The Precious People Book List

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The Scope of The Precious People

Week 1-The Beginning of Recorded History

Creation by Cynthia Rylant

Who Eats What by Patricia Lauber

2-Ancient Holidays, Mesopotamia, Animal Classification

Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Deborah Heiligman

The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale by Eric Kimmel

Let’s Classify Animals by Kelli Hicks

Week 3-Family Rules and Rhythms, Pyramids, Mammals

On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Cathy Goldberg Fishman

National Geographic Readers: Pyramids (Level 1) by Laura Marsh

Week 4-Harvest Festival, First Farmers, World Geography

On Sukkot and Simchat Torah by Cathy Goldberg Fishman

Week 5-More Ancient Holidays, Ancient Egypt, Hemispheres, 

The Story of Hannukkah by David Adler

Week 6-Ancient Egypt, Pharaohs, Pyramids, Foods

Week 7-Ancient Egypt,The Exodus, Hieroglyphs

The Longest Night by Laurel Snyder and Catia Chien

The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo

Week 8-Ancient Egypt, Human Anatomy, Medicine

My Body by Patty Carratello

Week 9-Famous People of Ancient Greece, Heart Health

Week 10-Greek Alphabet, Politics in Ancient Greece, Greek Feast

Week 11-Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Olympic Games, Greek Myths

Week 12-Hanukkah,The Roman Empire, Home Life in Ancient Rome, 

The Story of Hanukkah by David Adler

Week 13-Art and Industry in Ancient Rome

Week 14-Christmas Festivities

The Friendly Beasts by Tomie de Paola

The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats

The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson

Room For A Little One by Martin Waddell

Week 15-Goal Setting, Months of the Year, Imaginary Animals, Birds

Brother William’s Year by Jan Pancheri

Around The Year by Elsa Beskow

Week 16-World Geography, Countries and Cultures, Transportation

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen

Week 17-Weather,Israel, Poetry

National Geographic Readers:Weather by Kristin Baird Rattini

Week 18-Korea, Seeds, Map Asia

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston

Week 19-Japan, Geology, Cartoon

A Rock is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston

Drawing From Memory by Allen Say

Week 20-Haiku, Map China

Hi Koo!: A Year of Seasons by Jon J. Muth

The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack

Week 21-Latin America, Rainforests, Spanish Language

The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan K. Mitchell

Week 22-Latin America, The Andes, The Periodic Table

Up and Down The Andes by Laurie Krebs

The Periodic Table by Sean Callery and Miranda Smith

Week 23-Africa, The Periodic Table

One Hen by Katie Smith Milway

Week 24-The Middle East, North Africa, Continents

Deep In The Sahara by Kelly Cunnane

Week 25-North Africa, St. Augustine of Hippo, The Apostle's Creed

Week 26-St. Patrick, Bees, Gardens

St. Patrick by Tomie DePaola  

The Saint and His Bees by Dessi Jackson

Week 27-St. Francis, Italy, Wolves

Francis, The Poor Man of Assisi by Tomie De Paola

Week 28-St. Elizabeth, Butterflies, Europe

Roses in Snow by Dessi Jackson

Week 29-Passover, Food Allergies

The Longest Night by Laurel Snyder

My First Passover by Tomie de Paola

Week 30-India, Country Report, Trees, Nests

Finders Keepers by Robert Arnett

An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston

The Gift of the Tree by Alvin Tresselt


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A few notes about the book list

You will need the read aloud selections, but many are available at the library.

For the remainder of the books, you could find them at the library, on YouTube, or substitute for a title with a similar theme. I feel it is worth owning many of them, but I also understand that we are all working on a different budget, and I tried to keep the book list as simple as possible.

A study of ancient history will naturally contain some graphic material and nudity. I did my best to choose books that minimized the intensity of this and kept a lighter spin on ancient history, but please glance through the books for yourself before handing them to your children.

Ancient history studies also cover a wide variety of religious perspectives. While I am an Apostle's Creed confessing, non-denominational believer, I feel that studying the beliefs of other people of the book, such as Jews and Catholics can enhance our own understanding of God. I hope that both Jewish and Catholic families can feel at home with this curriculum. In fact, several weeks of the curriculum focus on Jewish feast days. The Jewish culture has outlasted most other cultures that shaped the ancient world, and learning from them can help us shape our families to be influential in our own era.

