Alexander the Great

Quick post to add “Alexander the Great,” by Jane Bingham, to our Core B books for ancient Greece.  He’s such a significant character that I think giving him the extra time will be good.  And I really enjoy Usborne books.


Sonlight Core C add-ons – Late Modern Age

Shaka, King of the Zulus, by Stanley

Shadow of His Hand, Lawton

A Little Princess, Burnett

The Secret Garden, Burnett

Peter Pan, by Barrie

Not many to add here.  This seems like a good time to mention that I do *not* guarantee that I have the right time period for any of these books.  For one thing, most were selected from Amazon and I had to do with the Amazon reviews and description, not personal knowledge.  For another, some of the time periods overlap, and I’m also copying from wish lists that I created privately on Amazon, so there’s always the possibility of a book sneaking into the wrong time period.  So if you use any, do your research and make sure you know when to fit it in!

Along with that, I’ll mention that while I attempted to thoroughly research these books, I have read almost none of them.  So I’m using Amazon age recommendations, page count, reviews, and other clues to determine whether they’re age appropriate.  I can’t promise you they’re right.  I’ve generally looked for books that are in the 8-12 age range at the oldest.  My daughter will be 8 while doing Core C, so that’s what I was aiming for.  If you have a sensitive kid or a younger kid doing Core C, pre-read.  Most of the picture books say 6+ or 7+, or 6-8, so hopefully they’ll be right.  My younger daughter is just listening in, but she’ll be 6 when we do Core C.

That’s all for tonight, folks!  My bread is out of the oven and cooling as we speak, so I should be able to go to bed soon.

Sonlight Core C add-ons – Early Modern Age

Who in the World was the Forgotten Explorer?, by Lambert

The Silver Bowl, by Stanley

The Cup and the Crown, by Stanley

Leonardo da Vinci, by Stanley

The Queen’s Progress, by Mannis

Bard of Avon, by Stanley

The Hero of Bremen, by Mikolaycak

I, Galileo, by Christensen

Huguenot Garden, by Jones

Explorers News, by Johnstone

Interesting to realize that I have Shakespeare books in both Middle Ages and Early Modern Age.  I guess that’s what I get when they overlap.  I do think I’ll try to keep both books, as I think Shakespeare is pretty significant and the books look at him from a different angle.

“The Cup and the Crown” is a sequel to “The Silver Bowl.”

Sonlight Core C add-ons – Middle Ages

Cathedral, by Macaulay

Castle, by Macaulay

Who the World was the Secretive Printer?, by Beckham

Who in the World was the Unready King?, by Clark

Who in the World was the Acrobatic Empress?, by Phillips

Castle Diary (large version – Sonlight uses a small version without the big pictures)

Joan of Arc, by Stanley

Favorite Medieval Tales, by Mary Pope Osborne

William Shakespeare & the Globe, by Aliki

Sir Cumference books, by Neuschwander

Saint George and the Dragon, by Hodges

Magic in the Margins, by Nikola-Lisa

Beorn the Proud, by Polland

Dangerous Journey, by Hunkin

Tinker’s Daughter, by Lawton

The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, by Pyle

Fine Print, by Burch

Castle in the Attic, by Winthrop

Battle for the Castle, by Winthrop

I may weed some of these down.  The two books about John Bunyan and the Pilgrim’s Progress go well together: “Dangerous Journey” is a child’s retelling of a “Pilgrim’s Progress,” and “Tinker’s Daughter” is a story about the author’s blind daughter.  So I think those two go well together.  But “Fine Print” and “Who in the World was the Secretive Printer?” are both on Gutenberg, and I may choose one or the other.

“Castle in the Attic” and “Battle for the Castle” are just modern day fantasy stories about a child with a toy castle that comes to life, but I think they will be a fun breather to add while reading about castle life.  They’ll be readers, not books that I plan to read aloud.

In general, Emily’s reading is at this point strong enough that probably all chapter books will be readers.  Picture books and other shorter works that can be read in a few days will remain read-alouds.  It’s possible by the time we get to these books that Jenny may be able to read them as well, so if so, Emily can read them and then pass them along to Jenny.

Sonlight Core C add-ons – General

It’s that time when I’m starting to plan some of the books I’d like to add to Core C.  Because I can never just leave well enough alone, apparently.  🙂  I love adding books.

One book that we’re really enjoying right now is “Pages of History, Volume One.”  It’s an interesting mix of fiction and nonfiction.  There isn’t a whole lot of a story, most of it is explaining history, but it does have some story to it, and even the way the history is told is very much a story.  It does a really interesting job of pulling things together and explaining things, more so than I’ve seen in other history books.  The writing is decent, although it does feel a little stilted from time to time, especially in dialogue.  Nonetheless, I’d recommend it to other people studying ancient history.

Since we like it so much, I’m going to be getting “Pages of History, Volume Two” to go with Core C.  The first book actually covers a great deal more history than Core B does (I think it goes to about the time of the printing of the King James Bible, whereas Core B goes to the fall of Rome), so we won’t need the second volume until well into Core C.

We’re also enjoying the Story of the World, both as a book and on CD.  It goes into a lot more detail in an easier to understand fashion than a Child’s History of the World, which is the spine that Sonlight uses.  However, we use both, because I think having two different perspectives is valuable, and hearing the same piece of information twice (when they do line up) helps cement it in our minds.

