Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: Finish Line! (And a Book Recommendation)

This week was the last of our official school year. Yay! I say "official" because we are continuing some AO readings through the summer since we are behind on those. It doesn't make sense to stop in the middle of a book simply because it's a "school" book. Good books are good books, period.

Activities have wound down, too, just in time for the swim team season to gear up. Those practices are every day, but it's at our neighborhood pool, and the girls can ride their bikes with friends. Yay again! Also, the piano recital is next Tuesday evening, and that will wrap up music lessons until September. Ongoing will be Miss Priss's middle school choir at church until mid June, when they go on a choir trip, and Tiny Girl's riding, with two shows slated for June.

I wanted to let you know about a wonderful book both girls have been reading as part of their history studies: The Reb and the Redcoats, by Constance Savery. First published in 1961 and now part of the Living History Library collection of Bethlehem Books, this work of historical fiction offers a British viewpoint of the American Revolution. From the back cover:

Charlotte Darrington and her brothers and sisters can't understand Uncle Lawrence's bad mood. What could be more interesting than having their own American prisoner of war? The children are determined to make friends with the young rebel -- but they find themselves thwarted by Uncle Lawrence and the prisoner himself. It is only after a near-disastrous attempt to reach France that the Reb allows himself to be drawn into the life at White Priory in southern England. The children are happy to become his "redcoats" -- but they know that as long as the rebellion in the Colonies is going on, the Reb is likely to escape at the first honorable opportunity.
Both my girls have enjoyed this book tremendously. Tiny Girl practically devoured it, and Miss Priss told me, "I like that it shows what English people thought (about the war)." So do I.

I found this selection on the fabulous website, A Book in Time, which I use frequently to locate living history books for my girls. I love the way the site is organized, and I also appreciate the age guidelines (ex. JH or UE for junior high level or upper elementary level) and annotations. When you visit the site, don't overlook the World History tab; that's where The Reb and The Redcoats is listed, since the story takes place in England.

So what educational pursuits are you planning to continue through the summer (if any)? I'm interested to hear!


  1. I'm pleased that your girls liked Constance Savery's The Reb and the Redcoats. I am writing a biography of the author, and in three weeks I will be in England paying a third visit to her literary heir and goddaughter, who has kindly given me access to all of the Savery manuscripts. Besides The Reb, I recommend Redhead at School and Meg Plays Fair for girls, but you'll have to buy used copies, from AbeBooks, for instance. Enemy Brothers, also by Bethlehem Books, is a wonderful read, but it's about a boy and his grown brother. Click on my name for more about Savery's life and everything she has written [nothing for sale there].

  2. Fantastic recommendation, not just the book but the site as well. I'm taking it to my resources site!

    Our plans. We have finished too! So my oldest declared: math on the computer (she likes for math facts and any math games on it), readings, YES, but I will do them, most of them (I always trick her into reading along! he he he), and learning knitting at the library group, as well as our Bible study, that we never stop, we always prepare for class, and VBS, and new curriculum in July... hmmm, that's all, apart from any spontaneous project, our usual drawings, etc.
    And I have planning and translating to do!

  3. I hear ya! A good book is a good book :) I second your celebration of settling into a slower summer mode. We also have piano recital next week. Sure there's the planning and VBS coming up but right now I feel like a kid - free with the summer stretching out ahead. Planning can wait a couple weeks. Thank you for the book recommendations as we'll be heading to the library to load up soon. Happy Weekend Ellen!

  4. I always wish my daughter would enjoy fiction set in the past, but she really resists it! (Except for stories about Victorian Aberdeen that I used to make up for her on the way to school.) Maybe I'll give these a try.

    Here in Scotland we have another month left until the summer holidays, but at our house we are trying to catch up with French and German, so we have little stickers on things in the house saying "der Kuhlschrank" and so forth. My big project for the summer is to do some serious archiving, including transferring old family videos to DVD, and I want my daughter to help me with that. I think it will be good for her to see her earlier self in all her glory.

    It's so interesting to have a peek into your life, thank you!

  5. "The Reb and the Redcoats" sounds like a great read. We are studying (not officially- it started with my boys watching "A History of US")the revolutian and my boys are eating it up. Thanks also for the "Book in Time" link. I am going to take a look.


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