History Series My Children Love

My children have learned more history from their own free reading time than anything we have done together.  The memory pegs my kids have from Classical Conversations helps them to get even more out of reading these books.

I want to share a number of our favorite series for history in the elementary years.  In no particular order:

 You Wouldn’t Want to Be books.

The You Wouldn’t Want to Be series has a quirky way to catching my kids’ attention with their silly subtitles (like You Wouldn’t Want to Be Mary Queen of Scots:  A Ruler Who Really Lost Her Head).  These are amazing, covering topics from Ancient times to U.S. history. I wrote about them a few years ago here where you can see Foundations Cycle match-ups.  My kids have re-read these many times over the years.  These are the shortest and easiest reading level of books on this list.  When we get these at the library, even the librarians comment on the fun titles of the books.

Interactive History Adventures.

The Interactive History Adventures also cover many time periods.  We love to get these at the library also.  They are choose-your-path type books except with historical themes.  The U.S. history ones are my favorites, but we really enjoy most of them.  I included Foundations match ups here.  (The one on The Underground Railroad has a path where you pretend to be slave catchers, and we just couldn’t even read that path in the book.)

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales

These graphic novels are always about dangerous and challenging bits of history.  The first in the series, One Dead Spy, is about Nathan Hale’s namesake.  The World War 1 book, Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood, gives an amazing overview to World War I.  My kids are already anticipating the fall release of one about World War II (Raid of No Return).

Ken Jenning’s Junior Genius Guides

The Junior Genius Guides include other topics than history, but we love the U.S. Presidents and Maps and Geography for studying history.  These books are packed with information but told in a way that grabs kids’ attention.  These books are set up like a “school day” with class periods instead of chapters.  (The non-history ones we are love are: The Human Body, Outer Space, and Greek Mythology.)  If you decide to buy any of these books, this 3-book set is a far better deal than the 3 books individually.

The Complete Middle School Study Guide series

These “Big Fat Notebook” books have packed with wonderful overviews of American History and World History.  Any piece of CC memory work can be found in these as well as lots of other history tidbits.  I actually think the U.S. History one is going to be an excellent resource for me as a Challenge 1 Director next year.  After each section, there are “Check Your Knowledge” quizzes complete with “Check Your Answers” so you don’t have to wonder if they are right.  My kids don’t really get the “Everything you need to Ace” each class title for the books in this series since we homeschool and don’t teach to a test, but these are a wonderful resource.  (Other books in the series include non-history topics:  English Language Arts, Math, and Science.  The English one does include topics not covered in the CC Essentials program – like theme, plot, etc.)

Note:  These books are secular so they include evolutionary human origins.  They are also very current in their publication dates so the U.S. one include the Supreme Court ruling on marriage (in a very matter-of-fact way).

As I made this list, I’m sure I forgot some of my kids’ favorites.  What history series do your kids enjoy?

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Draw Write Now Series

I have children who love to draw and a few who don´t.  Draw Write Now was the first drawing series we purchased, and it has really helped my children´s drawing skills (as well as their writing skills).  (If you head down to the bottom of this article, you will see a few sample from my kids.)

drawwritenowseries

What do I love about the Draw Write Now series?

  • My children can follow the instructions on their own.
  • We are practicing copywork as well as drawing.  (The copywork is manuscript.)
  • There is an amazing variety of drawings in this series:  animals, geography, vehicles, people, and so on.
  • These books have actually encouraged my kids to write their own sentences about different animals than the ones found in the series.
  • My kids are better at drawing because of these books.
  • The drawing and copywork get increasingly difficult as the books progress.
  • The series is also great to have as a tutor at Classical Conversations since we focus on drawing for the first 6 weeks of Fine Arts.
  • We even pull out the stack of drawing books when we have a number of children visiting for a few hours (for small group or just friends over to play).

Now, let me tell you more about the specific books.


Book 1:  It´s definitely the easiest with mostly animals and storybook characters.  The sentences are very simple to copy.

Book 2:  This book includes Christopher Columbus (Cycle 3 history), types of trees and parts of trees (Cycle 1 and 2 science), more animals, and even a simple globe.
Book 3:  This book´s focus includes Native Americans (which could fit in Cycle 1, 2, and 3´s history), Pilgrims (Cycle 3 history), and different biomes in North America (Cycle 2 science, Cycle 3 geography).

Book 4:  Book 4 is full of animals from the Polar regions.  Some of my kids’ favorite animals to draw are in this book.
Book 5:  This one´s packed with U.S. history (the flag, Washington, Statue of Liberty, Alamo, Neil Armstrong, and many more Cycle 3 connections) as well as a lesson on drawing the United States (and showing when regions were added to our country).
Book 6:  Book 6 covers animals and habitats.  This ties in nicely with the biomes at the beginning of Cycle 2´s science.  I like the variety of animals drawn since it gives my kids many more drawing techniques.
Book 7:  This book (and book 8) specifically work through animals of the world.  This one includes creatures from tropical, Northern, and down under forests.

Book 8:  As the last in the Draw Write Now series, this book includes animals from the savannas, grasslands, mountains, and deserts.  (Cycle 2 Science week 1 keeps running through my head as I type this.)  I really like the tips this book includes for drawing the continents as well.

 

Here are a few samples of my children´s work.  Obviously we all aren´t at the same level of drawing.

samples

samples2

(Note:  My children sometimes write Bible verses with the illustrations instead of the book´s copywork.  These books themselves do not have Bible verses in them.)

We bought this series as a Christmas present a few years ago (if bought as a series, it does cost a little less per book).  It has honestly been one of the most used Christmas gifts in our home.  We love the Draw Write Now series.

