Blue Monday, MLK, Jr. Day and CC Cycle 1, Week 14 Booklist

Our week was quite different from what I had originally planned. We did not have morning time most of our days, we had a few kids feeling under the weather, and frankly, I had a slumpy day or two. Has that ever happened to you? I know that some of you have reminded me to be less hard on myself. I agree, and I also think that there are a couple of things we did that allowed us to hit the “reset” button. Sharing these, especially in the bleak midwinter, might help some of you.

Our week was quite different from what I had originally planned. We did not have morning time most of our days, we had a few kids feeling under the weather, and frankly, I had a slumpy day or two. Has that ever happened to you? I know that some of you have reminded me to be less hard on myself. I agree, and I also think that there are a couple of things we did that allowed us to hit the “reset” button. Sharing these, especially in the bleak midwinter, might help some of you.

For a quick “reset”, try these 7 things (one for each day of the week):

  • Go outside – I know, it’s cold! Just one hour outside will brighten anyone’s mood, though. Trust me. If it is dark throughout the winter and your days are super short, you might want to look into getting a light therapy lamp like this one.
  • Get your blood pumping. Either by dancing, doing some good, old-fashioned boot camp style calisthenics, or playing tag with the kids outside, you can start feeling more of the happy hormones!
  • Take a mental break and write down all the things floating around in your brain. If there are tasks that you are juggling in your brain, write those tasks down. Then, get started with prioritizing. Seeing all the tasks paper will help tackling them feel more manageable.
  • If you are an “organization therapy” person (I do not think I am), then perhaps think of one place in your home you want to reorganize. Start small. It could be a linen closet or a corner of a room. Even rearranging furniture can breathe more life into your day and give you a feeling of accomplishment.
  • Talk to someone. Yes, that’s right. Just picking up the phone to dial a friend (the old-fashioned way, NOT Marco Polo or Voxer) can bring a mood boost to the day. Walking outside to chat with one of our neighbors can brighten my day. Just talk to a human, face-to-face or over the phone.
  • Read God’s Word and write down a verse to copy. Then, make that verse into a doodling masterpiece. This does not only serve as therapy, but it can help you remember the verse better.
  • Read a book of your own, just for fun. It does not have to be a read aloud book with your kids, although those can be good for uniting everyone in the middle of a rough day.

Okay, now that we’ve addressed the blues of winter, just know that you are not alone during this season. In fact, you can look up the “bluest day of the year”. According to a trusted source (ahem, Farmers Almanac), “Blue Monday” falls on the third Monday in January, each year. This year’s “Blue Monday” falls TODAY, January 17th, 2022.

A Holiday

Maybe the holiday we have here in the United States (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) will offset some of the blues. Holidays usually help because the shared honor or celebration makes people feel more united; less lonely.

As we look ahead to this week and the booklist for CC Cycle 1 Week 14, I wanted to share a book I am looking forward to reading with my kids this week:

Hammering for Freedom: the William Lewis Story by Rita L. Hubbard

I know Dr. King stood for what William Lewis stood for. Although each man has his own unique story, 19th-century William Lewis did the back-breaking manual labor of a blacksmith and did not stop hammering until each and every member of his family was set free. Like William Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr. indefatigably led marches to speak out against racial injustice for the sake of his children’s generation. Read MLK Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech here.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

Martin Luther King, Jr. (“I Have a Dream” delivered August 28, 1963)

I want to sit down and read the entire speech. I hope you find some time today to reflect on the way that God created all men to reflect his image, the Imago Dei. All men (and women) reflect our good God. We were all made in His image, and we are also all sinners. I am praying for the day Jesus comes again to right all wrongs and bring true justice to this broken world. Until that day comes, I will keep honoring the stories that reflect the diversity, beauty, tenacity and struggle of my black friends, who are each uniquely created in God’s image. For a more robust catalog of books to read that honor black voices, check out my friend Amber O’Neal Johnston at Heritage Mom Blog.

Classical Conversations Cycle 1, Week 14

Whether or not you are currently on Week 14 in CC, this week has an interesting roundup: linear equivalents, three kinds of rock, trade in Africa (think: Mali Empire and Ghana’s gold), geography of Ancient Africa, and Lorenzo Ghiberti. So many connections could be made, but sometimes it’s just good to not go all-out matchy-matchy on read alouds and what we’re learning in our co-op. Kids are able to make some pretty amazing connections between things that are seemingly unrelated. So, do not sweat it when you gather resources. It might be tempting to make everything matchy-matchy… but really, that is an awful lot of work for you, and it is sometimes a lot of fun to just lay the feast out and let them figure out the connections on their own (no digesting the feast for them, please!). You can find the booklist here.

