Tag Archives: Kid Lit

Using My Dad’s Favorite Childhood Books in Our American History Lessons

My parents, like most parents I’m sure, were hesitant and worried when we announced we were pulling their only grandchild out of public school to homeschool.  But after seeing the positive changes in B’s stress level and personality, hearing him share what he learns and even teaching him some lessons themselves, they are our biggest supporters.  Every June, my dad asks for my school supply wish list and provides us with what we need.

This past June, I told my parents we were going to take a break from world History and start on American History.  To my surprise, when dad dropped off our requested school supplies there was also a box with the above pictured books in it.  Twenty-six books (there are only 25 in the picture because we are currently reading about The Swamp Fox, Francis Marion) from the Childhoods of Famous Americans Series.  My dad’s books were published in the 1940s.

These books were and still are very precious to my dad.  He loved reading them when he was a child.  My Nana had even written in some of them the dates on which the books were given – birthdays and Christmases starting in 1956.  He lectured both me and B about being careful with them, not drawing in them nor bending the pages.  I’m so grateful he has shared these with us!

The ones we have range in time from James Oglethorpe through John F. Kennedy.  They narrate the childhoods of these men for most of the book and then at the end explain what they accomplished as adults.

The illustrations inside are simple, yet beautiful.  Look at the book, on the right, closed.  The pages are all different widths and uneven, a testament to their age.  :o)

I love books, love the smell of them, the feel of them.  These books are such a blessing and we are reading them when the subject of the book fits into the time period of American History we are covering.

"The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, A Christmas Story" by Lemony Snicket

Until yesterday, I had never read a Lemony Snicket book.  Do you read any of his books to your children or do your children read them?  After B’s gymnastics class yesterday afternoon, we stopped at the library to pick up a book I had placed on hold.  B wanted to peruse the children’s section, so we headed over there.  I found this book, The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, A Christmas Story, on display and decided to check it out – it was short, I was intrigued and B kept laughing over his own attempts to pronounce the word “latke”.  I read it as soon as we got home and we were both laughing hysterically!  Fun way for children to learn about Hanukkah and why it’s celebrated.  I recommend you check it out!

Look What I Found at the Target Dollar Spot?

I have been struggling to find a good book to read lately.  Maybe my expectations have been set too high after reading the Harry Potter series for the last 2 years (once to myself and then to Ben).  I tried some Nora Roberts novels but have been unhappy with the way she writes and with the similar plots.  She tends to write inside the head of every character and I don’t care for that.  I also don’t care for the antagonism she puts between the main male and female characters.  Most men are mean and rude and act like they despise the women, yet they grab the women and take kisses and cop feels against the women’s wills.  Not for me.

I checked Dannielle Steele’s lates book, 44 Charles Street, out of the library earlier this month.  I’d read plenty of her books in my 20s and I thought a novel of hers would be some easy, light reading.  Wrong.  I could not get past the 1st few chapters.  She kept repeating the same character descriptions over and over again.  I understand the need to establish who is whom and how they tick in the beginning, but it was insulting to the reader to continue to repeat it and the story wasn’t moving along because of it.  *sigh*  I really wanted something good to read besides homeschooling non-fiction!

Then yesterday, B and I popped into Target quickly to pick up 1 thing – a bottle of carpet cleaner to remove a stain.  We were there for at least 45 minutes.  Their “Dollar Spot” was at the entrance where we went in and I let B browse for a little sumpin-sumpin.  I was looking, too, and low and behold, on the bottom shelf, I found unabridged and annotated novels!

  1. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
  2. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  3. The Scarlet Letter, A Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  4. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin
The Phantom of the Opera was there, too, but I did not buy that one, just the 4 listed, above.  Each book was $2.50 – awesome!  Although Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet and Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly are two of my favorite movies, I’ve never read a Jane Austin novel.  Shocking, I know, for a bookie like me.  Sense and Sensibility and The Scarlet Letter (also a book I’ve never read) are for me.  Around The World In Eighty Days and Black Beauty are for me to read to B.  I’m so excited!  I already started reading Sense and Sensibility this morning; perfect activity for this cozy, rainy day.

iPhone’s Voice Memos

I come up with a TON of blog ideas and thoughts to share with y’all throughout the day.  Unfortunately, I am never at my computer at the time and by the time I am at my computer, I cannot remember my fabulous ideas!  I’ve always come up with my best posts in the shower.  That’s the one place where me and my thoughts are uninterrupted.  I keep telling myself I need to install a water-proof tape recorder in the shower, but it has yet to happen.

However a week and a half ago, while sitting in traffic on my way home from work, I discovered a most wonderful utility on my iPhone – Voice Memos!  Although I cannot use it in the shower, upon discovery of this brilliant invention I was able to start recording random thoughts during my commute home from work.  Yeah!  Now when I actually get some time to sit down at the computer and blog, I’ll be able to remember what I want to say!  So, here are some random thoughts from the car…

  • love the sound of Steven Brown’s voice.  He tells 1 minute stories from his website, You Think About That, on one of the radio stations I listen to – WGTS 91.9FM.  I just went to his website for the first time, to get the link to post here, and saw he has a Facebook page.  I went to the FB page and saw his picture for the 1st time.  Not atall what I thought he’d look like!  Isn’t it funny how you don’t think twice about how most people’s voices match their looks when you hear them for the first time face to face, but when you hear them before seeing them it’s the opposite.  We all form a mental image, conscience or not, of what a person looks like based on their voice.  And we are always disappointed that they do not look like what we imagined.  Not that the actual person’s looks are “less than”; just that they are different than what we thought they would be.
  • I have a love/hate relationship with cover songs.  The artist I hear singing a song first is the one I always like best singing that song.  When I hear another artist singing that song, they have to put their own spin on it and I don’t like it.  However, the cover version is usually more enunciated than the original and I find out what the words actually are.  This happens a lot with covers of songs from the 70s and 80s.  For example, Open Arms by Journey; cover by Colin Raye.
  • There is one spot on my commute home where I actually don’t mind the stop and go.  It’s in front of a McDonald’s.  Their wifi extends out to the street and I can quickly check my Facebook and email accounts.  :o)
  • I’ve made a little sociology discovery during my commute home.  There is one very busy road in a very business, packed section of town that I must travel through.  There are many other roads and business driveways that intersect this road I am on, with many cars waiting to turn onto my road.  Now, if you are on a cross street with a light, I do not let you in; when your light turns green you’ll be able to do so.  However, I like to let people out in front of me from cross streets and business driveways where there are no lights.  Here’s my discovery: 9 times out of 10, if let a car come out in front of me, the car behind me will also let a car out.  If I donot let a car out in front of me, 9 times out of 10 the car behind me will not let out a car either.  Interesting….
  • I had a veela in my training class.  When I told B this his response was, “Really?!  Is she related to Fleur?”  “No,” I replied, “She’s an American brunette.”
  • So, B and I are on the 7th and last book of Harry Potter.  I read HP books out loud on my nights to put B down for bed.  The hubs and I used to switch off putting B down every other day.  However, during my 7 weeks of training I put B down more often.  I missed him all day and wanted to share extra snuggles at night.  Now that I am out of training and on my regular work schedule, I’ll only be here for B’s bedtime twice a week.  That makes me so sad, but….”eyes on the prize”!  Anywho, back to Harry Potter…once we finish the 7th book, that’s it.  No more.  We’ve been a part of all these characters’ lives for so long and now it’s coming to a close. I am focusing on the blessing of putting B down only 2 nights a week now.  It prolongs the inevitable farewell to Harry and the wizarding world.
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