We have finished our Le Francais Facile. Until we get to China and can unpack the next level, we’re going to take a French break and focus a little on Mandarin with Rosetta Stone. In the meantime, we’ve been giving most of our attention to history. And we’ve managed to spend some time reading together each evening as well.
We have been working our way through colonial times in our study of history with The Story of the World in cooperation with Courage and Conquest (for Canadian history). We finished up reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond, set in colonial Connecticut, and began Sign of the Beaver. We also studied on Thursday the history of Acadia. I was amazed at how passionately my children reacted to the story of the expulsion of the Acadians. Sweetpea declared, “That’s not fair. They were there first,” when she found out about the English burning down the houses of the French farmers. We read Evangeline for Children along with this study (which is a children’s picture book version of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem). The pictures are stunning, and the story beautifully rendered, but my children were disappointed in the ending. They found the three marriages at the end of The Witch of Blackbird Pond much more satisfying.
We also studied the period of history when pirates roamed the oceans in the 1600s and 1700s. In conjunction with that study, we read The Best Book of Pirates–a great introduction to the whole notion of pirates, where they were from, and where they plied their “trade,” as well as an overview of the subject. Along with this, we read You Wouldn’t Want to be a Pirate’s Prisoner. The copy I placed on hold at the library wasn’t available, so we drove to the next city over to sit and read in the library there. It was a lovely little outing, and we discovered, in the process, a beautiful swimming complex, so we went swimming there the next day.
We have managed to carve out an hour or so each night before bed for reading, during which time we’re finishing the last of the Elizabeth Enright books we would love to take to China, but we’re going to leave with Grandma for safe keeping. I would love it if these books became available in eBook format. Some of them are available for audiobook, and we may have to content ourselves with that if we get a yearning for them. Such wonderful stories! Right now we’re reading Spiderweb for Two. The kids were actually putting off our reading of this story because they were afraid it just wouldn’t be the same, since the older Melendy children are not a major part of the story (they’ve gone off to school), but they’re enjoying the story immensely, It’s been interesting to see Sprout get more involved in our family read-aloud time. She has really enjoyed this story as well as Spiderweb for Two.
JavaMan has been calling via Skype every night this week from China, and as a result everyone’s been just a little wired at bedtime. So to get everyone settled down, I’ve allowed them some quiet reading time once they’re in bed. I think we may move things around in our schedule a little to accommodate this more. It’s been working like a charm, and is a great way to encourage more reading! During some of this time, Sweetpea has read to me and Sprout. We have a pile of books home from the library right now, but the one she’s chosen is an old standby: The Munschworks Grand Treasury. (There’s just one story in this treasury that’s off-limits for us. Stephanie’s Ponytail uses the word “shutup” and I’ve told our kids we don’t read it. My wonderful kids don’t question that advice. There are plenty of other great stories in the treasury and they’re happy to read them.)
I’m so glad reading is at the core of our curriculum. I spotted a question on a homeschool forum this week that was something like this: “How old were your children when you stopped reading aloud to them?” What? Stopped reading aloud? Is there an age that’s appropriate for that? I remember my son being hesitant to learn to read. When I dug a little deeper I discovered he was afraid I’d stop reading aloud to him. I was glad to be able to assure him that as long as he wants me to, I’ll read to him.
What is your family reading this week?