Archive for February, 2010

Extra! Extra!

Here are my kids’ attempts at making their own newspaper about the Revolution. These are the front pages. They each have a back. My daughter’s on the right (4th grade) follows the template included in the lapbook pretty closely, but she added ads! My son (2nd grade) did his own thing. I had him just write who, what, where, when and why questions and then the answers instead of trying to form them into an article. My daughter had to answer all those questions in her articles.

Here’s the link to the Revolutionary War newspaper template. We used this as a guide and the kids made these themselves using Microsoft Publisher. (Here’s a link to download free software similar to Publisher.)

You can read revolution newspapers here. Each picture and title is a link to a newspaper article written about the event as if it just happened. This is a PBS site.

We also played Liberty’s Kids. This is a computer game where you are reporters and you ask the 5 W’s to the different characters and save the best quotes for your newspaper. You get points for choosing the best quotes–full of details and containing facts, not opinions. I bought it several years ago from the free homeschool software website–warning, they’re lying. It’s not free. Free, plus $7 shipping and handling PER item!


February 28, 2010 at 11:53 am Leave a comment

More Fiddling and More Free Stuff

I need to go wash the dishes now 🙂 but I just wanted to write a little note to tell you what I’ve done. I’ve decided it makes most sense to have all the files on the blog. All the files from the Yahoo Group can now be downloaded from the Free Stuff! page.

If you join the Yahoo Group, I will send you an email as soon as something new is created. For example the American Revolution Lapbook was made last summer, but it didn’t make it onto the blog until we did it in February.

I’ve also got a bee in a bonnet about organizing all the free stuff for homeschoolers online. Way too much to organize, but I’m thinking over the most useful way to organize what’s available. I’m not going to link to just sites, but to the individual page on the site where you download the specific topic you are looking for. I just started today with making a page with the links to the Ray’s Arithmetic books and keys. You can buy the complete set for like $50 or something, or you can download them for free! I will tell you more later…don’t send me ideas yet! Let me get it started and I will unveil it to you and then you can give me ideas!

February 24, 2010 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment


I’ve been fiddling with the set up here. The biggest change is that I’ve taken off my “box” where I kept things for download. I didn’t like how you couldn’t see the names of the files. Anyway, there are some files you can download right off the site and you can find them by clicking on the Free Stuff! page. I will always put new lapbooks there for a while so anyone  who wants can get them without joining the group.

The full list of the files that can be download at the Simply Lapbooks Yahoo Group can be found by clicking on the Simply Lapbooks page button along the top of this page. I don’t have detailed descriptions up of those files yet. You can search the blog to see pictures of the ones we’ve done so far. (We haven’t done the country ones yet.)

And I also managed to add a “fan” button for  my facebook fan page for the novel I have written. If you are on facebook, please be my fan 🙂 I have gotten some test readers and have gotten in some reviews and am waiting on a bunch more. And waiting…

I realized I don’t have any college students reading the novel yet. If you know a Christian college student who enjoys reading, maybe you can put us in touch. I can email a pdf version of the book to them if they are willing to write me a “blurb” to use in advertising the book. I’m trying to get male and female reviewers from teens up through retirees.

You can read more about the book (and even the first chapter) at the book’s blog  You can also read about how the book came about. Do you guys use Homeschool Freebie of the Day? Do you remember the one “How to teach your 7 to 9 year olds to write a novel?” The book actually developed from me doing those lessons with my kids, not out of any aspiration or plan on my part.

There are two new posts below so keep on reading…

February 23, 2010 at 12:26 am Leave a comment

American Revolution Lapbook (and Notebooking Pages)

(Find the Downloads on the Free Stuff page)

We took three weeks on this lapbook and worked on notebooking pages at the same time. This was a biggie more than 30 pieces. I was inspired to make it after reading the book, Johnny Tremain, over the summer. It’s been sitting around waiting for us to get to it.

The book is about the events leading up to the war and ends with “the shot heard round the world.” I was fascinated (and concerned) by the similarities to today. I prepared several Bible pieces for this one to encourage discussion from a biblical point of view. The topics are: pride, fear, “Whom Shall We Obey” and “God’s Way”.

We Americans are ingrained with the value of independence from the moment we’re born. As someone who’s lived outside of America for the last 8 years, I have the benefit of realizing how culture affects our beliefs. I hope you and your family will read the Scriptures and talk about these things. It’s provided some great dinner-time conversation around here. You can see more about the Bible portion below. I’ve also included a link to just the Bible  portion if you aren’t using this lapbook but would like to include Bible study into your study of the Revolution.

Okay, here we go. This is a double lapbook. I attached the side flaps of two “file folders” together (we don’t use actual file folders just big paper). That all fold together so that it opens like a book. Then I taped on a half of a “file folder” to the back making another page. I stapled our notebooking pages onto that flap.

Here are the pictures.

First flap: Bullets, Gunpowder, Cartridges; Revolutionary Leaders; British Generals; George Washington; the British viewpoint

Inside first lapbook page: vocabulary, timeline, book about various punishments (stocks, firing squad, etc.), Declaration of Independence, Liberty Quotes (For some reason John Adams’ quote doesn’t show up, and I can’t seem to be able to do anything about it–you can put in your own. It includes two Bible verses and quotes from several Revolutionary leaders). The government piece doesn’t require any writing. It has a written description of Congress and Parliament inside. Also there is a piece for the definitions of tyranny and liberty, for the first  flag and to write about today’s tea parties.

