A Family Style Beatrix Potter Unit Study

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Life has been busy, and we have been back at school for a couple of months. For us, that translated into a little bit of schooling fatigue and the desire to do something a little different. I wanted to keep school going but have some fun and make some memories.

With that in mind, I decided that we would do a unit study on Beatrix Potter. While Beatrix Potter may have written her books for young children, I find that all ages can enjoy them.  

C.S. Lewis once said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” I think Beatrix Potter’s books are prime examples of good children’s books.

How to Use this Study

I designed this study to be something the whole family could join, though my younger children spent a bit more time digging into the books and completing the artwork. 

You can use these resources in a variety of ways. You could have a one-day focused on Beatrix Potter, or you can break it out and do something each morning during your morning time studies, or you could plan a couple of tea times over several weeks. It might be something you do at night for evening education. Use whatever schedule works best for your family.

Beatrix Potter Books

The obvious choices for books are those written by Beatrix Potter. You can find them in a variety of forms, from her entire collection to small books of each individual story. You can even find her complete collection on audiobook!

Personally, I think that the illustrations are an essential part of her books, so I recommend having a paper copy of the books even if you are also using audiobooks. I chose to read some of her stories aloud while showing my boys the pictures, but I also got an audio copy they could listen to later to continue enjoying the stories.

The book my grandparents gave me for my 1st Christmas. I enjoyed sharing it with my children.

There are also some excellent biographies of Beatrix Potter. One of our favorites is Who Was Beatrix Potter?. There are also some more in-depth biographies that would be suitable for teens and adults. If you enjoy coloring, you could try one of the available Beatrix Potter coloring books.

In addition to the picture books, there is a fun set of fictional novels based on Beatrix Potter’s life. The stories include a lot of accurate biographical information but also have fun elements, such as talking animals that are reminiscent of Potter’s own works. These novels are written for adults, but the content is appropriate, and my teenage daughter is beginning the series.

Art and Science for Beatrix Potter

Nature was highly inspirational in Beatrix Potter’s stories. She had spent many hours as a young child studying animals and nature. These stories can be a great way to get your child excited about nature study. Many of the animals she features in her books can be found easily in most areas of the country.

For example, you could read about Squirrel Nutkin and then go outside and look for squirrels. Students can draw a squirrel in their nature journal or do more research on squirrels. (If you want to get started with Nature Study but want a resource to help you get going, I recommend a subscription to Homeschool Nature Study.)

We incorporate art into our studies whenever it is feasible. It is a great way to help students remember what they are learning and have a fun project to share with others. Nana over at You Are an Artist has a beautiful chalk pastel lesson featuring some of Beatrix Potter’s characters in her Famous Artists course.

If you want to add even more art, you could use this Dover coloring book or look at the You Are an Artist animal lessons for chalk pastels of many of the animals included in Potter’s books.

Beatrix Potter Art

Tea Times and Snacks

In our house, snacks are essential to a good unit study. They make things fun, help create memories, and are just plain delicious. It is incredible how much more exciting a literature discussion becomes to my teens when there is a good snack involved.

For this Beatrix Potter study, we decided to do scones and tea since Potter was British. This was perfect because it was reasonably simple and delicious; they could enjoy it while I read aloud. We also had all of the ingredients in the house already.

My daughter helped and made the scones for us, but if you don’t have time to make something homemade, you can use a pre-bought pastry or cookie. (Don’t feel guilty about making memories from a box mix.)

If you have younger children, you can put herbal tea, milk, juice, or hot cocoa into tea cups to make it feel special without the caffeine from regular hot teas.

Tea parties are so much fun and make a simple snack feel fancy. Check your local thrift stores or yard sales if you do not have tea cups already. You can generally find them for $1 or less in our area; that way, if they accidentally get broken, it is no big deal.

Other Beatrix Potter Resources

Remember that you can pick and choose what resources work best for your family and how you want to implement any study. Have fun and make memories with your children while enjoying beautiful literature and artwork. I have included a few other resources that I’ve found in the list below. If you have a favorite resource for Beatrix Potter, share it in the comments.

Tales of Beatrix Potter movie

Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher movie

Beatrix Potter Teether Book (for the youngest family members)

Peter Rabbit Book and Toy set

Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box

Miss Potter Movie (free on Amazon but rated PG. We have not yet watched it, so preview it to ensure it is appropriate for your family.)

