Friday, August 23, 2013


I don't know about you, but in my family rock collection is a favorite past-time. My boys simply LOVE collecting any type of rock they can find, so this book is really great for them. It not only provides a lot of information, but it can be read independently by my 7 year old, and helps both of them achieving some sort of organization in their ever-growing collection.

You can download this free book (in a .pdf file) here: The first book of rocks

Have fun!!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Microscope books

Here is a great collection of public domain books on the subject of microscopes, their history and activities you can do with them at home. Just click on the picture below to get the links. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Homeschool Enrichment

If you are looking for inspiration and ideas for this upcoming year, here is a great homeschooling magazine, Homeschool Enrichment, which is offering for a limited time a pdf download of all their 2012 issues... find the link below

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Naked egg

This is a pretty cool experiment that uses only a few items, but provides a fascinating result. An egg is a perfect example of one animal cell that you can actually study without a microscope, plus who does not want to see what an uncooked, unbroken egg would look like sans shell...

If you ever wondered, here is the way to do it. :)

Materials: One egg, a glass container to hold it, and enough vinager to submerge the whole egg.

Place egg in the container. Cover it with vinager. Wait for a few days (you can place it in the refrigerator if you want).

 The acid in the vinagre is going to dissolve the shell completely. You can help the process by gently wiping it with a moist paper towel.

This is what is going to look like:
Enjoy! Handle with care, and discard after you are done. You definitely do not want to make an poached egg with this one :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New edition of a classic... At a great price!!

I am really happy to share that this wonderful grammar book (yes, I know, wonderful and grammar don't seem to belong in the same sentence :)) is at last available for Kindle. Those of you familiar with "The Well trained mind", will surely recognize this author, since it is recommended there. I am talking about Mary F. Hyde, and this is book 2 of her "Two book course in English"

Monday, March 4, 2013

Giveaway of Montessori materials

Go to this wonderful website "What did we do all day?" and check out their giveaway of Montessori materials... It is a bundle of 22 Geometry printables.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Free poetry book

Getting ready for National Poetry month? In case you did not know, that is the month of April, according to the Academy of American poets. Is there a better way to celebrate the love of music and beautiful words than enjoying a little sample of the wonderful poems the English speaking world has produced?

That is what you'll find in this volume of selected poems for children. This collection progresses from little poems written for children in the past centuries, to examples of the best British and American poems both past and present. Hope you enjoy!!

You can download "100 Poems for the classical child" for free from my blog. I have 2 versions, one for Kindle and one as a pdf, just in case you want to print the work. 

100 poems for the classical child (Kindle version)

100 Poems for the classical child - .pdf file (you will need Acrobat Reader)

All materials for personal use only. Thank you!

And, if you are interested in more Kindle books for children, see here. I am planning to add more titles soon :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tangram fun!

The tangram (Chinese: "seven boards of skill") is a dissection puzzle consisting of seven flat shapes, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. The objective of the puzzle is to form a specific shape (given only an outline or silhouette) using all seven pieces, which may not overlap. It was originally invented in China at some unknown point in history, and then carried over to Europe by trading ships in the early 19th century. It became very popular in Europe for a time then, and then again during World War I. It is one of the most popular dissection puzzles in the world
(From Wikipedia)

We just love tangram... it can be quite easy or quite challenging, and it just provides a wonderful fun way to improve geometrical perception.
These are some of the shapes you can build...I have a book that boasts +6000 combinations, with the corresponding "solution", so it is a self correcting work that allows children to work independently... I am going to make some cards to share soon...

But let's start with the set itself.

I have a black plastic Tangram set, but my children each wanted their own, so made a very simple one with black construction paper that has been previously laminated.

You can basically use any material you want, from  cereal boxes to wood, of any size you want. All you need to do is start with a square.

Step 1
Draw a square of at least 8" x 8"

Step 2

Step 3
Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

Step 8

Friday, February 8, 2013

Living books

One of the main tools used in Charlotte Manson’s educational approach, ‘Living books’, have always been very attractive to me. These books, unlike normal text books, are texts written in first person form by a single author with a lot of passion about the subject written.

Living books are engaging to read as well as understandable and interesting.

I have been working to make some of these books more accessible, in particular the ones that retell classic works of literature, together with the ones that  help understand a particular historical period either by fictional narrations or by biographies of actual historical figures.

