Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Teaching Mathematics in Your Homeschool – A Review of Dimensions Math PK-5

Teaching mathematics, even during students' younger years, sometimes causes worry and concern for homeschooling parents. Having the ability to review Dimensions Math PK-5 from Singapore Math Inc. has been a great opportunity for our family as we are now able to set aside a specific time for mathematics in our day. Dimensions Math PK-5 is a series designed for U.S. teachers and students but one that I am easily using in our homeschool setting.

He was excited to look through all of the materials. 

Overview of Dimensions Math PK-5 

Singapore Math Inc. has updated parts of their curriculum for "clarity and relevance" while staying true to their ideas. The program starts with concrete ideas and then moves toward pictorial and abstract ideas for students. The educator, whether they are teacher or parent, is very important in the Dimensions Math curriculum.

There are several key components of the curriculum which include:

  • Student Textbook 
  • Student Workbook
  • Teacher's Guide
  • Blackline Masters 

Student Textbook 

"Throughout the series, five characters offer suggestions on how to think about problems, remind students of strategies they've learned, and point out important information to encourage students to come up with their own solutions." – Series Overview 

The Student Textbook KB is a softcover book of 192 colorful pages with activities and questions that correspond to the teacher's guide and student workbook. For example, Lesson 1 of Chapter 10 Subtraction introduces the concept of taking away to subtract. Part 1 presents a picture of four dogs with a fifth running away from the group. The exercise continues with three questions in which Spot eats dog bones and children figure out how many bones he has left. 

Student Textbook 

Student Workbook 

The 162+  page Student Workbook offers additional work that – for a traditional school setting – could be homework, but for our homeschool we have used them in a variety of ways. For example, in the beginning lessons our son continued to work on them right after finishing the lesson, then he began to get fidgety so we saved them for later on in the day. I could also see us saving them for him to complete with his Dad since I am the one primarily working on Dimensions KB with our son.

Getting a lesson set up for my son using the student workbook 

Teacher's Guide and Blackline Masters 

The 252-page Teacher's Guide is a great asset for individuals presenting the course. It breaks down each lesson in several steps: 
  • Think or Explore 
  • Learn 
  • Do – Whole Group Activity 
  • Student Textbook Pages – Small Group Activity 
  • Extend
As you are planning your day, you can review the objectives and materials needed prior to starting the lesson. Objectives range from "identify numbers 1 more than and 1 less than a given number within 20" to "distinguish between addition and subtraction situations involving adding on or taking away" depending upon the lesson. All of the paper materials are available through the textbook or workbook and the blackline masters online which I printed out on colored paper for our child.

The Teacher's Guide continues with the lesson written out clearly which you can read ahead of time, while you are working through the lesson with your children, or do both (which is what I did). There are multiple activities from things that require a group (as the books are geared towards a classroom setting) to activities that can be done individually or in pairs allowing more than one child to work on learning the skills together.

One whole group activity is "Shout and Clap" where children take turns choosing a starting number from 5 to 9 and adding 1, 2, or 3. Together they shout the number and clap to count on. This could be varied by choosing different actions and in a homeschool setting older and younger siblings could play the game together.

If you are curious about what materials beyond the textbook, workbook, and teacher's guide you might need, you can see the list of materials on the Dimensions Math website along with lots of other useful information. There are also videos for the PKA-B and KA grades (which our three-year-old daughter watched with me and enjoyed).

What We Are Using - Dimensions Math KB

Dimensions Math KB focuses upon the following topics:

  • Numbers to 20 
  • Number Bonds
  • Addition
  • Subtraction 
  • Addition and Subtraction
  • Numbers to 100 
  • Time 
  • Money 
Our family chose KB, after taking the placement test. Our five-year-old son already has a firm understanding of many of the topics in KA (numbers to 10, shapes, etc), so we opted for the next level as he is just starting to work on more advanced addition and subtraction and learning about money. Each level (PK-5) offers two books, A and B, which would correspond with Semester 1 and Semester 2 of a school year. 

