Ancient China Packet (Free Notebook Pages)

We have been studying Ancient China this semester.  We are using The Story of Ancient China (see more about that below) as our spine, but also have read selections from the Story of the World and the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. This is the packet that I made to go along with some of our readings.  These are free to download if you can use them:

Ancient China Packet (Free Notebook Pages)

In addition to the long list I shared with you of children’s fiction and non-fiction books about China, we are using the Story of Ancient China by Suzanne Strauss Art as our spine. It’s a wonderful textbook to read aloud to elementary age students. Middle school students would have no trouble reading this on their own. We have the earlier edition because we bought it used.  If you are doing a unit/semester just on China, I highly recommend this book!

We read the legend about how silk came to be made in Story of the World and the kids summarized what we read on one of the sheets from the packet I made:

And as we studied the Shang Dynasty, we had a lot of fun learning some of the Chinese characters.  A couple of books we recommend are

  • Long is a Dragon: Chinese Writing for Children Terrific introduction to calligraphy.
  • Liu and the Bird: A journey in Chinese Calligraphy Introduces Chinese characters

The kids created little flap books to add to their history notebook:

We also read the book, Bound, when we first started this unit. It is wonderful. We highly recommend it!

China Unit:

  • China Unit: Books, Books! A Huge List of Children’s Books  - This is a comprehensive list of all the children and youth books we could find relating to China.  Since my kids range from 6-10, I wanted books that would appeal to my kindergartner as well as novels to read to my older kids. You can download and print our list out.

Be sure to come visit us at the Homeschool Den Facebook Page! I’d love to hear from you if you found these helpful. ~Liesl

Add a Comment

Celebrate Earth Day with These Activities

The celebration of Earth Day began over 40 years ago. It is a day to celebrate our planet and think about how we can help our environment. Did you know that the Environmental Protection Agency was established not long after that first Earth Day in 1970? The Clean Air Act also passed that same year. Now Earth Day is celebrated in more than 175 countries by an estimated 500 million people!

There are lots of ways to celebrate Earth Day:

  • Talk to the kids about recycling and reusing that rubbish.
  • Instead of using plastic, use re-usable drink bottles, food containers, etc. By the way, according to the EPA more than 25% of bottled water comes from a municipal water supply, the same place that tap water comes from! At least 90 percent of the price of a bottle of water is for things other than the water itself, like bottling, packaging, shipping and marketing. (
  • Don’t use plastic forks and spoons. After all, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times.

File:Plasticware - isolated.png

  • Go outside and plant trees, a butterfly bush, native plants, etc.
  • Go on a hike or nature scavenger hunt with the kids.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Make a tire swing.
  • Change your paper bills to online ones.
  • Take that stack of used printer ink cartridges to be recycled.
  • Recycle your cell phones and other electronics. Cell phones are made of precious metals, copper and plastic, all of which can be recycled. About 304 million electronics were disposed of from US households in 2005. Two-thirds of them still worked.  Only 10 percent of the 140.3 million cell phones retired in 2007 were recycled. Some websites are dedicated to buying old electronics like or You can also donate phones and other electronics to  Cell Phones for Soldiers, Goodwill, the Salvation Army, etc. How Stuff Works has 5 Ways to Donate Your Cell Phone to Charity.

File:HTC One on Apple keyboard.jpg

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

  • Turn off the lights. Change your incandescent light bulbs to LEDs or energy approved CFLs.
  • Start a compost pileCompost your kitchen food scraps like fruit and vegetable peelings, etc.
  • Wear green or brown.
  • Ride your bike or walk as much as possible.  Car pool.
  • Clean up litter in your neighborhood, your local playground or park.

Image from Wikimedia Commons
  • Bring re-usable grocery bags to the store.
  • Donate your used books, clothing, etc.
  • Save Water Around Your Home: Fix leaks; turn off the water when you brush your teeth; install water-saving shower heads; put a float booster (or plastic water bottle filled with rocks) to save water when you flush; use your dishwasher or wash laundry only when you have a full load. In one year, the average American residence uses over 100,000 gallons (indoors and outside). An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day.

Only 3% of Earth’s water is freshwater. Nearly 780 million people lack access to clean water.

Approximately 400,000,000,000 (400 billion) gallons of water are used in the United States per day (EPA). According to Earth Easy, in 1990, 30 states in the US reported ‘water-stress’ conditions. In 2000, the number of states reporting water-stress rose to 40. In 2009, the number rose to 45. There is a worsening trend in water supply nationwide. Taking measures at home to conserve water not only saves you money, it also is of benefit to the greater community.

