Awesome books that we have just read or are currently reading (note: we’ve borrowed each of these from our local library…I include the amazon links just so that it’s clear what I’m talking about here. 🙂
Can You Count to a Googol? by Robert Wells.

Theo and Nic consumed this book. They took turns reading and trying to pronounce big words related to big numbers. It was fun. Now 2 weeks later they are still both asking me if ‘numbers really never end?’
Loaves of Fun by Elizabeth Harbison

I’ve mentioned this book in a previous post. I’ll be sad to give this one back to the library, which means it goes on the ‘buy’ list. It’s a wonderful book about bread and it’s place in history throughout all known human civilizations. Included are loads of recipes.

Here’s the one for Drop Biscuits (pg 8). We made these again last night and they are always scrumptious (and absolutely the best when the are eaten same day).

2 cups flour (we use 100% whole wheat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons of butter, softened plus extra to grease the pan
3/4 cup milk

We found that they are kinda dry so we use 3/4 a stick of butter and 1 cup of milk with the whole wheat.

Heat oven to 450 degrees and grease the bottom of your baking pan

Mix all ingredients together until there are no big lumps

Drop onto the baking tray

Cook for apprx 10 minutes

Makes approx 12.
The Discovery of the Americas by Betsy and Giulio Maestro

This is a picture-book style overview of the main explorers of the Americas. Lots of full-color pictures. Moves quickly. This is the type of book that can keep Theo’s attention.
Around the World in a Hundred Years by Jean Fritz

This is the chapter book, much greater detail and indepth, exploration book. The pencil-drawn illustrations are wonderfully humorous, informative, and content-appropriate. This is NOT a book to keep Theo’s attention, but Nic loved it and begged for more each day. This book goes in to great detail about the lives and misadventures of all the major explorers. Awesome find.
African Beginnings by J. Haskins and K. Benson

We’ve just started this one this morning. It’s picture-book style, but text-heavy on some pages. The illustrations are wonderful, like grand paintings in and of themselves.
Reading about the explorers and the beginning of colonization and the slave trade (in 100 Years above) whetted Nic’s appetite for knowing more about the peoples of Africa so callously taken, brutalized and traded. This and other books like it, I believe, will help bring some necessary balance to a very euro-centric telling of history.
If You Were There in 1776 by Barbara Brenner

This is the book we’ll start next. It’s also a chapter book, which means greater indepth reading than what Nic’s been exposed to on this topic.


Ok, that’s my current list.

Maybe it’s obvious that I love history. I minored in history in college and really love delving into subjects. My main history and sociology (that was my major) professors each believed in the value of understanding the ‘fabric of society and everyday life’ as a precursor to learning history.

I agree. What value is it to memorize dates and names of important events and people and not know what caused the events or what the life of the average citizen was like?

So our study of history is very much ‘social fabric’ oriented — and we follow interests and fun questions and sometimes end in very unexpected (and entertaining) places.

And it is fun.

We read and read and read.

As I type, Nic is reading the Googol book out loud to me…simply because he wants to. 🙂

What’s next? I’m collecting the names of a few good books about early astronomers. The subject is one of Nic’s favorites and in this way he can work with numbers more and add more interesting items to his timeline book.

Theo? He’s creating lego creations on the computer via Lego Digital Designer, which is a free software download from lego. You can build a creation with any of thousands of parts. If you want, after you create the piece, you can order all the pieces needed to make it IRL. Theo, though, prefers to use the ‘explode’ function to watch them fly in all directions and then put themselves back together.

Whinnie is building with wooden blocks and signing things to me. Of all my 3 children, she’s the one who has loved signing the most. She signs all the time, even when she knows the word.

Oh, and she’s discovered the puzzly-fun of building train tracks with the wooden Thomas-esque pieces.

So, the floor is messy, there’s dishes to be done, and I am happy watching each of them become who they are meant to be.

One last link:
This is a link to an article entitled “How to be a Good Unschooler.” Food for thought. Thanks, Stephanie for the link. 🙂