Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 12

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Chapter 12 covered Charles I and Oliver Cromwell. What a chapter! For some reason, England is always interesting for us to study.

Homemade bread

Homemade bread

We made some bread in the bread machine and talked about the cooking project in the book, a loaf that measures up. Susan Wise Bauer provides a recipe for “easy bread” in the Activity Book. I am curious enough to try it some day, but not right now. I have too many things going. Maybe I will try making it during spring break, which is coming up shortly. Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 8

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The Middle of the East or Chapter 8 was all about the Persian puzzle and the Ottoman Turks. Needless to say, I have a great deal to add to the history lessons on the Ottoman Empire, as someone who grew up in Romania. Thanks to our proximity to the Black Sea area, Romanians were always being invaded or threatened to be invaded. For centuries, the Turks were our greatest enemies.

Bridge of four arches

One soldier was enough to make the bridge of four arches bend.

The craft we chose was to build a bridge of four arches. It was not that hard, but it was not easy either. Scotch tape helps but it can be unruly, as I just used scrap paper for the arches, and scrap paper is flimsy. By the way, let us talk about the supplies needed. Typing paper? I had to look that up. Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 3, Chapter 1

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Here we go again. Another school year means we go on with history. It’s hard to believe, but we have reached the year 1600 in our studies. On our first day of school this year, we read Chapter 1 of Volume 3 in Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer.

Story of the World Volume 3

Story of the World Volume 3

 

I don’t know why the layout is slightly different but it does not matter. It’s the same basic format:

  • I read a chapter out loud from the main book, which contains the actual “stories”
  • They color a picture which I copy from the Activity Book
  • We work on the map provided for that chapter in the Activity Book
  • We do a craft suggested, if I feel up to it
  • We read a suggested title, optional

Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 28

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The kingdoms of Spain and Portugal are covered in chapter 28 and the kids really enjoyed the lesson. Our son loves explorations and Henry the Navigator really impressed him. The saga of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile captured the imagination of both our children. Who needs fiction when history is so full of amazing stories, right?

Ferdinand and Isabella paper dolls

Ferdinand and Isabella paper dolls

We need more writers who can put these stories into great books for little children. However, you will always run into the problem of violence and how to depict it for children while staying historically accurate. For instance, Susan Wise Bauer totally skipped over the Inquisition in this chapter. She put a note at the end of the chapter about her concern over the topic and young children.  Continue reading »

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Tuesday Tome Week 18 – Madame Bovary

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I read Madame Bovary painstakingly. It took me longer than a week because I had to put it down over and over again. I was not sure I could finish it. It pains me to see characters – especially women – making foolish mistakes again and again. When I finally came to about 80% of the book, – yes, I read it on my Kindle – I started enjoying it. Why? Because Emma Bovary was finally hitting rock bottom.

Madame Bovary

I don’t like reckless behavior, whether in real life or in literary fiction. I understand why Susan Wise Bauer included this novel in her list of 32 best novels to read from Western literature. It is the first novel chronologically which puts an end to Romanticism and starts Realism as a current in literature.

Gustave Flaubert shocked many people with the realistic depictions of every day life and the adultery Madame Bovary engaged in while married to Charles Bovary, a country doctor in Yonville, France. Flaubert even got sued over the book, which shocked the sensibilities of many in the 19th century.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday Tome Week 6 – Jane Eyre

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Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is a masterpiece. No wonder then that of all the things the Bronte sisters wrote, Susan Wise Bauer included only Jane Eyre into her list of 32 novels produced by the Western world since the genre was created, around the 1600s. Jane is way ahead of her time. She makes herself the equal of a man (a wealthy gentleman, too) – great feat in 1847! – through conversation and wit and attitude.

