Thursday, February 17, 2011

Books, books, we got books

"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest."
— C.S. Lewis

I feel a bit shortchanged from my childhood (in relative terms, mom!). There I was, reading for hours/days/weeks/years on end, with nary a book list in sight. Other than a deep, long-lasting and well-deserved love affair with all Laura Ingalls Wilder books, I basically grabbed whatever I could get my hands on. Most of it, I will say, was book-candy.

Reading is highly esteemed and elevated in this clique we call homeschooling, and book lists abound. However, after forcing myself through many "read-alouds" from some of these lists, I can see that the "it's a classic!" argument sometimes gets too high of priority. Sure, some books simply stand the test of time. But I also suspect that some have made it onto these lists because they have moved up after less "morally acceptable" classics got knocked off. I'm in the "learning the list-makers" phase.

Things I have learned:
1) Shorter is usually better at our phase. Honestly, some of these books must have been short stories that unnecessarily got stretched out.
2) We are NOT the Wisdom and Millers family. All books that detail the idyllic farm life where Johnny pleasantly brings in the milk each morning for his sisters to use the cream to make butter will be scrapped from our lists.
3) Yes, I have to force them a little bit to get them into deeper books and harder reading. But, I'd better be SURE that book is worth their time and effort or my reading suggestions will lose clout quickly.
4) If I can read us all one great, laugh-out-loud-and-cry-too book each year, we have done well.
5) Little House books still rule.

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