Read-Alouds - Was The Children's Homer difficult?

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Read-Alouds - Was The Children's Homer difficult?

Unread post by SandKsmama »

kstedl wrote:Regarding this book, "The Children's Homer" - has anyone found it too difficult/challenging for your children to understand? I was reading on Amazon that many people felt it was that way - and more of a junior high school level - and they recommended, "The Wanderings of Odysseus" and "Black Ships Before Troy" as good replacements for a younger child.

My children will be in 3rd and 5th grade when we use it. I wouldn't want something too watered down; but, yet, I don't want something they won't understand either (especially my 3rd grader). I'm sure I can just trust that this is the BEST book, and that's why it's included - but I just wanted some reassurance I guess! Thank you!
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We did CTG last year, and my 5th grade (she was a young 10 year old when we started it) LOVED the Children's Homer. It was a great read aloud for us.

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Unread post by LSH in MS »

We used three -- "The Children's Homer," "The Wanderings of Odysseus," and "Black Ships Before Troy."

My children were young (we did CTG in 2005). The illustrations in the other 2 helped flesh out the story and add interest. Just be warned that the illustrations are quite graphic, violence, blood. etc. It didn't bother my boys. THe Wanderings of Odysseus had some female nudity that I put post it notes over (it was a library book)

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Unread post by shellie »

We are in our second week of reading "A Children's Homer," and my boys are really enjoying it. In fact, we are reading multiple chapters each day instead of just one because they don't want me to quit! My boys are just-turned-10 and 12, and they both seem to understand what is going on. (If they are confused at all, it's because I keep slaughtering a few of the Greek names! hahaha! :)

There are a couple of books in CTG... one is "A Children's Homer" and the one with the wooden horse on the front is a much easier book about the battle of Troy, "The Trojan War." You will read the easy one first because it talks about events that happened first, then you'll read "ACH" after. (My 10 and 12 year old thought the easy one was way too easy: "a kiddie book", but they liked it nonetheless.)

"ACH" does have some challenging classic vocabulary that you may have to explain (i.e. "wooers"), but I think your kids will like it if you give it a chance. The whole world of Greek mythology is SO foreign to our modern Christian minds that it does take some getting used to, even for those of us who are slightly older than 10 and 12. ~_^ But I think it's worth the effort. (And how cool is it that our kids will already know the storyline of The Iliad and The Odyssey?? I didn't learn about these until college! :)

Whichever books you end up choosing, I hope you and your kids enjoy reading them together!

Unread post by cbollin »

About reading The Children's Homer, when we did CTG, we adjusted the reading as needed. Overall it worked, with just little tweaks.

Posted: Sat May 10, 2008 6:32 pm

I know in the archives there are some posts with lots of people who did a great job with it. Maybe there is something in one of those posts that has suggestion or two that could help (look for Lori's answer)
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Unread post by MJP »

Just assenting that if you add other books or put them in your book basket, make sure you check the illustrations. I did some creative watercoloring in mine!
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

Hi Kris,
For us, The Children's Homer was a "step up" in language and plot. But I was ready for a little of that with my 4th grader.

Also, Marie holds your hand thru it. First, the kids read the "easy reader" beforehand, so they understand the basic events. Then she suggests questions for the parent to ask before each day's reading, in order to give the child something to listen for. I also followed the suggestion of writing those questions right in each chapter of my book.

Posted: Sat May 10, 2008 10:34 pm

Here's a link with Crystal's review back when she had read the book more recently. Also a good review of the value of the book by Lucy.

I haven't read Sutcliff's version, but I liked the emphasis in the Children's Homer with the wooers that the wife couldn't get out of her house. It was more funny and light-hearted than the emphasis in some versions on the crazy creatures & gods & scary situations. Of course they all include both, but in *my mind* there was a central story emphasis that differed.

I wonder if pointing out something in our culture that is based on these myths would make them more interesting? I'm thinking of Nike shoes, Apollo space missions, Amazon online book store, Midas car repair shops, etc. Not sure which would correlate exactly -- just a thought?!
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Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Just wanted to mention that I think there is an older version of the Wanderings of Odysseus book that lacks the nudity and graphic violence that is in the newer version. I may be wrong -- I have been meaning to check into this to verify one way or the other... does anyone know?
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Unread post by MJ in IL »

I highly recommend reading The Childrem's Homer! My 2/3rd, 4/5th and 7/8th loved it! My older dd did choose to read a more "advanced" version on her own in conjunction with my read aloud.

Marie does a great job of prefacing what you are about to read, what to look for and then we always did a quick summarizaion afterward. The chapters are also quite short. Both boys followed the story line and enjoyed it!

I also liked the line drawings...the boys did a bit if their own illustrating for their notebook.
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Unread post by Lucy »

Just adding to all the other great comments. My kids enjoyed it and my son was in the 3rd grade at the time my daughter in the 5th.

