Sunday, November 18, 2012

Breaking It Down- Literature

Literature is the subject I have been doing longer than any other. I began reading to my oldest when she was seven months old. When she got older, I began letting her pick one book while I continued picking one. As each sibling came along, I just added them to our reading time.

The little ones of course pick the same books over and over. That is OK. It builds their vocabulary and comprehension. Your sanity will return in time even if you can quote One Fish Two Fish from beginning to end for the rest of your life.

Our nighttime reading takes around  an hour. 

Here is a list of what I read last night for a sample:  

  • Green eggs and Ham picked by my four year old,  
  • Home Builder picked by my six year old,  
  • The Happy Hollisters picked by my seven year old,  
  • Hank the Cow Dog picked by my ten year old,  
  • Anne of Green Gables picked by my thirteen year old and  
  • Connecticut Yankee in King Authors Court picked by me. 
I finished up with a chapter from the Bible. 

In the last year we have read Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, Black Beauty, Winnie the Pooh, (the original, not the Disney books), One Hundred and One Dalmatians (again, the original, not Disney. Sooo much better) all the Dr. Seuss books we own and most of the Golden books, Cul-De Sac Kids, Accidental Detectives, Wizard of Oz, Land of Oz, three of the Chronicles of Narnia, Robinson Caruso, Swiss Family Robinson, and the Hobbit

I plan to pick Little Women, Kidnapped, and Understood Betsy in the next year unless my children beat me to them. I am trying to keep an eye out for books from or about the era we are studying in History, but they are kind of scarce yet. 

I often look for books from the Veritas Press catalog, Story of the World and Well Trained Mind recommendations and Honey for a Child’s Heart for guidance on what books to pick. 

Though I will read an occasional comic book or Babysitter Club type of book, I try to steer away from them. They are like candy for the brain; OK once in a while, but don’t make a steady habit of them. There are way too many good books out there to even get to all of them. We don’t need to waste our time on fluff.

I read all small books in their entirety and the chapter books one or two chapters a night unless they are very, very long. Then I keep an eye on the clock and read for about five minutes before switching books. 

I answer questions as they come up and explain things I don’t think they understand, though I try not to do too much of that unless asked. It is better for them to try to figure it out for themselves if they can, though I don’t let them get frustrated about it

You should keep a list of all the books you read in a year and all the books your children read to themselves, though I have done a poor job of this myself. The lists can be kept in whichever notebook has the most room or in a separate book with everyone’s list together.

The Bluedorns recommend in Teaching The Trivium that you read to your children a minimum of two hours per day. When I first read this I began to get upset. “They obviously don’t have a life if they spend that much ti…oh.” 

I added up what we were already doing every day. Forty-five minutes to an hour every evening, thirty minutes of History and thirty minutes of Science. Twenty minutes of Bible, and an extra book here and there (especially during potty training. Little ones sit longer if you read to them). 

Wow! We were already doing that much, and sometimes more! Ease a little in here and there and you may be surprised, too, at how fast it adds up.


  • READ

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