May 21, 2010

Booking It!

I have been an avid reader my entire life.  I would whiz through 900-page classics in 2-3 days as a teenager, and it was nothing for me to stay up reading until two or three in the morning. 

Today reading a book of my choosing is a real luxury.  As much as I love to encourage my daughter in literary ambitions, I grow weary at times of reading the same books over and over, and yet still once more.  I have read, scanned, and named every item on every page in the two I Spy books that we own at least 1500 times each, thanks to Grace's insatiable love for these books.  The picture above is of her and Baba, whom Grace had conned into looking at it with her.

However, in between I Spy readings, I did manage to read some other tomes.  Since I started tutoring Jerold, I have gotten more serious regarding homeschooling.  A friend lent me a copy of a book, which upon opening, I realized that another friend had lent me the same book about a year prior.  I had not bothered to read it yet (she told me I could borrow it as long as I liked), but I figured if two friends suggested it, it must be worth reading.  It is Never Too Early by Doreen Claggett.  The book was very insightful into early childhood development and learning from a Christian perspective.  Mrs. Claggett leans heavily toward parent/teacher-directed learning, phonetics, rote learning, and early, high standards of achievement.  Her main focus is teaching from a Bible-centered perspective.  She actually wrote her own early childhood curriculum incorporating these qualities; it is called Christ-Centered Curriculum.  I think that I would agree with about 85% of what she proposes.  I enjoyed her encouragement to teach the little ones, even before they are school-age.  I have personally found that Grace is very capable of and even excited about learning, and she is merely limited by my lack to teach her.  Mrs. Claggett backs up many of her points with Scripture, much to her credit.   However, I think that teaching, especially homeschooling, by its very nature, is a marathon, and in that sense, only those who can endure the daily grind are successful.  I would suggest that Mrs. Claggett may be slightly idealistic in her extremely high aspirations for mothers who homeschool, which may discourage some families who aspire to fulfill her ideals completely.  It was a good read, and I would recommend it to others who have little children.

I am currently in the midst of an audio book that I listen to while I work out, so it is taking me a while.  Making Rounds with Oscar is about a cat that visits dying dementia patients in a nursing home.  I was a bit skeptical about an entire book dedicated to a creepy cat, but after the first chapter, I was hooked.  Oscar has become such a harbinger of pending demise that the staff call the family of the resident whom he visits.  The doctor who wrote the book gives details of dementia patients he has worked with, and I have found learning about the disease to be extremely fascinating, although just a bit perturbing.  I seriously hope that I nor anyone I love develops this ravaging disease.  So far, this book been a great workout companion!

I also read/skimmed Homeschooling: A Parent's Guide to Teaching Children.  This book was written primarily to those considering the homeschool option, but are as yet undecided.  For that reason, I found it a bit *yawn, yawn*.  I enjoyed his chapter on forming a philosophy of education, as that is exactly where I am right now.  He makes a big deal about phonics-based reading, versus see-look method.  While I would agree with much of what he says, I would say he goes a bit far in his allegation that dyslexia is a result of this new reading method.  He does give detailed guidance regarding curriculum choice and subject matter, as well as sound arguments against the public school system.  The book is written at the dawn of the internet, so some of his information is outdated.  Altogether, this book would be good for someone unfamiliar, but interested in the homeschool movement.

My last trip to the library I came home armed with four or five books about childbirth.  As Grace was born via c-section, I am looking at the VBAC option very seriously.  I would love to give it another try, if only for my own peace of mind.  Next month, I may have a little commentary about my research.

How about you?  Anyone have a good suggestion for other reading choices?  I love recommendations.

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