Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Homeschooling: Vintage Nature Stories for Kindergarten - Second Grade

The Baldwin Project now has over 500 free vintage children's ebooks, all are educational either as classic fiction or non-fiction. They are not downloadable, but can be cross referenced at either Google Books, Project Gutenberg, or with a Google search. Both Google Books and Project Gutenberg allow for free downloads. The Baldwin Project ebooks can be copied, pasted, and printed for personal use only. See Terms of Use.

The Baldwin Project has reprinted many of these classic texts under Yesterday's Classics publishers. I've purchased a few via Amazonand Barnes & Noble with gift cards. Take advantage of the holiday promotional discounts if you use a credit card or Paypal. I read that Paypal is offering a 30% off coupon beginning 12/1/08. Barnes & Noble has got some good ones as well.

I noticed that they have a really nice set of nature story books by Clara Dillingham Pierson:

"If you have been looking for nature stories to read to your kindergarten age child, look no further! Clara Dillingham Pierson, a Froebel kindergarten teacher in Michigan at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, has written a lovely series of nature stories ideally suited for children ages 4 to 7. Each chapter offers the story of one animal interacting with other animals in its community."

Among the Forest People
Among the Meadow People
Among the Night People
Among the Pond People

These are so cute; I wish I had known about them when my son was younger, but I'll use them with my daughter's science curriculum.

Here are the free etexts at The Baldwin Project for the above books.

They do need volunteers for editing new texts. Click here if you can lend your time to these free resources.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Elementary School Beginning Book Report Helps Using Free Online Resources

My ten year old son is developing writing skills. Today his lesson in Climbing to Good English by Schoolaid(an inexpensive Amish/Conservative Mennonite publisher) required him to choose a topic, find information, and follow the steps to writing notes. We use Rod & Staff for our primary English lessons, but Climbing to Good English rounds out his English curriculum with added writing practice and review.

We don't have encyclopedias at home because they clutter up the place, and it is just as easy to find information online. Today we used our online homeschooling library and found two short stories about our topic which were perfect! I used the search engine at my Google Books library link, and browsed the science topic area at my online library blog, Happy Hearts Homeschooling Library. Ds chose polar bears for his topic with two simple questions on which to take notes: what do they look like and what do they eat. We only used one text, but I'll pass on the other in case anyone needs it.

Here are the two vintage texts:

Appleton's The Third Grade Reader, 1910: The White Bear(used for today's lesson). Not on grade level, but concise enough to learn the point of the lesson.

Primary Education, 1914, The Silver King of the New York Zoo.

How to print pages: right click on image of the page, view image, print preview, adjust to desired size and print. Links have been defaulted by me to HTML for printing and saving. Pages will not save or print in standard mode. The page mode change is to the right on the sidebar at links.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Free Thanksgiving ebook: Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Free and in public domain via Google Books, ages 8-12. Fully downloadable, switch to HTML on sidebar at link in order to print specific pages or save images of pages. Click here.

Summary from The Lost Classics:

"Little Mary and the Pilgrims come to an America today’s children would not recognize. Desolate and cold, there are no homes, no churches, no stores, no crops, no livestock. How did the Pilgrims build homes in the bitter cold of a New England winter? What did they eat? How did they construct a fireplace with no bricks? What did they use to make candles and eating utensils? What about elections…church services…Indians…table manners…cooking…new foods? It’s all here in fascinating detail.

Mary of Plymouth is a story as instructive as it is appealing. A story sure to awaken your children’s curiosity about their country’s history."

HT to Pawpaw Holler Home.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

DIY: Cat Bedding Box and Cat Ladder

Today my husband and I worked on making a nice cat safe area away from the dog. They get along mostly, but the cat gets weirded out by the dog's barking, and runs to the top of our entertainment center in the den.

I decided the poor cat need a nice getaway with a ladder. We went to Home Depot and picked up a 12 foot 2x4 rough pine board for the stairs, and some thinner wide pine boards( about 3/4x7) for the cat box walls. We got a small sheet of pressed board for the floor of the cat bed. We looked for the most inexpensive wood, between $3.00 and $5.00 a piece. Also used were some really long drywall screws that we had on hand, a circular saw for the pine wood, an Exacto knife for the pressed board, and a staple gun for the pressed board floor.


Cat box 19 inches x 23 inches for medium- large sized cat: Cut wood to length, two 19 inch, and two 22 inch. Overlap sides, screw all sides together at edges into a rectangle. Trace outline of box onto the pressed board for the floor, and cut to size with Exacto knife. Staple gun floor to the box edges and you are done! This size will fit a single size bed pillow. Bed pillows with cases are easy to remove and clean. (Directions are for regular box. Our cat needed an open end to get to his food next to his cat box, so ours was a three sided box).

