Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Across a Dark and Wild Sea

We have had a quiet week so far. Last week, all 3 kids were sick; this week, they aren't quite well and my daughter is threatening a second bout. I hope to avoid it!

Yesterday was all about the skeleton. Today we did a little more, but ran out of tape to put the models together so we moved onto history. I didn't feel like pulling out The Story of the World today so we read a bunch of library books depicting the Dark Ages and read them out loud. The kids loved it.

My favorite story was called Across a Dark and Wild Sea, by Don Brown. It is about Columcille, a prince, scribe, monk, and bard. It opens with him copying a songbook that its owner didn't want copied (remember, this is a time when there were very few books and those few were copied by hand.)

Here was a favorite paragraph of mine:
For thousands of miles in every direction, armies marched and battles raged. The Roman Empire, which once sat atop the world of Columcille's ancestors, tottered and fell. And in its ruins lay knowledge and education. All of it---empire and culture---was swept away like yesterday's dust by new rulers.

That theme reminded me of Farenheit 451. (not the whole book---it follows the life of the son of an Irish king about 521 AD). How grateful I am to be in the middle of plenty of books! Do we really understand what we have?

Back to this book though: It is a picture book but informative too. A wonderful read-aloud for parents and kids. One of my sons came around and read over my shoulder while my other two children were hooked listening. Don't skip showing the pictures---my kids are highly visual and artistic, and the pictures are worth studying.

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