Beginning Yet Again: On the Coffee Table

Over one year ago, we finished up a 4 year history cycle (beginning at Creation and ending with the present-day) and we started again at the beginning.   We journeyed a few weeks into the new unit, when I realized I’d been wrong to start.  We love our humanities studies, and in some ways it’s the heart of our homeschool, but I was drowning in adoption paperwork, learning French, teaching Kieran to read, trying to establish both little boys on the academic basics, and mapping out Kaira’s highschool plans…  I just didn’t have the resources to do the humanities justice.  My four oldest children indulge in literature study independently if afforded the time, so we took  a season to focus on the basics–maintaining solid routines to serve us well through the adoption process and cement our routines and family structure to carry us through Kiffanie’s arrival.

Although I was slow on the uptake and should have made that decision before starting in on a new cycle through history, it all worked out.  The children read avidly, enjoying a wide range of literature (see yesterday’s post for a small sampling), and we kept up the 3Rs as well as the arts.   Unschooling the humanities served us well for a season, but the children admitted missing our Tapestry of Grace study.  They cheered when I announced we’d be starting up!

Many (but not all) of our resources reflect our Creationist perspective.  We like to study other views in addition, so you’ll see a variety of perspective in our book basket.  Even among the Creationist titles, I don’t recommend all unreservedly.  Some are historic fiction/Biblical fiction; a worthy and fascinating genre, but one that requires a reader discretion.  (Because critical thinking and discernment are keys we want our children to develop, I think these books provide great discussion opportunities.)  Fiction inspires us to ask questions and propels us toward non-fiction in search of answers.

Some questions we encourage the children to ask when reading these historic/biblical fiction (or even biblical fantasy) accounts are:

  • What part of this is imagination?
  • What ideas are backed by reliable first hand sources?
  • What parts are opinion?
  • Do accounts from the first hand sources indicate that this guess could  accurate, or do they contradict this interpretation?
  • How do you imagine it happened?

In our homeschool, these are valuable discussions, but for some it’s a stumbling block, so I give a disclaimer.

The Bible isn’t included in our widgets below, but it is a primary text for this whole unit.  Mystery of History will be another “spine” that ties everything together as we move through Ancient Pre-History.  (I reach for Story of the World for later eras.)

I’m excited to resume the Herein Is Love series from Shepherd Press as our read aloud.  Like so many things, it had been shelved as we waded through adoption paperwork, and then set aside while we parred down our routine.    I highly recommend this conversation Bible commentary as valuable for all ages.   It has rich theology and shows Christ through the Pentateuch and grace through the law.  I especially appreciate the author’s refreshing ability to writes respectfully to children and doesn’t condescend.  She simplifies without dumbing  down.

And hello again to the hero Gilgamesh!  I usually don’t like “children’s versions” but there are a few good ones–this retelling of the Gilgamesh epic is one such exception.

Below is a glimpse into our book basket (Click through if you are reading from an external feed to see the widgets):

Beginning Again on the Coffee Table

Click to explore the curriculum we use

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2 thoughts on “Beginning Yet Again: On the Coffee Table

  1. Love all the books you listed! Thank you! Question off topic…what program do you use to make your collages? Thanks for sharing!

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