8 Ways to Study the Medieval Times

Has your child studied the times of knights, castles and chivalry? The medieval times are one of the most intriguing and captivating times where children can learn about devotion to honor, courtesy, valor, gentleness and gallantry. This is the time period that my 8th grader is currently studying, so when I was asked to review a new product called the Legends of King Arthur and His Court, along with the Lessons of King Arthur and His Court, I was thrilled to do so, while providing our son with one more resource to fill out his year's study of this historical time.  I look forward to sharing with you, how these resources have 8 ways to study the medieval times, and just how your homeschool can benefit from them.

8 Ways to Study The Medieval Times - Enjoy learning about kingdoms, knights and castles. | www.joyinthehome.com

8 Ways to Study the Medieval Times

Pumpkin Seed Press has several resources perfect for your homeschooling journey, and training your children up in good character, so when these new resources came along, I was thrilled to see what more I can implement in my own home, and share with my readers for their children.

The Legends of King Arthur and His Court, a revised edition by Shelley Noonan, which was based on the poem Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tennyson, and the Lessons of King Arthur and His Court is a study guide created by a young man, Jacob Noonan during his last year in homeschool and the years to follow. His study of knights and kingdoms, along with the character focus of chivalry lead to the desire to have a resource for other homeschooling family to follow, and enjoy for  years to come. Each chapter of the Legends book corresponds with the chapters in the Lesson book.

8 Ways To Study The Medieval Times - A times of knights, castles and chivalry teaching bravery, courage and loyalty packed into a living book about King Arthur and His court will be just what your homeschool curriculum will need. | www.joyinthehome.com

Here are the 8 ways that this curriculum allows you to study the medieval times, as a family or with just one child at a time:


Use either as an independent reading assignment for older children, or as a read aloud with the whole family, the Legends of King Arthur and His Court will prove to be practically taken verbatim from the poet in which the book was based. Having such a rich text to learn from will prove intriguing to your whole family, as the picture of what the medieval times comes to life through the pages.

Note: Don't skip out on the Introduction of the Legends book, as it displays the chronological development of positions during that time period and will prove foundational for the rest of the reading.


As with all books written from earlier days, the opportunity to learn new vocabulary and enrich the language of the reader, the Lessons book will provide several vocabulary words for each chapter that will allow the reader(s) to grasp the understanding and setting of this book, and of the era of the medieval times.

The assignments include having your child look up the words, record their meanings and use it in sentences correctly.

Study Questions

Narrations may prove difficult with such a change in settings from what your child may prove to be use to in their studies. The study questions provided, along with their answers in the back of the book, allows your children or family to learn how to dig deeper by learning to identify and examine motives, sequence of events, meanings of phrases, and more, as they practice good grammar skills in filling out the consumable study guide.

Students are encourage to review the chapter again to complete the study questions, making it easier for a child learning a new way of processing these assignments.


I love that this aspect is added to the study guide, because it is a necessary skill for adulthood and one that can be overlooked in education.

Assignments include researching legends, customs, weapons and practices of this time period, and from our own experience will be the added ingredients that will ignite a child's curiosity of a time past and will open their mind to retaining interesting details that will capture their attention for this time period.


Due to the different assignments in the study guide, a notebook (3-ring binder) is encouraged to be used to hold the various assignments in one place.

I would encourage you to consider using a Binder Book and allow the creativity of a child to be allowed to add the details of their lessons in a fun and interesting display for years to come.  This is how we will be using this curriculum this year!


Each chapter comes with a section where the child is encourage to develop creative writing, reasoning and continue with penmanship skills.

In our homeschooling, we have found that when a subject becomes interesting and we utilize many of the child's senses, we see an improvement in their writing ability. I look forward to seeing our son's writing skills improve, as we dig deep into the worlds of knights and medieval weapons that already have his full interest!


I absolutely love having drawing assignments to capture different aspects of what is being learned given to my son, who has just came into the world of drawing, although we have been journaling for years, he just now is excited about his creations and improving his skills.

