History Overview (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

There is no shortage of historical timelines on the Internet. Here’s why I created my own: I wanted a timeline that read more like a continuous story than a list of separate occurrences, and I wanted to limit the number of dates to the most important. In other words, I wanted a brief timeline that my kids and I would actually remember.

Whenever possible, I chunked events into centuries or groups of centuries, which I believe greatly aids in memorization. While knowing a large number of specific dates is usually not vital to one’s understanding of the unfolding of world events, I do want my kids to be able to recall at all times the century in which an important event before 1800 took place, and the decade in which an important event since then took place.

Here is what I created from The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, The Story of the World series by Susan Wise Bauer, The Timetables of History by Bernard Grun, Factmonster.com and one or two other sources. It (almost) goes without saying that excellent history texts that weave characterization, suspense and detail into these awesome occurrences, such as the ones I recommend in the nonfiction reading section of this text, is absolutely vital to an appreciation for the beauty and educational importance of history.

History questions for discussion:

What are some of the things that all cultures of history shared in common?

What are some of the reasons towns and civilizations spring up independently in so many different parts of the world within a few hundred years of each other?

Are there any good civilizations in history?

Are there any bad ones?

Are there some countries that are more moral than others?

What are the main reasons nations and states initiated warfare?

Why did smaller tribes wage war?

Why did larger civilizations wage war?

How was history influenced by the growth of the human brain?

What are some examples of religious wars?

To what extent were they motivated by the spread of religious ideas and the quashing of other religious ideas and to what extent were they motivated by other desires or needs?

Why did safe, prosperous nations, like Rome, continuously try to grow larger?

Was this a wise strategy?

What are some of the historical reasons for poverty?

History isn’t hard. It’s just stories. Lots of stories. And remembering dates and names is important, too. One of the main reasons I made my history timelines is that when you’ve committed certain important dates to memory, they anchor you to new information you gain throughout your life.

Don’t be afraid of dates. Dates are awesome.

Basic Religion and Spirituality (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

Spirituality feels complicated: cultural, nuanced. And it is. I understand that. But the basic tenets of the major world religions are actually fairly straightforward, and it is these that I seek to present here. Please note that this treatment is highly simplified and does not represent all adherents of the given faith. Other religions with over one million adherents that aren’t discussed here include Falun Gong (a 20th-century Chinese religion similar to Buddhism that incorporates meditation and qigong exercises), Sikhism (a 15th-century Indian religion that follows the teaching of Sikh gurus and rejects religious certainty), Korean shamanism, Caodaism, Bahá’í Faith (a nineteenth-century Middle Eastern religion that seeks to unify all world religions), Tenriism, Jainism, Cheondoism, and Hoahaoism.

Christianity Knowledge Checklist

Rank: Number one. Christianity is the world’s most populous religion.

Holy book(s): The Bible. The Catholic Christian version of the Bible includes additional sections, and Mormons have an additional holy book called The Book of Mormon.

Concept of God: There is one all-knowing, all-loving, everywhere-present, all-powerful, gender-neutral God, who created the universe.

Notion of life after death: Salvation–that is, eternal life in a place of bliss called Heaven–comes to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and repent of their sins. Others go to Hell after death.

Other basic tenets: Humans are sinful and in need of redemption. Jesus Christ, the sinless son of God, came to Earth to preach faith in Him and to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sin of the world. In addition to faith, Christians should practice love, charity, self-sacrifice, humility, morality, prayer, Bible reading, sexual abstinence prior to marriage and monogomy thereafter, and other good works.

Origins: Christianity began with the life of Jesus Christ, who lived in the first century AD in the Middle East. His followers spread the faith widely over the following several centuries. From these early Christians, Catholicism developed, which appointed a Pope as its leader. Then Orthodoxy and Protestantism split off from Catholicism, in that order. Protestants divided into many different sects, including Methodist, Anglican and Lutheran Christianity. Later, Mormonism split off from Protestant Christianity with even greater changes.

Islam Knowledge Checklist

Rank: Number two

Holy book(s): The Quran, which is the verbatim word of God revealed to the prophet Muhammad, plus the sunnah, the other teachings of Muhammad, and the hadith, the record of Muhammad’s life.

Concept of God: There is one God, with Muhammad as the messenger of God. God is merciful and all-powerful.

Notion of life after death: Muslims go to a blissful Heaven, and non-Muslims go to a place of eternal punishment.

Other basic tenets: Islam is the final expression of a faith that pre-existed and was partially revealed through Adam, Abraham, and Jesus. Therefore, it is considered an Abrahamic faith like Judaism and Christianity. Muslims must practice the five pillars of the faith, which include (1) recitation of the creed, (2) daily prayers, (3) almsgiving, (4) fasting during Ramadan and (5) making a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime. They also must follow sharia law, which is more specific and lengthy and includes guidelines on clothing, relationships, finances and more. Most Muslims belong to either the Sunni or the Shia sect, with the major original difference between them being who they considered the proper leader of their faith after the death of Muhammad. Muslims also believe in angels.

Origins: Islam was started in the early seventh century in Mecca by the Prophet Muhammad. It spread in Europe through war and coercion, and in Africa through trading relationships.

Hinduism Knowledge Checklist

Rank: Number three

Origins: Hinduism is a fusion of various ancient Indian cultural ideas and tradition, with no single founder. It began to take its current form between 500 B.C. and AD 300. It is widely practiced in India and parts of Southeast Asia.

Holy book(s): Hindu texts are many and varied. They are not considered absolutely true. They are divided into two categories: the Shruti and the Smriti. The Shruti are the oldest traditions and include the four Vedas. The Upanishads are the parts of the Vedas that discuss meditation and philosophy and are the foundation of Hinduism. Of the Smritis, the Hindu epics, especially the Bhagavad Gita, and the Puranas are most important.

Concept of God: Varies by tradition. Some traditions teach the existence of multiple deities (dualism) while others teach of a single supreme being that is reflected in all other beings (the divine in all/non-dualism). Hindu gods are depicted in art and stories. Various incarnations of the same god are called avatars.

Notion of life after death: Reincarnation, called samsara. Hindus desire liberation from samsara through moksha (enlightenment).

Other basic tenets: Dharma (the path of rightness) is considered the foremost goal of a human being. It includes religious duties and moral virtues, but it is also equated with the eternal, unchanging truth. According to Hinduism, achieving dharma allows people to be in harmony with their true nature and with the world. Other Hindu goals are artha, properly pursued economic prosperity; kama, aesthetic pleasure; and moksha, liberation from suffering (enlightenment). Hindus also believe in karma. Hindu monks are called sanyāsī, sādhu, or swāmi. Religious rituals are observed mostly at home and are not mandatory. They include yoga, chanting, meditation and more. Hindus recognize four social classes: the Brahmins (teachers and priests); the Kshatriyas (warriors and kings); the Vaishyas (farmers and merchants); and the Shudras (servants and laborers). They believe in non-violence, respect for all life and vegetarianism.

Buddhism Knowledge Checklist

Rank: Number four

Origins: Buddhism was founded between 500 and 400 B.C. in India by Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha, who as a wealthy but unhappy young man who became enlightened while sitting underneath a Bodhi tree. Buddhism is prominent throughout Asia.

Holy book(s): Numerous and highly varied. Some are based on the words of the Buddha, like the sutras, while others were created by ancient Buddhist schools, like the tantras.

Concept of God: There is no creator God or supreme being in the universe.

Notion of life after death: Reincarnation. This cycle of death and rebirth, which is affected by one’s karma, can be escaped through nirvana (enlightenment).

Other basic tenets: Meditation, mindfulness, nonattachment, compassion, lovingkindness and virtue; taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma (the way) and the Sangha (teachers and fellow travelers); the Four Noble Truths; and the Noble Eightfold Path. The Four Noble Truths are: suffering is universal; suffering is caused by desire and attachment; suffering can end; this happens through the Noble Eightfold Path (right understanding, right thinking, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration). There are two main schools of Buddhist thoughts: the Theravada and the Mahayana. They differ in their recommended approach to nirvana and more.

Confucianism Knowledge Checklist

Origins: Confucianism was founded by Confucius, a government worker-turned-philosopher who lived around the time of Buddha (551-479 B.C.) in China. Confucius taught his philosophy to his subordinates at work before quitting to travel and teach only. His teachings became the state philosophy during the Han Dynasty in China, which liked Confucius’ emphasis on strong central government and respect for authority.

Holy book(s): The Analects of Confucius

Concept of God: None. Confucianism is sometimes considered a religion and sometimes considered a philosophy.

Notion of life after death: None.

Other basic tenets: Kindness; manners; rituals; morals; respect of elders and family; moderation.

Taoism Knowledge Checklist

Origins: Taoism (sometimes called Daoism) began with the writing of the Tao Te Ching, likely by the teacher Laozi around 500 B.C. (This is close to the time of Buddha and Confucius.) The Tao Te Ching was influenced by an ancient divination text, the I Ching (Yi Ching), which as the oldest Chinese classic text was compiled around 800 B.C. Like Confucianism, Taoism became prominent during the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-AD 220). It might have developed as a reaction to that more authoritarian philosophy.

Holy book(s): The Tao Te Ching, the I Ching, the Daozang/Treasury of Tao, and the Zhuangzi (Chuang Tzu). The Daozang is a collection of over 1500 texts written up to the Ming dynasty, and is considered the Taoist canon. The Zhuangzi is an important, beautiful, lighthearted description of the ideal sage written by Master Zhuang (Zhuangzi) (c. 369-301 B.C.).

Concept of God: Various gods exist but none are supreme, and all are subject to the Tao. (Most Taoist gods are borrowed from other cultures.)

Notion of life after death: Unclear. The soul is eternal, but there is a regular afterlife and an enhanced one.

Other basic tenets: Taoists are naturalists. They believe in the interconnectedness of all things; acceptance of contradiction or paradox, called Yin and Yang (concepts originated in the I Ching); and the pursuit of harmony through virtue. They also believe in fortune telling, honoring deceased spirits, and more.

Shinto Knowledge Checklist

Origins: Shinto is the traditional religion of Japan. It is a collection of animistic folk mythologies. Practices were first codified around 700 B.C.

Holy book(s): The Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, written in the 8th century.

Concept of God: There are many gods, spirits and essences, all with unique roles and purposes.

Notion of life after death:

Other basic tenets: Shinto emphasizes the importance of performing rituals for the purpose of connecting with the past.

Judaism Knowledge Checklist

Origins: Abraham, a man who lived in the Middle East, had a son, Isaac, who had a son, Jacob, who was the father of twelve sons, who founded the twelve tribes of Israel. These tribes, who lived around 1200 B.C., later became known as Jews, or the Jewish people. Later, Christianity and Islam developed from Judaism. Jews have been persecuted throughout history and repeatedly forced to leave their nation, Israel, yet they have largely maintained their ethnic and cultural identity. About 43% of Jews reside in Israel and another 43% reside in the United States and Canada.

Concept of God: Orthodox Jews believe in one all-knowing, all-loving, everywhere-present, all-powerful, gender-neutral God, who created the universe. Other Jews believe that belief in God is a matter of personal choice.

Notion of life after death: Unclear and controversial.

Holy book(s): The Torah, which is part of the Hebrew Bible, and additional oral tradition found in later texts like the Midrash and the Talmud. Texts are open to interpretation by rabbis and is a highly scholarly and intellectual endeavor.

Basic tenets: Jews, particularly Orthodox Jews, practice a complex, laborious array of rituals dating to the time of Abraham. They believe that by doing so, they are keeping the Covenant (the law of God given to the Jews by which they earn God’s favor). Among these practices: not working on Sundays; not eating pork or shellfish (eating kosher foods only); and celebration of Jewish holidays. Conservative and Reform Jews take a more lenient approach to Jewish law.

Alternative Spirituality Knowledge Checklist

Origins: Alternative spirituality includes Buddhist Modernism, some new religious movements (NRMs), spiritual-but-not-religious ideas, New Thought spirituality and New Age spirituality. It primarily refers to belief systems that originated during the twentieth century. Alternative spirituality evolves rapidly as new spiritual teachers, channels and authors become known. It is largely influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism.

Holy book(s): None. Modern spiritual thinkers read modern spiritual-but-not-religious authors like Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, and Esther Hicks, plus Buddhist authors like Pema Chodron, Ram Daas and more.

Concept of God: God is the one, unified something that makes up everything in the Universe. As such, God is part of everything, including each person. God is sometimes called the creator, the force, the all-that-is or simply the universe. God is good and loving.

Notion of life after death: Reincarnation, another afterlife including the experience of oneness with the Divine, or unknown. There is no Hell, but there is no one clear and correct path to a happy afterlife.

Other basic tenets: Sin does not exist. Though people often judge poorly or act out of fear, they are naturally and fundamentally good. Onesself is one’s only spiritual authority. Meditation and mindfulness are helpful. So are various healing modalities, such as Reiki. Discovering one’s highest self is a priority, as is practicing love and non-judgment. Truth is often relative and experiential and may be discovered through the law of attraction; divination/clairvoyance/mediums; angels, spirits and ghosts; near-death experiences; deathbed revelations; intuition; and more. Enlightenment or something akin to enlightenment is the goal of many modern spiritualists.

Now Published by Next Chapter: Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Story

Ten years is about the right amount of time to wait for a moment like this. You wouldn’t want it to happen much sooner (it’d spoil the fun of waiting) or much later (when you’re disillusioned).

That’s about how long it’s been since I started writing books and publishing them on Amazon on my own and now, the time has come: Next Chapter has published my first traditionally published work–and I think they probably got my best one. It’s Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Story.

Please buy it for yourself, and for a few married parents you know. (It’s not expensive.)

Here’s the description:

After Rachel and Matthew had their first child, they had a couple of fights. Well, okay, more than a couple—they fought for over three years. They fought about schedules. They fought about bad habits. They fought about feeling unloved.

They even fought about the lawn mower.

And besides actually having their child, it was the best thing that could’ve happened.

Chronicling their greatest hits, from the Great Birth Control Debate to the Divorce Joke Showdown, Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby is a post-partem story with hope. It offers true stories from the field, nitty-gritty advice and, most important, a nuanced understanding of what it takes to be married with children.

Get the Amazon ebook version here. And definitely help a writer out by posting a review as well. Thanks so much.

Homeschooling Process Overview (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

I love homeschooling. I really do. And I think my kids are good with it, too. Here, just what it sounds like: a brief description of the process that seems to be working for us thus far.

K-12 Homeschooling Process Overview

What We Learn

I recommend you decide on a core set of facts, skills and textbooks that you develop from various sources of your choice. You can do this on an annual basis, or, if you’re a planner like me, you can outline through to your projected endpoint. Once you have your curriculum, divide your efforts into two parts: core curriculum studies and elective studies. Elective studies are, of course, pretty much anything. I call this part of our homeschooling day “unschooling,” because it is entirely child-led.

Here is a more specific description of what we learn in our home.

We study the following subjects: history; science; literature; writing; mathematics; art, film and music; religion and spirituality; morality, relationships, health and life management; physical education; Mandarin; Spanish; philosophy and logic; psychology and sociology; and more as time and interest dictates.

We rotate between history and science, choosing one as our core subject for the school year. During history years, we study our core curriculum history books, lesson by lesson, in their entirety. During science years, we study our core curriculum science books, lesson by lesson, in their entirety. Every year we also choose several other secondary subjects to focus on. We learn various other skills and lessons and read other books as time and interest allow.

When We Learn

In my family, homeschooling works backwards: heavy reading and conversation in bed at night with the lights turned off and the little ones bored to sleep, independent projects in the afternoon and social and physical stuff first thing in the morning. Coincidentally (or not), this order roughly reflects my educational priorities for my kids (and myself), and is exactly the opposite of traditional public education.

How We Learn

When planning for homeschooling, the question of how to learn is both the most complicated one and the least important. I recommend that you default to the old-fashioned reading, writing, arithmetic and lecture M.O., noting that your lectures will normally take the form of every day conversation. As you are able, seek out high quality podcasts, worksheets, YouTube videos, games, TV shows and other activities to supplement your efforts. The range of choices is enormous, and they’re all effective. But sometimes it’s easiest to just choose a few concepts a day and just … talk about them.

Here’s a brief outline of how we learn in our home.

Each week, we: listen to music, read together, read independently, engage in various hobbies and self-directed projects, engage in physical activity, attend play dates, have quiet time, practice life skills, practice character building and relationship skill building through coaching, attend at least one class outside the home, go on family outings and more.

We strictly limit the use worksheets, calculators, TV and video games and the Internet.

We learn our core and secondary subjects primarily through reading and discussion.

We incorporate reading and writing practice into our core subject lessons.

While reading primary sources, we ask the following questions:

What does the piece say?
What is the historical context of the piece?
Who was the author (profession, social standing, age, etc.) of the piece?
What is the genre of the piece?
What does the author have to gain or lose from others accepting or rejecting his ideas?
What events led to the writing of the piece?
What events resulted from the writing of the piece

We also use some of the following methods to learn the material:

Supplemental reading
Outlining
Discussion
Memorization
Time line making
Map making
Doing science experiments
Coloring, drawing and painting
Teaching another student
Creating and playing games
Learning songs
Watching documentaries and other films
Additional in-depth projects like book making, writing argumentative essays, model making, building, traveling, creating subject taxonomies and more.

How We Record Our Learning

For me, record keeping is a huge deal. It keeps me on track and gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I highly recommend a robust but efficient system, whatever it may be, so you don’t waste time on old material and so your kids have handy evidence of everything they’ve done.

Here’s what I do for my kids (and myself, too) to keep track of our reading and other accomplishments.

I keep a thorough and meticulous record of all students’ homeschooling activities in a single spreadsheet. The spreadsheet includes a list of books each student read or heard and a list of each student’s learning experiences and accomplishments.

I keep detailed checklists of everything we’re learning on our office walls. As a student demonstrates understanding of one of the items, I mark their initials and their grade level next to it. My plan is to have everything on all our checklists initialed at least three times per child throughout their homeschooling career.

I scan and save each student’s selected writings, artwork and more in a homeschooling scrapbook file.

Simple Prehistory Timeline (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried to recall the approximate date for the beginning of the universe, or the invention of fire, or the first known appearance of Homo sapiens on the spot but could not. Knowing a few key dates is hugely important to your understanding of the world. It provides a framework that you can build on as needed.

FYI, prehistory is history that took place prior to the invention of writing. After that, everything is part of recorded history. Also note that all dates listed here are approximate and many of them merely indicate the earliest known evidence of the events they describe. Finally, recall that the Stone Age is comprised of the Paleolithic (big-game hunting) Era, the Mesolithic (transitional hunter-gatherer) Era, and the Neolithic (farming) Era, though the dates of these eras vary by location since they’re based on the acquisition of related technologies. The Stone Age is followed by the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, though these terms are only useful regarding the ancient Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Egyptian peoples. Among other advantages, bronze technology allowed for better weaponry, and lighter, cheaper iron technology allowed for more widespread use of weaponry.

Basic Prehistory Timeline

The Beginning of Time

14 billion B.C.: The Big Bang occurred. Matter exploded, cooled, and expanded.

4.5 billion B.C.: Earth formed.

4.4 billion B.C.: The oceans formed.

4 billion B.C.: The first microorganisms evolved.

3.8 to 3.5 billion B.C.: The last universal common ancestor (LUCA)–the most recent living organism that survived to evolve into all current life on the planet–existed.

8 to 6 million B.C.: The first great apes (hominids) evolved.

The Stone Age: The Paleolithic Era

2.5 million B.C.: Homo habilis, the first human species, evolved in East Africa from an unknown, extinct great ape. Habilis was the first to use stone tools and had a larger brain than his ancestors.

1.8 to 1.5 million B.C.: Homo erectus evolved, then migrated out of Africa to Asia.

1.6 to 1 million B.C.: Homo erectus started using fire for cooking. Half a million years later, these early humans began hunting with spears, building shelters and creating more complex tribal communities.

230,000 B.C.: The Neanderthals evolved and migrated across Asia and Europe..

200,000 B.C.: Homo sapiens evolved in Africa and migrated across Asia and Europe.

150,000 B.C.: Humans developed the ability to speak.

50,000 to 12,000 B.C.: Human culture developed rapidly. Humans began performing ritual burials and making clothing, artworks, jewelry, advanced tools, boats, ovens, pottery, harpoons, saws, woven baskets, woven nets and woven baby carriers. Also during this time, the Neanderthals mated with Homo sapiens, then went extinct. They were replaced by the Cro-Magnons, who also mated with Homo sapiens. From them the modern Homo sapiens inherited larger brains.

40,000 B.C.: Early modern humans appeared. They settled Australia, then North America.

The Stone Age: The Mesolithic and Neolithic Eras

13,000 B.C.: People in Mesopotamia (the Fertile Crescent) started raising animals.

10,000 B.C.: People in Mesopotamia started cultivating crops and forming small towns. They created religious sites, grew grain (particularly barley and wheat) and other crops, smelted copper, developed a simple writing system built irrigation channels and invented the wheel (only used for pottery, though, at this time).

10,000 B.C.: Caucasians settled Europe.

5,000 B.C.: The Sumerians built a collection of individual city-states in Mesopotamia on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, creating the world’s first true civilization. It had ziggurats (pyramid-like centers of worship), scribes and accountants.

3200–2600 B.C.: Writing was developed in Sumer (cuneiform) and Egypt (hieroglyphs), triggering the beginning of recorded history.

Classic Literature: Older Kids and Adults (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

Did you ever wonder what the best thing in the world is? Well, pay attention, because I know the answer: it’s reading.

Reading is the best thing.

Here is my list of the best books in the world that aren’t true, besides the ones in my classic children’s literature list.

Note that when it comes to literature, reading great books is only the first step. Literary analysis comes later, and is also vital, so be sure to read that School in a Book section, too.

Works I particularly recommend reading in their entirety have an asterisk after them.

