Friday, February 28, 2020

U is for Underground Railroad (Blogging Through the Alphabet)

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There are so many important people, events, and locations to examine when studying the American Civil War. A topic that should be examined in detail is that of the Underground Railroad. This was not a railroad in the traditional sense but a loose organization of people and places that assisted fugitive slaves escape from the South to the North and to Canada. But even though it was not a real railroad, it still used many of the terms that are familiar with the locomotive railroad such as stationmaster, stations, depots, stockholders, and conductors. It has been estimated that more than 100,000 slaves were moved along the Underground Railroad prior to the start of the American Civil War.

"Traveling at night, following the North Star, many escaped to freedom along the Underground Railroad." drawing of a fugitive slave from

Steps To Run Away

Running away was no easy task. The very first step was to actually escape the slaveholder – whether that was a large plantation or a small farm. Even though there may be resources for the slave as he or she moved along the Underground Railroad, in the beginning they had to use their own resources to get away.

Most of the time, the escaped slaves moved only at night to help avoid detection. And they would need to travel between ten and twenty miles to get from station to station where they would find food, clothes, and other aid. Also keep in mind that the journey would be purposely confusing to prevent those pursing the escaped slaves from recapturing them and sending them back South.

map of the Underground Railroad from

Famous Participants

Probably one of the most well-known individuals associated with the Underground Railroad is Harriet Tubman. She is said to be responsible for helping over 300 slaves escape to freedom across 19 trips she took to the South. It has also been written that she was so good at disguising herself that even her old master did not recognize her when he saw her again.

Levi Coffin as a Quaker was strongly opposed to slavery and as young as 15, he had already helped some slaves escape. He and his wife, Catharine, were said to help over 3,000 escape to freedom. Levi Coffin was nicknamed the "president of the Underground Railroad."

And John Fairfield, the Virginia son of a slaveholding family, was also instrumental in helping slaves escape to freedom. In some cases, he went to great lengths to help slaves escape and he also worked to reunite families.

photograph Harriet Tubman from

Because Harriet Tubman is so famous, there are a great number of books available to introduce children to the topic of the Underground Railroad. It is often difficult to discuss heavy topics like slavery with our children but it is important to introduce the history of the world in our homeschool at age-appropriate levels. Reading about the lives of individuals like Harriet Tubman is one way to do this with our younger children.

North Star 

It was very dangerous to travel along the Underground Railroad. Things had be kept very secretive in order to protect everyone involved. There were safe houses or stations where the escaped slaves could rest and recover before being given directions to the next stop or being taken there, perhaps in the false bottom of a wagon. Besides looking for special signs like a lantern in an upstairs window or a 'safe' quilt displayed at a home, they also followed the North Star in the night sky.

When they had ended their journey on the Underground Railroad, escaped slaves had reached the "Promised Land" (North or Canada) which was north of the "River Jordan" (Ohio River which marked the boundary between free and slaves states). Their journey, with its allusions to railroads and the Bible, was filled with danger but also the promise of freedom and a better life.

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Book Club: Book Review of Fight Your Fears

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

Sometimes when I review books, I find works that are different than I expected. Fight Your Fears: Trusting God's Character and Promises When You Are Afraid by Kristen Wetherell was one of the books where I read something different from my expectations. Fight Your Fears is a beautiful hardcover book published in the Christian Living category by Bethany House. There are full-page quotes from the Bible as well as scripture memory cards of quotes that are the ten key verses of Fight Your Fears. There is even space at the end for your own notes. 

Before I choose a book to read, I usually read the description provided (which is often from the book jacket) and sometimes I look up more about the author online. In this case, I was intrigued by this from the back cover:

"We all have fears, and many of us struggle with very real anxiety caused by our fears. Fears about the future; fears about health, job, and family; fears about inadequacy and failure; fears about how much fear itself seems to affect our decisions, plans, and growth in this life. In his Word God commands us not to be afraid, but how is this possible?"

To be honest, if I was reading this book strictly for myself I don't know if I would have finished it. I feel that the description of the book and the introduction don't match up to the text quite like I expected. For example, in the opening paragraphs Wetherell states, "What if I told you that your problem with fear isn't that you are too afraid but that you aren't afraid enough?" (15). Huh? She continues that we need to come to "know and love and fear the One who empowers us in the fight" (16). As someone suffering from anxiety and looking to the book to unpack "ten of God's great and precious promises" to overcome fear, I was not expecting to be told that the author's goal was to make me more afraid. 

