Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Love of History Grows...

If you read my profile, you'll see I'm a self proclaimed bibliophile. Yes, I LOVE books!!  Aside from the Bible, my favorite books are historical in nature.  Now, this was not always the case.  As a child, I was not a reader.....gasp!  It's true.  I have vivid memories of my family reading Mother Goose rhymes and I know we were exposed to books, but I just didn't take the time to sit and read them myself.  My best friend's mother was an English teacher and they practically lived at the library.  But, not so much me.  And history, well that was for dead people....ha!  It all seemed so irrelevant and boring!

Fast forward...uh um, twenty years, and here I am loving books and particularly history.  Even though I wasn't a reader personally, I believe I always understood the importance of reading. Probably, because of my fond Mother Goose memories :)  So, how did I become not only an avid reader, but a book collector?

I hate to admit it, but it started in the mid 1990's with Oprah's Book Club.  Oprah made reading seem interesting.  I picked up a couple of her recommended books and was hooked.  I started reading every chance I got.  I even got audio books so I could read/listen while doing other things!

When Jennifer and Angel came to live with us, they were both early beginning readers.  However, they had never been exposed to books outside of school.  I started taking them to the library.  They would bring home Scholastic Book orders and we'd buy a few books here and there.  I created little contests to entice them to read.  I remember reading them stories before bed and they'd get so excited!  No one had ever read them a story before :(   I couldn't believe it!  I vowed then and there to make sure reading books together became a priority in our home.

This was not hard when RileyAnn was born.  Like it or not, she's always been a bookworm.  When she was just a wee toddler, she'd come bearing stacks of books.  She would sit on our lap for hours turning pages, listening, and looking.  It's kind of funny, The Farmer and I attended our first real book sale when she was just 4 weeks old.   Just last week, we attended that same annual sale for the 10th year.  I had no idea when The Farmer was carrying RileyAnn in her infant seat around the tables filled with books, that it would be the beginning of a tradition.  We have since been to many sales and have amassed an arsenal of books.

Upon becoming a homeschool mama, I had to figure out how to teach my kids history.  I knew I wanted to teach Biblical history, but I didn't want them to develop the aversion to history that I had.  I looked at many different textbooks and just couldn't go there.  I found a historic overview timeline and decided we would take a unit study approach and just use library books to study certain topics and time periods in history.  At that point, I had never heard of Charlotte Mason and had no idea what a living book was.

Our 3rd year of homeschooling, I found Sonlight.  Angel completed Core 100 for her 8th grade U.S. History study.  She absolutely LOVED it!  I used Sonlight K with RileyAnn and we LOVED that as well.  Using Sonlight really helped me to see how to use literature and misc. books chronologically to pull the study of history together.   However, I was not fond of the Sonlight Instructor Guides so I started to look at other programs that used literature as their base.  We've since used My Father's World, Beautiful Feet, and TruthQuest History Guides.  Unfortunately, many of the best books used in these programs are no longer available through the library.  Or, there are so few copies, you can't get the books you need when you need them.  This led me to start building our own library.  It has become my mission to rescue older living books.

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, our library has outgrown our school room.  Last summer, The Farmer built a shelf in the garage for over flow.  This summer, I added another shelf and moved all our history to the garage.  This is not ideal since there is no temperature control there, but it appears to be the only option for now.  At some point, we will need to find a more permanent long term solution.   My dream is to some day open a living book library for other homeschool families.  We'll see what God has to say about that....

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