How We Use Picture Books and Reading Aloud: History

What if I told you that teaching history in your homeschool could be so much fun?! Here is a quick look at how we have enjoyed Classical Conversations Cycle 2 living books + more.

Disclosure: As an Amazon associate, I may earn a commission from the purchase of these books, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Classical Conversations History Cycle 2 covers Medieval to Modern History.  Here is a quick breakdown of curated books to pair nicely with various topics of history study, by week.  Notice that not every week is covered, but these are some great books to supplement your morning time or time learning about each of these subjects. I have also included the school supplies we have found helpful in learning history together.

History “Spine” (the book telling the big story of history)

History “Spine”: Story of the World, Vol. 2: History for the Classical Child: The Middle Ages by Susan Wise Bauer

Picture Books/Chapter Books (recommended ages and page count included)

Legends of Charlemagne by Thomas Bulfinch (rec. Ages 10-18 years, 284 pages) Week 1

Crusades: Kids @ the Crossroads by Laura Scandiffio (rec. Ages 9-11 years, 72 pages) Week 3

Rupert’s Parchment: Story of Magna Carta by Eileen Cameron (rec. Ages 5-12, 38 pages) Week 4

Michelangelo by Diane Stanley (rec. Ages 5-12, 48 pages) Week 6

Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World (rec. Ages 4-8, 42 pages) Week 7

Encounter by Jane Yolen (rec. Ages 6-12 years, 32 pages) Week 8

Peter the Great by Diane Stanley (rec. Ages 5-12, 32 pages) Week 9 and Week 10

Who Was Catherine the Great? By Pam Pollack (rec. Ages 8-12 years, 112 pages) Week 10

A Picture Story of Napoleon by J. de Marthold (rec. Ages 5-12 years, 53 pages) Weeks 11 and 12

A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson (rec. Ages 4-10 years, 40 pages) Week 13

Stubby the Dog Soldier: World War I Hero by Blake Hoena (rec. Ages 4-10, 32 pages) Weeks 12 and 15

Bear and Fred: A World War II Story by Iris Argaman (rec. Ages 4-8, 48 pages) Week 17

Song of the Mekong River: Vietnam by Na-mi Choi and Sinae Jo (rec. Ages 6-10, 32 pages) Week 20 

Richard Wurmbrand: Love Your Enemies by Janet Benge and George Benge  (rec. Ages 8-12, 208 pages) Weeks 21 and 22

Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (rec. Ages 6-10)  Week 24

Supplies Used in History:

A book of centuries

Maps

Globe beach ball

Story of the World Activity Book 

We try to relate our field trips to various places we’ve learned about in history, if possible. 

Some examples of thematic field trips related to the Medieval to Modern time:

-Visit a fort (local war memorials or living history exhibits work nicely for this)

-Visit a museum with an exhibit on Medieval period

-Visit an art museum that houses original art or copies of art from the Renaissance 

-Host a “Medieval Feast” as based on Aliki’s A Medieval Feast. For reference, you can look at the “feast” our little family had in 2020.  It’s nothing too fancy! We just turned out the electric lights, lit our own candles, and cooked a few themed dishes which were probably modern versions of the actual dishes.  We used soda for “ale”. So, clearly we were just trying our best.

-Read a book that is set in a kingdom far away (i.e., Kingdom Tales, The Castle Diary: Journal of Tobias Burgess, Castle, George MacDonald’s Fairy Tales, Little Pilgrim’s Progress, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sundiata: Lion King of Mali, Mansa Musa and the Empire of Mali, The Silk Route: 7,000 Miles of History, Famous Figures of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, a puppet book)

Ideas for Using These Books

  • Use your family “morning time” to read from either your history spine, your favorite picture books, or read from both. This will ensure you read about 20 minutes total about history each day. That’s pretty do-able. What is morning time? Go around the group of students and have each child narrate aloud from the reading.
  • Use your history reading time to connect with your book of centuries. A book of centuries is a book, divided into centuries, starting around 4,000 B.C. and proceeding to A.D. 2100. Think of it as a timeline in a book. Pictures can be drawn next to dates and event titles to represent the recorded events, as well. Maps that are made or used (as with Story of the World) can be inserted into the book of centuries, as well.
  • Use your children’s independent study time to read from history books of your choice, different ones geared toward each student. This might work better when you have a very large gap in ages in your homeschool. Have your students narrate to you, either orally or written, depending on their ability. It is recommended that narration start out as oral, and proceed to written (in tandem with oral) about age 9 or 10, when a child has more stamina to write.
  • Go on field trips! Read up on the places you will visit and pick out books from the library that will correlate with your destinations. Did you know that October is “Field Trip Month”?
  • Make handicrafts that correspond to your time period of study. Check out a book to explain handicrafts and trades of the time you are studying. Speak with someone in the modern day about the trade or craft you are hoping to make. There are still blacksmiths and woodworkers around, if you look in the right places! Example: make candles out of wax as they did in the early modern times (dipping)

History is Fun

Please do not forget to have fun in reading about history with your kids. Why history would ever be considered “dry” is beyond me, but when I give it some thought, I realize that teaching history the textbook-only way is pretty dry. Here is a related article that explains how I attempt to teach history: A Textbook-Free History Curriculum: It Is Possible!

