Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 42

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Chapter 42 is the last in Story of the World Volume 3. We made it! The story of the forty-niners was familiar to the kids from other books we had read, so it was easy to delve into this chapter.

Gold nugget craft

“Gold” nuggets – a craft to remember the forty-niners

For our craft, we chose to paint pebbles with gold paint to make them look like gold flakes and gold nuggets. They played with them a bit afterward, but not too much. They consider them more of a collection, so they keep them proudly on their nightstands.  Continue reading »

The map work and the coloring pages worked out fine. It was nice to be able to wrap this book up with a review of the world as it was in 1850 – a world of unrest.

It is very interesting to me that we needed an entire volume for the 1,000 years (approximately) of medieval times, which is volume 2 of Story of the World. But then, we needed an entire volume for only 250 years of world history, from 1600-1850.

Gravel pebbles and gold paint for our craft

Gravel pebbles and gold paint for our craft

It just goes to show how dark the Dark Ages really were and how much happened since the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. Sure, it also has to do with Susan Wise Bauer’s choice of laying things out in four volumes and breaking them up in this way.

Nevertheless, it astounds me that you can spend 42 chapters on 1,000 years of world history and then turn around and spend another 42 chapters on only 250 years. This being said, we are eager to start volume 4.

In fact, the day we finished volume 3 the children asked me to start volume 4. Why? Because they like it, I suppose. It is rather a different format and I can tell there have been some revisions made between the editions I had for volume 1, 2, and 3 vs. volume 4.

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 41

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New Zealand and Her Rulers is the title of chapter 41. What a difficult chapter to read! We really dislike the parts of history in which people are treated unfairly. The Maori tribes really got the short end of the stick in their treaty with the British.

Maori butterfly craft

Making the Maori butterfly craft zing

The map work and coloring pages kept us busy. For the craft, we decided to check out the special butterflies (purerehua) the Maori made. Continue reading »

As directed, we used floss and a ruler to make this special device the Maori swung over their heads at high speeds in order to make loud noises that would keep others away from their meetings.


“Purerehua” means butterfly in Maori

My son went outside to test it and, sure enough, the contraption made a strong buzzing sound. It took my son a few minutes to figure out how to swing the ruler over his head and at what speed. Hint: it was a very high speed. But once we heard it, it was a great feeling, like “we have made buzzing sounds” kind of thing. We felt very accomplished.

Zinging craft

Make it zing!

Sometimes these crafts have a way of humbling us because they do not turn out worthy of Pinterest. But you know what? That’s OK. We are not perfect. Our crafts are not perfect and they do not have to be. We are here to learn history and have some fun through coloring and crafts, that’s all.

Other times, they work out and they give us that great feeling of accomplishment which, I believe, every child should experience in school.

My daughter insisted in doing a more feminine craft – she is oh, so girlie and I love it! – namely the sweet potato garden. Trust me, you do not want to see a picture of the jar with a molding sweet potato in it. Instead of growing roots and leaves, our sweet potato grew mold. We threw it away after a few days.

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 40

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For chapter 40, we came back to North America, mainly to Mexico. We read about the Alamo and Texas independence. The kids had already heard about Davy Crockett and the Alamo from books we have studied.

Boy writes in flip book

My son creating his flip book about Alamo

Ironically, there is a restaurant ten minutes from our house called Alamo. It looks just like the ill-fated fort. It burned down in the 2016 wildfires, but it has been rebuilt and enlarged since. Also, there is a “Davy Crockett mini-golf course” in our town, as well. We drive by it every time we leave the city to go to Pigeon Forge on the main roads. Continue reading »

They knew the man with the raccoon hat was Davy Crockett and they knew everybody who tried to defend the Alamo had died. It encouraged me to know that things stick and my work is not in vain.

We did everything from the book: reading, comprehension questions, map work, coloring. For our craft, we built flip books about four Alamo fighters, as directed. This craft showed me the difference between them clearly: my son, in 4th grade, wanted to write things down; my daughter, in 2nd grade, was happy to draw their characteristics instead of writing them.

My daughter decided to use pink as she drew the reasons why these for men were famous. Despite the violence of their lives, my daughter drew them in pink. I find it touching.

