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Paths of Exploration Columbus Unit Lesson 3

Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 3   Disclosure As you know we are using Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning for our summer all-inclusive curriculum. This article is focused on Paths of Exploration Columbus Unit Lesson 3. If you missed the other posts, click here to see all posts tagged with “Paths of Exploration”. This was a great lesson! There was quite a bit of new information and some fun hands on activities for this one!  So let’s get right to the way I implemented Lesson 3.

You’ve heard this a few times now, we don’t do the copywork or dictation, so Section A we totally skipped.  

Reading.  The boys read aloud pages 27 – 37 in Meet Christopher Columbus. This is really good experience for all children to practice reading aloud. The boys are getting more and more comfortable with this activity.  I read pages 45 – 69 in Christopher Columbus.  They are really getting to see how the detail of my read aloud is giving them a much better mental image than their reading in Meet Christopher Columbus and giving them ideas on how to use picturesque words in their own writing. We talked about how long Columbus waited for his opportunity to sail west. And how in today’s “NOW” generation how many people might not have the patience to persevere through this length of time!  

Word Study.  The word study is very much review for my boys.  So we breeze through these but if you have not covered this information, these are excellent!  Don’t skip them … we are breezing through them and treating them like review but they are robust enough that if we had not already covered them, we would be doing them!! In Part 1, we reviewed what an antonym is and quickly read through these, but did not complete the worksheet. Part 2, we reviewed odd past tense words.  In Part 3, we covered the “Who Am I”… these are always fun!  In Part 4 it is all about compound words.  If you are looking to beef up the word study lessons, there are so many wonderful sites for hands-on works!  Montessori For Everyone has free works, Beautiful Sun has a free set, and Free Montessori has some as well. I have an entire post on just free Montessori Materials I’ve found around the web. Be sure to check it out too!

Geography.  In Part 1, we studied a great deal about sailing ships.  Studying their sails and masts.  We talked about the fabric they are made of and the shape of the sails.  We studied vocabulary of ships.  In Part 2, we studied what Columbus thought the map looked like versus what it really looks like.  A great deal of part two is review also… discussing what a continent is and what land mass is which continent. But we did this for a good review (I love to circle back to information we have already covered and present it a different way, which is what POE is doing).  They had to research and find various island on the globe and mark in their notebook. Sandpaper Land and Water FormsGeography is not covered in Part 3.  Part 4 was fascinating!!  We discussed navigation and what dead reckoning is.  I had never heard of it but we all loved this study and found it fascinating! For enrichment for geography there is so much you could use for this section.  Be sure to study land and water forms if you haven’t already.  This is an especially fun study to do while it is still warm!  Deb over at Montessori has a fabulous round up of what you can do with Land and Water forms. Of course, I have a post about Sandpaper land and water forms too. I highly recommend you get some works that help the children actually study about the land and water forms… there are two very traditional works that are used in a Montessori classroom to each this concept.  One is Sandpaper forms (and the cards that match) and the other is trays. For younger students, a sandpaper land and water globe is common.  I found a great site that discussed the dead reckoning technique and asked some great questions for the boys to ponder!  

Art.  Part 1 art was drawing (or tracing) the sailing ship.  Labeling and adding as much detail as they could remember.  Since we did the nomenclature cards from Montessori Print Shop earlier in our study they remembered quite a bit of detail about what the names of the parts are.  No art was presented in part 2.  In part 3, the boys had to draw clouds and research the difference between wind, breeze and gale and discuss what a hurricane is. You know we spent a month at the beach during September in 2010 and we were run off twice due to hurricanes… we have absolutely studied them already … again review, but we are going track the storms through the hurricane season of 2013. That will be a great exercise and good review of latitude and longitude.  Here are some cards from Montessori for Everyone to help teach latitude and longitude.  Montessori Mom has a great activity using balloons to teach it as well as a coordinate game to download too!!  

Writing.  In Part 2, we had a fun project! The boys designed travel brochures to an island! They each took a different one and had to research it.  Poor Blake chose Cuba… not knowing about the political climate there! He learned all about it in his research though!  They researched the maps of their countries and drew them as well.  This could have been included in geography, because it is just taking the concept of what an island is and giving them some names to associate with the concept!  In Part 4, the writing assignment was studying a piece of art as a detective to learn about the time of day, the weather, how close they were to land, etc.  So they were honing their observation skills.  This was a fun exercise too!  

Science.  In Part 3, we studied more about wind, specifically about the Trade Winds. This was a pretty fascinating study too. I did not know why they were called the “trade” winds and how they encouraged trade. In researching this concept more, I found a NASA site that really explained it well!  But this site, Weather Wiz Kids, also has all the experiments to help the boys really grasp this concept!  LOVE this one… I’m bookmarking it!  

Independent Reading.  We are still focusing on our Columbus book library for their independent reading.

Finally, the Enrichment activities in Lesson 3, Part 5 were excellent!

We did not read Carry On, Mr. Bowditch because this is the middle school supplement we will complete after finishing this section of POE.  

Number 2 was cook a recipe from Jamaica from our Eat Your Way Around the World. Blake and I cooked JerkEat Your Way around the World Chicken and it was EXCELLENT! I highly recommend this book! We have only had one recipe thus far that we were not fond of! We have tried other jerk chicken recipes where the spice was just too hot!  This one the boys ate and loved! 

