Friday, January 12, 2007

Books, books, books

I rarely buy books by mail-order because usually when I succumb to a glowing blurb in a catalogue and order it, I end up disappointed. Poking around bookstores, comparing titles, actually cracking the book open is much more preferable.

Before Christmas I found several gems in our local Catholic bookstore (run by a couple that homeschool) from Sophia Press.
First is The First Christians, The Acts of the Apostles for Children by Marigold Hunt. This retelling of the deeds of Sts. Peter, Paul, and Barnabas is easy for 8-12 year olds to read and full of stories of arrests, shipwrecks, and miracles.
Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know by Diane Moczar was a facinating read that shows how throughout Christian history the Church has plowed on with God's Grace, despite facing almost insurmountable odds and persecutions. The subtitle says it all: The Divine Surprises and Chastisements That Shaped the Church and Changed the World.
The last I haven't read yet, but Tim has. He highly recommends Momorize the Faith and Most Anything Else, Using the Methods of the Great Catholic Medieval Memory Masters by Kevin Vost. Using St. Thomas Aquinas's method of recall to create a mental "memory mansion" and a way to store information you can recall hundreds of Church teachings, Bible verses, theological terms, and other elements of the Faith.
A friend up in Maine showed me her 3" thick Rainbow Resource catalogue for homeschoolers. It contains long descriptions of offerings and is currently not charging for shipping on orders over $150. It took forever for the catalogue to arrive after I ordered it on-line and then it took another few weeks for my box to show up after I sent off the check, but it finally came yesterday. I am pleased with my purchases and wanted to share a few here.
I filled out my Little House shelf with the newest Martha Years books by Melissa Wiley and several Caroline Years by Celia Wilkins. Old Town in the Green Groves by Cynthia Rylant fills in the two "lost" years between Plum Creek and Silver Lake in Laura Ingalls Wilder's childhood.
Volume 4 of The Story of The World by Susan Wise Bauer was on my wishlist since we are currently on Vol. 2, studying the Black Plague. I love this series for an overall history that children can understand. Also by Mrs. Bauer was The Well Trained Mind, which I had checked out of the library so often and paid so many overdue charges that I could have paid for my own copy and so I did! The Well Educated Mind is a grownup book by Mrs. Bauer so that those of us who did not receive a classical education can read their way to one.
The Harp and Laurel Wreath by Laura Berquist is another homeschooling classic, poetry to memorize at each stage of learning and study questions to help understand. I heard Mrs. Berquist speak at the IHM conference a few years ago and highly admire her work.
I agonized between buying the new Kingfisher History Encyclopedia or trying to find the supposedly superior previous edition, but after comparing $20 for the new to over $80 for a used copy of the latter, I saved the difference.
Some other selections include How to Introduce Your Child to Classical Music in 52 Easy Lessons, Professor Noggin history games, and some cute You Wouldn't Want to... (Be Sick in the 18th Century, Be an American Pioneer, Be an American Colonist, and a dozen more titles I didn't get). I'll check them out and write later what I think of them.
Scouring the library, the used book store, the local homeschool and Christian stores, and catalogues can yield an enormous volume of quality reading material for your children and your homeschool use. Choose wisely and you will learn much. I hope I will!

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