Friday, June 5, 2020

My Last Fourth Grader's People and Places Plans: Central and South America

My youngest child, Second Son, is heading into Level 4 Year 1 (fourth grade) next year. I'm going through all our plans and deciding what he'll do and wanted to give an updated and more complete plan for People and Places. Mater Amabilis™ Level 2 Year 1 suggests choosing one book per term out of five options. I have read all five of the options but haven't used all of them in our lessons.

You can read what First Son did on my original post. I've added and removed books over the years, so what Second Son will do is a much smoother plan. For your benefit, I'm including more specific assignments for the Geography Coloring Book. I use this coloring book for all sorts of geography coloring starting in third grade through seventh or eighth grade. It's a bit of an investment, but I think it makes adding geography maps really easy for me.

The Books (not including ones only First Son read)

Chucaro: Wild Pony of the Pampa by Francis Kalnay - a fun horse story from the Pampas of South America. First Son was more indifferent to this story than I expected, probably because I assigned too much other stuff. (That is a common problem for the oldest in a homeschooling family.) The girls didn't read it, but Second Son will. He likes animals stories, so I'm hopeful he'll enjoy it.

The Cay by Theodore Taylor - I love this book about a boy stranded on an island with a man he learns to love and respect. The girls didn't read this for school, though First Daughter read and enjoyed it on her own.

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson - This is a lovely story of curiosity and mystery. First Son thought it was boring, but really I think I just asked him to read too much each week. My girls both loved it so much they often read far too many chapters at a time because they were too engrossed to put it down.

Where the Flame Trees Bloom by Alma Flor Ada - These stories of Cuba show the people and place very well for young readers. First Daughter enjoyed these short stories more than Second Daughter did. I think Second Son would prefer more excitement.

The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America's Largest Mammal by Sy Montgomery - I love this book. It's full of fascinating information on tapirs and real-life adventures of scientific work in the wild. I have assigned this to my girls and I think it was Second Daughter's most favorite book of fourth grade. I'm putting it on Second Son's independent reading list and hope he chooses to read it, but I'm not going to assign it.

Second Son's People and Places Lesson Plans

I have never required an actual narration from our People and Places lessons in Level 2 Year 1, but a few years ago I started asking my student to make notes in a reading journal after their reading for the day. They don't have to write a lot, not even sentences, just a few words to help them slow down a little and think about what they read. I only check the journal if they want me to read it.

First Term: Chucaro

Week 1
Forward and 1. Lasso
Geography Coloring Book: Argentina on p. 17

Week 2
2. Ombu
Geography Coloring Book: Paraguay on p. 17

Week 3
3. The Casita
Geography Coloring Book: Uruguay on p. 17

Week 4
4. Currycomb and 5. Tears
Geography Coloring Book: Bolivia on p. 17

Week 5
6. Gitana, the Gypsy and 7. Meat, Mate, Music
Geography Coloring Book: Chile on p. 17

Week 6
8. What the Mayordomo Didn't Know Was Not Worth Knowing
Geography Coloring Book: Ecuador on p. 17

Week 7
9. The Red Kerchief--A Mystery and 10. Something Is Brewing Again
Geography Coloring Book: Peru on p. 17

Week 8
11. The Vaquero Never Had a Chance
Geography Coloring Book: Colobmia on p. 16

Week 9 
12. An Urgent Message
Geography Coloring Book: French Guiana on p. 16

Week 10
13. The Patron
Geography Coloring Book: Guyana and Suriname on p. 16

Week 11
14. Bolas and 15. The Match
Geography Coloring Book: Venezuela on p. 16

Week 12
16. Itchy Hooves and 17. To Igazu
Geography Coloring Book: Brazil on p. 16

Second Term: The Cay

Week 1
Chapter One
Geography Coloring Book: Netherlands Antilles on p. 13

Week 2
Chapter Two
Geography Coloring Book: Bahamas on p. 13

Week 3
Chapter Three
Geography Coloring Book: Dominican Republic on p. 13

Week 4
Chapter Four
Geography Coloring Book: Haiti on p. 13

Week 5
Chapters Five and Six
Geography Coloring Book: Puerto Rico on p. 13

Week 6
Chapter Seven and Eight
Geography Coloring Book: Jamaica on p. 13

Week 7
Chapter Nine and Ten
Geography Coloring Book: St. Kitts and Nevis on p. 13

