’t learn is to draw… Every boy and girl who has ever lived has drawn something at some time. Haven’t you? You have drawn, perhaps, a horse or a house, a ship or an automobile, a dog or a cat. The dog may (not) have looked just like a cat or a cat-erpillar, but even this is more than any animal can do” (1933, Ch. 1, p. 4).


More Free Printables from Sanctus Simplicitus!

Homeschool Ideas

The more I visit this website, the more exciting things I find! Sanctus Simplicitus has free printable curriculum planning sheets, daily task sheets, and lesson planning sheets to make your life in the home easier. This is not all! Browse their site and see what you find.

I might also recommend their Holy Simplicity Planner if you follow the 1962 Roman Missal in your home. This is a planner that allows you to keep track of the lesson plans for 4-5 students in ONE place! Included is also room for your weekly meal plan and much more.

Primary and Intermediate Language Lessons

Homeschool Ideas

A wonderful discovery! A friend from my  homeschool co-op lent me these books to review, and I immediately fell in love with them!
Primary Language Lessons is a reprinted copy of the original 1911 edition and is recommended for children ages 7-9. The youngest students can begin with this series with Primary Language Lessons by using its picture studies to create oral compositions that can be recited aloud. The student’s own sentences can later be used for copy-work practice. In addition, the poems found in this book are treasure troves of rhyme. 

Intermediate Language Lessons is a reprinted copy of the original 1914 edition and is recommended for children ages 9-12. This book takes the same approach as the first, but it includes longer literary and poetic passages, introducing the student to even more elegant language.

Both books incorporate handwriting, copy-work, dictation, narration, composition, poetry, picture study, and grammar! Most exciting is that both books include elegant language, not simplifying sentences to the point that students of these ages are only exposed to very simple English words and sentences.

Finding a Chrysalis in your Garden: A Time for Scientific Inquiry

Homeschool Ideas

As we work in the garden, we are bound for great adventures and admirable discoveries! Today we found a chrysalis, most likely the pupa of some kind of moth. #1 was with me when we made the discovery, so we gathered it up and placed it in the insect collection box.  We are now watching and waiting with butterfly-moth identification guide at the ready! #1 keeps looking at her butterfly-moth guide to try and find the pupa we have!

So many scientific opportunities in the garden this time of year!

Homeschool Co-op Field Trip: Blandy Experimental Farm

Homeschool Ideas

For our last field trip this year, we all met at Blandy Experimental Farm. The younger students did the Mammals class, while the older students did the Snake Savvy Course. My children were all in the mammals class, and we enjoyed learning about the “evidence” left behind by mammals, so we know they are present. We listened to sounds of animals, we felt animal fur, we looked at animal tracks, and we talked about “scat”, the scientific name for excrement left by an animal. After learning a bit and painting the feet you see to the left, we went on a nature hike to find the evidence of mammals. This was an excellent way to finish off the year and to remind our students of the first six weeks of science on animal life.

For parents who would like to continue with science throughout the summer, Blandy offers some wonderful options, including 4-5 day summer camps for only $100. These camps are open to homeschoolers!

*The picture to the left is of my children’s footprint molds. Here you can see two coyote feet and a woodchuck foot. The children were not particular about colors as you can see, too.