Even though I was taken back by the first chapter that outlined that we should fear the Lord, I kept reading. I feel I found some new ways to look at fears and problems and there were some good reminders that we should seek to obey God rather than men and that "our God-given limitations exist for a purpose" (158). One of my favorite parts was where Wetherell lists the blessings that God has graciously given us (strength, power, hope, etc.) and her discussion of how man is wrapped up in appearances. So even though there were a few parts that were helpful, I feel that Fight Your Fears was not for me. 

Is Fight Your Fears the Book for You? 

Depending upon your expectations, Fight Your Fears may be useful for you. The book explores "where does fear come from? Is all fear bad? What is the key to becoming less fearful?" (18). And then it looks at the six promises of God that address our greatest fears. Each chapter closes with the same format: a verse to memorize, a reminder of what to review from the chapter, how to prepare for the future, and a prayer. There is a variety of quotes from the Bible and Christian authors that Wetherell uses to further explain her points. 

Fight Your Fears is one review book I have had to go through several times after finishing it to see if I could make more sense of the points the author was trying to make. I think some readers will find the work helpful but it did not meet my expectations.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Teaching Geography in Our Homeschool: Review of Let's Go Geography

A Mom's Quest to Teach Logo; Year 2 Header from Let's Go Geography

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

Our first grader loves to learn about the world, examine maps, and study different cultures. So when the opportunity to review Let's Go Geography (specifically Let's Go Geography, Year 2) was provided to us, we were very happy to take a look and use this wonderful curriculum in our homeschool. Let's Go Geography offers two years of a geography homeschool curriculum that examines and explores different cultures and countries around the world for grades K-5. (Year 3 is currently in production at the time of this post.) 

What is Let's Go Geography? 

Let's Go Geography follows a very similar pattern with each lesson. Week by week, children are introduced to a new place around the world (or even in their backyard). The goal is to open the eyes of children to the world around them. Not everyone looks the same as them, eats the same food as they do, or lives in the same type of house as they do and Let's Go Geography helps children learn about these differences.

Each lesson contains similar activities:

  • Explore maps (finding locations and coloring countries or states) 
  • Cutting out flags to include in a passport or on the flag page 
  • Listening to the music of the countries (including their national anthems) 
  • Taking notes on pages provided as part of the curriculum 
  • Looking at a variety of pictures provided in the curriculum 
  • Watching videos provided through YouTube safe links 
  • Reading suggested library books or Internet sites (and as we have done, you can select your own books that are more readily available to you) 
  • Color-themed coloring pages provided in the curriculum 
  • Create one craft a week that coincides with the country or area of the world you are studying 

How Are We Using Let's Go Geography, Year 2?

As soon as we received access to the site and Let's Go Geography, Year 2, I downloaded the first two lessons and read through them to see what we would need when we started the curriculum. We had several options as the course can be used for grades K-5. So far, we are using the majority of the materials.

All the information was very easy to find on the website. First, I gained access to Year 2:

Let's Go Geography website access for Year 1 and Year 2 Semesters

And then once I was in Year 2, I was able to access each individual lesson to download the material. You can see that all the lessons for one semester are listed on the right hand side of the screen while the lesson you have open is on the left side of the screen. Everything was very easy to navigate.

Entry portal for Jamaica lesson plans for Let's Go Geography

Once I started printing out the materials (cover page, map, note-taking worksheets, etc.), I put together a folder for our first grader (and one for our preschooler because she loves working alongside her older brother). The course recommends a binder and we may transfer all our materials to one in the future but for now the folder works fine for us.

My Travel Journal folder with crafted Passport Book of construction paper

Each homeschool day, we have been following the lesson. On some days we are even completing more than one activity as our son has been really enjoying Let's Go Geography. The flexibility of the program is fantastic – allowing us to do what works best for our family. And because of the variety of activities, on some occasions our preschooler can join us.

If you want, you could print out the entire lesson or just read it from your computer or tablet. I have been printing the necessary pages for our children and reading the plans on the laptop. This makes it very easy to then click through the YouTube safe videos (which we love). I love the fact that Let's Go Geography includes videos to show culture, geography, and more. For example, we watched a video about a lumber mill, the Golden Gate Bridge, traffic in Cairo, Egypt; and the Hoover Dam.

