The Reading Report, Vol. 20: Reboot Edition

Hey, readers! It has been over a year (yikes!) since I posted an actual edition of The Reading Report. I have a ton of books going right now, but I don’t have any new reviews for the B2tC 2020 Challenge. So I thought I would pop on here today and give ya’ll an update on how I’m doing on all my current reading challenges. Brace yourselves…this could get long! 😉

Back to the Classics Challenge Report

I haven’t finished any new books on my B2tC list lately, but I am currently reading Gerald Durell’s My Family and Other Animals. I am likely going to use this title to replace Little Britches in the “Classic About a Family” category. I am also about to begin The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis, and I will probably sub that for Til We Have Faces in the 20th Century Classic spot. After those are finished, I will have just 5 more categories to fill for that challenge.

The Literary Life 20 for 20 Challenge Report

For this challenge, let’s take a look at the titles and categories I have finished. The titles with an asterisk have been subbed for those on my original 20 for 2020 list:

Currently, I am also working my way through the following categories and titles:

Scholé Sisters 5×5 Challenge Report:

This is probably the challenge on which I have made the least numerical progress, but the work of stretching me outside my usual novel-reading habits has been good for me so far. Here is how my 5×5 Challenge list is going so far. Titles marked with a ^ are finished. Those with a ~ are in progress

Mathematics

  1. ^ Here’s Looking at Euclid by Alex Bellos ^
  2. A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley
  3. ^ The Joy of X by Steven Strogatz ^
  4. Math with Bad Drawings by Ben Orlin
  5. ?

Biography/Memoire

  1. ~ Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser ~
  2. An American Princess by Annette van der Zijl
  3. ~ Ocean of Truth by Joyce McPherson ~
  4. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano*
  5. ~ My Family and Other Animals by George Durell ~

Theology/Christianity

  1. ^ The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer ^
  2. ^ In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen ^
  3. Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman
  4. Knowing God by J. I. Packer 
  5. ~ Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton ~

Health/Wellness

  1. ~ The Wellness Revelation by Alisa Keeton ~
  2. Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman
  3. The Mind-Gut Connection by Emeran Mayer
  4. ^ The Complete Homeopathy Handbook by Miranda Castro ^
  5. ?

Literary Fiction

  1. ^ A Room with a View by E. M. Forster ^
  2. ^ A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens ^
  3. Silas Marner by George Eliot
  4. ^ The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde ^
  5. Til We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis

Summing It All Up:

As you can see, I’ve been reading a lot for these challenges, and making some good headway for where we are in the year. This is also in addition to all the pre-reading I am doing for my son’s AmblesideOnline Year 4 books, plus family read-alouds that are not school related. Hopefully I can finish up some of my current reads because I am honestly having trouble juggling them all and still feeling like I’m making any visible progress. But, as the old saying goes, slow and steady wins the race…and since reading isn’t a race anyway, I can feel good knowing I am learning and growing in my reading life at a steady rate!

How about you? How are you doing in your reading life? Are you doing any challenges, and if so, how are they going? You can always leave a comment with a blog post link so I can come read about your progress!

This Year in Our Homeschool: AmblesideOnline Year 4, Part 2

Last week I shared some of our favorite books so far in Year 4 of AmblesideOnline. This year my son is in Form II of Charlotte Mason’s programs, and as such, there are a few changes and additions to the curriculum. AmblesideOnline gives some suggestions for these subjects, but there are not specifics given for dictation and grammar. Here is what we are doing that is new.

New Subjects in Year 4

  • Shakespeare–Where in Form I we were only reading retellings of Shakespeare plays, this year we are reading full plays together. Instead of using the AO current rotation for plays, I decided to start with A Winter’s Tale because that is the one that I am already reading along with The Literary Life podcast. While we look at the text of the play, we are also listening to the Arkangel audio production of the play. Both of the kids love Shakespeare day, and so do I!
  • Plutarch–We are using Anne White’s lesson guide for Plutarch, and it worked out nicely that this year’s new study guide starts with Alexander the Great. I think it has been helpful for us to start in reading Plutarch’s Live with a historical person with which we are already familiar. Many moms are scared of Plutarch, but so far it really has not been that hard at all.
  • Dictation–In addition to continuing copywork for spelling and handwriting, this year we started studied dictation. Somehow I came upon a link to “The Dictation and Spelling Book” compiled by Mary B. Rossman and Mary W. Mills. Each week I write one paragraph out for my son to copy, and when he is finished with it, I dictated a few of the sentences for him to write out without looking.
  • Grammar–We are doing a very gentle, organic introduction to basic grammar concepts this year, also using the sentences from the dictation book. So far I have been teaching my son to identify nouns and verbs and the fact that every sentence must have a subject and a verb.

Charlotte Mason also recommended beginning Latin instruction in Year 4. We have not started that yet, however, both because I feel that we still need to shore up our modern language study and I need some more time to consider Latin curricula. I am not sure if we will begin Latin until Year 5 or even Year 7.

In my next post about our homeschool curriculum, I will share some of the resources we are using for the “riches” and other subject areas not directly laid out in AmblesideOnline. I hope some of you will find these posts helpful as they plan for your own new Year 4 students.

