The Bookworm (Carl Spitzweg)
During our Winter Break, we often sit and discuss our School Year. We talk about how we think the year is progressing, we evaluate materials and resources, and we also begin to discuss what changes need to be made. Often these discussions also lead to what we will do next year also, usually based on this year's experiences.
Everyone agreed that our school year is going well; better than expected actually. Everyone agreed that they are making good progress with (and are REALLY enjoying) the resources and studies we selected. We have decided that we want to use Tapestry of Grace (Year 2) next year for History because everyone is enjoying the added depth to our history studies as well as working "together". Everyone is very pleased with Math U See (we changed to Math U See this year, after years of Saxon and teaching textbooks). We still all love Apologia's science materials. And overall, we are enjoying the other subjects we have been studying.
The only major change we made this year was, after many years of using Ambleside Online (Charlotte Mason) for our homeschooling adventures ( http://www.amblesideonline.com ), this year we switched to Tapestry of Grace's Year 1 ( http://www.tapestryofgrace.com/ ) for a more thorough covering of History. This change trimmed our Reading Lists considerably, and added a lot more "school'ish" work to our days. We selected Tapestry of Grace so that each student could study the same subject matter at the exact same time (for history and related areas of study) but in varying degrees of depth (and academic expectation) as is appropriate for each student's ability and grade level. It was our desire to extend a bit more academic focus in the area of history, which seemed more probable to accomplish with every student studying "together". And it has worked out perfectly, so far !
We have really enjoyed the readings (well, most of the books, at least) that are integrated into Tapestry of Grace on every academic level. We have enjoyed the maps, discussions, questions and answers, writing assignments, "rabbit trails", vocabulary, time line projects, hands-on projects, and most everything Tapestry of Grace includes. And everyone agreed that the quizzes and tests have been profitable, in the sense that the exams have helped with college (or advanced education) preparation.
But everyone also agreed that something is missing .... MORE READING and MORE BOOKS !
Each of the Cherubs expressed a desire to read more .... more genres, more titles, more authors, more variety .... often in the exact subject areas once covered (or covered better) when we were strictly using Ambleside as our curriculum. They asked for more good biographies of artists and composers, more Natural Science readings, more books about inventors and inventions, additional Scientific titles, more Historical titles (fiction and non-fiction), more poetry .... and more LITERATURE. Everyone was in agreement that they miss the types of books (mostly from Ambleside's extensive lists) that opened up so many new subject areas and inspired so many new ideas. And they miss the "adventures" that only books can tell about.
This is indeed a problem !! Whatever can I do when the children beg for MORE BOOKS ... more literature, science, history, and the arts .... and more time to read. Oh, what a "doosey" of a dilema this is ?!?!
-One possible solution that I offered was to plan more trips to the library. However, the children said they they "look and look" at the stacks of books, and simply cannot "find" GOOD books. The children's section has so much "rubbish" (according to Cherub 3) that the good books are just lost in it. Everyone else agreed whole-heartedly. So, although an odd request, all six Cherubs have asked to return to the Reading Lists that we once kept. Hummmmmmmm ....
A few Cherubs also said that they miss the spontaneous Narrations that took place often at the dinner table or in the car (and Mom and dad agreed whole-heartedly !).
And all of the Cherubs said they were running out of "good" creative inspirations and ideas for their playing during free time; ideas which were originally inspired or supplied by those same books that they feel are conspicuously missing from their Daily To Do's.
So, as their collective 2009 Resolution, the Cherubs have decided once again to become BOOKWORMS .... each will compose (with guidance only when necessary) a list of good living books. Armed with this list, they aspire to add a good dose of daily reading (for fun, can you imagine ?!?!) to their lives. We agreed on a specific reading time; one hour before bedtime (as we used to do) with a cup of warm herbal tea in hand of course.
We have decided to use Ambleside Online's book lists as well as the Classical Education 1000 Good Books List to compile suitable lists for every Cherub, to be shared here at a later time.
If anyone has a title or a book list to recommend, we would welcome the assistance ! Please post any recommendations in the comments.