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The Schoolnest History Notebook and Timeline Review!

Last year when my son and I were studying voting rights I remember the frustration I had writing down the timeline of the sequence of events on our board. I wanted him to have a visual keepsake of this important historical time period. So on our little whiteboard, I squeezed as much as I could and left it up there for a week as we studied. When it came time to erase it I took a picture of it and went on a hunt to find a way to record things for our history. What I was finding I wasn’t happy with so our timeline would have to live on my phone in the meantime. Then it happened The Schoolnest published a History Timeline notebook.

About The Schoolnest

Megan is a Michigan homeschool mom of 2 littles who is bringing love for learning through art, nature, creativity, and reading. Her approach to education is respecting the beauty of childhood and play. You can’t help but notice how she embraces Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, and Montessori philosophies in her homeschool. Her website is full of beautifully crafted simple journals, notebooks, and homeschool resources. She also writes a wonderful blog that is full of helpful ideas for parenting, homeschooling, art, and mindfulness. All are welcome on The Schoolnest website and blog, I found several diverse blog posts and literature recommendations.

I was so happy when Megan the founder of The Schoolnest launched her rainbow notebooks, from the first glance on her Instagram I knew I had to have them all. I purchased several of the notebooks for our school year then she published her History Timeline and it blew me away because it was exactly what I needed.

History Notebook and History Timeline

The History Timeline notebook is one the most unique books I have seen. The notebook gives you the ability to track history from:

  • Prehistory
  • Ancient
  • Middle Ages
  • Early Modern
  • Modern Times

What I feel like is a great family heirloom in History Timeline, is the beginning pages called “My History” I love these pages because we can record our family history and document things we felt were important to us during a year. The paper quality is excellent there are 115 pages and there are blank pages at the end. The entire is book is grid paper except for the dates, there is also B.C.E-C.E also included. There is plenty of space to write and post pictures, drawings, and clippings for creativity. The grid paper is excellent for writing and helping students contain their writings neatly. What I like about this timeline notebook is that it is just that a notebook. I can keep everything contained neatly in one spot and it is easy to flip through and we can use this 1 notebook over a long period of time.

The History Notebook is great for notebooking. We have used ours to notebook our unit study of Mesoamerica and currently, we are working on Ancient China. We study so much history in our home and notebooking has allowed him to have fun with notebooking. In the history notebook, there are 100 pages on the left page is 1/3 blank and the rest of the page is a grid. On the right side, the bottom is lined and the top is blank. There is a blank table of contents page and a study reference page. Kids can draw, color, cut and paste, make notes, and be creative. We have added pictures and written notes in our history notebook and added notebook printables. The paper quality is excellent, writes, glues, and colors smoothly.

Rainbow Notebooks

If you are looking to explore the other notebooks in The Schoolnest collection you will not be disappointed. So far we have collected:

  • Science
  • Vocabulary
  • Spelling
  • Mathematics
  • Commonplace
  • Project Planner
  • Reading Journal
  • 4th Grade

All of the notebooks come in 12 vibrant rainbow colors, 8.5 x 11, matte softcover, and superior binding. The Schoolnest notebooks are inexpensive ($8) and can be purchased from Amazon. If you are in the market for a planner The Schoolnest has you covered she has a Homeschool Lesson Planning Notebook, you can check out a review of this great planner on Brittany Olga Youtube and Home Life with Quin 5 Instagram (Planner and Reading Journal) and check out Mama Sweet Baby (Spelling Notebook).

The Schoolnest notebooks are a must-have for your homeschool if you haven’t checked them out I highly recommend you do. We love our notebooks and I am looking forward to seeing any new books The Schoolnest publishes.

Blessings,

Mom and J

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The Learn & Live: Mesoamerica Review

Complimentary product received from The Learn & Live Letter!

This post contains affiliate links at no extra charge to you the reader.

As a homeschool mom, I have always been stuck on what part of history to teach in our home and how. There are so many wonderful curricula you can choose from, but if you are looking for true gentle history the choices tend to narrow down immensely. We enjoy unit study learning in our home and at times we just want to step away from traditional textbook history and have fun. I was really happy when The Learn & Live Letter ladies reached out to me to check out their November Mesoamerica unit.