Knowing his enjoyment so far in the Medieval times, I know that this addition will be added with joy to his homeschooling lessons.


As I was reviewing this resource, I was thrilled to see such details for two activities that the whole family can do together, and will allow for the practice of all kinds of skills to be worked on including: planning skills, oral presentations, hosting skills, era music, technology and building skills, and so much more!

All the steps that are required for these activities are included, and can easily be divided among several children in your family to work together for a common goal.


How to Implement Book Time for Toddlers


Book time has always been an important part of our home routines.  All four of our children have had a time when ‘quiet' book time was a required part of the day.  This usually became obvious during the two-five years of age when the child seems to go from one thing to the next and I needed a time to refresh. I know how beneficial this time has been for my children, so I wanted to help you learn how to implement book time for toddlers.

How to Implement Book Time for Toddlers | www.joyinthehome.com

How to Implement Book Time for Toddlers

I needed quiet time in my afternoons, especially after my children stopped taking naps. I quickly found that quiet book time was the answer to my own need for some quiet time, and with a few important steps in place, it was easy to implement and my children all came to enjoy it.

How to Implement Book Time for Toddlers - Learn tips that work to teach your child to enjoy quiet time with a book each day. | www.joyinthehome.com

  • Create an area where the child can freely get books, with lots of pictures of animals, letters, numbers and children their age
  • Set a timer for 5-15 minutes (or less when first starting) and work your way up to 30 minutes – telling the child that when the alarm goes off their book time is done
  • Praise them for accomplishing the goal of ‘quiet' book time
  • Ask them what they learned in the book and give them some time to ‘tell' you what they looked at

Be sure to allow your child the opportunity to pick their own books, out of approved ones and be responsible for this time. Children as young as one will quickly learn to give their full attention to their books of their choice until they hear the timer. I always used this time to teach them how to pick up their books and put them where they belonged.

Here is what I did during the ‘quiet' book time:

  • Showers – oh the joy of a private shower
  • Dinners or other baking
  • Read a book myself
  • Other work
  • Talked with Daddy or a friend




I always found that when my children learned this important part of their day, they demonstrated key things that I contributed to these times. To learn more Why Toddlers Need Book Time, read my post…

Why Toddlers Need Book Time - Learn why it is important to add book time to a toddler's day. | www.joyinthehome.com

Why Toddlers Need Book Time

Long before we decided to homeschool, we ensured that our first child has plenty of books at her disposal at any time of the day. I'm not sure why I made that conscious effort to secure many different kinds of book all those years ago, but the benefits that I saw made me realize why toddlers need book time, too, and why I stick by it.

Why Toddlers Need Book Time - Learn why it is important to add book time to a toddler's day. | www.joyinthehome.com

Why Toddlers Need Book Time

As I was expecting our first child, all those many years ago, I knew that a bookshelf was going to be a permanent fixture in our home, and I have held to it more than 20 years. I have had the books cleaned off in matter of seconds, and the job of putting them back up again and again, but I knew that these books at my children disposal was very important, long before the proof showed up in the pudding.

When I found out I was expecting our fourth child, almost seven years ago, I headed to yard sales and used sales to replace the board books, and toddler selections for my shelves after I had given them all away to my nieces and nephews.

This is a picture of our youngest when he was just two, and very much loving the ability to have book time any time of the day.

Why Book Time is Important for Toddlers & Preschoolers www.joyinthehome.com

Over these years, I have learned so much about the benefits just by watching my four children fill their days with all kinds of books, and here is what I learned.

Part of Learning

Book are everywhere and for most of their lives will be the source of much of their learning. Teaching toddlers to love books, being read to them and enjoyed on their own at an early age will give them a head start in this part of learning. Giving them books that have alphabets, numbers, colors, shapes, people, animals, flowers, plants and things that they see in their daily lives in and out of the house, will build their knowledge and help with the beginning stages to reading.

