Archive for the ‘Education & Home Schooling’ Category

college II

This is an open letter to my nieces and nephews who are attending college this fall (Curran, Charlie, Peyton, Noah, and Morgan). I just wanted to let you know that you’ve all been on my heart as you make your way to classes this year. I carry such good thoughts about my college years and even still both Uncle Dana and I would readily join Courtney at school if we had all the freedoms in the world – ha. I hope that you will always love learning even beyond these years in college – it adds so much richness to life!

Even more than your schooling, though, I wish for you to finish your years there with a growing, vibrant faith in the Lord Jesus. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses or forfeits himself? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Jesus asked. You must vigilantly guard your heart for, I dare say, you will find a very different worldview promoted from that in which you were raised – a view which reflects a world without a God. You will find this worldview to be, not only ambivalent toward God, but vehemently opposed to God. As others have characterized the new atheism, they do not believe that God exists… and they hate Him. I am most certain, you will encounter the evangelists of this worldview on campus.

College is a hotbed that Satan desires to use to divide young people from the mooring of the teachings they have received while they were growing. Let me warn you that each day you must enter the battle for body, soul, and mind – a battle for your body (against sexual sin – active or visual), a battle for your soul (against the abuse of drugs and alcohol), and a battle for your mind (against a worldview that denies God… and hates the name of Jesus).

(Of course, Curran, you’ve been doing this for some time), but in college, one begins to stand independent of your family… but not alone. The prayers of your family precede you, but even more immediate, our loving Father offers life and hope and peace to those who are His. Sexual sin, chemical abuse, life empty and bereft of any connection to our Creator – these are only impotent substitutes that our enemy can conjure to distract mankind from true joy and peace and a meaningful life and future, which is only found in Jesus Christ.

I’m sure you’ll be aware of your academic GPA while at school, but, even more, I would remind you to guard your heart and be protective of what one author calls your spiritual GPA (God, Peers, and Authorities). If you determine to make your personal relationship with GOD through Jesus your priority, you will need to have some key PEERS who are seeking to do the same thing so you can walk together, and you will need to cautiously select the AUTHORITIES to whom you grant the leadership and mentoring of your mind and spirit. I would warn you against any who would divide you from the loving-kindness of God, be they peers or the teachers and mentors that are academically over you.

That’s all… I just wanted you to know you go through these years with your family rooting for you and waiting and watching to see what wisdom will be formed in you, but above this, we pray that Christ will be formed in you in these key years.

Blessings, dear hearts.
Love, Auntie Kim

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ice fishing III

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).


Faith, it seems, is taking a bit of a knock these days, at least in western societies. Although everyone has faith in something (even if it’s faith in oneself or fate or love or natural selection or…); I am talking about those who have faith in the supernatural, namely a God. Even that isn’t as ridiculous to some as faith in the one true God, the triune God, Yahweh.  It’s really popular and stimulating these days to be searching for truth and open and “tolerant” of all worldviews, but to say that you have found Truth (and He is also the Way and the Life) is absurd and humorous to those who find it much more intellectual (or noble or easy or…) to be ever searching and never finding.

By the new life, with its new affections and new longings, the new creature in Christ experiences for the first time a reality that always existed, but up until conversion, was never perceived. Now things previously hidden from them are revealed by the Spirit of God and are readily received and believed by them.  This is faith.

Hebrews 11, that great ode to faith, confirms the universal experience of the Christian believer. Where those outside of Christ perceive faith to be a wish or a hope or even a superstition that we follow, the Christian believer knows that faith doesn’t bring about our spiritual reality, but as Hebrews 11 states, it is the evidence of that spiritual reality. It is substance; not a mere hope, but an absolute assurance that we are sealed now by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Christ, who unmistakably takes up residence in us upon our conversion, is our guarantee that we will one day take possession of the promised eternal inheritance that awaits all in Christ. The Holy Spirit in us, directing us, teaching us, revealing God to us, opening Scripture to us, etc. is “the anchor which holds beneath the veil” (Hebrews 6:19).

This undeniable presence in the life of the believer, a presence which most assuredly was not there before conversion, is evidence to the believer of things that are unseen. The whole of Hebrews 11 lists person after person who were indwelt by the Holy Spirit and acted in accordance with that new evidence in their lives. They believed beyond their senses of a yet-unseen, spiritual reality that exists as surely as does grass or trees or gravity or energy. They acted in obedience to God’s revelation to them, always with an eye to that other, heavenly country to which they were now traveling (vv. 14-16). All were sure of the substance of their faith, many willing to suffer and die for it (vv. 32-38), because they had evidence of things not seen (vv.39-40).

What was the evidence that provided them with the courage to stand and withstand? It was the faith given them upon conversion (Ephesians 2:8-9). We don’t simply have faith in faith however (i.e. “if I only had enough faith…”); instead we have faith in the Faith-giver. Dana has used the analogy of walking on an icy lake in the middle of winter. It is not my faith that keeps me from crashing through to the icy depths below, but it is the reality that I have at least 8-12 inches of a hard, solid surface on which to walk. Whether I have faith the ice will hold or whether I lack faith that the ice will hold makes no difference. Only the reality of what I walk upon makes the difference. Whether I speak of having faith in God or whether I mock those who trust in their faith makes no difference to the reality.  The only thing that matters is if there is in fact a God holding me up.

