Like most other subjects, science is best learned through conversation. Experiments are great, too, but they’re not always necessary. If like me you have little kids who can’t yet handle close proximity to anything magnetic, explosive or filled with water, choose a few scientific concepts to talk about per day, and send the older kid to a fun science class. (Video demonstrations are great, too.)
Highly Recommended Science Texts
Any good, up-to-date science encyclopedia Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding by Bernard J. Nebel Free online video series by the Khan Academy Wikipedia
Essential Science Projects
Treasure collecting from nature Growing plants Building science-related structures and models with mixed media Building science-related structures and models with Lego (such as solar system models, lifelike animal and vehicle replicas, etc.) Block building Train set building Playing with magnets Breaking open and identifying rocks Building circuits Taking nighttime walks Watching astronomical events (like a lunar eclipse, shooting stars or the Aurora Borealis) Using a telescope and a microscope Choosing many other science projects from science books
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.
Highly Recommended History Texts
Any good, up-to-date history encyclopedia The Story of the World (four-part series) by Susan Wise Bauer The free online video series by the Khan Academy Wikipedia
Essential Classic Historical Texts
The Holy Bible The Koran The Analects, Confucius (551–479 BC) Tao Te Ching, Lao Tze (c. 6th century BC) The Art of War, Sun Tzu (late sixth century BC) Selected writings of Plato (c. 428–347 BC) Rhetoric, Aristotle (384–322 BC) De Republica and other writings, Cicero (106–43 BC) Lives of Noble Greeks and Romans, Plutarch (c. 46–120) Enchiridion, Epictetus (c. 55–135) The Confessions, Saint Augustine (354–430) The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius (c. 480–524) Selected writings of Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Aquinas The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis (c. 1380–1471) In Praise of Folly, Erasmus (1466–1536) Novum Organum, Frances Bacon (1561–1626) The Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes (1596–1650) Discourse on Method, Rene Descartes (1596–1650) Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke (1632–1704) The Second Treatise of Government, John Locke (1632–1704) The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) Rights of Man, Thomas Paine (1737–1809) Common Sense, Thomas Paine (1737–1809)* The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745–1797) Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, Thomas de Quincey (1785–1859)* Narrative of Sojourner Truth, Sojourner Truth (1797–1883)* Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–1896)* Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Harriet Jacobs (1813–1897)* Walden, Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)* Other works by Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Frederick Douglass (1818–1895)* The Souls of Black Folks, W. E. B. DuBois (1868–1963) Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938)* The Jungle, Upton Sinclair The Constitution of the United States The Gettysburg Address The Magna Carta The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank (1929-1945)* Go Ask Alice, Anonymous* The Story of My Life, Helen Keller (1880–1968)* Roots, Alex Haley* In Cold Blood, Truman Capote* Autobiography of Malcom X, Malcom X* Mythology, Edith Hamilton* Black Boy, Richard Wright (1908–1960)* Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin (1920–1980)*
Optional Advanced Classic Historical Texts
Selected writings of Buddha (c. 500–300 BC) Selected writings of Herodotus (c. 484–425 BC) Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle (384–322 BC) Wars of the Jews, Josephus (37–100) Annals, Tacitus (c. 56–117) The Early History of Rome, Livy (c. 64 BC–AD 17) The Twelve Caesars, Suetonius (c. 69–after 122) The Campaigns of Alexander, Arrian (c. 89–after 160) On the Nature of Things, Lucretius (c. 99–55 BC) Meditations, Marcus Aurelius (121–180) The City of God, St. Augustine (354–430) The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis (c. 1380–1471) The Education of a Christian Prince, Erasmus (1466–1536) Commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther (1483–1546) The Freedom of a Christian, Martin Luther (1483–1546) Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin (1509–1564) Selected writings of John Knox (c. 1513–1572) The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila, Teresa of Avila (1515–1582) The Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)* Dark Night of the Soul, St. John of the Cross (1542–1591) The Defense of Poesy, Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586) The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) Wonders of the Invisible World, Cotton Mather (1663–1728) An Essay on Criticism, Alexander Pope (1688–1744) An Essay on Man, Alexander Pope (1688–1744) The Way to Wealth, Ben Franklin (1706-1790) The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) The Journal of John Woolman, John Woolman (1720–1772) The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith (1723–1790) A Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) On American Taxation, Edmund Burke (1729–1797) Life of Johnson, James Boswell (1740–1795) Memoir, Correspondence and Misc., Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804) The Memoirs of Victor Hugo, Victor Hugo (1802–1885) Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859) On Liberty, John Stuart Mill (1806–1873)* A Child’s History of England, Charles Dickens (1812–1870) For Self-Examination, Soren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx (1818–1883) The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams (1838–1918) Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Frederich Nietzsche (1844–1900) Beyond Good and Evil, Frederich Nietzsche (1844–1900) An Autobiography, Annie Besant (1847–1933) Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) The Ego and the Id, Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler Notes on Nursing, Florence Nightingale The Ecclesiastical History, Adam Bede The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer
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.