Facts re: Canaima National Park and Youtube link
The links for the videos are often accompanied with facts and interesting details about the country. 

In addition to reading about the country and watching videos, your children can also use the notebooking pages to write down what they are learning to include with their maps, coloring pages, and other activities. The curriculum truly encourages note-taking and reading comprehension. Our son was very excited to research the different areas and take notes on his findings. There are suggested books, an online site, and even a brief description as to where to find geography books in your library. Flexibility again plays a part in how great this program is because we are able to use books we already own or borrow those available to us from our library. For example, I was able to share some of the many books I own on Ancient Egypt with our first grader to help him complete the coloring page.

book on Ancient Egypt; coloring page of Egyptian
Each week contains a different coloring page. Here is our son's partial completely one for Egypt.

What Did We Think?

Flag page of South American and cover page of Argentina Lesson Plan from Let's Go GeographyThis has been such an easy curriculum to incorporate into our homeschool day. To prepare for each week, all I need to do is read through the PDF and print the applicable pages. Sometimes I need to make a trip the library if I can't find appropriate sites for our son to use for his research and on occasion I needed to purchase a few items for the crafts (most of the materials we already have in our home), but in general it does not take long to prep for each week.

There is a checklist at the beginning of each file. If you print this page, your child can work their way easily through the week. And if your homeschooling children need consistency in their day, you will see the checklist is very similar from week to week as they will be completing a map activity, a flag activity, listening to music from the country, exploring the country through videos and books, and finally completing an arts and crafts activity.

Let's Go Geography Egypt Checklist
The checklists make it easy to keep track of what we have done and need to do.

And there is also a list of craft supplies which I really appreciated. It was quite simple to look ahead to the next week and see what materials we would need. I could put them all together in our folder or set them aside with our other homeschooling materials for the week. In the screenshot below, you can see the craft supplies needed for studying England. 

Materials needed for English craft from Let's Go Geography

Our son loves having the opportunity to read about different places and decide what he wants to write down on the notebooking pages provided in the curriculum. He finds it fun to do the research. He also enjoys the videos and the crafts. His favorite video so far was one about the Sequoia known as the "President" which was included as part of the Pacific Northwest Lesson Plan. Of the four crafts we have completed, his favorite so far was the first one: using watercolor paints to recreate the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

I think one of the favorite parts of the curriculum was the weekly crafts we completed. Each week was a bit different. We painted a picture of the mountains, recreated a sunset in the desert, made a standard barn, and a picture of a camel next to the great pyramids so far. (This week we will be making a lion craft as it is the national animal of Ethiopia.) The three crafts shared below were all from the second to fourth weeks while studying the United States.

Painting mountains using water colors
Painting mountains of the Pacific Northwest

Desert sunset picture created with tissue paper
Creating desert sunset scene while studying the Mountain West

traditional red bard craft created using wood craft sticks
Crafting a traditional barn while studying the South Atlantic states 

As I have said before, I really like the flexibility of Let's Go Geography, Year 2. During the review period, we started with the first four lessons and then we skipped ahead to lessons 21 and then 22 as our son wanted to study Egypt (and then I picked Ethiopia next). I figure during the first week of March, we will study Ireland – just in time to create a cool Shamrock craft and learn about Ireland before St. Patrick's Day. (And even though we haven't used Year 1, I do not think that is a detriment to our using Year 2. The flexibility is great!)

Who would enjoy using Let's Go Geography, Year 2 in their homeschool? I think anyone looking for a flexible and fun geography curriculum for teaching multiple ages at the same time. As this curriculum is for grades K-5, you can use it for all of your elementary students. Our first grader thinks that a child who likes history would enjoy using this curriculum and I agree.

Let's Go Geography is also very easy to incorporate other activities into your week that connect – like cooking food from the country or visiting local museums so that you can learn more about the place you are studying. The Let's Go Geography geography curriculum is fun and exciting!

Do You Want to Learn More?

