Posted by : Karen Monday, April 23, 2012

As with any kind of sub culture, there is a particular jargon that one has to get use to if one wants to become a member of that subset. And, if you're like me, you probably wondered for a while what a "living book" was exactly, and thankfully, this month's carnival seeks to give you just that - an explanation, and an insight into actual examples!

I am a book lover. And a book hoarder. And in spite of annually giving away books, or moving countries, I still have a surprising number. I love them. Unashamedly. It was something I loved as a child, something I could escape into, something that captivated me. I'm one of those readers, that if I get into a good book, pretty much nothing can deter me.... unless perhaps there's a fire. I switch off, seldom hearing anything beyond the words in my head, and have been known to read voraciously for whole days. Now lest you wonder in awe at how I carve that time out when I have three exuberant young children, let me assure you, those days of reading all day are almost non existent. Every now and again, I will stumble on a book of such awe and majesty that I will read in chunks of time...but whole days? A thing of the past. (You can follow what I read, when I have time to blog about it, under the Books on my Bedside Table labels)

So...I tell you that, because it's important to know that I am a book lover. And that therefore I always wanted my children to be book lovers. And so since they were little, I've read to them anything we could get our hands on - King Arthur had his own library card by the time he was one. (I review library books under the label Library Loot if you're looking for good picks!) Braveheart does not share this passion of mine, but he has a library card, courtesy of me, so that we can take out an extra 7 books!

When we started homeschooling we naturally gravitated towards a literature based curriculum. In the last few years of researching homeschooling and starting to homeschool, a whole new world has opened up for me - a world where learning texts come alive, where books are filled with rich and rewarding notions, where ideas make you start to think and imagine - and for this to come alive in subject areas is a true feat, if you think back to the dull dry textbooks you used at school!

And so, without further ado, here are some of our favorites so far along our short journey...

This is my all time favorite non-fiction text that I own. Sonlight recommends Hillyer's A Child's History of the World, but as I've worked with both of these texts this year, Susan Wise Bauer's wins hands down. I find her text to be better structured, and like how she covers the beginnings of civilizations across the world at the same time, rather than following one civilization for a while and then backtracking to study another one. As a family, we've responded to her style more than Hillyer, and both my boys (they're seven and half and five and a half) are really enjoying it - some nights we've read it as a bed time story - that's how engaging it is!

We haven't used the corresponding activity books with this text yet, although they also have had brilliant reviews. There are a wealth of blogs and Pinterest boards on this book though, and so we're adding our hands on activities as we go along.

Our favourite fictional books include:

We've only recently begun this, but it's such a lovely story of life on a sheep farm: it brought back such memories of life on my uncle's cattle farm. There is a wealth of information about the raising of sheep and the nature of farm life, all told through a lively and engaging story about the young farm boy Peter as he grows up.

What homeschool library would be complete without a set of Laura Ingalls Wilders' tales of Prairie life? I remember being captivated by these books when I was a young girl, (and loving the TV series!) and now the pleasure of re-reading them yet again to my children is wonderful!
There's only one twang that rises when I read this. I long to find some living literature written about the Great Trek the pioneers made from the South African coast up into Africa's interior - can anyone recommend anything?

I'm a C.S. Lewis fan, and these never fail to peel back my eyes and allow me to catch something deeper each time I read them. At the beginning of the year I started reading them to my boys as a bed time story, and I was astonished at how rich and rewarding his work really is, even for little kids. It is a feast for the soul!

And this one is for you moms! If you've read Kings and Chronicles and ever wondered what it was REALLY like, and have longed for those Biblical books to come alive to you, then  Lynn Austin's Chronicles of the Kings is worth reading - and this is the cover of just one of the five of them in the series (got to love it when you come across a great author and there is more than just one book!). I learnt so much about the names kings in Israel's history through these historical fictional novels, and about the surrounding nations that I am drawing on even now as we go through our Ancient History curriculum.

And here's two Living Books I would love to get my hands on one day!

A Child's Geography, by Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience...

Apologia's wonderful Science books

And I'm on the lookout for some Math Living books, so I'll be browsing the carnival with great delight!

Happy reading!

This post features on the upcoming SACHS blog carnival...

4 Responses so far.

  1. Books......I used to dream of being a librarian when I was a child ;-) and then I settled for having a floor to ceiling book shelf, but alas, my husband too doesn't share that passion ;-) mmmmmm, one day perhaps! p.s Joni has my copy of Ann Voskamp's Child's Geography-you're welcome to borrow it. I do have a small library of books-one shelf across the wall ;-) They need to be read by someone-please come check it out if you're looking for books!

  2. Karen says:

    Thanks for the offer Nikki -will be taking you up on that ! And i must pop over to browse your books :) Pleased to know we share yet another similar passion!

  3. Taryn says:

    lol! LOVE that you use your hubby's card too! I keep my hubby's card with me in case we need it for spill over books. But with 35 books already leaving the library with the 5 of us, I try not to use it too much! :) You've totally got me interested in reading Susan Bauer's version of history through the ages. I read reviews on it a while ago and people complained of sloppy editing and grammar. Is that the case with your copy? One way or another, I'm sure we'll end up getting it and enjoying it too! :) Next year I plan on doing some Apologia for Science/Biology as we may take a break from Sonlight (gasp!) and do some South African Core work (Footprints, no doubt). We'll have to see! :) And - last comment - I LOVE the God and Kings series. One of my absolute favourites. It'll have to be a read aloud series, methinks for the kids when they're teens!

  4. Karen says:

    Ha!35 books - that's impressive! My copy has been fine it seems - we're about half way through, and I've honestly taken more umbridge with Hillyer than Bauer - had also read some scathing reviews! I'm intrigued by your possible divergence from the path - great minds think alike - I too am praying into next year and just wondering which way to you never know, our paths may cross over again! And God and Kings - can't go wrong- great idea for a read aloud when they're older!

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