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.
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.
When it comes to English literature, getting a great list of books is a big chunk of the battle. Reading them, of course, is another. Literary analysis comes later, and is also vital, so be sure to read that School in a Book section, too.
Note that some of the books listed below aren’t English books; I’d love to create a world literature list someday but haven’t yet, so I folded these in.
Works I particularly recommend reading in their entirety have an asterisk after them.
Introductory Classic Fiction
Pilgrims Progress, John Bunyan (1628-1688)* Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe (1660-1731)* The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving (1783-1859)* Rip van Winkle, Washington Irving (1783-1859)* Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (1797–1851)*
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)* Pudd’nhead Wilson, Mark Twain (1835-1910) Green Mansions, William Henry Hudson (1841-1922)* Dracula, Bram Stoker (1847–1912)* The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924)*
Other novels by 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 Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) Peter Pan, James Barrie (1860-1937) The Gift of the Magi, O. Henry (1862–1910)
The Anne of Green Gables series, 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 novels of Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957)
The poetry of Walter de la Mare (1873-1956) The Complete Father Brown Stories, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)*
The poetry of Robert Frost (1874-1963)* 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 and Other Stories, Jack London (1876-1916)* The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg, Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) You Know Me Al, Ring Lardner (1885–1933) Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie (1890–1976)* Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie (1890–1976)*
Other novels by Agatha Christie (1890–1976)* The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973)* The Yearling, Marjorie Rawlings (1896–1953)* Our Town, Thornton Wilder (1897–1975)*
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)* Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Beverly Cleary (1916–)*
Other books by Beverly Cleary (1916–)* You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You, John Ciardi (1916-1986) A Wrinkle In Time, Madeleine L’Engle (1918–2007)*
Other books by Madeleine L’Engle (1918–2007)
Various books by Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Twelve Angry Men, Reginald Rose (1920-2002)* Black Beauty, Anna Sewell (1920-2002)* To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee (1926-)* The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Barbara Robinson (1927–2013)* The Bears’ House and other books by Marilyn Sachs (1927–)* Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes (1927–2014)* I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, Hannah Green (1932–)* Jacob Have I Loved, Katherine Patterson (1932–) Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Patterson (1932–)* Summer of My German Soldier, Bette Greene (1934–) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey (1935–2001)* Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller (1944-)* The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton (1948-)* Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card (1951–)* Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (1816–1855)* Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (1818–1848)* The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas (1802–1870) The Scarlett Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864)* The House of Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864)* The Blithedale Romance, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864) The Three Musketeers, Alexander Dumas (1802–1870) The Swiss Family Robinson, Johann David Wyss (1743–1818)* Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832) The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, Howard Pyle (1853–1911)* 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) Brave New World, Aldous Huxley (1894–1963)* Brave New World Revisited, Aldous Huxley (1894–1963)* Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (1900–1949)* Lost Horizon, James Hilton (1900–1954)* The Lord of the Flies, William Golding (1911–1993)*
The complete works of J. D. Salinger (1919–2010)* Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1920–2012)* Dune, Frank Herbert (1920–1986)*
The complete works of Kurt Vonnegut (1922–2007)* A Separate Peace, John Knowles (1926–2001)* My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potak (1929–2002)* The Chosen, Chaim Potak (1929–2002) The Promise, Chaim Potak (1929–2002) 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)* A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest J. Gaines (1933–)* The Color Purple, Alice Walker (1944–)* The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (1952–2001)* Everyman, Anonymous Walden Two, B.F. Skinner* The White Stallion, Elizabeth Shub* The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the rest of the Narnia series, C.S. Lewis 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 Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett 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 The Scarlet Pimpernell, Baroness Emmuska Orczy Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie Heidi, Johanna Spyri Lassie, Eric Knight Paul Revere’s Ride, Henry Longfellow
Other books listed in Books Children Love by Elizabeth Wilson
Classic Fiction for Readers of High School Age and Beyond
The Illiad, Homer The Odyssey, Homer
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)*
The complete 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)* The Way of the World, William Congreve (1670–1729)*
Selected poetry of John Hopkins (born 1675)* The Beggar’s Opera, John Gay (1685–1732) The Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope (1688–1744) Candide, Voltaire (1694–1778)* Tom Jones, Henry Fielding (1707–1754) Joseph Andrews, Henry Fielding (1707–1754) The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Lawrence Stern (1713–1768) The Vicar of Wakefield, Oliver Goldsmith (1728–1774) The Sufferings of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)* Erotica Romana, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) Hermann and Dorothea, Johann Wolfgang 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)*
The complete works of Jane Austen (1775–1817)* The Charterhouse of Parma, Stendhal (1783–1842) The Red and the Black, Stendhal (1783–1842) 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)
The complete works of Victor Hugo (1802–1885) Les Miserables, Victor Hugo (1802–1885)*
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)* Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman (1819–1892)*
The complete works of 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, Flaubert (1821–1880)
