Reading: July 2018

Currently

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by J. Birdsall
This is our latest read aloud, which in the summer has been time spent few and far between. I’m anxious to get back into our not summer family rhythm so we can get back to reading aloud more. This comes highly recommended by many friends and so far, so good.

Glass Houses by L. Penny
This is only my second Louise Penny mystery and I’m still struggling to get into it. I love a good mystery and I really love mystery series. People rave about Louise Penny so I’m hoping that the more I read the more I will love her too.

A bunch of astronomy books
I’m teaching an 8th grade homeschool class this year and we do a history of astronomy in the Fall semester so I’m cruising through a bunch of different astronomy books.

The Great Divorce by CS Lewis
This is for my August book club meeting and I’m trying to stay with it, but it’s just strange. I love CS Lewis and I love a good allegory, but this one has been a little bit hard to figure out. Probably because I’m reading so many other things!

Educated by T. Westover
I started listening to this on audio and had to return it and I’m like number 100 in line for the book at the library. I loved the interview on NPR I heard with her, I loved as much as I was able to listen to and I’m almost tempted to just buy the book so I can finally finish it!

Finished

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by S. King
Awesome book. I loved this book as much as people said I would. It’s a fabulous book for write wannabes like me and it was such an amazing insight into King’s process. He’s totally strange, but yet he seems like such an ordinary family guy. He loves his wife and his kids and while what he writes about is often bizarre, his process is totally normal. Highly recommend!

Gilead by M. Robinson
I really wanted to like this book. I know people who love it, but it was so draggy and so somber. It often put me to sleep at night and it was almost drudgery to get through. There were parts I should have totally written down in my commomplace because they were so good, but overall I don’t know. I have one more episode to listen to of Close Reads as they talk about this and listening to the podcast has helped me process the book. Otherwise I would totally not like it.

The Fledgling by J. Langton
Actually we didn’t finish this book, but abandoned it. There’s only a handful of books that we’ve started to read aloud together and then quit and this one added to the list. It’s a super strange book and we really couldn’t figure out the whole point. A girl and a goose who flies. I don’t know. It was weird.

 

What’s Next

Goodness – who knows. I need to keep some good “easy” reads for my afternoon tea time, but I’ve also go so many things I need to read for my class. Not to mention that we’ve started homeschool so I’ve got tons of pre-reading I need to stay on top of too. I’m not going to make the next couple of book club meetings, so I’m not sure that I’ll stay on top of those readings. Who knows!

Reading: June/July 2018

I totally missed writing about my June books, but it’s no big deal because I really didn’t get much read. I feel like my life has been lived in 45 minute increments in between being the taxi for my kids this summer and just life in general. I’m really hoping July becomes a month of rest so I can catch up on some reading goals and do very little prep for the upcoming school year. I need a vacation!

Finished

Little Britches: Father and I were Ranchers by R. Moody
This was a pre-read for my upcoming Challenge B class and I really loved it. It was a sweet book and a great story; although the ending was a bit sad. Not without hope, but sad nonetheless. I’m interested in reading more of the series at some point.

The Inimitable Jeeves by PG Wodehouse
I’ve seen Wodehouse and Jeeves mentioned all over different groups I’m in so I took the plunge and read one. It was good and funny and I’ll file Wodehouse away as a great “recoup” read (as in after reading a heavy book). As a totally Anglophile, I’ll take any book with it’s dry English humor and enjoy it.

Fanny Crosby
This was a biography that we started for school and actually both of us abandoned it. Mallory got further along than me, but overall it was kind of ehh.

Hannah Coulter by Berry
This was a re-read for me as the Close Reads podcast from Circe was going through it. I really enjoyed it more the second time than the first.

Currently Reading

Gilead by M. Robinson
This one was mentioned on the podcast a bunch while I was reading Hannah Coulter and I kept hearing about it from a bunch of other places so I had filed it away as a to-read. I walked into the library one day and low and behold it was sitting on the top shelf with all the new books just waiting for me. I’m listening to the Close Reads podcast discussion while I’m reading it and it’s helping me get through it. The form is crazy different (like letters or journal entries) and while I know the story is going somewhere – it’s pretty melancholy. I’m not sure what I think about it.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
I’m on the tail end of this book and I’ve loved it all (minus the sections about grammar – ugg) but I love that I’ve been completely surprised by his voice as just a regular guy. He loves his wife, completely respects her opinion and he loves his family. That was refreshing and enjoyable to read in this day and age. And it was totally interesting to get behind the scenes of his crazy imagination. Overall, I appreciate his honesty. As someone who feels like I’ve got “that story” buried deep in my psyche it was just so refreshing to read about his process and just the real life of trying to get the words out onto a page.

