Rocketship launching

Explosions, ear-splitting roars, and death-defying speeds.  Rockets and boys have a lot in common. As we begin our study of the first moon landing, I am chuckling about the resemblance between the two!

In this post, I will focus on the historical aspect of the first moon landing.  Obviously, this topic stretches across both history and science.  So, it is a two-for-one day!

If you are a Classical Conversattions friend, then these resources goes along with the history sentence for Cycle 3, week 21.

The books:

//still looking for them as we speak!

The audio:

  • Listen to John F. Kennedy’s speech as he announces to the country that the U.S. will fly to the moon.

The video:

  • Watch the launching of the Apollo 11.
  • Watch the video of the moon landing.
  • This is an exercpt from the Discovery Channel- Landing on the Moon.  It is too long for my little guy, but my older boys said “No!” when it ended.  I might have to buy this one!

Interesting Information:

  • Read through a space history timeline.
  • Research the shuttle.
  • Research space food.
  • Research space suits.

Just for fun

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For the last two years, we have been studying American History.  Next year we will go back to Ancient History.  But, before we leave our precious country’s heritage, I want to make sure that I give my kids one more glimpse at the big picture of the history of the United States.  For this reason, we will spend the summer reviewing American History.  Although, since it is summer, my choices are all low-maintenance!  As we go through these resources, we will be singing our Cycle 3 CC memory songs for a refresher.  Here is my summer plan for reviewing American History:

America series by Peter Marshall

I  had great intentions of reading these books alongside our Classical Conversations Memory Work this year.  It didn’t happen!  But, these books are too wonderful to skip.  They are an easy read, yet are packed with information not found in most history books!  If you decide to look into them, make sure you get the ones written to children.  The adult series has the same title!

America:  the Story of Us 

From the History Channel, this twelve episode television series gives a broad overview of American History:  from Jamestown to World War II.  Before showing this to your kidlets, you may want to preview it.  There are a few parts that you might not want them to see.  (At Jamestown, they show a starving man that will be burned alive because he killed his pregnant wife so he could eat her.)  Lovely.  Personally, I am okay with my kids seeing it.   (They don’t actually show him killing her or him being burned, they just tell you what is happening.) While disgusting, it helped them understand the severe famine in Jamestown.  Just be cautious……don’t say I didn’t warn you!  This series is available on Netflix….if you have it!

American History Stories by Mara Pratt

Mara Pratt wrote these books a long time ago!  While they are old, they are treasures!  She weaves the story of our American heritage into a tale filled with true facts.  As we listen, I feel like we are sitting at the foot of her rocking chair while she draws us into the story!  You can get these in book form or in audio form.  Personally, I like the audio version.  We listen to it while we are eating lunch.  The first two volumes are free at Librivox:

American History Stories:  Volume 1

American History Stories:  Volume 2

The Short Version of Our Summer Plan

  1. Read the America series by Peter Marshall while reviewing history songs from Cycle 3 of Classical Conversations.
  2. Watch America:  the Story of Us on Netflix.
  3. Listen to the audio version of American History Stories by Mara Pratt while we eat lunch.

My Summer Disclaimer

Obviously, we may not get to all of this!  I always have great plans for the summer….in May!   By September, I may see things a little differently!  But, this is our “ideal-world” plan for our summer!

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I cannot claim any of the creative rights to this post.   A friend of mine, who I love very much, planned every detail of this lesson, brought everything to my house, and did it with my kids and her own.  I hope you have a friend like her!


To begin the lesson, she served Antarctica food: fish sticks and goldfish. (Penguins eat fish.) Later, she served them Lemon Ice. (Ice…Antarctica….get it?)


Next, she built a tent in my classroom to simulate the tents that the scientists would use. Our Antarctic Explorers read books about the continent in their research tent. After their research was complete, they went outside to build “tents” out of graham crackers and icing.


We read books about penguins and made our own penguin craft. How cute is that?

After teaching the kids about icebergs, she had them make this iceberg craft that illustrates that most of the iceberg is under the water.


In order to review all of the continents, she brought Swedish Fish. After she named the continent, the kids would point to it. If they got it right (or close to right!) then they got a fish to place on their continent.

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After reading my title, you are probably thinking I am nuts!  Shaving cream?  What?!  Yes, friend.  Shaving cream.  It is guaranteed to break up the monotony of your day.


Before I give you my list of ways to incorporate shaving cream, I must have a chat with your son.  Come here, buddy.  Okay, young man, here are the rules:

  • Write with one finger.  (Finger….not fist, elbow, or toes)
  • Under no circumstances will we be clapping our hands while they are covered in shaving cream.
  • It is not whipped topping.  Keep your tongue away from it.
  • Shaving cream beards are only acceptable after you have done your work.  Mom wants to teach you, not Santa Claus.

Okay, Mom.  Back to you.  Here is my “Shaving Cream Schoolwork” list by age:


  • Draw or copy shapes, letters, simple words, or numbers
  • draw a self-portrait
  • write his name
  • patterns (Mom writes the first part, son finishes it)
  • uppercase and lowercase letters (Mom writes upper, child writes it’s “buddy” or vice versa.)

    Little Man’s Shapes


Lower Elementary

  • Write spelling words.
  • Write addition and subtraction problems (pictures or numerals)
  • Manuscript Letter Formation
  • Phonics (Ex:  Mom says sound.  Son writes the letters that make that sound)
  • Fractions (Ex:  Mom names a fraction.  Son draws a shape that represents that fraction.)
  • Skip Counting (Ex:  Write the numbers that represent skip counting by 2′s.)
  • Odd/Even Numbers (Ex:  Write the even numbers to 20.)

