Sunday, July 31, 2016

He Dwells Alone

The Snail @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The skunks had to go, so we needed a new pet (or six). Since we’re finishing The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating as our read-aloud, I thought we should do a little observing of our own. A dear friend gave us these delightful new inhabitants for our leaky-aquarium-turned-terrarium. Lola and the boys are smitten.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

20 Things To Do When You Feel Powerless

20 Things To Do When You Feel Powerless

1. Love God.

2. Love your neighbor.

3. Listen to your neighbor. Listen to understand, not to reply.

4. When you speak to your neighbor, speak in love. Speak truth. Speak to delight. Speak to encourage. Speak to serve.

5. Serve.

6. Forgive.

7. Learn something new.

8. Create. Play music. Draw. Paint. Garden.

9. Make the world a more beautiful place.

10. Invite someone to join you.

11. Read a book that will enlarge your heart and imagination and place you in another person’s shoes.

12. Teach.

13. Practice integrity. Practice it more. Even when no one is looking. Especially when no one is looking.

14. Share your home.

15. Overcome a challenge.

16. Don’t lie. Even when you don’t think you’ll get caught.

17. Smile at your children. Smile at strangers.

18. Help a stranger.

19. Tell good stories.

20. Be filled with gratitude for this astounding gift called life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

McDowell Creek Falls Hike and Swim

McDowell Creek Hike 2 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We missed hiking last week due to the Classical Conversations Parent Practicum where I spoke for three days, Leif and Lola attended learning camps, and Levi was a teen helper. [Luke was at summer camp all week.]

This week I’m prepping for speaking in Auburn, Washington, on Saturday and then leaving for a family camping trip on Sunday, but we still managed to get in several hours of hiking and swimming at McDowell Creek Falls today with Holly and Ivy. [We were last there in April.] We did some hefty hiking (those uphill slopes and steps are killer), but we also had lots of time for exploring, playing, and swimming. This is the first time the kids have ever walked under the three-tiered falls.

McDowell Creek Hike 3 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles McDowell Creek Hike @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

This is also the first time they walked up to the falls in the picture below.

McDowell Creek Hike 4 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

It was also the first time we had ever walked up to the big falls. I’m not sure if you can see in the picture below, but Leif and Luke are standing under/behind the falls.

McDowell Creek Hike 5 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Another great adventure in the books.

I’m not sure how often I’ll be posting in the next week or two because we’ll be off enjoying our summer, but you can always find me on Facebook or Instagram.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Skunks and Snails and the Science of Relations

Lola and the Skunks @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Charlotte Mason says that "education is the science of relations" and that children should build a relationship with the things that they study.

I think we can check the box for "nature study" recently. Lola adopted 8 motherless babies who had been meandering around our house, porch, and yard last month. [We did eventually get rid of them, but it was a pretty darling relationship for a couple days.]

This relationship led Luke to read Kildee House (a book we read together as a family several years ago). It a darling chapter book that just happens to be illustrated by Barbara Cooney, my favorite illustrator.

Kildee House @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

It seems as if a switch has flipped in Lola’s brain in the last few months. She is paying attention and is interested in so many things. Together we’ve watched deer as well as an adult squirrel and two babies in our yard. Since she started playing with her bird cards, she has pointed out a robin and an eagle to me when we were outside and she was pretending to be a baby ruby-throated hummingbird (but she didn’t think it was quite fair that only males had ruby throats) while picking out a tiny rock that could be her egg.

A while back I posted this video on my FB page and then in one of my blog posts:

A kind reader, upon watching the video, suggested that we might enjoy The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. When one can’t make a direct relationship with nature, making a relationship vicariously through another person’s direct relationship is the next best thing. And what a delightful relationship it has been. The book has caused more rabbit snail trails than I can count. Lola and I had already memorized this lovely haiku by Kobayashi Issa:

O snail
Climb Mount Fuji,
But slowly, slowly!

I originally chose that haiku because we learned the location of Mount Fuji this past year, but it turns out that Kobayashi Issa wrote 54 haiku about snails! We’ve been enjoying the picture book Cool Melons—Turn to Frogs! The Life and Poems of Issa. It’s a gentle reminder to pay attention to nature and savor it.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is full of literary references—Issa, A.A. Milne, John Donne, Emily Dickinson, and so many more. We’ve looked up definitions for words like humus (not to be confused with hummus); we’ve discussed the words sinistral and dextral and wondered if the word sinister originally had to do with left-handed people. We have been allowed to see life from the eyes and mind of someone who is bed-ridden; we have have been taught to slow down and see that a small thing can be very large indeed if you take the time to look.