  • Read through this fabulous pdf – slide show about plastic bags with your kids. That’s where I learned that somewhere between 500,000,000,000 and 1,000,000,000,000 plastic bags are used in the USA each year (that’s 500 billion and 1 trillion, but seeing all those zeros is impressive!)

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that the Disney store (April 22), Wegmans (April 26) and others are giving out free reusable bags in celebration of Earth Day on April 22?  See details here.

There are so many wonderful units and printables out there to talk about Earth Day with your kids. For example there’s a terrific Going Green Unit by Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants.

Royal Baloo has a free PreK Earth Day Pack


Other free PreK Earth Day Packs:

Free Earth Day Printable Pack for PreK

Montessori-Inspired Earth Day Activities

Other Earth Day links:

  • You will find an Earth Day linky party at Sunny Days in Second Grade with more than 45 links to Earth Day facts, subtraction, writing prompts and more.
  • There are 42 Free Earth Day Worksheets at including endangered animal printables, punctuate the story (Earth Day), the amazing tree maze, inside earth word search and more.
  • Make a water cycle bracelet
  • Montessori-inspired Earth Day activities at Living Montessori Now
  • DLTK Kids has Earth Day crafts, games, poems, songs and general information.
  • And there are more Earth Day craft ideas including recycleable crafts, nature crafts and more over at Family Fun.
  • You’ll find a collection of Earth Day Crafts at the Crafty Crow.


How are you celebrating Earth Day this year?

Add a Comment

Free Earth Science Packet: Earth’s Atmosphere (19 pages)

We are embarking on a study of Earth’s weather, wind and water this spring. To get started we needed to review some of the basics of Earth Science.  We’ll start with a review of Earth’s four systems: the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere.

We reviewed a few things we’ve already studied about Earth’s system and then are going into depth about the Earth’s atmosphere.  We’ll spend quite a bit of time on the layers of the atmosphere.

We will be covering all the layers of the atmosphere (the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere). And we’ll be doing a number of hands-on activities about air and air pressure (more about those in coming posts!)

It took us a few days to go through the first pages of the packet.  Then after we talked about the four layers of the atmosphere, we watched the BBC Program: Power of the Planet, Atmosphere

and the kids all put together their own layers of the atmosphere (which is in the packet):

Below is a screen shot of the packet of materials for the kids.  I included some of the general notes and activity ideas I am using with the kids. The packet is 19 pages. I included a couple of the pages in different formats so you could use them as needed in your homeschool or classroom. As always, it is free to download.

Remember that if you are a teacher using your school’s email, you will probably have to use your private google account to access this file. Most school email systems won’t allow access to google docs and won’t let me add you to the “share” settings.  You can also email me to request the file and I’ll do my best to get it to you. ~Liesl

Earth Science Packet: Earth’s Atmosphere

 If you found it useful I’d love to hear from you over on my Homeschool Den Facebook page.

Visit our other Weather Unit Posts:

You may be interested in these posts:

Add a Comment

Happy Easter!

The kids were up before dawn ready to hunt for their Easter baskets and eggs! Yawn.  Tired parents everywhere, right?!  One of the funniest things, was that our dog, Boomer, seemed to know we were looking for eggs and would nose around and start pawing the ground when she spotted one!  We’d never seen her do that before, but she enjoyed the egg hunt as much as the kids!

 I hope you have a lovely day. ~Liesl

Add a Comment

Tags: | Categories: Easter

15 Children’s Books Your 4-7 Year Old Shouldn’t Miss!

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a really cute idea for encouraging independent reading.  I thought I would also share some books my girls have LOVED between the ages of 4-7 or so:

And some more books:

And even more!

I think Ruby the Copycat and Chocolatina are among my girls’ top five favorite books!

When ED was around 4, she absolutely adored The Cat Came Back. I read it nightly for months!

Everyone’s probably heard of Chrysanthemum, but my girls really loved The Chimpanzee of Happytown and The Big Orange Splot so I had to include this collage as well!

My girls also love Cinder Edna:

Cinder Edna

Right now ED’s favorite books are the Madeline books and this wonderful collection, which has an amazing selection of well-known children’s stories (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom; Swimmy; A Chair for My Mother; Goodnight Moon, Millions of Cats; Guess How Much I Love You; Amelia Bedelia; Harry and the Dirty Dog; The Sneetches; Sylvester and the Magic Pebble… and on and on!) There is a total of 44 stories!  It’s the one book we take when we go away for the weekend.

Add a Comment