Introductory Classic Fiction

The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan (1628-1688)*
Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)*
The Swiss Family Robinson, Johann David Wyss (1743–1818)*
Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving (1783-1859)*
Rip van Winkle, Washington Irving (1783-1859)*
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (1797–1851)*
The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas (1802–1870)
The Three Musketeers, Alexander Dumas (1802–1870)
The complete poetry of Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)*
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens (1812–1870)*
Around the World in Eighty Days, Jules Verne (1828–1905)*
A Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne (1828–1905)*
From the Earth to the Moon, Jules Verne (1828–1905)*
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne (1828–1905)*
Other novels by Jules Verne (1828–1905)
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)*
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll (1832–1898)*
Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll (1832–1898)*
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain (1835–1910)*
Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain (1835-1910)*
The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Dracula, Bram Stoker (1847–1912)*
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)*
A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)
Little Lord Fauntleroy, Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894)*
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894)*
Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894)
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, Howard Pyle (1853–1911)*
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932)
Peter Pan, James Barrie (1860-1937)
The Gift of the Magi, O. Henry (1862–1910)
Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery (1865-1947)
Chronicles of Avonlea, Lucy Maud Montgomery (1865-1947)
Captains Courageous, Rudyard Kipling (1865- 1936)
The Scarlet Pimpernell, Emma Orczy (1865–1947)
The Time Machine, H.G. Wells (1866–1946)*
The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells (1866–1946)*
The Little House on the Prairie series, Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957)
Selected poems by Robert Frost (1874-1963)*
You Know Me Al, Ring Lardner (1885–1933)
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)
The Yearling, Marjorie Rawlings (1896–1953)*
The Chronicles of Narnia series, C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)*
Out of the Silent Planet and the rest of the Space Trilogy, C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)*
The Once and Future King, T. H. White (1899-1985)*
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900–1944)
Summer of the Monkeys, Wilson Rawls (1913–1984)*
Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls (1913–1984)*
You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You, John Ciardi (1916-1986)
Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Beverly Cleary (1916–)
Other books by Beverly Cleary (1916–)*
A Wrinkle In Time, Madeleine L’Engle (1918–2007)*
Other books by Madeleine L’Engle (1918–2007)
The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger (1919–2010)*
Franny and Zooey, J. D. Salinger (1919–2010)
Nine Stories, J. D. Salinger (1919–2010)
Books by Isaac Asimov (1920–1992)
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell (1920–2002)*
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1920–2012)*
To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee (1926–)*
Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes (1927–2014)*
The Princess Bride, William Goldman (1931–)*
Rabbit, Run, John Updike (1932–2009)*
Rabbit Revisited, John Updike (1932–2009)*
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath (1932–1963)*
I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, Hannah Green (1932–)*
Jacob Have I Loved, Katherine Patterson (1932–)
Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Patterson (1932–)*
A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest J. Gaines (1933–)*
Summer of My German Soldier, Bette Greene (1934–)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey (1935–2001)*
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume (1938–)
Other books by Judy Blume
The Color Purple, Alice Walker (1944–)*
Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller (1944–)*
The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton (1948–)*
Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card (1951–)*
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (1952–2001)*
The White Stallion, Elizabeth Shub*
The Way of a Pilgrim, Anonymous
The Pilgrim Continues His Way, Anonymous
Stuart Little, E.B. White
The Trumpet of the Swans, E.B. White
The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, Hugh Lofting
The Walking Drum, Louis L’Amour
The Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh
The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum
Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
Peter and Wendy, James Barrie
Pollyanna, Elanor Hodgman
Ben Hur, Lew Wallace
The Song of Hiawatha, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi
Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie
Heidi, Johanna Spyri
Lassie, Eric Knight
Paul Revere’s Ride, Henry Longfellow
The Man in the Iron Mask
The A Wrinkle in Time series, Madeline L’Engle

Classic Fiction for Readers of High School Age and Beyond

The Illiad, Homer
The Odyssey, Homer
Greek mythology
Roman mythology
The Orestia Trilogy, Aeschylus (c. 525/524–c. 456/455 BC)
The Oedipus Plays, Sophocles (c. 497–405 BC)
Medea, Euripedes (c. 480–406 BC)
The Bacchae, Euripedes (c. 480–406 BC)
The Trojan Women, Euripedes (c. 480–406 BC)
Hippolytus, Euripedes (c. 480–406 BC)
Selected works of Thucydides (c. 460–400 BC)
Lysistrata, Aristophanes (c. 446–386 BC)
The Frogs, Aristophanes (c. 446–386 BC)
The Clouds, Aristophanes (c. 446–386 BC)
Odes, Horace (65–8 BC)
The Aeneid, Virgil (70–19 BC)
The Metamorphosis, Ovid (43 BC–AD 17/18)
The Golden Sayings of Epictetus, Epictetus (c. 55–135)
Prometheus Bound and selected works of Aeschylus (c. 525/524– c. 456/455 BC)
Beowulf, Anonymous (c. 975-1025)
Cur Deus Homo, Anselm (c. 1033–1109)
The Letters of Abelard and Heloise (c. 1090–1164)*
The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri (c. 1265–1321)
The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375)*
The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer (c. 1343–1400)*
Mabinogion, Anonymous (c. 1350-1410)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Anonymous (c. 1300s)
La Morte Darthur, Sir Thomas Malory (c. 1415–1471)
The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527)*
Mandragola, Niccolo Macchiavelli (1469–1527)
Orlando Furioso, Ludovico Ariosto (1474–1533)
Utopia and other selected works by Sir Thomas More (1478–1535)*
Selected works by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503–1542)
Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616)*
The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser (c. 1552–1599)
Selected works by William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
Doctor Faustus, Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593)*
Faust, Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593)*
Poetry of John Donne (1572–1631)*
Volpone, Ben Jonson (1572–1637)*
The Alchemist, Ben Johnson (1572–1637)*
Paradise Lost, John Milton (1608–1674)*
Paradise Regained, John Milton (1608–1674)*
The Bourgeois Gentleman, Moliere (1622–1673)*
The Misanthrope, Moliere (1622–1673)*
Tartuffe, Moliere (1622–1673)*
Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe (c. 1660–1731)*
Gulliver’s Travels, Johnathan Swift (1667–1745)*
Selected poetry of John Hopkins (born 1675)*
Candide, Voltaire (1694–1778)*
The Vicar of Wakefield, Oliver Goldsmith (1728–1774)
The Sufferings of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)*
The poetry of William Blake (1757–1827)*
The poetry of William Wordsworth (1770–1850)*
The poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)*
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (1775–1817)*
Emma, Jane Austen (1775–1817)
Mansfield Park, Jane Austen (1775–1817)
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen (1775–1817)
Other works by Jane Austen (1775–1817)
Don Juan, Lord Byron (1788–1824)*
The Last of the Mohicans, James Fennimore Cooper (1789–1851)
The poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)*
Sartor Resarus, Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)
Pere Goriot, Honore de Balzac (1799–1850)
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo (1802–1885)*
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo (1802–1885)
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864)*
The House of Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864)*
The poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)*
The poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)*
Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol (1809–1852)
The Professor at the Breakfast Table, Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)*
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens (1812–1870)*
Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens (1812–1870)
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens (1812–1870)*
Other works by Charles Dickens (1812–1870)
The poetry of Robert Browning (1812–1889)*
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (1816–1855)*
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (1818–1848)*
Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman (1819–1892)*
Moby Dick, Herman Melville (1819–1891)*
The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot (1819–1880)
Adam Bede, George Eliot (1819–1880)
Middlemarch, George Eliot (1819–1880)
Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert (1821–1880)
Sentimental Education, Gustave Flaubert (1821–1880)
Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881)*
The Brothers Karamozov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881)*
Notes from the Underground, Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881)*
The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881)*
The Man Without a Country, Edward Everett Hale (1822–1909)
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)*
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)*
Modern Love, George Meredith (1828–1909)*
The complete works of Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906)*
The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler (1835–1902)
Far From the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)
The Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)
Green Mansions, William Henry Hudson (1841-1922)*
The complete works of Henry James (1843–1916)*
Miss Julie, August Strindberg (1849–1912)
The Country of the Pointed Firs, Sarah Orne Jewett (1849–1909)*
The Awakening, Kate Chopin (1850–1904)*
The complete works of Oscar Wilde (1854–1900)*
The complete works of George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)*
The Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad (1857–1924)
The complete works of Anton Chekhov (1860–1904)*
The complete works of Edith Wharton (1862–1937)*
The complete works of W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)*
The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux (1868–1927)*
Twelve Men, Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945)
The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane (1871–1900)*
The Good Soldier, Ford Maddox Ford (1873–1939)*
The Innocence of Father Brown, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)*
The Wisdom of Father Brown, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)*
The Man Who Was Thursday, G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936)
The Ball and the Cross, G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936)
Daylight and Nightmare, G.K. Chesterton (1874–1936)
Buddenbrooks, Thomas Mann (1875–1955)*
The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann (1875–1955)*
Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson (1876–1941)*
The Call of the Wild, Jack London (1876-1916)*
White Fang, Jack London (1876-1916)*
The Sea-Wolf, Jack London (1876-1916)
To Build a Fire (Part of the collection titled Lost Face), Jack London (1876-1916)*
Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse (1877–1962)*
Siddhartha, Herman Hesse (1877–1962)*
The complete works of E. M. Forster (1879–1970)*
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce (1882–1941)*
Ulysses, James Joyce (1882–1941)
A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf (1882–1941)*
Between the Acts, Virginia Woolf (1882–1941)*
Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf (1882–1941)*
Jacob’s Room, Virginia Woolf (1882–1941)*
To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf (1882–1941)*
The complete works of Franz Kafka (1883–1924)*
The poetry of Ezra Pound (1885–1972)*
Sons and Lovers, D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930)
Women In Love, D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930)*
Lady Chatterly’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence (1885–1930)*
Eight Sonnets, Edna St. Vincent Millay
The Waste Land, T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)
Other poems by T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)
And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie (1890–1976)*
Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie (1890–1976)*
The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie (1890–1976)
Other novels by Agatha Christie (1890–1976)*
The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973)*
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley (1894–1963)*
Brave New World Revisited, Aldous Huxley (1894–1963)*
The complete works of Eugene O’Neill (1888–1953)*
Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Eugene O’Neill (1888–1953)*
The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973)*
The Lord of the Rings series, J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973)*
The complete works of E. E. Cummings (1894–1962)*
The complete works of F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940)*
The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Thornton Wilder (1897–1975)
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner (1897–1962)
Our Town, Thornton Wilder (1897–1975)*
Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (1900–1949)*
Lost Horizon, James Hilton (1900–1954)*
The Lord of the Flies, William Golding (1911–1993)*
All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque (1898–1970)*
The complete works of Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961)*
The Pearl, John Steinbeck (1902–1968)*
The complete works of John Steinbeck (1902–1968)*
Animal Farm, George Orwell (1903–1950)*
1984, George Orwell (1903–1950)*
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand (1905–1982)*
Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand (1905–1982)*
The complete works of Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980)*
Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett (1906–1989)*
Endgame, Samuel Beckett (1906–1989)*
Waldo, Robert Heinlein (1907–1988)*
Magic, Inc., Robert Heinlein (1907–1988)*
Stranger In A Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein (1907–1988)*
Everyman, Anonymous (1909)
The Bald Soprano, Eugene Ionesco (1909–1994)*
The Lesson, Eugene Ionesco (1909–1994)
Jack, or the Submission, Eugene Ionesco (1909–1994)
The Chairs, Eugene Ionesco (1909–1994)
A Death in the Family, James Agee (1909–1955)*
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, James Agee (1909–1955)*
The complete works of Tennessee Williams (1911–1983)*
The complete works of Albert Camus (1913–1960)*
The complete works of Dylan Thomas (1914–1953)
On the Road, Jack Kerouac (1922–1969)*
Catch-22, Joseph Heller (1923–1999)*
Go Tell It on the Mountain, James Baldwin (1924–1987)*
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote (1924–1984)*
The complete works of John Knowles (1926–2001)*
The Tin Drum and other selected works by Gunter Grass (1927–2015)*
The American Dream, Edward Albee (1928–)*
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Edward Albee (1928–)*
Walden Two, B.F. Skinner*

Optional Advanced Classic Fiction

The Book of Margery Kempe, Margery Kempe (c. 1373–after 1438)
The Schoolmaster, Roger Ascham (1515–1568)
Tamburlaine the Great, Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593)
The Jew of Malta, Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593)
Every Man in His Humour, Ben Johnson (1572–1637)
The Duchess of Malfi, John Webster (c. 1580–c. 1634)
Life is a Dream, Calderon de la Barca (1600–1681)
Pensees, Blaise Pascal (1623–1662)
Absalom and Achitophel: A Poem, John Dryden (1631–1700)
Oroonoko: The Royal Slave, Aphra Behn (1640–1689)
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe (c. 1660–1731)
The Bassett Table, Susana Centlivre (c. 1667 to 1670–1723)
The Way of the World, William Congreve (1670–1729)*
The Beggar’s Opera, John Gay (1685–1732)
The Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope (1688–1744)
Satires and Epistles of Horace Imitated, Alexander Pope (1688–1744)
The Dunciad, Alexander Pope (1688–1744)
Pamela, Samuel Richardson (1689–1761)
Fantomina, Eliza Haywood (c. 1693–1756)
Tom Jones, Henry Fielding (1707–1754)
Joseph Andrews, Henry Fielding (1707–1754)

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Lawrence Stern (1713–1768)
Erotica Romana, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)
Hermann and Dorothea, Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749–1832)
Edmond, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)
A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797)
Charlotte: A Tale of Truth, Susana Rowson (1762–1824)
The Charterhouse of Parma, Stendhal (1783–1842)
The Red and the Black, Stendhal (1783–1842)
The Deerslayer, James Fennimore Cooper (1789–1851)
Mr. Midshipman Easy, Captain Frederick Marryat (1792–1848)
The Inspector-General, Nikolai Gogol (1809–1852)
Henry Esmond, William Thackeray (1811–1863)
Vanity Fair, William Thackeray (1811–1863)
Two Years Before the Mast, Richard Henry Dana (1815–1882)
The Small House at Allington, Anthony Trollope (1815–1882)
Barchester Towers, Anthony Trollope (1815–1882)
Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev (1818–1883)
The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins (1824–1889)*
The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins (1824–1889)*
The Egoist, George Meredith (1828–1909)
The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, George Meredith (1828–1909)
The Rise of Silas Lapham, W. D. Howells (1837–1920)
The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)
Tess of the D’ubervilles, Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)
The Devil’s Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce (1842–c. 1914)
Looking Backward, Edward Bellamy (1850–1898)
The Hound of Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930)*
In His Steps, Charles Sheldon (1857–1946)*
The Virginian, Owen Wister (1860–1938)
What Every Woman Knows, J.M. Barrie (1860–1937)
The Petty Demon, Fyodor Sologub (1863–1927)
The Three-Cornered World, Natsume Soseki (1867–1916)*
Kokoro, Natsume Soseki (1867–1916)*
I Am a Cat, Natsume Soseki (1867–1916)*
The Pastoral Symphony, Andre Gide (1869–1951)
The Pit, Frank Norris (1870–1902)
The Octopus, Frank Norris (1870–1902)
Sarra, Leonid Andreyev (1871–1919)
The Seven Who Were Hanged, Leonid Andreyev (1871–1919)
The Life of Man, Leonid Andreyev (1871–1919)
Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945)
An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945)
Swann’s Way, Marcel Proust (1871–1922)
My Antonia, Willa Cather (1873–1947)*
O Pioneers!, Willa Cather (1873–1947)*
Death Comes For the Archbishop, Willa Cather (1873–1947)
Of Human Bondage and other selected works by W. Somerset Maugham (1874–1965)*
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein (1874–1946)
Tender Buttons, Gertrude Stein (1874–1946)
The writings of Amy Lowell (1874–1925)
Giants in the Earth, O.E. Rolvaang (1876–1931)
Many Marriages, Sherwood Anderson (1876–1941)*
Demian, Hermann Hesse (1877–1962)*
Red Roses for Me, Sean O’Casey (1880–1964)*
Finnegans Wake, James Joyce (1882–1941)
Dubliners, James Joyce (1882–1941)
Arrowsmith, Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951)
Giant, Edna Ferber (1885–1968)
Main Street, Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951)
Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951)
The Key, Junichiro Tanizaki (1886–1965)
Mutiny on the Bounty, Charles Nordhoff (1887–1947) and James Norman Hall (1887–1951)
The Horse’s Mouth, Joyce Cary (1888–1957)
At the Bay, Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923)
In a German Pension, Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923)
Pale Horse, Pale Rider, Katherine Anne Porter (1890–1980)
The Sea of Grass, Conrad Richter (1890–1968)
Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak (1890–1960)
The Light in the Forest, Conrad Richter (1890–1968)
Black Spring, Henry Miller (1891–1980)
Johnny Tremain, Ester Forbes (1891–1967)
Anthem for Doomed Youth, Wilfred Owen (1893–1918)
The Maltese Falcon, Dashiel Hammett (1894–1961)*
The Citadel, A. J. Cronin (1896–1981)
The 42nd Parallel, John Dos Passos (1896–1970)
Nineteen, Nineteen, John Dos Passos (1896–1970)
Three Soldiers, John Dos Passos (1896–1970)
The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner (1897–1962)
Light in August, William Faulkner (1897–1962)
Absalom, Absalom!, William Faulkner (1897–1962)
Sanctuary, William Faulkner (1897–1962)
The Skin of Our Teeth, Thornton Wilder (1897–1975)
Snow Country, Yasunari Kawabata (1899–1972)
The Sound of the Mountain, Yasunari Kawabata (1899–1972)
You Can’t Go Home Again, Thomas Wolfe (1900–1938)
Death Be Not Proud, John Gunther (1901–1970)
Selected works of Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902–1991)
Too Late the Philanthrope, Alan Paton (1903–1988)
The Day of the Locust, Nathaniel West (1903–1940)
God’s Little Acre, Erskine Caldwell (1903–1987)
The Heart of the Matter, Graham Greene (1904–1991)
The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene (1904–1991)
Anthem, Ayn Rand (1905–1982)*
Night of January 16th, Ayn Rand (1905–1982)*
We The Living, Ayn Rand (1905–1982)*
All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren (1905–1989)
Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler (1905–1983)
Act Without Words, Samuel Beckett (1906–1989)
Across Five Aprils, Irene Hunt (1907–2001)
Alas, Babylon, Pat Frank (1908–1964)*
The Ox-Bow Incident, Walter van Tillburg Clark (1909–1971)
Free Fall, William Golding (1911–1993)
The Inheritors, William Golding (1911–1993)
The Assistant, Bernard Malamud (1914–1986)
The Fixer, Bernard Malamud (1914–1986)
Dangling Man, Saul Bellow (1915–2005)
Herzog, Saul Bellow (1915–2005)
All My Sons, Arthur Miller (1915–2005)*
The Caine Mutiny, Herman Wouk (1915–)
The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers (1917–1967)
Selected works of Robert Lowell (1917–1977)
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess (1917–1993)
The Ballad of Peckham Rye, Muriel Spark (1918–2006)
The Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008)
Twelve Angry Men, Reginald Rose (1920-2002)*
Dune, Frank Herbert (1920–1986)*
Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007)*
Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007)*
The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007)*
Other books by Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007)*
The Dharma Bums, Jack Kerouac (1922–1969)*
A Man for All Seasons, Robert Bolt (1924–1995)
Music for Chameleons, Truman Capote (1924–1984)*
Other Voices, Other Rooms, Truman Capote (1924–1984)*
A Separate Peace, John Knowles (1926–2001)*
A Day No Pigs Would Die, Robert Newton Peck (1928–)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera (1929–)*
My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potak (1929–2002)*
The Chosen, Chaim Potak (1929–2002)
The Promise, Chaim Potak (1929–2002)
No Longer At Ease, Chinua Achebe (1930–2013)*
Selected books by Toni Morrison (1931–)
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Ernest J. Gaines (1933–)
Bless Me, Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya (1937–)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard (1937–)
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Nora Hurston
Swiss Family Robinson, Johann David Wyss
Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad
Nana, Zola
Native Son, Richard Wright
The Seven Story Mountain, Thomas Merton
Kim, Rudyard Kipling

Other Literature I Recommend

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Barbara Robinson (1927–2013)*
The Bears’ House and other books by Marilyn Sachs (1927–)*
The Daring Book for Girls
The Dangerous Book for Boys
The Boys’ Book of Survival
The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers, Mary Norton
The complete Ramona series, Beverly Cleary
Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, Judy Blume
Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, Judy Blume
Along Came a Dog, X and Maurice Sendak
The Wheel on the School, X and Maurice Sendak
The Princess and the Goblin, George MacDonald
All the Back of the North Wind, George MacDonald
Happy Times in Noisy Village, Astrid Lindgren
The Children of Noisy Village, Astrid Lindgren
Emil and the Great Escape, Astrid Lindgren
McBroom’s Wonderful One-Acre Farm
Phoebe the Spy, Judith Griffin
The Cabin Faced West, Jean Fritz
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Paddle-to-the-Sea
The Door in the Wall, Marguerite de Angeli
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew

Self-Help Interview: “Do Not Make Happiness a Goal”

Contributor: Subhan Schenker, who runs the Osho World of Meditation in Seattle.

Mollie: When someone is fully enlightened, do they feel psychological pain?

Subhan: I have heard that enlightened people feel physical pain but not psychological pain. They may have some awareness that there is a mind that has pain, but it’s very far removed; the mind has dropped into the basement.

Mollie: What do you do when the mind makes a judgment and tries to nudge you—sometimes not so gently—to do something, change something, or at the very least, abhor something about yourself or your life, which then separates you from that feeling of connectedness?

In other words: How do we react to the monsters in our heads?

Subhan: You don’t. It’s not about getting rid of anything. It’s about watching, noticing what’s there. Becoming aware of how the mind functions is tremendously helpful. You’ll be able to experience how parts of the mind push and pull you; that there are so many judgments–about you, about everyone else, about everything! This watchfulness becomes more and more available. And the distance between “you” and the thoughts starts to grow.

Mollie: Where do the monsters go?

Subhan: Once this dis-identification starts happening, the thoughts aren’t perceived of as monsters. They are simply the way the mind functions, and they don’t have to be taken too seriously! They lose their power over you.

I can’t explain it. I can’t intellectualize it. You have to try it for yourself. When you have a thought you don’t like, notice it, remind yourself that it’s not you. I tell people to step back just one-twelfth of an inch from the mind. That doesn’t seem too hard, does it?

Mollie: I do that. It doesn’t always work.

Subhan: No, it doesn’t always work. The mind is tremendously powerful. It can process an unbelievable amount of data in a mere second. It is a miracle that we have the ability to step back from it at all. The only reason we are able to is that what is behind it is indestructible. And usually, we only obtain just a flash of true silence. Maybe for ten seconds you are in silence, and those ten seconds can be life-changing.

Mollie: Why is this the way it is? Why is it so hard to detach from mind, from pain? It doesn’t seem fair.

Subhan: Maybe awareness isn’t that cheap. Maybe awareness has to be earned.

The truth is, though, it’s hard because it’s hard. Because this is the nature of the mind. Asking “why?” is a game of the mind, the one it plays a million times a day. Why can’t I have this? Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I be there, feel that way?

D. H. Lawrence was a very intelligent man. One day he was walking with his nephew in the woods when his nephew asked: “Why are the leaves green?” Lawrence didn’t answer right away; instead, he thought about it for a time, wanting to give an answer that was the truth. Finally, he said, “I know the answer, but you are not going to like it. The leaves are green because they’re green.”

Your mind is not happy with this answer. But your inner being is.

The leaves are green because they’re green. Asking “why” leads to a never ending work game!

“They’re green because of chlorophyll.” But why does chlorophyll create GREEN? “Because of the chemical reaction in chlorophyll.” “But why does this chemical reaction create GREEN and not RED?”

(Once a children learn the “why” game, they can keep adults over a barrel forever!) Ultimately the only real answer we can give is that leaves are green…because they’re green…!

Mollie: So what about when you really do want to change something about yourself or your life? Maybe your life is going pretty well, and you already have a lot of what you want, but you would just like to tweak something just a bit. What next?

Subhan: Well, the first thing I’d say is to watch that desire. Notice your perceived need to change things. Ask yourself what this tweaking is all about. That desire is the mind, and by accepting its ideas, you’re identifying yourself with it. But the truth is, you are not your mind. You are much bigger, much grander than it, and within the real you there is no idea of “lacking.”