The complete works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881)* The Man Without a Country, Edward Everett Hale (1822–1909) Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)* War and Peace, 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)
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)* Looking Backward, Edward Bellamy (1850–1898) 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 Hound of Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930)*
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)* Kokoro, Natsume Soseki (1867–1916)* I Am a Cat, Natsume Soseki (1867–1916)* 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) Twelve Men, Theodore Dreiser (1871–1945) The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane (1871–1900)* The Good Soldier, Ford Maddox Ford (1873–1939)* My Antonia, Willa Cather (1873–1947)* O Pioneers!, 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) The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux (1868–1927)* Buddenbrooks, Thomas Mann (1875–1955)* The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann (1875–1955)* Winesburg, Ohio, Sherwood Anderson (1876–1941)* Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse (1877–1962)* Siddhartha, Herman Hesse (1877–1962)*
The complete works of E. M. Forster (1879–1970)* Ulysses, James Joyce (1882–1941) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 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)* Main Street, Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951) Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951) 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)* Giant, Edna Ferber (1885–1968) The Key, Junichiro Tanizaki (1886–1965)
The complete works of T. S. Eliot (1888–1965)*
The complete works of Eugene O’Neill (1888–1953)* Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Eugene O’Neill (1888–1953)* Black Spring, Henry Miller (1891–1980) 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) All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque (1898–1970)*
The complete works of Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961)* The Sound of the Mountain, Yasunari Kawabata (1899–1972) Snow Country, Yasunari Kawabata (1899–1972) You Can’t Go Home Again, Thomas Wolfe (1900–1938) 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)* All the King’s Men, Robert Penn Warren (1905–1989) Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler (1905–1983)
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)* 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) The Assistant, Bernard Malamud (1914–1986) The Fixer, Bernard Malamud (1914–1986) Dangling Man, Saul Bellow (1915–2005) Herzog, Saul Bellow (1915–2005) 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–)*
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) 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) 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 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) 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)* The Pastoral Symphony, Andre Gide (1869–1951) The Pit, Frank Norris (1870–1902) The Octopus, Frank Norris (1870–1902) Sarra, Leonid Andreyev (1871–1919) Death Comes For the Archbishop, Willa Cather (1873–1947)
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) 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) Johnny Tremain, Ester Forbes (1891–1967)
Selected works of 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) The Big Money, John Dos Passos (1896–1970) Nineteen, Nineteen, 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) 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) The Skin of Our Teeth, Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) Anthem, Ayn Rand (1905–1982)* Night of January 16th, Ayn Rand (1905–1982)* We The Living, Ayn Rand (1905–1982)* 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) 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) 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 Day No Pigs Would Die, Robert Newton Peck (1928–) The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera (1929–)* 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
Selected works of J.D. Wyss Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad Nana, Zola Native Son, Richard Wright The Seven Story Mountain, Thomas Merton Kim, Rudyard Kipling
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
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
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
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
“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.
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.)
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
Basic car maintenance, including changing the oil, checking tire pressure, checking fluid levels and more
Basic first aid
Public transportation use
Writing formal letters and emails
Emergency procedure memorization
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
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
Addiction avoidance and effects of drugs
Keeping to-do lists and goal-setting lists, with steps to achieve those goals
Active listening without interrupting
Good eye contact
Saying “no”, “no, thanks,” and “really, no”
Talking to strangers
Relaxing without screens
Casual conversation/small talk
Crafting a convincing argument
Labeling and discussing emotions
Separating fact from emotion
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.”)
Spending time alone
Engaging in hobbies
Cognitive therapy (noticing one’s automatic thoughts and beliefs and, if negative, intentionally disputing them)
Healthy exercise habits
Healthy eating habits
Observing the mind
Personal Qualities To Develop
Hope, optimism and positivity
Purposeful cultivation of joy
Non-attachment to the opinions of others
Purposeful cultivation of one’s highest self
Respect for differences
As humans, we experience the effects of chemistry, biology and physics every day, but not always knowingly. Geography is the most sensual of the hard sciences, the one that allows us to better understand our immediate environment.
Basic Geography and Geology Knowledge Checklist
Layers of the earth: Outer crust, mantle (viscous), outer core (liquid metal), inner core (solid metal)
Earth’s crust: The surface of the earth that is made of various rocks and minerals with soil on top. The five main elements found in the Earth’s crust are oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium.
Rock: Collections of minerals formed together into a stone. A compound.
Mineral: A single material of uniform color, texture, luster and structure. Usually made up of two or more elements.
Crystal: A piece of mineral that has a characteristic shape (box or cube). Ex: table salt. Each grain of salt is cube-shaped. Each molecule, too.
Dirt: They are made up of broken down minerals and organic substances through weathering.
Soil: Dirt that is fit to grow plants in
Ore: Any natural, earth material that is mined and processed to obtain a desired metal. Ex: iron ore is rock containing iron.
