Friday, December 31, 2010

52 in 52 2011...Just a Little Note

Since I already made my quota last year,  I am using Pathfinder as my first book instead of my last book...LOL.  I am also reading Carry On Mr. Bowditch to my boys,  but since I am enjoying it way more than they are,  I am counting that one as well....

Reviews to week.....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 Book Challenges

This year I am going to try some new book challenges.  I will be joining the Well Trained Mind 52 books in 52 weeks....AND within that challenge,  I will add other challenges.  So far,  these are the ones I have found and linked to.  I am not sure HOW to post an reciprocal link,  so if anyone can explain that,  I would be grateful!....

Here is the e-book Challenge:

And of course.....

I am now going to try and set up some kind of list...ummmmmm.......maybe :-)


Monday, December 27, 2010

52 Books in 52 Weeks Wrap-Up

So,  the challenge comes to an end...and I think I actually achieved my goal!!!  YEAH!!  Well,  that is if I include all the books I read aloud to my littles (only the chapter ones over 150 pages)  AND the YA fiction,  because I am a firm believer in Brain Candy when it is necessary.

Did you reach the goal of 52 books?:

Why yes,  I think I did!

What was the last book you read?:

The last book for this year is The Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card.  He is one of my all time favorite authors...and I got to read this one on my new Sony E-Reader!!  Thanks Honey!  I love you!!!!

Did you read from a list and fly by the seat of your pants choosing a different book each week?:

I didn't read from a list...and I really did fly by the seat of my pants.  I really wish I could have been more organized and purposeful in my reading,  but this was not going to be the year for it.  I got most of my ideas from the other readers on the WTM forum,  Sonlight lists and Ambleside Online lists.  I also got some ideas from my older kids ("MOM!  You have GOT to read this!!  That is how I came upon the Book Thief and The Heretic's Daughter.)Did you learn something new about yourself, an author, an topic?:
Well,  YES!  I didn;t think about it until now,  but I found I really...R.E.A.L.L.Y.  enjoy Dystopian Literature.  i didn't even know that was a genre!  I just thought i loved Sci-Fi without robots and with a political twist.  I went on one of those reading jags...and got Elvis reading them as well.  This included but was not limited to:  Hunger Games trilogy, Orson Scott Card books,   1984, Brave New World,  This Perfect Day, etc.

How many classics did you read?:

Well,  i read a bunch of Children's Classics like Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, Little House on the Prairie series (not really a classic,   but almost there...LOL)

Did you discover a new author or genre? Did you love them or hate them?

Yes,  I really like Malcolm Gladwell and enjoyed his non- fiction statistical books especially Outlier.  I love how chatty,  but interesting they were.

Name your top ten favorite reads:

I'll try:

OK...Harry Potter...I never read these before and I am so happy I finally did.  They were so much fun, I loved the whole series.

Hunger Games Trilogy

Far North

The Book Thief

I Am the Messenger

The Heretic's Daughter

Water for Elephants

Percy Jackson Olympians series
 Name your bottom ten least favorite reads:
The Outlander by Gil Adamson (not the series of a similar title)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

The Time Traveller's Wife
Elegance of the Hedgehog (hated the end!)
The Element (yawn)
Knowing and Teaching Elementary Math (I am not so sure I liked her tone young lady.)
Life of Pi (loved and hated at the same time.  Beautifully disturbing.  It broke my heart.)

Name a book you simply could not finish:

Bill Bryson's book about Australia.  I like him,  but the book was a schnoozer for me.  Ds loved it...go figure...

I remember throwing a few books across the room this year,  but I have blocked them from my memory...sorry...sigh....

Name a book you expected to like but didn't:

The Time Traveller's Wife.  After all the hip and hype...I kept waiting for something besides soft porn to happen.  I really like time travel books,  they fascinate me  BUT this was like a poorly written made-for-tv but had too much skin,  so let's make a movie book.  I think the premise was interesting,  but so poorly carried out...I kept waiting for the story.  Didn't happen...blah!!!! 

Name a book you expected to not like but did:

Harry Potter.  After all the warnings and etc.  I thought I would read it just to say I have and back up my choice not to include it in my children's reading lists.  I was surprised how much i enjoyed these books.  I apologised to my older kids for believing and propagating the "Harry Potter is not ok for Christians"  myth.  They assured me it was OK and they actually all read and enjoyed the books too...rotten kids! 

So,  now I am looking forward to next years challenge.  I am going to put together a list for myself....52 books long,  but I have the right to be wishy-washy and not follow the plan.  I am going to try to include 4 biographies, 4 non-fiction (not biographies)  4 Classics, 4 Christian Classics, 4 Travel Books, 4 science fiction, 4 girl books,  4 Teaching Theory Books,  4 Historical Fiction, 16 books from any category...

I plan on drawing heavily from Ambleside Online, The Well Educated Mind and other bloggers :-)

Come on Reading Challenge 2011!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A WTM Question:

This question was asked on the WTM today, and it really set me to reminiscing…..
For things like math and LA, do you use the same thing for younger kids as you did for their older siblings?

I don't use the same materials. With my older kids I used a lot of "homeschool only" curricula. The WTM wasn't out yet and I had lots of warm fuzzy ideas. Then I met Charlotte Mason and Susan Wise Bauer. I also gained more confidence in my teaching ability. I found out I hated Saxon math, because it was a bad fit and didn't help my kids to love or understand math. It just frustrated them and me. I should have know the first week I started home schooling with my borrowed copy of the 5/4 book which I promptly dropped on my foot and broke my toe!

