Our Reading Plans for 2018

A new year has arrived! Woo hoo for 2018! The year that I finally diligently track my reading! Yes! I have a plan and I encouraged my children to join me. It is going to be a fun year, y’all! Want to know my fabulous plan?

It is pretty simple. Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel or in this case the reading plan, I decided to let someone else do all the hard work. Yes. I have moments of genius!

Months ago I picked up simple, boring, plain black journals from Wal-Mart for $1 each. Notebooks/journals are like candy or gold in this house. I have kept them safely stashed in my room until the new year. Seriously. When I brought them out this afternoon, my children were like Gollum and the Ring. I’m not joking.

The plan is simple. They are going to use the journals to track their reading for the year (and beyond). This way I can easily check in with their reading and they have an ongoing list of books. I wish I had a list of all the books my older kids have read or that I read to them. So many books not recorded!!  I left it totally up to them on how to organize (even decorate) their books. Caleb (16) will likely keep his super simple and bare bones. I do think he is going to label it “Caleb’s Book Book”. Witty that one is. Hannah (12) is already discussing design options on the cover (see boring black journals were not a bad deal!) and she is planning on a detailed list.

Tracking books was an easy issue to solve. But what to read? I have to force myself to read broadly. I know what I like and tend to stick with that. World War II fiction anyone? Some of my children are following that pattern. It is good to step to another aisle in the library and broaden our literary horizons, right? This is where I was really going to burn through some brain cells in trying to put together a reading challenge.

Thankfully, my friend, Cathe Swanson, mentioned a couple of 2018 reading challenges on her Facebook page (Cather just happens to be an author….perfect time to check her out while planning your 2018 reading!) One of the challenges she linked to was at Redeemed Reader. I was already familiar with Redeemed Reader. My daughter Lydia and I were browsing there just a week or two ago looking for young adult books. I did not realize they had a 2018 Reading Challenge. While it is designed for kids and teens, I am totally using it for myself. Oh yeah, my kids are doing it, too.

I gathered the kiddos up, explained the basic four levels of the reading challenge and let them select which level each of them wanted to tackle. At first a few of them thought a 100 books would be an easy goal. They easily top a 100 books a year. Following this challenge however means they have to read books that fit categories and there lies the challenge. I have already heard some groaning.

Book journals are in hand. Book challenge levels have been presented. Book selections are already being made. I am even including Martha (6) and Ezra (3). I just need to grab notebooks for them. Until Martha is reading independently, the younger ones notebooks will just be read alouds. No problem!

Oh. They totally asked if there was a reward. Hey, why not, right?  Lydia pointed out that I can easily grab some books from the used book store or Thrift Books. Can I say how much I love that my children love used books? So they will earn books if they meet their reading goals. I may also plan something special at the end of the year. A special book reading party or something? Who knows. I think the higher the level completed, the greater the reward.

Do you have a Reading Plan for 2018? Following an official reading challenge or just winging it? How do you track what you are reading?

Say Cheese! Back to School Pictures 2017

This year I had planned to find a really cool location to snap a few pics for “back to school”. We all know the whole “back to school” concept is just an excuse for me to get pictures of my kiddos. Does anything ever go according to plan? We started our new school year when college classes began for my oldest two girls; almost two weeks ago. Today I decided to just roll with it. Everyone was home, the weather was lovely, and the baby was happy. Picture time!

Rebekah is a Freshman in college. Despite her desire to avoid picture day she was encouraged to cooperate. She still lives at home so I know where her yummy yarn is located. I was willing to take the yarn hostage.

Mary is a Senior in high school. She is also taking a few courses via dual enrollment at our local community college. It is weird having my two oldest gone every day but thankful that they are doing so well.

Caleb – Sophomore year of high school. The years are flying by with this guy! Looking forward to some great discussions with him this year.

Lydia – Freshman year of high school. Freshman? When did that happen? Trust me, she would rather be drawing.

Hannah – 6th grade She may be my first to have a true love of science especially in relation to animals. Can’t wait to see where the year takes her!

