Thursday, July 26, 2018

Great Stories of Canada

Today I'd like to introduce you to a whole series of living books on Canadian history!

Published between 1953 and 1968, "Great Stories of Canada" are the Canadian equivalent of the popular Landmark series in the US. Sadly, they are long out of print, but you can still find them at library sales and thrift stores. I'm including lots of pictures so you can recognize them when you see them there, and snap them up!

The True NorthThe Bold HeartRed River AdventureKnights of the AirThe First CanadianRevolt in the West

This past year, we read Kerry Woods' The Map-Maker: The Story of David Thompson from this series. We read it as a Canadian substitute for a book on Lewis and Clark in the American curriculum we follow, and it was a worthy substitute. It held the interest of all my students, from SA(9) down to MM(5), and I am confident that they will "know" David Thompson for the rest of their lives. We also made great use of the map in the front of the book for our Canadian geography lessons.

The books in the Great Stories of Canada series are written by various authors. I have not read all of them yet, but skimming through the ones I have I am confident that the writing quality is consistently good. We did find one author, Joseph Schull, (Battle for the Rock, about the Battle on the Plains of Abraham) was not ideal for reading and narration in grade 3 because my student was losing track of the many characters. However, I would still recommend the book, and it would probably have worked for an older student in grades 4-6. Other authors include Pierre Berton, Thomas Raddall, Edward McCourt, and Roderick Haig-Brown.

One of my favourite features of this series are the historical maps in the beginning of each book. Thus far in my experience with these books, I have found that the maps contain all the places mentioned in the story and no more, allowing children to follow along easily as they read.

There are also a few illustrations, in most books one or two pen-and-ink drawings per chapter. The quality of these varies a little depending on the artist employed.

The series was originally published by MacMillan, but you may also find editions published later by The Canadiana Company with two titles per volume, like these.
The Canadiana Company

I also include a list of titles and authors for your convenience. Please note that I do not endorse the contents of each individual book, as I have not read them all. Please do your own due diligence!

1. The Scarlet Force: The Making of the Mounted Police by T. Morris Longstreth
2. The Force Carries On by T. Morris Longstreth
3. Raiders of the Mohawk: The Story of Butler's Rangers by Orlo Miller
4. The Nor-Westers: The Fight for the Fur Trade by Marjorie Wilkins Campbell
5. The Golden Trail: The Story of the Klondike Rush by Pierre Berton
6. Buckskin Brigadier: The Story of the Alberta Field Force in 1885 by Edward McCourt
7. The Map-Maker: The Story of David Thompson by Kerry Wood
8. Arctic Assignment: The Story of the "St. Roch" by Sgt. F.S. Farrar, RCMP
9. Captain of the Discovery: The Story of Captain George Vancouver by Roderick Haig-Brown
10. The Bold Heart: The Story of Father Lacombe by Josephine Phelan
11. Redcoat Sailor: The Story of Sir Howard Douglas by R. S. Lambert
12. Red River Adventure: The Story of the Selkirk Settlers by J. W. Chalmers
13. The True North: The Story of Captain Joseph Bernier by T. C. Fairley and Charles E. Israel
14. The Great Chief: Maskepetoon: Warrior of the Crees by Kerry Wood
15. The Salt-Water Men: Canada's Deep-Sea Sailors by Joseph Schull
16. The Rover: The Story of a Canadian Privateer by Thomas H. Raddall
17. Revolt in the West: The Story of the Riel Rebellion by Edward McCourt
18. Knights of the Air: Canadian Aces of World War I by John Norman Harris
19. Frontenac and the Iroquois: The Fighting Governor of New France by Fred Swayze
20. Man from St. Malo: The Story of Jacques Cartier by Robert D. Ferguson
21. Battle for the Rock: The Story of Wolfe and Montcalm by Joseph Schull
22. The Queen's Cowboy: James Macleod of the Mounties by Kerry Wood
23. Fur Trader: The Story of Alexander Henry by Robert D. Ferguson
24. The First Canadian: The Story of Champlain by C. T. Ritchie
25. Adventurers from the Bay: Men of the Hudson's Bay Company by Clifford Wilson
26. Ships of the Great Days: Canada's Navy in World War II by Joseph Schull
27. Mutiny in the Bay: Henry Hudson's Last Voyage by R. S. Lambert
28. Runner of the Woods: The Story of Young Radisson by C. T. Ritchie
29. The Good Soldier: The Story of Sir Isaac Brock by D. J. Goodspeed
30. Tecumseh: The Story of the Shawnee Chief by Luella Bruce Creighton
31. The Row-Boat War: On the Great Lakes 1812-1814 by Fred Swayze
32. The Ballad of D'Arcy McGee: Rebel in Exile by Josephine Phelan
33. The Savage River: Seventy-One Days with Simon Fraser by Marjorie Wilkins Campbell

Happy hunting!