She actually teared up and I choked up as I read them the story. Such courage and dedication to a cause that so many take for granted today! See, this is why we study history. To learn to appreciate the sacrifices of others so that we may have a better life today.

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 39

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In chapter 39, we traveled to China. The kids were appalled by the greediness of the English merchants and the weak character of the Chinese who got addicted to opium. It was another opportunity to talk about smoking and illegal drugs, as well as the love of money.

Gluten free, vegan poppy seed muffins

Gluten free, vegan poppy seed muffins

We made poppy seed muffins for our craft. Since I had to go on a gluten free diet, I have been perfecting my gluten free baking skills. I like my creations, but my children do not. Oh well. More for me. Continue reading »

I bake their things separately with gluten flour and mine without gluten. It works. Sure it is more work, but I hurt if I eat gluten, so I am motivated at the most basic level – avoiding pain. A gluten free diet is so tough to implement, it is only people like me who hurt physically that will stick to it.

I found the recipe online, on the King Arthur website. Since I became gluten free last year, I have bought all sorts of baking ingredients and so I am ready to bake gluten free at a moment’s notice. You know, things like almond flour, banana flour, quinoa flour, xantham gum and chia seed meal – the sort of things I did not even know existed about 12 months ago.

We did the map and colored the provided coloring sheet, which was a sad picture of Chinese men smoking opium. I was glad Susan Wise Bauer explained that poppy seeds used in cooking are different from the poppy seeds used in making opium. Whew!

Setting Up Your Home For Homeschooling

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When you decide to start homeschooling your children, it is a huge moment – one which is bound to change the course of your own life as much as your kids’. One of the first things you will need to think about is how well set up your home is for homeschooling.

Most homes need some work before you can say that the are ready for homeschooling, even if you are the most radical unschooler. What do you really need to do in the home to prepare it for many years of homeschooling?

Study Word



Finding A Dedicated Space

Although you could work from room to room, it is likely to be much more effective to simply find a space you can work in and go from there. If you have a specified space for homeschooling, your children will get in the studying zone more easily. Continue reading »

If you work around the house, conversely, it is more likely that you will see your child being distracted and not working hard. So the first thing to do is to find a dedicated space in your home for homeschooling.

A basement or an attic is perfect, but any spare room will do. Having this space will be essential for the success of the homeschooling mission.


Getting Supplies

One way your home needs to be prepared is by stocking it up with relevant supplies. This means that you need to go out of your way to find plenty of writing paper, computer paper, books and school supplies – and all of that can cost money. However, with the right approach and by buying in bulk, you will be able to keep the cost down quite a bit.

You should aim to get enough supplies for beyond the first year, so that you don’t need to worry about it for a while. In that way, you will have a backlog so you can dip into it when necessary – like with any other school.

Blur books




Of course, with all those extra supplies you will also want have plenty of storage for it all. You might want to install something in the homeschooling room, or somewhere close by, so that you can have it all easily to hand. I personally never seem to have enough storage room, but then I remember to be content in whatever state I am.

Again, it is best to approach this from the beginning. If you don’t, you might find yourself overrun with supplies and having nowhere to keep them later on – other than a box on the floor. It is best to be able to keep the space neat and tidy.

Laptop and workbook




Something that you will absolutely need to think about is how to stop your child from being distracted. Homes tend to be a place of pure distraction for most children. Having a dedicated space can help with this, but even so it can be hard to keep your child focused.

It is important that you also keep regular school hours, so that your child gets used to the routine of it. You should make sure not to deviate from this too much. The more that you allow the rules to be stretched, the less seriously your child will take the whole project.



Of course, the home will also need to provide water and snacks, for breaks, and also some kind of entertainment. Your child needs breaks. Having the home set up to accommodate that fact will make it all that much easier to do.

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 38

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Chapter 38 covered American tragedies: “The Trail of Tears” and “Nat Turner’s Revolt.” We have read about the Trail of Tears from other sources before and the children were familiar with the story. They still shuddered to think what that was like for the Native Americans.

