Monday, July 30, 2012

Planning Our Year- American History

Last year our American History "curriculum" mainly consisted of the dvd series "Liberty's Kids."  We all loved it and learned a lot.  This year we've decided to explore American History using literature.  For background information and to keep us organized chronologically, I will periodically read to the kids A History of Us: Making Thirteen Colonies by Joy Hakim.  We are beginning in the 1600's.  These are some of the books we will read:


The True Story of Pocahontas Lucille Recht Penner
Squanto Friend of the Pilgrims Clyde Robert Bulla
Tapenum's Day A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times Kate Waters
Sarah Morton's Day A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl Kate Waters
Samuel Eaton's Day A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy Kate Waters
On the Mayflower Voyage of the Ship's Apprentice & a Passenger Girl Kate Waters
New Friends in a New Land A Thanksgiving Story Judith Bauer Stamper
Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation Diane Stabley
The Pilgrims of Plimoth Marcia Sewall
The Witch of Blackbird Pond Elizabeth George Speare
Thanksgiving on Thursday (Magic Tree House) Mary Pope Osborne


If you lived in Colonial Times Ann McGovern
The Courage of Sarah Noble Alice Dalgliesh
Ben and Me Robert Lawson
Indian Captive Lois Lenski
The Sign of the Beaver Elizabeth George Speare
Johnny Tremain Esther Forbes
What's the Big Idea Ben Franklin? Jean Fritz
If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution Elizabeth Levy
Shh! We're Writing the Constitution Jean Fritz
Thomas Jefferson's Feast Frank Murphy
George Washington Our First President Garnet Jackson
George Washington's Breakfast Jean Fritz
American Revolution Magic Tree House Research Guide Mary Pope Osborne
Revolutionary War on Wednesday Magic Tree House Mary Pope Osborne
If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution Kay Moore


Abraham Lincoln :The Great Emancipator Augusta Stevenson
Abe Lincoln's Hat Martha Brenner
If you Lived at the Time of the Civil War Kay Moore
The Drinking Gourd :A Story of the Underground Railroad F.N. Monjo
The Underground Railroad  Raymond Bial
To Be a Slave Julius Lester
Go Free or Die A Story about Harriet Tubman Jeri Ferris
The Mystery on the Underground Railroad Carole Marsh
If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon Ellen Levine
Wagon Train Sydelle Kramer
Sarah, Plain and Tall Patricia Maclachan
A Gathering of Days Joan W. Blos
Little House on the Prairie series Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Trail of Tears Joseph Bruchac
Sing Down the Moon Scott O'Dell

I think that will keep us busy for this year in American History.  We will also listen to The Story of the World Vol.3 Early Modern Times audio book by Susan Wise Bauer.  If you have any suggestions for books that I have missed, I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Little Spies

Although we learn year round, summer is the time when the kids pursue their own interests with occasional nudges from me.  The rest of the year, I lead them more.  I am always happily surprised, when left to their own devices, what they choose to do.  This morning I went downstairs to our playroom/art room/ library/family room and found the girls hard at work.  Not wanting to disturb their concentration, I watched from afar.  They had a dictionary and various books spread out on the picnic table.  Later, I asked if I could take a peek (this is the first page):

The Big Spy Handbook

1.  A spy is not afraid of anything.

2.  A spy must not be seen.

3.  A spy never fails.

4.  A spy has great disguises.

I took this opportunity to remind them of some of the great books that we have that they haven't read yet:

Harriet the Spy Louise Fitzhugh

Trixie Belden Mysteries  Julie Campbell

Ato Z Mysteries Ron Roy

They were very excited about reading books about spies/detectives and asked if they could take them with us when we went out on the boat today.  Maybe it's because I'm their mom, but really... how cute is that ?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Sorting

     Summertime is my favorite season of the year.  It's the time that I'm most relaxed, and tend to do most of my reflection on our "school" year.  I recently finished reading, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller.  Although written for classroom teachers, The Book Whisperer is still a resource many homeschoolers will find useful.  For me it was an affirmation that I am on the right path: no worksheets, no spelling tests, and no grammar exercises.  If you want your children to read and write well, let them read and write.

     Reading the book also caused me a short moment of panic.  Donalyn Miller requires her students to read 40 books from the following genres:

poetry anthologies 5
traditional literature 5
realistic fiction 5
historical fiction 2
fantasy 4
science fiction 2
mystery 2
informational 4
biography, autobiograpy, memoir 2
chapter book choices 9

We have all read more than 40 books this year (except Daddy :O)). It was the genre requirement that really started me thinking.  Am I encouraging the kids and providing them with enough different types of books?  This thinking lead me to a complete reorganization of our library.  We sorted all of the books into genres and labeled the shelves.  After two days our library is sorted and reorganized.  Suprisingly, our library is pretty well stocked with the different genres, except for science fiction.  We do not have a single science fiction book.  Anyone know of some good science fiction?