Chefs, Gardeners & Artists Christmas Guide

Time for our next Christmas Guide— Chefs, Gardeners & Artists



***Please remember that I do not buy all of these things for my children. Nope. Not even close.***



Opinel Kids Set: we’ve had these tools for several years and they have held up beautifully. Most of the boys have graduated to bigger knives now when they cook, but the younger ones still use and love these (ages 7 & 9). If you want an extra layer of safety, these cut resistant gloves work well!



Raddish kids: We have greatly enjoyed this cooking subscription kit for the last three years. They’re running a Black Friday Subscription deal right now that looks wonderful!


-Books about cooking and/or foraging. One of my boys will find this one under the tree this year since he’s been asking for more foraging recipe books. We’re hoping to get him plugged in with a local forager that can help provide guidance, further instruction, and help us forage safely. One of our favorite cookbooks for kids is Honest Pretzels by Mollie Katzen

-A gift card to your local grocery store for ingredients!

614gxcc7FWL._SL1500_.jpgApple Peeler– This little tool is useful, fun to use and fascinating to watch!


  • Gummy Bear molds– If you make your own elderberry syrup at home you can use a recipe to make elderberry gummies! These also make adorable chocolate toppings to put on ice cream.




Real gardening tools go a long way in fostering a love of gardening. The plastic sets never last long, are cumbersome to use, and often make the work even more difficult. Check into finding a set of real tools that are child size and easy to wield.



Gardening gloves that fit well! We love leather ones like this pair. Make sure to pay attention to sizing.


Sturdy hand tools. At the time of posting, these were 56% off.


A beautiful Garden Journal from my friend, Alice Cantrell over at Twig and Moth.


A lovely book for families who garden together.



An art easel. Find an option that really works for your space and your child’s age. Always consider storage!



A super pack of canvases! or if water colors are there medium of choice, consider getting a pack of water color paper instead of a spiral bound notebook since you get a bit more bang for the buck when its loose leaf!


There are so many kits out there with quick drying clay! We love using this medium for projects.



A desk that fits and can grow with them. (this one has all sort of adjustments that can be made to get the most optimal position for your child to work.



Nice water colors in travel kit form for nature days.


Affiliate links were used for this post

Nature Nerds & Wild Explorers Christmas Guide

Its about that time of year again!!! We’re kicking off our annual Christmas Guides with one for the Nature Nerds & Wild Explorers out there.

***Please remember that I do not buy all of these things for my children. Nope. Not even close.***


1.  KANKEN: We are big fans of these Kanken backpacks. Each of the boys has one and they have survived numerous road trips, plane trips and nature hikes. They’ve been fully submerged in ocean water, caught in torrential downpours and hoisted up trees and probably even a few rooftops. These little packs are scrappy and easy to clean. We haven’t had to buy new backpacks since investing in these.

If you go for the nature pack, here are some useful items to place inside…


– Rite in the Rain: These little waterproof notebooks are the best. Yes, they really are waterproof. I’ve accidentally sent them through the laundry a time or two and they came out looking perfect! The boys have used them for a few years now and they come in handy on nature hikes. They also use them for all their rascally boy plans and carry them on all out outings.




– A compact knot tying kit. 
-A Swiss Army Knife
Specimen cases (this size has met the majority of our needs)
Survival bracelet or even a kit (Survival Kit)
-A small microfiber travel towel (always hands on water exploration days!)


-a little inspirational reading material
-a bush craft guide
slingshot and a bag of dried beans for practice.
-the best and loudest whistle out there (it saved our bacon once or twice!)
-a life straw
Bug Loupe
a hammock

This may sound terribly obvious, but just in case….

You can also gift them climate appropriate adventure gear for your area. We bought wet suits this year and the boys loved getting to snorkel in the colder channels near the mangroves in early spring. Rain boots or jackets, thicker coats, wet suits, breathable shirts, wherever you life, consider getting one solid set of adventure gear for the kids.



Other Nature Nerd Gifts…


2. Catch and Release Aquarium has been a faithful companion on all our greatest beach adventures.



3. Window Bird Feeders. Oh the joy!


4. Tell the kids you’ll be studying nature all year long! Thats a gift on so many levels.

5. Nature Books

6. Already in a nature group? Consider making a Shutterfly book or other scrapbook for your children, filled with photos of all your adventures. Decorate with stickers or have the group sign each other’s books. Children love these kinds of mementos.

7. Nature themed Board Games
-Bug Bingo  (or Bird Bingo)

-Match a Pair of Birds


Butterfly Wings Matching Game


8. A little adventure in your own backyard…



9. Family Memberships to a zoo, botanical garden, science museum etc.

10. Plan a special road trip to a nearby national park! (Did you know that 4th graders have a special offer from National Parks? Check it out!)