Stairs: Cut 2x4 to desired length, cut remaining board to three inch lengths, space them along board at about one every 8-9 inches. Screw these onto the 2x4 from the back and place at an angle for cat to use as a ladder. We screwed the ladder into the side of entertainment center. We also had to staple gun the box from the inside to the entertainment center so that it wouldn't slide off.

There you go, a rough carpentry project for beginners.

The entertainment center was made with rough pine boards as well. We've had these for a few years, and they are very stable with the heavy television, and have held up through all the bumps and rough treatment from children and pets. We custom made three of these(side by side) to fit the area, along with sliding toy chests which slide underneath the first shelf. Nothing fancy, but it works for storage and clutter control.

See more projects at the Make-it-from Scratch carnival.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Free Literature Based Unit Study(Lapbook): The Girl in the Rag Coat by Lauren Mill

From CurrClick:

"Imagine wearing a coat made from rags. Probably doesn’t sound like something you would see in the latest fashion magazine! Now imagine you are a little girl without a coat and you are given one made with scraps of fabric that played a role in the lives of many of your friends and family. It would be like wrapping yourself in a warm quilt each day. Learn more about this little girl and her rag coat when you read the heartwarming story, “The Rag Coat” by Lauren Mills and complete our newest Project Pack, “The Girl in the Rag Coat.” In this Project Pack, you will find a 6 page guide dedicated to the story, including questions to ask your student, a mini-research guide about quilting, coal mining, Appalachia, and a vocabulary list. Next, you will find 24 hands-on activities that correspond to the story and the guide. What a great way to wrap up your winter studies, with our newest Literature Unit, The Girl in the Rag Coat."

Click here for free download. Grades K-3.

2009 Update: this is no longer free.

Free Vintage Holiday Clipart

Click here. HT to Redbud's Lane.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Recycling: Chic Crafting with Oyster Shells

We live near the beach where the most common shell is the oyster shell. The oyster just happens to be our state's official shell. I like the ones off the beach because they have been rolled smooth and clean by the sea, not to mention the exercise and relaxation gained by hunting for them. If you have access to these shells, there are some creative ideas which blend well with cottage/bungalow chic or the shabby decorating style:

Christmas ornaments
: Drill a hole in them and hang them on your Christmas tree. These are even more beautiful under the twinkly lights if you paint them with decoupage type glue(watered down Elmer's) and sprinkle with white glitter. I sprayed mine with a clear paint to seal the glitter.

Oyster shell mosaic tables. I saw this in the most recent Allposter.com catalog. All you need is some tile grout and shells. This could be done on just about anything. See the oyster shell fireplace front for another mosaic idea , click to enlarge.

Shell jewelry is always fun. I look for flat small oyster shells(or pieces which have been worn smooth by the sea) with natural holes(or drill your own hole) and string them through a silver chain. You can dress up earrings this way as well, just slide them on to hoop earrings. Limpets are good for this as well.

Click here to see an all white oval shell mosaic mirror done mostly with oyster shells.

Finial Dressing: Shells look very pretty knotted on long ribbons which hang off the curtain rod finals. I've done this in the past with an oyster shell at the bottom.

Garlands: use parts of oyster shells that you find on the beach, drill holes in them and knot them along a long ribbon. In our first apartment, I strung the shells along white, creme and pale pink satin ribbon, very pretty. I don't have a picture of them, but I found this picture of a cowrie shell garland.

I've also done wreaths with oyster shells, used them as candle holders for tea light candles, and as soap holders(drill holes for drainage) . These shells would be beautiful grouted onto a wood cross using driftwood(straight and nailed together) or cut plywood. Whatever you do with the shells, they look better with a shabby chic edge; pair them and craft them with weathered and white items. If you start combining unnatural colors with them they just end up looking like garish elementary school craft items, and maybe not so chic.

Here's an idea from Catholic Traditions in Crafts, Baptismal Shell.

A Marian Grotto that you could reproduce with shells.

Religious symbolism: "Clam shells, scallop shells, and other types of shells are a symbol of a person's Christian pilgrimage or journey through life and of baptism in the church. In the middle ages, Christians wore the scallop shell to indicate that they had made a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James of Compostella in Spain. Placing a shell on a gravestone when visiting the site is an ancient custom and may in fact have several different meanings depending on the cultural background of the people placing the shells. The idea of crossing over a body of water to the promised land or crossing the River of Styx to the afterlife, the final journey to the "other side" is also part of the symbolism of the shell." ~ Assoc. for Gravestone Studies.

