Our Island Move – 18 Months On


Our Island Move - 18 Months On - #AnIslandFamilyByGrace

It is now 18 months since we made our island move, and it seems like a lot has happened in that space of time!

Essential Oils Revolution 2016

Firstly, my husband has completed a huge amount of renovation work on our house, mostly singlehandedly, but also with the help of some very generous friends at various times. At the moment, he is almost at the point of finishing off replacing the rest of our roof. This has taken longer than he hoped, mostly due to wet weather (no surprise there!), but the end is in sight for it.

Our Island Move - 18 Months On - An Island Family By Grace

How our house looked in spring last year (from a tree!)

Roof #Renovations - Our #Island Move - 18 Months On

The rotten sarking boards on the back of our roof, on an unusually dry day!

Anti-midge jacket roof repairs! Our Island Move 18 Months On - An Island Family By Grace

No, there hasn’t been some kind of invasion! This was my husband vacuuming the inside of the roof before installing the new insulation, whilst trying to avoid being bitten by midges!

Our #Island Move - 18 Months On ~ An Island Family By Grace

Almost done! The back of our roof is almost completed.

Our Island Move - 18 Months On } An Island Family By Grace

The front of the roof in progress- to the left you can see the roof we replaced last year.

Also this summer, the older sons of family friends of ours stayed with us for a week, and helped with all sorts of work, including fitting new double glazed windows. We have now replaced all the windows in the house other than our son’s bedroom and the kitchen window, as they were the ones which were sound, and were not rotten, like our daughters’ window, or single glazed, like our bedroom. No doubt this will be a great benefit by the time the winter storms kick in. Our friends also helped to install the woodburning stove in our new living room while they were here. Obviously we haven’t really needed to use it over the summer, other than testing it, and our main heating and hot water needs are covered by the large multifuel boiler stove in our dining room, but it will be nice to have it in the winter, particularly if there is a power cut.

Our Island Move - 18 Months On ~ An Island Family By Grace

The garden has been somewhat neglected again this year, obviously because my husband has been working hard on the house (and his job), and I am expecting our fifth baby! However, I have managed to grow some vegetables in our polytunnel, and I am looking forward to having more space in it next year, when we have the addition of the extra parts I had delivered to extend it. The courgettes have done the best, along with some lettuce, spinach, and bags of potatoes, however my peas, beans and tomatoes have not been quick to fruit, and I think I did not improve the soil enough before planting. The climbing strawberries are not fruiting, but I am looking forward to that next summer! When we are extending the tunnel, we will also raise the ground level a bit, as it has been flooded several times when we have had heavy rain.

Essential Oils Revolution 2016

Since we had a bit of excitement with disappearing chicks this spring, our chickens have been doing well. We had another batch of 5 chicks which hatched last weekend, so hopefully that means we will have more eggs being layed by next spring, particularly now that our son is selling more of them to his bread customers.

What have you been working on this year? Are you doing renovations, or working in your garden this summer? Please comment and let me know.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


 

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10 Free or Cheap Homeschool Music Resources


10 Free or Cheap #Homeschool Music Resources - An Island Family By Grace

This week we start our new homeschooling term, and having recently gone through our home education plans for this year, I have been thinking about which music resources our family uses.

Our son has had piano lessons for the past year, after many years of learning at home, and the girls are also learning to play the piano at home, in addition to them learning the recorder with me. However, as I thought about it, there are actually quite a few music resources that we use or have used over the years, which are either free or cheap, and have been a really good addition to our homeschooling.