Metal: The chemical particles, often found in minerals, that are pure metallic elements such as iron, copper, gold and aluminum. They share these properties: 1. shiny; 2. conduct heat and electricity; 3. solid at room temp (except mercury); 4. some are magnetic (iron and nickel).
Alloy: A mixture of two or more metals
Steel: An alloy of iron, carbon and traces of other metals
Sediment: The dirt and sand that is carried away with water and wind and add layers to other places. The layers separate according to the size and density of the materials and eventually harden into rock under the sea and elsewhere.
Fossil: The structure that results when organisms are buried under layers of sediment and pressed on, then cemented into the soil
Clay: A kind of dirt with the smallest particles. Makes a very uniform, soft sdimentary rock, like shale … unlike sandstone. Clay soil holds water well.
The three types of rocks: Sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic
Sedimentary rock: Rock formed when other rocks break down into sediment, then gradually reform other rocks due to pressure and layering. The Grand canyon is an example of sedimentary rocks. Its layers are visible. It was once under the ocean.
Igneous rock: Rock formed from magma erupting from a volcano. It forms in an irregular, crystalline pattern combining two or more distinct materials, with less mixing. Come from cooling magma, so form quickly and doesn’t contain fossils.
Metamorphic rock: Igneous, sedimentary or other metamorphic rock that changes due to heat
Corrosion: The damaging chemical reaction that occurs when metal is in contact with oxygen. The damage happens because oxide forms on the metal.
Weathering/erosion: The process of the breakdown of minerals, rocks and organic materials through freezing, thawing, melting, abrasion, wind, acids, etc.
Water: A chemical compound that is the most common liquid on earth. It is a solvent that is formed when hydrogen burns in air (oxygen).
The water cycle: The process by which water is continuously recycled between the earth, the atmosphere and living things through heat and evaporation and clouds and rain
Dissolve: To mix something into a liquid
Solution: The result of dissolving something in a liquid
Soluble: Able to dissolve in liquid
Insoluble: Unable to dissolve in liquid
Tides: The rise and fall of sea levels caused by the gravity of the moon and the rotation of the earth
Air: The gas that we breathe. Air is oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. It helps people breathe oxygen, which they need in their blood. It helps plants make food. It protects people from sun’s UV rays. Nitrogen: 78%, Oxygen – 21%, Other – 1%. Molecules/particles in air are constantly moving and there’s lots of empty space between them. Like water always flows downhill, air always flows toward lower pressure. To separate out the gases in air, just cool and compress it. Each gas liquifies at a different temperature.
Earth’s atmosphere: All of the air that surrounds the Earth. It is held near the earth due to gravity. There is no distinct starting point, but instead a gradual decline; the further up into the atmosphere you get, the less air is held down. Also, the higher air is thinner, with less oxygen, and unbreathable. (Side note: the moon’s gravitational pull isn’t strong enough to hold air down, so there is no air on the moon.)
Air compression: What happens when air particles are pushed closer together (as in a small space). Compressed air is more highly pressurized.
Air pressure: The condition created when air is pushed. When you push more air into a small space, air particles move closer together but try to escape by pushing on the inside walls (of the tire or balloon or whatever). The place on the body we notice air pressure changes is the ear since the eardrum must have equal air pressure on both sides, but air has to go through a bottleneck, and can move unevenly, resulting in popping.
Vacuum: When we suck or otherwise remove air from a container, we create a vacuum. By removing air, air pressure decreases. And since air always flows toward lower pressure, sucking occurs and air and materials from the outside get pulled in. (It’s not the motion of pulling out the air that causes sucking. It’s the higher pressure on the outside wanting to get in!) Outer space has no air, so it is a vaccum. If you went to space without a spacesuit you’d explode because all the air in your body would push outward toward the vaccum at once. Spacesuits provide air pressure.
Geological time: A division of the history of the earth into periods based on the types of fossils found in the layers of the earth’s crust
Radiometric/carbon dating: A way to determine the age of a rock by the amount of carbon it contains
Sea level change: The change in sea levels caused by temperature changes. During ice ages, sea levels are low due to the great amount of frozen water. Today, sea levels have risen due to global warming.
Ocean currents: The movement of the water of the world’s oceans due to wind, the rotation of the earth and more
Groundwater: Water under the Earth’s surface. Most groundwater is found in porous rocks.
The water table: The depth at which groundwater is found, which is affected by rainfall or lack thereof
Spring: A place where groundwater emerges from a hillside
The magnetic field of the earth: The field of magnetism in the earth with poles near the North Pole and the South Pole that are tilted at a slight angle. The field may be caused by moving metal in the Earth’s outer core. From time to time, these reverse, with north becoming south.
Magnetosphere: The area that stretches into space in which the Earth’s magnetic field can be felt.
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)
Pangea: The most recent single, unified “supercontinent” to have preceded the current continental forms on Earth
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.
