Traditional Logic and why you should teach it

I am sure that most of you who are reading this see the word logic and immediately think of Spock. After all, the majority of my readers are complete geeks. (You know you are and I say that in the most loving way possible.)


We’ve been learning traditional logic in our homeschool for several years now. It is one of my son’s favorite subjects. I think he aspires to become a Vulcan. One thing that I find myself saying a lot is, “That was very Vulcan of you.”

Why you should teach logic (my son helped me make this list!)

  • It literally makes your kids smarter. Research proves that studying the art of logic and critical thinking increases IQ.
  • It literally makes them feel smarter.
  • It helps you see through propaganda and manipulation, especially with TV commercials and political ads.
  • Many times in life, you need to make hard decisions and logic helps you make decisions by erasing any unnecessary factors.
  • Everyday problems are easier to figure out when you think through the reasons why it is a problem to begin with.
  • It teaches you how to reason and negotiate, and this is fun to do…especially with parents.
  • It helps you avoid traps and peer pressure.
  • Discussions are easier when you remove emotion and focus on facts.
  • Critical thinking helps to remove fear.
  • Learning how to think for yourself, instead of blindly accepting the ideas of other people, will help a child in adulthood.

What we are currently using for logic

Traditional Logic I: An Introduction to Formal Logic by Martin Cothran. This curriculum is published by Memoria Press. I shared a review last week of their Latin program. As I said, Memoria Press is an amazing company. They are a family-run, Christian company who emphasize logic, Latin, classical literature, and above all – simplicity. The products are easy to use and laid out in a way that brings simple joy to both the teacher and student.

This curriculum is designed for 7th grade and higher. There is also a level II for grades 8 and up. There are 4 components to the complete set and here is how you use them:


1. The instructional DVD. You can view a sample lesson. At the beginning of the week, you view the DVD lesson, taught by Martin Cothran.

2. The student text/workbook. This book reinforces what was taught in the DVD lesson. Watching the lesson and then reading the lesson will help your child master the material more efficiently. View a sample of the student text. There are 14 chapters altogether. Each chapter contains an introduction and 4 days of written exercises.

3. Quizzes and final exam. This book contains 13 quizzes and one final exam. The pages are perforated for easy removal.

4. Teacher’s workbook and test key. This book contains all of the answers to the workbook exercises and test pages.

The complete set is $75 and can be purchased at Memorial Press. You may be able to find new or used copies at Amazon too. I received a copy of this complete set for free in exchange for blogging my opinion of the program.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

An Exciting Adventure for Kids

Brain Chase logo

Most homeschooling families that I know on a personal level homeschool using a modified year-round schedule. This flexibility gives them the opportunity to homeschool whenever and wherever they like. In our house, we take the entire months of August and December off, and then take full weeks off throughout the year whenever we need a break or want to travel. Regardless of your homeschool schedule or philosophy, the numbers show that most homeschool families have a hard time 100% committing to a full homeschool schedule throughout the summer.

But what do you do when you want to give your kids some sort of education, but don’t want to homeschool like you would in the fall or winter? This is where Brain Chase can step in. When I first read about Brain Chase, my stomach literally did flip flops.

Let me mention right off the bat that your family can win $10,000 and a trip to dig up a real buried treasure! I bet that piqued your interest!

Sunstone of Cortes banner

Let me tell you exactly what Brain Chase is

  • 5-week online summer learning challenge for 2nd through 8th graders
  • A massive global treasure hunt powered by reading, writing and math
  • A learning adventure to prevent summer brain drain
  • A motivational tool for getting kids to do online academic work during the summer
  • A personalized learning platform
  • A hunt for a golden mechanical treasure
  • A $10,000 scholarship and trophy

Sounds exciting huh!

Brain Chase characters

Why is a program like Brain Chase good for kids?

  • Startling research shows that kids lose more ground academically over the summer than one might expect.
  • A 2011 RAND study found that by the end of summer, students perform, on average, one to two months behind where they left off in the spring.
  • 94% of parents agree that Brain Chase helped their children stay sharp over the summer. (From a survey of families who participated in the 2014 challenge.)

