Tagged shakespeare

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.

What Nino Read, September 2014

the princess and her great-great-grandmother (from The Princess and the Goblin)
the princess and her great-great-grandmother (from The Princess and the Goblin)

Corduroy Makes a Cake

It’s Milking Time (didn’t like this one that much — maybe he can’t relate since we hardly ever drink cow’s milk here)

Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Carnival Prize

The Best Kind of Kiss by Margaret Allum ***

The Little Piggy’s Book of Manners (a fun way for kids to learn manners/reinforce what we’ve taught them) *****

Little Bo Peep Can’t Get to Sleep (Little Bo Peep plus other familiar characters from traditional nursery rhymes and stories incorporated) ****

A Photo for Greta by Anna Alter – on photography and father/daughter relationship. Cute. **

Disappearing Desmond by Anna Alter — cute book on hiding in plain sight and on being “seen”. **

A Gift of Gracias — on Our Lady of Altagracia — HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ***** Dominican Republic culture , faith, cultivating a spirit of gratitude, January 21

Best Little Wingman – long-time family favorite on father-child relationship, wintertime, how snow plows work ****

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – **** – Africa, electricity, power & energy, Malawi, drought, poverty, windmills.

Nino’s thoughts when we read this: This reminds me of The Wizard of Menlo Park, Mommy!
Me: Who’s that?
Nino: Thomas Edison! (LOL, I had forgotten – we read about Thomas Edison in My Book House)

Three Scoops and a Fig – Italy, Italian flag, figs, cooking and baking, about being “too little” to do things — this book made Nino want to eat gelato. 😀 ****

The Babe and I – baseball, Great Depression, 20th century, Babe Ruth, Yankees, New York, newspaper boy ****

Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox – cute rhyming book on — what else — chicken pox ***

Miss Nelson is Back — funny, silly story on substitute teachers (and their tricks). ***

My Friend by Beatrice Alemagna – pictures are fabric/thread collages. simple book on friendship ***

Also read this past month:

Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Readers — which Nino asked me to read (got it on Kindle) — he had been introduced to Shakespeare via Jim Weiss — we loved most of them except King Lear — that was just tragic and bizarre.


The Wizard of Oz – ** – Meh.

The Princess and the Goblin — absolutely wonderful book!!

The Princess and Curdie — sequel to Princess and the Goblin

both by George MacDonald, a Tolkien favorite. Wish I had read these books to the kids when they were little. Lots of little nuggets on faith, adventure, staying true to oneself, bravery, honesty, integrity, etc. Wow. Nino and I had LOTS of fun with these books and I’d love to get them on hardcover so we can have them on the shelf and he can reread them anytime and re-learn these character lessons when he does.


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.

Yena’s Curriculum (11, 7th grade) 2013-2014 / The Curriculum Planning Post

Haha. I was typing up the title for this post and had to stop and call Dad and Yena who are out on a biking trip (it’s 7:35 am). I think I made a mistake somewhere along the line. When I was 11, I was in 5th grade…. Hm. I don’t know if I accidentally made her skip a grade or if we just started too early. At any rate, I asked her if she would like to go back. She doesn’t. But now I’m relaxed because that means I COULD delay her a year or two if I wanted to. #homeschoolingmomproblems

Well, we’ll see how this year goes. She was having a bit of trouble with Math so it may be a good idea to slow down a bit there. Going back to my previous train of thought….

This is my favorite time of the schoolyear: every control freak homeschooling mom’s dream. Right now I am surrounded by books and books and booklists and more books.

How I plan curriculum in a nutshell, now, after 14+ years of homeschooling:

– Gather materials from previous year that weren’t completely finished or that child didn’t like, so I know WHAT TO STOP DOING or WHAT I NEED TO CHANGE this year. For instance, she’s tired of Artistic Pursuits and she doesn’t want to do Henle Latin.

– “Shop” our shelves. I looked through our religion shelf, and I had her look through the history shelves, to find any books that I think is appropriate for her age/maturity level now, and she can read some of the things that she wasn’t allowed to / ready for before :).

– Make a notepad file of the basics, listing at least one resource for each subject.

So I start out with something very rough, like this:


– Then I gather all of the books, plus the things I’ve collected through the year and classified as “Maybe One Day” or “When the Time is Right” items.

– Lay all items out on the floor (or other large space) and narrow down. When the children are little, this job is 100% Mom’s (wheeee!!!!) 😀 . As they grow older I let them make more and more decisions, so that by high school they are designing their own curriculum.