Skunks and Snails @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We are now in search of our very own snail to love.

Luke, as I’ve mentioned, has enjoyed baking and experimenting in the kitchen this past year or two. My sister, knowing his love of baking and his love of interesting science facts and his love of reading, gave him What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained for his birthday at the end of May. Luke sped through it and loved it, and then Leif devoured it as well. Chemistry in the kitchen—a perfect relationship.

Knowing how much Luke enjoyed that book, I ordered The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements. He had already enjoyed The Mystery of the Periodic Table and had spent hours poring over the exquisite Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe, so I thought this would be a great next read. I was right—he loved it!

From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes incredible stories of science, history, finance, mythology, the arts, medicine, and more, as told by the Periodic Table.

The Disappearing Spoon reminded me of Salt: A World History, so I grabbed that one off the shelf and handed it to Levi. Who knew that salt was so involved in world history, from ancient to modern times? Kurlansky’s Cod and Paper are on my wish list.

Books the Boys Have Been Reading @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

As soon as we finish reading aloud The Sound of a Wild Sail Eating, we will start on The Wild Muir: Twenty-Two of John Muir's Greatest Adventures. We’ve read several picture books about John Muir, but this will be the first time we have read about his adventures in his own words.

We may not be successful nature journal-ers, but we’ve had a rather successful summer of living books and outdoor exploring. I call that a win.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Reading Challenge 2016 ~ June

Hope and Novels @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

"...The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience, and the novel, of course, is a way to have experience. The lady who only read books that improved her mind was taking a safe course--and a hopeless one. She'll never know whether her mind is improved or not, but should she ever, by some mistake, read a great novel, she'll know mighty well that something is happening to her."


Books Finished in June 

:: The Lonesome Gods by Louis L’Amour [Review at link. 4 1/2 stars]

:: Down the Long Hills by Louis L’Amour [I enjoyed this one, but not nearly as much as The Lonesome Gods. The Education of a Wandering Man and Bendigo Shafter are next up on my book stack. 3 1/2 stars]

:: Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay [I liked this one more than the author’s The Bronte Plot and about as much as Dear Mr. Knightly, and I may have sobbed at the end. Yet another clean modern romance novel. 4 stars for enjoyment]

:: Give Your Child the World by Jaime Martin [Review at link.]

In Progress

[Yes, this list is a little ridiculous.]

:: Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories

:: Mystery and Manners

:: The Iliad [I’ve stalled, but I’m determined to finish… sometime this year… I did listen to an hour or two on audio this past month.]

:: Listening to Your Life [I continue to enjoy this daily devotional filled with excerpts from Frederick Buechner’s writings.]

:: Ambleside Online Year O Reading List [I’m reading all the books on this list aloud to Lola this year.]

:: Plutarch’s Lives [I am attempting to slow-read this one with the boys this year. I may chicken out and read the Greenleaf Guides Famous Men of Greece and Famous Men of Rome instead. Or even Augustus Caesar’s World.]

:: Julius Caesar retold by Leon Garfield [I’m working through both story volumes with the boys. We finished Taming of the Shrew this month.]

:: The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers (re-read) [One of my favorites.]

:: Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper (re-read) [Another favorite.]

:: Beauty for Truth’s Sake by Stratford Caldecott (re-read) [And yet another favorite.]

:: The Law by Frederic Bastiat

:: Rhetoric by Aristotle

:: In Defense of Sanity by G.K. Chesterton

:: Pippi Longstocking [with Lola]

:: The Creed in Slow Motion

:: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey 


The 2016 Reading Challenge Master List

[This list is getting messier and messier. I’ve added books and read books that are not “on the list.” I’ll have to rethink, reprioritize, and reorganize the list this month.]

(Books marked out have been completed.)


Listening to Your Life by Frederick Buechner [in progress]

In Defense of Sanity by G.K. Chesterton [in progress]

The Drama of Scripture: Finding our Place in the Biblical Story by Bartholomew

The Creed in Slow Motion by Reverend Ronald Knox [in progress]

Real-Life Schole Sisters

The Terrible Speed of Mercy: A Spiritual Biography of Flannery O’Connor [I loved this biography of Flannery O’Connor. It is peppered with quotes from O’Connor’s own writings (letters and essays) as well as details about her stories. I feel much more equipped to understand her fiction writing. 4 stars]

Flannery O’Connor: The Complete Stories [in progress]

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor [in progress]

Online Schole Sisters

Awakening Wonder: A Classical Guide to Truth, Goodness & Beauty [There are some gems in this book, but I feel as if I had to work so hard to mine them. The last chapter of the book is fantastic, though. 3 1/2 stars]

Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper (re-read) [in progress]

Beauty for Truth’s Sake by Stratford Caldecott (re-read) [in progress]

[Also discussing Flannery O’Connor with this group.]