This Year in Our Homeschool: AmblesideOnline Year 4, Part 1

This year we are entering our fifth year of homeschooling and our fourth full year using AmblesideOnline as our curriculum. I realized as I looked back over my posts from last year that I never did write about AO Year 3, which is too bad because I really did love the books we read last year. It was a good, smooth year for the most part. But here we are in the middle of February, which for us means that we are finishing up Week 6 of Year 4. So I thought now would be a good time to talk about the books we are enjoying and looking forward to, as well as the additional curricula we are using for subjects not detailed in AO.

Favorite Books in Year 4

A few of the books we are enjoying most so far are the following:

  • Robinson Crusoe–even though the chapters are quite lengthy and the language a bit archaic, we are all (even the 4 year old) loving reading this famous classic together.
  • Story Book of Science–this is one of the books that I handed off to my son for independent reading, and I like that the chapters are short and that the science concepts are presented in a conversational format.
  • Minn of the Mississippi–after struggling with the first couple of Hollings’ books, we have really come to love and appreciate them. This one is absolutely jam packed with natural science and geography, and I think it is probably going to be our very favorite since turtles and the Mississippi River are both things we can actually observe for ourselves.
  • Poor Richard–although my son has had some trouble narrating from this book, he does seem engaged with and interested in the story of Ben Franklin. I think he actually is just enjoying reading it so much that he forgets to slow down enough that he can tell back the details.

I am also really looking forward to reading Abigail Adams, Kidnapped and George Washington’s World. Additionally, the free read list for Year 4 is excellent, and I am loving getting to read those together, too.

Next time I will talk a little about the new areas of study that we have now that my son is in Form II. I look forward to telling you all about them!

Reviewing E. M. Forster’s “A Room with a View”

Italian Landscape by Louis Valtat

Before I get into my thoughts on A Room with a View, I need to apologize to those of you who subscribe to posts via email. The post I published yesterday had a major formatting problem when it transferred to email, and none of the books I was trying to share with you were visible. I’m so sorry for that inconvenience. If you click over to the actual blog website, you can see all the titles and links there, but I should really have been more careful about checking that everything was going to work before hitting publish. Now on to the review…

I fell in love with E. M. Forster’s lovely prose last year when reading Howards End along with the Close Reads Podcast. When I saw a book containing two other of his works at a library sale last year, I snatched it right up. Ever since then I had been waiting for the right time to dive into A Room with a View, and when I saw the Classic (movie) Adaptation category for the Back to the Classics Challenge, I decided this would be my chance. (I also added it to my Literary Fiction list for the Scholé Sisters 5×5 Challenge.)

A Room with a View opens on young Lucy Honeychurch and her middle-aged cousin Charlotte Bartlett staying in a pension in Florence, Italy. It is quite obvious from the beginning that Lucy is not very self-aware, and the main thread through the book follows her journey to knowing her own mind and heart.

Forster is, like Jane Austen, a master of the novel of manners, and he shows the ways that societal conventions were shifting in Edwardian times, while also painting engaging characters, a satisfying romantic plot and breathtaking views of both Italy and England. He balanced the tension in the relationships with just the right amount of satire and humor, as well. Although not everyone in the story gets what they want in the end, I was pleased that Lucy not only becomes self-aware but also gets her happy ending. I also enjoyed the way Forster wraps up the story back where it all began. 

The big question now that I have finished reading the book is this—will I watch one of the film adaptations? I am as yet undecided. If I do, it will probably be the BBC version done in 2007. I tend to like BBC adaptations better than Hollywood productions. The truth is, though, if I do watch the movie at all, it will probably not be for a while because I don’t want to ruin the pictures I have in my mind from the beauty of the book just yet. I am definitely one of those people who rarely likes the film more than the book, at least when I’ve read before I’ve watched. What about you? Do you like to watch film adaptations of books you love? Do tell…

Adding to My TBR, One Great Prime Reading Deal at a Time

If you have Amazon Prime, and you read Kindle books, then you probably know about the newer perk of Prime Reading deals. But if not, let me tell you, this is one of my favorite ways to add to my (never-ending) to-be-read list! Books available on Prime Reading are free to “check-out” for an indefinite period of time, and you can have up to 10 Kindle books in your Prime Reading library at a time. It’s like having a library card on Amazon! Pretty great, right?

The thing is, the choices in Prime Reading change frequently, and I’m not sure yet what rhyme or reason might be in how often that happens. Today I was scrolling through the options and found some very worthwhile literature on the list, so I wanted to pop over here and share those with you. I have no idea how long any of these will be available on Prime Reading, though, so if you are interested in them, and you have space in your library on Amazon, you’ll probably want to snatch them up (like I did!) 

Prime Reading Deals for February 5, 2020

I should probably preface this list by noting that I have not read all these books (obviously, or else I wouldn’t be adding to my TBR!), but I either have read the author’s work before or have had their work recommended to me enough times by people I trust to think they are worth my time reading. So, please don’t blame me if you check one out and hate it! (Additional disclaimer: the following are Amazon Affiliate links, so I will get a small commission if you purchase anything through my links. Thanks!)

So, there you have it! I’ve done the hard work of scrolling through hundreds of titles to find the gems in the current Amazon Prime Reading library! I hope you enjoy a few of these! I would love to hear which ones you’ve added to your TBR, so leave a comment and let me know! Until next time, happy reading!