Tag Archives: history

5 Biographies That I Enjoyed

If you’ll remember, I posted a bit ago about the place that I think biography should have in education. You get a full-out experience when you read the words of someone who experienced the time or events included. It is not a simplified or watered-down version of what went on. Sometimes, biographies are hard to read. Other times, they are simply the most enjoyable thing I have experienced for a while. These biographies I am going to share with you include both the autobiography and biography, including one written by a compiler. Both have their place and both are interesting, challenging and expanding the reader’s understanding.

My Survival: A Girl On Schindler’s List by Rena Finder with Joshua Greene

This is the true story of Rena, a Jew during WWII. Her family was forced into a ghetto by the Nazi’s. She and her mother were sent as slave labor to a factory owned by Oskar Schindler. Schindler used his wealth and position to keep Jewish workers fed and safe and healthy. One day, despite his position, his workers were deported to Auschwitz. With great personal risk, Schindler managed to liberate his workers, including Rena, and bring them back. A story of hope amidst chaos and despair, this is a wonderful story for anyone to read. It is well-written and is accessible by about grades 4 and up. It would make a beautiful family read aloud.

Playing With The Enemy by Gary W. Moore

This is the biography of Gene Moore, the author’s father. Gene was a baseball prodigy who was a teenager at the beginning of WWII. He was the hero of all the people and towns around his small town in rural America. He was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers but WWII cut that short. In order to hopefully keep them safe, Major League Baseball set up games throughout the war theaters for the ball players to help lift the spirits of the soldiers. After a time, the baseball team was sent to act as guards for a top secret POW camp. They spent their time there making friends with the Germans, understanding that none of them really hated the other; they were all just doing their jobs. So they played baseball. The aftermath of all of this caused real pain but real healing. The unexpected of this story is what makes it such a joy to read. You will see WWII from a completely different perspective than ever before with this story of the belief and hope of human kindness.

White House Ladies: Fascinating Tales and Colorful Curiosities by Webb Garrison

This was a fun collection of short anecdotes on the First Ladies. Filled with stories of hospitality to daring, and fearlessness to sorrow, this was an interesting book to read as it brought to life some of the most important people in the history of the US. Most Presidents had a lady – a wife, daughter, or relative to act as hostess – beside them during their time at the helm of the US and these ladies dealt with a lot. These stories help us see their humanity. With the short anecdotes, it is a book that can be read in bits and spurts without missing any of the story or purpose.

Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

Li Cunxin was growing up in extreme poverty in northeastern China during the reign of Mao. Madame Mao had decided to create an abundance of fine art in the dynasty and searched the land for those most fit to be trained. Li Cunxin was torn away from his family at the age of 11 as part of Madame Mao’s cultural program and sent to a ballet school. The mix of emotion with this was difficult – no longer was Cunxin starving but he was not able to see his family, either. Life at the Beijing school was difficult but Cunxin grew to become one of China’s most talented and known ballet dancers. In his position, he was able to first visit the United States in 1979. Two years later, he defected, the dramatic event making news around the world. This is the story of beauty and art coming from a life behind the Communist curtain. It is a look at what is behind that facade of government care that you won’t see from the news. It is something that everyone should see. Beauty rises from ashes sometimes and this is a beautiful example of that. (**A note that a movie was made from this book and at the time of this writing, it is available on Amazon Prime.)

Velvet Meets The Iron Curtain: The Autobiography of a Czech Dancer by Jiri Sebastian Voborsky
(This purchase link is through Ballet Magnificat! This is the dance company that Jiri has worked with for the majority of his time in America that uses dance to take the love and salvation of Jesus around the world. https://www.balletmagnificat.com/gift-shop/velvet-meets-the-iron-curtain )

This Autobiography of Jiri Voborsky is a stunning look at an athiestic culture and what can come from one who loves God so much that he quietly but firmly shares that love in the realm around. Jiri grew up in a family that believed that anyone who relied on faith, of any kind, was a sign of personal weakness. There was no need for God in their lives. Jiri was born under the realm of Communist Czechoslovakia in the early 1970s. He went to school and lived under this governmental iron fist. When he was entering high school, he wanted to study dance. He was able to pass the entrance exam for both the dance school he wanted to attend and the other high school he had to attend in order to be allowed to also study dance. He worked hard but had a mind of his own. He participated in the revolution that brought down the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia. He was able to graduate both high schools but in the process was introduced by one of his teachers to Jesus. This slowly but certainly changed the course of his life. The story of Jiri’s life shows how the one true God can orchestrate life to bless and allow the blessing of others in turn. Jiri was able to visit America, with many of place where God’s hand can be seen. He eventually settled here, working with Ballet Magnificat! taking the love of God around the world through the media of dance. It is a beautiful story.

