After Miss 11 works on her NaNoWriMo novel or does her math, she is exhausted. Then she often turns to Write from Medieval History. With its lovely stories and clean, uncluttered pages it is both interesting and soothing.
Although Write from Medieval History: Level I by Kimberly Garcia is aimed at grades 1-3 for its extra features, the history stories and poetry are timeless and for all ages.
Because Miss 11 is, obviously, past the intended age range of this series, we use this book mainly for handwriting and copywork. Every day, Miss 11 copies the manuscript models accompanying one of the stories into her notebook using cursive. Because she learned the Canadian Handwriting System , I rather like using manuscript copywork models rather than confusing her with cursive models in a different style. Although the author suggests using one history selection and one story or poetry selection each week, for simplicity’s sake and because of her age, Miss 11 is just going through the book sequentially, doing four selections each week.
If I still had young children, this book could fill a large part of our homeschool day as it could be used to teach printing, practice narration, do copywork, study and take dictations, and learn about grammar. Besides all that, it also helps a child practice reading (or listening, for those who cannot yet read), learn history, enjoy fairy tales, and read poetry. Rather than a textbook approach to this wide array of learning, Write from Medieval History: Level 1 uses Charlotte Mason’s gentle but thorough approach which is carefully explained. A new homeschooling mom will be able to use this book confidently if she follows Kimberly Garcia’s suggestions.
So, what’s in this book?
The historical narratives (dates and source listed with each story and in the table of contents) include early British tales of King Alfred, King Canute, Robert I, and King John; accounts of caliphs and Genghis Kahn; and stories about great men like William Tell, Giotto, and Sir Walter Raleigh.
English tales include “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Three Men of Gotham”, and “The Shoemaker and the Elves”.
The poetry section (dates and sources listed with each poem) includes lively selections from Shakespeare as well as nursery rhymes and a hymn.
Cultural tales are stories from different lands, such as “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” from Norway, “The Frog’s Travels” from Japan, and “How Indian Corn Came into the World” which is an Ojibway legend.
When I wrote a preview of Write from History in September, my friend Amy wanted to see some sample pages, so I’ve photographed the pages about “King Canute on the Seashore”. As you can see, each story includes a page for written narrations (written either by the child or the parent) and two copywork passages that can also be used for dictation with lines that are suitable for young children.
There is no separate teacher’s guide, and it is not necessary. The book’s introduction explains narration, copywork, and dictation and also provides a possible schedule. Appendices include a very helpful but simple guide to teaching grammar with this book as well as some sample narration questions. If you plan to use this book for dictation, the appendices also include a separate list of the dictation samples for the parent.
My only problem with Write from Medieval History: Level I is its unusual pagination method: the pages are numbered by the section they are in rather than sequentially. This can be frustrating at times, but once I became familiar with the book, it was not too hard to deal with.
For a thorough description of the Write from History series and all its features, see Kimberly Garcia’s explanation.
Disclosure: I received this book from Kimberly Garcia for the purposes of an honest review. No compensation is involved.
There are gifts, and then there are gifts that last. The books and other ideas listed below will be sure to make memories for your family. We’ve enjoyed each one of them and are thrilled to share them.
Obviously, some of the best gifts are those that involve companionship and imagination: a huge box, an adult who has some time, sticks, dolls, strings, paper, and crayons, block, puzzles, and games. But, just as obviously, there are other kinds of wonderful gifts too.
Two years ago I made a huge list of educational gifts with free options. Of course, in many cases these gifts don’t really seem educational, but some of the best learning happens when people don’t know they are learning. Here’s another good gift in this category for the child who loves science and humor: Weather Wits and Science Snickers—the book itself, of course, and not the workbooks.
Last year I wrote about last-minute gift ideas—special foods are always appreciated at our house.
One of my all-time favorite gifts, especially for little girls, is artificial flowers in a vase, like those pictured above.
I’ve reviewed a lot of great resources over the years, and some of them would make excellent Christmas gifts. Here is a short list:
(Note that each link is to my review of that item, so you can make an informed decision. As always, there are no affiliate links and I am not compensated for recommending these gift ideas.)
Mainly for younger readers (but also of interest to older ones):
The Lily Lapp books have become favorites in our family, and I think they will in yours too. Lily is an Amish girl whose life is full of everyday events as well as exciting adventures. This mix really appeals to my children. Both boys and girls aged 8-12 (and even older) will enjoy the children’s adventures and understand Lily’s deepest hopes and fears. Our children read these books to themselves, but they would also make excellent read-alouds. The Lily Lapp books are for children to enjoy over and over and for parents to remember by. Highly recommended.
Here’s another gift idea for a wide range of ages: a stunning series of picture books by Simonetta Carr. The Christian Biographies of Young Readers are about famous figures in history and church history, presented accurately enough to interest adults and simply enough to appeal to children. The illustrations are incredible. These are the kind of inspiring books that could become keepsakes. So far I’ve only reviewed Augustine of Hippo but the rest of the books in this series are at least as good, and some of the illustrations are even more beautiful.
Here’s another series that gets read over and over at our house: The Shadow Series by Piet Prins, all about World War II in the Netherlands.