"Girl, daughter" in American Indian Sign Language

“Girl, daughter” in American Indian Sign Language

My daughter was upset with Andrew Jackson for passing the Indian Removal Act. I reminded them that, incidentally, Andrew Jackson was one of the three presidents Tennessee has contributed to this nation. Continue reading »

For our craft, I really did not want to make an Indian hunting purse. What would we do with it? Put it in our overflowing craft bins? Throw it away? After all that work? Besides, sewing is not something in which I delight. Last but not least, I do not want to do their crafts for them.

"To drink" in Native American sign language

“To drink” in Native American sign language

So, we ended up learning about the Native American sign language. The Activity Book provides a page full of signals the American Indians used to communicate. I asked the children to pose for me with one signal. They chose “girl, daughter” and “to drink” respectively.

About Nat Turner’s revolt: I told them I watched a TV show called “Strange Inheritance” and it was about Nat Turner’s Bible. Apparently, a courthouse in Virginia cleaned their attic boxes and found the Bible that belonged to Nat Turner. They knew it was his because his trial took place there and other reasons.

They sent it to the family that used to own him – the surviving members, that is. The family were happy to turn the Bible over to the Smithsonian instead of selling it for a seven figure to private collectors. I think that’s admirable.

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 37

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Chapter 37 took us back to Africa, troubled Africa, with two stories: “The Zulu Kingdom” and “The Boers and the British.” The kids colored the page with Shaka, the Zulu king. We also did the map.

Close combat African spear

Close combat African spear

For our craft, we worked on the small spear. We found it very difficult to staple the tip to the paper towel roll, but we made it work. Since I did not want to rush to the store to get silver spray paint, or make a mess painting the tips silver and waiting for them to dry, I decided to use sparkly, silver card stock I happened to have. Continue reading »

How to transfer the provided black tips onto the silver card stock? Well, we traced the black onto butcher paper. It’s not the most transparent paper you can fine, but it works. The originals provided were black enough, you could see them through the butcher paper.

Then, we put the butcher paper over the silver card stock and traced over the pencil marks, pressing really hard. It actually left indentations into the card stock. At this point, we could trace over the indentations with a pencil, or we could just hold it to the light at a certain angle and cut it with a pair of scissors. We ended up doing the latter, to save time.

The fun part was the raffia. It took a bit to get it twined nicely around the tube. You can see in the picture. By the time we were done with three inches of wrapped raffia, we did not feel like unrolling it just to make it all pretty. As I said before, we are more about learning things than about perfecting crafts to put on Pinterest. Oh, and the raffia was made in Romania – as an added bonus for those who care.

It was interesting to explain about the Boers. They were from Holland, or the Netherlands, but they are called Dutch. We have been through this before, but it is finally sinking in – all the names we have in English for Holland.

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 36

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Chapter 36 in Story of the World volume 3 covers the end of the slave trade. We were very happy the abolitionists succeeded in their worthy endeavor. We discussed greed and how the desire for more money makes people do horrible things.

Abolitionist Poster

Abolitionist Poster

For our craft, we made an abolitionist poster – a very basic one. Large construction paper instead of poster board. Where would I put a poster board? We already have too little wall space because we have so many windows. Besides, I could not even fit a poster board in their craft bins (which are rather large, mind you). Continue reading »

So I opted for a large construction paper in red – a color which demands attention. I made a copy of the poem provided and taped it in the middle. We looked up four Bible verses which condemn slavery and the kidnapping of people.

Abolitionist poster

Each child added their own anti-slavery image on each side of the poem.

One verse was from the Old Testament and three from the New Testament: Exodus 21:16, Galatians 3:28, 1 Timothy 1:9-10, and Luke 4:18. Of course, there are so many more verses which condemn slavery. It is a disgrace that Christians used to use the Bible to condone this abominable practice.

When they get a bit older, I will have them read “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It will give them an immersion into that universe and the people in it. It is a sad chapter in world history, but research shows there are more slaves in the world today than back in the 19th century. How awful!

Human trafficking is a tough conversation to have with small children, so I am reserving that one for the next time we go through the curriculum.

Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 35

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Chapter 35 covers Mexican independence in two stories: the cry of Dolores and the Republic of Mexico. We stayed in history only. Lots of things are going on right now around our border with Mexico, but I did not want to get the kids too involved in it. I am so sick and tired of all the illegal alien situation in the US and the liberal media’s handling of the topic.

