The best kind of home school book combines two or more subjects into one "living" account, and all the better if it combines both of my girls' age/grade levels as well. Gems like this aren't always easy to come by, so I thought I'd share this one with you:
This book, and others in the series, were published at the turn of the 20th century. (Why does it seem as though the most useful books for schooling our children were written over 100 years ago? But it does often turn out that way.) We're only a few short stories into it, but both girls are riveted and work diligently through their other schoolwork for the reward of the Farmyard People.
Ms. Pierson was truly brilliant in her writing - not just for the beauty of her descriptions, but the thought that went into the little fables. Each story teaches nature by using animals as the characters and describing events in their lives as they might speak about them. The stories are factual and informative but are also just plain interesting. And - even better - each story teaches a character lesson. The rude young dove that needed a good scolding from his mother; the vain lamb with the long tail (that was soon to be cut off.) The stories are so easy to relate to real life that even my four year old can see the parallels.
After we finish the Farmyard People (figured I'd use it as a precursor to relocating Two Little Girls to the farm in the Tiny Little Town) we'll move on to stories about the Forest People, the Meadow People, the Pond People. I can't wait, and they can't either.
Here's the best part though: if you have a Kindle (or a smart phone with a Kindle app) these books are all free for download. Score for the frugal homeschool mom. I'm the first to admit that there is something far more satisfying about holding an actual paper book in one's hands, but homeschool can get expensive, and any book available for free is worth downloading. The ones that turn out to be really wonderful will eventually make their way into our "real life" library as they are found.
If you're in the market for fantastic, intelligent children's literature and are trying to work on a tight budget, check out the Amazon Kindle versions before you buy the paper version. Nearly every great children's classic can be found for free, it seems, if you just take a minute to look. And I don't have a Kindle, I just have a Smart Phone. The Amazon Kindle app came free with it. Granted it eats battery like crazy, but I can sit in my rocker with my phone plugged into the wall and read to them for as long as they'll sit. It's like Little House on the Prairie... with a Smart Phone.