There is a time of day that is my absolute favorite. It’s the hour at the end of the day when I read to the big boys. The children love it too because it means spending time with Mom. Do you think Joshua and Caleb would ever, in a million billion years, have chosen to read the entire Little House on the Prairie series?
They LIVE outdoors, so actually they have plenty in common with little Laura Ingalls.
This is a series of books that takes the time to describe the common things that little girls did every day in the late 1800s. There are chapters in which Laura describes their dresses, the color of their hair, and how to make maple sugar.
No, never, ever would my boys have chosen these books.
But you know what? We LOVED them. They groaned a little through the first one, but once the Ingalls started having run-ins with bears or wolves, I had them hooked. We are now almost finished with The Little Town on the Prairie, which means there’s only one book left, and we are Sadness.
I cannot tell you how much the boys have learned from listening to this series. We have learned how they built the railroad, how they plowed fields, and how children were (and still should be) expected to behave. We’ve learned about blizzards that lasted for days, grasshoppers that destroyed people’s livelihoods, prairie chickens, and literary societies! We’ve learned from Almanzo a better work ethic and from Laura that sometimes it is so very hard to be good, but it’s worth it to help others.
Their vocabularies have expanded. They understand the western expansion period of American history in a way that you can only get from a first-person account.
Oh! And the morals! You know I adore the high moral value of these books.
The boys’ favorite part, though, is always the wolves or bears. Anytime wolves or bears show up, we are tickled pink. They also despise Nellie Olsen and delight in seeing Laura get the upper hand.
The Little House books have been my favorite part of home schooling, by far.
You can see why I so badly want to try a cross-country road trip, and squeeze in a visit to a Little House museum.
Here are a few other books that are also fantastic, most of which the boys actually did pick out.
To say that Caleb likes this book would be a gross understatement. Caleb LOVES this book, mostly because there are two pages about Megalodon, an enormous extinct shark that he’s sort of obsessed with. Like seriously. Lately most of his artwork is shark art.
The boys would much rather focus on science reading than history, especially Joshua. He is supposed to be “Writing through Ancient History” with his writing class, but writing lessons have improved 100% for us, since I started letting him write on science or sports topics rather than history.
This is Joshua’s current favorite. It’s highly educational, but even the photos on the cover are so gross that Caleb makes him place the book facedown on the table. Of course, grossing us out is what makes it fun, so Joshua keeps taking this book to Classical Conversations and using different sections from it for his presentations.
This one both Joshua and Caleb like. I have also learned a lot from it. Who am I kidding? I’m always learning just as much as they are!
This next book has been my greatest purchase of the year, for Caleb:
I have no idea what brought it on, but Caleb suddenly decided that he wants to keep a diary, and he wanted it to be like Greg Heffley’s. Oh my goodness, I’ve never ordered something so quickly. See, what you don’t realize is that I’m actually just as “thrifty” as Alan. Alan saves money by working sales. I save money by trying to never buy things. (I can just see my mom reading this with scrunched eyebrows. Okay. Yes, this does not apply to clothes. No one can ever purchase too much clothing.)
Caleb has been diligently writing and illustrating in his new journal. He even has it divided up into chapters. It is serious business, and all of this with no begging, like I usually have to do to get him to write! So I’m beyond excited. (Did he already have a perfectly good spiral notebook to write in? Yes, he has several, but whatever inspires him, I guess!)
We also still read Elephant and Piggy. For kids ages preschool-2nd grade, I’m telling you, you can’t go wrong with Mo Willems.
These are also helpful for young readers. They are called Pathway Readers:
Whether you are a homeschool family or not, give these history stories a try!! They are in chronological order, and I promise you will learn just as much as your children. The stories are all short and interesting and packed with little-known historical facts. I read them out loud, but the big kids could read them too. We also have them on audio book. Joshua hates the audio book version, but Caleb actually asks to listen to them in the car!
There are even worksheets you can buy to go along with it, but I confess that we never get around to the worksheets or the color sheets. I figure they’re getting enough with the stories and the copious amount of map drawing and labeling that we do in CC.
I could talk books all day long, but the Dan Man is here asking me for milk.
What are your kids’ favorite books??