Builds Independent Creativity

Books are where ideas comes from, which is really important to building independent creativity in them. The kinds of books that will help with this will have people (children and adults) doing things, like building with blocks, playing with puppets, riding bikes, drawing, fixing cars, cooking dinner, grocery shopping or playing with others. Children learn through the ideas that are displayed before them and when they see something that sparks their imagination, they then can turn that idea into independent creativity by emulating what they see in the books. They already do this with what they hear and see others doing within their home, out of the house and on television.

Creates Motivated Learners

When they gather ideas from books and their creativity beings to flourish, it is then that motivation is created. They will then be inspired to practice new ideas that they have on their own or will begin to be interested in other things because they have found out they exist. I love allowing my children to browse sections of the library to see what sparks new ideas that become the things that motivate them.

It is these reasons why we should incorporate book time into our toddler's days.  I would also encourage you to have an area of books that they can use at any time of the day and encourage them to spend a few minutes looking at books of their own.  My children have always loved having their own book time.

If you like this post, you would also like How to Implement Book Time for Toddlers

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DIY Reading Lesson Cards For Learning On the Go

When a child begins to journey of reading, practice is the most important thing to having success. Once a child starts to learn the wonderful way of blending sounds together to make words, the magic for them has just started and the written language begins to come alive to them, everywhere. That is why I wanted to make my son his own DIY reading lesson cards for learning on the go.

DIY Reading Lesson Cards for Learning on the Go - Practice reading in the car, at waiting rooms or when visiting loved ones. | www.joyinthehome.com

DIY Reading Lesson Cards for Learning On the G0

Before this school year started, I had all intentions of using All About Reading to teach my last child to read, because I absolutely love the All About Spelling, however as I was putting together things for our curriculum, I had the impression that I needed to change this plan and use 100 Easy Lessons to Teach Your Child to Read.

One thing I have learned in these 16 years of pulling together homeschool curriculum for my children is that when you are praying for guidance in your unique child's education, you listen to those little impressions and I'm so glad that I did. He loves it, and is moving through the book with ease, and learning very quickly!

DIY Reading Lesson Cards for Learning on the Go - 100 Easy Lessons to Teach Your Child to Read is a great homeschool curriculum that teaches reading quickly. | www.joyinthehome.com

My son loves to write, and practice not only his letters but words he remembers from his reading lessons, or words he tries to sound out on his own. I want to encourage him to keep learning, and to do that at any time, so I wanted to make him some DIY reading lesson cards for learning on the go, like I did for him with the DIY Bible Lesson Cards for Learning on the Go.

These are simple and easy to make.

Using index cards, just nicely write your child's sentences that they are reading in their lessons, being sure to use a black marker, and even marks that they are seeing in their reading lesson, like the line over the ‘e' to let the child know it is a long ‘e' and it says its second sound, or ‘its name'.

Once you are done, laminate the cards. Punch holes in the corner (I like to line them up with a previous one to be sure that the holes match up correctly), and then add it to the ring. You can add more sentences as the reading lessons go on.

You can take these DIY reading lessons cards with you anywhere, allowing your child to practice in the car, in waiting rooms, or even demonstrate his or her learning to a loved one.

Your child will love these lesson cards and will practice their skill again and again, improving their reading speed each time.



A Hands-on Approach to Dictation

Does your child struggle with grammar, and get overwhelmed with implementing dictation? Out of my own child's struggle with learning and implementing grammar rules during lessons, I decided to get creative and come up with a way to help him. This hands-on approach to dictation was all he needed to visually see where the punctuation went in his section for dictation, when to place a capital letter, and even how quotations work. Dictation is a method that Charlotte Mason used successfully to teach children. 

A Hands-on Approach to Dictation - If your child struggles with this prove way to educate grammar with the Charlotte Mason method, try this hands-on way for great results. | www.joyinthehome.com

A Hands-on Approach to Dictation

My son has been working with dictation off and on for a few years, and has struggled with the concept of grammar rules time and time again. I needed something that will help me ‘see' when and why things work the way that they did, and the normal way of doing dictation just wasn't clicking for him. We would take a break and come back to it, hoping that he was ready and able to do it correctly.