Lastly, I am having some fun making “Living Projects” for families to use with each week of school. Living Projects align with each Classical Conversations week, but you do not have to be in CC or any co-op to appreciate them. I include a video link, a book to read, a fun fact about the subject of my new book, LEGO founder Ole Kirk Christiansen, and an engaging activity or project to do that is appropriate from most students elementary-aged and up. However, I make this content FREE for my most engaged audience. If you’d like to be a part of my email community, you can sign up! I’d love to welcome you in.

I am currently learning about Charlotte Mason and her principles. If you like learning about Charlotte Mason, too, then you’ll also love the art design I insert into my regular emails (they’re quotes like the one below). You could start your next commonplace book of pretty, CM quotes! Who’s with me? Pin and share, friends. Pin and share.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/925489792146481741/

A Charlotte Mason Approach to Classical Conversations, YEAR 3 of Little Brick Schoolhouse

One obvious way we can cultivate a living education in our homeschool is by introducing our kids to living ideas found on the pages of living books…

Looking For a Booklist?

Disclaimer: If you are here to find a booklist that incorporates good, living books into a 24-week-long study of multiple content areas (aligned with Classical Conversations Foundations), you are in the right place! Scroll past the brief post, “Six Tools to Use in a Living Education”. If you are curious about Charlotte Mason methods, you might want to take about 5 minutes and read my post.

Six Tools to Use in a Living Education

  • read living books
  • observe
  • tell it back/narrate
  • record it
  • memorize (this comes AFTER guided discovery)
  • create something new from what you have learned

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn about a living education. I have experienced bits and pieces of this, but I still strive to make it part of the basic fabric of our homeschool. More continuity, more of an atmosphere. Here I write briefly on each of these tools for a living education. My thanks goes out to Simply Charlotte Mason. The Charlotte Mason Together Retreat was unforgettable, unhurried, life-giving.

living books

One obvious way we can cultivate a living education in our homeschool is by introducing our kids to living ideas found on the pages of living books. If I had it my way, we would probably buy all of our books, but frugality matters, too. So, we use our local library. However, when a book cannot be found there (unfortunately, this is the case more often than I’d like to admit), we either borrow it from a friend or buy it. And once we have it added to our library here, we have even more opportunities to seek out the living ideas found within, spread out like a feast on the pages. Time and time again. What is a living book, you might ask? I have created a cheat sheet for you here.

observe

Picture Study. Nature Study. Composer Study. The list goes on, and in a Charlotte Mason education, we take the time to form a living, personal acquaintance with what we observe. The mere question, “What do you see? …hear?” without any interjection by the teacher can ignite the spark that allows a child to possess what he or she is beholding. To truly tell about, to put it into words, what he or she is taking in allows that child to form that living, personal acquaintance with something created by God.

Narrate/Record it

Know. Tell.

It begins with building oral fluency. It culminates with the goal of learning formal writing. Narration lays the foundation for writing well. When narration is done well, one possesses what he is beholding. This is a form of knowing, truly knowing. Therefore, narration is also a training exercise in thinking well. It’s an art. It builds relationships. If you are interested in starting this journey of narration with me, look no further than right here. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, take a look at the narration resource I made for those who are wanting to “test drive” narration.

memorize

Charlotte Mason taught IDEAS first, memorizing facts later. A common thread found throughout a Charlotte Mason education is “taking something into the mind’s eye”.

You can find this thread woven into the “spelling” lessons. What we call “spelling” Charlotte incorporated into the larger skill of reading and using language. Charlotte didn’t formally teach spelling as one might encounter it today in an institutionalized setting, but exercised this habit of attention to eventually have students write down a passage that was dictated to them. They would have to possess the passage in their minds’ eye, before attempting to write the dictation. This comes from memorization of words, yes, but usually within the context of a larger passage, after the students have already encountered the rich ideas found in the passage. Dictation would not be expected until around 10 years of age. Before that age, students would be practicing copy work and memorizing short phrases, pieces of a large poem or proverb.

You find this thread woven into the picture study our family has come to love.

You find this thread woven into the composer study, the nature study, the foreign language study, the list goes on.

