52 Family Adventures Halfway-ish Point Update

 

So, um. I am bad at timely blogging.  But my family and I have had some amazing adventures this year! At my count, we’ve had 28 adventures together so far.  We’re 28 weeks into the year, so we’re right on track to have 52 amazing experiences before 2020. Life has been a bit insane. Some of has it good, like my publishing contract. Some of it has been stressful, like multiple hospital says for my kiddos. But through it all, we’ve stayed positive and we’ve had a lot of fun.

I love that homeschooling has allowed us the freedom to do this. Our hands-0n approach t0 life and learning not only makes education fun, it makes it impactful as well. And the time we spend together is precious! We’ve seen and done so much. I am so happy we decided to make adventure a priority in 2019.

Here’s a fast rundown of our adventures so far this year. These are in no particular order.

#1- A bear program in a National Park (Shenandoah in VA)

#2- The Duke Lemur Center in Durham, NC

#3- Fishing at the KOA in Harriosnburg, VA

 

#4 Lake Gaston, VA

 

#5- Meeting a hungry groundhog while exploring Gatlinburg, TN

#6 Playing with goats and alpacas in Durham, NC

 

#7 Ripley’s Believe it or Not in Gatlinburg, TN

 

#8 Learning about history in Shenandoah National Park, VA

 

#9 Hiking Dark Hollow Falls in Shenandoah National Park, Va

 

#10 Exploring the wilderness near Harrisonburg, VA

 

#11 Embracing nature at The State Arboretum of Virginia

 

#12- Taking in the Great Smoky Mountains (and dancing, of course)

 

#13 Hiking to High Knob Tower in WV

 

#14 Climbing Stony Man in Shenandoah National Park

#15 – Dance nationals in Pigeon Forge, TN. And coming home a National Champion!

 

#16 Hiking the Appalachian Trail. Or as my six-year-old called it, the “Application Trail.”

#17 Finding our own private waterfall in Shenandoah National Park, VA.  

 

#18 Hiking Mary’s Rock in Shenandoah National Park

 

#19 Exploring Durant Nature Preserve in Raleigh, NC

 

#20 Mountain Coaster in Pigeon Forge, TN

#21 Exploring Yate’s Mill Park in Raleigh, NC

 

#22 Loving Science at The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

 

#23 Meeting author Adam Rubin at Page 158 books in Wake Forest, NC

#24 Hiking in Raleigh, NC

 

#25 Trying out a drama class in Raleigh, NC

#27 Nature journaling  in Wendell, NC

 

#28 Exploring Luray Caverns in Luray, VA

Thanks for reading! I plan on giving a more detailed account of our time in Shenandoah National Park soon.

How is your year going? Has it been full of adventure?

 

Needles and X-rays and Poo. Oh My.

 

To say the past week has been insane is an understatement.

It was about 9:30 am. I was talking to my mom on the phone. My kids were supposed to me watching a documentary about Africa for their homeschool geography lesson. About five minutes into the call, I heard my boys stomp up the stairs, but I decided to let it go. We could watch the documentary later. Moms, we’ve all been there, right? Sometimes you just need a few minutes of peace.

Shortly after they came upstairs, a scream rang through the house. “Hold on,” I told my mom, thinking that my youngest son was being dramatic. He’s prone to scream at the drop of a hat, and I was sure it was nothing major.

He pounded his little fists into my door, screaming again. I flung it open and asked, “What’s up, buddy?”

Tears streamed down his round cheeks as he sobbed, “I don’t want to die! My brother shoved a needle down my throat.”

“I gotta go,” I told my mom, and hung up without waiting for a reply.

“He what?”

“He shoved a needle down my throat!”

“And you swallowed it?”

“Yes!” he wailed.

“Get your shoes on,” I shout so all three kids can hear. “We’re going to the hospital!”

The kids scrambled to find their shoes, and I called the pediatrician to confirm that the ER was the place to go. She urged us to get there ASAP. I sent a quick text to my husband before pulling out of the driveway letting him know what was going on and asking him to meet us at the ER.

I spent the 30 minute drive filled with a stomach-roiling combination of fear and anger. What in the world were the boys doing? Why would my oldest put a needle in his brother’s mouth? Would my attempt to talk on the phone in peace cost my six year old his life? Shouldn’t my eleven year old have known better? I attempted to keep these thoughts to my self. Some of them stayed inside. Some of them I shouted at my eleven year old. “What were you THINKING??!!”

