WFMW — Century book

While not consistent with it, we have appreciated the concrete visual of timelines in our homeschool.

I initially tried a scroll timeline that we would unroll and roll up as we added new events and people, but it was so long, that it got quite crumpled over the few years that we used it. And I never got it up on the wall as I intended. Even if I had the “clutter” on the wall probably would have bothered me after a few weeks.

Since then we have switched to a book of centuries which is much neater and has worked well to keep track of our dates and important people.

The one problem with a book of centuries is that they too become rather long or the pages get congested as you include all the major events in a time period. I had heard many people talk of adding on to the pages and decided to give this a try.

However, I came across an easier way to do this. While perusing a used homeschool curriculum sale last spring I found someone selling a book of centuries just like mine partially filled in for just $2, and including some timeline figures that I did not have already in place. I decided to buy the book, cut it apart and combine the two books into one.

First, I pulled out the spiral binding so I had one of the books in just loose pages. I took those pages and cut them all to remove the holes and make them just slightly smaller than the pages in the other book which was still intact.

Then I grabbed a sturdy roll of packing tape and began the process of taping a second page onto the top of each page of the book. I only taped one side, and then folded the second page onto the lower page to close the book.

Taping them carefully, I lined up the outer edges of the pages to remove as much bulk as possible from the spiral area.

When closed, the second page appears upside down on the first page, but flips open to reveal the full details of the time period.

This was an inexpensive and fairly easy way to double the space of my book without maintaining two separate timelines. If you aren’t fortunate to find someone getting rid of their timeline for cheap you can easily do this with blank paper or cardstock as well.

You can purchase premade century books from Simply Charlotte Mason or Sonlight (the one I use, pictured above, is from Sonlight).

Simply Charlotte Mason also has a free downloadable one that you can print out and compile yourself.

Various places sell the timeline figures as well. We have used some from Sonlight, but have also made our own. To make your own simply find the figure cut and paste into a word doc and write below it the desired caption. You can print onto cardstock and cut and glue into your timeline. Or, you can print on stickers or labels made for your printer. Then cut them out and stick them right into your book. Again, we have done some of each.

Once a week or so, we compile our new timeline figures and get them fixed in place on the appropriate page in our book. Everyone gets a turn, and we share the work of maintaining a timeline.

However you choose to do it, I hope you will find helpful how we have made the book of centuries work for us.

National Geography Bee

An opportunity to flex your mental muscles in the geography arena!

What: The Lake County National Geographic Bee
Where: Grayslake Area Public Library
When: Tuesday, December 13 at 10 am
Who: The competition is open to homeschooled students who live in Lake County and are in 4th to 8th grade.  This is a great opportunity to test kids on their national and international geography knowledge.  The winner will take a test to qualify for the Illinois Bee.  Last year the Lake County winner, Annie Ulrich, won the state competition and went on to the National level.

To find out more or to sign up, e-mail Audrey Ringer at

My kids participated in the local geo bee a few years ago and it provided great incentive to learn their geography facts and really dig into the world around them. Great opportunity!

Wanted: Archeologists, no experience necessary

Their blurb:

A new year of archaeological excavation begins at Garfield Farm Museum. Directed by Jim Yingst, volunteers are encouraged to sign up to help dig, screen, and wash artifacts. Check the website for dates. No experience necessary, we will train you. Financial contributions are also welcomed.

My 10 year old is chomping at the bit about this one. I hope we can find time to get out and get our hands dirty in a real life archeological dig. Older teens can be dropped off (or drive themselves), but other kids are welcome with an adult if they will be a help and not distraction to the work. You do need to register in advance.

I just called for some more information, and they want each volunteer to commit to at least 8 hours of work to compensate for the initial training and learning curve. These do not all need to be at one time, but need to be done during dig hours of 8-5 Wednesday through Sunday. The dates for the dig are September 21-25, and September 28-October 2.

Looking at the video it says they are trying to track down the original cabin built on the site that was later replaced by the current home structure.

When: September 21-25 and September 28- October 2, 8am- 5pm — contact them for specifics on times and to arrange a time for your family/group to participate

Where: Garfield Farm Museum –on Garfield Road just north of Illinois Route 38 between Geneva and Elburn, Illinois. It is about 3 miles west of Randall Road, which is at the west edge of Geneva and St. Charles. From Illinois Route 38 turn north on Garfield Road and go about 1/4 mile to the Garfield Farm and Inn.

