A Year of Homeschooling Peacefully in the Ancient Times

May 30, 2022 at 1:42 pm (Education) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The school year began, for me, in a bit of chaos. My son was born over the summer. My mother had died. In addition to my newborn son, I had two extra children in my household. I was overwhelmed by the impeding doom of our co-op. I could sense it coming, but I honestly thought it was a year or two off and I was committed to giving it my kiddo’s fifth grade year before bailing, believing that the proverbial poop would hit the fan a few months after my departure. (It hit sooner.)

Still, after the children went back to their own home. The co-op dissolved and something new began… we found ourselves homeschooling through the ancients in our own little Pax Romana. We declared this our year of homeschooling in peace and it has been phenomenal.

As usual, we began our dive into Ancient history with the Epic of Gilgamesh. After years of reading the picture book trilogy by Ludmila Zeman, it was time to upgrade to a a more “grown up” version of the story. Gilgamesh the Hero by Geraldine McCaughrean was a perfect bridge for the dialectic stage, from elementary to the full translations of high school. Kiddo was struck by the subtle differences, the pieces that make it suitable for older readers, but not for younger ones. As a child who doesn’t like change, learning that different adaptations have a different flow and feel to them has been a challenge. As a ten/eleven year old, she has now been exposed to several adaptations of the Gilgamesh myth and also has a much broader view of near eastern cultures and history. I’m happy to say, my homeschooler as an elementary graduate has a more thorough understanding of history and other people groups than I did as a public school high school graduate. These are the goals, and we’re winning.

I read The Golden Bull by Marjorie Cowley out loud to two ten year olds and an eight year old. This is right about the time we started making our timeline (using Amy Pak’s Home School in the Woods History Through the Ages Record of Time), and having the kids perform narrative plays of what I had just read to them while I nursed my infant. Our house is fairly full of music, so naturally we ended up making a lyre (and some ukuleles) as a hands on craft which in turn became props in our living room productions of The Golden Bull.

Meanwhile, we were also re-reading Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the Wold Volume One for the third time, reading Story of Civilization for the first time, plucking our way through the Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World, reading the Old Testament, and for good measure added a plethora of picture books I had on hand from the last time we studied the ancients.

Ox, House, Stick by Robb was discovered while we studied the Phoenicians and the alphabet. This one came highly recommended, and the kids liked it ok, but it wasn’t my favorite. We also re-read The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone by Giblin, that one is always fun and fascinating.

We had some extensive discussions regarding laws and lawmakers. The kids each read a biography on Hammurabi, the one by Mitchell Lane Publishers was the best, we thought. A few rabbit trails later and we spent an afternoon on You Wouldn’t Want to Be an Assyrian Soldier.

As we moved into the time of the Egyptians, we tackled Green’s Tales of Ancient Egypt, The Landmark Book of Pharaohs by Payne, Mara: Daughter of the Nile by McGraw, The Golden Goblet also by McGraw, and The Cat of Bubastes by G. A. Henty. Kiddo hated Mara, I thought it was great. I found the Golden Goblet on the boring side, Kiddo loved it. The fun thing about reading so many books together are the discussions. Homeschooling is basically book club every day. I love book club!

One of my pet topics of study as an adult is the Pharaoh Hatshepsut. I find her to be the most intriguing and have some theories as to where her place in history overlaps with our knowledge of biblical history. The kids each grabbed a biography and I re-read a few of my own. Although I usually love National Geographic stuff, our favorite is the one put out by Compass Point Books. Compass Point Books, for the most part, is a huge go-to in our house. If I see one, I grab it, often accidentally purchasing duplicates. They are more thorough than the Who Was series, but less daunting than the DK series, although we own a good amount of both of those as well. At this point, Kiddo tried her hand at her first full length essay, complete with me dragging out my typewriter for her to type the finished product.

I also love David MacCauley books and we read Pyramid. Kiddo does *not* love David MacCauley books, which is unfortunate because I think I own them all. She preferred diving into Mummies, Tombs, and Treasure and the Magic Tree House Research Guide: Mummies & Pyramids. Side note to the Magic Tree House books: Although the fiction books are overly simplistic and quickly outgrown, we have found that the research guides last all of the elementary school years and are revisited often. We will keep the research guides long after the fiction series is purged, I believe. As homeschool eccentrics this study coincided with our anatomy studies in science. The kids got the chance to observe a profession necropsy of a rat and later Kiddo tried her hand at mummifying the spare dead rat. AmenRAThep still lies in our garage buried in salt in his intricately decorated plastic tomb. An expository essay on the mummification process ensued. More tapping away at my now “vintage” typewriter… More revisiting all our favorite picture books (Mummy Cat by Ewert just never gets old and Tutankhamen’s Gift is lovely) as well as the HMNS for the Ramses exhibit.

