As everyone else heads back to school, I looked over the last month and realized we really did treat the hottest months of the year like a summer vacation this year… mostly lolling around the house between events, taking extra naps after our dance parties in the living room, and mostly hiding our pasty skin from the hot, Texas sun. So I tackled cleaning out the closets, while everyone else was out buying school supplies, and organized our life the way it has always been organized in my brain… in unit studies. Of course, that got me in the mood to really tackle “school time” with more vigor and this last week or so we jumped back into the swing of things with Ancient Greece and Rome and then The Vikings and the Celts.
Viking Ships at Sunrise by Mary Pope Osborne was next in our Magic Tree House Adventures. We have not acquired the Viking research guide yet, but I believe there is one. We also re-read DK’s Eye Wonder Viking book, we had read it once before while perusing the exciting world of piracy, and a little repetition is good for a kiddo.
But the really exciting book for this particular unit study was The Hero Beowulf.
Eric A. Kimmel’s retelling of Beowulf is a pretty neat picture book add on for little people. It’s illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher and is complete with an author’s note about the original poem in the back. Beowulf, after all, isn’t just a monster myth, it’s the “oldest surviving epic poem in English literature,” all the way from the sixth century, to your hands now.
I can’t reiterate enough how much the classical education style appeals to me by teaching so much history through the other subjects… or rather teaching all the other subjects by tackling history so thoroughly. I love that there are so many resources, like Kimmel’s picture book, to make the tales and the culture more real and the epic poem more accessible when the time comes to tackle the original work; because in classical education everything repeats at a higher level over and over again.
After reading The Hero Beowulf, kiddo ran to grab other books with Viking ships on them and said, “Look mommy, more Beowulfs!” So she doesn’t entirely get it yet, but hey, she’s two.