Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Our Read Aloud Basket

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 I’ve spoken before about a morning basket, something we’ve used previously, but of late had become the “just shove it in the basket before the bird eats it!” basket. While we’ve been quiet on the blogging front we’ve been busy on the home-front.

I recently cleared off all our bookshelves. I know, quite shocking really. Mr S walked in & saw books all over & asked if they were coming in or going out. He was met with silence, not from annoyance, but Morgan & I had just discussed saying good-bye to a few books & one of us {okay it was me} wailed, “But I loved that book!”

It’s true, many lovely books went to lovely new homes. Books that we haven’t used in years & years because, well let’s face it, my children are no longer in need of Rookie Readers or other very simple books. We were lacking some major room on our shelves for the books we do use & love & their ever expanding companions. It took great strength to say good-bye to so many lovely books, but never fear our book shelves are still fit to bursting & need to be extended.

Which lades me back to the basket I was talking about in the first place. If you think reading blog posts like this is hard, you should hear me attempting to carry on a conversation in the 20 minutes of peace I get when Mr S walks in the door. I have learned to say, “More about that later, can’t bunny trail now!” & manage to spit out just enough details that he’ll ask for more later; after the kids have exploded with all the details of their own days & asked him the many burning questions they have, after all it’s pretty imperative in our home to know if Fred the seagull stole Mr S’ lunch again today, or if instead perhaps Lumpy the one legged seagull got it instead. 

The real point is, that our basket got an overhaul too. I cleared it out & resolved things we’d finished with but never put away, or put things away we’d never quite gotten to like we’d aimed. I put away the guilt that can accompany the lack of using something you’d had great intentions about & simply smiled at how tidy everything was looking. In fact, I even snapped photos of how clean & lovely it was because I knew it wouldn’t last.

I then refilled our basket with books we are using, & aptly renamed it the “Read Aloud Basket”. It’s officially called that in my planned now, so even though the basket lacks a label {I’m not totally above labelling baskets so kids can’t say, “..but I didn’t know that was the one you meant!”} it has an official name.

The objective is that each day we’ll curl up with our quilts, after all we’ve hit the dead middle of winter & it’s bitterly cold outside. Birds are pulled out, for they throw a great tantrum if they feel they didn’t get to enjoy the books as well, & we all settle in for a couple of hours of reading. I think, really, the only thing that revolts against the entire idea is my throat. 

While our school days have not been up to our normal standard par, which can often leave me nervous & in worry of falling behind, our well stocked Read Aloud basket is getting a full workout of late. We’ve polished off some books, re-shelved them, & pulled out others. It makes for a calm start to our day, or finish, depending on when things happen.

Our basket is currently following a pattern, one that fits our needs & current ages: Bible & Devotional, Children’s Bible, Missionary Book, Theology Book, Geography Book, Scientist Biography, Science Extra Book, Science “theology” Book, Read Aloud, Poetry Book

It seems like a fair lot, but at current we don’t read every book in one day, I’m pretty sure if we tried my throat would put up a vacancy sign & hit the road faster then I could guzzle water. There are even times when, despite having the book in the basket, we pull up on audio copy of the book anyway. My throat gives a standing ovation to this type of innovative thinking. 

Here's our current titles:

90 Days In Matthew. Yep, the longest 90 days in history I’m sure, but we generally use it 4x a week. We’re not in a rush to shelve it & are thoroughly enjoying it. We use the Bible in the basket to read the scripture from the devotional.

Children's Bible. The boys are currently using the Children’s Bible to read from Joshua aloud. We’ve found that with a Children’s Bible the font is much larger for our Irlen boy & with his glasses & overlay he really loves that he can read aloud to us for a change. 

Mary Slessor. We were meant to read Mary Slessor’s story the year we moved house, but a few books were shelved as the need to nurse a mil back to health & pack boxes was a far biggest task. This is from the Heroes In History series, which are equally available from Audible.

Jesus Freak. Not the cd, but the book written by the same music group, DC Talk. The book discusses what it’s like to be a real Jesus freak, to truly turn your life to Christ in all situations. It equally gives examples from people in history who’ve endured some incredible hardships for their own faith.

Horrible Geography’s Cracking Coasts. I actually had other geography books I’d intended to stick in our basket, but spotted this one at the library. Let’s face it, the authors of the “Horrible” series do an incredibly job at engaging students in otherwise boring topics. Read with a bit of flare, a few funny voices, & a whole lot of attitude & the only boring thing happening is me saying, “Stop laughing a minute so I can keep reading!” 

Robert Boyle. One thing I really dislike about most science curriculum is the brief glimpses they give of many men & woman who’ve contributed greatly to the advancement of science. I get it, if the book spends all their time dwelling on biographies then they’ll have to sacrifice some of the other goodness inside. Robert Doyle’s story is part of The Sower series.

Chemical Chaos. We own a lot of science books & this is one we started way back in Term 1. We put it aside during half of Term 2 & I was reminded by a couple of young men who really loved the book that we need to finish it. Too right they are, we have another pile of science books waiting to be read as well!

It Couldn’t Just Happen! It’s hard, for our family, to find a science curriculum that is Christian based & aligns with our beliefs in full. Thus, it’s easier to pick a curriculum that has no faith ties to it to use. Unfortunately, that means we can miss out on some great theology discussions based on science related topics. The term science “theology” book is just for lack of a better description & helps me when planning which books to toss in my basket. It does not refer to a believe or religion of science.

The Wind In The Willows. The boys & I are currently making our way through a great many “classic” books. I despise using that term because I know there’s a lot of nit & grit about people using it correctly or not these days. Regardless, that is the term I am choosing to use. We have a stack we’ve finished & yet another stack awaiting for us so we really have no time to waste arguing if the books are classics or not.

 Famous Poems Old & New. Oh my it seems ever so long ago we began this poetry book. Yet, we are nearly finished with it & part of me hates to see it go. In previous years some of our poetry books were only read 1-2 times a week, were as this beauty was ready daily. Never fear, if our next poetry book isn’t a daily read we have plenty of others that can fill that void. After all, Cheerio’s Book Of Days is anxiously awaiting to be pulled back out & used daily again.


That’s it. When we finish something that’s in there we’ll simply replace with another book awaiting our reading. Simple & effective.

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