I’m also considering adding in some of the “Life Story Missions” books.  We’ll be reading one of them, “Catching Their Talk in a Box,” as part of Sonlight.  I’m thinking about adding some of the others, those that take place outside of the Americas:

Outside Doctor on Call

Happiness Under the Indian Trees

Keeping Them All in Stitches

Whistling Bombs and Bumpy Trains

No Time Out

What Will Tomorrow Bring?

Another series that looks interesting is the “Profiles From History” series, of which there are three volumes.  Volumes 1 and 3 would be the most useful to put with Core C.  This is basically a book of biographies, but they look good, and I think highlighting some of the particular people of these times periods helps the history come to life.  Volume 2 is entirely American history, so we’ll do that with Cores D and E.  Volumes 1 and 3 have quite a few Americans, so we’ll save those parts for later, but they also have some number of (mostly European) other historical figures.  The books were apparently written by a homeschooler!

In the next few posts, I’m going to be going through some books I’ve thought to add, categorized by time period: Late Antiquity (fall of Rome to 500AD), Middle Ages (5th-15th century), Early Modern Period (1450-1750), and Late Modern Period (1750-1914).  You’ll notice some occasional overlap, because of course certain time periods are transitional, but I’m using the ages as defined by Wikipedia, that be-all and end-all of human wisdom… 🙂

One thing I want to mention in here is that I am not supplementing Sonlight because it isn’t sufficient on its own.  I’m supplementing it because I just like slowing down and going a little deeper, and also because we year-round school, we tend to get ahead of ourselves, and I don’t want to progress too quickly through the Sonlight cores.  Also, Jenny really likes to listen in on the cores, so having some books that are lighter books (which many of these are) will help with that.  I do sometimes have Emily read some of the added books to herself, though, so that can depend on how we’re progressing.

Without further ado, I’m going to prepare the lists of books by age in the next few posts.

A Quick Overview of 20th (and 21st) Century World History to end Core C

Sonlight’s Core C only covers world history through 1914 on the eve of World War I. They do this because they feel that the 20th century has a lot of dark times, and it’s best studied at a later date.

I don’t object to this, but I do think it’s possible to do a short overview of the 20th century, without going into too many details about the darker times. So I’ve decided to throw in a whirlwind tour of the 20th century to finish off Core C, when we get there. I’m trying to hit some of the major events of the 20th century.

My list isn’t perfect, because some major events just didn’t have the greatest picture book coverage (the Korean War, for example). I didn’t want to be bogged down in nonfiction books that would take us several days to complete, so my preference was for historical fiction picture books that could be read in 1-2 sittings, although I included some chapter books that looked suitable, due to age/grade recommendations and reviews on Amazon, for my older daughter to read on her own.

So, that said, here’s my rough draft of the 20th century:

Turn of the Century:

I Survived #5: I Survived the San Francisco Earthquake, 1906
American Girl books: Samantha
I Survived #1: I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic

World War I:

See Inside the First World War
Christmas in the Trenches
Knit Your Bit: a World War I story
American Girl books: Ruth

Flu Epidemic:

Christmas Oranges (Bethers) ? Not sure if right flu outbreak

Great Depression:

Born and Bred in the Great Depression
Rose’s Journal (Moss)
Potato: a Tale from the Great Depression
American Girl books: Kit

Amelia Earhart:

Mysterious Journey: Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight

World War II:

I Survived #4: I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor
See Inside the Second World War
American Girl books: Molly
I Survived #9: I Survived the Nazi Invasion

Post WWII Europe:

A New Coat for Anna

Berlin Airlift:

Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot

Korean War:

My Freedom Trip: a Child’s Escape from North Korea

Civil Rights:

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down
The Story of Ruby Bridges (Coles)

Race to the Moon:

Man on the Moon (Suen)
Handshake in Space

Vietnam War:

The Wall (Bunting)
American Girl books: Julie

End of the Cold War:

Border Breakdown: the Fall of the Berlin Wall
The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain

Yugoslavian War:

Cat from Kosovo
Drita, My Homegirl

September 11th:

I Survived #6: I Survived the Attacks of September 11th, 2001

Japanese Tsunami:

I Survived #8: I Survived the Japanese Tsunami, 2011

20th Century as a whole:

Fantastic Flights: One Hundred Years of Flying on the Edge

This last book covers all of the 20th century, from the first heavier-than-air flight in 1903 to modern aircraft. I’ll do it last, as I think it will be a fun look back at a particular technological innovation of the 20th century. I’m hoping that doing this overview quickly, plus looking at the amazing speed at which flight developed, will help give a sense of how fast the day-to-day world changed during the 20th century, and how that compares to the pace of technological change in the ancient world.

I ran into the fact, recently, that Cleopatra (1st century BC) lived closer to the time when man first walked on the moon (1969 AD), to when the pyramids were built (2400 BC). That’s pretty amazing, and gives you a good idea of how slow change was back then (we tend to lump all of “ancient Egypt” together without much sense of the different periods of Egyptian history).

Elsewhere in the list, the American Girl books and the I Survived books are all chapter books that I’ll have Emily read on her own. She’s already read all the American Girl books, but she won’t mind a reread and I think reading them in historical context might be really interesting. I’ll probably have her reread *all* of the American Girl books during Cores D and E, since they cover American History. But the ones I included from the 20th century (Samantha, Ruth, Kit, Molly, and Julie) would all be in Core E (the second half of American history), so she wouldn’t be rereading them again for two years.

I hope this list might be helpful if anybody else wants to do the same!