An open-minded study of our world reveals the imprint of God on every aspect of man’s experience; it bears witness to the reality of a God who exists outside of matter so as to design and create man and matter.  Education with this filter allows us to look upon the face of God in every field of study. It is to actually perceive that the “ice” upon which we stand is not there because we merely wish it to be so, but because we have bored down, down, down through the many layers of it and found it has substance and reliability. This is true whether we study –

– philosophy – the particulars and the universals;
– anthropology – is man basically good or basically flawed;
– the marvels of science and irreducible complexities;
– history with sin being played out from one generation after another -and
God’s divine plan progressing from one generation to another;
– sociology – how mankind in all ages seeks a spiritual and moral code;
– government and its God-given role as keepers of that moral code;
– labor and our ability and desire to create; etc. *

Such an education allows us to look upon the face of God and to see that God’s written revelation, given to us in his Word, is supported by his general revelation, revealed to us in nature.

Despite the attempts of godless men to divorce learning and education from the source of all Truth, does not the very definition of insanity – “lost contact with reality” – cause us question those who define their world only in terms of what they themselves have experienced (or selectively so as with their belief in the existence of wind or magnetism or their belief that there ever existed an Attila the Hun or Alexander the Great)?  They have wittingly or unwittingly rejected a portion of reality that, although unseen, has much evidence of its existence.

Praise be to God who gives to men faith – the evidence of things unseen. No wonder that “without faith it is impossible to please [God]: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

– – – – –

* Thanks to Focus on the Family’s Truth Project for its deep analysis of these disciplines, revealing the reality of God in each.

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Jonathan Edwards studying

“Since wisdom is found in the Word of God, we must apply ourselves in study and meditation to know the Word and do it. ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.’ (Psalm 19:7). Therefore, we must devote ourselves to know and understand the testimonies of the Lord. And here I commend not only faithful Bible study, but also regular reading of great books on theology and biblical interpretation, books that distill the wisdom of the greatest students of the word over the past 1900 years.

“Now, I know what you are thinking: I don’t have the time or the ability to get anywhere in books like that. So I want to show you something really encouraging. When this was shown to me about four years ago by my pastor, it changed my life. Most of us don’t aspire very high in our reading because we don’t feel like there is any hope.

“But listen to this: Suppose you read about 250 words a minute and that you resolve to devote just 15 minutes a day to serious theological reading to deepen your grasp of biblical truth. In one year (365 days) you would read for 5,475 minutes. Multiply that times 250 words per minute and you get 1,368,750 words per year. Now most books have between 300 and 400 words per page. So if we take 350 words per page and divide that into 1,368,750 words per year, we get 3,910 pages per year. This means that at 250 words a minute, 15 minutes a day, you could read about 20 average sized books a year!”

                                                                                       ~ John Piper, May 24, 1981


“Give yourself unto reading… He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.”

~Charles H. Spurgeon

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Floral books 3

“To be…a chuser of books! And to be having any one’s improvement in view in her choice!” So marvels Jane Austen’s good heroine, Fanny Price, as she rhapsodizes about the opportunities to improve oneself by being a renter…“a chuser [sic] of books” from a circulating library.

Agreed.  To read the writings of the world’s great thinkers and to read the great literature of the western world is to understand the genesis and progression of modern philosophy, religions, language, and science; to observe constants in human nature; to learn from those who have preceded us, both of the truths they illustrated and the errors of which they theorized; it is to see the glory of God reflected in his image bearers as they display their God-given abilities of reason and thought as well as language, spiritual understanding and creativity.

A similar enthusiasm to Fanny’s goal of self-improvement and an accompanying desire to continue to learn new things all my life, if the Lord gives me capacity, is reflected in two items on my biblio-dream list (which is several steps removed from a wish list).  There are several “classics” collections out there (i.e. Barnes and Noble’s for one) and any number of those titles might be on my wish list, but because of their price, these two collections wait on my dream list—the Harvard Classics and the Yale Shakespeare, 40-volume set.


Harvard Classics

Collier's Junior ClassicsThe Harvard Classics collection is a 51-volume set (above) published by P.F. Collier.  I suspect Collier modeled his own Collier’s Junior Classics after the Harvard Classics.  These beloved Junior Classics (mostly abridged classics) presently stand erect on my bookshelf and bring back good, warm, childhood memories.

The Harvard anthology was originally called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf and its authors read like a character list from Lost.  According to Wikipedia, Harvard University President, Charles W. Eliot (1869 – 1909), averred that “the elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf (originally he had said a three-foot shelf).”

To be a collector of books is both a blessing and a curse as it is very difficult for a collector to satisfy himself only with the volumes he’s likely to read.  Not only must the covers match but the set must be complete.  It does not matter if the title is the only thing that will be read of some volumes (i.e. volume 30 for me); the set must have all the volumes in order to be completely worthwhile.

Also, half the fun of collecting books in my opinion is the vision of their faded, but matching covers, beautifully aligned together on one’s bookshelf. For the little less compulsive though, for those whom the bookshelf vision is not a driving force, Bartleby.com provides the Harvard Classics free online and this may be where I myself will have to begin.

What riches do the Harvard Classics contain?  Check it out—

Great Books of the Western WorldEncyclopædia Britannica seems to have used the Harvard Classics as a springboard for their Great Books of the Western World collection, published in 1952. Wikipedia tells us that University of Chicago president Robert Hutchins and Mortimer Adler collaborated to develop a course, “generally aimed at businessmen, for the purpose of filling in gaps in education, to make one more well-rounded” and familiar with the great ideas of the past three millennia.  Hutchins clearly saw the finished work as something much more though, calling the collection an “act of piety.”  He said, “Here are the sources of our being. Here is our heritage. This is the West. This is its meaning for mankind.”