About The Learn & Live Letter

The Learn & Live Letter was created by two homeschool moms who wanted to bring the joy of play-based learning to their children. They created their own homeschools around the philosophy of interested-led and hands-on learning. Cynthia and Justine enlisted the help of several well-known highly qualified contributors in the education and homeschool community to help create monthly themed 4-week play-based learning units. Each unit covers science, history, geography, art, music, math, reading, and writing. The Learn & Live Letter also embraces the Charlotte Mason approach, you won’t find worksheets or busy work in these monthly themed units. If you are wondering about the diversity of The Learn & Live Letter team you will not be disappointed.

Because learning comes naturally to your child’s development. They learn with and by the world around them—and, as parents and caretakers, all we have to do is open that door.

The Learn & Live Letter

The Learn & Live Letter units are designed for the homeschool parent, while non-homeschool families can benefit from this wonderful program, the design is for that homeschool parent. There are 3 levels to choose from level 1 (3 to 5 ), Level 2 (5 to 7), and level 3 (7 to 12). Families can choose to do a monthly subscription or a yearly subscription. The yearly subscription would guarantee you 36 weeks of lessons. Each level is different and provides age-appropriate activities. The units come to you via email and you click the link that will take you to your levels monthly instruction pages. The company also provides you a schedule of when you will receive the next unit’s email which is always a week before the upcoming month. There is also scope and sequence you can look at which is great for pacing and lining up your lessons. The company is still growing so the 2022 lineup is still building.

November Mesoamerica Unit

Mesoamerica Unit !

Our unit to review for you is the Level 3 November Mesoamerica unit. The Mesoamerica unit took us on a journey to Mexico and South America. Each week comes with its own supply list, resources, and embedded links. Everything you need is in your weekly guide you can add to it if you like, but you are fine with just the items they list. We studied about the Mayans, Aztecs, and Olmecs. The Mesoamerica unit captured my son’s interest he was intrigued to learn about these wonderful ancient Indigenous tribes’ culture, history, and contributions to civilization. For 2 weeks he was stuck on learning about the Olmecs and I let him stay in this history as long as he liked. We created terra cotta pottery, tried to play the Mayan game Ulama which gave us all quite a workout, and we built the Temple of Kukulkan out of legos.

November Mesoamerica Unit

Each monthly 4-week unit has 5 lessons each lesson has 2 – 4 activities. What I did notice is that Lesson 1 of each week usually had 2 activities that focused on geography or history for that week. You do not have to do each activity in each lesson. We average 2-3 activities each lesson, but because we plan to do this unit again I left wiggle room for next year. While we worked on the Mesoamerica unit we discovered there were many other ancient indigenous tribes so we will look into these next year. I highly recommend you bookmark the monthly units link on your iPad or tablet. I also printed out each week. The company also provides you with a skills/activity tracker.

The Learn & Live Letter units provide gentle history if you follow me you know I teach gentle truth history in our home. The Learn & Live Letter provides the conversation starter for you and you are free to take it from there. They do use Honest History magazines in their units which are great history resource. So if you don’t have these you will need to invest in them. I found the supply list to be inexpensive and the majority of the items we already had at home. The book resources I found all of them at our local library and were inexpensive on Amazon. The Usborne Encyclopedia World History book is one of the core books but you can use this book or find a World History book that covers your unit’s topics.

November Mesoamerica Unit

The Learn & Live Letter provides so many hands-on and play-based learning opportunities in their units we had so much fun exploring. My son was super excited about learning history and doing the activities he ask for these lessons first during our homeschool day. We finished our Mesoamerica unit feeling confident and happy about our progress. When I asked him what he thought he said this was one of the best units we have done in a long time. With him being happy and I know that everything is planned for me and he loves it we are now working on Ancient China and Medival Level 3 from The Learn & Live Letter. We purchased a year’s subscription and we are both loving it.

Ancient + Medieval China

The Learn & Live Letter is hassle-free learning we were over all the traditional history lessons. We are doing what we love following our interest and back to enjoying our homeschool day.

Ancient + Medieval China

I highly recommend The Learn & Live Letter you will not be disappointed. It was such a sigh of relief to plan something he will both truly enjoy. Each unit is packed with much you can do and not feel overwhelmed. The Learn & Live Letter has excellent customer service and a wondering FAQ on their website. It is always great when homeschool moms create something that really puts the kids first, Bravo Ladies! For my followers, The Learn & Live Letter has provided my readers 10% off any year subscription, be sure to use my promo code DESHAUN10 at checkout.

Until the Next Time,

Mom!

