A Charlotte Mason Approach to Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Quarter 2

Here is our booklist for Quarter 2 of Cycle 2! Full disclosure: This is one cycle where we definitely go at our own pace. We do not make every subject match where we are in the CC schedule, especially with History! We are taking our time and going slowly through the Middle Ages. If you are looking for a CM friendly curriculum that goes through the Middle Ages for younger kiddos, check out The King Kingdom from Peaceful Press.


To give you an idea of where we are right now, the boys and I have enjoyed a rich summer of study together that began with a close look at the Fall of Rome back in May. We are currently on week 2 of CC and at home we have just wrapped up our study of the Crusades. We are keeping apace with CC’s science schedule and are choosing one or two items from the Timeline to highlight each week during Morning Time. The rest we use as memory work review during Morning Time. I pull from the list below depending on what we need that particular week. There is no way we would read all of these books every week. There is a difference between feasting and gorging. 🙂 We hope this list is useful to you and your family.

Week 7
Martin Luther by Paul Maier
Martin Luther by Simonetta Carr
John Calvin by Simonetta Carr
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula
Courage and Conviction by Brandon Withrow
95 Theses by Martin Luther

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Spear
Beric the Briton by GA Henty
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hanula
Step Back into Ancient India by Daud Ali
For the Temple by GA Henty

What a Waste by Jess French
One Plastic Bag: The Recycling Women of Gambia by Miranda Paul
One Well by Rochelle Strauss
Buried Sunlight by Molly Bangs

Week 8

Magellan’s World by Stuart Waldman
Around the World in a 100 years by Jean Fritz
The Forgotten Explorer: Amerigo Vespucci by Lorene Lambert
The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell
To the Edge of the World by Michelle Torrey

A Castle with Many Rooms by Lorene Lambert
Chp 1– The Long Fall (Visigoths sack Rome)
Trial and Triumph
Chp 6 Monica and Augustine
Peril and Peace by Mindy Withrow
Chp 10 Early Creeds and Councils
Chp 17 Jerome

Pond by Donald Silver
By Pond and River by Arabella Buckley
Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner
Pond by Jim LaMarche
The Raft by Jim LaMarche
Swamp by Donald Silver
Journey into an Estuary by Rebecca Johnson
Journey into a Lake by Rebecca Johnson
Journey into a River by Rebecca Johnson
Journey into a Wetland by Rebecca Johnson
For more Ocean Study books click HERE.


Week 9

Peter the Great by Diane Stanley
The King’s Day by Aliki

A Castle With Many Rooms by Lorene Lambert
Chp 2 Justinian the Great
Chp 4 The Monastery
Chp 6 Making a Nation (Franks)
Chp 7 The Scroll and the Stone (Muhammed founds Islam)
Chp 8 Charles the Hammer (Battle of Tours)
Chp 10 The Rushing North Wind (Vikings Raid)
Monks and Mystics by Mindy Withrow
Chp 6 Islam
Peril and Peace by Mindy Withrow
Chp 19 Benedict
The Vikings by Elizabeth Janeway
Viking Tales by Jennie Hall
Viking Adventure by Clyde Robert Bulla

The Sun, Our Nearest Star by Dr Franklyn Branley
The Sun by Seymour Simon
Sun Up, Sun Down by Gail Gibbons
What Makes Day and Night by Dr Franklyn Branley
Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Katherine Pearson (Not a science book, but a beautifully illustrated prayer by St Francis Assisi (circa 1200AD)

Week 10


History (We’ll be looking at books on Russian Culture & Russian History)
Eyewitness Russia by Kathleen Murrel
Catherine the Great by Kristiana Gregory
Another Celebrated Dancing Bear by Gladys Falk
The Littlest Matryoshka by Corine Bliss


A Castle With Many Rooms by Lorene Lambert
Chp 3 The Earliest Explorers (Erik the Red)
Chp 9 Charlemagne
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula
Chp 11 Alfred the Great
Lief the Lucky by Ingrid D’Aulaire
Monks and Mystics by Mindy Withrow
Chp 5 Charlamagne Crowned by God
Chp 8 Vladimir
Chp 9 A Divided Church (East West Schism)

The Stargazer’s Guide to the Night Sky by Dr Jason Lisle (Creation perspective)
The Planets  by Gail Gibbons
Our Solar System by Seymour Simon

