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January Reading Update

One of the glorious byproducts of homeschooling is self-education.

Much of my self-education has been done through reading.

(My husband gave me this shirt for Christmas - my family gets it now that mom needs time to READ!)

Homeschool moms should read often, widely, aloud - you get the point! Carve out that time for yourself.

Through reading we deepen our knowledge, empathy, and understanding of the world.

We model for our children how to settle down and enjoy a good story. We model a hunger for knowledge. We model discipline, curiosity, and self-care.

January Reading Update for Mom & Kids

January is typically a wonderful reading month. The weather is cold and the calendar isn’t as hectic.

I will update you on my reading, my son’s reading with me, and professional development reading. (My kids’ reading will be saved for another post!)

Here’s an update on reading accomplishments for January.


Books for Pleasure for Mom

I always read two books each month for book clubs. One is an in-person book club, and the other is the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club.

I enjoyed most of these (and you can see more about them on my Homegrown Book Picks Instagram account). The Time Traveler’s Wife wasn’t for me - I know a lot of people enjoyed it, but it didn’t resonate with me.

If you’re looking for a great audiobook, I enjoyed 84, Charing Cross Road on Audible. I also watched the movie with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft

The other three books - Harry’s Trees, The Lake House, and Where the Crawdads Sing - get a hearty recommendation from me!

84, Charing Cross RoadThe Time Traveler's WifeHarry's Trees: A NovelThe Lake House: A NovelWhere the Crawdads Sing

 

Read-Alouds for Homeschool

We learned quite a bit from Jefferson’s Sons. It brought up many interesting points for discussion between my 8th grader and me. Can a person still be a GOOD person and own slaves? What was Thomas Jefferson’s motivation behind owning slaves? Did Thomas Jefferson do what was right in the eyes of God? Much to be discussed!

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a short story for Grant’s Challenge B curriculum. The complexity of the language, along with an extremely interesting premise (aging backwards) also lent itself to a lot of discussion!

Jefferson's Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret ChildrenThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button

 

Professional Development for Homeschool Moms

It is important for us to understand WHY we homeschool, and what our philosophy of homeschooling and education truly is. Mine has evolved and deepened over time.

Beauty in the Word has been on my shelf for at least two years. It is a deep book, and it has taken a couple of readings to let everything soak in.

I HIGHLY recommend you read this book if you are classically educating your children and, contrary to what a lot of people think, this isn’t just for Catholic educators.

I am leading a book club on this book and EVERYONE is invited! We begin this Thursday, January 31 @ 8 p.m. ET and continue for the next 7 Thursday evenings (excluding February 14).

Join us via Facebook, or through this webinar registration link (if you don’t do FB).

Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education

 


January Reading Update: books for #homeschool moms, read-alouds, professional development

What have you been reading this month?

Let me know in the comments below!

You might also like:

Learn About C.S. Lewis - a Parent’s Guide to Self Education

Engaging Book Series for Middle School Boys

What We've Been Up To Lately: Community or Curriculum?

Community has always been an essential ingredient of our homeschool.

When the kids were younger I would definitely tell you community was more important than curriculum. By that I mean we were in an “extracurricular” co-op once a week for the benefit of community. Sure, the classes were engaging and beneficial, but they weren’t essential to our learning and were outside of our curriculum.

As my children reached middle school age, however, community and curriculum became intertwined. We began Classical Conversations and that was a good solution for both needs.

Until it wasn’t.

Homeschooling at Homegrown Learners: Community or Curriculum?

For my oldest, we needed to follow her heart and desires. We took her out of a CC community and enrolled her in online classes and a few classes at a local classical school.

We had to seriously evaluate the curriculum and the community, too. In her case, we needed a change in BOTH.

She will be graduating in May and I now look back and thank GOD for leading us in the right direction!

She is finishing high school with a beautiful of mix of her interests and also the “required” curriculum.

Homeschooling at Homegrown Learners: Community or Curriculum?

This week my husband and I have had some long, thoughtful discussions about the community we want for our son going forward.

We also received the latest Classical Conversations catalog and have been discussing whether the curriculum for next year fits our son’s needs.

As I stood talking with another mom this morning she articulated what I have been feeling: Which is more important to us moving forward? Community or Curriculum?

The Importance of Homeschool Community

Three years ago we started a new CC community. A prayerful group of moms (most of us with boys) came together to form a place where we could be together and educate our children together through high school.

I cannot accurately describe what a BLESSING this group has been. Our community is STRONG. The children are thoughtful and diligent, hard working and kind. The parents are friends and we are walking the road of Christian parenthood together.

We all remark how RARE this kind of community is and do not take it for granted.

Homeschooling at Homegrown Learners: Community or Curriculum?

That first year of our group was small. We had a group of 6 moms that met to pray about our community. We prayed for tutors, facilities, and so much more.

Now that community has changed locations. We have dozens more families, and have expanded to Challenge A, B, and I. Our Challenge I class next year will have 11 children - most of them have been together since their elementary years.

When Community Trumps Curriculum

Many of you who have followed me know that I am a bit leery of all of the reading that is done in Challenge I and II. I don’t want to see my son lose his love of reading.

I believe there should be more formalized history in the high school years.

I don’t think the sciences are accelerated enough in the Challenge years.

Those are things I am willing to adjust and work with so that we can have the benefit of THIS COMMUNITY.

We will most likely add an online Spanish class next year. I will probably omit some of the reading. This summer we may work on Physical Science so that we can move ahead to Biology in Challenge I.

The bottom line is this: There will never be a perfect school situation. We need to work on a child by child basis to determine what is most important for them at a given point in time.

Additionally, I think it is important to never commit yourself so wholeheartedly to one method or program that you cannot make a change if that is what is best for your child. When the method becomes more important than the child you have a serious problem!

That’s what weve been up to this week (well that AND lots of basketball!) - making big decisions for next year and evaluating decisions from previous years.

Homeschooling these upper grades is so GOOD - there is no need to be afraid. Just jump in and GO - with prayer and careful research you can avail yourselves of all of the wonderful opportunities out there!

What have you been up this week?

Making any big decisions for next year? Let me know in the comments below!

You might also like:

Homeschool High School to College

How to Reach Your Teen Homeschooler’s Heart