With that being said, there are many other religions represented in a study of ancient history. A few of the weekly picture books will represent these other religious viewpoints, so that whatever your perspective is, you can learn to understand the people who inhabit our world.

"Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood."

-Stephen Covey

I hope that however you believe, your family can sense the love in these pages, and can create beautiful connection with your family as you learn about the ancient world and other cultures together.

See this for more information about The Precious People and its contents. We are excited about this year of learning, and all the new experiences and ideas that it will inspire. Please share your learning experiences with the hashtag #thepreciouspeople

Click here to purchase your copy of The Precious People

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Learning With Laura

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This school year has been full of delight for our family. Having done the hard work of gathering resources for The Playful Pioneers ahead of time made each week so simple and fun and full of learning. This was my third or fourth time reading through The Little House on the Prairie series, but because I had the projects all planned out ahead of time, it felt like a first time, and yet, the beautiful attitudes that Ma and Pa displayed through adversity, spoke to me as much now as they did when I first read the books aloud so many years ago.

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Another aspect of The Playful Pioneers that was helpful for me this year was the integrated poetry and artwork. I love learning with Charlotte Mason principles, but in past years, it had seemed haphazard to pull poetry and art into whatever time period we were studying. I was very deliberate about the pieces I selected for the year, and was delighted again as we read through such beautiful pieces as "A Cherokee Traveler's Greeting", "Hope is a Thing With Feathers", and "Picture Books in Winter". The art and poetry made so much more sense when it was connected to what we were reading in our chapters for the week.

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While I wrote the curriculum with 5-8 year old students in mind, my children, who turned 9 and 11 in December 2018, were challenged and engaged with the lessons. I added All About Reading and Spell to Write and Read for my 9 year old, along with an Analytical Grammar workbook and I.E.W. U.S. History Based Writing Lessons curriculum for my 11 year old. I also added math resources such as Teaching Textbooks, Right Start Math, and Smarttick for both of them.

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We even added a few extra read alouds from the included independent reading list. I had read some of the Little House on the Prairie series aloud last spring as I was writing the curriculum so this year while we were doing our copy work, we listened to some of the stories on Audible. This bought me some extra read aloud time which I used to read several other titles. My daughter and son added several more of their own independent reading books.

We also engaged in lots of hands on learning this school year, following prompts in the curriculum to sew moccasins, grow a garden, bake bread, shake butter, sew a doll, build a tipi, and generally have fun while learning valuable engineering and comprehension skills. 

Hands on learning isn't just about having more fun; it's a valuable way to teach children to actually do something with all they are learning. 

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We are closing in on the end of the school year, and at the same time gearing up for our upcoming school year with The Precious People, but our study of American History has been a delightful one, and has shaped our understanding and compassion for the people who shaped our nation, and given us excitement about how we can be pioneers in our own time.

Purchase your copy of The Playful PIoneers today!

What others are saying

"I'm the mother of three little boys, my oldest is only 6 and between K and 1st grade academically. I wondered if Laura Ingalls would interest my boys the way it did me as a young girl. I have been in awe at how this curriculum transformed our home. We read the books as a family, bake together, memorize poetry and find comfort in bringing a bit of pioneer life into our home. This curriculum has helped us to slow down, let learning happen organically and encouraged us to spend more time outdoors, many times with our book in hand. This is material for the whole family! There are so many ways to adapt or expand this material for your child's needs, which is why I look forward to using it again in the future!" -Nicole

"We have used the Playful Pioneers this year as the foundation of our curriculum for my three 2nd graders. Each of my children is at very different levels. This beautiful curriculum has worked for all of them. We have enjoyed the read-aloud time, the gentle narration prompts, all the history and science activities, and most especially the enrichment crafts, recipes and art. On days when we have more time, we have had opportunities to explore, and on days with less time, we have been free to do a minimum, and still feel like the day wasn't wasted. My children and I have really enjoyed the journey with Laura and her family! This has been our best homeschool year yet! Thank you, Peaceful Press for your vision, and heart for us, homeschool mamas and kiddos!"
-Jody

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Books and Crafts To Celebrate Spring

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We love celebrating the changing seasons, and after a few weeks of snow and rain, it is finally, actually looking like spring around here.

There are so many things to be amazed by in the spring, and so many ways to develop what Sarah Mackenzie calls, "Radiant Connection". We love to create this connection with our children through books and projects. 

Some of our favorite projects throughout the years have been...

