Thought I’d try a little something new and report a little bit about the books I’ve been reading this week and why I’ve been reading them. This is for me, like most posts on this blog, because I have a need to express myself with my books. Almost all of my real writing is mandated by graduate school right now, and that’s okay. It’s a season, and a really good one for me right now. However, the need to write and express flows out of me at all times, so consider this just the cracks seeping out from my reading for this week. If I enjoy it, I might keep doing it.
Since July 4th, we’ve started getting back into our homeschool routine. We’re never too far out of the routine because too many days in our house with four children and no routine tends to leads to bickering kids and a stressed out Mama. We’re all happier with a little structure. At any rate, the State of Georgia requires 180 school days per year, and between this week and last week, we’ve gotten in eight, which I think is not too bad for summertime learning.
In the mornings, as the kids work in their more independent grammar, copywork, foreign language and math lessons, I keep up a buddy read with each child. It’s a book that I sometimes read aloud, and they sometimes read aloud, and we read it together, discussing it as we go. This week, I finished two buddy read books with two different children.
The first buddy read book was Cat Got Your Tongue?, a book teaching different idiomatic phrases. This was a read with my eight-year-old, Connor. It’s the perfect read for him because he often takes these idioms literally, and it can be kind of hilarious. For example, when we were on vacation, my Mom said that my seven-year-old had “had a ball” at the hotel pool. Connor frowned and said, “But I thought you couldn’t have balls down there.” He really needed some of the idioms in this book.
It’s an old Scholastic book that’s not in print anymore, and it’s simplistic, so don’t think you need to pay a fortune for it if you decide to read it. Connor enjoyed the fact that each idiom had a little multiple choice to figure out what it meant before it explained it, and he and I were both happy with how many idioms he knew. For homeschool purposes, I did count this as grammar study, an English unit on idioms. If you wanted to formalize this book into a unit with paperwork, etc., this free idiom worksheet download is a perfect pairing because there’s a sheet in this packet that is blank to fill in with your own idioms. It would be a great foundation for a figurative language notebook.
I also completed a buddy read with my seven-year old daughter, Ellie. We read A Puzzle for Princess Ellie. It’s a Usborne book, and it’s an easy chapter book. We took turns reading it aloud, and for us, it counted as reading practice and fluency building. She’s really starting to become a good little reader. This book is about a little girl, who is a princess, and she loves horses, but the behavior of one of her horses has her wondering if there’s a ghost in the woods. The little girl’s friends get involved in helping her solve the mystery. It’s really juvenile in a way that is perfect for a six or seven year old, but an older elementary school student probably wouldn’t get much out of it. Ellie loved the book though.
Another book I completed this week was Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament. This was a graduate school read for me. This book deals with how Judaism changes between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the history of the period, the rising of various Jewish sects and the Jewish ideas of apocalypse, messiah, etc. It really stretched me as a reader of the New Testament because the New Testament world is, in many ways, so different from the world of the Kings and the Prophets that is so integral to the Old Testament canon. I feel like I have a much better handle on both the simmering tension between the Jews and their invaders, and the intertestamental literature that forms the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha. If you need to have a greater understanding of the New Testament period as history or of extra-biblical literature, this is a great place for a beginner to start out.
I also chose to read Lauren Winner’s Real Sex on my Kindle this week. As I talk more to my kids about sexual issues, I think more about sex as a topic in general. My children keep getting older and our culture pushes sexuality on us in many ways. As most people spend the first quarter to third of their lives single, it’s helpful to know what purity is as a spiritual attitude. This book is a great help with that. It’s a little preachy on modesty at times, but not judgmental towards those who have sexual sin in their lives. As she says, it’s damaging to make virginity the mark of whether or not you have failed in purity. I found this a refreshing and uplifting read. She also sets a high bar for purity, and I think anyone living in our culture probably has a lower bar for purity than they mean to have just because of cultural acclimation to impure and immodest ideas and images.
Finally, I read Big Little Lies. That was my fun, page turning book this week. It deals with serious issues, such as domestic violence, friendship, marriage, blended families and bullying. However, Moriarty uses a pretty light and frothy touch, so its a fun read too. I didn’t actually solve the mystery ahead of Moriarty either, so that’s always a fun thing when I’m still trying to figure out the answer. It (and Real Sex) probably both deserve their own eventual reviews, at the very least so I can update my Goodreads profile with the reviews. So, expect to see reviews on that eventually. I still haven’t written my reviews for my June Reads though, so reviews may not come too soon.