Because the Harvard Classics were published in 1909, they necessarily omit most 20th century works.  The Great Books were criticized for the same reason.  So in 1990, Encyclopædia Britannica published a second edition which added and subtracted from some of the volumes of the previous edition and added 6 more volumes of material covering the 20th century.

There are many overlapping works and authors in the Harvard Classics and The Great Books, but for my money, I am drawn more to the body of titles in the Harvard Classics.  Although the second edition of the Great Books offers Alexis de Tocqueville and Calvin’s Institutes, I am not persuaded by the addition of the 20th century material; much of the subject matter covered in these titles is just unalluring to me.   Also, since many of these works are still in the realm of modern discourse, it is likely one has already brushed up against the truly great ones in his reading of current events or casual discussions or school assignments.  No, my choice would be the Harvard Classics above either edition of the Great Books.

Yale Shakespeare

Yale Shakespeare

The 2nd collection on my Dream List is the Yale Shakespeare, 40-volume set.  I ran across an incomplete set of these beautiful, perfectly-sized books with their pale blue covers and gilt lettering in a local antique store. I continue to enjoy the idea of a complete set adorning my bookshelf, standing at the ready whenever a comedy or a tragedy might be required.

The 40 volumes of the Yale Shakespeare include:

  • Shakespeare of Stratford (which I take to be a biography);
  • Shakespeare’s Sonnets;
  • “Venus and Adonis, “Lucrece,” and the Minor Poems;
  • All’s Well That Ends Well;
  • As You Like It;
  • The Comedy of Errors;
  • King Henry the Fourth (part I);
  • King Henry the Fourth (part II);
  • King Henry the Sixth (part I);
  • King Henry the Sixth (part II);
  • King Henry the Sixth (part III);
  • The Life of Henry the Fifth;
  • The Life and Death of King John;
  • The Life of King Henry the Eighth;
  • The Life of Timon of Athens;
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost;
  • Measure for Measure;
  • The Merchant of Venice;
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor;
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream;
  • Much Ado About Nothing;
  • Pericles, Prince of Tyre;
  • The Taming of the Shrew;
  • The Tempest;
  • The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra;
  • The Tragedy of Coriolanus;
  • The Tragedy of Cymbeline;
  • The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark;
  • The Tragedy of Julius Caesar;
  • The Tragedy of King Lear;
  • The Tragedy of King Richard, the Second;
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth;
  • The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice;
  • The Tragedy of Richard the Third;
  • The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet;
  • The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus;
  • The Tragedy of Troilus and Cressida;
  • Twelfth Night (or What you Will);
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona;
  • The Winter’s Tale

In closing, I share the encouragement of C.S. Lewis to seek the great writers in their own words.  He wrote,There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books…The error is rather an amiable one, for it springs from humility. The student is half afraid to meet one of the great philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator.

“The simplest student will be able to understand, if not all, yet a very great deal of what Plato said; but hardly anyone can understand some modern books on Platonism. It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that firsthand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than secondhand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire.”

Lewis continued, “Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books.”

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So much to learn, so little time.

That’s how I feel when I peruse Dan Colman’s Open Culture site.  Colman scours the web for the best open-source, educational media (see links below).  I found myself saying again and again, “Oh, I would love to do that!” “Oh, I want to listen to all of these!”  “Oh, I want to read about that or watch this or learn about that!”

Then just yesterday I was alerted to free lectures and courses being offered by Westminster Theological Seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary via ITunes.  If I were home schooling older children, I would certainly access some of these courses.  A look at some of the lecturers and course offerings made me wish that I could just squirrel away for a week with no other obligations and just feast at this rich table.

We truly live in a wonderful time when learning does not have to stop once we leave high school or college.  Neither does it have to cost an arm and a leg.  Any subject that engages our minds can be explored from the comfort of our own dens.  Benjamin Franklin said, “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”


Enjoy the journey!


OpenCulture.com offerings include:

Computer Science
Political Science

  • Language Studies – German, French, Spanish and English but also Gaelic, Greek, Catalan and many others
  • Textbooks – arranged by subject
  • Intelligent Video links – the top cultural & educational video sites
  • Movies online — great classics, Indies, noir, classic sci fi, and westerns, etc; includes subsections of John Wayne Westerns and Charlie Chaplin movies, Alfred Hitchcock and Andrei Tarkovsky films, and Oscar Winners
  • Science Videos – from astronomy to physics & psychology

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Jamie at Self Made Scholar offers this great list of ten ways reading the Great Books or great literature can make our lives better.  She offers the following benefits that reading great literature brings to our lives and how these books can have a real impact on who we are and how we think.



1. Understand what shapes your thoughts and beliefs.  Social norms change and develop throughout the centuries.  Our mores today were more than likely shaped by great thinkers of previous generations.

2. Let a little genius rub off on you.  Remember you are known by the company you keep.

3. Read like an Ivy League grad who tend to receive a more classical education than those in public institutions.

4. Escape from the narrow box of specialization.  “In order to truly thrive in any field, people need a broad understanding of the world and how it works.”

5. Learn from past mistakes.  As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

6. Improve your ability to comprehend.  Jamie assures us that we will become more confident readers if we will persevere.  Although many of the great books take work to press through, once one has gotten through a few of the more challenging books, we’re assured that it will be easier to comprehend all kinds of works.

