• books,  history,  homeschooling

    Homeschooling Resources for learning about the Norman Conquest

    Recently we’ve been learning about the Norman conquest of England. The kids had a vague memory of hearing about it from our earlier approaches to history, and I reminded them of it by showing them again the animated version of the Bayeux Tapestry we watched earlier: (This post contains a few affiliate links to Amazon. Some of the books are older and hard to find, but check your local library and used bookstores first.) Then we turned to reading The Striped Ships by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. McGraw’s book is written for an older audience and I’m pretty sure my children missed noticing some of the beautiful complexity of it, but…

  • history,  homeschooling

    Henry Hudson, 17th Century Navigation and my homeschooling children

    I’ve been reading Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage that Redrew the Map of the New World and God’s Mercies: Rivalry, Betrayal and the Dream of Discovery, both by Douglas Hunter, and while this is my interest not the children’s, I wanted to share parts of it with them. Without planning ahead, but just exploring different details as we go along, we came up with the following little “unit study.” Learning about 17th century navigational techniques seemed like a logical first step. We’ve learned before how to use an astrolabe, and now we learn that Henry Hudson used an older cross staff despite the invention of a more accurate…

  • Biblical history,  history,  religion

    Bible stories according to a knight in 1372

    I’m reading the book Book of the Knight of the Tower by Rebecca Barnhouse. This is a translation and commentary of a book of the same name by Sir Geoffery in 1372. Sir Geoffrey’s book was written in France, but became popular in both England and Germany as well. It was translated into English by William Caxton, the printer who brought the movable type to England. The knight and his priests wrote the book for the knight’s daughters, so that they would know how to act. It included stories about his life as well as stories ‘from the Bible.’ Except the Biblical stories are just barely recognizable: I’ll tell you about…

  • history,  politics

    my post on why we still need feminism

    Online news is filled with stories about the rape chant from Saint Mary’s University and while there’s been backlash about it now somehow the students at that university have been putting up with the chant since at least 2009. Then there’s the story about Stacey Rambold being sentenced to just a month in prison after raping a 14 year old, and the defense having argued that “Rambold had already suffered enough punishment after losing his career and his marriage and saw his reputation damaged through internet coverage of the case.” Reading that part of what made me feel sick was the question of how many of the men I know…

  • books,  history,  seasons

    Home from Holidays: thoughts about milkweed and Bess of Hardwick

    I’m home! I’m home from holidays, and it is nice to have the sense of perspective that comes from stepping away from everything for a bit. I remember a few years ago my husband and I were really into rock collecting as we drove. We’d get library books out that explain the rock formations on the driving routes we were taking, and we’d stop at road-cuts to try chisel out bits of garnet, mica and neat quartz formations. Back then it was the folds of rock in the road-cuts that attracted my eyes while driving but this year my eyes were drawn to the plants in the ditches. I admired…

  • history,  homeschooling,  religion

    Biblical history from a progressive Christian standpoint.

    I’ve been trying again to teach my children Biblical history. Our last attempt involved building a lot of block cities while talking about the various tribes that attacked the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and the children have long-since forgotten the list, though the whole attempt helped me learn to keep them straight in my mind. We talked about empire and we talked about the idea of whether the people were going to try to form an alliance with one empire or another or whether they were going to have faith in God. Now I’m getting ready to try again. We started with the patriarchs, telling and retelling their stories…

  • #idlenomore,  education,  history,  homeschooling,  politics

    Teaching history to my homeschooled kids

    Wow. A letter to the editor in the Nanaimo Times reminds me why teaching history properly is so important. The letter has been removed as has the screen shot of it I tried to link to. The author of the letter lists of accomplishments he feels the natives failed to meet before starting onto his theories before arguing that they are irresponsible and should not receive “special treatment.” The letter misses several important things I want my children (and all Canadians) to learn. There are two historical issues at play. One is the issue of what the author titles “special treatment.” If he knew his Canadian history better he would…

  • God,  history,  politics,  religion

    religion and politics

    I want to write some more thoughts about Christianity, but not assume that everyone is Christian. This isn’t an effort to convert anyone, just an attempt to explore some more of the ideas I’ve been reading about and thinking about. A quote from the book God and Empire, by John Dominic Crossan: It is clear, I hope, that the Kingdom of God is inextricably and simultaneously 100 percent political and 100 percent religious. “Kingdom” is a political term, “God” is a religious term, and Jesus would be executed for that “of” in a world where, for Rome, God already sat on Caesar’s throne because Caesar was God. I was once…

  • books,  culture,  history,  politics

    Homeschooling Topic of the Week: Afghanistan

    I noticed the book The Sky of Afghanistan, by Ana A. de Eulate and Sonja Wimmer, with the library’s collection of new kids’ books. The title of the book brought to my mind images of Canadian and American airplanes, but the front cover shows a young girl flying through the air, her arms outstretched. I checked the book out of the library with a stack of other books. It took my children a little while to get interested in it. The text of the book is somewhere between blank verse and what I don’t quite know how to describe other than inspiration fluff. The sky can be full of kites, I think…

  • history,  homeschooling

    Medieval History, Robin Hood & Homeschooling Ideas

    We’ve been working on learning about Medieval History. Of course I’m interested in the intrigues of European royalty, but I know if I start my children off with that their eyes will glaze over. So I start with what they are interested in: longbows. We watch a video about weapons that made Britian, which introduces them to the mention of Henry III (who apparently passed a law requiring all British youth of a certain age to spend part of Sunday practicing the longbow, although I haven’t been able to find any other references to it) and Edward III whose longbow many proved invaluable in the attack in France. It also…