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.
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
Note that students should also learn how to read a map and compass; how to identify the four directions; and how to draw or make a model of the earth, the solar system and the path of the earth around the sun and the moon around the earth, showing how they rotate and how those rotations and shadows create days, nights and years. They should also learn about their local natural area, including their own time zone, climate type and seasonal changes as well as the names of common local rocks, trees, flowers, insects and other animals.
Basic Meteorology and Ecology Knowledge Checklist
Weather: The atmospheric conditions caused by changing air pressure and heat from sun
Climate: The long-term weather conditions of a particular area
The four basic climate types: Tropical (hot all year); polar (cold all year); temperate (moderate, seasonal change); deserts (dry all year).
Wind: The movement of air that happens when higher pressure air is moving toward lower pressure air. If there’s no pressure difference, there is no wind.
Storm: Any disruption in the atmosphere producing severe weather, including strong wind, tornadoes, hail, rain, snow (blizzard), lightning (thunderstorm), clouds of dust or sand carried by wind (a dust or sand storm)
Lightning: The visible and audible flow of electricity that occurs during a thunderstorm. It can occur inside a single cloud, between clouds, or between a cloud and the ground. It produces an audible booming sound called thunder. Since the speed of light is greater than the speed of sound, we hear thunder after we see lightning.
Tornado: A funnel-shaped column of wind, evaporated water, dust and debris that moves rapidly, sweeping up objects in its path. It is formed when a thunderstorm occurs in areas of both cold and warm air.
Hurricane/typhoon/tropical cyclone/tropical storm: A spiral-shaped group of thunderstorms formed over the ocean that forms a cyclone (a circular movement of wind with a low-pressure center)
Earthquake: A sudden shaking of the surface of the earth due to shifts in tectonic plates
Seismic activity: The sum of all of the tremors and earthquakes in a region
Plate tectonics: The movement of the plates that make up Earth’s crust. It is driven by movements deep in the Earth.
Fault line: The deep cracks in Earth’s crust that make those areas vulnerable to extreme movement when earthquakes strike.
Subduction zone: An area where two plates collide and one slides below the other
Volcano: Vents (openings) in the ground from which magma (molten rock), ash, gas, and rock fragments surge upwards, in an event called an eruption. They are often found at boundaries between the plates in Earth’s crust.
Tsunami: A series of huge, destructive waves formed due to major events like hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, meteorite crashes and earthquakes. Tsunamis are sometimes mistakenly known by the misnomer tidal wave.
Evaporation: Water vapor that is breaking free from the rest of the liquid
Condensation: The water vapor that collects back into drops on a solid. It comes from the air.
Water vapor: The gas that forms when water evaporates
Dew: The water vapor that forms as the sun rises and begins to warm cold air and humidity into condensation
Humidity: The water vapor in the air
Atmospheric particle/particulate: Microscopic solid or liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere. Some are organic and others are human-made.
Thermometer: A tool to measure temperature
Barometer: A tool to measure air pressure
How to make a sundial: Draw a simple clock face. Suspend a stick or pencil in the center of it. Sit in face up in the sun in a way in which the stick’s shadow points to the appropriate time.
Ecosystem: A group of plants and animals that interact with each other and their surroundings
Habitat: The natural environment in which a species lives
Biodiversity: The huge variety of living things in a particular area. Biodiversity is lost with selective breeding.
Pollution: The unneeded junk (particularly the human-made chemical particles) that gets into the air and water. Water pollution happens both due to poisons in water killing life and to the oxygen in the water being used up by the bacteria (or even plant) overgrowth as they feed on waste materials. When there is inadequate oxygen for fish and animals, the water becomes lifeless.
The Ozone Layer: The layer of ozone (O3) that exists in the upper atomosphere of earth. It is poisonous to humans but protects us from UV rays.
The Greenhouse Effect: The result of an overabundance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which traps heat and causes a greenhouse-like effect on earth which then results in major climate change
Global warming: The result of the Greenhouse Effect
Sewage treatment: The process by which a city’s waste water is filtered for large particles, then left in tanks where the organic solids sink to the bottom and are broken down by bacteria
Carbon cycle: The process by which carbon cycles in an through plants, animals, minerals and the atmosphere. This happens mostly due to the respiration of carbon dioxide by animals, the incorporation of carbon dioxide by plants during photosynthesis, decomposition and the burning of fossil fuels.
Nitrogen cycle: When the nitrogen cycle is not in balance, global warming and ozone depletion can occur.
Intensive farming: Farming with use of chemicals, machinery, etc.
Fossil fuels: Coal, oil, and gas, which are called fossil fuels because they were formed from the remains of animals and plants that were buried by layers of sediment millions of years ago. They are non-renewable.
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.
