Last month, our oldest graduated from our homeschool. This has caused me to pause a moment for a bit of reflection. The first thing to cross my mind was ‘Wow, I’ve been doing this for a LONG time!’ After I got past the length of time I have been homeschooling and, consequently, how old I must be, I started thinking about our curriculum choices and some of the great read alouds we have enjoyed through the years. I surveyed the family and we came up with a list of some of our favorites.
Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher – A new twist on a very old story. A girl with a crippled foot assists Shahrazad (Arabian Nights) in her quest for new stories to tell the Sultan.
The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood – An orphan who knows an obscure form of shorthand, Widge is forced to go into Shakespeare’s theatre to copy the play, Hamlet. Entranced with the production, Widge misses many parts of the play and winds up becoming a part of the theatre group in order to try to steal plays.
Wolves Chronicles by Joan Aiken – The books in this series can stand alone, but they are linked by characters and locations. They will take you on adventures all around the world. I think what we liked best about these books is the interweaving of history/geography facts with complete fantasy.
Bartleby of the Mighty Mississippi by Phyllis Shalant – A discarded pet turtle, Bartleby decides to find his way to the great river with the help of an alligator. We also enjoyed the sequel, Bartleby of the Big Bad Bayou.
Moccasin Trail by Eloise Jarvis McGraw – This was the first book the boys in our house mentioned when I surveyed them. They enjoyed its vivid descriptions of life in the old west. Jim Keath followed his uncle to the west to be a trapper. Through a series of tragic events, he became part of a Crow tribe and then had the challenge of reconnecting with his family.
Hank the Cowdog by John Erickson – This is a very entertaining series from a dog’s point of view. Hank, head of ranch security, and his sidekick Drover get into all kinds of mischief while solving ranch problems. These are really best if you listen to the audio version. The author, John Erickson, reads the stories and does all of the voices.
Many more books were ranked as favorites, including God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew, Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth, The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope, and The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr. For the sake of brevity, I narrowed the list down to our favorite six. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did!