7. Be truly human.  “You can forget all the blogs, self-help books, and magazine articles that tell you how to improve your life. The great books are the master course in self-development.”

8. Find your own answers to life’s big questions.  See how mankind has wrestled with the four meta-questions of life over the centuries–origin, purpose, morality, and destiny.*

9. Develop a spirit of inquiry by fostering our natural curiosity and desire to learn even more about the world.

10. Join in the “great conversation” that spans mortal time and space.



* By the way, I have found only Christianity adequate to satisfactorily answer these four eternal questions of life.

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Blogger Justin Taylor has compiled a reading list for grades 1 – 8 from those provided him by Calvary Classical School—a classical Christian school in Hampton, VA.  He has also provided purchasing links for the paperback or currently cheapest version from Amazon.com.  Taylor’s hope is that the lists will prove “fruitful for many Christian families, schools, and homeschooling co-ops.”  I know many of these were included and in the curriculum I used (and loved) when I homeschooled, Sonlight Curriculum.  I would love to persuade my Christian school to adopt such a reading plan when next we review our reading curriculum.

Taylor notes “for outside reading, the books are divided into three levels. Books with a “+” denote that any title in that series would be acceptable.”  Just for clarification, reading levels 1 to 3 progress from least to most advanced readers.


First Grade Reading List

Read aloud by teacher in class:

Leaf, Munro. How to Behave and Why
Leaf, Munro. How to Speak Politely and Why
Lloyd-Jones, Sally. The Jesus Storybook Bible
Taylor, Helen. Little Pilgrim’s Progress
Leithart, Peter. Wise Words: Family Stories that Bring the Proverbs to Life
Brown, Jeff. Flat Stanley
Dalgliesh, Alice. The Courage of Sarah Noble
Silverstein, Shel. A Light in the Attic

Outside Reading

Level 1
Bulla, Clyde. Daniel’s Duck
Changler, Edna. Cowboy Sam +
Frasconi, Antonio. The House that Jack Built
Graham, Margaret. Benjy’s Dog House +
Hoff, Syd. Sammy the Seal
Hoff, Syd. Danny and the Dinosaur+
Krauss, Ruth. The Carrot Seed
Lionni, Leo. Inch by Inch
Littledale, Freya. The Magic Fish
Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Are Friends +
Offen, Hilda. A Treasury of Mother Goose
Seuss, Dr. Beginner Books +
Seuss, Dr. Bright and Early Books +
Tabak, Simms. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
Wood, Audrey. Quick as a Cricket

Level 2
Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar +
Davoll, Barbara. The Potluck Supper +
Daugherty, James. Andy and the Lion
Duvoisin, Roger. Petunia
Flack, Marjorie. Angus and the Ducks
Freeman, Don. Corduroy +
Galdone, Paul. The Little Red Hen
Galdone, Paul. The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Hoban, Russell. Bedtime for Frances +
Hunt, Angela. A Gift for Grandpa
Keats, Ezra. Peter’s Chair
Marshall, James. George and Martha +
McGovern, Ann. Stone Soup
Minarik, Else. Little Bear +
Numeroff, Laura. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie+
Parish, Peggy. Amelia Bedelia +
Rey, Margaret & H.A. Curious George +
Richardson, Arleta. A Day at the Fair
Sharmat, Marjorie. Nate the Great +
Zion, Gene. Harry the Dirty Dog +

Level 3
Buckley, Helen. Grandmother and I
Burton, Virginia. Maybelle the Cable Car
Coerr, Eleanor. The Josefina Story Quilt
De Regniers, Beatrice. May I Bring a Friend?
Ets, Marie. Just Me
Gramatky, Hardie. Little Toot +
Hader, Berta. The Big Snow
Keats, Ezra. Whistle for Willie
Lewis, Kim. Floss +
Lowry, Jannette. The Poky Little Puppy
McCloskey, Robert. Make Way for Ducklings
Piper, Watty. The Little Engine that Could
Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit +
Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are
Turkle, Brinton. Thy Friend, Obadiah +
Ward, Lynd. The Biggest Bear
Wilder, Laura. My First Little House Books +
Williams, Vera. A Chair for My Mother

Second Grade Reading List

Read in class or assigned for outside reading:

Andersen, Hans C. The Emperor’s New Clothes
Brown, Marcia. Dick Whittington and His Cat
Burton, Virginia. The Little House
Burton, Virginia. Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel
Cauley, Lorinda. The Ugly Duckling
Cleary, Beverly. The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Cleary, Beverly. Ribsy
Dalgliesh, Alice. The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
Lewis, C. S. The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe
McCloskey, Robert. Time of Wonder
Steig, William. Doctor De Soto
Warner, Gertrude. The Box-Car Children (vol. 1)
Williams, Marjorie. The Velveteen Rabbit

Outside Reading

Level 1
Cannon, Janell. Stellaluna
Galdone, Paul. The Gingerbread Boy
Galdone, Paul. The Three Bears
Galdone, Paul. The Three Little Pigs
Kessel, Joyce. Squanto and the First Thanksgiving
Roop, Peter and Connie. Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie
Slobodkina, Esphyr. Caps for Sale
Yolen, Jane. Owl Moon