Number 3 is learning about Hurricanes and tracking them.  Here are charts for the Atlantic and Pacific to track them.   

That’s it for this Lesson!  We are really enjoying doing Paths of Exploration!   

Homeschool Curriculum, Schedule and Checklist 2013 – 2014

Homeschool Schedules, Curriculum and Daily Checklists 8th, 8th and 4th Grades


We are very hands-on (Montessori-ish) homeschoolers and have been homeschooling for four years, headed into our fifth! This article is all about our homeschool curriculum, schedule and checklist for 2013 -2014. Chase and Gage both are taking high school level classes so we are now using transcripts. Thankfully our umbrella school, HomeLife Academy makes it easy with their new AppleCore Reporting System!

So many people think Montessori homeschooling is akin to chaos or unschooling without structure… But that is just not accurate, as you will see with the boys’ curriculum and schedule! It is FAR from unschooling and nothing remotely close to chaos! I have included with each of my sons’ curriculum section, their schedules and their daily checklists (which includes their home chores). Montessori focuses on independence in education and the realization that we are life long learners. The tools we are using (schedules and daily checklists) are very effective at keeping them on track, holding them accountable and giving them freedom within their daily schedule. You will notice lots of study halls on their schedules. With the exception of those virtual or co-op classes that have specific times that the boys must attend at a specific time, we allow them to do their work at any time each day, as long as it is done that day. Thus the study halls sprinkled throughout the day allow for that flexibility.  

Another aspect of a Montesori education is a particular focus on life skills. You will see on the boys’ daily checklist a variety of daily chores they do from vacuuming to washing clothes. And we regularly swap out chore lists to allow for the boys to learn all aspects of running a home. We have also taken practical life skills to the next level with a focus on entrepreneurship. We realize our children will be part of the next generations’ leaders. We believe they will be the generation that gets America back on the right track, from a spiritual, economic, moral, government and academic perspective. So we are teaching them the skills they will need to achieve that goal! Each of our sons has their own business.  Their businesses focus on agriculture simply because we live on a farm (and it is a great, wholesome and healthy place to raise boys). So, it is natural for all of their businesses to be farm-based… thus we call it “farmschooling”. However, if we urban, they might not have these same businesses, but they would have some sort of business to teach them about capitalism!  

We have gotten a bit creative in how we encourage the boys to grow their writing skills… we allow them to blog about their businesses and our homeschool on our homeschool blog. All comments on our blog are moderated by me and all of their emails forward to me, so it is very controlled and protected (as much as they can be in this fallen world). The boys are really loving this new avenue of communication with the outside world called social media! It will be a part of their world when they are grown, so we might as well teach them how to use it responsibly now!  

All of our boys have a focus and desire to go to college, so you will notice they are pretty aggressive in their workload. This is primarily based on what they are capable of. Do not use our classes or our schedule as a model of a typical child in these grades. Children all learn at different levels and at different paces. Don’t ever prevent your children from running ahead if they want to. My yougest son wanted to do algebra in 3rd grade because he was chasing his older brothers.  So we let him. He has since just completed the Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra curriculum (in third grade) and has started the Teaching Textbooks Algebra before entering 4th grade. Let them run and only slow them down if they are setting themselves up for a huge failure that you know they would not recover from. Don’t forget what our founding fathers were by the time they were sixteen years old. Be sure your children research them and know their character!  We have got to realize, as a society, we have failed miserably in preparing the next generation. It’s up to us to turn this around!  

I can assure you, we don’t have homeschooling or child-rearing figured out, but we are in a pretty good place right now.  We are so very blessed and realize where this peace and prosperity originates!

If you have any questions, leave a comment below or email me!  I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have!  

Chase 8th Grade Curriculum

8th Grade

Algebra 2 (VideoText)

Exercises in English H (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action H (Loyola Press)

All About Spelling

Classics Club via Virtual Homeschool Group

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Biology (Apologia) via Virtual Homeschool Group

Spanish II Descubre via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW)

Photoshop via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing: Blogs at and Teen Book Reviews (Psalm onenineTEEN Reviews)

8th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grades

Gage 7th Grade Curriculum

7th Grade

Algebra 2 (VideoText)

Exercises in English G (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action G (Loyola Press)

All About Spelling

Classics Club via Virtual Homeschool Group

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Physial Science (Apologia) via Virtual Homeschool Group

Spanish II Descubre via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW)

Illustrator via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing Blogs at and chronicals his business and homeschool at Deluxe Clucks

7th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grade


Blake 4th Grade Curriculum

4th Grade 

Algebra 1 (Teaching Textbooks)

Exercises in English D/E (Loyola Press)

Vocabulary in Action D/E (Loyola Press)

Handwriting without Tears Cursive

All About Spelling

Study of Classics 

Teaching Writing Structure and Style (Institute for Excellence in Writing) 

Exploring Creation Physics and Chemistry (Apologia) 

Spanish (K-6) via Spanish Clicks

Finish Paths of Exploration / Start TRISMS History Makers / Masterminds

Logic (Fallacy Detective and Books from Critical Thinking Company)

Biblical Worldview  (Philosophy Adventure and Young Historians Introduction to Worldview and our Bible)

Economics (Capitalism for Kids, Commonsense Business for Kids and Starting a Micro Business Carol Topp IEW) NOT REQUIRED

Art II via Local Co-op

Photography II via Virtual Homeschool Group

Creative Writing Blogs at 

4th Grade Schedule

Daily Checklist 4th, 7th and 8th Grade

Curriculum spreadsheet for all three boys that we use as a GUIDE to keep us on track.  

