Thursday, February 20, 2014

"okay, we need: lion, africa, mother goose...and uncle wiggly."

Every morning during the school week, I spent one straight hour reading aloud. Sometimes it ends up being longer than that. Why this daily exahustion of vocal chords? Ah, it comes back to the Littles.

From 0830 to 0900 and the from 0900 to 0930 I have Time with Joshua and Susannah, respectively. Each of them has a list of books that we're reading through - different ones depending on the day and/or week. Hence the post title. That's how my time with Zanna starts - I call out the books, she finds them on her shelf.

I thought, since many of y'all, dear readers, have Littles (whether siblings or your own - if you have the latter, I'm jealous) I thought I'd share some of my favorites, maybe you'll see some you already know, or you can add your own favorites in the comments so I can add new books to our library!

Here we go!

for Joshua - age 7, kindergarten/first grade
*Josh can read, but I read aloud all his books to him or he listens to some on audio book. He gathers much more knowledge when he's listening than reading right now, and that's normal. 

Fifty Famous Stories Retold is a simple, clear, easy-to-understand re-telling of some of the most classic stories from history. Not just confined to England, it covers a range of countries and time periods in no particular order, and gives great exposure to the noble character traits of heroes past.
Our Island Story is the ultimate history of England - and not told in a boring way at all, m'dears but once again, in clear language that a seven year old can grasp. Of course, there are somethings like Stonehenge that can only be explained in terms of Merlin and ancient magic, but since there's no proof otherwise, who's to say it's not true? *cough* 

Science and Geography:
 Christian Liberty Nature Reader - all of the Morales children have read the Nature Readers during the course of elementary school. They're a sweet, godly look at the beautiful world around us, and I've learned just as much reading aloud as I did when I read them myself! It's not an extensive look at every animal mentioned, but it's enough to whet your appetite - Josh and I have been known to look up YouTube videos and Plant Earth episodes of animals we've encountered in the Nature Reader.
Paddle to the Sea - another Morales favorite. We read it aloud years ago, and now I'm doing it again with Joshua. A fascinating fictional adventure of a little wooden Indian in his canoe as he travels from Nipigon Country, Canada through all the Great Lakes to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. One of my favorites! 

The Blue Fairy Book complied by Andrew Lang was the gem that inspired me to collect almost every single one of the fairy books - a library that I can't wait to share with my children some day. I will point out, some of your classic fairy tales have...rather gruesome moments that seem to have been censored out of most retellings, so sometimes I have to abridge it a little to keep from startling little ears *chuckle* Did you know that Cinderella's step sister cut off her toes to fit her foot in the slipper? Yeah, neither did we until we read the Fairy Book. Be fairly warned! *hehe*
Just So Stories by the ever-imaginative Rudyard Kipling. I almost put this book in the Science section. *laughing* *cough* *snort* *deep breath* I don't even know what to say about this book...just read it out. Read it aloud, actually, or you'll miss half of it. Nothing beats Rudyard Kipling for random wit.

While not *exactly* in poetry form, E. Nesbit's Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare is full of lovely retellings of our favorite works from the Playwright, and I love reading these aloud almost as much as the children love hearing them. You can never start Shakespeare too young - and this is the perfect way to introduce your siblings to the glory of such classics as "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "Hamlet", "Much Ado About Nothing", "As You Like It" and "The Taming of the Shrew."
When We Were Very Young by Alan Alexander Milne. My friends, it doesn't get much better than this until we are six. Joshua is memorizing about a poem a month out of this book (or more, depending on the length of said prose) and then sometimes we just sit and read through a few more for fun. A priceless look at the inside of a child's mind.

Religion and Life:

Trial and Triumph....This can be a bit of a hard read, as the saints of God have been so much persecution over the past centuries, but in the midst of the trial, the Triumph of Christ is clearly seen and He is glorified. It's just as important for our young ones to know the sufferings of the saints as it is for them to know good literature. Don't neglect that side of Education!
Aesop for Children is just that - a nearly exhaustive collection of Aesop's Fables with illustrations for children. Sometimes the morals can be hard to understand (even for me) so you may need to reword them for young folks to get a grasp on.