Books I Have Loved This Summer, Books I Look Forward To Reading

C.S. Lewis once said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” I have a new book list I am dying to share with you.

I am so thankful for the Internet, aren’t you?! It allows us to find books within seconds and either check them out at our local libraries, or use our devices to get them delivered brand new to our doorsteps! Oh, technology surely has its pitfalls, but I do love that we can do some things so much easier in this day and age.

Disclosure: As an Amazon associate, I can recommend these books to you, and might receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Our homeschool has seen the accumulation of these beloved books over time. I cannot say that I’m ashamed to admit that I still have to read a handful of the more “adult” books I ordered for myself, because… you know what? The picture books get my attention first.

C.S. Lewis once said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

Do you agree?

I sure do! That’s why I picked out the books on this list to reflect my hunger for living books. These books give us the noble ideas, the virtues and the facts about a person, place, time or process in the world. Some of these stories are fiction; many are nonfiction.

Please take some time to study this list. They span subjects of history, literature, science, math and I threw in some fun book basket ideas and summer read alouds, for good measure. I cannot wait to share these titles with you! You might get some ideas for future reading in your upcoming school year, or you might find something to enjoy before the school year begins. We have either read, or will read, every one of these books listed in our own homeschool.

We will be studying middle ages history this upcoming year, and I could not be more excited! The cross-section castle book looks amazing. I also cannot wait to read authors with whom I have not become familiar. They will become dear friends, I am sure, just like A.A. Milne and C.S. Lewis were for us this past school year.

As this new school year begins, I thank you so much for supporting me and my mission to recommend quality, living books to families who love to read with their children.

In addition to these wonderful books, when you get the chance to sit down and think about what poetry you might read next year, you might consider Robert Louis Stevenson. I have a freebie I will send you that includes: 3 summer poems, copy work, an interactive 4-square template, and project ideas to introduce you to his work before you dive in and get his poetry collection. If you love his poetry already and are searching for a sweet, illustrated collection of “A Child’s Garden of Verses”, I am happy to share my recommendation with you here:

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (Illus. Tasha Tudor)

Would you like the Poetry Mini-Unit (Freebie)?

One of my favorite homeschool memories of all time was when we read Aliki’s A Medieval Feast and later held our own very special medieval feast, complete with cornish hens and “blackbird pie”, medieval tarts, and of course, “ale”. Where would we have gotten that inspiration if it had not been for that picture book?

Saint Patrick’s Day Week: Things We Love (Books & More)

Disclosure statement: As an Amazon associate, I may earn a small commission from the purchase of these St. Patrick’s Day books, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting me!

A number of years ago, I received an AncestryDNA kit and took the test. My results were pretty…unsurprising! But, if you know me, you know I am a redhead. A true redhead. If you think I’m Irish or Scottish, I’m so sorry to disappoint. As it turns out, I’m very British (50%) and German (20%), followed closely by Swede and Dane (17%). Thank you, Vikings… I … guess?

However, I do have 5% Irish and 4% Scot in me. So, there.

Mark (my dad) and me (as a wee one). He is absolutely 0% Irish, but he’s 15% Scottish.

Now, this is what is really interesting. You do not have to be Irish to enjoy these books! HOORAY! Now we can breathe in and out a collective sigh of relief. Aaaah.

St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting (a tried and true)

Who Loves Tomie?

Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola

Jamie O’Rourke and the Pooka by Tomie dePaola

St. Patrick by Tomie dePaola

Non-Fiction

Saint Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons

Patrick: Saint of Ireland by Diana Mayo and Joyce Denham

Folktales & Fairy Tales

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman (a co-op book club favorite)

Favorite Celtic Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs

Maisie McGillicuddy’s Sheep Got Muddy by Kelly Grettler (wanting a tour of Ireland?)

Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott

Recipe Books

Saint Patrick’s Day Recipes for Everyone by Michelle Lee

The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook by Parragon Books

Morning Time Extras

St. Patrick’s Day Activity Book for Kids (Habu Publications)

Ireland Map (decor)

Irish Songs for Tin Whistle by Thomas Balinger

Who Was A.A. Milne? by Sarah Fabiny (I know he was not Irish, but don’t you want to learn more about the poet and creator of Winnie the Pooh? I do. We are reading his poetry in morning time, so I bought the book… it’s 33% off right now!)

For Adults Only

Dubliners by James Joyce (15 short stories about ordinary Irish people living in Dublin in the early 1900s)

One Month of Narration Ideas, Three Years’ Worth of Books!

Narration Ideas for Days… Book Ideas for YEARS!

Narration

I designed a narration resource back in June and wanted to give it a little facelift for you. I am linking it below. Narration is the “art of knowing” and retelling what you have learned after reading something. You can retell a reading in spoken words, in written words, or in another creative way. My aim in designing this matrix is to give you ideas in the case of brain cramp. We all get those at the most convenient moments, don’t we?