The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms and Wisdom Literature by N. Guthrie
I needed desperately some sort of Bible study to do and after digging around on the web I came across Guthrie’s studies and figured I would give one a whirl. Low and behold the book arrived and I realized I did this study years ago. At the time, I really didn’t like it at all, but it’s funny how God can bring you into and through places and when you arrive on the other side the things that really didn’t hit you at one point do at the other.

Summer has been a crazy whirlwind and our schedules have been nuts. We’ve pretty much not been reading aloud at all so these books are still on our reading shelf, but are collecting dust:
Across Five Aprils
The Fledgling
Orthodoxy (although this one is collecting dust because I’m still struggling with it)

Coming Up

Once I finish Stephen King’s book, I’m going to finally read The Read Aloud Family and I need to start on The Great Divorce (Lewis) for my August book club. Fiction wise, I picked up a newer Louise Penny mystery and also The Light Keeper’s Daughter from the library. I also need to read a few others before I start teaching this Fall and I’m sure I’ve got a million things to pre-read for my kid’s own schooling. The list is forever long. Jaybar Crow is also on my list but I don’t know if I’m going to get to it before the Fall.

Quilt: Fancy Forest WIP

I’ve been working for months and months on this quilt and I’m 5 blocks away from finishing it.  The pattern is Elizabeth Hartman’s’ Fancy Forest. I had it on my wish list to sew for ages and a couple of Christmas’ ago I broke down and bought myself the pattern. And then it just sat there. Last year at some point I decided I was going to finally start working on it and bought all the solids. All the prints are from my own stash of scraps.

I’ve already learned so much working on it, but I’m so ready to start putting it all together! The biggest lesson came yesterday when my new 1/4″ foot came for my sewing machine and here I am on the last group of blocks with this amazing tool I should have purchased a million years ago! That and realizing that it’s better to stand and piece this versus sitting and standing every two seconds have been my biggest lessons.

It’s not perfect by any means and I’m working out how to piece and cut and do it all as close to perfect as possible. But I love it and I’m so proud of it.

Reading: April 2018

The angels erupted in song yesterday when I finally put down the book David Copperfield and rejoiced that nearly 900 pages later I was finished. Whew. It was a doozy of a book and the longest one I’ve read in years. I’m so happy to have finished it (and for the most part enjoyed it), but I’m super thrilled to be moving on.

Finished

The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie Ten Boom
Seriously, the best book I’ve read in a while. This one has been on my “to-read” list for years and when it ended up as one of my book club books AND a book that I’m teaching this coming year I was beyond thrilled. It’s an amazing read for the mere story of it, but also for the conviction of it. When I start to look around and become annoyed or dismayed at my life – all I need to do is remember hers. This one is worthy of it’s own review post.

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel
This was good; not my absolute favorite but I’m not a personality guru either. I really enjoyed the first few chapters, but when she started in on all the different personality tests etc, it didn’t quite hold my interest. It is a great compilation of all the different personality type discussions going on and I do believe in at least being familiar with all the typings as being a helpful thing when trying to deal with people (especially those in your family).

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
To begin with, this is Dickens so it’s crazy wordy. I will say, compared the other Dickens I’ve read this one was definitely more light-hearted. There were places throughout the book where I actually laughed and I did enjoy many of the characters. Dickens is amazing at his ability to create memorable characters and it’s where his love of descriptions is so helpful. By the time you are done with the book you definitely have a very vivid picture in your mind of who is who. I will say the character of David was somewhat annoying. I absolutely loved him as a child, but then it was like he never grew up. From his child-wife to the blindness he carried throughout the book for Agnes (come on already!) drove my absolutely bonkers…and his infatuation with Steerforth! I will say that Dickens did a fabulous job leading up that whole story with Steerforth. I knew from the beginning that at some point David was totally going to realize what sort of goody-too shoes he was.

Caddie Woodlawn (Caddie Woodlawn #1)
The chick and I read this aloud and overall it was pretty good. I feel like it is so much a copy of Little House that I had a hard time getting through that. I don’t know that either of us is a huge Pioneer literature fan so I don’t think we will be continuing on with the series. But it was a good read aloud.

Currently

The Fledgling (Hall Family Chronicles #4)
This is our current read aloud. I picked this up last year when I knew we were going to study birds and we finally started it. So far we are only like 10 pages in, so the jury is still out on how good it will be.

