The Commons: May 3rd Edition

The Commons is my weekly Commonplace roundup – notable quotes from the previous week, and current reading list.

I spent the final week of April trying to wrap up a few titles and make room in my stack for May reads. This past week I finished Experiencing God, Honey for a Child’s Heart, and 10 Habits of Happy Moms. I also read Henry and the Chalk Dragon to my children.

Experiencing God has been quite impactful – I’ve been working through it slowly since January and I strongly recommend it to Christians. No matter how far along your Christian walk you may be, you will be challenged in your relationship with God and come out with a deeper understanding of what it really means to experience God in your personal life, and as part of the larger Christian body.

“You can’t stay where you are and go with God at the same time.” Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God

I feel like I am late to the game, having only just now read Honey for a Child’s Heart, though I have been homeschooling since 2011, and have four children at home. This book is so full of goodness – and I am so thankful that our family leans so heavily on good literature, not just for homeschooling but for character building and family entertainment. This is a resource I will return to again and again as my children grow.

“Children’s books cannot be written for or down to children. Children reject books that do not treat them as equal.” Gladys Hunt, Honey for a Child’s Heart

The 10 Habits for Happy Moms is a great resource for moms who struggle to consider their own needs because they are constantly meeting the needs of others. Meg Meeker does a great job reminding women that self care is so important, and she addresses ten habits to cultivate to improve happiness.

“We all choose what thoughts will fill the spaces in our minds, if you will, at the beginning of the day. It is a simple mathematical truth that if we spend more time pondering what we don’t have, we will have far less time to feel grateful for what we do have.” Meg Meeker, The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers

I’ll mention Henry and the Chalk Dragon even though it is a family read, and not just in my personal stack. This is a must read for families. We had so much fun reading this book aloud. It is laugh out loud funny and so sweet!

“Don’t insult anything that has just shimmied down the drain.” Jennifer Trafton, Henry and the Chalk Dragon

I started a new book in April that I’ll work on over the spring and summer. The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. Part ‘How to Read a Book’ and part great books reading list, I am enjoying this so far.

I am reading A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe this month with several others. I’ve only just started so I’ll share more as I get into it.

Current Reads:

Reading lists, planning and accountability

I spent my New Year’s Day with my personal scholar planner, my 2017 book list, paper and pencils.

My monthly spread in my personal scholar journal helps me keep track of Good Morning Girls daily bible chapter readings, as well as any live author events through Read Aloud Revival or with a book club.

I finished my 2017 book list, but needed to sit down and work out the nuts and bolts. How am I going to get all those books read in a year?!

 

 

 

 

I first prepared a divided a unlined sheet of paper into 12 blocks – one block for each month.

I decided to plan a quarter at a time since it’s possible I won’t make all my goals and this allows me to retool my plans before each quarter.

My books generally fall into one of two categories – long-term (over the course of the year, or several months at least) and monthly reads.

At the top of each block, I listed all my long-term books. Below these I then listed books I expect to be able to read in a month.

In my previous post, I mentioned several areas I am focusing on this year. When planning my monthly goals, I tried to include one book from Educational Philosophy, Parenting and Christian Study. I also selected two or three fiction titles and one from another area.

On paper, then I might have fifteen books listed. This sounds daunting to me, but eight are long-term reads, so I am reading just a little at a time. For example, each month I will read the corresponding chapter in The Life-giving Home, and in In Defense of Sanity, I am reading one essay a week.

My weekly bullet journal spread. I plan out daily reading portions for my current reads. I purposely leave the weekend light since I know I won’t get much reading done. I also plan the upcoming week on the weekend.

On my weekly planning pages, I list out all the books I plan to read each day, and make not of chapters or pages to work through. I only do this on a weekly basis, in case I haven’t met any of my weekly goals. Having a checklist helps me feel accomplished as I work through my daily reading goals.

 

For those books I am planning to finish in the month, I have planned for more intensive reading periods.

So… why even do this? I am not a formal student anymore. I don’t have quizzes or exams, I’m not paying for courses or risking a poor grade if I don’t get my reading done. So why the planning, why the schedule, why the extra effort?

Last year, I planned out my 2016 book list, and when I fell behind in my reading schedule, I stressed.

But I persisted and even though I fell short of my reading goal, I still read A LOT more books than I would have if I had not bothered to research and put together a reading plan, plan a reading schedule and commit to regular personal study time.

I list out my goals for the month, including books I want to complete, and how much progress I’d like to make in others. I also prepare a tracker page with day columns. Each book gets a row, and I fill in a block for each day that I read from that book.

I am active in an online book community and there is an awesome comradery and environment of encouragement and even a mild sense accountability.

 

 

 

Though honestly, there still isn’t a consequence for falling short of the goal like there would be in school.

So again, why I am doing all this?

December’s Reading Tracker page. Each day I read a particular book, I fill in a block. Lines indicate that a book was completed.

