The Importance of History – Volume 1 ch. 4

One of my favorite phrases I love to hear during school time is, “Please read us more!”  When this comes from a teenager it feels more consequential. Sharing enthralling literature is a goal of mine and when I get my children hooked I feel I have scored a significant victory. This happened in this particular unit on history.

This unit was so enjoyable that I wished it would have spanned longer than just 2 weeks.  Because the unit was so short I was hard pressed to find a read aloud that could be done in this time frame.  I finally chose to read one of Shakespeare’s tragedies in story form, Anthony and Cleopatra.  Yes, it is one of his tragedies but we read it for it’s historical import as well.   I have a varied collection of books that have transformed Shakespeare’s plays into stories. They are Shakespeare’s Stories by Leon Garfield,  Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb, and The Best of Shakespeare
by E. Nesbit. Garfield was the only one who attempted Anthony and Cleopatra. The writing was done in a way that retained Shakespeare’s flavor and some of his pithy quips. We pondered Anthony’s words that revealed his hopeless predicament when he muttered, “Ten thousand harms my idleness doth hatch”. And we mused over Cleopatra’s description of her prior relationship with Julius Caesar as, “My salad days when I was green in judgement.” With this subject matter I did use caution. There were a couple words that were for more mature readers that I skipped over.

Other books my children read were George Washington and Abraham Lincoln
by Ingri & Edgar Parin D’Aulaire, for my 3rd grader, and various selections from Great Lives, Great Deeds published by Reader’s Digest, for both my 8th grader and high schooler.  My high schooler worked her way through Founding Father by Richard Brookhiser. I discovered this title about George Washington recommended at so decided to try it. My daughter found it a challenge to read. Although it was not quick reading she reflected on the author’s thoughts long after she had closed the book. I hope to read it soon in order to give a better review.

Next time, I will share about what books we traveled through in our unit on transportation.

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