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When we wrapped up our anatomy studies, the mummification process became a nice bridge into our archaeology unit. We used the Wonders of Creation series from MasterBooks.com. The Archaeology Book by David Down and The Geology Book by Dr. John D. Morris led beautifully into The Fossil Book by Gary Parker. We’re definitely going to continue through this series into Caves, Minerals, Oceans, Weather, and Astronomy as we move through the timeline to the middle ages.

I love multi-sensory learning whenever possible, so during all this we also tried our hands bringing our history studies to our taste buds. One of my favorite cookbooks to pull out during the ancient years is The Philosopher’s Kitchen. It’s full of ancient flavors that make use of modern kitchen routines so you can enjoy the taste of the times without slaving away. We have recipes we’ve attempted to make the way they would, but I’m content with learning to use the kitchen I have instead of trying to time travel. Kiddo found some easy kid recipes in various places and we also enjoyed some Mesopotamian sweet breads she made herself that were rather tasty. Cardimon and honey is a lovely flavor combination.

Thankfully, the African Chicken was deemed “tasty” by our harshest critic.

Another aspect to unit studies/ studying all disciplines through the timeline, is that we tried Spelling You See for the first time and used the Ancient (level F) package. Spelling You See was developed by a reading specialist who encourages identifying word patterns and color coding them. Married with dictation of an entire topical paragraph, this curriculum abandons the by rote memorization of a list of spelling words. I find this method useful, but we will also continue with our Spelling Workout books after we’ve completed all the lessons in this book, as spelling is a subject we’re going to have to continue to work on long after some of our peers have abandoned it as a subject. I’m ok with this, Kiddo tests gifted in most subjects but spelling is a struggle. We remind ourselves daily that we can do hard things (through Christ) and that it is ok to not be perfect at everything as long as we’re trying our best.

Adara by Gormley, God King by Williamson (we had already read Hittite Warrior years ago), and Days of Elijah by Noble were read as we continued our studies of the Old Testament as well as Herodotus. (Kiddo loved Days of Elijah, I tried to read it with her but I found the writing style very off putting, I honestly cannot remember if I finished it or not.) Kiddo re-read Bendick’s Herodotus & The Road to History, we both love all things Bendick. I wanted to re-read Herodotus’s book as the last time I had read it Kiddo was two or three, but time got away with me. We were knee deep in fractions because math may never be abandoned, no matter how many people die (we had four significant deaths this season), or how tired you may be. What kept our mind clear enough to finish our Singapore 4a&4B curriculum and get through Math-U-See Epsilon, was the fact that we were taking time to study God’s word daily. We weren’t just trying to incorporate theology in our homeschool, my husband was actually leading bible study every evening (and had been since the start of our marriage in 2020); and in addition to that, upon moving into our new house in 2021 we began using the Simply Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System. I found a reasonably priced recipe box on Amazon and started adding index cards as per the instructions of the method (follow the link). Focusing on hiding God’s Word in your heart, opens the mind up for so much more, and in all the crazy we prayed for God to help us be good stewards of our brains and our time and the results have been delightful.

With all this Bible study, Kiddo requested to eventually study Aramaic and Hebrew and Koine Greek, but we decided to wait as we continue on our Latin studies. One thing at a time, and we still have some Latin books to complete.

Now, for the Greeks… The D’Aulaires have a lovely Greek Myths book. In addition to that, Kiddo read more books on Homer’s work than I can count. The highlight reel were repeat romps through the Mary Pope Osborn adaptation, Sutcliff’s Black Ships Before Troy and The Wanderings of Odysseus, and Lively’s In Search of a Homeland. She also read for the first time Aleta and the Queen, Flaxman’s The Iliad of Homer, and Colum’s Children’s Homer. By the time she reads Homer’s unabridged work, she’ll know the stories so thoroughly I’m hoping the poetry of it will shine through and delight her in ways that evaded me when I blindly trudged through it for the first time because I had no previous knowledge of context to work from. I had planned for us to read Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, but when you’re done, you’re done. So we’re saving Hamilton for the next time around, in four years.

