The Reading Report, Vol. 17: Back to the Classics 2018 Wrap-up

How on earth is it already the second week in December? Life here in the Lemon house has been so full (of mostly good things) that I just can’t seem to keep up with the passage of time. But at long last, here I am with my final report and wrap-up on the 2018 Back to the Classics Challenge. I will be posting some other bookish news and reviews on non-B2tCC reads later on this month, I hope. For today, though, I will just be listing all the finished titles under their categories and linking each title back to the post in which I gave a brief review of the finished book.

Back to the Classics Challenge 2018 Wrap-up

1. A 19th Century Classic: Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

2. A 20th Century Classic: Howards End by E. M. Forster

3. A Classic by a Woman Author: Whose Body by Dorothy Sayers (read in place of Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton)

4. A Classic in Translation: The Wreath (book 1 of Kristin Lavransdatter) by Sigrid Undset

5. A Children’s Classic: Heidi by Johanna Spyri (This is the most recently finished book on my list, so I didn’t get a chance to post a finished review after last month’s “in progress” report. We both loved the book, although I did end up feeling like Heidi’s character was a little too perfect throughout. The lessons taught still ring true, regardless.)

6. A Classic Crime Story: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

7. Classic Travel or Journey Narrative: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

8. Classics with a Single-Word Title: Utopia by Thomas More

9. Classic with a Color in the Title: White Fang by Jack London

10. Classic by a New-to-You Author: The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (in place of The Spiritual Life by Andrew Murray)

11. A Classic that Scares You: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

12. Re-read a Favorite Classic: Persuasion by Jane Austen

I am so proud of myself for pushing through some of the less enjoyable choices I made for the challenge. And I must say that I am glad I participated this year! Also, according to my records on Goodreads, I have finished 54 books in 2018, which is a big deal for me! I honestly think this challenge pushed me to up my reading game across the board. Now I need to decide whether I want to tackle the 2019 challenge. We shall see!

Until next time, happy reading!

Tuninghearts (at) gmail (dot) com

Advent 2018 Memory Work Plans and Free Printable

During the month of December, we take an official break in our homeschool. Since we value consistency and enjoy our morning time together, though, I still like to continue some sort of recitation and read-aloud routine. It will look a little different than our regular monthly memory work because of it being Advent season. I planned several hymns and carols and no catechism or motto for this month.

Our full morning time plan is to read the “Parents and Children” part of one devotional from Come Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp. After that we will do our recitation/memory work, followed by a chapter or two from a read aloud, and ending by opening a card on our Advent tree to find out what the day’s activity will be. So far, I have planned that we will read aloud The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and The True GiftWhen we finish those, I will choose short stories from either The Children’s Book of Christmas Stories or Louisa May Alcott’s Aunt Jo’s Scrap Bag volumes (which are not all Christmas stories, but I found at least one in each collection.)

Advent 2018 Memory Work Plans:

Scripture: Our scripture passage this month is Luke 2:1-7.

Hymns and Carols: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Joy to the World” are our hymns. “Good King Wenceslas” and “Cradle Hymn” are our carols. I created a short playlist with variations of each song in case you would like to watch/listen to them with your family.

Poem: We will be memorizing “A Christmas Folk Song” by Lizette Woodworth Reese for our poetry selection.

Free Printable Plans:

If you need some quick last minute memory work plans, here is the free download link to print and use in your own homeschool morning time. These are formatted only in the horizontal style for use as a booklet or in a mini-binder because I didn’t have time to reorganize them for full size binder pages this time. Enjoy!

Day 27: Whole #write31days2018

I’m going in a slightly different direction with this prompt that maybe does not connect as well with my theme, but this is an idea which I have been contemplating lately. So maybe it does fit somewhat!

As I’ve mentioned a few times lately, I just started a Charlotte Mason book study group for homeschool moms in my area. Last night was our first official meeting, and we discussed Charlotte Mason’s first principle: Children are born persons. When I think about what this means for our educational practices, I see that we need to be educating a whole person.

Following the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education means that we do not just try to get our kids to memorize random facts or regurgitate information for a test. We instead, lay before them a wide and varied feast of ideas: life-giving books, Biblical studies, beautiful art, excellent music, and time spent in nature. Every day we tend to the mind, soul, heart and body of the child, nurturing the whole person.

This is a demanding task, especially when you consider that the homeschool parent is also trying to keep the household running smoothly and possibly working another job on the side. But it is such a blessed role to have the opportunity to educate our children in this way that respects them as persons. May God give me the strength and grace to do it well!

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 23: Common #write31days2018

In the interest of honesty, I am not setting a timer for this post, and it will likely take me more than five minutes to write. But the word “common” prompted me to think of my somewhat neglected commonplace notebook…so I’m going to talk a little bit about “commonplacing” because I don’t think I have written about it here before. It fits within the themes of contemplation and creativity, too!

This week’s prompt brought to my mind my all too oft neglected commonplace book. I keep meaning to dig it out of the drawer next to my favorite reading spot and make a better habit of jotting things down in it. But I may be getting ahead of myself because I realize that some of you may have never heard of a commonplace book and don’t know what I’m talking about! Well, don’t feel too out of the loop. Until I started reading Charlotte Mason homeschool mom blogs a few years ago, I’d never heard the term before, either. 

A commonplace book is, in its simplest form, a place in which you write down favorite quotes and passages as you read so that you can come back to them again later. You can google “commonplace book” and find all sorts of examples, but each person keeps their commonplace a little differently. I don’t use mine as much as I perhaps should, but when I do take the time to write quotes, poems, sayings or meaningful passages from books (or articles, or even blog posts), I find I remember them better later on. And I do enjoy flipping through the notebook and seeing them again, sort of like looking at snapshots of good times with old friends. (Because I do think of really excellent books as my friends, don’t you?)

The first examples of commonplace books I’ve read about are from medieval and renaissance scholars. They used them as a way to keep and organize ideas and facts as they studied, and looking at some of these artifacts is truly a peek into the mind of the great thinkers of that time period! I don’t have any such grand visions of my own commonplace as being anything so intriguing to generations to come, but perhaps some day my children might find them and enjoy reading what I found a comfort or an inspiration. 

One little fact I found enlightening is the etymology of the word “commonplace” in reference to these keeping books. It made little sense to me that a word that now means ordinary or trite would be used to denote a place in which we record that which we find extraordinary and worth noting. But I discovered that the term originally was two words, “common place” and was translated from the Latin, locus communis, which was in itself a translation from the Greek words that meant “general theme.”

mid 16th century (originally common place ): translation of Latin locus communis, rendering Greek koinos topos ‘general theme.

Now that made sense to me, since many people did and still do organize their commonplaces according to theme or subjects. But I think a good many more of us are less structured than that and just write down whatever strikes our fancy. I like the idea of my commonplace being a spot where all the books I read come out and play together! As I read through the many quotes I have gathered over the years, I am sometimes surpised at how much the science of relations is at work as I find connections between the various books and quotes I might not have seen otherwise.

Writing all this has certainly inspired me to start writing in my own commonplace book more often, and I hope that it might inspire you, as well! If you want to read (or hear) more about commonplacing from some of my favorite people online, here are a few links you can chase:

  • The Scholé Sisters Podcast, Ep. 42: Carpe Librum–the whole podcast is actually about book recommendations, but they open with a short discussion about commonplacing that I thoroughly enjoyed.
  • Sarah Mackenzie’s “What I Keep in My Commonplace Book
  • Celeste at Joyous Lessons has started a whole online community around the theme of Keeping Company, sharing our commonplace entries with others! She and her children add a lot of illustrations and such to their notebooks, and they are simple beautiful. (GOALS!)

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

October 2018 Memory Work Plans and Printable

It looks like I’m a bit behind on planning for the month of October. September was unusually busy for our family, and the end of month was the culmination of everything with the CiRCE Conference at New College Franklin yesterday. (It was so good, but also exhausting! So many deep thoughts to ponder!) So here I am, not a day too soon, quite literally, with our memory work plans for the month of October.

October 2018 Memory Work Plans:

Prayer: I am excepting a few lines from Douglas McKelvey’s “A Liturgy for Students & Scholars” which is one of many excellent liturgies included in his book Every Moment Holy.

Catechism: This month we are reviewing questions 4-6 of the New City Catechism.

Hymn: The AmblesideOnline hymn for this month is Like a River Glorious. We have not previously done this one in our homeschool, so we will be doing it as scheduled.

Mottos: We are learning Way #4 from Our 24 Family Ways (affiliate link) this month, in addition to the following motto from Mystie Winkler’s collection: Respon cheerfully, politely and promptly.

Scripture: Our scripture passage this month is Psalm 119:1-8.

Poem: I wanted to teach my children “When the Frost is on the Punkin” by James Whitcomb Riley, both because it is seasonally appropriate and because he was one of our poets this year. It is a longer one, however, so I decided we will just learn the first two stanzas this month.

Folk Songs: We just learned the scheduled AO folksong in August, so I picked “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Loch Lomond” for October.

Free Printable Plans:

If you need some quick last minute memory work plans, here is the free download link to print and use in your own homeschool morning time! Enjoy!