We were whisked back to a room faster than I ever had been in an ER. About 15 minutes later, my husband arrived. The staff took my son to get an X-ray, which I hoped would prove that he only thought he’d swallowed it. He bravely held still for his “picture”as the tech called it. I stood behind a small wall next to a computer monitor, which lit up with the image almost instantly.

I have zero medical training, unless you count watching every episode of Scrubs (which you shouldn’t). But I knew the second that screen lit up that there was a needle in my six year old’s abdomen.

 

“Oh dang,” I said looking at the screen.

“What did he eat?” the tech asked, a hint of shock in her voice.

“A sewing needle.”

“Oh, wow.” The responses stayed like this the entire time we were at the hospital. Lots of shock from the people who’ve seen it all. Another tech later seemed excited to get a chance to meet “The boy who ate the needle.”

Gathered back in the small ER patient room, my husband sternly asked the boys to explain how on Earth a needle ended up in my youngest’s  abdomen. What they told us defies explanation.

Do y’all know what a stomp rocket is?  I posted a picture below in case you’ve never seen one. Basically, it’s a tube with a pedal on one end. You put a foam rocket ship on the other end and when you stomp on the pedal,  it shoots the rocket like 30 feet into the air. See those shocked little boys in the picture? They’re not amazed because their rocket went so high. No, no. They are flabbergasted that my boys removed the rocket from the end, shoved what turned out to be a sewing pin and not a needle (so one side is pointy, the other side has a plastic ball on the end) inside the tubing for the rocket. Then, they PUT THE TUBE IN MY SIX YEAR OLD’S MOUTH and my eleven year old stomped on it, launching it down his brother’s throat.

 

There just aren’t words for this. Why in the world did they do that? I’ll never know. To make it worse, they did it multiple times. The first few times, my six year old caught it in his mouth, spit it out, and handed it back to his brother to shoot in his mouth again. It was the third or fourth time that they misjudged and it flew down my son’s esophagus.

I asked my oldest what he was thinking. He responded, “He should know better than to trust me.” Ever the big brother.

The GI team tried to get the pin via endoscopy, but it moved out of their range before they could get it. Up to this point, I had stayed strong. We have medically complicated kids, so doctors and hospitals are not uncommon in our lives. When the surgeon walked way, I started to sob.

In the post-op room, my son woke up happy, thinking we were going to go home. The nurse sweetly explained that they couldn’t get the needle out of him. He looked at her and asked seriously, “Don’t you think it could damage my immune system to leave it in me?”

How can he be so smart and do something so dumb? I thought.

Then, for a horrifying 30-ish hours, it was stuck in the ileocecal valve, a valve between the small and large intestines that can be reached by neither endoscopy nor colonoscopy. We were told if it didn’t move, he would have to have invasive bowel surgery. Also, if/when it did move, it could perforate the bowels, in which case he would need to have surgery.

So we waited. And waited. And waited. My son was given a feeding tube that pumped massive amounts of something called “Go Lightly” into his stomach. And it made him go. Lightly would not describe how he went. I’ll leave that there. And we had to search though his poo. You know the expression, “looking for a needle in a haystack?” Yeah, I’ll take the haystack over the poostack any day.

He was unable to have anything but clear liquids, much to his chagrin. This boy loves to eat. I skipped as many meals as I could, not wanting to leave him alone to eat in the cafeteria and feeling too guilty to eat in front of him.

Eventually, the needle left the ileocecal valve and moved into the colon. Debate went back and forth for a day and a half about if he should pass it naturally or if the GI team should go back and get it via colonoscopy. I wanted them to take it out that moment, but they decided that it was best to keep him there, observe, and hope it came out. He had many, many x-rays tracking the pin’s movement. Finally, after four days, an x-ray showed that the pin had “evacuated,” and my son was allowed to go home.

In the middle of all of this chaos, something very major happened in my writing career. Stress and situation prevented me from being able to celebrate it, but I will share that news with you all soon.

I am beyond relieved that my son is okay. You would never know anything bad happened to him. I tried to make some jokes in this post, but in reality, it was terrifying. I am so thankful that my sweet son is safe.