Essential Oils Revolution 2016

10 Free or Cheap Homeschool Music Resources:

  1. Books! One of my favourite homeschooling resources in general (!), we have also used books to learn more about different aspects of music. For example, we have an excellent book with accompanying CD of Prokoviev’s Peter and the Wolf, which introduces children to different instruments of the orchestra, and the Ladybird Story of Music. We have also enjoyed Douglas Bond’s Mr Pipes series, which follows an English organ player teaching an American brother and sister about traditional hymns and their writers; Usborne’s Learn to Play Mozart, which has lots about the composer himself and the history of music, in addition to simplified versions of his pieces; this BBC Songs of Praise history of Christmas carols and hymns; and the Recorder from the Beginning series of books and accompanying CDs.10 Free or Cheap Homeschool Music Resources - Books
  2. Free music printables. For example this printable manuscript music staff paper for writing your own music, and these music practice tracking sheets, which we have used in the past to encourage the children to practice piano playing when their enthusiasm waned.
  3. Music Appreciation resources. At the moment we listen to a Classics for Kids episode once a week- they are short, free, and usually cover a composer or genre of music, teaching you more about them and allowing you to hear some of their music for yourself. We have also used Kim Sorgius’ Count Your Blessings Hymn Study, which we really enjoyed. She also has an Easter hymn study, When I Survey, and a Christmas hymn study. The studies include words and music for the hymns, biographical information about the composers/ writers, and lots of fun and devotional activities and printables to do.
  4. Online tutorials and lessons.  We have bought The Great Courses’ ‘How Music and Math Relate’ course for our son, who will be 15 next month. This is a video course comprising 12 lectures by Professor David Kung of St Mary’s College Maryland, and a coursebook, however this was quite an expensive purchase, that we made using gift money from a relative. There are also various free or cheap tutorials and lessons online, for example I just heard recently on the Digital Homeschool Convention about Karen’s Teach Your Child Piano course, which is good for younger children, and specifically designed for ‘musically untrained’ homeschool parents.
  5. Online music streaming or radio. We use Spotify and Classic FM to listen to a wide variety of music styles. I got this idea from Karen Andreola’s Moments with Mother Culture blog- to listen to Jazz, World Music, Baroque, Gregorian Chants etc- to tie in with other topics we are studying at the time, for example in history. This exposes the children to a much wider range of music genres than we would otherwise come across. In the past we have been given various CDs which came free with my mum’s BBC Music magazine, and obviously you could also buy secondhand music to do this, although it would not be free.10 Free or Cheap Homeschool Music Resources - Fun music resources for home education
  6. Downloadable music composition software. Now that our son is going further on with music theory, he enjoys composing his own music, and likes to make it look ‘professional’, rather than just handwritten. In the past he had used the free version of Finale NotePad, but recently we discovered another free downloadable program called MuseScore, which he feels is much more user-friendly, and a better specification.
  7. Local opportunities to practice in performance. Currently our son is able to play the keyboard as part of worship at our church, at times throughout the year. Obviously this is much more than just ‘performance’ for him, but it is an additional way of practicing what he has learned. In the past we have taken part in musical ‘talent shows’ that our homeschooling group held. Here we also know people who take art in various festivals for traditional Scottish instruments, such as the bagpipes or clarsach (a type of small harp). We have also had several very kind (and musical) friends who have listened to the children play piano or recorder, and given them tips, though not in a formal lesson setting.
  8. Percussion box. We haven’t used this as much as our children have got older, but of course we do have a new ‘little person’ on the way! We gradually gathered these items from charity shops, gifts etc, and used to have a sort of singing time where we also used these instruments.10 Free or Cheap Homeschool Music Resources - Percussion box
  9. Free or cheap local music events. Our local community hall held a traditional Scottish music workshop at the beginning of the school holidays. For us, these sort of events are advertised locally on noticeboards, and in the local newspaper. Slightly more expensive, we have in the past bought tickets to children’s concerts by choirs and orchestras, which are usually advertised on the websites or flyers for the venue, and museums also sometimes hold similar events or workshops for children.
  10. Don’t be frightened to sing together! We are currently using the ‘Put On’ Chart lesson book from Doorposts, (which is available from Icthus Resources in the UK), for our Bible time in the morning, and this gives suggested hymns at the end of each lesson. Don’t be embarrassed to sing unaccompanied as a family, even if (like me), you are not a great singer!

