March means Irish and green and fresh and new for me. I enjoyed rereading a novel about an ancestor from my past. Honor O’Flynn: a search for the True Will of God, by James P Bailey, is the story of Honor and how she came to be in America. I had forgotten a good bit of the story line so it was good to read it again.
In the book, Honor was kidnapped off the coast of Ireland when she was a young teen. During the horrific days that followed in the hollows of a nasty ship, she is friended by a kind woman and a teenage boy. The woman sold herself as an indentured servant so she could provide for her children, hoping to bring them to America before long. The boy came to make a better life than he could have had in England. Honor was going to be sold as a “tobacco wife” to the highest bidder. These friends helped her more than she could imagine.
Honor had thought she was meant to serve God as a nun in her hometown teaching children. This new turn of events had her perplexed and she was seeking to see God in her new circumstances. She learns that things are not always what we plan and that God can be served where you are.
Spoiler*** Honor does marry, willingly, William Logsdon and goes on to live a long life in America. These two are actually in our family line, though this is a novel. It was unclear by reading the notes in the book how much of this is created and how much is based on fact. It is a fun read, nonetheless, and is a good story, indicative of the times.
I didn’t search for any other books for the theme this month.
So, as much time as we had at home, I didn’t read nearly as many love-themed books as I had planned. I was unable to get to the library to see if they had a print copy of the CS Lewis book The Four Loves, which I had really wanted to read. I’ll keep it on my radar and maybe I can get it before long.
The book on theme that I did read was My Mother’s Quilts. I treated it as a devotional book, reading three or four thoughts per day. Each of the thoughts was based on a quilt one of her family members had created, running all the way back to the Civil War era. The thoughts focused on family but also on lessons the Lord can create from daily encounters or common items. This is a highly recommended one. Just beware – you may want to start quilting. I know I do but my machine isn’t working right and I can’t find anyone to fix it!!!
I read a couple of others books that hit on the idea of love in a different way:
Animal Days by Desmond Morris – This book shows how much the love of learning or a profession can drive your life and make it something you are really proud of. This is the story of a zoo keeper and how he ended up there, where the zoo life took him, and many of the lessons he learned from it. I really liked this book and would recommend it.
When I Was Yours by Lizzie Page – This is a novel about a family who takes in a refugee from London during WWII. It jumps back and forth between the years of WWI and WWII, tying memories and choices to their current day situations. It highlights how choices affect others and how we can make one choice that will change the course of our lives for the better. This is one I enjoyed (there was a scene or two that I wish weren’t included – the shock value is useless and it cheapens the book to me).
I also worked on the series of Hamelin Stoop by Robert B Sloan. It is a review for the 3rd book that will post early next week on the Facebook page.
What did you read this month? Do you recommend it?
Be sure to visit the other members of the Online Book Club to see what they are doing this month for the theme of Winter.
For the winter challenge, I chose some books that had wintery themes or scenes in them. Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane, in particular. Their books are fiction but tell of real life that they experienced in one way or another.
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a semi-autobiographical account of a winter that was harsh and hard. They, and many others in the area, almost did not survive it. From the stories of bravery to the recounting of the daily grind stuck in a small room while preserving heat and food as much as possible, the family must survive. They depend on Ma and Pa and each others as they all try to work together and encourage one another through the long days and dark nights of blizzard after blizzard after blizzard. I had forgotten some of the parts of this story and it really helped me appreciate my blessings and material possessions even more. Those were some tough folks who settled the prairie!
Young Pioneers by Rose Wilder Lane was joy to reread and was a short read. She follows in the footsteps of her mother well. This book tells the story of two young (teenagers, really) pioneers as they journey west and settle into a dugout. After what promises to be a prosperous yield of crop, the prairie does what it does best – throw up obstacles. Between the locusts and the lack of jobs, leaving the area is the only option. But if they leave their homestead, others will move onto it while they are away for the winter and take it from them. What to do? One leaves and one stays. This is the tale of their lives.