Level 2
Anderson, C. W. Billy and Blaze +
Bemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline +
Bontemps, Arna & Conroy Jack. The Fast Sooner Hound
Calhoun, Mary. Cross-Country Cat
DeBrunhoff, Jean. Babar +
Flack, Marjorie. The Story about Ping
Gag, Wanda. Millions of Cats
Gauch, Patricia. Thunder at Gettysburg
Haywood, Carolyn. Betsy & Billy +
Hope, Laura Lee. The Bobbsey Twins +
Leaf, Munro. The Story of Ferdinand
Loveless, Maude. Betsy-Tacy +
Milne, A. A. When We Were Young
Milne, A. A. Now We are Six
Politi, Leo. Song of the Swallows
Steig, William. Doctor De Soto Goes to Africa
Taha, Karen. A Gift for Tia Rosa
Warner, Gertrude. The Boxcar Children +
Ziefert, Harriet. A New Coat for Anna

Level 3
Aardemas, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears
Harness, Cheryl. Three Young Pilgrims
Le Gallienne, Eva. Seven Tales by H. C. Andersen
McCloskey, Robert. Blueberries for Sal
McCloskey, Robert. One Morning in Maine
McCloskey, Robert. Lentil
Mowat, Farley. Owls in the Family
Nesbit, E. The Railway Children +
Sobol, Donald. Secret Agents Four
Sproul, R. C. The King Without a Shadow
West, Jerry. The Happy Hollisters +
Williams, Jay. Danny Dunn +

Third Grade Literature List

Read in class or assigned for outside reading:

Atwater, Richard. Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Barrie, James. Peter Pan
Farley, Walter. The Black Stallion
Fleischman, Sid. The Whipping Boy
Gannett, Ruth. My Father’s Dragon
Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows (Scholastic Jr. Classic)
Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book (Scholastic Jr. Classic)
Lewis, C. S. The Horse and His Boy
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Stories (Scholastic Jr. Classic)
White, E. B. Charlotte’s Web
White, E. B. Stuart Little
Winterfeld, Henry. Detectives in Togas

Outside Reading

Level 1
Bulla, Clyde. A Lion to Guard Us
Bulla, Clyde. Shoeshine Girl
Cleary, Beverly. Henry Huggins +
Dalgliesh, Alice. The Courage of Sarah Noble
Gardiner, John. Stone Fox
Hall, Donald. Ox-Cart Man
Kellogg, Steven. Paul Bunyan
MacGregor, Ellen. Miss Pickerell +
MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall +
McSwigan, Marie. Snow Treasure
Scieszka, Jon. The Time Warp Trio: Sam Samurai
Sobol, Donald. Encyclopedia Brown Series +
Stanley, Diane. The True Adventure of Daniel Hall
Warner, Gertrude. The Box-Car Children (excluding vol. 1) +

Level 2
Collodi C. Pinocchio
Edmonds, Walter. The Matchlock Gun
Henry, Marguerite. Misty of Chincoteague
Herriot, James. James Herriot’s Treasury
Hope, Laura Lee. The Bobbsey Twins +
Hurwitz, Johanna. Aldo Applesauce
Lindgren, Astrid. Pippi Longstocking +
Milne, A. A. Winnie the Pooh
Nesbit, E. The Railway Children +
Richardson, Arleta. In Grandma’s Attic +
Roddy, Lee. Family Adventures +
Rupp, Rebecca. Dragon of Lonely Island
Wilder, Laura. Little House on the Prairie +

Level 3
Bailey, Carolyn. Miss Hickory
Bond, Michael. Paddington +
Butterworth, Oliver. The Enormous Egg
Cleary, Beverly. Ramona +
D’Aulaire, I. E. Benjamin Franklin +
Estes, Eleanor. The Moffats
Fritz, Jean. The Cabin Faced West
Holling, H. C. Paddle-to-the-Sea +
Jackson, Dave & Neta. Trailblazer Series +
Kipling, Rudyard. Just So Stories
Lawson, Robert. Rabbit Hill
McCloskey, Robert. Homer Price
Nesbit, E. The Story of the Treasure Seekers
Peretti, Frank. The Door in the Dragon’s Throat
Reece, Colleen. American Adventure Series +
Streatfeild, Noel. Ballet Shoes

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Here’s Justin Taylor‘s second installment-a reading list for grades 4 to 5 provided by Calvary Classical School—a classical Christian school in Hampton, VA.

Taylor notes “for outside reading, the books are divided into three levels. Books with a “+” denote that any title in that series would be acceptable.”  Just for clarification, reading levels 1 to 3 progress from least to most advanced readers.  In his links, Taylor has sometimes linked to a box set of paperbacks if available—at other times he’s just linked to the lead-off book in a series.

Fourth Grade Literature List

Read in class or assigned for outside reading:

Blackwood, Gary. The Shakespeare Stealer
Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
D’Aulaire, Ingri & Edgar. Leif the Lucky
Daugherty, James. The Magna Charta
de Angeli, Marguerite. The Door in the Wall
Du Bois, William Pene. Twenty-one Balloons
Estes, Eleanor. Ginger Pye
Henry, Marguerite. King of the Wind
Green, Roger Lancelyn. King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table
Konigsburg, E. L. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basel E. Frankweiler
Lewis, C. S. Prince Caspian
Norton, Mary. The Borrowers
Prum, Deborah M. Rats, Bulls, and Flying Machines
Rebsamen, Frederick. Beowulf
Sis, Peter. Starry Messenger: Galileo
Stanley, Diane and Peter Vennema. Bard of Avon
Stanley, Diane. Joan of Arc
Vernon, Louise A. Thunderstorm in the Church
White, E. B. The Trumpet of the Swan

