A Little Class Friday – Lapbook Key Sheets

I’m always looking for ways to add a little extra spark in our studies and notebooking. I’ve blogged before on lapbooking, a fun way to journal our studies, and (I think) on key sheets a style of “learning map” we use to help in our principled studies. (If I don’t explain it in a blog post, it is well explained in Freedom & Simplicity™ in HisStory.) This idea is a combination of those two things.

We’ve done many things to “spice up” our key sheets. And at other times we just take a sheet of paper and draw lines to divide it into quarters. This last term I came up with a new idea that has become a hit!

I designed 1/4 page “book covers” for the authors we studied, with their picture, name, and a heading, on the “front cover”. (In my “sampler” – see below – the children will glue on a picture and write the info themselves.) I printed these on cardstock and we cut them apart and folded in half to make our “book covers”. Then the children made 4 page booklets, 1/4 sheet size, (called “bound books” in Dinah Zike’s Big Book of Books. You could also use mini stapled books.) Then they glued these into their book covers. They wrote one of the four “key sheet” categories on each of the pages and filled in the info for each writer. Ta-da! Fancy, fun key sheet!

These key sheet booklets can then be glued into a regular lapbook, or (as we did) glued – 2, 3, or 4 – onto a sheet of cardstock. (We then slipped these into a page protector in our notebooks.)

I’ll try to get a pic or 2 added to this post later. AND (Lord willing) a “sampler” and full instructions will be our next newsletter Free Gift! So if you are not receiving our monthly newsletter yet, click here to subscribe. In addition to getting monthly news, tips, and ideas from Me and My House, you’ll also get our (near) monthly Free Gifts, including this Lapbook Key Sheets sampler (or whatever name I give it.) 🙂


Add a Little Class Friday – Early 1800’s I

The last two weeks I’ve been buried in our lessons, and books, books and more books. I love it! Although my eyes have begun to go a bit buggy. 🙂 And it means I have to back date this post, so I can post another for this week. But I want to do that, as I have a great idea we used that I want to share with you.

We’ve lingered a bit longer on these last 2 terms because this time period is SO rich in literature. We’ve been studying the early 1800’s including the beginning of modern missions and the expansion of America. But this is also a time period when America’s literature was born, and great or enduring literature was produced throughout the western world.

English Literature (outside of America) began our studies last term, as England/Scotland somewhat set the tone for our own. Yet, American Literature is still very distinct in style. Our nation was becoming its “own person”, individual, apart from the “mother country”, at this time after gaining our freedom. Much as I wanted to just jump into OUR literature, I had to set the stage.


Sir Walter Scott was our focus our first term, as we love him. I wish I’d thought ahead, and ordered the syllabus written by F.A.C.E. before we did this topical study. We may have had a been more in-depth study that way. But I didn’t, so we did what we did. My children all LOVE Ivanhoe. We had to watch the movie AGAIN. And we looked at paintings that Eugene Delacroix (one of our artists this term) had made from his books, such as Rebecca’s kidnapping.

We also introduced other authors that our children love, but may not have known were contemporaries, as well as the most famous poets of the time and their poetry. Our oldest (at home) dd’s favorite author is Jane Austen and she has read several of her works. The rest of the family has watched several of her movies, (including the current PBS series on Sun. evenings) and dd can tell them the points of variance from the books. Charles Dickens is another familiar author around here, coming just a bit later in our time period. Our youngest student is currently reading several of his short children’s stories on her own.

Leaving the British Isles, another of our faves wrote at the same time, Johann Wyss and The Swiss Family Robinson. We’ve read and listened to this book over and over, as well as watched the movie, OVER and OVER. This was our other focus as a Christian writer. We also introduced another author that the children have listened to his audiobook over and over, as well as watched a couple different versions of the movie, Victor Hugo and Les Miserables. We did not reread the works of these authors, but the children did want to at least rewatch the movies, so we’ve had more DVD time lately.


The poets we covered in our first term were William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. They didn’t become endeared to us. So because the War of 1812 is a focus in this time period, our poet focus became Francis Scott Key. We studied not only the Star Spangled Banner, but also a tremendous hymn written by Key, Lord With Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee. We also looked at Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem, Old Ironsides. (We had to get some American’s in there. 🙂 ) Our younger children learned poems by Charles and Mary Lamb.

Our other Hymn Writer focus was an author to study in more depth in the time period before this one, but he sets the stage as the first hymn writer in free America, Timothy Dwight IV.


We began with American artists, Charles Willson Peale (our focus) and John James Audubon. We also introduced 2 English artists, John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner, to set the stage for our next term’s artists.

Till next time –
I have so much to share on this exciting subject – like some links to old books we are using.


Top Song of the Week

Last week’s studies brought us to the hymn writer lauded by some as the last great American hymn writer who wrote hymns based on the Sovereignty of God and to His glory alone, Ray Palmer.

The hymn we learned was already known to me. It’s richness touches the soul that loves God. Read more about it here, where I’ll be weekly blogging on the Psalms and Hymns we study as a part of the Saturday Psalm and Praise meme.


Contemporary Music Artist of the Week

Well, contemporary to the time period we are studying – early 1800’s.

The last couple weeks or so we have been studying the War of 1812 – looking at God’s Providence, cause and effect, individuality, and such. We’ve met the men and lived through their battles. One of the things we’ve done is had the children each pick a battle and draw it and then narrate from their drawing what happened.

One of the key people we looked at was not a big General or fighting war hero. We didn’t look at him initially or even primarily for what he is most known for. We took a back door, and fell in love with him for a scripturally rich hymn he wrote. He wrote of his inexpressible praise for God, and for all He has done and does.

We saw in action a quote we memorized at the beginning of the year: “A good hymn is the best use to which poetry can be devoted.“, by another poet of renown, John Greenleaf Whittier.

Our poet is Francis Scott Key, if you haven’t guessed yet. Of course, once the children knew who it was, they knew what he is most famous for (our national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner,) and his and its connection to the War of 1812.

We learned the other verses of the Star Spangled Banner and saw the depth in them, and realized that like hymns, you really don’t know the author’s heart, intent and message if you don’t know all the verses. We lose much Biblical teaching by eliminating some of them.

The hymn we learned is Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee. Click here for the words. It’ll be worth it. 🙂


Our Music Lesson this Week

This is the funnest version I’ve found of the 1812 Overture, which we will be studying this week. We’ll listen to an instrumental version too 🙂
here and part 2 here.

YOU’VE GOT TO WATCH THIS VIDEO! I removed the video from this page because it messed up my blog page formatting. Here is the link to it though. DON’T MISS IT! Enjoy.