Archives For history

This (Past) Week in Our House

Heather —  September 25, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…
Busy. Lots of distractions. Some good, like Church play and Choir practices for the girls and paintballing for the boys.

In our homeschool this week…

Making a globe! (from Voscamp's Exploring geography book)

Lots of history and geography. Our favorite subject has to be history. Reading Mystery of History Volume 2, and Hillyer’s A Child’s History of the World. Reading these never feels like work at all! Also, doing Voscamp’s A Child’s Geography, Explore the Earth with Emma. Nick is such a cool brother—he always helps with hands-on stuff!

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

Do some history! (see above). Also, check out an Electronic field Trip from Williamsburg. Link to a free one until the 30th:

I am inspired by…

Alistair Beggs. I love listening to his sermons through Truth for Life. I stick on headphones and listen to a 20 minute podcast on the ipad. Such a treat!
My Mom. She is going through a lot with someone close and I am comforted by her strength.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
My favorite? Going to Charlottesville for my Whole Foods Shopping Day. Soon, it will snow and it will be hard to get there!
Church for the girls practices for a play and the upcoming Christmas Show. Emma is loving being on a dance team. I need to find her a 50’s costume. Or, sew one…hahahaha

My favorite thing this week was…
Why can I barely remember this week???

What’s working/not working for us…
Nick is fighting getting started every morning. Wish he would go to bed earlier. Teenagers! I have tried being laid back about it, but he is just not getting enough done. He needs to get more done for college opps…

Questions/thoughts I have…
Feeling really good about Em’s courses and workload. She is quick, so easy to teach!

Things I’m working on…
An online Keepers of the Faith club. Wish I had more experience to make it really nice and wasn’t so busy with distractions this week (like my own blog crashing). I want to work on it more!!

I’m reading…

Ongoing: Stepping Heavenward, to remind me of how timeless some things just are.
Non-fiction: The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism, Stress-Free Believers (Review)
Planning: Keepers of the Faith Leader Guide
For Fun/Fiction: Heiress by Warren. (Review)
For Review: Alethia Magazine

I’m cooking…

Greek style pizza from E-Mealz was a success this week, too.

Yesterday, Latin Chicken from E-Mealz (doing review for TOS) very nice recipe in crockpot! Today…not sure yet!!

I’m grateful for…
A husband who drives kids everywhere and never complains. And is cute. Yes, very grateful for my husband.

It was Daddy's Birthday this week:) Em did "decorations" all over, Haha!

I am going to start a honey jar. Everytime he does something awesome, like bringing me coffee, I will drop in a marble…then, when I’m feeling impatient and he’s not hurrying or something else that makes me go grrrr….I’ll look at my jar. Hmmm…

I’m praying for…

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. ~ CS Lewis


Linked up to the Homeschool Mother’s Journal and Weekly Wrap up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Dig-It! Games, Roman Town Review

Heather —  February 4, 2011

Bring History to life with Roman Town, the only game that lets you be the archaeologist!

So, when was the last time you begged your child to play a video game? With Roman Town from Dig-It! Games, I found myself asking the kids to let me play!

As we reviewed Roman Town, we learned much about how to be an archeologist as we worked a site in an ancient Roman town. The game is very logical, based on factual historical information, and has a steady educational pace.

I really felt as if I were taking a beginner’s intro to archeology or something. The game also incorporates a story line with Roman children helping out and that was interesting to follow. I think it is amazing that this game fascinates me, my teenagers and my five year old daughter. This is truly learning for everyone!

View a demo of Roman Town:

While playing the game, you will be managing a team of diggers on the site of the Roman Town of Fossura, destroyed in 79 AD by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Digging In Roman Town

It is great fun to see your artifact come out of the dirt and I began to use different tools to see how they each worked. As I went through the game, I appreciated the reality of the 3D graphics in the game.

Put Pots Back Together in 3D

So, what will you get to discover?

  • Roman buildings, artifacts and priceless treasures
  • The remains of real Romans
  • Ancient Roman history and cultural facts
  • Vivid, accurate and realistic illustrations
  • How to analyze and reconstruct valuable artifacts
  • Solve mysterious secrets about the lives of Roman kids centuries ago!

A fascinating element and one that differentiates this game from others, I think, is the LEARN component. L.E.A.R.N. (Locate Engrossing and Remarkable Knowledge) is an interactive, in-game encyclopedia that allows kids to learn as they choose. How does it work? Well, for each artifact you uncover, LEARN will present facts that “match” that artifact and give you buttons, allowing you to choose to find out more about that artifact with definitions and more detail on how it was used or how it impacted Roman Life.