Homeschool Daily Checklists

The Cat of Bubastes A Psalm onenineTEEN Book Review

The Cat of Bubastes Review


Hi, Chase again. Today I’m writing a review on George Alfred Henty’s The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt.  First, I want to start off saying this book review will be a bit different from my normal reviews due to the fact that The Cat of Bubastes was written in 1888. This makes it more challenging to read and understand what the characters are saying, but if you have ever read any old books, this one should not be a problem. And, it is worth the challenge of getting used to the writing!

When Egypt conquers a faraway country, the prince Amuba, is forced to hide among the prisoners going back to Egypt. Amuba and his personal servant and friend, Jethro, wander through desert wastelands and sand for months, picking up the Egyptian language and dialect along the way.  When they are chosen to be house slaves to the high priest of Osiris, their life begins to start looking better.  The high priest does not treat them like slaves, rather like family members. His son becomes friends with the prince and they spend several happy years as a family. But when the priest’s son, Chebron, accidentally commits a terrible crime, worthy of death, the family must flee the raging country.  

This book has a great plot, but it is long, however, once you get into the meat of the book, it’s well worth the wait.  The book actually starts in a battle, and like my previous review of the book Secret of the Scribe, it also starts at a sad point for the main character Amuba. Throughout the first half of the book, you are constantly wondering why this or that little bit of random information is important. And you don’t actually figure it out until near the end of the book.  Then you finally see where each piece fits in. The whole book is like that, a puzzle, and you don’t start to see a portion of the picture until about halfway through.  At that point, you can’t stop saying “Oh, now I understand why they did that!“ or “Wow, so this is why they had to do that!”. By the time you have read to the middle of the book, you can not put it down!!  All the events up to this point in the book all funnel into this section, with a thousand individual things all pooling at once. It’s at this stage that you’re up until three in the morning, reading until you can’t even process what you just read but you can’t put the book down (which, by the way, is exactly what I did)!  

Like the first of the book, the middle is also filled with chaos, sadness, death, kidnappings, everyone being angry, basically the whole country of Egypt was in turmoil.  It reminds me of modern Egypt with its riots, mobs, leadership shifts, changes and confusion. A certain very important biblical character from Egypt makes an appearance during the middle of all this chaos. You need to read the book to figure out who!  

By the end of the book all the sad parts are behind you. I must admit, there is a small section that is not very eventful. But near the very end, the action picks back up and is just as visible as it was in the very beginning. Aside from that, there is also a happy ending, after the last bit of action passes.  Honestly, although there is a battle near the end, I still don’t think there was enough action.  I think the end was just too quick, it was too easy. Although that statement might be a little vague, it’ll make sense once you read the book. And you might not agree with me. You’ll have to read the book and let me know what YOU think and I hope after reading this review that you WILL go and read The Cat of Bubastes. When my mom first said I had to read it as a school assignment, I really hated the idea because I read mostly science fiction, and the idea of reading an old book about Egypt was NOT very appealing to me! But I have to admit I actually thoroughly enjoyed it, and I believe you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did.  

POE Columbus Lesson 2 Our Sailboat Adventure


For Lesson 2 of the Columbus Unit of our Paths Of Exploration study, we are learning about explorers and their ships. Mom assigned me the project of writing about our sailboat adventure a couple of years ago. This is my report on our sailboat trip.  

Our NC Sailboat Adventure

In 2010, we were visiting our granddaddy in North Carolina and rented a beach house on the beach in Emerald Isle. Close to the end of our trip, we rented a sailboat called the Good Fortune for the day. It was docked in Beaufort NC. We left Emerald Isle and traveled to the dock. There we met Captain Ron and his dog Rudder. It was his boat we were going on. We talked a little and then he had to get the ship ready. While he was doing that we explored the waterfront. Once the boat was ready, we left the dock.  Good Fortune

On the way to Cape Lookout, we saw many sea creatures like jellyfish and dolphins and red algae. We tried to get pictures of the dolphin, but we never got a good one. Captain Ron told us that this dolphin was released from Disney World and was tagged. The ride was gentle and calming I actually fell fast asleep with his dog, Rudder. When i woke up it was only a few minutes till we got to the island.

Apologia Swimming Creatures and Rudder, the dogAs we were anchoring, we were surrounded by pelicans! Captain Ron said they were looking for an easy meal. We had to ride in a dinghy to get to the island, once there we saw tiny black ovals everywhere! When we got a closer look they were actually snails… TONS of them! Then we starting exploring the island and saw an under water lizard, some crabs and a conch shell with another mollusk. Mom even brought the Apologia Swimming Creatures book for us to look up creatures we found!  

We hiked to the other side of the island and found a huge tide pool. We investigated the tide pool and swam in it… and saw that there was a sand shark in it with us! Luckily sand sharks don’t bite people. Mom spent her time shell hunting up and down the beach. She found beautiful whole conchs and many unusual shells. Dad, my brothers and I investigated some large boulders along the shore. When Captain Ron told us it was time to leave, we all were sad. We were all having so much fun on this island. 

On the way back, I stayed awake the whole time and we got to see wild horses. We were going to go to the island where the wild horses were, but we stayed on the first island too long. Once we docked back at Beaufort, i was glad to be on land again.  