What’s here, and my thoughts as I’m looking through them:

A – The Grammar of Poetry: Never worked for any of the kids. If Yena doesn’t want it, poetry is covered anyway in Lightning Literature which we’re considering, plus we’re doing Shakespeare. This may have to go, OR we could try the new and improved version which looks like fun, especially since there are now DVDs. Eeee!!!! Got ME excited.
B – Warriner’s English, Voyages in English, Easy Grammar: Will have to pick one of these, leaning towards Voyages in English. Or maybe see if I can give Classical Writing (not pictured, but we have them) another go.
C – Migi’s Confirmation Portfolio: Will pattern Yena’s confirmation portfolio after this and Paco’s, and Aisa’s (if we can find them).
D – Confirmation Materials: Life of Grace (Faith and Life 7), Following the Holy Spirit, Spreading and Defending the Faith, My Path to Heaven; The Holy Bible: All of these are a go.
E – Collection of Calendars with Marian art, for a Mama Mary Project in December and/or May: Need to plan exactly what will be done with these. Probably an artist and artwork study coupled with a Marian prayer or meditation. Possibly copywork. Can spread out to do once a month for the whole year instead of December or May. Or do one a month, and a wrap-up grand plan for May to coincide with May Crowning.
F – Mom’s All-Time Faves for Curriculum Planning: Elizabeth Foss’ Real Learning, Michael O’Brien’s A Landscape with Dragons, Laura Berquist’s Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum: Peek at these if there’s time or need more ideas. Other booklists/references I like to check out from time to time: Reading Your Way Through History, Bethlehem Books, Treasure Chest for Tweens, and Angelicum’s Curriculum. I used to check out the curricula of the various online homeschool curriculum providers, but I always manage to overwhelm myself so I’ve stopped doing that. 😀
G – Yena’s choices from the History shelf: historical fiction and saint bios: Plan this out at least once a month, alternating with lit selections from (P), include in Book of Centuries. Read chronologically. Can write up/find lit guides for a few if needed.
H – History Spines: Light to the Nations; Christ the King Lord of History; pick one, do the other at end of school year if she’s run out of history stuff to do 🙂 . Leaning towards Light to the Nations.
I – more Religion-History books: Definitely St. Philomena the Wonder Worker, Color Your Own Book of Kells if she’s interested. Maybe Bartholomew’s Passage during Advent. Probably not the Fr. Laux book.
J – The Harp and Laurel Wreath, which Amazon tells me I purchased in 2002, for copywork, memorization and handwriting improvement.
K – Traditional Logic: May chuck this unless she’s interested. None of the other kids have been. Might replace with Fallacy Detective.
L – American Heritage Girls Merit Badge Workbook: Plan for one merit badge a month (outside of AHG troop/patrol plans).
M – Science: Definitely Keeping a Nature Journal. Can read The Way Things Work for fun, or maybe do narrations. And/or maybe Apologia
General Science since she liked Apologia Botany last year. Maybe Quick Six for fun, downloaded last year and never used.
N – Shakespeare: Read, watch, memorize. See if she can join Drama club this year.
O – Art: The Story of Painting: The Story of Painting: If this will be the art program for the year, then plan out pages to read/take notes from. Use this as spine for artist and artwork studies.
P – Literature selections, picked by Yena from the Landscape with Dragons book: See G above.

What’s Not Here:

Math: Probably Teaching Textbooks again, or Life of Fred, or both.
Music: I’ve been suggesting formal music lessons, but we’ll see.
Latin: Considering Visual Latin, or back to Henle (maybe she’ll want to do it if I promise to do the lessons with her, which is what I did with the older ones). Oh yay! Visual Latin has been updated to ecclesiastical pronunciation. Looks promising.

Okay here goes. Yena’s home, so we’re finalizing choices. Sometimes when a kid can’t decide, they’ll use eenie-meenie-miney-moe, and the control freak in me is screaming inside, but I will take a deep breath and let it go.

3 hours later:

Here’s what we came up with!!

Religion: Faith and Life 7 + My Catholic Faith Delivered + Confirmation Portfolio (separate post) + Fireside Catholic Bible. Bartholomew’s Passage for Advent. Mama Mary Notebook throughout the year, with special emphasis in May (Art + Prayers and Meditations).

Latin: Visual Latin

English and Literature: Novel Inquiries — this one was a gift from Margot Davidson of Hillside Education, many years back when I used to take care of her website). + some of Voyages in English and Easy Grammar as needed.

The List of Living Books (covering Religion, History, Literature)

  • Warrior Scarlet (Novel Inquiries), Bronze Age Britain, 2500-800 BC
  • Mara, Daughter of the Nile (Novel Inquiries), set at the time of Thutmose III 1479-1425 BC
  • Caesar’s Gallic Wars (Novel Inquiries), 58-50 BC (argh cannot find this)
  • The Capricorn Bracelet, AD 61
  • Heroes of God’s Church, 3rd to 19th Century
  • The Leopard Sword, 12th Century
  • The Tale of Troy (Novel Inquiries), 12th or 13th century BC
  • The Blood-Red Crescent, 16th Century
  • Outlaws of Ravenhurst, 17th Century
  • The French are Coming, 18th Century
  • Petticoat Rebel, 18th Century
  • Romany Girl, India, 18th Century (?)
  • Bargain Bride, Oregon, 19th Century
  • Ribbon of Fire, Scotland, 19th Century
  • Hoofprint on the Wind, Ireland, 20th Century (?)
  • Master of Morgana, Scotland, 20th Century

Math: Life of Fred

Logic/Critical Thinking: Fallacy Detective.