Symposium at Parnassus (Facebook Group)

Understood Betsy (re-read) [This is such a beautiful classic children’s book, but it is just as important for adults—particularly parents and educators. The author of the story, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, brought Maria Montessori’s teaching methods to the United States and was also named by Eleanor Roosevelt as one of the ten most influential women in the country. 4 1/2 stars]

Mother Carey’s Chickens by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Jack and Jill by Alcott 

Little Women by Alcott

Little Men by Alcott

Rose in Bloom by Alcott

Climbing Parnassus by Tracy Lee Simmons

Norms and Nobility: A Treatise on Education by David Hicks [in progress from 2015]

The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education [This is an excellent primer on a robust and comprehensive traditional classical Christian paradigm, including and beyond the implementation of the Trivium. I’ll be sharing more about this book as I lay out our plans for this coming year. 4 stars]

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay [Review here. 4 1/2 stars]

A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison

How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler

Poetic Knowledge James Taylor

Plutarch’s Lives [In progress]

Potato Peel Pie Society (Facebook Group)

[Ambleside Online Year O book list with Lola] [in progress]

Dragonflight [Classic fantasy, and Russ’s favorite author. Fantasy is not my genre, but this one was enjoyable. Definitely some adult situations and not for young children. 3 1/2 stars]

Julius Caesar (re-telling by Leon Garfield)

The Taming of the Shrew (“) [finished re-telling by Leon Garfield]

Henry V (“)

The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers (re-read) [in progress]

The Green Ember/ The Black Star of Kingston by S.D. Smith

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (July-Sept)

[The Princess Bride (July-Sept) (listed under read-alouds)]

Surprised by Joy by Lewis (Feb)

The Four Loves by Lewis

[Mere Christianity, The Weight of Glory, The Abolition of Man (re-reads)]

Something by Jane Austen

The Once and Future King

[Handmaid’s Tale, Alas Babylon, Ender’s Game, A Wrinkle in Time (re-reads)]

[George MacDonald’s Curdie books (re-reads)]

[Classic Fairy Tales]

[And discussing several other previously read books]

ChocLit Guild

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy [This was my first Thomas Hardy novel, and I loved it. His descriptions are vivid paintings, and I laughed out loud more times than I could count. His characters sprung to life. This is an early contender for 2016 favorites. I enjoyed the new movie version as well. 4 1/2 stars.]

The Man Who Was Thursday, A Nightmare by Chesterton [Loved it. Review here. 4 1/2 stars]

Wonder [I sobbed my way through this one. Excellent and important. 4 1/2 stars]

Becoming Human by Jean Vanier [This fascinating non-fiction book on the value of every human and the tension between individuality and community was a book club selection this month, paired with the middle grade novel Wonder. I’ll share some thoughts and quotes when I get my copy back. It’s making the book club rounds at the moment. 4 stars]

The Supper of the Lamb (re-read)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr  [This novel contains beautiful and poetic prose full of exquisite metaphors. The staccato style took some getting used to, however. The sentence rhythm seemed detached, the chapters were extremely short, and the point of view bounced back and forth between characters, location, and time. The story was skillfully woven together, however, and the detail of the experience was remarkable. The characters, in all their variety and humanness, were brought to life. There were few despicable characters, and, while the subject matter was not easy, it was handled gently. 4 stars.]

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson [After enjoying Donaldson’s Edenbrooke last month, I had to try her second novel. It’s yet another satisfying light, fun, steamy, clean romance—possibly more complex and intriguing than Edenbrooke. Not great literature, but very dreamy for those of us who enjoy shallow romance novels. Swoon. 4 stars for enjoyment.]

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr. (re-read)

The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work" by Kathleen Norris

Something by L.M. Montgomery

The Great Divorce (or other non-fiction by C.S. Lewis)

Still Life by Louise Penny

Book Detectives

The Family Under the Bridge  (re-read) [This short children’s chapter book was a re-read for me. Our Book Detectives group had a wonderful literary analysis discussion on this one.]