What is the point in identifying with a lacking? Don’t. Don’t allow there to be a split between the reality of the person you are and the ideal of the person you want to be. Because whenever you have something called the ideal, you will be in conflict with the real. And if you’re in conflict with the real, you will never arrive. There will never be a time when the mind doesn’t want something different, or something more. Never. So, it’s better to sacrifice the ideal for the real!

Mollie: Then how do we ever change anything, do anything, get anything done? If we’re all perfectly content with things just as they are, won’t we end up sitting around and meditating all day like you?

Subhan: I don’t meditate all day. I am in constant contact with people. I do counseling sessions. I write. I teach classes at the college. I lead four meditation sessions a week at our center. I do numerous weekend workshops.

You see, the mind tells us that if we stop listening to it, and stop being in conflict, we won’t get anything done. But all you have to do is look at the great spiritual masters to see that isn’t true. Buddha, Lao Tzu, Christ, Rumi … They all accomplished a lot and many things change around them.

Mollie: How?

Subhan: When I am in acceptance of who I am, Existence does the changing!

Mollie: How? Let me slow down and look at this process you’re talking about because there’s obviously something I’m not getting here. So, there you are in a state of meditation, disidentified with the mind, blissed out. Then the mind comes up with another judgment—say, “My child is misbehaving, and I want him to stop.” This is the moment we’re really talking about—the moment that repeats itself all throughout the day. This is when you decide to either reidentify with the mind and become the one who is judging, or to not accept the judgment, and just notice it instead. But when you decide to just notice the judgment, isn’t that also a decision the mind is making?

Subhan: No. I don’t decide. We are part of an Intelligence so vast our minds are useless compared to it. When we are in a state of meditation, it is not our minds that do the deciding, but this Intelligence within us.

Mollie: But if you don’t use your mind, how do you speak? How do you carry out the instruction of this Intelligence—say, to hug the child, or to correct them, or to comfort them?

Subhan: For verbal and physical responses like these, you do use the mind and body. They are tools that allow us to be part of the physical world—to speak, to move our bodies. The key is to respond rather than to react. When you react to your child rather than responding, you’re not using your mind; it’s using you.

Mollie: Ah, I see. So you can still speak, talk, respond to the situation without using your mind to do so? Maybe we are defining mind differently. So there is the mind that’s the ego, the monster, the monkey, the neuroses, and there is the mind that’s a simple, useful tool, a tool we use to translate what is going on in our larger Intelligence? And so is the body, when we hug the child rather than yelling at him?

Subhan: Yes, that’s right. The mind is a fabulous tool … but a crappy boss!

Mollie: So how does a spiritual seeker, someone who is committed to becoming disidentified with the mind, make this switch? In that moment when the child is so-called misbehaving, how does she learn how not to react as the mind would like and to instead suspend thinking, then receive and act upon Intelligence, all without using her mind? This sounds like quite the skill. How does she learn how to accept a situation she finds unpleasant, without “making it into a problem,” as Eckhart Tolle says?

Subhan: Meditation. Meditation that really works, really functions, allows you to, for a moment, to be completely separated from the mind. This doesn’t happen overnight! So it’s best to start with simpler things and situations. Practice watching the thoughts whenever you remember to do so, in simple settings that aren’t triggering emotions and control issues, etc. You slowly build up the knack of watching – in your meditation, in simple situations, and then, ultimately in more “difficult” situations.

Mollie: Then what?

Subhan: Then, acceptance comes. And wisdom comes, the wisdom that is right for that moment.

Mollie: Then what? I will ask it again: How do we end up getting what we want out of life, if we’re always just listening to Intelligence and doing whatever it tells us to do?

Subhan: We try to force Existence to give us what we want, but this is ridiculous, totally futile. It’s like we’re playing the greatest cosmic joke on ourselves: We are buddhas, capable of extraordinary things, even peace and enlightenment, and instead we’re acting unconsciously. We pretend to have all kinds of self-imposed limitations, including a mind that has no clue what to do most of the time, that’s creating many more problems than it’s solving.
It is our nature to be a buddha. Anything else is going against the flow. To paraphrase Osho: “The miracle is not when we obtain enlightenment. The miracle is when we conceal it.”

Mollie: So if we want to be truly happy and free of mind, we have to let Intelligence give us what it deems best for us, no matter what that may be?

Subhan: That sounds like the mind talking, not wanting to give up its control to a higher intelligence that resides within us. One we step back from the mind, it loses its control and the intelligence is THERE, waiting to be of immense service!

I tell people to ask for 100 percent of what they want, then let the Universe decide, because it will!

Mollie: So would you say that the main purpose of meditation is to teach us acceptance of whatever the Universe deems best for us?

Subhan: The purpose of meditation is to disidentify with the mind. Acceptance comes naturally after that.

Mollie: Then what? What happens after acceptance?

Subhan: Acceptance and gratitude, and peacefulness and fulfillment become real once there is the disidentification from the mind. I had an early experience of this before I became a meditator. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had dropped into meditation. When I was a young man I was driving my mother’s car when it slipped on some ice. In the ten seconds between starting to slide and hitting the car in front of me, I had my first experience of the meditative state. The mind understood that there was nothing it could do, no role for it to play in that moment, and it said, “I’m out of here. You’re on your own.” Those ten seconds felt like an hour. They were bliss. And the silence was so serene, so “palpable!”

Then I hit the car, and the mind said, “Oh, I can deal with this.” And it started in again: “What is your mother going to say, how much is this going to cost,” etc. It was much later that I realized that when the mind disappeared, something extraordinary emerged. And later still, it became clear that this space had something to do with an essential nature that is always there, although covered by the minds overthinking.

Mollie: I see. And yes, that bliss is what I want. But should I make it a life goal of mine to obtain it? Should happiness be something I strive for? Because it seems the more you try to get happy, the more neurotic you become.

Subhan: You’re right! Anything you desire is a product of the mind. And it will create misery around it. Do not make happiness a goal. In fact, do not make anything a goal. All goals keep you stuck in the mind. Life will give you what you truly need.

Mollie: So—and I realize that I’m really trying to pin you down here—would you say that if I practice meditation regularly, and practice living in a state of meditation and acceptance, I will certainly become happy?

Subhan: I will say that if you stay with it, there is every possibility that you will have more moments of feeling loving, feeling grateful, feeling at peace. And that’s assuming that you are doing a meditation that works for you. Because as I said, a lot of people are doing meditation techniques that don’t really work for them.

Also, be really careful because the mind that asks that question is more interested in the goal than the process. As long as you have a goal to your meditation it will keep you locked in your mind, evaluating whether or not your meditation session was “successful.” Every time the meditation happens the mind will judge it based on whether or not it has achieved that goal. The mind is very crafty. Instead, be there sincerely, without the notion of getting somewhere.

The mind doesn’t want you to be happy. How many times have you experienced a moment of joy and the mind has tried to throw you out of it, using every complaint, seeing every shortcoming, predicting every future bad result it could?

The mind doesn’t want you to be happy, because if you are it is no longer needed.

Mollie: And how long will it take for me to get there? How much meditation would you recommend that I do?

Subhan: There is no way for anyone to know that. There is no formula to it. It is a quantum leap. But after a while, you will notice that you don’t take life so seriously, that you have moments of greater clarity, and that you even feel more gratitude, just for being alive. These are clues that the meditation process is working.

Mollie: Is just meditating and noticing the workings of the mind enough? Is there anything else I need to do?

Subhan: Watching the mind is essential. But you can also find people on this path of discovery who can share their experiences and understandings with you. They offer workshops and sessions that can be of great assistance to you in coming back to your inner, essential nature!

Mollie: No mantras? I love my mantras.

Subhan: If you enjoy mantras, then use them! Some mantras can help you go deeper inside. Just remember, the point of meditation is to disassociate yourself from the mind.

Just watch the mind. A thought comes, and you watch it. Nothing more. This is the only real meditation. Saying mantras may be a good and helpful practice, but it may not lead you to the state of meditation, which is awareness, relaxation and no judgment.

Now, let me ask you a question. Have you had enough of what you don’t want yet?

Mollie: I would have to give that some thought.

Subhan: If you have to think about it, you haven’t. When someone is being physically tortured, and they’re asked if they’ve had enough yet, there is not a single instant of reflection. The answer is yes.

Mollie: That is true. I am getting there.

Subhan: I would hope you get there as fast as you can.

Self-Help Interview with Matt Kahn: “Everything Is Here to Help You”

Recently Matt Kahn agreed to an interview. I know: how lucky am I? I got to ask him anything I wanted–anything at all. So of course I thought of the hardest questions possible. Enjoy.

Mollie: What spiritual practices do you keep up with regularly? How strict are you?

Matt: I am not strict at all. I meditate, breathe, send blessings to humanity, and love my heart on a daily basis, but only when I get the intuitive nudge to do it. I maintain a daily practice not only to continue my life-long exploration, but to practice for those who need it most, but aren’t in a position to open their hearts just yet.

Mollie: Do you practice self-inquiry, such as Byron Katie’s The Work? If so, is this an important practice for you? Do you recommend it?

Matt: I ask very intriguing questions, but only because my exploration is how I download new teachings to offer. Self-inquiry can be very beneficial, but it has a short shelf-life. The best approach to any process, including self-inquiry is to prepare to be without it. If not, you are subconsciously asking life to continually give you things to work out through your inquiry. If you can engage inquiry from the stand point of always moving beyond it, it can offer benefit. Especially knowing, it is not the inquiry that heals you, but the amount of attention you are offering neglected and repressed parts of yourself that represent the true keys to inner freedom. Undivided attention is the grace of love in action. It is life’s eternal liberator. Self-inquiry merely gives you a framework to face yourself directly.

Mollie: I’ve heard you mention the law of attraction and note that at some point we focus less on “moving around the furniture of our lives”–improving our outward circumstances–and more on increasing our inner joy instead. Is this true for you? At some point did you stop striving to improve the outward circumstances of your life, and focus only on internals instead, or do you still do some of both?

Matt: In each and every moment, life shows us exactly what each moment asks of us. If spending too much time waiting for things to be different, we overlook the fact that anything attracted into reality could only be a catalyst of our highest evolution. This is why I wrote, “Everything is Here to Help You”. While we should always envision greater circumstances for ourselves and others, it is our willingness to ask, “how is this circumstance giving me the chance to face my most vulnerable parts and shine even brighter?” that determines the trajectory of our soul’s evolution. Simply put, life only appears to not give you what you want while preparing you to have things beyond your wildest imagination. With faith in life’s cosmic plan and a willingness to love ourselves throughout it all, experiences deeper than loss and gain are given permission to be.

Mollie: I’m a hard worker, a doer by nature. I love lists, plans and goals. You seem more laid-back. How do you feel about striving toward goals? Is this something you recommend we do, given that our goals are healthy and peace-promoting? Or would you rather we wing it and let the universe take us somewhere we might never have planned to go?

Matt: It’s a balance of both. I have goals but I go about them from a peaceful space of being. Out of the being, the doing can be done with gentleness, precision, and ease. When we are solely focused on the outcome, we are not fulfilling each task in alignment with our soul, but attempting to outrun the hands of time to capture what we fear we were never meant to have. If it’s meant to be, it will come, which requires destiny along with our participation in taking inspired deliberate action.

Mollie: Do you listen for divine guidance for your actions–say, when to go wash the car or feed the dog? What is the terminology you use for this?

Matt: My intuition is always active and flowing. For me, there is a perfect time for everything and when I get that message, I follow through without hesitation. Like stomach grumbles that remind you when to eat, my intuition guides my every move without me having to micromanage anything. It’s just the joy of following the flow of each instinct. It’s a visceral flow of inspiration, not a mental calculation of any kind.

Basic Mandarin Chinese Vocabulary (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

I have a basic working Mandarin vocabulary–what I call “traveler’s Chinese.” Though it’s one of my life goals to become fluent or close to it (mostly because it would be so much fun), I also feel that this basic level is extremely valuable in its own right. Once you get past the language basics and talk to some natives who–surprise!–actually understand you, the groundwork has been laid; you become confident. After that, you have fun with it: talk to people you meet, ask them to explain things, practice a bit here and a bit there. A decade or so later, you’re ready to visit the land of your chosen second language and make a lot of progress in a relatively short amount of time.

A note on the list: There are four tones in Mandarin Chinese. Fortunately, they’re not hard to master; just do an Internet search to hear them and practice. One more tip: At first, don’t worry about grammar too much. Get the main verbs, the main short words (“because,” “with,” “and,” “very,” and the time- and distance-related vocabulary) and the whole introductory conversation basics, then move on to your nouns–food, body parts, etc. When you practice, make as many mistakes as you can possibly make, grammar-wise; just get yourself understood. That’s the goal.

Basic Mandarin Vocabulary:

Conversational Basics and Common Phrases:

Hello: Ni3 hao3
How are you: Ni3 hao3 ma
What is your name: Ni3 de ming2 zi jiao4 shen2 me
My name is: Wo3 de ming2 zi jiao4
First name: Ming2 zi
Family name: Gui4 xing4
How old are you: Ni3 ji1 sui4 le
I am __ years old: Wo3 you3 __ nian2
Good morning: Zao3 an1
Good afternoon:
Good evening: Wan3 an1
Yes: Shi4
No: Bu4 shi4
Please: Qing2
May I: Ke3 yi3
Thank you: Xie4 xie4
Excuse me/I’m sorry: Dui4 bu4 qi2
You’re welcome/I don’t mind: Mei2 guan4 xi1
No problem/I don’t care: Bu4 yao4 jin3
Where are you from: Ni3 lai2 zai4 na3 li3
I am from: Wo3 lai2 zi4
I speak __: Wo3 shuo1 __
Do you speak __: Ni3 shuo1 __ ma?
U.S.A.: Mei3 guo2
American: Mei3 guo2 ren2
English: Ying1 wen2
China: Zhong1 guo2
Chinese (person): Zhong1 guo2 ren2
Chinese (Mandarin language): Pu2 tong2 hua4
Chinese (Cantonese language): Guang3 dong1 hua4
How do you say: Wo3 zem2 me shuo1
What does this mean: Shen2 me yi4 ci2
Say it again: Zai4 shuo1 yi1 ci4
May I ask: Qing2 wen3
Can you please: Ni3 ke3 yi3
Nice to meet you: Hen3 gao1 xin1 jian4 dao4 ni3
Be careful: Xiao4 xin1 (yi1 dian3)
Hurry up: Kuai4 yi1 dian3
Wait a moment: Deng3 yi2 xia4
I am ready: Wo3 zhu3 bei4 hao3 le
Both are fine: Shen2 me dou1 ke3 yi3

Verbs:

To be: Shi4
To go: Qu4
To want: Yao4
To use: Yong4
To need: Xu3 yao4
To know: Zhi1 dao4
To like: Xi3 huan1
To love: Ai4
To live: Zhu4
To be born: Chu1 sheng1
To die: Si2
To sleep/go to bed: Shui4 jiao4
To wake up: Xing3 lai2
To cook: Zuo2 (fan4)
To read: Kan4 (shu1)
To practice: Lian4 xi3
To make/do: Zuo3
To look at: Kan4
To see: Kan4 dao4
To look for: Zhao3
To walk: Zou3 (lu4)
To run: Pao3 (bu4)
To go to work: Shang4 ban4
To finish work: Xia4 ban4
To rest: Xiu2 xi3
To play: Wan2
To sing: Chang4 ge1
To smile: Wei1 xiao4
To laugh: Da4 xiao1
To hug: Bao4
To cry: Ai1 hao4; ku1; bei4 qi4
To dance: Tiao4 wu3
To swim: You2 yong3
To take pictures: Zhao4 xiang4
To go shopping: (Qu4) guang4 jie1; gou4 wu4; mai3 dong1 xi1
To go to the bathroom: Shang4 ce4 suo3
To take a shower: Xi3 zao3
To wash hands/face: Xi3 lian2/shou3
To ride (a bike, etc.): Qi2
To ride (a car–no movement): Zuo4
To visit (someone): Bai4 fang3
To visit (something): Can1 guan1
To leave: Zou3
To wait: Deng3 (dai4)
To stay (there): Liu2 zai4 (zhe1 li3)
To stay home: Dai4 zia4 jia1 li3
To stand up: Zhan4 qi3 lai2
To sit down: Zuo4 xia4
To find: Zhao3 dao4
To pay: Fu4 qian2
To break: Sui4; lan4
To fix: Xiu1
To take: Na2
To listen: Ting1 (shuo1)
To lay down (something): Fang4
To lay down (body): Tang3 xia4
To meet (regularly): Peng4 dao4; peng4 tou2
To meet (past or future): Kan4 jian4
To show/indicate: Zhan3 shi3
To mistakenly think: Yi3 wei2
To try: Shi4 yi1 shi4
To taste/experience: Chang2 hang2; chang2 yi1 chang2
To guess: Cai1 yi1 cai1
To translate: Fan1 yi4
To hate: Hen4
To put on/wear: Chuan1; dai4
To change clothes: Huan2 yi4 fu2

Time-related:

When: Shen2 me shi2 hou4
How long: Duo1 jiu2
Early: Zao4
Late: Wan2
Soon: Hen3 kuai4
Not soon: Hen3 man4
Always: Zong3 shi4
Never: Cong2 lai2 (mei2 you3)
Again: Zai4
Often/usually: Jing1 chang2
Sometimes: You3 shi2 hou4
Still more (time): Hai2 (you3)
Daytime: Wan3 shang4
Nighttime: Wan3 shang4
Day: Tian1
Morning: Zao3 shang4
Afternoon: Xia4 wu3
Time: Shi2 jian1
Hour: Xiao3 shi2; zhong1 tou2
Minute: Fen1 zhong1
Second: Miao3 zhong1
This week: Zhe4 zhou1
Next week: Xia4 zhou1
Last week: Shang4 zhou1
Before/earlier: Yi3 qian2; zai4 shi1 qian2
After/later: Yi3 hou4; hou4 lai2; dai1 hui3
At the same time: Tong2 shi2
First: Di1 yi1
Second: Di1 er4
One time: Yi1 ci4
The first time: Di1 yi1 ci4
Midnight: Ban4 ye4
Long (time): Jiu2; chang2 shi2 jian1
A while: Yi2 xia4
Future: Wei4 lai2
Past:
Ever: Guo1; ceng2 jing2

Size- and Amount-Related:

How much/how many: Duo1 shao1
More: Bi3 (jiao4) duo1 de;
Less: Bi3 (jiao4) shao3 de
A little: Yi1 dian3
A little more: Duo1 yi1 dian3
Most: Zui4
Some: Yi1 xie3 de
Only: Zhi2 you3
Still more (amount): Hai2 you3
Almost: Cha4 bu4 duo1
Not enough: Bu2 gou4
Not quite: Bu2 tai4
Too (much): Tai4
Size: Da4 xiao3
Short (people): Ai3
Short (stuff): Duan3
Tall (people): Gao1
Long (things): chang2
Wide: Kuan1 kuo4 de
Deep: Shen1 de
Empty: Kong1 dong4
Amount: Deng3 yu2
Enough: Gou3 le
None: Mei2 you3 yi1 ge
Both: Liang3
Both/all: Dou1; quan2 bu2 de
Another one: Zai4 yi1 ge
Equal: Deng3 (yu1)
How many?: Ji3 ge
Another: Bie2 de
One or two: Yi1 liang2 ge
Either one: Bu2 lun4 . . . dou1 (hao1)
Only: Jiu4
Pound: Bang4
Kilo: Gong1 jin1
1/2 kilo: Jin1
Still more: Hai2 you3
Others: Qi2 ta1 de
Every: Mei3 yi1; mei3 ge
Each: Mei3 yi1 ge
The whole (one): Zheng3 ge4
The whole (time): Suo3 you3 (shi2 jian1)
Everything: Yi1 qie4 dou1; shen2 me dou1; suo3 you3 shi4 wu4
Something: Xie1 shi4
Nothing: Mei2 you3 dong1 xi1; mei1 you3 shi4
Everybody: Mei2 ge ren2; ren2 ren2
Anything: Wu2 lun2 shen2 me
Somebody: Yi1 ge ren2
Nobody: Mei2 you3 ren2
Anybody: Ren4 he2 ren2; shen2 me ren2
Everywhere: Mei3 ge di4 fang1; dao4 qu4 dou1
Somewhere: Yi1 ge di4 fang1
Nowhere: Mei2 you3 di4 fang1
Anywhere: Ren4 he2 di4 fang1

Direction/Location-related:

A direction: Fang1 xiang4
A location: Fang1 wei4
Here: Zher4
There: Nar4
High: Gao1
Low: Di1
Beside: Zai . . . pang2 bian1/lin2 jin4
Between: Zai4 . . . zhi1 jian1/zhong1 jian1
Ahead: Zai . . . qian2 fang1/qian2 mian4
Over/above/on: Zai4 . . . shang4 mian4; gao1 yu2
In: Zai4 . . . li3 bian1
Under: Zai4 . . . xia4 mina4
The top: Zui4 shang4 mian4; zui4 shang4 bian4
The bottom: Di3 bu1; zui4 di3
Side/limit: Bian1
Behind: Zai . . . hou4 mian4
Both sides: Liang3 bian1
This side: Zhe4 bian1
That side: Na4 bian1
Central: Zhong1 yang1 de
Inner: Li3 bian1 de
Outer: Wai4 bian1 de
Right: You3
Left: Zuo3
Center: Zhong1 jian1
Close/near: Jin4
Far away: (Yao2) yuan2
To travel forwards: Ziang4 qian2 zou3
To travel backwards: Ziang4 hou4 zou3
On the corner: Zai4 jiao3 luo4
One block: Yi1 kuai4 zhuan1
To turn right: Xiang4 you4 zhuan3
To turn left: Xiang4 zuo3 zhuan3
To go straight: Zhi2 zou3
North: Bei1
South: Nan2
East: Dong1 fang1
West: Xi1 fang1
Easterner: Dong1 fang1 ren2
Westerner: Xi1 fang1 ren2

Other Small Words:

This: Zhe4 ge
That: Na4 ge
But/nevertheless: Ke3 shi4; dan4 shi4
If: Ru2 guo3; yao4 shi4
Which: Na3 yi1 ge
Although/even though: Sui1 ran2
Therefore: Suo3 yi3
Will: Hui4; jiang1 (yao4)
Should: Ying1 gai1
Because: Yin1 wei4
Anyway/regardless: Qi2 shi2; bu4 guan3
Also: Ye3; you4
Probably: Huo4 xu3; ke3 neng2
In addition: Ling4 wai4; hai2 you3; chu1 ci3 gi4 wai4
Instead of: Er4 bu2 shi2
Not so: Bu4 ran2
To: Qu4 (location); gei1; zi1 (time)
From: Cong2; lai2 zi
Of: Shu3 yu2
For: Wei4
(Word at end of a question): Ma
(Word at end of a completed statement): Le

Numbers and Money:

1-10: Yi1, er4, san1, si4, wu3, liu4, qi1, ba1 jiu3 shi2
11: Shi2yi1
20: Er4 shi4
Hundred: Bai3
Thousand: Qian1
Ten thousand: Wan4
Million: Bai3 wan4
Billion: Yi4
1/10th yuen2: Yi1 jiao3
1/100th yuen: Yi1 fen1
To barter/exchange: Huan4
Passcode: Mi4 ma3
Number one: Yi1 yao4
1.00: Yi1 dian4 ling2 ling2
Money: Qian2
The cost: Jia4 ge2
Debit card: Jie4 ji4 ka1
Credit card: Xin4 yong4 ka3
Receipt: Shou1 ju4

