Fabulous History Books for Young Children Free Online

I have been so excited to be able to use:




This book is so well written and is a very easy to use with young children. There is far more factual and story detail than I have found in most children’s History books and it is written in a very friendly style with great pictures and maps in between. It doesn’t trivialise history like many modern Children’s History books – and the illustrations are realistic and helpful. It has been perfect for my 5 and 8 years olds and even my little ones enjoy listening.

Find it on Gutenberg under Children’s Bookshelves. Here is the direct link to the HTML version.

Reprints are also available on Amazon.com.

Although I think the author refers to evolution in some of his other History books, I haven’t found any evolution in this book as its focus is modern American History. Also, because of the times he lived in, he does speak largely from a Christian worldview.

Another online free History book we are starting to use is:



found here.

Again I find the writing meaningful and less immersed in an incorrect worldview than many modern History books.

I have printed these books and plan to have them spiral bound and we are using them in our homeschool.

They are great resources!

“The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.” Proverbs 18 v 15


Our Family Schedule Part 1 – Mornings

Our schedule is constantly changing and improving in little ways. Either I figure out something that would work better or the seasons change requiring different activities – or as the little ones grow older we adjust the schedule accordingly.

A schedule is a very personal thing and will look very different for each family. I have got lots of ideas from looking at other family schedules and I hope to inspire you with ideas too! But don’t be overwhelmed by the parts that don’t fit – they just aren’t right for you.


  • After getting dressed and room chores, we have a fruit snack at the table with Dad. (we have our breakfast in 2 or 3 parts)
  • Then its chores time – feed the dogs and birds, clean birds cage, dishes, drying rack, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, etc. Mom does most and helps the little ones but they all have their little jobs to do. Chores time is about 30 minutes long so we dont do all of these things everyday. When the little ones are finished their chores, I put on some music in the sunroom and they race around on their little plastic motorbikes while our 7 year old daughter and I work on lunch and supper preparation.
  • Then older ones do Bible copying and little ones do ‘lines and curves time’ with Mom (a pre-handwriting activity  – I call it that but actually it involves music, playing with sticks, building mat man, etc. – see this post for more detail).
  • Twice a week, instead of Bible copying / lines & curves with Mom we have Music time and Exercise time all together.
  • Then we have lounge time for an hour where we read missionary stories, literature, talk about history, look at our timeline and world globe, learn about animals, etc. We love learning and listening together. Everyone sits on their blankets and can do a simple colouring or puzzle activity while we read and discuss.
  • Then the little ones go to their rooms to listen to their daddy tapes (as inspired by the Maxwell family – I will write a separate post on this soon) while the older ones go to the desk to do their English and Maths activities.This helps me catch up with things after lounge time and to work with the older two on grammar and maths,and also gives me time to prepare for craft time. After daddy tape the little ones run around with a ball or go outside and get soaked (sometimes) or do puzzles at the desk with us while we finish or I put out a tactile activity for them – sometimes related to our craft e.g. playing with oats when we are learning about horses and what they eat.
  • Then its craft time. After the brain-taxing activities everyone is ready to be creative. I prefer craft time earlier in the day when I have more energy for being creative and for clean-up, than later in the day when more structured activities seem to work best.

The crafts fit loosely into a schedule ( this is more to help me think of ideas than as a rigid structure)

Monday: Cutting Sticking Drawing Foam art or stickers – puppets, pictures, etc.

Tuesday: Painting or sandart

Wednesday: Work on whatever lapbooks / virtual travel notebooks we are currently working on. e.g. put cottonwool on the sheep

Thursday: Themed craft from our history studies e.g. tower of babel – build the highest tower you can with 5 toilet rolls, some tape, some cardboard, etc

Friday: Clay or playdough

  • Once the children get lost in their craft activity and no longer need my help, I finish the lunch preparations. My husband works from home so while I don’t need to do a packed lunch more than once a week, I do need to have a substantial lunch ready.
  • We tidy up and settle down for lunch (I often put on a story CD at the dining time while we eat or we chat about what we’ve been learning – often about animals especially dinosaurs!!)

