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.  

Friday, November 11, 2016

Resource: Audible

Have you discovered Audible yet? We have been members for over eight years and have an extensive library! I am always in the middle of an audiobook. I listen when I walk in the mornings, sometimes when I cook, and when I drive somewhere without the Lambies.   One of my favorites series has been the Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan.  It's not for little kids, but is good reading for teens and up who love fantasy, sharp wit and adventure.

Audiobooks have been very useful in my schooling, especially with a certain child who was not learning to read easily.  I had him listen to stories while reading along with the printed book, and that seemed to help him a lot.

Many, if not most, Ambleside books are available at Audible, including H. E. Marshall books, including Our Island Story, James Herriot's Treasury for Children, Churchill's History of the English Speaking People, Homer's works, and an amazing assortment of classics of all kinds. It's really a great resource! 

You can listen to the narration before buying a book and the narrators are all professional!  I have tried Librivox, and just couldn't find readers that I could listen to and enjoy.  

If you are intrigued by the idea, you can try Audible for free, and get TWO books completely free! Just click the link below (which is an affiliate link) and sign up! I don't think you will regret it.

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

You can get a 30 day free trial, get any two audiobooks you want from their extensive library. They are yours, even if you cancel your membership. Win-win!  

After 30 days, with the Gold membership, you get one book each month for $14.95.  Personally, we are Platinum members and get two books every month, along with other benefits.  You get 30% off any additional audiobook purchases and you can cancel any time. Again, all the books you have bought, you keep, even if you cancel. I love that my purchases are MINE!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

All Through The Ages

Can I share one of my favorite resources with you? It's Christine Miller's outstanding work: 
"All Through the Ages".  

What a work it is!  All the living book titles you could ever want, organized in several different ways: all of them by grade level (1-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12), and in chronological order and geographical history.  The histories of Science, Mathematics, Visual Arts, Music, Western Civilization and the Christian Tradition are also included.  

Planning units or read alongs is SO easy with this resource!  I wish I had found it earlier in my homeschooling career.  Please do yourself a favor and buy this book. It's one resource I think *every* homeschooling family should have on their shelves.   

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Practical Education

So many things that kids learn in school are important and academic, but fail to prepare them for real life.  Do you know anyone comfortable talking about and performing higher mathematics, but can't maintain a savings account or pay bills on time? What about people who know ancient history backward and forward, but can't tell you how much is taken from their check in taxes each pay period?  One who can write a great thesis, but not check the oil in their car?  

Practical education is even more important than academic facts, in my opinion.  Any of these links will give you a starting point for a series of lessons about real life issues everyone should master! There are more skills, of course, that could be listed. What would you add?

Know God.  Life means nothing without Him. 

Get a REAL Education  (so good I printed off and read it before each school year)

The Joy of Practical Learning

Basic Life Skills Teens Need 

Cooking From Scratch

Basic Car Maintenance

Financial Education for a Lifetime of Money Management Skills 

Learn to Repair Anything in Your House

Small Engine Repair 

Very Basic Home Maintenance Tips 

Basic Survival Skills 

Basic First Aid  (please take a course from a professional)

How to Survive a Car Accident

Baby Care Basics 

Elder Care Checklist 

Disaster Preparedness (search for CERT Training in your area)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Reverse Engineering

My youngest son is all about engineering right now.  He wants to know how things work and why they work that way. He wants to be an inventor. He is a master of Lego and Minecraft.  To help him develop this interest, we are doing a course in "Reverse Engineering".  Each week I stop by a local thrift stores.  While there, I scour the shelves for mechanical items. 

He has a nice toolbox with a selection of tools already, so he just need the things to take apart.  The first thing he "Reverse Engineered" was an electric can opener. He took it apart as far as he could, then reassembled it and it did still work!  Then he took it apart and kept pieces like the cord and motor, screws and a few other parts.  He plans to eventually build something from all the useful parts he scavenges from these sacrificial projects. 

Lego is perfect for future engineers and their siblings. We spend was much time as possible with them. 

Reverse Engineering is even better when friends are visiting!  Here they are dissecting a food scale. Lots of learning happening and LOTS of fun!  I have a toaster ready for the next session and have my eye out for a rotary phone. I am also watching for a weed whacker or a lawn mower for small engine repair practice.  Next year, I hope he's ready for appliances! 

Practical skills are SO important in todays world! Seeing how things work is an integral part of practicality.  

Other resources:

The Way Things Work Now (on our wishlist)
How It's Made (I can't recommend this series highly enough!)
Friedhoffer books (this one and others!) 
Engineering for Kids (I haven't used this yet, but we will watch this series this school year.)
Lego Technic (We watch for clearance sales and have even found some in garage sales!)
Lego Mindstorms (if I was rich! LOL)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Graduate 3!

So, I went a whole year without blogging here.

But here I am to announce the graduation of my oldest son!  This homeschooling thing is really a blessing. :)  What an amazing young man he is growing to be!