Shells are also symbols of life and resurrection, and baptism. The water of the ocean is symbolic of God's unlimited knowledge.

Shells always remind me of grottoes and the 18th century Rococo style(a combination of the French rocaille, or shell, and the Italian barocco, or Baroque style)' one of my favorite design styles. Rococo has a love of shell-like curves.

Shell lined grotto in England, Goldney Hall.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Homeschool: Free Printable and Downloadable Vintage Children'sThanksgiving Stories

All are free and in public domain. They should be defaulted to HTML, but if not use the sidebar(once you begin reading the book) to change to HTML if you want to print pages. Right click on the image of the page to prompt your computer for menu to print.

Good Stories for Great Holidays
by Frances Jenkins Olcott, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914. Click here. Contents:
For grades 1-4
A Thanksgiving Dinner, in White, When Molly was Six;
The Chestnut Boys, in Poulsson, In the Child's World; The
First Thanksgiving Day, in Wiggin and Smith, Story Hour;
The Marriage of Mondahmin, in Judd, Wigwam Stories; The
Turkey's Nest, in Lindsay, More Mother Stories; The Visit,
in Lindsay, More Mother Stories; Turkeys Turning the
Tables, in Howells, Christmas Every Day.

For grades 5-6.
A Dinner That Ran Away, in Miller, Kristy's Surprise
Party; A Mystery in the Kitchen, in Miller, Kristy's Surprise
Party; Ann Mary, Her Two Thanksgivings, in Wilkins,
Young Lueretia; An Old-Time Thanksgiving, in Indian Stories
Retold from St. Nicholas; The Coming of Thanksgiving, and
The Season of Pumpkin Pies, in Warner, Being a Boy; The
Magic Apples, in Brown, In the Days of Giants; St. Francis's
Sermon to the Birds, Longfellow (poem), in Story-Telling
For grades 7-8.
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, Alcott; The First
Thanksgiving Day, Preston (poem), in Story-Telling Poems; The
Night Before Thanksgiving, in Jewett, The Queen's Twin;
The Peace Message (poem), in Stevenson, Poems of Amercan
History; The Turkey Drive, in Sharp, Winter.

The First Book in United States History by Waddy Thompson, fifth grade, very detailed and a bit dry, but not if you enjoy facts. Quiz on page 95, The First Thanksgiving Day in America.

History of the United States for Catholic Schools by Charles Hallan McCarthy(middle school), The First Thanksgiving Day.

English Lessons by Ada Van Stone Harris(advanced fourth grade, fifth grade), Thanksgiving Lessons.

Stories for Every Holiday
by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, published by The Abingdon Press, 1918. Primer, beginning reader. The Story of Pilgrims.

TELL ME ANOTHER STORY, read aloud for young children, The First Thanksgiving.

Story Hour Readings by Ernest Clark Hartwell, Thanksgiving Day Proclamations: George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt.

In the Child's World By Emilie Poulsson, A Boston Thanksgiving and How Patty Gave Thanks.

The Childrens̓ Sunday Hour of Story and Song by Sara Bullard Moffatt, Julia Augusta Hidden, The First Thanksgiving.

Poems of American History, by Burton Egbert Stevenson(middle school - high school): The First Thanksgiving Day , The Thanksgiving in Boston, and The First Thanksgiving.

Live Language Lessons by Roscoe Driggs, lessons plans with stories: Third Grade, Fourth grade and Fifth grade.

The Merrill Third Grade Reader by Franklin Benjamin Dye, The First Thanksgiving.

World Stories Retold for Modern Boys and Girls by William James Sly, The Mayflower and The Pilgrims.

The Story of the Thirteen Colonies by Hélène Adeline Guerber, The First Thanksgiving(middle school).

Standish of Standish by Jane Goodwin Austin, The First Thanksgiving Day of New England(middle school and up).

History Reader for Elementary schools by Lucy Langdon Williams Wilson(about third grade), November Stories.

Primary Education, November 1914 short poems, stories, songs, and cutouts for young children, pages 576 - 580.

Foundation Lessons in English by Oskar Israel Woodley, The First Thanksgiving(middle and high school).

Guide Books to English
by Charles Benajah Gilbert(advanced third grade, fourth grade)

Short Stories from American History By Albert Franklin Blaisdell, The First Thanksgiving(late elementary)

Picture Study in Elementary Schools by Williams Wilson, picture study of Boughton's, The Mayflower.