Week 8
Chapter Eleven
Geography Coloring Book: Antigua and Barbuda on p. 13

Week 9
Chapters Twelve and Thirteen
Geography Coloring Book: French Territories on p. 13

Week 10
Chapters Fourteen and Fifteen
Geography Coloring Book: Dominica on p. 13

Week 11
Chapters Sixteen and Seventeen
Geography Coloring Book: St. Lucia on p. 13

Week 12
Chapters Eighteen and Nineteen
Geography Coloring Book: Trinidad & Tobago on p. 13

Third Term: Journey to the River Sea
independent reading: To Go Singing through the World by Deborah Kogan Ray - This is a nice picture book biography of Pablo Neruda.

Week 1
Ch 1-2
Geography Coloring Book: Color Brazil on p 14

Week 2
Ch 3-4
Geography Coloring Book: French Guiana on p 14

Week 3
Ch 5-6
Geography Coloring Book: Color Suriname on p 14

Week 4
Ch 7-8 
Geography Coloring Book: Guyana on p 14

Week 5
Ch 9-10
Geography Coloring Book: Venezuela on p 14

Week 6
Ch 11-12
Geography Coloring Book: Colombia on p 14

Week 7
Ch 13-14
Geography Coloring Book: Argentina on p. 14

Week 8
Ch 15-16
Geography Coloring Book: Eucador on p 14

Week 9
Ch 17-18
Geography Coloring Book: Bolivia on p 14

Week 10
Ch 19-20
Geography Coloring Book: Paraguay on p 14 

Week 11
Ch 21-22
Geography Coloring Book: Uruguay on p 14

Week 12
Ch 23-24
Geography Coloring Book: Falkland Islands on p. 14

First Daughter and Second Daughter's Books 

My daughters read Where the Flame Trees Bloom instead of The Cay and The Tapir Scientist instead of Chucaro.

Where the Flame Trees Bloom

Week 1
Geography Coloring Book: Color Cuba on p. 12

Week 2
The Teacher
Geography Coloring Book: Mexico on p 12

Week 3
Geography Coloring Book: Belize on p 12

Week 4
The Surveyor
Geography Coloring Book: Costa Rica on p 12

Week 5
Geography Coloring Book: El Salvador on p 12

Week 6
Geography Coloring Book: Guatemala on p 12

Week 7
The Legend
Geography Coloring Book: Honduras on p 12

Week 8
Geography Coloring Book: Nicaragua on p 12

Week 9
The Rag Dolls
Geography Coloring Book: Panama on p 12

Week 10
Geography Coloring Book: Caribbean Sea on p 12

Week 11
The Ice Cream Man
Geography Coloring Book: Gulf of Mexico p. 12

Week 12
The Feast of San Juan
Geography Coloring Book: Jamaica on p. 12

Week 13
Geography Coloring Book: Cuba on p. 13

The Tapir Scientist

Read one chapter a week. My girls used the same coloring book assignments as in Chucaro. There are only nine chapters in The Tapir Scientist, so you could either double up some of the coloring (coloring one country doesn't usually take very long) or just stop after the first nine assignments.

I have received nothing for this post. Links to Amazon and Bookshop are affiliate links.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

May 2020 Book Reports

The Practice of the Presence of God
 by Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection - link to my post (library copy).

Menagerie Manor by Gerald Durrell - link to my post (

Links to Amazon and Bookshop are affiliate links. I have received nothing in exchange for this post.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Milton and Free Will: Paradise Lost (Schedule and Test Questions for Level 5 Year 2)

by John Milton

Mater Amabilis™ recommends Paradise Lost for Level 5 Year 2, tenth grade, in the epics portion of English. I read this ahead of First Son on the Dartmouth College John Milton Reading Room website. The website had some helpful explanations of phrases and references. I have a very old copy picked up at a library sale, but First Son and I found it difficult to read. I haven't tried the Penguin one linked here, but I have found other Penguin books well-edited, so it's probably a decent choice if you want a hard copy rather than one online.