I love the term ‘personal scholarship.’ It really sums up what I am striving for, and what is the driving force for everything I do.

There are so many things I want to read about and learn and experience through books, and no one is going to hold me accountable except for me, because it is a personal goal.

By planning and scheduling, I am making a commitment, a contract with myself to work toward a goal. I want to hold myself accountable to this commitment.

If I fall short, well I reevaluate my reading goal and adjust my plans and schedules – maybe it is not realistic in light of family commitments. I reevaluate and adjust, I do not abandon. I keep the contract as a tangible “thing” that I am making myself accountable to.

 

Ready for the New Year! 2017 Book List

It’s that time of year again. Planning time!

I fell behind early in the year, and did not get to all the books on my 2016 list. However, I am a firm believer that it is better to plan and fall short than to not plan and go through the year unchallenged.

I’ve spent December working hard to wrap up several books, and while I still have a couple books to complete, I am so excited to hit the new year!

This year I decided to organize my reading list by areas of interest rather than just planning out month to month.

Personal scholarship areas of interest:

Educational Philosophy – I’m still focusing on Classical and Charlotte Mason this year, as well as the power of good literature in a child’s upbringing

Christian Topics – This year is about delving deeper into relationship with God, and having a more impactive Bible study time.

Parenting – this year I continue to work on being a better mom to my kids, a better wife to my husband, and making my house a home.

Science – my earliest passion was science, and even though I am not currently working in research, I do love to read about new discoveries and different areas of research.

Literature Study – Why limit yourself to reading literature when you can read  books about literature?

Current Topics – It is easy for me to get wrapped up in my focus areas, so I have made it a point to select some titles on current topics to explore this year.

Great Books/Classics – I am wanting to work through some classic works this year, including more Syntopical Reading in the Great Books (which I don’t list here), as well as exploring some Shakespeare.

Homesteading and Self-sufficiency – A project of mine, and something we as a family would like to work toward.

History – I decided to follow up on 2016’s study of Abigail Adams with some additional reading.

Fiction – This is my catch-all area for fiction works, though most would certainly be considered classics.

Literary Mentors

Two of my main goals for 2017 are to improve in my role as a mother and wife, and to have a deeper and more fulfilling walk with God.

I’ve selected Charlotte Mason and C.S.Lewis as literary mentors to walk alongside me as I work toward these goals.

2017 Reading Goals

Completing 2016 Books

  •  A Philosophy of Education (Volume 6) by Charlotte Mason
  •  Democracy in America by Alexis De Tocqueville
  •  In Defense of Sanity by G.K. Chesterton

2017 Book list

Educational Philosophy

  •  Learning All The Time by John Holt
  •  Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt
  •  Keeping a Nature Journal by  Charles E. Roth and Clare Walker Leslie
  •  Consider This by Karen Glass
  •  The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
  •  For the Love of Learning: Giving Your Children a Lolipop Education by Amy Edwards
  •  Climbing Parnassus by Tracy Lee Simmons
  •  The Paideia Program by Mortimer Alder
  •  How to Speak, How to Listen by Mortimer Alder
  •  Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson (survey)
  •  Home Education by Charlotte Mason
  •  Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson

Christian Topics

  •  How to Study Your Bible by Kay Arthur
  •  Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby
  •  Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  •  The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
  •  The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonheifer
  •  The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
  •  Desiring God by John Piper
  •  Basic Theology by Charles Ryrie
  •  Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph

Parenting and Homemaking

  •  10 Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker
  •  Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson
  •  Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins
  •  Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren
  •  A Life-giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson (reread with RAR)
  •  Untangled:Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour
  •  Laying Down The Rails by Sonya Shafer
  •  The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schafer

Science

  •  The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

Literature Study

  •  A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz
  •  Marmee and Louisa by Eve LaPlante

Current Events

  •  Feardom by Connor Boyack
  •  The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe
  •  Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

Great Books/Classics

  •  The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
  •  Plutarch’s Lives
  •  Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing
  •  Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Homesteadinng and Self Sufficiency

  •  Survival Mom by Lisa Bedford
  •  Mini-farming: Self-sufficiency on 1/4 Acre  by Brett Markham
  •  Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart

History

  •  John Adams by David McCullough
  •  My Dearest Friend: Letters of John and Abigail Adams

Fiction

  •  The Man in the High Castle by Phillip Dick
  •  Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter
  •  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  •  Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  •  Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton Porter
  •  Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
  •  The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  •  Native Son by Richard Wright
  •  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  •  Father Brown by GK Chesterton
  •  1984 by George Orwell7
  •  Jo’s Boys by L.M Alcott
  •  Eight Cousins by L.M. Alcott
  •  Rose in Bloom by L.M. Alcott
  •  Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

As with my 2016 list, I may find myself deviating from my list, and that’s okay. As long as I have a plan to start the year off right, I’m happy!

 

 

 

Save