I found out I LOVED sailing and want to go back again!   

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Paths of Exploration Columbus Unit Lesson 2

Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 2



As you know we are using Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning for our summer all-inclusive curriculum. This article is focused on Paths of Exploration Columbus Unit Lesson 2. If you missed the other posts, click here to see all posts tagged with “Paths of Exploration”. This past week, we studied all of Lesson 2 of Columbus and I’m thrilled to say we were able to do this entire lesson in one day (about 4 hours or so).  They had the rest of the week to do their homework and independent tasks. I am very pleased with the transition of leaving the “busy work” behind and focusing on the curriculum areas that my boys are learning and not just doing review!!  

I’ll cover each Part of Lesson 2 below.  

Section A. Copywork/Dictation.  The copy / dictation for Part 1 was the last stanza of the original poem “A Journey of Adventure”.  For the rest of Lesson 2 they are all coming from the read-aloud sections. 

Sections B and C: Reader and Read-Aloud. Focuses on  “Language Skills and Thinking Skills”. We read a great deal in the read-alouds and are so excited to be making significant progress now.  As always, I had my boys take turns reading aloud from Meet Christopher Columbus and I read Christopher Columbus.   


Meet Christopher Columbus         Christopher Columbus

Dr. Seuss CollectionSection D: Word Study. For Part 1, this section focused on how rhyming words have the same ending sounds. The study recommended reading the original poem “A Journey of Adventure” and finding rhymes, but Dr. Seuss books are more fun!  In Part 2, POE focuses on “ex” and how it is spelled. The spelling words all have “ex” as a prefix. In part 3, they use the same “ex” words and now we are looking at them from a vocabulary perspective. I love that they provide clues and the children have to figure out what word goes with what clue. There are even a couple left off for our children to create their own clues to match up. The meaning of “longed” is presented and POE then asks questions and suggests using this word as a creative writing prompt for the children to write a few sentences about something they have longed for. In Part 4, the students read about the word “finally” and are encouraged to use it with the earlier creative writing prompt from Part 3 to create a paragraph about something they have longed for.  

Geography. (Note:  Not every Part of each lesson has Geography as “Section E”. In Part 3 of this Lesson it is Section F, so I’m going to stop labeling the Section A, B, C, etc. Instead I’m going to start labeling the sections just by title.) Focusing on “History, Thinking Skills and Art”. POE loves their maps… in Part 1, they are drawing a neighborhood map. One thing I love about POE is that the student workbook that you print has all the notebooking pages already set up where the children go and record their work. Love that! Part 2 does not have Geography. Part 3 does “geography” … but it is not geography…. it is a discussion about worldview!  I love that this topic is in the book… but I would not have put it in geography. Oh well. The focus is on how Christopher Columbus’ worldview was developed. GREAT discussion topic with our children. Part 4 is all about oceans. There are a bunch of hands-on activities I would add to study oceans.  Here are just a few ideas! They have a fabulous World Ocean matching cards. Has a FABULOUS Ocean study for lower / upper elementary students.  I love the “Appreciating Oceans’ Importance to Life on Earth” section!  

Felt Water CycleIf you have not already introduced the water cycle, this would be a great place to do so!  I did a post on creative ways to teach about weather and the water cycle here.  I love the idea of having our children create a felt water cycle. 



Speaking / Presentation Skills Section:   This is a new section in Part 1 and it is focusing on “Language Skills and Thinking Skills”. It is essentially training and practice for reciting or memorizing the original poem “A Journey of Adventure”.  Two of my boys will by using it for reciting.  Gage, my 12 year old wrote a poem that I will discuss in more detail in the Enrichment Activities Section below. But for now, I’ll just mention that Gage will be reciting his own poem.  This section went into detail about how to present the poem… good information!  

History Section:   This is another new section it is found in Part 2 and is focusing on “Thinking Skills”. In this section, we discussed what qualities it takes to be an explorer. The POE text asks questions that prompt discussion but there is also a place to record their answers in their student notebooks.  

Five Senses ActivitiesScience Section:   In Part 3, the science section focused on “Thinking Skills and Art”. This section focused on our senses. It is exploring our senses through spices. We created a fabulous Name that Spice game in Lesson 1. If you haven’t already created this game, now would be a great time to do so!  The exploration of our senses is one of the most fun studies you can do with younger students.  If you haven’t already started exploring your senses and really focusing on what information each provides us daily, now is a great time to introduce those lessons. This is a great roundup to start with!

Drawing Section:  This is another new section that was introduced in Part 2 and is focusing on “Science and Art”. This section reminds me of a Charlotte Mason style approach to nature observation. This section focused heavily on methodical observation and quiet and drawing what you saw. Loved how this drawing section was wrapped in some great scientific method and structure. We really enjoyed this section. If your children love it too… you might consider getting them a nature journal or sketch book. My children took Art 1 (charcoal pencil drawing) last year in our homeschool co-op. But whatever you do, I highly encourage you to help them develop this skill! 

Independent Reading:  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we modified this reading section a bit so the boys will focus their reading on anything about Christopher Columbus for 30 minutes a day. This is working out well. I wrote a post to share what our library resources we have, you can find it here.

Part 5 of Lesson 2 is again all about catch up for the previous four parts, but also it has the Enrichment activities here.  THIS is where we really try to bring the entire lesson to a meaningful wrap-up. POE has some suggestions here such as:

Profiles in History Volume 1On the large outline map, label Portugal, Spain and the five oceans.  

Complete the Word Scramble located in your Student Notebook (which my boys loved). 

Read Marco Polo in Profiles from History.  There are many timeline activities that go with the study. If you have the time, I think it is so valuable for our children to be able to see characters and events on a timeline.  

These are the official Enrichment Activities:

1.  Look for poetry about maps, travel or specific countries or places. Present the poems to yourCropped Sailing Ships (c.1886-1890) - Constantinos Volanakis family by memorizing them or just reading them aloud. You can also illustrate the poetry with drawings or photos. Instead of finding a poem someone else wrote, I assigned my 12 year old son, Gage, the project of writing a poem for this enrichment activity. He did a beautiful job!!   You can find his poem, The Ship’s Journey here.  

I know I have mentioned that we studied IEW this past school year and how much I love this curriculum!   And just as an FYI, I am not affiliated with IEW in anyway nor do I receive compensation from them or free curriculum (Although I would LOVE to change that)!  🙂 I just love their curriculum! You can see my review I wrote about our IEW experience here.

2.  Read about the country of Portugal. Tell others what you have learned. Take what you know about Spain and compare it to what you have learned about Portugal. I assigned my 13 year old son this activity.  He did a Venn Diagram of the similarities and differences of these two countries.  This is a great way to introduce the use of compare and contrast into your homeschool.  

3.  Have you ever been on a boat or a ship?  Draw a picture or write about the boat or ship that you were on.  You could also make up a story about a boat or ship you would like to go on.  Make sure you include what makes travel on the water different from other ways to travel.  I assigned this project to my 9 year old son. We actually did do some sailing a couple of years ago on an extended trip to the coast of NC.  Here is another opportunity to compare and contrast (modes of travel).  Blake wrote a 5 paragraph IEW essay about our sailing trip and it includes pictures from our trip. You can read it here!     

Eat Your Way around the WorldFinally we are wrapping up this lesson with our Eat Your Way Around the World Cooking exercise. We cooked all the recipes from Spain which included: Gazpacho, Torrijes (bread pudding) and Paella!  Gazpacho is Cold soup?  I was keeping an open mind, and since we encourage being food pioneers in our home, I had to model the food pioneer behavior… But I have to tell you that was not anything I’ll be eating again. None of the recipes from Spain wowed me.  This is the first set of recipes that I haven’t liked but Spain is not the country I’ll be heading to first if I ever am able to actually travel around the world!  

I hope these summaries and activities that I add to our curriculum are a blessing to you and your family.  All I ask is that you share my blog and the posts if you enjoy and appreciate them! And, as always, leave me a message letting me know how you are using POE and what you are doing to augment the curriculum to fit your own homeschool!  I look forward to reading your ideas and comments!  

Until next time…


The Ship’s Journey, a poem

We are studying Paths of Exploration this summer.  We are in Columbus, Unit 1, Lesson 2.  As part of the enrichment study for this unit, my mom gave me the assignment of writing a poem about ships. So here is The Ship’s Journey, a poem I wrote for this assignment. I hope you like it! 

Cropped Sailing Ships (c.1886-1890) - Constantinos Volanakis

The Ship’s Journey By Gage Corlew


A ship at sea has a destiny,

whether It is to China or Italy.

A ship has no home,

it shall mostly roam.

From sea to sea they sail,

steering clear of strong gales.


A port sees many of these,

they sail in on the breeze.

Many travel to the Indies for trade,

of clothes from Persia, for emeralds or jade.

Many have dreamed of riches from the sea,

though very few find the mysterious key.


The ship’s sailors being so brave,

bob fearlessly on the waves.

And see so many beautiful views,

when out on a sunset cruise.

As the new day dawns,

They rise with stretches and yawns.


A boat at bay,

has a place to stay.

A ship at sea,

is almost completely free.

A ship at dock,

Will be still as a rock.


Many people who love the sea,

have a common silent plea…

of sailing away, 

for fun and adventures on the high sea!





POE Columbus Lesson 1 Parts 4 and 5

POE Columbus


DisclosureAs you know we started Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning for our summer all-inclusive curriculum experiment.  This post relates to POE Columbus Lesson 1 Parts 4 and 5.  If you missed the other posts, jump over to the search box and type in Paths of Exploration, there are many posts on this topic now.  So, I have been determined to stick to the curriculum as written (just augmenting by adding the hands-on aspects), but I have made some decisions.  So much of this curriculum (in my opinion) is lower elementary level and my boys are just not loving the level of review that it is requiring for us to do all facets of the curriculum.  We will be skipping the parts that are review and just focusing on the new aspects (all of the history and geography pieces).  And we will be adding in the Middle School Supplement.  So there will still be a ton to talk about, but we will not be doing the lower elementary aspects, except I will still add hands-on activities.  If you have questions or want an activity to augment a concept and I have not listed it, please leave a comment or email me, I will gladly help you identify one!  

Since we covered the last two parts of Lesson 1 today, I’ll discuss both in this post. This section will be about Part 4.   

Section A. Copywork/Dictation.  It is continuing the dictation of the original poem “A Journey of Adventure” written by the authors. We will not be doing this piece of the curriculum. I think it is a very valuable piece of the curriculum and if your children have not had experience here, it is something I would do. And, if we were not doing this as our summer / early fall curriculum, we would be doing this section.   

Section B: Reader. Focuses on  “Language Skills”.  Obviously, we are still doing the readers, but since we are planning to do a lesson a week, we’ll probably go ahead and read the entire scheduled reading for the entire lesson instead of three – six pages at a time. I have my boys take turns reading aloud from Meet Christopher Columbus and I read Christopher Columbus.  

Meet Christopher Columbus

Meet Christopher Columbus

Section C: Read-Aloud and Discussion. Focuses on “Language Skills”.  

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

Section D: Word Study. Part 4 focuses on rereading the sections read in the read aloud and identifying syllables.  We will not be doing this section until it catches up with the boys’ skills.  

Section E:  Geography.  Focusing on “History and Thinking Skills”. In Part 4, this section seemed like we were repeating what we had already covered.  Maybe because I had added so much to the curriculum to augment it in earlier lessons of Part 1.  So we did not do this section since we already had covered this material.  

Goode map

We did a fabulous activity creating an orange globe.  We discussed the various projections of the globe, identified the equator and the Prime Meridian and reviewed longitude and latitude, plus much more.  I’ll post a link here once I finish the post.  I just haven’t had a chance to finish writing it.  

Section F:  Writing.  With a focus on Thinking Skills, Art, and Language Skills.  Again, this focused on mapping and writing about a trip…. which we just did in the previous part, so we did not do this section.  It really felt very much like review.  

Section G: Independent Reading.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we modified this reading section a bit so the boys will The World of Columbusfocus their reading on anything about Christopher Columbus for 30 minutes a day. I wrote a post to share what our library resources we have, you can find it here.  I have since added a fabulous book that has not been added to our library list yet.  The World of Columbus and Sons by Genevieve Foster.  This author has written many books (I purchased several used in a lot on ebay).  I stumbled upon these when reading somebody’s discussion of the Beautiful Feet History curriculum.  These readers are a core part of BF History.  We just love them.  The summary of the book from Amazon reads:

This is the story of a wonderful, changing, reawakening world the world of the Renaissance and Reformation. Measured by the lifetime of Columbus and his sons, this book spans the years from 1451-1539. With Columbus as the central figure of this narrative, readers will also learn the fascinating stories of Prince Henry the Navigator, Ivan III of Russia, Gutenberg, Queen Isabella, Leonardo da Vinci, Mohammed II, the African ruler Nomi Mansa, Martin Luther, Erasmus, Albrecht Dürer, Copernicus, Michaelangelo and many others. Told in Foster’s engaging and winsome style enhanced by her helpful chronologies and timelines, readers will learn of the religious, cultural and scientific changes that ushered in a new frontier of exploration and discovery.

I have started calling books like this Historiction.  Historical but within a fictional story.  Think about all the great Henty Books that are exactly this same formula.  My boys seem to love them so that is another book that is part of their 30 minute reading options.  

Part 5 was the catch-up section for Lesson 1.  We did pull out our globe and trace where Marco Polo had traveled.  We did not review the spelling words because we had already changed them 🙂  My boys LOVED doing the Word Search!  Here is an interactive one online (not the one from the curriculum)  We even did some of the artwork… although my boys took Art 1 this past year and they actually drew a still life of a fruit bowl!  So, drawing bugs and flowers with smiley faces was WAY below their capability too!  LOL!  But we did draw them and giggled our way through it.  These are not the drawings from the curriculum, but I love these.  I love teaching the boys how to draw an object, broken down in steps.  I think I love it so much because then I can draw too 🙂  

In Part 5 of Lesson 1 we find where the Enrichment Activities are located. NOW we are getting to some meat!  

IEW Review1.  Study the country of Spain. My two oldest sons decided to each write a five paragraph IEW essay on this subject. As a mom that loves to write, I LOVED hearing that!  We studied IEW this past year and I can not say enough good things about this curriculum! It is money well spent!! They have a 100% money back guarantee so if you don’t like it (even after teaching the entire course) return it for a full refund. You just can’t beat that guarantee. And just as an FYI, I am not affiliated with IEW in anyway nor do I receive compensation from them or free curriculum (Although I would LOVE to change that)!  🙂 I just love their curriculum! You can see my review I wrote about our IEW experience here.  

2.  Learn about Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand.  My youngest son is writing a five paragraph IEW essay on this topic.  

3.  Eat Your Way Around the World is focusing on Spain! We will always be doing these!  WeEat Your Way around the World will blog about them as we cook them. 

4.  This was yet another “plan a trip” discussion. I can see doing these for a very visual person, creating a travel brochure or something like that might be a lot of fun. Although, none of my boys chose to do this activity.  

I hope I have not confused you too much! We will continue to augment the lessons and we are excited about moving at a faster pace! That is one of the many luxuries of homeschooling, we can adjust to fit the needs of our children!  

Until next time…


Sandpaper Land and Water Study

Sandpaper Land and Water Forms

As part of our Paths of Exploration Columbus Unit, we circled back around and reviewed our land and water lessons.  Educational research indicates that children tend to retain information better when it is presented different ways and using multiple senses.  This is an example of how a Montessori education does just that.  This is a traditional Montessori Activity Sandpaper Land and Water forms.  This sandpaper activity is considered a sensorial activity. explains sensorial works well and will be beneficial for the basis of our sandpaper land and water study:

The purpose and aim of Sensorial work is for the child to acquire clear, conscious, information and to be able to then make classifications in his environment. Montessori believed that sensorial experiences began at birth. Through his senses, the child studies his environment. Through this study, the child then begins to understand his environment. The child, to Montessori, is a “sensorial explorer”.