Putting this address into your GPS should get you there: 3N016 Garfield Road Campton Hills, IL 60175

More Information: 630 584-8485 or

In preparation for the dig I would recommend a book (or internet search) on the topic to help the kids know what they are getting into. A book that we enjoyed a few years back and will probably reread again now is Archaeologists Dig for Clues. Written for early elementary kids this book will give a look into archeological terminology and methods.

Launch your year right

Cantigny Catapult Contest

Saturday, October 22, 11am


Catapults have a long history in warfare. We want you to build a working version of these war machines. The challenge is to build a catapult which is designed to throw a tennis ball as far as possible. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place distances. Most importantly, contestants get the chance to build a catapult, compete, and possibly earn eternal glory! This project is fun, exciting, and as easy or intricate as you want to make it.


  1. This contest is open to all catapult enthusiasts; no matter your age!
  2. Teams are allowed (and encouraged). No more than 4 people per team please.
  3. All participants must register in advance by filling out this registration form by October 15, 2011.


  1. No ready-made kits. Each catapult must be designed, constructed, and launched by contestants.
  2. No part of the catapult can extend over 6 feet high.
  3. All catapults will be launched on a grass field. They must sit on the ground. No tables.
  4. The catapult cannot be staked into the ground.
  5. All catapults will fling tennis balls provided by the First Division Museum at Cantigny.
  6. Your catapult must have a triggering mechanism which will allow you to stand 2 feet away.
  7. No explosions or air pressure may be used to assist the performance of your catapult. In other words, the energy used to power your catapult must be provided by the device itself.
  8. Any type of hurling machine is acceptable: Ballista, Trebuchet, Mangonel, etc.


Each group will be allowed three launches. The best launch will be used as your score. The longest launch wins. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place distances.

Sign Up Now

If you’d like to register for the contest, click here to download the entry form. After filling out the form, save it and email it to If you have any questions, please contact Melissa Tyer at 630 260 8274.
Please click this link for a printable flyer for your classroom:

TOS Crew Review — Mystery of History 3

A couple years ago I heard about a history text that caught my attention. It focused on not just the important events and people of history, but God’s working through it all, and from a biblical perspective. I kept an eye out for it at used book sales (my main avenue for accumulating new curriculum), but it never reared its cover.

No wonder. I have no desire to let go of this book either, and will move Volumes I and II closer to the top of my “Buy for homeschool” list.

It brings us all together to study one history, from the kindergartener to the middle schooler. I love things we do all together, and the kids learn even more from each other, even their younger siblings.


: Mystery of History Vol. 3 student reader and companion guide
Details: This full color history text offers 84 lessons beginning in the Renaissance and ending in early American history.
Price: $59.95 for the text and $29.95 for the CD of the companion guide (various packages available on their site as well)

What we loved . . .

  • Scriptural basis. The book clearly looks at history and historical figures from a Christian viewpoint. The title tells it all, history is His story.
  • Adaptable for a variety of ages. Although a bit above me four year old, my five year old will listen along and grasp the basics of what we have read and discussed. Activities are varied for the different ages as well.
  • Related activity ideas. Some projects get a little involved, but lots of creativity and greater in depth study comes out of these extra tasks.
  • The book is very high quality. Beautiful pictures, sturdy cover and pages, well written, interesting to read, and just overall impressive just to look at.
  • Pretest quizzes to see what we already know (which was generally nothing . . . ) While these asked questions that were a bit specific (e.g. True/False: Columbus returned to the New World with 17 ships on his second voyage), it showed us how much we had to learn, and got us excited about the chapter ahead.

Challenges we faced . . .

  • Some of the daily readings ran a little long. I probably could have split them up into a couple days, but they are well written and engaging, so it was hard to just stop in the middle and pick up another time.
  • As great as the book is with its wonderful pictures, there were times they talked about a person or place and I thought, “Where’s the picture?” Thanks to the internet, we could of course find our own, but I did feel there were some gaps in that regard in the printed material.

I have no hesitation in recommending this product to anyone looking for a Christian based history curriculum that can work for a variety of ages. I definitely plan on purchasing more Mystery of History books after our experience with this one. Whether used exclusively or to supplement other secular sources, this book deserves a place on your home book shelf.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This curriculum was provided to me free of charge from Bright Ideas Press as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

TOS Crew Review — American Heritage Education Foundation

Last year we took a family trip to Washington DC and I found myself once again stunned at the richness of the heritage of our nation. The intentional faith of our founding fathers, the careful crafting of a new nation, the vision of hope and freedom.