Do you have a recommendation for music resources? Please leave a comment and let me know.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


 

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Home Education Plans for 2016 – 2017


Our Home Education Plans for 2016 - 2017 - Homeschool Planning - An Island Family By Grace

Next week we will start our new homeschooling year, so I have spent a bit of time over the last couple of weeks praying and thinking over our home education plans for 2016 – 2017.

Priorities

As our priorities for this year, I have written down that I want our homeschooling to:

  • be focused on Jesus
  • emphasise real learning rather than ‘busywork’
  • include more outdoor time and exercise

Changes

Obviously this year we will be adding a newborn baby into the mix, sometime close to the beginning of the academic year! I do not have any ambitious plans to do anything particularly new or challenging in terms of our routine, but hope just to keep the same rough routine as last year. This worked well when our fourth baby was born, almost 8 years ago. However, as a result of thinking over what had worked well and what hadn’t for my end of school year wrap up, I do want to add in a few things:

  • more crafts and painting on Monday afternoons, now that the weather is beginning to push us towards less nature study!
  • a set time for each child to do narration for me each day- this will be before lunch
  • our son to write questions for me for the end of his chapters in his IGCSE Physics and Geography books. This form of narration was an idea which came from Karen Andreola’s book Charlotte Mason Companion, which was one of my non-fiction books for reading this summer.

Field Trips

For field trips this year, I have written a list of possible destinations to find out about, mainly so that I don’t end up forgetting all about trips due to baby brain! Currently I have a castle, a boat trip, a museum, a lighthouse and several local craft businesses on my list, but we probably won’t do all of them!

Essential Oils Revolution 2016

Curricula

For each of our children, here are the curricula we will be using:

Our Son (almost 15 years old):

Home Education Plans for 2016 - 2017 } An Island Family By Grace

English

Maths

Physics

Geography

French

Music

Our 12 Year Old Daughter:

Our Home Education Plans for 2016 - 2017

English

Maths

Geography

German

Home Economics

Music

  • Piano and recorder

Our 9 Year Old Daughter:

Our Home Education Plans for 2016 - 2017 - An Island Family By Grace

English

Maths

  • Singapore Maths My Pals are Here 3A (moving on to 3B)

Geography

Music

  • Piano and recorder

Our 7 Year Old Daughter:

Our Home Education Plans for 2016 - 2017

English

Music

  • Piano and recorder

Together Work

This list doesn’t include extra-curricular type activities. For work we do together in the afternoons, we will be using Mystery of History Volume 3, Apologia General Science, Rosalind Surtees’ Junior French workbooks, Classics for Kids for music appreciation, and The Art Doodle Book for art appreciation.

Our Home Education Plans fro 2016 - 2017

As always, we will start our homeschooling days with Bible time and a family read aloud book. I will probably write a post with our planned read aloud books for the year within the next few weeks.

What are your home education plans for 2016 – 2017? Are you doing anything new or different this year? Please comment and let me know.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


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Essential Oils – Learning More


Essential Oils - Learning More } An Island Family By Grace

One of my health goals for this year was to learn more about essential oils. As I said in my update in April, being pregnant has somewhat changed my health goals, however I have been feeling well enough the past few months to think about them a little bit again!

I read the ebook The Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils, by Christine J. Dalziel of Joybilee Farm, which I found to be a very helpful introduction to essential oils, as part of last year’s Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. I have continued to use the first six of the ten essential oils she introduces in the book, and feel more confident doing so now. I continue to use eucalyptus or tea tree oil in our homemade fabric softener, lemon and rosemary in my oil burner (not at the same time!), and peppermint and lavender in the various homemade toiletries that I have begun making.

Essential Oils - Learning More @ An Island Family By Grace

More recently, when our children have had colds, I have given them eucalyptus or peppermint oil on a tissue to put inside their pillowcases at night, or lavender when they have had difficulty getting to sleep. We have also used (diluted) essential oils to disinfect cuts, scrapes and insect bites.

