Reading Charlotte Mason

I am not sure when I was first introduced to Charlotte Mason’s philosophy on education. Perhaps it was while researching curriculum online or maybe a friend mentioned it. I do know that I was already unknowingly implementing some of her ideas and practices in my home.

We had always used living books and narration seemed a natural response to all our reading. I remember when my oldest children were little and I read to them about Leif the Lucky. As I read they quietly played with Lego blocks. When I finished our reading, they all had various Viking ships to show me as we chatted about Leif Erikson. Letting young children enjoy time outside exploring and playing and running and climbing has always been a part of our days.

When I stumbled across Charlotte Mason I felt that in a small way I had found a kindred spirit. Someone I would have loved to chat with and learn much from I am sure. I definitely had the opportunity to chat with her in a way. She left behind a six volume collection of her thoughts and practices in education. There are the infamous “pink copies” of her writings that are now out of print (but you can still find them used). Thankfully there are new editions of these books now available and budget friendly. You can also read them for free online.

Here is a confession: I have never read Charlotte Mason’s original writings in full. I have read snippets here and there. I have read many great books on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy and ideas of education. Excellent books that help with the understanding and implementing of Mason’s practices. There are a few that I definitely recommend and have found super helpful! You can see them here if interested.

 

I have found that I am not satisfied with this second-hand encounter with Miss Mason. I appreciate other’s thoughts but I want to sit at the table with Miss Mason. Ponder her philosophy without other’s ideas tainting my view or assumptions. I will continue to read other books that address aspects of  Mason’s teaching; I am currently reading Know and Tell by Karen Glass. My main attention and focus will be on Miss Mason.

I am going to be a bit of a rebel. Normally I would begin with Home Education, Volume 1. However, I do have older children so I have jumped ship and am first reading A Philosophy of Education, Volume 6. It is my plan to perhaps share my thoughts here.

Children’s Fiction from 2017

Better late than ever, right? My plan was to give a concise but thorough review of these books. However, life with ten children does not always go as planned and my desire for sleep always wins. Toss in temperamental internet, well, this is as good as it is going to get. So without any further delay, here are some of our Reads in Children’s Fiction 2017:

The Door Before and The Song of Glory and Ghost (Outlaws of Time Book 2) -N. D. Wilson. Ok, I have to comment on these. The Door Before is a prequel to the 100 Cupboards series (and the Ashtown Burials series as well). You need to read the series first. Trust me. If you haven’t read The Song of Glory and the Ghost, put it on your list! Outlaws of Time Book 3: The Last of the Lost Boys is set to release April 17, 2018.

The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won – Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. We really enjoyed both of these books. Beautiful. Bittersweet.

Beautiful Blue World and Threads of Blue – Suzanne Fleur –  Another set of books that deal with the topic of war but it is handle is a much different way than The War That Saved My Life. It reminds me of The Boy in Striped Pajamas in how it isn’t so much what is said but what isn’t that is powerful.

Locomotion and Peace, Locomotion – Jacqueline Woodson – I loved her book Brown Girl Dreaming a few years ago and she did not disappoint. I absolutely adore Locomotion. He is dealing with grief, he loves his sister dearly, and he is finding his place in a new family. Locomotion is a free verse novel and Peace: Locomotion is in the form of letters. I have come to appreciate free verse so much. Woodson does it well.

Patina – Jason Reynolds – This is the second book in the Track series. (Ghost was the first.) This is a great series so far that would appeal to a variety of readers. They are a reasonable length so that reluctant readers will not be overwhelmed. Each book highlights a member of a track team; a diverse group of kids who all have a unique story. The third book, Sunny, is set to be released in April, 2018.

Nothing to Fear – Jackie French Koller – An excellent historical fiction set during the beginning of the Depression.

Isaac the Alchemist – Mary Losure – Having a nice stash of biographies and science titles for my children to read is a goal I am continually working on. This book on Isaac Newton  highlights his boyhood and shows how Newton’s fascination with magic found in science inspired him. I found it a quick and easy read but engaging as well. A great one to add in with your science studies.

Blooming at The Texas Sunrise Motel – Kimberly Willis Holt – A fun read for girls; perhaps ages 10-13? Stevie has lost her parents and is now living with her grumpy grandfather in his hotel. Sweet story about a young girl accepting the changes in her life.  Perfect for a rainy afternoon.