But I took his stomp rocket away from him.

 

Summer Reading List for Strong Girls

 

Most parents and teachers want to be sure that kids keep reading all summer long. Experts say that kids should read every day to maintain their reading skills learned in the previous school year. The summer is a great time to explore books that kids would not get the chance to read during the school year. For moms of girls, it’s a great time to introduce some strong female protagonists. It’s so important for girls to have great role models in media.

Check out this summer reading list to inspire strong girls. This list is aimed at independent elementary-aged readers, but many of these books make wonderful read-alouds for younger readers as well.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda was one of my favorite books as child. I was so excited when I first got to share it with my own daughter. Matilda is smart, strong, and loves to read. This fun story appeals to both girls and boys alike and has captured children’s hearts for decades.

Nellie Nova series by Stephenie Peterson

I wrote Nellie Nova Takes Flight and Nellie Nova’s Summer on the Run because I wanted to inspire girls.

Nellie appears to be a normal nine year old girl. But Nellie is not normal. Nellie is an amazingly gifted scientist who lives in a family of amazingly gifted scientists. One day, her brother, Niles, who is eleven, teases her, as all respectable big brothers do. This time, however, Niles goes too far when he tells Nellie that girls are silly and no woman has ever changed the world. This sets off a spark of an idea in Nellie’s most amazing mind and sends her down the path to create a time machine and meet wonderful women who made a mark on the world. First stop, Amelia Earhart! With a few bumps along the way and a government agency out to steal her technology, Nellie and Niles are in for an incredible adventure!

In the second book, Nellie and her brother go on to meet Sacagawea and reporter Nellie Bly, but not without more trouble from those pesky government agents.

 

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

 

I love Pippi! A little bit wild and always full of adventure, Pippi Longstocking is fiercely independent, brave, and owns a monkey. Pippi Longstocking is a great summer read for girls of all ages. I might just re-read it myself this summer.

 

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

My nine year old wants nothing more than to be a spy right now. Harriet the Spy was a favorite of mine as a child and I can’t wait for my daughter to read it this summer. Harriet is an aspiring writer who meticulously writes about everything going on around her. When her classmates find her notebook, she’s faced with questions about honesty and friendship.

 

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 

I read this book over and over again as a child. Anne was my favorite literary character for a long time. Her ever-optimistic character always inspired me to look on the bright side, and her rebellious streak reminded me never to settle. It’s the perfect summer read!

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

This is the kind of book that sticks with you! My kids and I listened to the audiobook version of it and we all felt like we’d lost a friend when it ended. All of the characters are lovable, but Luna is such a fine example of a strong girl. Full of magic, mystery, and a tiny dragon, it’s just the kind of a book your daughter will love on her summer reading list.

I hope you enjoy this summer reading list for strong girls. Did I miss any books that you love?

7 Tips to Encourage Kids to Write in the New Year

The New Year is a great time to look at what we’re doing as parents, teachers, or homeschoolers. I am all about goal setting in my homeschool. One of my main areas of focus in 2018 is writing.

I frequently hear from parents who have a hard time getting their kids to write.  Actually, if I am being honest, I have one child who I have to beg to write.  Even though he loves books and has a mother who is an author, he still isn’t a huge fan of writing. A lot of this stems from motor skills delays. I will get into that later in the article, but motor skills delays cause frustration when writing for a lot of kids.

Parents worry so much about writing, but there are so many ways to encourage your kids to write. Here’s a few that I hope help you!

  1. Use Writing Prompts. I’ve linked to some that I created on this site, but you can find more all over the web. Sometimes, the hardest part about writing is just getting started.
  2. Use voice typing software. Google Docs has free, built-in voice typing software as long as you use it with Chrome. All three of my kids enjoy writing this way. Their vocabularies are bigger when speaking than when writing and their hands don’t tire when voice typing. This is especially true for my eldest, who has a variety of motor skills delays. His brain and his hands don’t work on the same level. If he’s asked to hand write something, it’s like pulling teeth to get a few sentences out of him. With voice typing, he can write a five paragraph essay.
  3. Expose them to lots of great books. Good readers make good writers!
  4. Buy them cute notebooks and fun pencils or pens. For some kids, a unicorn notebook or a rocket pencil can make all the difference.
  5. Cut pictures out of magazines and ask your kids to create a story about the picture. It would be easy to fill a notebook with several pages like this to make this an easy to repeat activity. I did this activity with my Creative Writing students at co-op and they loved it. Just make sure to choose pictures that lead to story telling. A head shot of a man in a business suit is harder to tell a story about than a photo of a dog wearing a tutu.
  6. Play storytelling games like Story Cubes or Create a Story.  Telling stories aloud gets kids in the right mindset to write.
  7. Allow them to write about their interests.  If you have a child who is obsessed with dinosaurs or ballet, it’s okay if a lot of their writing includes this interest. It might be boring for you to read 23 dinosaur stories in week, but a lot of authors have made careers out of such things.