These were the two main ones that I read, though I did also pick up Winter Cottage by Carol Ryrie Brink. I had a book from childhood, Caddie Woodlawn, that was a favorite. A couple of years ago, I saw Winter Cottage at a used book sale and grabbed it but hadn’t read it. I did this month and really fell in love. A family of a father and two daughters are trying hard just to survive. Their car breaks down on a trip through the woods and they take shelter from the weather in a winter cabin. They don’t know the owners but need something and so choose this option. This is the story of their time at the winter cabin and the adventures. While I don’t love the taking over of a house that isn’t their, I adored the way this story took unexpected turns and showed that open hearts and honest hearts can go a long way towards making wrongs right.
Be sure to visit the other members of the Online Book Club to see what they are doing this month for the theme of Winter.
The first challenge for the year from the Homeschool Review Crew is about reading goals for the adult(s) of the homeschool. We often make plans or goals for our children, especially when it is built into great curriculum like From Adam to Us (what my 6th grader is completing) or Sharon Watson’s high school literature courses. But what about you? Do you have goals?
I am not a huge fan of making a specific list and working through it. The reason is that my moods and ideas change as I grow through the year. Also, sometimes I want something challenging but other times I want something light and easy to read. So, what is my goal going to be?
I think I will keep it the same as it has been for the last couple of year. Read. Challenge myself some. Read the Bible daily. Read good Bible studies. Read biographies. Read some titles that I “should have read;” also known as classics. 🙂 Read some tough things. Read some light things. But mostly, read.
I like to track what I have completed (or bombed out in the middle of) in my school planner. I just jot the title of the book down at the top of my monthly page. I use a color of ink that I like and that is how my tracking works. Simple. Easy. No stress but I see it often enough that if I get off track and quit reading, I’ll get myself back on track.
So, do you have a goal this year? If so, great. If not, I encourage you to make a simple one that will keep you growing and reading.
Well, I have enjoyed some down time to read this month and ended up reading a total of 35 books. This does include the 24 books that were holiday themed and we used a nightly read alouds. We celebrate many things with books and Christmas is no different. Books galore! There were, of course, books given as gifts as well. 🙂
Other than the 24 books that we read, most of which were picture books, I read 10 of my own. These included the books I mentioned in the opening post for the December Online Book Club. I thoroughly enjoyed The Christmas Cake and The Gift of the Magi. The Birds’ Christmas Carol was odd but enjoyable. These three short stories were quick and easy reads. I also read A Christmas Carol, the Charles Dickens’ classic. I had never read the original before and I enjoyed it a lot. It wasn’t really that long so it didn’t take but a few days’ worth of reading time.
In addition to these books, focused around Celebrations, I read several others sent to me by a friend. You can find reviews of them on the A Net In Time blog, which I am linking on each title. I thoroughly enjoyed The Jane Austen Society and Miss Austen. Another that I just was thrilled with as The Porcupine Year. This was a middle school level book but I loved it an am looking for the other two related to it at the library. A Place At The Table and All of Me were also in the box of books I received. I flew through both of these. I wouldn’t say I loved them but they were still enjoyable and had excellent story lines. Oh, yeah, almost forgot, the picture book We Believe In You was in there, along with My Friendship Journal, which the girls grabbed immediately.
The other one on my list for the month was in conjunction with a unit study with Miss J on The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. She thought she didn’t like the book. She found out she was wrong and begged for more each time we had to stop. A win!
So, as you can see it was a strong month for books. The theme of celebration for the online book club really got me considering and reading a few books that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I enjoyed the month.
Don’t forget to check in with the other participants to see what they read this month. Also, head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to see what others wrote about for the blogging/social media challenge on Turning The Page. Happy New Year!
So, what to do for December for the Book Club? I know – we are already over a week into December. The theme is celebrations and I have tried to focus that down and bit and have been completely unsuccessful. So you know what? I’m going to share a number of books that we read this month. For years, we have wrapped 24 children’s books about the holidays and unwrapped one each night. I’ll share those with you at the end of the month or you can follow along day-by-day on the Instagram or Facebook page. I post those (almost) daily.
For myself, I am reading a number of holiday short stories and books that I have downloaded to my Kindle. Again, I did this years ago but have never ready them. So I am doing that this year. I started Dicken’s A Christmas Carol last night. Previous to that I had looked up some of the short stories like The Gift of the Magi, The Birds’ Christmas Carol, and The Christmas Cake. I will be reading others. Most of these are free to download since they are in the public domain. An excellent way to do some enjoyable holiday readying.
