Saturday, August 7, 2010

What My Child is Reading - August 7, 2010 - A Week of Isaac Newton

We continued with Kathleen Krull's "Giants of Science" series, for our family reading this week, and I was relieved to find her version of Isaac Newton's life, a good deal tamer than Leonardo da Vinci's. Though, I do have to say the author does not seem to care for Newton personally, but in fairness, I doubt he would have cared for her. So I guess, they're even.

I only skipped over two paragraphs, one containing an unfounded, and slanderous suggestion, that Newton might have been a homosexual (since even Krull admits there is no actual evidence for the claim, I didn't feel bad skipping that paragraph), and one dealing with his early optical experiments on his own eyes. I skipped that, because it was too graphic for a few of my children, and I was afraid it might be too intriguing to a few others. Other than that, we sailed right through the book, and gained a lot of understanding of Isaac Newton, the times in which he lived, and his great accomplishments.

Just for fun, I also checked out a copy of his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy - Optics, not so much to read, as to show the children there is more to Newton than the three seemingly simple laws we bat around. Plus, I think it was good for them to see his name as author, and to realize he was a real person, and not just a character in a book.

On the lighter side of our reading, but keeping in theme I picked up Vicki Cobb's I Fall Down, from her Science Play series, on a recommendation from Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns. It's a brightly illustrated, easy to understand, look at gravity. Cobb suggests several simple, hands on experiments for children. You can see one of them in the review on Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

I also put a hold on I See Myself, from the same series, dealing with the way light bounces, but it didn't come in, in time for this week's reading.

Finally, as a nod to one of Isaac Newton's other interests, we checked out Sophia The Alchemist's Dog, by Shelley Jackson. It's a longer story than it's size suggests, and contains imps and angels, which I usually shy away from in literature. But, it's well written, and illustrated, with a fairytale-like quality. And, I think it captures the mix of science, religion, superstition, and folk lore, that were prevalent in Newton's day, quite nicely.

Find out what other's are reading, or join in with favorites of your own, at this week's What My Child Is Reading blog hop, hosted by Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Christy Killoran said...

Very interesting post. I would have skipped those paragraphs too.

Ticia said...

I always wonder at people who feel the need to embellish other peoples lives and add in things that have no basis.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Great post. I wonder why is it that biographies focus so much nowadays on personal lives of great people, especially when it has no bearing with their accomplishments. Makes it more "yellow press" than good read. I am glad to hear that the rest of the book was good, and I hope to read this series when Anna is older.