Bendick’s Archimedes and the Door of Science as well as The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Lasky are must haves. We have read them every time we’ve studied the Ancients and sometimes we pluck Lasky’s picture book up to read just for kicks.

Rome Antics by MacCauley was beautiful. It takes about ten minutes to read, but days to absorb if you want to go back and study all the architecture as well. I didn’t dwell on it too much as she’s already read Where Were the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? and Where Is the Parthenon? (we did a hands on project with friends building the Parthenon out of marshmallows which was fun). While on the Who/What/Where series kick, she also read Where Is the Great Wall? We’ve studied ziggurats and pyramids and a number of other structures this year, and now that we are currently studying Rome, I’m going to have to collect my thoughts and make proper plans to lay the groundwork for a strong introduction to architecture. In the meantime, now that summer is here, we’re listening to the Rise of Rome on Wondrium, and plucking through our never ending reading list.

I’ll continue to update as we make our way through the last hundred years or so before Christ, through the New Testament, and onto the invasion of Britain. We already studied Pompeii and went to the museum exhibit with our co-op, and volcanoes were studied in passing while we raised money for the Pacific Rim Awana programs and made a homemade volcano during a friend-date at our house. (I think we may start a science club…)

(We got a taste of Asian mythology and folklore with some read alouds and picture books, but I think we will revisit them in a more heavy handed way when we study Marco Polo again. If you’re looking for titles, I recommend perusing everything by Demi as well as 101 Read-Aloud Asian Myths.)

This school year has been our most relaxing yet, despite the chaos of life, and we hope to continue this pattern in the years to come.

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Homeschooling Schmomeschooling

January 2, 2014 at 6:20 pm (Education) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

One thing I know I’ve done is slack off on my homeschooling posts.  Some of you may be relieved by that as you follow this for adult book reviews.  However, this is something I plan to be more consistent about in the year 2014 (what’s a new year without resolutions to fail at?).  So, I’ll start with our wonderful Christmas gifts and how that has altered our January plans for the better.

Series Title:The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library

Maps Cat in the HatTitle: There’s a Map on My Lap!

With her birthday money, kiddo picked out and purchased Oh Say Can You Seed? (All about flowering plants) and If I Ran the Rain Forest (All about tropical rain forests). I was so proud of my three year old, she picked them out herself without being swayed by me and she continues to select them to be read at bed time – obviously not swayed by me because bed time is when I want to read the shortest book possible.

Each one of these books includes all sorts of information, new vocabulary words, and everything a kid needs to know to get started with that particular topic.  There’s even a handy glossary at the end that could later serve as a spelling word list.

So when we saw There’s a Map on My Lap we were pretty excited. And when Grandmom got her a Wall Map too – well, it was all over. We have been having ‘map time’ every chance we get.

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TonightontheTitanicTitle: Magic Tree House: Tonight on the Titanic & Research Guide on the Titanic

Author: Mary Pope Osborne

We did a pretty extensive Titanic unit awhile back.  We read both Magic Tree House books as well as a few of those early reader books.  There was a picture book we tackled, and we even found a replica of an old newspaper page from the day the Titanic sunk.

Kiddo likes history and really likes boats and ships.  She built our very own Titanic out of play dough one day, which was pretty exciting.

TitanicI will not have a kid that watches the Leonardo DiCaprio movie at 16 and says, “I didn’t know that was REAL!” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/titanic-tweets-some-say-they-didnt-know-titanic-wasnt-just-a-film/2012/04/10/gIQA8fZY8S_story.html).

Even though I’m not a big fan of the movie and what it has to say morally, I can’t wait for Kiddo to see it – even if it means me letting her watch it at a younger age and fast forwarding through the inappropriate parts (you know, the ones that made the film PG-13) – because seeing the ship in all its glory is a phenomenal experience.   Already, she enjoys looking at diagrams of how the ship was set up and pictures that were taken.  We liked this National Geographic list and pictures too: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/stories/history/10-cool-things-about-the-titanic/

Other Projects…

Christmas was kind to us in regards to school projects.  Already we have started the year off by growing rock crystals of our very own.

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This was more of a lesson in patience than anything else.  She thought the science lesson was cool, but really it was about learning to go check on it every hour on the hour and how long an hour was.

We’re pretty excited about 2014 and what it has in store for us.  Kiddo turns four in October and we have so many fun things to do before then.