For older readers, including adults:
One Thousand Gifts is one of the best books I read in the past year. It is full of hope, courage, and the faith to be grateful, no matter what.
To bless a married couple—or your own marriage—get a copy of My Beloved and My Friend.
Moving beyond books, if you wish to give a special gift while supporting a third world craftsman, check out Ten Thousand Villages.
I hope you will find gifts that bless your loved ones. Above all, remember that this season is not about the gifts we give or get, but about the great gift God gave us when our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born.
What kinds of gifts do you like to give? Or are you still deciding?
Each of the Lily Lapp books has been better than the previous one, and this is no exception. I read it in one evening, resting on the couch in front of the fire, enjoying a book as cozy as my surroundings.
Lily Lapp, now eleven years old, is growing up. She still gets into trouble, however, and the book begins with Lily and her cousin Hannah, both non-swimmers, rowing a boat into the middle of a pond and falling out. Lily’s life goes on from there, full of unpredictable adventures. At school, Effie Kaufman is as bothersome as ever, a new family moves in, and a new teacher brings unexpected upheaval into Lily’s world.
A Surprise for Lily is full of both exciting events and everyday life, from illness, bears, a 100-year-old Indian, and a new dog, to visits with relatives and lots of time with Grandma.
Although it is not preachy in any way, Lily’s happy family, caring community, and maturing outlook will inspire every reader, young or old.
Our family loves the Lily Lapp books, and I think all girls aged 8-12+ and boys aged 8-11 will enjoy A Surprise for Lily. The earlier books in the Lily Lapp series would appeal equally to boys and girls, but as Lily gets older I think girls will like her adventures more…even though there are plenty of adventures that will appeal to boys as well.
Although this is the fourth book in a series, I think it could stand alone. But who wouldn’t want to read the entire series? I highly recommend getting all the Lily Lapp books for your family and encouraging your library to buy them for the children in your community.
Disclosure: This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and is available at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Occasionally, I bump into a quote that won’t leave me alone. In Omnibus 5, tucked in between deep thoughts about Augustine’s The City of God, was this one:
Our culture encourages us to feed our desires and not to learn how to control them. There are many instances of this in popular culture. Films like The Bridges of Madison County and The English Patient suggest that the Christian view of marriage represses our deepest desires. In this way, they suggest that there is deep and profound happiness to be found in lust—in allowing the flesh, which lusts against the spirit, to find its satisfaction even if such satisfaction involves fornication or adultery. We can also see this idea of feeding our carnal or fallen desires in revenge movies (which encourage us to find satisfaction by our rage being satiated), in teenage coming-of-age movies (which encourage teens to indulge and feed the overly dramatic quality of their adolescence), and in horror films (which exist primarily to excite us by the fascination of evil). From Omnibus 5, p 27.
I love it when someone else puts my thoughts into words!
Omnibus, put out by Veritas Press, is a 6-year classical, Christian study guide to Bible, literature, and history that we love (although with some serious reservations). I’ve posted some thoughts about Omnibus but am not yet ready to write a proper review of any of the years. But, of course, eventually I won’t be able to resist!
It’s a whole lot easier to get into trouble than to get out of it. Sometimes getting out of it takes a miracle. And sometimes God sends one miracle after another.
Jimmy Reed, sixteen years old and drifting into mischief, dreaded another Christmas with his dead father’s Congressional Medal of Honor hanging on the tree. He did not want that medal on the tree. He wanted his father alive and home instead, and that’s why he was now actively looking for trouble.
But God sent one person after another: the school principal, Audrey who believed in him no matter what, Calvin the boring school bus driver who turned out to be so full of goodness and wisdom, and others. God sent miracles too, those great ones—faith and the courage to do right—and more.
Both predictable and unexpected, the story of Jimmy Reed and the community of Ash Flat, Arkansas will be sure to keep you turning its pages. While The Christmas Star is certainly not great literature, it is an exciting but comforting account of how our God can work in our lives.
Who would read this story? Adults, certainly, but also children and teens, I think. It’s a boy’s story, but girls and women will also enjoy it. I think whoever reads it will be uplifted as well as entertained, not only for Christmas but throughout the year.
Note: The synopsis on the back of this book (read it here) is completely misleading. I was expecting a sweet story about a little boy who missed his hero father and was somehow comforted. Instead, I read a gritty novel about a young man trying to overcome pain with evil while God was busy weaving miracles of love all around him.
You can read an excerpt here.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Abingdon Press. I have given my honest opinion and am not compensated for this review.
In our life this week
We had a snowstorm, and now, suddenly, winter’s here, and we burn up piles of logs each day. One morning I curled up on the couch by the fire in the sunshine to mark a French test, and out the window I saw a Christmas card landscape of snow-laden branches and delicate blue sky. So cozy!
Snow also brings along shoveling. This is not our favorite way to exercise, but we all did what we could. The younger girls also sledded a lot and built a bridge over a tiny, unfrozen brook that crosses the sledding path.
And the men of the family surprised me with a new phone, very fancy, that does emails, has a Bible, and will allow me to write anywhere I like if I can ever get used to typing with my thumbs. Although I’d always said such phones were not necessary for me, they assured me that it’s saving us $12 a month over my old phone, and, once I had played with it a bit, I was almost too excited to sleep.