More about what happens after lunch in Our Family Schedule Part 2 – Afternoons (coming soon!)

See also – Creating a Family Schedule

“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” Colossians 2 v 8-10

Linked to Works For Me Wednesday and Big Family Fridays and


TEN Pre-Maths THINGS to do with Littlies

Once a day we do a pre-maths activity with our little ones to help them feel part of things and to keep them busy while the older ones work on maths. When the older ones finish then they can also do one of these fun activities. We have a great dining room table (its an eight seater rectangle, so it works well to have us all sit around the big table to do our activities, each child has their own contained space and the little ones feel part of things at the big desk too.

Of course, we don’t call it pre-maths. They are way too young for real school or anything but the name just helps me to categorise activities in my mind and do some each day.

Pre-maths activities our 2 and 5 year olds love to do.

1. Playing with beans in jars. They love to pour, sort, count out, feel, toss and PICK UP – not! these beans. I bought the largest beans I could find – much easier to clean up afterwards!

2. Marbles and a marble tower – our 5 year old loves rolling marbles into box with numbers over little garage-type gaps to get the score. The littlies love to play with the marbles and see them run down the marble tower. You can easily make one using toilet roll tubes and tissue boxes!

3. Playing with uncooked pasta – all you need are a couple of different containers to put the pasta in – and a plastic paddle pool works really well indoors to contain the mess. Sometimes we also fill a clear plastic bottle with pasta or large beans and get all the children to guess how many pieces it contains – the closest one wins a little something.

4. Popcorn and cups for pouring, counting, etc. as in no 1 and 3

5. Money tins – playing with the money, putting through the slot (or through slots in the top of egg boxes) sorting coins into a container with different compartments or stacking them into piles

6. Some great sonlight maths manipulatives like pattern blocks – making piles, sorting, making pictures, etc.

7. Pouring – put out a variety of cups, jugs and a big bowl of water and an empty one and let them pour away! Have fun counting how many cups it takes to fill the smaller bowl from the larger one using different cups.

8. We love to all pile into the car and go for a “counting drive”. We count things like cats, dogs, horses, cows, kudu, wildebeest (we live near a small game reserve) and also things like yellow cars, blue trucks, etc. We listen to counting songs, count while we wash hands, measure flour for the bread dough, whenever we can.

9. Magnetic fridge numbers – these are big colourful numbers that stick on our fridge. The little ones love sticking them on, taking them off, sorting them into piles, sticking them onto a baking tray, and putting them all back again.

10. And as a rare treat, because I don’t want the children sitting in front of the computer (we don’t have a TV) – they watch the Mathtacular DVD and love it! Its fabulous – created by the Sonlight Holtzman brothers – 1.5 hours of counting elephants, shapes songs, marble adventures, lots of fun and they learn so quickly! So much better than children’s movies.

Coming next in the Homeschool Series: Homeschool Maths for Early Preparatory School

“Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29 v 13

Of Eternal Value – TEN THINGS About Why We Homeschool

Eternal value lies in character and not in education or specific skills. Our love for people – having God’s heart for the world is of eternal value – and so we see teaching our children from God’s Word and helping them to develop Godly character as the most important parts of our homeschool.

We start and end each day with Bible time with Dad – we all love it! God’s word is opening up for us in amazing ways – and the children always want to know more. This is such a blessing for me as I always struggled to read the Bible in the past. Just this morning we found our boys playing “Bible time” with their soft toys. They’d set out  all their fluffy bears and dogs on the bed and put open Bibles in front of them 🙂

We homeschool because:

1. We want to follow the Biblical mandate of discipling our children. (it may be possible to do this while sending children to school, but its a lot harder, if for no other reason than you are with your children a whole lot less).  We want our children to know and love God’s Word, to know and love God for who He is and to know His heart for the world. We believe our children are best taught from the Bible, with other books / curriculum fitting in around that. Rather than taking a secular curriculum and adding some “Bible stories” to it, we want our children to learn what the real Bible says about God, man, wisdom, sin, consequences, blessings, etc.

