Monthly Archives: October 2015

Martin Luther

Week 9: Martin Luther


Read K – 3: Read this brief biography of Martin Luther on this site:

4 – 6:  Spy for the Night Riders by Dave & Neta Jackson

7 – 8:  Luther DVD (2003)

Note for All: Luther is famous for beginning the “Reformation”, the reforming of the church.   In response to his teaching, many people left the Catholic church and began new churches.  They called themselves “Protestants” because they were protesting many of the Catholic church’s teachings.


  •  Why did Martin Luther promise God he would become a Monk? (nearly killed by lightning in a thunderstorm.)
  • What were some of the ways the Catholic church taught that sins could be forgiven? (buying indulgences, looking at relics, etc.)
  • What did Luther nail to the Wittenberg door? (95 theses: complaints against the Catholic church)
  • How did everyone hear about Luther’s 95 theses? (Taken to a printing press and were printed for everyone to see)
  • How did his theses affect the selling of indulgences? (church didn’t sell as many)
  • What did the Catholic church call Luther? (a heretic)
  • What often happened to people the church called heretics? (burned)

Questions for Grades 4 – 8:

  • When first asked to recant his writings, what did Luther say? (May I have time to consider?)
  • How did the church respond? (gave him 1 day)
  • How did Luther reply the 2nd day? (Unless he could be proven his error through scripture or plain reason he could not recant.)
  • How was Luther’s life saved? (Prince Frederick kidnapped him)
  • What did Luther do while “kidnapped”? (wrote New Testament in German)
  • Sadly arguments over the Reformation lead to what? (war; it was called the 30 Year War)

Questions for Grades 7 – 8:

  • How did Luther’s father feel about him becoming a monk? (not happy)
  • Was Martin Luther truly a Christian when he became a monk? (He didn’t understand the message of the gospel until after he became a Monk.)
  • How did Martin Luther feel about going to Wittenberg at first? (didn’t want to go)
  • How was his move to Wittenberg a great turning point in his life? (first time he ever read and understood the gospel:  Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”)
  • What did Martin Luther do in Wittenberg? (studied scriptures, became professor of theology, preached in church)
  • Was Martin Luther liked in Wittenberg? (yes; very popular)
  • Who was Johann Tetzel? (Friar who became “Commissioner of Indulgences” for the Pope)
  • What did the Pope want to use the money from these indulgences for? (To build St. Peter’s Basilica Church)
  • What did Prince Frederick think of Luther? (loved him; prize professor)
  • How did the Pope plan to “Erase Luther’s words from the memory of man”? (ordered all his books to be burned)
  • Did Frederick agree to hand Luther over to the Pope? (no)
  • Frederick was famous for his collections of … ?  (relics)
  • What did the Pope try to give Frederick in exchange for Luther? (a relic)


K – 3: This is a song written by Martin Luther.  Listen to “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” on youtube by clicking HERE

4 – 6:  Write a summary of Martin Luther’s life.

7 – 8: Choose one of the following essays:

  1.  Discuss at least 3 ways Martin Luther brought religious change in Germany.
  2. Discuss three ways the Catholic church had become corrupt.
  3. Discuss three ways Prince (Duke) Frederick protected Martin Luther and what he preached.

Copyright October 31st, 2015 by Gwen Fredette

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Amerigo Vespucci

Week 8: Amerigo Vespucci


Read K – 3: Land Ho! (Pages 8 & 9 only)  by Nancy Parker

4 – 6:  The Story of Amerigo Vespucci, Forgotten Voyager  by Ann Alper  Chps 4 – end 

7 – 8:  The Story of Amerigo Vespucci, Forgotten Voyager  by Ann Alper (the whole book) 


  • Why did the king of Spain send Vespucci out to explore Columbus’s lands? (He wanted him to find out what lands Columbus had discovered and to make maps of those lands.  He didn’t want to send Columbus because people from his new colonies were complaining about his leadership.)
  • When it came to maps and navigation, how did Amerigo contribute to the world?  (He was able to determine latitude & longitude, and navigate by stars and planets.  He was able to make accurate maps and determine within 50 miles the size of the earth.)
  • What important fact did Amerigo discover about the New World?  (It wasn’t the Indies.)
  • Name some of the problems Vespucci had at sea? (Storms destroyed some of the boats and shipworms were eating his boats.)
  • Why is America named America? ( A German mapmaker made the first accurate map of the New World from Vespucci’s letters.  He thought Amerigo had discovered the lands so he named them after him.)