 

 

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The Olympians

September 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm (Education) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

thelightningthief__spanWe finally finished The Lightning Thief (book one of the Percy Jackson series) a week or so ago.  Man, reading that thing out loud was a bit of  a doosey and took us a whole month of before bedtime reading.  While reading Percy Jackson by night, bless his little adventurous demi-god heart, we’ve been going over our next Magic Tree House Adventure by day…

Magic Tree House #16: Hour of the Olympics

Magic Tree House Research Guide: Ancient Greece and the Olympics (which we just finished this morning over breakfast and coffee).

Also during this little stint we’ve read and re-read the Golden Books: Disney’s Hercules… over and over and over again.  And the little Grecian wanna-be has enjoyed the movie probably too many times than can be good for her little developing brain.

Hercules_DisneyThe Odyssey retold by Robin Lister is a gem, but at this point – with kiddo not even three yet – we’ve only browsed through the pictures while actually reading Gods & Goddesses in the Daily Life of the Ancient Greeks.  Kiddo is really into all this stuff and is still insisting we have her “Percules Birthday Party with three candles.”  Which is poor people code for: all the children shall wear sheets and we’ll do a laurel wreath craft and play with cardboard swords because I’m not buying decorations.  Also, it will be a good excuse to serve a lot of grapes…

All in all, tromping through this stuff now with her so little has helped me wrap my brain around the plans we have for ages 5 & 10, roughly.  Keep lots of wiggle room in mind.

Ancient Greece & Rome Lesson Plan/ List Age 5

Start Latin Lessons

Haywood pages 46-57

Black Ships Before Troy – Sutcliffe (Iliad) along with Haywood pg. 206

The Odyssey Retold by Lister

Memorize some facts about the people listed on Haywood pgs. 50-51

Haywood pgs. 108-115 (2 crafts)

Gods & Goddesses from Greek Myths

Haywood pgs. 168-175 (2 crafts)

Haywood pgs. 228-233 (2 crafts)

Haywood pgs. 342-349 (3 crafts)

Haywood pgs. 404-411 (3 crafts)

In Search of a Homeland – Lively (Aeneid)

Haywood pg. 466 + Mosaic project

Haywood pgs. 472-477 (2 crafts)

Of course I’d like to include a trip to the museum.

Relevant Magic Tree House Books: #13 Vacation Under a Volcano, RG Ancient Rome & Pompeii, and of course #16 Hour of the Olympics, RG Ancient Greece & The Olympics

Relevant Magic School Bus during any Pompeii study: #15 Voyage to the Volcano (although this title occurs in modern Hawaii, it explains in true Magic School Bus form all the inner workings of a Volcano)

Then come age 10-ish, we will start repeating the Ancient school lessons, as per our classical education plan.  We’ll re-use Haywood, do projects we may have skipped over, repeat ones she liked a lot… but add these things…

Ancient Greece & Rome Lesson Plan/ List Age 9-10

Start covering the Greek Alphabet (we hope to be pretty Latin literate by then)

Archimedes and the Door of Science

Gods & Goddesses in the Daily Life of the Ancient Greeks

The Usborne Encyclopedia of the Roman World

The Odyssey as Retold Mary Pope Osborne (to be read on her own or together as a family), the author of the Magic Tree House books.

The Percy Jackson series by Riordan

 

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The Vikings Take Over Our Library

August 27, 2013 at 12:15 am (Education, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

large_viking_001As everyone else heads back to school, I looked over the last month and realized we really did treat the hottest months of the year like a summer vacation this year… mostly lolling around the house between events, taking extra naps after our dance parties in the living room, and mostly hiding our pasty skin from the hot, Texas sun.  So I tackled cleaning out the closets, while everyone else was out buying school supplies, and organized our life the way it has always been organized in my brain… in unit studies.  Of course, that got me in the mood to really tackle “school time” with more vigor and this last week or so we jumped back into the swing of things with Ancient Greece and Rome and then The Vikings and the Celts.

Viking Ships at Sunrise by Mary Pope Osborne was next in our Magic Tree House Adventures.  We have not acquired the Viking research guide yet, but I believe there is one.  We also re-read DK’s Eye Wonder Viking book, we had read it once before while perusing the exciting world of piracy, and a little repetition is good for a kiddo.

BeowulfBut the really exciting book for this particular unit study was The Hero Beowulf.