In this version of Roman Town, there are 6 levels, and the game allows up to five players to save games, so several people can have a game going.

There are also 6 mini games in Roman Town, they are all accessible through a little tab in the upper lefthand corner of the menu screen.

Mini-Games are Fun, Too!

Mini-Games are Fun, Too!

For homeschoolers, Roman Town can be a great addition to your curriculum and can easily tie into many different studies—obviously History, but also English, Science, and I would even use it as a supplement for creative learning.

Main Features:

  • Engaging hands-on, interactive learning for all ages, specifically designed for 5th – 8th grades.
  • Game-play develops analytical thinking
  • Puzzles teach problem solving strategies
  • Authentic artifacts and realistic excavation site
  • Accurate information about Roman Life and Roman History
  • Encompasses the full excavation experience from start to finish
  • Archaeology introduced logically

System Requirements

  • Windows Vista/XP/2000
  • CPU 800 Mhz; RAM 412MB; Hard Drive 350MB

“Founded by a professional archaeologist and teacher, Dig-It! Games is an independent computer game developer committed to creating innovative, interactive, instructional computer games based on historical themes with high-value educational content. Dig-It! Games presents authentic and accurate historical information that conforms to the curriculum mandates and Standards of Learning of many states.”

Find Dig-It Games on the Dig-It Games website, Dig-ItGames on Facebook and Dig-It Games on Twitter

As of 2011, Roman Town retails for $39.95. But from now until February 21, 2011, TOS Crew Readers can use a special code to get 20% off of the 2010 Roman Town retail price of $24.95.

That’s right! Use code TOS2011 for 20% off of $24.95 until Feb. 21st!

See what my crewmates have to say about Dig-It! Games.

I received a download of Roman Town through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.

I just saw this new tutorial of the Illuminations Curriculum on the Bright Ideas Press blog. We used this fantastic curriculum last year and my kids loved it. I thought some of you might be interested in finding out more about it!

PS: I enjoyed this curriculum so much that I became an affiliate for Bright Ideas Press. So, if you do decide to go with this, let me know and I’ll get my link up…I’m working on it…

Homeschool In The Woods

Summary & Rating: 5. Most definitely a 5 for a rating. Homeschool In The Woods produces some magnificent resources. My download sounded innocent enough—Maps. Then, when I actually opened up the files, I was overwhelmed—I had over 300 maps, notebooking pages, State  and Country fact sheets, and brochures…my head was spinning with map project ideas! I received the combo-pak of gorgeous hand-illustrated Black and white maps to review.

My download included two sections:

  • Olde World Style Modern and Ancient Maps: World Maps: This section has tons of maps in Ancient and Modern styles, so you can use them in many different ways. This section includes over 40 World notebooking pages
  • Olde World Style Modern and Historical Maps: United States Maps: This section includes several versions of maps for each state, and maps pertaining to American History. Also, there are fact sheets for each state.
Hand-drawn illustrated maps

In our homeschool, I am always looking for just the right atlas and map to suit a particular lesson or project. Having these maps from Homeschool In The Woods really gives me some freedom–the children and I have what we need, and better yet, we can create our own fact sheets and notebooking pages to go along with other lessons. I think many of my lessons will become a little more “unit” like, as we begin adding more geography to our regular literature or history lessons using the maps.

There are countless ways to use these maps. One of my crewmembers, Tristan at Our Busy Homeschool mentioned using the outline maps as bases for salt dough maps for young kids. What a great idea!

Sheri at  What’s In The Box used these maps, the workbox idea and some other supplies to create a geography center for her homeschool. You can see her Geography Center in progress, here.

You can view more information and samples of the maps, here. Or, go here for samples and to see some freebies!

The downloads are priced at $18.95 each, and the CD version is $19.95 each. They also have a Combo-Pak (both sets together) priced at $28.95 for the download and $29.95 for the CD set.

Do check out Homeschool In The Woods for some excellent history resources.

To see what my TOS crewmates have to say, click here!

A Combo-Pak map download was provided to me for the purpose of my review. I have expressed my unbiased opinion on this product.

Dollar Homeschool


Summary & Rating: 3 An intriguing way to handle a complete homeschool curriculum from K-12, Dollar Homeschool has basically compiled the Ecletic Education Series (EES) in an electronic format. The EES is a set of textbooks that were used extensively in the United States from about 1865 to 1915. Honestly, I am not sure how I feel about using these. I found it difficult to get into them. Some of the curriculum is heavy on the critical thinking–no fuss. Learn to read, write and…do arithmetic. On the other hand, things–such as references–are out of date and the presentation leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, I am into color.