Family Members:

Husband: Zhang4 fu1; lao3 gong1
Wife: Qi1 zi; lao3 po2
Mother: Mu3 qian1; Ma1 ma
Father: Fu4 qian1; ba1 ba
Parents: Fu4 mu3 qian1
Son: Er2 zi
Daughter: Nu3 er2
Older brother: Ge4 ge
Younger brother: Di4 di
Older sister: Jie3 jie
Younger sister: Mei4 mei
Grandparents: Ye3 ye3 nai3 nai4
Grandmother (mom’s mom): Wai4 po2
Grandmother (dad’s mom):  Nai3 nai1
Grandfather (mom’s dad): Wai4 gong1
Grandfather (dad’s dad): Ye3 ye

Adjectives:

Best: Zui4 hao3 de
Better: Geng4 hao3 de; bi (jian4) hao3 de
Worse/worst: Geng4 huai4 de; bi3 (jiao4) huai4 de; bi3 (jiao4) cha4 de
The same: Yi2 yang4 de
Different: Bu4 tong2 de
Big: Da4
Small: Xiao3
Clamorous: Da4 shan1
Loud: Chao3 nao4
Quiet/peaceful: An1 jing4 de
Old (people): Lao3
Old (things) jiu4
Young: Nian2 qing1 de
Weak: Ruo4 de; shou4 ruo4
Strong: (Qiang2) zhuang4 de
Heavy: Zhong4 de
Light: Qing1 de
Light/bright: Deng1
Soft: Ruan3 de
Hard: Ying4 de
Wet: Chao2 shi2 de; shi2 de
Dry: Gan1 (zao4) de
Clean: Gan1 jing4 de
Dirty: Zang1 de
True: Zhen1 de
False: Bu4 zhen1 de
Cheap: Pian2 yi4 de
Used: Er4 shou3 de; yong4 guo4 de
New: Xin1 de
Stinky: Chou4
Handsome: Ying1 jun4
Pretty: Piao4 liang4
Beautiful: Mei3 liang3
Broken: Sui4 le; lan4 de; huai4 de
Bright: Ming2 liang2 de; xing3 mu4 de
Dim: Bu4 liang2
Well-organized: Zu3 zhi1 de; zheng3 li2 de
Works well: Zuo2 de hen3 hao3
Doesn’t work: Mei2 zuo4
Happy: Gao1 xin1; kai1 xin1
Sad: Bei1 shang1; shang1 xin1 de
Hopeful/to hope: Xi1 wang4 (de)
Surprised: Chi1 jing1 de
Angry: Sheng1 qi4 de
Jealous: Du4 ji4
Afraid: Hai4 pa4
Excited: Xing4 fen4
Nervous: Jin3 zhang1 (DE??)
Worried: Dan1 xin1; zhao1 ji2
Embarrassed: Diu1 ren2; gan1 ga4
Bored: Wu2 liao3
Famous: Zhu4 ming2; you3 ming2
Popular: Liu2 xing2
Unpopular: Bu4 de ren2 xin1; bu4 luo3 xing2
Shy: Hai4 xiu1
Outgoing: Kai1 fang4
Nice: Hao3 de
Mean: Huai4 de
Friendly: You3 hao3 de
Scholarly: Hao4 xue2 de
Smart: Cong2 ming2 de
Stupid: Ben4 de
Rich: You3 qian2 de
Poor: qiong2
Funny: You3 mo2 de; hua1 ji4 de
Interesting: You3 qu4
Unique: Tu4 bie2 de
Ordinary/common: Pu2 tong1 de; ping2 chang2 de
Rare: Xi1 you3 de
Important: Zhong4 yao4
Complicated: Fu4 za2

Food-related:

Food: Fan4; shi2 wu4
Fruit: Shui3 guo3
Vegetables: Shu1 cai4
Apple: Ping2 guo3
Banana: Xiang1 jiao1
Orange: Ju2 zi
Grape: Pu2 tao2
Carrot: Hu2 luo2 bo1
Peas: Wan1 dou4
Cucumber: Huang2 gua1
Spinach: Bo1 cai4
Broccoli: Ye1 cai4
Cabbage: Da4 bai2 cai4
Onion: Yang2 cong1
Corn: Bao1 gu3; yu2 mi3
Cauliflower: Hua1 cai4
Tomato: Xi1 hong2 shi4
Celery: Qin2 cai4
Green pepper: Qing1 jiao1
Red pepper: Tian2 jiao1 hong2 jiao1
Rice: Mi3 fan4; fan4
Noodles: Mian4 tiao2
Bread: Mian4 bao1
Chicken: Ji1 rou4; ji1
Fish: Yu2 rou4; yu2
Tofu: Dou4 fu1
Pork: Zhu1 rou4; zhu1
Egg(s): Ji1 dan4
Meat: Rou4
Beef: Niu3 rou4; niu3
Hamburger: Han4 bao3 bao1
Milk: Niu2 nai3
Alcohol: Jiu3
Beer: Pi2 jiu3
Wine: Jiu3
Potato: Tu3 dou4
Soy sauce: Jiang4 you3
Sauce: Jiang4
Oil: You2
Sugar: Tang3
Dessert: Tian2 shi2; tian2 dian3
Wheat: Mai4
Cookie: Bing3 gan1
Seafood: Hai3 xian1
Steak: Niu3 pai2
Beans: Dou4 li3; dou4
Shrimp: Xia1
Berry: Jiang1 guo3
Lettuce: Sheng1 cai4
Green vegetables: Qing1 cai4
Green beans: Ji1 dou4 ji1
Beverage: Yin3 liao4
Water: Shui3
Ice: Bing1
Sweet: Tian2 de
Salt: Yan2
Salty: Xian2 de
Spicy: La4 de
Sour: Suan1 de
Fresh: Xin1 xian4 de
Menu: Cai4 dan1
Fork: Cha1 zi
Knife: Dao1 zi
Spoon: Shao2 zi
Bowl: Wan3
Chopsticks: Kuai4 zi
Cup: Bei1 zi
Plate: Pan2 zi
Wok/pan: Ping2 guo1; guo1
Caffeine: Ka1 fei1 yin1
Coffee: Ka1 fei1
Decaf coffee: Two1 ka1 fei1 yin1 de ka1 fei1
Bottle: Yi4 ping2
Spices: Xiang1 liao4; tiao2 wei4 pin3
Cheese: Nai3 lao4
Pizza: Pi1 sa4
Snack: Dian3 xin1
Salad: Sha1 la1
Fast food: Kuai4 can1
Butter: Huang3 you2
A dish: Cai4
Soup: Tang2

Personal Effects:

Pencil: Qian1 bi3
Pen: Bi3
Paper: Zhi3
Scissors: Bi3 ji4 ben3; ben3 zi
Tape: Zhao1 dai4
Computer: Dian4 zi3 (ji1 suan4 ji1)
Glue: jiao1 shui3
Map: Di4 tu3
Cards: Ka1 pian4
Letter: Xing4
Calendar: Ri4 li4
Stamp: You2 pian4
Envelope: Xin4 feng1
Cell phone:
Sign: Biao1
Light/lamp: Deng1
Clothes: Y2 fu2
Shirt: Chen4 shan1
Pants: Ku4 zi
Sweater: Mao3 yi1
Shoes: Xie4 zi
Skirt: Duan3 qun2; qun2 zi
Hat: Mao4 zi
Coat: Wai4 tao4
Socks: Wa4 zi
Underwear: Nei4 yi1; nei4 ku4; duan3 ku4
Bra: Wen2 xiong1; xiong1 zao4
Pajamas: Shui4 yi1
Shorts: Duan3 ku4
Jeans: Niu3 chang2 ku4
Blanket: Bei1 zi
Hairbrush: Shu1 zi
Comb: Shu1 zi
Handbag: Shou3 ti2 bao1
Purse: Qian2 bao1
Towel: Mao2 jin1
Shampoo: Xi3 fa1 shui3
Conditioner: Zhe1 li3 shui3
Soap: Xiang1 zao4; fei2 zao4
Lotion: Ying1 yang3 shuang1
Toothpaste: Ya2 gao1
Toothbrush: Ya2 shua1
Backpack:
Suitcase: Xiang1 zi; lu3 xing2 xiang3
Toilet paper: Ce4 zhi3
Garbage: La1 ji1
Garbage can: La1 ji1 xiang1
Air conditioner: Kong1 tiao2
Heater: Dian4 nuan3 qi4
Keys: Yao4 shi2
Batteries: Dian4 chi2
Clock: Zhong1
Camera: Zhao4 xiang4 ji1
Wallet: Qian2 bao1
Glasses: Yan3

Colors:

Color: Yan2 se4
Red: Hong2 se4
Blue: Lan2 se4
Yellow: Huang2 se4
Green: Lu2 se4
Orange: Ju2 se4
Purple: Zi3 se4
Pink: Fen3 hong2 se4
Black: Hei1 se4
White: Bai2 se4
Gray: Hui1 se4
Brown: Zhong se4/ he1 se4
Silver: Yin2 se4
Gold: Jin1 se4

Body Parts:

Body: Shen1 ti3
Head: Tou3
Mind: Si1 xiang3
Face: Lian3
Eyes: Yan3 jing1
Ears: Er3 duo1
Mouth: Kou3
Lips: Zui3 ba1
Nose: Bi2 zi
Hands: Shou3
Feet: Jiao3
Fingers: Shou3 zhi3
Toes: Jiao3 zhi3
Legs: Tui3
Arms: Shou3 bi4
Hair: Tou2 fa1
Back: Bei4
Neck: Bo2 zi
Skin: Pi2 fu1
Stomach: Du4 zi
Butt: Pi4 gu3
Poop: Fen4 bian4
Pee: Niao4

Travel-related:

Car: Che1
Bus: Gong1 gong4 qi4 che1
Taxi: Chu1 zu1 che1
Motorcycle: Mo2 to2 che1
Plane: Fei1 ji1
Ship: Lun2 chuan2
Airport: Ji1 chang3
Bus station: Gong1 gong4 qui4 che1 zhan4
Train: Huo3 che1
Train station: Huo3 che1 zhan4
Bus stop: Gong1 gong4 qi4 che1 zhan4
Culture: Wen2 hua4
Foreign: Wai4 guo2
Foreigner: Wai4 guo2 ren2
To travel: Lu2 you2
Overseas/abroad: Hai3 wai4
Nation: Guo2 jia1; guo2 min2
Native language: Ben3 zu2 yu3
Trip/journey: Cheng2
Passenger: Cheng2 ke4
Hometown: Jia1 xiang1; ben3 guo2
Fare: Fei4 yong4
Hotel: Fan4 dian4; lu2 guan3

Places:

Where: Zai4 na3 li3; nai4 nar3
Place: Di4 fang1
Supermarket: Chao1 shi4
Small market: Cai4 shi4 chang3; shang4 dian4
Park: Gong1 yuan2
Library: Tu2 shu1 guan3
Street: Jie1 dao4
Bank: Yin2 hang2
Hospital: Yi1 yuan4
Building: Jian4 zhu4
Elementary school: Xia3 xue2
Middle school: Zhong1 xue2
High school: Gao1 zhong1
College: Da4 xue
Gym: Jian4 shen1 fang2
City: Cheng2 shi4
Church: Jian4 tang2
Temple: Miao4
Post office: You3 ju2
Bar/nightclub: Jiu3 ba1
Movie theater: Dian4 ying3 yuan4
Theater: Ju4 yuan4
Outdoors: Wai4 mian4
Indoors: Li3 mian4
The zoo: Dong4 wu4 yuan1
Great Wall: Chang2 cheng2
Art museum: Bo4 wu4 guan3
Apartment building: Gong1 yu4

Rooms & Furniture:

Room: Fang2 jian1
Bedroom: Fang2 jian1; wo4 shi4
Bathroom/toilet: Ce4 suo3
Kitchen: Chu1 fang2
Living room: Ke4 ting1
Dining room: Fan4 ting1
Bed: Chuang2
Window: Chuang1 (hu4)
Wall: Qiang2 bi4
Chair: Yi3 zi
Desk/table: Zhuo1 zi
Couch: Chang2 sha4 fa1
Pillow: Zhen3 tou2
Closet: Zha3 wu4 fang2
Door: Men2
Home/house: Jia1
Apartment: Fang2 zi

Nature-related:

Weather: Tian1 qi4
Hot: Re4
Cold: Leng2
Warm: Nuan3 he de
Cool: Liang2 kuai4
Spring: Chun1 tian1
Summer: Xia4 tian1
Fall: Qiu1 tian1
Winter: Dong1 tian1
Sun: Tai4 yang2
Moon: Yue4 liang4
Stars: Xing1 xing1
Land: Lu4 di4; tu3
Sea/ocean: Hai3 yang2
Wind: Feng1
Rain: Yu3
Snow: Xue3
Clouds: Yun2
Cloudy: Yin1 tian1 de
Storm: Feng1 bao4
Grass: Cao3
Flower: Hua1
Tree: Shu4
Bush: Guan4 mu4 cong2
Nature: Zi4 ran2
River: He2 liu2
Lake: Hu2
Beach: Sha1 tan1
Mountain: Shan1
Fire: Huo3
Sunny: Qing2 lang3
Rainy: Xia4 yu3 de
Temperature: Wen1 du4
Animal: Dong4 wu4

Professions:

Doctor: Yi1 sheng1
Nurse: Hu4 shi4
Waitress: Nu3 zhao1 dai4; fu2 wu4 guan2
Waiter: Nan2 zhao1 dai4
Salesperson/shopkeeper: Shou4 huo4 yuan2
Driver: Si1 ji1
Manager: Jin1 li3
Supervisor: Zhu2 guan3
School principal: Xiao4 zhang3
Cook: Chu2 shi1
Janitor: Men2 wei4
Writer: Zuo4 jia1
Secretary: Mi4 shu1
Librarian: Tu2 shu1 guan3 li3 yuan2
Scientist: Ke1 xue2 jia1
Soldier: Shi4 bing1
Journalist: Bao1 jie4
Minister: You2 di4 yuan2; mu4 shi1
Singer: Ge1 shou3
Artist: Yi4 shu4 jia1
Dancer: Wu2 dao3 jia1
President: Zong3 tong3
Government official: Gong1 wu4 yuan2
Tutor: Jiao1 jao4
Boss: Lao3 ban3
Interpreter: Fan1 yi4
Cashier: Shou1 ying2 yuan2
Garbage collector: qin1 jie3 gong1
Fireman:
Police officer:
Housekeeper/housewife: Bao3 mu2; (jia1 ting2) zhu2 fu4
Computer programmer:
Business owner:

Activities, Entertainment & Celebrations:

Game: You3 xi4
Sports/exercise: Yun4 dong4
Ball: Dan4; qui2
Basketball: Lan2 qui2
Football: Gan1 an1 qui2
Baseball: Lei qui2
Soccer: Zu2 qui2
Volleyball: Pai2 qui2
Ping-Pong: Ping1 pong1 qui2
Badminton: Yu3 mao1 qui2
Karate:
Competition: Bi4 sai4
Song: Ge1 qu3
Team: Huan2 dui4
To skate: Bing1 chang3
To see a movie: Kan4 dian4 ying3
Birthday: Sheng1 ri4
Christmas: Sheng4 dan4 jie2
New Year: Xin1 nian2
Spring Festival: Chun1 jie4
Happy birthday: Sheng1 ri4 kuai4 le
Merry Christmas:
Happy New Year: Xin1 nian1 kuai4 le
Congratulations: Zhu4 he4
Celebration: Qing4 zhu4
Holiday: Jia4 qi1
Vacation: Jia4 re4
Present/gift: Li3 wu4
Wedding: Hun1 li3
Funeral: Chu1 bin1

Sickness-Related:

Death: Si3
Life: Shen1 ming4
Sick: Bing4 le
Sickness: Ji2 bing4
Pills: Yao4 pian4
A cough: Ke2 sou4
A cold: Gan3 mao4
Fever: Fa1 shao1
Flu: Liu2 xing2 gan3 mao4
Stomachache: Du1 zi tong4
Headache: Tou2 tong4
?: Ban2
?: Shen1 bing4
To hurt/ache: Tong4
Allergy:
Tired: Lei4

Miscellaneous:

Word: Zi4
Character: Xie1 zi4
New word: Sheng1 zi4; dan1 zi4
Sentence: Ju1 zi
Phrase: Ci2 zu3
Pronunciation: Fa1 yin1
Grammar: Yu2 fa3
Language: Yu3 yan2
Story: Gu4 shi4
Number: Hao4 ma3; hao4
Vocabulary:
Phone number: Dian4 hua4 hao4 ma3
Address: Di4 zhi3
Driver’s license: Jia4 shi2 zi2 zao4
Passport: Hu4 zao4
Age: Nian2 ji4
Literature: Wen2 xue2
Math: Shu4 xue2
History: LI4 shi3
Science: Zi4 yan2; ke1 xue2
Art: Yi4 shu4; mei3 shu4
Music: Yin1 yue4
Politics: Zheng4 zhi4
Government: Zheng4 fu3
Physical education: Ti3 yu4
Sign: Biao1 zhi4
Wood: Mu4 tou2
Plastic: Su4 liao4
Electricity: Dian4
Electric: Dian4 de
Machine: Ji1 qi4
Action/movement: Xing2 dong4
Problem: Wen4 ti3
Plan: Ji4 hua4
Idea/concept: Zhu2 yi4
Level: Shui2 ping1
List: Dan4 zi
Stress: Ya1 li4
Feelings/emotion: Gan3 jue2
Attitude: Tai4 du4
Mood: Qing2 xu4
Personality: Ge4 xing4
God: Shang4 di4
Classmate: Ton2 xue2
Relationship: Guan1 xi4
Friendship: You3 qing3

Basic Chemistry (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

“So that’s what stuff is.” That’s an important thought to have cross your mind at least a few times throughout your life. Don’t underestimate young children’s ability to grasp many basic chemistry concepts, either; the earlier you start, the less intimidated they’ll be by one of the most straightforward school subjects there is: science.

Basic Chemistry Knowledge Checklist

Chemistry: The science of what stuff is made of

Chemical: Any kind of matter with constant properties that can’t be broken into its component elements without breaking its chemical bonds

Atom: Tiny part of matter. It has a nucleus with protons and neutrons inside it and electrons moving around it. These parts are held together by electrical charges. Positive parts (protons) attract negative parts (electrons) and neutrons have no charge. Most of each atom, though, is empty space. Quarks are what make up protons and neutrons. A sheet of paper is probably one million atoms thick.

Matter: All stuff, visible and invisible

Parts of an atom (subatomic particles): Protons, neutrons and electrons

Three states of matter: Solid, liquid and gas. You can’t compress liquids or solids, but you can compress a gas. (You can flatten a solid, but the mass remains the same). This is because there is space between the particles in gas, and because there’s no bonding/attraction between the particles in gases. Note, though, that there are limits as to how much you can compress a gas. Do it enough and you turn it into a liquid (like liquid nitrogen).

Solid: State of matter with definite shape and volume

Liquid: State of matter with definite volume, varying shape

Gas: State of matter with no definite shape or volume

Molecule: Group of atoms that stick (bond) together and aren’t easily broken (until there is a chemical change). Fundamental particles. When molecules are messed with, the matter they make up might change state.

Element: A substance that contains only one kind of atom. (If the atoms are bonded in a different way, though, the element is an isotope.)

Particle: A bit of something that is still the original thing and not something else

Compound: A material that contains two or more elements that are chemically bonded together. The atoms of the elements can’t be separated by physical means and the end product has different properties from the original elements. Example: Cake.

Periodic Table of the Elements: A visual arrangement of the elements organized by their atomic number.

Atomic number: The number of protons (and also the number of electrons) in the atom, which indicates its substance

Mass number: The total number of protons and neutrons

Mixture: Ingredients mixed together but not chemically bonded. Can be separated again. Example: Air. Another example: The ingredients in a cake that are mixed together before being heated and formed into a cake.

Chemical bonding: The joining of atoms to create molecules. Atoms share electrons to form molecules. They do this to fill their outer shell and thus become more stable.

Chemical reaction: When the atoms in substance(s) rearrange to form new substances. Example: Baking a cake. Heat and electricity are often used to break the bonds.

Isotope: A different form of the same atom, with different number of neutrons. It has different physical properties but chemically it is the same.

Chemical symbol: The letters that represent the atoms of a particular element

Chemical formula: CO2, H2O, etc.

Ion: An unstable atom or molecule whose net charge is either less than or greater than zero

Enzymes: Catalysts that speed up chemical reactions in living things

Covalent bond: A chemical bond formed when atoms share electrons. Each atom still has its proper total number, but some of its electrons are attracted to the other atoms and stick there. Most non-metal elements are formed with covalent bonds.

Double bond: A chemical bond formed when atoms share two electrons each with each other

Ionic bond: A chemical bond formed when an atom gains or loses electrons

Metallic bond: A chemical bond between metals where free electrons travel between them

Electrolysis: Separating individual elements in a compound by passing an electric current through it when it is molten or in a solution

Salt: Any metal and non-metal bonded together. Salts have a crystal structure. There are many different kinds, not just table salt.

Organic compounds: Compounds that include carbon. All living things contain organic compounds, and many can be made artificially. They are used to create fabrics, medicines, plastics, paints, cosmetics and more.

Alcohol: Organic compounds that contain carbon, oxygen and hydrogen

Fermentation: A chemical reaction that produces alcoholic drinks. It is caused by fungi, which produce enzymes.

Semiconductor: A semi-metal element

Main metals (all those used in manufacturing): aluminum, brass, bronze, calcium, chromium, copper, cupronickel, gold, iron, lead, magnesium, mercury, platinum, plutonium, potassium, silver, sodium

Main alloys: Solder, steel, tin, titanium, tungsten, uranium, vanadium, zinc

Crude oil: The raw material from which fuels like oil, fuel, gas are obtained. It is a fossil fuel that is often found in rock reservoirs under the seabed.

Plastic: An easily-molded synthetic polymers made from the organic compounds found in crude oil.

Polymer: A substance made of many small molecules joined together to make long chains. Some are synthetic (nylon), while others are natural (hair, rubber, wool, silk, etc.).

Carbon monoxide: A poisonous gas formed when fuels burn in a place with limited air (oxygen), such as an engine.

Oxygen: The element that helps plants and animals release energy from food. In the human body it is one of the most important things the blood sends the cell. As blood flows over body cells, oxygen and other nutrients are “let in” and waste products are deposited into the blood. It is the third most abundant element in the universe.

Hydrogen: An element that can form compounds with most other elements. Water is formed when hydrogen is burned in air. It is the most abundant element in the universe. (Helium is the second.)

Carbon: The element that occurs in all known organic life. It is the fourth most abundant element in the universe and is found in more compounds than any other element.

Basic Computer Science (The “School in a Book” Series)

Computer science just isn’t a specialty anymore. Most companies create and/or manage several websites and computer programs, meaning that if you want to be successful in business, it’s helpful to understand these common terms.