Our family was not the only homeschooling family who was studying geography these past few months. Please check out the other reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

Let's Go Geography provides an excellent overview in this video:

Let's Go Geography

Friday, February 21, 2020

T is for Tactics in the American Civil War (Blogging Through the Alphabet)

A Mom's Quest to Teach logo; Blogging Through the Alphabet Logo; Civil War battle scene from

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Just how was the Civil War fought? The majority of the military leaders of the American Civil War were educated at West Point. They belonged to the "West Point Club." And West Point taught tactical offensive. So—from their education at West Point and their experiences in the Mexican-American War, the men learned that a tactical offensive (using an infantry that assaulted while being supported by artillery) won battles. They learned their lessons under leaders like Scott and Taylor in Mexico.

The method of fighting remained the same from the time of the Mexican-American War to that of the American Civil War but the weapons had been improved. The lack of high casualties in Mexico was not due to the effectiveness of the tactics employed but due to the inaccuracy of the weapons. With the development of a practical military rifle, the casualty rate would greatly increase during the American Civil War.

Improved Rifle

Blogging Through the Alphabet: T is for Tactics; A Mom's Quest to Teach Logo; Hancock Statue photograph; "An improvement in weaponry meant a change in the way battlers were fought during the American Civil War."The weapons used during the American Civil War changed to ones that were more effective due to two individuals. French Army Captain Claude E. MiniƩ and American James H. Burton helped improve the bullets used in the rifles. Prior to their improvements, rifles were almost useless in large numbers in the military because it was very difficult to get the ball (bullet) down the barrel of the gun. It had to be hammered down with much difficulty.

The miniƩ ball was slightly smaller and had a hollow base. This small bullet was then further developed by Burton who made it cheaper to produce. This led to Jefferson Davis, while United States Secretary of War, converting the U.S. Army to the .58 caliber Springfield Rifled Musket. The Springfield would become the main infantry arm used during the American Civil War.

After the start of the American Civil War, the North was better equipped to manufacture the rifles needed to outfit their men. They were able to manufacture 2 million rifles while the South could not make enough for themselves. So, they needed to import the rifles to equip the Confederate Army.

Increase in Casualties

With the transition to using the rifle more and more, casualties increased. This led to the idea of using a tactical defense approach to battles. However, many were slow to make the actual changes necessary in fighting battles. They did not want to go from offensive to defensive.

Decline in Use of Artillery

Prior to the introduction of the rifle as the main infantry weapon, artillery (cannons) were used to support infantry attacks and advancements. Now with the improvement of guns, they could not advance the cannons with the infantry. It was far too easy for sharpshooters to take out those men operating the cannons and moving them forward. Plus they were not as accurate.

painting of a sharpshooter from

Decline in Use of Cavalry

Another place where improvements in guns changed the tactics was in the use of the cavalry and leadership's own use of horses. Again, it was too easy for sharpshooters to injure or kill leaders as they rode on horseback during battle. (Some leaders even went so far as to wear the same uniform as the privates to avoid being targeted.)

The cavalry charge was made pretty much obsolete as they would be decimated by the infantry with rifles before they even reached the enemy line. The soldier armed with a rifle could take down many horses. During the American Civil War, the horse became used more as a means of transport than as participants in actual battles.

quote from James M. McPherson

How Did Leaders Change Tactics?

According to Professor Gary W. Gallagher, "Men on both sides realized that the defense was more powerful than the offense because of recent developments in weapons." There was an addition to battles in the way of field fortifications. Employing the use of field fortifications alongside the use of the rifle made it easier to defend an attack of the enemy. Defense was winning over offense. (Of course, some political leaders really wanted offensive movements as they saw that as the only way to win.)

In response to the improved rifles, infantry formations were loosened. And due to the fortifications, one needed larger numbers of men to overtake the trenches defended by the enemy troops. And if an assault on a trench succeeded, there would a high casualty rate. And sometimes they didn't succeed, like at Fredericksburg and Marye's Heights. One of the other ways that the leaders responded was relying more upon the use of interior lines to move reinforcements and troops more effectively.

All the changes in tactics, weaponry, and types of troops used had a long-lasting effect on the war. Guns continued to improve which would force the military to rely more upon trenches and defense as time progressed. Just like tactics changed with the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War would also bring about change.

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Book Club: Book Review of Ishmael Covenant

A Mom's Quest to Teach logo; Ishmael Covenant book cover

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of Ishmael Covenant from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

While I love historical fiction and I tend to gravitate towards those that involve Tudor kings and queens, I usually shy away from contemporary fiction—even if it has a historical or political focus. I was unsure as to how much I would enjoy reading Ishmael Covenant: Empires of Armageddon # 1 by Terry Brennan. So, I prayed over the decision to join the Book Review Tour. I am very happy that I requested to be part of Ishmael Covenant's release and that I was chosen to review Terry Brennan's book published by Kregel Publications.

