Cycle 3 of Classical Conversations is up next, and I’m excited to revisit the memory work. I really enjoy American history, and there are so many fun resources out there to fill my bookshelves. None of these books are required to complete a successful year studying with Classical Conversations, and many of them you can find at your local library.
CYCLE 3 RESOURCES –
Cycle 3 can be dangerous because there are so many excellent resources! I’m trying to share only the best, but even that is hard to limit. Oh well…forgive me. This is going to be long!
In Cycle 3, the focus is on American history.
- The Landmark History of the American People – Daniel Boorstein, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Americans: The Democratic Experience, wrote this fantastic two volume American history for students. He also writes the history text that students use in Challenge IV, so I like thinking I’m introducing my kids to an author they’ll meet again one day.
- A History of US – I love Joy Hakim’s resource for American history. I purchased the whole series used, but my local library also has the whole set. Warning – she begins with an evolutionary world view.
- Beautiful Feet Books – I love these books for myself. While I don’t own all of these, they have so many great options for Cycle 3 that are on my wish list, I wanted to share these fantastic resources:
- Books by Jean Fritz – She is one of my favorite authors, and one of her favorite subjects to write about was American history. You will love her books if you haven’t read them yet:
- Where Do You Think You’re Going Christopher Columbus?
- Who is that Stepping on Plymouth Rock?
- Who’s Saying What in Jamestown Thomas Savage?
- And Then What Happened Paul Revere?
- Will You Sign Here, John Hancock
- Shh, We’re Writing the Constitution
- George Washington’s Breakfast
- What is the Big Idea Ben Franklin?
- Heros of History – YWAM Publishing: These are excellent chapter books that are simple to read aloud. They are also great readers to assign to kids who are reading independently. My mom still loves to read these biographies. We have so many of them! I love buying these at homeschool conventions. They usually have them for $5 each if you purchase 10 or more. They are so worth it.
- Milton Hershey: More Than Chocolate
- Louis Zamperini: Redemption (Heroes of History)
- Ronald Reagan: Destiny at His Side
- Ben Carson: A Chance at Life
- Thomas Edison: Inspiration and Hard Work
- William Bradford: Plymouth’s Rock
- George Washington: True Patriot
- Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Storybook Life
- George Washington Carver: From Slave to Scientist
- Billy Graham: America’s Pastor
- Resource books by Genevieve Foster:
American History Multi-Media Resources
- Drive Thru History – American History is a fantastic resource that’s available on RightNow media, if you’re a member.
- The Liberty Kids series is one of our favorites. They can be kinda intense for young viewers, so keep that in mind.
- Monumental: In Search of America’s National Treasure is a fascinating documentary by Kirk Cameron featuring the Forefather’s Monument located in Plymouth, MA. If you’re a Amazon Prime member, you can watch it for free.
- Adventures in Odyssey: For God and Country is a great resource to keep in your car for educational listening.
American History Inspired Read Alouds
This is more exciting to me than the non-fiction options. I love getting lost in a good book with my kids. We learn so much from historical fiction.
- Carry On, Mr. Bowditch – This is my favorite book we read in Challenge A. I cry every time I read it. It’s such a wonderful and inspiring story based on the life of Nathaniel Bowditch, a mathematical and nautical genius.
- Little Britches Series – Students read Little Britches in Challenge B, but this entire series is worth reading! It is based on the life of Ralph Moody, and his life was fascinating.
- The Little House Series – Life on the frontier makes for good stories which have captured audiences for decades. There are tons of extra resources to frame your history studies around this series.
- The Cabin Faced West – George Washington makes a surprise appearance in this story by Jean Fritz.
- Justin Morgan Had a Horse – For your horse lovers, this book is the beginning of a fantastic series by Marguerite Henry which chronicles the arrival of the Arabian breed in America.
- Johnny Tremain – This Challenge I reader is a great read aloud for Cycle 3 because it brings the revolutionary war period to life. There’s also an old movie made based on the book that is fun to watch after you read.
- Sign of the Beaver – Anyone who enjoys a good adventure book will love this story about a young boy who is left alone to guard the new family home while his father goes back to retrieve the rest of his family. It’s hard to imagine surviving on your own at such a young age!
- Bud, Not Buddy – Bud is a 10 year old orphan boy during the great depression who sets out to find his father. It’s always great to read stories from the perspective of a child.
- Amos Fortune, Free Man – Another Challenge A reader, this story of a young African prince who is captured and sold into slavery will inspire you as he works to honor the Lord in all that he does.
Geography – USA
I feel like we have a little home field advantage with the geography in Cycle 3, but my first time around I was amazed at how richly diverse our country is. There are really some fantastic resources learning to recognize and draw the USA:
- Draw the USA – I love these drawing resources. This one really breaks down the overwhelming task of drawing the United States.
- The Little Man In The Map – My first round of Cycle 3, I used this book to learn and draw the USA. I still love the visual images that it uses to help you remember which states go where. I will never look at the US map the same again!