I tried to read Paradise Lost when I was in high school and gave up when I got bogged down in all the mythological references and denigrating references to women. After ten years of Mater Amabilis™ reading and enough experience to accept Milton for who he is, I muddled through all the way to the end this time. First Son read it quite happily and enjoyed it, too.

I finished the poem in the midst of a shelter-at-home order when our bishop has stopped all public masses. Though our situation is a little different than Adam's banishment from Eden, Michael's words to Adam as he realizes the drastic change in his situation were profoundly comforting.
Yet doubt not but in Vallie and in Plaine
God is as here, and will be found alike
Present, and of his presence many a signe
Still following thee, still compassing thee round
With goodness and paternal Love, his Face
Express, and of his steps the track Divine.
Book 11, lines 349-354
I decided First Son would read just two epics this year: Song of Roland and Paradise Lost. That gave us some extra time in the schedule to include some of the lectures from The Life and Writings of John Milton by Seth Lerer, especially since we finished Song of Roland in only seven or eight weeks.

In my review of the Milton audiobook, I included our anticipated schedule for the year. I ended up splitting the Paradise Lost readings a bit more. Some of them were rather long, and reading them was even harder online than they would have been in a book. The updated line numbers also work better with the Dartmouth site because they match up with the breaks they've formatted into the poem.

Here's our updated schedule (twice a week):

1. The Life and Writings of John Milton Lecture 5: Paradise Lost--An Introduction - listen and narrate (Note: we skipped lectures 1-4)

2. Book 1 lines 1-330 - narrate.

3. Book 1 lines 331-798 - narrate.

4. The Life and Writings of John Milton Lecture 6: Paradise Lost, Book 1 - listen and narrate

5. Book 2 lines 1-283 - narrate.

6. Book 2 lines 284-628 - narrate.

7. Book 2 lines 629-870 - narrate.

8. Book 2 lines 871-1055 - narrate.

9. The Life and Writings of John Milton Lecture 7: Paradise Lost, Book II - listen and narrate.

10. Book 3 lines 1-371 - narrate.

11. Book 3 lines 372-742 - narrate.

12. The Life and Writings of John Milton Lecture 8: Paradise Lost, Book III - listen and narrate.

13. Book 4 lines 1-357 - narrate.

14. Book 4 lines 358-719 - narrate.

15. Book 4 lines 720-1015 - narrate.

17. The Life and Writings of John Milton Lecture 9: Book IV—Theatrical Milton - listen and narrate

18. Book 5 lines 1-307 - narrate.

19. Book 5 lines 308-576 - narrate.

20. Book 5 lines 577-907 - narrate.

21. Book 6 lines 1-295 - narrate.

22. Book 6 lines 296-608 - narrate.

23. Book 6 lines 609-912 - narrate.

24. Book 7 lines 1-338 - narrate.

25. Book 7 lines 339-640 - narrate.

26. Book 8 lines 1-356 - narrate.

27. Book 8 lines 357-640 - narrate.

28. Book 9 lines 1-375 - narrate.

29. Book 9 lines 376-833 - narrate.

30. Book 9 lines 834-1189 - narrate.

31. The Life and Writings of John Milton Lecture 10: Book IX—The Fall - listen and narrate

32. Book 10 lines 1-382 - narrate.

33. Book 10 lines 383-866 - narrate.

34. Book 10 lines 867-1104 - narrate.

35. Book 11 lines 1-555 - narrate.

36. Book 11 lines 556-901 - narrate.

37. Book 12 lines 1-371 - narrate.

38. Book 12 lines 372-649 - narrate.

39. The Life and Writings of John Milton Lecture 12: Milton's Living Influence - listen and narrate (Note: we skipped lecture 11)

40. Part I of the test on Paradise Lost.

41. Part II of the test on Paradise Lost.

42. Final essay (Composition assignment for the week)

You could choose to do a test or an essay, rather than both, but because we're only reading two epics this year, we did both.  I also count the tenth grade English class (which also includes poetry, daily writing and grammar, and three Shakespeare plays) as an honors level course. The essay will count as his rough draft composition for the week and probably a final draft composition the following week.