In addition to the Teacher's Guide, Student Textbook, and Student Workbook, I also needed to download and print a variety of Blackline Masters for the lessons. Some of the lessons also call for other materials such as counters, dice, dominoes, wooden blocks, and linking cubes. One might have these items at home or you may need to purchase them or substitute with something else.

Some of the flashcards made from the Blackline Masters. Our children are matching numbers to ten-frame cards. 

The flexibility and variety of activities described in each lesson allow me to really tailor the lesson to the needs of our five-year-old. For example, in Lesson 6 the objective is for children to read the number words 11 to 15. Through exploration of number and word cards, ten-frame cards, dominoes, linking cubes, the textbook, and workbook, children can learn how to properly read and identify the number words in a variety of ways. There are opportunities for games (with domino match, roll and race, matching, and memory) and through the use of the textbook and workbook children can practice their writing of the numbers. We were able to use many of the flash cards provided via the Blackline Masters as well as math objects and tools we already owned to learn about the numbers 11 to 15.

What We Like

I must admit I love curriculum materials. As a former high school teacher, it was so exciting when I received samples of textbooks, workbooks, and materials in the mail. There is nothing more exciting than opening up new materials and seeing the many possibilities they offer for one's classroom or home. Dimensions Math PK-5 offers all these things. Fun ideas, bright colorful pages, easy to understand directions (for both parent/teacher and child), and a variety of techniques made this a very exciting mathematics adventure!

The spiral bound design of the Teacher's Guide is excellent. I like that the pages are sturdy enough that I can paperclip the necessary papers and flashcards to them without the pages tearing. It lays open nice and flat so I can see both pages at once or I can have it set up so only one page shows at a time.

The Teacher's Guide can lay flat on your table, desk, or sofa. 

The student books are also made of quality materials. The pages can take a number of mistakes and erasures being made which is important when it comes to studying mathematics. The directions are clear and straightforward which means our five-year-old can start working on the pages without too much direction.

Having additional assistance at the bottom of the student workbook pages is also good if you are using this in a classroom setting or using the workbook as "homework" to be done with the non-homeschooling parent. For example, in the lesson "Add Up to 5 and 6" the "Using this page" section directs parents or teachers to "have students complete the number sentences for addition up to 5." While this may seem straightforward, it may provide just the right amount of additional information for the non-teaching parent or person helping the child.

The lack of answers in the student books is also fantastic. While many children will not seek out the answers to cheat, there are some who may take a lazy approach or who may feel the need to check each answer and lose faith in themselves and their ability. (Don't worry – the answers are in the Teacher's Guide.)

Even though our five-year-old son is the primary student using the materials, our three-year-old daughter still joins us for the activities. So while he reads the textbook pages and completes assignments in the student workbook, she sits with us and uses the flash cards and other manipulatives that I have collected for our lessons.

Our five-year-old son says he likes both the Student Textbook and Student Workbook when I asked him what he liked best. "They don't just teach about numbers. They also teach other stuff." (He is looking forward to when we study time and money towards the end of the books.)

If you would like to learn more about Singapore Math Inc. and Dimensions Math PK-5, please visit the following sites:

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew had the chance to review other levels of Dimensions Math PK-5, please be sure to check out their reviews!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Like a Lion or a Lamb: Free March Writing Prompts

For many, the month of March brings to mind blustery weather, green and shamrocks, or the arrival of the first flowers of spring. What inspires you during March? Does your family follow March Madness and fill out basketball brackets or celebrate St. Patrick's Day? No matter if March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb, you might be in need of some free writing prompts for your homeschool or journaling.

Download your free writing prompts here!

Photo Prompts

basketball photo from Canva

Horseshoe photo from Canva

Cherry Blossom photo from Canva

More Fun Activities for Your Homeschool

Crafting during the month of March brings some great ideas for St. Patrick's Day such as sun catchers or a stamping activity.

