What We’re Reading: Thanksgiving Week

We’ve been taking a bit of a history jaunt the past week, veering away from the very interesting-looking chapter on “The Bottom of the World” in our history spine to give homage to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I was fortunate to find several good books at the library:

The story of the first Thankgiving told from the prospective of Squanto, who is incredibly important, but usually sidelined. I think I always thought as a child that he somehow just magically knew how to speak English! I appreciating reading the context of what has going on with the Native American nations as the first English settlers were arriving.
This story chronicles s child’s perspective of making the journey across the Atlantic on the Mayflower
After reading so many more accurate historical descriptions, this one stood out as a more romanticized picture of the pilgrims. It was interesting to contrast it with the other more grim representations. The artwork really is lovely though, and makes for a nice picture study. 
And to counterbalance the romanticized view, a depressing one! 
I will warn you at least, lots of people die bluntly in this book. But there are lots of engaging illustrations and the author certainly does not shy away from presenting the suffering that the pilgrims faced. My sensitive daughter looked a bit ill. But its true that its difficult to appreciate how relieved they were at the time of the first Thanksgiving without understand the difficulty they had already undergone.
I found this a really interesting modern tie in – what would a modern day pilgrim look like? Who today is looking for religious or political freedom? How might the beginnings of our own country change they way that we should respond to such people?
I’m thankful my library has done such a nice job curating their book selections. 🙂
Hopefully we will get to some art projects and such…

Favorite Resources: Jim Weiss Recordings

Have you discovered Jim Weiss’s wonderful recordings? I came to stumble upon them on the Peace Hill Press website, while purchasing resources for our history work. We were studying the ancient Greeks at the time, and the Greek Myths cd we were able to check out at our library became and instant favorite in our house. . We are blessed that our local (fabulous) library has an enormous collection of these recordings, which range from folk tales and mythology, to American history, to classical literature. Since then, hardly a week has gone by that one of these recordings has not been either playing on an mp3 player at rest time or giving everyone something fun and interesting to listen to together in the car.

So my girls and I had an enormous treat last night – we got to see Jim Weiss, storyteller extraordinaire  perform in the flesh at our local library!   Last night you would have thought we were going to see Justin Beiber – if my children knew who he was. One of those moments I’m thrilled to have them woefully out of step with culture, but I digress. When we walked in to sit down front and center (yes, we were first in line to get in), we were thrilled to get to chat with Mr. Weiss – my 6 year old daughter was absolutely star struck. I am still kicking myself for forgetting my camera! But we did buy some recordings that we were able to have signed, so my girls have a souvenir.  I hope it won’t be the last time we see him perform in person! Ok, end of fangirl rant!

Many of these recording have fit wonderfully into our study of history using Story of the World: Volume 1 as a spine.  I have just found a new, really helpful curriculum guide that I now have bookmarked over at the Greathall Productions website. There are a few we missed!  We have especially loved the three Greek myth recordings (She & He is my favorite!) as well as  Tales From Cultures Far and Near. We are currently listening to Julius Caesar and the Story of Rome.

Some of our favorite literature recordings are Tales from the Jungle Book (I let my little ones listen to this while my oldest was reading the actual book independently – this way we could all discuss), Sherlock Holmes for Children (after which everyone begged me to get some of the original books for read aloud), and King  Arthur and his Knights

I hope this helps! Happy listening!