Basic Computer Science

Parts of a computer: A computer is made up of memory, including applications, an operating system (OS) and a kernel stored on microchips and/or the hard drive; a CPU; and an imput/output (I/O) unit connected to a power source.

How a computer works: When the computer is turned on, some of the microchips immediately reads some of their memory, which then attempt to make connections with other chips. Together they run the EFI (extensible firmware interface) which starts the computer, then passes the control over to the boot loader. The boot loader is a program that initializes the hardware, loading the first sector of the hard drive to the memory. After this, it loads the operating system (OS), the kernel, the computer settings and the shell. The shell presents the login screen to the user. After the user logs in, the OS tells the driver to start talking to the hardware. After the user opens a program, the driver detects the clicks and talks to the kernel. The kernel then passes the information to the shell. The shell interprets it, then communicates it to the program. Finally, the program interprets it and the program is launched.

The program loads the needed threads and processes into the RAM. Threads are run and interrupted on a regular basis according to how many time slices they’re allotted. (One time slice = 1/30th of a second.) The system clock tells the OS when to stop each process, which is done after each time slice, no matter what. Each time this happens the OS checks to see if the program’s time is up or if it has more. It adjusts priorities and may switch to a different process. This activity is done in kernel mode, a mode in which the program isn’t allowed to control anything. After this, the OS switches back to user mode and gives control back to the program. Computers running with multiple CPUs must share the kernel between them. Mistakes in this management can lead to crashes.

Software and hardware: Hardware are the physical components of the machine. Software, also called applications or programs, are computer-readable instructions and data that live in the computer’s memory. The core part is the executable file (.exe), which talks to the OS using calls. The program also contains lists of needed DLLs and other code for use by the application.

Hard drive: The physical place in the computer in which memory is located

Central processing unit (CPU): The place in the computer that loads instructions from memory, parses (interprets) them, then executes them. It performs all of the logic of the computer and is compared to the brain of a human.

Operating system (OS): The software that runs all the basic operations of the computer so every program doesn’t have to recreate the wheel. It provides a secure, reliable environment and grants applications access to inputs, outputs, memory, system software like drivers, and networking features. Importantly, it also schedules processes (start, interrupt and stop commands when more than one application competes for time on the CPU). The most common OSs are Microsoft’s Windows, Apple’s OSX (and the more popular IOS, which is used for mobile devices), and various OSs by Linux (an open-source software creator group), including Android.

Parts of the OS: System clock; a file system; a user interfaced called the API that includes a set of calls or methods app programmers use to interact with the OS; algorithms, stored process for services.

The shell: The OS’s user interface (the part of the OS that the user sees and interacts with)

Memory: Applications, programs and other data and instructions located on the hard drive disc and/or microchips. There are three types of memory: internal, external and virtual. Internal memory is ROM (long-term stored read-only memory, usually unalterable, containing system-level instructions), RAM (fast copied temporary memory located on the hard drive disc or in microchips which is lost when the computer is shut down), and cached (super-fast copied temporary memory located on the CPU, also lost when the computer is shut down). Virtual memory is also located in the internal memory but is made up of addresses that point elsewhere in the memory for the purposes of convenience and security. External memory is located on external hard drives, USB keys, etc. Memory is stored in strings. It can be written to (changed), or read (retrieved, fetched, loaded).

Pointer: An object that contains the address of each piece of memory

The leap section: The place in memory that stores dynamically allocated variables needed by a program

The stack section: The place in memory that store info in stacks, with the lowest addresses (oldest) on bottom, like cafeteria trays

Buffer: A place in memory that receives and holds data until it can be handled by requested processes. Each process can have its own set of buffers. Each buffer has a predetermined length and data type

The kernel: The part of a Windows computer that loads drivers, handles hardware, enforces security, enables network communication–anything the application needs permission to do, even just opening MS Office. (Accessing memory is not included in this.)

Service: A background process run by the OS. (Example: system clock, firewall, window update checks.)

Kernel mode: The mode an application goes into when it is accessing the computer’s kernel. A program can only go into kernel mode when allowed and only run the kernel code, not its own code at all.

User mode: App mode in which the OS can be accessed through an app can switch back and forth from kernel to user frequently.

Native system services/executive system services: OS services that are callable from user mode.

Kernel support functional routines: Subroutines inside the OS that are callable only from kernel mode.

Four events that transfer control from an application back to the OS: I/O interrupt, system clock interrupt, system call, process page faults, a deadlock

Computer architecture: The way the parts of a computer interact with each other, including which parts of the memory are able to communicate with which other parts and in which order. There are many different working computer architectures.

Virtualization: Hosting one or more remote OSs

Virtual machine: A remotely located package of software that presents itself to the local machine as a complete separate machine. Virtual machines are highly convenient for purposes of testing code, working on a networked machine with network privileges, and on other occasions when a second or different computer/operating system package is needed.

Database: An organized collection of data, usually stored electronically. If available on the Internet, it can be accessed through servers.

Windows API: Application Programming Interface. The set of functions (almost like a language) programmers use to talk to the OS. Thousands of callable functions exist relating to everything the OS is responsible for. (Examples: Create message, get message.)

DLL: Dynamic Link Library. A program’s library of functions that are callable by programs.

Programming:

Program/application: A set of instructions to be executed on a computer, usually with a particular use. To program software is to create the program’s source code using a programming language of choice.

Programming language: A set of standardized rules for coding that results in functional source code. There are many programming languages, including C# and C++. A script is a language that is Internet-appropriate, like JavaScript.

Binary code/machine language/machine code: A language made up entirely of 0s and 1s, which are the only units a computer can directly work with (execute on its CPU). These true/false or 1/0 binary choices are also called boolean expressions. All other programming languages are made into source code, then finally parsed (interpreted by the computer) as binary code by a compiler. (A decompiler turns machine readable code/binary back into source code.)

Data: Information, often represented by symbols and measured in bits (binary digits–0s and 1s) and bytes (units of bits–historically eight bits). A kilobyte (KB) is 1,024 bytes. A megabyte (MB) is 1,024 kilobytes. A gigabyte (GB) is 1,024 megabytes. A terabyte (TB) is 1,024 gigabytes. A kilobit (kb) is 1,024 bits. A megabit (Mb) is 1,024 kilobits. A gigabit (Gb) is 1,024 megabits. A terabit (Tb) is 1,024 gigabits.

Command: A computer instruction. Many commands put together make up an algorithm, a complex logic-based instruction set that play a specific role in the application. Commands and data together make up computer code, the set of instructions forming a computer program that is read and carried out by a computer, which is used in turn to make up computer programs.

Procedure/function/subroutine: An independent code module that fulfills some concrete task and can be reused by the program. Procedures perform operations without returning data and functions do return data. A procedure might be part of an object in object-oriented programming.

Process, thread, job and multi-processing/multi-threading: A single iteration of a procedure is a process. It contains everything needed for that instance. In turn, processes are made up of threads. A group of processes that are performed as a unit for a single goal is a job. Multi-processing/multi-threading is running more than one process simultaneously in the same program using a single CPU, which schedules these processes to occur successively but seamlessly.

Objects and object-oriented programming: Object-oriented programming is a popular way of designing software by making them out of objects (files, data units, independent procedures or a procedure/data object that perform a particular function) that interact with one another

Hacking: Sometimes, cleverly solving a programming problem and sometimes, using a computer to gain unauthorized access to data

Bug: Any kind of error in a software program. It may cause a program to unexpectedly quit, to be vulnerable to attack, or to work improperly. The process of removing bugs is called debugging. Reviewing programs to find bugs and other problems is called testing.

Crash dump: A record of a program’s slate system memory at the time of a crash. A crash dump can be analyzed to figure out why it occurred.

Deadlock: A conflict of needs and allocations that stops all computing

Networks and Networking:

Network: A group of computers that talk to each other and share resources through one or more shared computers called servers. A virtual private network (VPN) is network that allows users to connect to remotely.

Local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN): The two types of computer networks. LANs are smaller than WANs and include WiFi and ethernet. WANs are larger and include the Internet.

Server: A computer that provides information to other computers or allows other computers to connect to each other, usually remotely over the Internet or in a smaller computer network. The main server in a group is called the domain controller. The manager of a domain (or any group of users) is called an administrator. Servers talk to individual computers called clients. Some computers have both a server side and a client side. A network that is managed with administrators, passwords and the like is called a domain. A proxy server is a backup server used on corporate networks to protect against web attacks.

Internet: The global collection of computer networks and their connections, all using shared protocols to communicate

Internet 2: A second, higher-speed Internet that is used to send very large files, such as research data between universities

Protocol: Rules to standardize processes in networks. They are used on both the sending and the receiving ends of the communication.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): The set of rules for transferring files (text, graphic images, sound, video, and other multimedia files) on the Internet. HTTPS is HTTP, but with encryption.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL): An Internet address that is used by the browser to look up the IP address of the server and the server’s name so that it can talk to that server and retrieve the page’s HTML

Packet: Small chunk of information that has been carefully formed from larger chunks of information in order to more efficiently communicate over a network. If not encrypted, packets are vulnerable to capture. Packets might be distributed over multiple routers according to which is currently available.

Router: A machine that captures and sends on data packets. Many routers are involved in most Internet communications.

Switch: A smart hub/router that connects network segments, thereby routing packets more efficiently

Modem: A router used on a small scale, as between private homes or small networks

Session: All of the applications running on a single user ID between login and logout

Bandwidth: The maximum rate of data transfer across a given path

Cookie: A small text file with various fields that is stored in the web browser and/or on the client’s computers. Normally, it is used to manage a session (keeping a user logged in across multiple pages, etc.).

Cyber security: Practices, including web development and application development practices, that mitigate Internet exploits

Computer vulnerability: A mistake or oversight in computer code that exposes the program to attack. A client-side vulnerability exists in the client (end user) computer and a server-side vulnerability exists on the server.

Computer exploit: An attack on a local computer or many local computers that either damages it or allows the attacker to make use of it in any way without permission

Firewall: A network device used to filter traffic. Usually between a private network and a link to the internet. Prevents unauthorized incoming traffic, but ineffective when user initiates communication.

Three most common types of computer exploits: Exploitation of browser vulnerabilities, exploitation of email application vulnerabilities, and social engineering (gaining compromising information by exploiting human vulnerabilities)

Cryptography: The process of encrypting (scrambling) plain text messages, that are then sent and unencrypted/decrypted on the receiving end with the use of a text key.

Piracy: The illegal copying, distribution, or use of software

Direct memory access: Writing directly to RAM without going through the hard drive, as when a network file system is doing a transfer, over the internet.

Active directory: A directory service that contains a database that stores security info about objects in a domain, inc users, computers, security IDs, etc.

Basic Life Management Skills (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

Your high school student probably already has most of the skills on this list, at least to some degree. Treat this checklist, then, as a gentle reminder not to pass by the couple of things he hasn’t nailed yet.

Note that this list does not include skills mentioned in other sections of the School in a Book series, including sports skills, art skills, logic and much more, nor does it include skills generally possessed by people under the age of six, such as memorizing one’s phone number.

General Life Management Skills

Cooking (baking, stovetop cooking)
Household cleaning (laundry, dishes, bathroom cleaning, etc.)
Time management
Money management, including budgeting, calculating interest, avoidance of debt, calculating highest affordable mortgage payment, saving for retirement, investing in the stock market, risk management, filing taxes, organizing financial records and more
Simple household maintenance, including testing and changing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, using a fire extinguisher, cleaning the roof and gutters, fixing leaky faucets, unclogging the toilet and more
Home organization
Basic self-defense
Basic car maintenance, including changing the oil, checking tire pressure, checking fluid levels and more
Basic first aid
Child care
Public transportation use
Sewing
Writing formal letters and emails
Typing
Emergency procedure memorization
Good hygiene
Nutrition and exercise
Disease prevention, including STDs
Reproductive responsibility and health
Owning and operating a business, including basic accounting, creating a business plan, legal compliance, insurance and liability, marketing, project management and more
How to purchase a house
Online safety and security
How to choose and purchase home, health and car insurance
Basic wilderness survival
Map and compass use
Online source verification and vetting
Making change
Gardening
Recycling, reusing and environmental care
Creating a website
Designing flyers, brochures and more
Using the Microsoft Office suite and other important computer programs
Interviewing for jobs
Familiarity with important federal and local laws
Driving a car
Stress management
Addiction avoidance and effects of drugs
Keeping to-do lists and goal-setting lists, with steps to achieve those goals

Interpersonal Skills

Conflict resolution
Self-calming
Clear communication
Active listening without interrupting
Good eye contact
Good manners
Solid handshake
Voice projection
Saying “no”, “no, thanks,” and “really, no”
Asking questions
Talking to strangers
Relaxing without screens
Casual conversation/small talk
Crafting a convincing argument
Arguing interpersonally
Labeling and discussing emotions
Separating fact from emotion
Public speaking
Moral understanding
Shaking hands firmly
Good eye contact
Telling a joke (at least one good one)
Understanding other cultures, family types and gender identities
Understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships
Responding to anger or unkindness without anger or defensiveness, but instead with simple statements of fact (such as “I don’t agree” or “That’s interesting,) questions (such as “Why did you do that?”) or kindnesses (such as, “Are you okay?”)
Using simple consequences instead of physical force or emotional abuse to get what you want. (For example, “If you do that, I am not going to play with you,” or, “If you are rough with my toys, I will take them away.”)

Self-Care Skills

Spending time alone
Engaging in hobbies
Deep breathing
Cognitive therapy (noticing one’s automatic thoughts and beliefs and, if negative, intentionally disputing them)
Healthy exercise habits
Healthy eating habits
Friendship maintenance
Spiritual practice
Meditation
Observing the mind

Personal Qualities To Develop

Love
Generosity
Humility
Faith
Hope, optimism and positivity
Purposeful cultivation of joy
Personal responsibility
Confidence
Non-attachment to the opinions of others
Purposeful cultivation of one’s highest self
Dignity
Respect for differences

Learning Games and Other Essential Educational Activities (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

Ideas for enjoyable, educational activities for kids aren’t hard to find. The trick is to remember them when the time comes. Here, I share a checklist of activities I plan to encourage each of my children to try at least once during their elementary school years. (I’ve hung it on our wall for easy access.) My goal is to expose our kids to a wide variety of games and activities in the hopes that several will become lifelong hobbies.

Essential Board Games and Puzzles

Scrabble
Chess
Checkers
Maj jong
Monopoly
Trivial Pursuit
Complex strategy board games like Dungeons and Dragons, Magic or Settlers of Cattan
Other educational board games
Card games
Crosswords
Sudoku
Logic grid puzzles
Mazes
Map/geography puzzles

Essential Quiet Indoor Activities

Listening to educational podcasts
Listening to audiobooks of classic literature and interesting nonfiction
Setting reading goals with associated rewards
Writing stories and poems
Journaling
Writing and self-publishing a book
Writing a blog
Creating a website
Learning computer programming
Creating a newsletter, newspaper or magazine
Doing educational coloring sheets (such as diagrams of body organs and systems, parts of the cell, maps and much more)
Memorizing important poems and passages
Scrapbooking
Listing life goals, dreams, and future plans/activities
Learning educational songs (especially with fact lists like the presidents, the major elements, etc.)
Writing longhand letters to friends

Optional Whole-Family Activities

Holding a family book club
Reading aloud together
Doing home improvement projects
Holding family presentation nights during which siblings do show-and-tell, hold demonstrations and teach mini classes to the rest of the family
Gardening and landscaping
Doing service work in the community
Job shadowing (visiting workplaces of people we know and learning about their jobs)
Wood working
Planning and throwing parties
Planning a family trip on a budget
Starting a small business
Holding a garage sale
Putting on a talent show
Making a bat house
Making a birdhouse
Making a bee home for honeybees
Creating a store for selling candy and other small items to family members
Planning and leading scavenger hunts
Building a town or dirt racetracks in the backyard
Build a go-kart
Building playground structures like teepees, volleyball poles and more in the backyard
Learning how to shoot a gun

Optional Classes and Clubs

Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts or Eagle Scouts
Instrument lessons
Singing lessons with performance
Art lessons
Drama lessons with performance
Sports lessons

Optional Trips and Special Local Outings

Here, you can list the local attractions you’d like to visit and the longer trips you’d like to take.

Camping
Hikes
The aquarium
The zoo
The children’s science museum
Tide pool nature collecting
(More)

Simple Homemade Learning Games

The List Game

How to Play: Players choose a fact list and print out one copy per player. Players read over their fact lists. Then they compete to see who can list the most items on the list in an allotted time period. (Inspiration: Scattegories.)

Twenty Questions/Who Am I?

How to Play: Players choose a fact list and print out one copy per player. Players silently select a person, place or term from their fact list of choice. Then they take turns trying to guess the other person’s selection by asking simple yes or no questions. The winner guesses the term in the fewest questions, or guesses the most terms correctly in an allotted time period. This game works well with any checklist except foreign-language vocabulary lists, and is especially interesting with history timelines if you play the role of an event or person. (Inspiration: Twenty Questions.)

Do-It-Yourself Crossword Puzzles

Instructions: Print out grid paper with large boxes and create crossword puzzles using the terms you want to remember. The clues can be written on a separate sheet of paper. Crosswords using foreign-language vocabulary words can be easiest to create, since the native-language word can be used as the clue.

Do-It-Yourself Historical Timeline

Instructions: Using a simple template, create your own historical timeline with the key dates you want to remember. Hang it on a wall for easy reference.

The Math Puzzle

Instructions: Create a simple 13×13 grid. Number the vertical and horizontal rows from 1 to 12. Choose whether to multiply, divide, add or subtract the numbers, then in each box, write the value of the two numbers whose lines intersect at that point. Notice the number patterns that form. This game is especially useful for memorizing multiplication tables.

The Money Game

Practice addition and subtraction by creating your own fake money and playing “store” with a friend.

Do-It-Yourself Map Puzzles

Color a map of the world (or of a country or a continent). Cut it into puzzle-like pieces, then reinforce the back of each piece with cardboard.

Do-It-Yourself Dot-to-Dot Drawings

Print out simple photos of important world landmarks or works of art. Place a piece of paper over each, and trace them with dots. Number the dots as you go. Then try to redraw the picture by connecting them.

Educational Coloring Sheets

Challenge yourself to color and label the parts of a plant, the human body and much more. The possibilities are nearly endless for people who like to color.

Optional Pretend Play Scenarios

Camping; Store; Restaurant; Post Office; Theater/Play/Music Play; Art Gallery; Grocery Store; Zoo; Toy Store; Gardening; Making Pizza or Muffins; Teddy bear/animal hunt; Car wash; Forts; Pet Hotel; Tea Party; Hospital; Cops and robbers; Superheroes; Star Wars; Vet Clinic; Lions and deer; Monster and townspeople; Alligators and swimmers; Fireman; Motorcycle, race car, truck drivers; Airplane Voyage; Submarine; Astronauts; Queen, king, servants, hosts and guests; Tea party host and guests; Library; Aliens; movie and TV show scenarios (like Star Wars), and much more.

Basic Geography (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

Basic Geography

The seven continents (in order of size): Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australasia/Oceania. 

The seven oceans: North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Southern Sea, Arctic Ocean

The four U.S. time zones: PST (Pacific Standard Time); MT (Mountain Time: PST plus one hour); CST (Central Standard Time: PST plus two hours); EST (Eastern Standard Time: PST plus three hours)

The five geographical zones of Earth: Arctic and antarctic (in the far north and south); north temperate and south temperate; and tropical (the middle of Earth on both sides of the equator)

Latitude lines/parallels: Imaginary lines running horizontally around the globe. They are measured in degrees, with the equator at 0° latitude, the north pole at 90° north and the south pole at 90° south.

Longitude lines/meridians: Imaginary lines running vertically around the globe. These meet at both poles. They are measured in degrees, with the prime meridian at 0° longitude (at Earth’s axis), and the farthest extensions at 180° east and 180° west.

Geographic coordinates: The two-number combination that gives a location’s latitude and longitude

Hemisphere: A hemisphere is half the Earth’s surface. The four hemispheres are the Northern and Southern hemispheres, divided by the equator (0° latitude), and the Eastern and Western hemispheres, divided by the prime meridian (0° longitude) and the International Date Line (180°).

Equator: The imaginary line around the center of the earth that we measure as zero degrees latitude. The Sun is directly overhead the equator at noon on the two equinoxes (March and Sept. 20 or 21). The equator divides the globe into the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The equator appears halfway between the North and South poles, at the widest circumference of the globe. It is 24,901.55 miles (40,075.16 km) long.

Prime Meridian: The imaginary line down the center of the earth that we measure as zero degrees longitude (0°). It runs through the Royal Greenwich Observatory in Greenwich, England and divides the globe into the Western and Eastern hemispheres. The Earth’s time zones are measured from it.

International Date Line: The imaginary line located at approximately 180° longitude that, by convention, marks the end of one calendar day and the beginning of the next. It bends around countries to avoid date- and time-related confusion.

Tropic of Cancer: The imaginary line located at 23°30′ north of the equator. The Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer on the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere (June 20 or 21). It marks the northernmost point of the tropics, which falls between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

Tropic of Capricorn: The imaginary line located at 23°30′ south. The Sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn on the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere (Dec. 20 or 21). It marks the southernmost point of the tropics.

Arctic Circle: A line of latitude located at 66°30′ north, delineating the Northern Frigid Zone of the Earth.

Antarctic Circle: A line of latitude located at 66°30′ south, delineating the Southern Frigid Zone of the Earth.

Longest river on Earth: Nile 4,160 miles (6,695 km)

Largest lake on Earth: Caspian Sea 143,243 sq miles (371,000 sq km)

Highest point on Earth: Mt. Everest 29,035 ft (8,850 m)

Lowest point on Earth: Dead Sea –1,312 ft (–400 m)

Largest ocean on Earth: Pacific Ocean

Largest desert on Earth: Sahara 3,263,400 sq miles (9,065,000 sq km)

Largest island on Earth: Greenland 836,327 sq miles (2,166,086 sq km)

Coldest place on Earth: Ulan Bator, Mongolia –26°F (–32°C)

Hottest place on Earth: Baghdad, Iraq 110°F (43°C), July/August

Wettest place on Earth (by annual rainfall): Liberia, 202 in (514 cm) of rain per year

Driest place on Earth (by annual rainfall): Egypt, 11°8 in (2.9 cm) of rain per year

Number of nations on Earth: 193

Largest country on Earth: Russian Federation 6,592,800 sq miles (17,075,400 sq km)

Smallest country on Earth: Vatican City 0.17 sq miles (0.44 sq km)

Longest border on Earth: US–Canada 5,526 miles (8,893 km)

Country with most neighbors on Earth: China (14), Russia (14)

Oldest country on Earth: Denmark, AD 950

Youngest country on Earth: East Timor, 2002

Number of people on Earth: Six billion

Top five biggest cities and populations: Tokyo, Japan; New York, NY; Seoul, South Korea; Mexico City, Mexico; and São Paulo, Brazil. (All have over 20 million people.)