Week 11

In the Reign of Terror by GA Henty (This Audio Production is FANTASTIC!)
Huguenot Garden by Douglas Jones (A Reader recommended this book a few weeks ago. I have not yet read it but its on our list!)
Moi and Marie Antoinette by Lynn Cullen
In Search of Honor by Donna Hess
Royal Diaries: Marie Antionette by Kathryn Lasky
A Castle with Many Rooms by Lorene Lambert
Chp 13 The Battle of Hastings (Norman Conquest)
Chp 14 Feudalism
Chp 16 The Cross Upon the Shield
Chp 17 Lionheart and Robin Hood
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula
Chp 15 Francis of Assisi
Monks and Mystics by Mindy Withrow
Chp 11 Crusades
Chp 13 Francis of Assisi
Chp 15 Aquinas
Augustus Caesar’s World by Genevieve Foster p. 239-242 (Incas)
Machu Picchu by Elizabeth Mann (Incas)
The Sad Night by Sally Matthew (Aztecs)
Sundiata: Lion King of Mali  by David Wisnieski
Mansa Musa and the Empire of Mali by PJ Oliver
Ashanti to Zulu by Margaret Musgrove
Sundiata: Lion King of Mali by David Wisnieski 
Ancient Japan by Fiona MacDonald (Shoguns)

The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons
The Moon Seems to Change by Dr Franklyn Branley
What the Moon is Like by Dr Franklyn Branley
If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith Mcnulty
Moon Cake by Frank Asch


Week 12

The Story of Napoleon by HE Marshall
The Heroic Symphony by Anna Celenza
My Napoleon by Catherine Brighton
Napoleon: The Story of the Little Corporal by Robert Burleigh
I, Crocodile by Fred Marcellino

A Castle With Many Rooms by Lorene Lambert
Chp 19 The Great Charter (Magna Carta)
Chp 20 The Mongols
Chp 21 The Travels of Marco Polo
Chp 25 The Black Prince, The Black Death and the White Knight of Orleans (100 years war + Black Death)
Chp 29 Rebirth (Renaissance)
Chp 28 Conquest of Constantinople
Stories of the Nations Vol 1 Lorene Lambert
Ch 2 The Ottomans
Chp 9 Kangxi, Emporer of China (Ming and Qing Dynasties)
The Travels of Marco Polo by Marco Polo
Khubla Khan by Kathleen Krull
Masters of the Renaissance by Jim Weiss
The Magna Carta by James Daugherty
Genghis Khan by Demi 
The White Stag by Kate Seredy

Comets, Meteors and Asteroids by Seymour Simon

Summer Book List- From the Youngest on Up.

I thought it might be fund to share what our family has been reading this summer. From the youngest on up.

Picture Books for the youngest (though an awful lot of older people always trail in with these):

Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn (This book is on repeat right now. A daily read. This is a fantastic book for middle children or for children that are always building, inventing, searching for adventure).
Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran
Kamishibai Man by Allan Say


Pond by Jim LaMarche
Hello, Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall
Come on, Rain by Karen Hesse
Obadiah the Bold by Brinton Turkle
Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
Fireflies by Julia Brinkloe

The Raft by Jim LaMarche
Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco
One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman
King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood
The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
The Napping House by Audrey Wood
Waiting by Kevin Henkes
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson
Let’s Go Home by Cynthia Rylant
Building Our House by Jonathan Bean
All the Places to Love by Patricia Maclachlan
The Listening Walk by Paul Showers
Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner

Chapter Books the Older Children:
The Mistmantle Series (how I wish these were still in print!)
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Stewart
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Brenton Stewart
The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Glaser
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
All-Of-A-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White
Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
The Moffats by Elanor Estes
Five Children and It by E Nesbit
The King of Golden River by John Ruskin


Mama Bear’s Reads: (A good portion of these were audiobooks while I cleaned out closets and folded laundry!)

The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery (Left me smiling for days!)
Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter (I heard audio by Mary Starkey)
A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Read along with the Close Reads Podcast series with Circe Institute with guest Karen Swallow Prior. It was delightful!)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers
Carry on, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse
My Man Jeeves by PG Wodehouse
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (its nearly 60% off right now!)
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell


Amazon affiliate links included. Remember to check your local library first before you buy something! 🙂

Once a Homegrown Preschooler, always a Homegrown Preschooler


“You’re like a cicada nymph molting into an adult.”

I hold out a months old pair of outgrown shoes in front of me. My eldest shrugs and says, “at least you get to put my other brothers feet into whatever I’m molting. Cicada mothers have it worse. One molt per kid.”


Everyone is growing taller around here except the parents. Shoes and pants grow tight and short. Conversations have shifted. Bedtimes are changing. Responsibilities are increasing. A couple of children are suddenly within reach of a great pivot point in some unseen life cycle poster. We are on the brink of molts and pupas.

Last week we jumped back into study with an in depth look at the Byzantine Empire. The history of Constantinople, the Bosporous Strait, the Golden Horn, the Hagia Sofia and a whole host of stories about art, war, language, politics, religious freedom, geography, trade, architecture and education.  Days ago we were seated at the dining room table, painting maps and conversing about the importance of Byzantium/Constantinople/Instanbul.  One of the boys chimed in with: “let’s just get to the old compare and contrast so we can know what’s what. We can even write it up and cut it out and put it into categories like we used to for the animal habitats. You know if our hands are moving and building it out we’ll remember it more.” This made me laugh at first, then I stopped to think about our morning so far.