How exactly Brain Chase works


At 9 a.m. ET on Monday, June 22, 2015, Brain Chase: The Sunstone of Cortés begins. Adventurers log in to watch the first animated webisode and meet Mae Merriweather, the star of the show. Then they dive into their first week of learning challenges. A proprietary (patent pending) learning management system – the “Dashboard” – tracks each student’s progress as they journey through the 5-week challenge.

Each week the adventurers have four tasks: read for 15 minutes per day, write one journal entry, earn 10,000 points on Khan Academy, and do one bonus challenge. When they’re done, they unlock the next webisode, which contains hidden pictures, numbers, and riddles to help them guess the treasure’s location.

Mae Merriweather and her friends from the Grayson Academy of Antiquities are hot on the trail the mysterious Sunstone of Cortés. To find it, they travel to the Himalayas, dive off the coast of Greece, and solve riddles. But there is more to the quest — and treasure — than they realize.

The hunt for the Sunstone isn’t just fiction – there is a real golden Sunstone of Cortés and $10,000 buried somewhere on Earth. Every 24 hours, adventurers can log in to enter their guess of the treasure’s location. The first adventurer to guess the location within a two-mile radius travels with his/her family to the treasure site to claim the gold.


A few more Brain Chase tidbits

What is the age range of Brain Chase?
It’s mainly geared toward early readers through 8th graders. The technical rules are age 6-16.

How many participants joined in last year, and is there a cut-off for how many can sign up?
Basically, you want to know how many kids you’ll be competing against. Last summer Brain Chase had 500 participants. They have to limit enrollment due to order the hands-on materials in advance, and so they can’t exceed that number.

How does the reading work – is it online, and how is it tracked? Are the books classics?
Brain Chase uses a reading platform called myON, which has a library of more than 5,000 digital books. Kids can choose what they’d like to read, and myON can measure number of pages read, number of minutes of active reading, etc., to ensure students are completing their tasks.

How often can we guess the location of the treasure?
Kids get to guess the treasure’s location once every 24 hours. Once they drop a pin on the virtual map, a time counts down 24 hours until they can guess again. If they don’t guess within that 24-hour period, they lose their turn for that day, but they can guess again the next day.

How much to participate?

About $25 per week or $3.60 per day!

  • Using my discount code (MILKANDCOOKIES15) before April 15th:
    • $127 for one child
    • $212 for two children
    • $296 for three children
  • Using my discount code (MILKANDCOOKIES15) after April 15th:
    • $169 for one child
    • $254 for two children
    • $339 for three children

This is a sponsored post written in partnership with Brain Chase and The Motherhood.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Win The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies


I am reading The Hobbit again. With my comfy Hobbit slippers on. I just love this story. I love the movies too. Rarely do movies do a book any justice, but these movies do. The final installment in the Hobbit trilogy comes out on DVD next week too!

While I am excited that the DVD release is almost here, I am also sad that this the end of the trilogy. But then again, I am positively tickled pink to be able to give away one digital copy of The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies. Mouse over the interactive map of Middle-Earth and take the quiz to find out what is your Middle-Earth weapon of choice! Then leave a comment below and let me know what your result is. The winner will be chosen on Friday, March 20th.

Mine is the bow and arrow.

  • Are you Battle Ready? Take the quiz to uncover your Middle-Earth Weapon of choice!
  • Mouse over the Interactive Map to learn fun facts about Middle-Earth.
  • Watch the official trailer & click the box art to bring the film home today!


From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.

Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Digital Download Coupon for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Growing a Scientist

Growing a Scientist

Before our son could even talk, I had a feeling he would grow up to be a scientist. I should say before he would talk, not could talk, since I know he could talk long before he actually started. He just didn’t want to. His little scientific brain was always very unique. He would find ingenious ways of communicating with us, other than using his words.  He learned sign language. He would attempt to draw pictures. Then he decided that was too boring and he would complicate matters. He would memorize books and then bring us the book and point to the words instead of saying them. For example, if he wanted strawberry milk, he would bring both Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to me. He would open Alexander to page 9 and point to the word strawberry and then open Mouse to page 2 and point to the word milk.


You would think that it would be easier for him to just take me into the kitchen and point to the milk and the strawberry mix, but his brain needed to make things advanced. Then one day, when he was about 3 & 1/2, he just decided to start talking. At bedtime he said a clear, long and complicated sentence, “Tomorrow, let’s go to the store to buy more apple juice.” I fell over.

