Each year our homeschool support group sets aside one monthly meeting to do a curriculum review. We share new stuff, what's working and what isn't, ask and answer questions of current and former users, and generally just mix it up in all the different subject areas.
And each year, it seems, something seems to stand out. One year we had a lot of families switch over to Tapestry of Grace; another year Math U See was the star. This year, an unlikely book took top honors, judging from the traffic on our loop about it and the wild city-wide scamper to collect all extant copies. So I thought I'd do a little review here at Granny's House and share the enthusiasm.
At our meeting last month, Aubrey shared a book they've been using, The Christian Almanac by George Grant and Gregory Wilbur. We passed it around and once the moms got their hands on it they were hooked and didn't want to let go! This is a pretty hefty softcover volume containing a two-page spread for each day of the year and a comprehensive index, all amounting to over 800 pages. I thought I'd give you a taste of the kinds of things it contains by opening my (new, $2.00 from Half-Price Books, thanks to Hollie C.!) copy to today's date and sharing what I found:
If you're using the Almanac as a guide to reading through the Bible in a year, the appropriate passages are listed. Today it's 1 Chronicles 3-5; John 8:1-20.
Next on the first of the two-page spread is a five-paragraph article describing some of the evidence for the arrival of Irish monks in the New World less than six hundred years after Christ and hundreds of years before even the first visitors from the Viking world reached North America. The article ends with this note:
...on this day in 1818 a coin was found near the Elk River where the town of Fayetteville, Tennessee, now stands. The coin was engraved with the words "Antonius Augustus Pius, Princeps Pontifex Tertio Consule" on one side, and "Aurelius Caesar" on the other. Scholars believe the coin was issued sometime in the middle of the second century from Roman-occupied Wales. It is possible that some later explorers dropped the coin at Elk River--but it is more likely that the world of intiquity has far more mysteries yet to be unraveled than we may be prepared to admit.
The second page of the spread begins with a quote, today on from Theodore Roosevelt:
We must diligently strive to make our young men decent, God-fearing, law-abiding, honor-loving, justice-doing, and also fearless and strong, able to hold their own in the burly-burly of the world's work, able to strive mightily that the forces of right may be in the end triumphant. And we must be ever vigilant in so telling them.
The remainder of the page is devoted to snippets of "today in history" entries. Today's include the 1471 birth of Albrecht Durer, the most famous artist of the German Reformation, along with a note about his understanding of geometry and mathematical proportions and how these contibuted to his art; the conversion of Charles Wesley in 1738; and the organization of the American Red Cross by Clara Barton in 1881.
The Christian Almanac can be used for personal reading, but I can see it being hugely valuable as a springboard for family discussions on such wide-ranging topics as law, medicine, U.S. and world history, church history, mathematics and science, the arts, theology, government, and literature.
The Almanac is available on Amazon.com, but before you order it, call up your local Half-Price Books and ask if they have a copy. Our gals found several stores in our city carrying multiple copies, and they bought 'em by the stacks!
The Christian Almanac: A Book Of Days Celebrating History's Most Significant People & Events