The early morning nature walk to beat the 106 degree heat index told quite the story. We used our favorite nature curriculum, Exploring Nature with Children. It’s certainly grown our understanding of nature, but the little habits we formed in those early days with The Homegrown Preschooler were clearly there, a solid foundation we’ve placed so many bricks on its nearly obscured from sight. We were studying blossoms and the boys reached into their bags and pulled out their old eye loupes (recommended by Kathy and Lesli back in the day!). Then came their 5 common topics discussion about various blooms in the backyard which eventually brought us back to the house where we sat at the table and began drawing and recording what we had found. Half way through one boy said, “I’ll be back in ten mintutes.” When he returned he reported that he revisited his flower and sat still in the shade to see what sorts of pollinators would come along while he waited. He scrawled out a small list while his brothers carefully dissected a few blossoms in search of pistils and stamens. When they finished, my boys pulled those petals apart and started making little mosaics on the table while I read our poetry selection for the day. That early start in finding beauty, embracing wonder and researching through play has stayed with them and grown them into ravenous explorers with an appetite for truth, beauty and goodness.


Morning time ushered in an hour of food and laughter and companionship built on years of “saying yes” to things like play and fun and character training. All those hundreds of days working on “say please” and “say thank you” and “pick up your dishes and sweep under your chair” float around us like dandelion wishes while we talk and argue and laugh and tell stories. I ask the eldest to wipe down the table and he readily agrees. Not because he’s perfect, not because he never complains, but because for years he has lived with the knowledge that after he lends a hand we will be spending time together. Yes, it is habit, but it is also love. He does it for the sake of the relationship. More often than not he says “Yes!”  to requests for help with the dishes or sweeping because I spent years saying “yes!” to chocolate chip cookies with tea and chalk comics on the sidewalk and dinosaurs in the bathtub for ten more minutes. By now we both know that we are on the same team. All the bonding and relationship built through play in those early years have built something quite beautiful.

I think back to that first weekend when I heard Lesli Richards speak at FPEA and cried in her arms an hour later. Her words of encouragement washed over me and she pulled out A Year of Playing Skillfully  and leafed through it with me. Instead of launching curriculum talking points at my head, she built me up with her words and told me I was a good mother and that if I was focusing on the relationship, I was on the right track already. What a gift that was! I am deeply thankful for Lesli and Kathy and their hearts for young families.


My older boys were never “officially” homegrown preschoolers–they were already in 2nd grade by the time we purchased AYOPS. But they were drawn to it! I remember how eagerly they would finish their work so they could rush over and join in our activities. AYOPS didn’t stay in its schedule block. It followed us like glitter- all over the house. It never felt like a curriculum, it felt like time with my children.


People always ask if I received this curriculum in exchange for my review, the answer is no. We saved up for ours and officially used it for four years, and it has ingrained itself so deeply in our family culture that we will always “use it.” It was and still is, a gift to us all. We learned to play skillfully together and became homegrown preschoolers for life.

Once a homegrown preschooler, always a homegrown preschooler.


This weekend HGP is running a 4th of July sale on their curriculum: $20 off A YEAR OF PLAYING SKILLFULLY or $30 off the PLAN AND PLAY Bundle.

I am also giving away a copy of A Year of Playing Skillfully to one winner! Check the facebook post for entry details!

Affiliate links included in this post.

Picture Book List: Beaches and Oceans

Hello friends!
Most of you know that this past year I promised my children we would go to the beach every week. It was a wonderful addition over the winter and spring months and I am trying to stay positive now that our heat index is spiking to 110 degrees.  Because we’ve been spending so much time in the water, the boys have naturally been pulling ocean themed books from our shelves and seeking out similar books when we go to the library. I thought I’d share some of our favorites here with you, whether or not you are going to the beach this summer.



Ocean-Theme books
How to Hide an Octopus and Other Sea Creatures by Ruth Heller
What’s it like to be a fish? by Wendy Pfeffer
An Octopus is Amazing by Patricia Lauber
Starfish by Edith Herd
Who Eats Who? by Patricia Lauber
Fish Do the Strangest Things by Leonora Hornblow
Ocean: a photicular book by Dan Kainen
Down, Down, Down by Steve Jenkins
Crinkleroot 25 Fish Every Child Should Know by Jim Arnosky

Coral Reefs
Coral Reefs by Gail Gibbons
Life in a Coral Reef by Wendy Pfieffer
Coral Reef by Donald Silver
The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding Coral Reefs by Kate Messner


Beach Days
One White Wishing Stone: A Beach Day Counting Book by Doris Gayzagian
The Beachcomber’s Companion by Anna Burgard
What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Zoehfield
The Seaside Switch by Kathleen Kudlinkski
The Seashore Book by Charlotte Zolotow
Horseshoe Crabs and Shore birds by Victoria Crenson
Hello Ocean by Pam Ryan
A House For Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
Beachcombing by Jim Arnosky
Magic Beach by Allison Lester
Seashore by Donald Silver
Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars by Cristianne Tibbits


Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea by Robert Burleigh
Shark Lady by Jess Keating
Manfish by Jennifer Berne


Ocean Adventures
Crab Moon by Ruth Horowitz
Flotsam by David Weisner
Pagoo by Holling C Holling
Night of the Moon Jellies by Mark Shasha
A Day in the Salt Marsh by Kevin Kurtz
A Day in the Deep by Kevin Kurtz
The Sea, the Storm and the Mangrove Tangle by Lynn Cherry
Gamma’s Walk. by Anna Hines


I hope you have a lovely summer!

Amazon affiliate links included. Please check your local library first!

A Charlotte Mason Approach to Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Quarter 1

Hello friends!
Thank you for your patience. I know many of you have been waiting quite a few weeks for this list to be posted. We’ve been busy since the end of CC with many travels and are now settled in for the summer months, happily diving into our study of European History.  We are beginning with the Fall of Rome, leading into the Middle Ages for the beginning of Cycle 2 in the autumn.

Below you will find our plan for the first quarter with details about each portion of our schedule, including our Morning Time selections and explanations for each part of our routine. I share this not because I think an exact copy of our schedule would work for everyone, but to give you a few ideas that might work for your family and your schedule or simply provide a glimpse into someone else’s homeschool life and the freedom their choices has given them. Ultimately, you must find what serves your particular family’s needs best and since you are the world’s leading expert on your children, you are the master planner, not I! I urge you to walk in the freedom to glean from this post rather than consumption out of fear. 🙂


The book lists for  weeks 1-6 and extra resource list will follow at the end of the post. Please note that my family will not be reading all those books each week, they are just possibilities we choose from. If you don’t want the nitty gritty details about our schedule, then feel free to skip to the chorus folks!

Cycle 2 begins with Charlamagne and finishes with the end of Apartheid. Let that sink in for a minute. What an enourmous stretch of history! After our first run through with this cycle, I decided that this time we would start with the Fall of the Roman Empire in May and end with the Renaissance sometime in the Spring.  I know its fun to make every week matchy matchy with the CC schedule, but CC is not my master, its my tool, and in our home we need to make it work for us. I wish we had four cycles, but since we are at three, we have our own spacing that we employ at home. In other words we “play” with our memory work and enjoy our own pace with our history study. No one gets confused. We love community day and it meets a need we have. For us, it works! The book list below will still link with the CC schedule, but I want to be completely transparent and say that in our house, we will be making our way slowly through the Middle Ages. We school with the following schedule three days a week. One day a week features a shortened morning time and community with the rest of morning time finished after dinner. Another day of the week is devoted to a moring spent at the beach and an afternoon of poetry tea time, handicrafts and art or a science experiment if we’re up for it.


Morning Time (7ish-9AM)
We have so much to look forward to this year for Morning Time. I begin the day by having the boys complete their chores and go for a brisk run outside. I like them to enter tired and hungry, eager to be still and eat food.  We open with the Doxology and then I share a SHORT reading from the Bible and as the eldest begins to serve whatever we cooked that day, I will read from something like Our 24 Family Ways by Clay and Sally Clarkson or Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware. (Sally has a wonderful podcast on Our 24 Family Ways that is excellent!) If you missed my series on morning time you can find it here.

Last year, I shared that we were using menus to keep all our paperwork free from food and stain. I was a bit surprised to see how the idea took off everywhere with many people now selling menu bundles. I often get messages from people asking if they should purchase bundles. Here is where I sit on this: I didn’t share that idea to make people feel like they needed to buy one more thing to “homeschool well.” I shared it because it was a practical solution for us. Now if someone likes that idea and wants to spend money on a prepared menu by a homeschool mama who is trying to serve others while supplementing her income, that is their choice as a consumer and supporter of small business. 🙂  I myself do not print out any fancy covers or papers, we keep it really simple.

Our daily menus for this quarter hold the following:
1) The Nicene Creed
2) 6 Catechism questions and answers
3) Scripture Memory Work
4) Hymn of the Month (Check out @happyhymnody on IG!)
5) Poetry Memorization
6) Shakespeare Memory Work
7) Once Quarter 1 begins the back page will feature weekly memory work and geography map for CC Connected user: kleckrone

While the children are eating we slowly make our way through what is found in the menu.  Once that is finished the boys clear the table and they each have a job (load dishwasher, wipe table, sweep floor) while I get our morning books together. During this time of resetting I play some music for us to enjoy. When we sit back down we will begin our reading, which is on a rotation and varies depending on the day.

