I'm taking a break from the blog for Christmas. I really do love blogging, but a break makes me very excited! I might put up a photo or two here and there, but if not, I look forward to being back in the 2013.
Merry Christmas to each of you. Thanks for sharing this space with me this past year.
And, please say a prayer for those hurting families if you think of it, will you?
“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a
good children's story in the slightest.”
- C.S. Lewis
I recently had the chance to hear some helpful tips on building a home library and selecting quality books for our home from the lovely ladies in charge of Living Books Library. Their own home/lending library is quite impressive. I'm thankful for what I've learned on this journey, so far, about books. It makes Christmas shopping a little easier too!
In my experience, there seems to be a big push today to get kids to read better and be interested in books. I hear statistics, read articles, and listen to people lamenting the fact that so many students can't read and that our educational system is lacking. Yet, I rarely hear an emphasis being put on what kids read. Just get them to read, whatever might interest them, no matter the quality.
I have always considered myself a conscientious mother. I used to be of the mindset that if a book reinforced an educational concept (ABC's, math), if it had any Biblical themes (Noah's Ark or kindness), or if it had bright colorful new-looking illustrations to catch kids' eyes (the more the better), and if it didn't have evil characters (witches, trolls or magic spells) in it then it was worthwhile to read to my little ones. Even before my firstborn was age 2, I started to realize what an overwhelming amount of books fit into that criteria. The library seemed filled to the brim with choices, department stores had shelves of them and on and on. I felt bombarded, and still not very sure how to pick the best/right ones out of all these choices. I also never really felt satisfied with what we already owned. There were a few favorites, but the rest all seemed the same, just ok.
I have come far since those early days of mothering. I have learned (through lots of reading) what really gives a book lasting value and makes us want to read it over and over again and pass it on- what makes a book feel like an old friend when we run across it somewhere.
I am well on my way to distinguishing between "twaddle" books (like junk-food for the brain) and those that are rich and alive with ideas, the essential ingredient to learning. My criteria has changed, and my options have narrowed to a much more manageable amount. It is quite refreshing! Knowing this and getting rid of the 'twaddle' in our home has greatly changed its atmosphere. I love seeing my child's imagination soaring to new heights.
A few of the things I look for are:
- firsthand sources, unabridged classics, books that display imagination, originality, and tales that are well told and contain inspiring ideas and pictures of life. The ideas of the book are sparks of living truth passed from a great thinker to another mind. The vocabulary might stretch me/us but that is how we grow! And I love hearing my 5 year old use big words in daily life and knowing which book he got that one out of. (quotations from Ambleside Online)
- most often these books are in story/narrative form as that is how our brains best retain information- no dry fact blurbs all around the page.
- copyright before the 1970's, which I learned from the Living Books Library ladies, is when a bill was passed to give more $ to education. This increased the number of books being published per year, meaning that publishers no longer have to search out and publish only the very best. I found that interesting. On the other hand not all old books are living, and not all newer books are twaddle.
- if the book can be narrated well (told back), then it is most likely living.
Reading through booklists such as Ambleside Online, and getting these titles from the library has helped me begin learning what is good quality, and makes these books easier to recognize at book sales etc. I aim to have a large variety of books in our home, art books with few words and large colored pictures, historical biographies, atlas, field guides, poetry, well-written classic picture books and many more.
I also really enjoy seasonal/holiday books. Some particular favorites during Christmas time, are ones that tell the stories behind the Christmas songs that we sing. Here and here are a two we enjoy.
"I am recording this so that future generations will also praise the Lord for all He has done." -Psalm 102:18
I am a mama to 2 sweet brothers who aspires to a "thinking love" toward my children.
Take a peek into our journey towards a living education inspired by the writings of Charlotte Mason.
Be sure to leave me a comment if you're inspired!
I prefer to keep my text and images right here. Please don't copy without permission. Thanks!
My new posts delivered straight to your inbox!
Instead of T.V.
Librivox free audio books
Seeds of Family Worship
Bible verses put to song
Storynory free audio stories for kids
Storyline Online- famous faces read books to kids
Mister Rogers- episodes online
"In this field small efforts are honoured with great rewards, and we perceive that the education we are giving exceeds all that we intended or imagined.”
“It may be that the souls of all children are waiting for the call of knowledge to awaken them to delightful living.”