However, I realise there is such a huge amount more that I could learn about essential oils. Helpfully, from 22nd to 29th August 2016, Dr. Eric Zielinski, along with Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, will be hosting the second Essential Oils Revolution summit. I listened to the Essential Oils Revolution talks last year, and found them very interesting and informative. It is, as far as I am aware, the only online summit on essential oils which does not promote any particular brand of essential oils, and has a big emphasis on evidence based discussion of essential oils. What’s more, it is free to listen to! There are 30 different presentations, on topics as diverse as Debunking the Most Common Myths on essential oils, to Essential Oils and the Bible. If you have time to listen even to at least some of the presentations, I would highly recommend signing up for it.

Essential Oils Revolution 2016 - Essential Oils - Learning More ~ An Island Family By Grace

In the mean time, I am keen to learn more about how I can use essential oils for minor ailments in my family, and I would like to expand the number of essential oils that we use. Obviously this will be gradual, as our budget permits, but it would be nice to become familiar with using a wider range of oils for different purposes. Only last week, I discovered that clove oil, which I had recently bought, can used for many more things than dental care, which was the only thing I had heard of it being connected with before. You can see the article about that here.

Are you interested in essential oils? What have you learned about them recently? Please leave a comment and let me know.

This post Essential Oils – Learning More first appeared on An Island Family By Grace.


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This post contains some affiliate links. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

Times Tales Review


Multiplication Tables Help - Times Tales Review - An Island Family By Grace

As we are continuing with some light schoolwork over this summer, one of the activities I have given our 3 daughters to do is to watch Times Tales twice a week. I bought this a couple of months ago, and we have now used it enough that I feel able to give a Times Tales review for you.

In the past, we have tried various ways of learning and reviewing multiplication tables in our homeschool, including games such as Your Number’s Up, and Times Tables Soundtracks; times tables songs CDs (painful!); and plain old rote learning. Our children obviously each have different strengths and weaknesses in their different areas of learning, but I have found Times Tales to be the best way of learning the upper times tables so far with our daughters. Our son is older and had already learned his times tables long ago, so we have not used it with him.

I purchased the digital download of Times Tales from the American publisher’s website, Trigger Memory Systems, for US $21.95. This includes downloads of the part 1 and part 2 videos which explain the concept and give the stories for learning the tables. Review questions are at the end of each video, and separate downloads give printable worksheets and flashcards for practicing the stories.

Multiplication Tables Practice - Times Tales Review - An Island Family By Grace

Our girls have really enjoyed using Times Tales, and even our seven year old seems to remember the ‘tales’ with the correct answers relatively easily. Although the animations are perhaps aimed at younger children, up to the age of ten, our 12 year old is more than happy to watch Times Tales, and has definitely reinforced her previous learning of the tables through them. You can see a clip of what the animations are like here:

I would definitely recommend Times Tales to anyone looking for a simple way to strengthen or introduce learning of the upper multiplication tables, and it is also available on DVD, with a CD ROM for the printables, if you would prefer that to the digital download. There is also a Times Tales book available for those who would prefer to use that method.

Do you have a favourite way that your family likes to learn and review times tables? Please comment and let me know.

I bought Times Tales myself, and was not compensated in any way for this review. All the opinions are my own.


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This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

 

 

 

Traditional Foods of Scotland


Traditional Scottish Foods - An Island Family By Grace

According to a quote from comedian Mike Myers, “most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare”. If you are squeamish about organ meats and offal, the quote could apply to our ‘national dish’, haggis. However, traditional Scottish foods make up a wide variety, particularly if you look at the different geographical areas of the country…

Today I have written this guest post for my Texan friend Alisha, over at Family Travel On A Shoestring. Please click through to read the rest of my post on traditional foods of Scotland, and explore Alisha’s unique family travel blog.

Do you have any favourite Scottish foods yourself? Please share them in a comment!


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Week 30 Pregnancy Update


30 Weeks Pregnant - An Island Family By Grace

I am glad to say that since my last pregnancy update at 21 and a half weeks, other than one episode, I have completely got over my ‘morning’ sickness! I was beginning to feel better then, and now I also have a fair bit more energy. I am still appreciating our quiet activity time after lunch, as I mentioned in my end of school year wrap up, but I am not constantly exhausted now. This week I am 30 weeks pregnant.