Sarah – 4th grade This girlie is likely my future right hand. She is always eager to help and does great at her independent work. A really cool big sister.

Sam – 2nd grade This guy…he is a funny one. Loves to talk and loves to laugh. Thankful he can laugh and talk all he wants while learning. He’s a smart guy.

Martha – Kindergarten! The baby girl and she loves it. So happy to be learning to read and to do her math.

Ezra – He is three! And full speed ahead. He is Mr Energy. Go, go, go!!! But cute, yes?

David – 11 months Ah, the little guy. He might have us all wrapped around his little fingers. How can you resist that face?

Do you have any Back to School Traditions? The photo session is my only one. Now let’s have a great year!

Morning Time Plans

Morning Time, Circle Time, Morning Basket…the names for this time of gathering everyone together for shared learning is as varied as the houses that practice it. Most often in our home is it, “Everyone Grab Your Bible and Come to the Living Room” Time. Catchy title, right? I can already see it on t-shirts and coffee mugs. It works for us and it seems silly to tell my high school students to get ready for Circle Time.

Before our unplanned summer break, I was almost completely winging this portion of our day. In different seasons the method of winging it works better than others. This season we all needed a bit more structure and planning. Planning and organizing are not my strengths and it took me longer than I wanted but I think we finally have a Morning Time Plan.

For our Morning Time, I will have eight children at home; ages 15 down to 10 months. For this term, we will read/discuss Bible, poetry, government, science, history, literature, etc at varying levels. We have already started and the discussions we have engaged in have been delightful!

Here is the Morning Time Plan:

Daily:

Bible Reading: Each day we will read Scripture. We are alternating between Joshua and Matthew for four days. On Fridays we will be reading a Psalm and from The Ology. ( I am loving this resource!) While it may seem that alternating text might be confusing for the younger ones, it has not been an issue at all. We practice oral narrations after our readings and there is almost always discussion. It works beautifully! Utilizing the New City Catechism (they also have an app) is a new addition for us this term. I am simply offering up one question per week. We shall see how that goes!

Poetry: This time can get a bit crazy. For now we are using Favorite Poems Old and New. Each child calls out a page number and I read from that page. It is quick and fun. And you know what? My children love poetry. We have stumbled across new favorites. My older children do read poetry from an assigned poet as well in their individual studies.

Recitation/Memory Work: As a family we work on a Scripture passage together. We are currently working on Matthew 5: 3 -16. There is other recitation/memory work required but it is handled individually.

Hymns: Our Morning Time always starts with a hymn. We have a few hymnals that we share. Our current hymns are Come Thou Fount, Brethren We Have Met to Worship, and My Father’s World.  My goal is to have a balance between songs we sing often in church and hymns we just enjoy as a family.

Weekly Rotations:

Read Alouds: Generally we have more than one read aloud for Morning Time underway. For this term we have a selection for History (I, Juan de Pareja), Science (Science Matters), and Literature (Haven’t quite decided on this one yet! Pondering a little something by Dickens.)

Government/Civics: In the past this has not been an area covered in our Morning Time. We are going to give it a go for a few weeks and see how it flows and decide from there. I will likely choose one topic/article from the week to discuss for Current Events or perhaps let one of my teens offer up a topic that has intrigued them in their individual studies. I will also be pulling a Civics’s Question of the Week from the Learn about the United States: Quick Civics Lessons from the Naturalization Test. There are so many facts and interesting points of history that we forget or have never learned. This is simple enough for my younger ones to join in and my older ones can always expand from this to deeper reading/discussion/study. It also fits well with our current time of history being studied.

Artist/Composer: Jan Vermeer is our chosen artist and Vivaldi is our composer. We will enjoy paintings and music throughout the week. However, once a week we will have a bit of discussion about a particular painting, an interesting fact about the artist/composer, or share a favorite piece of music. Simple but effective.

This time of everyone coming together is not always easy. However, it is an important part of our day, our life, our family. These sometimes chaotic moments are building connections and memories that will last a lifetime and longer.

Up next? I’ll try to share what else we have in store for the coming year!

 

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