Some of these beautifully written books are almost 100 years old, but have lost none of their charm, and the beauty of the language is hard to find elsewhere, at least as far as children's literature is concerned.

The idea of using living books that retell a classic is really a very fruitful one: you get the benefit of a well written, engaging book paired with the introduction to works of literature that have formed the backbone of our civilization. The children grasp the main plot and the characters, and thus the ground is prepared for a later time when the classical work is to be read in its entire form.

As a secondary benefit, children are exposed to a richness of lexicon and variety of sentence structure that highly benefits their literacy, their cultural background and their vocabulary and expression.

Here are the links I have adapted to the Kindle format, with the added value of artwork from well know artist which have depicted the stories throughout the ages, thus incorporating some art study to the main literature and history line.




I hope to publish many more, so I'll keep you posted.

NOTE:  If you do not own a Kindle, you can read these books in your computer. 

Free audio book (with coupon)

If you enjoy audiobooks with the kids, here is a wonderful classic free for this month from Downpour:

Use the coupon SAWYEREMAIL at the check out, and you can download it for free.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Play time!

A good introduction to the dramatic art, this role play can take place in a mini theater made out of cardboard... See here

Make this strongman dance! Or play with a mermaid, the Big Bad Wolf, Little Red Ridinghood, a very charming Prince or the Fairy Princess!

Download the Theater printable here
(pdf contains 3 A4 pages, 872 kb)

What we did with ours:

- Print in color

- Stick to cardboard (cereal box will work)

- Laminate

- Cut each piece leaving a 2 mm margin

- Join with butterfly clips at joints

- Play!!! :)It is interesting how many stories come from this eclectic mix of characters...

 Can't wait for the next one!! I'll keep you posted!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Botanical Book with wonderful art

 Today, I'm sharing this resource  TOTALLY FREE, courtesy of

Botanicus is a free, Web-based encyclopedia of digitized historic, botanical literature from the Missouri Botanical Garden Library. They have been digitizing materials from their library since 1995, focusing primarily on beautifully illustrated volumes from their rare book collection.

 Go here, scroll through the pages list on the left  and enjoy. And if you want to download the whole book in .pdf format, just press "download" at the top of the page. The individual plates then can be printed as needed.

I personally find this botanical plates quite fascinating, and even young children, with their enormous appetite for everything natural and real, are quite attracted to them.

You can browse the complete catalog here

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Drawing with children

I found the book by Mona Brooks, "Drawing with children", very inspiring, since it introduces children to drawing in a very gentle and systematic way, training the eye to see detail in order to be able to draw better.

In her next book, "Drawing with older children and teens" she explores the ideas further. I really enjoyed the way copying doodles help to train the eye, and even foster new tools for creativity.

That is why I've created my own doodles for my children, and I am sharing the file  . Please for personal use only, thank you! You will find 3 pages of designs to copy, plus a blank page at the end to incorporate your own. I truly believe children enjoy things better (and learn more) if they see us enjoying it, too :)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Classical education magazines

Classical Homeschooling Magazine is a free online magazine. 

 In its four issues it analyzes the burgeoning homeschooling renaissance of classical education from A to Z – the primary importance of the family to education, the Great Books movement, the liberal arts, the Socratic method, the paideia reforms, philosophy and education, homeschooling academic statistics, poetic knowledge, legal implications of homeschooling, ancient Greek education, medieval education, reading lists of the classics of Western civilization, restoring education at home, the ideal university, the future of homeschooling, where to begin and many other captivating topics.

You can access them here:

Classical Homeschooling Magazine

Friday, January 25, 2013

Art sessions

Montessori observed that children become acquainted with the world through movement and experience. The process of making something instills an inner satisfaction in the child which he wants to share. By "doing it myself," the gift becomes a gift of the child's self.

That is one of the reasons we love making Birthday cards with the kids... it is an art project that turns into a one of a kind gift... even our 2 year old joins in the fun!!!

We start very simple, with white cardstock folded in two (or pre-made blank cards) We brainstorm about what the person receiving the card would enjoy best, since the main point is to let them realized that the gift is meant to make the other person happy (as opposed to just drawing what they like best). This also helps getting them out of the"artistic comfort zone" some children fall into - (rainbows and stick people anyone?)