Blog

My Reading Life

I have always been a reader, not a voracious reader, mind you, but someone who always enjoyed getting lost in a good story. As a child, my mother took me to the library on a weekly basis, and I was fond of these trips and getting new books to read. As school got more intense and life busier, I gradually read for pleasure less and less. As an adult, especially, my reading life took a major hit from work and life demands, as well as the fact that we moved to Illinois. We found that because we lived outside of town we would have to pay for library cards, and that simply was not in our budget at the time. For several years I really rarely read anything more than blog posts and online articles. Sad, but true! We did have access to Kindle books, but for a long time I really did not even know what to read, so even that resource was of no use to me.

Then, 2 years ago a couple of things changed. First, I had our second child and found myself with a lot of time on my hands, sitting nursing a baby with nothing else to do. Second, I had found out about the Charlotte Maon philosophy of homschooling and her emphasis on living books. Pretty soon, I found the free curriculum at AmblesideOnline.org and started pouring over the booklists there. And oh, the free Kindle links were a feast for my poor, reading-starved mind to behold! Suddenly, I had a sizeable laundry list of time-tested literature that I had never read, all right there on my phone. I started reading as many as I could, and that went pretty quickly at first because I started with the first grade level books and just read through them one at a time. 

At the same time, however, I also started listening to several podcasts and reading more blogs about classical education. One of those podcasts was the Close Reads podcast from the CiRCE Institute. It was fun to listen to the hosts discuss books, but even more fun if I was reading along. So I added whatever they were discussing to my growing reading list! Then I joined the AmblesideOnline forums and discovered their book discussions. More books to read and talk about! Somewhere around this same time period I also found out about all the free classics on audio at Librivox.org! Can you see how this is going? I went from hardly reading anything at all, to reading ALL THE THINGS in a matter of two short years. Lately it has been feeling like I might have too many books going at once and that I should probably try to just get through a few to get them off my list. But when you only have a few minutes here and there between taking a toddler to the potty and reminding a 6-year-old to take his shoes to the mud room (for the 5th time in the last 10 minutes!) and trying to make sure the rice for dinner isn’t boiling over on the stove. . . Well, it is hard to get through a chapter of something, let along a whole book! Besides, I know that dear old Charlotte Mason advocated slow reading, and it seems that I am going very slowly indeed with so many books on my plate at once! 

But I am not complaining. I am loving my reading life right now, even though I would like to organize it a bit better, perhaps. I have almost wondered if I shouldn’t assign certain books to certain days just to keep them all going at a steady pace. How about you? What is your reading life like? Do you like to finish one book at a time, or do you keep a few (or several) going st once? Do you have a good system for keeping multiple books up at the same time? If so, do share! I’m all ears! 

You Have to Start Somewhere

Writer's block. 

Usually when I think about having writer's block I associate it with the feeling that you have no idea what to write. But I guess that is not really quite accurate. Maybe more often it is the case that you have so many ideas that you don't know where to start. At least that is how I feel right now. I have so many subjects I could write about that choosing one for the very first post on a brand new blog is difficult, to say the least! But I really do have to start somewhere, so I suppose the most logical thing to do would be to write a bit of an intro to me and my blog here.

I actually already have a little bio of me and my family on my About page, so if you want to read that, click on over there. I feel like being a bit more informal in this post, though. This is not my first blog, but it is the first I have started with a real purpose and direction in mind. I have previously blogged mostly about my hobbies, especially knitting and crochet, and for several years I owned an Etsy shop where I sold handmade goods and patterns I designed. Once I started homeschooling my son, the same year I also gave birth to our daughter, I found I simply did not have the drive nor the time to continue that business. I still do some crafting for my own pleasure, but not anywhere near to what I did when I was filling orders on a regular basis. Since most of my blogging was centered around those pursuits, when I closed my shop, I pretty much quit writing, too. And I never really missed it until recently.

When I discovered the classical Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, I simultaneously regained a lost love of reading. I also started finding a wealth of helpful information online via homeschooling and classical education blogs. After a while, I started to wish I had a format where I could share what I was learning and reading and thinking, not just about home education, but about life in general. I do post quite a bit on Instagram, but that format has its limitations. I realized that maybe it was time to return to the blogosphere as an author, not just as a reader. I hesitated for a long time because I wasn't sure I had much wisdom or anything new to say that hasn't already been said a hundred times. But even in the mundane, average, realness of my life, there are things that are unique to me and my family. I have had a unique set of experiences that have shaped me to be who I am today, and perhaps sharing some of those things here will help or encourage someone else along the way. 

So that is a little different take on why I am writing here in the first place. Just for fun, here are 7 random bits of trivia about me:

  • I have a major sweet tooth. Don't hand me a bag of jelly beans unless you don't ever want to see it again!
  • My parents will either tell you they made up my name by mixing up the letters in "Kelli," or based it on a TV character's name, depending on who or when you ask!
  • I have been on 4 continents and in 7 countries, but never Canada.
  • I could eat pizza, Mexican food, and Thai food on an endless rotation and be perfectly happy.
  • I cut my own hair. Yes, I really do. It is naturally curly and hides mistakes really well! 
  • I cannot read distopian fiction. I get extremely depressed if I do. The Lord of the Flies horrified me (as it was supposed to, I am sure!), and I put down 1984 without ever finishing it. 
  • One of my childhood hobbies was recording myself reading books on a cassette tape recorder. I still kind of think it would be fun to be an audio book narrator!

So, that's it! There. . . I started! I am so glad you are along for the ride!