  • Planting a garden

  • Felting a toadstool

  • Dyeing eggs

  • Making edible nests

  • Painting flowers

  • Reading books

Click Here To Download Your Free "In Bloom" Guide to Spring Books and Crafts"

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As believers, many of our spring celebrations also revolve around acknowledging the death and resurrection of Jesus. One of our favorite ways to celebrate this important time is through our Passover observance. We have kept Passover regularly over the last several years, and love the way the symbolism points to deeper truths, and makes our observances and celebrations centered around resurrection even more meaningful. 

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Whether you are hiding eggs, matzah or simply enjoying the flowers, the new life surrounding us in the spring gives us many reasons to celebrate.

Favorite Passover Books

The Longest Night

The Passover Lamb

The Story of Passover


A Few Guides To Your Own Celebrations

A Christian Passover

A Jewish Passover

A Rich and Rooted Passover

A few Easter or Passover crafts we have done-

  • Glueing seeds to a cross shape

  • Making dirt cups

  • Making an afikomen cover

  • Wrapping a lamb cutout with yarn

If you would like to interject every day of learning with more "Radiant Connection", check out our curriculum. Each parent guide is packed full of ideas for bringing joy into learning and creating connections between parents and children.

The Peaceful Preschool

The Playful Pioneers

The Precious People

Our Saints Cards make a wonderful gift for Easter or a Christian Passover observance. Each of the 30 cards depicts a work of art about a saint of the Christian church, as well as a short biography about the lives of these brave people who loved well.

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Celebrating President's Day

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While The Playful Pioneers curriculum provides an overview of some favorite U.S. presidents, we love to strew more books and activities about the presidents in the hope that our children will continue to study on their own. Although the independent reading list that is included in The Playful Pioneers contains an extensive list of favorite books about U.S. presidents, we wanted to highlight a few of our favorites to make a celebration of their birthdays extra special.

Books-

The Buck Stops Here by Alice Provenson

George Washington:The First President by Sarah Albee

George Washington by Ingri and Edgar d'Aulaire

Abe Lincoln:The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winters

Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar d'Aulaire

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We also love doing projects that relate to the presidents. Cooking and baking always make holidays come to life, and we especially love this recipe, adapted from the Tasha Tudor Cookbook.

There are so many fun projects from The Playful Pioneers curriculum that could be revisited for a celebration of President's Day, and our children will remember what they've learned much longer when it is followed with active play.

1. Build a pretzel and peanut butter log cabin

2. Plant a cherry tree or other fruit tree.

3. Pretend to be a surveyor and make a map of your own lot.

4. Play charades, using the president descriptions from The Buck Stops Here for prompts.

5. Paint a cherry tree and use your pinkie finger to finger stamp cherries on it.

6 Follow this watercolor tutorial to paint a cherry tree.

7. Recite the Gettysburg Address

We hope your celebrations are full of joy. These special days in February can help bring fun into a winter season that often feels long.

To bring even more joy into your homeschool, check out The Peaceful Preschool and The Playful Pioneers. These weekly guides are full of ideas for making connections with your children over beautiful literature.

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Resources For Young Readers

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We have loved learning to read using All About Reading and Spell To Write and Read, but as my youngest child becomes more comfortable with reading, I am constantly on the look out for books related to our studies that will not overwhelm him. 

The Playful Pioneers book list is what we are mostly pulling from, but every time I hit up the library I look for more readers based on our history studies. I thought it would be fun to share a few here.

Abe Lincoln and the Muddy Pig by Stephen Krensky

From Slave To Soldier by Deborah Hopkinson

The Drinking Gourd by F.N. Monjo

Sam The MInuteman by Nathaniel Benchley

Wagon Train by Sydelle Kramer

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We also just released an updated version of our Picture Word Cards product. This new version includes 26 rhymes to correspond with each letter of the alphabet. For readers who are reluctant to actually sit down and read, this card set can provide several levels of interaction. You can start your child with just matching upper and lower case letters, and then move onto matching letter sounds with the pictures. Once they have mastered initial sounds, you can introduce the corresponding words. You can then add reading the simple rhymes and once your child is reading, they can read the rhymes and match them with the letter or picture. Best of all, the set is only $5 for the download.

If you need more ideas for helping your child gain school readiness, check out The Peaceful Preschool. It has 26 weeks of activities aimed at helping your child gain the developmental skills they need for academic success. 