I think these test questions would work even if you didn't listen to the audio lectures.

You may not use your text, notes, or narrations for the test. Exact quotations and book/line numbers are not required.

Part I
  1. What similarities do you see between Milton’s Paradise Lost and the ancient epics you read last year?
  2. Tell what you know about the great battle between the armies of angels.
  3. How does Raphael interact with Adam and what do they discuss? 
  4. Tell what you know about Eve’s encounter with Satan in Paradise. 
  5. How does Paradise Lost show free will or a lack of it in the actions of each of these characters?
    1. Satan
    2. Eve
    3. Adam
Part II
  1. How do Adam and Eve differ before and after the Fall?
  2. How does Michael interact with Adam and what do they discuss?
  3. Do you think Milton is sexist? Explain.
  4. Who do you think is the hero of Paradise Lost? Explain.
  5. Defend each of the following positions using examples from the poem:
    1. Adam should not have eaten of the fruit offered by Eve.
    2. Adam was right to eat the fruit offered by Eve.
Final Essay
Choose one of the questions from your exam. Write an extended essay using quotations and evidence from the poem. You should express an opinion and give at least three reasons you believe your opinion is correct.

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. Links to are affiliate links.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Durrell's Zoo: Menagerie Manor

by Gerald Durrell

I added this book to my wish list as soon as I read My Family and Other Animals. In this book, Mr. Durrell is grown and beginning a zoo, one he hopes will allow a dedicated staff to breed captive populations of animals endangered in the wild.

It's just as fabulous as My Family and Other Animals. There are plenty of hilarious mishaps like the attempt at recording a television program, back when television was a new experience, and chasing a tapir through a farmer's field in the middle of the night. It's also a fascinating look at building a zoo and the beginnings of animal population management. Wonderfully, Jersey Zoo still exists.

While there are some descriptions of animal bodily functions, this book is a more suitable for reading aloud than My Family and Other Animals. I intend to add it to our nature read aloud list for next year and I think everyone will be delighted.

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. Links to Amazon, Bookshop, and PaperBackSwap are affiliate links.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Grammar All Around: Fix It! Grammar

and the whole series
by Pamela White

Years ago, with First Son, we used IEW's Writing Course. It worked pretty well for him in the sense that it told him exactly what to write and he would write it. After reading Know and Tell (review here), I decided to be brave and go back to a more Charlotte Mason approach to writing. I must admit, First Son's writing is still an area of concern for me, but I have decided to try to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

We did not, however, change our spelling or grammar programs. The programs we were using took only a few minutes a day and provided simple but steady progress in both skills with minimal work on my part. I wrote about Sequential Spelling already (though I might need an updated post on it), but this post is about our grammar program: IEW's Fix It! Grammar. I was first attracted to this program by the idea that students would read a sentence with some grammatical errors (or with incomplete punctuation, etc.) and then fix the problems. It seemed to me good training for reading their own sentences and recognizes mistakes or weaknesses in their sentence structure.

For each book, I purchase the spiral bound teacher's manual. Then, using the code included with the purchase, I print a copy of the student workbook and put it in a pronged folder. You can use the code to print copies for all your own children, but it is allowed only for the original purchaser. If you want to sell the teacher's manual (or if you buy used), you must purchase printed copies of the student workbook. (There are different policies for school and coop settings, so check the website if they would apply to you.)

When I first introduce this book to my students, and for as long as they need, I read the exercise and work through it each day with him or her. The first book is generally only one sentence a day. Each week, the student labels a few more parts of speech and makes a few more corrections. Then, the student copies the corrected sentence into a dedicated notebook. (At the end, they have a whole story they can keep...not that any of my kids want to keep them.)

