Monthly Archives: August 2018

History Through Fiction

Seems backwards, right?


Fiction is fiction. History is the story of what happened in the past. The two should not cross.

Yet, every homeschool teacher will tell you as they look at curriculums like Sonlight, My Father’s World, Beautiful Feet, Winter Promise, and so many others that their children learned history best by reading fictional books about historical happenings.

Can you teach history using fiction? I would say the answer is a resounding “YES!”

This year I am teaching a supplemental class learning history through fiction. We are concentrating on American history. I find myself as I am wrapped up in the planning, more and more excited about the books we have to read, and wishing there was more time in the year.

I was thinking, if my voice was not so annoying and pipsqueaky like, that I would love to visit and talk on something like a You Tube channel about my favorite books. However, I am sure my voice would so annoy people, that I thought maybe instead that a series of photos, reviews and maybe short clips would be better.

Which would you rather see?

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical fiction, Homeschooling, MFW

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanna Bischof

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko



My Review:

I know that when I pick up a book by Joanne Bischof, to expect something different.
This one did surprise me a little still. I loved the fact that one of the main characters was deaf. I felt for him with his struggles through the book.
The food descriptions will make you crave the recipes and send up signals begging for biscuits, apple butter and berry pies. But overall, this book, like this authors others, don’t expect everything to be cut, dry and over the top romantic. The characters have pain, struggle in their relationships and have to seek to get through hard trials.
Romantic? Yes, I guess you could say there are romantic moments in the story, but it is not the main focus.
This book touches on some of the social injustices of the time period as well. It is well written and one that will leave you thinking!

This book is available on kindle, audio and in print from Amazon.

“Sons of Blackbird Mountain” 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Historical fiction

Giveaway! The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham


Want a chance to win a copy of this book that just came out in July?


Read the following interview to find out how!

Everyone has a story but not everyone has a story like Em. Before ever riding the orphan trains she endured life on the streets of New York. Hardened by a life of survival she expects little from her future and only dreams of reuniting with her sister. Life for women in 1881 is restrictive in many ways but to be a woman that is plain and uneducated is far worse. But Em has grit and heart, two ingredients that combined with kindness allow Em to blossom.

A gunshot wound is her ticket to freedom. Broken and grasping for life she enters the town of Azure Springs, Iowa where for the first time in many years she is greeted with friendliness and compassion. But a soul that has been beaten down for so long does not recover all at once. Her journey to happily ever after is marred with pain from the past, uncertainty and hardship.

We all have character strengths and though she believes her only strength is her ability to survive readers will discover that her strengths are many. Em touches the lives of the townsfolks at the same time they are reaching out to her. Their eccentricities excite and awake her to living and not just surviving. With their help the bedraggled Em learns to smile again.

For the first time the illiterate and unwanted Em begins to believe that there might be more for her. Books and letters free her mind. The kindness of the townsfolk awaken her dreams but can the tenderness of the sheriff free her heart?

Pick up a copy of The Hope of Azure Springs to join Em on her journey! Leave a comment answering the following question on this post to enter the drawing as well.

Has foster care or adoption impacted your life at all? If so, how?

Visit Rachel Fordham at
And at


Filed under Book Reviews, Historical fiction

The Truly Important things of life…

What is truly important to you?


Is it your job, your house, your kids, your family?

What do you hold in highest regard?

I do a lot of observing of other people. I see families that are close to one another, but seek to portray absolute perfection to others. I see other families that show their flaws, are open about their shortcomings, and don’t let it stop them from seeking to be better. I see those that spend time with others as well.

This last month my grandmother was ill, and passed away in the middle of the month. The funeral was last weekend. I spent several hours sitting by her bedside. I was reading or just observing, sometimes visiting with other family which she said made her happy. It took more emotional strain to know that she may not have long with us, but in the end,  the time was worth giving up. I left my meetings, my garden, my children, all things that were important to me to spend time.

We live in a time of culture where spending time is anomaly. We push achievements. If someone fails, we badmouth them or avoid them. We don’t seek for change and success.

Instead I see people focused on the latest fad or diet. Everyone has kids, little ones that are not eating normal diets. In fact, if someone does not have a million food restrictions they are the unusual ones. It is totally a first world issue, and most of the time science is not being used in these many food restrictions. But it does appear to help some people. But again, I noticed that this can limit the time those people spend with others. Their time is spent cooking, avoiding others that eat foods that they cannot eat, and working hard to just focus on what they can eat. The social isolation of people, down to young children is tremendous right now. Or if you eat normally, you feel odd that you can eat a slice of bread and cheese.

If you are someone that has to restrict your food choices, make a conscious effort to not isolate yourselves. Work to have an alternative food so that you can join in social activities occasionally. If you are introverted by nature, it can be easier to just isolate.

I realized though, the gift that others bring into our lives is something we should cherish. We may not realize how little time we have left with them. A 23 year old young woman died this last week, and another person lost their 28 year old cousin. While my grandmother lived a long full life, it still did not seem long enough.

You never know when you will lose someone. If you can spend time, do it. It may mean picking berries alongside them or unpacking boxes for a friend. It doesn’t always have to involve talking. =)


Who can you connect with this week?

Leave a comment

Filed under Daily Happenings