These are just a few of the options out there for biographies to bring to life what someone’s world was like, what they encountered, and allow us to see the truth of what is beyond our own vision. If you have a favorite biography, please leave me a comment so I can add it to my reading list.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

The Importance of Biography and Memoir in Education

The beginning of November brings, in a normal year, the local library booksale. Our family looks forward to this and the girls save money to purchase interesting books and support the library. This year, I picked up only biographies or memoirs. How did that happen? I don’t know. I didn’t even pick them all up in the biography section. But it got me to thinking about how important this genre is in education and how neglected it seems to be.

History is important. I think we can all agree on that. But with the teaching of history come the need to narrow the events to those deemed most important by whoever is creating the study/text/unit/etc. By necessity, history as a discipline picks and chooses what to look at because you can’t cover it all. This also means that, intentional or not, a bias influences what is included or not. Try as you might, no one can cover everything with no bias involved.

For this reason, there needs to be more. And that more comes in the form of biography and memoir. These two types of writing allow us to see into the lives of real people experiencing real events in real time. Yes, you will still encounter a bias but it is the bias of the person who witnessed and was hurt/helped/affected by the events in the story. It is the story of that person and those around. It is personal and important. And what you will find, when you dive into the genres of biography and memoirs is that you will get more information than you will ever find in any kind of textbook.

Memoirs, in particular, are fascinating to me. They are rich with detail and information about the events of history but they tend to show us a whole lot more about how those events affected people. When you view the events of WWII through the eyes of a child who was rounded up and sent to a concentration camp, you feel and understand a whole lot more about it. When you read about WWII through the story of a Major League baseball player whose life was deeply altered by the events of his life there, you have a deeper and richer understanding of it all. Reading about life behind the Iron Curtain, the propaganda of Communism, and how difficult and frightening it was growing up there, you see the world around you quite differently.

I did not grow up reading biographies. In fact, I don’t really know if any at all were included in my education growing up. I probably did but I don’t remember them. What I do know, is that now they draw me in and I find myself with a deeper, richer, more sympathetic view of history and the events of history. We can never see the events as clearly as the people who lived through them did. But, by choosing to include biography and memoir in your studies, you will enrich your life and the lives of your students, making them more aware of the world around them.

I do plan to write some posts about the books I picked up at the booksale because they are fascinating. I got them just a couple of weeks ago and I have read them all. I encourage you to read more of these genres and enrich your historical understanding.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Curia Julia (The Senate House of Ancient Rome) ~ hands-on history project

The youngest of the three giggly girls has been working on Ancient Rome this year for her history and literature. We had a diorama to build of the Senate House from Ancient Rome. It is called the Curia Julia and she has worked hard on this for a couple of weeks now.

The project came from Home School in the Woods. We are using Project Passport: Ancient Rome. She is about halfway through now and has learned a good bit, had a lot of fun with hands-on work (including creating a Roman feast which I need to post about), and we have been using the Memoria Press book Men of Ancient Rome as her literature to read alongside this study. It has been an interesting companion.

Here is her finished project.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Project Passport: Ancient Rome ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Hands-on history is a fabulous way to help students get involved in and bring to life the stories of the past. History is nothing more than a story and how we tell it will make or break a student’s enjoyment of it. Home School in the Woods has created a number of hands-on history programs to help bring to life these stories that our students need to know. We have been blessed over the years of being on the Homeschool Review Crew to get to use a number of these programs and this year, we have been able to use another of the Project Passport World History Studies (Grades 3-8) with Miss J, who just finished up her 6th grade year. Project Passport: Ancient Rome is just one of five different Project Passport programs that bring the ancient world to life for students.

Project Passport: Ancient Rome is available as a digital download, making it immediately (or almost) available upon purchase. I got my download link and was able to download and save it to the hard drive of the desktop computer with no problems. I then unzipped the file (and renamed it so I could find it again!) and opened up by clicking on the start icon. This opened the program up in a browser window and I was able to easily navigate the program from there. The first time you do this, it will feel a bit overwhelming because there is a lot of wonderful information there. Just start at the top and work your way down through the files and read as you go; things will make sense.

