Thursday, December 29, 2016

Our January Reading Goal

Well, even though we have a few days left until January, the girls and I were ready to begin our January reading goal. The category we decided upon for January is "A Book that Challenges You." We really felt that reading "A Book that Intimidates You" last year was good for us, so we decided to do something similar again. What is interesting is that a couple of the books chosen were books read by a parent or sibling before. For most of us, we chose an older classic since the older language, depth of thought, and length are often more challenging.
I chose "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I chose this for the aforementioned reasons but also for one of my own. I loved Tolstoy last year, and Dostoyevsky is apparently the other highly esteemed writer of great Russian literature from the same time period. We'll see if I like him as much.
Faith chose "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. She has just decided to get back into reading more than school assignments, comics and fan fiction to better prepare herself for college. Landree highly recommended this book to her (it was her favorite read from last year and one of her favorite books).
Savannah chose "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte because Landree and I agree it is probably one of our all time favorites, and since Savannah loves things from that time period, we thought she would like it.
Landree chose the monstrous book "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy. She is my literature lover, so she really wanted to challenge herself. She saw how much I liked it, and she watched part of the History Channel's special "War and Peace" series (which was really well done and true to the book, by the way). This is one reason she pushed for a head start at the end of December to begin reading, although I bet my fast reader finished in less than the three months it took me!
Katriel chose "White Fang" by Jack London because she loves animals, and the book came highly recommended by Faith. Her and Faith have similar interests, so she took Faith's recommendation to heart. Faith is not much into literature, but is a big fan of Jack London's books "The Call of the Wild" and "White Fang."
Arwen is still learning to read, so she chose one of Landree's childhood chapter book favorites "Clementine." It is a funny and cute book that we both think Arwen will love with her fun sense of humor.

Hopefully, we are all up for the challenge and finish our books for January! I enjoy seeing my daughters share books with each other and have the privilege of observing a sibling read a beloved book. Not only that, but it is so exciting for me to see my child pick up one of my cherished reads and read it for themselves.

Our reading goals 2017

If you read my last post, you know that my third daughter and I set a reading goal for each month of 2016. We are aspiring to do this again for 2017, but I am excited to share that all five of my oldest daughters appear to be on board to join in the challenge! (By the way, for those who do not know, I have going on nine daughters! But I can save information on my large family of girls for other posts.) This thrills me because that as an educator and mother, I long to see my daughters grow in the knowledge and personal growth that reading can bring them. Not only that, but since literature is a passion of mine, I long to grow in my relationship with each one of them. I say this because like many understand, sharing a hobby or passion with your children is a great way to connect. With so many children and so little time, it is important to me to have those things that draw us together and spark discussion between us. Several of my daughters are fans of comic books and superheros like my husband, which is one way they bond with their father. A few of my daughters are like me and are animal and nature lovers, so we have those things to share. We all enjoy movies and TV shows together and the discussions those spark. Now, I am excited that all my daughters old enough to read on their own, will be trying to read along with me!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Literature and books as everyday family education

This last year, my third daughter, a fellow book lover, and I decided to go on a journey together. We decided to grow our relationship with books and each other by embarking on a 2016 book reading challenge where we chose a book a month to read from some pre-selected categories. It was a very positive experience that brought us both out of our comfort zones. I read a variety of genres and types: fiction/non-fiction, classics and modern, and challenging/easy.
I think stories whether in books or movies are a great way to start family discussions and get people thinking about the important things in life.
What were my take-aways?
1. I LOVE Tolstoy! I read "War and Peace" as the "Book that Intimidates Me," and although it took me three months to read with my busy schedule, it was deep and thoughtful, with engaging characters. I also read "Anna Karenina," and I rate it as the best book I read in 2016. Tolstoy explored the depths of humanity, relationships, the nature of history, and the meaning of life. Sometimes I just had to sit and chew on a thought nestled within his books savoring the truth and meaning I tasted within it.
2. The timing of a book can be as important as the book itself. "Anna Karenina" was in the category "A Book I Abandoned" because I began reading it about five years ago, and not far into the book, I set it aside as disturbing and somewhat confusing. I picked it up again, and it came to life before my eyes. Sometimes, life experience, how you have changed as a person, and the time of life you are in can make all the difference in how you see a book.
3. Some books are great for a quick, fun and engaging read. However, some books are "life" books that require thought, time, and effort, but they affect you deeply and leave you a better person. It is nice to have both in your life. It is the difference between a snack or dessert and a five course, nutritious, and savory meal.
4. A set reading challenge that you do with a buddy or two is a great way to be a consistent dedicated reader. The different categories make it fun and also lead you into new, interesting, and challenging directions. The buddy(ies) help you stay consistent and make reading a relational activity. As opposed to a book club, you each get to read something you want and feel fits you personally, and you can also learn about other books from someone else who is reading them.
5. It is important to read timeless classics (which are classics for a reason) as well as modern works that help you better understand what is happening in your own generation and how people are thinking today.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Simply documenting thoughts--the gift of ourselves

Again, it has been a long time since I've written in my blog. Life is busy, and sometimes the time just isn't right. I am now busy working on my doctorate in education, teaching third grade, and raising soon to be nine children. My husband is a stay at home dad, and he home schools my older daughters who help immensely, so I am not the supermom some people think when I list out my responsibilities. I am just a mom following the unique path God has for me doing the best I can with a husband and children doing the best they can. I am currently on Christmas break waiting for my ninth baby girl to come. The last month of pregnancy is the most difficult for me, and it is especially difficult because I have to rely on my children for so much. My husband's fibromyalgia prevents me from leaning on him too much for physical help with things, so we often rely on them. They are so good about it, but I know it is hard for them. I know people would judge me for having nine children, but I just figure that it will have to be that way. Sometimes you go down a path that isn't easy just because you know it is the right thing and trust that God has more good in it than you can currently see. I realized the other day one reason why I do not write in my blog more despite my love for writing. I am waiting for some grandiose thing to say. I read an article that said to just start documenting, don't worry about creating some grand thing. If you document enough, good things will eventually be created. So here is my start. I also know, however, that I am a pretty private person, and my husband is too. I do not want to share more than he nor I would like. I do not like to market myself or my ideas,so we'll see if this tapers off once again. However, sharing a part of yourself is a gift to the world; I firmly believe each person is a gift to those around him/her and to the world. When a person shares their true selves with those around them, the world is enriched in a way that only that person can provide. So here I am.