St. Patrick's Day Shamrock

Note: Images for photo prompts are from

Saturday, February 23, 2019

A is for Appomattox (Blogging Through the Alphabet)

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

History plays a very important part in my life. The study and learning of history is a fond reminder of my times spent with my Grandpop as he showed me books about Ancient Egypt and World War II. So – because history is a key to me, I will be sharing 26 history-related topics through our new Blogging Through the Alphabet Series.

To End a Civil War 

Looking at how to end the American Civil War from the Northern perspective, the Union command had one goal with a two-pronged approach. There were two things that needed to be accomplished to suppress the Rebellion:  1) war needed to be brought to all areas of the South (think in terms of Sherman's marching to the Sea) and 2) Lee's Army (The Army of Northern Virginia) needed to be broken.

During the Winter of 1864-1865, Grant and Lee were situated along the Petersburg and Richmond railroad lines and roadways. With main forces of both the North and the South in the same general area, the war could be brought to a quick end only if Lee's army remained secluded from that of the rest of the Southern army. For example, Grant did not want Lee's army to join up with those men under the command of Joseph Johnston.

Needs to Be Change

Unfortunately for the South, desertions from the Army of Northern Virginia were on the rise – as high as 100 a day. Something needed to change for the war to end in favor of the Confederacy.

The last great offensive push by Lee was on March 25, 1865 at Fort Stedman. The day started successfully for the Confederates but the garrison had been caught by surprise and the battle only lasted about four hours. It ended up turning into a defeat costing Lee 3,500 to 5,000 men.

After a battle at Five Forks, where the Union Army under Philip Henry Sheridan triumphed over the Confederates, Lee's army was gone from the Petersburg area. It was thought the war might end that day as the Rebels were being hunted down in the streets of Petersburg. This was not to be the end, for 600 Mississippians and North Carolinans gave Lee time to rally his men. But after a ten-month siege of Petersburg, Lee's men retreated westward. And the city of Richmond – the seat of the Confederate government – was to be evacuated on April 2, 1865. The government leaders did not want to stay without the protection of Lee's Army. They even ordered the warehouses and arsenals to be set on fire to prevent them from falling into the enemies' hands.

As Lee and his army moved westward – hoping to meet up with Joseph Johnston – and Sheridan's infantry and calvary moved in the same direction, Lee's men needed food after fleeing the Petersburg-Richmond area. But they found nothing even when sending out units to forage the countryside. From then till the surrender, Lee's Army lost soldiers to hunger, capture, and desertion. For example, on April 6, Union corps captured about 6,000 of Lee's men causing him to state "Has the army been dissolved?"

Fall of Richmond, VA (image from 


On April 7, Grant sent a note to Lee seeking his surrender. Lee responded requesting the terms. This was not to be the end and the Rebel yell would be heard at least one more time before the surrender in Virginia. Lee's army drove back Union horsemen on the morning of April 9 but were met with two infantry corps coming from the front and two coming from the rear – Lee's army was outnumbered five to one. Lee sent a message to Grant asking for surrender terms.

Grant and Lee at McLean House

McClean's House 

Lee and Grant met in the parlor of Wilmer McClean's house in Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Note: Wilmer McClean held property near the battlefield of First Manassas, Maryland. McClean decided to move farther south to a place far away from the war but the war found him again.

Much has been made over the attire of Grant and Lee at this meeting. Lee arrived impeccably dressed as a soldier while Grant arrived in muddy clothing. Grant rushed to the McLean house as he did not want Lee to sit and wait. It was not intended as a slight or humiliation to Lee by dressing shabby.

Brief small talk gave way to discussion of terms of surrender. Grant offered generous terms as President Lincoln wanted Reconstruction to progress. There was no desire for ultimate punishment. There would be no future prosecution of Confederate troops for treason.


  • All Southerners were allowed to keep their horses (as enlisted men owned their own horses) 
  • 25,000 rations from Union Army sent to Confederate Army 
  • No Confederate taken into custody – signed paroles and headed home 
Lee rode away from the McClean house and some of the men crowded around him. This was one of many moments that showed the bond between Lee and his men.

