Our Streak, begun Thanksgiving Day, has awarded us many hours of lovely read-aloud time. We always celebrate the Christmas season by reading aloud from our collection of Christmas titles. This year we have enjoyed many treasures together.
We have begun a new challenge in our home. Recently I began The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma. I discovered this book from a podcast called Read-Aloud Revival, hosted by Sarah Mackenzie. This is an inspiring podcast which encourages us to "build our family culture around books". She has interviewed many wonderful guests, one being Alice Ozma.
We are a busy people. As I type...not at home...my laundry is piled, dishes unwashed, and a mile-long list of things to accomplish. Pressures of life seem to crush us.
What would the world be like without our animal friends? We spend hours a day with our farm animals. Milking cows, gathering eggs from our chickens, herding our sheep, laughing at our ducks, petting the cat and dogs are teaching our boys responsibility and compassion. My middle son is known in our farming community as the animal whisperer. He can get any of our animals to do just about anything we need them to.
I think this fasciniation is universal.
We recently said goodbye to an old friend. We have spent the last year or so getting to know him well. Our family has had many instructive conversations, laughs and cries because of our relationship with him. Our lives will be forever changed and made fuller because of the influence he had on us. It won't be goodbye forever, however. We can visit him anytime just by opening a book.
I recently took a quick tour through a modern bookstore. I usually avoid them, knowing that most of what is currently published is devoid of beauty, both of sight and of mind. But I had a few minutes to kill so, as the bear who went over the mountain, I went in to see what I could see. I left dejected, uninspired and definitely unimpressed. What little life that was there was crushed among the death-obsessed tomes.
One of the greatest joys of our lives is to have hosted foreign exchange students from all over the world. Two boys in particular have become like sons to us. In fact, when folks ask how many children I have, I say I have five boys including two French sons. You see, for us France is more than just a spot on a map, more than just landscapes and landmarks. It is two very special people.
Vacation time for a homeschool family often involves taking a break from regular studies and learning about the location they will be traveling to. As we prepare for what we hope will be a quiet, restful and WARM week at the beach, I thought I'd share some of the books we have been enjoying to open our eyes to what we might find.
As a librarian who is also a homeschooling mama, I am often asked by prospective patrons if I have the books listed on various homeschool curricula book lists. I remember as a new homeschooler 18 years ago trying to find a curriculum that utilized real, living books. After we finished our time with Five in a Row, we definitely did not want to settle for dry facts common in the textbooks listed in most homeschool catalogs and marketed at homeschool conventions. I found only one such curriculum at the time. We plunged in, enjoying the books we could locate on that list, substituting books we could not find or...gasp...leaving them out altogether. It really never occured to me that my child's education would somehow be ruined if I did not have the exact book recommended on a particular list.
Many parents eagerly embrace living books when teaching their young children. Snuggling on the couch, making memories around books is lovely. Other parents use living books only for history. Biographies and historical fiction truly make history come alive, making us feel as if we are really there. Some families, however, fail to recognize the value of living books for science and math, relying instead on textbooks and workbooks, especially in the later years.