When I first opened the book and saw a map of the Middle East and its surrounding area (as well as a cast of characters), I was worried. Sometimes, when there are that many characters, I get lost and confused while reading. This was not the case while reading Ishmael Covenant. I discovered that each character came to life for me. I wanted to know what was happening to them. So much so that when Brian Mullaney received a letter that upset him, I skipped and scanned ahead so I could see what was written in the letter. (I never do this; that is, I never skip ahead in a story because I don't like spoilers.) Alas, I have to wait till the next book to really see what was in the letter but Brennan does give his readers an idea as to what it contained.

cover of Ishmael Covenant book

What to Expect from Ishmael Covenant 

The book is categorized a fiction, Christian, and suspense. I agree completely. It is a wonderful, suspenseful story of 298 pages. From the prologue set in 1784 Prussia to the closing pages set in 2014 Jerusalem, Ishmael Covenant really is a page turner. At the heart of this story is a 250-year-old prophecy written in code by the Vilna Gaon that is being transferred to the Rabbinate Council of Israel who are at the Hurva Synagogue. No one knows what the prophecy says—only that it is connected to the coming of the Messiah. Does this refer to the second coming of Jesus or the Jewish Messiah? No one really knows but it does encourage the reader to think of the end times prophecies and Scriptures.

The main characters are woven together in a plot that involves the box that contains the prophecy and a plan being set in motion by the nations of the Middle East. How will the US Ambassador Cleveland handle all these responsibilities that have been thrust upon him? It is clear that he relies upon God's assistance and wisdom especially as his life and the life of his daughter, Palmyra, are threatened. Readers also meet a member of the Diplomatic Security Service, Brian Mullaney, who also puts his faith in God even at his most trying times.

What Did I Think? 

cover of Ishmael Covenant Book; "Diplomatic Security Service agent Brian Mullaney is at the end of his rope. Banished to Israel as punishment by his agency, he's assigned to guard a US ambassador and an insignificant box."I really enjoyed reading Ismael Covenant: Empires of Armageddon # 1 by Terry Brennan. This was yet another fantastic book that I have read recently that I could not put down. I wanted to see what would happen in the next section, the next chapter, and so on. As the story of the Turk and the box unravels, I wanted to know what the plans were to keep the Ambassador and the box safe, as well as how far would the leaders of the Middle East nations go to bring about peace. And how does this peace tie into the prophecies?

I appreciated that at the start of each section Brennan provided the location, date, and time. This helped with a fast-moving plot. I was also very happy to read the author's notes (located after the story but I read them while I was in the middle of story and none of  the plot-line was given away). It was great to read that while Ishmael Covenant is fiction, there is a lot of true details in the plot-line. The Vilna Gaon  (Rabbi Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman) was a real Talmudic scholar who wrote a prophecy that was revealed in 2014. However, his second prophecy is the result of Terry Brennan's imagination. But even though there is no actual second prophecy, it does not make Ishmael Covenant any less intriguing or thought-provoking.

Finally, I found the discussion of prophecies and the end of the world very interesting, if scary. I completely sympathized with Palmyra when she said, "How can we be safe – ever be safe – if we're staring down the end of the world?" (280).

photograph of Terry Brennan

I recommend Terry Brennan's novel Ishmael Covenant to readers of Christian fiction who enjoy suspense, political books, tales set in the present-day Middle East, or stories that weave Biblical prophecies into them. I think it would fit well on the shelves of many readers. It was a quick read and one that I think I will re-read again.  I eagerly await the second book in the series, Persian Betrayal.

"Terry Brennan is the award-winning author of The Sacred Cipher, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, and The Aleppo Code, the three books in The Jerusalem Prophecies series. His latest release, Ishmael Covenant is the first in his new series, Empires of Armageddon."

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Book Club: Book Review of More Than We Remember

background of stars; A Mom's Quest to Teach Logo; book cover of More Than We Remember

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you.

Another wonderful work of contemporary fiction that I feel blessed to have read for review is More Than We Remember: A Novel by Christina Suzann Nelson. The lives of three women intersect during the course of one summer all because of one fateful event. Will they stay the same women they were before a tragic accident brings their lives together or will they "become who they were meant to be?"

