Sunday, June 4, 2017

Nature Study on a Massive Scale

We've been having a fantastic spring traveling to some fabulous parks. This is nature study on a massive scale! I love this time of year. 

Hiking is my favorite sport. 

Here's most of the Crew. Sadly, our two oldest had to work.

That's me at the base. Our trees are impressive! 

Mighty Sequoias

The famous view! 

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Boy With The Bronze Axe

Recently in our geography studies, we learned of a fascinating place called Skara Brae in Orkney.  In reading about it online, I found that Kathleen Fidler had crafted a fictional tale based on what life may have been like in Skara Brae at its height.  The Boy with the Bronze Axe has been a wonderful addition to our school days.  It is a favorite with my 11-15 year olds.  

Th little artwork there is in the book is lovely. The story is of Kali and her brother Brockan, their family and village, and their relationship with a newcomer who has an axe made of an unknown (to them) material called bronze.  He is a valuable addition to their life and they have many adventures.  He shares his knowledge and learns from them, too.  

I liked especially that Kali is a very involved girl who doesn't sit on the sidelines of life.  The author worked many details of the archeology of Skara Brae into the story.  It's quite interesting to read of an item being used in the story that we have seen in the videos we watched! 

It seems that this book was out of print for some time. It's available again on Amazon, so be sure to pick up a copy. May your family enjoy it as much as mine has. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Boy Who Ran To The Woods

I read this book to my 11-14 year old set last week.  It's been on my shelf since I found it at a library sale. I did not preread it before reading aloud.  I was taken by surprise at the heavy content of this beautiful book, but the hard topics were handled with care by the author.  I don't think I would read it to a child under eight, or an older child who is sensitive.  

Not many children's books tackle violence between children, juvenile delinquency, parental "tough love" and the difficult transition back into society after making bad life choices. The ones that do, don't do it with the wisdom, beauty and tact that this book uses. 

This damaged and angry little boy is brought to healing by a wise and determined father and the beauty of a lovely forest.  Nature study features heavily in his healing, and the illustrations are soothing and hauntingly beautiful. 

I'm glad I found this book and it will retain its place on my shelves.  

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Amazon Promo Code!

Amazon is gifting us $10 off any new book purchase of $25 and over until Nov. 28th!  Just type in "HOLIDAYBOOK" when you are checking out. What an opportunity!  I would highly recommend getting the harder-to-find-used or more expensive AO books, for example Our Island Story, A Child's History of the World, any of the excellent and irreplaceable D'Aulaire books, or anything by the excellent Rosemary Sutcliff.  Really, there are SO many choices.....what a wonderful opportunity to expand your library with a huge discount! 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Giving Thanks Day!

“The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,

And give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Beowulf Primer

I love the story of Beowulf!  Did you know there is only one copy of it from ancient times? It is unknown when the Nowell Codex was written, but it is approximately 1,000 years old.  The tale itself was probably sung centuries before. 

I want to pass on my admiration for this, the earliest known poem in the English language, to my children. Therefore, we have many copies of Beowulf, so they can enjoy it no matter at what level they are reading.

Left to right, top to bottom:

I also own Beowulf: A Hero's Tale Retold by James Rumford, but I couldn't find it for the picture. It must be on one of the Lambies shelves. 

So, this is my Beowulf collection. Each is a favorite in it's own way.  Rumford's is rich in illustration and the story is simple enough for preschool and kindergarteners to follow along. Serrailier and Hosford's are the ones I read aloud to my elementary Lambies for school.  H. E. Marshall's is just perfect for older elementary students to read independently. Seamus Heaney's work is outstanding and is the one I recommend my jr. and high schoolers read.  I love that it has the Old English on the left side page and the excellent translation on the right.  The Penguin Classic I keep on the shelf for the map and reference pages rather than for the translation.    

As you can tell, this poem means a lot to us. I highly recommend everyone read it themselves and make sure their children are familiar with it, too.  

What's your favorite version of this masterwork? 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

But Those Colors!

I am a sucker for vintage books!  Recent local book sales have netted me two fantastic books. One is an old reader called "I Know A Story".  Aren't the colors stunning? SO vibrant! 

How fun to learn to read using a book that others have used for decades! 

The next one is a 1913 copy of Grimm's Fairy tales, illustrated by Hope Dunlap. It's a companion to this book, which I hope to buy soon.  

Look at THOSE colors!  And the detail!  You just can't get books like this anymore!  Teaching your children to respect books enough that they can enjoy vintage copies like these is habit worth cultivating.  Care should be taken, of course, so as not to damage them in the reading, but the feel of vintage is so special, each child should enjoy it throughout their childhood.

My mother had a special set of books that she rescued from a house that was being renovated.  It was published in the early 1920's. I spent HOURS looking over the poems, fairy tales, literature selections, antique science articles, and craft ideas.  I think my love of vintage books was born in those pages.  I'm so glad my mom saved those books.  They grace my living room bookshelf now!  

Get to a book sale or book store.  Buy an inexpensive vintage children's book.  Give it to your child and read it together.  You won't regret it.