Because I attended Augustine College’s Student for a Day last Saturday with Miss 16, my usual Saturday jobs did not get done last week…so I’ve felt behind all this week. It also doesn’t help that I have half a dozen reviews on the go, either in my head or already partly written down. And I’m behind on several other projects, too. Feeling scattered like this is not nice, but perhaps by the end of the day things will be better.
In our homeschool …
We worked hard four days out of five, and learned a lot. Miss 11 finished her NaNoWriMo novel, all 4000 words, and did a lot of her regular bookwork too. The other girls worked hard on their Omnibus, math, French, and more. Besides that, everyone is still enjoying books left over from reading week.
In our garden…
Snow! A nice blanket of warm, insulating snow to protect the garlics and the last bits of kale—a whole meal’s worth—that were forgotten in an earlier picking.
In our gluten free kitchen… Stampot with sauerkraut. Pork picnic shoulder. Pizza. Bread. Cinnamon buns. Chicken soup. Lots of squashes of all sorts. Steak. Mushrooms and hot peppers. Left-overs. Stewed apples. Salads. Walnuts. Mandarins. Omelets. Mocha swirl cheese cake. French fries. Right now beans are soaking and a hambone is cooking in preparation for tomorrow’s curried bean soup.
Some of my favorite things were…
- Watching the girls work diligently, each in her own way.
- Our warm fireplace.
- Time with family and friends.
- Colorful supper plates full of vegetables, day after day, until our yummy pizza supper which was almost veggie-free. Moderation is good in all things, even eating vegetables.
- Being strong enough to do a bit of the snow shoveling myself.
- Watching Martin Luther with the kids during the snow storm.
Questions/thoughts I have… No thoughts. Just sighs of contentment as the sunshine pours into our home.
Fitness… I averaged close to 10,000 steps a day and discovered, once again, that walking in deep snow in my heavy boots is just too difficult for me. I did my knee exercises most days, though, got a whole new set of exercises to work on, and was able to shovel some snow.
Some of the things I’ve been working on…
- Getting our basement back to normal.
- Trying to catch up on everything I’m behind on.
- Balancing exercise and rest.
We’re watching… We watched Martin Luther and Anne of Green Gables.
I’m reading… Jeremiah. I finished rereading The Story of Canada (review coming up) and two more Camp X stories, Trouble in Paradise and Enigma, and started the non-fiction book Inside Camp X. I am also reading The Soul of Science, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye, Awakening Faith, and Image (part of the Hot Buttons series).
Reading Aloud… We’re still reading Psalms and William of Orange, the Silent Prince and volume 3 of In de Zoete Suikerbol. Reading ten minutes of Dutch every day is really improving the girls’ comprehension.
When my husband is home for meals we read 1 Corinthians.
I’m grateful for …. Saturdays, sunshine, laughter.
Quote or link to share…. As it is Thanksgiving week in the US, here’s a unique take on counting our blessings: “The Advantages of Having One Leg” by G.K. Chesterton.
Watch the birth of an island! Amy Lynn Andrews sent this link in her fabulous ‘Useletter’.
This post is linked to Kris’s Weekly Wrap Up .
Those two words go together, don’t they? We usually think of happy people being thankful, but the graphic below shows another truth as well.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
Once again, and probably for the last time, I read Carry On, Mr. Bowditch aloud to my children. It’s one of my top 50 children’s books for many reasons, not the least of which is the brilliantly-written story.
Little Nat Bowditch is part of a seafaring family that has hit upon hard times, but he does not mind the poverty as long as he can go to school. However, times get worse and worse and eventually, because there are too many mouths to feed, Nat is apprenticed to a chandlery (a ship supply store) for many long years. No more school.
Does he despair? Almost….
Read the book with your children to find out what he does instead. It’s so incredibly inspiring! And then follow Nat’s seafaring adventures as he travels the world, learning to be a sailor and visiting exotic ports. He also discovers the fatal inadequacies of standard navigational tables, and so begins his great contribution to the world.
This thrilling story captivates my children each time I read it. While I read it to them because it is great children’s literature, it is also an inspiring introduction to one of America’s greatest mathematicians.
Before the age of calculators and computers, Nathaniel Bowditch’s mathematical genius allowed him to correct navigational tables’ errors that had cost many lives. He went on to write The American Practical Navigator, first published in 1802, eventually bought by the US government, and still, with extensive revisions, widely used on US naval vessels. It is available free online.
Every English-speaking child should read this book, and even teens and adults can enjoy it as a fictionalized biography. It is delightful, exciting, inspiring, and opens new worlds for everyone, young and old.
Note: Right at the beginning of the book, there is a small episode of children trying to engage in magic to improve their family’s situation. Also, sensitive younger children may find the book traumatic, because some of Nat’s loved ones die at sea.
Although this is a children’s book, its quality is such that I am including it in my 2013 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge and also linking it to Saturday Reviews, Trivium Tuesday, and Read Aloud Thursday.
Disclosure: We have owned this book for years and I am not compensated for this review.