MT study for this quarter include the following (with some alternate choices listed):
Shakespeare (Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children, Tales from Shakespeare)
Haliburton’s Complete Book of Marvels (or any good book that takes children around the world on adventures)
Famous Men of the Middle Ages by John Haaran
Church History: 100 Most Important Events, Trial and Triumph, Monks and Mystics
Character/Habit Training: Laying Down the Rails for Children 
Logic: The Fallacy Detective or The Thinking Toolbox
Nature Study: Exploring Nature with Children

Math/Music: (9ish-10ish)
We are using Right Start Math once more for all four of our children. The older two are on the same level and the third and fourth are on different levels.  Once Morning Time is over we dive straight into math. I work with the older two while the third born practices his instruments and the youngest plays with pattern blocks. Once the older two start their work I turn to the third born born and work with him while the youngest takes a small break. Then I work with the youngest last, I set the time for 10 minutes and that is all we do. No more and no less. We have been using the program for a few years now and are thrilled with the short, focused lessons and skill reinforcement found in the game book. It was profoundly helpful to have this solid base to turn to while in Essentials.  The end of the hour the older two practice their instruments.

Latin: (10ish-11ish)
Memoria Press Latin Cristiana 1 (REPEATING for securing foundation for older two boys) and Prima Latina for the soon to be 9 year old. At the beginning of the week the lesson will take about 30 minutes to complete. The rest of the week the drills are finished within 15 minutes and they have 45 minutes to finish practicing insturments or take a snack break.

History: (11ish)
Once we finish math, we gather round for history reading. Depending on how the day is going (read: energy levels, sibling relationships, weather, odds and ends) I will either read aloud to them or we will hear something on audio. The children then do their narrations (either written or oral depending on age and skill level) which they then record in their notebooks.
Possible Spines for this year:
The Story of the World Book 2 (audio on amazon is currently over $50, check other sites for better prices!)
HM Hillyer’s A Child’s History of the World
A Castle with Many Rooms by Sonya Schafer
For younger children Our Isalnd Story by HE Marshall

Lit Lunch: (12ish)
Once history is done the boys all scatter to play (though they do have pockets of time to play between subjects if they have finished their work diligently and well). They’ll return within 45 minutes, hungry and sweaty. We gather round the table again and read news articles and have conversations or at times read from a book together. Typically we end with a fairy tale.

Best Rest/ Independent Loop:(1-3ish)
The boys have a series of things they do in the hours after lunch. After reading the book “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” by Daniel Pink (recommended on the Schole Sisters podcast!) I instituted a roughy two hour rest period after lunch. Some boys use this time to be out in nature or to read a book, others turn to more energetic pursuits like exercise, games or bike rides. Each child is unique in personality, learning style, etc and is slowly learning the ways in which they need refreshment. We call this time, “Best Rest.” As we re-enter our final learning block of the day, the boys transition with something off their independent loop list.

Essentials & Language Arts: (3pm)
The final block of time is given to Language Arts. During the CC year we use our Essentials Guide for grammar, writing, spelling, vocabulary, etc. We do not supplement with anything else. After CC ends we generally continue with Spelling (using IEW’s Phonetic Zoo) and Editing exercises with (using IEW’s Fix it! Grammar). The younger children use Rod and Staff Spelling books starting in the first grade and practice one dictation sentence a day.

**If you are scrolling up and down the post looking for science, we end Morning time with it when we do our Nature Study. It has been profoundly rich for us to have this solid base before moving on to formal sciences in the upper forms. Our weekly beach trip is also part of our nature study. We also enjoy using Mel Chemistry sets on Fridays since I have two children that exhibit a strong interest in Chemistry. 

Once the school work is done we gather for a read aloud in the library and once that is finished we have our CLOSING BOARD. This is a practice we have kept for the last year with great benefit. The children and I all share bits and pieces of our favorite learning from the day. Its not an instructional hour, rather a time to gather and reflect. Once this is finished we commence with The Blessing Hour. The boys clean the house to bless the family while I cook so that once Jeff returns at night we can all play outside, gather around a fire, read aloud or play music. Sometimes the boys will head up portions of the dinner effort using their recipes from Raddish Kids while I help one of the younger children establish a new cleaning skill.

And now— on to the cycle 2 quarter 1 book list!!!


Book List Link to Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Quarter 1

Ish by Peter Reynolds
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Lines that Wiggle by Candace Whitman
Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer
Echo Echo by Marilyn Singer
Art by Patrick McDonnell
Sky Color by Peter Reynolds
Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock
Color by Ruth Heller
The Book of Mistakes by Corrina Luyken