    Multiplication Problems


Upper Elementary

  • Write spelling words.
  • Write vocabulary words.  (Ex:  Mom says “to stick with it; to continue doing something that is hard.”  Son writes “persevere.”
  • Draw a picture to represent the meaning of a vocabulary word.  (Ex:  Mom says “atrocious.”  Son draws asparagus.)
  • Write multiplication and division problems.  (pictures or numerals)
  • Cursive letter formation
  • Antonyms/Synonyms (Ex:  Mom says smoldering.  Son writes frigid.)
  • Decimals (Mom says five and twenty-three hundredths.  Son writes 5.23)

Clean-up Tip:  Spray the area with a spray bottle of water.  Wipe clean with paper towels.

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Anything with the title “War” gets a thumbs up with my boys.  War, a common card game, has a lot of mathematic potential!

War card game

The Basics of War

Supplies:  Standard deck of playing cards with 52 cards

Number of Players:  Two

Length of Time:  15-45 minutes (depending on level)

Goal:  To win all of the cards

Basic rules:

  1. Shuffle the deck of cards.
  2. Deal the cards so that each player has 26 cards.  Players keep their cards in front of them, face down.
  3. Each player simultaneously flips over their top card.  The player with the highest card wins both cards.
  4. If the players have the same card (a tie), there is a war.
    1. Each player places three cards in front of them, face down.
    2. Flip over a fourth card.
    3. The player with the highest card wins every card (all ten cards in the middle of the table.)
  5. The first person to win all of the cards wins the game.



Preschool or Kindgergarten…..recognize and compare numbers 2-10

Preschool/Kindergarten Math

Goal:  To help the child recognize and compare numbers 2-10

  1. Remove all of the face cards, jokers, and aces so that the deck only contains numbers 2-10.
  2. Play the game as described above, but with less cards.
  3. As you play, ask these questions:
    1. What number do you have?
    2. What number do I have?
    3. Which number is greater….is more?
    4. Which number is smaller….is less?
  4. If necessary, provide a manipulative to help the child decide which number is greater.
    1. Place two bears next to the two playing card and place five bears next to the five playing card.
    2. Which card has more bears?


Lower Elementary…..Practice Addition or Multiplication Facts

Lower Elementary Math Game

Goal:  To help the child practice addition and multiplication math facts.

  1. Remove all of the face cards, jokers, and aces so that the deck only contains numbers 2-10.
  2. Play the game as described above, except each player will draw two cards from the top of the deck.
  3. If practicing addition facts, the player will add the two numbers on the cards.
  4. If practicing multiplication facts, the player will multiply the two numbers on the cards.
  5. The person with the highest sum or product wins all four cards.
  6. If necessary, use manipulatives to illustrate the math problems.
    1. “My first factor is five, so I will get five cubes.  My second factor is two, so that is telling me that I will have two groups of five cubes.  How many cubes do I have altogether?”


Upper Elementary….Practice using multiple operations with three numbers….addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, squares, or cubes.

Upper Elementary Math Game

  1. Remove all of the face cards, jokers, and aces so that the deck only contains numbers 2-10.
  2. Play the game as described above, except that each player will draw three cards from the top of the deck.
  3. Each player may use any operation necessary to create the highest number possible with the three cards.  The numbers can be in any order.  All numbers must be used.
  4. If my three cards are five, two, and six…..I could create the following sums:
    1. 5+2+6=13
    2. 5-2+6=9
    3. 5×2+6=16
    4. 5x2x6=60
    5. 6/2+5=8
    6. 5 (2+6)= 40
    7. More complex………6squared + 5squared+ 2 squared=65
    8. Even more complex……..6cubed+5cubed+2cubed=349
    9. any operation, any combination!
  5. The player that creates the highest number wins all six cards.
  6. Variations: The player that creates the lowest number wins all six cards.




Preschool and Kindergarten


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This idea dates ALL the way back to my days as a public school teacher!  I used to play this game on days when we had indoor recess.   As a homeschool mom, I love that all of my kids can play it together, while doing different levels of math!  Lovely!  Also, I plan on playing this in my Essentials class at our local Classical Conversations Community.

Have the kids sit in a circle. (or triangle in this case) Throw the ball to a brother. After catching the ball, he looks at his thumbs. Preschoolers/Kinders identify the numbers that are under their thumbs. Younger Elementary students will add or subtract the numbers under their thumbs. Upper elementary kids will multiply the numbers under their thumbs. Also, olders could square or cube each number. If their thumb lands on a black square, then they choose the closest number to their thumb. After performing his math problem, he throws it to the next brother. Each child is doing his own math level, while participating in the same game. (Did you notice? They have shirts on….for once….I just wanted to prove to you that they DO own shirts!)

My son caught the ball with his thumbs on the three and the six. So, he will say “3 times 6 equals 18” and throw it to the next brother. (Notice that I wrote a line under the numbers so they know which way to look at the number.)

My boys are not allowed to touch this soccer ball unless they are doing math. For that reason, they have been known to pick it up and do math facts all on their own!!! You’ve got to love that!! To play solo, just toss the ball in the air and catch it. Play the game as described, but just continue catching it by yourself.



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