Teaching British-European History

A glimpse into how a classical, literature-rich homeschooling family teaches history. The Welsh, the Scottish, the Irish, and the English.

This is a glimpse into how I teach history. We are classical, literature-rich homeschoolers, so we learn about history using the repeating cycles that are covered in The Well Trained Mind. The first time around, we stuck to The Story of the World, short and sweet history stories appropriate for elementary ages. Now that my son is older and in the 2nd cycle, I am picking and choosing our resources, carefully following the timeline. We are past Ancient Rome and…I’ve been excited about this for a very, very long time now…are now into British history.

Family history is my passion, and this is my family. My heritage. My roots. The countries of my people. The Welsh, the Scottish, the Irish, and the English. It is around the 600’s that I can start pulling in our ancestors, incorporating them into European history. Into wars and battle, into the lives of Kings and nobles, and of the aristocrats from overseas. The history of the land fascinates me. I love being able to study history and geography together – the deep history of the land, how it once looked, and why the original settlers chose to live in the exact spots they settled in.

This outline covers the period just before Christ’s birth to 1000 AD, with an emphasis on people and events that impacted the British Isles. Many of the books can be found on Amazon in both print and Kindle format or read for free on The Baldwin Project. Please be sure to preview all the videos before showing them to your children. While we are okay with a certain level of violence, your family may not be. Download this list in a handy document.

King Brutus and Ancient Britain An Island Story (Illustrated) – chapter 1
print copy $28.13 | ebook $0.99 | Read for free

Julius Caesar An Island Story (Illustrated) – chapter 2
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Julius Caesar An Island Story (Illustrated) – chapter 3
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Iron Age Britain History of Britain and Ireland – pages 20-21
print copy $17.32

History of Britain 1

The cover of DK Publishing’s History of Britain and Ireland
Caesar’s Invasion of Britain History of Britain and Ireland – pages 22-23
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Emperor Tiberius The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 86
print copy $4.08 | ebook $0.99 | Read for free

Jesus Christ The Story of the Romans (Illustrated)  – page 91
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Emperor Caligula An Island Story (Illustrated) – chapter 4
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Emperor Caligula The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 87
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Emperor Claudius The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 88
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Roman Britons Beric the Briton: A Story of the Roman Invasion
print copy $4.03 | ebook $0.99

Emperor Nero Famous Men of Rome – page 79
print copy $3.96 | ebook $0.99 | Read for free

Emperor Nero The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 90
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Romans VIDEO: Rome: Military Conquests
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Queen Boadicea An Island Story (Illustrated) – chapter 5
print copy $28.13 | ebook $0.99 | Read for free

Queen Boadicea VIDEO: Decisive Battles E10 Boudicca
Free on YouTube

Conquest & Resistance History of Britain and Ireland – pages 24-25
print copy $17.32

History of Britain 2

A page from DK Publishing’s History of Britain and Ireland
Celts VIDEO: A History of Celtic Britain – 4 part series
Free on YouTube

Apostle Paul Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 1
print copy $8.99 | ebook $6.59

Emperors Galba/Otho The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 94
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Emperor Vitellius The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 94
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Emperor Vespasian The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 95
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Emperor Titus Famous Men of Rome – page 83
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Emperor Titus The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 95
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Emperor Domitian The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 97
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Tribe in Wales Outcast
print copy $8.80 | ebook $6.76

General Agricola An Island Story (Illustrated) – chapter 6
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Emperor Nerva The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 98
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Emperor Trajan Famous Men of Rome – page 85
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History of Britain 5

A page from DK Publishing’s History of Britain and Ireland
Emperor Trajan The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 98
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Emperor Hadrian The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 100
print copy $4.08 | ebook $0.99 | Read for free

Hadrian’s Wall The Eagle (The Roman Britain Trilogy)
print copy $3.60 | ebook $5.39

Hadrian’s Wall Global Treasures: Hadrian’s Wall England
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Hadrian’s Wall The Eagle
Rent for $2.99

Roman Celts Hostage Lands
print copy $10.33 | ebook $6.49

Emperor Pius The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 102
print copy $4.08 | ebook $0.99 | Read for free

Polycarp Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 2
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Emperor Marcus Aurelius Famous Men of Rome – page 87
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Emperor Marcus Aurelius The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 102
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Justin Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 3
print copy $8.99 | ebook $6.59

