Knights – New Paper Dolls

We have updated our Middle Ages paper dolls and men.

I have created a new page with a Knight and his armor and weapons.



The young squire dressed the knight, layering all the underclothes, chain-mail, armor and coat of arms tunic and weapons.  If kids follow the list of armor given on the page with the knight man, they will dress the knight correctly.

There are also 2 pages with a Medieval Man’s clothes, including clothes worn by the poor peasant, merchant or wealthy man.


The Middle Ages lady pages now include clothes worn by peasants, merchants and the wealthy Medieval lady.  These detailed illustrations and labels will give a child a real understanding of the clothing and lifestyle of the era.


This is a wonderful ‘keep-those-hands-busy’ activity for kids to make while you read aloud!

Pop over to my Free Pages and check out all the paper dolls & men!


Mom’s Book of Centuries Record of Work

One of Charlotte Mason’s principles is the Book of Centuries.  She encourages each child to add important information to their Book of Centuries (BoC) as they learn.

This year I decided to start my own Book of Centuries and as I noted in important dates and details as we learnt, I thought, “This will make an excellent record of work!”Book of Centuries

What should go into a Book of Centuries?

  • Names and birth/ death dates of famous and important people
  • Explorations, discoveries, inventions, technology advancements
  • Wars, conflicts and political events
  • Religious and philosophical changes
  • Art and music eras, as well as famous artists’ masterpieces


    We paste our famous artists at their date of death. Paste specific masterpieces or inventions on their dates. Simple keywords to summarize.

As we cover a theme or topic, an era or event, learn about a famous artist or musical composer, we spend a few minutes and jot it into our Book of Centuries.  Sometimes this activity is a great introduction and provides a neat “bird’s-eye view” of the era we are going to study.  Other times, it provides a good conclusion/ review of our study.

Book of Centuries templates include:

  • Double-page layout with 5 horizontal rows  ~
    • Wars, Conflicts & Politics
    • Notable men & women
    • Discoveries, Inventions & Technology
    • Religion & Philosophy
    • Art & Music
    • each page has light vertical lines for the years
  • Eras – broken into 8 sections ~
    • Flood to 3000BC (Grey)
    • Ancient Civilizations 3000BC to 500BC (Green)
    • Classical World 500BC to 500AD (Turquoise)
    • Middle Ages 500AD to 1450AD  (Purple)
    • Renaissance & Reformation 1450AD to 1610AD (Orange)
    • Exploration & Colonization 1610AD to 1750AD  (Blue)
    • Industrial Revolution 1750AD to 1914AD  (Red)
    • The World Today 1900AD to 2050AD  (Grey)
  • Eras are broken into 100-years, 50-years, 20-years and 10-year pages ~
    • Creation until 3000 BC only one two-page spread is
    • From 3000BC to AD 1500 allow 100 years per two-page spread.
    • From AD 1500 to AD 1800 allows a fifty-year span per two-page spread.
    • From AD 1800 to AD 1900 allow a twenty-year span per two-page spread.
    • From AD 1900 to the present allow a ten-year span per two-page spread
      (If you don’t do this, you will have large empty sections during the early
      years, while the later years will be crammed with too many entries.)


      Paste in detailed notes or extra timeline events

How I made my Book of Centuries:

  • Print all the pages on normal print paper. (You could print it on cardstock, and print back-to-back.)
  • Punch the correct side of the pages,  The pages face each other, all the even pages on the right side, all the odd pages on the left side.
  • File the pages and glue the backs of the pages to each other.
  • Index the centuries with stickers or tabs.
  • Number the years across the top line under the headings. (Some pages are divided into 10 years per column, the modern years have 2 years per column.)

Here are some links and free BOC downloads:

l smile as I browse through my Book of Centuries and I fondly remember our homeschool journey over the past year.  I could also use different coloured pens for each child’s studies or different curricula that I may use over the years … we’ll see.  Go on moms, make your own BoC!