Last but not least….

Subscribe to Wild Explorers! My boys loved going through the Wild Explorers adventure club program, earning badges and completing assignments. The monthly magazine is still a highlight each month!



** Affiliate Links are used in this guide**

A Charlotte Mason Approach to Classical Conversations Cycle 2 Quarter 3

Yes, we use affiliate links!

We are weeks away from the midpoint of our Cycle 2 study. The boys have worked hard and we are all hungry for rest. The last few months our homeschool life has been turned upside down with the introduction of multiple therapies, intakes, etc. Some weeks we find ourselves sitting in waiting rooms dreaming of this….

and grappling with the reality of this…


But the flexibility of homeschooling has been a gift to us and we certainly made the most of it this year. The boys learned what kind of work to pack while their little brother has his appointments. They trained themselves to get the base work done so that when we return home we can get cozy and read or have conversations or do the other things that just can’t be done in a waiting room.  I recently wrote an article for Wild + Free called “Wild + Free in the Waiting Room.” You can find it in their newly released HAVEN bundle.


I’m getting a little misty-eyed realizing that this boy has a mere two quarters left in Foundations and Essentials. He’ll be off to Challenge A next year. I’ll be sharing a post soon about how we are preparing ourselves (and prepping our toolbox of Dyslexia tools) for next year. But first, we need to tackle quarter 3 of Cycle 2! I usually don’t plan for this quarter until the first week of January, but I could use a little book list cheer right about now, so here we go!

ART (WEEKS 13-18)
Rembrandt by Mike Venezia
Rembrandt’s Life of Christ
What Makes a Rembrandt a Rembrandt? by Richard Muhlberger
Thomas Gainsborough cards
Bijou, Bonbon and Beau: The Kittens Who Danced for Degas by Joan Sweeney
Degas and the Little Dancer by Laurence Anholt
Edgar Degas by Mike Venezia
Dancing with Degas by Julie Merberg (Board book!)
What Makes a Degas a Degas? by Richard Muhlberger
I dreamed I was a ballerina by Anna Pavlova
Edgar Degas: Dance Like a Butterfly by Angela Wenzel
Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Bjork
Monet Paints a Day by Julie Danneberg
A Picnic with Monet  by Julie Merberg (Board book!)
Claude Monet by Mike Venezia
The Magical Garden of Clause Monet by Laurence Anholt
Van Gogh by Mike Venezia
Van Gogh and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt
Vincent’s Colors



Week 13

Moonshot by Brian Flocca
Team Moon: How 400,00 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh
If you decide to go to the Moon by Faith McNulty
Daring Dozen by Suzanne Slade
A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Slade
Hidden Figures by Margaret Shetterly
Mercury 6 Mission by Helen Zelon

Pastry School in Paris by Cindy Nueschwander
Room for Ripley by Stuart Murphy
For Good Measure by Ken Robbins
Millions to Measure by David Schwartz
Me and the Measure of Things by Joan Sweeney
Capacity by Henry Pluckrose

Crossing on Time by David Macaulay
Steam, Smoke and Steel by Patrick O’Brien
All About Famous Inventors and Their Inventions by Fletcher Pratt
Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop
Kids at Work by Russell Freedman
Prince Henry the Navigator by Leonard Everrett Fischer
Around the World in 100 Years by Jean Fritz
A Book of Discovery by MB Synge
The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela by Uri Shulevitz
Henry the Navigator by Charnan Simon
The Kidnapped Prince: The Story of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano
African Beginnings by James Haskins
Fine Print by Joann Burch
Johann Gutenberg and the Amazing Printing Press by Bruce
Ink on His Fingers by Louise A Vernon
The World of Columbus and Sons by Genevieve Foster
The Royal Diaries: Isabel: Jewel of Castilla by Carolyn Meyer
Blood Secret by Kathryn Lansky


Week 14
What is the World Made Of by Kathleen Zoehfield
A Drop of Water by Walter Wick


Measuring Penny by Loreen Leady
How Long or How Wide by Brian Cleary
Inch by Inch by Leo Leoni
How Tall, How Short, How Far Away? by David Adler

Where Poppies Grow: A World War 1 Companion by Linda Granfield
In Flanders Field by Linda Granfield
Rags, Hero Dog of World War 1 by Margot Raven
Christmas Truce by Aaron Shepherd
Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood: A World War 1 Tale (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales) by Nathan Hale

Columbus by D’Aulaire
Courage and Conviction by Mindy and Brandon Withrow
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula
-Chp 19-26 The Reformation
Peter the Great by Diane Stanley
The World of William Penn by Genevieve Foster (Absolute Monarchs)
The King’s Fifth by Scott O’Dell
Johann Sebastian Bach by Mike Venezia
Sebastian Bach by Opal Wheeler
Becoming Bach by Tom Leonard