The History of Counting by Denise Bessaret (not LIVING, but still fascinating)
Counting on the Woods by George Ella Lyon
Two of Everything by Lily Toy Hong (Chinese Folk Tale)
The Number Garden by Sarah Pinto
Anno’s Counting Book 
Anno’s Magic Seeds
Barn Cat by Carol P Saul
One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor J Pinches
Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! by Marilyn Burns
The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
Each Orange Had Eight Slices by Paul Giganti
Anno’s Multiplying Jar
Can You Count in Greek? Ancient Number systems by Judy Leimbach (Older students, this one is fascinating!)
Math For All Seasons by Greg Tang
Grapes of Math by Greg Tang
Sir Cumference and All the King’s Tens by Cindy Neuschwander
Blockhead! The life of Fibonacci by Joseph De Angelese
Roman Numerals by David Adler
Roman Numerals: I to MM by Arthur Geisart
A Place for Zero by Angeline Lo Presti
Anna’s Mysterious Multiplying Jar
The King’s Chessboard by David Birch
Can You Count to a Googol? by Robert Wells


A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What’s a Noun? by Brian Cleary
I and You and Don’t Forget Who: What’s a Pronoun? by Brian Cleary
To Root, to Toot, to Parachute: What’s a Verb? by Brian Cleary
Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely: What’s an Adverb? by Brian Cleary
But and For, Yet and Nor: What’s a Conjunction? by Brian Cleary
Cool! Whoa! Ah and Oh!: What’s an Interjection? by Brian Cleary
Under, Over, By the Clover: What’s a Preposition? by Brian Cleary
Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What’s an Adjective? by Brian Cleary
Mine All Mine: A Book About Pronouns by Ruth Heller
If You were a Pronoun by Nancy Loen


Week 1

The Creation Story for Children by Helen Haidle

The Creation Story for Children by Helen Haidle
The True Story of Noah’s Ark by Tom Dooley
Genesis 1-8
Indus Valley City (Building History)by Gillian Clements
Voices of Ancient Egypt by Kay Winters
Pharaoh’s Boat by David L Weitzman
Pyramid by David Macaulay
Hieroglyphs by Joyce Milton
Seeker of Knowledge by James Rumford
The Great Pyramid by Elizabeth Mann
Ancient Egypt and Her Neighbors by Lorene Lambert
—Chp 2 The Sumerians
—Chp 3 The Indus Valley
—Chp 9 The Minoans

The Marvelous Blue Mouse by Christopher Manson
The Magic Runes by Emma Leslie
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula
-Chp 10 Charlemagne
Monks and Mystics by Mindy Withrow
-p. 49 Charlemagne, Crowned by God
Famous Men of the Middle Ages
A Castle with Many Rooms by Lorene Lambert
-Chp 9 Charlemagne


Week 2

The Wonderous Workings of Planet Earth by Rachel Ignotofsy (Evolution based)
What is a Biome? by Bobbie Kalman
A Walk in the Deciduous Rain Forest by Rebecca L Johnson
A Walk in the Tundra by Rebecca L Johnson
A Walk in the Desert by Rebecca L Johnson
A Walk in the Prairie by Rebecca L johnson
A Walk in the Rain Forest by Rebecca L Johnson
A Walk in the Boreal Forest by Rebecca L Johnson
One Small Square: Arctic Tundra by Donald Silver
One Small Square: African Savanna by Donald Silver

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Lynn Curlee
The Bible (Patriarchs)
God King: A Story in the Days of King Hezekiah by Joanna Livingstone (Kush)
Ancient Egypt and Her Neighbors by Lorene Lambert
—Chp 7 Babylon
—Chp 8 China (Shang Dynasty)
—Chp 16 The Hittites
—Chp 17 Kush
—Chp 18 Assyria
The Ancient Chinese by Virginia Schomp

William the Conqueror
A Castle with Many Rooms-
Chp 13 The Battle of Hastings
Famous Men of the Middle Ages-
Chp XiX William the Conqueror
The Battle of Hastings by Chris Baker
The Bayaux Tapestry by  Norman Denny

Week 3

Tooth by Tooth by Sarah Levine
What is a Herbivore by Bobbie Kalman
What is an Omnivore? by Bobbie Kalman
What is a Carnivore?

Ox, House, Stick: The History of Our Alphabet by Don Robb
Ancient Egypt and Her Neighbors by Lorene Lambert
—-Chp 19 Cyrus the Great- The Persian Empire
Exodus 3-15
Numbers, Judges, 1 Samuel 1-7
1 Samuel 8-31, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings 1-11
The Fantastic Adventures of Krishna by Demi
They Put Out to Sea by Roger Duvosin (sadly out of print and $$$$. Its a wonderful book and I hope it comes back in print some day!)
Crusades by Jane Parsons
Winning His Spurs by GA Henty
The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green
Castle With Many Rooms
-Chp 16 The Cross Upon the Shield
-Chp 17 Lionheart and Robin Hood

Week 4
The Log Hotel by Ann Schrieber
Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains in our own backyard by Kathleen Zoefield
What are Food Chains and Webs by Bobbie Kalman
Who Eats Who? by Patricia Lauber
A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer
Rotten Pumpkin by David Schwartz

