As always, we’ve been busy reading through our mornings.
Here’s what we’ve read this week:
We started each day by reading a chapter from the Gospel of Luke, followed by a chapter from “Big Truths for Young Hearts“. This theology book, I suppose you would call it, is the best I’ve ever seen.
Every day we try to read a story from “The Brothers Grimm: 101 Fairy Tales“. These are the original stories. Not those fluffy, heartless things that young children are usually given to read. Urgghhh! Yesterday we read “The Fisherman and His Wife” (the link goes to a tolerable version to give you the gist of it). It was an excellent story and so unlike the picture books versions I’ve read. The kiddy version turns it into a story about greed, however, the true message of the story was humility. We are absolutely loving reading through these stories as the Grimm Brothers intended.
We been reading about Christopher Columbus, so we read these two related books I found on my shelves. Both were wonderful. I love this version of Saint Christopher’s story. (No, we’re not Catholic but I think it’s important to be familiar with a more well-known saint stories. “Encounter” tells the Columbus story from the point of view of a native boy. He tries to warn his people about the visitors. It’s an excellent book to provoke discussion.
We’ve also been reading about Mary Queen of Scots. She came onto our radar after we read about Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth. So this bit of reading was a lovely tangent to fill in a gap (one of the many) in our knowledge.
I found this gorgeous old book about her by Elizabeth Kyle and we devoured it in a week. Reading about her created a new tangent though (This tends to happen a lot). We needed to find out if it was her father King James or her son King James who was the THE King James of the King James Bible. With a bit of discussion, the boys worked out their own answer and used google to confirm it. (It had to be her son, as the King James we needed had to have been King of England. The other King James, Mary’s father, was only the King of Scotland.) So now of course we need to watch a documentary about the King James Bible and its history and luckily I have one sitting on my shelves.
Currently, we reading through “String, Straight-Edge, and Shadow“. This is a book I’ve wanted for many years but have only just purchased. I could only find one supplier who would ship internationally and the shipping cost was not the cheapest (it wasn’t the worst I’ve been charged though). Has the book been worth the trouble? I think so. So far anyway. It’s very evolutionary in nature but, if you can get past that, the content and delivery is good. It’s about the history of Geometry and how it has been used in daily life. We’ve used the book as a launching point. After reading a chapter, we go off and watch various related youtube videos on the topics. The other day we were learning how builders use the 3-4-5 method to make accurate right angles. That’s bound to come in handy some day.
We’re reading about Japan at the moment. (We should have moved onto Middle Eastern cultures but we’re still interested in Japan so the Middle East can wait. We’re in no rush. We don’t keep to a schedule or rigid plan.) This week we polished off the book, “Shipwrecked“. This story was totally different to our expectations. I know it says on the cover, “The true adventures of a Japanese boy” but the story was so amazing that we had our doubts about the authenticity and had to read the author’s note to check. It really was a true story, which is what made it such a wonderful book. It was also fascinating. The story shares a lot about what it was like to live in Japan during those centuries of isolation. The events in the story also occur just before Commodore Matthew Perry arrives on the scene. So, of course, we’ll be reading “Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun” next week.
Last weekend, I picked up this book, “Complex Circulatory System” as a free ebook. (Sadly it’s no longer free, sorry folks). It’s quite a good book so we’ve been reading through it this week. We’re almost done. There actually two more available in the series that I’ll probably buy and read as well. (There’s supposed to be nine in the series when it’s completed – I wonder if they’ll be done soon…I’m wishing).
“Invincible Microbe” is one of our favourite read alouds at the moment. It’s about Tuberculosis and it’s fascinating. It’s creating so many questions in us. “Is there a cure nowadays?”, “Is it still a big problem in the world?”, “Where is it a problem and is it safe to travel there?” etc. So we’re trying to read a lot of the book throughout the week to find the answers to our questions. It’s like reading a murder mystery and trying to restrain ourselves from flicking to the back of the book to answer our burning questions. And you can’t even begin to imagine the number of times we’re seeing references to TB and consumption in our other reading and viewing. It’s popping up everywhere on our radar. I love when that happens.
Snowflakes are another interest at the moment. After experiencing real snow for the first time earlier this year in the US, we’ve been fascinated. (Our first ‘snow’ in Australia was actually sleet and a snow machine – that doesn’t count!). So we read “Curious about Snow” and “The Secret Life of a Snowflake“. This second book was AMAZING! Both the information and especially the photography!
My boys wouldn’t/couldn’t believe that the illustrations were actual photos of snowflakes. Oh to live in a location where you could go outside with a magnifying glass and see these beauties every winter. Sadly, we’ve gathered from our reading, that Aussie snowflakes aren’t quite as lovely. Our temperatures just aren’t cold enough, even up on the mountains, to create the gorgeous snow crystals that we think of when we think of snowflakes.
Since we loved “The Secret Life of a Snowflakes”, which was a book designed for children, we simply had to purchase another by the same author so we could read more. There were so many to choose from. In the end, I purchased and have started reading aloud, “The Snowflake: Winter’s Frozen Artistry“. It was an excellent choice. Oh and to dispel a common snowflake myth – they are not perfectly symmetrical.
We are also reading “Slow Death by Rubber Duck”, which is about chemicals in our every day world. Fascinating but horrifying. During the week we also watched the documentary, “Unacceptable Levels” which was on the same topic. These kinds of books and videos just make me want to find a deserted island somewhere and flee. Being aware is scary. It was much more ‘comfortable’ when my head was in the sand.
And finally, (well not really ‘finally’ as we are also listening to “The Chestnut King” on audio in the car), we are reading “Treasure Island“. It’s a fun read. If you haven’t embraced classic stories, do yourself a favour and start immediately. They aren’t as difficult as you imagine and the stories are truly excellent.
Yes, we’ve done a few things aside from read (although reading is our favourite thing and quite frankly the most important thing). The boys have worked on Math for an hour or so a day. They’ve drafted a persuasive essay convincing the elderly to connect to the internet. They’ve both been reading independently. Latin lessons were completed every day, as well as grammar, punctuation, mental Math, spelling and cursive. One boy also did cooking, and another created a Scratch program to test reaction times and also spent 30 minutes each night on Java programming assignments. We watched “That Sugar Film” and “Unacceptable Levels” in the evenings. We also toddled off to see a theatre performance of “Snugglepot and Cuddlepie”, played boardgames with friends and spent an afternoon at the park with friends.
And what are we doing this weekend? Who knows what the rest of the family is doing. I’m cracking open Cindy Rollins’ book, “Mere Motherhood“. If I don’t finish it before Monday, I may just need to declare it a long weekend.