Monday, December 21, 2015

Classic Education... the Charlotte Mason way

Classical Education is the age-old method that produced many educational "giants"  like Aristotle, Newton, C.S. Lewis, and Thomas Jefferson, among others. You can't pin one precise recipe for Classical Education, since of course the Greeks and Romans didn't all do the exact same thing, or even label their educational method as "Classical," for that matter. But they did have a common goal. It was not the mere development of the intellect, but also that of producing virtue in their pupils and influencing their conduct. Students were taught to think for themselves and become life-long learners. 

Classical Education involves teaching children is based on their stage of cognitive development: Grammar, Dialectic, then Rhetoric. Most educators today would define those stages as something like this: 
  1. Grammar - Grade school students absorb lots of facts, laying the foundation for future study
  2. Dialectic - Middle school students begin questioning and evaluating the facts, and learn to think through arguments
  3. Rhetoric - High school students apply what they've learned by making arguments themselves through speech, writing, etc.
Interestingly enough, what we call "Classical Education" today isn't necessarily so. I recently read a great book showing the connection between Classical Education and the Charlotte Mason approach. I came to realize upon reading it that today's version of Classical Education (whether in schools or home schools) may be an attempt to replicate doing what classical educators did rather than getting to the heart of why they did it. This actually matters a great deal, as it can result in the modern version no longer remaining true to the original purpose. 

Let me explain. 

Classic Education began with Rich Literature, Not Rote Memorization

Monday, December 14, 2015

Why Homeschooling Rocks For Our Family

There have been so many times over the past few years that I've been thankful we homeschool our children. Today I thought I'd share a few of the reasons that homeschooling ROCKS for our family. 

We declare our own holidays.
Making our own schedule is one of my favorite things about home schooling. We generally start our school year during the heat of summer so we can enjoy plenty of time off in the spring and fall. That's also when we take our family vacations so the weather's great and we don't have to deal with lines or crowds. 

Our field trips rock!
While other kids were cooped up in school, we have climbed a mountain, competed in homeschool olympic days, taken water survival lessons, visited the zoo, a horse ranch, an alpaca ranch, the lake, museums, parks, and pumpkin patches, ridden trains, toured the fire station and Auntie Ann's Pretzels, dug for crystals, gone fishing, hunted crawdads and caught butterflies. Sometimes we join other home schoolers for field trips, sometimes we go as a family, and sometimes it's just me and the kids. One time we took a three-family vacation with a couple of our favorite homeschooling friends at the start of the school year and our kids had the run of an entire huge castle all to ourselves. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Two Months TSW

Since my last TSW update, my son's symptoms peaked and then have shown improvement! 

Week 5 TSW...
Sunday was pretty rough... His face and neck were visibly broken out with red splotches and he was super itchy. It was a struggle to make it through worship services and we decided he had reached the point of needing to stay home in the future. Monday night he had a terrible time sleeping and was thrashing all over the place, flailing about and whimpering. He was absolutely miserable and incredibly itchy. It was a long, rough night. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

One Month TSW

We are one month into topical steroid withdrawal (TSW). 

If you missed it, you can read my original post here about how my four year old began this awful journey because of using over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, as directed, for his eczema. Instead of helping his eczema, the steroid cream gave him a new condition that's much worse, called Red Skin Syndrome.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Essential Oils Kill MRSA Bacteria and More!

Did you know that essential oils have been found to kill MRSA bacteria, E. Coli and other bacteria and fungi within two minutes of contact? Research carried out at the University of Manchester revealed such, and say that they "believe that discovery could revolutionize the fight to combat MRSA and other 'super bugs.'" Sadly, essential oils are underutilized since they can't be patented, and therefore are not "commercially viable."

You can use essential oils in a variety of ways around your home to kill bacteria. Check out Katelyn Watson's experiment... 

"So I am in Mirco Biology and we had to take 2 plates home. One SDA plate and one NA plate. We had to open them up for 30min every other day for 4 days. Well this is what is growing on mine. This is in the air that we breathe everyday, we have different types of mold spores, bacteria growing. The mold spores here found in the air can trigger allergies, cause upper respiratory infections if they have a food source to grow on. I asked my teacher if I could have 2 more plates to re-peat the experiment. I did the very same thing again except I added 5 drops of thieves to the plate. I had it in the same area of the house for the exact same amount of time. NO GROWTH. WHAT?????? I am always posting on here diffuse thieves to kill germs, and bacteria, in the air well now this just proves that it does work. I am so excited to show my teacher this tomorrow she was very interested if the thieves would actually kill the fungus and bacteria so it could not grow and reproduce. These oils are 100% pure goodness."