There are also vocabulary words for each day. I always ask my kids about those, but we don't spend time looking them up or copying them into a notebook.

Once my kids are comfortable with the whole process, they do the reading and marking on their own. I check it with them, briefly discussing anything they missed, and then they copy it for me to check the next day. The teacher's manual does not assume a student will catch every fix or even fix every mistake the same way. I allow my older kids, especially, great flexibility in how they want to rewrite sentences, as long as they follow good grammatical practices.

I love that usually the teacher's manual has far more information than I need to answer any questions that come up. First Daughter has occasionally asked for more information, so she has a copy of the grammar glossary printed for her school shelf. The glossary is an extensive explanation of all the grammar terms and rules from all six of the books in the series, so there's a lot in there kids don't need to worry about, especially early on.

I ended up liking Fit It! Grammar more than Primary Language Lessons, which we had tried with First Son, because it was less work for the student and less work for me. I also felt like I didn't need the memorization exercises (which we do in other ways and which were difficult or impossible to do in a lesson anyway). While Primary Language Lessons was gentle, it was hard to see where it was going. Some of the lessons seemed much too difficult and some much too easy. Fix It! Grammar seems to progress in a more predictable way.

First Son started Fix It! Grammar Book 1 in the middle of sixth grade and finished the first two books before the end of eighth grade. He has since completed the third and fourth books each within a year. There are 33 weeks' worth of lessons if you do grammar four days a week, but we usually work on it five days a week and finish in fewer than 33 weeks, once the kids are working independently.

First Daughter took two years for the first book, but has done the second and third in one year each. Second Daughter took two years for the first book and will probably take three years for the next two books.

Second Son is another story altogether. He started this year in third grade and I had every intention of moving slowly and working through each sentence with him, but he fought me on it a lot. Not the grammar part; that was easy. It was the sentence copying that was just too tortuous for him. That boy can read and narrate like a pro, but ask him to write a word and he collapses in hysterics. So we took that very slowly, spending at least two if not three days copying a sentence. I did make him work, though! I wrote it in cursive and made him copy in cursive from my copy. I wouldn't say the sentences are great literature, but we counted it as his handwriting and copywork on grammar days. By the end of the year, he really was doing much better, but we still only make it through eight weeks' worth of materials.

But that's ok. According to the IEW website, Books 1 and 2 can be used with third grade through high school. Books 3 and 4 are for sixth grade through high school; and Books 5 and 6 are only for high schoolers. So you wouldn't want to start Book 1 in third grade and go through a book a year; you'd probably end up overwhelming your student.

You don't have to start with Book 1, though it's recommended even for high school students. There is a placement test on the IEW website that includes some of the topics covered by each level.

It's been almost five years and we're still sticking with Fix It! Grammar.

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. Links to Bookshop are affiliate links. Links to IEW are not affiliate links.

Monday, May 25, 2020

2015-2016 Fairy Tales

I decided in 2015-2016 to take a break in the beginning of the year from the Flower Fairy Tale Books collected by Andrew Lang. I believe I started with the theme of "beautiful versions of fairy tales I happened to find at our library" and ended with a book on our shelf.

For whatever reason, we struggled to read fairy tales every week during that school year; perhaps I just scheduled too many outside activities. Here are the few we did read.

In 2015-2016, First Son was in sixth grade, First Daughter was in third grade, Second Daughter was in first grade, and Second Son was still a preschooler.

Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp retold by Philip Pullman with gorgeous illustrations by Sophy Williams - I selected this book from our library because I loved the illustrations so much. There are lots of versions of the tale of Aladdin, but I do think this is one of the better ones. We enjoyed it, reading it over a few weeks rather than all at once. It's longer than a standard picture book.

Merlin and the Making of the King by Margaret Hodges with illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman - This is another one where there are lots of versions, but I tend to love everything by Margaret Hodges and especially with illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman. The stories retold by Hodges tend to be ambiguous in the more mature scenes but without just glossing over immoral behavior, so you may want to pre-read anything from her books. I don't have this book on my shelves, either, so I can't quickly skim it to highlight anything particular in this one. I split this one into multiple readings as well. You would want to spend at least a week on each of the four stories.

