Bookworm Fridays: What the World Eats

What the World Eats @ Three Cornered HugWhat the World Eats is a wake up call paired with a social studies lesson. While I usually cover a work of fiction, I feel that this is a book that every child should read at some point (or at least check out the photos).

Basically, families all over the world have been photographed with all of the food they would eat in a typical week. Many of the photos are very sobering, as you are forced to look at the poverty that is a reality for so many every day. Overall it’s very interesting to see what people eat and how many of those foods are like ours. On the pages facing the photos, you’ll find a list of the foods, and other facts such as the cost of the groceries, and information about the country.

If your library doesn’t carry this, you can also buy (or preview) it here.

Bookworm Fridays: Robot Wars

Robot Wars @ Three CorneredRobot Wars @ Three Cornered Hug

Robot Wars, by Sigmund Brouwer, is for the high-tech, space-age, future-loving young person. Set in the future, 14-year old Tyce lives in an experimental colony on Mars. This series has almost everything you can think of: futuristic gadgets including a robot army, strange experimental animals, space-age flying dog-fights, conspiracy theories revolving around the government agencies back on Earth, bad guys, and scenarios that cause one to consider faith and family.

It would take me a coon’s age (something I learned in Kentucky!) to tell you about every book, so you should head on over to Amazon to read the story lines and reviews. **Please note: this series was originally published as The Mars Diaries, a 10 book series. Now as Robot Wars, there are 5 books with 2 stories in each.

I want to add a disclaimer here. There is some material that is pretty heavy in this series, after you get past the first book. However, in my view, and considering what I see out there in the “teen” section at the libraries, it may be considered very mild to some. The author is obviously a Christian, and he handled things very well while still adding elements of danger and science fiction. Yet, as always I recommend that you look through these books first.

“You Wouldn’t Want To…” :a Recommended Resource for History

History Resources @ Three Cornered HugIf I haven’t already mentioned it, history was not my favorite subject in school. In fact, I would have rather taken “Watching Paint Dry 101”.

Now, as a homeschooling mom, my view is quite different. We both look forward to our history lessons. I believe this is due in large part to the way we’ve approached history–as a story. A fascinating story.

We have a timeline in our basement consisting of about 20 pieces of poster board. We’ve been studying history from Mesopotamia on, pasting little facts in the appropriate time slots.

While we’ve used many resources to do this, such as Story of the World, and various works of historical fiction, one of our favorite and most informative sources is a series of books whose titles all begin with “You Wouldn’t Want To…”  These silly books give you information from Sumerian times to the more recent American History events in a memorable way.

Amazingly, the amount and type of information given in these books means that they’re real competitors in the non-fiction genre. For instance, when we were studying Ancient Egypt, I picked up You Wouldn’t Want to Be an Egyptian Mummy! and a couple other from that series, along with some more “serious” works. To my surprise, the former contained almost all of the same facts as the latter–and in better format! The comedic presentation makes for an interesting read that will stick in the minds of youngsters–especially boys!

You can find these books on Amazon, but check your library first. In my experience, most libraries carry at least some of this series.

Here is a complete list of what’s available that I found at
http://teachwithpicturebooks.blogspot.com/2009/05/you-wouldnt-want-to.html

***Please note that although I do appreciate this series as a whole, all of these books don’t necessarily represent our views. Use your best discretion, as usual.