It didn't take me long to see that this school year wasn't going to be any different, and I decided it was time to take it to the hands-on approach, like what worked for him in spelling.

Here is how we do it with this hands-on approach:

I give my son a selection for his dictation from Spelling Wisdom Book 2, and our goal is to go through one each week, however I don't move on until it is mastered.

On day one, I have him write each part of the dictation on ONE index card with a black marker. Each period, comma, quotation mark, word, etc., has its own card. (you can use recycle these in two ways, place punctuation in a section that can be reused, and alphabetize words OR you can use the back for the second selection)

Hands-on Approach to Dictation | www.joyinthehome.com

Day two, I have him put the index cards in place using the source, and we go over why each punctuation, capital letter and such is included in this selection. As well as extra focus on words he thinks he may spell incorrectly, using a chalkboard.

Day three, he attempts to place the index cards in order with little help from the source.

Day four, he writes it after he has placed the index cards in place, trying to work on any correct placement of all grammar parts and correct spelling. He corrects his work on his own.

Day five, I orally say the dictation, one part at a time, and he recites it prior to writing it. I correct  his work, and if he has missed anything, he repeats day two through four again the next week, with day two being done on both day one and day two of the following week.

By the end of the second week, he has mastered all his dictation selection, and I'm certain that his skill will improve drastically the more we use this hands-on approach to dictation, making it easier for us to do one selection for only one week, and increasing the difficulty of the selection.

If you like this post, you may also like the DIY Reading Lesson Cards for Learning On the Go

DIY Reading Lesson Cards for Learning on the Go - Practice reading in the car, at waiting rooms or when visiting loved ones. | www.joyinthehome.com


The Beginner’s Guide to Nature Journaling

We started using nature journaling because of the Charlotte Mason way. One of my children's favorite homeschool assignments is adding something to their nature journals. The more I talk with other homeschooling moms, the more I realize that nature journals do not come as easily to others, as they have our family, so I thought I would construct a Beginner's Guide to Nature Journaling to encourage you in your homeschooling journey of journaling.

The Beginner's Guide to Nature Journaling - Easy and effective ways to open creativity while learning about nature studies in your homeschool. | www.joyinthehome.com

The Beginner's Guide to Nature Journaling

Nature journaling can be easy and effective in your homeschooling, while allowing your children to be creativity with their own observations and nature studies.

We start nature journaling as early as Kindergarten, as it allows our young child to learn more about hand-eye coordination, and the basic skills necessary for learning to draw what they see.

Nature Journaling Tools:

These are all the tools your child needs to get started, and then the basic nature study of observation. Just have them sketch something that they find, whether it is a pine cone, a leaf or attempt to draw an animal. You may get some ideas from my post, Explore Nature.

I will write down the name of the item that they entered in their journal, so they could copy it into their journal as well.

Allowing your child the own the responsibility of what is entered into their journal will give them a sense of pride and enjoyment that will continue to make journaling one of their favorite assignments in homeschooling, and can easily be carried on through high school science.

For our homeschooling, we have one day a week focused completely on nature, and our nature journaling. However, if our children want to add something to their nature journal at any time, they have that freedom.

What I have found to be the most effective way to get my children, even as young as five, interested and loving nature journaling is by getting their minds excited about nature beyond just the outside observation. I do this successfully through living books, and having them narrate to me, and often times, they choose a picture of an animal to sketch in their nature journal.

Nature Living Books

These are some of our favorite books to use during the Kindergarten through Third grade.

Nature Guides

I absolutely love having nature guides on hand for our children to use during their nature journaling, for an example to draw, or even to add facts, as their journaling improves.

These have been the best nature guides that all of our children have loved during this age group, and have taught them the skills to observe creatures in our own property.

If you would like more journaling ideas, you should check out my journaling series.

You may also enjoy some ideas for older child and how to add more ideas to their journaling with Explore Journaling.

Explore Journaling - Part of the 31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities | www.joyinthehome.com