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Nature Anatomy: A Book Review

We recently checked a new book Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World out of the library, and Ruthie loves it.  We hope to add Nature Anatomy to our book collection some day soon.

Nature Anatomy A book review

Ruthie and I worked together to write this review.

First, from Ruthie:

I like this book because it tells you so many cool facts.  I like where it tells you information about life cycles.  It also shows you illustrations like leaf identification.  I also like the chapter about different animals.  The book also tells you about plants, rock, the phases of the moon, and other cool diagrams like fossils.  Each topic is only a page or two long.  There are lots of illustrations and diagrams.  At the end of chapters, sometimes there are projects you can do.      

As a mom, I love that Nature Anatomy is packed with science information related to CC memory work.  Ones I’ve noticed just flipping through are phases of the moon, types of rocks, rock and mineral identification, parts of plants and flowers, fungi, parts of the earth, layers of the atmosphere, and cloud types.  There is an entire chapter on different kinds of animals as well as sections on tree and bird identification.

Another feature I enjoy is that the book uses illustrations instead of photographs.  Because of this, my children like to try to copy the pictures into their nature journals.  Elijah’s drawing of the rock cycle helped him to learn how the rocks are all related to each other.  By the time he was done drawing, he really had a much firmer grasp on this concept.

Sketches from Nature Anatomy

There are two aspects of this book someone might not like.  The one down-side to this book might be that a number of the diagrams include cursive writing.  I actually like it because my older two have been working on writing in cursive.  I love that they are now trying to read more in cursive.

The other down-side is that there isn’t a good index for the book.  When you read the chapter headings, it does list topics covered in the chapters, but a complete index in the book would have been a nice feature.

This book is new this year.  The author and illustrator also made a book previously called Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life.  While our library doesn’t have Farm Anatomy, I think we would enjoy it as well.  It includes so much of farm life and rural living.  Even though our family isn’t exactly a city family, we definitely don’t know all the information found in this book.  I hope to get to read this one as well.

Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World is a fun and educational book the whole family can enjoy!

 

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Christian Books for Cycle 1 Science

There are lots of useful, informational science books that can relate to the Cycle 1 science topics of biology and geology.  I will share library finds as we come across them as well as other books from our home library.  For this first post on cycle 1 science, I wanted to share Christian books on the topics we will be studying this year.  I am sure we will read secular science books from the library, but there are some really great Christian books we own that fit with Cycle 1’s science.

Christian Books for Cycle 1 Science

Reference books for Cycle 1 Science:

Big Book of Earth & Sky is a 15 foot fold-out chart (like Big Book of History) and covers memory work from weeks 13-24.  The first 5 or 6 feet of the chart cover the parts of the atmosphere and includes facts about these parts.  Then the chart moves into types of rocks and parts of the ocean.  The rest of the chart covers information related to what is found on or below the surface of our planet.  I bought this book as we finished Cycle 1 our first time around, and we loved to spot the memory work while learning more about our earth and sky.  This book is written from a young Earth Christian perspective and a great resource for this year’s learning.  I look forward to pulling this book out with the kids again this year.  (You can also order this from Answers in Genesis here if you don’t shop at Amazon.)

Institute for Creation Research’s Guide to Animals is wonderful for teaching about all the different types of animals God created.  In CC’s memory work, this book goes well with weeks 1-7.

I have been looking for a great Christian reference book on plants for weeks 8-12.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments or using our contact form.

Easy Readers for Cycle 1 Science:

When my oldest child was first starting to read, I bought three series of science books by Apologetics Press.  These are Christian easy reader books but also have lots of information.  You can get them used on Amazon, but they are much cheaper if you just order them from the publishing company so included those links instead.  (These aren’t affiliate links, but just links to the best deals for the books.  The complete series are not available on Amazon.)

Learn to Read Series.  These are very simple books with repetitive words for your earliest readers.  There are a few interesting facts, but they are more of an easy reader than a science book.  In the book Ducks, Bucks, and Woodchucks, it calls deer antlers “horns.”  I don’t like the use of the wrong word, but I have seen that in other easy reader books as well.

Early Reader Series.  These are a little tougher reading level with a little more information in them.  There is one on plants which is nice for this cycle as well as number on animals.

Advanced Reader Series.  The reading level on these is the highest of the 3 sets.  These have even more facts, and my older kids still like to re-read them even now.

Are there other great Christian books for teaching these topics that I have left off my list?  What are your family’s favorites?

 

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Children’s Books On The Periodic Table

While we have been studying elements and the periodic table with our CC memory work, I wanted to find a few books at the library to go along with the topic.  We will also make element cookies.  Of all the books we checked out, only two really grabbed my children’s attention.  I wanted to shared our favorites in case you are heading to the library too.

Children's Books On The Periodic Table

The Periodic Table (by Scholastic in the “A True Book” series) has a really nice history of the periodic table.  In fact, Ruthie’s favorite part of the book was where it showed Mendeleev’s original version.  This book also includes lots of vocabulary terms we have recently memorized.  There are other True Books about elements, but our library did not have them.

The Periodic Table: Elements with Style! is a fun book about many different elements.  The illustrations help you remember characteristics of the elements.  The writing style of the book is quirky with each element’s page in the first person.  There actually is a newer version called The Complete Periodic Table: All the Elements with Style!, but our library has it on order still.  You also can buy Periodic Table flashcards which appear to have the same text and illustrations as the book (from the preview I could read on Amazon) with just a few words cut out to make it fit on the cards.  I don’t know if all the elements from the book are included on the flashcards though.

What books have your children enjoyed about the Periodic Table?  

 

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