Level 1
Alexander, Lloyd. The Book of Three +
Armstrong, William. Sounder
Babbitt, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting
Burnett, Frances H. A Little Princess
Carlson, Natalie. The Family Under the Bridge
Estes, Eleanor. The Hundred Dresses
Knight, Eric. Lassie Come-Home
L’Engle, Madeliene. A Wrinkle in Time +
Lenski, Lois. Prairie School +
Lenski, Lois. Strawberry Girl
Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars
McSwigan, Marie. Snow Treasure
Seredy, Kate. The Good Master
Speare, Elizabeth. The Sign of the Beaver
Taylor, Sydney. All-of-A-Kind Family
Thurber, James. Many Moons
Verne, Jules. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Wilson, N. D. 100 Cupboards +

Level 2
Farley, Walter. The Black Stallion +
Funke, Cornellia. Inkheart +
George, Jean C. My Side of the Mountain
Grahame, Kenneth. The Reluctant Dragon
Hanes, Mari. Two Mighty Rivers
Jacques, Brian. Redwall +
Lofting, Hugh. The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle +
Morey, Walt. Gentle Ben
Peretti, Frank. The Cooper Kids Adventure +
Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief +
Smith, Dodie. The 101 Dalmations
Street, James. Good-bye My Lady
Travers, P. I. Mary Poppins +
Wilson, N. D. Leepike Ridge

Level 3
Adamson, Joy. Born Free
Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women +
Burnford, Sheila. The Incredible Journey
Field, Rachel. Calico Bush
Lawson, Robert. Ben and Me
Robertson, Keith. Henry Reed, Inc. +
Robinson, Barbara. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty
Sidney, Margaret. Five Little Peppers +

Fifth Grade Literature List

Read in class or assigned for outside reading:

Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe
Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain
Lathan, Jean. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
Lewis, C. S. The Silver Chair
Lewis, C. S. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Speare, Elizabeth. The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels (excerpts)

Level 1
Beatty, Patricia. Turn Homeward, Hannalee
Brink, Carol. Caddie Woodlawn
Byars, Betsy. The Summer of the Swans
Cleary, Beverly. Dear Mr. Henshaw
De Jong, Meindert. The Wheel on the School
Enright, Elizabeth. Thimble Summer
Gates, Doris. Blue Willow
Gipson, Fred. Old Yeller
Hanes Mari. Two Mighty Rivers
O’Brien, Robert. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Rawls, Wilson. Where the Red Fern Grows
Selden, George. The Cricket in Times Square

Level 2
Cameron, Eleanor. Mushroom Planet +
De Jong, Meindert. The House of Sixty Fathers
George, Jean Craighead. Julie of the Wolves
Montgomery, Lucy. Anne of Green Gables
O’Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphin
Pearce, Philippa. Tom’s Midnight Garden
Porter, Eleanor. Pollyanna +
Rawks, Wilson. Summer of the Monkeys
Spyri, Johanna. Heidi
Wyss, Johann. Swiss Family Robinson

Level 3
Alcott, Louisa. Little Men
Burnett, Frances. Little Lord Fauntleroy
De Jong, Meindert. Journey from Peppermint Street
Dodge, Mary. Hans Brinker
Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows
MacDonald, George. The Princess and Curdie
MacDonald, George. The Princess and the Goblin
North, Sterling. Rascal
Seredy, Kate. The White Stag
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island
Terhune, Albert. Lad: A Dog
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit
Verne, Jules. Around the World in Eighty Days
Verne, Jules. Journey to the Center of the Earth

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Here’s Justin Taylor‘s third installment, a reading curriculum for grades 6 to 8 provided by Calvary Classical School—a classical Christian school in Hampton, VA.

Taylor notes “for outside reading, the books are divided into three levels. Books with a ‘+’ denote that any title in that series would be acceptable.”  Just for clarification, reading levels 1 to 3 progress from least to most advanced readers.  Some titles also contain a label: L – Language, V – Violence, C – Coarse actions, M – Mature theme.  In his links, Taylor has sometimes linked to a box set of paperbacks if available—at other times he’s just linked to the lead-off book in a series.

Sixth Grade Reading List

Read in class or assigned for outside reading:

Adams, Richard. Watership Down
Bishop, Claire. Twenty and Ten
Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage
Doyle, Arthur Conan. Sherlock Holmes (excerpts)
Lewis, C. S. The Magician’s Nephew
Lewis, C. S. The Last Battle
Orwell, George. Animal Farm
ten Boom, Corrie. The Hiding Place

Level 1
Alexander, Lloyd. The Prydain Chronicles +
Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles
Kjelgaard, James. Big Red +
Lester, Julius. The Tales of Uncle Remus
Rawlings, Marjorie. The Yearling
Sorensen, Virginia. Miracles on Maple Hill
Speare, Elizabeth. The Bronze Bow
Van Leeuwen, Jean. Bound for Oregon