Eric A. Kimmel’s retelling of Beowulf is a pretty neat picture book add on for little people.  It’s illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher and is complete with an author’s note about the original poem in the back.  Beowulf, after all, isn’t just a monster myth, it’s the “oldest surviving epic poem in English literature,” all the way from the sixth century, to your hands now.

I can’t reiterate enough how much the classical education style appeals to me by teaching so much history through the other subjects… or rather teaching all the other subjects by tackling history so thoroughly.  I love that there are so many resources, like Kimmel’s picture book, to make the tales and the culture more real and the epic poem more accessible when the time comes to tackle the original work; because in classical education everything repeats at a higher level over and over again.

After reading The Hero Beowulf, kiddo ran to grab other books with Viking ships on them and said, “Look mommy, more Beowulfs!”  So she doesn’t entirely get it yet, but hey, she’s two.

 

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Kings

July 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Weekly Low Down on Kids Books/ Adventures in The Magic Tree House

crouching_tigerTitle: Crouching Tiger

Author: Ying Chang Compestine

Illustrator: Yan Nascimbene

This book was an unexpected treasure from the public library.  Kiddo picked this book out herself and I was really excited about it once I was in the middle of reading it.

As a third degree black belt who grew up around a lot of Chinese culture, I love finding unique children’s stories like these.  It teaches etiquette, respect for your elders, culture appreciation, diligence, perfection through practice, and each page also has a diagram of a Tai Chi stance.

This was an excellent book to jolt us into our week on Ancient China.

Day of the Dragon KingTitle: Day of the Dragon King (Magic Tree House #14)

Author: Mary Pope Osborne

Publisher: Scholastic

Although we don’t have a research guide for this topic, we’ve been perusing all things Ancient China while reading this book this week.  There are pages from Life in the Ancient World specifically on the Chinese that we read through for a second time, I can’t wait to do some of the art projects when she is older.

toddler chopsticksAlthough we didn’t do anything crafty with this week’s topic, we did enjoy some stir fry for dinner and kiddo got to practice eating with her toddler chopsticks.

The kiddo’s chopsticks are an orange elephant, but the concept is pretty much the same.  These things are so handy and I think they are a great way to give your tiny person an ounce of how other countries live.

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Polar Bears Aren’t Really White…

June 10, 2013 at 3:10 am (Education) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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…And other fun facts you learn with your two year old while reading Magic Tree House…

So onward with The Magic Tree House Adventures.  We read Ghost Town at Sundown and Lions at Lunch Time. With Lions, we read LIONS by Kathy Darling and enjoyed all the many photographs taken by Tara Darling-Lyon. Kiddo also got to watch The Lion King for the first time this week and we practiced drawing the letter L and colored a giant lion head into her notebook.

Then, we moved onto Polar Bears Past Bedtime and the research guide on Polar Bears and the Arctic.  I usually include pictures of all these fabulous homeschooling moments, but kiddo broke my camera right after Comicpalooza.  So, my images are second hand…

magic tree house polar bears

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PBs Sandra Markle

pbs a true book

Kiddo really loves looking at the pictures of all the animals.  From identifying the baby bears to asking me what “those things are on him” hanging off the lion (his testicles), we’ve had a full two weeks learning about different kinds of predators and their environment.  She finds Africa vs. the Arctic fascinating and is now able to identify the two places on the map.

Yay for little tiny humans being enormous sponges for knowledge!

 

 

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Dolphins and Sharks!

May 1, 2013 at 3:50 am (Education) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Magic Tree House Adventures took us to the ocean!

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Space… the final frontier

April 14, 2013 at 9:41 pm (Education) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

We tackled our next Magic Tree House adventure this week… the one on Space!

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When we read through the research guide on Space, she kept wanted to talk about Galileo. She really liked the picture of him and finds pleasure in saying his name. Not exactly sure what fascinates her about the man, but I’m glad she took an interest in Astronomy this week.

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Stars, Stars, Stars! is a great book to start a kid out on the wonders of space.

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After the unit, show the kids this video of a Space Station Astronaut doing a water demonstration from space! The kiddo was really amazed: http://io9.com/watch-what-happens-when-you-wring-out-a-washcloth-in-sp-476159356

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Discovering the Ice Age

April 6, 2013 at 9:01 pm (Education) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Magic Tree House Adventures in my library with my toddler.  I can’t wait to take her to the Natural Science and History museum!  I think it’s about time for her first trip.