Melisande by E. Nesbit, illustrated by P. J. Lynch - This is a fun fairy tale with a twist from Nesbit, one of my favorite authors.

The Book of Saints and Heroes by Andrew and Lenora Lang

I have received nothing for this post. Other than the last book by Lang, these were all books I checked out from our library. Links to Amazon and Bookshop are affiliate links.

Friday, May 22, 2020

First Daughter's Third Grade Reading List

I recently posted First Son's third grade reading list and thought I'd just continue with the third grade immersion. For your comparison, here's First Daughter's third grade reading list.

Of all my children, First Daughter is the most voracious reader. None of the other three kids have read as much as she does in any year, including third grade.

Ginger Pye and Pinky Pye by Eleanor Estes - These are lovely and entertaining books, perfect for young readers who love pets.

The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz - I love this book!

Saint Rose of Lima by Mary Fabyan Windeatt - The saint books by Windeatt are good ones for this age and reading level. I let my kids pick from the handful we have on our shelves.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the other Narnia books by C. S. Lewis

From Kansas to Cannibals: The Story of Osa Johnson by Suzanne Middendorf Arruda - This is a biography of a young woman from Kansas who travelled the world making some of the first movies of natural wildlife in Africa and the people of the South Seas. There's a lot of grappling with out-dated beliefs about non-white ethnicities necessary when reading it, but she's one of my heroes. Third grade on the Range includes both a study of the South Seas in Extreme Environments and a study of Kansas, so it's a perfect fit. Not every family would feel the same. (I just copied this paragraph from the post on First Son.)

Saint Therese of Lisieux: The Way of Love by Mary Kathleen Glavich - The Encounter the Saints series is another good one for this level. Again, I have a handful on the shelves and let the kids pick one when it's time to read a saint biography.

Tikta'liktak: An Inuit-Eskimo Legend by James A Houston - I found this in our library and thought it complemented the Extreme Environments study in third grade so I added it to our independent reading list for the year.

First Daughter, in third grade
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry

The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill - This is a fun book I don't see on enough reading lists.

The Saturdays and The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright - Two of the books in the Melendy Quartet. I think First Daughter read the other books over the summer.

The Moffats and The Middle Moffat by Eleanor Estes - Another great series for this age! First Daughter read at least one other Moffat book as well, but not for "school."

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. All links to Bookshop and Amazon are affiliate links. Many of these books were library books because I can't store enough books to satisfy First Daughter's reading habit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

2015-2016 Memory Work: Sixth Grade, Third Grade, First Grade

This is just a quick post to share the kinds of poems and verses the kids memorized in their respective grades. I remember early on I would have trouble discerning which options were too difficult.

Now, in 2020, I have a big binder of poetry and prayers for them to look through and choose their own. (That's the reward they get when they memorize something - something else to memorize!) I generally choose the Scripture verses unless a child specifically asks for something. They come from readings we've done, catechism books, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, or just verses I happened to like.

I've written before about how we practice our memory work.

First Son's Sixth Grade Memory Work


  • Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - This took him more than a year to memorize, but he learned the whole thing. He was able to immediately notice that our favorite picture book version is missing a verse (for no explicable reason) and, four years later, can still recite it from memory.

Memory Verses

  • James 1:19-20
  • 1 Peter 5:7
  • Daniel 3:26-27 - First Son picked these verses.

First Daughter's Third Grade Memory Work

First Daughter loves memory work. She practices multiple times a week, even on days she doesn't work with me.


Memory Verses
  • 1 John 4:18-19
  • Hebrews 13:16
  • Isaiah 40:31
  • 1 Peter 5:7

Second Daughter's First Grade Memory Work


Memory Verses
  • Jeremiah 31:25
  • Psalm 31:24
  • John 6:35

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. All links to Bookshop and Amazon are affiliate links.

