Category Archives: Homeschooling

A ‘Little House’ List of Resources for Your Homeschool

Little House graphic v2

The Little House series take us on a journey of the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her pioneering family: from Wisconsin in 1870 to South Dakota, through good times and difficult times, and show us a family that lived through a time of rapid change in American life – from the rural and agricultural self sufficient way, to the industrial urban life.

The family lived off the land, hunted, made cheese and butter, maple sugar, collected honey, and also enjoyed the simple things in life, like attending church, dancing, family times together, and singing. Everything was used for some purpose, and the detailed descriptions in this series show us how important each object was in its use. We also read of the values by which one family lived – honour, purpose, generosity, faithful endurance, entrepreneurship, self-sufficiency, simplicity, thankfulness, patience, and more.

We all love these books for so many reasons, and they are wonderful to read aloud with our children, as well as providing many learning opportunities.

I’ve put together a list of resources, most of which are free, that will give you plenty of learning opportunities for your homeschool

Lapbooks and Unit Studies

Follow the pioneering life of Laura Ingalls in her autobiography, and get a fuller picture into her life.

Activities and Projects

A one-hour documentary into the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Virtual Tour 

Read Laura’s journal entries and letters from three of her most memorable journeys.

Family Tree and Historical Records

Other

Make sure you visit my Little House Pinterest Board for more ideas, history, and fun things to make.

Hope that helps get you started on your Little House learning! Please feel free to comment below with some of the things you have done in your homeschool to bring the ‘Little House’ series alive.

~ Victoria

You might also like to purchase the book series, the TV series, or some of the Little House titles available:

            

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links – purchasing this way adds no cost to you.
I appreciate your support for my website. Thanks!

Susanna Wesley – A Legacy of Faithful Endurance

Susanna Wesley graphic 1

Susanna Wesley may not be a name you are familiar with, but her sons you may well have heard of. John Wesley and Charles Wesley were significant leaders during a time in England known as ‘The Great Awakening’. John Wesley was the founder of the Methodist Church and Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns, many of which we still sing today. Two of Charles’ sons and his grandson were also well known as musicians.

Susanna was born to Dr Samuel Annesley, a scholar and clergyman, and Mary White in 1769 in Spital Yard, London, and was the youngest of 25 children. She married Samuel Wesley, a minister, and they had 19 children, 9 of whom died as infants. She schooled her children for 20 years, where for an hour each week each child received one-on-one instruction on spiritual matters.

Susanna is said to have spent 2 hours a day in prayer, and would pull her apron over her head, signalling to her children that she was praying and wished to be left alone.

In a time where woman could not preach or even minister to women, she was a theologian in her own right (some of her writings were written primarily to educate her children), and when her husband was away she held meetings in their home where they sung hymns, prayed, and she read her husband’s sermons. These afternoon meetings were at first borne out of concern for her own children, who she believed were not being shepherded well by the replacement minister, and the meetings grew as word spread. The morning meetings at the parish dwindled to just a few, where the afternoon meetings in the Wesley home flourished with hundreds attending at times.

Susanna had a difficult life, a difficult marriage (one time her husband left for a year over a political dispute), and her children also had difficult marriages. She endured poverty and hardship her entire life, house fires, children dying, and more. But her faithful endurance is part of her lasting legacy.

I love this story of one particular day of schooling her children, where her husband Samuel visited the schoolroom. “I wonder at your patience; you have told that child twenty times the same thing.”

“If I had satisfied myself by mentioning it only nineteen times, I should have lost all my labour,” she replied. “It was the twentieth time that crowned it.”

Her sons led tens of thousands to the Lord, and as long as they were alive, continued to be part of the Anglican Church and attend Sunday morning services. There are countless numbers that they influenced either directly or indirectly through the Methodist movement. I’d like to mention just one family story.

A Family who Changed History

James and Betty Taylor, settled in Barnsley in the mid-1700s, and were the founders of the first Methodist society in Barnsley. John Wesley preached in this place at least 20 times, and was known to have stayed in their home when he came to preach. Their eldest son John Taylor was also eventually active in the Methodist church in Barnsley, and his son James Taylor became a Chemist and a Methodist Pastor. James Taylor married the daughter of a Methodist pastor, and although desiring to do missionary work in China, James and Amelia never did. Instead, their son James Hudson Taylor, known as Hudson Taylor, become the answer to their prayers. Before his birth they had prayed: ‘Lord, if you give us a son, grant that he may work for You in China!’

J Hudson Taylor is known as one of the most influential missionaries who has ever lived, and was the founder of the China Inland Mission. He lived a life of faith that was rooted in intimacy with God, with his life’s message being about laying down one’s life and being committed to fulfilling the Great Commission.

To think that one faithful mother’s influence and faith was imparted with care and conviction to her children, which in turn led to generations having been touched by her legacy. Did it ever cross her mind, in the midst of the many difficult trials, or in the daily mundane tasks, and the many years of sowing into her children’s hearts, that beyond her time on earth, her sacrifice would bear so much fruit?

I’m deeply inspired by her life, but I also appreciate this perspective of seeing beyond just my children’s education, to look into a time ahead I can’t see yet. We may never know just how much fruit will come from all we have sown in faith, love and sacrifice into these lives we are stewarding, but let me encourage you that it is worth it!  These precious years with our children are a privilege and blessing, in more ways than we can possibly comprehend. Whatever way you put that ‘apron’ over your head, make sure you carve out those moments to spend time with the Lord, hearing His heart towards you and yours, and taking time to just breathe and be. 

Be blessed and encouraged today,

~ Victoria 

PS. I finally joined Facebook a week or so ago. I have a few writing projects in the pipeline, and will use this Page as a hub for these, and for the other places I write on the web. I’d love to chat with you over there!

Facebook cover

  • Much of this information in this post was sourced out of my head. However, for further reading, you might like to look at the titles that Amazon have on Susanna Wesley by various authors.

Supplementing Your Homeschool Curriculum with Digital Downloads

Sounds of Worship (3)

We are mostly set on the core curriculum that we use from year-to-year with each of our children (see above ‘Homeschooling’ menu for each Grade). But we have left room to fill some gaps with additional unit studies, delight-direct learning, projects, additional copywork and audiobooks, and anything else along the way that we like the look of.

As their teacher, I can never know in advance what is going to ‘click’ with each of my children, but when something does, I like to make sure I embrace their interests and natural talents with additional opportunities to develop their strengths and keep learning fun.

I’m a strong believer in allowing room to be flexible with learning, and if something isn’t working after a good trial period, it’s time to change it or to find ways of freshening things up. I have one child in particular that tires easily of the same thing, so supplementing with other things really helps things around here!

I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours researching curriculum and looking for free downloads. What I’ve discovered is that it’s worth just purchasing the right resources to save the time and also because quality resources are simply worth the investment.

Why use Digital Downloads

As much as I love the feel of a printed book in my hands, like a devotional book for myself, when it comes to curriculum though, there are a number of benefits to having downloaded files stored on your computer or tablet to use.

You can print multiple copies easily, use with all your children, only print what you use, save on shipping costs, and also pick up great curriculum for lower prices. It’s more economical, and frequently also more affordable.

I use our notebooking pages every day in our homeschool, plus numerous lapbooks, unit studies, copywork, audios and more, most days. It’s a bit of a change of mindset, as we are so used to the way we’ve always done things, but the change in technology is truly a gift if we learn to embrace the good from it and utilize it to our advantage.

Ways to Supplement

  • Add in unit studies to your history for the year, whether you are doing a theme for the entire year and you want to supplement (like Ancient History), or take a break from your existing curriculum for a couple of weeks to freshen things up. We do both.
  • Print off reading log pages for your child to record books read (including those from the library).
  • Listen to audiobooks in the car, during learning ‘breaks’, or while you are teaching another child. We love Jim Weiss audiobooks, and are also using The Mystery of History this year too.
  • Print copywork pages when there is a topic that you have enjoyed in your usual studies (eg. a more focused topic during Middle Ages History, or a country study that grabs your child’s interest from a read-aloud).
  • Add in attractive notebooking pages to accompany your regular curriculum, instead of just buying regular lined paper. We use IEW (Fix-it Grammar and Theme studies) which still need additional pages, as does our history and other subjects. It just makes the finished work more appealing to the eye, your child will feel more satisfied with what they’ve produced, and we are all about increasing their enjoyment of things like grammar!
  • Jump into the colouring book trend that is popular right now, and find some resources that have a colouring and learning component. We have just gotten Fine Linen and Purple for our eldest daughter, and it’s absolutely gorgeous!
  • Use ebooks on your tablet when you are travelling or away from home, and save on that much needed space in the car.
  • Take your schooling with you when you are at a child’s extra curricular activities, and get in some extra learning time with your other children.