You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Mammoth Hunter!(c. 10,000BC)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Sumerian Slave (c. 5000-2000BC)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be An Egyptian Mummy! (c. 3000BC)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Pyramid Builder! (c. 2500BC)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be An Assyrian Soldier (c. 2000-600BC)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Slave In Ancient Greece! (c. 1100 – 150BC)
You Wouldn’t Want To Work On The Great Wall of China! (500-200BC)
You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Roman Soldier!(400BC)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be In Alexander The Great’s Army! (336-323BC)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Roman Gladiator! (c. 260BC)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be Cleopatra (69-30BC)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Viking Explorer! (c. 1000)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Crusader! (1095-1099)
You Wouldn’t Want To Live In A Medieval Castle! (c. 1200s?)
You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Medieval Knight!(c. 1200s?)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be In A Medieval Dungeon! (c. 1200s?)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be In The Forbidden City! (built 1406-1420)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be Married To Henry VIII! (1491 – 1547)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be Ill In The 16th Century/ Tudor Times! (1500s)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be Mary, Queen Of Scots! (1542-1587)
You Wouldn’t Want To Sail In The Spanish Armada! (1588)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Pirate’s Prisoner! (1660s?)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be An 18th-Century British Convict!
You Wouldn’t Want To Travel With Captain Cook! (1760s)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be An Aristocrat In The French
Revolution! (1789-1799)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A 19th-Century Coal Miner in England!
You Wouldn’t Want To Sail On An Irish Famine Ship! (19th Century)
You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Suffragist!(19th Century)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Victorian Schoolchild! (1880s)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Victorian Miner! (1880s)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Victorian Servant! (1880s)
You Wouldn’t Want to Be A Victorian Mill Worker! (1880s)
You Wouldn’t Want To Live In Pompeii! (AD79)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Mayan Soothsayer! (AD250-900)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be An Aztec Sacrifice! (c. 1200s)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be An Inca Mummy! (c. 1450)
You Wouldn’t Want to Sail With Christopher Columbus!(1492)
You Wouldn’t Want to Explore With Sir Francis Drake! (1570s)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be An American Colonist! (1585)
You Wouldn’t Want To Sail On The Mayflower! (1620)
You Wouldn’t Want to Be at the Boston Tea Party!(1773)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be An American Pioneer (18th Century)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be In The First Submarine! (19th Century)
You Wouldn’t Want Sail On A 19th-Century Whaling Ship!
You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Civil War Soldier!(1861-1865)
You Wouldn’t Want To Work On The Railroads! (1860s)
You Wouldn’t Want To Live In A Wild West Town!
(c. mid 19th Century)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Worker On The Statue
Of Liberty! (1876-1886)
You Wouldn’t Want to Sail on the Titanic!(April 1912)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be A Polar Explorer!
(Ernest Shackleton: 1914-1917)
You Wouldn’t Want To Be On Apollo 13! (April 1970)

Bookworm Fridays: The Bronze Bow

Bronze Bow @ Three Cornered Hug

The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth Speare, is another book we included in our history studies. It follows a young zealot, Daniel, living at the time of Christ. After his father was crucified by the Romans, Daniel lived in the mountains with a band of Zealots until some young people from town discover him one day. He is eventually compelled to rejoin his community and care for what’s left of his family. While this book is not religious, it uses the commandment to love to challenge the hate that’s in Daniel’s heart for the Romans. It also highlights the conflict that must have been in the minds of many Jewish people of Daniel’s time: how could this man, Jesus, who teaches love possibly be the savior they hoped for? Find The Bronze Bow here.

Bookworm Fridays: Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog’s Tale

Lewis and Clark and Me @Three Cornered Hug

“Dog and man can fit together like no others do. Lewis and I had that fit….

How did we get that close? I think the wilderness had something to do with it. Lewis and I would have been close anywhere, but the wilderness brought out the best in both of us. We were made for that territory.”

Meriwether Lewis’s Newfoundland, Seaman, gives his account of this famous expedition starting with his first introduction to Lewis. History and animal lovers alike will enjoy this book.

Find Lewis and Clark and Me, by Laurie Myers, here.

Australia Day!

YEY! Did you know that January 26th is Australia Day! Get ready to party!
(Yes, I know today’s date. I’m giving you a heads up so you can prepare!)

Here are some fun activities to help you celebrate. Alternately, you may want to incorporate some of these into your lesson plans for a unit study on Australia if you do one at home or in a co-op class.

  • First of all, did you know that although Aussies speak English, you may not actually understand them? For instance, if I told you, “Hey Bloke, I’m feeling peckish. Let’s go to Macca’s and get some tucka”, would you know what I was saying?

Start out Australia day with this fun Aussie slang/American term match-up:
Aussie Slang Match-Up
AussieMatch-Up Answer Key

  • Another Australian phrase is “Fred Nerk”. Basically Fred Nerk is like “John Doe” or “Mr. Nobody”. Whatever happens on Australia Day, you can use this to get off the hook–
    “FRED NERK DID IT!”