Country with smallest population: Vatican City, 900

Most densely populated country: Monaco 42,649 people per sq mile (16,404 people per sq km)

Least densely populated country: Mongolia 4 people per sq mile (2 people per sq km)

Country with highest birth rate: Niger 55 per 1,000 population

Country with lowest birth rate: Hong Kong/Macao (China) 7 per 1,000 population

Country with highest death rate: Sierra Leone 25 per 1,000 population

Country with lowest death rate: United Arab Emirates 2 per 1,000 population

Country with the highest life expectancy: Japan (81)

Country with the lowest life expectancy: Sierra Leone (39)

Richest country (highest GNP*): United States $9,602 billion

Poorest country (lowest GNP*): Tuvalu US$3 million

Map projections: Distorted representations of the relative locations on Earth that allow for two-dimensional map making. There are many types of projections, the most famous being the Mercator projection, which shows the far northern and southern areas as much larger than they are.

Pangea: The most recent single, unified “supercontinent” to have preceded the current continental forms on Earth

Basic Arts and Crafts (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

Like freedom and fun, creativity is an inborn need. I mean, lots of people think they don’t need it. But maybe they just haven’t yet found their medium. Here, a checklist to pique their interest. As a homeschooling mom I hope to expose my kids to most of these at some point during their childhood.

Fine Art Skills Checklist

Drawing (with chalk, charcoal, crayon, marker, oil pastels, pen, pencil)
Painting (with acrylic paint, oil paint, watercolor on canvas, glass, fabric, human body, plaster, wood, walls with brushes, sponges, hands, stencils and more; this includes murals)
Sculpture (with wood, wax, stone, metal, clay and mixed media)
Performance Art: Dance, Theater, Music
Conceptual Art/ Installation Art
Collage
Fresco
Mosaic
Recycled Material Art

Applied Art Skills Checklist

Architecture
Carpentry
Ceramics/ Pottery
Film Making
Culinary Art
Glass Blowing
Light Art/ Lighting Design
Gardening/ Landscape Architecture
Graphic Narratives/ Comics
Photography
Printmaking
Fashion Design
Textile Arts: Crocheting, Knitting, Macrame, Weaving and More
Graphic Design/ Electronic Art (video games, digital printing, etc.)

Crafts Checklist

Clay models
Model sets
Jewelry (with beads, other materials)
Bean-filled heat packs (heat in microwave)
Clothes
Dolls (sewn)
Miniature dolls and animals
Doll house with furniture
Stuffed animals (sewn, with button eyes)
Greeting cards
Bound books
Christmas decorations (ornaments, bead chains, other chains)
Birdbaths
Masks using paper plates and popsicle sticks
Foam-and-cardboard planetarium
Baskets (woven)
Nature-inspired art (including nature collecting)
Beard and glasses (wearable)
Edible necklaces with apples or other food
Word collages concerning that day’s lesson
Collages using drawings, paintings, other art we’ve done in the past
Mobiles
Hand puppets
Finger puppets
Mixed media/recycled materials collages on cardboard
Mixed media/recycled materials play city
Reduced-mess painting: put paint and small objects in a plastic baggie and mix
Coloring
Stamping
Makng leaf and hand prints or rubbings
Playing with playdough
Gluing and taping with recycled materials
Hole punch and tie string
Egg carton treasure box
Flower pots made from sticks

Important Musical Artists and Songs (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

You know how out of the blue one day you hear a song you used to love and you think, I can’t forget this again. I have to write it down. You start to wonder how many other great songs you’ve let slip from memory. Then you have kids, and you start actively seeking them out so you can pass them on. This list is a good jumping-off point for that process.

It’s highly unlikely that all your favorite songs are listed here. But there are a lot of great ones, and many that you’ll hear here and there throughout your life. Listen to them at the YouTube links provided, absorbing the style of each artist and thinking critically about what you like, what you don’t like, and why. No need to memorize song titles, but a working recall of most of these artists will help you immensely in your many enjoyable music-related conversations to come.

This list is a work in progress; check back for updates.

Important Classical Composers

Johann Sebastian Bach (Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: Air; Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048: Allegro; Double Concerto In D Minor for Two Violins, BWV 1043: Vivace)
Ludwig van Beethoven (Symphony No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 67, “Fate”: I.; Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125, “Choral”: Ode an Die Freude; Bagatelle In A Minor, Wo Op. 59, “Für Elise”Allegro Con Briol; Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27:2, “Moonlight Sonata”: Adagio Sostenuto; Egmont, Op. 84: Overture)
Johannes Brahms (Hungarian Dance No. 5 In G Minor)
Frederic Chopin (Nocturne No. 2)
Antonin Dvorak (Symphony No. 9 In E Minor, Op. 95, “From the New World”: II. Largo; Slavonic Dance No. 2, Op. 72)
Edvard Grieg (Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 Op. 46: Morning Mood; Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46: In the Hall of the Mountain King)
George Frideric Handel (The Messiah, HWV 56: Hallelujah Chorus)
Mendelssohn
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467: II. Andante; Requiem, K. 626: Lacrimosa Dies Illa; Serenade No. 13 In G Major, K. 525, “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”: I. Allegro; Symphony No. 40 In G Minor, K. 550: I. Allegro Molto; Piano Sonata No. 11 In A Major, K. 331: Rondo: Alla Turca; The Magic Flute, K. 620: Overture)
Schumann
Shubert
Johann Strauss (On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op. 314; Radetzky March, Op. 228)
Stravinsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20: Scene)
Giuseppe Verdi (Nabucco: Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves (Va’, Pensiero, Sull’ali Dorate); Messa Da Requiem: Dies Irae – Tuba Mirum)
Vivaldi
Richard Wagner (The Valkyrie: Ride of the Valkyries)
50 Most Famous Pieces of Classical Music

Important Modern Composers

Philip Glass (Glassworks, more)
Hans Zimmer (Interstellar, Time, more)
John Williams (Star Wars main theme, more)
Thomas Newman (American Beauty soundtrack, Scent of a Woman main theme, more)
Sergei Prokofiev (Peter and the Wolf)

Important Musicals

Annie (esp. Tomorrow, Maybe)
The Wizard of Oz (esp. Somewhere Over the Rainbow)
Pinocchio (When You Wish Upon a Star)
Footloose (Footloose)
Grease (You’re the One That I Want, Summer Days)
My Fair Lady
(I Could Have Danced All Night)
Fiddler on the Roof (Sunrise, Sunset; Tradition)
Singin’ in the Rain (Make ‘Em Laugh)
Oklahoma! (Oklahoma!, Oh What a Beautiful Morning)
West Side Story (I Feel Pretty)
Little Shop of Horrors (Da-Doo, Skid Row)
Beauty and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast, This Provincial Life, Be My Guest)
The Sound of Music (Spoonful of Sugar, Edelweiss, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, My Favorite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious)
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Moon River)
The Little Mermaid (Kiss the Girl)
South Pacific (I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair, Bali Ha’i)
White Christmas (White Christmas, Sisters)
Annie Get Your Gun (Anything You Can Do)
Guys and Dolls (Sit Down, You’re Rocking’ the Boat)

Important Folk Songs, Spirituals and Singalong Songs

The Star-Spangled Banner
America, the Beautiful
God Bless America
When the Saints Go Marching In
Amazing Grace
How Great Thou Art
I’ll Fly Away
Kumbaya
He’s Got the Whole World
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
This Little Light of Mine
Oh, Susanna
Coconut
Banana Boat Song (Day-O)
Home on the Range
You Are My Sunshine
My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
Ain’t We Got Fun?
Down By the Old Mill Stream
Someone’s In the Kitchen With Dinah
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad
You’ll Sing a Song
Down By the Riverside
Lavender’s Blue
Where, Oh, Where Has My Little Dog Gone?
How Much Is That Doggy In the Window
Alouette
There’s a Hole in the Bucket
O Holy Night
Jingle Bells
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
The First Noel
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Oh Come All Ye Faithful
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
We Three Kings
Away in a Manger
Silent Night
What Child Is This?
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Joy to the World
Angels We Have Heard on High
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
Jingle Bells
Frosty, the Snowman
Let It Snow
Holly, Jolly Christmas
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas
Deck the Halls
We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Important Children’s Songs and Artists

Raffi
Mr. Rogers

The Alphabet Song
Rock-a-Bye Baby
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Ba Ba Black Sheep
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Star Light, Star Bright
Hush, Little Baby (Don’t Say a Word)
Skidamarink
Knees Up Mother Brown
Down By the Bay
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Frere Jacques
Lollipop, Lollipop
If You’re Happy and You Know It
Skip to My Lou
The More We Get Together
This Old Man
Wheels on the Bus
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
The Ants Go Marching One By One
Are You Sleeping, Brother John?
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Humpty Dumpty
Five Little Monkeys
Ring Around the Roses
Old McDonald
Three Blind Mice
Nick Nack Paddywack
Pop Goes the Weasel
Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
Hey Diddle Diddle
Jack and Jill
London Bridge Is Falling Down
She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain
This Little Piggy
Little Bo Peep
Sing a Song of Sixpence
A Tisket a Tasket
Little Boy Blue
Old King Cole
Little Miss Muffet
The Muffin Man
Over the River and Through the Woods
The Farmer In the Dell
Baby Bumble Bee
BINGO
Do Your Ears Hang Low?
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

Important Rock/General Artists

AC/DC (Thunderstruck, Back in Black, Highway to Hell)
Aerosmith (Dream On, Sweet Emotion, Walk This Way)
Al Green (Let’s Stay Together, Love and Happiness, Take Me to the River, Tired of Being Alone)
Alice Cooper (I’m Eighteen, School’s Out)
Amy Winehouse (Rehab, Back to Black)
Annie Lennox/ Eurythmics (Sweet Dreams [Are Made of This], Here Comes the Rain Again, Why)
Aretha Franklin (Respect, [You Make Me Feel Like a] Natural Woman, Chain of Fools, I Say a Little Prayer)
Axl Rose (Sweet Child o’ Mine, Paradise City, November Rain)
Barbra Streisand (The Way We Were, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Don’t Lie to Me)
B.B. King (The Thrill Is Gone, Every Day I Have the Blues, Early in the Morning, Ain’t Nobody Home)
Bee Gees (How Deep Is Your Love, Stayin’ Alive)
Bette Midler (From a Distance, I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today, The Rose, Wind Beneath My Wings)
Beyonce (If I Were a Boy, Crazy in Love)
Billie Holiday (Blue Moon, God Bless the Child)
Bill Withers (Just the Two of Us, Lean on Me, Ain’t No Sunshine)
Billy Joel (Piano Man, New York State of Mind, We Didn’t Start the Fire)
Bing Crosby (Christmas album, Swingin’ on a Star, Let Me Call You Sweetheart)
Björk (Army of Me, It’s Oh So Quiet, Human Behavior)
Black Sabbath (Iron Man, Paranoid)
Blondie (Call Me, Heart of Glass, One Way or Another)
Bobby “Blue” Bland (I Pity the Fool; Farther Up the Road; Cry, Cry, Cry; Turn On Your Love Light)
Bob Dylan (Desolation Row, Like a Rolling Stone, Blowing in the Wind, Knockin on Heaven’s Door, Lay Lady Lay, Visions of Johanna, Highway 61 Revisited, Just Like a Woman, Mississippi, Mr. Tambourine Man, Positively 4th Street, Subterranean Homesick Blues, Tangled Up in Blue, The Times They Are A-Changin)
Bob Marley (Three Little Birds; Redemption Song; Could You Be Loved; I Shot the Sheriff; One Love)
Bonnie Raitt (Nick of Time, I Can’t Make You Love Me, Angel from Montgomery, Love Me Like a Man)
Brian Wilson (In My Room, Don’t Worry Baby, Carline, No)
Bruce Springstee, (Born in the U.S.A., Born to Run, The Rising, Thunder Road)
Buddy Holly (Everyday, Not Fade Away, Rave On, That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue)
Carpenters (We’ve Only Just Begun, Close to You, Yesterday Once More, Rainy Days and Mondays, Ticket to Ride)
Cat Stevens (Wild World, Morning Has Broken, Where Do the Children Play)
Celine Dion (The Power of Love, My Heart Will Go On, It’s All Coming Back to Me Now, Where Does My Heart Beat Now, Beauty and the Beast)
Cher (Bang Bang, )
Christina Aguilera (Genie in a Bottle, Beautiful, Ain’t No Other Man)
Chuck Berry (Brown Eyed Handsome Man, Johnny B. Goode, Promised Land, No Particular Place to Go, Maybellene, Roll Over Beethoven, Sweet Little Sixteen)
Creedence Clearwater Revival (Bad Moon Rising, Fortunate Son, Proud Mary, Who’ll Stop the Rain)
Crosby, Stills and Nash (Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Ohio)
Curtis Mayfield (People Get Ready, Superfly, I’m So Proud)
Cyndi Lauper (Girls Just Want to Have Fun, True Colors, Time after Time)
Darlene Love (He’s a Rebel, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), He’s Sure the Boy I Love)
David Bowie (Changes, Heroes, Young Americans, Ziggy Stardust, Let’s Dance, Modern Love)
David Ruffin (Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, My Girl, Walk Away From Love)
Diana Ross
Dido (Thank You, White Flag, Here with Me)
Dion (Teenager in Love, The Wanderer, Runaround Sue, Abraham, Martin and John)
Dolly Parton (Jolene, I Will Always Love You, 9 to 5)
Donny Hathaway (The Ghetto, Pt. 1, Where Is the Love)
Doris Day (Dream a Little Dream of Me; Que Sera Sera; Perhaps, Perhaps)
Ella Fitzgerald (with Louis Armstrong: Cheek to Cheek, Summertime; Cry Me a River; Embraceable You)
Elton John (Candle in the Wind, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Circle of Life, I’m Still Standing, Tiny Dancer, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Rocket Man, Your Song, Alison)
Elvis Costello ([What’s So Funny About] Peace, Love and Understanding; Watching the Detectives)
Elvis Presley (Can’t Help Falling in Love, Love Me Tender, Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Don’t Be Cruel, Mystery Train, Suspicious Minds, All Shook Up, That’s All Right)
Eminem (esp. Without Me, Not Afraid)
Eric Clapton (Tears in Heaven, Wonderful Tonight)
Etta James (At Last, Something’s Got a Hold on Me)
Fats Domino (Ain’t It a Shame, Blueberry Hill)
Frankie Valli (Sherry, Walk LIke a Man, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)
Frank Sinatra (My Way; Fly Me to the Moon; New York, New York; That’s Life; I’ve Got the World on a String)
Gladys Knight (Midnight Train to Georgia, I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Neither One of Us)
Gregg Allman (Midnight Rider, Whipping Post)
Guns N’ Roses (Paradise City, Sweet Child O’Mine, Welcome to the Jungle)
Iggy Pop (Search and Destroy, I Wanna Be Your Dog, Lust for Life)
Jackie Wilson (Lonely Teardrops, [Your Love Keeps Lifting Me] Higher and Higher)
James Brown (Please, Please, Please; Get Up [I Feel Like Being a] Sex Machine; I Got You [I Feel Good]; It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World; Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag)
James Taylor (Five and Rain, Sweet Baby James, You’ve Got a Friend)
Janis Joplin (Me and Bobby McGee, Piece of My Heart, Summertime, Try, Maybe)
Jerry Lee Lewis (Great Balls of Fire, Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, Breathless)
Jimmy Cliff (Many Rivers to Cross, The Harder They Come, I Can See Clearly Now)
Joe Cocker (With a Little Help From My Friends, You Are So Beautiful, Feelin’ Alright, Cry Me a River)
John Coltrane (instrumental)
John Denver (Take Me Home, Country Roads; Home Grown Tomatoes)
John Fogerty (Bad Moon Rising, Fortunate Son, Proud Mary)
John Lee Hooker (Boom Boom; One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer; Boogie Chillen)
John Legend (Glory, All of Me, Ordinary People)
John Lennon (I Feel Fine, Strawberry Fields Forever, Imagine, Instant Karma, Happy Christmas [War Is Over])
John Mayer (Your Body Is a Wonderland)
Johnny Cash (Ring of Fire, I Walk the Line, Folsom Prison Blues)
Joni Mitchell (Both Sides Now, Help Me, Raised on Robbery, Big Yellow Taxi)
Kanye West (Gold Digger, All of the Lights, Jesus Walks)
Led Zeppelin (Black Dog, Heartbreaker, Kashmir, Ramble On, Stairway to Heaven)
The Band (The Weight, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down)
Little Richard (Good Golly, Miss Molly; Long Tall Sally; The Girl Can’t Help It)
Louis Armstrong (What a Wonderful World, Cheek to Cheek, Unforgettable)
Lou Reed (Satellite of Love, I’m Waiting for the Man)
Luther Vandross (Never Too Much, Superstar, A House Is Not a Home)
Lynyrd Skynyrd (Free Bird, Sweet Home Alabama)
Macy Gray (I Try)
Madonna (Vogue, Like a Virgin, Material Girl, Like A Prayer)
Mariah Carey (I Don’t Wanna Cry, Without You, Hero, Bye Bye, One Sweet Day, Vision of Love, Fantasy, Always Be My Baby, Emotions, O Holy Night)
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (Dancing in the Street, Nowhere to Run)
Marvin Gaye (What’s Going On, Let’s Get It On, I Heard It Through the Grapevine)
Mary J. Blige (Real Love, Not Gon’ Cry, No More Drama)
Mavis Staples
Merle Haggard (The Fugitive, The Bottle Let Me Down, Mama Tried)
Michael Bolton (When a Man Loves a Woman, Said I Loved You … But I Lied; How Can We Be Lovers; How Am I Supposed to Live Without You)
Michael Jackson (Thriller, Bad, Billie Jean)
Miles Davis
Morrissey (How Soon Is Now?; William, It Was Really Nothing; What Difference Does It Make?; Irish Blood, English Heart)
Muddy Waters (Got My Mojo Workin’, Mannish Boy, I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man, Rollin’ Stone)
Nancy Sinatra (These Boots are Made for Walkin’; Bang Bang)
Natalie Cole (Unforgettable, This Will Be [An Everlasting Love])
Nat King Cole (Unforgettable, When I Fall in Love, Mona Lisa, Christmas songs)
Neil Young (Cortez the Killer, Heart of Gold, Rockin’ in the Free World)
Nina Simone
Nirvana/ Kurt Cobain (Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come As You Are, In Bloom)
Norah Jones (Don’t Know Why, Come Away With Me)
Otis Redding (I’ve Been Loving You too Long [to Stop Now], [Sittin’ on] the Dock of the Bay, Try a Little Tenderness)
Patsy Cline (I Fall to Pieces, Walkin’ After Midnight, Crazy)
Patti LaBelle (On My Own, If Only You Knew, Lady Marmalade)
Patti Smith (Gloria, Rock N Roll Nigger, Because the Night)
Paul Rodgers (All Right Now, Bad Company, Can’t Get Enough)
Peter, Paul and Mary (Puff the Magic Dragon, Blowin’ in the Wind, If I Had a Hammer, Lemon Tree)
Pink Floyd (Another Brick in the Wall Part 2, Comfortably Numb, Wish You Were Here)
Prince (Kiss, 1999, Purple Rain, Little Red Corvette, Sign O’ the Times, When Doves Cry)
Queen/ Freddie Mercury (We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, Bohemian Rhapsody, You’re My Best Friend, Another One Bites the Dust)
Ramones (Blitzkrieg Bop, I Wanna Be Sedated, Sheena Is a Punk Rocker)
Ray Charles (Georgia on My Mind, Night & Day, Hit the Road, Jack, I Can’t Stop Loving You, I Got a Woman, What’d I Say)
R.E.M. (Losing My Religion, Radio Free Europe)
Rod Stewart (Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?, Maggie May, Tonight’s the Night [Gonna Be Alright], Downtown Train)
Roger Daltrey (My Generation, I Can See for Miles, Pinball Wizard, Won’t Get Fooled Again)
Ronnie Spector (Be My Baby, Baby I Love You, Walking in the Rain)
Roy Orbison (Crying, In Dreams, Only the Lonely)
Sam Cooke (A Change Is Gonna Come, Cupid, A Change Is Gonna Come, Bring It on Home to Me, You Send Me, Wonderful World)
Sam Moore (Soul Man, Hold On, I’m Comin’, Part Time Love)
Sammy Davis Jr.
Shaggy (Angel, It Wasn’t Me)
Simon and Garfunkel (Bridge Over Troubled Water, Scarborough Fair, All I Know, Sound of Silence, The Boxer)
Sly and the Family Stone (Hot Fun in the Summertime, Dance to the Music, Everyday People, Thank You [Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin], Family Affair)
Smokey Robinson and The Miracles (Ooo Baby Baby, Shop Around, The Tracks of My Tears)
Solomon Burke (Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, Cry to Me, Just Out of Reach)
Steven Tyler (Sweet Emotion, Dream On, Walk This Way)
Steve Perry (Oh Sherrie, Don’t Stop Believin’, Open Arms)
Steve Winwood
Stevie Wonder (I Just Called to Say I Love You, Could You Be Loved, Higher Ground, Living for the City, Superstition, You Are the Sunshine of My Life)
The Animals (Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, The House of the Rising Sun, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, It’s My Life)
The Bangles (Walk Like an Egyptian, Manic Monday, Eternal Flame)
The Beach Boys (California Girls; Surfin’ USA; Caroline, No; I Get Around; Don’t Worry Baby; God Only Knows; Good Vibrations)
The Beatles (A Hard Day’s Night; All You Need is Love; Can’t Buy Me Love; Come Together; Eleanor Rigby; Hey, Jude; Let It Be; Yesterday; Yellow Submarine; I Saw Her Standing There; Norwegian Wood [This Bird Has Flown]; Penny Lane; Please Please Me; Rain; Something; Strawberry Fields Forever; Ticket to Ride; While My Guitar Gently Weeps; With a Little Help From My Friends;
The Byrds (I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better, Mr. Tambourine Man; Turn! Turn! Turn!)
The Clash (Complete Control, London Calling, Should I Stay or Should I Go, Train in Vain, [White Man] In Hammersmith Palais, Just Like Heaven, Pictures of You)
The Doors/ Jim Morrison (Light My Fire, The End)
The Drifters (Money Honey, Under the Boardwalk, Up on the Roof)
The Eagles (Hotel California, Desperado, The Boys of Summer [Don Henley solo])
The Everly Brothers (All I Have to Do Is Dream, Cathy’s Clown, Bye Bye Love, When Will I Be Loved, Crying in the Rain, Wake Up Little Susie)
The Isley Brothers (It’s Your Thing, That Lady [Part 1 and 2])
The Jimi Hendrix Experience (All Along the Watchtower, Purple Haze)
The Police (Message in a Bottle, Every Breath You Take, Roxanne)
The Righteous Brothers (Unchained Melody, The Righteous Brothers, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’)
The Rolling Stones (Tumbling Dice, Beast of Burden, Brown Sugar, [I Cant Get No] Satisfaction, Paint It Black, Gimme Shelter, Honky Tonk Women, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Miss You, Ruby Tuesday, Street Fighting Man, Sympathy for the Devil, Wild Horses, You Can’t Always Get What You Want)
The Ronettes (Be My Baby, Walking in the Rain)
The Sex Pistols (Anarchy in the U.K., The Sex Pistols, God Save the Queen)
The Shirelles (Tonight’s the Night, Will You Love Me Tomorrow)
The Staple Singers (I’ll Take You There, Respect Yourself, Let’s Do It Again)
The Supremes (Baby Love, Where Did Our Love Go, You Keep Me Hanging On)
The Temptations (Just My Imagination, My Girl, Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone)
The Who (Baba O’Riley, I Can See For Miles, I Can’t Explain, My Generation, Won’t Get Fooled Again)
Thom Yorke (Fake Plastic Trees, Karma Police, Everything in Its Right Place)
Tina Turner (What’s Love Got to Do With It, Proud Mary, Simply the Best)
Tom Waits (New Coat of Paint, Downtown Train, Dirt in the Ground)
Tony Bennett (The Way You Look Tonight, Fly Me to the Moon, ILeft My Heart in San Francisco)
Toots Hibbert (Funky Kingston, Monkey Man, Pressure Drop)
Tracy Chapman (Give Me One Reason, Fast Car, Stand By Me)
U2/ Bono (Beautiful Day, With or Without You, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For)
Van Morrison (Brown Eyed Girl, Into the Mystic, Moondance)
Whitney Houston (I Will Always Love You, Greatest Love of All, How Will I Know, I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance with Somebody, Run to You, Saving All My Love for You, Where Do Broken Hearts Go)
Willie Nelson (Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, On the Road Again, Whiskey River, Blue Skies, Mams Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)
Wilson Pickett (In the Midnight Hour, Land of a 1,000 Dances, Mustang Sally)