Science: Apologia General Science + Keeping a Nature Journal

History: Light to the Nations, with living books (listed above in the booklist section) keyed to corresponding centuries she’s studying

Music:: YouTube videos and printable music sheets/chords online for guitar. No formal lessons, she doesn’t want them 🙂

Art:: Artistic Pursuits Junior High Book One + Art 7 for Young Catholics

AHG Merit Badges:: Cycling, Cake Decorating, Best Me I Can Be, Creative Crafts

Home Economics: Menu Planning, Budgeting, Grocery Shopping, Cooking and Baking, Allergen-Free Recipes, Healthy Eating, Sewing and other Needle Arts Projects, MAYBE some furniture painting/reupholstering if time permits. Mom-designed.

Also planning to do some Shakespeare with the local Catholic homeschooling group. May be as simple as a Shakespearean tea where they can dress up and read aloud, or something more elaborate depending on what the others want to do.

Next step is to put this curriculum into monthly/weekly/daily lesson plans. (Spreadsheeeeeeeets!!!!!!) That’s for the next post, hopefully within the next two weeks.

Things that caught my eye, but will have to be done some other time because of time/financial constraints:

One Year Adventure Novel
Encounter: Catholic Middle School Bible Study, with Mark Hart
– a couple other philosophy books at Amazon.
The (new and improved) Grammar of Poetry
Memorize the Faith
Classically Catholic Memory

August Reads #3 (Migi and Yena) [reviews]

– cute, but kind of pointless

– Verdi is our “Composer of the Month” for September, and this is a perfect rabbit trail book — the illustrations are just beautiful. I have a newfound appreciation of Aida. The drama of a love triangle may not be entirely suitable for the younger set though — my kids read it, but didn’t really like it.

– studying more Shakespeare this year. 13-yo has read/listened to Macbeth. We’ll be watching the movie soon. This is a gentler intro or re-intro to the Bard, for the younger ones.

– another cute book, about Chinese culture and imagination… not much substance though, or maybe I just missed it

– get this book! if just for the artwork. Lovely!! One word of caution: there is a page where Michelangelo is dissecting a cadaver. It’s not particularly gory or indecent, but probably not for sensitive or very young children. This one’s a read aloud aimed at older kids.

– an okay book, for kids who either don’t know what a library is or have no appreciation of it yet

– I’m not usually a fan of books that remind me of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (link to the book here), but this one really won me over. It highlights the grandpa-grandchild relationship and is just endearing and sweet. I highly recommend it, esp. as a gift to Grandpa. Totally heartwarming.

– classic book to teach your kids about good stewardship of the earth — if you like/love this book, perhaps you’ll like/love the next one as well. It’s also ecology, but more fantasy-style. I love the realism of the Kapok tree book, but something about the Florentine art in the other just captures and holds my affection.

– This book, of course, would be more suitably read in February, but we are on a Clyde Robert Bulla kick these days. I love that this book goes into the different legends/origins of Valentine’s Day, and doesn’t neglect the Catholic POV. Not really a fictional book per se, but entertaining and colorful enough to hold a little one’s attention.

– I *love* this book! Sooo sweet, but not saccharine sweet. Very very respectful and honest about sibling relationships and the rivalry that sometimes may come with it, balanced with a gentle (but non-preachy) emphasis on generosity and sharing. A great gift for a new big sister. Also a great reminder for parents to be sensitive to the needs of an older child when a new sibling joins the family.

– Very nicely done retelling of Russian folklore on the seasons of the year. I like books that present basic facts in a creative manner, and asks questions of the reader, or prompts them to ask questions, and come up with their own answers. The pastel drawings would be great for an art lesson or two!

– a pity the artwork isn’t available on Amazon. It’s a rather quaint book, with a myriad of characters all taken from well-known and common nursery rhymes and Mother Goose stories. Perfect lead in to many rabbit trails…. or use as the perfect ending to tie up and finish a collection of classic read alouds. Reminds me of Jolly Postman books.

– great bio of Anna May Wong, written for kids. She was heretofore unkonwn to me. Every now and then it’s good to see new authors and illustrators tackling previously unknown subjects. Great springboard for discussing the film genre, stereotypes, racism, etc.