She is completely enthralled with Jack and Annie now, and begs for the next story as soon as we’ve finished the last.  For parents just coming in for these blog posts, it helps to have some kind of tactile activity and/or lots of related picture books available while toddlers listen to chapter books.

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She was really into the bits about the Woolly Mammoths.  We learned from Mary Pope Osborne’s research guide that there were different kinds of mammoths: Columbian Mammoths were the biggest, Woolly Mammoths the second largest, and there were smaller ones called Pygmy Mammoths.  Of course, a two-year old sees these different mammoths and calls them Daddy Mammoth, Mommy Mammoth, and Baby Mammoth.  It’s ok, we still have time to figure it all out.

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My child is enamored by sharp teeth and weapons.  She also likes maps and any time a location is discussed in a history book she wants to know where it is in relation to Texas and Virginia.  Texas because that’s where she’s from, and Virginia because that’s where Pocahontas met John Smith.   This was the topic of conversation when the Giant Beavers of North America were discussed during our Ice Age study.

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We prefer the Life in the Ancient World book over the Early Humans book.  It has a lot more detail, it WILL be used as our first official History textbook and I already have the lesson plans blocked out.  There are projects scattered throughout, both crafty and educational, and I think it is a must have homeschooling tool – especially for those pursuing a classical route.  Rocks and Fossils is a really awesome book for an older child.  I think around ages 8-11 this is going to be a household favorite.

Purchase from Amazon.com

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Afternoons on the Amazon

March 30, 2013 at 3:52 am (Education, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Our Magic Tree House Adventures

DSC02997As part of our Magic Tree House regimen, the kiddo and I read through everything and anything we could get our hands on regarding rainforests.  It’s been about a week, and every afternoon we’ve been diving into the magic of the Amazon River and its surrounding rainforests.

Last time we shared our Magic Tree House Adventures, we’d just finished our fourth set: Pirates Past Noon and Pirates! Fifth in line was Ninjas at Night, and I was searching high and low for a Research Guide (“Fact Tracker”) on Ninjas and could not find one.  It looks as though I may have dreamed that one up.  So we read the fictional adventure and moved on to Afternoon on the Amazon and Rainforests, the sixth set.  I couldn’t find Rainforests anywhere either!

So I built my own unit with out the help of Mary Pope Osborne, and found some pretty awesome books in our personal library the process…
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Ladybird Explorers Plus: Rainforests

The Ladybird Explorers Plus series are flip/tab books with tons of information.  They are great book to have if you have lots of different ages in the house.  Even though I can’t say that from the experience of having lots of various aged children, I can say it from the experience of being just as fascinated by this book as my toddler.  The pictures are lovely, the facts surprising (I didn’t know there were dolphins in the Amazon River, they must have skipped over that in my childhood rainforest studies), and the tabs and flaps were fun.  One of our favorite tabs makes an Asian elephant move a heavy log.  Another causes the monkeys to swing through the trees.  It includes detailed but simple charts with flaps that show the water cycle in a rain forest, and clear glossy photos that overlap pages like you would find for an overhead projector.  The chapter “Beauty in the Forest” lives up to its name and is indeed full of very beautiful illustrations of the trees, birds, and flowers.

Rainforests

Learn About Rainforests by Jen Green

The Learn About series is fantastic for the pictures now, but even more important for all the projects later.  This really spells out detailed activities to do with an older child when we tackle the rainforest more formally.   It shows you step by step how to plant your own canopy, how to make molds of animal tracks in the forest, and the basics of field studies.   It is only 63 short pages in length, but the pages are full of facts, gorgeous photography, and 24 projects geared toward 8-12 year olds. It is advertised as “a fascinating fact file and learn-it-yourself project book” which to me is the very definition of what you should have in a homeschooler’s library.  I’m not sure why they are priced so high on Amazon, but I got mine for a couple bucks at Half Price Books.

Usborne Living WorldThe Usborne Living World Encyclopedia

First, I love Usborne.  Second, the Living Encyclopedia will be making its way into many lessons, as it covers all living things all over the world.  Being that it covers so much, naturally there is a huge section on rain forests that made for some nice supplementary pictures to gaze at while reading our fiction.  The kiddo was really taken with the unrelated lady bug on the front cover, but also liked seeing the extra pictures of the dolphins and jaguars while we were reading Dora and Diego’s Adventures, where they travel through the rainforest, use a dolphin to pull them through the Amazon river, and save Baby Jaguar.

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