2. We want our children to love learning and to have a desire for learning. We want them to know that they can always find out what they’d like to know and how to go about it. We have a vision of a large family of animated engaged children sitting around the table all participating in lively, rich and deep discussions about life, God’s way, our world and its history, our purpose – all that we are learning together. Lounge time provides the springboard for these things and gives us some wonderful topics to talk about!

3. We want our children to understand God’s mandate to subdue the earth and rule over it, having dominion and replenishing it. For this reason we study sciences and geography and we learn about the earth. We do this understanding that we are to worship the creator and not the creation. We are to be good stewards of God’s creation while putting people first.

4. We want our children to understand God’s plan for people (through reading the Bible and studying history). Genesis is the best place to start in the study of history – everything else follows. We don’t study history just to learn the gory details of life throughout the ages, but we study it with the purpose of understanding God’s plan with mankind and workings through the ages. This purpose greatly impacts our choice of History material – children’s history books are often filled with cartoonish watered-down version of historical events cheapening them, making them seem less real  and numbing our children to the seriousness of disobeying God.

5. We want our children to be mentored by  great men and women and to be able to relate to people of all ages. We do not want them to be “discipled” by many children of their own age as in the classroom. The thing about the age segregated classroom is that you learn most things from your peers who know about as much as you do. Children are being discipled by their peers and their peers’ influences: parents, TV, games, movies, etc. and not very much by their own parents!

6. As parents we are responsible for our children’s education, and we know our own children better than any one else does. As homeschoolers we can determine the appropriate pace and level for each child’s schoolwork. If we need help from trained professionals, that is easy to find.

7. We want our children to know that they are part of something big – a great purpose from God that we have as a family and that they as individuals can carry into their lives.

8. We want our family to put relationships first – relationship with God, with each other and reaching out to others with the love of Christ and a hand of blessing. We want to always have time to be a blessing, praying for others and serving them. We want our children to be best friends and to enjoy being together, to love doing things together as a family

9. We want to help our children learn the discipline of hard work as well as the joy of life and learning about the world God gave us.

10. We love it!!!

This vision excites us so much but we also fall very far short of it – yet when we look back we see how God is at work and has already changed us so much. We know that He will do it if we trust him!

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Psalm 37 v 4-6 KJV

Our Homeschool 2011 part 2 – English Language

Our four are still very small and we are at the beginning of our homeschool journey. These are our current curriculum choices – the ones we have loved this past 3 years and ones that are really working for us right now.

This year we are using Rod and Staff for English language studies for our 5 and 7 years olds – grades 1 and 2 respectively. This is an unusual curriculum so I thought I’d expound on it a little – it is less well known than other curricula.

GRADE 1 Rod and Staff

The Rod and Staff Language for Grade 1

  • Phonics workbook – great fun and easy to use
  • Reader and workbook
  • Book of worksheets to go with each lesson – lots of fun coloring, cutting and pasting

For each lesson, the child reads the story in the reader and then does the workbook pages relating to the story. It starts with the creation story in great detail-  there is also a worksheet page along a similar theme.

  • Phonics cards that are grouped into different categories
  • Vocabulary cards that match what is being learnt in the reader.

Grade 1 English Language in our week:

  1. Monday – phonics workbook and phonics flashcards
  2. Tuesday – read aloud from the reader and reader workbook double page
  3. Wednesday –  worksheet page relating to the lesson and vocabulary flashcards – fun making sentences from different word combinations
  4. Thursday – another phonics double page
  5. Friday – another reader lesson, workbook and relevant worksheet

Rod and Staff Language for Grade 2

  • Phonics workbook
  • Reader and workbook
  • Then there is a LEARNING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE book called Preparing to Build which teaches punctuation, grammar, etc. I really love the old fashioned feel of this book and this curriculum – and its English is very sound. (if you like old-fashioned books you will love this. It is beautifully written and full of rich language.) This book is not consumable and is hard cover – built to last!

The phonics pages are very quick and easy to do and the reader has chapter stories with questions to answer about them – also taken from the Genesis.

Stories about God’s People (if you click on this link to their site you can peep inside the books online).

The books are lovely with bible quotes from the KJV in them, the illustrations are very family friendly and the subject matter very solid.