It has taken a shift in thinking for me, to put such emphasis on the habit of attention. I will have to get used to short lessons. Only saying the directions once. I do believe it will reap benefits, not just for my kids, but also for me.

create something new

I think this is self explanatory. How could you create something new from ideas? You have surely done this before. Inspiration arises while one is living life. It usually doesn’t arise from anxiety or pressure to meet a deadline.

Let’s use my own blogging as an example. Create something new. I am starting to learn what this might be for myself. Cultivating habits that foster creativity, I hope to take incremental steps and be faithful in my writing, for example. It does not take an hour a day. It might take just 5 minutes a day. Inspiration arises from living life. So, I live my life. For me, a reliable writing routine is more about the life I live as a person, as a person who writes. I am not just a writer. So, I look for good ideas, but I am not in a frenzied state of searching. I admit, my mind does get caught up in some kind of crazy rumination at times! Nonetheless, I remember to pause and write. I remember to do something with my hands. I remember to play with my kids. I remember to go for a walk.

A Charlotte Mason Approach to Classical Conversations Cycle 1

CYCLE 1, Quarter 1(Weeks 1-6)

Subsequent quarters to come!

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases of these CC Cycle 1 books using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Year-Round Resources

Science:

The Story Book of Science (Yesterday’s Classics) by Jean Henri Fabre
Pond and Stream by Arthur Ransome
Pond and Stream Companion by Karen Smith
R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Earth & Environment 1 by Blair Lee, M.S.
Backpack Explorer: On the Nature Trail: What Will You Find? by Editors of Storey Publishing
Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate
Science Encyclopedia Paperback Book w/Internet & QR Links
We are looking forward to using Pond and Stream as part of our Science study this upcoming 2021-2022 year.

Science Encyclopedia Paperback Book w/Internet & QR Links is also something we have on our shelves for quick reference or longer reading sessions.

Fine Arts:

Website: https://artsintegration.com/2012/09/19/picture-this-exploring-art-elements-in-picture-books/ (Exploring Art Elements in Picture Books)
Art from Simple Shapes: Make Amazing Art from 8 Simple Geometric Shapes! Includes a Shape Stencil
An Introduction to Art History: A Classical Approach to Art Part II by Barry Stebbing (Ancient Art: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome)
The Stuff They Left Behind from the Days of Ancient Egypt (Simply Charlotte Mason)
The Stuff They Left Behind from the Days of Ancient Greece (Simply Charlotte Mason)
The Stuff They Left Behind from the Days of Ancient Rome (Simply Charlotte Mason)
Picture Study Portfolios: Michelangelo (Simply Charlotte Mason)
The Arts: A Visual Encyclopedia
Music Study with the Masters (Simply Charlotte Mason) We will be studying Bach.
Singing the Great Hymns (Simply Charlotte Mason)
Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too by Mona Brookes
Foreground, Middle ground, Background (PERSPECTIVE) in CC Cycle 3

History:

The Story of the World also has map work, narration, review questions, and coloring sheets in resources you would buy separately.
Other components of Story of the World

Classical Conversations has a Bookstore that would be helpful in finding comprehensive history resources. We are currently in the FOUNDATIONS Program. History cards, Trivium Table (for Cycle 1), Cycle 1 Audio CD for reciting memory work and timeline, History cards for Artists and Composers, and Ancient World Echoes are some examples of good resources we have used or are going to use in the future. If you are looking to save some money, look into joining Classical Conversations Connected. The Foundations Learning Center has a FILE SHARING feature that has helped me find resources like history sentence copy work, memory work flipbooks, and more.

Engaging overview of history, A Short History of the World
This book pulled me in, as I saw history through the eyes of children from around the world and from different times. It is so good. How Children Lived A First Book of History

Geography:

My Pop-up World Atlas
Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason
A Child’s Geography: Explore the Holy Land Knowledge Quest
Eat Your Way Around the World by Jamie Aramini

Math:

Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians by Dale Seymour Publications
The Math Chef: Over 60 Math Activities and Recipes for Kids
Snowman – Cold = Puddle: Spring Equations by Laura Purdie Salas
Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Bedtime Math Series) by Laura Overdeck
The Lion’s Share by Matthew McElligott
The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
The Greedy Triangle (Scholastic Bookshelf) by Marilyn Burns

Sites that promote mathematical thinking

Marcy Cook Math

Charlotte Mason Poetry (Math Resources)

Kate’s Homeschool Math Help

Free Number of the Day Worksheets

Lifestyle/Personal Development:

Embracing Screen-Free Life: When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan
The Bible is God’s Word

We have loved this Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, for as long as our kids have been here.
Sophie and Sam: When to Say “Yes” and When to Say “No”

Week 1

Science (Classification):

Karl, Get Out of the Garden!: Carolus Linnaeus and the Naming of Everything
Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner
Animalium: Welcome to the Museum
Botanicum: Welcome to the Museum
The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon (Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12) is one of my personal favorites (Holly). The illustrations are fabulous.