Romulus and Remus by Anne Rockwell
The Twins by Plutarch
1 & 2 Kings
1 & 2 Chronicles
Depending on skill level:
The Children’s Homer by Padraic Collum
The Odyssey by Geralidne MacCraeghen
The Iliad
The Odyssey
Works and Days by Hesiod
Theogony by Hesiod
Buddha by Demi
The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching by Demi
Confucius: The Golden Rule by Russell Freedman

Magna Carta
A Castle With Many Rooms
-Chp 19 The Great Charter
The Magna Carta by Roberta Baxter
The Magna Carta by James Daugherty

Week 5
Water is Water by Miranda Paul
The Snowflake: A Water Cycle Story by Niel Waldman
A Drop of Water by Walter Wick
Salmon Matters: How a Fish Feeds a Forest by Lisa Conners

Daniel 3
Alexander the Great by Demi
The Secret of Alexander’s Horse by Tony Palazzo
The Children’s Plutarch: Tales of the Greeks by Plutarch
Daniel 5
2 Chronicles 36
Herodotus and the Road to History by Jeanne Bendick
Archimedes and the Door to Science by Jeanne Bendick
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine by Jeanne Bendick
What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras? by Julie Ellis
Rome Antics by David MacCaulay

Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley
Joan of Arc by Demi

Week 6
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
Why do Animals Migrate? by Bobbie Kalman
How and Why do Animals Adapt? by Bobbie Kalman
Rain Forest Adaptations by Lisa Amstutz
When Butterflies Cross tke Sky by Sharon Cooper
Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft
How do Birds Find their Way by Roma Gans

Julius Caesar by Shakespeare
The Life of Julius Caesar by Plutarch
If You Were Me and Lived in….the Mayan Empire
Secrets in Stone : All About Maya Hieroglyphics
Rome by Andrew Saloway
[(The Children’s Plutarch : Tales of the Romans)
Matthew 3, John 3, Matthew 14

Leonardo: Beautiful dreamer by Robert Byrd
Leonardo and the flying boy by Laurence Anholt
Leonardo Davinci by Diane Stanley
Leonardo’s Horse by Jean Fritz
Michelangelo  by Diane Stanley
Michelangelo by Mike Venezia
Stone Giant by Jane Sutcliff
Bard of Avon by Diane Stanley
Shakespeare and the Globe by Aliki
A Shakesperean Theater by Jacqueline Morley
Will’s Words by Jane Sutcliff
Copernicus by Dennis Fradin
Dance of the Planets by Nancy Veglahn

I’ll be updating with Quarter 2 before the end of the summer!

Medieval & Renaissance Book list + A GIVEAWAY!

Hello friends!

My brain is in “percolate” mode right now as I dream and plan for the coming year and I thought I’d give you a peak at what’s brewing.  Here is a small taste of what I’m gathering for the boys study of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. A wonderful year of reading awaits us and I love how often I keep catching boys by my desk, sneaking looks through the books piled there.

Many books on this list will be independent reads for my older children. Right now I am deciding which will be family read alouds and which will be independent reads for them. I’ll probably give a detailed list once our new term begins in a few weeks.


I’ll be reading Our Island Story by HE Marshall to the younger children this year.  The older children are looking forward to diving into A Castle With Many Rooms by Lorene Lambert.   This excellent resource from Simply Charlotte Mason is one of our favorites. We have enjoyed Ms Lambert’s writing for many years and are eager to read this beautiful book again. (Hint: There are narration cards available for this book too!)
The World of Columbus and Sons by Genevieve Foster will be used later in the year.


Other stories gathering on the READ THIS YEAR SHELF:

Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson
Terese Makes a Tapestry by Alexandra Hindrichs
The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by CM Millen
Castle Diary by Richard Platt
Illuminations by Jonathan Hunt
A Medieval Feast by Aliki
A Year in a Castle by Rachel Coombs
Castle by David MacCaulay
Cathedral by David MacCaulay
Mosque by David MacCaulay
Pippo the Fool by Tracey Fern

Chanticleer and the Fox by Geoffrey Chaucer
St George and the Dragon by Marguerite Henry
Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley
Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales adapted and translated by Barbara Cohen
Joan of Arc: The Lily Maid by Margaret Hodges


Beginning with a few small chapter books for the middle boy, who is eager to read big books, the list tapers out to those longer, deeper reads. We’ll probably glean a few from this list to use as family reads though the boys have made it clear that we must absolutely start with the Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green, which is one of their all time favorites.