Monday, October 19, 2015

Two Weeks TSW

In my last post I shared how I discovered that my son (age 4) is addicted to hydrocortisone cream. If you missed it, click here. He's been through about two weeks of TSW (topical steroid withdrawal). People go through it for weeks, months, or even years, and there's no way to know how long or how severe his healing journey will be. All that's guaranteed is that his skin will get worse than it ever has before, and unfortunately we are already to that point. 

What started as a somewhat regular eczema flare in appearance got worse.  

A lot worse. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

My Four-Year-Old Is Addicted to Topical Steroids

How in the world did this happen? 

We used over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream behind my son's knees to treat eczema flares, as our doctor instructed us to do. We emptied a grand total of about two tubes worth of cream over the course of a year.

Now he has a red, itchy, burning, debilitating skin condition known Red Skin Syndrome, which was caused by the hydrocortisone. It is NOT eczema, but it can sometimes be mistaken for worsening eczema, resulting in stronger steroids, leading to worsened symptoms and withdrawal, creating a vicious cycle that's horrendously painful to break. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

My Four-Year-Old's Experience with Allergies & Eczema

Almost a year ago our pediatrician referred my son (three-years-old at the time) to an allergist, and since then we've been on a bit of a ride. He tested positive to all sorts of allergies (dust, mold, cat, dog, lots of types of grasses, weeds and trees, and a couple foods). She said those allergies were the cause of his nearly-constant diarrhea, as well as allergic rhinitis (runny nose, watery eyes, itchiness, etc.), and eczema. 

For the sake of his eczema, she had us change over to 100% cotton in everything that touches his skin. This took us some time, as that process was much harder than I thought... no more gym shorts, no fleece (jackets or blankets), no quick-dry material including swim suits, etc. Coats and socks were a challenge too.  

Friday, October 9, 2015

Essential Oils: Shh!!! Don't Tell!!!

If you haven't heard already, the FDA has been having a fit over what we are and are not allowed to say when sharing essential oils. The problem is that essential oils are such a unique market that the FDA doesn't know what to do with them. Since Young Living is the original EO company and they set the standard for the entire industry (no other company can make the claims YL does), the FDA is working with them exclusively to reanalyze how to regulate the entire market. They have a long ways to go! What's "ok" to say today may not be "ok" to say tomorrow, which is more than a little annoying.

So, in order to help us all understand what is and is not OK, enjoy this video from Young Living....  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Weapon Wall

For any moms of little boys out there... nerf guns are probably in your house or in your future. So with that in mind, I present to you our weapon wall!

After looking at various ways to organize nerf guns and the like I decided to try peg board. I like it b/c several of these toys are too big to fit in a drawer or toy bin, not to mention that the boys think having a weapon wall is the coolest thing ever. Since I know more nerf guns are probably in our future, the board has room to spare so we can easily hang these toys closer together, making room for more. 

The cool thing about this project is that it cost me nothing. We already had some peg board and pegs, and I had an array of spare green and yellow paint due to my indecision when choosing wall colors a year ago. 

Since the peg board had been sitting in the garage and had some visible water staining on it, I went ahead and sprayed it thoroughly with mold control spray. Then I painted the peg board with camo. Here it is in progress...

My son helped me paint some of the camo, which was fun. But mostly he just likes hanging his weapons on the finished product! 

Oh and in case you're wondering, the tin lunch box is full of nerf bullets. 

Gear up and get to battling! :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Living Books by Level for Mystery of History Volume 4: Wars of Independence to Modern Times

Key: MOH = Mystery of History, SCM = Simply Charlotte Mason, SL = Sonlight, TT = Tracy's Treasury

I'm just going to jump right in to posting this book list. If you're feeling a little lost and want to know what this list is or how to use it... OR if you want to find my similar book lists for other history timeframes, click here! Without further adieu, here we go! 

I made these book lists as a reference for choosing the best living books to enhance our MOH world history course. After completing it, we plan to take a course specifically on American History (Sonlight core D & E for grades 3-7, core 100 for grades 7-11). Due to the incredible amount of books on this list (which combines book suggestions from SCM and SL), I broke the modern timeframe into two book lists: 

  • The first list (this one) is what I’ll choose from during our general world history study (MOH 4 supplemented by SCM and SL world history books)
  • The second list is specifically for American History study, and the books are primarily those used in SL cores D,E, and 100 (SL's American History cores). There are only a very few books that I included on both lists (for the benefit of those who only use one list or the other), and those books are marked on this list with the notation *AMHIST (showing that they're also listed on the American History book list). 
If you’re planning to combine American History and World History rather than taking a separate American History course after MOH 4, then you’d combine this list and the next one and choose from the combination of the two. But that’s an awful lot. Without further adieu here are the living book suggestions for MOH 4...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Better than Worksheets, Quizzes, Tests!

