We have been having so much fun reading Tales from the Circle C Ranch. We love these books! This is the second book by Susan Marlow from Circle C Adventures we have had the privilege to review.
What We Received:
We received the Tales from the Circle C Ranch book, and also a PDF download of the corresponding Andrea Carter’s Tales From The Circle C Ranch Learning Lapbook and Study Guide for the purpose of this review.
Tales from the Circle C Ranch
by Susan Marlow
Historical /Christian / Fiction /
For ages 9-14
Retails for $7.99
A Journey Through Learning: Andrea Carter’s Tales from the Circle C Ranch, Learning Lapbook and Study Guide.
E-book PDF digital download.
Instructions, study guide pages tying each chapter of the book with historical facts, and printout activities to create fun learning lapbooks.
Retails for $7.00
Tales from the Circle C Ranch is a book about a young girl named Andi (Andrea Carter) who lived in the late 1800’s. The book is a collection of short stories about her life between 1874 to 1881 (about ages 6-13) and relates to the other Circle C series of books. The author wrote this book to answer questions about Andi’s life sent in by her fans who read one or more of the other books. Andi has a lot of fans!
How We Used This In Our Home.
We are having a blast with this book and study guide-lapbook combination. Lapbooks and unit studies are some of our favorite ways to study.
I received the reading book in the mail, and the lapbook PDF came in an email link.
When I received the link to the PDF download, I printed it and put it into a three ring binder.
The Lapbook is 39 pages, and is made up of a little less than 1/2 study guide (17 pages), and 1/2 activities (22 pages). I printed off a copy of each of the activity pages for the kids, but did not print the study guide pages for them. I have 6 kids and 22 pages a piece is a whole lot of printing!!! I also glued two folders together for each child, that will hold their activity pages and eventually become their lapbooks.
Instead of each of the kids having their own copy of the study guide, we read from the study guide pages from the main copy I put into the binder. That way each child only had to keep track of their own activity pages, and I kept track of the main copy (study guide, instructions, activity pages) in the binder. This method worked out well for our family and helped me save a lot of ink and paper!
I also opted to save more money and printed the lapbook activity pages in black and white and let the kids color them while they listened to the book being read aloud, in instead of printing them in full color. By having to color the activity pages instead of choosing them pre-colored, it helped them be even more involved in the learning process, and personalize their lapbooks so each one looks a little different from their siblings.
For this review, each day I gathered all of the children together at the table to learn as a group. One of the reasons we love lapbooks and the unit study approach to learning is the fun we have learning together.
Our oldest son read the book aloud to the kids. He read one short story a day to them, but he also enjoyed reading ahead on his own too. Several times I found him reading after we were all finished at the table. He couldn’t wait to get to the next story in the book.
While he read the book, the younger children colored the corresponding lapbook worksheets.
They loved coloring while listening to the story.
After he read the chapter, he would then read the corresponding page about a related history subject in the study guide. Then I would give the children instructions (cutting, stapling, and arranging the booklet position, and gluing it into their folders) to complete their lapbook assignment.
The older boys preferred to just listen during the story read aloud, and then work on their lapbook worksheets afterwards while the study guide was being read.
After completing the lapbook pages for each chapter, the children glued the finished activity into their lapbooks.
The kids really enjoyed reading this book and creating their lapbooks. They have several things in common with Andi (Andrea Carter). They could relate to her even though she lived during the late 1880’s. This made it really fun for them to follow along in the story. For example:
- She has several siblings and we have a lot of siblings.
- She lives on a ranch and has chores and we live on a homestead farm and have chores too.
- She has horses and we have goats, chickens, rabbits, cats, and dogs as well as a big garden and several acres to play and run on our homestead.
- Andi is a Christian and grows her faith through the experiences she lives out, and we do the same. The kids can identify with her trust in the Lord.
- In the book she buys a gift for her mom for her birthday, and we did something special for dad for Father’s Day and celebrated 2 birthdays during this review. We celebrated each of these with gifts, cheesecake, and vanilla cake and chocolate cake.