Level 2
Baum, Frank L. The Wizard of Oz
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451
Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol
Eareckson, Joni. Joni
Fisher, Dorothy. Understood Betsy
Irving, Washington. Rip Van Winkle
Irving, Washington. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Jacques, Brian. Marlfox +
London, Jack. White Fang
Marshall, Catherine. Christy
O’Hara, Mary. My Friend Flicka
Sterling, Dorothy. Freedom Train
Taylor, Theodore. The Cay
Trapp, Maria Augusta. The Story of Trapp Family Singers
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Level 3
Field, Rachel. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years
Henty, G. H. By Right of Conquest
Henty, G. H. In the Reign of Terror
Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book
London, Jack. The Call of the Wild
Orczy, Emmuska. The Scarlet Pimpernel
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Kidnapped
Taylor, Mildred. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Tunnell, Michael. Candy Bomber
Twain, Mark. The Prince and the Pauper
Verne, Jules. Around the World in Eighty Days
Wells, H. G. War of the Worlds
Yates, Elizabeth. Amos Fortune, Free Man

Seventh Grade Reading List

Following is the list of adopted titles used for the seventh grade reading program. Although certain titles are assigned to specific grades, when necessary, teachers may use a list of titles above or below their grade. It is desired that at least 5 adopted books are read each year. Some books will be assigned and read in class, and others will be assigned for outside reading. Every effort has been made to pick the best available literature. As with everything, each book must be read with scripture as our final standard. All Landmark books are acceptable on the literature list.

Aldrich, Thomas. The Story of a Bad Boy
Brother Andrew. God’s Smuggler
Bunyan, John. The Pilgrim’s Progress (original)
DeJong, Meindert. The House of Sixty Fathers
DeKruif, Paul. Microbe Hunters
Dickens, Charles. Nicholas Nickleby
Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist
Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte Cristo
Dumas, Alexandre. The Three Musketeers
Eaton, Jeanette. David Livingstone, Foe of Darkness
Field, Rachel. Calico Bush
Forester, C. S. Horatio Hornblower
Freedman, Ben. Mrs. Mike
Grant, George. The Last Crusader
Henry, O. The Best Short Stories of O. Henry
Henty, G. A. By Pike and Dyke +
Henty, G. A. In Freedom’s Cause +
Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables
Kipling, Rudyard. Captains Courageous
Latham, Jean Lee. This Dear-Bought Land
Lewis, C. S. Out of the Silent Planet
Lewis, C. S. Perelandra
Lewis, C. S. That Hideous Strength
Little, Paul. Know What You Believe
Little, Paul. Know Why You Believe
MacDonald, George. The Baronet’s Song
O’Dell, Scott. Streams to the River, River to the Sea
O’Dell, Scott. The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt By Day
Orczy, Baroness. The Scarlet Pimpernel
Seredy, Kate. The Good Master
Speare, Elizabeth George. The Bronze Bow
Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Black Arrow
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Thomson, Andy. Morning Star of the Reformation

Seventh Grade History List

This year in history the students will be studying Explorers to 1815. Students will be reading numerous books from this time period in class. Outside reading is also encouraged, especially historical fiction which engages the imagination and makes the time period come alive. We encourage you to read aloud with your children from books that may be above their reading level. Suggestions for reading are offered below. We are endeavoring to purchase as many of these titles as possible for the classroom.

Four books must be read from the following list:

Bliven, Bruce. The American Revolution (Landmark) – H
Blos, Joan. A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal – H, NN, YC
Bond, Douglas. Guns of Thunder
Bond, Douglas. Rebel’s Keep
Calabro, Marian. The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party – H, NN
Carter, Alice. The American Revolution
Collins, David. Noah Webster: Master of Words
Cooper, James Fenimore. The Last of the Mohicans – H, NN, YC
Cousins, Margaret. Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia (Landmark) – H
Cox, Clinton. Mark Twain – H, NN, YC
Cox, Clinton. Undying Glory: True Story of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment – H, NN
Dafoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe – H, NN, YC
Daugherty, James. Of Courage Undaunted – H, NN
Daugherty, James. The Landing of the Pilgrims – CCS, H
de Trevino, Elizabeth. I, Juan de Pareja – H, NN, YC
DK Eyewitness. North American Indian – NN
Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain – CCS, H, NN, YC
Forbes, Esther. Paul Revere and the World He Lived In – H, NN
Foster, Genevieve. George Washington’s World – H
Freedman, Russell. Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille – H, NN, YC
Fritz, Jean. The Double Life of Pocahontas – H, NN, YC
Fritz, Jean. Why Not, Lafayette? – H, NN, YC
Hamilton, Alexander, et al. The Federalist Papers – H, NN, YC
Haugaard, Erik. Cromwell’s Boy – H
Jackson, Shirley. The Witchcraft of Salem Village – H, YC
Lasky, Kathryn. Jahanara: Princess of Princesses – H, NN, YC
Lawton, Wendy. The Captive Princess
Lawton, Wendy. The Tinker’s Daughter – CCS
Mansfield, Stephen. Forgotten Founding Father: George Whitefield – CRPC
McPherson, Joyce. The Ocean of Truth: The Story of Isaac Newton
Murphy, Jim. A Young Patriot – H, NN, YC
Newman, Shirlee. The African Slave Trade – H, NN, YC
O’Dell, Scott. Streams to the River, River to the Sea – H, NN
Roosevelt, T. and Lodge, H. Hero Tales from American History
Savery, Constance. The Reb and the Redcoats
Schanzer, Rosalyn. How We Crossed the West – NN, YC
Severance, John. Thomas Jefferson: Architect of Democracy – H, NN
Speare, Elizabeth. George. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – CCS, H, NN, YC
Speare, Elizabeth George. Calico Captive – H, NN, YC
Speare, Elizabeth George. The Sign of the Beaver – CCS, H, NN, YC
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Kidnapped– H, NN, YC
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island – H, NN, YC
Vaughn, David. Give Me Liberty – CRPC, YC
Yates, Elizabeth. Amos Fortune, Free Man – H, NN, YC

Eighth Grade Reading List

Following is the list of adopted titles used for the eighth grade reading program. Although certain titles are assigned to specific grades, when necessary, teachers may use a list of titles above or below their grade. It is desired that at least 5 adopted books are read each year. Some books will be assigned and read in class, and others will be assigned for outside reading. Every effort has been made to pick the best available literature. As with everything, each book must be read with Scripture as our final standard. All Landmark books are acceptable on the literature list.