Other Important Rock/General Songs

Africa, Toto
American Pie, Don Mclean
Apologize, OneRepublic
Augustana, Boston
Baby I Need Your Loving, The Four Tops
Be-Bop-A-Lula, Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps
Bitter Sweet Symphony, The Verve
Boom Boom, John Lee Hooker
Breakeven, The Script
Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Neil Sedaka
Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Shelley Fabares
Can’t Help Myself, The Four Tops
Carry On Wayward Son, Kansas
Chapel of Love, The Dixie Cups
Closer, Chain Smokers
Closing Time, Semisonic
C’mon Everybody, Eddie Cochran
Come Go With Me, The Dell-Vikings
Crazy, Gnarls Barkley
Dixieland Delight, Alabama
(Don’t Fear) the Reaper, Blue Öyster Cult
Don’t Stop Believing, Journey
Don’t Worry Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin
Do You Believe in Magic, The Lovin’ Spoonful
Downtown, Petula Clark
Dynamite, Taio Cruz
Earth Angel, The Penguins
Escapade, Janet Jackson
Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Tears for Fears
Everything I Do (I Do It For You), Bryan Adams
Fancy, Bobby Gentry
Fight For Your Right (to Party), Beastie Boys
Fight the Power, Public Enemy
Fire and Rain, James Taylor
Fooled Around and Fell in Love, Elvin Bishop
Forever, Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem
Forever Young, Jay-Z
For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield
For Your Precious Love, Jerry Butler and The Impressions
ree Fallin’, Tom Petty
Gloria Gaynor, I Will Survive
Good Lovin’, The Young Rascals
Good Times, Chic
Green Onions, Booker T. and the MG’s
Happy, Pharrell Williams
He’s A Rebel, The Crystals
Hey Ya!, OutKast
Hips Don’t Lie, Shakira
How’s It Going to Be, Third Eye Blind
I Fought the Law, The Bobby Fuller Four
If You Could Only See, Tonic
I Go to Pieces, Peter and Gordon
I Gotta Feeling, Black Eyed Peas
I Hope You Dance, Lee Ann Womack
I’ll Take You There, The Staple Singers
I Love Rock ‘N Roll, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
I’m a Man, Bo Diddley
In the Midnight Hour, Wilson Pickett
I Only Have Eyes for You, The Flamingos
I Only Wanna Be with You, Bay City Rollers
I Ran, Flock of Seagulls
I Wanna Sex You Up, Color Me Badd
I Will Follow Him, Peggy March
It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere, Alan Jackson
Jump Around, House of Pain
Killing Me Softly With His Song, Roberta Flack
King of the Road, Roger Miller
La Bamba, Ritchie Valens
Layla, Derek and the Dominos
Leader of the Pack, The Shangri-Las
Lean on Me, Bill Withers
Let Me Love You, Mario
Little Lion Man, Mumford & Sons
Little Richard, Tutti-Frutti
Lonely Teardrops, Jackie Wilson
Long Cool Woman, The Hollies
Losing My Religion, R.E.M.
Lovefool, The Cardigans
Love In This Club, Usher
Love Shack, The B-52’s
Love Will Tear Us Apart, Joy Division
Maps, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Maybe, The Chantels
Meant to Live, Switchfoot
Money (That’s What I Want), Barrett Strong
Ms. Jackson, Outkast
Mustang Sally, Wilson Pickett
My Boyfriend’s Back, The Angels
My Prerogrative, Bobby Brown
Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O’Connor
Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang, Dr. Dre
Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog
Oh Happy Day, Edwin Hawkins & Northern California State Youth Choir
One More Time, Daft Punk
Only You, The Platters
O-o-h Child, The Five Stairsteps
Paint Me A Birmingham, Tracy Lawrence
Paper Planes, M.I.A.
People Get Ready, The Impressions
Pink Houses, John Cougar Mellencamp
Rapper’s Delight, Sugarhill Gang
Reach Out, I’ll Be There, The Four Tops
Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand), The Shangri-Las
Renegade, Styx
Ride, Twenty One Pilots
Runaway, Del Shannon
Running on Empty, Jackson Browne
Sail Away, Randy Newman
Same Love, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis with Mary Lambert
Say My Name, Destiny’s Child
Seven Nation Army, The White Stripes
She Drives Me Crazy, Fine Young Cannibals
She’s Everything, Brad Paisley
Smoke on the Water, Deep Purple
Smokestack Lightning, Howlin’ Wolf
Somebody That I Used to Know, Gotye
Somebody to Love, Jefferson Airplane
Son of a Preacher Man, Dusty Springfield
So Sick, Neyo
Spirit in the Sky, Norman Greenbaum
Spoonful, Howlin’ Wolf
Standing in the Shadows of Love, The Four Tops
Stand!, The Spencer Davis Group
Staying Alive, Bee Gees
Summer in the City, The Lovin’ Spoonful
Sunshine of Your Love, Cream
Sweet Jane, The Velvet Underground
Take Good Care of My Baby, Bobby Vee
Take Me To Church, Hozier
That’s Entertainment, The Jam
The Animals, The House of the Rising Sun
The Boys of Summer, Don Henley
The Great Pretender, The Platters
The House of Rising Sun, The Animals
The Letter, The Box Tops
The Loco-Motion, Little Eva
The Message, Grandmaster Flash
The Middle, Jimmy Eat World
The Power of Love, Jennifer Love
The Wanderer, Dion
Tik Tok, Ke$ha
Tom’s Diner, Susanne Vega
To Save a Life, The Fray
UpTown Funk, Bruno Mars
Walk Away Renee, The Left Banke
Walking on Sunshine, Katrina & The Waves
Walk On By, Dionne Warwick
Walk on the Wild Side, Lou Reed
Walk this Way, Aerosmith and Run DMC
Wanted, Dead or Alive, Bon Jovi
(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock, Bill Haley and His Comets
White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane
White Room, Cream
Whiter Shade of Pale, Procol Harum
Wichita Lineman, Glen Campbell
Wild Thing, The Troggs
William, It Was Really Nothing, The Smiths
Wonderwall, Oasis
Yeah!, Usher with Lil Jon and Ludacris
Yellow, Coldplay
YMCA, Village People
Your Cheatin’ Heart, Hank Williams
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher, Jackie Wilson
Your Love, The Outfield
Zombie, The Cranberries
How Soon Is Now?, The Smiths, ‘
Last Nite, The Strokes
Abba, Dancing Queen
Dancing in the Streets, Martha & the Vandellas
Let’s Hear It for the Boy, Deniece Williams
Personal Jesus, Depeche Mode
Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice
Band on the Run, Paul McCartney
Sabotage, Beastie Boys
Stand By Me, Ben E. King
Shake, Rattle & Roll, Big Joe Turner
Ain’t No Sunshine, Bill Withers
California Dreamin, The Mamas and the Papas
Blue Suede Shoes, Carl Perkins
Cat’s In the Cradle, Cat Stevens
The Twist, Chubby Checker
Son of a Preacher Man, Dusty Springfield
Way of the World, Earth, Wind and Fire
Summertime Blues, Eddie Cochran
Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
Eric Burdon
Fame, David Bowie
Family Affair, Sly and the Family Stone
Find Your Love, Drake
I Want to Know What Love Is, Foreigner
Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
You’re Beautiful, James Blunt
Ironic, Alanis Morissette
George Harrison, My Sweet Lord
Go Your Own Way, Fleetwood Mac
Flash Light, Parliament
Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley
Radiohead, Fake Plastic Trees
Radiohead, Paranoid Android
Rick James, Super Freak
Missy Elliott, Get Ur Freak On
Old Man, Neil Young
Percy Sledge, When a Man Loves a Woman
White Wedding, Billy Idol
Weezer, Buddy Holly
When I Come Around, Green Day
Live and Let Die, Paul McCartney
Mannish Boy, Muddy Waters
Fever, Peggy Lee
Tom Petty, Free Fallin’
The Jackson 5, I Want You Back
The Kingsmen, Louie Louie
The Kinks, You Really Got Me
The Five Satins, In the Still of the Night
The Gambler, Kenny Rogers
The Eagles, Hotel California
Lionel Ritchie, Say You Say Me
Lionel Ritchie, Stuck on You
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Otherside
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Under the Bridge
Buena Vista Social Club, Chan Chan
Johnny Nash, I Can See Clearly Now
4 Non Blondes, What’s Up
Save the Last Dance for Me, The Drifters
96 Tears, ? and the Mysterians
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, The Band
Young Blood, The Coasters
All the Young Dudes, Mott the Hoople
Roadrunner, The Modern Lovers
I Put a Spell on You, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Take Me Out, Franz Ferdinand
Marquee Moon, Television
Tell It Like It Is, Aaron Neville
Whipping Post, The Allman Brothers Band
Jim Dandy, Lavern Baker
Surrender, Cheap Trick
Soul Man, Sam and Dave
Pressure Drop, Toots and the Maytals
I Wanna Be Your Dog, The Stooges
Thirteen, Big Star
Emotions, Best of My Love
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Hank Williams
Heart of Gold, Neil Young
Hot Stuff, Donna Summer
Oh, What A Night, The Dells
In the Air Tonight, Phil Collins
I Would Do Anything for Love [But I Won’t Do That], Meat Loaf
Enter Sandman, Metallica
Ignition (Remix), R. Kelly
In the Mood, Robert Plant
Monkey Gone to Heaven, Pixies
Walk This Way, Run-DMC
She’s Got the Look, Roxette
Shout (Parts 1 and 2), The Isley Brothers
Sonny and Cher, I Got You Babe
Born to Be Wild, Steppenwolf
Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac
Talk to Me, Stevie Nicks
Love Shack, The B-52’s
Tequila Song, The Champs

Basic Physical Education (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

The importance of physical activity is one of my soap-box topics. I love that as a homeschooling family we have the time to take bike rides and long walks during the day.

No one is saying your child should become an all-star. But learning the basics of a wide variety of sports helps them understand their options and almost certainly find something they truly enjoy.

For each of the activities below, the student should learn the basic rules of the game, experience playing the game multiple times, and learn proper form for as many of the skills involved in the game as possible. (This is particularly important with swimming and running.) YouTube videos are an invaluable resource for this.

Physical Education Checklist

Important:

Volleyball
Soccer
Baseball/Softball
Football
Basketball
Hockey
Badminton
Tennis
Swimming
Running
Roller Skating
Ice Skating
Biking
Dance (including several basic ballet, tap, ballroom, interpretive, cheerleading, club dancing moves and more)
Hiking
Sledding
Yoga
Hide and Seek
Capture the Flag
Tag
Sardines
Dodgeball
Kick the Can
Obstacle Courses
Frisbee
Keep Away
Billiards/Pool
Snorkeling

Optional:

Gymnastics
Parkour
Rock climbing
Martial Arts
Diving
Weight Lifting
Wrestling
Snow skiing
Snowboarding
Water skiing
Wake boarding
Surfing
Sailing
Rafting
Golf
Table Tennis/Ping Pong
Pickleball
Cricket
Wiffleball
Skateboarding
Surfing
Frisbee Golf
Lacrosse
Jump Roping
Wrestling
Canyoneering
Horse Riding
Polo
SCUBA diving
Fishing
Hunting
Shooting
Archery
Raquetball
Squash
Handball
Hang Gliding
Paragliding
Kite Flying
Rodeo Sports
Canoeing
Kayaking
Rafting
Rowing
Auto Racing
ATV Racing
Dune Buggying
Go-Kart Racing
Aerobatics
Parachuting
Foosball

Basic Biology and Genetics (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

I remember learning basic biology in school. It was a long time ago, and yet, most of this stuff stuck. It’s everywhere, after all–in the news, in other books. And yet, after creating this list, I was struck by the fine delineations, especially regarding the differences between genes, genetic traits, chromosomes, alleles, and DNA. Interesting review here.

Basic Biology Knowledge Checklist

Living thing: Living things need air (though different gases are needed by different living things), water and nutrients; they grow; they have metabolism; they reproduce; they die; they are made up of cells; and they have these visible attributes: a distinct orientation (head and tail, top and bottom), symmetry, fine structure and detail, and a tenuous quality (meaning certain conditions must be met to preserve them; in other words, they can die).

Classification/taxonomy: Organizing things into groups according to their shared features. A living things is classified according to its domain, kingdom, phylum (if animal) or division (if plant), class, order, family, genus, species, and subspecies (race, breed, or variety).

The three domains of life: Bacteria, archaea and eukaryota. There are about ten eukaryota kingdoms, including plants, animals and fungi.

Plant kingdom: Made up of the living things that get energy from the sun

Animal kingdom: Made up of the living things that get energy from living, biological food

The human taxonomy: Eukaryota domain, animal kingdom, chordates phylum (since they have a stiff rod that supports the body), the mammal class, the omnivore order, the homo sapiens species and various races of subspecies

Common name: Name commonly used for a species of animal or plant

Biological name: Official name of an animal or plant. Usually in Latin and made up of the genus and species name, but sometimes also contains the name of the sub-species.

Species: Subgroup whose members can mate and reproduce offspring of their kind

Life cycle: Stages of growth and development of living things. Different for different species. (Frogs have a tadpole stage and caterpillars have a cocoon stage, for example.)

Generation: All members of a species bearing offspring around the same time

Male: Boy offspring; fertilizes the egg

Female: Girl offspring; produces eggs and sometimes births the offspring Reproduction: In animals, the producing of offspring by parents Sexual reproduction: Reproduction involving two parents, one male and one female Asexual reproduction: Reproduction involving only one parent

Fertilization: Adding DNA to the egg that starts its growth

Mating: The pairing of opposite-sex animals that results in fertilization

Food chain: A series of plants and animals that use each other for food. It starts with a plant that gets food from the sun, then continues with the animal that eats that plant and so on.

Food web: A series of interlinked food chains. Creates interdependence.

Cell: Smallest unit of living matter, but still visible under a microscope. (Try looking at a thin slice of onion membrane.)

Mitosis: Cell division resulting in two genetically identical cells, each with a set of the same chromosomes. Happens when the nucleus of the cell divides.

Cytokinesis: The second stage of cell division in which the cell plate forms to divide the two cells

Fungi: Living things that lack chlorophyll and feed on living and dead things

Bacteria: A type of single-celled organism that exists everywhere on earth. Most types have not been studied.

Protozoa: Single-celled eukaryotes that feed on organic matter

Amoeba: A type of protozoa, fungi, algae or animal that can change shape, usually by extending out pseudopods (fluid-filled sacs in the shape of arms or tentacles)

Excretion: The elimination of metabolic waste

Parasite: Living thing that feeds on other living things and also uses them as their home

Host: The living thing that homes and feeds a parasite

Homeostasis: Biological equilibrium, when a living thing’s internal conditions (such as temperature and mineral levels) are steady

Decomposition: The process by which organic substances break down into small pieces, which then get recycled

Dormant: Asleep; not dead but not reproducing, as a dormant seed

Evolution: The long series of changes that happen to all living things

Extinction: The dying out of a species

Natural selection: The natural process by which some species adapt and survive and others die out

Artificial selection: The human-controlled process by which some species change and survive and others die out

Mass extinction: The large-scale dying out of many species (and biodiversity) on earth. Happens due to major weather changes brought on by major events, like an astroid hitting the earth.

Adaptation: The process by which a species changes over time to adapt and survive

Biomass: The combined weight of all living things of a certain type in a certain area. The biomass of plants is higher than of animals. At each level of the food chain, the biomass is lower.

Basic Genetics Knowledge Checklist

Genetics: The study of genes and heredity

Gene: The instructions inherited from parents that tell the body how to develop a particular characteristic or characteristics in the body (what qualities that characteristic will have). They are in every cell of the body (except red blood cells).

Genetic trait: A single trait that is expressed due to the instructions of the related gene. There can be multiple traits expressed by a single gene.

Heredity: All the traits passed from parents to their offspring

Genome: All of the genetic material of an organism (DNA or RNA)

Gene map: Shows the arrangement of the genes on a chromosome

Chromosome: The bundles that hold all of the individual genes. They are stored in the cell’s nucleus. Humans have 46 chromosomes: 2 sets of 23. Each chromosomes holds many, many genes.

DNA: Dioxyribonucleic acid. The chemical makeup of the genes. Always in a paired double strand and in the shape of a double helix.

RNA: Ribonucleic acid. This molecule reads and regulates genes. Sometimes called a messenger.

Nature and nurture: Heredity and environment. Both produce characteristics of an individual living thing, but how they interact is usually often unknown.

X and Y chromosomes: The chromosomes that determine gender. Everyone has one X chromosome, but males have a Y and females have a second X.

Dominant gene: The gene in the gene pair (the allele) that dominates the recessive one, and therefore gets expressed in the organism. Most genes are either dominant or recessive.

Recessive gene: The gene in the gene pair (the allele) that does not dominate the other. The recessive gene is expressed only when there are two associated recessives present, one from each parent. 

Co-dominance: Occurs when the contributions of both genes are visible in the organism

Allele: One of the two associated genes in a gene pair

Homozygote: Both of the alleles of a gene (both copies of a gene) are the same

Heterozygote: The alleles of a gene (both copies of a gene) are the same

Carrier: An organism that has a recessive allele for a genetic trait but does not display it. Can pass the allele onto offspring, who will express it if they inherit the same one from both parents.

DNA profiling/genetic fingerprinting: Determining an individual’s unique DNA code, usually by sampling a particular section of it

Genetic engineering/modification: The direct manipulation of an organism’s genes using biotechnology

GMO: Genetically modified organism

Gene splicing/ recombinant DNA (rDNA): DNA molecules formed in a lab bringing together genes from separate organisms

Cloning: Producing genetically identical individuals of an organism either naturally or artificially. In nature, many organisms produce clones through asexual reproduction.

Hybrid: Subspecies made by crossing two species

Basic Botany and Zoology (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

Basic Botany Knowledge Checklist

Parts of a plant cell: Cell wall; cell membrane; cytoplasm containing chloroplasts, chromoplasts, other organelles and the nucleus; a large vacuole containing water, sugar and other dissolved substances

Photosynthesis: The process plants use to make food. Steps: 1. Leaves, roots and stem take in water, sunlight and CO2. Chloroplasts in leaf cells contain chlorophyll which absorbs sun’s energy. Energy is used to combine H2O and CO2 to make carbohydrates and oxygen. Some of this can be stored as starch. The carbs and oxygen are then used to release energy, CO2 and water. At night, there is only respiration using stored energy. In daytime, photosynthesis is faster than respiration, so more energy is stored.

Roots: network of string-like structures (fibrous roots) or tap roots (like carrots). Absorb water, nutrients, anchors the plant.

Parts of a root: Primary root; secondary roots; root hairs; root cap

Types of roots: Fibrous roots (many equal-sized primary roots); advetitious roots (roots that grow out of the stem, like the hairs on an onion bulb); aerial roots (as in ivy); prop roots (for trees)

Stems: Transports nutrients; include trucks, vines, central points of grass

Parts of a stem: Buds (small growth that becomes a new shoot or a flower); shoots (new stems that grow off the main stem); main stem

Leaves: Food-making parts of plants. Leaves have veins and holes on their undersides to let in water and air. These can open and close. Note that leaves include pine needles.

Vascular tissue: Carries food and water through the plant

Bark: Dead protective tissue on the outside of a tree. Bark is formed in a living layer underneath the current layer after that layer gets pushed out by the new rings that are forming. It has tiny raised openings that provide oxygen and CO2 exchange, and it protects the tree from disease and helps hold in moisture. Since it can’t grow, it peels off and new bark is formed underneath.

Heartwood: The oldest rings of the tree; can’t transport water anymore

Sapwood: The newer rings; still transport water

Annual ring:A single layer of secondary thickening in an older plant, which takes one year to form

Seed: Has an embryo, food supply and protective coat. Seedlings grown in the dark are different from those grown in the light. Grow taller to seek light, but are weaker structurally. Seed gets energy from storage, not sun, but shoots require sun.

Flowers: Enable reproduction by containing male and female sex cells (gametes). Parts: petals that produce nectar to attract insects needed for pollination; stamens (the male part which contain pollen); and the carpel or pisitil (the female part that contains ovules in their ovary and can trap pollen). Some plants have male and female parts in all their flowers. Others have flowers of each type, and others have only male or female flowers, and need to be cross-pollinated with another plant of their genus or species.

Fruit: The part of the flowering plant that holds the seeds. This includes nuts, succulent fruits, berries, pods (like pea pods), kernels (like wheat kernels) and more.

Cones: The part of conifer trees that hold the seeds. They start out open, then after pollination, close up. When the seeds are ripe and the weather is warm and dry, the scales open and drop the fertilized seeds so they can find dirt to grow in. The cones then remain on the plant for a year or so. Note that conifers have male and female flowers and self-pollinate. Seeds are dispersed through animal excrement, wind, water and catching on animal fur.

Asexual reproduction: Reproduction that doesn’t involve a male and female sex cell. Algae, ferns and mosses do this because they don’t have flowers. But some use spores to reproduce also, alternating sexual and asexual reproduction.

Vegetative reproduction/vegetative propagation: When a plant can reproduce itself by itself asexually. Examples: plants that grow from bulbs (like tulips), from runners (like strawberries), from tubers (like potatoes), from cuttings and even from just a few cells (as in a lab). Note that for growing from cuttings, the cutting might need to stand in water and grow roots first before being planted in dirt.

Reproductive structures of plants: Flowers, cones, and spore capsules. Divisions (phylums) are made in the plant kingdom according to the form of the reproductive structures.

Anthers: male part of reproductive structrues; produce pollen

Ovaries: female part of flower – contains eggs that get pollinated by anthers, grows into the fruit, with each egg a seed.

Pollination: The transfer of pollen from the male part of a plant to the female part of the plant

Growth season: One year of a plant’s life

Plant lifecycle types: Annuals (die out except the seed each year); biennials (die in two years); herbaceous perennials (roots live many years but above ground parts die each year); woody perennials (most of parts above and below ground live on); ephemerals (very short lifecycles)

Dormant: Still alive but not actively growing; a seed. To see if a seed is still alive, try to grow it.