My daughter will soon read the full length version of the 2 books that Children's Homer retells, which is MFW's 1st year of high school, Ancient History and Literature. I am glad now that she already has a frame work from which to read these poems and that hopefully it will make it easier to comprehend. Ask me again in May and I can tell you how it went!

Just a side note. She has spent some time now reading and studying Psalms and Proverbs (these are being studied as literature while reading about Kings Saul, David, and Solomon). This is all done before she is reading The Iliad and The Odyssey. Not that we have not been studying the Bible for years, but I really like this foundation before these last 2 books are read this year. She will of course be continuing to read the old testament for Bible at the same time, which is also part of the program.

So, reading it now is a good foundation for later as well. Just another thought on it.
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Unread post by scmlg »

We are reading it right now with my 8 and almost 10 year old. They love it.
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Unread post by kellybell »

Jenn in NC wrote:For those of you who have gone through CTG with youngers tagging along, should I plan to include my 6yo boy in the daily readings? He has been with us as we read the Patricia St John books and loved them, but I am not sure about this one. I guess I could just see how it goes... but thought I would check and see if anyone has any experience with this. Thanks :)
Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:08 pm

Children's Homer is an "older kid" book. My ds was 7-8 when we read it and he enjoyed it, but he likes mythology and such. My dd (5) didn't get a thing out of it.

I'd recommend having your little one hang out in the same room and color or play and see what happens. He might pick up a few tidbits.

Remember, if you stick with MFW, you'll visit it again when your ds is 11 or so.
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Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:34 am

Hey Jenn,

There is also a younger version included in the pkg. which is used to introduce the basic story along with the names to all students young or old(I am the old one LOL). Your first grader will like this short version.

Jenn in NC wrote:I didn't even see that Trojan Horse is scheduled the same week! Thanks for the tip Lucy. You are right, all the boys are excited about that one :)

Re: Just purchased Creation to Greeks...some questions...

Unread post by cbollin »

dorenekimberly wrote:I just purchased at our home school convention Creation to the Greeks (this will be our third year with MFW and we have really enjoyed it). I'm looking over some of the material and am a bit apprehensive about a couple of things. I will be using this for my 4th grade son and my special needs 14 year old daughter.

I was showing both children The Children's Homer, and they showed the same discernment I have. Does anyone else have a problem using this as Read Aloud? The pictures are scary, not to mention subject material. I have vivid memories as a girl pg seeing parts of it on television with the One Eyed Cyclops (not sure if getting it right) and the creature with the multiple snake heads. Yuck....gave me the willies back then and still does. My husband and I both agreed we won't be reading this to the children. Does anyone else feel the same?

I would appreciate any feedback anyone could give me!
When I did CTG 5 years ago, the only problem I had with Children's Homer was the length of the book for my oldest. We didn't read the whole thing all the time. But I have no scary pictures in my copy. I guess I have a different edition? yep. cover is different. Want to swap?

Just black and white drawings. Well, ok p. 46 or 158 might be "scary"? (but it's a read aloud, and they don't have to see any of those?) I have a different perspective in that seeing icky stuff on TV or DVD stays longer than a drawing in a book that is being read out loud by parents.

You don't have to read Children's Homer if you don't want to. You can just read them of other books from book basket, and Trojan Horse. Should be enough for your kiddos' ages if you and your dh aren't comfortable with it. It's really ok. ((hugs))

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Re: Just purchased Creation to Greeks...some questions...

Unread post by niki »

I'm finishing up CTG with a 1,3 and 4th graders. We read Children's Homer and my kids loved it. It fits well with the study of Ancient Greece. Pre-read this summer and then make your decision, you can skip parts that may seem too gruesome - which as I remember the part of the Cyclops eating some men was very yucky, but we read it and the kids enjoyed this great tale.

HTH :)

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Re: Just purchased Creation to Greeks...some questions...

Unread post by courthart246 »

We are finishing up CTG tomorrow. I have a 3rd/sort of 4th grader and a K'er. I did MFW K with the K'er just to clarify.

Homer also had me a little apprehensive at the beginning, but ds actually loved it, and he's a very sensitive kid. He cried when the mommy penguin got eaten in March of the Penguins. :) It is the children's version, so maybe it is not as gruesome as the adult version? I would agree that you could pre-read and skip any parts that you deem too scary for your kiddos. But overall we thought it was a good book....and I remember hating reading this kind of stuff in high school. You have a great year ahead of you. We learned so much this year. And the testimony of that is that my ds doesn't want to stop school for the summer. But this mom needs a little break before RTR.
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Children's Homer - are or did your child enjoy it?

