Friday, June 8, 2012

What I've Been Reading This Week: June 8, 2012

The Element by Sir Ken Robinson
Fascinating book. My TJed book group is reading this for July. It works well with our June book, Legendary Learning: A Famous Homeschooler's Guide to Self-Directed Excellence. I like the ideas, there are great examples of successful people who weren't successful in school, but found a passion which made all the difference in their lives. 

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
This is one of my favorite books. I've read it three or four (or maybe five?) times . . . and I'm not much of a repeat reader. I read it to The Boy through a long cold winter when he was sleeping out in his tent and I had to truck out to his tent to read him out of bed in the mornings. I read it on the beach in Hawaii (twice). I read it to prepare a leadership workshop many years ago. I'm in charge of a Scholar Literature class in our co op. I was thinking of doing Macbeth for June and July, but now I'm leaning toward Ender's Game. I have to decide quickly!

The Diamond Throne
I'm listening to this through  I'm halfway through. It's something I think The Boy will love, so I'm listening to it so we can talk about it.  It's good, not fabulous, but mostly because I'm not so much into fantasy right now. I wish I could skim to the end. I put the narration speed up to 2.0 so I should get through it pretty quick. I am interested to see how they cure Queen Ehlana's disease, how many Pandion knights it takes (they are losing one each moon for 12 moons unless she is cured), and if Sparhawk ever has time to develop a love interest. I also like the sub plot of the Styricum girl, Flute . . . why doesn't she talk? will she ever talk? Do we find out more about her in later books? (I had to look up how to spell everything . . . I'm listening and these are strange words!) 
Deeper Reading
 Just a little "light" reading. I've been perusing this for ideas for my Scholar Lit class . . . it's good, but it's not what I need right now, so I'm putting it on the shelf for another day. 

Free Range Homeschooling

I despise the title of this book, but I'm really liking it. Partly because it gives EVIDENCE for better late than early learning. (There was a study done in the 1930s . . . a school district allowed a couple of classes to put off studying formal math until halfway through the sixth grade. The children focused on reading, discussion, and reasoning. At the end of the sixth grade tests . . . the non-formal math children scored just as well as the other children in math and outscored them in the Language Arts section. It took them half a school year to catch up. Amazing. . . and their attitudes toward math were positive!) 

The Road Less Travelled
My life long learning class is reading this in August, but I'm getting a head start. I found it at D.I. . . .yeah! I love finding books that are on my "to buy" list in good condition at D.I.! I remember my mother reading this when I was a child. I think I even saw her write in it, which was huge no-no when I was a child. (Now I can't read a book without a pen in my hand!)  Such good stuff!! HIGHLY recommended. 

Millicent's Gift
The Book Diva brought this to Dancegirl, but she was disappointed (partly because Cupcake got a book -- Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter--the she wanted). She read the first couple of pages and then brought it to me. I thought she would like it, as it sounded like Savvy by Ingrid Law, which Dancegirl loved. Not so. I read it so I could determine if it was "good" or not. It was fine. Not great, not bad . . . and definitely a lot like Savvy! But I can't convince Dancegirl to even try it. (I have an older copy from D.I. and the cover is different, so that may be an influencing factor as well.) There is an interesting juxtaposition of Christianity with occult type images and magic (which might bother some that are sensitive to magic themes) but it has seeds for a great discussion about honesty, openness, personal choice, and families.)

With The Boy:
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
I started reading this to THE BOY. We are mostly reading the novels he has written in the mornings, but every now and then he wishes to stay and bed. I read the first two chapters, and thought they were interesting. Not our normal fare for our reading out of bed time . . .but I thought he'd be interested in "branching out." It wasn't a big hit, so I'm reading it on my own and he and I started the Once and Future King by T.H. White. 

Iron Wolf
(No picture available)
This is one of The Boy's books we are working through. I read a loud and we talk about word choice, grammar, plot, conflict ... etc. It is an amazing book. He is really talented! We only get through a couple of paragraphs each morning, but I'm always impressed with his ideas!

