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I thought it might be nice to share what I’ve been reading. I’m going to try to do this every month; we’ll see how it goes. If you are a homeschooler or are thinking about homeschooling, then you just might find this month’s list helpful.

I picked up Unit Studies Made Easy from the library. At almost an inch thick, this book looks overwhelming, but 1) it is really several books in one, and there is a bit of redundancy, and 2) the parts about how to do unit studies are shorter, and most of the book is filled with examples that the casual reader won’t read in detail. It would make a great resource to have, but ultimately it teaches you how to do your own unit studies, and gives you a picture of a philosophy of education that is very different from traditional school, yet much closer to what I believe God intended for children to have.

If you live in a state that requires a certain number of hours of school per year, this is a great book; it gives you creative ways to record educational activities. Helping with cooking or cleaning (aka, chores) can be labeled as Home Economics or some other fancy label. Looking up things on Google could be Research 101, or whatever. Listening to Mom read stories could be Listening Comprehension. To be sure, education is more than just textbooks and workbooks! I definitely recommend this book, and may end up getting my own copy someday. It’s got some great resources in it!

Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally by Chris Davis is an excellent book. Not too long, either. I bought the Kindle version, and I don’t regret buying it. I might regret not getting a hard copy, but I wrote the library and suggested they get it, so we’ll see. Chris Davis was a homeschool father back when homeschooling was illegal in most states, a pioneer in the movement. He believes that children are not empty slates to be filled with information, but rather that they have been given gifts by God to glorify Him, and that it is our job to help them figure out what those gifts are and to develop them to the fullest. He takes to heart the words of John Gatto when he says something like, “Find out what public schools are doing and do something else,” and he goes into some detail on how to do “something else.” This book was so formative in many ways of my philosophy, or perhaps refining it, that I loaned it via Kindle loan to my husband, in the hopes that he will read at least some of it so we can discuss it.

The Brainy Bunch by Kip and Mona Lisa Harding is the story of how they got 7 of their 10 children into college by age 12. The book is more of their story than a how-to manual, but it does have some how-we-did-it in there between story lines. I found the book a bit disorganized, more like it had been transcribed from a series of lectures, rather than written, which makes me think my husband would probably never read it (he hasn’t the patience for certain kinds of books like that). I might try sharing with him some of the ideas.

However, I am not quite sure what to make of the book. I can see how getting their kids in college was helpful for them. Pretty much all their kids were doing high school level work by age 10, especially math, and even if they took high-school level courses to start with, they were able to avoid the drama and, in some cases, boredom, of high school. College classes are not every day, so the kids weren’t in class every day, and they learned to manage their time like adults instead of having someone else (aka, school and teacher) manage it for them. Their classroom associates were mature adults instead of immature teens. The goal of developing their passions kept them motivated.

But on the other hand, they way this family works is to start the kids reading at age 4 or 5, and accelerating their math so that by age 8 or 9 they are doing pre-algebra. I’m not sure that’s possible for everyone. It has worked for them, but in their case, the first child was good at math, with her dad teaching her some calculus problems he was studying when she was 4, and she set the bar high for her siblings by passing the ACT or SAT (I forget which) at age 12 and starting college. Pretty soon everyone wanted to be in college by age 12 (one kid made it by age 10). They advanced them in math quickly and encouraged reading. My oldest, on the other hand, is still reading at the 1st grade level in 2nd grade (she doesn’t enjoy reading, although she is improving), and she is having a hard time learning math facts and even relatively basic concepts. I’m still trying to figure out how to teach her in a way that makes sense to her (because math was my strong suit and came easily for me, it’s hard for me to think like someone for whom math was not easy). Not that I want her in college at age 12, but still, I have some questions about the concept of the book. Nonetheless, it made interesting reading, and I polished it off in about 3 days.

That’s all for this month. I just requested the book The Self Propelled Advantage from the library. I read the Kindle sample, and now I can’t wait to get the book. But I bought two Kindle books already this month, and I’m not about to buy another one right now, so since the library has this one, I’m going to be patient and read the hard copy when it comes. I also want to read Little Kids Big Money, since my daughter seems motivated by money, and coins are the only math manipulatives she will use right now, other than her fingers, so i am determined that she will learn to count it well, and may as well learn more about managing it. The other book I want to read is The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer. I want to read at least one devotional/spiritual book each month (perhaps continued from the last month if it’s long). Maybe next year I will share the full list of Kindle books I plan to read in 2015, and then share each month what I actually read, which will include library books and maybe (gasp) even a few from my own library.

What have you been reading this month?


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