When I did a post like this in March, I was hoping to do another in a month. Here we are two months later—and I’m shocked by how many books we’ve read since then!
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Right now, in the mornings, we’re reading these books.
We start with a chapter from The Bible Story, Volume 9. We’re almost finished with this one, and then we’ll move on to Volume 10. Next, we read a page or two from Who Am I? and then a couple of two-page spreads from Mosque. This has turned out to be fascinating! We have finished learning about the actual building, and are now reading about how they decorated the mosque. Someone commented this morning that it’s a work of art! After we read these books, we read a history story; right now we’re reading Hoofbeats of Freedom, which I found on Internet Archive. It’s a story about the Battle of Long Island during the American Revolution. Internet Archive, by the way, has turned out to be a wonderful resource for us. We don’t have access to a very good library, but we can borrow digital books from this site for two weeks at a time. They have many, many titles published between 1950-1990, which have been scanned from libraries in the USA, especially the Boston Public Library. So, as long as the electric and the internet are working, we have quite a range of books to choose from for our schooling.
After lunch, we have been reading these books.
We finished the Little House books with These Happy Golden Years and The First Four Years, and then started reading On the Way Home on Internet Archive. We also finished the Living Forest series with Beloved Rascals, and then started The Best of Ernest Thompson Seton, a collection of all-too-real animal stories. They tend to be rather sad! Little Miss shed a few tears as we read the story of Wahb, the grizzly bear who had a very sad life. Everyone was on the edge of their seats during the battle between Foam, the razorback hog, and a different bear (and could understand much better when a friend of ours here had two dogs cut up by a wild pig last week!), and we could hardly wait to hear the ending of the story about a little boy adopted by a badger. We loved hearing about how Annie Sullivan helped Helen Keller come alive, in Helen Keller’s Teacher, and Mr. Imagination was happy to hear The Little Woodchopper. Probably the most popular of these books, though, was A Tale of Gold, which I picked up at a second-hand shop when I was in Ohio in February. It’s about the Yukon Gold Rush in 1898. Simon heard a couple of chapters of it, and made his brothers keep him up-to-date on what I read each day—and whenever he had the chance to ask me to read aloud, that was what he—and they—all wanted until we were finished! It’s a lovely tale of a boy learning what is most important in life (although it had no Christian influence).
Here are a lot of the books we’ve read for history in the past two months. Many are from Internet Archive. As you can see, we do a lot of reading aloud!
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? has always been my favorite about that famous historical figure. I like Jean Fritz’s way of telling a story! Adam and the Golden Cock told about the arrival of the French to help the Revolution. Of course, Alice Dalgliesh’s 4th of July Story tells about signing the Declaration of Independence, and Betsy Ross is the story of the woman who sewed the first American flag. It focuses on her girlhood as a Quaker girl in Philadelphia who loved to sew. George the Drummer Boy and Sam the Minuteman both tell the story of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, but from opposite points of view—British and patriot. Guns for General Washington and Henry and the Cannons describe how Henry Knox brought artillery from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston. Guns is based on diaries kept by the people who made this incredibly difficult trip, and other contemporary documents. Poor Richard in France tells about how Ben Franklin went to France with two grandsons to try to get aid, and Powder Keg gives a plausible story for the mystery of how the gunpowder that was stored in Bermuda made its way to Boston to be used in those guns that were brought across the mountains by Henry Knox. Samuel’s Choice is a picture book about the Battle of Long Island. My favorite book of all these, however, is A Drop of Mercy, about the Mennonites during the Revolution. It is a very good story about the people who simply wanted to live in peace and honor God with their lives during those turbulent years.
We’ve also read a number of other books. These three go along with the history curriculum we’re doing right now, which I reviewed last week. In the Days of Noah is a great picture book about what the world before the Flood may have been like, and about the Flood itself. Genesis: Finding Our Roots is an in-depth study of the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis, and Adam and His Kin fleshes out those chapters in a novel. I’ve read it aloud several times, and am enjoying it again.
In the evenings when the whole family is home, I read a chapter or two from Whistle-Stop West, based on the true story of a boy who rode the Orphan Train. I have always loved this series, by the author of the Grandma’s Attic books. We also recently read Ben & Mark, a photo story of two boys growing up in the high country of New Zealand. This is especially interesting to us, since we pass the turnoff to their home when we go to Christchurch, now. We read Black Boots and Buttonhooks a few weeks ago, too; it’s a very interesting story about a family pioneering in the King Country in the North Island in the early part of the 20th century.
I’ve been reading a lot of interesting books myself lately, too. We needed more schoolbooks to finish out the year, so when I ordered them from Christian Light Publications, I added some other books to the order. Armor of Light discusses lust, and how lust for anything opens us up to temptation in that area, and how to overcome it. Very good for anyone! I’m still reading God, Our Children, and the Facts of Life. It’s excellent! I also got Fingerprints for myself, and am loving the stories in it. It’s great for any mother. Lots to think about, and it makes me chuckle frequently. Thomas Edison, Wilbur and Orville, and The Great Gilly Hopkins are ones I picked up at a book fair last August. They’re all right—nothing special. I just started Island Nurses, from the same place, so I don’t know what it will be like.
I was excited to get to read A Forgotten Truth, the fourth book in The Agency Files series. This was a hard one to put down! Not only is it a good mystery, but there is a lot of truth contained in it. Joseph, Rachel’s Son is a great retelling of a famous story. I really appreciated how the author stuck to what is recorded in the Bible but fleshed it out so that it is a very interesting story. I finished Shadow Among Sheaves today; it’s all right, but not great, in my opinion. There are more kisses than I like, and a few swear words showed up. It is a story based on the story of Ruth in the Bible, but set in England in about 1850. Legends of the Vengeance is the first pirate story I have ever enjoyed—only Chautona could write one like this! It’s a good story for boys. Something Borrowed, Someone Blue is her latest book. There’s a lot to think about in this one. The ending isn’t totally a surprise, but it happens suddenly. I can’t give you a link for that one, because I got an advanced reader copy! I think it will be published in a collection in June.
Yes, I read a lot myself. It’s my way of maintaining sanity and taking a break.