P.S. Have you read any of these books? I'd love to hear how you liked specific books in the series.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Year in Review: Our Book Stack

I love taking pictures of our book stacks for the year! It never fails to make me feel like we accomplished something good. Many of these books are from Ambleside Online Year 2 and Year 4, though we did some substitutions (mostly for Canadian history and geography).

The Books We Read Together
As last year, we read a fair number of books together. We had a rotation going at breakfast, and another at teatime. I have not included the books we read at bedtime because they were not narrated and we don't think of them as "school books". Some of these books are ones we are reading over several years.

The Little Woman 
Canadian Wonder Tales (ongoing)
The Blue Fairy Book (ongoing)
Trial and Triumph (ongoing)
Elementary Geography
The Ocean of Truth
Drummer Boy for Montcalm
The Story of Canada (Brown et al) (ongoing)
Great Canadian Adventures (selections. ongoing)
The Story of Canada (Marsh) (selections, ongoing)
Famous Indians (section about Joseph Brant)
The Map-Maker
Robinson Crusoe
Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson (selections)
Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson (selections)
A Lakeland Anthology: William Wordsworth (selections)
Mathematicians Are People, Too (selections)

SA(9)'s School Books

Since several of the books we read together were from SA's Year 4 (Trial and Triumph, The Ocean of Truth, Robinson Crusoe, Kidnapped), his stack looks a little short! Not pictured are Plutarch and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. We read Shakespeare together with an audio production, and I read Plutarch aloud to him. SA's favourite books this year were George Washington's World, The Map-Maker, and Julius Caesar.
Shakespeare: MacBeth
Shakespeare: Twelfth Night
Shakespeare: Julius Caesar
Plutarch: Romulus
Plutarch: Publicola
Madam How and Lady Why (ongoing)
Bullfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable (ongoing)
The Story-Book of Science
George Washington's World (incomplete)

JJ(7)'s School Books

JJ is a very strong reader, and though I was reading some of his books aloud to him at the beginning of the year, by the end he was reading all of these on his own. You may notice that we left out several of the Year 2 books. This is because we were reading a number of books together (above) and I didn't want to overload him. JJ's favourite books this year were The Little Duke, The Wind in the Willows, and The Blue Fairy Book (not a Year 2 book, but I have fairy tales on constant rotation in this season of life).

Stories from Shakespeare (selections)
The Little Duke
The Burgess Animal Book for Children
Understood Betsy
Robin Hood (ongoing)
The Wind in the Willows

The books above do not reflect everything we did. We studied Dutch artists De Hooch and Van Ruisdael, early Canadian artist Thomas Davies, and French artist Jacques Louis David. We listened to music composed by Telemann and Corelli, Copland and Gershwin, and Beethoven. We read French children's books La Chenille qui Fait des Trous, Ours Brun, and Trois Souris Peintres. In the Bible, we studied Joshua and Judges, Mark and part of Acts. The boys also did a number of paper sloyd projects. Outside the home, they participated in a children's choir and took swimming lessons.

SA was well into grade 5 of Singapore Math (Primary Mathematics US Edition) by the end of the year. He started KISS Grammar and did well with it. We did not begin Latin this year, as I wanted him to know more grammar before beginning Visual Latin. Studied dictation also went amazingly well, and we could see definite progress from the beginning of the year to the end. He did well with learning cursive italic handwriting, but did not gain ease with it yet. We did not begin written narrations, as he was just not ready. However, I started to write down his narrations from George Washington's World so he could begin to get used to the feeling of having his words written down. That was hard for him, as he is a perfectionist and it would take forever for the words to come out (a problem I understand all too well!). I ended up teaching him an oral version of freewriting, which is the technique that helped me break out of that paralyzing perfectionism myself. He made progress, and the words started flowing more easily by the end of the year. 

JJ completed book 2A in Singapore Math. We switched from Miquon part way through the year.  He prints with ease, so he began cursive italic this year as well. 

MM(5) started to learn to read, and insisted on doing math while the other boys were doing it. I printed off Year 1 of MEP Math and he completed it. I tried to have some one-on-one time with him every morning before the school day started, and we read Charlotte's Web, Little House in the Big Woods, and part of Little House on the Prairie. Of course, he also listened in on all the reading we did together and enjoyed the pictures, music, and Shakespeare. 

Writing about all we accomplished makes me feel good, even though I dropped the ball on several things (again.). We dropped piano. Once again, we did very little in our nature notebooks after the first term. French was a failure, other than the children's books we read. We could have done more of several things: dictation, poetry, map work, timeline work.  I could have written an entire post on what we missed and what we could have done better, but I'm making a choice to give thanks for what we were able to accomplish. It was a good year.