I hope that gives you some ideas on how you can add in these things to keep your homeschool fresh, learning fun and flexible, and doing it in a way that is affordable and economical.

~ Victoria

Evaluating Your Homeschool: what to do when things aren’t working

Evaluating Your Homeschool

If there’s something I’ve learned in the last 7 years of intentionally homeschooling, it’s that it’s what you do in the day-to-day of life and homeschooling that counts, and not those one-off moments where you lose it, or one of the kids lose it, or even for periods of time where things don’t seem to be working well. I think we can be fairly hard on ourselves at times, and can feel like we’re failing, or ruining our children’s childhoods, etc, when really we just need to evaluate what’s working and what’s not.

Give yourself some grace, forgive yourself (and ask for it if you need to!), and move on when it’s just a difficult day.

When the challenges are lasting longer than a moment or day, Instead of feeling stress and failure, how about viewing those circumstances in a different way and seeing an opportunity to grow and adapt?  Something may need to change – whether it be in you, in your children, or in the way you have organised your homeschooling life. Think of it like a spotlight that has highlighted where things can grow and change, instead of seeing an area of life where you’re getting it wrong!

If those difficult periods last longer than a few weeks, and you’re still committed to homeschool, here’s some things to ask:

  • Are you doing too much outside the home? Are you feeling too rushed, too busy, and too overwhelmed, and this is spilling into the environment of your home?
  • Are you on and off the computer/social media throughout the day, even for short periods of time? Are you focusing too much on the housework and other things you think you can do during homeschool time, when really your children need your focused attention?
  • Is there a resource or curriculum that could be changed – even if YOU like using something, but your child is miserable, perhaps you need to let go of what you would prefer to use in favour for what will work better.
  • Are there underlying issues that need to be tended to – perhaps Dad is working late regularly and a child is reacting to this, or they’re unhappy for another reason. Have one-on-one times with each of your children and listen to what’s going on for them.
  • Are you needing some rest and time out yourself, or feeling dissatisfied and unfulfilled for some reason? Find out what is spilling out of your heart, when you are stressed or unhappy, as it might not be curriculum or your children that needs tending to… it might be how you are seeing things. (Stress is a perception of circumstances and comes from the inside, not from externals).

We have some ‘back-up’ resources I use when I need to put down the regular curriculum, plus I’m always keeping a look out for things to use to freshen things up.

Here are two options that work for us:

  1. Thinking Tree has homeschool journals that are a creative and wonderful way of learning, but doing at their own pace.
  2. Press ‘pause’ on your current curriculum, and do a unit study for a week or two. Lapbooks are especially a fun way of learning, and you can easily tie them into what you’re already learning.

I hope that helps!

Have a great week,

~ Victoria 

An Update from Us

HOME

After taking almost 2 years off writing here regularly, I finally feel like I’m in a good rhythm to dip my feet back into the blogging world again. I needed time to refuel, refocus, get our homeschool rhythm to a sustainable place, and also just more time with the Lord and with my family.

I have plenty that I’m looking forward to sharing with you, some of which I trust will benefit your families, particularly in the area of wellness: I’ve learned much in the past year or so about reducing the ‘rush’, balancing hormones including adrenal health, inflammation, the many factors (besides calories) involved in weight management, fasting, and dietary changes. I also feel like we’re in a much better place with a sustainable homeschool rhythm, and I’m also looking forward to passing on some faith-based insights from my ‘sabbatical’.

Our children are doing well, and we’re enjoying how each of their unique and wonderful personalities are growing and emerging. They are all so different! We are not creating mini versions of ourselves, but hope to foster their precious hearts into them becoming all the Lord intends for them to be.

We’ve also joined a community of believers that has been a huge blessings to our lives, and feel like after the longest time, we have finally found our ‘fit’.

As for this place here, I plan on writing about once a month, unless there’s something I desperately want to share with you (like this week there’s a huge sale on homeschool resources I’ll tell you about – check your inbox!).