Note: You will need to download on a computer that can open applications. It does not work easily on a Chromebook or a tablet in my experiences. I have gotten my Chromebook to work but it takes a lot of effort and it helps to already know how to access it the easier way.

So, what are you going to find in Project Passport: Ancient Rome? Everything Roman. Seriously! Not just history about people and places and battles and rulers. You’ll also learn about architecture, food, clothing, legends, social systems, law, philosophy, money, the arts, religion, transportation, and more. Using minibooks and other hands-on paper projects, writing, audio, hands-on creative art projects, and reading, the student will learn about all aspects of ancient Roman life. There is something for every learning style and the ability to tailor which projects to use and which to skip to keep the study fresh and inviting.

We started with the set-up. I printed off the binder cover and Miss J colored it and put it in her binder. We keep a 3 ring binder for these studies because there is a lot of information to print off for each lesson, called a stop. The information to be read gets each stop going and we keep those as a sort of textbook. We keep the papers in the binder by stop and put page protectors in to keep the minibooks together. Also, creating a binder allows for some printing to be done in batches ahead of time, instead of needing to print each stop when it is time to start working on it.

Stop 1 was getting everything going and getting familiar with the set-up of the program. If you are familiar with Project Passport, this step is a bit easier. We print off the Guide Book Text and the Travel Itinerary for each stop and put them in the binder. After that, we printed off the Snapshot Moments timeline and assembled it. We got the map of early Italy printed and assembled, adding to it the required elements. We made the Romulus and Remus minibook and read it.

Stop 2 kept it moving as far as history went as we dove into the early kings. We printed off the needed documents and projects. We added to the timeline but skipped the newspaper. We assembled the Seven Kings of Rome booklet, reading and following the recommended suggestions for completion of it.

Stop 3 through Stop 25 are all followed this same way. We pick the items of interest and help and choose those we want to skip. Sometimes I have let the girls choose, sometimes I choose. Regardless, there is so much packed into each stop that learning happens at breakneck speed, it seems.

One of the final items in this study is a game to print and assemble. In the past, Miss E (now 17) was the student using these and she did not love games. However, Miss J (age 12) is the student studying ancient Rome and she loves games. Did I mention that Miss J loves games? We will definitely be creating the game this time around. It is titled “All Roads Lead to Rome.” She will love it!

One of our favorite parts of these Project Passport studies has been the audio tours. These are short audios to listen to that cover a particular topic. In ancient Rome, the audios are labels “Legends,” “Africanus,” “Rubicon,” “The Forum,” “A Day at the Races,” “Actium,” “Pompeii,” and “An Ecclesia.” These are really interesting sounding and I can’t wait to get to them with Miss J.

The other favorite part of the Project Passport studies is actually a part that you can purchase separately as a whole or by part – the timeline. Miss J has adored time lines and we have used several of the timelines from Home School In The Woods as supplements to or the main part of our history curriculum with her. The individual sets of the timelines are:

Individual Timeline Set (Grades K-12)

When we used the timeline as our main curriculum, I would spend some time searching out short videos (1-3 minutes) for each figure we were going to put on the timeline. After finding the piece for the timeline and sticking it in place (we just used a piece of tape), we would watch the video I found and talk about how it related to other pieces we had already placed on the timeline or what would be coming up soon on the timeline. It was a fun way to do our history for the year and it engaged Miss J quite deeply.

Home School in the Woods has so much to offer for history. Hands-on history will always be a more engaging way to learn than just reading from a typical textbook. So, add in some hands-on history, even if you are using a textbook. The combination will be a winning on, bringing new interest and excitement to learning what has impacted our lives, even today.

The Homeschool Review Crew has been utilizing the Individual Timeline Set (Grades K-12), the Project Passport World History Studies (Grades 3-8), the Time Travelers U.S. History Studies (Grades 3- 8 ), Maps Combo-Pak (US & World Maps), Lap-Pak: Wonders of the World, Activity-Pak: The Old Testament, and Activity-Pak: The New Testament. Hop over to the Review Crew’s blog post about Home School In The Woods to read the reviews from different families about how they utilized these hands-on studies in their homeschools.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Please visit our other blog posts about HSITW products.

Timeline Collection

U.S. Elections Lap-Pak

Project Passport: Ancient Greece,

Project Passport: Ancient Egypt,

Project Passport: the Middle Ages,

Time Travelers: US History Studies – The Industrial Revolution Through The Great Depression

 Á La Carte Erie Canal,

 Á La Carte WWII timeline,

 Á La Carte quilling,

Lap-Pak: The Wonders of the World, and

Make-A-State.

Figures In Motion ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

History is one of those subjects that can be absolutely fascinating and come to life in a number of different ways or be as dull as a doorknob. It all depends on how it is handled. Cathy Diez-Luckie has created articulated, historical paper figures for several history eras. These movable figures produced through Figures In Motion bring a hands-on aspect to your history studies and it brings the eras to life.

Famous Figures of the Early Modern Era includes 21 people from the mid-1500s through the mid-1800s. The famous people come from around the world and from many cultures. Catherine the Great to Simon Bolivar, Queen Nzinga to Rembrandt, Ch-ien-Lung to Robert Fulton, this book covers kings, queens, princesses, inventors, arts, revolutionaries, explorers, musicians, and more. Each figure comes printed both in full color to cut and assemble or in black-line to color and then assemble. In addition to the book, you will need a pair of scissors, a hole punch, and brads to assemble the figures. The hole punch and the brads we received with the book are of the mini size but full sized ones work as well. You can order these from Figures In Motion if desired.

We choose to take a break from our current history curriculum to use Famous Figures of the Early Modern Era. We picked up a number of picture books from our local library, scoured our bookshelves for related stories, and borrowed a copy of Story of the World, also. (Figures In Motion has set the series of books up to related to several history curriculums including Story of the World, Sonlight Curriculum, Classical Conversations, Mystery of History, among others.) I allowed Miss J to pick and choose among the names to find some that she was interested in.

She started with Catherine the Great, even before we had any books to read about her. We began with Catherine the Great the very evening we received the book for review because Miss J was so excited to get to do these. I looked up information on the internet and read to her while she cut out and assembled the Catherine the Great figure. She asked a few questions about Catherine and we did some additional research. A few days later when we were working on Peter the Great, we worked on the connection between the two and more questions were asked that weren’t answered in the books we had. More research – a wonderful learning opportunity.

During the time that we were taking a break from our current history to work on these fabulous figures, we were also working on a Lewis and Clark unit. Guess what? There was a figure for this unit – William Clark. It was another connection that helped her see how history is intertwined. There is also a Sacagawea figure that we put together as we studied the expedition.

Even our 11th grader enjoyed working on one of the figures. Here she is working on Sacagawea during our unit on Lewis and Clark.

As we concluded our break and got ready to pick up the history curriculum once more, we found additional connections and have actually continued on with creating a figure every few days. Pocahontas is one of the figures in the Famous Figures of the Early Modern Era book. She also fit in right where we were picking up again. We have also found William Penn in our current curriculum and worked on learning more about him, using the figure as a jumping off point.

The Famous Figures of the Early Modern Era book includes not just the paper figures, but it also includes a few short paragraphs on each figure and a suggested book list with books for various ages. The figures are most recommended for ages 6-12. My 12 year old is highly independent with the creation of the figures but she loves to have me read aloud to her while she is working on them. It suits me just fine to do so. A student on the lower end of that age range will likely need some help as the cutting can be pretty detailed.

If you visit the Figures in Motion website, you will find a place to sign up for their mailing list. Doing so will send a few more figures to your inbox. If you click on the download option, it also takes you to a private page on the website that has additional activities. There are some word searches, a play (for Esther), curriculum guides for each of the books (helping align with different history programs), a crown to make, a mosaic to create, and more.

There are 7 different books for you to explore – 6 history and 1 dinosaur. The Homeschool Review Crew has been reviewing the Famous Figures books. Visit the Crew website to read about the different books and how other families have been using this hands-on history resource.

Famous Figures of Ancient Times

Famous Figures of the Middle Ages & Renaissance

Famous Figures of the Early Modern Era

Famous Figures of the American Revolution

Famous Figures of the Civil War

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Economics Class by Boundary Stone ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Economics is something that is beneficial for everyone to know. Understanding the process by which goods and services are created and traded/received is a fundamental part of our society and world. Boundary Stone has created an online course paired with an in-print book for a high school economics class.

Economics Online Course Bundle has several components – an online portal with videos, daily check lists, quizzes, reviews; a digital PDF teacher’s guide; a hardback textbook. The course also asks for two additional books. Access is for 12 months but the course is designed to be completed in one semesters with daily lessons.

The main text is Basic Economics, A Natural Law Approach to Economics. It is a hardback text written by Clarence Carson and Paul Cleveland. It is over 370 pages and contains the main information for the course. There are three sections to the course: The Framework of Economics, The Production and Distribution of Goods, and the Politico-Economic Systems.

The Framework of Economics discusses basic economics, natural laws and the impact on economics, government and some of the history, society and morality, and property. These ideas and concepts are all placed in a historical framework and this part of the text reads like a history book. Section II gets into goods and how we make or receive goods, the market and how it reflects society, money, inflation, pricing, and much more. Titles of chapters in Section III include Manorial-Feudal System, Mercantilism, Free Enterprise, Corporatism, Welfarism, and Communism.

The online coursework has a checklist for daily work to help keep the student on track and moving forward. It is a numbered list of what is to be read, videos from Paul Cleveland, some linked YouTube videos, some linked articles to read, questions to be answered, quizzes to be taken, or unit tests to complete. There are also activities that are added in sometimes.

The online dashboard has a lot of information to help students stay on track. The left hand side has drop down menus that allow you to click on your next lesson and head directly there or something you have previously completed if you need to do a review. The top section has a percentage complete for the course so you can see at a glance how far you have come. It also has arrows to simply move forward or backward one lesson. With a linked PDF of the text, online review questions, and a place to mark complete when you have done each of the numbered parts of the lesson.

I have found the text to be an interesting read, though I disagree with the general tone of a large part of the discussion. It has challenged me to consider what I have been taught, to do my own research and reading, and to think about some of the concepts and ideas presented. I would recommend a parent or teacher take a look at the text before handing it to the student so that they are well aware of the outlook of this program. I have learned a lot and will continue on through the book, though my students will not be using it at this time.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read more reviews on the program from Boundary Stone.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Bible Unearthed by Drive Thru History ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Biblical archaeology can shed a lot of light on the word of God and help us understand the place in history of people and events. Drive Thru History® Adventures has been shedding light on the Bible through their videos for a while now. After the success of such series as The Gospels and Acts to Revelation (links take you to our reviews), the company realized that it would be interesting to share more about what goes on behind the scenes for Drive Thru History and feature archeaology.

We were given early access to a program series that Drive Thru History® Adventures will be releasing soon – Bible Unearthed. This program features Dr. Titus Kennedy, who is the main archaelogical researcher behind the Drive Thru History programs. Along with him, we meet Dave Stotts (of course) and Randall Niles, a writer for Drive Thru History. These three men take us through various parts of understanding the importance of archaeology and its impact on the Bible and history.

Bible Unearthed is accessed for us through the Drive Thru History® Adventures site. This curriculum site is a subscription site and requires internet access. The program is a 12 part series. Each video is supported by articles, worksheets, Bible readings, and suggested activities to help students understand the content and history. The videos run somewhere around 15 minutes each, give or take a couple of minutes. The course guide recommends each family decide how best to approach the curriculum and gives a possible schedule suggestion that covers one “adventure,” or video, per week and hits all of the included activities/readings.

The format for this series is very different from previous Drive Thru History videos, but that should be expected with a subject so very different from previous series. This is almost a relaxed discussion between 3 friends, with Dr. Kennedy taking the lead and giving the most information. As he is the archaeologist, that makes sense. He covers the following topics in the 12 part series:

  • What is Archaeology?
  • The Impact of Archaeology
  • Locating Archaeological Sites
  • The Life of an Archaeologist
  • What’s Being Discovered Today?
  • Archaeological Mysteries
  • Top Discoveries in Bible Archaeology
  • Getting Involved With Archaeology
  • Trends In Archaeology
  • Weird Archaeology
  • Accidental Discoveries in Archaeology
  • What’s Left To Be Discovered?

The focus in this series is about the impact of archaeology on understanding the ancient world, particularly the Biblical world. From the Tel Dan Stele, to the excavation of a palace of King David, to the Rosetta Stone, the connections between today and the artifacts and excavations of the ancient world bring this understanding. Each of the episodes talks about a different aspect of archaeology and touches on different people and places and artifacts. This keeps each episodes fresh and new yet ties them all together as some of the people, places, and artifacts come up over and over.

The dashboard for this course is simple to use and follow. It moves you from one episode to the next or you can cancel the auto play and utilize the different pieces of the curriculum. When you log in each time, it is easy to see where to begin, as the completed pieces have a check next to them. You can go back to whatever previous piece of the material you might be interested in. The worksheet and answer key are downloadable and printable. There are still articles being added to this course, so it is recommended to continue checking back for new additions. The articles are linked; you can click on the article title and it opens in a new tab.

one of the articles for Digging Deeper

We have found this series to be interesting and insightful. We have watched the episodes together and enjoyed them. I have read the articles and followed the curriculum myself, to add to my understanding of the information. I would certainly recommend this series to anyone wanting to learn more about archaeology, especially ancient history or biblical archaeology. It would not serve as a full high school course on its own, in my opinion, but would be easy to pair with additional resources to round out the course. (A book by Dr. Kennedy is recommended in the course guide.)

We were able to view the videos on the TV by opening the site on a smart phone and casting it to the TV. The whole family could watch then. I also watched a few of the episodes on the laptop when I was prewatching or rewatching episodes by myself or with Miss E, who is devouring the information in this series as much as I am.

Want to know more? Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews on Bible Unearthed, the soon-to-be-released series from Drive Thru History® Adventures.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Living Book for the Civil War era

Are you studying the Civil War era this year? Do you enjoy living books? Then I highly suggest you read Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott.

This is a story she wrote based on her own experiences as a nurse in a war hospital for several weeks, before becoming so over worked and ill that she had to leave her post. There is a lot of interesting information packed into this short 100 page book. In between the information about the hospital itself, there is interesting insight into Washington DC and the people (and animals) there.

I came across this book when we visited the Clara Barton museum a couple of years ago but it got buried under other books somewhere along the line. I was excited to open it up a couple of days ago and get started. I found the writing to be very easy to read and enjoyed immensely the combination of frivolity and intensity that wove themselves into the story.

These are sketches, rather than a direct, chronological retelling of her day by day life, and that is part of what made it so interesting. We get the highlights without the repeated drudgery that she must have experienced day after day in her few short weeks of being able to nurse “her boys” at that hospital.

A beautiful story that is definitely worth adding to your Civil War study.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

My Reading Lately – July/August 2020

I realized the other day that I never shared my reading from the last couple of months. Definitely time to do that! Several of these books are coming from the required reading that the girls will be doing this year, either on their own or with me. So, I have been trying to get a couple of steps ahead!

July 2020

  • Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

    This was an interesting look at the life of the young Lady Jane Grey who was turned in as a traitor at age 15 after being queen for only a few days. The House of Tudor was in unrest and there was a lot of infighting going on for the crown. It was a sad but interesting historical novel looking at King Henry and all his wives and the political situation that surround the House of Tudor during the sixteenth century. There were a couple of scenes that would have been better written less detailed; it was clear they were included in this manner for shock value. They are easy enough to skip over, though. I will probably read another of this author’s historical novels before too long. There are a lot of them.

  • Helen Roseveare: When Lions Roar by Mary Beth Lagerborg

    This is the biography of Helen Rosevear who was a medical missionary to the Belgian Congo in the mid 1900s. Her life was difficult at best but she served God and the people of the Belgian Congo with all her heart. While placed in danger many times, she still returned to serve. It was an inspiring read.
  • Alive In The Spirit by Jimmy Jividen 

    We were studying this book during our Wednesday night Bible class time during the summer. I would listen to the class and the follow up by reading the book. It is a theological discussion, for sure, and having Bobby Wheat’s lesson first allowed me to get a lot out of the book. I learned a lot and had many good, enriching discussions with others at church following the classes each week and with my husband. You can find the Bible studies on the Lake Shore Drive church of Christ Facebook page. (This is the first recorded one; it looks like lesson 1 on June 10 was not shared, likely because of a recording issue, as those occur sometimes.) There are quite a few lessons on there since we are live streaming all services and adult Bible classes. But these were the Wednesday night classes from June through mid-August. 

  • Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle

    Set in Medieval Germany, Otto is born into a warring family and is not strong as a young child. Due to unfortunate circumstances, he is sent to live his childhood with a brotherhood. When he reaches the right age, his father comes for him in order to bring him up along the lines of the household and his father’s desires. Caught up in the middle of the warring factions, the story of Otto is one of warning and of perseverance. This has become one of those “legendary” tales.

August 2020

  • Alive In The Spirit by Jimmy Jividen – finished the book

    See above. I finished the book early in the month. 
  • Madeline Takes Command by Ethel C Brill

    Madeline is a 14 year old girl when her home is attacked by raiding Iroquois. With most of the adult away and the garrison of soldiers that was supposed to be protecting them shirking their duty to go hunt for pleasure, Madeline takes on the command of the few remaining people capable of protecting her, her siblings, and the women and children left in the fort. This was a pleasant read on life in Colonial French Canada during the 1690s. 

  • Bridge to the Sun by Gwen Terasaki

    Set in the 1930s and 1940s of America and Japan, this is a beautiful story of love and marriage between a Japanese man and an American woman. Their difficult life is shared beautifully and presents a view of the political situations before, during, and after WWII that both countries experienced. The life of a Japanese diplomat in America before the war transforms to the life of a married Japanese diplomat returned to his home country with his American wife and child. Full of strife and difficulty, love remains the constant in this beautifully told true story.

  • Perfected: God’s Best Reserved for You, a study of Hebrews by Erynn Sprouse

    I am working my way through this Bible study on the book of Hebrews. I have found much make me think and have shared a couple of lines from the book on my Facebook page. The message is solid and clear and Erynn is clear in her writing. It is a solid study.

  • The Eternal Argument by Robin Finley

    Robin Finley puts forth the idea that in all of history and literature, there is a single argument that is being addressed. That idea never wavers, though the way to approach it might. It is always about who holds the power in any given situation and how that is gained or held onto or transferred to another. This was a very good read and one that I wish I had read years ago. It would definitely make my list for an 8th grader, before the students get into the depth of reading in high school. I plan to have both of my high schoolers read at least the 5th chapter, though I wish we had time for them to read the whole book.

  • Weird Things Customers Say In A Bookstore by Jennifer Campbell

    This was just a fun little read to lighten the day. It is short snippets that the author has recorded from her time working in a bookstore. She also recorded a number of exchanges from other book sellers she has known from across the globe. It is one of those books that just makes you smile, doesn’t take a lot of brain power, and can be picked up or put down at any point because it isn’t a storyline that propels you forward and compels you to keep reading.

  • The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

    This is part of one of the girls reading for this coming year so I am trying to get ahead (as with Otto and Madeline, and Bridge to the Sun). But what I am finding is that these books are solid, enjoyable reading all on their own. The Golden Goblet is set in Egypt during the time of the Pharoahs. The young boy has lost his parents and is forced into an apprenticeship with his abusive half-brother, a stone cutter. He would really be better served in the long run by being allowed to continue at the goldsmith’s shop. By keeping his eyes and ears open, and with the help of an unexpected couple of friends, a mystery is solved that could just change his life. I have really enjoyed this one and am glad it was required reading for my girl so that I could experience it, too.

If you have read anything lately, please share it in the comments. I am constantly adding to my reading list and enjoying trying to read more. I have learned a lot these last couple of months. Can’t wait to see where I go from here.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

A Bit(e) of History for Morning Time

Bites of history just perfect for morning time

A couple of years ago, we had the pleasure of meeting Solomon Schmidt and getting to hear him talk about history. He was a very good speaker. And, he was a teen. Yep, he was a teen speaker at a convention we attended and the girls really enjoyed listening to him. They enjoyed hearing him talk with such a passion about history that they talked me into buying a set of his books: History Bites.

History Bites by Solomon Schmidt are books that give you a bite of history, a small tidbit that you can enjoy without getting too much. Just enough to maybe pique your interest or fill in a bit on someone you didn’t know. Most of the biographical sketches in his books are 4 pages long.

First page includes the person’s name, their birth and death information, any marriage information, and information on any children. Next you get 2-3 pages of biography highlights and maybe a picture or two. The biography tends to end with a fun fact. That’s it.

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These are quick five minute reads that just might be the perfect addition to your morning basket or routine. We used them for a year and thoroughly enjoyed the short history moment each day. There are four main books, set up for this five minute read,  to choose from: In/Famous People Volume I, In/Famous People Volume II, US History Bites, and US Presidential History Bites.

The fifth and sixth books are individual people biographies. The fifth book is about J.R.R. Tolkien and is set up more like a regular biography. There are 14 chapters in the short 67 page book. It was an interesting read. It does appear it was been updated since I bought my copy. The CS Lewis book is 90 pages long according to his website. I have not read it as it was published after we bought the others.

So, if you are looking for a simple bit of history to add, History Bites by Solomon Schmidt might work well for you. He has a website, YouTube channel, and his books are available through Amazon.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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