There are several things I would like to do before we finish this fun learning adventure. I hope I can schedule a field trip to take the kids to see some other things relevant to Andi’s life and the experiences shared in the book.
A few additional things I would like to add to this learning project is:
- take the kids to see some horses, learn about different kinds of saddles and tack used to care for horses, get to feed the horses, maybe find a stables where we can ride horses on a trail, or take a carriage ride.
- I hope to find a good youtube video of a recent horse race for the kids to watch.
- Visit the ocean. Find a crab and clam shells. Taste the salty ocean water.
- Visit a nature center and hold a snake.
- Attend a ball game.
- Create some fake snow to play in since it is not winter here, but if you read this book in the winter, be sure to include some snow activities.
- Visit a photography studio and learn how they process photos.
- It would be awesome to be able to take a trip out west to see California, Oregon, and Washington where the story takes place. I visited these states in my youth and those are awesome memories. But I don’t really see a cross country trip to the west coast happening anytime soon though.
- Cook food from the 1800’s that Andi mentions in the story, like Molasses Cookies, Crab, Flapjacks, Peppermint Sticks, Apple Pie, Roast Beef Sandwiches, Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Cake,
I hope round out this book, lapbook, and our own unit study of this time in history by planning a field trip to a pioneer village from the 1800’s, an outing at county or state fair, and to visit a horse ranch, as well as cook a couple of recipes like the ones mentioned in the book that were served for dinner, to enhance our learning even more with this study.
You will enjoy this book by itself or with the additional lapbook. You don’t need anything other than a desire to read and learn to use either. But you can also really enjoy this time period in history by including a few fun projects to enhance your child’s learning too. Either way, this book is a winner and goes into a permanant place on our family book shelves to read again and again for years to come.
About the Author:
We fell in love with the books when we read Thick as Thieves earlier in the school year. We couldn’t wait to get a hold of more books by Susan K Marlow ! Susan is a homeschool mom who has dedicated her life to her family and to writing wholesome Christian fiction books for kids of all ages to enjoy.
Susan Marlow has authored over 17 books and workbooks for children. She offers several free study guides to enhance the learning too. The sequel to the Thick as Thieves book we read earlier this year for the 12 and older age group is called Heartbreak Trail and is coming out later this summer. My older sons are begging for me to get it for them. I don’t know of too many boys who beg their mom for more books, (especially books that center around a girl character), but these books are a winner!!!
Each skill level / age level has it’s own series of books to read about Andi’s life as she grows up. To access the various levels of books, from the Susan Marlow web site, you will see this info-graph I have posted above. Once you click “enter” on the picture of the series or learning level you are interested in, a whole web site for that specific learning level appears with books, study guides, lapbooks, more articles, and fun photos about Andi. Susan Marlow has done a wonderful job organizing her website into an easy to navigate, and user friendly resource for families.
Susan Marlow lives on a homestead in the state of Washington. She also teaches writing workshops, and hosts a writing contests for youth too. Her connection with homeschool life and homesteading really comes through in her books and my kids can relate so easily to Andi and the other characters even though the stories are written about a girl and her friends and family who lived in a previous time in history.
I haven’t yet told my kids that Susan also wrote a series of books about a 12 year old boy named Jem who grew up gem mining during the Gold Rush in California. We enjoyed gem mining and gold panning few times while we lived in North Carolina where the Gold Rush began. My kids have fond memories of those fun times. I just know they are going to want every book Susan Marlow has ever published about Andi and Jem as these stories are so exciting for kids to read.
Be sure to follow the social media links for Susan Marlow to find out updates and more about the adventures of Andi’s life in all the wonderful series of Circle C books, study guides, lapbooks, coloring pages, and more.
Andi’s Blog: Circle C Adventures http://circlecadventures.blogspot.com/
(enter 9/1- 1/10) http://www.circlecadventures.com/Writing-Contest.html
Be sure to check out what other homeschool families on the TOS Review Crew had to say about using this product with their kids.