If you have school aged children, check out The Playful Pioneers our delight directed year of studying the pioneers, using The Little House on the Prairie series as inspiration.

What people are saying about our curriculum;

"The Playful Pioneers helped me dive into things a little deeper. "

"The drawings, introduction to poetry and other book recommendations were helpful and inspiring."

"The Peaceful Preschool was super organized and had a wonderful book selection"

"The Peaceful Preschool is very easy to follow and my kiddos love it"


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Teach Your Child To Read

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My seventh child is now reading on his own, and I am thrilled to have successfully taught all of my children to read, and for the most part, to love reading. 

When I started homeschooling 18 years ago, my research led me to the Spell to Write and Read program. It worked very well with my oldest child, but with my second daughter, who had auditory processing difficulties, I needed to supplement with sight words. Because her auditory sequencing was poor (activities in The Peaceful Preschool program work on building this skill) she needed the boost of sight words to make reading less laborious. It was just too frustrating to try and sound out every single word.

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I continued to use Spell to Write and Read with my children, along with reading games that I created from Montessori literature I had read, and it continued to be effective. None of my children were super early readers, but they all (so far) have become avid readers. The child who learned to read the latest, is also the child who has read all the works of Shakespeare.

With my youngest child, who being the baby, had less well-defined motor skills, I switched to All About Spelling materials. It is very similar to Spell to Write and Read, except that their approach is slightly more multi-sensory, and their teacher guide is much easier to understand.

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This system worked very well with him, and when he occasionally lost interest his All About Spelling lesson, I would introduce a reading game, such as the Montessori Object Game, or Command Game. The process took a little longer with him, in part because I was a more laid back teacher, and content to let him play, but he is reading, and especially loving the easy readers produced by All About Spelling.

With all my readers, I supplemented with workbooks such as Explode The Code, and with easy books to read. Teaching my children to read wasn't hard; it took some steady reinforcement of phonics sounds and the discipline to set aside time each day to listen to my children painfully sound out words, but once you get past that learning curve, schooling your own children becomes much easier. A child who can read, can also read a recipe, or directions to build an Ikea shelf, and they can certainly get lost in a great novel, which you can then count as "history reading".  A child who loves to read, is a child who can take initiative over a large part of their schooling, and ultimately, is a child who becomes a very interesting adult and friend.

If you are just getting started with teaching your child to read, I hope that you feel excited. It isn't rocket science, and the same skills that you used to teach them to eat with a fork, and get dressed by themselves will help you to guide them into this new skill as well. The steps are simple, teach them the sounds that letters make, teach them to blend those sounds together to make words. You can do it.

 

Our Favorite Resources

All About Spelling

Explode The Code

Spell To Write and Read

Reading Games Post

Living Montessori Now

This post contains affiliate links for products we use/used and love. 

What letter are you on? Share, by tagging #thepeacefulpreschool on Instagram, or in our encouraging private Facebook group, available with your curriculum purchase. 

To purchase the CurriculumPicture Word Cards, or even grab some of our freebies, click here.

For a complete list of picture books used for The Peaceful Preschool, click here.

ABC Books

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Alphabet books have been a big part of our reading instruction. It is a good idea to read to our young children anyway, so reading picture books, where you can reinforce phonograms is a win win. 

To maximize the phonics potential, I teach the sound of the letter, along with the name. For instance instead of saying "A is for Alfred", I will say "A says "a", "ay", "ah"". Ditto for every phonogram. Once our children understand that letters represent sounds, they can string those letters together to make words. I might also say the alphabet with my child, either before or after reading the book, but our main focus is teaching them the sounds.

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"So Many Bunnies" is one of our very favorite alphabet books. It has a sweet story, includes some simple counting, and the illustrations are beautiful. 

"B is for Buckaroo" is a fun story for your little cowboy. It also includes some details about cowboy life, so you get a book that will grow with your preschooler, and might spark other studies. You can also find "C is for Castle" which introduces items related to the middle ages, among thousands of historical themed alphabet books.

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If you are looking for a simpler story for a very young child, this one, "An Alphabet in Bloom" is lovely. The cut paper illustrations could lead to cutting a collage with an older preschooler, and the wordless pages provide lots of visual interest and even some mystery as you discover what each letter is represented by. Some other favorite ABC books for younger children are "A is for Apple" which includes tracks for your child to trace each letter, and "Eric Carle's ABC" which would be a great read on those weeks when we are doing "The Grouchy Ladybug" or another of his stories.

One of my most well loved alphabet books, is "A is for Annabelle" by a favorite children's author and illustrator, Tasha Tudor. Her beautiful illustrations and creativity come through in every page. We also love finding ABC books about nature and animals, such as "Discovering Nature's Alphabet"

Finally, a wonderful way to play with letters, and even to work on articulation with your young children, is with our Picture Word Cards . These would make a wonderful Christmas gift for your child. Simply laminate them along with a few phonogram bingo cards, add some nature themed bingo counters, such as acorn caps, and you have an inexpensive and educational gift.

What is your favorite ABC book?

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Guest Post-The Power of Accumulation

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My four-year-old is often asked if he goes to school. He confidently responds, “No, I do school at home.” Then the person inquiring turns to me and asks questions about what we do and that’s when I scramble for answers. In my head, I coach myself: Try to sound confident too. This is what God’s led you to do. I’m just figuring out this homeschooling thing day by day. Some days are successful. Many aren’t. 

I struggle to plan ahead and keep a routine. My health doesn’t always hold up. And my oldest and I are constantly having a battle of the wills these days. 

It’s hard to feel confident...especially when Pinterest moms seem to have it all together. Don’t go on Pinterest when you’re feeling down on yourself. Just don’t. 

An Intentional Five Minutes

One day while the kids were napping, I was listening to my favorite Bible scholar, Dr. Michael Heiser. He was telling a story to which the conclusion was that Bible study is accumulative, five minutes a day intentionally spent is significant. The statement struck me as profound and the idea floated around in my head for a few weeks.

When we live with ideas for a while, they tend to grow, as this one did: Bible study is accumulative. Even just the repetition of five minutes is valuable. And this small accumulation can result in real growth. Huh. So teaching my boys about Jesus, the Bible, and their part in God’s big story is all accumulative. What about math? That too? Music, phonics, reading, getting them to eat vegetables?   

 

As I continued to ponder this train of thought further, I began to gain confidence. Through this idea of small moments accumulating growth, I realized that I wasn’t failing as a new homeschool mom. 

Exploring the World Around Us

In our family, learning often takes place in informal ways. Let’s use science as an example and I’ll show you what I mean:

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Gardening and spending time outside leads to conversations about photosynthesis and the water cycle. We observe plant’s root systems, seeds, flowers, and birds. We go to the zoo and discuss specific traits of animals, their habitats, and how God made them to adapt to their environments. At night, we talk about the moon and the stars. When we see Mount Saint Helens on a clear day, we ponder about volcanoes. When my boys get a cut, we talk about the human body and it’s ability to heal itself. When shopping, we talk about healthy food choices. When we exercise, we listen to our hearts beating fast. And the learning possibilities go on and on. 

The key is to purposely provide opportunities for these experiences and then to be intentionally involved in those moments - having conversations with your children as you help them shape their worldview. 

Through this accumulation of experiences and conversations, real growth takes place. Then we build on this growth by reading picture and chapter books. This combination of experiences and reading helps my boys assimilate the information they take in and make sense of the world around them.

Using Books to Aid our Discovery

The Peaceful Preschool curriculum perfectly fits the natural and hands-on way of learning my family has already adopted. We’re definitely not a model family in how we use the curriculum (it takes us a couple weeks to get through a week), but it’s gently teaching me to plan ahead better and to be more thoughtful and effective with my time. 

I’m realizing that I don’t have to have it all together. After all, I’ve never homeschooled before! I’m learning right alongside my boys. Someday, we’ll have more structured learning times, but for now we’ll slowly work our way in that direction a day at a time. On the hard days, I remind myself that I’m growing one experience at a time, just like my kids. 

Take heart! Take action! Accumulation applies to us all! 

Liz Clark is a stay-at-home mom to two preschool boys. Her goal as a parent is to raise children who read well, think well, and communicate well and become independent adults who love Christ and live for His kingdom. She shares her thoughts on her blog: lizmarieclark.wordpress.com/.


What letter are you on? Share, by tagging #thepeacefulpreschool on Instagram, or in our encouraging private Facebook group, available with your curriculum purchase. 

To purchase the CurriculumPicture Word Cards, or even grab some of our freebies, click here.

For a complete list of picture books used for The Peaceful Preschool, click here.