Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.

    Home Education

    Living California History: The Wild Muir

    April 17, 2013 by Brandy Vencel

    Because, as I said before, I accidentally got behind on California history, I am not actually scheduling this book. I’m just giving it to my son as a free read. And, by the way, if you’re looking for an interesting, masculine, nonfiction, lively, and unconventional free read for around ages 10 or 12, this book is in order.

    John Muir lived from 1838 to 1914, so I think a collection of his most famous of adventures is a great way to finish up Year 5. I’m scheduling it for Term 3 with all of my future students, and I’ll be pasting the schedule below.

    But before I do, I simply must tell you how I discovered this book. On our tenth anniversary, Si and I went away for a night to a bed and breakfast right outside Sequoia National Park. The owners of the place had an extensive collection of books about California. It was truly a treasure trove! We were sitting in the parlor with the windows open that night, chatting and listening to the water in the river. I picked up a copy of a book and started reading.

    I had never even heard of John Muir before, at least not in a way that I remembered him.

    But I read and I read and I kept thinking that my son would love this book.

    I don’t know if the book is really for kids or for adults. As an adult, I truly enjoyed it. Muir was lovable and the stories were engaging. As my child’s teacher, I can only say that this is a fun introduction to John Muir, whose naturalist writings he’ll read (thanks to AO!) when he is older.

    Now, in case some of you are beginning Year 5 Term 3 and would like a fitting selection, I give you my weekly schedule for the book. I’m assigning two chapters a week on average. Please note that my students will not be reading those chapters on the same day–I would have them read one on, say, Monday, and then a second chapter later in the week.

    The Wild Muir: Twenty-Two of John Muir’s Greatest Adventures
    by Lee Stetson

    (fits with AmblesideOnline, Year 5, Term 3)

    Week 1: Good Scootchers and Near Drowning
    Week 2: At the Bottom of the Well and Blind!
    Week 3: Fever! and The Brink of the Yosemite Fall
    Week 4: An Interview with a Bear and In the Midst of the Yosemite Fall
    Week 5: Climbing the Ice Cone and  The Snow Avalanche Ride
    Week 6: Rattlesnakes and The Earthquake
    Week 7: The Ascent of Mount Ritter and A Geologist’s Winter Walk
    Week 8: The Tree Ride and A Perilous Night on Mount Shasta
    Week 9: Mono Lake Windstorm and Thirst
    Week 10: The Rescue on Glenora Peark and Stickeen
    Week 11: A Sled Trip on the Muir Glacier
    Week 12: Nearly Crushed by an Iceberg

    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit


  • Reply Glenna Heustis August 11, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Thanks Brandy for being the “pioneer” for integrating California history with AO! It has been a huge blessing to me in planning and my daughter and I have really enjoyed all your suggestions. I am exciting to read this book about Muir myself. In grad school at UC San Francisco, I often meandered through Muir Woods just as a retreat from life. Looking forward to learning more about the man that beautiful spot is named for!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 11, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      Oh, it is my pleasure!

      By the way, I noticed that there is another California book in the upper years of AO: The Land of Little Rain by Mary Austen. I’m excited about that one…especially considering our drought. 😉

  • Reply Glenna Heustis August 9, 2014 at 12:34 am

    How did your son enjoy this selection? Planning out my year 5 and deciding which CA selections will work best.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 9, 2014 at 12:43 am

      It worked well! I got good narrations from my student, which is always a good test. 🙂

      One thing I love is that he’ll be reading Muir in the upper years, so this gives him some background knowledge on who Muir was as a person…

    • Reply April Gibbons May 16, 2024 at 11:22 am

      Hi Brandy!!
      My family is moving back to California and I’m planning to incorporate some of these into our CM homeschool. Is there a place where I can see all of the books that you recommended for California history in one place? I think you’ve added some since I moved out of California. Thanks!

  • Reply Celeste April 17, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing all your CA history resources, Brandy–as a fellow CA-er, I’ll definitely be incorporating these when my children are older!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 18, 2013 at 11:38 pm

      You’re welcome! Thank you for your comment…I am glad to know they help someone other than myself. 🙂

    Leave a Reply