Monday, May 18, 2020

2015-2016 Family Read Aloud List

It's make-up work time on the blog, I guess. I never posted our family read alouds for 2015-2016. That school year I had a sixth grader, third grader, first grader, and a preschooler.

Many of these can be found in the literature recommendation on the Mater Amabilis™ site.

Easter, 2016
The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit and Other Tales by Beatrix Potter - Our edition is out of print, but this is a complete one. My sentimental favorite is a set of miniature original tales Kansas Dad bought at Oxford when he was there for a conference and I was home with lots of little ones.

The Father Brown Reader II: More Stories from Chesterton adapted by Nancy Carpentier Brown - The second volume is more serious than the first in that in contains stories of murders rather than just thefts. Additionally, there is a suicide. A few times, too, I had to walk my eight year old through the conclusion as often it is not explicitly written out.

The Animal Family by Randall Jarrell, decorations by Maurice Sendak

Francie on the Run and Pegeen by Hilda van Stockum - These are the second and third books in the Bantry Bay series and are fantastic. The publisher has frequent sales and many other wonderful books.

The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Storybook by Shirley Hughes - My two youngest (seven and five when we read it) loved these sweet stories of Alfie and Annie Rose just living life. I loved the wedding story that showed a black couple getting married with Alfie as the ring bearer. There's no mention of race in the text, just the illustrations depicting different races celebrating family life together.

The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit

Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry - We finished this book just in time to leave on a cross-country camping trip that included the Grand Canyon. The children loved the book and were thrilled to talk about it all over again when we were visiting the park.


As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes - We listened to this audiobook from the library (read by Cary Elwes!) and loved it so much, I bought it on Audible during a recent sale. If you love The Princess Bride, you will love this book, though you may want to pre-listen to it.

D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths - This is a wonderful book, of course, but it's also a very enjoyable audiobook. Even Kansas Dad appreciated it.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming - This is a really fun story!

We also listened to the Series of Unfortunate Events books, but I didn't think they were that great.

I have received nothing in exchange for this post. All links to Bookshop and Amazon are affiliate links. Most of these were probably library copies, but it was so long ago I can't remember!

Friday, May 15, 2020

First Son's Third Grade Reading List

First Son, back when he was in third grade
This is just a quick post with a list of the books First Son read independently, for lessons but not for narrations, in third grade. I used to find lists like this invaluable in determining the kind of books that were about right for both reading level and age level when my kids were younger. First Son is now sixteen (gasp!), 6'3" (gasp!) and reads just about whatever he wants.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and the rest of the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis - I've linked to one of the editions we've had over the years. I think we've gone through at least three copies of each book over the years.

Walking the Road to Freedom: A Story about Sojourner Truth by Jeffi Ferris - This was on our bookshelf and lined up with our American history readings.

Chike and the River by Chinua Achebe - This matches well with an Africa study. It's a wonderful story of adventure and courage.

A Grain of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman - First Son was able to read this in one day; it's really an early reader. It's a delightful little book, though, and I wanted him to read it even though he was older before I found it.

The Apple and the Arrow by Mary and Conrad Buff - An exciting story of William Tell.

The Wright Brothers: Pioneers of American Aviation by Quentin Reynolds - I think this is my favorite Landmark book. It's well-written, adventurous, and inspiring.

From Kansas to Cannibals: The Story of Osa Johnson by Suzanne Middendorf Arruda - This is a biography of a young woman from Kansas who travelled the world making some of the first movies of natural wildlife in Africa and the people of the South Seas. There's a lot of grappling with out-dated beliefs about non-white ethnicities necessary when reading it, but she's one of my heroes. Third grade on the Range includes both a study of the South Seas in Extreme Environments and a study of Kansas, so it's a perfect fit. Not every family would feel the same.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Blessed John Paul II: Be Not Afraid
 by Susan Wallace (Encounter the Saints series) - This series is a pretty good one for the early elementary years. First Son chose from the ones we have.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder - First Son also read Little House on the Prairie and Farmer Boy. Farmer Boy was by far his favorite.

Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander - I haven't read this book, but my boys have both enjoyed it.

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