Friday, October 30, 2009

Book preview

One of the really enjoyable books that I have read this year is Lydia Bennet's Story by Jane Odiwe. I found out today that the author has another book coming out November 1, Willoughby's Return. The first was a sequel, of sorts, to Pride and Prejudice and the new one is a sequel to Sense and Sensibility. I tend to be hard to please when it comes to books that are companions to Jane Austen's novels, but I found Ms. Odiwe's first book delightful, and look forward to reading this one.

For more about the new book, and all kinds of Austenalia visit the author's blog.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quick Book Review: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston has been in my TBR pile for over a year. With nothing lined up to read, and having just read an article about Hurston, I grabbed it and started reading. I was quickly pulled in by the character Janie. This was a wonderful book. It takes a bit of work to read the parts that are in dialect, but it is worth it. Her writing is poetic and the book tells very vividly of a time and place previously unknown to many of us.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My favorite books on learning and homeschooling

I have received several requests over the years for a list of must-read books on homeschooling. Last week a friend suggested that this would make a great blog post. So here it is. There may be some newer books that are missing. Since we've been at this for fourteen years, some of these may not be the most current books. I'm sure there are other worthwhile books that I haven't seen, but each of these is a gem.

You'll notice that many of these books tend toward learning theory and the unschooly. Well, that's me. I would argue that it would be good for anyone, homeschooler or not, to read the Gatto books. And any parent would be well-served by reading the Moores, John Holt, and Cindy Tobias.

Better Late Than Early by Raymond and Dorothy Moore
This is a book that I wish every parent and teacher of young children would read. I read this as the stressed out mother of a non-reading seven year old and it probably saved my sons academic life and my sanity.

The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn
This book isn't perfect, but as a homeschooling mom it really helped me to free myself from some of the school baggage I was carrying, and to free my children in turn.

Dumbing Us Down
by John Taylor Gatto
Weapon's of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
I consider these the "why to" books of homeschooling. Dumbing Us Down helped to bolster my flagging courage early on by reminding me that what my kids were missing wasn't all that great. These books are especially helpful when you are having to deal with critical and skeptical family members or if you--like me--spend lots of time asking yourself if you are ruining your kids' lives.

How Children Learn
How Children Fail
Learning All the Time all by Jon Holt (You can find all three on this page.)
I didn't always agree with Holt, but overall found his writing about learning to make so much sense.

The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith
The closest thing to a how-to book on this list. So many people want to know HOW to unschool. Mary Griffith gives lots of ideas and helps to paint some pictures of what unschooling looks like.

The Way They Learn
Every Child Can Succeed by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias
Both of these books are easy, quick, straight forward looks at learning styles and how to work with your child's strengths.

Homeschooling: A Family's Journey by Martine & Gregory Millman
This is the story of one family's homeschooling journey. Here is the review I wrote when I read it.

This is not an exhaustive list. I have enjoyed other homeschooling books over the years, but these are those that I believe are the most important and have contributed the most to our success and enjoyment of this journey. What are some of your favorites?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Review: Little Heathens

I just finished Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish.

This book is the conversation I wish I'd had with my own grandmothers.

Mildred Armstrong Kalish fills us in on the daily life of a child on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression. This book left me with a nostalgic yearning for the simpler life they had, in spite of the fact that their lives were also far more difficult. There is much to be learned from their thrift and capacity for hard work.

A few of the reviews I've read didn't appreciate the recipes for things that they ate that were included. Maybe it's because I'm a housewife, mother, from-scratch cook, and lover of all things food, but I enjoyed the recipes. In fact, the apple cream pie will be on our table this Sunday