Fine Arts (5 Elements of Shape):

When a Line Bends . . . A Shape Begins by Rhonda Gowler Green
The Greedy Triangle (Scholastic Bookshelf) by Marilyn Burns
If You Were a Polygon (Math Fun) by Marice Aboff & Sarah Dillard
My Heart Is Like a Zoo Board Book by Michael Hall

History (Commandments 1-5):

Exodus from Egypt (Bible Stories) by Mary Auld
The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd Jones (10 Ways To Be Perfect chapter)
Old Testament Days: An Activity Guide (Hands-On History) by Nancy Sanders

Geography (Fertile Crescent):

One Small Blue Bead by Byrd Baylor
Chapter 1 Map, The Story of the World, Activity Book 1: Ancient Times – From the Earliest Nomad to the Last Roman Emperor
The Tigris and Euphrates: Rivers of the Fertile Crescent (Rivers Around the World (Paperback)) by Gary G. Miller
Ancient Agriculture: From Foraging to Farming (Ancient Technology) by Michael Woods

Math (1s and 2s):

Since I do not have any specific read aloud books for this topic of 1s and 2s, I think it might be a good idea to share how we will try to incorporate Math into our Morning Time this upcoming school year. I have a 7 and 4.5 -year-old who will be joining me, and our 2.5-year-old will be around.

introducing the math loop

Note: A loop schedule allows you to complete any activity on any particular day, just picking up where you left off the next day you get to the list. Once all the activities on the list have been “run through”, you repeat the loop from the top.

DayActivity (roughly 10 minutes)
1Counting exercise on the hundreds chart
2Number of the day from Kindergarten Mom (trace, count, frame, draw, tally, write)
3Word Problem from Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late (Bedtime Math Series)
4Practice telling time on analog clock like DHCHAPU Student Learning Clock Time Teacher Gear Clock 4 Inch 12/24 Hour
5Charlotte Mason Math Tables
6Marcy Cook Math Game – Turn Over Tiles to Find X or Bearly Balanced Tiles

week 2

Science (Kingdoms):

A Mammal is an Animal by Lizzie Rockwell
About Fish: A Guide for Children (About…, 6) by Cathryn Sill
About Amphibians: A Guide for Children (About…, 5) by Cathryn Sill
The Burgess Animal Book for Children (Dover Children’s Classics) by Thornton Burgess
The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess
NewPath Learning – 94-3502 The Six Kingdoms Bulletin Board Charts, Set of 5

Fine Arts (Mirror Images):

Mirror Play by Monte Shin

History (Commandments 6-10):

Exodus from Egypt (Bible Stories) by Mary Auld
The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd Jones (10 Ways To Be Perfect chapter)
Old Testament Days: An Activity Guide (Hands-On History) by Nancy Sanders
These are the same suggestions from Week 1.

Geography (Assyrian Empire):

Map Trek The Complete Collection (I would only get Map Trek VI: Ancient World)
Gilgamesh the King (The Gilgamesh Trilogy) by Ludmila Zeman

Math (3s and 4s):

See the above Math Loop resources from Week 1 Math.

Week 3

Science (Animal Cell):

All in a Drop: How Antony van Leeuwenhoek Discovered an Invisible World by Lori Alexander
Cell Biology Diagram
Newton’s Workshop Bug Safari / Cell – A – Bration DVD by Moody Video (January 01,2010) (TRACK #6)
Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling (one of our very favorites)

Fine Arts (Upside-Down):

Optical Illusions In Art: Or–Discover How Paintings Aren’t Always What They Seem to Be by Alexander Sturgis
Imagine a Day by Sarah L. Thomson

History (Greek and Roman gods):

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
The Illustrated Book of Myths : Tales and Legends of the World by Neil Philip
Roman Myths by Geraldine McCaughrean
Classic Myths to Read Aloud: The Great Stories of Greek and Roman Mythology, Specially Arranged for Children Five and Up by an Educational Expert by William F. Russell

Geography (Hebrew Empire):

The Phoenicians: Mysterious Sea People (Ancient Civilizations) by Katherine E. Reece
Ten Best Jewish Children’s Stories by Daniel Sperber

Math (5s and 6s):

See the above Math Loop resources from Week 1 Math.