The White Stag by Kate Seredy
The Sword in the Tree by Clyde Robert Bulla
The Apple and the Arrow by Conrad Buff
Fine Print by Joann Johansen Burch
Robin Hood by Margaret Early
Beowulf the Warrior Retold by Ian Serraillier ** My eldest wants to read this
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
Augustine Came to Kent by Barbara Willard
If All the Swords in England: A Story of Thomas Becket by Barbara Willard
The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean
The Lost Baron by Allen French
Red Falcons of Tremoine by Hendry Peart
The Trumpeter of Krawkow by Eric Kelly
The Hidden Treasure of Glaston by Eleanore M Jewet

The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green (One of our absolute favorites)
King Arthur and His Knights by Roger Lancelyn Green

Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
The Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite de Angeli
The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Magna Carta by James Daugherty

Thats the working list right now! Next week I’ll sift through some Messner biographies for the boys to read, I know we will likely read about Galileo and Charlamagne. I’m currently looking into more church history and science history reads and then I’ll finalize our hymn study, poet study and artist study for next term.  I have a lot listed up there and I doubt we’ll read it all. I want plenty of time for the boys to enjoy their reading and not feel the weight of an impossibly long list. I’ll keep most of these on a shelf and hand them off as kids finish them. This works well for my eager reader and is a blessing to my savoring reader.  I hope to have our Cycle 2 Quarter 1 plan out by the beginning of June.

And now for the giveaway!!!! Because—FAIRY. TALES.

Friends, if you aren’t reading fairy tales yet, can I urge you with all my heart to start now? If you are a CC family, this up and coming cycle is a great time to dive in….


Last year we used Tale of Wonder Volume 1 during our morning time. We had so many rich discussions about Fairy Tales we’ve been reading for years thanks to the wonderful suggestions in this book. Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, The Little Mermaid, Rumpelstiltskin, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella were enjoyed again and again last year. We cannot wait for the up and coming release of Tales of Wonder Volume 2, which includes: Sleeping Beauty, The Emperor’s New Suit, The Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina, The Three Little Pigs, The Golden Goose, Jack and the Beanstalk. The boys are especially eager to read The Emperor’s New suit and The Three Little Pigs. Thanks to the generous folks over at Circe Institute, we’ll be giving away TWO copies!


How to enter:
1) FOLLOW Circe Institute on either facebook or instagram
2) TAG your friends on the Facebook thread for this post
3) Comment below to let us know you did both and just for fun, share your favorite fairy tale!


Winner will be announced on Friday 4/23.



Quick note on out of print books: We’ll be using a few of these out of print treasures pictured above that I have found and restored over the years. How I wish they would come back in print! In the meantime, I must share that I am always on the lookout for beauties like these and urge you to rescue books when you can. Most of these were found in throw away piles, at Good Will, at library sales or in estate sales lumped in with cookbooks and spy novels. I even found a few of those beautiful Buehr books near a trash can on the side of the road a few years ago. Take a few extra minutes to sift through those toss away piles, you never know what you might find!

We also have a few more out of print books we’ll be using but I did not include them in the picture. You can find those unlisted books and more if you are local to Living Learning Libraries, curated by Michelle Howard. Heads up, she also makes fabulous book totes that correspond to each week of the CC cycle. If you are not local check out this list of living libraries.

My Spring Reading List

I often get asked about my personal reading list. You know, the books I read just to myself and not my children. I thought I would share the current spring list with you. I’ve put a nice dent in it already. After a rough start to 2019, I wanted to put together a list that strayed a bit from my usual reading diet.  I decided to vere in another direction and read more nonfiction.  With several roadtrips this spring and a few long plane trips, (I’ll be in England at the end of May for the first Wild + Free Europe Conference!)  these are books I’ll be reading while resting, traveling and plotting, I mean planning, the upcoming school term.

Near the end of March I tuned into one of the podcasts I regularly listen to, The Schole Sisters, and enjoyed this episode on taking action. I found a few recommended books there that I eagerly added to my list. I’ve linked them, but it would be great if you could click on the Schole link and purchase through there if you are buying and not borrowing from a library.


  1. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink
    ** This book had me at hello with its opening story on the sinking of the Luisitania. I enjoyed it thoroughly and am already processing ways of implementing better timing in our daily schedule. I loved all the practical applications in this one!9781101621615.jpg
  2. A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley51RHjL+DcpL.jpg
  3. The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
    This was a quick and fascinating read. Much talk of Lark and Owls over at our house these days.
  4. Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Every day Lives by Gretchen Rubin
    Yes, I know. ANOTHER book on habits. I usually dislike books that advertise happiness, BUT it has been great fun reading (and sometimes disagreeing with) Gretchen’s words.To this I added:
  5. The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel
    My second round with it. I ended up taking several notes this time around.
  6. Margin by Richard Swenson
    I always want his name to be Ron Swenson. Ha! Mr. RICHARD Swenson penned this beautiful book some years ago and I first heard about it from Sonya Schafer. Reading it a few years back gave us a chance to take action and shape our days and lives differently. I love revisiting this book.
  7. The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel Levitin
  8. Defending Boyhood by Anthony Esolen
    If you know me, you know I love Professor Esolen’s work. This is his latest book and I’m saving it for last.

What are you reading these days? Do you ever take a break from your usual reading diet?