Dominic (re-read) [One of my top favorites. Review and analysis here. 5 stars.]

The Cricket in Times Square (re-read)

Symposium Read-Alouds (with boys)

Shakespeare Stories (Leon Garfield, both volumes –Hamlet and The Tempest) [in progress]

Heidi [I don’t know that I had ever actually read this one all the way through before. The boys LOVED it. Every day they would ask for me to read just one more chapter, and then just one more! In fact, one evening Russ sat down and listened with us and he wasn’t content with the two extra chapters, so he sat next to me after the kids went to bed and I watched a movie and he read the rest of the book, laughing out loud and reading passages to me from time to time. 4 1/2 stars]

The Princess Bride [What a riot!! The introduction got a little long and crazy (and not really appropriate for a younger audience), but we absolutely loved the story part with the author’s “interruptions.” It is very similar to the movie, often word-for-word, but with a little more story and hilarious commentary. The boys and I loved it. (The author’s convoluted conclusion was a little long and crazy as well, and I didn’t read it aloud.) 4 stars for the story inside the story.]

Tuck Everlasting

Classic Fairy Tales (PPPS in December)

Pippi Longstock by Astrid Lindgren (with Lola)

Roman Roads Western Culture Greeks with Levi

[Also discussing with online Schole Sisters]

The Iliad [in progress]

The Odyssey

  – Aeschylus (The Oresteia)
  – Sophocles (Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus)
  – Aristophanes (The Frogs and The Clouds)
  – Eurpipides (The Medea and The Trojan Women) included in Roman Roads Reader
  – Sappho (various poems) included in Roman Roads Reader
  – Pindar (collection of Odes) included in Roman Roads Reader
  – Theocritus (Idyls I, VI, VII, and XI) included in Roman Roads Reader
  – Hesiod (Works and Days) included in Roman Roads Reader
  – Quintus of Smyrna (The Fall of Troy) included in Roman Roads Reader
  – Apollonius of Rhodes (The Argonautica) included in Roman Roads Reader

  – The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories
  – The Landmark Thucydides
  – Xenophon: The Persian Expedition


  – Plato: Six Greek Dialogues
  – The Basic Works of Aristotle

CC Challenge B short stories [2015-16] (with Levi and McKinnon)

Words Aptly Spoken: Short Stories [I finally finished this collection of 25 classic short stories. It was a great variety.]

God Lives by Hans Christian Andersen
The Teapot by Hans Christian Andersen
The Bet by Anton Chekhov
The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde
Little Girls Wiser than Men by Leo Tolstoy
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke

Araby by James Joyce
The Schoolboy’s Story by Charles Dickens
That Spot by Jack London
The Red-Headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Celestial Railroad by Nathaniel Hawthorne
A White Heron by Sarah Orne Jewett
A Man and the Snake by Ambrose Bierce
The Cop and the Anthem by O. Henry
The Necklace by Henri Guy de Maupassant
The Hammer of God by G. K. Chesterton
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe
The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain
The Bird on its Journey by Beatrice Harraden
The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde
A King in Disguise by Matteo Bandello
The Startling Painting by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Last Lesson by Alphonse Daudet

Classical Conversations Parent Practicum (“Navigating History: The Art of Argumentation”)

Rhetoric by Aristotle [in progress]

The Law by Frederic Bastiat [in progress]

A Student’s Guide to History [This was a very quick and excellent read in anticipation of the Classical Conversations Parent Practicum speaker training that I attended this past month. Our theme is “Navigating History” and I’m very exciting to be speaking in Albany, Oregon in July.]

The Peacemaker by Ken Sande

The Tolkien Project

The Hobbit

Bilbo’s Journey by Joseph Pearce

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Frodo’s Journey by Joseph Pearce

The Philosophy of Tolkien by Peter Kreeft

Letters From Father Christmas


The Young Peacemaker by Ken Sande

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Coming Clean by Seth Haines

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Daddy-Long-Legs [Easy, short, old-fashioned, charming, funny, romantic novel. Brain candy I don’t have to feel guilty about. 4 stars]

The Martian [Gripping, fascinating, hilarious, and stressful sci-fi novel. The most interesting scientific and technical “manual” I’ve ever read, and science/technology/sci-fi are not my things. Lots of language and short, choppy journal-style writing for most of the book but it fit with the story. It is a fantastic tribute to human ingenuity and spirit, with an up-beat can-do attitude. 4 stars]