One of the beauties of home schooling is that we can utilize different methods of education for our children than the school system does. After we realize that home schooling isn't school at home, we open ourselves up to a phenomenal wealth of possibilities. The more I read about education, the more I find myself identifying with the Charlotte Mason Method. There are so many gems within it, and today I want to share one of them with you. It frees you and your child from the mundane grind of endless busywork, worksheets, quizzes, and tests. Best of all, it helps students to truly own their knowledge and keep it, rather than regurgitating it temporarily only to lose it later.

What I'm referring to is narration. 
What exactly is narration? It is the telling back of what the student knows. "As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced, children should 'tell back' after a single reading or hearing: or should write on some part of what they have read" (Vol 6, Preface and p. 155)  

In practice, it goes something like this:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Living Books by Level for American History

Key: MOH = Mystery of History, SCM = Simply Charlotte Mason, SL = Sonlight, TT = Tracy's Treasury

I'm just going to jump right in to posting this book list. If you're feeling a little lost and want to know what this list is or how to use it... OR if you want to find my similar book lists for world history, click here! Without further adieu, here we go! 


1492-1850 - Stories of America, Volume 1, by Charles Morris and Sonya Shafer
Though written for the younger grades, this gentle introduction to American history will make a nice Family spine, contribute some additional biographies and information, and help tie together the different characters the older students will be reading about. (SCM Family book or grades 1-6, Exclusive to SCM. *MOH volume 3.) 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Living Books by Level for Mystery of History Volume 3: The Renaissance, Reformation, and Growth of Nations

Key:  MOH = Mystery of History, SCM = Simply Charlotte Mason, SL = Sonlight, TT = Tracy's Treasury

I'm just going to jump right in to posting this book list. If you're feeling a little lost and want to know what this list is or how to use it... OR if you want to find my similar book lists for other history timeframes, click here! Without further adieu, here we go! 

Family Books...

·   Famous Men of the Renaissance and Reformation by Rob Shearer - While the previous Famous Men books were written for elementary students, this one was written with an upper elementary and older audience in mind. If you are teaching only grades 1–3, you may want to skip the readings from this book. Look at a sample online and decide for yourself. (SCM Family book. Rated 3.9 stars.)
·  The Man Who Laid the Egg by Louise Vernon
 - The story of Erasmus. (SCM family book. Not adequately reviewed. 3.7 stars. MOH lesson 15.)
· Thunderstorm in Church by Louise Vernon (The story of Martin Luther.) (SCM family book. Am grade 4 and up. Rated 4.5 stars. MOH lesson 18.)
·  The Bible Smuggler by Louise Vernon - The story of William Tyndale.
 (SCM family book. Am grade 4 and up. Rated 4.6 stars. MOH lesson 34.)
·  Master Skylark by John Bennett
A living picture of England during the days of Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare, with appearances by both. Enough plot twists to keep the interest of the whole family, yet innocent enough for the young ones. Highly recommended as a Family read-aloud. (SCM Family book. Rated 5 stars. Around MOH lesson 38.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Our Plan for Second Grade

Remember when I told you my big plans for First Grade? Well, I went back and wrote in updates on that post telling what we actually ended up doing, and how things went. You can read it here

Today I'm sharing what we'll be studying next year, because
Language Arts: 

This year we are using Presidential Penmanship for writing. It's a neat program because after purchasing ONE CD (a printable file), you've got handwriting/ copywork covered each year from K-12th grade. Pretty cool. I printed and bound the copy work book for 2nd grade. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Life of Fred. Say What?!

You may have heard that kids regress academically over the summertime. If you haven't, just google it. You can read all about "Summer Learning Loss," how awful it is, and what you can do to battle it. 

With that in mind, I totally intended to play lots of math games this summer to keep my son's brain juices flowing. As you know, I'm a fan of our homeschool math program, Right Start. It's fantastic. But every lesson requires my one-on-one attention. So by the end of the school year, I'm ready for a break. 

This summer we met Fred. 

A friend of mine lent me the first book in the Life of Fred elementary math book series. I think I told my son to do a lesson in it a grand total of two times before he finished the entire book on his own. He LOVES it. Fred has changed my life. (Ok, perhaps I'm being a little dramatic, but I am really happy to have found Fred!)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Raw Honey to the Rescue!!!

Did you know that raw honey is full of health benefits and surprising uses? I'm not talking about the cute little bears full of processed product. When you leave it in its natural state (i.e. RAW, not processed or pasteurized), honey has some amazing properties, and you can use it in a variety of ways.

In fact, we recently started buying honey directly from a bee keeper located a couple towns away from us... By the GALLON! Did you know that raw honey never spoils? Archaeologists have found it in Egyptian tombs, and it's still edible!

Here are a few ways to use it...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I Wash My Face With Honey!