He has been like this with everything. When he was a baby, he never rolled over, he never crawled, he never pulled himself up on tables. He just sat there. I would even try to entice him to move by placing all his toys a couple feet away. But nope…he would just sit there and look around, taking everything in. Then one day, he just decided to get up and walk. Same with potty training. One day, he just decided, and that was that. I haven’t touched a diaper since that day.

That is just one example of how his mind is just…different. Finally one day, it was the day he decided to ride his bike and jumped on and rode it perfectly, he explained something about his mind to me. He said that he observes the world and everyone else’s actions and he memorizes things. Then he teaches himself how to do something in his brain. When he feels he has mastered it in his mind, he tells his body to just do it.

He fascinates me. Sometimes I even forget he is a child.  He is a very unique kid and I am so fortunate that I was chosen to be his mom.

I take my job as his mom very seriously and it is very important to my husband and I that we give him every opportunity to get ahead. That is why this post is called Growing a Scientist. Here is my short list of our favorite resources for growing our scientist. (Keep in mind that my son is 12 so this list is not for little ones, but for middle to high school. Also, the books are books that were used as supplements to his regular homeschool science curriculum – Apologia science by Dr. Jay Wile.)

Four Books

1. Careers by DK Publishing.  It’s never too early for your child to start thinking about a career, and this book is the perfect tool. It covers more than 400 careers, organized into 15 different job categories – from science and research to construction to business management.  These categories are then broken down into specific jobs. Each job covers a two-page spread and encompasses preparation, interests, qualifications, lifestyle, realities, industry profile, related career paths, necessary skills, and compensation levels.

Here are some sneak peeks:




2. You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. from Dr. Ben Carson. Never one to let circumstances control him, Dr. Carson wrote this book to encourage our young ones to dream big. In this book, he details eight principles that helped shape his future: Talent, Honesty, Insight, being Nice, Knowledge, Books, In-Depth learning, and God.

3. Basher Science Books by Simon Basher. This collection of REALLY cute books include The Periodic Table, Physics, Biology, Rocks and Minerals, Planet Earth, Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy. These books are very unique and can show you the world of science like you’ve never seen it before.

4. One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Science! by Eric Yoder. This book and its sister book, part two, contain real world science and math problems that help your kids think outside of the box. They are challenging and stimulating little stories that really draw you in.

Four Products

1. A Telescope. This is telescope that we have – Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope and we can actually see the layers of Jupiter with it! For a serious amateur astronomer, I highly recommend investing in a quality telescope that comes with an automated finderscope, like this one. Unfortunately, because we live in the suburbs, we are not able to stargaze in our backyard as much as we would like.

2. A microscope and slide set. A perfect first microscope it the Home 1000X Microscope. It comes with a small set of slides and this larger set of slides is a perfect addition: 100 Piece Assorted Specimen Collection Microscope Slides

3. A chemistry set.  Thames and Kosmos make both beginner and advanced kits.

4. Catalogs! Yes, catalogs. Visit Home Science Tools, Steve Spangler Science, Edmund Scientifics, and NASCO to request science catalogs. Your kids probably do not even realize that many of these products exist, so hand them several catalogs, along with a Sharpie marker, and ask them to circle items that interest them. If you find that your child circles mostly chemistry sets, you’ll know you have a future chemist on your hands.

Four Websites

1. BrainPopBrainPop is a group of educational websites with over 1,000 short animated movies for students in grades K-12, together with quizzes and related materials, covering the subjects of science, social studies, English, mathematics, engineering and technology, health, and arts and music. Hundreds of these videos pertain to science.

2. Wonderopolis. This website has an invaluable feature called the Wonder of the Day. You can sign up for their newsletter to receive a daily email detailing a wonder of the day. Most of the wonders are science related. Each email contains a Did You Know section, a video, vocabulary words, enriching “have you ever wondered” questions, a quiz, and “try it out” activities.

3. SciStarter. This is the place to find, join, and contribute to science through recreational activities and citizen science research projects.  There is a massive database of citizen science projects for all ages. You can search by location (home is considered a location too!), age, cost, and more.

4. Science News for Kids. Kind of self-explanatory. You can sign up for an email digest of relevant family-friendly science topics in the news.