Jane Eyre

But Jane Eyre is more than just an early feminist. She is a Christian who is grappling with injustice, hypocrisy, delusion, and missionarism in the people around her. Some have said this book is anti-Christian because of characters like Mr. Brocklehurst and St John Rivers. These men seem more like caricatures, but have you not met hypocritical characters in your local congregation? Have you not met exalted young missionaries who are deluded into thinking they are doing God and the world a favor through their daily sacrifices? I know I have met my fair share of such people. So this book spoke to me on a very personal level.  Continue reading »

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The Well-Educated Mind

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When I purchased my copy of The Well-Trained Mind three years ago, I thought I would never be interested in The Well-Educated Mind. I thought I would be reading right along my children as we followed suggestions from The Well-Trained Mind. Who would have time for anything else? I was wrong.

The Well-Educated Mind

The book for homeschooling parents who are thirsty for more

Not that I find myself with “vast chasms of time” on my hands, to use Thomas Jefferson’s expression. But I got my kids on track with their assignments from The Well-Trained Mind and now I find myself curious, hungry, and eager for filling in the gaps in my own education. When I heard The Well-Educated Mind was being revised and re-published in October 2015, I placed my pre-order in September and waited (im)patiently for it to come out.  Continue reading »

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Smithsonian Associates Event

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The Smithsonian Associates is the largest museum-based educational program in the world. They offer over 750 events in a calendar year: workshops, tours, lectures, performances, summer camps etc.

My educational guru, Susan Wise Bauer, will be lecturing there on December 5, about one of her books – The Story of Western Science. I have read the book and learned a lot from it. I highly recommend it. It will give you an overview of the scientific themes humanity grappled with over the centuries. The book also contains enough details about each important scientific manuscript to help you understand specific topics.

Her all-day lecture (with lunch break) at the Smithsonian it titled Reading the Great Books of Science. The cost to attend is $150 if you are not a Smithsonian Associate member.  Continue reading »

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Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 6

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Chapter 6 deals with the rise of Islam. We worked on the craft first. I definitely did not want to make an oasis scene with all the candy recommended, so I was glad they provided a low-sugar version. Even so, I decided that we could use LEGO bricks for the camel, since we did not have animal crackers.

Camel and bedouin in an oasis

Camel and bedouin in an oasis

The kids got into it when I told them to build me some palm trees.

Oasis craft

Putting the oasis together

I prepared the sand by crushing up some old wheat crackers in a zip lock bag, with a rolling pin.

I made "sand" by crushing wheat crackers

I made “sand” by crushing wheat crackers

They surprised me by adding a mini-figure to the scene. The water was aluminium foil, which I kept in place with double tape. Maybe it should have been something blue, like in the sugared up version of the scene, but aluminium works too, as it reflects light the way a body of water does.

Bedouin on camel coloring sheet

Bedouin on camel coloring sheet; can you tell which one was colored by my kindergartner?

As I read the stories to them, they colored the bedouin on his camel (coloring sheet provided in the Activity Book). Then, I asked them the review questions. Finally, we worked on the map. It’s very tempting to do it all. But I decided this was enough for this chapter. There are three other activities recommended in the book, for those who do not have the book.

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Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 1

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We started the second volume of Story of the World during what is officially our summer break because (1) my children asked for history and (2) the textbook has 42 chapters while the school year only has 36 weeks. It is recommended that we cover one chapter per week, so we need to cover six chapters before we start our new school year in August. Of course, nothing bad happens if we get behind or if we finish the textbook after we close our 180 days of school next year…

But when my five-year-old says, “Mommy, we have not done history in a long time. We need to do history!” and when my son says, “When do we start studying about the Middle Ages, mom?” I know it is time to start photocopying the activity pages and order extra reading material from the library.

Magic carpet craft activity

I printed out a picture of them so we can glue their faces onto the page provided.

Just to clarify, the Activity Book gives parents permission to photocopy activity pages (maps, coloring, craft patterns, paper dolls etc) for the needs of their family. Also in the Activity Book one can find lists of corresponding literature, fiction and non fiction, which one can purchase or borrow from the library, to enhance the study of each chapter.  Continue reading »

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