Sunday, September 16, 2018

Journaling through the Bible: Mid-September

I am disappointed that the blog posts I tend to neglect writing are those that should be easier to write – my Journaling through the Bible and Wordless Wednesday posts. I try daily to share either the verse of the day from the YouVersion Bible app or a verse that speaks to me from my daily Bible reading on Instagram but I have not maintained my Sunday posts with any regularity. Hopefully this will change today.

Currently I am finishing Ezekiel and starting the book of Daniel with The Bible Project's One Year Reading Plan. Do you use a reading plan with your Bible reading?

Friday, September 14, 2018

R is for Ramses the Great (Blogging through the Alphabet)

Just who exactly is the son of Seti I? Was Ramses the Great an altruistic ruler, a mighty warrior, or the living god of Ancient Egypt? Because the rulers of Ancient Egypt often changed history, appropriated the deeds of past Pharaohs, and spread their own propaganda, Egyptologists need to examine the history of individuals carefully.

From the mummy of Ramses the Great we know that he was tall for a dynastic Egyptian – about 5 foot 7 inches – had a prominent nose, high cheek-bones, a squarish chin, and almond-shaped eyes. He also had red hair and probably suffered from teeth and gum decay in his later years. Even with all these specific details about his person, we know very little about the private life of Ramses except those few glimpses he afforded us. He depicted himself as a family man, a devout son, and a friend to animals who cared for his pets (including a lion).

At the age of ten, Ramses was promoted to the rank of First King's Son or Crown Prince and learned the trade of his father – ruling Egypt. In 1279 BC, he started his rule as the sole ruler of Egypt upon the death of his father.

Military Hero 

One of the historical events that Ramses is most known for is the battle at Kadesh (Qadesh) in 1274 BC. The Egyptians and the Hittites were at war. Muwatallis was in charge of the Hittites, while Ramses led the Egyptians.

The majority of the Hittite army was on the east bank of the Orontes River to take out Ramses' divided army. Just in time for the Egyptians, an elite group of troops arrived and reinforced the Egyptian forces. The next day the Hittites moved their army across the river. The two great armies faced each other. Both sides had previously suffered losses.

Here is where history is different to a degree – depending on who recorded the information. The Hittite records state that Ramses was defeated and there was no peace treaty signed. The Egyptians recorded that the Hittite king sent a letter pleading for peace. The victory at Kadesh is depicted on many Egyptian temples and palaces including those at Karnak, Ramesseum, Luxor, Abu Simbel, Derr, and Abydos.

Depiction of prisoners of war

At the temple entrance at Luxor, Ramses is depicted as taking on the entire Hittite Army and triumphing over them. In the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak, the triumph over the Hittites and the peace treaty are recorded on the outer walls. The victory was also recorded  at Abu Simbel even going so far as to show two Hittite spies being beaten to reveal the whereabouts of Muwatallis.


There are several important details to note in terms of a Pharaoh's role as a husband (and father). The Egyptian palaces did maintain a harem but it was not just a place to provide the Pharaoh with female companions. In Egypt, it was a home for all unattached women of the court – unmarried or widowed sisters, aunts, daughters, unwanted foreign wives, secondary wives, and disabled women. It was a place for the women to be cared for and for women to provide goods and services for the state. In fact, the Palace of Mer Wer was home to a thriving textile industry due to the ladies of the harem. Only a few women would actually travel when Ramses moved between palaces and courts.

The first wife of Ramses was Nefertari. They married prior to his ascending the throne as Pharaoh but – unlike royal weddings of today – their marriage and the birth of their children was not recorded for history. Nefertari – also known as the Lady of the Two Lands and the Mistress of the North and South – was mother to as many as ten children. Three of these children were favorites of Ramses including:
  • Amenhirwenemef (his eldest son) 
  • Prehirwenemf (third-born son) 
  • Meritamen (a favorite daughter) 
Unfortunately, none of his favorite children outlived him. 

