Friday, June 24, 2011

Some Great Books for Kids

As a homeschooling Mom of a 10 year-old boy, I struggle with finding books.  I can go to Adoremus books on line or in town, and everything looks good, but then I bring them home and they disappoint. 

It's my fault.  I love buying books.  The libraries hate me because I have a horrible tendency to pay no attention to due dates.  I'm also a bit rough with them, taking them with me to the zoo, pool, reading while cooking or eating...  I know I've touched it if there is coffee or pizza sauce spilled on it.

This week my son and I took a long walk through Adoremus, led by a college aged girl who had been home-schooled.  We looked inside of everything, and after much discussion finally came away with some books we really love.

For the past two years, we've been hit and miss, taking advice from other families.  One of the reasons people home-school is to be able to choose curriculum.  We received great advice, but the texts didn't necessarily fit with how my son, or I, think.  And that's key to educational success.  When I teach on the college level, I am sure to offer all important material in at least 3 different ways.  That way I know most of my students will get it on some level.

At home, I've been reading The Trivium by Sister Miriam Joseph, C.S.C., Ph.D.  I thought I would write a classical curriculum for my son based on her book.  Then I found the writings of Susan Wise Bauer.  She's done the work, and done it better than I ever could have by myself.  Her history books (linked through amazon above, but buy them from the Catholic home-school family at Adoremus if you can, and no they don't pay me for advertising) are so well written, real history in story form, but not light weight at all.  When your son is excitedly critiquing the Code of Hammurabi, you know you've found a great book.

We also found a newer series of mysteries for his age level. by Diane Ahern.  The first is called Lost in Peter's Tomb.  She had James by the second paragraph.

We've also been amazed at the vocabulary growth from the English From the Roots Up flash cards.  This series teaches Latin and Greek words, and the English words that come from them.

Having finished the Baltimore Catechism, we are now switching to the Faith and Life Series from Ignatius Press.  We will supplement that with The Book of Saints and Heroes by Andrew and Lenora Lang.

Lastly we chose Saxon Math and Spectrum Science.

I'd love to know if you have any other suggestions, and clearly want to recommend these choices to you. I also want to make a request.  If any of you sit on the boards of Catholic schools, could you recommend these selections to them?  Scholastic book sales fill our Catholic schools with books of spurious merit.  Catholic schools frequently have to contract with public school districts to get a break on books.  If they could just get the support to choose better books, the Catholic schools could be unstoppable.  Check out these books, compare them with what your child is reading at his/her school, and you will see what I mean.

Again, any suggestions?
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