Love That Dog and Hate That Cat – Sharon Creech – These two books are must reads! Jack is boy who is confident that poetry is not for boys. However, Jack discovers that not only is poetry for boys but that he is quite the poet himself. These two books made me smile, chuckle, and yes, even cry just a bit. For your average or above reader, these could be super quick reads as Jack does not waste words. That makes them also a great fit for struggling or reluctant readers. I did not read them aloud  but if I had to do it over again I would definitely read the books aloud. Perhaps just a poem or two a day and let Jack’s story unfold slowly.  Well done, Sharon Creech! We love them!

Out of the Dust – Karen Hesse – Can you tell I discovered a love of free verse this year? Yes, another free verse novel. This novel is told from the perspective of Billie Jo and her life during the Dust Bowl and Depression. Out of the Dust paints a bleak, harsh, realistic picture of this time in history.  It is not for young readers as some portions of the story might be disturbing to sensitive readers. There is no language or suggestive content but Billie Jo suffers severe burns. In the end there is peace and hope for Billie Jo.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon and The Witch’s Boy – Kelly Barnhill – The Witch’s Boy was one of our read alouds in 2017. I began it thinking it would just be an engaging fantasy read for the kiddos and I. This book turned out to be so much more. Kelly Barnhill did an amazing job with Ned’s story.  If you haven’t read The Witch’s Boy, you should. It will be a family favorite.

These were just a handful of the children books I read  in 2017. Some were read alouds and some were just passed along as I finished them. All of them I recommend and hope you enjoy if you choose one or two to read.

I’d love to hear about some of your favorite books! I’m always looking to expand our list!

 

*Disclosure – There are affiliate links used throughout this post. If you should make a purchase after clicking on a link, I receive a very small percentage. It does not affect your shopping experience in anyway. Feel free to click on my links to check out these books, read some reviews, and then head over to your library. I love my library and how it saves my budget! Thanks for stopping by!

Poetry Writing

Sonnets, haiku, limericks, and free verse are all delightful styles of writing poetry. From short and silly to tragic and epic, poetry is a powerful form of the written word. I do not formally teach poetry to children but I do choose to expose them to varying styles of poetry. We read poetry aloud most days. They also read selections on their own. While perhaps not the most scholarly approach, my children have developed a love and appreciation of poetry.

A few weeks ago during our group studies, I read O Captain!, My Captain! by Walt Whitman. It was the first time they had heard this poem and it had a powerful affect on a few of the children. After discussion the poem a bit, I challenged the children to write poems of their own but was meet with a mighty outcry. Then I offered a deal: if you wrote a poem, you were excused from math for the day. Since no one has a deep, abiding love of math, everyone scrambled for paper and pen to begin a poetic journey.

In a short time I has a stack of poems in my hand that were absolutely wonderful and showcased the personalities of my children to perfection. They agreed to posting them here and I hope you enjoy!

The Princess – Martha (5) (with some help from mom)

She wore pink

Blue and straight were her hair

Knit, sew, draw, and Legos

Were the things that she loved

Cooking made her smile

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!

Still plays with toys as a teenager

 

The Big Fox – Sarah (9)

I walked down the road

And saw a fox.

The fox was big.

I could not move.

My legs were still as a rock.

The fox saw me.

He opened his mouth

And I ran.

 

Ninja – Sam (7) (He narrated and I wrote)

The ninja fights

Through many battles

He always wins

He jumps from rooftop to rooftop

FIGHTING!

A super cool jet pack

Is on his back

The color of his suit is blue and black

Dark woods are his home

From the darkest lake he drinks

Dark colors are his favorite

The movie he likes is Ninja Turtles

Super cool weapons like electric swords

Turtles are his favorite animals

Is that a surprise?

A turtle shell is where he sleeps

Dark brown tree is home

He is The Ninja!

His powers are electric, smoke, and lava.

And storm.

Ninja Kung-Fu names is Master of Weapons.

He is the greatest superhero.

He is not finished with the words on the page.

He says to call it the end.

 

I will share the remaining three poems in a separate post.

Do your children enjoy writing? I’d love to hear about it!