I Wouldn't Want to be a Roman Gladiator

Well, I'm getting a little behind in my reading updates. We've just about gone thru this pile, plus another two. Eek. So here's our update. We finished our studies on ancient Greece, which means we also finished reading The Wanderings of Odysseus. I must admit we skipped a few chapters, and I summarized a few others. We were ready to move on and, well, I was tired of hearing myself say Odysseus and Trojans and Helen of the Fair Cheeks. I was ready to move on to gladiatorsCaesar, Cleopatra...and togas.

So we are studying ancient Rome now. And the girls have been enjoying a series called You Wouldn't Want to be a...Roman Gladiator, Greek Slave, Cleopatra, etc. A whole series of books that are cartoonish, yet informative and easy enough for multiple ages to understand. My older gal reads them to the younger gal and they talk about the topics, ask questions and find it silly and interesting. My older gypsy is also currently reading (among other things) a book called See You Later, Gladiator. Which is another history series. We'll see how she likes it. They enjoy reading myths and legends so we've read thru quite a few Greek myth books, Roman myth books, Aesop's Fables, etc. (a few are pictured above).

In science we are finishing up our semester of earth studies so I picked up the Planet Earth Art Activities book (by Arty Facts), which is a series of science/art books I mentioned in a previous blog post. I just love these art books! We haven't decided yet what projects we will do out of this particular book, but we had fun with the projects we did out of the Oceans and Art Activities book, which I'll be sharing with you soon!

The girls also worked on book reports on ocean animals of their choosing (hence the dolphin and sea otter books). We have one last chapter on caring for our planet, recycling, etc before we move on to astronomy, which we are all excited about! Astronomy will take us thru summer to finish, which is fine, because we plan to do lots of star gazing and camping this summer!

A couple other books in the stack involve chickens and chicken coop building. The Joy of Keeping Chickens was OK, but I still think City Chicks is the best overall hen-keeping book I've come across so far. I imagine I'll read a few more books still on hen care before I just toss my hands in the air and go for it. We did finally get our coop finished and plan to pick up a few hens this weekend - I suppose that counts as 'going for it.' I'm sure I'll be able to make a case for Chickens for Dummies soon.

I read Letters to a Young Poet, by Rilke, Notes from a Small Island, by Bryson, and The Dirty Life, by Kimball (not pictured). Liked the first, thought the second wasn't his best work despite how much I adore his sarcastic ramblings (and admittedly, no matter how much he rambles he still makes me chuckle out loud), and absolutely thrilled I paid no money for the third. My younger gal picked up a book on Balto, which we are reading at night, my older gal is getting thru a few Judy Moody books (not pictured), and has moved on to books on tape (which we now listen to on the long drive to town...sigh).

She also discovered a gem of a book called Around the World Cookbook for Kids. Which is ironic since she really has no desire to eat anything but cheese pizza (and even that seems to be losing its appeal). But I actually kinda like it. We started with Asia and have already made two dishes together as a family (yes, even the man is getting around the world cooking lessons). The deal is we make the dishes together and everyone has to eat the dishes we cook (holding ones nose while eating is fine, as long as the food goes down the hatch). We made veggie fried rice and tofu Pad Thai last week. No nose holding required so far. There's a lot of information about different countries and their food choices, lots of pictures and easy to follow recipes. Not sure what country we are doing next, I think it's India, which could require nose-holding. But hey, they'll at least learn what they don't like, and maybe just maybe, they'll actually discover something new they do like. And hopefully it won't involve cheese and pizza.

And on the homeschool curriculum front, my older gal just finished up Spelling Workout D (younger gypsy is still working thru Workout B) and I have to say I absolutely love these books. They both want to work in them and request them and they are just challenging enough...and well, they are just wonderful. If you're looking for spelling books, I'd give these a go. (I started my 4th grader on D and it took her essentially 3 months to work thru it but I think it was right at her level. We're moving on to Workout E in a few weeks - after a short break for some springtime fun!).

And my first grader and I have finished working thru Vol 1 of First Language Lessons (for the Well Trained Mind), by Jesse Wise. The volume we have covers both first and second grade language arts (we completed the first grade level), and while I can't say I love it and I do think some of it is a bit redundant, it is a nice compact little lesson plan collection; and considering we started only in November I'd say we worked thru it fairly quickly. Some days I did more than one lesson (and some we skipped altogether), and some of the lessons coincided with lessons the older gal was working on in her ABeka Language Arts book (which I probably won't purchase again), which made it fun to work together.

I just put another 20 books in our library queue for our studies on world religions, ancient China, and ancient India so more updates coming soon!

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