Activities: All ages:  Make a map of Amerigo’s voyages using this blank map from  You may use this site for help.

K – 2:  Using toothpicks, paper, and play dough, create the kind of ship Amerigo might have used to discover America.  (Use pictures of Amerigo Vespucci’s boat on the internet for help: click here.)

3 – 5:  Write a paragraph: which explorer do you think was more important?  Amerigo Vespucci or Christopher Columbus?  Why?  (Give 3 reasons.)

6 – 8:   Write an essay:  Which explorer was a more important historical figure, Christopher Columbus or Amerigo Vespucci.  Write a 5 paragraph, three proof essay.

 Copyright August 20, 2012 by Gwen Fredette


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Christopher Columbus

Week 7: Christopher Columbus


View K – 3: Animated Hero Classics: Christopher Columbus  by  NEST Entertainment OR  Read: Christopher Columbus by Stephen Krensky

Read 4 – 6:  Christopher Columbus: The Discovery of the New World  by Carole Gallagher

7 – 8:  Christopher Columbus by Peter & Connie Roop


  • Where was Columbus from? (Italy)
  • When Columbus first presented his plan to look for a new trade route to the Indies, it was rejected.  Why?  (People believed it couldn’t be done; people thought his calculations were wrong, expensive trip, etc.)
  • Which country did Columbus sail for? (Spain)
  • What were the names of the ships that went with him? (Nina, Pinta, & Santa Maria)
  • Besides sailors, who went with Columbus on his voyage? (Arabic translator, secretary)
  • After they had been at sea for many days, the sailors grew frightened.  Why? (Superstitious, Sea Monsters, etc.)
  • How long did it take them to reach land? (33 days; over a month)
  • Why was Columbus surprised by the natives?  (very poor, no gold)
  • Why do you think Columbus forced some Natives to go back with him? (to prove where he had been)
  • How many ships made it back to Spain? (2)

Questions for Grades 4 & up:

  • Describe Columbus’s 2nd voyage to America? (Found Spaniards left behind had been murdered by Indians (for stealing gold, women, etc.  Indians were now unfriendly to them.  Mosquitoes were causing Malaria, sailors out of control, terrorizing Indians, etc.)
  • Was Columbus a good leader and truthful person? (no. lied to the King & Queen about the wealth he had found)
  • Did Columbus ever realize he hadn’t found the Indies? (no)

Activities: All ages: Make a map of Columbus’s voyages using theses blank maps:

K – 2: Christopher Columbus coloring page:

3 – 5: Christopher Columbus crossword puzzle 

6 – 8: Write an essay:  If you were a sailor on one of Columbus’s ships, would Columbus be the kind of man you would respect?  Why or why not?


Copyright October 16th, 2015 by Gwen Fredette

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2015 Homeschool Writing Contest

“PHB” Homeschool Writing Contest!!! 2015


I’m thrilled to announce that I’m hosting my fourth annual Nationwide Homeschool Writing Contest on my “PHB” Philadelphia Homeschool Blog !  Here’s the details:

For Who:  Any child currently being homeschooled (either traditional or virtual charter school) in the U.S. in grades 3 through 8.

How to Enter:  

1)  Read and abide by the Contest Rules.  Please click here to obtain the rules: Writing Contest Rules

2.) Write a story of 1000 words or less, beginning with this starter:

“Run, ___(Character Name)____!”  I screamed.  “Run!”  But my little brother/sister wouldn’t move.  He/she just stood there, knees knocking, frozen in fear.  Slowly the creature approached, snarling with fangs bared …. 

