Story of Civilization Book List and Pictures

Have any of you used the new Story of Civilization curriculum from Tan? This year, our family will be delving into Ancient History. In past years, I was quite satisfied with using the popular Story of the World, vol. 1 for teaching Ancient History. This year, because I really like the audio CDs, we’ll be using the Catholic version, Story of Civilization.

Yes, I ordered the whole kit and kaboodle – activity book, test book, teacher’s guide, time line, CD’s, and text book. Everything except for the DVDs. When the books came in the mail, everything looked great… except for one thing: when I looked at the teacher’s guide, there was no book list of recommended reading for each chapter! Picture books and novels are really what makes history come alive. So….

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Our Homeschool Room

As promised, here is a tour of our homeschool room. When I first began homeschooling my two oldest, we lived in a town house. We turned our finished basement into a little school room with a table, cabinets, and a chalkboard. After a  year or two of that, I got tired of spending most of our waking hours in a basement that hardly had any natural light. We moved up to the dining room and kept the kids’ books in bins on the sideboard table. The toddlers played in the adjoining living room while the bigger kids studied at the dining room table. When our fifth baby was born, we began to feel a little crunched in our townhouse. So a few years ago, we moved into a house that allowed us to have a school room on the main floor:

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WWII, the Battle of Britain, and Great Summer Reading

Well, she’s done it yet again. My daughter Carolyn (aka Big-Sis) has written another novel. As the oldest of six kids and an avid reader, she knows what makes a book appealing. My boys devoured this one.

The Badge of Kenley’s Legend is a historical fiction that takes place in England during WWII. A plucky orphan boy  overhears a German spy’s ploy to destroy the Royal Air Force Kenley, the base where his beloved brothers are stationed. Stuck in the countryside as an evacuee, he sets out to warn his brothers in order to save them from impending doom.

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Tour a Home School

One of the things I enjoy during the summer is cleaning out and reorganizing our homeschool room. I’m often on the lookout for new ways to organize and for fun, creative ways to use our space. So,  I asked some of my friends to share pictures of their homeschool rooms. Here are four homes for you to tour, along with commentary from the moms.

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For the Love of Latin

I love Latin. Ever since my highschool trip to Rome, where Latin phrases adorn the walls of churches, I have admired the logic, beauty, and timelessness of the Latin language.

But I also know that when we consider the myriad of subjects and activities we wish to include in our children’s curricula, it can be easy to put Latin on the “nice but not necessary” list. After all, Latin is a dead language, right?

Not quite.

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A Father’s Rules for Discernment

Happy Father’s Day! Here’s a post my husband wrote for the Dads:

Do you ever wonder how God intends for us to cope with, or better yet master, the daily demands of life?  I do.  If you’ve read any of Mary’s blog posts, I imagine that you’ve found her to be inspiring – as do I.  How does she do it all?  Our house is always impeccable, the children are excelling in their studies, the bills get paid on time, she has a large and growing number of friends, she’s written three (or is it four now) books, and she seems to always have time for the essentials. Then, there’s me… So, I couldn’t help but wonder, how does she do it? 

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Super Special Fathers

They come to church on Sunday mornings, a father and his son. Although we try not to stare, we can’t help but notice because there is something so beautifully edifying about this pair. The father, large and strong, carries his son, thin and frail, into the church. He places him on the pew and gently props the limp boy, whose arms and legs dangle uselessly, against his own muscular build. The boy is about twelve. We don’t know their names or their story. We don’t know the medical condition that renders the boy so helpless. Yet my husband and I both agree that no music is as moving and no homily as uplifting as the sight of this father and the love he bears for his son.

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The Handy Dandy Homeschool Shopping List

Last year I put this list up in the Homeschooling Help menu during the spring. With so many kids to plan and buy books for, I made this list to keep track of what I needed to buy, what I ordered , and what arrived. I also like to compare prices of new and used books, so I made columns for that.  I made a  division between Books I Need and Books I Want, because don’t we all get excited about new curricula? Now with this list, I buy the books I absolutely need first, and then if I haven’t spent too much, I go for the books I want. For those of you who sometimes discover you have bought two of the same book (oops!), here’s the handy-dandy list:

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To Test or Not to Test? Homeschooling and Standardized Testing

With the advent of Spring, our school year is beginning to wind down. I begin to think about books we want to read this summer and next year’s curriculum. But first I remind myself, “It’s time to order those tests.”

Standardized testing. Some states require testing, and others don’t. For those of us who are privileged enough to be given the choice, the decision is worth consideration. If not required, should we make our homeschooled children take standardized tests? What are the pros and cons?

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Hey Tiger Mom, Tired of Being Tough?

Have you ever heard of The Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother by Amy Chua? A controversial New York Times best-seller, it tells the story of a Chinese Yale professor who raises her children “the Chinese way”. I have not read the book, but I am well acquainted with this Chinese way. When I taught piano back in the days when I was single, I had several Chinese students who were being raised by Tiger Mothers. These kids were amazing. They were respectful and hard working.  They listened carefully to everything I  told them and were very diligent about practicing exactly the way I instructed them to, every day, seven days a week. No wonder they made rapid progress and performed beautifully. I loved teaching the children of Tiger moms. They were dream students.

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