Review of “Our America” Series historical fiction novels by Susan Kilbride

Thumbnail, 1st 3 Books
I have just finished reading 3 wonderful new historical fiction novels by Susan Kilbride in the Our America series!  These are definitely going on our History bookshelf, so we can read Living Books while studying American history!

The newest (third) historical chapter book, The Salem Adventure, just came out and to celebrate Amazon is giving away the Kindle version of the second book in the series, The King Philip’s War Adventure, for FREE at this link on July 15, 16, and 17, 2013!   

The second book:  The King Philip’s War Adventure

 The first book of the series is called The Pilgrim Adventure.

Let me tell you a bit about the books.  The main characters are twins Finn and Ginny whose uncle has created a time machine.  Their parents accidentally went back in time, but weren’t able to get back home , so Finn and Ginny keep going back in time to try to  find them.  In each book they have gone to a different historical event in America’s history–and in order!:  the Pilgrims on the Mayflower and their first year in America, the time of King Philip’s War (about 50 years after the Pilgrims), and in Salem during the Salem witch trials.
I really enjoyed reading these books!  They’re fairly easy reading and are for ages 10 and up (mostly because the content of war and death is a heavy subject).  One of the most fascinating aspects of the books are that Finn and Ginny meet their “real” relatives–who are actually the author’s real relatives!  (I’d love to find out if I have any ancestors from these time periods!)  The events that the twins interact with in the books are actual events.  Susan even includes copies of documents, like the Mayflower Compact, letters, and arrest warrants.
To see a full description of the series, go here!  And for you homeschoolers, there are also free pdf activities to go along with the books on this page of Susan Kilbride’s website Funtastic Unit Studies so you can make it a full unit study by doing enrichment activites: geneology, science, games, cooking, and crafts.
I’m looking forward to reading more books in the series, so I can continue to explore American history with Finn and Ginny (and Susan Kilbride’s ancestors)!
Be sure to get the free Kindle book today and you might also want to get the other books–at Amazon, CBD, or Rainbow Resource.
By the way, if you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon has free Kindle apps for various devices at this link: Kindle Apps.
Susan has also written a science book called Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers.  See my review of it here.

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of the first 3 books in the Our America series to read in order to write this honest review.  This post contains affiliate links.)

Imagination Station Books #8 and #9 Review and Giveaway

I’m happy to share with you today a review of the newest Imagination Station books presented by Focus on the Family and published by Tyndale. They tell the adventures of cousins Beth and Patrick as they travel back in time through the Imagination Station of Odyssey (for all you Adventures in Odyssey fans!). We were once again not disappointed by this series. I love that they are written for younger kids. My 9 and 10-year-olds especially enjoyed reading them to themselves. And I read them aloud to my non-readers.  (They are recommended for ages 7 and up, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 2.1.)

Another thing we particularly liked was the introduction to two of history’s greatest Christian heroes: James Calvert and Corrie ten Boom.  Maybe I can muster enough courage now to read ten Boom’s The Hiding Place (holocaust stories are so emotional for me), and I’d love to read more about James Calvert!

AIO Imagination Station Book #8 | Battle for Cannibal Island by Marianne Hering and Wayne Thomas Batson

It’s 1852 and cousins Patrick and Beth sail to Fiji on the HMS Calliope under the command of Captain James E. Home. They arrive at the islands to find that the Christian Fijians are at war with the non-Christian Fijians. Missionary James Calvert is trying to make peace and suggests that the captain allow peace negotiations on board the British vessel. Patrick and Beth learn about sacrificial living when they observe Calvert’s determination to live on Fiji despite the dangers and impoverished conditions and that he is willing to risk his life to live as Jesus would.

AIO Imagination Station Books #9 | Escape to the Hiding Place by Marianne Hering and Marshal Younter

Patrick and Beth arrive in World War II Holland in the farm country. They must smuggle a baby (by bicycle) into the capable hands of Corrie ten Boom at her home in Haarlem. Along the way they hide from Nazi soliders, meet a Russian surgeon forced into service by the Germans, and see the famous “hiding place” at the ten Boom’s watch shop. The children learn to appreciate the bravery and sacrifice of everyday people who helped the Jews.

See the Imagination Station Website to learn more about the books!

To purchase these books:

                         

To read my other Imagination Station reviews:

Blog Tour Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5

To enter the giveaway of the two books:

One winner will win both books–announcement next week!  Winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond back.