Okay. So that's Joshua. Now for the Littlest Little...

Susannah - age four, preschool/kindergarten
*Zanna's curriculum is a little different, as we are working through Sonlight's Exploring God's World (Core P 4/5). I don't do the activities, since we have something else we do for that side of her school, and we aren't reading all the books either, but here are the ones we are doing/have done this year so far.

Story Time:

Oooooh, these are my FAVORITES! Especially Stories from Around the World - and *not* just because the cover is that padded, soft stuff that's fun to hold *grin*. I love the colors, the stories, the flair and smell of travel and adventure. Zanna loves it too - it's always a happy day when I get to say, "Around the World!" for her to pull of the shelf. The Lion Storyteller is very similiar - longer stories, but still an ethnic collection from every (habitable) continent.

Growing Up:
Susannah is only four, and so many of the "normal" knowledge I take for granted, she has yet to learn. The First Thousand Words (her personal favorite from all our books) walks us through picture after picture of familiar American scenarios with an extensive picture-and-text bank on each page. I have her identify the pictures on the sides ("what's this called?") and then she finds it in the big picture. It's incredible how many words she already knows from only being alive for four years, but there are still quite a few she doesn't know. Things People Do is similiar, but focuses on the work place. It's a Morales favorite - every single one of us has spent hours pouring over the stories and fictional island life of Banilla and it's inhabitants (all of whom had parents with incredible insight into what to name thier's positively uncanny).


Pretty self explanatory - we FLEW through Eric Carle's book way early because we couldn't stop - the pictures are so lovely we had to keep turning the pages :) And Susannah LOVED What's Under the Sea? and we even had to go look up some YouTube of coral reefs, and it inspired a surge of Planet Earth viewings for a week or two as we learned about more and more fascinating sea animals. I'm not a big underwater girl, but it was fun to see everything with new perspective through a four year olds eyes.

Uncle Wiggily is a classic we grew up on (well, the picture book at Annie's house, but the same lovable bunny rabbit gentleman). These stories can sometimes be a little on the long side and can get wordy, but they are a great favorite - Susannah doesn't seem to mind. And I just about jumped up and down when I held our new copy of Brer Rabbit - it's a Southern child's staple, and the fact that it's in the official curriculum made me so very very happy. Once again, we grew up on Brer Rabbit (thanks to Grandma this time! no one reads the Old Plantation tales like Grandma), and these stories, while some are different, are basically the same ones I loved as a child.

Mother Goose - we read one a day (or five a week - sometimes all on the same day). They're short, sweet, and funny. Memories tied to every single one! The Children's Book of Virtues is, admittedly, a little heavy for Susannah - especially the poems and fables. A lot of it goes right over her head. But the stories and illustrations are stunning - I've been reading this book since I was very small and I know which stories she'll understand. However, I say, go ahead and read everything, 'cause they'll only get smarter if we push their little brains to work a little harder each time. Her favorite story is "The Little Hero Boy of Holland'...I don't think I need to expound further on this classic, but I will say that I've read it aloud at LEAST three times this semester, so we're taking a break *cough*

Sooooo....we haven't started these yet, but when I saw them on the schedule for next week I about flipped. You guessed it...another Morales favorite! We've listened to these read aloud, read them on our own, had them on cassette tape, the works. So excited to introduce Susannah to Milly Molly Mandy, Little Friend Susan, Billy Blunt and the rest of the delightful characters in this happy little world.

We just started these - Susannah loves them. They are profoundly simple and moving stories from the misson field of Africa. Faith, love, and trust - and a confidence in the Lord Jesus that we would do well to learn from.


Well, there you have it! An overview of my Littles' curriculum. Now when I say I've been reading aloud, you have an idea of what exactly that means. Don't forget - I know you all are literature lovers like myself, I'd love to hear your favorites! We love new books.


1 comment:

  1. Aw, how fun! Do you ever work through longer books as a read-aloud because I have tons of suggestions for those, as well as general story books. I don't have as many books for actual lessons... I did always love "Famous Poems Old and New" as a child. :)