What is your creature?  A wolf?  A monster?  An alien from outer space?  A fire-breathing dragon?  A silly neighborhood kid dressed in a Halloween costume?   Something worse?  Is your younger sibling really in trouble or is this a practical joke? Will you be a hero or is your sibling doomed to a fate worse than death?  Tell us about it!

3.)  Fill out and mail in your entry form and story.  Please click here to obtain the entry form2015 Entry Form Writing Contest

Deadline:  All entries must be post-marked by Saturday, November 21st.

Where to Send Story:  Please see “Writing Contest Rules” for details.

Categories:   Entries will be separated into 3 categories:

  • Grades 3 & 4
  • Grades 5 & 6
  • Grades 7 & 8

Prizes:  1st, 2nd, & 3rd prizes will be given for each category.

1) 1st prize:

2.) 2nd prize:

3.) 3rd prize:

All entrants: will receive a certificate for participating in the contest.

Winner Notification:  Winners will be notified by email in December, 2015

Judging:  See panel of judges listed below (following the sponsors).

Special Thanks to the Sponsors who helped make this contest possible!

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Institute for Excellence in Writing:  excellenceinwriting.comlogo

Whether you are teaching a kindergartener or high schooler, IEW’s enjoyable, effective, and simple-to-use method for teaching writing is guaranteed to work!

Here are the top five reasons families love IEW:

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  2. It’s enjoyable. Through video instruction with Andrew Pudewa as your teacher, both you and your children will laugh as you learn.
  3. It’s flexible. Do you have a kindergartener? Do you teach elementary through high school students? IEW works with students spanning a wide range of ages and aptitudes.
  4. It’s a lifelong investment for your children. Structure & Style provides them skills in thinking, writing, and communication.
  5. There’s no risk. We offer a no-time-limit, 100% money-back guarantee.

Our special offer and drawing can be viewed here.

Let this be the year your family experiences Excellence in Writing!

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Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Schoolhouse  www.SchoolhouseTeachers.comST-new-small

Imagine the overwhelming frustration you would feel if you couldn’t access the right tools for a job you were expected to do.  Do you ever feel that kind of frustration with homeschooling?  Just as a carpenter needs tools, you need the proper equipment in your teaching toolbox. At, you will find an abundance of inspiring lessons and helpful resources to fill your toolbox.  Do you need homeschool inspiration, support, encouragement, or advice?  Take time to discover, a FREE digital magazine. On the go?  Read TOS on your mobile device with FREE apps at  Let TOS supply the tools you need to squelch your frustration and boost gratification!

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Peace Hill Press: TwitterPHPLogo copy

For over a decade, Peace Hill Press has made classical education accessible to parents, teachers, and students. We create resources for teaching reading, history, geography, grammar, and writing, including books by our founders, Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise (authors of The Well-Trained Mind, a bestselling guide to education at home). Whether you’re a veteran educator or a nervous first-timer, Peace Hill Press will give you the tools and confidence you need to bring classical education to the next generation.

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Silver Lining Press: gokoldschoolhouse

Glory of Kings Science Curriculum for Grades K – 3 (Created by Yours Truly!)

*Christian Curriculum

* Literature-Based

*Uses Popular Science Books

*For Multiple Ages

*Simple, Easy to Use!

*Fun, Hands-on

*Creative Projects

*Only $10 per E-copy; $20 per hard copy!