How do you encourage your kids or students to write? Let me know in the comments!

Thanksgiving Writing Prompts for Kids

Get your kids writing this Thanksgiving with these writing prompts!

 

  • On Thanksgiving morning, you wake up and find that you are not in your bed. You are in a pen, on a farm, and you have a lot of feathers. You’re a turkey and the farmer is hungry! What do you do?
  • Your mom tells you that all pies have been banned by the government this Thanksgiving. What do you do?
  • You hate turkey. You hate pie. Most of all, you hate cranberries. How do you convince your parents to make something else for Thanksgiving dinner?
  • What are you thankful for this year that you either did not have or did not appreciate last year?
  • It’s Thanksgiving Day. Your parents decided to order a delivered meal this year. The doorbell rings. You open it and find three dozen live turkeys waiting for you. What happens next?
  • Your crazy Uncle Bob shows up at Thanksgiving with a time machine. He sends you back to the first Thanksgiving. What do you see?
  • Your Grandma serves a Thanksgiving dinner of cereal, dog treats, and candy canes. What do you do?
  • A strange guest shows up at your Thanksgiving dinner. Who is it and how does your family react?

10 Ways to Keep Little Brains Active All Summer


Most kids want to spend their summer playing in the sunshine and having fun.  I can’t blame them! When the weather is beautiful, I want to play outside too! I know that many parents worry about too much TV and video game time over the summer and about trying keep kids’ brains active so that when school or homeschool starts up again, their kids haven’t forgotten what they spent all school year learning.

I’ve assembled this list of fun activities to engage kids over the summer. I hope you are able to use it and that you and your little ones have fun learning together this summer.

1.Science Experiments

Oh, how I love science experiments. And my kids love them, too!  There are so many fun experiments available online.  I especially love Steve Spanger Science.  There’s enough on that site alone to keep you and your kids busy all summer! If you want to take it a step further, you can download these free lab sheets and have your kiddos document their findings.

    2. Art Projects

I know, I know. Art  is messy, but so is life. And your kids will learn so much while creating. There are so many wonderful resources online and at your local library for art.  I love The Artful Parent.  I also love The Usborne Art Treasury. It’s a great resource to learn about some amazing artists while making a mess. I mean art.

3. Music

Whether you sign your kiddos up for piano lessons for the summer,  try free lessons online, pick up a recorder and a tambourine,  introduce them to Mozart and Beethoven, or let them dance around the house to They Might Be Giants, music is an amazing way to help promote brain development and happy kids.

 4. Libraries

Check out  your local library! Our local library system has so many amazing summer programs.  From magic shows to story time to animal presentations, there’s something exciting going on every week. A lot of libraries have great summer reading programs with incentives to keep your kiddos reading all summer.

5. Documentaries

My kids love documentaries. If they are going to watch TV, at least they can learn something. Netflix has a lot of great options for kids.  Here’s a great list of nature documentaries by Raising Lifelong Learners.

6. Museum Trips

This is a great way to learn and get your kids out of the house at the same time. I don’t know about your kids, but mine are great at turning a clean house into a giant disaster area in mere seconds, so sometimes it’s nice to kick them out of the house for the day and learn somewhere new.  I am blessed to live in an area with several free museums and we take advantage of them frequently.

 7. Day Trips

Maybe the  idea of getting the kids out of the house was really appealing to you. I don’t blame you. It’s good for moms and kids alike to get a change in scenery  from time to time.  Where can you drive within an hour or so from your house? The beach? The mountains? A state park? Maybe a battlefield or other historic site? Take advantage of  your surroundings. If you head into the wild, take nature journals and let your kids draw and write about their experiences. If you find something historic, do some research on it before you go and discuss it with your kids before, during, and after the trip. This is another great time for the kids to journal. Depending on the significance of the historic site, you may be able to find books or movies to expand upon what you learned. I’ve lived with kids in three states in three very different parts of the USA and I’ve never had trouble finding places like these nearby.