I do use many of the same read alouds and readers.

I didn't know about Christian Light programs and when I did hear of them, I thought "Light" meant it was easy or for special needs. I started using them after a recommendation on the WTM for my struggling 4th grader. What a difference! Things I was trying to accomplish, in a workbook, easy-peasy to implement....sigh of relief!

When I started there was no SOTW, No Ambleside Online...heck, there was no ONLINE!, No TOG, Sonlight and Beautiful Feet were available.


Somehow when I started homeschooling, there was this weird underlying "feeling" that I can't put my finger on. There was a philosophical Holier than Thou spirit floating around these parts. I could never really get my mind wrapped around it, guess I am not spiritual enough. There were Marilyn Howshall and Lynda Coates and Robin Sampson (now Scarlata? or is it the other way?)

 For the girls, there was Far Above Rubies. I researched through “The Principle Approach,” I flew caution to the wind and bought (used) all 4 volumes of the Weaver Curriculum, because I wanted to teach History in a chronological manner, I tried text books, A Beka and Bob Jones. I learned about Ruth Beechick and implemented her ideas into our LA. I used a version of the Phonics Road. I was like a teeny , tiny ship being tossed upon the waves of curricula and Home Learning. I read EVERYTHING I could get my hands on, and literally drove myself NUTS! My kids seem no worse for wear. My heart was in the right place and they knew we were on this crazy journey together. My first 2 had been in school, so they needed a bit of “detox’ing.” My younger guys were little…and loved being in on everything the girls were up to. Then came pregnancies, sicknesses, financial issues, aging and sick, dying parents, aging US…lol.

It was a weepy, surreal time. The Christian home schoolers I knew were ultra religious, and convinced Christians were oppressed by the wicked, evil, soul stealing public schools, and needed to protect our children from "Others." Problem was, I was OTHERS...and didn't want anyone to know that...LOL! I could never fit in. I tried...I switched to all dresses, went to church 3 times a week, taught Sunday School, had fellowship meetings in my home, tried to be legalistic etc. I almost went totally BONKERS!

I had to go through a period of soul searching, self examination to determine who I was and how I fit into life. It was really hard. I was depressed a lot of the time. I was physically ill, pregnant, nursing or both much of those early years.  Then,  I fell in love with Jesus,  asked Him into my heart and to guide my paths.  I yearned to know the real Jesus,  not some made-up version,  not some watered down,  all is good,  happy-happy,  jooy-joy version or mean, ugly, nasty version.  Not some version who didn't love us for who He made us to be, and then expected us to be someone else.  I wanted to know the God of the Bible and I wanted my children to know Him as well. 

More self reflection. I now had teens who were going off to college, tweens, kids and babies. I always pictured myself like the clown in the circus spinning plates and not letting any of them drop.

THEN , dh started his own business and I was expected to be ½ of it…..

Curricula needed to be simple. I didn’t have hours upon hours to sit on the couch and read to my babies. I was too busy driving them to swim meets and classes. I was too busy balancing books, answering phones, dealing with taxes and invoices and vendors. My Dad passed on and I became the sole care giver to my Mother. SOMETHING had to change!

As I said, when I started home schooling for us was intrinsically intertwined with religiosity. With that part of our lives over , I needed to reassess OUR OWN reasons for home schooling. One big reason was that God called us to this path. I had that calling and know it, without all the legalism or religious rules. It was pretty simple…Do This!
I am also very academically inclined. I think deeply, my husband thinks deeply and I want my kids to be thinkers as well. In came the Well Trained Mind. In came Charlotte Mason .

 In came online classes, resources, message boards where there were like minded home schoolers. Some still made all their own bread from their own home ground flour…and all their 12 kids had matching outfits which Mom herself sewed from the woolen cloth she wove….think Teaching Home, Far Above Rubies, Crown of Silver….but there were also those home schooling for purely academic reasons, those home schooling for religious reasons, who weren’t Christians!!! I learned I could be ME and I could teach my kids in a manner that made US thrive. I could tailor their pursuits. I could LIKE my kids and not try to squish them into the mold of perfection that other people determined for them. I saw those results in their kids. NOT PRETTY!

Anyway, in answer to your question, as we home school , we grow. As we raise our kids, we too grow and change. As we home school, our children mature, as we mature. As we home school, we learn who we are. We change, our curriculum choices change, our teaching methods develop and change, our book choices change. As we home school we hone our children’s skills, we hone our own skills. I am no longer that twenty-something Mom with all young kids. I am a forty-something woman with adult children, teen-agers, tweeners and young kids. I am readying to be a grandmother at some point. Of course I am different! Of course my curricula is different. Homeschooling is a path which we walk, sometimes we stop and rest and then we go on.  All of the methods, curricula, educational philosophies, teaching methods, etc.  have melded together to look like something "new"  and "different" in my homeschool.  My school should not look like your school,  and as you grow and mature,  your homeschool will change as well.  It is sort of like looking back at baby pictures and then pictures of you as a child, adolescent, teen and then an adult...young, middle and then older.  

As Charlotte Mason said, “Education is a life.” I add, so is home schooling.

Have a Blessed Christmas!