I’ve done some updating around the place, still a bit more to do, but in the interests of ‘balance’ I’ll chip away at it a little at a time!  When you have a moment, have a look at the ‘Homeschool’ drop-down menu above where I’ve updated most of the curriculum that we use for each level (Pre-K-5th Grade). I should have this finished later this week. I still get questions about what we use, so I hope this is a convenient way of seeing this in one place.

Thanks for your continued support. If you find something has helped you here, please leave me a comment. It’s encouraging to my heart!

Blessings,

Victoria

Home – The Heart of Homeschooling

Home the heart of homeschooling

Our family’s journey in homeschooling this year has been largely focused on establishing a rhythm that will be sustainable long term.

One of the things we’ve been doing is concentrating on our relationships with each other, particularly the children with one another (more on this another time).

The other thing we’ve been focusing on is keeping our home as the centre of our homeschool.

This is what I’m sharing at Lindsey’s website today.  I hope it encourages you.

“We’ve heard it said: ‘Home is where the heart is’. For homeschooling families, home is where our children’s hearts are. It’s the place where we intend to lovingly guide, equip, shepherd, and prepare our children’s hearts for the life set before them.”

READ MORE

Victoria

PS. A quick note from me – you will find me posting a lot less for this next season of life, possibly just once or twice a month.  If you enjoy what I write, you might like to subscribe to receive posts by e-mail (see sidebar on the right).  Thanks, and have a great weekend!

Choosing to Stand Tall

Choosing to Stand Tall

It’s taken years to be truly on this path to freedom, but here I am in 2014 finally able to embrace who I am, and whose I am. And I don’t plan on retreating back to where I once was!

We have an unfortunate cultural trait in our country called ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’. It’s common enough for there to be a name to it. When a person stands taller from the crowd, they are pulled down or cut down with words so they no longer stand tall. It’s sometimes overt and sometimes more subtle, but the outcome is the same – to prevent another person from rising to all they could and should be, so that another feels better about themselves. It’s the opposite than what Heaven intends for our country, which a culture of true honour, comradeship and courage, and a People that will cheer on others in their chosen path.

I have been on the receiving end of this, and without doubt I’ve probably hurt others in this way. I can only repent for where I have partnered with this myself, and pray the Lord keeps me sensitive and humble from walking in it again!

What we want in the Body of Christ is for EVERY PERSON to walk in fullness, and in that way we are all better for it! We can honour the unique voice of one another, and enjoy and celebrate the brilliance that shines from each person.

My Journey in Becoming a ‘Tall Poppy’

For many years, and more so since becoming a mother, I’ve frequently been on the receiving end of jealousy, cutting down, and revilement, because others have desired what I have or have been jealous of what I am capable of. It has caused me to withdraw, be silenced, and isolate myself from others. Sometimes, it’s been shrouded in religious language, or a ‘minor’ reason given instead of the ‘main’ reason that hides what it really is. Other times the responsibility has been put back on me, as though the cause is me – I’m causing insecurities to rise up in others, or intimidating women because I am skilled and gifted in areas that others may not be. I’ve been pressured to hide my light, to be less of myself, to enhance my struggles and shortcomings so that others feel better about themselves.

But do you know that excluding others, cutting off or cutting down someone, or withdrawing your friendship or care of someone because you perceive them to as the source for your discomfort, is really unloving and based on a lie?  And at times, the victorious life they lead might actually be the result of years of perseverance, cost and sacrifice? Or perhaps an outpouring of favour of the Lord they have grown in, to be celebrated and cheered on?

Here’s a snapshot.

I love my husband and children. I very rarely need time away from them. I do need time by myself to re-energise at times, but it’s not because I’m fed up with them. It’s because I’m an introvert that likes to sit and read, listen and think. So I don’t crave the time out of the home without my family that others might. I also love spending time with other families, and I don’t crave women-only get togethers. Rejoice with me that I’m different and what a change the Lord has brought about in my heart – when I first got married I wasn’t sure I wanted children, as I was still hurting from my parents’ divorce. What a transformation God has done in my life!

I don’t believe my way of parenting is the best/only/right way. Truly. I have many convictions about things that are right for our own family, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s the best way for your family. Those decisions that we all have to make about raising children, eating, Church fellowship, homeschooling or public school – they are all things that we can only be responsible for ourselves and not for others! I freely and joyfully love to help others, hence this blog as one example. But if you decide a different way, then go for it and be the best you can! So celebrate with me the victories and the courage it has taken to go against the mainstream, as we have pursued the best plan for our family.