8. Math Games

You can make math fun and help your kids stay sharp. There are lots of games online for free. Depending on their age and ability, there are also some really fun board games out there. My kids love any kind of learning games.

9. Audiobooks

I love audiobooks. Your local library probably has a ton.  Best of all, they can keep your kids happy on long road trips! Driving six hours to see Grandma? Get an audiobook! Heading to the beach for a week away? Get an audiobook! I love audiobooks because it’s a wonderful way to introduce kids to literature they can appreciate but maybe not quite read on their own yet.

10 . Creative Writing

Check out these writing prompts I wrote. Or write a story together. Take turns and create a silly story. Another great idea is to get a blank book and let your child illustrate it as he or she writes. Try buying your child a cool notebook and asking them to write a little every day. Just keep them writing because it will serve them well their whole lives.

I hope these ideas helped! Let me know what you do to keep your kiddos engaged in the summer in the comments.

Introducing Nellie’s Girls

introducing-nellies-girlsIn the months since “Nellie Nova Takes Flight” was released, I have had the privilege of traveling to schools, museums, camps and homeschool groups to do readings of my book. I have met some truly amazing kids. These kids have inspired me to start a new feature on the blog: Nellie’s Girls. 

Once a month, I will feature a girl who reminds me of Nellie Nova. A girl who is smart. A girl who is strong. A girl who won’t give up. A girl who won’t let archaic ideas about what little girls are supposed to do get in her way.  The girl will get to be interviewed by me, be featured on the blog and will get a signed copy of my book as well as a commemorative certificate.

Do you know a girl who loves science? A girl who raises money for a charity she loves? Maybe a girl who plays football? Is there a girl in  your life who has inspired you? If so, tell me about her!

introducing-nellies-girls-1

How to nominate a girl you love:

Send me an email at stephie.peterson@live.com and tell me all about her. Please include 1-5 pictures of your nominee. If possible, please include pictures of her participating in the activity you find inspirational. If she is chosen, I will conduct an interview via email or phone and post it here on the blog.

*parental permission required. 

5 Reasons I Embrace Video Games in my Homeschool

 

 

 

pablo

I know that this is not a popular opinion in some homeschool circles, but I think video games can be magnificent educational tools. Now, as the wife of a video game FX artist, I might be a bit biased, but I really think that people are too quick to brush off games as a waste of time. Can they be a gigantic time suck? Absolutely! Are there some games out there that I would not let my kids play? Of course! But there are so many great games out there these days and I think our kids can learn a lot from them.

So, in honor of National Video Game Day, here’s a list of 5 reasons my family loves to use games in our homeschool.

Reaon One: Games Can Bring Learning to Life

My husband recently brought home an Oculus VR headset. It’s amazing! Oculus has partnered with Discovery to provide some amazing 3D experiences. I may not be able (or willing) to take my kids on an underwater field trip with sharks, but thanks to Oculus and Discovery, they feel like they’ve had amazing undersea adventures. Their 3D shark experience inspired a lot of questions and further learning.

There are plenty of games on PC, tablets, and consoles that also provide ways to bring learning to life in a variety of ways. My kids love the Dragonbox apps for math. It’s a great way to make math real for visual learners. Scribblenauts is a great vocabulary based puzzle game. There are examples in just about any area of study. For a lot of kids, games are a fun way to make learning real.

 

Reason Two: Games Can be Great for Critical Thinking and Spatial Reasoning Skills 

Even when a game is not outwardly educational, it can help improve critical thinking skills. Studies have shown as much. While I am not advocating for kids to skip math lessons so that they can play games all day, some time playing age-appropriate games could actually be good for them!

“Visual-spatial skills are viewed by psychologists and educators as the ‘training wheels’ of later skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and there is little question that we will need more and more workers with skills in these areas.” (Linda Jackson, lead researcher of a study from Michigan State on kids playing video games.) 