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Special Thanks also to the panel of judges who are helping to make this contest possible:

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Pam was a homeschooling mom for 9 years and is a  published picture book author.  For the last several years Pam has coordinated the “Teens Write” program for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference.  She lives in New Jersey, with her husband, Daryl, and daughters, Anna and Mary.
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Kim is a moderately crunchy-granola, homeschooling pastor’s wife who has spent the past 20 years of her life living in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.  She currently resides in a Lego minefield in Gilbertsville, PA with her husband, Carl, and their six Minions – four homemade and two adopted from foster care.  Kim has highlighted parts of their adoption quest on her blog – It’s a Vertical Life With a Bachelors and Masters Degree from Bucknell University, she has a knack for writing and editing and has shared her gift as the former editor and contributing author to the blog on All Things for Mom ( and, most recently, as one of the editors of the newly released Simon & Schuster novel, Shifting Time.  In an effort to regenerate brain cells, Kim frequently attempts to lock herself in her bedroom with a good book and a white noise machine.
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Michelle Lofton:  Michelle L 2013 - Copy

Michelle is a Christian wife and mother of three who lives and homeschools in Philadelphia. Michelle began her writing career as an obituary writer in NJ.  Armed with a degree in English and Professional Communications from St. Joseph’s University, Michelle has also worked in communications at a Philadelphia independent school, where she served as assistant editor for the school’s semi-annual academic journal, and wrote press releases and articles for publication in area newspapers.  Michelle’s love of the written word has led her to her current part-time positions with a national handwriting curriculum company, and in the author events department of the Free Library of Philadelphia.  When she is not reading or writing, Michelle can often be found practicing with her church’s bell choir, knitting socks for her family, or working out in the swimming pool at her local community center.

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Rosario Cintron: & Blog Profile Photo

Rosario currently lives in Langhorne, PA with her husband. Together they have a 3-year-old daughter and baby daughter.  She also has two stepchildren. Rosario is a Believer and stay-at-home mom who keeps busy managing two concurrent blogs: The Latina Lens, which explores the depth of the issues that affect and inform the Hispanic/Latino experience in the U.S.; and, Mami Musings—an honest look at the beautifully complex realities of wifedom and motherhood, with a little adventure thrown in as she tries to inject a little bit of style and beauty into her family’s everyday life as a novice DIYer.

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Theresa George: Profile pic (250x231)
Theresa is wife to Chris, mother of four, Classical homeschooler and part-time ultrasonographer who writes when nudged by the Spirit.
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Gwen Fredette: and

I am not a judge this year but will continue to act as the contest coordinator and liaison with the winners. Here’s a quick bio of me:

Gwen lives with her husband and four beautiful children in Philadelphia, PA, and has been homeschooling for over ten years.   In addition to writing weekly for her blogs, Philadelphia Homeschool and U READ Thru History (a free online homeschool history curriculum), Gwen has written three homeschool science curricula and has been busy at work on her first children’s novel.   A committed Christian, Gwen seeks to exalt Christ in all of her work.


Homeschool Writing Contest Posted by Gwen Fredette on October 14th, 2015

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Week 6: Michelangelo


View K – 2: Watch this video about Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel:

Read 3 – 6:  Michelangelo by Diane Stanley

7 – 8:  Michelangelo by Philip Wilkinson


  • What did Michelangelo love to do? (sculpt)
  • What unusual sculpture did he do after a snowstorm? (snow sculpture)
  • What was probably the hardest thing he ever painted? (Sistine Chapel)
  • Who did he do this work for? (the Pope)

Questions for grades 3 – 6:

  • Where was Michelangelo from? (Florence, Italy)
  • When Michelangelo was little he went to live with another family.  What was that father’s job? (stonecutter)
  • When Michelangelo was a teenager, he asked to become an artist’s apprentice.  How did his father feel about it? (Didn’t like it; felt it was below him socially.)
  • What rich family did Michelangelo move in with as a teenager? (Lorenzo Medici) Why? (recognized his talent)
  • What did he do there? (educated there; wore fine clothes; ate with them like a son)
  • How as Michelangelo able to study the human body? (went to a morgue and dissected human bodies)
  • What was the Pieta? (Statue of Mary holding dead Jesus)
  • Name some of his other famous works? (David, Ceiling of Sistine Chapel, Moses)
  • Did Michelangelo marry? (no)
  • Who did he do many of his paintings and sculptures for as an adult? (Popes, the church)
  • What other hobby did he have besides doing artwork? (Poetry)