I have been continuing to enjoy growing plants out in our polytunnel, although I have to say bending down to do weeding is becoming a little less enjoyable! We are actually in the process of ordering parts to extend our polytunnel at the moment, so we will have much more growing space, which will be great. At the moment our courgettes are beginning to fruit, our potatoes are almost ready to be dug up, some spinach and lettuces are ready, and the pea plants are producing pods, but the other plants are not there yet. Hopefully they will have given us some more food before the end of the season!

Health-wise, I have been very well, and I only have minor complaints such as sore ligaments and being out of breath, which is normal for me during pregnancy, and I am not anaemic. As I mentioned in my Non-Fiction Summer Reading List, I enjoyed reading Helen Saul Case’s book Vitamins and Pregnancy: The Real Story. Although I will not necessarily implement all her recommendations, it has been very reassuring in seeing the large amount of evidence-based research from the UK, US and other countries around the world, that has been done in that area. I have now started reading a new book called Redeeming Childbirth, by Angie Tolpin, which is very encouraging. I had my blood glucose test last week, and I am not expected to have more ultrasound scans during the pregnancy.

I am hoping to deliver our baby in hospital on the island. They did offer me the option of having a home birth, but because of complications with one of our other children’s births, I am happy to be in the midwife-led unit at the hospital. Hopefully that will be possible, and I will not have to travel to the mainland. I can’t imagine a three hour journey while in labour being enjoyable!

I have been continuing to try recipes from the new Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook, which I really like, although I have to say I have not been as healthy in my eating as I could have been! I still need to add in more exercise, which I hope to do by having a daily afternoon walk with the children over the summer.

30 Weeks #Pregnant / An Island Family By Grace

If you would like to know what I was wearing in the photos, the skirt was from New Look and the top was from Mothercare (although I bought them both on eBay), and the boots are from Amazon. The black vest (undershirt) was from Fruit of the Loom. I apologise for the grimace, but this was the first sunny day in two weeks, and I was obviously not used to it!

Since my last update, I had ordered newborn size babygros, bodysuits and a pram suit, so I am feeling a bit more organised now. I still can’t believe how small they are though!

As I only have about 10 weeks to go until my due date, things are feeling quite exciting! What are you looking forward to this summer? Please comment and let me know.


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This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

My Non Fiction Summer Reading List


5 Non Fiction Books for Summer Reading

I have to say that I am not one for reading much fiction. Sadly, I think doing English at university had a lot to do with this. Too much analysing and over analysing! I also find that I enjoy reading non-fiction books during the times when I am able to read, as I can use the time to learn things that I will actually put into practice in my life.

Having got back to reading again for a while now that the pregnancy sickness and nausea has worn off, I have managed to read some of the books that were on my list of what I’m reading this year, back in January. I have finished the devotional book Praying the Names of God, and I am now using a lined notebook to copy down passages of Scripture during my Bible times, and then make notes beside them, similar to the Journibles book I had on my reading list last year.

Here is the rest of my non fiction summer reading list:

