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Learn Elementary Science FAST

Do you want to teach your kids to learn their elementary science facts FAST? Check out this deck of about 120 science cards that you can set out by group and memorize quickly. A good idea is to go through the cards once a week along with reading picture books on these topics to solidify the meanings of the terms.


My visual learner (who also created the cards!) laid them out in front of her and grouped and regrouped them until she could picture the groupings in her mind. For instance, when you have to memorize 9 planets it’s easier to put them into some sort of order. Obviously you’d put them into their planetary order. But what if you also put them in alphabetical order and then thought about how many planets started with the letter “M”? After playing with the cards for a while, then opening up a book on planets you’ll picture the groupings in your head while you read and deepen your knowledge on the topics.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! They were created with love by 12 year old Mercy. You can read her bio and support her science passion on the page I will be creating here on this blog next school year.

Jen at Log Cabin Schoolhouse

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Rewarding Homeschoolers

How do you go about rewarding homeschoolers?

I’m amazed at how much work my kids will repeatedly do for… Pokémon Cards!

Classical Conversations Essentials program, which is grammar, vocabulary, composition, and mental math review, has a fun component involving English Grammar.


17 charts of pure memory… Kids not only learn that nouns are, “person, place, or thing”, but they also learn to recite noun usages and attributes. And they learn all of English Grammar over three years, 4th through 6th grades. All. Of. It. So amazing that it’s finely tuned education yet the children beg to do it!

Thank you Classical Conversations!

Today’s cost was 18 Pokemon Cards…

Third Year of Essentials

Completing her third capstone year of Essentials this child blew it out of the water memorizing over a dozen charts, even some of the double lettered charts, and her final paper was a 12 paragraph super essay comparing and contrasting the French and English perspectives of Joan of Arc, while simultaneously utilizing a chess game metaphor throughout her paper. Never would I have found something to motivate her this much outside of this community, which she finds very comfortable now.

Jen at Log Cabin Schoolhouse

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Seeking a Tribe of Wise Women

All my adult life I’ve been seeking a tribe of wisdom.

In college I studied Engineering at Michigan State University where I had some of the best professors in the country. One in particular, Professor Robert Hubbard, was creating a Head and Neck Brace Support Device (HANS) to wear inside race cars. He would bring his models in to show us and discuss the intricate process he was going through for copyright and changes he’d make from model to model as he learned more about the results of physics on the human inside the vehicle. I still have vivid memories of his stories today, 20 years later. He was AMAZING, but I missed having female companions in this journey.

I went on to work for Northrop Grumman in Virginia where I met folks in Supply Chain Management who were not only working their day jobs, but discussing books and gaining industry certifications after business hours. APICS was and is the premier organization for the Supply Chain Industry. I spent many evenings in meetings listening to experts talk over dinners at hotels, then dove in full speed to volunteer with them. First as Treasurer (I love budgets…), then President of our chapter, and finally as Communications Chair of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. I couldn’t learn enough. Soon, I was standing in front of audiences and teaching their Certification of Production and Inventory Management (CPIM). Here I found a handful of amazing women.

That was 2005. I spent the next year as a contractor to Capitol One as an Engineer before coming home to be with my children who were born in 2003 and 2004. Working to that extreme wouldn’t work as a young mother, who also wanted to do motherhood with the same gusto as her career. With great sadness I abandoned the old me and started to build the next model, Jen 2.0. I was determined to make this one even better than the first, though I couldn’t imagine how to build her inside of our stay at home mom society. So I tried different things to experiment on what direction I would take. There were some lonely years at first.

When KrystalSage was in Kindergarten I joined the PTA. In normal Jen-like fashion I didn’t just become a member. I went ahead and threw my name in the hat for the board. When the mom I was emailing came back with, “the position of President is open…” nothing in me really flinched. I knew I had volunteered, led boards, ran budgets, and been over three different states in previous positions, so I started out on the board as the President! It involved a lot of hustle to learn about the education industry, and there were many new learning curves. But I didn’t mind working long hours since it was still way less than I would have been doing if I were working. Plus it was nice knowing I was giving back directly into my kids’ community. Here I was meeting dozens of amazing women!

Flying about four years down the road and a really long story later, we entered the amazing world of Homeschooling, where I would now become the teacher, administrator, parent, lunch mom, custodian, and more. I spent the first year just making sure my feet were on solid ground. We started at a local co-op, frequented the local used curriculum store, created a classroom in our home, and learned little things like you don’t have to raise your hand to go to the bathroom anymore.

