Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thrifting like a Homeschooler (and a freebie if you read closely)

We made it down to the new location of the thrift store where we volunteered for the past couple of years.  It's definitely bigger, definitely fancier.  But there are still good deals on books (yes, I miss being in the back).  I found some really good stuff on the children's shelves, and it made me think (yes, yet again) about the great books that have been published, that are still out there, and that get bypassed or given away.  I don't mean The Great Books, necessarily, just things with lots of educational potential.
Christmas with Maud Lewis, by Lance Woolaver. A perfect Canadian picture-study topic for December!

How about a book of just science questions, no answers? (The Flying Circus of Physics, by Jearl Walker, 1975.)  Why do Rice Krispies snap, crackle and pop? Why, if you pour water into a coiled hose, won't it come out the other end?  If some of the sand in an hourglass is in free fall, won't the weight of the hourglass be less?  Yep, those kinds of questions. (There are some pointers towards further reading and answers in the bibliography.)

"Well you can just rock me to sleep, tonight!"  ~~ Berke Breathed, Bloom County comic strip (Binkley's response to the problem of whether Adam and Eve had navels)
Word Works: Why the Alphabet is a Kid's Best Friend, by Cathryn Berger Kaye.  One of the original Brown Paper School Books.  "This book is about words--why we have them, why we need them, how we use them."  There are sections on poems, on writing stories and plays and letters to the editor, and bits and pieces of language lore like slang and word origins.

The Meaning of Music: The Young Listener's Guide, by Jean Seligmann and Juliet Danziger.  (You can download this for free on

The Puffin Do It Yourself Book.  I'm thinking of a cousin, my age, who used to spend a fair amount of time at our house; and I'm thinking of how much trouble we could have gotten into with this book.  Not that we needed the book to get into trouble, we did enough of that on our own, but it certainly would have given us extra inspiration for "are you sure your mother won't get mad?"  Actually, now that I think of it, we could have written this book  Build a burglar alarm!  Grow mushrooms!  Scoop things out of the pond!  Make mud bricks!  Put squishy things in bowls and play "haunted house!"  Put things on your shoes and tap dance!  Most of the activities are, if you follow the directions, harmless if often slightly messy. (That's where my cousin and I usually went wrong.) There are one or two somewhat surprising pages, such as how to restore an old bike, and what to do when your dog or cat gives birth; and a few skippable suggestions (like putting a ketchup-smeared finger through a hole in a matchbox, a la Van Gogh), so don't say I didn't warn you.

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

In our home the finger in a matchbox is talc white to look dead, and lies in a bed of cottonwool. Most realistic, and much less messy. Jemimah's favourite trick a while back.