Scone Recipe

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library, you will get a link and password; we are adding new items to the library monthly. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you updated on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always, I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in, and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

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Light of Mine Book Review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

I am a bookaholic. I love books to read for myself and books for my children, but most of all, I love books I can share with my children. Our family loves doing family read-alouds and audiobooks. We enjoy many favorite classics, but I always look for new books to add to our collection. That is why I jumped on the opportunity to review Allen Brokken’s Light of Mine Unit Study – Premium through Towers of Light Christian Resources LLC.

What is Light of Mine?

Light of Mine is a 205-page novel that shares the adventures of three siblings as they battle the “dark one” and learn to shine the light of God’s love. The book was full of adventures, mishaps, and excitement. Through it, Brokken weaves the gospel truth into the story. It is the first book in the Towers of Light series.

The adventures are family-friendly, but some intense moments in the book might be a bit much for really young or sensitive children. For example, in the beginning, the father has gone off to fight the “dark one,” and the children believe he is lost and presumed dead. Their mother then leaves them at home to go and save him.

What was in the Unit Study Bundle?

The Light of Mine Unit Study – Premium included the novel, workbook, and audiobook for Light of Mine. The workbook is recommended for grades 3-6+. The workbook breaks the book down into a four-week study, with activities for five days a week. The first four days of the week include:

  • A reading assignment.
  • Reading comprehension questions.
  • Vocabulary.
  • Memory verse.
  • A story passage for more in-depth discussion.

The fifth day of the week has an activity or craft to accompany the week’s reading. The book also has an answer key to help parents facilitate the study.

The bundle also included the audiobook as mp3 files on a thumb drive and a personal audio player. I loved having both options and that my younger children could listen independently without needing any other technology when using the personal audio player.

How Did We Use the Light of Mine Bundle?

The design of the unit study involves reading a chapter or two a day through the course of the study and doing the work in the workbooks over the course of a month. However, I knew that my eight-year-old son would enjoy it but would need a little extra support. I also felt it would be a fun listen while we were riding on a trip we had planned during the review period.

So, I decided that we would listen to the whole book as a family. Then I could go back and have my eight-year-old reread a chapter at a time and work through the workbook. This strategy will give him extra exposure and still give us a fun family audio.

What Did We Think?

My husband and son thought the book started slowly, but it did not take too long to get everyone hooked! We enjoyed the book’s adventure and appreciated the spiritual lessons included. (They did take a different take on a couple of issues than we do, but we were still pleased with the overall spiritual lessons.) It was a great family read-aloud but be mindful that parts might be scary for young/sensitive children.

The workbook is best for upper elementary students, and the book is probably best for third or fourth grade and above if used as an independent read.

My one complaint is that the book ends with a cliffhanger. While we are excited to continue to read the story, I personally dislike not having closure at the end of a book, even when it is a series. That said, I would still recommend the book, just expect the cliffhanger and a desire to purchase the next book in the series.

“I am enjoying the book. I enjoy listening to the siblings and how they work together to make things happen. Sparkle frog is cool.” Elizabeth Age, 14

My eight-year-old loved it so much that we had to have “oakameal” for breakfast, which was how the youngest sibling in the story said oatmeal.

If this sounds like a book your family would enjoy, you can find out more at Light of Mine Unit Study – Premium, and click on the graphic below to see what other crew families thought!

Unit Study

A Cranberry Valentine Homeschool Unit Study

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If you have been following this blog for very long, you probably already know that Valentine’s at our house means ice cream sundaes! My children start reminding me about this fun family tradition by mid-January.

In addition to ice cream sundaes, we love to read Cranberry Valentine. Cranberry Valentine is another book in one of our favorite series; you might be more familiar with Cranberry Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Valentine Homeschool Unit Study

A Cranberry Valentine Homeschool Unit Study

Cranberry Valentine is a fun story involving Mr. Whiskers, Maggie, Grandmother, and the ladies of Cranberryport. We enjoy it because it is a good reminder about the value of friendship and how we can use valentines to help us show our friends how much we appreciate them.

There is a fun recipe for Cranberry Upside Down Cake at the end of the book. You can make this to celebrate after you read the book, or make it ahead of time and enjoy it while you read the book aloud.