 

Reason Three: Games Can Inspire Creativity 

If you know more than a handful of kids over the age of five, you’ve probably heard of Minecraft. In Minecraft, you can build the world around you. My son has used it to build historic sites we’ve studied- or just his own made up worlds Studies have shown that kids who play games are more creative, and it’s easy to see why.

 

Reason Four: Teamwork 

When my kids play a game together, they have to get along. It’s a great way for them to learn to work together towards a common goal.

 

Reason Five: It Makes My Life Easier

This reason may be selfish, but let’s face it, life is hard for moms who homeschool kids of multiple ages. It can be very hard to get one on one time with one of my kids when they need my help.  I can keep a kid busy with an educational game and it frees me up to work with their sibling. That’s a win-win in my book.

 

We don’t spend all day every day playing games, and I am very picky about what I let my kids play, but video games are a tool I am happy to have in my homeschool. What about you? How do you feel about video games?

15 Summer Writing Prompts for Kids

pablo (1)

 

It can be hard to motivate kids to write. It can be even harder in summer when it’s sunny out and there are so many fun distractions. I put together this list of writing prompts to help motivate kids to keep  writing all summer long.

1.  You return home to find a package on your bed. Your parents don’t know how it got there. You open it to find…

2. You are on vacation at a cabin on a lake with your family. One day, you get up early to go swim by yourself in the lake. As you approach the shore you see what appears to be a sea monster come to the surface of the water across the lake. You gasp and then…

3.The familiar sound of the ice cream truck rises to your ears. You run outside to buy ice cream and find that this truck does not sell ice cream. This driver is selling…

4. Your dad takes you to the pool on a hot day. When you get there, instead of water, it is filled with Jello. What do you do?

5.You are off to Camp Flaming Arrow! You are excited for your first overnight camp, but when you get there, you begin to suspect that all of your camp councilors are actually ware wolves. What do you do?

6. A postcard arrives in the mail, addressed to you. On the front is a picture of a sunny beach. On the back, is a note, signed by you. You’ve never been to the beach. What do you do?

7. One day, you are swimming in the river with your friend, Dave. Dave sees something in the forest nearby. He says it’s a gnome and runs off into the woods. Do you follow him? What do you find?

8. It’s 100 degrees out. You are hot and sweaty and your air conditioner broke.  Your mom brings you a popsicle to help cool down. Your dog looks at you and says “Hey! What about me? I’ve got a fur coat! Don’t you think I’d like a cool treat?!” What do you do?

9. One evening, you are  catching fireflies in  jar in your backyard. You take them inside to observe them. You realize that one of the glowing creatures is not a firefly, but a fairy! What do you do?

10. Your best friend calls and asks if you can come to a sleepover at her house. When you get there, she says she has a special guest. The guest is an alien from outer space! What happens next?

11. A large, white owl flies up to your house. It has a package in its talons. It drops it on your lap and perches in a nearby tree. What do you find when you open the package?

12. You take a trip to the museum with your family. Somehow, you lose sight of them. You walk down a long hallway and see a door that seems to be glowing. A sign on in says “Keep Out,” but you can’t resist. What do you find when you open the  door?

13. You return home from a day at  camp to find a “For Sale” sign on your house. Your parents tell you that you are moving to China. What do you do?

14. On a bike ride to the park, you something moving in the bushes off the side of the road. You stop to investigate and find…

15. It’s the 4th of July! Your family takes you to a fireworks show. It’s the most amazing display of fireworks you’ve ever seen. You decide you want to get closer to see the fireworks being set off and you find that there are no fireworks at all. It’s actually a group of wizards sending beautiful designs into the sky with their wands! What do you do?

10 Amazing Women Your Kids Need to Know

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History is filled with amazing women. I believe this so thoroughly that it’s the basis of my book series. The more research I’ve done, the more I am overwhelmed with some of these wonderful, world changing women. Some I was familiar with before I started researching and some previously unknown to me, and many others.

I think it is so very important for our kids, boys and girls alike, to learn about the amazing things women have done throughout history. It’s hard for today’s kids to fully contemplate how far women have come in a few generations.  I think if they learn from the past, their future will only be brighter.

Summer is a great time for a fun mini-unit of historical woman. Whether you traditionally school or homeschool, it’s always good to make sure the kids keep learning all year long. I’ve provided information about 10 amazing women and links to learn more.