American Heritage Education Foundation (AHEF) seeks to capture, build on, and pass along these virtues. AHEF is a “non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation dedicated to the understanding and teaching of America’s factual and philosophical heritage to promote constructive citizenship and Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility among our students and citizens.” They accomplish this through, “writing, producing, and distributing FREE K-12 lesson plans to teachers, students, and families in all 50 states and through additional initiatives, programs, and partnerships.”

Product: American Heritage Education Foundation’s lesson plan CD (national edition)
Details: This CD offers lesson plans for Kindergarten through high school. The lesson plans come complete with background information, goals, activities, estimated time, and other helpful resources.
Price: FREE! (You can order the complementing binder and materials for $19.50 per level)

What we loved . . .

  • The richness of our history undiminished.
  • Taking a vast topic and boiling it down to memorable themes — freedom, unity, responsibility, and progress.
  • Builds national pride. I feel this is important. Not that I am proud of where America is today, but recognizing what we could be, and what we have lost, renews my hope and my desire to pray for our nation as a whole, the individuals that compose it, and its leaders.
  • Focus on original documents.
  • Largely self contained. Lots of information and direction is contained right in the CD itself.
  • Not too time consuming, so that can fit in with whatever else you might already be doing. About an hour every other week will carry you from September to May.

Challenges we faced . . .

  • It is easy to get overwhelmed at first with the amount of information contained in the CD.
  • Working with wide range of ages is sometimes difficult, and we faced that a bit as well here. The younger kids may not have grasped as much, and the oldest one may have been a bit under challenged, but I think the principles taught were still beneficial to all.

Of course, there is no better price than free, and this CD has something for just about everyone. I would encourage you to take a look at the AHEF website, order yourself one of these free CDs (or download the material straight from their website if you prefer) and take some time to go through the material with your kids. They have some great quotes, inspirational writings, needed reminders and teaching tools, and lessons that will build character and patriotism.

For more TOS Crew reviews on this product, check out the TOS Crew blog.

Disclaimer: This CD was provided to me free of charge from The American Heritage Education Foundation as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.

Educator screening

Randall 15 IMAX

What is IMAX®?

Free Educator Screening

See More Hear More Feel More

You and one (1) guest are invited to the Free Educator Screening of LEWIS & CLARK: THE GREAT JOURNEY WEST, plus see exclusive footage for upcoming IMAX movies, A Christmas Carol and Hubble 3D. Additional guests will be charged $5.00 for each for Lewis and Clark.

Date: Tuesday October 13, 2009

Time: 4:30pm – 20 minutes of footage from Hubble 3D and A Christmas Carol
5:15pm – Lewis and Clark (please arrive a half hour prior to check-in and register)

Place: Randall 15 IMAX® 550 N. Randall Rd. Batavia, IL 60510

RSVP: Email or Call 630-659-6762. RSVP by noon on Monday Oct, 12th. Please leave us your first and last name, school name, theater, and number of people attending. If registering via email, you will receive an email confirmation. If registering via phone, you will not receive a phone call to confirm your space.

Lewis and Clark: The film chronicles a group of explorers — the Corps of Discovery — led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark into uncharted territory to find a water passageway to the Pacific Ocean and describe for science the wonders of the west. The expedition encountered and conquered an endless series of physical challenges as they traveled through raging rivers, buffalo-filled prairies, sub-zero temperatures and rugged mountains on their 8,000-mile journey to the Pacific Ocean and back. The generosity of Native Americans in helping the explorers is detailed, including the story of Sacagawea, a teen-aged, Native American girl who accompanied the group and whose contributions were invaluable to the success of the expedition.Website Teacher’s Guide

Upcoming IMAX Moives:
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE: November 6, 2009 – Disney’s A Chrstmas Carol: An IMAX 3D Experience will be digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® through proprietary IMAX DMR® technology. With crystal clear images, laser-aligned digital sound and maximized filed of view, IMAX provides the world’s most immersive movie experience. Starring Jim Carey. Website Activity Sheet