So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger [Enger’s Peace Like a River is in my top ten. I had heard that his second novel wasn’t as good as the first, so I put off reading it. I’m glad I finally sat down to savor it. I loved this one. I really did. Yes, it meandered, but I loved it. I fell in love with the characters. I loved the atmosphere Leif Enger weaves from word to sentence to page to story. Heroic in the quietest sense. The world is indeed a romance. 4 stars]

Heart of Darkness [This wasn’t as hard to read as I thought it was going to be. The prose was exquisite in places. His descriptive writing reminded me of Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, though this one was not nearly so lovely. The forward movement felt slow, and the characters less appealing (though one was fascinating). 3 1/2 stars]

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie [I love a good mystery. I watched this as a play years and years ago, but it was high time I read this, one of A.G.’s most famous stories. 4 stars]

The Lonesome Gods by Louis L’Amour

These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 by Nancy Turner

The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber (short stories)

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke  [This was my “cultural literacy” selection for May, and I watched the classic 1968 Stanley Kubrick film version after finishing the novel. I now feel culturally literate (ha!), but the genre is not my favorite so I’m certain that is one reason I was unable to think deeply about this narrative. I need a group discussion to help me appreciate it. I’d rate this one at roughly 3 stars for enjoyment.]

Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam

The Maytrees by Annie Dillard

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Mrs. Mike by Freedmans

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

Song of Albion trilogy by Stephen Lawhead

The Cellist of Sarejevo by Steven Galloway

The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Emma/Persuasion/Sense and Sensibility

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Roll-Overs from 2015’s List

Strong Poison (continuation of Lord Peter Wimsey series) by Dorothy Sayers

Invisible Man

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel


Dune [I tried to start it in 2015 and just couldn’t get going. Maybe I’ll try again later this year.] [I found this article at The Guardian: Dune, 50 years on: how a science fiction novel changed the world. I guess it stays on the list…]

The Once and Future King (PPPS)

The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers K

The Road

Paradise Lost (need to read in plain English novel form)


Children’s/YA Novels

The Ranger’s Apprentice

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Readers Edition) [A beautiful and true story about a boy from Malawi who builds a windmill. 4 stars.]

The Glass Sentence [This is a hefty 500 page YA fantasy/sci-fi novel and the first in a trilogy. I read the whole thing on vacation, but I wasn’t sucked into the story. I didn’t love it. My fantasy/sci-fi-loving husband didn’t love it either. Interesting premise and world-building, decently written, but not great. 3 stars.]

Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories [This is a nice companion book to Wonder. I especially appreciated The Julian Chapter, but it isn’t quite as magical as Wonder. 4 stars.]

Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle by N.D. Wilson [We pre-ordered this one and the 3 boys, my husband, and I all had it read within a week. We loved it. This is an excellent adventurous fantasy with excitement and heart, and now we’re waiting for a sequel. 4 stars.]

The Folk of the Faraway Tree

Half Magic

Ella Enchanted

Popcorn Reads

Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw [I don't remember who recommended Greensleeves to me. It was written by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (author of the middle grade novels The Golden Goblet, Mara, Daughter of the Nile, Moccasin Trail, and others) and published in 1968. It is a hefty book at 334 pages. It is the coming of age story of 18-year-old Shannon Lightley. Yeah, an 18-year-old. It is written in first person, and seems light and modern-ish in style, but I was constantly surprised by a fantastic turn of phrase, description or witty comment. And it was way more...smouldering...than I expected it to be. But still clean. The ending was a little more open-ended than I expected (Miss Prim-ish), but not unsatisfying. The book has a decent theme without being preachy. (And it is not at all a "Christian" book as there is not a single mention of God or church.) 4 stars]

Edenbrooke [All that stuff I said about Greensleeves? Yeah. I read this on the first day of vacation, and then I just wanted to re-read it for the rest of the week. I skimmed/re-read it the following week and then I bought my own copy (the first one was a library copy). And then I ordered Blackmoore by the same author to read next (listed under ChocLit Guild reads). Super duper mushy clean romantic story. More romantic than Greensleeves, but maybe more cheesy. Definitely a more satisfying ending. Whatever. This is the kind of book I’d read all day every day if I didn’t care about my brain and my family. 4 stars.]

(Blackmoore) [listed under ChocLit Guild reads]

The Black Opal [Decent but somewhat forgettable. The author is a long-time mystery and romance writer, but I didn’t find this book particularly mysterious or romantic. Meh. I may try another one. 3 stars.]

Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay [This is a modern literature-infused remake of Daddy-Long-Legs, which was the first book I read this year (a re-read for me, and listed under “novels” since it was published in 1912). Not realistic (who writes letters like that?), not deep literature, but yet another light, entertaining, clean, and quite enjoyable romance novel! 4 stars]

The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay [I enjoyed Dear Mr. Knightley a little more, but this novel shows a bit more maturity. Not great literature, but I enjoy a light, cheesy, modern romance novel that references classical literature and is clean to boot. 4 stars for enjoyment.]

Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay [ I liked this one more than the author’s Bronte Plot and about as much as Dear Mr. Knightly, and I may have sobbed at the end. Yet another clean modern romance novel. 4 stars for enjoyment]


CC Challenge A Reading List [2016-17] (with Luke)

[The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Carry On, Mr. Bowditch; The Magician’s Nephew; Number the Stars; Amos Fortune, Free Man]

The Secret Garden

[The Door in the Wall; A Gathering of Days; Crispin: The Cross of Lead; The Bronze Bow]

CC Challenge I Reading List [2016-17] (with Levi and McKinnon)

Billy Bud, Sailor

The Scarlet Letter

The Red Badge of Courage

The Gold-Bug and Other Tales (Poe)

Through the Gates of Splendor (Elisabeth Elliot)

Born Again (Chuck Colson)

Starship Troopers

Up from Slavery (Booker T. Washington)

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (re-read)

Self-Reliance Ralph W. Emerson

Walden (Henry David Thoreau)

The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)

Tom Sawyer

The Call of the Wild

Johnny Tremain

The Sign of the Beaver (re-read)

Harvey (Mary Chase)

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

An Old-Fashioned Girl

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?

The Money Mystery

The Taming of the Shrew (re-read)

I, Isaac, Take Thee, Rebekah

(American Documents)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

River Adventure

The River @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We didn’t set out on a hiking adventure this week, but we did soak up some nature and get some fresh-air exercise (well, the boys did at least).

Saturday, Russ took the kids to check out this new swimming hole and they had a blast, so we all went as a family on Monday afternoon. (I completely forgot my camera, so these are snapshots I took with my phone.)

On the River @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Russ and Lola took quite the trip down the river on inner tubes. Luke and Leif preferred to body surf the rapids.

Riding the Rapids @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesIMG_20160704_162259fRiding th eRapids 3 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

And there was some rock hopping.

On the Rocks @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

And two boys wrestling each other off of rocks into the water. [Watching with my modern-mother eyes, I almost stopped that activity until I realized it was exactly what I wanted them to be doing!! Child-led activities in nature that develop agility, stamina, balance, and strength! Between the wrestling and the swimming (especially against the current) and the climbing back up on the rocks, they got quite a workout.]

Physical Education @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I had some studying and planning to do for my upcoming week, so this was my view. It was better than staying home to work.

Hitting the  Books @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I think we’ll be back to this little spot often this summer!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Give Your Child the World

Give Your Child the World

Jamie has done it! Her book is finally in my hands, and it’s beautiful.

Jaime Martin of Simple Homeschool has given us guidebook—a way to tour the world with our children, to savor the flavors and explore the riches of the people and places on earth, without leaving our couches! Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time belongs on the shelf with other excellent book lists such as Honey for a Child’s Heart.

In Part I, Jaime shares with us the story of her own global family, coming together from four different continents. She gives us many simple but effective ways to invite the world into our own homes. And she challenges us to embrace a good story as a powerful way to enlarge our hearts and minds.

In a lengthy Part II, Jaime shares a feast of stories. The generous book list is conveniently sorted by region (Multicultural, Africa, Europe, Asia, Middle East, North America, Latin America, and finally Australia, Oceania, and the Polar Regions). Within the regional lists, she further sorts the books into target age ranges (4-6, 6-8, 8-10, and 10-12). A quick review accompanies each book selection.

The Index section is particularly helpful with an index each for authors, country/region, and titles, as well as a historical index with books sorted chronologically!

As I perused the book lists, I spied many favorite titles but also many that are new to me. I look forward to discovering new family favorites.

Jaime and Sarah Mackenzie of Read-Aloud Revival have teamed up to create the Read the World Summer Book Club for those of us interested in joining others on the journey. Kids and parents are encouraged to read one book a week, one region a week. The book club is in its second week, so don’t delay! Enjoy weekly themed recipes and videos at Simple Homeschool and enter to win prizes!