Hands-On Ideas for A Cranberry Valentine

Handmade Valentine cards are a great way to add a hands-on component to this study. Depending on the ages of your children, they can create them all on their own, you could cut out hearts for them, or maybe you could write on them, and they could decorate them with crayons and stickers.

If you want a little more inspiration, you could check out the chalk pastel heart lesson from Nana at You ARE an Artist. It is simple enough for preschoolers and a great start for older children.

These are the perfect cheap and easy gifts for neighbors and friends. It shows them you care and will bring a smile to their faces.

If your children love Mr. Whiskers, you can also check out this Mr. Whiskers art tutorial.

Mr. Whiskers

Science Ideas for A Cranberry Valentine

You can tie science to your Cranberry Valentine study by learning more about this delicious fruit and how it is farmed. There are many resources online, but this blog has some great basic information, and this video is excellent for showing how cranberries are harvested.

If you want to do some science experiments, you can check out this list of 10 fun science experiments with cranberries.

Nature Study for A Cranberry Valentine

We love incorporating nature study into our units. If you have one locally, a cranberry bog would be a fantastic field trip. However, we live too far south for cranberries, so we will study them in our home.

You can grab a bag of fresh cranberries from the store and let your children study them. They can dissect them to see what they look like on the inside. Next, use a magnifying glass or microscope to look at the seeds and different parts of the cranberries.

Then they can draw and write about them in their nature journals. If you need help getting started with nature journaling, I recommend checking out Homeschool Nature Study. They have some great information and printable templates.  

Free Printables for Cranberry Valentine

For children old enough to write and spell, you can add a bit of word practice to your study. I have included a printable pack in the resource library with Cranberry Valentine printables. Your child can make words from the letters in cranberry and valentine.

There are also some fun writing prompts to go along with the book. It always amazes me how much more they enjoy writing about something fun.

Finally, if your children are fond of the If You Give a Mouse series… you can check out this fun Valentine’s Day movie that is free with Amazon Prime.

I hope your family enjoys Cranberry Valentine as much as our family does. We read it every year. I would love for you to share your ideas or experiences in the comments below.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

YWAM Heroes of History: Thomas Edison (Review)

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew

When the opportunity to review a book from the Heroes of History series by YWAM Publishing arose, the only question was which title we would choose. We love the YWAM Publishing biographies and were excited about the chance to review a new title!

We have used titles from these series as read-alouds, pleasure reading, and as part of literature study for my older students. There are so many great options.

YWAM Publishing

For this review, I decided to let my daughter choose the book and use it as part of her literature studies. After looking over the various titles, she chose to read the book about Thomas Edison.

Thomas Edison: Inspiration and Hard Work was written by Janet and Geoff Benge. It is a paperback chapter book that is recommended for ages 10+. They are written from a Christian worldview.

We think they are ideal for upper elementary and middle grades. However, they are interesting enough to still make good pleasure reading for my high school student. They also work great for younger students as read alouds.

In addition to the paperback book, YWAM Publishing also graciously provided us with the coordinating unit study. The unit study is over 80 pages of ideas, projects, worksheets, and maps to use with the book.

The first section of the unit study is key quotes that go along with the study. Some are quotes by the Thomas Edison and others are quotes that relate to his work and character.

Next, there are ideas for building a display corner. This is an area in your home that your student can put things that are relevant to Thomas Edison. This might be maps of where he lived, pictures, models, diagrams, examples of his inventions. This can make a great visual to help students remember more from what they read.

Third, there are about six comprehension questions for each chapter of the book. You could have your student do all of the questions, but I chose to have my daughter answer just the ones that I selected.

Next is the part my children enjoy most, the activities! There are a variety of suggested activities to choose from in various categories ranging from hands-on projects to essays to audio/visual projects. There are also art and craft project options.

My daughter chose to complete the hands-on project of writing and sending a message in Morse code. She enjoyed writing it and hearing how it sounded. She also shared it with her brother.

The next section of the unit study is community links. These are suggested field trips or people that could be interviewed to increase your knowledge of either the person you read about or his field of expertise.

For example, some of the suggestions given in the Thomas Edison study were interviewing a draftsman to talk about blueprints or going to a power plant/power plant museum.

In the social studies section, there are mapping projects, vocabulary terms, geographical characteristics, and questions to ponder. My daughter did the mapping projects and I felt that it really helped her to understand where the events took place.