Austen, Jane. Emma +
Austen, Jane. Northhanger Abbey +
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice +
Braithwaite, Edward. To Sir, with Love
Chesterton, G. K. The Complete Father Brown
Chesterton, G. K. The Best of Father Brown
Colson, Charles. Born Again
Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe
DeKruif, Paul. Microbe Hunters
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities +
Dickens, Charles. David Copperfield +
Douglas, Lloyd C. The Robe
Forester, C. S. Horatio Hornblower +
Gilbreth & Carey. Cheaper By the Dozen – L
Gilbreth & Carey. Bells on Their Toes – L
Henry, O. Best Short Stories of O. Henry
Herriot, James. All Creatures Great and Small – L
Herriot, James. All Things Bright and Beautiful – L
Herriot, James. All Things Wise and Wonderful – L
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird – M
Lewis, C. S. The Screwtape Letters
Scott, Sir Walter. Ivanhoe
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth
Shakespeare, William. Much Ado About Nothing
Shakespeare, William. Othello
Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night
Sheldon, Charles. In His Steps – C
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels
ten Boom, Corrie. The Hiding Place – V
Twain, Mark. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – L
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – L
Wallace, Lew. Ben Hur
White, T. H. The Sword in the Stone

Eighth Grade History List

This year in history the students will be studying 1815 to Present. Students will be reading numerous books from this time period in class. Outside reading is also encouraged, especially historical fiction which engages the imagination and makes the time period come alive. We encourage you to read aloud with your children from books that may be above their reading level. Suggestions for reading are offered below. We are endeavoring to purchase as many of these titles as possible for the classroom

Four books must be read from the following list:

Abernathy, Alta. Bud & Me: The True Adventure of the Abernathy Boys
Ambrose, Stephen. The Good Fight: How WWII Was Won – H, YC
Beatty, Patricia. Turn Homeward, Hannalee – H, YC
Bierman, Carol. Journey to Ellis Island – NN, YC
Bliven, Bruce. Invasion: The Story of D-Day – H
Bradley, James. Flags of Our Fathers – H, NN, YC
Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee – CCS classroom, H, NN, YC
Catton, Bruce. A Stillness At Appomattox – CCS classroom, H, NN, YC
Cornelissen, Cornelia. Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears – NN, YC
Crockett, Davy. Davy Crockett: His Own Story
Derry, Joseph T. Story of the Confederate States – H, NN
De Vries, Anne. Journey Through the Night
Doswell, Paul. War Stories: True Stories from the First and Second World Wars
Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition – H, NN, YC
Freedman, Russell. Immigrant Kids – H, NN
Grant, George. Carry a Big Stick: The Uncommon Heroism of T. Roosevelt – CPRC
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea – H, NN, YC
Henty, G. A. With Lee in Virginia
Hersey, John. Hiroshima – H, NN, YC
Hunt, Irene. Across Five Aprils – H, NN, YC
Ingold, Jeanette. Hitch – NN, YC
Irwin, James. Destination: Moon
Kantor, MacKinlay. Gettysburg – H
Lester, Julius. To Be A Slave – H, NN
Levitin, Sonia. Journey to America – H, YC
Linnea, Sharon. Raoul Wallenberg: The Man Who Stopped Death – NN
Mansfield, Stephen. Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill
Marrin, Albert. The Yanks Are Coming – H, YC
Marrin, Albert. Stalin: Russia’s Man of Steel – NN
Marrin, Albert. Hitler – H, NN
Marrin, Albert. America and Vietnam: The Elephant and the Tiger – H, NN
McMurdie, Jean McAnlis. Land of the Morning
McMurdie, William. Hey, Mac!
Murphy, Jim. The Boys’ War: Confederate & Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War – H, NN, YC
Nolan, Peggy. The Spy Who Came in from the Sea
O’Grady, Captain Scott. Basher Five-two – NN, YC
Prins, Piet. The Lonely Sentinel (The Shadow Series) +
Raven, Margot. Theis Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot – H, NN, YC
Reynolds, Quentin. The Wright Brothers – H, NN
Serraillier, Ian. Escape From Warsaw
Sperry, Armstrong. All Sail Set – H
Steele, William. We Were There on the Oregon Trail – NN
Steele, William. We Were There with the Pony Express
Taylor, Theodore. Air Raid—Pearl Harbor! – H, NN
Taylor, Mildred. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry– H, NN, YC
ten Boom, Corrie. The Hiding Place– CRPC, CCS, H, NN, YC
Trapp, Maria Augusta. The Story of Trapp Family Singers – H, NN, YC
Van Leeuwen, Jean. Bound for Oregon – YC
Velde, Vivian. A Coming Evil
Wilkins, J. Steven. Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee
Winik, Jay. April 1865: The Month That Saved America – H, NN, YC
York, Alvin. Sergeant York and the Great War — CCS

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