My only criticism is that now and then the child is asked to write the end SOUND of a word instead of the end letter e.g. PAGE (they are supposed to write j) – not sure if I agree with doing that or if it teaches the child the incorrect spelling. It hasn’t been a problem as they usually know the correct spelling already so I have just told them to write what they know is correct.)

Grade 2 English Language in our week:

  1. Monday – Phonics and Reader Workbook
  2. Tuesday – LEARNING THE ENGLISH language
  3. Wednesday –  Phonics and Reader Workbook
  4. Thursday – LEARNING THE ENGLISH language
  5. Friday – Review / Test

There are teachers guides to go with phonics, readers and English language books – all beautifully bound. The price of the R&S materials is very reasonable and much less than we paid for previous curriculum materials. Highly recommended!

“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” 1 Thessalonians 4 v 11

Our Homeschool 2011 Part 1 – Handwriting

Our four are still very small and we are at the beginning of our homeschool journey. These are our current curriculum choices – the ones we have loved this past 3 years and ones that are really working for us right now.

For handwriting, we love Handwriting without Tears which we found through Sonlight. Thanks Sonlight! Shipping is cheaper if you order through Sonlight but they don’t stock all of the available products.

HWT is a fantastic curriculum because it is much more than sheets of handwriting to copy.

We started using this when our oldest was 3 years old (she’s now 7) and now we even have fun with it with our 2 year olds.

The tools for teaching handwriting are as follows:

  1. A teachers handbook and CD with songs about handwriting,

e.g. Where do you start your letters? (at the top)

and songs that help you to use your arms and fingers to make shapes

e.g. I love it when it rains (use fingers to make rain falling)

Then there is a box of wooden shapes called lines and curves which you use for all kinds of wonderful things with and without music:

We gather the little ones, grab the lines and curves, put on the CD and then make a circle, make a smiley face, a sad face, an umbrella, a boat, hold it straight, hold it up, hold it behind your back. etc (the children are learning much more than handwriting as you go!)

MAT MAN – a wonderful invention where you use lines and curves and the letters mat to make a mat man – there’s even a song for that – the children love to do this! This even helps them with learning to draw a person!

and most importantly – you use these to shape your capital letters on the letters mat.

There is a stamp screen with lines and curves to make your capital letters on. the child can stamp the letter shapes with the lines and curves and then draw the letter shapes using the stamp screen pen within the same size rectangle as the letters mat

Then there is a small chalk board – like a slate – the same size as the letters mat and stamp screen. the child draws a capital letter with a piece of chalk, then takes a tiny damp square sponge which is held between the fingers like a pencil (strengthening the fingers again) and “draws” over the chalk with the wet sponge erasing the drawing, then they take a piece of tissue and go over it a third time to dry it – and then they can try with the chalk again.

There is also playdo with capital letter shape cards. the child creates long worm shapes by rolling the dough (strengthening the fingers for holding a pencil) and shapes them onto the capital shape cards.

These tools are such a fabulous way to introduce handwriting and have lots of fine motor skill activities along the way.

So, if we are learning the letter F this week:

  • On Monday we would listen to a song and do actions using the lines and curves. we would focus on learning to put together the big and little lines in the F shape.
  • Later at the desk I the child would practice make an F on the letters mat using 1 big and 2 little lines.
  • Then we would reinforce that shape each day.
  • At the desk on Tuesday we would use the stamp screen to make the F
  • Wednesday we would do the chalkboard version of F

  • Thursday we would do a playdough F
  • Friday we make a rainbow F using crayons (a big F that they can write over or inside with different colours of pens). My children love animals so we have printed out an animal for them to colour to stick opposite the letter it begins with. Here is a great link for printing pages for rainbow letters including little pictures to colour with objects that begin with that letter.

Another great HWT tip that helped our children learn how to hold the pen properly is to use only very short crayons while they are learning to write (this forces them to hold it in their fingertips)

Then there are HWT workbooks from K to grade 5. These are great – we do a page per day starting at age 4 after a year of so of lines and curves, etc. We still do the lines and curves, stamp screen etc to reinforce learning each week.

The curriculum progresses from capital letters to learning lowercase and then to cursive which is what our 7 year old is starting.


