Survival Gear

Ask any backpacker what is on their essential gear list, and you will find some core commonalities and then a few personal can't-leave-home-without-its. Homeschoolers' bookshelves are much the same. On this page I will share a list of books and other items that have been utilized most often in our school over the years. Since our philosophy is built around a whole book, history-centric model of teaching, you may find some of my choices not in keeping with the needs of your school if your model is vastly different from ours.

Essential Gear: 
This is the list of what I think everyone needs, no matter what method you use. This page is very much under construction still, but the following should be a jumping off point.

History Main Spines:
Kingfisher History Encyclopedia--outstanding chronological journey through world history for middle and high schoolers
Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History--similar to the Kingfisher, but with links, all of which branch off Usborne's website and are monitored for both appropriateness for kids and continued activity--recommend for elementary and middle school
The Timetables of History--by Bernard Grun--an absolute must have book laid out as a timeline down the left edge of book, with horizontal columns covering history/politics, literature/theater, religion/philosophy/learning, visual arts, music, science/technology, and daily life

Philip's Atlas of World History--outstanding source for middle and high schoolers--maps tracing growth of civilizations, empires, and colonization--also contains essays and black and white photos
The Kingfisher Atlas of the Ancient World--similar to above, but only covers ancient world and gives far less detail--recommend for elementary students

Osborne Children's Encyclopedia--great for the younger elementary set
Osborne Time Traveler--fun book for the elementary set taking them to visit: ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, the Vikings, and the Middle Ages
Bulfinch's Mythology--this old standard covers Greek and Roman myths, as well as King Arthur legends and Medieval romances
Edith Hamilton's Mythology--covers Greek and Roman myths, as well as Norse mythology

Science Main Spines:
Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia--Great source of topically arranged two page spreads--recommend for middle and high school ages
Usborne Science Encyclopedia--similar to the Kingfisher, but aimed at a slightly younger set

My First Encyclopedia of Science--another internet-linked offering from Usborne that is perfect as a read aloud for kids as young as Kindergarten and great for other elementary kids to utilize on their own

The New Way Things Work--by David Macauley--great book for kids who are full of mechanical "why" questions

DK Encyclopedia of Space--the space junkie's source for middle and high school

National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers--love this book!--so much more than just fine maps--loaded with cultural tidbits and geography data of all kinds
Rand McNally Children's Illustrated Atlas of the United States--don't let the title fool you, this one is great for all grades, even older students--like the above source, this one is chock full of data and fun facts
Atlas of the World--by Keith Lye and Philip Steele--Parragon Publishing--maps are a very minor element of this great resource--wonderful source of geographic data and cultural information


Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary--fabulous source from DK--written for older students, but the profusion of pictures draws in even the youngest--coffee table size--high quality, full color photos of a huge variety of works, artists, and schools--also covers elements such as composition and technique through analysis of close-up, detail photos

The Usborne Book of Art--internet linked--not as lush as the above title, but still chock full of color photos--recommend for upper elementary and middle school
The Art Book for Children--Phaidon Press--good for teaching children to really look at art
Drawing with Children--by Mona Brooks--a fun how-to source for teaching everyone to draw
Draw Squad--by Mark Kistler--I actually love this one more than the old standard by Mona Brooks--very engaging cartoon type system of drawing that teaches skills and entertains simultaneously

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