Through work with the sensorial materials, the child is given the keys to classifying the things around him, which leads to the child making his own experiences in his environment. Through the classification, the child is also offered the first steps in organizing his intelligence, which then leads to his adapting to his environment.

It is not very difficult to make your own sandpaper land and water forms using sandpaper you purchase from a hardware store and foam board from a craft store… I’m not so sure they would be less expensive, but I’m sure your children would have fun making them with you! 

Land and Water 3 Part Cards

These are three part cards that are an extension of the sanpaper land and water forms. I found these free downloads at The Helpful Garden Montessori and they are perfect for this work. I am always amazed and thankful when I realize how many of us are making these materials and willing to give them away!  What an absolute blessing!

Not only are there free 3 part cards online, there are also lessons on how to present the material.  I found the explanation below at Montessori Teachers Collective.

LAND AND WATER FORM CARDS (Lesson Presentation)

Material: One set of cards of ten major geographical land and water forms. Ten land and water models.

Presentation: Invite a small group of children to join you. Have one child layout a mat, then have the children bring over all the land and water forms. The teacher shows the children where the Land and Water Form cards are kept and then brings them to the mat. Review the names and give a brief definition of each model. The teacher holds the cards. Show the children one card and ask a child which form it matches. Child places the card beside the form. Repeat for the other forms. Ask the children to name all the geographical forms they remember by pointing to the cards. Give a three period lesson for all the cards they do not know. Present three at a time, isolated at the bottom of the mat. Continue according to the children’s interest. Replace materials when finished.

Exercise 1 As in presentation, continue until children know all the forms using the cards only. Review cards previously learned.

Exercise 2: Children can draw their own land and water forms. They may label their drawing if appropriate and/or include the flora and fauna.

Purpose: To associate the three dimensional form with the pure concept presented on the card.

Age: 4+ years

Land and Water Definition CardsAnother extension of this work is teaching your children not only the name of the land or water form, but also the proper definition of them.   Again, I found the cards free!  This time from Montessori Materials.  


Material: Outline maps large enough to show major land and water forms. Use one map for each set of forms. Two colored pencils brown or green for land, blue for water.

Presentation: Invite a child to join you. show the child where the outline maps are located. Start with the map of the world. Use one map for each land or water form. Decide which land or water form you are going to look for, i.e. island, and select the appropriate pencil crayon. Say that you are looking for all the major/large examples of islands. Child locates first example. Show how to color it in carefully. Child locates next example and colors it in. Have him point out the other examples which he will color in. Child proceeds for as long as he wishes. When finished, label the map according to its geographical form, i.e. Islands.

Exercise 1: As in presentation, repeat the process for all geographical forms.

Exercise 2: Child may use maps of continents or his own country, as long as he knows the appropriate language.

Purpose: Identifying major land and water forms world-wide.

Age: 4.5-5 years

DIY Land and Water TraysMany families make their own land and water form trays. These are usually plastic and some form of clay. Here is one set from Shannon’s Sharings and they are great!  These are  adding another dimension (water) to this already very tactile work. 

And, believe it or not, there are still more extensions to this one activity! One that I particularly love (and will be doing with the boys) is graham cracker land and water form snacks that Deb Chitwood presented on her website.  Just use food coloring with white icing to make the water and the brown of the graham crackers makes the land. So fun and yummy!  

Edible Land and Water Forms


Well, I hope have enjoyed seeing just one of the many reasons why we chose Montessori as the foundation  for our children’s education.  As they reach middle school and are abstract thinkers, their educational materials tend to be more traditional.  Although, as you see on my homeschool blog, we still lean heavily towards hands-on learning!  

Until next time… 


Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 3

POE Columbus Lesson 1 Part 3



As you know we started Paths of Exploration by Trail Guide to Learning for our summer all-inclusive curriculum experiment.  This post relates to Paths of Exploration Columbus Lesson 1 Part 3.  If you missed lesson 1, part 1, you can find it here. and Lesson 1, Part 2 you can find here.  Lesson 3 focuses heavily on map and globe work.  We loved Part 3.  So, lets jump into the lesson.

Section A. Copywork/Dictation.  Focuses on “Language Skills.  As in Part 1 and 2, it is from the original poem, A Journey of Adventure, written by the late Debbie Strayer.  Today we had two areas the boys wanted to explore on the globe:  Cathay and Venice.  We never did find what Cathay, but they did find Venice!  Both words ended up on their spelling list.  

Section B: Reader. Focuses on  “Language Skills”.  There was more reading from our required books. Section B and Section C still seem very cumbersome and clumsy.  These sections seem redundant to me.  But, we will continue to do both through Columbus and re-evaluate before we hit Jamestown.  

Meet Christopher Columbus

Meet Christopher Columbus



Section C: Read-Aloud and Discussion. Focuses on “Language Skills”.  Today the boys discussed a section from our read aloud regarding what happened during a storm.  This

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

section asked for them to describe the storm.  Our Institute for Excellence in Writing really prepared them well for this section.  They are very familiar with “dressing up” a writing with descriptive adjectives. Again, There are two required reading books about Christopher Columbus. One is Meet Christopher Columbus and the other is Christopher Columbus.  

