Homeschool Discoveries

Sharing a few things I've discovered along the way…

Book Discoveries this Week: In the Time of Knights January 19, 2012

Filed under: Books — kirstenjoyhill @ 10:30 pm
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Today we finished another read-aloud for history — In the Time of Knights by Shelley Tanaka.   Mr. E listened to most of this one along with Miss M.  It’s the story of William Marshal, a knight who was declared at his burial to be “the best knight who ever lived.”   The book follows him from a childhood an under-valued younger son, to him making a way for himself as a young man, to his adulthood as he served various kings and learns about the virtues that embody a great knight.

For a picture book, I was surprised by the somewhat graphic descriptions of various injuries and deaths.  Miss M, also to my surprise, did not flinch at these descriptions.  But if you have a sensitive child, this book may not be the best choice.  There are a number of boxed-off pages that break from the flow of the story to give additional information relevant to the story on topics such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Crusades and the Knights Templar.   We skipped these pages as most of them duplicated topics we’ve read about in Mystery of History Volume 2.   We read the book in two sittings over the course of two days, but you could easily spend a lot longer with this book, exploring the many topics it brings up about the late 12th and early 13th centuries in England and Normandy.

Bedtime Read Aloud with Miss M:

After mutually deciding to give up on Little Women, we decided to start Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes.  While I wouldn’t say it is one of my favorite read-alouds we’ve done this year, Miss M seems to really like it and I do think it is a cute story so far.  We’re about half way through, so I am sure to have more thoughts once we’ve read the whole thing.

The Boys’ Favorites this Week:

Mr. E picked out three different books from a series called “Easy to Read Spooky Tales” from the library – Don’t Walk Alone at Night, Don’t Open the Door and Don’t Go Into the Forest.   These stories seem designed to both entertain and teach safety lessons at the same time.  I was worried they might be a bit too scary, but even Mr. K stayed to listen to all these stories.  I guess they are just outlandish enough to not be TOO scary.  The final page of each book explains the origins of the stories — they are all based on folktales or myths from various countries around the world.  I see on Amazon there are several more books in this series, so I have a feeling we’ll be reading more of these.

Mr. K is on a train kick again.  We had a book based on the “Chuggington” TV series that went back to the library on Wednesday.  I was not sorry to see this go back, since I think I had already read it to him about a dozen times.  I think a couple pages were possibly even missing in the middle of this well-loved library book, but that didn’t bother Mr. K a bit.  While at the library, he looked and looked for another Chuggington book, but a quick check of the catalog revealed that none were going to be found on the shelves that day.  He was disappointed, but took a Thomas train book instead — which we have already read three times in the past two days.  Mr. K’s birthday is coming soon, and I think I see more train books in his future.

I’m linking up with Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!


Book Discoveries this Week — January 13th January 13, 2012

Filed under: Books — kirstenjoyhill @ 2:36 pm
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I chose “The Apple and The Arrow” by Mary and Conrad Buff for a history-related read aloud this week.   Miss M and I are studying Medieval history right now with Mystery of History Volume 2, and this book fits right in with the time frame of the lessons we are reading right now.

Miss M asked me where the story took place before we started reading.   I didn’t really know, but I made an assumption: “Oh, probably England,” I said.  Wrong!  As it turns out, I didn’t really know anything about William Tell other than he shot an arrow to accurately hit an apple off his son’s head.   The story opens with young Walter Tell practicing with his crossbow in an Alpine pasture as his younger brother Rudi looks on.  We’re definitely not in England for this story! 🙂 I quickly called Mr. E and Mr. K over to listen to the story as well — stories with weapons are usually a hit with the boys!

We read the story of the course of four days.  Mr. E joined us for most of it and really enjoyed it, while Mr. K was scared off after hearing the bit about the apple being shot off of Walter’s head. I was pleased to find a longer read-aloud that Mr. E liked.

As we read the book, we learned that “The Apple and the Arrow” is the story of the birth of Switzerland as a nation and how the original three Cantons of Switzerland won their freedom from Austrian tyranny.   The kids were curious if this was based on a true story — and I was curious too!  We learned from Wikipedia that the story of William Tell is consider a folk legend in Switzerland.  While some people believe it may be based on a true story, historians haven’t found a lot of evidence that point to William Tell as a true historical figure.

Bedtime Read-Aloud with Miss M:  We stared “Little Women” this week.  I wanted to try a challenging, classic read aloud for our bedtime story, but I think I aimed a little too high.  Miss M was having a bit of trouble following the story at times, and I even honestly found it to be a little bit boring or tedious!  However, Miss M really likes the general gist of the story, so we are going to switch to a “classic starts” version of the story as soon as I can get a copy.

Boys’ Favorite Picture Books This Week:

Chief Rhino to the Rescue by Sam Lloyd is a fun firefighter story

That’s How by Christoph Niemann is a delightfully funny book with predictable text with one child giving another child some fanciful explanations of how things work.

In Superhero Joe by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman,  an ordinary boy becomes a superhero (aka helps his parents) with the help of some super hero tools around the house.  This one was a big hit especially with Mr. K, who has insisted we call him Super Joe ever since our first reading of this book.

I’m linking up this week with Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!