January 2011 Reading List
Let me start by saying, I totally forgot a book on my December 2010 reading list. I especially can’t believe I forgot to include it since I absolutely LOVED the book. I edited my December post to include this, but I wanted to post it in my January 2011 so that all five of my regular readers would be sure to find out about it.
The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer by Joel Salatin: Joel Salatin is a quasi-famous farmer in the natural food “industry”. This was a book about things that make his farm different from most industrial farms, and why everyone thinks he’s crazy because he’s not just about making profit at the expense of everything else. And I totally want to steal his title when I write my parenting/homeschooling memoir, “The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Homeschooler”.
Now for the new year:
1. So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling? by Lisa Whelchel: I reread this book, the first homeschooling book I ever read, at least once a year. It was that time.
2. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: This was my first time reading this childrens classic. It’s interesting to note the differences and similarities with the various movie versions I’ve seen over the years.
3. Coffee with Nonna by Vincent Iezzi: This short book is a compilation of parables revolving around Jesus that the author’s Italian grandmother told him during their special coffee time together. While Nonna’s stories may not have been factual, they all carried certain truths.
4. The Haunted Rectory by Katherine Valentine: This was a good mix of suspense, horror, religion, and “real” characters.
5. Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal by Joel Salatin: This a collection of stories and issues that Salatin has had to deal with just to run his independent and natural farm and sell his food products. While I don’t agree with all of Salatin’s libertarian ideas, he further opened my eyes to the unintended consequences of too much national regulation and government intervention beyond a local level.
6. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: This is the first of Doyle’s stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, and the first Doyle or Holmes book I’ve ever really read. (I think an excerpt of Hound of the Baskervilles was in some school text book.) I look forward to reading more of Doyle’s Holmes stories and trying out his historical novels.
7. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish: I love their book Siblings Without Rivalry, and this book has lots of good information for communicating with your kids better. This is a great start for a lot of issues, but my only concern is that they don’t seem to really have a place for just expecting a certain amount of obedience. They also completely dismiss time-out for children, when even many adults need time-outs to pull themselves together or keep from creating havoc. But it is still a really good book for all parents to read.
8. The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease: This is a must read for parents. It discusses the importance of reading aloud to your kids from birth through high school. There are tips for implementing read aloud time in your home and lists of great books. This is actually the second time I’ve read this, but I felt more prepared to initiate more read aloud time in our home this time around. This is going down as a “maybe” on my purchase list.
9. The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise: This book is what initially inspired me to introduce logic and history earlier in our homeschooling than I originally intended. While I think that their overall program is way over the top and could possibly turn a kid off of learning all together, it is full of good ideas to be cherry-picked. This was the first time I read all the way through their sections on the Logic and Rhetoric stages of classical education. I will probably eventually buy this book just for the resource and reading lists.
10. Endangered Minds by Jane Healy: I have mixed feelings about this book. I’ve heard this touted in homeschooling circles as an anti-television/anti-video game book, and it tries to be. The biggest problems are that a) there’s no definitive proof that television and video games alone do or don’t change children’s brains for better or worse and b) her areas of reference for this book are highly outdated. The most recent edition came out in 1999 before the mainstreaming of the internet or the rise of cell phones and text messaging. She has a whole chapter detailing the problems with Sesame Street, but I’d really like to hear her take on Dora the Explorer, Blues Clues, and Super Why that seem to rectify some of the Sesame Street problems.
There’s lots of great neurological studies in the book. In fact, a lot of the science explains why read aloud time, logic training, and the development of public speaking skills are so important; it really made me think of the two books I had just read. I just wish that she had kind of summarized at the end of the book the most important things that parents/teachers can do to help children excel in their reading and thinking skills.
10. Switch by Dan and Chip Heath: This is a GREAT book that everyone should read. It talks about how people set about making changes in their life or buisness that stick and why most changes don’t stick. I could totally see why some things in my own life had worked and while others hadn’t. And it’s also given me a better understanding how to implement changes in the future. GREAT, GREAT BOOK!! (h/t to Erin at bearing blog for recommending it.)