Grant seemed melancholy after the surrender was completed. There was no great celebration as Grant told the Union camps to stop their joyful firing of guns. Grant said: "The war is over, the rebels are our countrymen again, and the best sign of rejoicing after the victory will be to abstain from all demonstrations."

The formal surrender took place on April 12, 1865 and both Lee and Grant were already gone. The Federal troops, under the command of Joshua L. Chamberlain, awaited the surrender of the Confederate's muskets, cartridge boxes, and banners. 28,000 men were paroled at Appomattox and the Army of Northern Virginia was no more.

Joshua L. Chamberlain (image from

With Lee's surrender at Appomattox, the Confederacy was dead even though Joe Johnston's army was still on the field. The news of the fall of Richmond and the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia were greeted with great celebration in the Northern states. Because Lee was written about as "the hope of his country" and something that "haunted the union citizens" this was the the war for the North. So while Appomattox was not the literal end of the war, the most important Confederate Army and General was no longer fighting – even if they only had about 25% of the Confederate soldiers.

The war would continue with Johnston surrendering to Sherman in late April, Jefferson Davis' capture on May 10, and the final shots being fired on June 28, 1865 by the Confederate commerce raider Shenandoah capturing 11 US whaling vessels in the Bering Sea.

Looking for more posts about the America Civil War?

Whether you wish to study the American Civil War using music or to learn more about the Civil War in general, specific battles, or key generals, A Mom's Quest to Teach has several posts about the Civil War.

Resources and References

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park in Virginia

Information about the Battle of Appomattox Court House from American Battlefield Trust

Did you write a post for Blogging Through the Alphabet? Want to Link Up?

Inlinkz Link Party

Co-Hosts for Blogging Through the Alphabet 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Immersive and Adaptive Learning Opportunities from IXL Learning – A Review of IXL

Finding an online educational resource is very important for many families. In reviewing our annual membership of IXL from IXL Learning, our family has found a program that is personalized for each child. "Adaptive questions" allow our three-year-old, five-year-old, and teen to work through the subjects and topics with which they struggle and grow in each area. And because using technology to learn is still a privilege with our younger children, they thoroughly enjoy using IXL in their homeschooling day.

About IXL

When you take a look at the website, you will be able to see that they offer skills practice for children in preschool to twelfth grade. There are a variety of membership plans for families including ones that will provide you with access to all the subject areas across all the grade levels. We received the annual membership so we could provide a review about all aspects of IXL which includes access to PK-12 in math and languages arts, to social studies and science (both for grades 2-8), and to introductory Spanish.

Your children can start off with a diagnostic assessment (which will give them recommendations on questions and skills to practice) or you can jump right in with a specific grade level or subject. As your children work through the different skills, IXL will offer recommendations for more skills to practice.

We had our kindergartner work through the diagnostic questions after a few days so we could see what other skills he could work on beyond those in the kindergarten level.

You can also take your learning on the go with the IXL app. We downloaded it to our tablet so that our younger children and I can sit together on the couch to work on learning and practicing skills in the evening.

tablet and IXL
Our preschooler sitting with me – counting to 3.

Our kindergartner working on language arts and math

What We Like

There are many things that we like about IXL. From the instant feedback for right and wrong answers to the fun awards and certificates, IXL provides great motivation. There is also the opportunity for parents to check on the number of minutes that children spend on IXL so I am able to check to see whether or not our teen has completed his assigned time for the day just by visiting the parent dashboard.

There are also many topics covered that will help us in homeschooling our children. One of the areas that our two younger children started working on was 'blends.' This was a topic that I was having trouble teaching them so I was very glad to find questions on IXL to assist in the learning process.

Please take a moment to read all the captions and look over the images I included from IXL. The screen captures and photographs really capture what is so great about the tools provided by IXL. 