Unlike many of the royal wives, Nefertari might not have been a member of the immediate royal family. As the queen of Egypt, she was the extension of her husband and was needed to participate in religious ceremonies. After her death, Nefertari was buried in the Valley of the Queens. 


Ramses was very proud of all his children. And historians believe he fathered between 85 to 100 children. Some of the children may be his biological children while others may have been adopted into the royal family. Ramses had the names of his children recorded on the walls of his temples. Some of his sons are even buried in the Valley of the Kings.


One of the most famous temples of Ramses the Great is that of Abu Simbel. It was first rediscovered in 1813 and cleared four years later by historians. Perhaps one of the reasons why it is still famous today is due to the moving of the temple when the High Dam was built.

If you are looking for more history of Ancient Egypt, please check out my other blog posts!


Image Credits 

Abu Simbul © Ramblingman | Stock Free Images

Karnak © Yulianquan | Stock Free Images

Prisoners © Gfassera | Stock Free Images

Ramses Statue © A Mom's Quest to Teach

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Crafts: The Hippopotamus

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While studying the river horse of Africa – the hippopotamus – I selected a few fun activities and crafts for our children to complete.

We created our own hippo sun catchers to hang in the windows.



1. Gather all your materials.

2. I pre-cut the pieces we would  need as well as drew the shapes of the hippo's head on the coffee filter. 

3. Color the coffee filter. 

4. Spray the coffee filter with water to see the marker color bleed and spread.

5. After the coffee filters dry, glue on the eyes, mouth, ears, etc. 

6. Hang your Hippopotamus Sun Catchers in the window. 


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Natural World in Latin – A Review of Picta Dicta – Natural World from Roman Roads Media

Roman Roads Media offers customers a classical education in their own home. What a great idea! While our family has been reviewing Picta Dicta –  Natural World, there are many other great options for your family. From Introductory Logic (grades 7-12+), where the foundation is laid for reasoning and development of rational thought, to Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric which "instructs students in the art of classical rhetoric, providing them with tools of communication that will equip them for life" there are a number of choices to meet the needs of your family.

Our five-year-old son and I have been using Picta Dicta – Natural World to learn Latin over the past several weeks. It focuses upon vocabulary from the natural world like animals, plants, anatomy, insects, and geographical features. There are over 400 different words to learn and – depending upon which level one is using – students can learn both the English and Latin words and gain information about the vocabulary.

Picta Dicta is a self-paced online course with three different versions available
  • Natural World (which we are using) 
  • Ancient World (which will be available soon)
  • Vocabulary Builder (please see review from other Crew Members to learn more) 
Each student using the course needs a separate subscription to keep track of the student's progress. The lessons are customized, based upon how students answer the questions. As stated on the frequently asked questions section, there is not much need for parental involvement. I can even let our five-year-old work on the English activities by himself with no problem. (The Latin is still more difficult right now so we sit together to work on those activities.) 

How the Lessons are Organized 

Since we used Reader I and Express levels, I will focus upon those two parts of the Picta Dicta – Natural World. In general, the levels appear to be set up in a very similar fashion just with less emphasis on the English in the higher levels. 

Reader I 

The vocabulary is introduced via a set of 8 lessons. 
  1. Learn English
  2. Article I – identifying the proper word with the correct fact 
  3. Learn Latin
  4. Latin Picture – match the correct Latin name with the pictures
  5. Choose English – selecting the correct English word for the picture and fact
  6. Spell English
  7. Choose Latin  – selecting the correct Latin word for the picture and fact 
  8. Spell Latin  
After the first two sets of words (Basic Animals and Fruits, Berries, and Nuts), there are a series of review exercises combing both sets of vocabulary. This pattern of reviewing the combined vocabulary continues throughout the course. 

The first step is to learn the English vocabulary and some facts about the word.
The first Latin our son remembered was sus – pig.


