Susan Kalis

Little House Country, A Photo Guide to the Home Sites of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Book cover: 'Little House Country, A Photo Guide to the Home Sites of Laura Ingalls Wilder'
Author(s): 
William T. Anderson
Illustrator(s): 
Leslie A. Kelly (photography)

My family and I may never be able to visit the "Little House" country in person, but this photo-filled book makes us feel as if we were there. This is a picture book in the most literal sense of the word! Each of the full-color, professional photographs has a caption of several sentences describing the photograph and some interesting details about the scenes in them.

Christ the King, Lord of History - Answer Key

Author(s): 
Rachel Szilagyi

(for the textbook written by Anne Carroll and reviewed above)

Which busy homeschooling mother couldn't use some extra time in her day? I used to avoid purchasing answer keys and other helps, thinking that the money was better spent in other ways. As my family has grown and my children's work has become more time-consuming and difficult, I have found real value and genuine time savings in having a well-produced answer key. I'm still able to correct first grade math without a key, but not high school history!

American History, Grade 5

Author(s): 
Rt. Rev. Msgr. Edmund J. Goebel
Sister Mary Richardine
John E. O'Laughlin

There is no shortage of reprinted United States for elementary Catholic students, but this one designed for fifth grade offers a unique perspective. The student's text is an overview of American history from the discovery period through to 1963, with the final chapters on the history of machines and transportation and the Constitution.

Hold That Thought: History Volumes 1 and 2

I have a houseful of active, writing-resistant sons, and I am always on the lookout for materials that not only encourage my boys to write frequently, but also encourage them to write well. History, Volumes 1 and 2, from Hold That Thought have turned writing in our history studies, and the historical overlaps into science, religion, and the fine arts, into an activity that we all enjoy. The pages produced by the children are original reports that have filled our notebooks and our heads with unforgettable details, while documenting our studies and providing a pleasant means of review.

The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus

Book cover: 'The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus'
Author(s): 
Aliki

This 48-page picture book is designed to introduce early-elementary-aged children to the myths of Ancient Greece through text and pictures. We have several books in our family library by Aliki, and I was prepared to enjoy this one just as much. However, I was disappointed in both the artwork and the presentation of the myths.

History Links: Unit Six – Ancient Greece

Author(s): 
Jennifer Alles
Barbara Little
Kim Staggenborg

Unit Studies, or integrated curriculum, present a wonderful opportunity to study one topic in depth while taking side-trips to study related topics. The History Links units have been prepared to help Catholic families study a broad range of subjects, over all grade levels, organized by historical time period, from a Catholic point of view. That doesn't sound too easy to do, but the authors have made it so.

Little Britches

Book cover: 'Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers'
Author(s): 
Ralph Moody

Little Britches is the first book in an eight-book series by Ralph Moody and came so highly recommended that I was concerned about being disappointed. We shouldn't have waited; it is brilliant! This book is particularly well-suited to being read aloud and will be enjoyed by every age grouping. It would be a wonderful book to have "Daddy" read to the family.

The titles in the series are:

Ancient Israelites and Their Neighbors: An Activity Guide

Book cover: 'Ancient Israelites and Their Neighbors: An Activity Guide'
Author(s): 
Marian Broida

Ancient Israelites and Their Neighbors: An Activity Guide is not what I had expected. Because I had seen it advertised in a teacher supply store, I was anticipating lesson plans and a very "teacher-y" feel to the book. Instead, it is written as if it were for the student to read himself from front to back, much like he would read an interesting story. Covered in the text are discussions of the Philistines, Phoenicians, and the Israelites, cultures which are largely under-represented in elementary history studies.

Sharks

Book cover: 'Sharks'

Seymour Simon is well-known for his numerous photo-essay-type of picture books for elementary-aged students. Most of his books center around one specific well-defined topic and are illustrated with full-page photographs of the subject. This book is no exception. Sharks is an unpaginated, 32-page picture book, with approximately half of those pages containing full-color photographs of sharks.

AntWorks Ant Habitat

Book cover: 'AntWorks Ant Habitat'

AntWorks was one of the highlights of our summer natural history studies! This simple kit became a quirky centerpiece on our dinner table, engaging the entire family from the 18-month-old who insists that they are "Nants" to a 40-something daddy. AntWorks comes as a thick-walled plastic home with a stable base; this became important as the little ones spent time watching the ants. We have tried the sand-filled ant farms with dismal spills that freed too many of the inhabitants. The AntWorks home is filled with a blue gel-like substance that provides both nourishment and liquid to the ants.

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