HUBBLE 3D: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE: Spring 2010 – Experience the gripping story — full of hope, crushing disappointment, dazzling ingenuity, bravery, and triumph – in HUBBLE 3D, the seventh awe-inspiring film from the award-winning IMAX Space Team. Vividly captured in IMAX 3D, HUBBLE 3D recounts the amazing journey of the most important scientific instrument since Galileo’s original telescope and the greatest success in space since the Moon Landing — the Hubble Space Telescope. Audiences will accompany the space walking astronauts as they attempt some of the most difficult tasks ever undertaken in NASA’s history, and will experience up close the awesome power of the launches, the heartbreaking setbacks, and the dramatic rescues of this most powerful story, all in amazing IMAX 3D. Website Activity Sheet

Group Rates: For groups of 10 or more, $5.00 per person (Traditional 45 minute films) or $7.50 per person for IMAX DMR (Hollywood Feature Length). Groups of 20 or more receive one free admission for a teacher or chaperone.

Book a group and call Jeannette at 630-659-6762 or email

www.GQTIMAX.comTeachers GuideLearning to the MAX online brochure

Our current IMAX Library: Teachers Guide Click here


LEWIS AND CLARKLewis and Clark

Star Trek




HUBBLE 3DHubble 3D




BUGS 3D Bugs

LEWIS AND CLARKLewis and Clark

Concession Combos available for groups

Interested in Local History?

If you would like more information on local history including events, museums, background information and resources, you may like to subscribe to a FREE quarterly magazine put out by the Illinois State Museum.

This colorful publication, entitled The Living Museum, packs information on the many historical monuments, museums, and sites available to you around our state. It also includes information on current exhibits at various museums so you can plan them into your schedule.

Living Museum Cover

For more information about this publication, or to subscribe, check out the Illinois State Museum website, or email them at:

A River Thru History

Another opportunity to see Illinois history come alive:

A River Thru History is a living history reenactment of early American life, as it was on the Illinois frontier prior to 1848, with emphasis on local history from the fur trade era to the canal era. The goal of this rendezvous is to be the premier event of this type in this area by creating an exciting, entertaining and educational experience for all ages. To this end, we strive to create a better understanding and appreciation of our history by allowing the public and the reenactors to mingle, both as witnesses and participants, in our event. Finally, we seek to have the most authentic and highest quality reenactors and trade goods to represent our vision of the rendezvous. This is consistent with the overall goal of the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor Civic Center Authority, which is to promote and enhance the historic, recreational and economic development of this new style National Park.

When: October 10,11 — also a “school day” available on Friday the 9th for $3 per person

Where: Columbia Woods, Willow Springs, IL

What: Early American food, Music, crafts, canoe races, and more

Cost: Children under 6 — FREE
Children 6-12   $3
Senior over 62 $4
Youths 12-18    $4
Adults                  $8
Family pass        $18

See their website for full details, A River Thru History.

Trail of History in McHenry County


Coming in October is the annual Trail of History. Said to be one of the largest gatherings of historical reenactors, this event brings you back to the era of fur traders and pioneers.

From the website:

The Trail of History is a living history interpretive event. Interpreters from across the country portray and demonstrate life as it was from 1670 – 1850 in the former Northwest Territory which encompasses present day Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and portions of eastern Minnesota. The event’s focus is to show the interrelationship between nature, man and cultural development.

The first event occurred in 1989 and was named the Kames Rendezvous. In 1990, the event was renamed Trail of History to reflect the increased focus toward living history interpretation. Today there are over 150 encampments. The Trail of History encampment is nestled at the foot of the glacial kames in the rolling terrain of Glacial Park. It occurs annually the third weekend in October just as the prairie grasses and trees display their vibrant colors.

The McHenry County Conservation District presents the Trail of History with the assistance of numerous volunteers and other areas and re-enactors from across the country.

What you can expect:

Marvel at the swordmanship skills!

View a re-enactment of military tactics during the French and Indian War.

Children will enjoy learning in the frontier schoolhouse, making cornhusk dolls or candles and playing pioneer games. Parents, bring a camera to photograph your children at the dress-up area!

Dr. Balthazar will awe visitors with his traveling medicine show.

Visit vendors selling authentic wares and culinary treats.

Musicians, dancers, and much more!

Admission: In Advance (before October 7) /At the Gate
Adults: $5/$7
Seniors (60+) & Children 6-12: $2/$3
Children 5 and under – FREE

See the website for more details and to order your tickets