Viking Adventures and More

We continue our Middle Ages Study; Over the next three weeks we’ll continue examining medieval ecclesiastical structure, study Islam in greater depth, pretend we are Vikings on daring adventures, delve deeper into philosophy and theology, research feudalism, and meet Emperor Charlemagne!  Below is a sampling of books for weeks 4-6 (of ten weeks total) in the Middle Ages.  As the children study Beowulf, I think it’s time to break out a copy of Grendel for my own re-reading!

(If you are reading through a feed-reader and can’t see the widgets showing our book selections, click on through to the blog.)


Into the Middle Ages

The blog has been quiet since January!  We’ve been keeping on with full academics, but our Tapestry of Grace Humanities Studies took a back seat as I’ve juggled new health challenges.  (More on that in a later post, but for now, I’ll just share that my breast cancer returned in other organs, and is now Stage IV.) Despite–and even amid–the health challenges, we are blessed abundantly; Life, while undeniably altered, is still rich and full, but my already lagging blog slips further into the backseat (or maybe even the trunk or hatch-back?) as academics, excursions, music lessons, dance lessons, swimming, electives, social outings, fellowship, chemotherapy, natural treatments, and often just crashing on the couch, take precedence.

Returning to our formal humanities studies, we pick up where we left off before Christmas. (I neglected to post our final set of late-Roman-empire books.)  The great Roman Empire has fractured and crumbled, and Britain is rising.  This is an exciting era to study.  The children are already planing jousts and medieval feasts!  Below is a sampling of books from this first three weeks (of ten weeks total) in the Middle Ages.

(If you are reading through a feed-reader and can’t see the widgets showing our book selections, click on through to the blog.)

Classical Greece in our Book Basket

We are back in Ancient Greece–a bit further down the timeline, and now at the height of the classical era!  The book baskets are spilling over with riches as we wrap up the school year.

Kaira, my Rhetoric level student, has a few reading assignments not represented in the book basket.  Plato’s Apology, Crito, and Republic,  and Aristotle’s Politics can be found free online, so she’ll be using those  resources in addition to several items in the book basket below.

We stretched the definition a bit to include the Percy Jackson series which Ken’s reading aloud to the children.  It’s bodaciously fictional, and set in modern times, but we decided it “counts” because they feature the Greek gods.  This series is great fun for all ages.

Below, our book basket for the upcoming month; If you are reading on a feed reader and can’t see the widgets, click through to see our book selections for this fun era:

Ancient Mesopotamia on the Coffee Table

I’m late posting these books to the blog–in real time we’ve been enjoying them for several weeks and are about to proceed with the second half of the unit and a new batch of books.  While I’ve neglected this blog we’ve studied Ancient Mesopotamia, and Israel has risen, divided, and been taken into Babylonian Captivity!  We’ve studied Assyrians, Medes, Persians and Chaldeans, with heroes such as Solomon, Daniel, Queen Esther, and Nehemiah–among others. Books of the Bible supplement our book basket this round, as do some online resources.

Stay tuned, next week Ken’s off work and we’ll take a break from Tapestry studies to get the garden started, then it’s off to the Classical age of Greece–one of my favorite civilizations!

Below, our book basket from the previous few weeks:

‘Ites in the Book Basket

We continue with Early Ancient Greece (Classical Greece is still up the road a bit), as well as visiting lots of “Ite” cultures from the same era.  We rejoin the Israelites about the time of their entering the Promised land, and get acquainted with their neighbors, the Canaanites, Hittites, Moabites, Amorites, and Ammonites.  We throw in the Philistine and Lydian cultures–even though they don’t fit the “ite” theme.  In addition to the books shown in the widgets below, we draw from the Bible, Mystery of History, and Story of the World.

If you are reading via a feed reader and you can’t see the book widgets, click on through!  I hope to get the rest of Keianna’s tenth birthday party up on the blog later this week–meanwhile, school and life rhythms keep a steady beat going here!

Cycladics, Minoans, Mycenaeans and Trojans on My Coffee Table

Rain drops on the skylights, and children practicing piano provide background music as I type this post.  I’m sipping my homemade pumpkin spice latte, and living the dream!  (Yeah, I dream small, but then, I’ve always been a simple-pleasure-sort.)  Drizzly autumn days are perfect for lighting candles, baking, curling up with a book, and enjoying the homey glow indoors!  I’ve often wondered what sort of melancholy person I must be to prefer overcast dampness to bright sunshine.

Our book-basket is stocked with treasures, new and old, and the crock-pot is bubbling.  Rain and snow on the forecast will interfere little with our busy-at-home plans for this week.  Maybe I’ll even catch up on blog posts and share glimpses of recent prairiefrog fun!  (Photos from Kiffanie’s birthday, the zoo, schooling snapshots, and Keianna’s early birthday party wait on my hard-drive.)

We continue our journey through time by stopping off in ancient Greece, where we’ll enjoy the flavor of Cycladic, Minoan, Mycenaean and Trojan cultures.  (We’ll return to classical Greece again next quarter, as this visit touches on only the earliest Greek civilization.)

