Earlier this summer, I picked the girls up from missions camp and they were so excited they talked non-stop all of the way home. It had been a wonderful week of studying about missions and missionaries and the work they do all over the world. My Junior was almost giddy as she shared about all of the different countries and their capitals that she had committed to memory as a result of the week -- and she described flags and languages spoken in each country the entire time we rode home. I was thrilled to hear her excitement and excited myself to share with her a book that had arrived while she was gone -- King Alfred's English: A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do.
She's my history scholar and resident artist and King Alfred's English was right up her alley. So much so that I asked her to help me write part of this review. I thought you might like to read how reading this book has impacted the life of one sweet 16-year-old girl.
King Alfred's English is an insightful view of our language's past. As I was going through the book, I couldn't help but think that English is a lot like people -- allowing other cultures, people groups and religions to influence its dialect.
It's interesting to me all of the cultures and languages that held influence over MY language. I just love how this author describes those changes and influences. For example, English was established when the Romans invaded in 400 AD when Latin was introduced. Then the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britannia. The beautiful language that King Alfred had worked so hard to produce basically got thrown under the bus. When the French invaded, people thought it was better suited to their ruler and began to change King Alfred's language.
I'm into history -- it's kind of my thing. Going through this book was also a different look on the history between countries and their dialect. As a history person, I found that at some points in the book there was A LOT of information to take read and comprehend. Now that wasn't a bad thing, not at all. It was just that I found myself having to go back and re-read to make sure that I understood. And I couldn't just move on to another part like I might in some other books because then I would have missed something and I definitely didn't want to miss any part of this awesome book.
Isn't that a great review from my daughter? Laurie White has written a wonderful book about the history of our language. She grabs the attention of her reader from the very beginning and uses humor and excitement to keep it until the very end. To watch my daughter CHOOSE to read a book about the English language makes this mama proud. That is exactly what I want for my children -- to so enjoy learning that they choose to do it on their own.
She is not the only person in our family enjoying King Alfred's English either. We are ALL reading through it and are currently using it as a major resource in our school. I LOVE that it is about the Reformation as that fits PERFECTLY with our current studies! A PERFECT fit for my entire family, we are enjoying studying King Alfred's English together. Of course, my Junior took off and read it in its entirety but I am taking it slower with the Boy Scout and Princess. As she said, it is a LOT of information to digest at one time. I want to make sure that they comprehend what we are studying.
On her website, The Shorter Word.com, Laurie White offers lesson plans, worksheets, movie suggestions and tests to go along with the book. We are using bits and pieces of it all to comprehensively study King Alfred's English. I appreciate that there is enough material for a 1/2 credit in History for my high schooler and she plans to re-read and study even deeper this semester. The movie recommendations add an element of fun that I've purposed to put back into our school environment this year. The "Not To Be Missed" sections for each chapter are exciting, too! Not just a "book," King Alfred's English is a great hands-on, come-to-life history that we are blessed to be using. (This supplemental material is FREE! Check out the Student Pages, Teacher Materials and Table of Contents for more information.)
And my very favorite quote from the Junior as she reads through the book: "Every time I say use proper English, I can't help but to wonder if I am talking about Olde English, Olde Norse or Middle English." She's learning -- and enjoying it. That's exactly what I desire MOST for my family.
You can purchase your own copy of King Alfred's English in a variety of places. The very lowest price for a hard copy of the book is available at Christian Book Distributors for only $14.89. It's also available on Kindle for $5.95 right now. You'll want to make sure you snag a copy of this book today. It is a GREAT resource for all homeschooling families.
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