Finally, the unit study includes a culminating event and a books and resources section. The culminating event is a fun party style event to close out the end of the study and the books and resources section provides ideas for additional study.

My daughter said, “I enjoyed the way they talked about his life and his inventions and how they were made.” When asked about the unit study portion she said, “I really liked the link they gave for a program where you could type a message in and it would give you the Morse code translation.”

She recommends it for middle schoolers and anyone who was interested in history and inventions.  The only thing she would have changed was making the map larger for the geography activity because there were a lot of places to include on the small map.

Whether you want a fun read-aloud, a new pleasure book, or an in-depth unit study, I absolutely love these books. The unit studies are great because there are so many options, the books are very educational and they are written from a Christian worldview.

I love that it is so easy to pick and choose what components we want to complete to make it as short or in-depth of a unit study as we would like to do.

You can check out my reviews of Benjamin Franklin, Orville Wright, or Alan Shepard. Don’t forget to click on the graphic below to see which books other Crew Members reviewed and how they choose to use them in their homes.

YWAM Publishing

Hands-On Insect Unit Study Early Elementary

A couple of years ago, I purchased a butterfly growing kit for my son. It was a huge success and he has been talking about it ever since. He wanted to do another one this year, but we decided to try a Ladybug Habitat instead. He loved that kit just as much and is even considering using part of his birthday money to buy more ladybug larvae.

The Ladybug Habitat sparked an deeper interest in insects and so we decided to dig a little deeper and do an entire unit on insects during our science time together. There are hundreds of great resources on insects for young children, but I pulled together some of our favorite. I tried to make sure to include a variety of materials that would be of interest to different learning styles and ages.

Hands-On Insect Projects

We have been collecting bugs in jars to study for a little bit before releasing them. Years ago, I purchased the book, Pets in a Jar. This book has been a wonderful resource for knowing how to care for the various insects that we collect.

Next, we combined our insect study with our art lessons! We use You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels for our art lessons and Nana has several great insect lessons. Benjamin especially enjoyed the Ladybug lesson in the Garden Nature course!

Reading and Lessons

Our local library had a good variety of both fiction and non-fiction books about insects that we are using in our read-aloud time. We also enjoyed reading and coloring the Insects Mini-book from My Teaching Library.

We will be continuing our study by using some of the lessons from the Charlotte Mason Style Insect Lessons (Unit 4) and Lessons 1-2 of All About Animals (Grades 1-2) from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. There are some great hands-on activities and even some that my three year old can join.

They even have insect themed poetry with some of the lessons. I love that there is a combination of reading/worksheet type learning and hands-on activities. They also have some courses for older students if you are doing this as a family study.

My son had a birthday as we were working through this unit and decided to use a bug theme, so we included multiple bug themed snacks at the party. Those snacks could also be a great way to start or finish your study of insects.

Since my son is still showing so much interest, we plan to study ants as the next component of our insect study. He is considering using a bit of his birthday money to purchase this ant farm, so that he can watch how the ants dig and tunnel underground.

Resources

I have included a variety of wonderful insect resources below that can help you put together a unit study for your family. While I focused on resources for early elementary school, many of the resources can be used with older students or in a family environment.

Schoolhouse Teachers Lessons:

Wonderful World of Bugs (4 week class for grades 2-7)

Charlotte Mason Style Insect Lessons (Unit 4)

Lessons 1-2 of All About Animals (Grades 1-2)

Insect and Bug Word Maker Worksheet

My Teaching Library Resources

Insect Coloring Pages

Insects Mini-book

Ants Hands-On Science

Chalk Pastel Lessons

Fun Snacks

Hands-On Resources

Ladybug Habitat

Butterfly Garden

Books and Movies

Magic School Bus Rot Squad and Ants in Its Pants

Peterson’s First Guide to Insects of North America

Peterson’s First Guide to Butterflies and Moths

Pets in a Jar

What are your favorite resources for learning about insects? We would love to know what your children enjoy. Tell us in the comments!

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Journey Homeschool Academy  15% off through 4/22

Up to 75% off Science and STEM from Evan Moor!

FREE Month of Kindle Unlimited: I have been using this for my own pleasure reading as well as books for my son and daughter and really enjoying it.

Free ABC Mouse Trial: Looking for a little summer education for your children when it is too hot to play outside? ABC Mouse is offering a FREE 30 day trial. This is a great way to give it a try and see if it works for your child.