(Note:  The winner will not be chosen by leaving a comment.  You must enter through the Rafflecopter app below–choose any or all tasks to enter!  Click through to http://ichoosejoy.org if you’re reading this in email or a reader.)

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(Thank you to the publishers at Tyndale for providing review copies for us.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Post contains affiliate links.)

How do we do Circle Time?

A number of years ago I read about Kendra Fletcher’s views on Circle Time.  I thought, “This is what I want!”  But for years, no matter how hard I tried I could never get all of us organized in the morning to meet together as a family.  So, I finally accepted that we would just do it in the afternoon as soon as I put the baby/toddler (s) down for a nap.  And that HAS worked for years!

This year, we have quite a few things that we accomplish during our Circle Time.  We usually meet together (ages 4-11) for one to one and a half  hours.  There’s so much on our list, we can’t do it all everyday, but here’s what we choose from:

Pray

Read Scripture (reading through Mark right now)

Read Bible storybook or discipleship

Scripture Memory practice (memorizing Col. 3:23-24)

Poetry reading (one poem/day)

Practice for our public speaking class (they memorize a speech, story, or poem to recite each week)

Science (Exploring Creation with Zoology 2, Swimming Creatures from Apologia)

Worldview (Who Am I? from Apologia)

 

History (The Mystery of History, volume 2)

Historical Fiction (right now we’re reading Twice Freed by Patricia St. John)

Narration practice on one or more of the read-alouds, from the same day or the day before

 

It’s one of my favorite times of the day!
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Homeschool Curriculum 2012-2013

Here is our 2012-2013 Curriculum

 

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B (age 11, 6th grade):

Following “The Grammar Level:  Ten Things to Do From Ages 10-12″

Bible:  Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible Studies for Kids — Revelation (Bible Prophecy for Kids and A Sneak Peek into the Future)

Grammar:  Daily Grams 6 (Easy Grammar)

Latin:  First Form Latin

Music:  violin lessons, band (saxophone) at Christian school

History:  Mystery of History and Story of the World, vol. 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with notebooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction

Pre-Logic:  Logic: Building Thinking skills, book 3 figurative

Math:  Epsilon math, then Zeta math from Math-U-See

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Composition:  How to Write a Story by Evan-Moor, then Writing for 100 Days

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book
Worldview: Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
Geography Bee
Spotlight drama class (and possibly perform in a musical)
J (age 10, 5th grade):

Following “The Grammar Level:  Ten Things to Do From Ages 10-12″

Bible:   Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible Studies for Kids — Revelation (Bible Prophecy for Kids and A Sneak Peek into the Future)

Spelling & Grammar:   Better Spelling in 5 Minutes a Day and then Spelling Power;  Daily Grams 5 (Easy Grammar)

Latin:  First Form Latin

Music:  violin and piano lessons

Art:  ocean boxes

History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction

Pre-Logic:  Logic: Building Thinking skills, book 2

Math:  Epsilon math from Math-U-See

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book for public speaking class

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
Geography Bee
Spotlight drama class (and possibly perform in a musical)
M (age 8, 3rd grade):

 Reading and Handwriting, Narration:  read to self 30 minutes a day; finish reading Rod and Staff readers–Bible Nurture and Reader Series  (finish brown books and first gray book); copy work of Revelation

Arts and Crafts:  ocean boxes, sewing projects, Picture study of paintings

Music:  violin and piano lessons

Bible:   Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible Studies for Kids — Revelation (Bible Prophecy for Kids and A Sneak Peek into the Future)

Math:  Alpha and Beta, Math-U-See

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
Pre-Logic:  Think a Minutes from Critical Thinking
Spotlight drama class (and possibly perform in a musical)

 

R (age 7, 2nd grade):

Reading and Handwriting, Narration:  phonics (TATRAS) and read aloud to Mom (McGuffey readers then Rod and Staff Bible Nurture and Reader Series, green books); Explode the Code (book 3 – ?);  finish printing Handwriting Without Tears books and then do various copywork.