Taking Time to do Timelines

Nothing beats a wall chart, timeline  or Book of Centuries to get a wonderful overview of  history.

Our timeline is full and crowded at the end of each year –

clusters of events, inventions, major changes and important people …

The kids’ frugal timeline book/ Book of Centuries look interesting …

After using timelines and Book of Centuries for over 14 years of homeschooling,

I learnt that ~

  • children seldom remember exact dates
  • timelines show relationships and links to people and events
  • my kids often link events to an existing event clearly dated in their heads – “Oh, that was just before the Civil War…”
  • they link time to eras and fashions“Oh, that was during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign …”
  • historical movies and DVDs are an excellent tool in relating to eras and events – “Yes, like in Pearl Harbor/ Little Women …”
  • my kids don’t think in timelines – but I do!
  • timelines are a learning stylenot everyone learns in a linear overview
  • I love an “overview” – a bird’s-eye view of history
  • my kids love detail – focus on here and now
  • timeline activities are great for introductions and conclusions to themes
  • timelines lack detail, but can offer good prompts
  • timelines are great tools to discuss, compare, link causes and effects, show consequences
  • we need to schedule time each week to fill in details on our wall chart/ timeline/ BOC
  • my kids generally just “get the job done” – no real joy here
  • the kids love to look back over what they have done and see what they’ve covered

Having said all this, I believe in timelines and personal Books of Centuries.

We will continue to jot down details each week, summarize themes and list important people and events on our timelines.

How have your children enjoyed/ participated in or applied their timelines ?


World War II Notebook Pages, Maps, Timelines & Online Resources

An Observer Corps Spotter on a rooftop in London.

World War II

As with our WWI studies, I wanted to present a brief overview to World War II events, rather than to do a detailed study.  I felt that if any topic raised someone’s particular interest, we would delve into it a little deeper.

Most my children’s existing knowledge of World War II has come through movies.  As a family, we had watched a few WWII classic movies, such as the BBC’s  The Battle of Britain and The Great Escape and the modern release of Pearl Harbor.

I find that holocaust movies can be deeply disturbing.  We selectively guide our children’s viewing of these films.  We watched The Diary of Anne Frank  and The Boy with Striped Pyjamas.

For our History studies, I wanted to create a type of “skeleton” or framework on which they can attach all their existing and new knowledge.

Timeline activities and map work seemed the best method to use.

I spent several hours researching for online resources and there is a stack out there!

I use OneNote for all my web research and notebook preparation.  I simply copy and paste anything I find on the internet on One New Side Note.

What is wonderful about this Microsoft tool (part of the Office package) is that ~

1. it saves everything for you automatically automatically places the url hyperlink under the clip when you copy and paste a picture, quote, table or whatever.  I use these hyperlinks to go back to the original website or use these references to complete my lapbook organizer or bibliography with one click!

3. you can easily organize your notebooks, filing and creating sections, tabs and new notebooks as you go, or afterwards

Recommended Websites on World War Two:

For the best overviews:

History Animated

A brilliant website with animated maps, timelines and original audio recording, radio broadcasts and famous speeches.  Highly recommended!  Go here to view WWII in Europe and Africa with an outstanding animation of the Battle of Britian.  They also cover the entire WWII Pacific wars and include animated maps with audio of the Japanese Onslaught, America Fights Back and battles on various islands in the Pacific.

History on the Net

They have an excellent site with photos, timelines and free printable notes.  They also include some online word searches and quizzes.

Work online on the excellent interactive map of WWII with more notes on the side.  (Excellent visual presentation)

History Of War Online

Here are stacks of links to maps, photos, documents, stories and even recordings of the war.

(I love audio recordings – great for auditory learners and learning with busy hands!)

BBC – History: World War II

With expandable index and excellent notes.