Galen Galen and the Gateway to Medicine
print copy $10.19 | ebook $4.95

Emperor Commodus The Story of the Romans (Illustrated) – page 104
print copy $4.08 | ebook $0.99 | Read for free

Galen VIDEO: Galen, Doctor to the Gladiators
Free on YouTube

A Distant Province History of Britain and Ireland – pages 28-29
print copy $17.32

History of Britain 6

A page from DK Publishing’s History of Britain and Ireland
Origen Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 4
print copy $8.99 | ebook $6.59

Cyprian Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 5
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Outside the Empire History of Britain and Ireland – pages 30-31
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St. Alban An Island Story (Illustrated) – chapter 7
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Life in Roman Britain History of Britain and Ireland – pages 32-33
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Cardiff, England Spring Tide
print copy $10.68 | ebook $4.95

Emperor Constantine Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 5
print copy $8.99 | ebook $6.59

Emperor Constantine What Really Happened in Ancient Times – chapter 8
print copy $13.22 | ebook $5.00

Athanasius Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 6
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Alaric the Visigoth Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 1
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Visigoths/Alaric/Huns The Story of Europe from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Reformation – chapter 1
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Ambrose Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 7
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End of Roman Empire History of Britain and Ireland – pages 34-35
print copy $17.32

John Chrysostom Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 9
print copy $8.99 | ebook $6.59

Jerome Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 10
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Augustine of Hippo Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 8
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Attila the Hun Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 2
print copy $4.49 | ebook $0.99 |  Read for free

Attila the Hun Ten Kings: And The Worlds They Rule – chapter 4
print copy $4.00

Attila the Hun VIDEO: Barbarians – The Huns
Free on YouTube

Attila the Hun VIDEO: Decisive Battles E08 Attila The Hun
Free on YouTube

Up to Clovis VIDEO: The Dark Ages
Free on YouTube

Vortigern/Vortimer/Saxons An Island Story (Illustrated) – chapters 8-10
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Saxon invasions The Count of the Saxon Shore
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Saxon invasions VIDEO: Barbarians – The Saxons
Free on YouTube

History of Britain 6

A page from DK Publishing’s History of Britain and Ireland
Uther Pendragon An Island Story (Illustrated) – chapter 11
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King Arthur An Island Story (Illustrated) – chapters 12-13
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King Arthur King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table (Puffin Classics)
print copy $4.71 | ebook $4.47

King Arthur VIDEO: King Arthur: Mystery Files
$1.99

St. Patrick Flame Over Tara
print copy $14.80

St. Patrick Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 11
print copy $8.99 | ebook $6.59

St. Patrick What Really Happened During the Middle Ages – chapter 1
print copy $13.06 | ebook $5.00

Franks/King Clovis The Story of Europe from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Reformation
print copy $13.95 | ebook $3.99 | Read for free

Franks/King Clovis VIDEO: The Dark Ages
Free on YouTube

Gaiseric the Vandal Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 3
print copy $4.49 | ebook $0.99 | Read for free

Vandals/Gaiseric The Story of Europe from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Reformation
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Theodoric the Ostrogoth Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 4
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Clovis Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 5
print copy $4.49 | ebook $0.99 | Read for free

Beowulf Beowulf the Warrior (Living History Library)
print copy $8.84

Beowulf Stories of Beowulf Told to the Children
print copy $4.11 | ebook $1.99 | Read for free

Justinian Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 6
print copy $4.49 | ebook $0.99 | Read for free

Justinian The Story of Europe from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Reformation – chapter 4
print copy $13.95 | ebook $3.99 | Read for free

Holy Ireland History of Britain and Ireland – pages 38-39
print copy $17.32

History of Britain 4

A page from DK Publishing’s History of Britain and Ireland
Anglo-Saxon Rulers History of Britain and Ireland – pages 40-41
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Gregory the Great Monks and Mystics: Chronicles of the Medieval Church (History Lives Book 1) – chapter 1-3
print copy $8.99 | ebook $7.99

Gregory the Great The Story of Europe from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Reformation – chapter 5
print copy $13.95 | ebook $3.99 | Read for free

Benedict Peril and Peace (History Lives Book 2) – chapter 12
print copy $8.99 | ebook $6.59

Bernicians Stories from English History – chapter 2
print copy $8.99 | ebook Free

Mohammed Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 7
print copy $4.49 | ebook $0.99 | Read for free