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)
Graphic Design/ Electronic Art
Sculpture (with wood, wax, stone, metal, clay and mixed media)
Performance Art: Dance, Theatre, Music
Conceptual Art/ Installation Art
Recycled Material Art
Applied Art Skills Checklist
Light Art/ Lighting Design
Gardening/ Landscape Architecture
Graphic Narratives/ Comics
Textile Arts: Crocheting, Knitting, Macrame, Weaving and More
Jewelry (with beads, other materials)
Bean-filled heat packs (heat in microwave)
Miniature dolls and animals
Doll house with furniture
Stuffed animals (sewn, with button eyes)
Christmas decorations (ornaments, bead chains, other chains)
Masks using paper plates and popsicle sticks
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
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
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
So, so much music. So much great, important music. How do you choose what to expose your kids to first? How do you even remember all the songs you once loved? Here, a checklist to fill in the gaps in your current music collection. At my homeschooling house, I have an “Important Songs to Know” folder with most of the individual songs on this list, the ones I don’t have (or want to have) the full album for. We also listen to a lot of kids’ music, language-learning music and podcasts.
Important Musical Artists
Bach Handel Vivaldi Mozart Beethoven Rossini Shubert Mendelssohn Chopin Schumann Wagner Verdi Brahms Tchaikovsky Dvorak Puccini Strauss Stravinsky
Simon and Garfunkel (esp. Sound of Silence, Scarborough Fair) Billie Holiday (esp. Blue Moon, God Bless the Child) The Beatles (Hey, Jude; Let It Be; Yesterday; Yellow Submarine) Celine Dion (esp. The Power of Love, My Heart Will Go On) Mariah Carey Miles Davis Louis Armstrong (esp. What a Wonderful World, Cheek to Cheek) Frank Sinatra (esp. My Way, Fly Me to the Moon, New York, New York, That’s Life, I’ve Got the World on a String) Bing Crosby Kanye West (esp. Gold Digger, All of the Lights) Michael Jackson Eminem (esp. Slim Shady) Ray Charles (esp. Georgia on My Mind, Night & Day, Hit the Road, Jack) Ella Fitzgerald Joni Mitchell (esp. Big Yellow Taxi) Peter, Paul and Mary (esp. Puff the Magic Dragon) Norah Jones (esp. Don’t Know Why, Come Away With Me) Chuck Berry (esp. Johnny B. Goode, Roll Over Beethoven) John Mayer (esp. Your Body Is a Wonderland) John Legend (esp. Glory, All of Me, Ordinary People) Bob Dylan (esp. Like a Rolling Stone, Blowing in the Wind, Knockin on Heaven’s Door) Elton John (esp. Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Circle of Life, I’m Still Standing, Tiny Dancer) U2 (esp. With or Without You) Beyonce (esp. If I Were a Boy, Crazy in Love) John Denver (esp. Take Me Home, Country Roads) Elvis Presley (esp. Can’t Help Falling in Love, Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Don’t Be Cruel) Madonna (esp. Vogue, Like a Virgin, Material Girl) Johnny Cash (esp. Ring of Fire, I Walk the Line) Billy Joel (esp. Piano Man, New York State of Mind, We Didn’t Start the Fire) Bob Marley (esp. Could You Be Loved, I Shot the Sheriff) Stevie Wonder (esp. I Just Called to Say I Love You, Could You Be Loved) Bette Midler (esp. From a Distance, I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today, The Rose, Wind Beneath My Wings) Aretha Franklin (esp. Respect, [You Make Me Feel Like a] Natural Woman) Barbra Streisand (esp. The Way We Were) Johnny Cash (esp. I Walk the Line) Eric Clapton (esp. Tears in Heaven, Wonderful Tonight) Don’t Lie to Me, Barbra Streisand (esp. You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, The Way We Were) The Rolling Stones (esp. [I Cant Get No] Satisfaction, Paint It Black)
I Try, Macy Gray Give Me One Reason, Tracy Chapman Born in the USA, Bruce Springsteen It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere, Alan Jackson Imagine, John Lennon Happy Christmas (War Is Over), John Lennon Proud Mary, Tina Turner What’s Love Got to Do With It, Tina Turner I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston I Hope You Dance, Lee Ann Womack Jennifer Hudson She’s Everything, Brad Paisley Kiss, Prince Basket Case, Green Day American Pie, Don Mclean Cat’s In the Cradle, Cat Stevens Wild World, Cat Stevens When I Come Around, Green Day Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O’Connor Zombie, The Cranberries Losing My Religion, R.E.M. Wake Me Up When September Ends, Green Day Paint Me A Birmingham, Tracy Lawrence So Sick, Neyo Baby Got Back, Sir Mix A Lot Hips Don’t Lie, Shakira Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen Jump Around, House of Pain Hips Don’t Lie, Shakira Walk this Way, Aerosmith and Run DMC Don’t Take the Girl, Tim McGraw Fooled Around and Fell in Love, Elvin Bishop Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys Find Your Love, Drake Renegade, Styx Smells like Teen Spirit, Nirvana Little Lion Man, Mumford & Sons Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Tears for Fears Augustana, Boston How’s It Going to Be, Third Eye Blind Chicken Fried, Zac Brown Band Wanted, Dead or Alive, Bon Jovi To Save a Life, The Fray Wonderwall, Oasis Surfin’ USA, The Beach Boys I Get Around, The Beach Boys Message in a Bottle, The Police Yellow, Coldplay Forever, Drake The House of Rising Sun, The Animals Ride, Twenty One Pilots Closing Time, Semisonic Apologize, OneRepublic Same Love, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis with Mary Lambert This Love, Maroon 5 Closer, Chain Smokers Love In This Club, Usher Meant to Live, Switchfoot Dynamite, Taio Cruz Africa, Toto I Ran, Flock of Seagulls Lovefool, The Cardigans Say My Name, Destiny’s Child I Gotta Feeling, Black Eyed Peas Staying Alive, Bee Gees Fight For Your Right (to Party), Beastie Boys My Girl, The Temptations Long Cool Woman, The Hollies Carry On Wayward Son, Kansas Clocks, Coldplay Free Fallin’, Tom Petty If You Could Only See, Tonic Tik Tok, Ke$ha The Message, Grandmaster Flash Dixieland Delight, Alabama Don’t Stop Believing, Journey Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond Your Love, The Outfield Everything I Do (I Do It For You), Bryan Adams Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin Thunderstruck, AC/DC The Middle, Jimmy Eat World Breakeven, The Script One Dance, Drake Yeah!, Usher with Lil Jon and Ludacris Ms. Jackson, Outkast Bust a Move, Young MC Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog UpTown Funk, Bruno Mars Somebody that I use to Know, Gotye Another One Bites the Dust, Queen I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston YMCA, Village People Let Me Love You, Mario I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye The Gambler, Kenny Rogers Purple Rain, Prince Kiss, Prince In the Air Tonight, Phil Collins She’s Got the Look, Roxette I Feel Good, James Brown Forever Young, Jay-Z In the Mood, Robert Plant Fame, David Bowie Let’s Dance, David Bowie Live and Let Die, Paul McCartney Band on the Run, Paul McCartney Said I Loved You … But I Lied, Michael Bolton Johnny B. Goode, Chuck Berry Old Man, Neil Young Heart of Gold, Neil Young Angel, Shaggy It Wasn’t Me, Shaggy Don’t Worry Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper True Colors, Cyndi Lauper She Drives Me Crazy, Fine Young Cannibals Escapade, Janet Jackson Tom’s Diner, Susanne Vega Dancing in the Streets, Martha & the Vandellas
Tomorrow (from Annie) Maybe (from Annie) Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Judy Garland (from The Wizard of Oz) When You Wish Upon a Star (from Pinocchio) Footloose (from Footloose) (from My Fair Lady) Sunrise, Sunset (from Fiddler on the Roof) Tradition (from Fiddler on the Roof) Oklahoma! (from Oklahoma!) Oh What a Beautiful Morning) (from Oklahoma!) (from West Side Story) Da-Doo (from Little Shop of Horrors) Skid Row (from Little Shop of Horrors) Suddenly, Seymour (from Little Shop of Horrors) Beauty and the Beast (from Beauty and the Beast) This Provincial Life (from Beauty and the Beast) Kiss the Girl (from The Little Mermaid) I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair (from South Pacific) Bali Ha’i (from South Pacific) White Christmas (from White Christmas) Sisters (from White Christmas) Songs from Hair Songs from The King and I Songs from Grease Peter and the Wolf theme music (by Sergei Prokofiev) A Charlie Brown Christmas theme music Star Wars theme music Westworld theme music The Staircase theme music The Keepers theme music Medium theme music Felicity theme music
Important Folk Songs and Singalong Songs
The Star-Spangled Banner America, the Beautiful 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 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 O Holy Night Jingle Bells Santa Claus Is Coming to Town Have Yourself a Merry Little Christms 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? Where, Oh, Where Has My Little Dog Gone? How Much Is That Doggy In the Window Alouette There’s a Hole in the Bucket John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
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
Volleyball Soccer Baseball Football Basketball Badminton Tennis Swimming Running Roller Skating Ice Skating Biking Dance (including several basic ballet, tap, ballroom, interpretive, club dancing moves and more) Hiking Yoga Hide and Seek Capture the Flag Tag Sardines Dodge Ball Kick the Can Obstacle Courses
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 femaleAsexual 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.
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
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
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
Important: Importante Interesting: Interesante Perfect: Perfecto Excellent: Excellente
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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—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
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)
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
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.
I am not a film buff. Still, I don’t want my kids to miss out on the movies that even today, inform our shared cultural conversation. There’s a lot to learn here about love, hope and coming of age–and about writing an awesome screenplay, too.