Ancient + Medieval China

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Heritage Mom: Civil Rights Movement

Complimentary product received!

If you don’t know who the Heritage Mom is I am super excited to be able to tell you about this wonderful blogger, mom, homeschooler, philanthropist, and Charlotte Mason guru. Okay so I had had the pleasure of meeting Amber O’Neal Johnston and once a member of her Heritage Homeschoolers group in Georgia and I can honestly tell you she is one of the sweetest and kindest people I have met during my homeschooling journey.

When Heritage Mom offered to have the Squad review 3 of her culture guides, I knew had to be part of this opportunity. Let me keep it real I own about 90 % of her culture guides already and we are still working our way through Amazing Africa. We own Schomburg, Heart and Soul, Harlem Ressianance Stomp, and now the Civil Rights Heritage culture guide. All of the culture guides are excellent, Heritage Mom gives you everything you need to use these guidesto teach African and African American history.

The Civil Rights Movement guide is divided into 10 topics of study starting the journey in the 1950s and ending with Civil Rights today. The guide is meant for grades 4-6 but you can review the suggested living books and materials you can stretch to 2nd grade. Civil Rights Movement is 36 weekly lessons now you can stretch to the entire 36 weeks or you can do more lessons a week. We are averaging 3 lessons a week in Amazing Africa, but after looking through the Civil Rights Movement guide we will spend a little more time on our lessons because is one of my son’s favorite areas of history to study. Anyone who says they were able to unpack any of her culture guides in 8 weeks, I can honestly say they didn’t give these carefully planned guides the respect they deserve.

The Civil Rights Heritage Pack is a survey of the brave men and women who risked their reputation, livelihoods, and often their very lives to press towards what they knew to be right.

Heritage Mom

The Civil Rights Movement includes two core books, you need to select one of these books to use with the guide, both reasonably priced. She also includes bonus books and recommends not substituting the core books because those books are impeded throughout the guide. She also has movie suggestions that hyperlinked and inserted disclaimers to prescreen them to make sure they are appropriate for your family. There are additional books used in the lesson plan, they are a nice mixture I love she included picture books and chapter books. Now that my son is reading more chapter books I miss those days of really great picture books. I found all the books listed in the lesson plan at my local library. There are also additional books for older or advanced children but these books are not scheduled in the lesson plans.

The lesson plans are easy to follow, with clickable links that take you to videos and she tells you what book you will be using and pages to read. There are 4 weeks of plans one page. The culture guides are meant to be just that guides, if you are looking for a long-drawn-out lesson plan with tons of writing and worksheets you aren’t going to find it in this guide. Amber O’Neal is a Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschooler and her guides are written in that way of homeschooling. These guides are literature-based and meant to allow you and your student to explore and go down rabbit holes.

Out of respect for her and all her hard work you won’t see pictures of pictures of her hard work in this review. You can literally go on her social media and you will feel the admiration so many people have for these creative works. Each guide of the Heritage Mom packs are filled with so much potential you can stretch these materials for years to come.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

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Brave Writer Arrow: Amari and the Night Brothers Review

Complimentary product received through Melanated Gold Review Squad!

This year I was confident in my choices for grammar and writing until mid-August when I started to notice my son was less than enthused about his lessons. Observing his lack of enthusiasm I started to think we may need a change. We have used the same curriculum for the last 2 years and he has a pretty solid foundation in grammar, but writing is still a work in progress. I was thrilled when the opportunity to review Brave Writer Arrow Amari and the Night Brothers was made available to our family. So here we are taking the leap and using Brave Writer Arrow and we are loving it.

About Brave Writer

Brave Writer uses a Charlotte Mason-inspired approach to teach grammar and writing. The goal is to continue to strengthen the parent and child bond by creating a safe environment to learn and work at their own pace. Brave Writer programs are designed to be the complete opposite of the traditional learning style of grammar and writing. Brave Writer supports the whole child and lets them be in control of the process with the parent gently leading them. Brave Writer program believes students go through different stages of writing and each stage deserves respect and students should only progress when they are ready for the next stage. The growth stage of writers are :

Jot It Down

Partnerships in Writing

Faltering Ownership

Transition to Ownership

Eavesdropping on the Great Conversation

The growth stages start at ages 5-18 years old and students will work on mechanics and literature through online classes or using one of the product packets such as Arrow.

