Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Reading Through Independence Day

You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom.
I hope you will make a good use of it. - John Adams

July 4th has become a time of outdoor activities, fireworks and cooking out but we need to remember the reason behind the celebration.  Early American's took this holiday very seriously as they realized the price paid for their freedom and the work it would take to hold on to it.

America is unique and has been a country like no other.  It is the only country that we know of that was ever founded for people to worship God.  We are a nation about liberty and freedom and equality.  Sadly, today we have come to think that freedom means everyone doing whatever they want and equality means entitlement.  True freedom is to be responsible, self-controlled and not unnecessarily dependent on others.  True freedom gives more than it takes and doesn't harm his neighbor.  Equality, as the founders intended it, was that all men be treated justly by their government and that all men have equal opportunity to succeed or fail depending on the choices they make.

It is important to take time to pass on to your children the heritage of freedom that so many paid so dearly for and that they learn what true freedom is.  We need to raise up a generation of people who look to God not government as their true source of life, liberty and happiness.

Below are some great books to help you celebrate the meaning of Independence Day with your family.  For books on the American Revolution, the Declaration and Constitution to go along with these be sure to check out Reading Through the American Revolution Part 1 (the war), Reading Through the American Revolution Part 2 (the founders) and Reading Through the US Presidential Elections and Government.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Reading Through the Wild West for Older Children

Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything, in a gun fight...You need to take your time in a hurry. - Wyatt Earp

The Wild West is an exciting time in history full of brave and courageous people: lawmen, outlaws and Native Americans.

Below is a list of some great biographies, along with other books, about some of the courageous and brave people who have helped make this great nation.

If you are need of more books along these lines or would like some for younger children be sure to check out these units: Westward Expansion, Reading Through the Wild West (for Younger Children), Reading Through Texas, Reading Through Deserts, Reading Through Frontiersmen

Friday, December 15, 2017

Best Books for Finding Children's Books

There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book. —Frank Serafini

It is probably obvious but I love reading. And as a person who loves reading, I love books about books. There are so many lists of books for children online but if you are like me you don't find your electronic device nearly as inviting as a real physical book in your hands. This lists contains books that will help you find great children's books.  

Recently I purchased a new book chock full of wonderful ideas of books for my family. I have several of these types of books (see below) but what sets this one apart is the wonderful format that it is in. This book is more than 2" thick and has 1001 children's book listed by age. This book is so inviting. Just flipping through and seeing the book covers and illustrations (from the book being presented) will make you want to find a cozy spot and sit down and browse this book. Every page is printed on quality paper and almost every page has a color picture on it. Each book presented has a nice review of the book which helps you decide if it is one you might be interested in. I keep a pen and pad handy to jot down books I later want to see about obtaining. There is a wide variety here: books from as early as c 200 BC until 2009. Many titles I've found in this book are not listed in other books I have like this. A lot of gems that I think otherwise you might not find, along with many long standing classics and popular titles are included here.

The only real negatives I see to this book is that it is a few years old (2009) and so very recent books are not here, a few of the titles are foreign and from what I can find are not available in English and that the collection does not have the Christian homeschool audience in mind and you may need to exercise caution with some of the titles. If you like this kind of book you won't want to miss this one!

I am also including some of the other books I've found that I think are the best for finding children's books and each one on this list brings something new.  I don't think I could just pick one and say it is the best and the only one you need. 

(If you want to encourage your children to read and the importance of words you might like this unit study - Reading through Noah Webster and Words)

While the Truthquest Guides were designed to be used as a homeschool curriculum, I've found the Truthquest guides to be very helpful in finding books on historical topics. These are by far the best and most comprehensive lists of books that I've found for finding great historical books for my children. They are worth every penny just for the book recommendations that they contain. Below you can see the series of them and what historical periods they cover. I won't put together my history units for my children without consulting them for book ideas first!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Reading Through Westward Expansion

ENDURANCE - the power to withstand pain or hardships, the ability or strength to continue despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions.