1.Nellie Bly

Nelliebly

Image by H. J. Myers – http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2004680180/ (Library of Congress), retouched version, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=478182

I knew nothing about Nellie Bly until about 18 months ago. I was so inspired by her that she is featured heavily in the 2nd book in the Nellie Nova series. (Estimated release date 12/2016)

Nellie Bly was not actually her real name, but a pen name. She was born Elizabeth Jane Cochrane.  She was a journalistic pioneer not only because she was a woman, but also because she pretty much invented investigative reporting. She turned the world of journalism upside down when she pretended to be insane to to an investigation of a Blackwell Island’s Lunatic Asylum. She spent ten days living as if she were insane so that she could see the dark side of the care of mentally ill patients. Her reporting in The New York World caused a $1,000,0000 increase in New York City’s budget for the care of the mentally ill.

Later, she made an incredible journey around the world in just 72 days. And all she took with her was the small bag you see in the photo above.

Find out more about Nellie Bly here.

Or check out this book!

2.Amelia Earhart 

Earhart

By Copyright by Underwood and Underwood (not renewed)

My first book, “Nellie Nova Takes Flight”is about a young girl’s journey to build a time machine to meet Amelia Earhart. So  you can probably guess that I think Amelia was a pretty amazing woman. Most of us know that she was a pilot. Many think she was the first female pilot. That’s not quite true. Amelia was the 16th woman to obtain her pilots licence. What Amelia did, however was break many records for altitude and speed. She was the first woman to fly solo over the Atlantic. She was a wonderful example of a woman bravely stepping into a role traditionally filled by men.

Amelia Earhart disappeared on an attempted flight around the world. Neither Amelia nor her navigator, Fred Noonan, were ever found.

Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done.- Amelia Earhart

Read more about Amelia:

My front page

Or try this book. 

Learn while reading a fictional tale about Amelia here.

3.Ada Lovelace

Ada_Lovelace

By Margaret Sarah Carpenter – object page. Original upload was at English wikipedia at en:File:Ada_Lovelace.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=354077

Did you know the person known to be the first computer programmer was a woman from the mid-1800s?! I didn’t until I started looking into Ada Lovelace.

She  was the child of the poet George Lord Byron and his wife Anne Isabella Milbanke. Her mother was a mathematician and insisted she started studying math at the age of four. This was highly uncommon for the time. She excelled in math and science and at the age of 17 she met Charles Babbage, a met inventor and mathematician. She had the opportunity to watch him demonstrate a model of his difference engine, a huge mathematical calculating machine. This machine led to him earning the title“father of the computer.” While working with Babbage, Lovelace wrote out an algorithm clearly meant to be completed by a machine. During her time, her brilliance was not really recognized. It took many years for people to find her notes and realize that she’d written the first computer program.

Find out more about Ada Lovelace in this book  or here.

4.Jeannette Rankin

Rankin1973

By U.S. Congress – http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Jeannette_Rankin.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2153200

Jeanette Rankin was another happy surprise during my research. I’d never heard of her until recently, but I am so very impressed. She became the first woman to serve in the US congress in 1916. What makes this even more amazing is that is before women in the US had even gained the right to vote! But Jeanette (and many other amazing women) made sure to fight for women’s rights and  the 19th amendment was passed in 1920. Though she only served two years in congress, she continued to work hard an activist. In addition to her passion for women’s suffrage, Rankin was also a pacifist and shortly after her term ended, she served as a delegate to the Women’s International Conference for Peace. She returned to politics when she was elected to House of Representatives in 1939 on an anit-war platform. She held her ground even after the Pearl Harbor attacks, voting against entering WW2. Rankin served until 1943.

Learn more here and here.

5.Audrey Hepburn

Audrey_Hepburn_and_Ronald_Reagan

By http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/photographs/vips.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3530165

Wait, wasn’t Audrey Hepburn just another pretty actress? No. She was so much more than just pretty! Audrey Hepburn was an amazing humanitarian. She lived in Belgium as a child, but her family moved to Holland when the Nazis began invading much of Europe in WW2. Though her parents were Nazi sympathizers, Audrey secretly donated money she earned as a ballerina to the Resistance. Hepburn later she retired from acting become a Special Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund.”There is a moral obligation,that those who have should give to those who don’t,” she said of her work with UNICEF. Hepburn truly was more than pretty.