Mohammed/Arabs The Story of Europe from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Reformation – chapter 6-7
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Ethelbert/Augustine Historical Tales of England (Volume 1 – 14) – chapter 1
ebook $1.99 | Read for free

St. Augustine of Canterbury An Island Story (Illustrated) – chapter 14
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St. Augustine of Canterbury Augustine Came to Kent
print copy $11.65 | ebook $4.95

Christian England History of Britain and Ireland – pages 44-45
print copy $17.32

Boniface Monks and Mystics: Chronicles of the Medieval Church (History Lives Book 1) – chapter 4
print copy $8.99 | ebook $7.99

Charles Martel and Pepin Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 8
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Charles Martel and Pepin The Story of Europe from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Reformation – chapter 8
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Alcuin/Charlemagne What Really Happened During the Middle Ages – chapter 3
print copy $13.06 | ebook $5.00

Charlemagne Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 9
print copy $4.49 | ebook $0.99 | Read for free

Charlemagne Monks and Mystics: Chronicles of the Medieval Church (History Lives Book 1) – chapter 5
print copy $8.99 | ebook $7.99

Charlemagne  Son of Charlemagne
print copy $12.01 | ebook $4.95

Charlemagne Ten Kings: And The Worlds They Rule – chapter 5
print copy $4.00

Charlemagne  The Story of Europe from the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Reformation – chapter 9-10
print copy $13.95 | ebook $3.99 | Read for free

Charlemagne VIDEO: Charlemagne
Free on YouTube

Islam Monks and Mystics: Chronicles of the Medieval Church (History Lives Book 1) – chapter 6
print copy $8.99 | ebook $7.99

Harun-al-Raschid Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 10
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Viking Raiders History of Britain and Ireland – pages 46-47
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Egbert the Saxon Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 11
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Kells, Ireland The Secret of Kells
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Rollo the Viking Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 12
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Constantine & Methodius Monks and Mystics: Chronicles of the Medieval Church (History Lives Book 1) – chapter 7
print copy $8.99 | ebook $7.99

Alfred the Great Alfred of Wessex
ebook $2.95

Alfred the Great An Island Story (Illustrated) – chapter 15-17
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Alfred the Great Famous Men of the Middle Ages – chapter 13
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Alfred the Great Historical Tales of England (Volume 1 – 14) – chapter 2
ebook $1.99 | Read for free

Alfred the Great History of Britain and Ireland – pages 50-51
print copy $17.32

Alfred the Great The Dragon and the Raven
print copy $6.12 | ebook $1.99

Alfred the Great Monarchy with David Starkey Season 1
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Brian Boru Our Little Celtic Cousin of Long Ago
print copy $8.95 | ebook $1.99 | Read for free

Vladimir the Great Monks and Mystics: Chronicles of the Medieval Church (History Lives Book 1) – chapter 8
print copy $8.99 | ebook $7.99

Iceland The Story of Grettir the Strong
print copy $7.19 | ebook Free

Vikings The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow
print copy $8.15 | ebook $1.99 | Read for free

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The Hobbit Diet Wall Hangings

The Hobbit Diet | breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, supper

I love these wall hangings so much. They are the perfect compliment to my nerdy kitchen. Every time I look at them, I hear my favorite Hobbit music in my head and it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. For a reason that is probably hard to explain, this music is kind of like our family tune. It is beautiful and peaceful, and just simply reminds me of home.  Take a listen.

I started out with these two herb and spice hangings that have been in my kitchen since we built this house. Everything else in my kitchen, from the paint to the curtains, was designed around the shades of purple and green in these two prints.

Upcycled-Frames

So, when I created the Hobbit diet hangings, I just knew I had to stick to the same purple shade. The letters were cut with my Silhouette CAMEO using adhesive-backed vinyl.

The Hobbit Diet | breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, supper

The sayings both came from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Check out the apron I made using the Hobbit diet saying as well.  Breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, supper. This is the Hobbit diet. Or pretty much the diet of all tween and teen boys. “What about second breakfast?”

The second saying is from Samwise Gamgee, my favorite Lord of the Rings character, who absolutely loves potatoes. When we met Sean Astin at Comic Con last year, the girl who was in front of us actually brought a potato and a sign that said PO-TA-TOES. Sean posed with both for her photo.

my-son-and-Sean-Astin

My son, when he was 11, dressed as the Eleventh Doctor, and Sean Astin.