I (usually) have a well-ordered and clean home. My mother set a wonderful example for me. I also learned young how to do this, as from 11 I lived without my mother under the same roof. It became necessary if I wanted clean clothes! Celebrate with me God’s redemptive purpose that has come about, and that he has brought strength and excellence into my life as a homemaker. It’s come at great cost.

I love to be home with my children and am glad for the blessing to homeschool them. I’ve had hard days. Really hard days! But the vast majority of the time we enjoy ourselves and my children are thriving and doing well. But the cost of living off one income is I only get a haircut once a year, we wear our clothes out (except the kids who benefit from a very generous Nanna!), we don’t get out of town to see family often, and a thousand other things we can’t afford to do. Worth it? Yes yes yes! So tell me I’m doing a great job and encourage me. Don’t tear down homeschooling because it offends your worldview or theology, or gossip about me because you see imperfection or you feel inadequate yourself. Be the best ‘you’, and encourage me to do the same!

I love to create a warm and hospitable environment for people to come to. It’s true – before you arrive at my home, I will often whisk around and pick up things that you might trip on, check the toilet for any ‘surprises’ my children may have inadvertently left, and perhaps wipe down the dining room table where you may place your coffee cup on arrival. Enjoy the place I’ve created for you to enter into. Embrace the English cultural background I come from, where you can sit and be served rather than the more common way in our culture of being told to ‘help yourself’ or ‘make yourself at home’( which is fine too). This is how I do hospitality – be blessed by it!

I love to create nourishing meals for my family and am good at it. I had to learn young, and at 11 I was cooking roasts and making school lunches. God has used those difficult circumstances and turned them into something good, something helpful, a blessing to my family, and also to others that have been on the receiving end of my generosity. Please, rejoice with me at His goodness expressed in my life!

I’m frequenting on the receiving end of the Father’s generosity and our family find ourselves with abundant provision that is beyond logic. Rejoice with me in the goodness of God! It has sometimes come at the cost of many times of enduring faith and hope, tears and prayer, and we ourselves have been generous with all we have in our hands, at times with extraordinary sacrifice.

You probably won’t catch me posting photos on Facebook of my messy lounge, my baking fails, or any other imperfectness – not because I don’t have those days like every other mother, but because I choose to celebrate the victories and strive for the excellence that I know is in me.

I’m not perfect. I fail daily. There is grace daily. I’m utterly dependent on Him.

I am a beautiful, gifted, beloved child of the Father. I love who He’s created me to be, and love my life, and I love growing in who I am in greater measure. Rejoice with me that God has taken brokenness and grief and turned it to wholeness and joy. He’s brought beauty from the ashes. I will no longer hide my light!

And He can do the very same thing with you.

“The church is God’s body, where every member is welcomed, accepted, loved and valued as a contribution. There is room for us to live in Christ while we are learning to be Christlike. This means we make space for the ugly and the beautiful in all of us to grow and change.” From MANIFESTING YOUR SPIRIT (Graham Cooke)

Tall poppy Monet

Veritas Press: Self-Paced History – Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation {A Review}

Veritas Press

Homeschool history has reached new heights in our home over the past few weeks, as we’ve had the privilege of reviewing the ‘Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation’, one of the online courses on offer from Veritas Press. This program has energised our learning more than anything else for a long time, and I’m excited to tell you all about it!

The online program is complete in itself, with no supplementary material required, besides a stunning set of the 32 Middle Ages, Ren & Ref Flashcards that correspond with the lessons and are intended for the purpose of reviewing the course content. We also used them to order the 32 significant events chronologically for the time period.

About Middle Ages, Renaissance and ReformationSelf-Paced History

Veritas Press follows a classical Christian approach in that it teaches history chronologically, and aims to keep Christ at the centre of your child’s learning.

Here are some of the main features of the program:

  • The age range is intended for Grades 2nd-6th.
  • The self-paced program is designed to do over a full year at the student’s own pace and contains 160 lessons, with 5 lessons for each of the 32 important historical events
  • The 32 flashcards cover the period from St Augustine to John Knox and are used along with the memory song within the course and for the purpose of review.
  • The program mainly uses actors to present history with realistic backdrops that are relevant to the time period.

