Friday, June 24, 2011

Home on the Range Choices for Studying Greek Myths with Little Ones

Three weeks ago, I posted our review of Connecting with History Volume 1. I intended to follow it a few days later with this post, but I've been having trouble following through on my blogging plans. Such is life with four little ones, even in the summer. Or perhaps, especially in the summer.

I mentioned in the review that we loved nearly every book recommended by the Volume 1 syllabus. There were some books we did not read together because our library did not have them and I didn't buy every single book. Of the ones we read, though, most were wonderful. Except for Unit 7 when we were supposed to read some of the Greek myths and fables. I think the recommendations for the beginner level were inexpensive, which is good, but I opted instead to use a few resources we had on our shelves or at our local library. I imagine other people will be studying Greek myths and fables, even if you don't purchase Connecting with History (though I highly recommend it), so I thought I'd post what we read and enjoyed.

First of all, we've been reading Aesop's Fables for Children, illustrated by Milo Winter, for the past two years. I read one or two fables each week and First Son narrated them. Honestly, for nearly two years, these are the only readings he consistently narrated successfully. First Daughter can also narrate them well. The children love the illustrations and I've been pleased with the translation (not that I can compare with the Greek, though I could ask Kansas Dad to do so for me). This particular book comes with a CD which we've never played. I wanted to read them myself during our lesson time. I plan to take the CD in the van with us sometime this summer when we have a break between audio books. Another collection we found at our library and enjoyed is Unwitting Wisdom : An Anthology of Aesop's Fables by Helen Ward. If you are purchasing and can only buy one, I'd recommend the Milo Winter book.

The Lion & the MouseThe Lion and the Mouse illustrated by Jerry Pinkney is a wonderful adaptation of one of Aesop's fables. Mr. Pinkney, who happens to be a favorite illustrator of mine, has created a beautiful wordless picture book. I think it would be interesting to ask a young child to narrate this book before reading the traditional fable together. (I didn't do that because my children had already heard the fable.) We all loved this book. I think even Second Daughter could narrate it by the time we returned it to the library.

King Midas and the Golden Touch by Charlotte Craft is one of the few picture books I like of a Greek myth. It's well illustrated and well told. The children enjoyed it as well.

We also read selections from D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, which is recommended for the grammar level (I think) in Connecting with History. We own a copy of this wonderful book as a gift from dear friends, so I had it on the shelf already. Though I think many first or second graders may be happy listening to these stories, First Son's attention wandered a bit. We'll read them more thoroughly the next time we study Ancient history.

Another good option may be Classic Myths to Read Aloud by William F. Russell. I've only read a few of these myself, but I've recently purchased it for next year. It's recommended for Mater Amabilis Level 1A. We'll read one tale a week. They are divided into two reading levels. For each myth, there's a summary, pronunciation guide, and estimate of the reading time. It looks very promising.

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