World Leaders & Famous Speeches:

Audio recordings of soldiers, civilians and survivors:

Main battles and events:

Pearl Harbor: An excellent animated map of the attack at Pearl Harbor with audio and full click details on the images on the map. Pop back to my New Pearl Harbor Lapbook post

Free WWII Notebook Pages:

(Click the title for your free download)

These come in 3 different layouts.  We combine our minibooks and notebook pages.

I created a concertina-folded timeline to paste into our Book of Centuries.  This way the war “unfolds” 🙂 for the child  and gives them a bird’s-eye view.  This 9 page download comes with detailed timeline notes that the child can use to write their own time line events.

Children colour in the different countries according to whether they are Axis, Allies, Neutral and Occupied Territories on a world map.  Coloured map of Europe during the war is also included.



World War I Minibooks and Notebook Pages

One-page minibooks are my favourite minibooks because you can tell a whole story on one page. With just 3 folds and a snip, and refolded, it becomes an 8 page booklet filled with info.

(Have you downloaded my one-page minibook templates yet?)

I created several minibooks and notebook pages for our study of

World War I

The first minibook covers the most important events of the war which I adapted from this excellent online animated book of WWI.

The second minibook is about WWI warfare, including trenches, guns, tanks, airships and airplanes.

I made a vocabulary and definitions minibook and created a crossword, word search and match words worksheets to reinforce the new vocabulary. I love the simple worksheet maker at PuzzleFast Instant Puzzle Maker.   You just types the words and their meanings, and you can select whichever game you want and it creates it for you in a jiffy!  Using the same imput you can select several puzzles at a click.

I made World War I notebook pages in 3 variations.  We combine our minibooks and notebook pages.

We concluded our study by writing in all the main events and dates on our Book of Centuries.

You can download your WWI pages here:



New – Pearl Harbor Lapbook!

We have started our final section of Sonlight American History.

I created a new free lapbook  download~

Pearl Harbor Lapbook

Update:  I’ve broken the above lapbook file into 3 smaller files for easier downloads:

Pearl Harbor Lapbook

The Pearl Harbor Lapbook includes:

  • 19 page download with …
  • lapbook organizer with hyperlinks for each section to original websites
  • Vocabulary and definitions with several activities such as a crossword puzzle, word search and match words with meanings
  • Detailed (even minute-by-minute!) timeline
  • Battleships, Cruisers & Destroyers minibooks
  • Map of harbor to identify ships
  • What happened? with 3 photos to examine, discuss and describe
  • Oral history and survivor reports from a nurse, a sailor and a lieutenant commander to read, discuss and summarize
  • Aftermath of Pearl Harbour with photo and info
  • History Notebook Pages in 3 variations

This lapbook is for upper middle schoolers (for 10 – 12 year olds) but can be adapted for younger middle schoolers or extended for junior high students.

I suggested several alternative activities and introduced some advanced skills like ~

  • summarizing reports
  • making inferences
  • coming to conclusions
  • consequences to events
  • characteristics of heroes
  • write newspaper report
  • create an interview
  • give a radio report

With this in mind, I’m sure my 12-year-old will combine minibooks on the notebook pages, rather than do a lapbook.

If you download and use this lapbook, please feel free to comment here and share your photos and stories!


Bugles, Fifes, Drums and Sounds of the Civil War!

Union Army drummer

The internet really brings History to life!

We are covering the Civil War.   I mentioned recently that I try to find new ways for my children to learn, discover and enjoy history.  Well, today we listened to bugle and drum calls, watched videos of musical instruments and discovered how to signal with flags of the Civil War! 

Here are some great Civil War links ~


  1. Bugle calls ~ Short, clear description of the different calls with MP3 sound clips.  We loved this!  I asked my youngest child to march and respond to the calls.They recognised several calls from movies!
  2. “WANTED – Young men who like to get up early, make noise all day, love exercise and excitement. If interested, please see the nearest Union Army Recruiter. If that sounds like you, then you may have what it took to be a Civil War drummer. But first, let’s make sure you qualify.”   Read here for the rest of this lovely child’s view of becoming a drummer and a Civil War hero.
  3. ethemes  Civil War: Drummer Boys has a list of other links.
  4. Photos of Civil War instruments at National Music Museum
  5. Very detailed and interesting information and moving historical photos of Civil War Buglers
  6. Bugles, fife and drums soundtrack on video with historical military images and a video of the famous “When Jonny Comes Marching Home” with images of Southern States.
  7. The Taps Project  ~ tribute to moving sounds of the Last Call.