VP Collage 3.1

To give you a sampling of what is covered, here are the first 8 of 32 significant historical events (40 lessons) that we have managed to complete so far:

  • Augustine Converts to Christianity
  • Barbarians and Vikings
  • St Jerome Completes the Vulgate
  • The Council of Chalcedon
  • St Benedict and Monasticism
  • Justinian the Great
  • Mohammed and Islam
  • Charles Martel, Pepin the Short, and Charlemagne

We’ve looked ahead on the lesson list and are especially looking forward to learning about William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings, St Francis of Assisi, and the Renaissance. To be honest, I can hardly wait myself!

VP Collage 10.1

Historical Literature

There is an optional literature component, with historical fiction titles to include in your history studies (two different levels). We did not complete this component for the purpose of this review. But as we have many of the titles listed, we took the opportunity to enhance the learning experience and bring these books out off our shelves.  Adding in the historical literature would be a great way of furthering your child’s learning of the time period.

VP Collage 2.1

 How the Program Works

This online program utilises a number of different ways of presenting the course content:

  • Actors dressed in period costumes present most of the course content with realistic backdrops in a style that is engaging and informative, and although the content is fairly in-depth, it’s also age appropriately presented.
  • A memory song is used to cover the chronological component, as well as reinforcing the key dates, people and events of the 32 main historical events (lyrics can be viewed and/or printed).
  • Games and activities are dispersed through the lessons, often using multi-choice questions to review material.
  • Other activities are used at different times, such as word searches, mapping, spelling, timelines activities and others.
  • There are end of lesson tutorial quizzes every 5 lessons (graded) and a shorter assignment/quiz at the beginning at the next group of 5 lessons (ungraded).
  • There are 8 supplementary activities (completed offline) over the full course, the first of which my daughter completed on ‘monastic manuscript’.

VP Collage 4.1

In true Classical style, the course is heavy on memorising important dates, which was sometimes a stretch for my 3rd Grader (particularly in the beginning). But gladly she didn’t find the memorising monotonous or too overwhelming.  The great thing was that every lesson and quiz reviewed previous lesson content and reinforced what my daughter had already learned.

Functionality and Ease of Use

The program is very easy to navigate with only a few buttons or options to click. Each lesson needs to be completed before the next slide is unlocked, and you can pause at any time. If needed, there is an option for further help and support, but we didn’t need to use this.

Middle Ages, Ren & Ref Flashcards

The flashcards have all 32 historical events covered in the course, with a summary on each side containing the key information and dates for each – from ‘St Augustine Converts to Christianity’ through to ‘John Knox in Scotland’. The flashcards are not absolutely necessary to have, but are certainly a great option to add to the enjoyment of learning, as well as being useful to review the lesson content before the graded tests (resulting in a better grade).

They’ll also be great to have in future when we’ve finished the online component of the course and just want to review this period of history.  The flashcards are sold separately.

VP Collage 9.1How We Used It

We aimed to use the course 4 times a week, but because my daughter enjoyed it so much, we did 1-2 lessons a day, 4-5 times a week. Each lesson took about 20 minutes (less time for the quiz lessons).

As my daughter was initially not used to online learning, or to tests and grades, she needed some supervision to start with, but quickly picked up how it works and what to expect each lesson.

There was no option to skip ahead of the current lesson, as they can only be unlocked once the previous lesson is completed. So my daughter simply worked through each slide within each lesson, with little supervision from me.

VP Collage 11.1

My Thoughts on ‘Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation

This really is an outstanding online history program. I was impressed at how history was presented age-appropriately, despite there being some fairly graphic events that occurred during the time of the Middle Ages. I especially liked the consistent connections made between historical events and Church history.

The music accompanying the slides throughout the course follows the theme of the Middle Ages, or is suited to the place of interest for each lesson (eg. Arabia).

A Note on the Age Level:

I’m of the opinion that the content itself is better pitched at an Advanced 3rd Grade student, or 4th Grade up, as it covers history at a depth that may be beyond younger students and some of the activities (eg. spelling longer words) could be a stretch. To complete the course for 2nd and 3rd Grade students, a parent could possibly sit through the lessons and explain some of the more difficult concepts and help with date and event memorising. But to really get the most out of it, I would recommend waiting until your child is just that little bit older.  You may also like to view the sample lessons to determine whether or not your child is ready.