Week 15

Energy Makes Things Happen by Kimberly Bradley
Forces Make Things Move by Kimberly Bradley

Think Metric! by Franklyn Branley

Where Poppies Grow: A World War 1 Companion by Linda Granfield
In Flanders Field by Linda Granfield
Rags, Hero Dog of World War 1 by Margot Raven
Christmas Truce by Aaron Shepherd
Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood: A World War 1 Tale (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales) by Nathan Hale

The World of Captain John Smith by Genevieve Foster
Jamestown, New World Adventure by James E Knight
Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla
Sara Morton’s Day by Kate Waters
Pilgrims of Plimoth by Marcia Sewall
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula
-Chp 31 Jonathan Edwards
-Chp 32 George Whitfield
-Chp 33 John Wesley
-Chp 34 John Newton
Adventures from the Bay by Clifford Wilson
Hearts and Minds: Chronicles of the Awakening Church by  Mindy and Brandon Withrow
The Arts by Hendrick Van loon


Week 16
Isaac Newton: Physics for Kids by Kerrie Hoolihan
Newton and Me by Lynne Mayor
Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion by Andrea Gianopolus
Isaac Newton by John Hudson Tiner

Squares, Rectangles and other Quadrilaterals by David Adler

** I have included books that directly correlate to the history sentence and several living books that are set during World War 2. (*) denotes a book that would work well for younger students.
Victory in the Pacific by Albert Marrin
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
All Those Secrets of the World by Jane Yolen (*)
Hannah’s Cold Winter by Trish Marx (*)
The Little Ships by Louise Borden
The Little Riders by Margaretha Shemin
Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
The Greatest Skating Race by Louise Borden
The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum
Hiroshima by Laurence Yep
Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy
House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert De Jong
The Avion my Uncle Flew by Cyrus Fisher
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
The Unbreakable Code by Sara Hunter
Twenty and Ten by Claire Bishop

George Washington’s World by Genevieve Foster
Story of the Nations Volume 1 by Lorene Lambert
-Chp 14 James Cook
George Washington by Cheryl Harness
George Washington’s Breakfast by Jean Fritz
The Winter of Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory
Stories of America Volume 1 by Lorene Lambert
–Chp 16-22 Revolutionary War
–Chp 23 Voyage of Our Ship of State (Constitution)
–Chp 25 America Grows (Lewis and Clark)


Week 17
Sam’s Sneaker Squares by Nat Gabriel
Perimeter, Area and Volume by David Adler
Square by Mac Barnett

Isaac Newton: Physics for Kids by Kerrie Hoolihan
Newton and Me by Lynne Mayor
Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion by Andrea Gianopolus
Isaac Newton by John Hudson Tiner

A Boy Named FDR by Kathleen Krull
Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Janet Benge (Plenty of information on Hitler’s rise to power)
Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill by Stephen Mansfield
Franklin and Winston A Christmas that Changed the World by Douglas Wood


The Story of Napoleon by HE Marshall
The Year of the Horseless Carriage by Genevieve Foster
Story of the Nations Volume 1 by Lorene Lambert
-Chp 16-19 Napoleon
-Chp 20 Bolivar the Liberator
Stories of America Volume 1 by Lorene Lambert
-Chp 27 How the English and the Americans Fought Again
The Town that Fooled the British by Lisa Papp


Week 18
Triangle by Marc Barnett
The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns
Triangles by David Adler

The United Nations Website
Declaration of the Rights of the Child
History of the United Nations
Stories of the Nations Volume 1 by Lorene Lambert
-Chp 25 Commodore Perry Opens the Door to Japan
Stories of America Volume 2 by Lorene Lambert
-Chp 1 Heading West on the Oregon Trail
-Chp 3 The Sad Story of Slavery
Soft Rain by Cornelia Cornelian
Trail of Tears by Joseph Bruchac
Charles Darwin by Jennifer Thermes
Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shoguns by Rhoda Blumberg

Nature Study Book & Supply List


When I first sat down to compile this list it was quite dark outside. The crickets were still busy with their evening symphonies and the bravest birds were just beginning to rouse. My favorite part of the day. The small stretch of minutes when night and day mingle a bit. I sit at my desk and look out the window at the large bougainvillea, elephant ear palms and gorgeous patch of ripening beauty berry just in front of me. Within an hour of the sun’s rising I have been visited by several small cuban tree frogs, roused from their amphibious dreams by a frolicking dog,  and a wide array of birds. Our resident Mockingbird came bouncing past at a quarter before 7, trilling as loudly and obnoxiously as possible. A pair of cardinals came to check on the ripening beauty berry and brought a smile to my face when I beheld their mischievous flirtations and listened to their calls, which have always reminded me of a car alarm.  The ibis will soon fly by over the water and within minutes the dragonflies will all appear as if from nowhere and begin their day long hovering over the farm in search of mosquitos. Now everything within the window frame is tipped in that radiant morning gold and there is an abundance of noises in the form of chirps, calls, buzzings, croaks, and the tell tale rustling of leaves from the black racers darting out to find a patch of warm sunshine. Nature study, even just by peering out the window, has such a miraculous power to refresh and restore, simply by being itself and pointing to the Creator.