If you told me a few years ago that I'd prefer washing my face with raw honey over Arbonne's face wash I'd think you were nuts. But it turns out that honey is an amazing skin and hair treatment... that's why it's no surprise to find it listed as a nourishing ingredient in many natural skincare products. Why???

Raw honey's full of anti-oxidants, which can combat free-radical damage, promote cellular repair and healing. This is a strong defense against wrinkles, skin discoloration and dullness. It also has incredible antibacterial properties, which aid in both acne treatment and prevention. It's a great anti-inflammatory, which helps combat redness and swelling. It can even naturally tighten the pores.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Living Books by Level for Mystery of History Volume 2: The Early Churchand Middle Ages

Key:  MOH = Mystery of History, SCM = Simply Charlotte Mason, SL = Sonlight, TT = Tracy's Treasury

I'm just going to jump right in to posting this book list. If you're feeling a little lost and want to know what this list is or how to use it... OR if you want to find my similar book lists for other history timeframes, click here! Without further adieu, here we go! 

Family Books...

City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction by David Macaulay - In typical Macaulay style, the story of planning and constructing a fictional Roman city is presented and detailed with lots of illustrations. Fascinating for all ages.
 (SCM family book. Rated 4.8 stars. This one is really neat. It could be used near the end of Volume 1 around lesson 95 or in this volume at the very beginning.)

Peril and Peace (History Lives series, Volume 1: Chronicles of the Ancient Church) by Mindy and Brandon Withrow - Living stories that introduce important men in church history. Students in grades 10–12 will read all of this book, while the Family reads selected biographies from it.
 (SCM family book, Am grades 3 and up. Rated 4.5 stars.)

The Story of the Romans by H. A. Guerber, edited by Christine Miller (Nothing New Press edition) A living narrative that weaves the story of Ancient Rome. This edited version removes evolutionary comments and honors the Biblical accounts.
 (SCM family book. We really like another book in this series, The Story of the Greeks, so I anticipate that we’ll like this one also. There are several editions of it, so be sure to get this one. The publisher must be “Nothing New Press.”)

The Roman Colosseum by Elizabeth Mann - An interesting introduction to the Colosseum; similar in style to David Macaulay’s books but not as much detail. (SCM family book. Rated 4.4 stars. Between MOH lessons 9 & 10. We really like another book in this series, The Great Pyramid, so I anticipate we’ll also like this one.)

Famous Men of the Middle Ages, edited by Rob Shearer – (SCM Family book, rated 4.4 stars. This book introduces children to the middle ages through short biographies.) 

Castle by David Macaulay – (SCM Family book, rated 4.7 stars. We have City by the same author and it’s great. I’m looking forward to Castle & Cathedral when we get to them.)

Cathedral by David Macaulay – (SCM Family book, rated 4.4 stars. Looks good.)

Ink on His Fingers by Louise Vernon - Louise Vernon has a wonderful series of books that makes the characters of this time period come alive. This one is about Gutenberg.
 (SCM family book, rated 4.1 stars. MOH lesson 84.)

The Beggars’ Bible by Louise Vernon - The story of John Wyclif. (SCM family book. Am grades 4 and up. Rated 5 stars. MOH lesson 78.)

Story of the World: The Middle Ages by Susan Wise Bauer - Volume two in the series covers the events from 400 to 1600, and tells not just the events in Europe, but also in the Americas before colonization, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Information is succinct and simple, yet deep and engaging. This volume also includes information on art and music of the period, as well as some literature of the period written in a way children can understand. (SL Core G for grades 6-8. Read aloud grades 1-adult, read alone grades 3-adult. Rated 4.6 stars.)

The Samurai's Tale by Erik C. Haugaard - Riveting story of an orphan boy who grows up to be a Samurai in 16th century Japan. Excellent introduction to Japanese culture. (SL Core G & W reader for grades 6-9. Read aloud grades 4 to adult, read alone grades 6 to adult. Rated 4.2 stars.)


Pompeii: Buried Alive by Edith Kunhardt - Famous volcanic explosion "freezes" an ancient Italian city in volcanic ash. Full color. Easy to read. (SL Core B grade 2 reader. Am grades 2-4. Rated 4.5 stars. MOH lesson 9.)

India: The Culture, India: The People, India: The Land by Bobbie Kalman – This is a series of three very colorful books. (MOH K-2, Am gr 4-7. Rated 4.5 stars. MOH Lesson 15.)

The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla - Lord Weldon's son and wife, displaced by a wicked uncle, appeal to King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table to see justice done. Exciting! (SL Core B grade 2 reader. SCM grades 1-3. Am grades 3-7. Rated 4.9 stars. MOH lesson 23. )

Viking Adventure by Clyde Robert Bulla
 - Sigurd, a Viking boy, cannot see the value of learning to read and write. All he can think of is adventure. But then he has an adventure that he cannot help but tell. And to do that, he decides, he must learn to write. A fine story for young readers. (SCM grades 1-3. Rated 4.4 stars. MOH lesson 39.)

Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky by Schiller - The story of Lief Ericson's discovery of North America. Very well done. (SL Core B for grades 1-3. Not adequately reviewed, but rated 4.5 stars. MOH lesson 51.)

Leif the Lucky by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire - Considered to be one of the finest works of Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire, children and adults alike will delight in the adventures of Leif the Lucky, son of Erik the Red, who “sailed with his father to Greenland and who later sailed farther west and found the continent of America.” (SCM grades 1-3. Rated 4.5 stars. MOH lesson 51.)

Brother Francis and the Friendly Beasts by Margaret Hodges - A young man rejects his wealthy background to lead a life of poverty and good works, always befriending animals. (SCM grades 1-3. Rated 4.5 stars. MOH lesson 64)

The Apple and the Arrow by Mary and Conrad Buff
 - Set in 1291, William Tell's son, Walter, recounts the 1291 Swiss struggle for freedom.The dramatic tale of William’s arrest and escape and the daring revolt of the Swiss against the Austrians has become a legend around the world. (SCM grades 1-3. Rated 4.8 stars. Between MOH lessons 71-72.)

The Minstrel in the Tower by Gloria Skurzynski - Exciting tale of intrigue from the middle ages. (SL Core C grade 2 reader, SCM grades 1-3. Am grades 1-5. Rated 4.5 stars.)

A Medieval Feast by Aliki
 - A beautifully illustrated, award-winning, and fascinating look at the Middle Ages by Aliki, the beloved creator of many popular books for children. The King is coming to visit! The lord and lady of Camdenton Manor must work quickly to prepare for his arrival. It will take weeks to ready rooms, set up tents, and prepare the feast itself. Everyone is busy hunting and hawking, brewing and churning. “A veritable feast of a book. (SCM grades 1-3. Am grades 1-5. Rated 4.3 stars.)

Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Medieval Castle by Joanna Cole – This is a magic schoolbus book. (MOH K-2, Am up to grade 3. Rated 4.7 stars.)

Pippo the Fool by Tracey E. Fern
 - Was Pippo the Fool really Pippo the Genius? The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence was a marvel of art, architecture, and engineering. But it lacked a finishing ornament, a crown--a dome! The city fathers had a solution: to invite the finest masters to compete for the chance to design a dome. The rumors of this contest reached the ears of Filippo Brunelleschi, better known in Florence as Pippo the Fool. As soon as he heard about the contest, Pippo knew it was the chance he had been waiting for. "If I can win the contest, I will finally lose that nickname once and for all!” (SCM grades 1-3, Am grades 1-3. Rated 5 stars. Sounds great.)

Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson
 - Set in Paris in the 1400s. A young girl named Marguerite delights in assisting her father, Jacques, in his craft: illuminating manuscripts for the nobility of France. His current commission is a splendid book of hours for his patron, Lady Isabelle, but will he be able to finish it in time for Lady Isabelle's name day? (SCM grades 1-3, Am grades 3 and up. Rated 4.9 stars. Around MOH lesson 84.) 


Roman Diary, The Journal of Iliona, Young Slave by Richard Platt - In AD 107, young Iliona of Greece is captured and sold as a slave in Rome. Her masters treat her well and she experiences school, the wonders of Rome ... and the sad realities of a society where all were not equal. Full of humor, excitement, and accurate historical details of daily Roman life, you'll see the Roman Empire through Ilona's eyes. (SL Core B+C for grades 1-3, Am grades 4-7. Read aloud grade 1 to adult, read alone grade 3 to adult. Rated 4.7 stars.)

Galen and the Gateway to Medicine by Jeanne Bendick - A wonderful introduction to this scientist of Ancient Rome. (SCM grades 4-6, Am grades 5 and up. Rated 4.5 stars. Between MOH 11/12.)

Castle Diary by Richard Platt
- You are definitely "there"! Toby Burgess, a page in his uncle's castle, keeps a detailed journal of his experiences during the year 1285: from boar hunts and tournaments to bread baking and toilet cleaning! Fascinating. Beautiful black and white illustrations. (SL Core B for grades 1-3, SCM grades 1-3. Am grades 4-7. Rated 4.4. Get the large first edition, not the small second edition!)

·      Siege! Can You Capture a Castle? By Julia Bruce – This is a library book we liked in the Step into History series.  (Am gr 3-6)
Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli – SL says: Newbery Medal-winning story of the crippled son of a medieval lord. Amazon says: Set in the fourteenth century, the classic story of one boy's personal heroism when he loses the use of his legs. (SL Core C read-aloud for grades 2-4, Am grades 4-8. Rated 4 stars.)