Unread post by cbollin »

asheslawson wrote:My 5th grade ds is an avid reader and has completely enjoyed every story in ECC & CTG thus far...but Children's Homer seems to be the exception. He loved all of the Christian Heroes books in ECC - loved the Patricia St. John books this year - he's loved many other books we've read as well. This book just doesn't seem interesting to him, which surprises me. He generally loves books and has even read some mythylogical type books before - but he just seems bored with this one. Anybody else have the same experience?
I've done CTG twice.

1st time.... oldest was in 3rd grade. (we started MFW before ADV was written). I tolerated most of the book reading it aloud. She liked the main plot. Didn't get bogged down in all of it. I skipped parts because I didn't like reading it aloud. more than I could do that year.

2nd time... oldest in 8th and middle gal in 5th.
My kids loved it on audio.
Our library had it it for audio ebook or something like that. Put the book in front of middle gal and played the audio. She wouldn't put it down. Oldest sat there and crocheted and cross stitched while listening.

Of course it's totally fine to skip it. of course some children will not like it. others are weird like mine and thought it was fun.

however, one thing to keep in mind -- if you skip the book, that means you can substitute anything you want during that read aloud time. In my case, we finished the book way ahead of schedule with the audio version. so.......... we played outside more, and did field trips like fun stuff. my middle daughter had more time to do art work those days. It's all good, isn't it?

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Re: Children's Homer - are or did your child enjoy it?

Unread post by MelissaB »

Um.... we skipped Children's Homer. :~

[You guys aren't undercover "Do you do everything in the curriculum?" police, are you?]

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Re: Children's Homer - are or did your child enjoy it?

Unread post by TriciaMR »

I got an audiobook to follow along with. Worked way better for us. But, I think we enjoyed it.

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Re: Children's Homer - are or did your child enjoy it?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

If your son's an avid reader, he might enjoy the Rosemary Sutcliff versions more. My son did Children's Homer in 4th, the Sutcliff versions somewhere around 7th, and of course the full versions are in AHL. I think each is a step up, and there's some value in preparing the way by revisiting those over the years. However, I can't say my son really remembered tons from one time to the next. I do like the Children's Homer version myself, because it starts in the "middle" with Odysseus's wife having all those suitors in her house, and I think it's funny :) (if you look at the Iliad & the Odyssey as a continuum, the suitors start at the beginning of the Odyssey). But I think I remember having to help my son see it as funny since he hadn't been a suitor yet :~

Another little benefit I appreciated in reading Children's Homer in 4th was pushing my son a step up in literature, a step higher in vocab & sentences. It seems like MFW did that with one book every year. However, it doesn't sound like your son really needs you to worry about that. So if he's reading and if he's able to do these things with other books, I personally wouldn't have any trouble at all subbing something else in there. But I think it would be good to sub something else about Greece maybe, because it's really part of the "history" part of your day, rather than part of the "deluxe/optional read-alouds." But like everyone is saying, of course it's your school !!

Oh, and I think you probably did, but make sure you used the Trojan Horse book first even though it's kinda young, because it prepares the way & it covers something that's not in the Iliad/Odyssey. Anyways, some other conversation is here:

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Re: Children's Homer - are or did your child enjoy it?

Unread post by asheslawson »

Thanks Julie - he did enjoy the Trojan Horse book - he read it to his lil sis because it was below his reading level. I guess that's why I was surprised to see him not enjoy Children's Homer.

Still yet - I'm not ready to throw it out because I do want to see him build on it a little - and I like that he recognizes how many influences Greek writing has on our culture as he learns more. I just think it helps me to be more discerning. I just keep it light and read it then move on - since he seems a bit bored with it. If it gets worse - I might sub another book. But for now - he just drifts off and says it bores him. But then he's off reading several other books on his own that I have to drag him away from - so I'm not worried about that. Just wondered if other kids seemed bored with it too! Funny thing is - he seems bored because he knows it's mostly made up - he really just wants to know the real story. He seems to prefer trying to pick out what facts occurred that caused the writer to make up the story the way he did. I guess that's just how he is.

As for the undercover curriculum police - MelissaB - hope they aren't on this thread - because I sure tweak a lot too - some things look like the manual suggests - but other things I edit all over the place...I think that's what makes it fun!! ;)
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Re: Children's Homer - are or did your child enjoy it?

Unread post by IdahoGrown »

We stopped reading that book part way through. I didn't see the benefit in continuing it because it was weird. Lol!
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Re: Children's Homer - are or did your child enjoy it?

Unread post by MelissaM »

We read it when my dd was in 3rd grade with a different curriculum - did it as a read-aloud. I thought a lot of it probably went over dd's head, but we enjoyed it anyway. When I got it out again a few weeks ago with our CtG stuff, she said, "Hey I remember that book! It's about that Od(mumblesomething) guy, and his long journeys, right?" She's excited to read it again. I was excited she remembered even that much of it.

So, I guess we're the oddballs - we liked it. :)
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