Booklists

I want to bless you with three years’ worth of book recommendations. Each selection is carefully chosen based on the criteria for a living book.

A living book:

  • is written in narrative form by someone who is passionate about his or her subject
  • fires the emotions
  • ignites the imagination
  • is well-written
  • is written more like a chat with an expert in her field of expertise!

*90% of the books on my lists are living books. I denote the books that do not meet living book status, because there are some. I think you’ll love all of them, though. You can use them in any way you’d like. The content areas for the three Classical Conversations Cycles are present here in every book list. Enjoy, friends!

Year 1 Booklist

Year 2 Booklist

Year 3 Booklist

Make sure you don’t miss out on MORE resources and booklists! Sign up to be a part of our email community. It’s one way I encourage and show support to my most engaged audience.

National LEGO Build Day, Living Projects Are My Treat To You & Week 15 Booklist

Disclosure: As an Amazon associate, I might earn a small portion from the purchase of some of these LEGO books, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support.

I am so thankful to my email community.

People I personally know have shown me support and have spread the word. Thank you, dear friends!

I am also humbled in seeing how my community has grown over the past month. I cannot think that the only people interested in my content are those who know me personally. I have met kindred spirits, near and far! Thank you!

I want to invite you to join my email community. I am regularly designing exclusive, free content for my inbox buddies. I love doing this. So, if you are not already a member of our email community, please sign up.

Each Living Project includes:

  • links to engaging educational videos that serve to enrich thematic content
  • read aloud suggestions
  • narration ideas
  • family discussion questions
  • enrichment or extension projects that align with Classical Conversations content
  • LEGO trivia
SAMPLE of one page of a Living Project (Week 2)

Booklist

Another perk I have created for my email community is the booklists I make each week. Are you ready to see Week 15?

Here is the Week 15 booklist, aligned with Classical Conversations Cycle 1, Week 15. I try my best to curate quality, living books. This list has some lovely books.

Last but certainly NOT least, did you know that TOMORROW, January 28, 2022 is LEGO BUILD DAY?

Get your build on!

Check out these LEGO titles:

The Lego Ideas Book: Unlock Your Imagination by Daniel Lipkowitz

The Big Book of Amazing LEGO Creations with Bricks you Already Have by Sarah Dees

How to Build LEGO Houses: Go on a Journey to Become a Better Builder by Jessica Farrell

Resources: First Half of Classical Conversations Cycle 1

https://mylittlebrickschoolhouse.com/booklists/booklists-2/#week-12#week12

Disclosure Statement: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from the purchase of these favorite picture books and read-alouds.  Thank you so much for your support!

First Twelve Weeks

In case you have missed it, I would love to share my take on a Charlotte Mason approach (READ: living books) to Classical Conversations Cycle 1, Weeks 1-12. We are currently enjoying some of the books on this list! In case you missed any, I have linked the list here. The page will take you to Week 12, so scroll up the page if you need to find a previous week.

Also, if there are any living books you have found particularly helpful during CC Cycle 1, please do not hesitate to comment here, or let me know! I love getting ideas from you all.

Life is Full!

I wish I could update you on all the things we have been able to enjoy this year so far, but alas! I have to keep up with life. If I get off the treadmill mid-stride, I will surely trip and fall. I do not like that analogy, but for now, it will have to do.

A few of the things we have been up to the first 10 weeks of our school year:

  • starting a new Charlotte Mason co-op
  • reading aloud The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (the kids and I are loving the full-color edition)
  • teaching each other watercolor painting. I (Holly) am taking this on as a thing for myself, really
  • continuing our Charlotte Mason book club (moms only) we started last summer
  • returning refreshed from a week in the NC mountains
  • reading about Martin Luther for Reformation Day
  • watching the Torchlighters Series together on Redeem TV
  • nature study in the sunshine, reading about frogs and trying to find them at our local lake (using Pond and Stream Companion)
  • getting dressed up and going to friends’ homes, where we have enjoyed crafts, games, and food
  • discovering the piano and learning to build the habit of practicing

Our lives have been full! If you’d like to stay updated in a more personal way, I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. It’s still there for you- to encourage you, give you ideas, and foster community. If you want to contribute to a future issue of the My Little Brick Schoolhouse Newsletter, make sure to sign up. I will be involving some of my readers over the next few months. Collaboration can be wonderful!

A moment in time – the family at High Falls

Cheering You On

I sincerely want to cheer you on. You are doing a great job. I trust God is using what you have and doing what He does: making a feast out of our five loaves and two fish. If you feel like a slump or burnout is coming on, you are not alone! Find something life-giving. You are making your plan work for you, not the other way around. Whatever needs to GO in your schedule, after consulting God and His wisdom, make that change. Also, if you have children and you are entering the holiday season, make the time to have some down time with your family. Events will fill up the calendar. You know it. Carve out time to just play and read and have fun together with the family, without expected deadlines or meet-ups.

I love hearing from you and look forward to the next chapter we have together!

XO,

Holly

%d bloggers like this: