Making Books from Books

 I read recently that people visit, and then revisit, blogs that give them a warm, relaxed feeling as they navigate through the site.   This sedated feeling includes a lack of busy, bright colors.    I’m seriously considering relocating my blog to another host for several reasons, mostly business-oriented, but I like HSB and the fact that you have to go a bit out of the way to find us.   In a very public Internet, it feels quite private.   We’ll see.   In the meantime, I dumped Picasso for the more calming and monochromatic background.    How effective this will be is a story for another time.

Since the kids worked so hard to get their history pages completed, I thought I’d share a few final excerpts from their work.   Here are a couple of pages from my son’s self-created book: 






‘As a boy, Lincoln lived with his brother.   Not being in school for a year, his classmates encouraged him to run for Senator.   He was very smart, strong and honest.  Once in his store, he realized he overcharged a lady.   Abe walked 6 miles to pay her a few cents.   He decided to run for Senate.   Abe lost to Stephen A. Douglass, because not many people knew him.   We he ran for president Abe won against the same competitor.’






This is his illustration of Adolf Hitler.   (The five-year-old noted that "it doesn’t look much like him."   I have to wonder who she thinks Hitler is and what she thinks he should look like).    Anyway, our son’s words are:


‘After World War I, Germany had many problems.   Adolf Hitler became chacellor because he made many promises to help Germany.   Really he only made it worse.   Many other countries had evil dictators like him.   Hitler hated Jews, people that were crippled and people rebelled against him.’


Below are the oldest’s pictures.   The first is her rendition of a series based upon Jacob Lawrence’s creation of visual narrative in the 1920’s.   Her theme was "Lights."





 Finally, she crafted this poem following our visit to Vicksburg, MS and the Vicksburg National Cemetery.





Typical of my oldest, this took forever, but the results, I thought, were almost worth the frustration:

‘Oh, that battle, it was hard and long

Especially for the Confederates, who sung a sad song.

All they tried to do was follow a command

But the Yankees kept blocking them, by sea and land.

The Confederates’ zigzags just didn’t work out

For the Yankees were ready for them, without a doubt.

The Yankees wanted victory, but also "the key"

Which was the Mississippi River, their major need.

At a time, the sides fought, ’til the ammunition was no more

And it was easy to see that death the battle had bore.’ 


On next year, we’ll continue to notebook–well, sort of.    I love the way notebooking enhances learning.   In order to be effective, the mind must process what’s occurred and then translate it into something understandable, something wonderful.    Even with my "big kids," I love to have them write during class, and find it sad that the university forces me to teach from a presentation.    Watching a screen engages the mind in a very different way than writing.   

 I wanted to share a couple of great articles on making, or re-making, books as a tool for learning.  Amy Bayliss shared an idea that I’d never heard of (nor would my creatively-challenged brain have thought up) regarding turning a used book into a personal keepsake.    You might see more here.    There are other thoughts on book altering here.   For our purposes, I found a commonplace book concept (see here) which will free the kids from strictly writing their work and give them plenty of time and space to create.    This is not to devalue the writing process in any way; I know that, particularly as kids age, the ability to articulate a clear argument in both oral and written forms is increasingly critical.   The commonplace book, from where I sit, is the next step in them owning their own learning.    I looked up a couple of pre-crafted books via Homeschool in the Woods and Learning through History–so expensive!   So, we might see where we land with homemade books, much as we’ve done for the past two years.


I’ve finally reached a point of outlining the kids’ day-to-day schedules.   As I posted earlier via Twitter, I am so glad that the Lord gives strategy, clarity, and peace as we submit our plans over to Him. 

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4 thoughts on “Making Books from Books

  1. That's interesting what you wrote about peaceful blogs – I never knew that. It does make sense, though. I agree with you on the HSB feeling kind of private on a public world wide web. It's not like anyone can't find us, but it's like they have to look hard or find it kind of accidentally. I really like that. It goes well with my private nature, I guess.

    Wow, your kids writing and pictures is awesome. I've always struggled with that are in our hs.
    Your obviously doing an awesome job teaching your kids.

  2. I've really been able to appreciate how important narration is lately. It's important to teach our kids to be able to retrieve information this way. I was taught to have a book in front of me while paraphrasing. But, now at universities professors use to determine if a student has plagiarized. If it's higher than 10%, the student is in trouble. Using my old method of paraphrasing, the numbers come out high. It forces a student to read the whole article and then, write only from memory in order to get a low percentage. I'm glad that I know that narration is the best way to train a student to do this. I'm going to start doing this with my boys this year. It's also a great way to preserve their work for the future and to see their progress. Thanks for the links.

    HSB has improved their site. Maybe this will help. I've thought about moving as well. But, security is a huge thing with me being where we are and I feel safer with HSB.

    Have a great weekend!


  3. Your kids did an amazing job. Thanks for sharing.

    I also agree that HSB is a lot more private. I feel comfortable placing my children's pictures here. I went through a season where I wanted to keep my prayer life separate from my homeschool days. I started 3 other blogs and have always come back to HSB. I really like them a lot.


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