Saturday, November 25, 2017

Christmas Picture Books

Dear Precious Anna (my first daughter to marry and have children of your own):  You asked for a list of picture books to read to Jacoby this month so I thought I'd compile it here....  with all my love and joy in sharing the joyous journey with you!  Some are repeats from the post from December 2015

  • The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, is still a favorite! It's a beautiful story with lovely paintings!
  •  Gift of the Magi, by O'Henry is a moving story.  There is generally quite a bit of text on each page, so look for a copy with worthy pictures.
  • The Gift by Jan Haley is on sale here from Focus Publishing for $3.00.  I'll look for my copy to share with you.
  • Twelve Days of Christmas in Minnesota looks like it might be fun....there are two copies available in our library...
  • I Spy: Merry Christmas as with the other I spy books, it's fun to look for the details in the photos searching for items together.
  • Have You Seen Christmas by Vicki Howie.  Looks like a good book....
  • The Night Before Christmas Illustrated by Clement Clarke Moore.  I know this is a silly poem and isn't really about the real Christmas, but it's still fun - and this one looks like it might have nice artwork...
  • Prairie Christmas by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk
  • The Little Boy's Christmas Gift by John Spears looks like a book to check out.  It's about a little boy who follows three wise men to see the Christ child.
  • Legend of the Christmas Tree by Rick Osborne - Nice artwork and it explains the why behind the Christmas Tree....
  • Christmas Candle Richard Paul Evans - On a snowy Christmas Eve, a young man named Thomas on his way home for a family celebration realizes that the candle in his lantern is about to expire. He stops in a chandler's shop filled with fantastic wax creations, but instead of admiring them Thomas scorns the chandler for wasting his time on sculptures that will only melt. The mysterious old chandler sells him a special Christmas candle. Back on the bitterly cold street, the young man is accosted by an old beggar woman. When he lifts his lantern to get a better look, the candlelight reveals that she is his mother. He gives her his cloak and only then sees the truth: She is not his mother after all, but a stranger. The candle tricks him again before he reaches home, cold and penniless, but richer for his newfound realization that we are all part of one family.   This intriguing original fable about charity is accompanied by lavish, mood-filled oil paintings by artist Jacob Collins. Together, author and artist have created an exquisite holiday gift book that will be treasured by the entire family.
  • TheVery First Christmas by Paul L. Maier
  • Rocking Horse Christmas by Mary Pope Osborne -- A rocking horse, outgrown by its little boy owner, faithfully waits by the attic window for his friend to return, in a holiday-appropriate story in the spirit of The Velveteen Rabbit.
  • Marvin's Best Christmas Present Ever by Katherine Paterson - Christmas is coming and Marvin is worried. He wants to make the best Christmas present ever for his parents. His sister May always makes great presents; Marvin's are never as good. This year Marvin is determined to make not only the best present, but one that will last forever. Katherine Paterson's heart-warming story and Jane Clark Brown's charming illustrations create a book that will keep the spirit of Christmas alive throughout the whole year.
  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss - Silly but fun....
  • Christmas in the Big Woods, this is a picture book based on Laura's telling from Little House in the Big Woods. If it stays faithful to her writing it would be a good book... if it's rewritten it might not be as wonderful.
  • Just in Time for Christmas, Louise Borden -- A young boy, living in rural Kentucky, looks forward to the annual Christmas festivities, especially the traditional family cream candy; but, when his favorite dog disappears, he comes to realize that tradition and family have a deeper meaning.
  • The Trees Kneel at Christmas by Maud Hart Lovelace -- After Grandmother explains why the trees in Lebanon kneel at Christmas, Afify and Hanna hope to witness a similar miracle in Brooklyn's Prospect Park.
  • Newbery Christmas: Fourteen Stories of Christmas by Newbery Award-winning Authors
  • The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot.
  • The Christmas Box by Eve Merriam looks like it might be fun...
  • Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble -- In 1881, when their apple tree is felled by a storm just before Christmas, a young farm girl and her family discover that the tree was important to each of them for different reasons.
By no means an exhaustive list, but a place to begin, a start for your Christmas book a day in December!  I'm so proud of you for how you are raising your children and enjoy sharing the joy of reading with you and with them!! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Math Antics

J age 11 is struggling with his math, getting slower and slower and making less and less effort, so today I asked what was making him not want to do his math.  He said it has gotten too hard, he wants to go back to an easier book.  Well, having gotten this far it seems a shame to go back, so I decided to look and see if I could find an internet lesson on the place value we've been working on that seems hard to him.  Up came a video by Math Antics you can see  Youtube to find particular videos or use their website. We did Math Antics - Place Value and Math Antics Decimal Place Value. A few minutes later he was cheered and enthused and back at his math book saying, "I'm already on number 5 and this is easy!"  So if you're needing a bit of a change and a little tutoring in a given Math topic, try Math Antics.  