There are emails to assist a new member in using IXL to the utmost of its potential. Some emails are simply certificates for children who have answered a certain number of questions, practiced for a certain number of hours, or learned new skills. Other emails provide insight on the different features of IXL. Additional emails provide weekly updates or insight as to how to use the the IXL Analytics to help your children reach their full potential.

I could print all these certificates for our daughter if I wanted to – this provides great motivation for some children!

Our five-year-old's favorite part of IXL is getting the awards. 

He wants to find out what happens when someone gets all the awards! 

Part of a weekly update email on our three children

One of our younger children's favorite things are the awards. They love seeing what new award they have gotten after completing so many questions, tasks, or skills. And even our teen told me about all the awards he had received when he was using the program in public school. (He seemed a bit sad that he wouldn't have those awards as he was not using his public school account but our family one.)

Our Kindergartner is so excited when he sees his new wind-up toys!

Our three-year-old also enjoys seeing what new awards she gets when she completes a skill or task. Her favorite one so far is the flamingo. 

The math awards are given out a little differently than those in language arts.

How We Are Using IXL from IXL Learning

Each child is using IXL differently in our family. Our teen is using it to help him primarily review geometry skills but I have also asked him to complete questions in the language arts section. Our three-year-old is working on mastering skills in both the preschool and kindergarten sections while our five-year-old is focusing upon language arts and mathematics in kindergarten and some science questions from the second grade part. And if you want to see how other families are using other subjects (such as Spanish or social studies), be sure to check out my fellow members of the Review Crew.

I can view each section (or even question) to see what our teen was working on and how he has progressed. 

Most days that we use IXL, I let our kindergartner pick which subject and skills he wants to work on for the day. On a few occasions, I will provide direction (like when I was asking him to work on the science questions as we had studied solids, liquids, and gases earlier) but in general I am letting him explore. He is picking topics that are both easy and difficult for him.

One of the questions our kindergartner answers from the 2nd grade science questions.

For our preschooler, I am providing more direction as there are certain skills I would prefer her to work on each day. She also needs more direction as she is not reading yet. The great thing is the fact that the questions can be read aloud for learners.

Our 3-year-old daughter worked on many counting questions as she loves math.

Future Plans for IXL in our Homeschool 

I plan on continuing to assign topics for our teen to complete as he works through his regular homeschool courses. I like that I can go through and pick topics that align to his regular coursework to provide additional review or "homework." I will use some of the kindergarten topics as review and then as an introduction for our five-year-old son. For example, as we continue to work on time, money, and fractions with our younger son, he can use those areas on IXL to help review the concepts. In terms of our preschooler, I will let her direct her own learning because we aren't doing anything formal for her yet. Since she is enjoying completing the PK math sections (count to 3, count to 5, and count to 10), we will let her continue to work in those areas and then encourage her to complete other sections as well.

I think IXL is an excellent resource for families looking for a personalized teaching tool for their children. Because it covers PK-12 grade in the primary areas of mathematics and language arts, it is very comprehensive. While there may only be other topic areas for 2-8 (science and social studies), I do not think that is hindrance because most of the time the two areas of concern for families are language arts and mathematics.

Even the plushes get to learn with our daughter and IXL. 

To find about more about IXL Learning and IXL please visit the following:

Website –  Facebook –  Twitter – Pinterest – YouTube

Please be sure to check out the other reviews from my fellow members of the Homeschool Review Crew to see how they used IXL in their households!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Blogging Through the Alphabet: Introduction to the Series

A Mom's Quest to Teach is once again joining in with other bloggers for a Blogging Through the Alphabet series. If you are interested in joining us, I am adding the rules at the end of this post.

Everyone who participates will write with a different theme or goal in mind – except for the common goal of focusing each post around that week's letter. For example, last series I wrote about history topics (and I will for this one, too). If you haven't figured it out yet, I love history. I was a history major and a high school history teacher. I also volunteered for the National Park Service. Other bloggers wrote posts about children's authors or vacation spots. So many interesting posts!

Looking Forward

This time through the alphabet, I hope to write about more American Civil War battles and individuals including Appomattox and General McClellan to accompany the posts I already wrote about Antietam and General Lee. And I am considering writing a second part to my posts about King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. There is so much more to share about them than was in my original posts i.e., more than just Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon or Elizabeth's own marriage problems. Are there any topics in history you are hoping to read about this time?

This new series will start the week of February 17, so be sure to keep an eye out for our new posts!

The Rules

  • Each post must be family friendly. If it is not, we have the right to remove it. 
  • When linking up to this post, you give us permission to share your post and/or a photo from your post in future posts and social media shares. 
  • Place the Blog Button from the site onto the post you are linking up. 
  • Use the hashtag #abcblogging when promoting your post. This will help us find you and help us promote you as well.
  • If you have time, check out a few of the other posts and share the love. 
  • The most important rule is to make sure you are having fun! This is not something we want you to be stressed out over. We want to see all the fun ideas that everyone comes up with for the letters!

Co-Hosts for Blogging Through the Alphabet

    Wednesday, February 13, 2019

    Living the Adventure – A Review of For The Temple from Heirloom Audio

    Similar to the other two Heirloom Audio productions (Wulf the Saxon and St. Bartholomew's Eve) we have reviewed, For The Temple opens with a chance meeting between G. A. Henty and Peter, leading to the opportunity to share the story. We are then taken back to the days when Rome still controlled the land of Israel. Our main character in this tale is John of Gamala who becomes a hero to the Jews and an enemy to the Romans.


    G. A. Henty is a great storyteller. He wrote over 100 works of historical fiction including ones about the French Revolution, Ancient Egypt, India, events in England, and the destruction of Jerusalem – which is the central focus of the story, For The Temple. The book For The Temple: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem was first published in 1888 and is available through numerous sources today in print. Henty writes in the Preface of the novel:

    "I have endeavored to present you with as vivid a picture as possible of the events of the war, without encumbering the story with details and, except as regards the exploits of John of Gamala, of whom Josephus says nothing, have strictly followed, in every particular, the narrative of the historian." 

    This is partly what attracts me to the work of Heirloom Audio. They are providing their listeners with tales by an author who seeks out historical facts to tell his works of historical fiction. Henty novels bring the stories to life and Heirloom Audio brings the work to life even more through the use of actors, music, background noises, and special effects. 

    Cast of For The Temple
    Some of the great actors who are part of the audio production!

    What We Like

    The authenticity of the adventure. It is brought to life by the background noises included, making it more than just a story being read aloud by a narrator. There are sound effects that include the sound of feet walking on dirt, water slapping the sides of a boat, clashing of swords, and more.

    The acting of Brian Blessed as our narrator, G. A. Henty, Joseph Reed as John of Gamala, Julian Rhind-Tutt as Josephus, and others help bring each character to life taking us on a great adventure of the relationships between the Jews, Romans, and others—as well as the importance of defending one's nation.

    This time, we were able to use a study guide provided by Heirloom Audio. We received a PDF of the study guide. I really like that the study guide provides questions both for listening comprehension (to check whether or not your children have listened to each track) and for helping you take the story further with additional research, critical thinking, and even geography-related questions.

    The inclusion of vocabulary with each set of questions would also be helpful if you wish to use them for spelling lists. In addition to vocabulary, some of the sets of questions have drawings or maps accompanying the questions.  And the end of the study guide provides one with Scripture to further study in order to truly understand that there is only one savior.

    My only complaint about the study guide is the design of the pages. They mimic parchment paper and this makes printing them out in black and white appear gray and could be difficult to read for some.

    As I was listening to For The Temple again while writing this review, our three-year-old daughter was sitting with me. Each time there was a battle scene, she wanted to know what was going on and who was winning. The sound of the fighting and the screams of battle attracted her attention each time. (And later on so did the sounds of John and Mary's baby.) So even though she may not really understand the whole story, we are able to discuss some of what is going on as I listen to For The Temple.

    Two discs tell the tale of For The Temple

    How We Used For The Temple 

    I listened to For The Temple prior to giving the CD to our teen son. He then was assigned certain pages from the study guide to accompany his listening of the tale. We were then able to discuss the story in more depth.

    In the future, I would like to have our teen read the original book and my husband plans on listening to the story with our teen on their next road trip (like they did when we were reviewing St. Bartholomew's Eve).

    The review of this great Christian audio drama provided the perfect diversion in our Bible and History studies. I was happy to include it in our homeschooling lessons for the past two weeks.

    Cover of Study for the audio drama For The Temple

    Possibilities for Study

    Heirloom Audio presents itself with many opportunities to take it further than just listening to and discussing the work of Henty. In this specific case, we were also given the study guide to review and use with our family. And as typical with most things, I jotted down ideas to study and research more should our children be so inclined. Here are a few of the ideas that we may pursue further:

    • Research and study of vineyards and the process of growing grapes as this was a job of many living in the area
    • Research the geographical and topographical features of the area; create a 3D relief map of the area 
    • Read the stories in the Bible about Moses and King David 
    • News stories, mythology, tall tales, and fables 
    • Discussion of whether it is appropriate for a group to harass a government or ruling group even if the rulers are corrupt 
    • Discussion of what happens when there is a major change in leadership (like with the death of Nero in the story) 
    • Towards the middle part of disc two, we hear that people within the city are starving. Some of the questions from the study guide ask families to consider whether or not giving food away would be the best decision. These questions can help foster discussions and even further research into other time periods of history or even current events. 
    Questions from study guide for the audio drama For The Temple
    From the study guide – asking questions about people starving inside the city.

    Despite the destruction of the Temple, the tale is not over. The study guide reminds its reader that it is the end of the Old Covenant. Followers of Jesus started to be seen as a dangerous new force within the Roman Empire. Times would continue to change providing for more tales from G. A. Henty and Heirloom Audio.

    If you wish to see what our family thought of other Christian audio dramas from Heirloom Audio, please check out my reviews of Wulf the Saxon and St. Bartholomew's Eve.

    For more information about Heirloom Audio, please visit the following:

    Heirloom Audio Productions Logo

    Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew were also given the great opportunity to review For The Temple, be sure to check out their reviews, too! 

    Tuesday, February 12, 2019

    Book Club: Ballerina! by Peter Sis


    This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

    In this adorable little board book – Ballerina! – we meet Terry who loves ballet and learn about different colors as the story progresses. The book has simple illustrations of black and white with the colorful illustrations being those in the picture frame or mirror of the different ways in which Terry dances.

    Physical Education

    This book presents the opportunity to get up and move with your preschoolers and young children. Here are a few of the ways in which you and your children can get active after reading Ballerina:

    • Stretch
    • Twirl
    • Leap
    • Reach
    • Dip
    • Flutter
    • Float

    Music Education 

    In addition to practicing your dancing moves, you and your children can listen to and watch different ballets including those mentioned in the book: 

    • The Nutcracker
    • Swan Lake
    • Cinderella

    Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker 

    Swan Lake Act II

    Cinderella Overview 

    Learning the Colors 

    Whether your children know their colors or need some help, this book presents a great opportunity to review the different colors as Terry pretends to dance. If you have different colored scarves – green blue, violet, red, pink, yellow, white – you could imitate the moves of the book as you call out the colors. For example: "Leap for Red" or "White for Dip." 

    Painting a Ballerina 

    Bringing art into your day can be quite easy. I sketched a ballerina for our children to paint. We used Kwix Stix Tempura Paint and they turned out very colorful!

    Ballet paintings

    In addition to painting your own ballerina, one could study famous artists like Edgar Degas and view some of his paintings and sculptures.

    Degas painting from
    painting by Degas from


    Looking for more fun activities centering around children's books? Our children have read about flamingos and created masks, journeying into space with a Mousetronaut, and made dog puppets when reading about pugs.