Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Homeschooling review

There are few things in life more thrilling, more wonderful, than seeing that familiar brown truck pull up in front of the house, and a delivery person jump out.. a package or two in hand... containing


(OK, if they contained chocolate it would be more exciting, but just play along here!)

Ah yes, new books... one of the REAL reasons why moms like me continue to homeschool.

(Alright, that's not the ONLY reason, but it *is* a rather exciting perk!)

So let me share with you some of our latest "finds":

Hungry Planet
I know I've already talked about this, but it is an amazing look at how people around the world eat. Each family is photographed with all the food they would normally consume in a week around them. This book is perfect for a study of the continents, countries, or just a quick reminder of how truly blessed we are (my kids now know that "I'm starving" is NOT a phrase they are allowed to say around here!)

Material World
By the same author and photographer as the book mentioned above. This book shows families around the world, and all their material possessions sitting in their front yard (if they have one). A truly eye-opening experience, and one that I HIGHLY recommend to all.

Other books in the same vein are:
Wake Up World! and A Ride on Mother's Back.

The Lightning Thief
I first saw this book recommended on Dawn's By Sun and Candlelight blog, and I was intrigued. How can you pass up a book about a 12-yr old boy who discovers he is a half-blood? (that is, half Greek god and half human) It is a fast-paced, truly captivating story (at least to us!) of Greek gods and heroes set in modern-day America. There is no foul language, and only one choice made by one of the characters that I thought was not appropriate (but it gave me a great opportunity to stop and talk to my children about what Jesus would want us to do). I was hesitant to read this aloud to all of my children, for fear that the whole "fake gods" thing (as we call them here) would confuse the younger ones. So far, however, it hasn't seemed to be a problem. We enjoyed this book so much that we sent Daddy -- the only healthy one around here -- to go to the library to pick up the second installment of the series: The Sea of Monsters.

Shanleya's Quest
I saw this one recommended on Elizabeth Foss' Real Learning blog and, intrigued by the possibility of having a real book that teaches us about botany, I decided to give it a go.

To be honest, I'm not all that excited about this one. The illustrations just don't do it for me (I am a very visual sort of person), and I found the beginning of the story -- a child's story version of the big bang, primordial soup, etc -- to be disturbing; however, my next-door neighbor read it to her children, and they loved it! So, I'm willing to "give it a go," and see if they like it.

Stikky Trees
My neighbor found this one at the used book store in town, and let us borrow it. The cover promises that it will teach you to identify 15 trees within 30 minutes... and they do! In fact, it took my 4-yr old less than 5 minutes to learn to identify the first 5 trees in the book. This is a fun, fast-paced book that teaches you how to identify oak, maple, tupelo, sweet gum, aspen, ash, hickory, and various evergreen trees. Well worth the time spent reading this to your little ones!

For The Love of Literature
A great compilation of various read alouds in math, science, history, etc! Maureen Wittman does a phenomenal job capturing the reader's interest for each book in just one or two sentences. I've got a nice library list going already with this one!

Let me know if any of these books work for your family!


Meredith said...

Love all of these, good choices, you will enjoy them all :)) Hugs!

Barbara said...

I picked up Material World and Hungry Planet at the library last week based on your earlier recommendation. They ARE eye-opening. I'm trying to keep them the only books on the coffee table for a while, and I have seen them picked up by multiple hands. Thanks!

BTW, I started reading your blog just recently. Your friend Allison is my cousin. Your sidebar shows we visit many of the same places.

Ouiz said...

Meredith, do you have all these books?

Barbara, oh my gosh! You're Allison's cousin! She directed me to your blog recently, but I just didn't make the connection here (late night... sorry)

Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you continue to enjoy the books! (and your cousin is WONDERFUL!... but you already knew that...)

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

I just found your blog via love2learn and am greatly enjoying it! Thanks! I am putting some of these on hold at the library... what's better than books?

Ouiz said...

Ana, thank you so much for your comment! I hope you enjoy the books as much as we have! I just ordered "Women in the Material World" and HOPEFULLY that brown truck will be pulling up in front of my house today or tomorrow!

Elizabeth Foss said...

Rebecca's kids love Shanleya's Quest. My two older boys read the intro and were bothered by it (they are both very literal), so I skipped it for the younger kids and made up my own story of how the quest began. So now, we're good with the rest of the book. I should have gone back to update the recommendation but since I referred to Rebecca's original recommendation and she had caveats, I didn't take the time to do it. I'm so sorry.

Ouiz said...

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

I hope I didn't sound like I was criticizing you -- I was just totally thrown off by the beginning of the book!

The rest of the book works quite well, although I haven't read it to my kids yet. Like I said, though, my neighbor's kids enjoyed it very much.

I'm still very intrigued by your other recommendation -- BOTANY FOR A DAY. I just wish a library around here carried a copy of it!