- National Geographic Kids United States Atlas – I don’t have this one, but I want it. I’ve really enjoyed National Geographic Kids World Atlas, and this one looks just as great. It’s on my wish list for next year.
Fun Geography Reads
- Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America – This beautifully illustrated children’s book follows the journey of a family on my dream road trip. As they encounter each of the 50 states, you learn a little bit about each one. It’s a fun read.
- Paddle-to-the-Sea – These next three books are the absolute best living books about geography. They effortlessly weave geography into a fascinating story. I love reading these with my kids. Paddle-to-the-Sea travels with a little carved Indian in a canoe through the great lakes and out to the Atlantic ocean.
- Minn of the Mississippi – This story follows a snapping turtle down the great Mississippi River.
- Tree in the Trail – takes readers on a journey down the Santa Fe Trail from the perspective of a cottonwood tree over the course of 200 years.
- Ticket to Ride – is our family’s favorite board game. The US map is beautiful and it’s a fun way to get familiar with American geography.
- Geopuzzle USA – We love these puzzles because they’re quick and easy to put together, and all of the pieces are shaped as the individual states.
- Spin USA – This fast paced game is a great way to practice state location and capital identification. It’s a quick game to pull out in a pinch to review states and capitals.
Science – Anatomy/Chemistry/Origins
The Cycle 3 science memory work is so helpful for Challenge A and Challenge B students. In the spring semester of CHA, students learn to draw 10 body systems and label them from memory. In Challenge B, students do a small intro to Chemistry in which they learn the first 18 elements of the periodic table and research one of the elements to create a fictional commercial to inform their classmates about the benefits of the element. When students have the Cycle 3 memory work stored away, these assignments become effortless. Here are some of my favorite other resources:
- More Than Meets the Eye: Fascinating Glimpses of God’s Power and Design – This is one of my favorite books to read to my Challenge A class while they draw the body systems. Richard Swenson does a fantastic job of expressing the awesome and complex design of the human body. It’s a fantastic read, even if it’s just for your own sense of wonder.
- Christian Liberty Nature Reader – Book 5 – I love this living science book series. Book 5 focuses on the human body and is a great way to integrate reading and science.
- The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body – I love any book by David Macaulay. If you have an engineering minded child, they will love this book.
- Human Anatomy Coloring Book – You really can learn a lot while you color. These are fun for kids and adults alike!
- Of course, I love anything Usborne like See Inside Your Body and The First Encyclopedia of the Human Body.
- We learned the whole periodic table with Memorize the Periodic Table. It is a cleaver way for memorizing the information in story form.
- Another great Usborne resource is the Illustrated Dictionary of Chemistry.
- The Elements is a beautiful book with full color vivid pictures of each element.
- A book on my list for this next year is The Mystery of the Periodic Table which is a living history book about tracing the discovery of each element in the periodic table. It came highly recommended from a docent at a museum. She was very persuasive!
- A higher level read, but equally fascinating is The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World From the Periodic Table. I love expanding my own understanding while my kids are memorizing these fascinating facts. If I happen to share some of my own inspiration with them as we go, all the better.
- It Couldn’t Just Happen: Knowing the Truth About God’s Awesome Creation – This is a book that students read in Challenge A, but it’s also the source text for the last six weeks of Cycle 3 memory work.
- The New Answers Book: Over 25 Questions on Creation/Evolution and the Bible – I love these books. They are great for curious readers.
- Another series that is on my wish list are the science books by Institution for Creation Research. Guide to Creation looks like a typical science text book, but is written with a Biblical worldview. Rare, I know.
Latin – John 1:1-7
I really love the vocabulary we learn in Cycle 3. Many of these words come up in the Henle 1 text, and students will enjoy seeing familiar friends. If you have an older foundations student, you’ll want to make sure they keep reviewing their declensions and conjugations if they’ve memorized them in previous cycles.
- Here are some noun declension worksheets for review.
- Check out my Present Stem worksheets, and Perfect Stem worksheets for your foundations student. I’ll print a bunch of sheets and spiral them so that we can have weeks of conjugating fun!
- If you want more, check out my Verb Charts…but these are targeted more for the Challenge age students, but would be awesome if moms wanted to dig deeper.
- We still love the First Thousand Words in Latin:
Fairy Tales in Latin: Fabulae Mirabiles (I love this one…it’s really a fun way to play with reading Latin)
- Bible.is actually has an audio version of the vulgate that is fun to listen to! It begins with a little Gregorian chant that is beautiful, and then they read the passage.
- We love Ross King’s version of John 1 in English and Latin.
ENGLISH – Irregular Verbs
There aren’t too many exciting resources for this. I do like the Everything You Need to Know About series. They are excellent reference materials.
- Schoolhouse Rock DVDs (I love the songs…so much fun!)
MATH – Same Every Year!
- Pull the Tabs Times Tables Book
- Everything you need to know about Math homework
- Understanding Math
- Classical Conversations Math Trivium Table
Whew! That’s a lot of books. Every year I am more and more convinced that filling my family’s lives with a copious amount of books will develop lifelong learners. If they fall in love with reading, doors will open for them in ways I can’t even imagine.