The other thing I am doing this month is reading with my youngest. We are going to work hard on The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe next week as part of our holiday studies. Something different. And of course, we will include some baking of some sort.
What are you reading and doing this month for celebrations?
I read the short writings from Beth Moore in November as part of the online book club’s theme of “thankful.” I chose these two books of musings for a couple of reasons – one, I had them but had not read them; two, focusing on the gift of love from God – Jesus Christ – is cause for thankfulness to me. I found that I really enjoyed most of both of these books.
Both of the books are similar in form and format. I have them both in ebook form on my Kindle. They are both mostly poetry with some anecdotes or other background writings included. They are fairly short. They can direct your mind to consider God’s love and gift in a new or different way.
If poetry is not your thing, you probably won’t get as much enjoyment out of these two books. If, however, you find poetry interesting and bringing a fresh perspective to thoughts, concepts, and ideas, these books will be right up your alley.
I found that the writings that took a fresh, human perspective on things – though not necessarily following the biblical accounts of history – really brought some new ideas to mind. The writing on Mary and newborn Jesus really brought home just how terrifying and difficult that time must have been for Mary. The interaction between Mary and Elizabeth made me consider the trying situation they were both in and the comfort they would have been for each other.
Poetry is used to emphasize ideas and one of my favorites follows. It is from Further Still, pp 131-132.
You are the Poet, I am the poem. You gather my lines from sunshine and storm
Glimpses of faith, steadfast and still To harrowing falls and stubborn self-will
Dance down Jerusalem streets To despair beneath the weeping tree
Sometimes pleasure – sometimes pain Sometimes they blend ’til they seem the same
Each passage of life a poignant phrase Challenging sense in a senseless maze
Alas, and at the end of time Rhythm will come and words will rhyme.
Paper yellowed, wrestled, and worn Still You are my Poet … and I am Your poem.
There were several favorites in Things Pondered. These include Seasons (p 108) and My Every One (p 135-136). Heroes was a stunning look at “heroes” of the Bible but the focus was on who was their hero. Time and again I found myself considering how wonderful each of the poems were.
As I find I have to do with writing from those who are Christian and part of a denomination, I need to warn of a place to be wary. There is a part where what denominations refer to as “the sinner’s prayer” is discussed. While much of the writing about this is in line with God’s word, the Bible includes much more in the plan of salvation than just saying a prayer in your heart. Please read and study the Bible with someone who understands that the plan of salvation is not found in a single, independent verse of the Bible. It is covered in many place and includes hearing the word of God, believing that word and that Jesus is the son of God, repenting of your sins (and this includes changing your ways), confessing your belief out loud to others, and being baptized for the remission of your sins. This is how you come into contact with the blood of Jesus, which is the only thing that can save your from your sins and the consequences of that sin. I would be happy to chat with you about this if you would like to. Please contact me.
These books are both very good. They are not study tools for the Bible, which sort of surprised me since I got them at a time when Beth Moore was sharing all of her Bible studies. But, they can bring a different perspective, causing you to pull out your Bible and read what God actually says in the historical account that fueled the poetry and stories written down by Beth Moore. I did enjoy these and there is much to be gleaned from them if you “pick out the meat and ignore the bones.”
Don’t forget to visit the others who are participating in the online book club. You can find them at the following blogs:
I have joined in with some online friends for a book club. We are doing it simply. Hopkins Homeschool is heading it up. Each month, she will announce a theme. We will pick a book based on that theme. Read your book, or books, during the month. That’s it.
I, and some other bloggers, are going to post at the beginning of the month about our choices. Then, at the end of the month, we’ll come back and write about what we did, the book(s) we or our family read, and anything we might have done to make it special. The bloggers joining in are:
For the theme of Thankful, I chose to find a book that will encourage me to be thankful. When I was looking around what I had, I found two books of poetry by Beth Moore. I had never read them before and opened one up. I was immediately struck by the poetry and the vingettes she writes. I decided that these two books would be the start of my thankful books for November.
The two books are:
Things Pondered: From the Heart of a Lesser Woman
Further Still: a collection of poetry and vignettes
I am looking forward to reading about what the others are doing this month. If you would like to join in, just leave me a comment below or on social media about what you are reading under the theme of thankful this month.
Well, I am doing some reading for myself, some to keep ahead of the girls, and some as a read aloud with Miss J. Keeps it interesting. I have enjoyed flying through some works and lingering with others. So, what are these titles? Read on.
The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw – This one was a read aloud with Miss J to go along with her history study. She is working on From Adam to Us from Notgrass and I am really liking the literature selections they have to go along with it. This was such an engaging story that Miss J would beg for us to read ahead. We did and finished it a few lessons ahead of time. An excellent story set in ancient Egypt, this features a young boy who has been orphaned and lives with his lousy older brother. He dreams of becoming a goldsmith like his father but that dream seems to get further and further away as he finds out about the illegal activities of his brother. We learned a lot about the culture of Thebes and ancient Egypt reading this. The story prompted a lot of good discussion.
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare – I read this one ahead for Miss J’s history program. It is a good and interesting story about a young boy in ancient Near East. He has been raised right but struggles with wanting what is right for the people. He falls in with a rebellious group of men who take him in. But when he returns home and stays to take care of his young sister, he begins to question what he knows and what is right. His meeting of Jesus really throws a spinner into the workings of his head. This struggle between what he desires, what the people around him are telling him, and what his heart is believing makes for a very strong story line.
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park- Set in the ancient far east, this is another story about a young boy trying to figure out who he is and where he belongs. He desires to be a potter’s apprentice but cannot figure out how to do that. He begins to do tasks for the potter and works his way up in difficulty of tasks. He proves his loyalty in this story through a very difficult journey. This coming of age and growth tale is also part of Miss J’s history program.
Under The Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald – This novel was given to me by Miss E. She enjoyed reading it a couple of times. Theodora’s mother has been suffering for a long time but until her grandfather passed away, it was not a big concern. Her grandfather had taken care of them. Now that he is gone, Theodora has to figure out how to make the few dollars they have last and still solve the mystery that her grandfather left with her. Featuring a piece of artwork in the clues leaves her struggling but with the help of a new-found friend, maybe some headway can be made. Mixing art, history, and mystery makes this a fun novel.
Living The Braveheart Life by Randall Wallace – Written by the screenplay writer Randall Wallace, this is a strong encouragement to move forward in life bravely. Follow Wallace in his journey from a happenstance mention of William Wallace to the blockbuster movie, studying the people from the story that we all meet in life – the Father, Teacher, Warrior, Sage, and Outlaw. It is a insightful look at the movie but also at our own hearts and lives.
Aesop’s Fables – We are using a Kindle version of the fables to read for the history program for Miss J. We read about 10 fables a day. These are simple reads and the morals are straightforward. We do take a moment to talk about the ones that are not as straightforward. There have been several where she recognizes the story from different places, including one of our favorite books from their toddler days – Little By Little. This is the story of the water pitcher that the crow wants to drink from. These are enjoyable stories that it is good to read.
Hebrews by Erynn Sprouse- I believe that I mentioned this study in regards to Miss J’s curriculum for the year. I am going through it again with Miss J as her Bible class. She asked me to do a special Bible study with her so this fit the bill. It is the book for Lads to Leaders this year so going through it will be a great support for Bible Bowl.
That’s it. At least, that’s all I wrote down. There may have been more but I wasn’t so good the last week or two of the month and was trying to remember what all I had read. If I remember any others, I’ll add them to the next update.
Are you studying the Civil War era this year? Do you enjoy living books? Then I highly suggest you read Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott.
This is a story she wrote based on her own experiences as a nurse in a war hospital for several weeks, before becoming so over worked and ill that she had to leave her post. There is a lot of interesting information packed into this short 100 page book. In between the information about the hospital itself, there is interesting insight into Washington DC and the people (and animals) there.
I came across this book when we visited the Clara Barton museum a couple of years ago but it got buried under other books somewhere along the line. I was excited to open it up a couple of days ago and get started. I found the writing to be very easy to read and enjoyed immensely the combination of frivolity and intensity that wove themselves into the story.
These are sketches, rather than a direct, chronological retelling of her day by day life, and that is part of what made it so interesting. We get the highlights without the repeated drudgery that she must have experienced day after day in her few short weeks of being able to nurse “her boys” at that hospital.
A beautiful story that is definitely worth adding to your Civil War study.