I put an article in there about the tea party movement. I consider myself apolitical. I think salvation comes through Christ alone and not through any political party. But like I said, there are similarities to what was going on before the American Revolution, and I find it intriguing to think about. When we are kids, we think the war was about liberty and taxation without representation. When we get older, we realize that it was mostly about money (like just about everything).

Here are more pictures from that same page in the lapbook.

The directions for the PRIDE piece actually say to cut out the ovals and staple them (or use a brad). My daughter didn’t bother with the directions and made an accordion piece, problem is that it doesn’t quite close right that way 🙂

The Bible pieces have a “For Thinking Over” section. They are basically all done the same way, just in different forms. You copy the verses from your version of choice and discuss or write about the questions.

The PRIDE piece is a theme from Johnny Tremain. He is proud of his work as a silversmith and looses use of his hand seemingly as punishment for his pride. The book also mentions the pride of the British. The piece poses the question for the brave of heart what is modern America proud of and have there been consequences to that pride.

The FEAR piece is about how the British and the rebels used fear to try to control people and how we are told to fear God alone and how fear affects who we obey.

The “Whom Shall We Obey” piece has two verses. One saying we are to obey are government and one is Peter saying should we obey God or man. The questions are about when we are to obey the government and when are we to disobey. The other questions apply these standards to the Revolution and the Separatist Pilgrims.

The “God’s Way” piece has several themes. What is God’s form of government? (Is Jesus returning to establish a democracy?) What is God’s way of delivering from tyranny?

If your family gets into this theme, you might want to read The Bronze Bow. It’s not American history, but it’s a story of the Jews thinking the Messiah was going to come and deliver them from their oppressive government. In the end the main character realizes Jesus gives a greater deliverance.

Here’s the link to download just these four Bible pieces. (If you download the whole thing, they are included.)  Bible pieces

Okay, back the American Revolution.

Here is inside the second section of the lapbook. I made a correction on the questions below the map. If you already downloaded it, it can be used as is, but if you like here is the correct question (Charlestown to Concord). Map piece fix This has been fixed in the file if you download the whole thing.

Throughout the lapbook there is a mixture of blank pieces that require the student to write sentences, pieces that require one word answers, and some that require no writing. I do this so that different students of different levels can work together on a lapbook and each contribute according to their ability. It also can be useful for getting more pieces done in one day if you assign ones that don’t require writing along with ones that require more writing.

I thought this was interesting. I found two pictures of the Boston Tea Party that were very different from each other. Answering the questions inside will tell the student which painting is more accurate.

For more on the battles of the war use the notebooking pages.

Almost there…here’s the back of the second lapbook and the extra page flap I taped on.

I have the notebooking pages my daughter completed stapled above so you can only see one. Here are some more of them. I think there are about 30 of them. Sorry, they aren’t done creatively. They are all  in the same basic format.

This week my daughter is working on a newspaper about the Revolution. I’ll post about how we’re doing that next week when she finishes.

As with the lapbook and unit study materials I found a mistake among the notebooking pages as well. If you already downloaded this and want a page that says, “David Bushnell’s Submarine” instead of “David’s…” you can download just that one page here. Submarine fix The typo has been fixed in the file for anyone downloading now.

So that’s that. You can download the whole kit and caboodle by clicking on the Free Stuff! button at the top.

February 22, 2010 at 11:50 pm 12 comments

Johnny Tremain Unit Study Materials

We’re still not finished working on our study of the American Revolution, but we’ve finished putting together the lapbook so I’ve got pictures to share. Here are some pictures and descriptions of the materials we used to complement our reading of Johnny Tremain. I didn’t get pictures of absolutely everything, but most of it. If you have already downloaded this, I made a change to one of the math pages. I have the link to download just that one page below.


These are the vocab pages. Three pages list the words and their definitions and the student is to copy the sentence from the book where it is found. The fourth page has the sentences from the book and the student is to look up the definitions. The “Action!” page has the line “I think that I can do it” written on it. The student is to say that line shrewdly, glibly, diffidently, etc. (all vocab words). All the directions for how to use the pages are included in the materials. Hope you have fun acting out your vocab!


There is a page with a descriptive quote to be copied from the book. There are three art projects based on the quote.


The writing portion includes: two writing prompts, three pages about descriptive writing including a lesson on similes (directions and examples are included) and a poem lesson based on Longfellow’s Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.


Fire safety might fit under health, not science, but I have listed it here. When in America, Pennsylvania is our home state so we try to follow their guidelines including having fire safety in our curriculum. We sneaked it in here since Johnny experiences a bad burn. The other topics on the notebooking pages are Hylas, melting silver and healing from a bad burn. If you’ve read the book, you’ll recognize the melting silver and healing from a burn, but Hylas? On that notebooking page there is the quote from the book  where that comes from.


Here are two pages of word problems and two pages about scale drawing (a mapping skill). I changed something on the word problem page pictured in the front here. If you have already downloaded this and want the corrected sheet, click here Math fix .

You can download all at once all of the above materials by clicking on the “Free Stuff” button at the top of the page.

February 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm Leave a comment

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