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    Books & Reading, Other Thoughts

    Seven Quick Takes on Course Announcements, Reading Stuff, An Apology, and MORE!

    June 17, 2016 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    We finished up our first week of swimming lessons, and also our first summer cold. Boo hiss. I hope we’re done. We don’t usually catch summer bugs, so it was a little disheartening to start off with one, but perhaps we have checked that off the list and we can move on now? That’s what I’m wishing for.


    :: 2 ::

    Did you know there is now a Lite version of The 5 Elements of Classical Homeschooling? This is a fantastic deal. For $37, you can work through all of the introduction and first module of the course — giving it the proverbial test drive. It also comes with a $100 coupon for the full course — so if you love it and want to move on {and I think you will if this is a topic you are interested in}, then you can do it for far less expense.


    :: 3 ::

    This week’s links collection:


    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2012:

    Andy Catlett and Reading Aloud

    I was reading more Wendell Berry, and it was oh so good.

    :: 5 ::

    We started some new read alouds this week. This is always fun, of course. The first is called The Wonder Clock. I read it aloud when my oldest was about seven, so it seemed appropriate to come full circle and read it again now that my youngest is seven. The title refers to a clock because the preface explains a visit to Father Time’s garret, where said clock is located, and the clock’s hourly displays are some connected to each of the stories. There are twelve stories, of course — one for each hour that strikes. The first story is Bearskin. We own a Bearskin picture book, but I read it aloud again anyhow because that story never gets old.

    The second is called Stories from the Old Squire’s Farm. We haven’t read a lot of it yet, but I would say that it is quickly growing on us. It’s quite a thick one — over 400 pages! The stories are true, apparently {or mostly so}, and they are the adventures of six cousins in post-Civil War era Maine, which means it’s still an enchanting time where there are no cars, no mobile devices, and lots more adventure for children.


    :: 6 ::

    I’m also continuing my process of cleaning the living room, which I already told you is code for reading the books in the piles on the tables in that room. Yesterday, I finished two books: Die Empty, and God at Work. The former is a self-helpy, businessy sort of book. It was good in its own way. Like most books in that genre, there were a few gems that made it worth the time, especially since it was an easy read. God at Work is a Lutheran treatment of the doctrine of vocation. I’m not Lutheran, but it was super helpful as I was thinking through some of the issues in this area — I highly recommend the book if you are thinking about vocation.


    :: 7 ::

    I have to apologize about AfterCast, my Facebook Live show. Or, it seems, my pretend Facebook Live show. I thank those of you who set aside time in your day to come, and I am so sorry that the technological difficulties made it impossible. In my defense, I even switched houses in case the problem was my wifi! We’re going to try again this coming week, same time, same place. I’m hoping for better results.


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  • Reply Amber Vanderpol June 18, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    I’ve been eyeing Old Squire’s Farm on my shelf for quite awhile. I picked it up after hearing Martin Cothran talk about it about 3 years ago at a conference and haven’t read it. Though my daughter did and enjoyed it) I was thinking about reading it out loud in the evening, but with the size I was a little concerned that we’d be reading it all year. Although that’s not necessarily a bad thing… it might also be a good one for my husband to read to the boys, come to think of it. They are just about done with Farmer Boy… hmm.

    And I love your living room cleaning. Now this is a cleaning I can really get behind! 😀

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 19, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      I got the Old Squire’s Farm ideal from Martin Cothran, too! He does mention it every once in a while, doesn’t he? I actually bought the other one, too — something about Ice in the title. I was afraid we’d be reading it forever, also, but it feels like it’s going pretty fast, so maybe it is a quicker read than it looks? The chapters are the right size for a single sitting, which is nice. I hate trying to break up chapters on the fly.

      • Reply Amber Vanderpol June 19, 2016 at 4:17 pm

        Me too! I pitched it to my husband as his next read aloud and he liked the idea.

        I do not have the other one – I’ll have to check that out! And perhaps I should go ahead and pick it up if it is still cheap… OOP books can be so frustrating!

  • Reply Virginia Lee June 17, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    We LOVE Wonder Clock, and I did use it in Form 1 one year instead of Blue Fairy. I had already read Blue Fairy out loud once and wanted a change. I’ll go back to Lang next time through. It’s nice to switch it up now and then =) Sorry about the summer bugs. A stinky way to kick off summer break.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 19, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      I think that is definitely a good one to switch with Blue Fairy! Good to keep the teacher fresh. 🙂

  • Reply Dawn June 17, 2016 at 11:30 am

    We have and adore that copy of Bearskin (I assume – the Trina Schart Hyman one), but have never pulled our full Wonder Clock off the shelf. I’ll have to turn that over to my oldest once he finishes his current free read. I was intrigued by the Old Squire Farm book after listening to the recommendation by Martin Cothran on a recent Quiddity episode also featuring Sarah Mackenzie. He mentioned some excellent ones that I put on my short list to obtain. I didn’t buy Squire because it was a little pricey, but if your family continues to love it I won’t bawk at the cost. Keep us posted, please!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 19, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      Okay, shop around more because Old Squire’s Farm cost me a penny plus shipping! You should NOT have to pay a pretty penny for this one. Or, since he mentioned it recently, maybe he pushed up a price? If so, I bet that is only temporary…

      • Reply Dawn June 19, 2016 at 4:01 pm

        Good point. I’ll keep checking back. In the meantime I just scored “Ice…” for a penny in Like New condition. Sounds like it’s getting enough votes that it ought to be on my shelf:).

  • Reply Celeste June 17, 2016 at 7:30 am

    I’ve got The Wonder Clock sitting on my counter right now because I’m thinking about scheduling it for my Form I kids this year. My Big Kids have read it over and over but I’ve never read it aloud.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 19, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      I think it’s a really fun one to read aloud, for sure! And I think it’s great for Form I, especially if {like VL mentioned above} you’re tired of Blue Fairy. 🙂

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