  1.  Vitamins and Pregnancy: The Real Story, by Helen Saul Case. I heard about this book when Helen Saul Case was being interviewed for That Vitamin Summit, and as I am almost 29 weeks pregnant, I have found it very interesting and helpful. I will probably manage to finish it this week.5 Non Fiction Books for Summer Reading
  2.  The Charlotte Mason Companion, by Karen Andreola. I said in my Home Education Plans for 2015-2016 that I wanted to add in more Charlotte Mason inspired ideas to our homeschooling, and this book has been encouraging. One of the most encouraging elements of it for me has actually been about encouraging good character in our children, rather than any particular ‘educational method’. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on The Atmosphere of the Home. It is a big book, and I still have more than half of it left to read.5 Non Fiction Books for Summer Reading
  3.  Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less), by Angela England. In addition to my Polytunnel Book, I have been finding this book very helpful. It lets you know what can be grown in a particular space (we have half an acre rather than an acre), and she also has lots of experience with small livestock. We have chickens so far, so it has been helpful to read about other possibilities, although obviously we will be busy with our new baby in the mean time! Although it is written from a North American perspective, most of the principles still hold true for gardening in the UK.5 Non Fiction Books for Summer Reading
  4.  The Pregnancy Encyclopedia, edited by Dr. Chandrima Biswas. I had given away my mother and baby health book after our youngest daughter was past toddler age, so this spring I have been looking for a good pregnancy book. By good, I mean one that is informative and encouraging. I wanted a book about pregnancy which would talk about the different stages, without being negative about motherhood, or frankly, verging on pornographic, as some of the books I tried from the library were! I am not giving the book to my children to read, but I would at least like not to have to worry about it lying around! I have borrowed this one from the library and had it re-stamped repeatedly, as it is the most helpful one I have come across this time.5 Non Fiction Books for Summer Reading
  5.  Awakening: The Life & Ministry of Robert Murray McCheyne, by David Robertson. This biography is written by a Scottish minister, and  I have to confess that although we have children’s books about 19th century Scottish Christian Robert Murray McCheyne, I have never read about him for myself. I am therefore looking forward to reading this over the summer.5 Non Fiction Books for Summer Reading

I think five books will be enough to keep me going over the next 6 weeks or so that we are classing as our ‘summer holidays’, although we will be continuing with some light schoolwork.

Please let me know what you are reading this summer, and if you have any recommendations for non-fiction summer reading!


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This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

 

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Unit Study


Uncle Tom's Cabin Unit Study - An Island Family By Grace

The children and I have just finished reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin together, and we have been so interested in it, and had so many good discussions, that I decided to do a unit study about it, for the end of our school year. I would have said the we ‘enjoyed’ it so much, but given the heart-rending subject material (slavery), that affected so many real people’s lives, I don’t think that would have been the right word.

What the Book is About

For anyone who is not familiar with Uncle Tom’s Cabin, it is a novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, written during the time period when slave plantations were still very much a real part of life in the USA. It was first published in 1851, as a serial in an abolitionist newspaper. It is written from a Christian perspective, and follows the stories of several different slave families who are very much affected by that way of life, their stories all drawn together in the character of Uncle Tom. No matter how badly Uncle Tom is treated, or how cruelly he is tempted by slave owners to retaliate, he never gives in and stoops to their level.

The book does not shy away from the horrendous details of the characters’ daily lives, but is also uplifting and offers hope, and was a challenge at the time to get rid of legal slavery once and for all . It is written in the language of the time, and I have to say, I did not read out the ‘n’ word to my children, but I did explain to them why I was doing that, as of course they wanted to read over my shoulder!

Here are the resources and activities I hope to include in our Uncle Tom’s Cabin unit study:

Lapbooks

For our unit study, I hope to make lapbooks about the novel and characters themselves, then explore some of the issues it addresses. For the lapbooks we will be using lapbook templates from Homeschoolshare. If you haven’t come across lapbooks before, you can see more about them in my post on our Martin Luther lapbooks. For more background on the novel, the author Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the impact Uncle Tom’s Cabin had in the US and around the world, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center has helpful information.

Writing

Currclick sells a Progeny Press study guide to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but it is somewhat expensive, although the Homeschool Buyers Co-op does have reduced prices for buying bundles of five Progeny Press Guides. A list of free printable worksheets for Uncle Tom’s Cabin is available at Printable Worksheets, and C3 Teachers has a 7th Grade Inquiry printable on Can Words Lead to War? For discussing the book, Plugged In Online’s book review of Uncle Tom’s Cabin does include discussion questions for using with High School age children.