-Two players throw a ball back and forth.
-When 1 of the players drops the ball, both, say down, down, down.
-After that, the player who dropped the ball gets down on 1 knee, elbow,or chin, etc.
-The game continues on like this until one of the players cannot go “down” anymore.

  • Next it’s time for a little art—check out this great Aboriginal Australian dot art, and try some of your own. For EVEN MORE fun- grab some face paint and use each other as canvases! 🙂
  • Now for the sounds of Australia:

The Kookaburra is a funny Australian bird who “laughs”. Listen to him here:

The Didgeridoo is a fun instrument to listen to (you already got a small taste when watching the art vid). Check out this music!

  • Check out some books from your library. Try these:

Are We There YetAre we there yet? : a journey around Australia is a great book that follows a family on vacation & describes all of the different and diverse places you can find in the land down under!

Aboriginal Australians

Aboriginal Australians is an informative book about the indigenous people of Australia, and I like it mainly for the pictures.

  • If all this fun is making you hungry, try this recipe for ANZAC Biscuits. (If you took the quiz above, you know that biscuit does NOT mean biscuit.) ANZAC is the name of Australia and New Zealand’s Army Corp, and rumor has it that these were invented so that folks back home could send the troops a treat that wouldn’t easily go stale. I wouldn’t know. When we made them, there wasn’t an opportunity to see if they’d go stale…I don’t even like coconut and frankly the batter hardly made it to the cookie sheet…YUMMY!
  • While you are in the mood for taste-testing, you may want to make a run to a place like World Market or other international food store to pick up some VEGEMITE! (You can also order it online.) This is another Australian favorite, but unlike the ANZACs…it is…less than tasty. Much less. However, it’s fun to try. Use caution and spread only a THIN layer on a piece of toast.
    Vegemite @ Three Cornered Hug

Unfortunately, you can only complete this last step if you visit or live in the state of Kentucky…

  • Visit Kentucky Down under where you can actually PET A KANGAROO (I know, how cool is that?!), watch some border collies and their sheep-herding action, laugh out loud with a Kookaburra, and see and hear a didgeridoo up close. It’s a little expensive, but sometimes they run great specials on sites like Groupon. They also have a good discount during some months if you simply show them proof that you homeschool. With the discount, KDU is WELL WORTH IT!Check out their website: http://www.kdu.com/

This should get you started. If you come up with some other activities, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.

G’day Mate!

Recommended Resource: Sticky Situations

Sticky Situations @Three Cornered HugIn the earlier years, I noticed that most of the devotions and Biblical studies for younger kids basically amounted to a retelling of a Bible story like a fairy tale.

I could see two problems with this:
1. How many times can a child hear the basic story of Noah’s Ark or Daniel in the Lions’ Den without becoming numb to it?
2. In my opinion, this kind of fairy tale presentation does not show a child how to apply the morals to their life. It doesn’t communicate that the Bible should be acted upon, instead of just being heard.

About the same time that I was struggling with this issue, and how to remedy it, my husband was in the midst of some special training at work. They had been doing some exercises that included some moral dilemmas they were supposed to “solve”. At home, he recited several of the questions they had been given to answer, and my son was intrigued with the idea and excited to chime in with his ideas as to what he felt was right.

Immediately, I began searching for a devotion or Bible study that included this practice, and what I found was a book by Betsy Schmitt, Sticky Situations. Basically, this book gives a scenario, and then some multiple choice answers. Then it gives you some scripture to look up to help your child decide which answer is correct. In the back of the book, you’ll find the answers along with some discussion questions. Sometimes there’s more than one good choice. Here was a way that we could make the connection between scripture and our decisions, and I’ve never met a child that didn’t have fun trying to solve these moral dilemmas. After we used this book at home, I would regularly use it with a class of kids I taught at church.

I highly recommend Sticky Situations for kids that aren’t mature enough to delve into the intricacies of scripture yet (think major and minor prophets, etc.), but who are past the simple Bible story book age. You can find it (and even look at many of the devotions) here.

There’s also a second one that’s said to be for 6-10 year-olds, but I found it’s really best for the younger end of the bracket. The situations are much more simple than those found in the original book. Find that one here.

**Disclaimer, there were one or two devotions that made me raise an eyebrow, although nothing I deemed unfit. Still, I recommend reading each devotion ahead of time, just in case.