Our second year of homeschooling, 2014, we moved to a log cabin on a Pennsylvania mountain, and our adventures there lead me to discover CLASSICAL CONVERSATIONS. In homeschooling, I discovered I had to seek wisdom more ferociously than I ever had before due to the nature of teaching all subjects. I discovered that I couldn’t do it myself if I wanted it to be excellent. And not having excellence wasn’t an option. It’s not in my DNA.

Classical Conversations became my new “PTA”. We had community. We had beginning of the year BBQ’s, First days of school, classrooms, tutors instead of teachers (I was the teacher), a Director instead of a Principal, and Year End Banquets. Only this PTA was nothing like the first. Instead of planning “activities”, we were planning “curriculum”, “education”, and “administration”.

“With great effort I sought a wise tribe.

God sent me Classical Conversations!”

Allison Mackey from Hanover Campus in PA, “Bible time fills up your copiousness!” “Be amazed at others’ experience.” “You CAN rejoice in suffering, by knowing TRUTH.”


Yesterday I had the extreme fortune to be included in a room full of CC Leaders from my region in Pennsylvania. These women are the cream of the Homeschool Crop! I discovered I wasn’t alone in my passionate quest for knowledge. I learned Classical Conversations had started at 500 students in North Carolina in 2005, but was now exploding world-wide at 100,000 students! Parents everywhere are starting to FIND CC. And it appears they are from my tribe that seeks wisdom always, everywhere. Women everywhere must be seeking wisdom! Bless their souls!


Fourteen women convened in a Farmhouse in Pennsylvania,

to inspire, focus, and renew their minds.


We connected from 8:30AM to 4:30PM to collaborate about Pythagoras’s Trivium and Logic. We were being trained to be an army of trainers. One mom humbly stated, “we are the ones who seek out women who are wiser than us.” Could this be the new era of mom-hood? Could this be how the feminist mom could collide with the conservative mom? We could be extremely educated, driving our children’s educations into a new future of both Christian morals AND higher level thinking or Philosophy. This thinking elicited fully by “mom relationship brokers” who demonstrate copious communication and leadership to their children, thereby planting seeds that grow into full, fruitful, flowering trees. This is moms upping their stay at home game by 1000%. What will these children look like in adulthood? What will we moms look like in their adulthood? This has never been tested! I have found my tribe and I don’t plan to go anywhere else!

Lesly Barnes, “In order to be transformed into His image, we MUST renew our minds.” “Practicum gives you another nugget of hope that you can do more than you think.”


Practicum is what CC calls their annual training. According to practicum means “a course in which theory is put into practice”. So, in essence, it’s coming together as a group to study one subject deeply through hands on activities, and that is precisely what we do at CC Practicum! There are two major components to the day; first, the understanding of Classical Education and the Trivium, and second, each year Classical Conversations choses one of it’s educational strands or subjects to focus on. A leader among us stood up and recounted that practicum would employ Aristotle’s mission that one should never wield the tools of rhetoric unless your goal is to make the listeners better people. To do anything less would be a sin. That is why I will go again and again and again. They are making me a better person in so many categories.

Logic was the strand chosen for this coming Practicum season. As an engineer, you can imagine my enthusiasm! According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary logic means “a proper or reasonable way of thinking about or understanding something”. This one word really sums up the education road I have been on for 20 years. I feel like this summer I’ll get to put together a sort of capstone on top of my knowledge. I’ve learned many subjects, but this one subject is infused in all of them. In math, I tutor kids that math has it’s own language. But, beyond just being vocabulary, language also has it’s own set of terms that we set equal to definitions. This is LOGIC. Conversations swirled about what those words might mean today as opposed to Aristotle’s time or Washington’s time. Definitions change, language is a living thing. I was newly riveted!

Practicum this summer will feed the soul of this Engineer, APICS Expert, and PTA President. Plus, it’s free. How could anything ever be better?

Are you a wisdom seeker too? Find a Practicum near you and JOIN US!!! Wise people know to seek those who are more wise… The learning journey will never be complete…


(Here and Here are links to further information on Practicum, 2017 The Art of Relationships.)

I’d love to hear what you LOVE about Practicum in the comments!!


Jen at Log Cabin Schoolhouse

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Top Ten Things about Homeschool Days

I’m going to give you a secret window (shhhhhh) into the best of Homeschool days.

I know it can be a mystical, wonderous sounding lifestyle, of kids being kids along side adults that are more than fully engaged in their child’s education.

Following you’ll see my top ten things Log Cabin Schoolhouse Loves about Homeschool life!