Bible:  Mom reads aloud The Jesus Storybook Bible ( Lloyd-Jones)Roma Downey’s Little Angels Bible Storybook, and Leading Little Ones to God (Schooland)

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Arts and Crafts:  ocean boxes, sewing projects, Picture study of paintings

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction
T (age 5, Kindergarten):

Reading and Handwriting, Narration:  phonics (TATRAS) and read aloud to Mom (McGuffey readers then Rod and Staff Bible Nurture and Reader Seriesgreen books); Explode the Code (book 2 – ?); Handwriting Without Tears books and then do various copywork if time

Bible:  Mom reads aloud The Jesus Storybook Bible ( Lloyd-Jones)Roma Downey’s Little Angels Bible Storybook, and Leading Little Ones to God (Schooland)

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Arts and Crafts:  ocean boxes, painting, play-doh

Public Speaking:  Institute for Cultural Communicators Basic Public Speaking book

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction
Music:  violin lessons
L (age 3, Preschool):

Reading and Handwriting, Narration:  phonics (TATRAS); Handwriting Without Tears books and do various copywork

Bible:  Mom reads aloud The Jesus Storybook Bible ( Lloyd-Jones)Roma Downey’s Little Angels Bible Storybook, and Leading Little Ones to God (Schooland)

Science:  Apologia science Zoology 2 (Swimming Creatures) with notebooking journals and experiment kit

Arts and Crafts:  ocean boxes, painting, play-doh

History:  Mystery of History volume 2 and Story of the World volume 2 (After Resurrection thru Middle Ages) with lapbooking materials from Homeschool in the Woods (New Testament) and Lilliput Station; read-alouds of historical fiction

Worldview:  Who am I? book and notebooking journal by Apologia
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Homeschool 2012/13: Historical Fiction for Middle Ages

Along with our wonderful history curriculum, Mystery of History, we’ll be reading lot of historical fiction.  It’s such an exciting way to study history–and makes it more memorable, too!  We’re in volume 2, which covers Pentecost (A.D.  29) through the Gutenberg Press (1456).  This period of history always feels very boy-oriented to me:  evil Roman emperors, Vikings, Knights, Robin Hood, and Marco Polo!  It should be a fun year!

We’ll also be listening to Story of the World in the car (end of volume 1 through volume 2).

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In the following list, the number before the book name is the corresponding chapter in Mystery of History.  (I’m sure we won’t have time to read all of these, but here’s what we’ll choose from.)

1-  John: Son of Thunder (Ellen Gunderson Traylor) own

1- Twice Freed (Patricia St. John) own

2- Adventures in Odyssey:   Bible Eyewitness Hall of Faith, New Testament stories — audiobook at library

9- Pompeii. . .  Buried Alive (Kunhardt) library; The Buried City of Pompeii (Tanaka) library; Eyewitness: Volcano (Dorlink Kindersly) DVD at library

22- Days of Knights and Damsels: An Activity Guide (Carlson) own

22- The Knight and the Dragon (Tomie DePaola) own

22- St. George and the Dragon (Hodges) own

22- The Barefoot Book of Knights (Matthews) own

22-The Door in the Wall (Margueite de Angeli) own

22- Castle (David MacCauley) library

22- Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess, Page (Platt) library

22- The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (Pyle) own on Kindle

22- King Arthur and His Knights (Jim Weiss) audiobook at libary

23- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Mark Twain) audiobook at library

24- Camelot — DVD at library

25- Across a Dark and Wild Sea (Don Brown) library

32- Beowulf (children’s version) library

38- Arabian Nights (Jim Weiss) audiobook at library

37- Son of Charlemagne (Barbara Willard) own

39- Beorn the Proud (Pollard) own

40- The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow (French) library

47- Grimm’s Fairy Tales — own on Kindle

52- Leif the Lucky (D’Aulaire) library

53- Macbeth: For Kids (Burdett) or in Lamb’s Book of Shakespeare — both at library

53- MacBeth- DVD of the play — library

53- Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare (Nesbitt) own on Kindle

55- Cathedral (David MacCauley) library

58- Paula the Waldensian (Lecomte, translated by W.M. Strong) own on Kindle

62- Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest (Ann McGovern) own

62- Robin Hood — movie versions

63- The Trumpeter of Krakow (Kelly) library

63- Men of Iron (Pyle) own on Kindle, audiobook at library

64- The Apple and the Arrow (Buff) library

66- Adam of the Road (Gray) own

71- Marco Polo for Kids (Herbert) library

71- Marco Polo (Kent) own

72- In Freedom’s Cause:  A Story of Wallace and Bruce (Henty) audiobook at library

78- The Beggar’s Bible (Vernon) own

78- Morning Star of the Reformation (Thomson) own

79- Chanticleer and the Fox (adapted by Barbara Cooney) library

81- Joan of Arc (Morpurgo) own

 

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