The White Stag by Kate Seredy - 
Tells the story of Attila the Hun from the Huns’ point of view. The actual battles and violence are downplayed in favor of giving the big picture. Almost a fairy tale style. Good discussion starter, especially the parts that include their religious beliefs. (SCM grades 7-9, Am grades 3-7. MOH lesson 20.)

·    The Sword in the Stone, The Legend of King Arthur adapted by Peter Oliver – This is a much-loved bedtime story book at our house about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Every page includes nice, full color illustrations. (This is my own book find, so it’s not on the SCM or SL lists. The back cover says its for ages 6-11. MOH Lesson 23.)

Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great by Gerald Morris - Sir Lancelot served the Great King Arthur as a gallant Knight of the Round Table. He was a knight so fearless, so dashing, and so ... shiny and clean that to be rescued (or challenged!) by him would truly be an honor. He was quite good at defending the helpless, protecting the weak, and jousting with strangers--as long as he'd had a nap that day. Adventurous, unabashedly silly and fun. (SL Core C grade 2 reader. Read aloud K-8, read alone 3-8. Rated 4.6 stars. MOH lesson 23.)

King Arthur and His Knights audio recording by Jim Weiss (SCM grades 4-6. Rated 4.3 stars. MOH lesson 23.)

The Vikings by Elizabeth Janeway
 - Leif Erickson came from a long line of Viking seafarers-men who for hundreds of years had sailed the Atlantic, North Sea, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and everything in between. He determined to sail unaided from Greenland to Norway to meet the famous king Olaf Tryggvesson. (SCM grades 4-6. Rated 4.6 stars. MOH lesson 52, but could start after 39.)

Tales of Robin Hood by Tony Allan, Felicity Brooks - Eight action-packed tales recount the most exciting exploits of Robin Hood and his band of followers. Superb illustrations and fast-moving storytelling bring Sherwood Forest to life like never before. (SL Core C grade 2 reader, Am grades 5 and up. Rated 4.5 stars. This would probably be a fun family read-aloud. MOH lesson 62.)

Marco Polo by Charles Parlin Graves - Illustrations and readable text provide a fascinating introduction to one of the world's great explorers, a man who befriended one of history's great leaders: Kublai Khan. (SL Core C grade 4-5 reader, Am grades 4 and up. Rated 4.3 stars. MOH 71.) 

Incans, Aztecs, Mayans by John Holzmann - Fascinating account of three major civilizations that existed in the "New World" before Europeans arrived. How did they live? What did they achieve? What happened to them? Seeks to interpret history from a biblical perspective. (SL Core D for grades 3-6. Rated 3.8 stars. MOH lesson 74.) *AMHIST

·      The Great Wall by Elizabeth Mann – This tells the story of China’s great wall being built over thousands of years, but a greater portion of the book focuses on the time period of the Ming Dynasty. (Supplemental book for MOH 77.  Am grades 4-8. Rated 5 stars.)

Hidden Tales from Eastern Europe by Antonia Barber – (SL Core C grade 2 reader. Am grades 2 and up. Read aloud K-A, Read alone 2-6. Rated 5 stars.)

Good Masters, Sweet Ladies by Laura Amy Schlitz - Meet maidens, monks, millers, Lords, peasants and more. Twenty-two riveting portraits, each from a different perspective, create an unforgettable story about what it took to survive the Middle Ages. (SL Core C grade 2 reader. Am grades 5 and up. Read aloud grades 2 and up, read alone grades 4-8. Rated 4.7 stars.)

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman - A prince who has to learn the hard way what makes for true character. He'd never known, since his "whipping boy" had taken all the punishment for him whenever he failed to do what was right. Delightfully thought-provoking. (SL Core C grade 4-5 reader. Am grades 3-8. Rated 3.9 stars.)

The Pied Piper of Hamelin - The classic poem set in medieval times. You should be able to find this poem online. (SCM grades 4-6. Rated 4.8 stars.)


The Ides of April by Mary Ray - A Roman slave, accused of murder, is helped by a "secret" Christian. When a Roman senator is found stabbed to death, his secretary manages to escape arrest but knows he must find help if he is to save his mother and fellow slaves from death. Roman law says that if a slave commits murder -- or is suspected of murder -- then all the slaves must die. "Part Agatha Christy, part Eloise McGraw," writes one reviewer. We agree. This is a winner. (SL Core G reader for grades 6-8. Read aloud grades 4 to adult, read alone grades 6 to adult. Rated 4.2 stars. Around the time of MOH lesson 4.)

