The Real Thomas Jefferson

the real thomas jeffersonRecently, our family was discussing the upcoming spring break vacation. For the past three years, our vacation has revolved around the topic of American History. A few of the historical landmarks we have visited in the past include The National Mall, The United States Capitol and Capitol Hill, Arlington House and Arlington National Cemetery, The Washington Monument, and Mount Vernon. During our discussion The White House tour, Ford’s Theater, Colonial Williamsburg, Independence Hall and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello were among the historical sites mentioned by family members. As the discussion continues, all of us are in agreement that Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is definitely on the list this year.

Since we will be visiting Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, I decided I wanted to read up on the gentleman who authored the Declaration of Independence, and was our nation’s third president. After posting the question on a homeschooling forum board, the administrator, Rachel, pointed me in the direction of Andrew M. Allison’s book, The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom. 

In The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom, the author, Andrew M. Allison paints a portrait of Thomas Jefferson’s life and ideas utilizing Jefferson’s own words. The first part, Thomas Jefferson: Champion of Liberty focuses on the story of Jefferson’s life and ideas. The second part of the biography focuses on An Intimate View of Jefferson by His Grandson and Timeless Treasures from Thomas Jefferson. The latter portion contains the most significant passages from Jefferson’s writings.

The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom by Andrew M. Allison is part of the American Classics Series available for purchase through The National Center for Constitutional Studies.

Kathy Alphs


Quote of the Day

Happy-child-playing-with-toy-airplane-600x400Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning is young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

Henry Ford

Beautiful Feet Ancient History: A Literature Approach


Beautiful Feet Ancient History: A Literature Approach is co-authored by homeschooling mother, Rea Berg and her daughter, homeschool graduate Rebecca Manor.

Beautiful Feet Ancient History is based on the teachings of British educator, Charlotte Mason as described in Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s book “For the Children’s Sake.” This Ancient history course is written for the intermediate grades and senior high grades. The study guide is divided into two parts. The first part is for the intermediate grade level, while the second part is for the senior high grade level.

The scope of history covered is from the rise of civilization to the fall of Rome.
The course outline is a follows:
Part 1 The Rise of Civilization
Part 2 Ancient Egypt
Part 3 Ancient Greece
Part 4 Ancient Rome.

The study guide also includes the Introduction: When Should I Teach Ancient History? by Rea Berg, How This Guide Is Used: Answers to frequently asked questions, Intermediate and Senior High Teacher’s Notes, Intermediate and Senior High Lesson Plans and Intermediate and Senior High Answer Keys.

“Living books” such as “Tales of Ancient Egypt” by Roger Lancelyn Green, ” The Cat of Bubastes” by G.A. Henty, ” The Children’s Homer” by Padraic Colum, “Antony and Cleopatra” by William Shakespeare and “Augutus Caesar’s World” by Genevieve Foster are the backbone of the curriculum.

Note booking is incorporated into each lesson, so at the end of the year your student will have a record of what they have studied. Beautiful Feet Books publishes an “Ancient History TimeLine” which I would highly recommend to accompany the student’s note booking experience.

Overall our family has been very pleased with Ancient History: A Literature Approach.

Kathy Alphs

Nature Study: Our Feathered Friends


When our family moved into our new home fifteen years ago, our neighbor, Miss Jean, gifted us with a copy of The Golden Field Guide Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. For the past fifteen years, bird watching has become one of our family’s favorite outdoor activities. Bird watching can take place anywhere: Looking out a window indoors, sitting in a chair on the deck or while walking through the neighborhood. Staples for bird watching include a field guide, a pair of binoculars and establishing a feeding station for the birds in your backyard.


birdfeederOne of our most memorable nature study activities during our child’s preschool years was creating DIY Bird Feeders using a toilet paper tube, peanut butter, bird seed a a piece of yarn. To learn how to make this nature craft please click on the link to Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus for the instructions.

Happy Bird Watching!

Kathy Alphs


Quote of the Day

Heart-Wallpaper-On-Wallpaper-Hd-10“Homeschooling is largely heart to heart. The methods and even the curriculum do not matter nearly as much as the relationship between child and parent.”

Ruth Beechick From the Heart and Mind: What the Bible Says About Learning

Bright Ideas in Science Curriculum


While searching for a science curriculum which would teach scientific concepts, and integrate the Christian faith, homeschooling mother, Stephanie Redmond was encouraged by her friends to write what would become, “Christian Kids Explore Biology.” Due to the positive response of “Christian Kids Explore Biology,” Stephanie has written a second volume, “Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space.”
“Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space” contains 24 lessons and six unit reviews which cover the topic of earth and space science. The curriculum is comprised of the following components:
A Note from the Author
How to Use This Book
Unit One
Getting Started: Earth’s Creation; Facts About Earth and Its Structure; Wrap Up
Unit Two
The Lithosphere: Plate Tectonics; Caves; Volcanoes; Earthquakes; Rock Types on Earth; Wrap Up
Unit Three
The Hydrosphere: Introduction; Oceans; Groundwater; Glaciers and Icebergs; Wrap Up
Unit Four
The Atmosphere: Introduction; Atmospheric Pressure; Humidity; Air Composition; Wrap Up
Unit Five
Earth’s Weather: Introduction to Weather & Seasons; Cloud Formation; Precipitation; Thunderstorms & Tornadoes; Hurricanes; Wrap Up
Unit Six
Beyond Earth: Makeup of the Universe; The Sun; Earth’s Moon; The Eight Other Planets; Wrap Up
The curriculum also includes a Glossary, Index and Appendices: A Note from the Author, How to Use This Book, Glossary and Appendices: Reproducible Maps, Forms and Illustrations, Memorization Lists, Scripture Memory, Coloring Pages, Recipes and Supplemental Activities, How to Make a Folder book, Book and Resource List and Answer Key.
Each lesson unit introduces the topic with a unit timeline, vocabulary words, and materials needed for the unit. The lesson itself is made up of two building blocks: Teaching Time and Hands on Time. I would highly recommend purchasing the resource cd download which contains the reproducible pages in the back of the text.
Overall, we have been pleased with this curriculum as it lends itself to the Classical Education and Charlotte Mason philosophies. Scientific concepts are presented in an engaging and easy to understand manner. This allows the student to build upon their interest through research and scientific experimentation. In the fall of 2014, our child is looking forward to utilizing the next book in this series “Christian Kids Explore Chemistry.”

Kathy Alphs