Sometimes we venture out doors and enjoy the incredibly rich and varied nature study opportunities here in South Florida. Some days (mostly unbearably hot summer days), we open a book and enjoy nature in other part of the world that way.



These are some of the books, mostly non fiction, that we have enjoyed during our Nature Study time over the years. I know this list is quite large and it may seem alarming that I said “some.” Keep in mind, you don’t need all these books. Remember: 1) I rescue books and have a large collection of out of print books from the golden age of children’s literature. I have not included out of print books in this list. (See ** at the end of the post) 2) I have a child that is passionate about nature study and has procured quite an extensive collection of his own over the last half decade of birthdays, Christmas and end of year gifts.


Books to help inspire Mamas towards more Nature Study:
The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson
A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter
Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (Thank you Terri for recommending this one!)
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Core Resources:
Anna Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study.
Lynn Seddon’s Exploring Nature with Children (I had mine printed and bound at OfficeDepot and will be using it for many, many years)
Lynn Seddon also has journals available here and here.
Phrenology Wheels


References We’ve used and loved:
The Naturalist’s Notebook: Observation and Five Year Journal by Nathaniel Wheelwright
Keeping a Nature Journal by Claire Walker Leslie
The Curious Nature Guide by Claire Walker Leslie
The Nature Connection by Claire Walker Leslie”
Julia Rothman Collection


The Laws Guide to Drawing and Nature Journaling by John Muir Laws
The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds by John Muir Laws
Watercolor with Me in the Forest by Dana Fox
(Watercolor with Me in the Ocean by Dana Fox -releasing November 12, 2019!!)

Nature Journals to love and imitate:
Drawn to Nature: Through the Journals of Claire Walker Leslie by Claire Walker Leslie

Nature Journals for the little kids:
Nature Journal by Alice Cantrell


Guides for more sophisticated Venturing Out:
The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs by Tristan Gooley


Take Along Guides:
Tracks, Scats and Signs by Leslie Dendy
Trees, Leaves and Bark by Diane Burns
Birds, Nests and Eggs by Mel Boring
Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies by Mel Boring
Fun With Nature by Mel Boring
Wildflowers Blooms and Blossoms by Diane Burns
Berries, Nuts and Seeds by Diane Burns

Frogs, Toads and Turtles by Diane Burns
Snakes, Salamanders and Lizards by Diane Burns
Rabbits, Squirrels and Chipmunks by Mel Boring
Seashells Crabs and Sea Stars by Christine Tibbetts
Rocks, Fossils and Arrowheads by Laura Evert

One Small Square Series by Donald Silver
Cactus Desert
Night Sky
Tropical Rain Forest 
Arctic Tundra
Coral Reef
African Savana 


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


Bird Study for Littles
Mama built a Nest by Jennifer Ward
Birds, Nests and Eggs by Mel Boring
Feathers, Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart
What Makes a Bird a Bird? by Mary Garelick
A Nest Full of Eggs by Priscilla Belz Jenkins
About Birds: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sills
The Bird Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta
Feathers for Lunch by Lois Elhert
The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton W Burgess
Beaks! by Sneed B. Colard III
An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston
Birdsong by Audrey Wood
Our Yard is Full of Birds by Anne Rockwell
Two Blue Jays by Anne Rockwell

Ocean Study
Picture Book List: Beaches and Oceans


I know I’ve blogged before about what we keep in our nature packs and even made a Christmas Guide for outfitting an Explorer pack, but these are a few Nature Study basics we keep in our packs to help us study things we find.
Small plastic Container Boxes for keeping nature finds intact. (Those cicada moldings will crumble to bits without these! ha!)
Plastic gloves for handling bones
Plastic bags for storing said bones
Rite in the Rain Journals (Small field journals for quick note taking, totally water proof!)

Footprints: Boy and Ibis

***There are many fantastic living nature books out there that are sadly out of print. You might be able to find a few in the $30-$40 but most have shot much higher in the last few years. If you are yearning to find some great living books from that golden age of children’s literature, check here to see if you have a living library near you.



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. 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.