I feel so blessed to have discovered this lifestyle!

1) Piles of shaving cream to write our quiz Bowl answers in! (Little Man needed a utensil…)

2) Friends! We spend Thursdays doing school with friends, even their pup! Here the little ones are being quizzed on their math, science, English, Latin, Timeline, and geography materials. My friend teaches my little guy piano, they then practice their knowledge with games, the teens do a weekly Latin Test in preparation for the National Latin Exam, and of course time to visit and play.

3) Chess! Yes, these two friends are arriving at a 3:3 win tie! Who will win next Thursday?

4) Nerf guns! These are a special treat when studying something really hard like history of medieval times. Besides, what goes better with the Middle Ages, than weapons?

5) Really cool resources made by moms all across the country. These are history game cards made by a Classical Conversations mom that I found on CC Connected! I strongly recommend using that service!

6) Little Man getting up and moving! He rarely sits down all day… What a gift…

6) Essentials Tutors! These moms teach our kids ALL of English Grammar over 4-6th grades. All. Of. It. They diagram, and memorize 17 charts of the parts of speech. Did you even know there was that much to learn? 17 charts full? I love seeing all of it in one view. Here she is having the children create sentences in varying sentence structures along with this children’s picture book.

7) Moms sitting alongside their children all day growing relations through learning. Best. Of. Friends.

8) Ah, white boards in every classroom! Diagramming and sentence building in action here!

9) Set class sizes. We will never have too large of a class in CC. When a campus grows up, and I’ve seen them do this in about 5 years, moms are encouraged to find a new location and branch out to an additional campus to continue providing for the growing Homeschool community. I believe this school year CC hit 100,000 students worldwide.

10) Last but not least, Pie in the face! Tutors being the amazing individuals that they are. Best mom award!!! You have to get your questions right… Or else!

I think some of the kids hoped to get one wrong… Lol…

24 weeks of memory and you could be asked anything inside 7 subjects! One example is reciting your multiplication of 15’s! 15×1 through 15 x15… Or to recite your 1st conjugation Latin endings of the imperfect tense…

Hey girl, can you tell me about how World War II began?

Answer (must be word for word): World War II began in 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland. Two engagements that helped the US win the Pacific front were the Battle of Midway and dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

One turn if correct, three turns if wrong!

Here’s the memory work for one of 24 weeks in cycle 2 of Classical Conversations. A child can memorize verbally all 24 weeks of seven subjects to achieve the honor of Memory Master! Mom’s sometimes do it as well… Because why not???

Hope you enjoyed a quick visit inside our Homeschool world!


Jen at Log Cabin Schoolhouse

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Challenge B: Scientists Exam

Need a Challenge B Scientists Exam?

Scientist Test Ch B (Click here to open it in PDF)

Just a Classical Conversations mom here to share with you the exam I created using my daughter’s wonderful papers, notes, and projects from first semester.

Wow! Did they learn a lot! They covered scientists from Ancient Times through Modern times and in all branches of science, even my favorite, mathematics.

Krystal Sage

Since I cannot wait to torture her upon arriving home from 6 hours of ballet classes tonight, I’ve devised this little exam… 🙂

Oh the good times of a Homeschool Mom! I do hope you enjoy the same things I do in your Homeschools! (insert wicked laugh here…)


Jen @ Log Cabin Schoolhouse

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What is Classical Education?

So, since I’m embarking on this classical education journey, I decided to figure out exactly what classical education is?

I created this picture during the last school year when I was tutoring high school math and it occurred to me I didn’t know where Algebra was situated within the Trivium and Quadrivium.  Those are the two components of the classical education model authored by Pythagoras around 600 AD.

I believe I did discover where Algebra resides.  Since there was no such thing as “algebra” in 600 AD, Pythagoras didn’t include it.  But, I imagine it would be either part of the Geometry pillar (even the great Saxon has geometry woven into his Algebra I and II books) within the Quadrivium or maybe even a fifth pillar under a new Theory of Numbers and Space?  Do let me know what you think!  I’d love to have a good discussion in the comments below!


The Log Cabin Schoolhouse?

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How to Host a Memory Master Survivor Contest!

Memory Master with Classical Conversations is one of the most amazing aspects of learning through CC! How about making a fun day of games for all of your friends to play outside of school for an afternoon? If you have ever watched one of the episodes of the TV Show Survivor, you know what this themed contest is all about – just a full day of fun competition among schoolmates!  Continue reading How to Host a Memory Master Survivor Contest!