Four YouTube Channels

1. SciShow

2. It’s Okay to be Smart

3. BrainCraft

4. AsapScience

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

First Form Latin from Memoria Press


I fell in love with the classical homeschool model before my son was even born. My husband and I always knew we wanted to homeschool, so I bought a small collection of homeschooling books when I became pregnant. Even the non-classical themed books stressed the importance of learning Latin.

Teaching Latin can be a challenging, daunting task for those who are new to homeschooling. Although I am never one to back down from a challenge, I cringed my face in horror as I accepted the fact that I would need to learn Latin in order to teach it properly.

But you know what I learned? You do not need to learn Latin in order to teach it. You and your children can learn it together

Memoria Press is an amazing company. They are a family-run, Christian company who emphasize logic, Latin, classical literature, and above all – simplicity. The products are easy to use and laid out in a way that brings simple joy to both the teacher and student.


We have been using First Form Latin for a couple of months now.  My son really likes it because it has been building on and enriching the Latin that he learned through Classical Conversations. Other than Classical Conversations, we have used 3 other Latin curriculum products. First Form Latin is by far the most comprehensive and easy to use. I have to admit, at first I sighed when the box arrived containing eight different components. I shouldn’t have, because each component was separate for a reason…simplicity.

Here are the components of the complete set and how you use them. This program is Latin I and is designed for a year of study or 34 weeks.


1. The instructional DVD. You can view a sample lesson from teacher Glen Moore. At the beginning of the week, you view the DVD lesson. Your kids will really enjoy these lessons. The teacher is well organized, amusing, and easy to understand.

2. The student text. This book reinforces what was taught in the DVD lesson. Watching the lesson and then reading the lesson will help your child master the material more efficiently. Your child can also use the student text to look back on when doing their workbook sheets. View a sample of the student text.

3. The student workbook. This workbook will be used every day during the week. Each of the 34 lessons is divided nicely into 5 days, so that your child will do one worksheet page per day.  View a sample of the student workbook.

4. Pronunciation CD. This CD comes in handy throughout the entire lesson. Listen to it at the beginning of the week to learn exactly how the words are pronounced, listen to it during the middle of the week for a refresher, listen to it at the end of the week for some testing drills, or do school on the road by listening to it as you drive.

5. Vocabulary cards. These cards come already perforated and contain all the vocabulary words for the week. Use the cards as needed throughout the lesson, just as you would use the CD.

6. Teacher’s manual. The manual gives you a view of the student text along with side notes and helpful tips on what you can do as a teacher to help your child with their lesson. View a sample of the teacher’s manual.

7. Teacher’s workbook and test key. Identical, but shrunken down images of the workbook and test pages, with the answers filled in.

8. Quizzes and tests. This book contains all of weekly quizzes and unit tests. The pages are perforated for easy removal.

The complete set is $125 and can be purchased at Memorial Press. You may be able to find new or used copies at Amazon too. I received a copy of this complete set for free in exchange for blogging my opinion of the program.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Saint Patrick’s Day Jewelry


I partner with Oriental Trading occasionally throughout the year to show off their products. It is always a delight to surf their website to see their newest editions. They now have the CUTEST Irish charms that I have ever seen! Perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day. This Irish girl had a blast creating jewelry using the charms and other items that I received.

Take a look at some of my creations…


My favorite is the bracelet below.


Materials that you will need to replicate the jewelry above:

Saint-Patrick-Charms 160Irish Charms. Oriental Trading sells a ton of adorable charms. My jewelry contains the following metal charms:

Irish Flag Charm 160Mini bottle charms. These tiny glass bottles come with mini corks. You can fill these with glitter, sand, liquids, or anything your heart desires. My Irish bottle charm for the necklace above was created using layers of colored sugar! I made sure to glue the cork onto the top. I used these same bottles when I made the Harry Potter potion ornaments for my fandom Christmas tree. 6 bottles for $6.50


Saint-Patrick-Beads 160Beads. My bracelet contains green and clear beads from the special St. Patrick’s Day crystal bead assortment, plus sunset orange crystal bicone beads. The St. Patrick Day assortment is $10.50 for 200 beads. The orange beads are $3.50 for 48 pieces.



*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.