In Hebrews 10:36 (NKJV) the scripture says, "For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise" 
In a world where are children are used to modern conveniences, speedy services, electronic devices and very little physical work they do not realize until we teach them what others before them have toiled and worked for. Children today many times expect easy, comfort and material possessions to be handed to them for no effort on there part. Some even think they are entitled to these benefits. Our children have very little opportunity to develop the quality of endurance in our modern American culture.

To see the toughness and endurance of people you need only to study the early pioneers of American history. The westward expansion of our nation came with much struggle, hardship and determination. Today we complain if it takes a an extra hour to fly from New York to Los Angeles when just over 150 years ago it took people many months or even a year to cross these beautiful United States. People died and people were born in the time they traveled westward. It is hard to imagine what people were made up (certainly much tougher than they seem today). In a world where are children are used to modern conveniences, speedy services, electronic devices and very little physical work they do not realize until we teach them what others before them have toiled and worked for. Children today many times expect easy, comfort and material possessions to be handed to them for no effort on there part. Some even think they are entitled to these benefits.

These are just a few books that we used for a unit study this year to learn about pioneers and westward expansion.  Soon I will be following up this blog with companion studies: railroads, cowboys and cattles drives, and Native Americans. (See Reading Through the Wild West for Older Children here)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Reading Through Lost at Sea Stories for Older Children

“Those people cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them because they see and covet what He has not given them. All of our discontents for what we want appear to me to spring from want of thankfulness for what we have.”  Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Dafoe)

I am particularly fond of survival stories.  It is amazing what people can endure and overcome.  This list is comprised of survival stories that have to do with being lost at sea.

Recently we read aloud Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex.  I found this book on a clearance rack and took a chance on it.  It is a real page turner.  My husband and 11 year old never wanted to me to stop when it was time.  What these men endured and their story is one you shouldn't miss and should read with your family if time permits.

Be sure to include the historical account of Jonah recorded in the Holy Bible in the book of Jonah. This is a survival story that is not to be missed!

Do you have a favorite lost at sea survival story?  Be sure to share in the comments section!

Also related: Reading Through Robert Louis Stevenson, Reading Through Sea Exploration Part 1, Reading Through Sea Exploration Part 2

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Reading Through Richard Wurmbrand and Romania

I have found truly jubilant Christians only in the Bible, in the Underground Church and in prison. 
- Richard Wurmbrand

Richard Wurmbrand was a Romanian Christian minister who spent 14 years in a brutal, Communist prison in Romania. His story is one that is so moving, so touching and yet difficult to read at times. But we need Christian examples, Christian men and women, true heroes for our children to learn about. Wurmbrand is a real Christian hero!

He died at age 91 but he left a legacy through his ministry Voice of the Martyrs. You can subscribe for free to their magazine (there is a children's website, also). It is a great ministry that you and your family can take active part in helping the persecuted church of today. Participating in putting together a care pack for a displaced Christian or a persecuted family is a great way for your children to learn how to serve and how to be thankful for their own abundance and the goodness of God they are blessed to experience. (VOM is a great way to learn geography and about other cultures, too!)

Be sure to watch actual clips of Richard Wurmbrand. Two we particularly enjoyed is this overview of his story and also this interview of RIchard and his wife, Sabina.

We had the privilege of visiting Romania in 2017 and took the time to learn about the country in which Wurmbrand was from. There doesn't seem to be many books available for children about Romania but I've included the ones we read.

If doing this as a unit your family might enjoy listening to a Romania choir and orchestra sing a beautiful version of Unto the Lamb!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Reading Through Bears for Younger Children

If the person you are talking to does not appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in this ear.- Winnie the Pooh

Don't miss taking time to read aloud to your younger children (and older ones too!)  Take time out of the busyness and craziness of life and snuggle with your child or children and read some wonderful books about bears!  I love the books the books on this list and I believe you and your family will too!

Have a favorite bear picture book?  Be sure to add it to the comments section below!

(If you like this list you might also enjoy: Reading Through Picture Books, Reading Through Children's Treasuries, and Reading Through Dahlov Ipcar Picture Books

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