Paper flowers in the colors of the Mexican flag

Paper flowers in the colors of the Mexican flag

As an immigrant myself, I did not have the option to cross a border by foot and get into the US. I had to get a proper visa, after a tough interview at the US Embassy in my country, buy an expensive plane ticket, and then wait my turn in the documentation line when it came to adjust my status from non-immigrant to immigrant. That’s the legal way to become a US permanent resident. Anyway.

Mexico is a great country with an exciting language, which we learn a bit here and there. Our neighbor to the south has a lovely culture and we need to study their history and how they came to be independent. We have great friends from Mexico, too. That’s all that matters. Continue reading »

The kids are getting the picture of all the turmoil in history lessons. When they hear about yet another revolt or battle or execution, they groan and roll their eyes.

The crafts were pretty cool: paper flowers to represent the colors of the Mexican flag and huevos rancheros. I made it vegan, with scrambled tofu instead of sunny side up eggs. The recipe for hot chocolate included chili pepper. We did not think that would taste good, so no chili in our hot chocolate.

Huevos rancheros and hot chocolate - a Mexican breakfast

Huevos rancheros and hot chocolate – a Mexican breakfast

For some reason, we go through waves. Some weeks they love to color the coloring page provided in the Activity Books. We are going through such a time right now. While I read the stories out loud, they color with a passion.

The comprehension and review questions can really help remind us of key pointers in the lesson, so I ask them. When it comes to the narration exercises, even Susan Wise Bauer points out that some chapters have more details than others and, as a result, may not be that easy to summarize.

Preparing huevos rancheros

Preparing huevos rancheros

So yes, I have skipped narration in some chapters because I do not want to overdo it. We get plenty of practice with narration in our writing curriculum (Writing with Ease) and in general, as the kids narrate back to me the books they read or some parts they really enjoyed from a movie or a book.

Bonjour! Let’s Learn French

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Even if you cannot speak French, you could pick up Bonjour! Let’s Learn French (not an affiliate link) and stimulate your children’s neurons for a few good months. This relatively short book can function as your French curriculum for at least six weeks.

Bonjour! Let's Learn French

A new resource to learn French, for ages 6-10.

How is that possible? You have the free audio version online at A native speaker of French pronounces all the French words and sentences in the book, so you don’t have to. A native speaker of English pronounces all the English words in the book, so you don’t have to. Continue reading »

On the same page, you will find a whole unit study on French culture and food, as well as games to practice your new vocabulary. French for parents is another feature on the website, where practical advice is given for – you guessed it – parents.

The other thing I really like on are the activity sheets. One of them in particular lets us set up a schedule for repeating one French phrase per day. At the end of the day, you record how many times you used that particular expression.

I have been waiting for this book for about two years. If you remember, I reviewed its sister, Hola! Let’s Learn Spanish, a similar book for Spanish. The author of both books, Judy Martialay, a retired foreign language teacher from New York, has come through for us with a volume for French this time.

Inside Bonjour! Let's Learn French

Inside Bonjour! Let’s Learn French

In Bonjour! Let’s Learn French, children meet Pete the Pilot, who takes them to France. During this imaginary trip, they learn some useful French phrases. Another character in the book is Louis l’escargot (the snail). The game on the website involves Louis and his love of croissants. It’s a lot of fun!

The book is a mixture of English and French and the chapters change format, so nobody gets bored of a particular routine. You know how most foreign language textbooks follow the same format for every lesson? First the new words, then the text, reading comprehension questions, and a bit of grammar. Next lesson, same drill. After about three weeks of this, no wonder so many people give up on learning another language.

That’s why I like Bonjour! Let’s Learn French. Every chapter switches things around. At some point, you learn about life in France and impressionist art, for example. You also learn how to make an impressionist-style picture with oil pastels.

Your effort as a homeschool teacher is minimal. Purchase the book, open the book, click Play on the audio version of the book online. Sit back and relax. You do have to ensure your children repeat the French expressions during the pauses on the recording.

Repetition is key. So come back to this book regularly and you should find it easier to pronounce and understand every time. Just like with anything else, learning a language can get exciting at times and boring at times. As long as you persevere, you are setting yourself up for success.

I received a free copy of this material in exchange for providing an honest review on my blog.