Section D: Word Study. Focuses on “Spelling, Phonics and Vocabulary”.  In this section, syllables were discussed.  They discussed some of the tried and true ways of identifying each syllable in a word, like clapping them out.  This is also how All About Spelling teaches syllable identification as well.  For those that love using hands-on learning to teach a concept, here are some free cards to print from Montessori For Learning to divide up words by their number of syllables. Have your students clap out the word.  I have to tell you, Paths of Exploration introduces a new way of teaching syllables to young students.  I haven’t seen it recommended by any other organization so I won’t share this technique in this post (you need to buy the curriculum because I would consider this proprietary information 🙂 ), but let me assure you it is really smart and so simple!

In this section the boys also reviewed what “re” means.  We discussed a section from our read aloud that used a “re” word and what the word meant.    

re equals again 

Section E:  Geography.  Focusing on “History and Thinking Skills”. Today we discussed Marco Polo and traced his land route to China.  We looked at the water routes to determine if the water routes were quicker or not to China.  This was a great way to help them actually use the globe to think.  We used it as an opportunity to discuss various ways of looking at routes and the various types of maps and globes.  We will be making a Goode’s Interrupted Projection Map using an orange next week.  Stayed tuned for that project, I will make a new post for it!  


Goode map


Section F:  Writing with a focus on “Language Skills and Writing”.  We discussed Journals and what journals are used for in relation to an explorer.  As part of their study, they had to write a journal entry for today.  I am actually thinking of adding this as a rest of the summer project.  They used to journal when they were little (I would write what they dictated to me about their day).  They still love going back and reading them.  I think I have talked myself into it!  

Section G: Independent Reading.  As we discussed in parts 1 and 2, we modified this a bit so the boys will focus their reading on anything about Christopher Columbus for 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays. I wrote a post to share what our library resources are, you can find it here. I am adding our favorite map and globe books below. These books will be a part of what they will read during their independent reading times.  

Maps and Mapping                      Maps and Mapmaking

Mapping skills           How to draw maps and charts

Map Keys Rookie Read about Geography          Types of Maps Rookie Read About Geography


Looking at Maps and Globes Rookie Read about Geography


In this particular lesson POE did NOT teach some points that would have been very beneficial and go right along with this study, especially for young students. I’m going to list some items below that would be great to go with Part 3 since it is so Geography oriented with a focus on land and water. Pick and choose the works that work best for you and your homeschool.  These are the activities that we added to Part three, although most of these are review.  I’ll be creating a new post to show you how we used some of these:  

I hope pulling these books and the hands-on lessons together for each part of the Paths of Exploration lessons are a blessing for you and your children! If so, please leave a comment of encouragement. Sometimes, us bloggers feel like we are writing and nobody is reading it! So, it is really so nice to get comments that let us know you are reading what we post. If you have other suggestions on activities that you are using for this lesson, please let me know that too!

Until next time…


Eat Your Way Around the World – Egypt

Gebna Makleyah, Biram Ruz, Shish Kebabs


This is such a fun way to study a culture … explore their traditional foods!   We are continuing with our Summer intensive studyat Your Way around the World of Paths of Exploration.  We are in the Columbus unit and just studied the various countries Columbus visited on the Mediterranean Sea and we are starting to study about his sailing experience outside the Med.  One of the required reading books that is part of the Paths of Exploration curriculum is Eat Your Way Around the World, by Jamie Aramini.  



Blake our "Precious" CookerThere are three Egyptian recipes in the cookbook.  Gebna Makleyah, Biram Ruz, and Shish Kebabs. We made all three recipes for our Egyptian Study meal.  Since Blake is the self-proclaimed, cooker, he was in the kitchen with me.  I call him my “precious cooker” (instead of pressure cooker)!  When he was little, I would ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up… he would always tell me “a cooker”!!  Needless to say, he gets as much experience in the kitchen as he wants! 

The Shish Kebabs were spicy!  We love cumin, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, onion, garlic, etc… and we eat these spices regularly!  But even for us, this was a bit of a stout flavor.  We will cook this recipe again, but we will absolutely tone it down!  It could have used more garlic and less cumin (in my opinion).  The flavor was great just too much of it.  Gage noticed how filling this meal was.  I wonder if the level of spiciness has any relationship at all to how quickly you feel full?  Something to explore!

Egyptian Shish Kebabs

We LOVED the Biram Ruz!  It is a long grain rice dish with whole milk and heavy cream… no wonder we like it, huh!?!  Seriously didn’t expect to like this one.  But we all loved it.  It was pretty bland considering the spiciness of the shish kebabs… maybe this is intentional to counter that extreme spiciness?  Either way, it was quite tasty!  

Finally, we made the Gebna Maleyah.  These surprised me.  Number one, they were surprisingly hard to make, and number two theyEgyptian Making Gebna Makleyah tasted great.  I’m not a huge Feta Cheese fan, but these may have changed my mind.  These were supposed to be cheese “balls”, as you see in the plate picture at the top of the article, they look more like pancakes.  The boys didn’t like this flavor at all (no surprise there)!  

So to wrap up our thoughts, the Egyptian meal was good, but not great.  We will try modified versions of these again… except maybe the Gebna Makleyah (the Feta Cheese dish).  They boys really did not like it, I guess that is a mature taste. Thinking about this stout flavored meal, I bet it would be FABULOUS with a nice Cabernet!  I’m pretty sure this will be a Shabbat meal soon! 

Until next time…



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