Greek mythology, fascinates me–and the earliest Greek fables charm me more than the more complex, classical era’s pantheon.

Kaira’s digging deeper into the Illiad and the Odyssey as Tapestry guides her through Words of Delight by Leland Ryken, a rich Biblical  Literary Analysis resource she’s using over several units.  Although some have reviewed Words of Delight as dull, Tapestry’s interweaving of the book’s concepts through many other works of literature over  the scope of History has made it one of Kaira’s favorites.  It’s not pictured in the book basket because it’s an ongoing text/reference rather than being specific to emerging Greek cultures.

If you are reading through a feed reader and can’t see the book widgets, click on through to the blog!  Two widgets, one of book covers, the other text with titles and authors, share our smorgasbord for the next two weeks.

Ancient Americas, China, and India on The Coffee Table

These books showed up on our coffee table a week ago, at which time I typed out this post–complete with the virtual “book basket” widgets.  Somehow in the busy blur, I never actually published it to the blog, so it languished in draft mode all week.  I have other posts in my head awaiting typing–Kiffanie’s birthday celebration among other things! Meanwhile, in our Tapestry of Grace time machine:

Continuing (after summer break) through our Humanities Journey we visit some other ancient cultures and learn about Ancient India (including the Hindu and Buddhist faiths), the Mayan, Inuit and Mound Builders, and Ancient China.

We have a variety of selections–with children at every stage of the trivium–Grammar Levels, Logic (Dialectic) Level, and Rhetoric Levels, the selections run from picture books to in-depth philosophy texts.  We’ll spend three weeks on these book before moving on to one of my favorite eras–the early Greeks!  Look out, Trojans, here we come!

Below is the array of books we are enjoying as we delve into more ancient cultures:

If you are reading through a feed-reader and can’t see the virtual book baskets, click through to the blog.

Wilderness Wandering

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments on Saturday’s post.  At this point, I’m still feeling well, and except for a few scattered appointments, our lifestyle hasn’t altered significantly.  Surgery and treatments are sure to mix things up soon, but for the moment, it’s nice to relax in our cozy, productive, routine.

School has been clipping along nicely in almost every subject–with one glaring exception.   Somehow, when we returned to our Tapestry of Grace humanities studies, Greek language study withered into nothingness.  Biblical Greek is one of a handful of subjects I’d love to outsource, but we’ve maxed out our outsource threshold at present, so it’s up to me to either make it happen, or remove it from the guilt queue and consciously determine to shelve it.  Stay tuned.  I really love our Greek curriculum, but we can’t do everything and do it all well.

We’ve left ancient Egypt in the dust, and are now wandering the wilderness with the Israelites.  For this era, between Egypt and the Promised land, we have a bit of a literary desert to wander.  Our resources are thorough and rich, but missing fabulous novels set in the era of study that our book basket usually boasts.

Meanwhile, I’m especially excited to begin Words of Delight, by Leland Ryken, with my eldest.  It’s a rhetoric level,  literary analysis book that does a fabulous job of presenting the terms and method of literary analysis using scripture as the example text.   Academic in style and slightly dry in tone, it builds an excellent lit. analysis foundation.  Although the text itself isn’t engaging, the subject matter is fascinating and solidly presented.

The two widgets below show our book basket for the next three weeks:

(If you can’t see the widgets through your feed reader, click on through to the blog to see what we are reading!)

Return to Ancient Egypt

It’s a snowy day, and we are cozy inside.  After watching a family movie and playing Carcassonne, everyone is ready to choose a favorite book from the fresh assortment of treasures in our book basket.

There’s always a thrill to revisiting old friends.  Some of these books  are new to us, but others are are old favorites from our last journey through time.

Among old favorites, we’ll look at Unwrapping the Pharohs; a fabulous resource complete with an information rich DVD.    I’m also eager to introduce The Golden Goblet to the younger children who aren’t old enough to remember–our last cycle through history.   Well deserving of it’s Newbery award, it has excellent historical detail in an engaging, well crafted story.

Continuing to reacquaint ourselves with “old friend” books: G.A. Henty’s Cat of Bubastes is one of my favorite of Henty’s classics.  (A caution about Henty, and the reason we utilize only a few titles of the many books he authored: Although rich in historic detail, Henty wrote formulaic literature, recycling the same character devices and plots in every book so that a steady diet quickly becomes twaddle.)  The good news: most Henty titles, including Cat of Bubastes are in the public domain and free for Kindle, or on Project Gutenberg.  Free is wonderful!  If you love physical books, our favorite  Henty’s are the heirloom editions published by Preston Speed.  They are beautiful books.

To offset Henty’s strong history and weaker literature value, we have some fun reads that are creative, unique literature, but take liberties with historic detail.  The two books by James Rollins: Jake Ransom and The Skull King’s Shadow, and Jake Ransom and the Howling Spinx— fall into this category, as does The Spinx’s Princess by Esther Freisner.  These books are new to us this rotation through history. (I discovered them late last year, but tucked them away for our Egyptian book basket.)

Below is the full array of books we are enjoying as we study the Ancient Egyptian culture: