Tagged literature

What the 6-year-old is Reading Now


A friend with little ones asked me about reading recommendations for her 6-7 year olds, so I thought I’d give her a list of what our 6.5-year-old is reading right now. Hope this helps, J!

Life of Fred Decimals and Percents – his big sister’s book, but he’s reading it for fun.

Get Into Gear, Stilton!

Clare and Francis
Catholic Children’s Treasure Box, Books 4, 3, 9, and 2

Viking Raiders (Usborne Time Traveler) – a long-time favorite, I think he rereads this every few weeks

The Mysterious Benedict Society – something that escaped me. I didn’t mean to let him read it at this age, but one of the older kids left it lying around….

Alexander Graham Bell: An Inventive Life

The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor

Thomas Edison: Young Inventor (Childhood of Famous Americans)

DK Readers: Secrets of the Mummies

Reader’s Digest ~ How Science Works

Abner Doubleday: Boy Baseball Pioneer (Young Patriots series)

The Tale of Despereaux

Where Do Sharks Cross Mountain Peaks?

Cam Jansen and the Ghostly Mystery – probably should not have bought this (bought this at a resale shop and I thought, eh, a quick read for him for when he’s bored) — now he’s asking me about ghosts. ack.

The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys – one of his birthday gifts; he rereads this every couple of weeks or so.

Great Illustrated Classics: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – a bit twaddly version of the original, but it will do for now

A Weekend with Wendell

The Story of a Bad Boy – recommended by big sis because she loved it. I haven’t had time to read it aloud to him as we still have several read alouds we’re working on, but he’s slowly making his way through it and said I could read it aloud to him, if/when I catch up.

The Story of the Spar-Spangled Banner

The Lady of Guadalupe – a Tomie de Paola classic

What Nino Read, October 2014


The Monk Who Grew Prayer
New Catholic Children’s Bible – he reads this on his own
Catholic Children’s Treasure Box Books – he now reads these on his own, and asked me for sacrifice beads, though he hasn’t used them much


Abe Lincoln Remembers
Abraham Lincoln (Childhood of Famous Americans)
Anno’s Spain
D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths
Harry Houdini
The Kid Who Changed the World – this seemed to have an impact on him as he was reading another book the other day and pointed out George Washington Carver’s name (one of those mentioned in the book)
Martha Washington – this has been a favorite for a while now
Gilgamesh the King – and this trilogy
The Revenge of Ishtar
The Last Quest of Gilgamesh
The Miracles of Jesus – this is a new favorite and
This is Rome – the book that launched several discussions and revealed to me just how much he knew from reading other books/listening to audiobooks — amazing what he retains


A Kiss Means I Love You
Blaze and the Gray Spotted Pony – old favorites of the big boys — so glad I spotted them at the library, I had forgotten about them!
Blaze and the Mountain Lion
Blaze Finds the Trail
Hedgehog’s Secret
Little Tim and The Brave Sea Captain – another re-discovery — Jenn blogged about the books and I remembered that the big boys loved these as well, so I ordered a few
Tales from Shakespeare – I didn’t think he was ready for these, but wow! We were reading these for a couple of weeks and we all enjoyed them, hubby included. Again, amazing what he remembers.
The Crane Wife – I still don’t like this story after all these years, but keep it because it has kid appeal.
The Little World of Don Camillo – A gift from a friend — not really a kids’ book, but for some reason Nino is quite taken with it and has asked me to read it again, one or two chapters a night since we found it (it was misplaced for a while)
Spoken Memories/Painted Words
The Tale of Ginger and Pickles
The Serpent Came to Gloucester
Thumbelina – an old favorite that he recently asked me to reread. Beautiful as ever.


The Baker’s Dozen

Though we’re not doing a formal Math curriculum yet, he is constantly playing with numbers in his head, and asking about days, dates, time, the months, how many __ in a ___ questions, skip counts by 2s and 5s when we play ball. I might order Singapore Math for him sometime soon.


Eyewitness Books Flying Machine – he reads this on his own, though once in a while, he’ll ask me to read portions.

No formal science curriculum either, but like any boy he loves bugs and creepy crawlies, and is always curious about the weather, and things going on in nature, like the crispness and color of fall leaves, or why gloomy days mean no sun, which makes him sad and grumpy.


Can You See What I See? Once Upon A Time

Nino in August in Michigan
Nino in August in Michigan

He continues to enjoy art his own way — I am not forcing writing or drawing right now, though he will randomly ask for paper and pencils or markers to write or copy somethign that’s important to him. A couple of weeks ago he asked for watercolor paper and watercolors and painted happily for ~10 minutes, but did not want to repeat the exercise the next day. He has been using the scissors more, and did a Creation worksheet on his own one day with just the teeniest prompting from me. Yesterday he decided to cut up some scrap paper, and I thought he was just going to cut random shapes, but then he started showing me words that he had cut out. It turned into a fun game with us putting random words together and deciding whether something was a phrase or a sentence. I don’t know if he quite got it but he did come up with some funny ones.

He continues to love building Lego and K’nex, though that initial phase of taking old Bionicle instructions and recreating them quickly passed, and he is back to making up his own stuff, often impressing his older brothers with his creations. He doesn’t dance as much to Just Dance like he used to but will dance to just about anything, even nothing; his moves are something else. 😀

A few weeks ago I ordered him a new set of slides, and he enjoyed looking at those one by one, prefering the ones that look like something familiar, like monsters 😀 . He also took the old slide sets and rearranged them as he now knows they are supposed to be in a certain order.

He loves the outdoors as much as the older boys and went on his first camping trip, slept in his own sleeping bag just a few weeks ago. Slept through a thunderstorm even.

At Mass he still gets bored and distracted often, but will sit quietly most of the time, and participates in prayers and songs most Sundays. He has gotten more curious about the Sacrament of Reconciliation so I’ve been talking to him more about it.

He still loves listening to Jim Weiss audiobooks, though I’d like to introduce him to composers soon. He used to love making noise on the keyboard, but the adapter broke, though it may still be repaired… but hubby has to find time to do it. I’ve asked him if he’d like piano lessons, but for now he’s not interested. For some reason the Donut Man songs do not appeal to him; perhaps I just need to play them more often.


Source:  Visual.ly
Source: Visual.ly

A lot of our plans for Shakespeare for Yena (7th grade) come from the Spring 2009 issue of Mater et Magistra, which includes excellent material from fellow homeschooling moms, and even a special Shakespearean tea from Alice Gunther, so I won’t be posting those here. Several local families are joining us for an informal (or formal, depending on how things go) Shakespeare study, and one of them with a daughter the same age as Yena has decided on their picks for the year, hence we’re limiting ourselves to these three for now (I’m still iffy about Henry V though), with plans to do more in the future. Nino (4) gets to go along for the ride, I’m sure he’ll love the animated movies.

I’ll update this as we get closer to the dates and plans firm up more. Since this is a casual study, we may just go where the kids take us. 😀

Henry V
Henry V starring Kenneth Branagh
Henry V from Audible.com
No Fear Shakespeare Henry V
Folger Shakespeare Library’s Henry V
Commentary from Maria Rioux at Mater Amabilis
Waiting to see if The Hollow Crown would be a good fit, to be released in US in the fall.

The Tempest
The Tempest from Audible.com
No Fear Shakespeare Tempest
Dr. Henry Russell – The Catholic Shakespeare – Tempest
Marianna Mayer’s The Tempest
Bruce Coville’s The Tempest
Folger Shakespeare Library’s The Tempest
Notes and Commentary from Maria Rioux at Mater Amabilis

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar (BBC)
Julius Caesar, 1953 production
Study Guide from Hillside Education
Julius Caesar from Audible.com
No Fear Shakespeare Julius Caesar
The Young Reader’s Shakespeare: Julius Caesar
Folger Shakespeare Library’s Julius Caesar
From Maria Rioux, at Mater Amabilis
Shakespeare for Young People

Other Resources:

Jen/Mackfam’s excellent Shakespeare reference chart shared at the 4Real Forums
Shakespeare Stealer series from Gary Blackwood
Shakespeare for Children by Jim Weiss
Shakespeare for Young Players from Tens to Teens recommended by Alice G at the 4Real Forum
Stories from Shakespeare by Marchette Chute
Lots of activities here
Bard of Avon by Diane Stanley

Shakespeare Insult Kit
Shakespeare Glossary
Shakespeare for Kids: His Life and Times, 21 Activities – we used this resource a few years back with the older kids.

Shakespeare for Youngers:
Shakespeare: The Animated Tales (oh hey, also available at Netflix)
Someone has compiled the YouTube vids here.

Mogo’s Flute: Study Questions

  1. Where did Mogo live?
  2. What is the mundo-mugo?
  3. What is the legend of the 9 Kikuyu tribes?
  4. If you were Kikuyu like Mogo, how would you answer the question, “What is your name?”
  5. Based on what the author tells about Mogo’s thahu, what are some other possible explanations for Mogo’s problems?
  6. On page 13, Mogo’s dad wonders if it might have been better had Mogo died. Why did he say that? Do you agree? As Catholics, how do we think of LIFE? Explain differences/similarities.
  7. What role did Njoki play in helping Mogo overcome his thahu?
  8. Have you met someone like Njoki in your life?
  9. What do the Kikuyu believe about old people and death? Clue: see page 18
  10. What did Mogo do “to make his journey a success”?
  11. What was Mogo thinking as he made his way through the forest? Why did he think these things?
  12. Why is “what we have done” as important as “what we have not done”? How would you apply this in your life?
  13. What does ‘mastering one’s thahu‘ mean?
  14. What is your favorite part of the whole story and why?
  15. How can a curse be also a blessing? Give an example.
  16. How can a gift also be a loss? Give an example.
  17. Explain these: “A lone bee perishes.” “One twig cannot make of itself a basket.”
  18. What was the part you liked the least and why?
  19. How do you respond to unfairness? What is the best way to respond?
  20. What did Mogo learn about mothers’ work?
  21. What did Mogo’s family believe about the “sacred fire”? (see p. 31) Compare/contrast with Catholics’ sanctuary lamp/eternal flame.
  22. List 5 similes and 5 metaphors taken from pp. 32-35.
  23. What are the differences between Mogo’s people and the Masai?
  24. What did Mogo think the message of his dream was?
  25. What skills did he learn?
  26. What important life skills should one learn regardless of handicaps/weaknesses?
  27. Explain: “Soil does not cheat a man.” (p. 50)
  28. Read Grandfather’s blessing again on p. 51. (Extra credit: use this for copywork.) How is it similar to our blessing prayers?
  29. Explain: “A hyena robbed of its meal finds another.”
  30. Narrate the story of the hyena and the mole.
  31. How is Mogo’s skill set different from yours? Why are they different?
  32. Mogo’s father tells Mogo that his first earnings should go towards the purchase of a goat or lamb. Compare/contrast with Dad’s/Mom’s teachings about finances.
  33. What are two ways the Kikuyu people measure time?
  34. When people cheat you, when you lose, what’s the best attitude to have?
  35. What did Mogo learn about giving?
  36. Why was Mama surprised that they were cheerful?
  37. How can a bad thing be a good thing too? Compare/contrast with Catholic teaching that God can take the bad and make something good out of it.
  38. What is the “happiest pain” in Mogo’s young life? Have you had a similar experience?
  39. How had Mogo changed between the time he had his first flute and the time he got his second flute?

A bit more involved thinking:

  1. List the major characters of the story, with a descriptive phrase about each.
  2. List some of the differences/similarities between yours and Mogo’s cultures. (e.g., sleeping arrangements, men’s/women’s roles, etc.)
  3. Make a list of the animals mentioned in the story.
  4. List some of the Kikuyu’s beliefs that are different from yours.
  5. List some of the practices of Mogo’s tribe with regards to old people and young children.


Extra credit: Copy and color the picture on p. 34.

Linky Links Again, and Another Recipe

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons Fastest-Growing ‘Churches’ in U.S. — Wow, never realized US was actually PREDOMINANTLY CATHOLIC! I had always thought the US as “predominantly Protestant”. Very encouraging, but as a PinoyDefensorFidei listmember pointed out, very sobering as well — if you look at the numbers of separated brethren.

A discussion of grocery budgets and such at 4real yielded this link to the USDA’s food cost averages — including those on a thrifty plan, low budget plan, medium, and liberal. Makes me feel better about how much we spend at food here at home with 4 kids, but I’m sure there’s always room for more frugality and prudence.

Maureen Wittmann, author of For the Love of Literature, The Catholic Homeschool Companion and A Catholic Homeschool Treasury, has anew project! The Virtues Reading List. Not only that, she is also beginning a new book: Books for Kids Who Love to Read. Get over there and tell her all about the books your kids love!

Are you (or your child/children) participating in World Maths Day? It’s next week!

Latin Podcast

Story of the Church at Sonitus Sanctus — the handouts are here.

A fellow hs mom was kind enough to send me the link to Franciscan University’s Transient Programs — one or the other may appeal to Aisa…. depending on where we end up in the next year or so…

Vegetarian Chili Recipe:

2 tablespoons canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced (I used a 7-inch one)
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
6 tomatoes, chopped
approx. 1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of sugar
hard boiled egg, chopped (optional)

Saute garlic and onion in heated oil in medium saucepan. Add spices and saute a couple minutes more. Add sweet potato, green bell pepper, carrot, and tomatoes. Add water, cocoa powder and salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 30 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add sugar, adjust seasonings to taste, and cook 2 minutes more. Serve topped with hard boiled egg.

This is the shortcut version of this recipe from Epicurious.com, but trust me, I think it really tastes better if you don’t put your SELF into it 😉 .