Geography

While we were reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, we did look at our atlas several times to see which parts of North America the characters were travelling through, and heading for, but we will probably do some brief mapwork using the photocopiable maps from Mystery of History to look at their journeys and also where slaves had been taken from in the first place. You can also get free printable outline maps from d-maps.com

Art

Bookrags post on activities for Uncle Tom’s Cabin includes various ideas for making art related to the book, and also links to paintings by Jacob Lawrence which are reminiscent of the slave trade era. This page from the Museum of Play also shows paper dolls for Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which were released at the time by the Boston Sunday Globe.

Music

Negrospirituals.com has lots of information on the history of ‘Negro Spiritual’ songs, which are referred to in the scenes from Uncle Tom’s Cabin where Tom leads devotions and worship, and includes a large index of songs and their lyrics. You can also listen to a long playlist of songs here on You Tube.

Related Books

In addition to Uncle Tom’s Cabin itself, we also have Escape on the Underground Railroad, a children’s historical fiction book which our 12 year old daughter has really enjoyed, and Dave and Neta Jackson’s fictionalised biography of Harriet Tubman, the real life underground railroad ‘conductor’. We will also use children’s encyclopaedias and books I have ordered from our local library to learn more about the wider issues of slavery.

The Underground Railroad and Uncle Tom's Cabin - An Island Family By Grace

Media

As part of this study, I hope to watch the film Amazing Grace with our older two children, which covers the life and work of British politician William Wilberforce, who fought earlier to outlaw the slave trade here. The 1987 TV movie of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, starring Samuel L. Jackson, is still available on You Tube, however I will be previewing it first to decide if it is suitable for our older children. We already own an Adventures in Odyssey CD called The Underground Railroad, which is similar to Eliza and Harry’s journey in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. There is also a free audiobook of Uncle Tom’s Cabin available to download at Librivox.

Modern Day Slavery

Earlier this month we read in Trudi Parke’s 40 Days 40 Bites, which we are currently using during our morning prayer time, about child labour, which led on to a discussion about modern day slavery. As we had been reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin for a while, and hearing detailed descriptions of the people who lived it, this made the realisation all the more shocking for the children that slavery is still going on today, although perhaps not in the same state-sanctioned manner.

I have mentioned before in my post on giving on a budget that our family supports International Justice Mission, a Christian charity which investigates cases of slavery, and then takes action to free those people, and ensure that they are safe and able to enter a new life. Having been reminded of the horrors of slavery, and also having recently read an exhortation in my devotional book Praying the Names of God not to forget God’s commands in scripture to take care of the needy, I feel that this summer is an opportunity for our family to do something practical to help people in such dire circumstances.

Jesus said “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” Matthew 23:23

 

‘He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.’ Micah 6:8

Our older children have done fundraising before for Gospel for Asia, as I talked about in Encouraging Our Children to be Outward Looking, so I will be looking for ways this summer that we can do something to help those who are currently trapped in slavery.

These are my thoughts so far on the kinds of activities and resources we will use in our Uncle Tom’s Cabin unit study this summer. Do you have any other resources to recommend? Or are you currently doing a unit study with your family? Please let me know in a comment.


May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


This post contains some affiliate links to Amazon. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

 

End of School Year Wrap Up 2015 – 2016

Home Education End of Year Wrap Up - An Island Family By Grace

In my end of school year wrap up last year, I was looking forward to using our house more fully for homeschooling, after a year of selling our house, and then moving to the island.

Unit Study

This academic year, we started with a unit study on Hebridean Island Life. We enjoyed discovering more about the history, geography and traditions of the Hebrides islands, and made lapbooks about their geology. We ended the unit study with a trip to an island life museum.

Field Trips

Apart from the museum, other field trips we have had this ‘school’ year have been for a guided tour of a nearby castle, other local sites of interest, and a recent successful fishing trip! We usually arrange trips to coincide with family birthdays, so as everyone in the family except me has an autumn or winter birthday, I am looking forward to finding some interesting places to go in a few months’ time!

Duck Pond Trip - End of School Year Wrap Up on An Island Family By Grace

A New Addition

In January this year, I happily found out that I am expecting our fifth baby! Thankfully, although I had a lot of nausea and some vomiting until the start of May, I was nowhere near as bad as I have been with previous pregnancies. We have really continued with homeschooling as normal, with the difference that I was unable to accompany the rest of the family on trips with friends around Easter time.