Germination: The waking up of a dormant seed

Soil: Dirt that is suitable for plant growth

Tropism: A plant “sense”

Autotropism: The ability (as of a plant) to make one’s own food

Geotropism: The ability (as of a plant) to sense gravity. Plants grow away from gravity, even if the soil is upside-down.

Phototropism: The ability (as of a plant) to sense light.

Thigmotropism: The ability (as of a plant) to sense touch.

Deciduous tree: Tree that loses its leaves each year

Evergreen tree: Tree that doesn’t shed its leaves all at once. They have tough, waxy leaves that don’t lose as much water.

Fungi: Not plants, but plant-like. Grow in damp and dark. No chlorophyll, so feed on dead or living things. Inc: mold, yeast, mushrooms. Some are helpful, as yeast and cheese mold. Some are poisonous to animals and plants.T

Angiosperm: Plant that produce flowers

Hydrophyte: Plant that grow in water. Include algae, seaweed, lily pads and more

Waterlogged: Oversaturated with water. Water-holding capacity is better for rich soil but poorer for sandy soil.

Aeration: The air flow to plant roots. Roots need oxygen, though plants take in CO2 and give off oxygen. Leaves transport sugar but can’t transport oxygen.

Drought: An extended dry period

Erosion: Bare soil exposed to elements. Prevent it by maintaining a vegetation cover. Erosion lowers soil quality since topsoil is richest.

Soil management: Maintaining proper balance of soil nutrients, airflow and water in soil

Soil conservation: Erosion prevention

Crop rotation: Rotating crops in order to balance the mineral levels in the soil since plants use and add different amounts of various minerals as they grow

Basic Zoology Knowledge Checklist

Parts of an animal cell: Cell membrane (no cell wall like plants have); cytoplasm; organelles, including mitrochondria, which convert substances into energy for the cell, vacuoles, which house fats and liquids, the nucleus, which controls everything that happens in the cell, and the Golgi complex, which stores and distributes the substances that are made inside the cell (the warehouse). Cell also has centrioles, ribosomes to build proteins, and lysosomes. Note: See a picture of cell division to view these stages. Also note that different cells specialize according to their job.

Tissue: Cells of the same type combined together to do a particular job

Organ: Tissues of different types working together to do a particular job

System: Organs of different types working together to do a particular job

Body structures of animals: Most have a fluid-filled cavity and a skeleton to hold the cavity in place and allow for movement. All have an outer layer to enclose their bodies, which can be skin, an exoskeleton, a cuticle, scales, shells, prickles, fur and more. Animals also have a part or parts of the body to provide for locomotion, such as fins, flippers, wings, legs, etc.

Biped: Animal with two legs

Quadraped: Animal with four legs

Vertebrate: Animal with a backbone

Invertebrate: Animal with no backbone (as a snail)

Arthropod: Animal with an external skeleton/ exoskeleton (as a grasshopper)

Warm-blooded animal: Animal that can regulate its body temperature

Cold-blooded animal: Animal whose temperature changes with its environment

Herbivore: An animal that eats only plants

Carnivore: An animal that eats only meat

Omnivore: An animal that eats both plants and meat

Types of animal communication: Body language, such as preening or dancing; making noises, such as using vocal cords or rubbing body parts together; sending out chemical messages through pheremones or by spraying; and changing color.

Parts that animals use to sense their environment: Eyes; ears; specialized body parts for sensing balance; specialized body parts for sensing water pressure and currents; whiskers; tentacles; taste buds; parts for detecting electric pulses given off by other creatures (sharks do this). Note that birds may be able to sense Earth’s magnetic field and use it for migration, too. Also, animals detect gravity.

Types of animal reproduction: Animals either lay eggs (before or after fertilization) or give birth to live young

Larva: The form some animals take before beginning metamorphosis

Pupa: A hard shell that forms on larva inside of which metamorphosis occurs

Metamorphosis: The total restructuring of an animal’s body, sometimes inside a pupa or cocoon

Hibernation: A period of inactivity in some animals that includes the slowing of the metabolism

Migration: The large-scale movement of a species from one place to another

Basic Spanish Vocabulary (The ‘School in a Book’ Series)

Lots of people will tell you that learning a new language is easy. And it can be . . . but it usually isn’t. The problem isn’t with the actual difficulty of the language, though. The problem is that we don’t practice.

Unless you live among native speakers, it’s a problem that’s not easily remedied. My suggestion: every few months (more if you’re in a hurry), play some audio recordings of words with translations or children’s music in the car on repeat. Language learning is not an all-at-once thing; you’ll need lots of time and repetition to let it sink in. If possible, be casual about it, but be consistent.

If you’re a person who enjoys reading and writing, copy your word lists onto flash cards or foldable lists. Personally, I spend countless hours writing and rewriting my lists when in full-on language learning mode.

You can also make games out of your vocabulary words–all kinds of fun games. At the end of this post I provide a story you can tell your kids that incorporates practice and repetition (theirs or yours).

Complete Beginners’ Spanish Word List

Greetings

Hello: Hola
Good morning: Buenas dias
Good afternoonL Buenas tardes
Good evening: Buenas noches
Goodbye: Adios; chau
What is your name?: Como se llama?
My name is …: Me llamo; mi nombre es …
Pleasure to meet you. Mucho gusto.
How are you: Como esta (for a less familiar person); Como estas (for a more familiar person); Como esta usted (for a formal situation or older person)
Where are you from: De donde viene
I’m from …: Soy de …
See you later: Hasta luego.
See you tomorrow: Hasta ma­nana

Almost-Free Words

Important: Importante
Interesting: Interesante
Perfect: Perfecto
Excellent: Excellente

Exclamations

Thank you very much: Muchas gracias
You’re welcome: De nada
Execuse Me: Disculpe; perdoname; con permiso
Goodness: Caramba
Please: Por favor
I’m sorry: Lo siento
Forgive me: Disculpe
Help me: Ayudame
Danger: Peligro
Forbidden: Prohibito
No smoking: No se fuma
Fire: Fuego; incendio
Emergency: Emergencia
Hurry up: Appurase; rapido
For sale: Se vende
For rent: Se alguila
Look: Mira
Stop: Pare
Watch out: Cuidado
That’s fine: Esta bien
Go away: Dejeme
Bienvenido: Welcome
Oops: Opa (an expression from Greek)
True: Verdad
Of course: Por supresto
It’s okay/don’t worry about it: Tranquila; no se preculpe
Are you sure: Seguro
What do you mean: Como
How do you say: Como se dice
At what time: A que hora
Qual es: Which is it

Small Words

Me, I—mi, yo
You—tu (familiar) usted
They, them; ellos o ellas
This—-esta
That—este
Now—ahora
Because—por que
But—pero
For—para
To—a
Actually—-En verdad
The—la, e, los, las (depending on gender)
In—por, en
We/us—nosotrous
a—un, una
never—nunca
only—solo
alone—solamente
maybe—quisas o tal vez
Equal—iqual
Without—sin
She-he—-ella, el
Their—su
Her’s/his.—la , le
Your—tu (familiar form)
Other—otra
Also—tambien
Yes/no —si y no (shaking one finger is the most common form of no in South America—the index finger)
Therefore—por lo tanto
Then—entonces
Of the —del
Per—por
Like/similar to—paracido
Here—(different words used depending on distance aqui, aji, alla)
Together —-conmigo, contigo (familiar)
Quite—bastante

Verbs

To be—Ser (permanent): soy, son, es; estar (less permanent): estoy, esta
To do—hacer…hago, hace
To feel—Sentir sineto , sienta
To be there—hay
To want—querer, quiero, quiere, quieres
To like—Gusta, me gusto, se gusta
To go (irregular verb) voy, vas, viene,
To live—vivir—vivo, vives, viva
To eat—comer como, comes, come
To drink—For non-alcoholic beverages: Tomar: tomo, tomes, tome; For alcohol: Beber …bebo, bebes, bebe
To cost—cuesta
To carry/transport—Llevar
To Exit—salida( noun)
To Arrive:—Llegar, llego, llegas, llega
To park: Estacionar
To Wait: Esperar, espero, espero, esperamos
To speak: Hablar, hablo, hables, habla
To say—digo, dices, dice
To stay put—quedar, quedense (command form)
To Help—ayudar, ayudo, ayudas, ayuda
To be able/capable—Puedar, puedo, puedes, puede
To understand—entender entiendo, entiendes, entiende
To comprehend—Comprender, comprendo, comprendes, comprende
To Hope—Esperar, espero, esperes, espere
To know/be acquainted with (person) Conocer, conozco, conoces, conoce
To know (facts) Saber, se, sabes, sabe
To charge/exchange—Cambiar, cambio,
To travel—viajer, viajo, viege
To close—Cierrar
to find—encountrar
to wash—lavar, lavo (clothes)
to clean—limpiar, limpio,
to buy—comprar, compro, ustead compra
to sit—sentar
to smoke—fumar
to take—tomer
to walk—cambiar-=–cambio, cambias, cambia
to search for—buscar, busco, buscas, busca
to see—ver veo, ve
To give—dar, doy, da
To pay—pagar, pago, paga
To sign—firmar, firmo, firme
To need—necesitar, necesito, necesita
To cook—cocinar cocino, cocina
To reserve—reservar,
To confirm—confirmar
Include—incluye
To take a photo—sacrar una foto
To Call—llamar, llamo
Prohibitied—prohibito
To accept—acceptar, acepto
To sleep—dormir,duermo,duerma
To work—trabajar, trabajo, trabaja
To think—pensar, penso
To believer—creer, creo, cree
To stop—parar
To return—volver
To sell—vender,vendo, vende
To exit—salir, salgo
To come—venior, vegno, viene
To lose—perder, pierdo, pierde
To win—ganar, gano, unstead gana
To study—estudiar, studio
To dance—baillar, bailo, bailas
To sing—cantar, canto, canta
To play—jugar..juego, juega
To hate—odiar
To love—-amar, encantar, encanto, encanta

Descriptions

Large—grande,
Small—pequeno
Afraid—austado
Fast—rapido
Slow—despacio o despacito
Good—bueno, bien
Bad—mal, malo
Pretty—bonita
Handsome—guapo (word also means hard working in some contexts)
Fat—gordo
Thin—flaco
Tall—alto
Short—corto
Open—abierto
Closed—cerrado
Personal—personal
Better—mejor
Best—primer
Hot—caliente (refers to heat, piquante refers to spicy)
Cold—frio
Exact—exacto
Special—especial
The same—mismo
Different—differente
Cheap—burato
Expensive—carro
Necessary—necesito (this is a verb, not an adjective) Necesito eso, or necesita eso (you need this)
Not necessary—no necesito
Joven—young
Difficult—dificil
Easy—facil
Modern—moderna
Old—viejo
Classic—classico
Weak—debil
Strong—fuerte
Oldest—mejor
Youngest—menor
Ready—listo
Light—ligero
Heavy—pesada
Perfect—perfecto
Excellent—excelente
Private—privado
Stupid—estupido
Smart—intelligente
Late—tarde
New—nuevo
Logical—logico
Strange/weird—extrano
Interesting—interesante
Wet—mojado
Dry—seca
Second hand—segundo
Busy—ocupado
Quiet—tranquilo
Dangerous—peligro
Safe—seguro
Available—disparsible
Tired—cansado
Broken—roto
Important—importante
Sure—seguro
Worried—preoccupado
Fun—divertito
Happy—felix
Sad—triste
Shy—-timido
Often—frequentamente

People and Animals

Grandfather—abuelo
Gandmogther—abuela
Father—padre
Mother—madre
Secretary—secretaria
Waiter—amarero
Miss—senorita
Mister—senior
Mrs—senora
Family—familia
Relative—familiares
Police—policia
Military—gendarmo
Everyone—todos las personas
No on—nadia
Person—persona
Boy—nino
Girl—nina
Children—ninas, ninos
Baby—bebe
Husband—espouso
Wife—espousa
Girlfriend—novia
Boyfriend—novio
Dog—perro
Cat—gato
Cousins—primos
Nieces/nephews—sobrainas,sobrinos
Uncle/aunt—tio, tia
Men/man– hombres, hombre
Women/woman—mujeres
Daughters—hijas

Things

TV—television
Photo—foto
Photographer—fotographia
Photocopy—fotocopia
Clothes—-ropa
Something—algo
Thing—cosa
Book—libro
Pair of glasses—lentes
Possession—posesion
Watch—reloj
Parts—partalores, partes
Computer—computadora
Shirts—camisas
Makeup—machichoa
Jeans—jeans
Purse—carteras
Key—llave
Toilets—servicios
Garbage cans—basero
Bag—bolsa
Light—luz
Powder—polvo
Gift—regalo
Repellant—repellente
Everything—qualquier cosa

Numbers

One—uno
Two—dos
Three—tres
Four—quatro
Five—cinco
Six—seis
Seven—siete
Eight—ocho
Nine—nueve
10—diaz
11—once
12—doce
13—trese
14—catorce
15—quince
16—dieceseis
17—diecesiete
18—dieceocho
19 —diecenueve
20 —viente
21…vienteuno
30—triente
31—trienteuno
40—quarenta
41—quarentauno
50—cincuenta
51—cicuentauno
60—sesenta
70—setebta
80 —ochenta
90—noventa
100—cien
1000—mil
1 million—un million
101—cineto uno
900—noveciento
1100—mil cien
1300 mil trecientos
200—doscientos
300—trescientos
400—cuatrocientos
500—quiencientos
600—seiscientos
700—setecientos
800—ochocientos

Days and Months

Sunday—domingo
Monday—lunes
Tuesday—martes
Wednesday—miercoles
Thursday—jueves
Friday—viernes
Saturday—sabad
January—Enero
February—Febuero
March—Marzo
April—Abril
May—Mayo
June—unio
July—Julio
August—Agosto
September—Septiembre
October—Octubre
November—Noviembre
December—Deciembre

Question Words

What—que
What is it—que es esto
Where —donde esta
How much—cuanto?
Who—quien
Who is it?—quien es
Which—cual
How—como
Why—por que
Why not—por que no
What time is it? Que hora es?

Colors

Black—negro
White—blanco
Blue—azul
Red—rojo
Yellow—amarillo
Green—verde (careful in using this description, though: some things that are green are considered dirty, i.e. pornography or a “green” magazine)
Pink—rosado
Purple—purpuereo
Orange—naranja

Places

Museum—museo
Bookstore—libroria
Bakery—panaderia
Department store—almacia
Country—campo (refers to terrain/geography)
City—ciudad
Home—casa
Exchange store—casa de cambio
Address—direction
Movies—cine
Restaurant—ristorante
Parking lot—estacionamonte
Café—cafeteria
Bar—taberna
Bank—banko
Hotel—hotel
Hostess—hostel
Room—cuarto
Bathroom—bano
Bus stop—parade de autobus
Entrance—entrada
Exit—salida
Supermarket—supermercados
Mall—cinto commercial
Shoe store—zapateria
Hospital—hospital
Police station—comisaria
Post office—el correo
Pharmacy—farmacia
Embassy—embajada
Place—lugar, parte, locale
School—escuela secendaria (secondary school); escuela escuela primaria (grade school)
Building—edificio

Body Parts

Body—cuerpo
Face—cara
Eyes—ojos
Nose—nariz
Mouth—boca
Hands—manos
Arms—armas
Legs—piernas
Feet—pies
Stomach—estomago
Hair—cabello
Skin—piel
Head—cabeza

Foods and Drinks

Hungry—hambre
Thirsty—sed
Food—comida
To eat—comer
Drink –beber o tomar
Coffee—café
Milk—leche
Cream—crema
Water—aqua
Ice—hielo
Miner water—aqua mineral
Sugar—azucar
Tea—te
Soft drink—gaseosa
Bottle of wine—una botella de vino
Red/white wine—tino /blanco vino
Salt—sal
Pepper—pimiento
Mustard—mostaza
Oil—accete
Vinegar—vinagre
Garlic—ajo
Soup—sopa
Noodles—fideos
Chicken—pollo
Meat—carne
Vegetables—verduras
Fruit—fruitas
Seaford—mariscos
Fish—pescado
Cold veggie soup—gazpacho
Banana—banana
Orange—naranja
Apple—manzana
Tangerine—mandarina
Pineapple—pina o anana
Mango—mango
Avocado—aquacate
Onion—cebolla
Turkey—pabo
Tomato—tomato
Sausages—chorizo
Ham—jamon
Rice—arroz
Corn—maiz
Beans—frijoles
Juice—jugo
Lemonade—limonada
Cider—cidra
Flour—harina
Bread—-pan
Ice cream—helado
Chocolate—chocolate
Vanilla—vanilla
Strawberry—fresa
Pastry—pastel
Cookies—galletas
Custard—flan
Milk shake—batido de leche
Espresso—un expreso
Cheese—queso
Eggs—huevos
Butter—mantequilla o Manteca
Margarine—margarina
Whisky—whiskey
Beer—cerveza
Alcohol—alcohol
Tuna—atun
Lobster—langusta
Sardines—sardines
Salmon—salmon
Bacon–tocino
Broth—caldo
Stew—guiso
Steak—chursasco, carne
BBQ—churrasco , churro
Tenderloin—tourneados
Roast beef—rosbef
Pork—cerdo
Toast—tostada
Grilled—parrilla
Baker—Horneado,
Mashed potatoes—pueredo papas
Potatoes—papas (careful to use las papas because the word is feminine. El Papa refers to the pope)
French Fries—papas fritas
Chicken breast—suprema de pollo
Salami—salarme
Breakfast—desayuno
Lunch—almuerzo
Soysauce—salsa d soya
Liquids—liquidos
Fry—frita
Grill—parilla
Salad—ensalada

Restaurant Words

Plate—un plato
Cup—una taza/copa
Glass—vaso
Teaspoon—una cuchariva
Spoon—cuchara
Fork—tenedor
Knkife—cuchillo
A can —una lata
Box—una lajo
A jar—un pomo
Menu—la carta
What is today’s special?—Cual es el plato del dia
Reservation—reservacion
Table—mesa
I’dlike to order—quisiera pedar
Bill—-la cuenta
Fast to go—comida para llevar
Fast food—comida rapida

Directions

Where/there—aqui, aji
Here is—aqui tiene
Right—derecha
Left—izquierda
Straight—derecho
One block—una cuadrenta
Turn—gire
Corner—ciquina
Opposite from—frenta a
Next to—junto a
In Front—frente
In back—al antes
Everywhere—en todas partes
No where—ninguna parte
Far—lejos
Close—cerca
North—norte
South—sur
East—este
West—oeste
Highway—carretera
Lost—perdido
Upstairs—arriba
Downstairs—abajo
Separate—aparte
Together—contigo,conmigo

Times

Time—tiempo
Hour—hora
Day—dia
Week—semana
Month—la mesa
Year—ano
Today—hoy
Evening/night—noche
First—primero
Second—segundo
Third—tercero
Last—ultimo
Morning—la manana
Yesterday—ayer
Tomorrow—manana
Before—antes
After—despues
Later—despues, lluego
Earlier—antes
Every day—todos las dias
Always—siempre
Never—nunca
1:00—una hora
1;15—la una y quince/cuarta
1:30—uno y media
1:45—cuarto al dos
1:01—la una y una
Date—fecha
The end—el final
Finished—finis

Amounts

More—mas
Less—menos
All—todo
Some—unos
None—nada
That’s all—eso es todo
Kilogram—kilo
Half kilo—medio kelo
Dozen—docena
Approximately—approximente
A bit of—un poco de
Number—numero
Single—individual
Double—doble
Too much/too many—demasiado
Not enough—no bastante
Enough—bastante
Many/much—mucho
Very—muy
A little—poco, poquito

Money Words

Money—dinero
Dollars—dolares
Travelers checks—chequs de viajero
Exchange rate—cambio
Commission—interes
Fee—tarrif
Bills—billetas
Small change—suelto
Signature—la firma
The payment—le debo
Credit card—tarjeta de credito
Cheap—barrata
Price—precio
Discount—discuento
ATM—el cajero

Nature Words

Sun—soil
Trees—arbol
Sky—cielo
Sea—mar
Mountains—montanas
River—rio
Lake—lago
Beach—playa
View—vista
Rain—lluevia
Tortoise—tortuga
Animals—animales
Cockroach—cucaracha
Mosquito—los mosquitos

Medical Words

Medicine—medicina
Doctor—-El Doctor
Ambulance—ambulancia
Nurse—enferma
What’s wrong>–Que le pasa
I’m sick—Me siento enfermo
Headache—dolor de la cabeza
Flu—la gripe
It hurts here—me dula aqui
I feel dizzy—tengo mareos nauseas
Pregnant—embarazada
Pain—dolor
Stomach ache—dolor to estomacho
Backache—dolor de espalda
I feel—siento
Diarrhea—diarrhea
Antibiotics—antibioticsos
Allergic—alergico
Vaccinated—vacundo (a)

Travel Words

Passport—passaporte
Documents—documentes
Bag—bolsa
Vacation—vacaciones
Suitcases—maletas
Business trip—viaje de negocios
Baggage cart—carnto para maletas
Room—cuarto, habitacion
Single bed—habatacion con una sola cama
Reservation—reserve
Shower—ducha
Private bath—bano privado
Oceanview—vista del mar
Motocycle—moto
Taxi—taxi
Bus—autobus
Car—auto, coche
Truck—camion
Station—estacion
Ticket—boleta, pasaje
Roadmap—mapa de carreteras, plano de ciudad
Boat—boats,
Port—puerto
Cabin—camarote
Subway—metro
One-way ticket—billete de ida
Round-trip ticket—billete de y vuelta
Departure—partida
Arrival—llegada
Tourism/tourist—turismo, turista

Miscellaneous Words

American—nortemaricano(a)
Englis—ingles
Spanish0—espanol
Grammatical—gramatica
Meaning—signfico
Questions—preguntas
One more time—ulta vez
Femine—feminia
Information—informacion
Life—vida
County –pais (refers to actual country, not a general description)
Age—edad
Word—palabra
World—mundo
Death—muerte
Race—carrera
Competition—competencia
Party—fiesta
Free-libre
Game—juego
Holiday—fiesta
Vacation—vacaciones
Power—poder
Religion—religion
Catholic—catholico
Protestant—protestante
Drama—drama
Information—informacion
Friendship—amistad

“The Spanish Backyard” Story and Game

Harriet and Toby were just regular kids, living in just a regular house. Still, they had what many people don’t: they had a wonderful backyard.

Sometimes their yard was a wide, deep ocean. Other times it was a space station. But Harriet and Toby’s favorite times of all were when the yard became a magical kingdom far away, where anything they spoke in Spanish appeared.

The catch: they had to speak the sentence properly three times in a row.

One day, Harriet and Toby were hungry. They were waiting for their parents to finish cooking a large meal. So, they decided to make food appear in their yard–every kind of food they could imagine.

What do you think Harriet and Toby asked for? What would you want to make appear?

Note to teachers: Here, have your students make sentences with the word list you’re working on currently. Change the scenario to fit the types of words you want to practice. Each time the student gets the sentence right, draw what they said or say, “Look! It’s a …”]

Harriet and Toby continued playing The Spanish Backyard until the sun was all the way down.