Nevertheless, I am a fan of the good old days and I think some of this material does have merit. The idea of making solid progress, one room schoolhouse style is romantic. Read the interesting story behind these books. However, the format really did challenge me.

Click here to view the complete list of books included in Eclectic Education Series.

The EES books are in the public domain. Dollar Homeschool has basically tracked all of the files down, catalogued them, pdf’d them and burned them onto CD’s for your use.

The complete EES is available for $159. Other purchasing options are available.

While I found the EES a bit overwhelming, I did notice that some of the veteran homeschoolers whose reviews I respect on the TOS crew got into them. You can see some reviews here on the Ray’s Arithmetic portion over at Delightful Learning. Also, at Footprints in the Butter, Debra gives a good overview of how she used the Spelling, Reading and History portions.

To see what other TOS crewmates have to say, click here!

The Eclectic Education Series was provided to me for the purpose of my review. I have expressed my unbiased opinion on this product.

You know,


I bought a set of historical graphic novels

for her older siblings…


Yet, this one is always carrying a pile of them around.

It was interesting explaining the reformation with a four year old.

I’m pretty sure I did a lousy job.

But, it makes me so happy she loves to read.


You know, lately, I think you could walk into my home and be amazed by the really cool things we are able to study and do in our homeschool. We have come a long way from when we first started! Along the way, I have gotten help and ideas from many people and places. I just found another new resource in the Timberdoodle company.

This week, we may not have been lugging around giant textbooks or laptops, or traveling to science and art museums, but my family and I learned a ton and had a wonderful time with an impromptu week of history. It all began when I got a package of Stories From History Graphic Novels from Timberdoodle.

Inside the box was a set of ten historical based graphic novels. Now, I know the term graphic novel can be a very loose term. In this case, when I use the term graphic novels, I am referring to a story told in the comics form—a sort of novel in pictures with a nice glossy binding. Some graphic novels do not have text, but these do and plenty of historical details to boot.

So, my kids and I lit a fire, made some hot chocolate, talked about how the graphic novel came to be…and then dove into some extra history!

We went back in time, reading about intense battles, secret plots, Queens, Indians, artists and World War II. The novels are nonfiction and I love it that the children get the history facts and excitement in a fun format. So far, I feel that the historical information given is correct and I learned a thing or two…well, quite a few things!

My 14, 14 and 13 year-olds say they are “not boring or anything…” Hmmm. Actually that means a lot, coming from my 13 year old. She particularly liked the Anne Frank one. My book lover, my 14 year old son, read through them all right away and has been dropping facts all week.

I am impressed by the graphic design, paper and binding quality. The illustrations are full color with plenty of bright, busy pictures to capture even a non-reader’s attention.

Note: With a little one, though, you may want to explain the battle scenes a bit. The novels are listed for ages 8 to 14, grade levels 3 to 8, but my four year old is also carrying them everywhere. She is really into the T-Rex one and earlier wanted to know everything about Elizabeth I…and I think that is fantastic.

Each one of the novels runs about 48 pages. We have the following ones:

*When I checked online, I see they are now including an additional one in the set: The Building of the Great Pyramid

Anyway, one of my favorite things about them is that on top of the actual story, they also have good tools for my students to use–for example, in the The Life of Christopher Columbus, there is a Cast page, break-out maps, a Timeline of Columbus’ Life, a Did You Know section, a great glossary and an index. Man, these are some modern comic books!

I like the fact boxes and maps

I like the fact boxes and maps

These are on a special sale right now: $16.95. What? Really. Priced individually, these run $6.95. And, truly, I would feel decent if I got them at a bookstore for about $5 each. And, you know, I’m REALLY cheap:)

Originally, the set was priced at $76.45. So with the markdown, get eleven novels for under $20 bucks. I love blogging about a quality deal.

Check them out!

Check them out!

Note from the company: “Page 13 of Gladiators and the Story of the Colosseum and page 26 of The Life of Leonardo Da Vinci may need a touch of white-out depending on your family’s modesty standards. Also, The Discovery of T. Rex is not written from a young-earth perspective so it does make statements such as, “This huge beast lived 85-65 million years ago…” A touch of white-out and/or some clarifying discussion can easily rectify that.”

I want to note that Timberdoodle offers a bunch of other homeschool curriculum and items for learning fun. Check out their site for other types of graphic novels and all kinds of learning toys and games.

This is a Mama Buzz review. The product was provided by Timberdoodle. In order to make my review worthwhile to others, I give my honest opinion! Shoot, this one’s a deal.