Questions for grades 7 – 8:

  • What were some of the scenes depicted on the Sistine Chapel? (Creation, Bible scenes)
  • Michelangelo worked as a painter, sculpture, and what? (an architect)

Activities: K – 2: The Pieta was another famous sculpture Michelangelo completed.  Color in the Pieta from this coloring page:

OR Tape a sheet of paper to the underside of a coffee table.  Give your students and some paints and have them try painting the “ceiling” of their “Sistine Chapel”.

3 – 5:

6 – 8: Write an essay on one of the following:

  • Many of the human figures Michelangelo sculpted or painted were in the nude, and many of these pieces were done for the church. Do you think this was appropriate?  Why or Why not?
  • Who do you think was the better artist, Michelangelo or Leonardo? Why?  Why do you think these two men didn’t get along?
  • Describe 3 of your favorite pieces created by Michelangelo and tell why you like them.

Copyright October 9th, 2015 by Gwen Fredette


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Leonardo Da Vinci

Week 5: Leonardo Da Vinci


Read K – 4: Neo Leo by Gene Barretta & View these images of Leonardo’s most famous works:

5 – 6:  Leonardo: Beautiful Dreamer by Robert Byrd 

7 – 8:  Leonardo Da Vinci by John Phillips


  •  T/F Leonardo was an inventor.  (T)
  • What unusual way did Leo write his notes? (backwards)
  • Why? (No one knows.  Maybe to keep notes secret; maybe because he was left-handed.)
  • Name some of Leo’s inventions? (weapons, bicycle, flying machines, mechanical lion [robot])
  • What inspired many of his inventions? (nature)
  • Name his 2 most famous paintings? (Mona Lisa & Last Supper)
  • What was his most famous sculpture? (Giant horse)

Questions for Grades 5 – up:

  • Where was Leonardo born? (Italy)
  • Which family member was Leo especially close to? (Young Uncle Francesco)
  • What was an apprentice? (person who lived and studied with a master of a trade)
  • What did Leo learn from his master, Verrochio? (painting, sculpture, created furniture, costumes, musical instruments, tools, studied anatomy)
  • What bad habit did Leo often have when it came to his work? (didn’t finish)
  • Why was Leo’s horse special? (24 feet high; it was first made of clay and then was supposed to be cast in bronze.)
  • What happened to the horse? (Bronze was needed for weapons of war; invading soldiers shot arrows in the clay horse and destroyed it.)
  • How did Leo contribute to Renaissance architecture? (designed sturdy buildings)
  • Why did Leo dissect corpses? (to understand how the body worked and draw its parts)
  • What happened to many of Leo’s notes? (lost or destroyed)

Questions for grades 7 and 8:

  • Why was Leo’s family life awkward as a child? (His parents weren’t married.)
  • Who did he live with as a young boy? (grandparents)
  • Why couldn’t Leo inherit his father’s wealth? (illegitimate son)
  • Did Leo teach others his skills? (yes, ran a workshop in Florence; had several apprentices)
  • Did Leo and Michelangelo ever work together? (yes)
  • Did they get along? (no)
  • About how many pages of notes did Leo make? (7000)
  • T/F Leo also had wonderful musical abilities. (T)

Activities: K – 2:

3 – 5: Write three paragraphs describing three of Leonardo’s great achievements.

6  – 8: Write a 5 paragraph three proof essay on one of the following topics:

    • Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius.
    • Leonardo Da Vinci had a sad life.
    • Describe three things that Leo never had the chance to complete. Tell how these things might have benefitted society if they had been finished.
    • Describe 3 of your favorite pieces designed or created by Leo and tell why you like them.

Copyright October 2nd, 2015 by Gwen Fredette

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