Arrow

Arrow is a digital year-long writing and grammar program for students ages 11-12. Families can purchase the entire year’s bundle and each month you will receive the Literature Arrow guide or you can purchase individually. With your purchase, you will receive the Arrow guidelines and the literature guide. The Arrow guideline teaches you how to present the literature guide. Arrow literature guides cover spelling, literary elements, writing activity, punctuation, and grammar, each monthly lesson is paired with a novel. Each week the lesson directly correlates with the novel. The monthly lessons are divided into 4 weeks, which include vocabulary, dictation, and grammar. The guides also come with discussion questions, a planner, a skills tracker, and book party ideas. There are 10 Arrow guides for a complete school year older guides are available to purchase, but new books are added every year.

We teach both parents and kids how to build a partnership in writing that leads to both creative expression and academic success, all while preserving the parent-child bond.

Brave Writer

Our Review

Amari and the Night Brothers have been on our list to read since it was released so I was super excited to have a literature, grammar, and writing guide to pair with it. At first look, I knew I had to sit down and prepare for working with a non-traditional way of teaching grammar and writing. The biggest issue had was letting go of my thinking of how grammar and writing are taught. Once I was able to release this way of thinking it made the transition easier. My son and I decided we would both read and listen to the book. I really enjoyed the cultural context section it gives background information on the novel, this little information was really nice and helped us better connect to the book because we are actually living 20 mins away from the Atlanta area.

Arrow is really the complete opposite of a traditional grammar and wiring curriculum, I was expecting to see some worksheet practice sheets and a huge writing assignment for this novel. I was blown away because what expected was not what I received. The Arrow guide gives you a quick start that instructs you to read the Arrow Guidelines. The Arrow Guidelines are key to understanding how to implement the Arrow program, not reading these will confuse you about the literature Guide. The guide also gives you sample routines and it is where you will find the Arrow Skills Trackers and Our Week With Arrow.

The Spin and Spiral told me exactly what we were going to be covering in this month’s literature guide. I pulled a couple of extra supplements, just in case. I was blown away by how Brave Writer uses a novel to teach grammar, in a million years I would have never thought to pull passages out of a book and examine the grammar components. My son was introduced to writing and literary elements such as how to indent, first-person narratives, and dialogue, and much more over the 4 weeks. The grammar areas are highlighted in what Brave Writer calls Spotlights, we found the grammar sections a welcomed review of concepts he has covered previously. What I did appreciate is that I was able to identify some areas of his grammar that he needed more practice on.

Students will tackle:

  • Proper Nouns
  • Commas
  • Conjunctions
  • Idioms
  • Pronouns
  • Parallel Structure and much more

What I like about Brave Writer is that my son and I were having meaningful conversations about the book and we talked about grammar in a new way that he was really thriving and loving. He asked several times mom can we do Brave Writer over his current language arts curricula. I begin to see both of our frustration and stress levels come all the way down while using Arrow. We went from fighting over getting his lesson done to letting us just talk, drink tea, and enjoy each as we learn.

Dication for us is something new we haven’t done much of this type of writing before so we took things very slow and I assured him that we weren’t in a rush and we are both learning how to do things. I did the first dication for him just to show him how. We did 1-2 sentences at a time so he didn’t feel overwhelmed moving forward. We did modify a few things to make it work for us, we used highlighters to highlight the grammar and literary elements in the literature guide. My son didn’t want to mark up his book and I was okay with this. I also printed my son his own the literature guide, I used mine on my tablet but I did have the Arrow guidelines printed out for myself.

Parent Involvement

By now you may realize that parent involvement is a necessity for the Brave Writer Arrow curriculum. The program does require the parent to be their child’s partner in this process. That brings me to the Brave Writer Partnerships in Writing growing writers stage one of the most overlooked stages according to the Brave Writer website. “Your child shows growing proficiency in handwriting, reading, and spelling, but still finds the hard work of transcription tiring if asked to write for more than a few minutes.” We didn’t receive this to review, but after using the Amari and the Night Brothers Arrow, I feel that this is something we will need in order for us to continue forward with the Arrow curriculum.

Final Words

We really like Brave Writer Arrow Amari and the Night Brothers, my son has requested to do this over his current language arts curricula. We have put what we were using on the shelf and have moved on to the November 2021 Brave Writer Arrow Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids. I will be looking into Partnerships in Writing for us as well. It has been so nice to have a great month of learning and enjoying our time together making memories. At the time of this review for the full program is $129 or $14.95 per literature guide (includes Arrow guidelines). To learn more about Brave Writer programs please click the banner below to read more of the Melanated Gold Review Squad reviews.