To find out more here

or check out this book.

6.Marie Curie

Marie_Curie_1903

By Nobel foundation [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Born Maria Sklodowska in Poland in 1867, Marie was the daughter of two schoolteachers. She always loved learning. She later attended Sorbonne University in Paris where she studied physics and mathematics.  In was in Paris that she met and later married scientist  Pierre Curie and started going by Marie instead of Maria. They began working together and earned a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903. She was the first  She was the first woman to receive this honor. After Pierre died in 1906, she took over his position at Sorbonne. She went on to receive a 2nd Nobel Prize, this time in Chemistry in 1911. Marie showed that women have a place in science.

“Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.” – Marie Curie

Find out more about her in this book or here.

7. Mother Teresa 

Mutter Teresa, lachend, Dezember 1985

By Manfredo Ferrari – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35010569

Mother Teresa was born Uskub, Ottoman Empire in 1910 (now called Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia). Her name was originally Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. Her father died when she was raised by her mother, a devout Catholic. She decided at a young age that she would become a nun. Her focus became India and she devoted much of her life to serving the population of Calcutta. She dedicated herself to the lepers, the poor and the homeless. She won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. The recipient of this award normally has a banquet hosted in their honor. Mother Teresa asked that the money be donated to the poor. In 1982, during the Siege of Beirut, she saved 37 kids who were trapped in a burning hospital. She created a ceasefire and traveled into the war zone with Red Cross workers to rescue the children.  Mother Teresa continued to serve those in need even as her health was in decline. She stepped down only a few months before her death in 1997. Mother Teresa will be made a saint later this year.

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”- Mother Teresa 

Find out more here and in this book.

8.Sacagawea

 

Sakakawea-statue-bismarck-nd-2004

By Leonard Crunelle (1872-1944) sculptor, photographer Hans Andersen (Own work for the photo.) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sacagawea is another woman who be featured in the 2nd installment of the Nellie Nova story. She was a Shoshone woman born in 1778 in Idaho. She was the daughter of the chief and was kidnapped at a young age by Hidatsa Indians. She was later sold as a slave to the man who would become her husband, Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian fur trader. Inspite of her hard upbringing, Sacagawea turned out to make quite an impact on history. She and her husband joined the Lewis and Clark expedition and she made the journey with her infant son on her back. She was valuable to the expedition as an interrupter with Native American tribes they encountered as well as for her knowledge of the landscape and safe foods t eat in the American West. She was so dedicated that when the travelers happened upon her own brother, she opted to stay with the expedition and was part of the team that made it to the Pacific.

Not much is truly known about her life, but what is clear is that Sacagawea was a brave woman who made an impact on history.

Find our more here or in this book.

9.Sybil Ludington

Sybil_Ludington_stamp

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6053610

Known as the female Paul Revere, Sybil Ludington is not nearly as commonly known as Mr. Revere. She was born in 1761 in Patterson, New York. She was the daughter  of Abigail and Colonel Henry Ludington. At the age of 16, she made a similar ride to that of Mr. Revere -but her ride was longer. On April 26, 1777, her father received word that the British were to attack  Danbury, CT,which was about 25 miles away. She rode 40 miles in the rain, shouting for troops to assemble at her father’s home. When she returned, over 400 soldiers had arrived, ready to fight. Later, President George Washington (then General) recognized her efforts. She continued to serve as a messenger throughout the war.

Read more here or in this book.

10. Rosa Parks 

Rosaparks

By Unknown – USIA / National Archives and Records Administration Records of the U.S. Information Agency Record Group 306, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4344206

Last, but certainly not least, is Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks is best known for her refusal to give up her seat on a bus to a white person on December 1, 1955. She was arrested for this act of defiance. This began a boycott of the Montgomery public buses by African American people. The boycott was lead by non other than Doctor Martian Luther King, Junior.After 381 days, the supreme court ruled that public buses could not be segregated. But Rosa did a lot more than just refuse to stand.She went on to Serve as the secretary of the NAACP, found the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development and author two books. She was given the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor by President Clinton. The mother of the civil rights movement died in 2005, but her impact lives on still today.

Find out more about Rosa here or in this book.

I hope you learned something new about these great women.  I hope this can be a starting point for a great study of women in history with your kids.

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