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I Should Have Named it The Gigantor Book of Homeschool Ideas

The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas

A few months ago, I published a book affectionately named The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas.  55 homeschool moms contributed chapters pertaining to their areas of expertise and we ended up with a whopping 103 chapters. It really is a wonder in itself. 560 pages full of awesomeness. To spotlight the book, this month we are going on a tour of some of the author blogs so that you can learn more about their areas of expertise and why they chose to write about their passions. So, every day in the month of October, you learn more about one of the authors of The Big Book of Homeschool Ideas and you’ll get a chance to win some cool prizes and download some great freebies.

My contributions to the book were the chapters Learning with Maps and Genealogy for Kids and I will be giving away a copy of WonderMaps from Bright Ideas Press. Keep on reading…

beginning-of-things

Why am I passionate about teaching genealogy?

Everybody is interested in the beginning of things.  I wholeheartedly believe that family history should be taught in every home, whether you homeschool or not. Through the study of genealogy, you can develop and enhance skills such as researching, story-telling, cataloging and documenting, fact-checking, and more. Genealogy can be fascinating, especially to a child. Knights, kings, presidents, war heroes, Indians!

Tracing your ancestors will place history right at your feet. This is not the history you read in textbooks, but the personalized history that teaches you about your people: who they were and why they did what they did. Following your ancestors’ footsteps or wagon tracks can teach you more about history than you ever knew.

Imagine the delight in my little boy’s eyes when he hears stories like these:

Once upon a time, over two hundred years ago, the entire northwest corner of Ohio was covered with a dark, nasty, bug infested swamp. It was so scary and dangerous that the Native Americans wouldn’t even go near it. Wolves, bears and wildcats roamed freely among the wooded swamp and many people who ventured near the swamp got lost… never to be seen again. One day, a brave and adventurous man set out to tame that great black swamp. With his own two hands and his trusty ax, he was one of the first daring men to clear out a portion of that swamp, build a log cabin and start a farm. Do you know who that courageous man was? That was your daddy’s great-grandpa’s great-grandpa!

This story really sparked his curiosity and he immediately wanted to know all about the history of Ohio, and more importantly, the history of daddy’s family. He was fascinated with “Swamp Grandpa” as he called him.

Map-wonder

Why am I passionate about learning with maps?

I am a map girl. I think this stems from the genealogist in me. Township, city, county, state, country maps… they all fascinate me. I look at a map and start to wonder about the deep history of the land, how it once looked, and why the original settlers chose to live in the exact spots they settled in.

In the book, I share lots of ways you can incorporate maps into your daily homeschool life.

Big Book Blog Tour Calendar

Be sure to stop by all the blogs, which can be found here. Yesterday, Mary Prather from Homegrown Learners and author of the chapter How to Teach with LEGO gave away free LEGO scripture copywork. Tomorrow, October 6, Eva Varga from EvaVarga.net and author of the chapters How to Use Postage Stamps for Learning and Inquiry Science with Middle School Students will be giving away her guidebook Getting Started with Inquiry Science.

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BigBook2offpromo

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Why Stargazing is Important for Kids

Why Stargazing is Important for Kids

Astronomers say there are 300 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone. Just let that sink in for a moment. Close your eyes and imagine what flying through space must look like. To our eyes they are teeny tiny insignificant specks in the sky, but image them for what they really are – massive, glowing giants.

For those of us who live in a city or suburb, those tiny insignificant specks in the sky may not seem very awe-inspiring. It should be on everyone’s bucket list to, just once, stargaze in an open field, on a clear night, away from the city lights, like our ancestors used to do. This is especially important for our children. Why?

1. Stargazing gives them a chance to see God’s handiwork.
How anyone can see an image of our sun and then a clear sky packed with similar stars and not recognize God’s handiwork is beyond me.

2. Stargazing can show a child his importance.
I don’t know if there is life beyond our planet or how much of it, but if you think about it, it is pretty amazing that you were created and were chosen to be placed on our particular planet. Our little planet, in our little solar system, in this massive universe of ours. Little ol’ you.

3. Knowledge of astronomy is a wonderful scientific background.
Even if your child doesn’t plan on being an astronomer, knowledge of the chemistry and physics of space will help them in any scientific career.

4. Scientific discovery.
Today, each one of us is affected in some way by an advancement in astronomy. Those advancements, in medicine and energy for example, began with stargazing.