Classic Films for Children
Wizard of Oz Return to Oz Alice in Wonderland E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Labyrinth The Neverending Story Goonies The Karate Kid Star Wars: A New Hope Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (original version) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (new version) Ghostbusters (original version) The Muppet Movie (original version) The Lord of the Rings series The Chronicles of Narnia series The Harry Potter series The Anne of Green Gables Series The Anne of Avonlea Series
A Christmas Carol
Miracle on 34th Street
A Christmas Story
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Frosty the Snowman
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast
The Sound of Music
The Parent Trap (original version)
Swiss Family Robinson
Lilo and Stitch
Winnie the Pooh
The Red Balloon
The Jungle Book
The Adventures of Milo and Otis
Grave of the Fireflies
Home Alone 2
How to Train Your Dragon
The Iron Giant
A Little Princess
Escape to Witch Mountain
Classic Films for Older Kids and Adults
A Face in the Crowd
An American In Paris
Babes in Toyland
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Crimes and Misdemeanors
East of Eden
Hannah and Her Sisters
Cries and Whispers
From Here to Eternity
How Green is My Valley
How the West Was Won
Igby Goes Down
Il Dulce Vita
It Happened One Night
It’s a Wonderful Life
Love is a Many-Splendored Thing
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Mutiny on the Bounty
Night of the Living Dead
North by Northwest
On the Waterfront
Jesus Christ, Superstar
Planet of the Apes
Raise the Red Lantern
Rebel Without a Cause
Singing in the Rain
Splendor in the Grass
Strangers on a Train
The 39 Steps
The Absent-Minded Professor
The African Queen
The Apple Dumpling Gang
The Bells of St. Mary’s
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Lady Vanishes
The Last Days of Disco
The Lives of Others
The Lord of the Flies
The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance
The Music Man
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
The Thirty-Nine Steps
The Three Faces of Eve
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines
To Catch a Thief
West Side Story
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
You Can’t Take It With You
Wild at Heart
A Scanner Darkly
Being John Malcovich
Eat, Drink, Man, Woman
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Truman Show
Kill Bill Volumes I & II
Man on the Moon
March of the Penguins
Meet Joe Black
Requiem for a Dream
Summer of My German Soldier
Run Lola Run
Saturday Night Fever
The Princess and the Warrior
The Princess Bride
Educational Videos for Children
Tumble Leaf Reading Rainbow Wishbone Zoom Beakman’s World Destination Truth National Geographic shows The Electric Company Bill Nye the Science Guy The Magic Schoolbus Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood Sesame Street But Why (podcast) Tumble (podcast)
Educational Videos for Older Children and Adults
Planet Earth How It’s Made Myth Busters TED talks Drive Thru History Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey Timeshift Ken Burns: America The Most Extreme How the States Got Their Shapes America: The Story of Us Worst Case Scenario Ancient Discoveries American Experience American Masters Chasing Mummies Steven Hawking’s SciFi Masters The Adventures of Captain Hartz The Unknown War Castle Secrets and Legends Get Schooled Super Structures of the World United States of America Joseph Campbell: Myths Travel with Kids Through the Wormhole
The Rachel Divide Amanda Knox Searching for Sugar Man Jesus Camp Going Clear Paradise Lost Cave of Forgotten Dreams Life Itself The Wolfpack Bowling for Columbine Amy Room 237 RBG Grey Gardens Undefeated How to Survive a Plague Abacus Spellbound Jiro Dreams of Sushi Blackfish The Act of Killing Icarus 13th Hoop Dreams What Happened, Miss Simone? Casting Jonbenet 20 Feet from Stardom Strong Island The Look of Silence Exit Through the Gift Shop Citizen Four The Cove Grizzly Man Paris Is Burning Faces Places The Staircase The Keepers Herb & Dorothy Iris Sour Grapes Ted Talks Revisionist History (Podcast) Bisbee ’17 Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun? Free Solo Hale County This Morning, This Evening The Last Race Minding the Gap Shirkers 306 Hollywood Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Three Identical Strangers McQueen Momentum Generation The Thin Blue Line Food, Inc. King Corn The Future of Food Food Matters
Twelve years of elementary and high school plus extracurricular studies leaves us with a lot of information. Too much information, sometimes. Since we can’t retain everything, our brains have to pick and choose. And sometimes they make pretty bad decisions. We might live with our in-depth understanding of the oboe forever, say, but can’t recall whether Alexander the Great lived before or after the Roman Empire. If we don’t want our most important knowledge areas to fade out, then, we do well to periodically review the basics.
That’s where School in a Book comes in.
For each subject listed below, I’ve written a knowledge checklist of sorts: a collection of essential terms and other information. It’s not a textbook; instead, it’s an overview, a handy guide to help you pinpoint your knowledge areas that need a bit of padding.
I’m having lot of fun–so much fun!–writing these for myself and my homeschooling children. If you find any mistakes or other opportunities for revision, please let me know.
Some subjects are available online, but all of them will be in my full School in a Book compendium, coming soon to Amazon. Check back or subscribe on the right for availability updates.