VP Collage 5.1

I can see how this self-paced history course would be a popular choice for Classical homeschooling families.  But I believe this would also be a great fit for homeschooing families of all educational philosophies and methods.

I highly recommend this comprehensive, engaging, and enjoyable course to all homeschooling families who love history and want to take their learning experience to a new level.

Pricing and Links

[For System Requirements, see Veritas Press FAQs]

VP Collage 7.1

Two slides of the memory song, which puts the 32 historic events to music.

Review Crew permalink

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My Top 6 New Zealand History Books

My Top 10 NZ History pin 1

I recently went on a hunt for the best New Zealand history books I could find, as so many I’ve come across just do not stir up an excitement to learn about our nation’s history. So here are a handful of elementary/primary age titles that we have enjoyed recently.

Taketakerau : The Millennium Tree – Marnie Anstis

TaketakerauFinally, here is a New Zealand history book that brings alive our story in a way that is memorable and moving. This beautifully created book tells of two narrations and timelines alongside one another: one of a 2000 year old tree woven together with the story of our nation’s history, and the other giving a broad overview of world history. By far the best New Zealand history book we’ve come across.

Le Quesnoy – Glyn Harper

Le Quesnoy

Le Quesnoy is a town in northern France that was occupied during World War II by the Germans.  After 4 years, New Zealand soldiers liberated the town without a single loss of civilian life.  The story is told through the eyes of a child. 

Tarore and Her Book – Joy Cowley

Tarore

The true story of a Maori girl named Tarore who was tragically killed, and the subsequent aftermath of her death on the spreading of the gospel in New Zealand.  A powerful story of how the Maori people heard the gospel through one copy of the gospel of Luke, and how they become evangelists to their own people.

Taratoa and the Code of Conduct – Debbie McCauley

Taratoa

During the Land Wars of the 1860s in New Zealand, Henare Taratoa wrote a Code of Conduct before the Battle of Gate Pa at Pukehinahina (29 April 1864). This beautifully written bilingual book records the extraordinary story of compassion by Maori on the battlefield towards the defeated British.

Gallipoli – Kerry Greenwood and Annie White

Gallipoli

A story of two friends, Bluey and Dusty, who fought together at Gallipoli after landing on the beach on 25 April 1915. The story recounts this part of the Great War with a moving narrative that includes historical references and events that paints a realistic introduction to war for elementary-aged children.

Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story – Philippa Werry

Anzac Day

A non-fiction book on Gallipoli, on the history and meaning behind Anzac Day. The Four Chapters cover the Gallipoli Campaign, New Zealand at War, Remembering our War Dead, and Anzac Day, plus websites, further reading, and things to do.

So those are the best I’ve found so far – let me know if you’ve come across any treasures in your history hunting as well.

Victoria

“A new dictionary will need to be compiled after the Great War.
For new words are among the things that have been born of this war. And the greatest of them all is Anzac.”

– Sydney Morning Herald 26 April 1918

Best ‘Ancient’ and ‘Middle Ages’ Historical Reads {Elementary Level}

Best Ancient and Middle Ages Reads

History is by far our favourite subject, and I’m always on the look-out for great titles to add to our homeschool library. We are working our way through Ancient History at the moment, and gearing up to study the Middle Ages in a few months time.

This list below has some historical fiction, and I’ve also included titles where the historical setting paints a wonderful picture of what life was like during that time period. I’ve also included some really great biographies.

If you click on the link, you will likely find the approximate age level and also some reviews on the content itself. I haven’t read all of these books myself, but have read reviews online to determine whether they meet the ‘living book’ criteria for our family. I’m fairly confident they are good picks, but make sure you read reviews to determine if they’re the right fit for your family. Many of these will be on the next round of our 4-year history cycle, particularly those that have philosophies and worldviews that are much different from our own.

Ancient (5000BC to 400 AD)

Fiction

Biographies

The Middle Ages (400-1600)

Fiction

Biographies

I hope you find some great reads here.  If you’re about to take a break from school for the summer, you might just be able to inspire your elementary aged children to keep learning through the break. 😉

If I’ve missed any great titles, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

Victoria