These place mats of the U.S.A. worked really well to reinforce CC Cycle 3 geography this past year.

week 4

Science (Plant Cell):

Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring The Earth To Life by Molly Bang
Cell Biology Diagram
The World of Plants (God’s Design) by Debbie and Richard Lawrence
Newton’s Workshop Bug Safari / Cell – A – Bration DVD by Moody Video (January 01,2010) (Track #6)

Fine Arts (Abstract Art):

Touch the Art: Catch Picasso’s Rooster by Julie Appel
Touch the Art: Make Van Gogh’s Bed by Julie Appel
The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock
Vincent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky (KNOPF BOOKS FOR) by Barb Rosenstock

History (7 Wonders):

How the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Were Built by Ludmila Henkova
The Seven Ancient Wonders of the World: A Pop-Up by Celia King

Geography (Hittite Empire):

The Archaeology Book (Wonders of Creation) by David Down
How Many Donkeys?: An Arabic Counting Tale by Margaret Read McDonald

Math (7s and 8s):

See the above Math Loop resources from Week 1 Math.

week 5

Science (Invertebrates):

The Bug Safari and The Cell-A-Bration DVD (Track #5: Entymology)
1001 Bugs To Spot (Usborne 1001 Things to Spot) by Emma Helbrough
Where Butterflies Grow (Picture Puffin Books) by Joanne Ryder
The Big Book of Bugs (The Big Book Series) by Yuval Zommer
Seashells: More Than a Home by Melissa Stewart

Fine Arts (Perspective):

How To Draw 1,2,3 Point Perspective: For Beginners | Perspective Drawing For Kids Made Easy by Square Root of Squid Publishing
Perspective Drawing for Kids: A Perspective Drawing Guide for Kids, Including Detailed Explanations and Step By Step Exercises by Liron Yanconsky

History (Romans):

City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction by David Macaulay
Rome Antics by David Macaulay
Galen and the Gateway to Medicine (Living History Library) by Jeanne Bendick
Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfield
Danger in Ancient Rome (Ranger in Time 2) (2) by Kate Messner
The Story of the Romans (Yesterday’s Classics) by H.A. Guerber
Animals in Rome: A Latin Vocabulary Coloring Book and Primer Titvs Classics

Geography (Egyptian Empire):

Mummies Made in Egypt (Reading Rainbow Books) by Aliki
Of Numbers and Stars by D. Anne Love
The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo
Tutankhamen’s Gift by Robert Sabuda

Math (9s and 10s):

See the above Math Loop resources from Week 1 Math.

Week 6

Science (Vertebrates):

The Snake Scientist (Scientists in the Field Series) by Sy Montgomery
Match a Track: Match 25 Animals to Their Paw Prints (Magma for Laurence King) GAME!
Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky
Box Turtle at Long Pond by William George
Bones: Skeletons and How They Work by Steve Jenkins
Bones, by Steve Jenkins

Fine Arts (Final Project):

Take a look at the Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason. Choose one portfolio to focus on for the next term. Revisit the fine arts principles of shape, mirror images, upside-down, abstract art, and perspective as you study these full-color works (8.5″ x 11″ prints) by an original artist of your choice! Picture study is simple. Each portfolio includes a 5-step process to explain how picture study is conducted. Portfolios also include an artist biography, leading thoughts, Charlotte Mason inspiration regarding picture study, and specs on each masterpiece.

For first quarter, our homeschool will by doing its picture/history study on Ancient Egypt and for second quarter, Ancient Rome. Since these are not conventional artist picture studies, we will follow them with a true, artist picture study third quarter.

We will be doing our picture study in the third quarter on Michelangelo.

History (Ancient Greeks):

Geography (Ancient Greece):

Our Little Athenian Cousin of Long Ago (Yesterday’s Classics) by Julia Darrow Cowles
Our Little Spartan Cousin of Long Ago (Yesterday’s Classics) by Julia Darrow Cowles
The Aesop for Children (classic fairy tales for children): illustrated with MP3 Downloads (Dover Read and Listen) by Milo Winter
Geography Matters in Ancient Greece (Geography Matters in Ancient Civilizations) by Melanie Waldron

Math (11s and 12s)

See the above Math Loop resources from Week 1 Math.

“Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”

Charlotte Mason
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