A Page Turner 

Book Club: Book Review of More Than We Rememeber (book cover image and tree clip art; A Mom's Quest to Teach logo) "When one wreck impacts the lives of three women, can they become who they were meant to be?"From Chapter One when Deputy Emilia Cruz arrives upon the scene of a deadly accident to the final chapter where hope is breathed back into the lives of multiple families, More Than We Remember was truly a page turner. I chose to read Nelson's new book in the evenings before bed and each evening I struggled to put my bookmark in the pages of the 345-page paperback book. I wanted to see how Addison would handle her mother-in-law, what Brianne had discovered about an old case, and what changes were happening in the family of Emilia and Roger. Each character came to life and jumped off the page. I truly felt like I could connect with their lives as I read about Addison and Caleb's three children exploring their new hometown, Tally struggling with her stepfather's accident, and Brianne's growing relationship.

At the heart of the story is a car accident which left a woman dead and how Caleb Kilbourn's actions on that night impact the lives of his wife, Addison, his mother, Caroline, and their children, and even Brianne, their neighbor. Brianne had been facing her own tragedy and was trying to start a new life for herself when she found Addison and her family needed her friendship and ability as a counselor (mostly her friendship). Woven into the life of the Kilbourn is that of Deputy Emilia Cruz seeking justice for all those who were ever wronged. But Emilia is facing her own tragedy. Her husband, Roger, was injured over a year ago in an accident while fighting a fire. His entire personality changed which is causing problems to mount both in their marriage and with their daughter Tally.

qt: "The silence swam around her. Growing up, when anything had to be done in the basement, her father had taken care of it." More Than We Remember: A Novel by Christina Suzann Nelson

What Did I Think? 

As if you couldn't tell, I really enjoyed reading More Than We Remember. It had beautifully written passages which made the town and people come to life. I also felt like I could really connect to the individuals as they struggled to trust God during their difficult times. Some of them were returning to their church and others were slowly accepting help from new and old friends. All these little pieces of the lives of the characters really connected them to mine.

So if you like Contemporary Christian Fiction, I recommend More Than We Remember. It is an emotional read with an uplifting ending. Now I am off to read more by Christina Suzann Nelson.

Would You Like to Read More Reviews? 

I have quite a few book reviews including ones about historical fiction, ones featuring children's books, and ones featuring non-fiction. Please be sure to spend some time browsing my reviews. Thank you!


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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Journaling Through the Bible: Honor

clip art of a knight

During the month of November in Sunday School, our first grader was focusing upon Honor. He brought home papers that we read together that speak of letting others know that we see how valuable they are to us, the world, and to God. What a wonderful thing to focus upon, especially before Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Along with short readings asking our son to think about how to treat others and offering suggestions for daily prayers, we read verses from the Bible like: Romans 12:2; Romans 12:3; Romans 12:16; Romans 12:10; and Proverbs 3:27.

Romans 12:2 Quote

Romans 12:3 quote

Romans 12:16 quote

Romans 12:10 Quote

Proverbs 3:27 quote

During November, we talked about putting others first and not holding back to show how we care about others. For our younger son this might mean that his sister gets to pick what board game to play or which television program to watch during lunchtime. These are simple ways he can put his sister first. 

Going through the readings and exercises with our son opened my own eyes to the things in me I also need to work on right alongside our son. I need to ask God for His help to put others before me. This is a "me first" world but it should be about others first. What a great way to honor others!

While it is important to not overlook my own needs and care, I need to look towards how I can give, agree, value, and help others more each day. What a balancing act for any parent! 


Dear God,
Please help me to put others first.
To give more of myself.
To agree more often to fun (and reasonable) requests of my children.
To show how much I value my family.
To provide help where and when I can.


Bible Journaling art; Honor

Friday, February 14, 2020

S is for Sherman (Blogging Through the Alphabet)

A Mom's Quest to Teach logo; Blogging Through the Alphabet logo; Sherman photo from

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

Hated by many in the South, Major General William Tecumseh Sherman was a key figure in the American Civil War. When his name is said, what image does that evoke for you? Do you think of fire and destruction? Total warfare? Perhaps you've seen Gone with the Wind and images from the movie of Atlanta burned play through your mind. Well, Sherman did not practice cruelty just to destroy land, people, and the livelihood of people; he wanted to end the war as quickly as possible to spare as many lives as possible. But just how did he get this reputation?