What has worked…

One of the things that I am most pleased about having re-started this year has been a half-hour ‘quiet time’ for everyone after our lunch each day. This has been a help since my husband went back to work in January, and particularly during the time I was not feeling well. Usually the children will do personal reading in their rooms during that time, or some other quiet activity such as drawing or writing a letter, or our son may spend extra time on his IGCSE work.

Having a daily routine which we are all used to has also been very helpful, as everybody knew what was coming next, and I didn’t need to hound anyone to do their work… usually! We started this when we began homeschooling in 2007, and it has changed and been adapted a bit over the years. We don’t have a rigid ‘timetable’ that we must follow to the limit, but having a routine for every day is a positive thing for us, while still allowing for flexibility to do other things that come up.

Educents Sale

We have enjoyed the switch to Apologia’s General Science book by Dr. Jay Wile, as a big improvement on the curriculum we were using before, which was Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. Dr. Wile’s book is much easier to prepare for, each lesson is a good length, and you can really decide where to pick and put down the book when you want to.

Our elder daughter also started using the Home Economics 1 curriculum from Christian Light Publications this year. Our children have always enjoyed cooking, baking, and learning other aspects of ‘home ec’ with me, but this course has allowed our daughter to learn more independently, and she has made us some new recipes such as Mexican Scrambled Eggs (very tasty!), and Gelatine Salad (not something we would normally eat at all!)

School Year Wrap Up - An Island Family By Grace

Christmas Baking 2015

I have been trying to incorporate more Charlotte Mason inspired learning into our afternoons, making use of the amazingly dry and sunny weather we have had this spring to do lots of nature study outside (you can see what other outdoor homeschool activities we do here). We have also been listening to Classics for Kids once a week for music appreciation, which was recommended by Sarah at Delivering Grace. Something I would still like to add more of to our home education is narration, where the child ‘tells back’ what they have been learning. I am not so good at remembering to ask for this, and perhaps having a specific time for it in our day would help me!

…and What Hasn’t Worked

What hasn’t worked so well has been trying to learn too many languages! When we moved here, I was keen for the children to learn some Scots Gaelic. However, we were already learning French and German on alternate weeks, and it was just too much. Now, our 14 year old son has chosen to stick to French, our 12 year old daughter is doing German, and the younger girls are learning basics of both. We still discuss Gaelic, often when we see Gaelic signs when we are out and about, but we are not learning it for conversation. If any one of the children wants to learn for it themselves, that will be fine.

For French, our son is using the Voici une famille francaise curriculum from Rosalind Surtees (available direct from the author), and our elder daughter is using the Deutsch Direkt textbook, workbook and cassette tapes for German. The TV series of Deutsch Direkt is still available on You Tube. They both use Duolingo for listening practice. You can see other modern foreign language resources we use in this post.

What Next?

We do not normally homeschool year round, and would usually have our holidays for 6 weeks from the end of June, but this summer we will continue with some light schoolwork. This will give our son extra revision for his IGCSE work, and mean that we can take an extended break when the baby is born in September, without me feeling guilty about it! We will still be doing lots of fun summer activities, and as my husband has just started replacing the rest of our roof, there will also be plenty of opportunities to learn some life skills by being a builder’s helper!

That is about it for our end of school year wrap up! How has your school year gone, and do you have any special plans for the summer? Please comment and let me know.


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May be linked up at Making Your Home Sing MondayModest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Monday of Many Blessings Link UpTitus 2sdays, Teaching What is Good, Maple Hill Hop, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, A Little R & R Wednesday Link Up Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Siting Among Friends Blog Hop, Hearts for Home Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Growing in Grace Link Up,  Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Linkup, Frugal Friday, and Faith Filled Friday.


This post contains some affiliate links. Shopping through them won’t cost you anything extra, but if you do buy something, our family will earn a few pence. I only link to products I have used and would recommend.

 

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