Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Review: Desiring God by John Piper

Well...I am going to come right out and say it. I really struggled reading this book. I agree with with what the author is saying, but I found it very difficult to read. It came highly recommended by my father-in-law who is a pastor, so I know it's good. I have read two other books by John piper that I really enjoyed. He has a very warm writing style. I think the content was a little too technical for me right now.

I received this book for free for the purpose of review from Waterbrook Multnomah.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You Can't Mess Up Kindergarten

I was talking to my niece a few weeks ago about home schooling. She has a pre-schooler and she  was sharing some of her concerns about starting up, so I thought would share some of the resources I've used over the years. I don't do formal schooling until kindergarten, and even then I keep it light and fun. I have home schooled 2 Kers, and they have both turned out fine. My mantra is "you can't mess up kindergarten". are some of my favorite resources and curricula.

Five in a Row: This is what I use as my spine. It uses literature based unit studies to cover social studies, language arts, fine arts, applied math (I don't do formal workbook math until 1st grade), and science. There is a list of picture books in the front of the book. Each week you choose a book. Everyday you read the book and cover one subject. There are several lessons to choose from. You can do as many as you want or only do one. I have used this since the first day I home schooled. I love it.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons: This is the reading curriculum I used. It's pretty dry, but it gets the job done. After the whole manual is completed your child should be reading at about a 2nd grade level.

A Reason for Handwriting: This is a traditional handwriting approach. It uses scripture for practice which makes it easy to incorporate Bible memory into your routine.

That about sums up how I did kindergarten. We were always done by lunch time, which left the afternoon for rest, free play, and lots of snuggling on the couch with a good book. As far as socializing goes, I never did much outside of church activities and programs. If your church doesn't have much for school age children I would recommend finding an AWANA program or something similar in your area. I would be happy to answer any questions anyone might have about home schooling. Just remember: You can't mess up kindergarten!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

July Reads

I had a great reading month. I love looking back over what I read and seeing what I liked and didn't like. Did I read all about one time period, or was my reading diverse? This month it was pretty diverse, and that always gives me a feeling of accomplishment. And, without further ado, here is my reading list for the month of July.

*She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems by Caroline Kennedy
This was a really beautiful book. Caroline Kennedy collected the poems and put them into different categories such as love, work, marriage, motherhood, etc. I appreciated the fact that she chose to include several passages of scripture like 1 Corinthians 13, Song of Songs 2 and 3, Proverbs 31, and Ruth 1:16-17. She also included a prayer by St. Theresa of Avila and The Shaker Hymn. There was a section with poetry about lovemaking that made blush, and several rather blunt poems about menopause and a young woman's coming of age.

How Do I Love Thee by Nancy Moser
This is a fictional biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her relationship and marriage to Robert Browning. It was a little slow in the beginning, but picked up once Robert started coming around. I learned some interesting things about Elizabeth. She was very sickly most of her life, and her father was a controlling tyrant who wouldn't let any of his children marry. This was an excellent follow up to She Walks in Beauty.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
In my old age, I have grown tired of beautiful people falling in love with beautiful people. There is none of that in Jane Eyre. She is plain and he is downright ugly, but she is the only truly good thing in his life, and he is dark and mysterious. They can't help but fall in love. If you've never read Jane Eyre, I would recommend you do. It's long, and you may not like it, but please give it a try. Watching a movie version is not enough. So much scripture is quoted throughout this book, and they never put that in the movies. It was also wonderful to see a heroine committed to doing what was right even though it brought her grief. I read this book in high school, and enjoyed it. I read it as an adult and adored it. I want to be Jane Eyre when I grow up.

*The Virginian by Owen Wister
This was a very different book for me. It's a romantic western set in the 1890's.  The language was a little hard to get used to, but ,overall, I enjoyed it. That Virginian was quite a man.

*Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy
This was my first Maeve Binchy book. I had been meaning to read her for a while, but had never gotten around to it. So many books.... Her books are all set in Ireland. This one was set in a small community in Dublin. I liked the book and it moved along quickly. It was about a young man who finds out he has fathered a child. The mother dies and wants him to raise the baby. The story centers around him and the people in the community who help him get his life together so he can keep the little girl. It isn't a romance. It's just a book about people and their lives, but I found it charming.

Unspoken by Francine Rivers
This was not my favorite Francine Rivers book. It is about Bathsheba and David and all that mess. A quick read, but not a great one.

Fireflies In December by Jennifer Valent
I didn't know much about this book going in, but it turned out to be a really great read. It's a coming of age story about a girl in the depression era south. She and her family take in her best friend after she is orphaned. Her best friend is black. This causes problems in their (racist) community. It was a great story, although sometimes I felt the protagonist was a little stupid, and I wanted to shake her. I cut her some slack since she was only 13. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

*Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosney
I was worried this book was going to be one of those books you have to slog through. You know the kind...heavy, depressing, and preachy. It wasn't any of those things. It centers around a journalist's investigation of the round up and deportation of  French Jews by the French government. The Jews were sent to Auschwitz. Most of them were children and most of them were killed. The journalist's discoveries change her life and the lives of the people around her. It was a very bittersweet story. I'm still thinking about it.

*This is not a Christian book. There may be some bad language and other "stuff " in it.