Sherman is not the typical Civil War General as he did not fight in the Mexican-American War. After graduating from West Point in 1840 (6th in his class), he served briefly in the Second Seminole War in Florida and then in California. Even though he saw action at the First Battle of Manassas, Battle of Shiloh, and Battle of Chattanooga, Sherman is most known for his involvement with the city of Atlanta and the "March to the Sea."

photography of Sherman from

Preparing to Attack Atlanta

Atlanta became a vital point for the Confederacy. They needed to hold onto this city. Confederate John Bell Hood needed to hold onto this city. During 1864, Sherman and his men continued to move closer and closer to Atlanta. There were a series of battles that took place around Atlanta that changed the position from which Sherman and his men would be able to approach Atlanta.

Sherman photograph from and quoteEven though the Battles of Peachtree and Atlanta did not turn the tide for the Confederates, these two battles did stop Sherman along the north and east of the city. He would now approach Atlanta from the west on July 25 through July 27, 1864. This was another failure for the Confederacy as they lost 5,000 men and the Federals only lost about 600. But it did help prevent Sherman from cutting the major supply line into Atlanta.

As time passed, Sherman's men continued to bombard Atlanta and continually worked to cut the rail links between Atlanta and the outside world. In late August, he decided to use the infantry to work at cutting the rail lines. On August 31, 1864, at the Battle of Jonesboro, the Union forces held as the last of the rail lines were cut. The Confederates were forced to give up Atlanta.

The Confederate Army, the Army of Tennessee, evacuated Atlanta the night of September 1-2, 1864 and burned anything of military value left in the city. On September 2, Sherman marched into the city. Praise was showered upon Sherman for his success.

background picture of cannons at Gettysburg; Sherman quote

Prelude to the March to the Sea 

After some of the troops from Sherman's army were transferred to Nashville, to continue the fight against Hood near Chattanooga, Sherman was left with about 62,000 veteran troops. He kept the best of the men. According to Professor Gallagher, "It's an army that is absolutely perfectly adapted for the kind of campaign that Sherman was going to undertake." These were the perfect men to march the almost 300 miles from Atlanta to Savannah: The march to the sea.

The March to the Sea 

On this march to the sea, Sherman was to leave nothing behind that could possibly be used by the Confederate Army. This was total warfare. The idea was to show the Confederate citizens that the United States military was so strong they could reach any part of their nation. Sherman believed the morale of the people would fall.

On November 16, 1864, Sherman and his 62,000 troops left Atlanta and burned what was left in the industrial area. In response to the protest, Sherman said, "If the people raise a howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war and not popularity-seeking. If they want peace, they and their relatives must stop the war."

Sherman's men were confident as they traversed the almost 300 miles. The cavalry did the fighting but there wasn't a lot of it. The largest army of the Civil War was mostly unopposed as it went through the enemy's territory. They destroyed telegraph lines so that the enemy couldn't get word as to what was happening to their superiors. They also destroyed bridges, tunnels, and railroad tracks. They had a specific way in which they destroyed the ties. The rails were pulled from the ties and heated. When they were hot enough, they were twisted into what were called "Sherman's neckties" or "Sherman's hairpins."

On December 21, 1864, Sherman and his men occupied Savannah. They had traveled about ten to fifteen miles a day and were able to present Savannah as a Christmas gift to President Lincoln.

photo of soldiers cutting rail lines from


Sherman estimated that he and his men left behind about $100 million dollars worth of property. Some will have you believe he burned every house in Georgia but, in reality, the damage was great but not nearly as awful as stories would lead you to believe. In fact, there were Confederate deserters and guerrillas who looted along the March to the Sea path.

The morale of the South was impacted quite a lot. The march also had an impact on the war-related industries in the South and railroads. So while a few had their morale bolstered due to the March to the Sea, there was a growing belief that victory might not come for the Confederates.

Were Sherman's actions destructive? Yes, but there was significantly less loss of life during this March to the Sea (which was about 6 weeks long) than there were during the three-day Battle of Gettysburg (3,000 to 51,000 casualties). So, while one is remembered as an extremely significant battle – a turning point – the other is remembered as the act of a barbarian.

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