See also: Our Homeschool Curriculum Grows and Changes

“Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:” Isaiah 30 v 8

TEN THINGS We Love About ‘Read-Aloud’ Lounge Time

I love LISTS and I love things being organized in box-type containers. A TEN THINGS list is like that!  I enjoy writing things in a structured, contained way. You will find links to all the TEN THINGS posts at the end of each. ENJOY!

Every school day in the mornings we have “lounge time”. We we put blankets down in the lounge for the littlies to do activities on while they listen and we spend an hour or so reading books together and discussing them. We read history books, science books, missionary stories and chapter books like the Moody Series, Little House Books, Boxcar Children, Rod and Staff Storybooks, etc. Previously we would read these at odd times during the day but it wasn’t very consistent. Now “lounge time” is the richest part of our school day. We got the idea from Kimberly at Raising Olives and we love having this time set aside each day to read and talk about what we are learning. Its a great way to start the school day.

TEN THINGS We Love About “Lounge Time”.

1. The children and I (littlies and older ones) love being all together to read and connect with each other after doing our morning chores.

2. We experience the richness and joy of learning & experiencing life thorough reading books – together.

3. It is wonderful to read and learn history together and to look the world globe to see where things happened. The children love to study the world globe, to see the oceans, the countries and learn how the world turns! They always have so many questions and are so fascinated by our world and by God’s plan. Studying the Bible with Dad helps them to tie it all together in their minds.

4. Its a great time to work on our Scripture memory together. We read through new passages and recite those we have already memorized. We also learn different character traits that God’s Word teaches like  obedience, patience, orderliness, etc.

5. Our children enjoy reading their current readers aloud to us all – or sometimes the older ones read a story to the others just for fun while Mom gets a snack for everyone.

6. Lounge time is a great time to enjoy and learn poetry together – we laugh and learn. (We select our poetry very carefully as most is not in line with our values.)

7. Its a great time for “fine-motor skill development” activities for the little ones to do while they sit on their blankets and listen to stories. It keeps them occupied for a good while as their hands and ears are busy! I have special “lounge time” activites boxes for them to choose an activity from. The older ones will often do colouring or drawing while I read.

8. We have such great discussions and conversations around what we are reading and learning. Great questions come out this time too. Often we will continue the family discussion later at the dinner table and ask Daddy questions from the day. We also love to read missionary stories together and develop our hearts for the gospel in all the world. We love how this helps us grow in faith and love for others.

9. We love working on our TIMELNE (we use the one from KONOS) and adding to it each time we read about a character from history. We have it stuck up in the passage near our lounge, so its easy to view and to access from there.

10. As Kimberley from Raising Olives puts it…

The way that God commands parents to educate their children is to talk with them, to converse with them ALL THE TIME, to be available when their children have questions.  Parents should be instructing their children throughout the day, during their daily activities and in all the circumstances of life (see RO post).


We want to learn together as much as possible.  We do not want to send our 12 year old off to her room with her pile of books, and our 11 year old somewhere else with her pile, and our 10 year old off with his pile, etc.  We want to learn together, to develop relationships while we develop knowledge and to be able to learn from each other (see RO post).

We love that “lounge time” is the centre of our homeschooling day – even though we do various desk and other activities later – this is where learning comes alive for us all! This is where we can disciple our children through our input in their lives. This is where we pick up on things that need explaining and talk about “stuff” together as it comes up. This time is such a blessing for us all and I am sure it will extend to 2 hours or more as our children get older. I can honestly say that since we started doing lounge time our homeschooling has really come together – its like the glue to our days!

Read this awesome article on God’s Method for Education with which I agree wholeheartedly!

This post is linked to WFMW

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” – Deuteronomy 6 v 6-7


TEN THINGS We Love About ‘Read-Aloud’ Lounge Time
TEN THINGS We No Longer Value and What Has Replaced Them
TEN THINGS about Family Fun Night
TEN THINGS “I Do Notice, Mommy”
TEN THINGS about Geography with Little Ones
TEN THINGS To Do with Edible Seeds
TEN THINGS to Help You in the Kitchen
TEN THINGS About My Days