5. Stargazing is an enrichment.
Similar to music or art, some people say it is an unnecessary waste of time, but I believe it is an enhancement to your life, and a way to enrich not only your education, but your relationship with the Creator.

6. Problem minimization.
Looking at the vastness of the universe makes us realize that our little problems are pretty insignificant sometimes. This concept can be used to help teach our kids not to sweat the small stuff.

7. Amateurs can make contributions.
Very few fields actually accept help from amateurs, especially kids. There are numerous scientific websites that ask for help in their astronomy research projects. For example:

If you are looking for the perfect book to help you get your kids started with stargazing, I’d like to share Starfinder from DK Publishing with you. The book contains a very important tool – a sturdy, removable and easy to use planisphere. A planisphere is a star chart that can be set to show the location of objects in the sky for any given date and time. You rotate the wheel to place the time next to the date and you have your sky in the viewable window.

Planisphere

Starfinder5

In addition to the handy planisphere, the book contains monthly charts to show exactly what both the northern and southern hemisphere look like, how-to sections on observing the Moon, planets, and other major aspects of our solar system. Also, it teaches you not only how to identify constellations, but the history of those constellations as well.

Starfinder1

Free astronomy books on Amazon

Voyage Book Planets book Moon book Rockets book

Starfinder4

Starfinder3

Starfinder2

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Hosting a Tournament of Books

Tournament of Books for Kids

Last month, one of my favorite British websites held a Doctor Who companion tournament. I printed out the bracket and asked my son one-by-one, “Her or him, him or her, her or her,” and he gave me his answers in between reading his latest book, Artemis Fowl. (He inherited my ability to do several things at once.) As I waited for him to contemplate his favorite sci-fi companions while contemplating the sci-fi antics in the book, it gave me a thought.

A tournament of books! 28 books that I got to choose and no matter how silly he thought they were, he had to read them and then vote. The tournament bracket is hanging on a living room wall and so far we have 5 winners, moving onto round 2, and 5 losers that were good books, but not good enough to beat their match-up.

Here were my 28 choices…

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Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry

We recently took a 4 day trip to Chicago (see my post that should have been titled The Things a Mom Will Do for Her Child.)

We met Doctor Who’s Matt Smith…

My-son-and-Matt-Smith

I flew on a plane for the first time…

clouds-from-plane

We rode on a pirate ship…

Tall-Ship-Windy2

We met some fabulous Doctor Who fans at the comic con…

Doctor-Who-fans

And we explored this fabulous science museum in the heart of Chicago…Warning: this post is very photo heavy. I can’t help it, there is so much to show you from this amazing museum!

astronaut

The moon landing.

elements5

This is the giant periodic table of elements, showing real life examples of all the known elements.

eye-spy

The eye-spy gallery – one of my favorites – Once Upon a Time.

eye-spy2

A science themed eye-spy.

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A 40-foot vortex that helps viewers understand how tornadoes are formed.

laughing

THIS was my absolute favorite in the entire museum. It was a very interactive motion-detecting display.

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Like the sign says, “The more you move, the more they laugh.” It was a blast. They chose actors that had the most contagious laughs.

locomotive

In 1893, the 999 Steam Locomotive became the fastest land vehicle when it reached a record speed of 112.5 mph.

minis

The Great Train Story model railroad – a journey over 1400 feet of track between Chicago and Seattle. These little models were impeccably designed.

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I was amazed by how realistic these scenes look!

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Museum-Avalanche

The avalanche disk, a simulation that shows exactly what an avalanche looks like. Watching this was mesmerizing. Take a look!

Museum-planes

United Airlines Boeing 727 and other smaller aircraft hanging from the ceiling. This was such an amazing sight to see (and stand under!) We were able to explore the inside of the Boeing 727.

Museum-tsunami

30-foot tsunami wave tank.

robots

Max and Lisa, two incredible tandem robots. You can choose a variety of activities for them to work together to complete. Here they are drawing a picture of a robot arm.

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space-shuttle

An incredible piece of history – the Apollo 8 command module. Apollo 8 was the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon.

toy-maker

This is part of ToyMaker 3000, an exhibit that will take you through the entire manufacturing process of creating a toy. The exhibit consists of eight interactive stations, 12 moving robots, and a 2,000-square-foot automated assembly line.

wright-plane

A replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.