What we’re reading: Summer, series and science edition

I haven’t shared an update on our family book list for a while.

Since our last one, we’ve finished a couple things, started some new ones, and started (accidentally) trying to, you know, read through one book at a time rather than having dozens going – imagine that!

So it’s, as always, a great time to do a What We’re Reading post, this time under the loose theme of welcoming summer, exploring science (one of Sarah’s passions) and following some fun series.

Science and history fun: From archaeology to dinosaurs

We’ve been continuing to explore Sarah’s love of science-that-is-history and history-that-is-science in a couple of specific areas.

Disclosure: This post has some affiliate links, which will make me a little bit of money if you choose to purchase any of the products I’ve mentioned through them. I only link to things we legitimately use and recommend, so if you see such a link, it’s because we really do believe in the book or item! Additionally, we were provided with a copy of Chronicles of Dinosauria to review.

First, I’m taking my third Coursera free online course, this one titled Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets, and Sarah has basically been auditing the whole thing with me. We’re watching some awesome videos as part of the course, and doing a lot of reading online about archaeological topics.

Some of our favorite articles have been Pompeii ‘wall posts’ reveal ancient social networks and A Point of View: Pompeii’s not-so-ancient Roman remains.

The course has sparked a lot of discussion between us, because I generally ascribe to a Biblical timeline of history (though not necessarily a “new earth” framework) and it’s been fascinating to talk about what I really mean by my beliefs and explore that with Sarah as she forms her own thoughts on the meanings of Genesis, how it dovetails with historical record and so on.

So that was why this next book became so interesting. This was a book we recently received for review as part of the Moms of Master Books team.

It’s called Chronicles of Dinosauria: The History & Mystery of Dinosaurs and Man, written by Dave Woetzel and illustrated beautifully by Richard Dobbs.

I admit that I chose this book to review because I was interested in it, not really knowing whether Sarah would be or not, but she grabbed it right away when it arrived and dove in. Then I grabbed it to see what the author would say about the Biblical perspective on dinosaurs, and it was a fascinating read.

One of our favorite things about homeschooling – and about learning from life – is that we can learn from all sorts of different perspectives. I’ve mentioned before that while we’re decidedly Christian, we are open to books that involve other themes and we discuss them and shape our opinions accordingly.

That said, it’s really cool when we find something that does fit into parts of our family’s worldview, which Chronicles of Dinosauria did in many ways. The idea that dinosaurs and the fossil record can coexist with the Biblical creation story? Check. INTRA-species evolution, or, more accurately, adaptation (dogs becoming different varieties of dogs, not monkeys becoming people)? Check.

Even the Ice Age and the idea of dragons (one of Sarah’s favorite things in the world!) are discussed in depth, as are cryptozoological creatures like the Loch Ness Monster.

I admit that I basically expected us to review the book and move on. Instead, we dug deeper into it, had some neat conversations, and even shared the book with some friends.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

For Sarah’s birthday, based on her interest at the time in mythology and ancient history, we took a shot and bought her the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, in which modern-day kids who are the children of unions between mortals and Greek gods battle to save the world.

We’re not going around claiming that Zeus is king or any kind of a god, here. We’re enjoying these as fictional stories based on an equally fictional but historical mythology. And seriously? Sarah is PLOWING through these!

We finished the first book, The Lightning Thief, and are now halfway through the second, The Sea of Monsters. These are fun reads for bedtime and have sparked a lot of cool history and geography conversations.

Other current series we’re reading

  • The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: We’re currently on the second book in this series, The Magician, and while at the bookstore a couple days ago, we just picked up The Sorceress, the third installment.
  • DK’s Lego series: This isn’t so much a “series” as a book collection, but we have, I don’t know, approximately 6,000 of them. The newest one came out this year, and Sarah absolutely had to get it – the Lego Minifigures Character Encyclopedia. Essentially, it’s a guide to all the individual minifigures that come out in various series, which Sarah diligently collects. 
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Sarah received the two newest books in this series, Cabin Fever and The Third Wheel, for her birthday, and has been working her way through them on her own.

What Chris and I are reading

I’ve spent most of my time lately digging into some parts of the Bible relevant to some life situations I’ve had going on. I’m that person with, like, 8 different Bibles, and I specifically dug out one called The Encouragement Bible that has a lot of studies and in-depth analysis of having faith when times aren’t so easy.

Chris, meanwhile, has been reading The Hunt for Amazing Treasures by Sondra Farrell Bazrod, which he describes as “interesting but poorly written;” The Encyclopedia of Fantasy by John Clutt and John Grant, which he said is “one of my favorite browsing books;” and Smithsonian magazine’s most recent issue.

Read more

This post is part of the regular What We’re Reading linkup on Christian Unschooling.

There are TONS of great recommendations among the participants in this linkup, so even if you’re not sharing your own reading finds (and I’d love it if you did), I encourage you to check it out!

3 thoughts on “What we’re reading: Summer, series and science edition

    • Lolzers, and I’m the opposite, I so want to take “real” classes (not for the quality, because these so far have been top-notch, but for the depth and credit) but I’m not in a financial place for ’em just yet! 🙂

    • Liberty University Online has been amazing for me since I’m a military spouse. They give me all kinds of discounts and with my Pell grant I pay very little. I am very thankful for that otherwise – no college for me!

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