With Dancegirl:
Counte of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
Dancegirl lets me read to her in the mornings . . . sometimes. She said she prefers me to read her things she won't read herself, but sometimes she doesn't listen! This one has been going well. The chapters are just the right length . . . I've been doing a bit of outside research on the time period and reading the end notes, so I can throw out interesting tidbits for her, but sometimes, I have to shake her or make her sit up to make sure she is awake, so . . . 

Amaranth Enchantment
 . . . Dancegirl and I started reading this to help her wake up in the mornings. I was reading the Count of Monte Cristo and couldn't get her to respond after the first three  paragraphs. I told her . . . "I'm off to get the big guns!" and brought this book back. After the prologue she was BEGGING for more. We made a deal, I just have to get through the first 75 pages (rather than 100) and then she can take the book and read it on her own. (Oh yeah!) She has been wide awake these past few mornings!  

With Cupcake:
The Robe
My choice for HVH book club (Mom's Night Out), coming up this fall. A lot of the women in my group are really enjoying it. It's good, but it isn't Cupcake's favorite. I asked if she wanted to switch books, but she wants to give it a little more time. It is a bit slow right now . . . the Roman Marcellus just won the robe of Jesus Christ during the crucifixion . . . just after page 100. So many people that I trust have given this a good recommendation, I think she will be glad we have read it. (I'm enjoying it, and wishing we had more time to read together in the mornings!) 

With Coconut:
The Phantom Tollbooth
 I read this as a family read aloud many years ago. The Coconut was young and didn't remember it at all. It has been showing up here and there (in a couple of books about books and on some blogs that I like to peek in on) so we started reading it. This is just her type of book. Clever conversations, double meanings to discover, outrageous occurrences and a moral she can mull over -- plus a lot of alliteration! (We had fun circling the beginning letters in the alliterative passages with discovered). I liked it, but didn't love it, but she calls it one of her favorite books ever.
Up next: (we try to swap between fantasy and more realistic) The Evolution of Calpernia Tate (It's been on my list for years to read it seems . . . I've started twice, but something always bumps it off my currently reading shelf. This will be just the push I need.)

With my youngest, who would like to be known as "Pickle" instead of Lala. 
Little House on the Prairie
We finally finished this book. (We tend to have a couple of books on the fire . . . right now we are also reading The Witches by Roald Dahl and Hapenny Magick by Jennifer Carson). I liked the "Big Woods" better, but still a good story. I like the self-contained chapters, so we can leave it for a couple of days and jump back into a story that we both like with characters we have come to love.  

Hapenny Magick
I don't know how I stumbled onto this book, but it is adorable . . .and only $2.99 for Kindle. That's a great deal! "Pickle" loves that I am reading it to her on my iPad. I have a terrible time retaining things that I have read on the iPad . . . I think it is a function of learning to read actual physical books, but I think "digital reading" is a skill I can learn. So, I'm starting with reading books aloud to practice my digital reading.

The Year of the Dog

"Pickle"is actually reading this to me, and loves to talk about what is going on in the story. The sad thing is, she happens to have this amazing power . . . she starts to read, and in a couple of pages (or maybe just paragraphs) my eyelids are heavy or maybe even closed, and my breathing is even . . . She delights in the magical power she has over me! But, I need to go back and read through it to get to the parts that I have "missed." We loved Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by the same author. Pickle especially loves that Pacy/Grace plays the violin just like she does. She laments that she was born in the Year of the Dog and her true love was born in the Year of the Tiger. She fears they are not very compatible. . . only time will tell. 


  1. What a great list of books. My daughters and I are heading to the library tomorrow to see if we can find Amaranth Enchantment. I'm ALWAYS looking for great books for us to read. Thanks for all the great reviews.

  2. I hope you like it. It reminds me of Jessica Day George princess books. Dancegirl has some long rehearsals this past week, so she begged to take it for down time . . . and then read late into the night so she could finish before Girls Camp.


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