Before We Were Yours by Windgate
My mom passed this off to me a few days ago and knowing I needed something “easy” after Dickens I figured I would try this.

Across Five Aprils
We are attempting to do a family read aloud of this book. It’s been on the list all year and one that I wanted both kids to read. I’ve never read it and the reviews are always great.

Fanny Crosby
This is a pre-read for me as the chick is reading it for school. It’s a biography of her life. She was blind and ended up being this amazing hymn writer; she wrote Blessed Assurance for one.

Island of the Blue Dolphins
The chick is also reading this for school. It was one of my favorites as a child and I’m still enjoying it; she’s not. 🙁

Orthodoxy by Chesterton
This book is making my brain hurt.

What’s Next?

I’m going to re-read Hannah Coulter, because the Circe Close Reads podcast is getting ready to read it in May and I love Wendell Berry so win-win. A friend recommended PJ Wodehouse to me, so I reserved some of those books. Our next book club book is The Good Earth by Buck (I think) so I will need to get my hands on that. I’m also hoping to start reading Steven King’s memoir on writing.

Homeschool: Trello Planning

 

Trello 2018 6th gr

We’ve been using Trello this year with my daughter as her way of keeping up with her assignments for the week. It has been an awesome addition to our schooling day and I wanted to share how we’ve used it and how I’m using it to plan for her 6th grade year. Above is a picture of the main Trello screen. My boards are at the top and her individual weekly boards are separated into the three terms that we form our schedule by. To be honest, we are still trying to figure out how to make the idea of three terms work for us with the rest of our schedule. I am hopeful next year I can do a better job at framing our term schedule into the rest of our commitments in order to have off weeks in between terms and also have exam weeks.

Trello 2018 6th gr

This board is a look at my daughter’s weekly board. I started out this year allowing her to move items around throughout her day. She couldn’t move them to another day, but she could modify where they were in her schedule. A few months into our year I realized that this was not going to work. She (and I) needed a more set schedule; enter the set times. The only thing that she is allowed to move around are the cards from the first column; which contain her reading assignments for the week. While she has a set time in her day where she goes and does that independent reading, she can choose which assignment.

One of my biggest struggles is keeping track of all the things I’ve pinned or saved in Pocket or just found on the Web. I’ve got all the boards set up on Pinterest, I save particular things to Pocket and I even started subscribing and saving videos via the Youtube app. But in the end, it was making my brain hurt trying to remember. I would come back to a Pinterest board or Youtube and realize I had totally forgotten the thing I had wanted to do. The more I learn about Trello, I’m realizing it will be the answer to that problem; especially as I start to plan for next year. I can create a board and include all the books I need to get from the library, all the videos I want to watch for a specific lesson and link websites – in addition to setting up checklists for hands on activities, narration prompts etc.

Trello 2018 6th gr

Above is a look at where I am as I plan for her 6th grade year. As I started to plan for 6th grade, I started out the way I normally do at Ambleside Online.  I went through all the artist, composers and poets I knew we were going to do (some from AO and some from Cycle 1 Classical Conversations), and at that point I went ahead and created checklists for each of those. I attached photos of the works of art, links to composers to listen to on Youtube and any books that I might need to reserve from the library.

Trello 2018 6th gr

We are using Beautiful Feet Ancient History for our history basis next year. So I went through each lesson in the guide and where there were links printed, I went ahead and linked them on the corresponding checklist. I put items on the checklist that I need to prep for and also what her assignments will be for reading.

Trello 2018 6th gr

I’m still figuring out how detailed to get with her literature readings at this point. I’m not sure if I will just use these boards as general information for each book and various activities or narration ideas or what. And I know that while all the information will be on the screen in one spot, my general outline will still be in the paper spreadsheet form that I used this year.

A little bit about us: The advent of May means the end to our third year of homeschooling our 5th grader and our first year of homeschooling our 8th grader. This means next year, I will have a middle schooler and a high schooler in the house. (enter shrieking). We are Classical/Charlotte Mason homeschoolers and I try to frame my day with a Charlotte Mason style outlook. We participate in Classical Conversations and enjoy immensely the community it provides us. My son is finishing up Challenge A and is entering Challenge I in the Fall (yes he is skipping a level – just email me if you want details on that decision). My daughter is entering her last year of Foundations/Essentials and we don’t know where we are going from here with her. To add to all that, I am going to be a Challenge B director next year (taking on the class that my son is leaving.)