  1. Wonderful description of drummers, their duties and lifestyle.
  2. YouTube video of Troopers playing Civil War drums.
  3. Craft Activity ~ Make your own Civil War drums.

Signal flags

  1. Wonderful lesson plan pdf with fun hands-on activities ~sew and make flags, make your own cypher discs and send messages just like the Signal Corps!
  2. Lovely clear explanations of the Wig Wag signal system using 2 flags.  Codes and pictures excellent for children.
  3. Flag training lesson with Flash images ~ fantastic page – let the kids see how to wave the flags for letters and words they select!
  4. Images of Signal kits
  5. Step-by-step description of how to assemble your signal flags kits
  6. Index to signal flags manual
  7. Wikipedia image of Signal Corps Kits
  8. Info on the Signal Corps 
  9. A peek at how signalman waved his flags on this short video at Gettysburg National Military Park

I created a 7 page Civil War notebook page package including ~

  • basic half-lined and blank notebook page
  • minibooks on the North and South war issues and Slavery
  • map of states separated on slavery issue
  • The Emancipation Declaration and minibook to cover this
  • Selection of some of Abraham Lincoln’s famous speeches for recitation and copywork
  • Graphic organizers of the Civil War timelines
  • Signal flag images and alphabet codes for messages

Download your free copy here ~ War Between the States

I downloaded some free lapbook elements from Homeschoolshare and Dynamic 2 Moms to supplement our studies not covered on the notebook pages and for the internet studies above.

Bookmark these links for your Civil War studies!  Trust you enjoy your History as it come to life!


American History Notebook Pages ~ From Independence till Early 1800s

"The First Cotton Gin" conjectural i...

Image via Wikipedia

I love homeschooling when we find our groove!

You know ~ when the kids know what to do, happily go about it and write or narrate, and the work is completed without moaning or complaining?  (If only every day was like this?)

Our History Notebook pages have become a wonderful method for our daily narrations for our History CoreA Child’s Story of America.

We use basic lined pages with boxes in  different layouts.  All I do is prepare some pictures or artwork, maps, portraits, or clipart and some headings for each theme and we have the most versatile notebook pages.

While I read, the children cut out the minibooks and paste them on the lined notebook page.  This keeps their hands busy while they listen and these visual clues reinforces the topics that I am reading.

I have become strict about not re-reading passages or giving clues and tips.  Following Miss Mason’s suggestion, I try not “get in the way” and encourage the children to make their own connections with the book.

I recently chatted to a good homeschooling friend, a veteran homeschool mom of 5, and she and I find this approach very difficult.  We both love to explain, find more books and references.  We both love to teach. So, to read aloud, then facilitate the narrations without adding our own questions, suggestions and extra info is a real discipline!

How do you approach your History cores?

Anyway, back to today’s post – I have uploaded our latest files for you on my Free History Pages.

Here are the main topics:

  • Francis Marion,  General Nathanael Greene
  • The Grand Republic covering the Constitution, Congress, The Great Seal,  and the 3 Branches of Government
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • The First American – President George Washington
  • Thomas Jefferson with a timeline
  • The New Spiritual Revival and the Haystack Prayer Meeting
  • Inventions covering Fulton’s Folly and The Cotton Gin
  • The War of 1812
  • The Lone Star Republic
  • The Mexican War

You are welcome to pop over and download these for your personal use.


American Revolution Lapbook

Cover of "Johnny Tremain"

Cover of Johnny Tremain

We have spent about a week on the American Revolution Lapbook that I downloaded free from Just Us.