Beyond the Desert Gate by Mary Ray - This sequel to The Ides of April tells of the volatile and dangerous times in Palestine during AD 70. The book brings to life the time period of the Jews revolting against Roman authority while the Greek cities get caught in the middle. (SL Core G & W read aloud for grades 6-9. Read aloud grades 4-adult, read alone grades 6-9. Rated 4.2 stars. Around the time of MOH lesson 7.)

Flame Over Tara by Madeleine Polland - The story of a fourteen-year-old girl in Ireland whose safe and comfortable life is turned upside down. Her plans to return home and get married are disrupted by the arrival of St. Patrick, whose new ideas make her question her Druid upbringing. She must decide if she wants her old, comfortable life, or to follow the new ideas of this warm, humorous Bishop from Rome. (SL Core G & W read-aloud for grades 6-9. Read aloud grades 4 to adult, read alone grades 6 to adult. Rated 4.2 stars. MOH lesson 19)

Theras and His Town by Caroline Dale Snedeker - A young boy in fifth-century Greece was raised in Athens and then separated from his family and forced to live in Sparta. This book includes danger, adventure, courage and triumph. (SL Core G for grades 6-8. Read aloud grades 3 to adult, read alone grades 4 to adult. Rated 4.6 stars. Around MOH lessons 19-21)

Black Horses for the King by Anne McCaffrey - The story of a Celtic boy who serves Lord Artos (who will later become King Arthur) and his companions in fifth-century Britain. The men search for horses strong enough to carry troops in full armor into battle against the bigger armies of the Saxons. This unique tale of King Arthur will give you a new perspective on this period in history. (SL Core G reader for grades 6-8, Am grades 7 and up. Read aloud grades 4 to adult, read alone grades 5 to adult. Rated 4.2 stars. Leads up to MOH lesson 23.) 

The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle
 - A classic retelling in old English style. Students will be assigned only “The Book of Arthur” from this collection of stories. (SCM grades 7-9, Am grades 5 and up. Rated 3.7 stars. MOH lesson 23.)

King Arthur: Tales from the Round Table by Andrew Lang – Discover the ruler said to be the model of governing with good over evil. Thirteen of the best-loved legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. One of the world's great storytellers recounts how young Arthur pulled a sword from a stone to become king; his meeting with the Lady of the Lake and acquisition of the mighty sword Excalibur; gatherings at the Round Table; the death of Merlin; the quest for the Holy Grail and more. (SL Core G & W read-aloud for grades 6-9, Am grades 3-8. Read aloud grades 4 to adult, read alone grades 5 to adult. Rated 4.2 stars. MOH lesson 23.)

The Hidden Treasure of Glaston by Eleanore M. Jewett - In the year 1171, the confrontation between Archbishop Thomas Becket and King Henry has come to a bloody end. Abandoned and crippled, young Hugh takes refuge at Glastonbury Abbey under the care of a kind abbot. Legends of Arthur and of the Holy Grail, old forgotten passages, a mad hermit and a mysterious manuscript lead Hugh and his friend Dickon through adventure and danger into the faith and peace as much a part of the time as the political upheaval. (SL Core G read-aloud for grades 6-8, Am grades 6 and up. Read aloud grades 4-adult, read alone grades 5-adult. Rated 4.8 stars. MOH lesson 23.)

The Shining Company by Rosemary Sutcliff
 - Adventure and heroism against impossible odds create a moving, robust tale set in Britain in the eighth century and based on actual events. (SCM grades 7-9, Am grades 5 and up. Rated 4.3 stars. Set in the time period around MOH lessons 32-29.)

Son of Charlemagne by Barbara Willard - In the year A.D. 781, Carl's father, Charlemagne, reveals that Carl will inherit the throne instead of the oldest son, Pepin. But Carl has his misgivings. How can he accept this honor? Discover the story of Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great, who united most of Western Europe and was crowned "Emperor of the Romans" by the Pope. See inside his family life, his children's education and his quest to unite Europe. (SL Core G & W for grades 6-9, Am grades 5 and up. Read aloud grades 3 to adult, read alone grades 5 to adult. Rated 4.5 stars. Between MOH lessons 37 & 38.)

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E.L. Konigsburg - The story of Eleanor of Aquitaine waiting in heaven for her husband, King Henry II, to join her. She meets up with some old friends who reminisce about her amazing life in the Middle Ages when she was the wife of two kings and the mother of two others. (SL Core G reader for grades 6-8, Am grades 5-9. Read alone grades 5 to adult, read alone grades 6 to adult. Rated 4.3 stars. MOH lesson 59.)

The Great and Terrible Quest by Margaret Lovett - Set in the late Middle Ages, a quick-witted orphan risks his life to care for a wounded knight who is on a quest but can't remember what he is searching for. Exciting, engrossing, enchanting! (SL Core G & W read-aloud for grades 6-9. Read alone grades 3 to adult, read alone grades 5 to adult. Rated 4.4 stars. Around the time of MOH 55-63.)