I am using the Express level and it focuses upon just the Latin through 3 lessons. 
  1. Learn Latin II 
  2. Latin Pictures II – match Latin vocab word to the picture 
  3. Spell Latin II 
As you might surmise, the different levels provide simliar information based upon the level you have chosen and progresses to get more difficult as you move up to Express. The levels are as follows: 
  • Basic
  • English I
  • Reader I
  • Reader II 
  • Express 
  • Teacher (which I just discovered during the weekend)

On this screen you see the specific chapters and the score after completing each chapter.

How We Are Using Natural World

While our five-year-old son is working through Reader I, I am using the Express level to learn new words. If I was the only one taking this course with the sole purpose of learning Latin, I would use a lower level because I find I am not retaining as much of the vocabulary I would like after three lessons on each set of words. Since I am working through the same set of words with our son, I am able to practice the words again and again as he completes his lessons with my help.

Learning Latin and facts about the fruit.

I think it is very important to place yourself or your children at a level that is best for you or your child. In other words, be honest with yourself. If you haven't studied Latin before, I recommend using one of the lower levels. For example, after I work through 26 sets of words, I will go back to one of the Reader Levels to re-focus myself. I would like to be able to remember the majority of the vocabulary exercised when I am finished using Picta Dicta – Natural World.

I have also incorporated the writing of the English version of the vocabulary into our Language Arts lessons. Our son has practiced his writing and reading using the words on a daily basis.

What We Like

I really like the design and set-up of the course. Each set of vocabulary, or chapter, is presented in several ways to encourage you to learn the words. For example, our son's is using Reader I level and one set of vocabulary is introduced and reviewed over the course of nine games or lessons. It moves through teaching the vocabulary in English and some facts about the vocab, to matching the English words and pictures, to learning the Latin, matching the Latin to the pictures, choosing and spelling the English words, choosing and then spelling the Latin words, and then a review of the Latin.

At the end of each game or lesson, you receive stars based upon your answering the questions correctly.

On the prior screen I was presented with the Latin word and now I need to pick the correct definition and picture.

I find that the repetition is what helps our son to best remember the words. As he is only five, I am helping him with the spelling (both of the English and Latin words). We are using both the online program and pencil and paper to work on the vocabulary.

The student is not just learning random words in a foreign language. There are facts presented and each set of vocabulary grouped together. I also like the fact that the user is learning to match up words, descriptions, and pictures.

I had difficulty with this set of vocabulary and our son just started it.
So many words to learn! So exciting! 

I admit to having some difficulty setting up our account but I think that might have been due to user error – not a fault of the company. Once our account was set up, it was very easy to add our son as a second user with a learner profile. It is even easy to move between the different levels from Express to Basic and back to Express so I could show our three-year-old daughter the program (and so I could check out the lower levels myself).


I think Picta Dicta – Natural World would be a nice fit for any family wishing to learn more about the world around them. The information provided along with the Latin vocabulary make this a product that seems more than just a world language course. If our children wish to pursue learning more Latin, we will be sure to check out all the resources offered by Roman Roads Media.

If you would like to learn more, please visit the following:

The Homeschool Review Crew had the opportunity to review Picta Dicta – Vocabulary Builder and Fitting Words Classical Rhetoric, please visit the rest of the Crew to see how they used these programs from Roman Roads Media.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Family Fun: Fall Crafts and Activities

The Autumn season is upon us...even if the official start of Fall isn't until later in September. Seasonal items are appearing on the shelves in stores to help us celebrate Autumn and Halloween. If you are looking for sunscreen or pool towels for a late holiday, you may be hard-pressed to find them in stores.

Over the years we have shared our fall crafts and activities at A Mom's Quest to Teach. In order to help find those posts, I am sharing them again in one convenient place – right here!

Fall Crafts 

Paper Plate Scarecrow 

Corn Sun Catchers 

Owl Puppet Craft 

Pumpkin Coffee Filter Sun Catchers 

Corn Shaker 

Fall Activities 

Pumpkin Picking