It was just a few weeks ago that I shared our unschooled version of a seventh-grade-ish curriculum plan for 2012-13, and in it, I happened to mention we’d probably read some biographies this year.
Some biographies?? We’re on number four and not showing any signs of slowing down.
We started with a biography of Sitting Bull, part of the Sterling Biographies series I keep saying I love.
Then we read the Jim Thorpe biography in the same series, and that night, when I asked Sarah what she wanted to read, she wanted to start with the Neil Armstrong biography (another Sterling gem!) that she just checked out from the library.
FUN FACT: Neil Armstrong got his pilot’s license before he got his driver’s license!
Well, after we read the introduction and first chapter of that one, I asked her if she’d like me to read anything else.
After rummaging around for a while on her bedside bookshelf, she found…
… a 1950s hardcover biography of Leonardo Da Vinci that my amazing husband had dug up for her at some used book sale or another.
We started reading the first chapter of it, and I was amazed at how much Sarah remembered from the Da Vinci exhibit we saw during last year’s visit to the Franklin Institute.
It turned out that not only did we read the first chapter, we talked about everything from his inventions to the Mona Lisa to that fact that “da Vinci” means “from the town of Vinci,” which, as it turns out, applied to Leonardo’s family.
FUN FACT (or, uh, opinion?): Our favorite da Vinci invention is the mechanical lion bearing flowers, which is pretty much the most amazing thing ever.
The coolest thing is, these biographies are teaching all of us, across so many areas of traditional curriculum. We’ve got history, science, social studies, reading, vocabulary, sports, art and more.
Sarah would have had a biography unit this year in public school. That’s not why we’re encouraging her interest in them, but it’s certainly an interesting chance to reflect on how homeschooling has provided us with so much freedom – and how, when Sarah is invested in her education, she’ll dig deeper than she ever had a chance to in a public school setting!
What else is Sarah reading?
We just finished our fourth book in the Life of Fred elementary series, “Life of Fred: Dogs.” Now we’re into “Life of Fred: Edgewood.”
If you had EVER told me that Sarah would ask me, routinely, to read one more chapter of a book that’s more or less about math, I’d have laughed hysterically.
Now, I’m just thrilled. Sarah even used the phrase, “WHEN we get to the Calculus book in the series…,” and it’s possible I might have gotten almost teary-eyed. I should also mention that while Life of Fred is described as a Christian series, we’re a secular homeschooling family and have had no problems using what few religious references we’ve found as springboards to discussion about what various people believe, which we like to do anyway.
Sarah’s also reading Treasure Island for free through the Google Books app on her new phone – something she figured out on her own that she could get for free and enjoy!
What’s the rest of the family reading?
And Chris just bought 25 boxes of used books for his online bookselling business – and I’m sure he’ll be reading some of them before they’re listed for sale!
What’s your family reading?