Thursday, July 3, 2008

What we're reading

I'm planning to add a bit more structure to our schooling in the near future, but for the summer I'm keeping things very informal. We've mostly been reading, which we would do anyway but I figure counts as school time. I've thought for a long time that the best things my parents did for me and my siblings educationally were reading to us and making sure we learned to play a musical instrument. They read all kinds of things to us. My mom tended to pick childrens classics, like the Little House Books, books by Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and others. My dad read to us the books he enjoyed--JRR Tolkien, Pilgrim's Progress, William Blake's poems, the Old Testament. He had a good reading voice, and would read sometimes for hours at a time while we played with blocks or tinkertoys and listened. I still love to hear him read. He came to visit a couple of months after Luke was born and had a novel with him he had picked up for the trip. I asked him what it was about and he read several pages to me. It took me right back to my childhood and listening to him read. We also read Shakespeare together as a family, everyone who could read taking a part or two. I imagine this was why when I came across the educational philosophies of Charlotte Mason they felt very familiar to me--I grew up on living books, though no-one used those words.
Anyway, back to my subject. I am really enjoying having a child who is old enough to enjoy the longer chapter books that I enjoy reading. I started reading the Little House on the Prairie series to Lily about a year ago, and we have since read a number of great books: C. S. Lewis's "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe", Tolkien's "The Hobbit", "The Voyage of Dr. Dolittle"; right now we are reading the original "Winnie the Pooh" and "Little Pilgrim's Progress"--an excellent retelling of John Bunyan's classic written for children. I get many of my recommendations from other homeschoolers and check the books out at the library. At some point I would like to have my own home library filled with really good books, but right now I don't have the space and am trying to keep clutter down as much as possible to meet the expectations of my minimalist husband!


Kelley said...

Great blog! I really want to read more with my kids, but they are generally so noisy that I can't get them to be quiet long enough to listen. That is until recently when I discovered how well it works to get them all ready for bed and bedded down for the night, and then reading some scripture stories and then a chapter or two out of a chapter book. Their request last night was "Farmer Boy." I'm hoping that as we do this, it will translate into being able to do what your family did and what you're doing now. Baby steps.

This is a very inspirational blog, and I wrote about you over on mine. Chalice is looking for you, too, and I sent her this direction.

Paula said...

Thank you for your generous comments Kelley. I think girls are easier to read to-- you could just wait until Rachel gets bigger and start your reading then {G}. Bedtime is good though, as is getting dad in on the picture. And for kids who can't sit, allowing more-or-less quiet play during reading time worked for my family. Farmer Boy is one of my all-time favorite books--I read about everything that family did in a day, let alone a week, month, year, and feel very inadequate but motivated!

Housefairy said...

I am looking forward to following your lovely blog. Charlotte Mason is one of the dearest most inspirational people I have ever had the pleasure of "knowing", yet our homeschooling hasnt ended up the way I envisioned back when we first started out. I have felt that many "interruptions" have come into our lives (and many pregnancies, too) and had alomst forgotten what it was all about, really.
I am going to go back to the source of my original inspirations, and do a lot of thinking and praying. I love the quote on your sidebar, too--what a wonderful one
Best of luck with your little ones and hopefully I will be back to my homeschool blog again before we know it

Kelley said...

I feel the same way about that book. It is a big reason why we want to move to a farm after we are finished getting out of debt. I want my children to have the opportunities for good, hard work that Almanzo and his brother and sisters had. It is very difficult to find work like that when you live in an apartment in the city.

I've started reading to Rachel while I nurse her. I don't do it every time, but tonight I read "Mary Poppins" to her, and we both enjoyed it. Hopefully I can get her on the path to enjoying reading sooner than I did with her brothers. I like the idea of the quiet play while reading, too. Thanks for the suggestion.

Paula said...

I have seen you on Kelley's blog. I look forward to getting to know you! One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is all the support and inspiration I get from other people.
And as for getting off track with homeschooling, I figure no matter how off track I get I won't be able to waste as much of my children's time as public school would! When I look back at my own school experiences I think it's a wonder I managed to learn anything at all. That being said, I do leave the option of sending my kids to school at some time in the future if that seems to be the right thing at the time. But personally I hope it won't happen :-) I really love having them home and really and truly believe that their just being with me is good for them, whether I am doing a lot of teaching or not.