Based on the book Johnny Tremain, the lapbook covers all the major events of the revolution such as ~

The Boston Massacre, The Boston Tea Party, Tyranny vs. Liberty, the Declaration of Independence, the Battles of Lexington and Concord and Saratoga,  Minute Men, Guns, Valley Forge, Forts, the Treaty of Paris, Government, Sons of Liberty, pride, fear,  plus plenty of vocabulary building activities, timelines, maps, definitions, and several scriptures on the topic.

As I shared before in a post on Time-Saving Tips for Doing Lapbooks , we paste in all the minibooks on our lapbook folders before we write in them.

I hate it when the minibooks are crowded and confused on the table and inevitable minibooks get ‘lost’.  So, I handed each child their ziplock bag of minibooks (which I had cut out quietly one evening) and some notebook pages and they arranged them and pasted them on the pages as they wished.  My youngest chose coloured blank paper instead of the History Notebook pages.

This was a large lapbook download and the girls used 7 to 8 pages each for all the minibooks.

Notebook pages with silver paper file clip on the left

We punched the pages and clipped these in a simple cardboard file folder instead of a lapbook folder.   I trimmed the tops and bottoms of the file folders so that they are slightly larger than the notebook pages, but small enough to fit in our files.

File folder trimmed, with duct tape punched to file

Because we would work with the folder for a week, I used my favourite item, duct tape, and taped the side edge to punch and insert in the children’s files. 

What is lovely about this system is that we simply take the folder out, grab the coloured pens and we are ready to read, research, discuss, and write.  It takes a few minutes to find the minibook, but there is no gluing and faffing about.

The lapbook was a great retrospective activity and an excellent way to consolidate the work we had covered in our History core.

We are still busy reading Johnny Tremain every night.  I remembered this book was long the first time I used Sonlight, but it seems to have grown even longer the second time round! 🙂 None the less, the girls enjoy this book even though it is a “boys” book, and it has transported us into the lives and times of the American Revolution era.

If you plan to study American History I suggest you pop over to Just Us an download this lapbook and keep it in a file.

Here’s a planning tip:

Draw up a basic vertical timeline of your History period you wish to study and mark the dates for all the most important events.  Then spend some time looking for free downloads, lapbooks, pictures, hands-on activities and jot it on your timeline.  This timeline will give you a birds’ eye view of your core, your activities and downloads and the time you need for each theme.

Print out the table of contents with every download and keep this with the lapbook instructions.


American History Notebook Pages leading up to Independence

George Washington during the French and Indian...

Image via Wikipedia

We are studying the famous events, people and times in America leading up to Independence.

As I shared before, I created some basic lined notebook pages which I have printed and ready for any lesson (see the notebook page with 3 boxes.)  Then I created a specific minibook and with some extra clip art or illustrations for each chapter of our History core.

My children cut and paste the title box, minibook and illustrations on to their notebook page while I read and then they write their narrations.

I am really happy to report that my youngest (nearly 9 years old) is writing more and more of her own narrations.  She sometimes asks me how to spell some words, and I often write a few key words on her white board, but I don’t worry about her spelling or grammar ~ I just want her to capture her thoughts on paper!  It is wonderful to wean her gently from dictating her narration while I write them for her!

For these notebook pages I made a lined page with one box in 3 different layouts. The rectangle box is larger than the little squares on the other notebook page for a bigger minibook.  Although I made a three-fold minibook template, I let the children chose how to fold and use it.  They can even cut off the one side and make a simple fold minibook.  I am quite amazed how different each child’s notebook page looks once they have arranged the pictures and minibooks!

Of course, you could download all these minibook pages and create your own lapbook!

Title box, minibook and picture frame

You are welcome to download these pages  ~Just click the title! 🙂

Hope that you and your children enjoy these pages as much as we did!  Pop over to my other history notebook pages for more free downloads!  Enjoy!