Friday, January 27, 2017

Blackwater Ben and The Broken Blade

   We've just finished the two books by Minnesota author William Durbin, The Broken Blade and Backwater Ben. The Broken Blade is about a young man who goes to work as a Voyageur when his father is injured and unable to work for their family and Backwater Ben is about a boy who works for his father who is a head cook in a logging camp in the early  1900s.  Both books give a good feel for the challenges men faced in these jobs.  They are written with realism and a bit of humor.  Both feature jobs with really rough men but are presented cleanly.  My Great Grandfather was a cook in a lumber camp in Northern Minnesota and we love visiting Lake Superior so both these stories feel like part of our own local heritage.  Both are great historical fiction.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Herein is Love - Genesis by Nancy Ganz

We began our study of history this year at the beginning again.  I chose as our main text, the best book in the world, the Bible (which happens to be an original source).  I had a copy of The Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament History that we had used years ago and I've used that some, but I also found this wonderful commentary for children - Herein is Love: Genesis, a Commentary for Children.  We just finished Genesis and are ready to start Exodus (with her accompanying commentary for that book).  We read the passages from the Bible first (usually a chapter from Genesis or Exodus and an accompanying Psalm or New Testament passage as well). Then read Nancy's commentary!   I love this pastor's wife's writing!! She is VERY insightful and has a beautiful way of telling the story.  My children haven't minded hearing the story a second time as she retells it.  The second half of the book is a Teacher's Guide and includes memory verses, crafts, visual aids, review questions and field trip ideas for each lesson.  I highly recommend this resource.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Spring is Here!

I love the natural learning that takes place in the Spring and Summer....  "Look what I found, Mom!"as they dash in from outside, "Come out and see!"  or "What do you think this flower is, Mom?"

R age 12 collected a small container of tadpoles from the pond right by our church and brought them home to grow in a gallon jar.  She put broken up bits of lettuce in the top and the tadpoles have been eating and growing. 

We're trying to get ant farms established in glass gallon jars.  J age 10 found a whole bunch of teeny tiny ants in an old can in the woods along with some little white eggs and what he thinks is the queen so we're started! We have our gallon jar full of sand with a pop can in the middle filled with water and a cotton ball in the opening.  Then we put a drop of honey on the top of the can for them to eat.  We wrapped our jar with black paper and will take it off one of these days and see if there are any tunnels visible.  We have tulle rubber banded over the mouth of the jar so they can't escape.

We're planting seeds of many kinds including lemon, avocado, mango and a pineapple top.  We live in the north so probably won't get fruit but will enjoy the foliage. Should be fun to see what we get.  We'll start work in the vegetable garden soon and each of the children has their own flower bed to work in. 

Winter in Minnesota being long, the Spring and Summer seem especially dear.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

An AO Conference I'd love to attend...

I've been following Ambleside Online informally for a few years now and Charlotte Mason for many more.  I'd love to go to a conference like this someday!  For now, I'm just putting my name in for a drawing for a mug and tote.  If you're interested in the conference here is a link:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Science Stories - Marie Curie's Search for Radium

 J-10 just read a wonderful biography called Marie Curie's Search for Radium by Beverly Birch that I had picked up at a used book sale. He really enjoyed it.  Every page has a beautiful painting by Christian Birmingham. The text is interesting and the paintings are lovely. I picked up Pastuer's Fight against Microbes at the same sale.  It is also illustrated by Christian Birmingham.  I noticed in the back of the book that there are two other titles by Beverly Birch in this series.  These two are illustrated by Robin Bell Corefield.  So if you're looking for easy science biographies that are interesting and beautiful I recommend these, published in the U.S. by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.  Here is a link to Dealoz books by Beverly Birch.