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park - Set in 12th-century Korea. A young orphan boy raised by a beggar under a bridge becomes an apprentice to a master potter and grows in his own talents. His journey shows faith, perseverance, and courage. (SL Core G & W read-aloud for grades 6-9, Am grades 4-7. Read aloud grades 4 to adult, read alone grades 4-7. Around the time of MOH 58-63.)

Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
 (SCM grades 4-6, Am grades 3-7, SL Core G & W reader for grades 6-9, 5 day package. Read aloud grades 4 to adult, read alone grades 6 to adult. Rated 3.8 stars. Set around the time of MOH lessons 64-72. ) OR The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli (SCM grades 4-6, Am grades 4-8 or 7 and up. Rated 4 stars.) - Both books give a great feel for life in the Middle Ages and have somewhat similar storylines. The Door in the Wall is shorter and has more interaction with a kind group of monks. SL says it’s a heartwarming story about the son of a traveling minstrel who is separated from his father and forced to live by his wits and music. Adam of the Road contains a little more adventure and plot twists and is about twice as long. 

The Magna Charta by James Daugherty
 - Out of the rich turbulence of English history, June 15, 1215 stands apart as a significant milestone in the progress of human liberty. On that day, a brave band of barons, led by the noble Stephen Langton, and calling themselves the Army of God, stood up to the wicked King John and demanded that he restore the ancient laws of England that he had so unabashedly trampled underfoot. (SCM grades 7-9. Rated 4.3 stars. MOH lesson 66.)

Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman - The humorous diary of a spirited 14-year old girl in 13th century England. Her father wants to marry her off to the richest suitor available, but Catherine has other plans and finds many creative ways to repulse her many suitors. (SL Core G reader for grades 6-8, Am grades 4-7. Rated 3.9 stars. Set between MOH lessons 71 & 72.)

In Freedom’s Cause: A Story of Wallace and Bruce by G. A. Henty - At the end of the 13th century, the people of Scotland suffered cruelty under the heavy hand of their English ruler, Edward Longshanks. This stirring tale recounts their valiant struggle for freedom under the legendary leadership of William Wallace and Robert Bruce. (SCM grades 7-9, Am grades 3-8. Rated 4.5 stars. MOH lesson 72.)

The Beduins' Gazelle by Frances Temple - When Halima and Atiyah were babies, they were pledged in marriage. Now Atiyah has been sent away, a political pawn in a war between Beduin tribes in 1302. An award-winning story that highlights and sensitively portrays unfamiliar and ancient cultural values and practices. (SL Core G & W reader for grades 6-9, 5 day package. Read aloud grades 4-adult, read alone grades 6-adult. Rated 3.5 stars. Around the time of MOH lesson 72 – 73.)

Foundations in Romans: A Romans Bible Study by Sonya Shafer (one for each student) - Students will work their way through the book of Romans, digging deeper into word meanings and narrating every paragraph. An in-depth study of this letter Paul wrote to believers living in Ancient Rome. (SCM grades 7-9. This is exclusive to SCM so search for it in their bookstore. It’s a good idea to read Romans this year, but we can stick with our own Roman’s commentary.)


The Apostle: A Life of Paul by John Pollock
- A superbly-crafted, extensively-researched living narrative of the life of Paul that fills in the spaces between the glimpses of his life that we see in Acts, interweaving them with details on Jewish culture, geography, and Ancient Roman practices. Of course, some details must be speculative, but those are clearly labeled as such and do not detract from the power of this resource. What Adam and His Kin does for Genesis, The Apostle does for Acts and the epistles. (Reserved for the upper grades because of some of the descriptions of sinful cities that Paul visited and preached in. Their sinful practices are not in any way sensationalized or presented inappropriately, but they are mentioned to give a better idea of the culture in which he ministered.) (SCM grades 10-12. Rated 4.5 stars. MOH lessons 2-3.)

Peril and Peace (History Lives series, Volume 1: Chronicles of the Ancient Church) by Mindy and Brandon Withrow - Living stories that introduce important men in church history. Students in grades 10–12 will read all of this book, while the Family reads selected biographies from it.
 (SCM grades 10-12, Am grades 3 and up. Rated 4.5 stars. MOH lesson 5.)

The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff
 - Focuses on the battles happening in Britain at the same time the Huns and Goths were attacking Roman territories on the European continent. (SCM grades 10-12, Am grades 5 and up. Rated 4.7 stars. Set around MOH lesson 20.)

Men of Iron by Howard Pyle - A great look at the politics and intrigue behind English nobility during the 1400s, as well as a great insight into knighthood and all it stood for. (SCM grades 10-12, Am grades 7 and up. Rated 4.5 stars. Set around MOH lessons 80-84.)