More here and here(quick printables).

Veteran's Day


You know that day at Peach Tree Creek,
When the Rebs with their circling, scorching wall
Of smoke-hid cannon and sweep of flame
Drove in our Hunks, back ! back ! and all
Our toil seemed lost in the storm of shell —
That desperate day McPherson fell!

Our regiment stood in a little glade
Set round with half-grown red oak trees —
An awful place to stand, in full fair sight.
While the minie bullets hummed like bees.
And comrades dropped on either side —
That fearful day McPherson died!

The roar of the battle, steady, stern,
Rung in our ears. Upon our eyes
The belching cannon smoke, the half-hid swing

Of deploying troops, the groans, the cries.
The hoarse commands, the sickening smell —
That blood-red day McPherson fell !

But we stood there ! — when out from the trees,
Out of the smoke and dismay to the right
Burst a rider — His head was bare, his eye
Had a blaze like a lion fain for fight;
His long hair, black as the deepest night.
Streamed out on the wind. And the might Of his plunging horse was a tale to tell, And his voice rang high like a bugle's swell:
"Men, the enemy hem us on every side:
We'll whip 'em yet ! Close up that breach —
Remember your flag — don't give an inch!
The right flank's gaining and soon will reach —
Forward boys, and give 'em hell!" —
Said Logan after McPherson fell.

We laughed and cheered and the red ground shook,
As the general plunged along the line
Through the deadliest rain of screaming shells;
For the sound of his voice refreshed us all,
And we filled the gap like a roaring tide.
And saved the day McPherson died!

But that was twenty years ago.
And part of a horrible dream now past.
For Logan, the lion, the drums throb low
And the flag swings low on the mast:
He has followed his mighty chieftain through
The mist-hung stream, where gray and blue
One color stand,
And North to South extends the hand.
It's right that deeds of war and blood
Should be forgot, but, spite of all,
I think of Logan, now, as he rode
That day across the field: I hear the call
Of his trumpet voice — see the battle shine
In his stern, black eyes, and down the line
Of cheering men I see him ride. As on
the day McPherson died.
~Hamlin Garland

From Poems of American History by Burton Egbert Stevenson, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, 1908. Free and in Public domain.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Holiday Gift Card Deals

Applebee's $50.00 Gift Card $10.00 Bonus: "From November 3rd through New year’s Day, for every $50 in Gift Cards you buy in one of our restaurants, you’ll get a bonus certificate for $10 more…which you can give to a friend, or keep all to yourself! Just visit our restaurants for details."
More holiday restaurant deals here.

Kmart Gift Cards buy $50 card -- get $10 card FREE

Sears buy $75 Gift Card, get $10 gift card or combine with the Discover deal to get $740 in cards for $600. Sears deal ends today 11/9/08. Discover deal good through 1/4/09. Sears is also have a big Veteran's Day sale through Tuesday. 60% off clothing, 50% of some tools, and 50% off mattresses.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Homeschooling with Free Etexts

We use many of the free resources listed on my homeschooling etext library. I think I now have over 1000 homeschool books saved on my Google Books. There are so many wonderful texts for children, it's difficult to choose. I've downloaded quite a few to my SanDisk flash drive(virtual library) for viewing on our mini-laptop. Right now, I am having my son(age 10) rotate through a few of the readers and history texts on a daily basis.

One of my favorites this week is

Boy Kings and Girl Queens by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshal, published by F.A. Stokes company, 1915.

My son just read the story of Otto III, and it looked so interesting that I read it as well. This public domain book has beautiful color illustrations. Tomorrow he reads about Henry IV.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Make Your Own Vegetable Dyes

From Vegetable Dyes Being a Book of Recipes and Other Information Useful to the Dyer, published in 1938, London:


Birch. Betula alba. Fresh inner bark.

Bed-straw. Gallium boreale. Roots.

Common Sorrel. Rumex acetosa. Roots.

Dyer's Woodruff. Asperula tinctoria. Roots.

Evergreen Alkanet. Anchusa sempervirens.

Gromwell. Lithospermum arvense.

Lady's Bedstraw. Gallium verum. Roots.

Marsh Potentil. Potentilla Comarum. Roots.

Potentil. Potentilla Tormentilla. Roots.

Wild Madder. Rubia peregrina."

See more here. Free and in public domain.

Also see more here.

About Me

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I'm a homeschooling mom of two, a teen and a little. I hope this collection of mine helps you as much as it has helped us. I have an Etsy shop here:http://www.etsy.com/people/Alexandra66 And a blog: http://happyheartsathome.blogspot.com/