Thursday, September 16, 2010

books, books and more books

My motto for homeschooling this term has been simplify, simplify, simplify. Not knowing what to expect going into this school year with a new baby had me prepared for the worst and secretly hoping for the best.

I have two school-aged children that need my attention this year with formal academics and one preschool-aged child needing me simply to be mentally, emotionally and physically present for him so I have tried to offer a combined lesson for both of the older two whenever possible.

One of the best places to start with this is with literature. I have chosen use some of the Year Two literature selections that Ambleside Online suggests for the older pair this term instead of choosing two separate books to read.

We are currently reading The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard. We tried reading this book two year ago when we were doing Year Two with Sophia but never quite finished it. I don't know if I puttered out or if the children lost interest but either way it's been on my 'to-finish' list for a couple of years now and this fall seemed like the perfect time to delve back into the book.

{Side note: Ambleside Online purposely chooses challenging, rich and high-quality literature selectionsto keep in step with Charlotte Mason's philosophy of allowing children's minds to feed on the best ideas and suport "the test of literature is that it must... bring us truth, nobility and beauty" (-Charlotte Mason Companion). For example, Ambleside places The Wind in the Willows as a Year One selection, however Amazon categorizes it as a Grade Four, Five and Six selection.}

We've started back from the beginning and just finished Chapter One yesterday. This book is full of rich, poetic and challenging language, beautiful images of river-life in the English countryside and clever old-fashioned personifications of the animals. It seems to be 'just right' for my seven and nine year olds and is really holding their interest, capturing their hearts and supplying them with plenty of giggles during our readings.

Those of you looking for book lists for your children can link over to Ambleside's suggested selections for free reading at the bottom of these year-by-year pages:

Year Zero
Year One
Year Two
Year Three
Year Four

Sophia spent August reading Heidi by Johanna Spyri and has now begun Polyanna by Eleanor Porter (despite the links for each book, Sophia has and is reading from the actual book and not the above-listed online resources).

I am hoping to re-read the Little House series (or at least Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy) with all three of the older children this winter. These books are timeless and ageless and I am confident that Elias is ready to enjoy them for the first time.

Saint George and the Dragon
by Margaret Hodges (an AO Year One free reading selection) is lying in wait on my 'book bench' right now and I'm hoping to read it next week in preparation for this upcoming feast.

What books are you and your family enjoying these days?


daniele @ domestic serenity said...

Hooray for books! We're currently reading aloud a biography on George Mueller and I plan to reread some Little House books to our 2nd grader.

Cheryl said...

My boys (2,4 &6) and I just finished Mr. Popper's Penguins and now in the middle of Stuart Little. I plan to read Little House in the Big Woods this winter too. We are in a big transition in our family right now and I'm newly pregnant so some days are spent just reading. My 2 year old brought me Stuart Little this morning saying "!" Love. Love. Love!