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Beautiful Feet Books : Early American Intermediate Pack Review!

I received this product through The Melanated Gold Review Squad in exchange for my honest review.

History is one of our favorite areas to study. In our home, we have an enormous collection of gentle true literature. I am very meticulous about selecting history curricula that are reflective of truth and give an inclusive view of history. We were sent the new Early American Intermediate Pack from Beautiful Feet Books to look over as a possible history resource.

Early American Intermediate Pack Grades 4-6th

About Beautiful Feet Books

Beautiful Feet’s Books uses a Charlotte Mason approach to history through literature-based learning that inspires the child to naturally create a healthy environment for wonder and exploring.

We are no strangers to Beautiful Feet Books we spent some time when my son was in 1st grade using their Around the World with Picture Books Part 1. My son still has fond memories of learning about the terra cotta soldiers from that unit. We also enjoyed the book Ruby’s Wish and a few other books. With this being said we are familiar with how Beautiful Feet curriculums work.

The Curriculum

Early American Intermediate Pack takes students on the journey of the nation’s founding. The lessons begin with the Indigenous people and travel through history to the civil war. There are 129 lessons, with the suggested timeline of 3-4 lessons a week for a year’s worth of history. Areas of study are the following:

  • Indigenous Culture
  • The Vikings
  • The Age of Discovery
  • Colonial Settlements
  • Revolution
  • Slavery & Emancipation
  • Civil War

In the pack, you will receive 23 books, a teacher guide, a notebook, and a timeline. You will also need to download the New Early American History for Intermediate Picture Packet from the free downloads on the company’s website. The curriculum gives parents and their students an abundance of resources. Students will have the opportunity to try recipes, crafts, and character-building (Biblical) activities. The rabbit trails section in the lesson planner books offers nice ideas and books. Overall you will receive an adequate curriculum for teaching early American history.

Our Review

At first glance of looking over the 23 books received I separated the books into 3 different piles approve, maybe, and questionable. Books that I approve went right on our shelf, maybe books went into a bin and questionable went straight to my desk for further research. History is a lot to unpack and getting it just right for what will work in our home takes some planning and research.

Some of the books I did take issue with I wasn’t fond of some of the images of Indigenous people, one book showed them being unclothed, overweight, and unkempt. Books that were sent were decent choices I would have liked to have seen 2 of the books that were in the rabbit trails included in the pack (Before Columbus and Turtle Island). I felt these two books would have given a better insight into the Indigenous culture. I was a little deterred from the curriculum starting with 3 lessons of the Indigenous people and then the next 10 lessons were dedicated to the Vikings with a sprinkle of the Indigenous people being within those lessons. There was no mention of the Moors or Africans already being in what is now America.

The books that were included in the rabbit trails resources were books that reflected a more truthful look at time periods covered in the Early American Intermediate Pack . The landing of the pilgrim’s story tells the same story of the Pilgrims landing on American soil to escape religious freedom from Europe. This story is misinformation when in reality the Pilgrims did not come from Europe they actually came from Holland where they were free to live and practice their religion as they pleased and the only reason why the left is because they didn’t like that the Holland culture was influencing their children. There were other issues I found with these lessons.

While Early American Intermediate Pack does include some culturally diverse books to lend to the lessons, the book suggestions inside of the teacher guides would have given the curriculum pack a better view of history. The core book A Child’s First Book of American History offers some gentle truths but I would not let this book be the be-all for teaching American History it would be a starting point to research the time periods discussed. I still feel like this curriculum is told from a European viewpoint of history with some dabbles of diversity. A few of the books are meant to be comical such as the Jean Fritz books Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution and Where Do You Think You’re Going, Christopher Columbus? . The Viking book my sons and I found it hard to get through and we had to look for another resource.

Overall the curriculum will give you a guideline to start with American history but you will need to do some research to make sure it is accurate. The rabbit trail resources inside the teachers guide I would use more so than the ones that were sent in the pack. At the time of this review, the Early American Intermediate Pack is $245.95 plus taxes and shipping.

I would like to thank Beautiful Feet Books for sending us the Early American Intermediate Pack be sure to check out the other Melanated Gols Review Squad reviews on Beautiful Feet Books .