Thoughtful Thursday Week 46 – Because I Can

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I am reading a lot these days because I can. I cannot do many things as a homeschooling mom, but reading I can do. Learning about one’s limitations is a fundamental lesson in life. Understanding your boundaries and communicating them to others is an extension of knowing your own limits. So many lives would be changed for the better if we only understood our own limits.

Homeschooling moms are busy creatures. A career is pretty much out of the question unless you are a force of nature like Susan Wise Bauer or Ann Voskamp. Going back to school cannot really happen unless your children are older and more independent in their study habits. Traveling solo (or with the family) is limited by time and space equations which have everything to do with hubby’s career.

What’s a homeschooling mom to do?

I read. While the kids play or take lessons outside the home, I read.

Thoughtful Thursday - Because I Can

The library saves me thousands of dollars every year, but I also like to invest in my own titles. Books help me lose myself in order to find myself. I travel and discover new destinations without having to pack a suitcase. Then I return Continue reading »

and prepare another meal for my children or teach them another class or drive them to another class outside the home. Because I can.

After reading one more page, I am different. I have renewed myself. I have heard of people who read one book a day (Seth Godin, Tai Lopez). University professors and researchers read two or three books a week. They probably don’t homeschool or prepare three meals a day for their children. I know they don’t. Homeschooling and homemaking remain my main vocation or calling. But God gave me an active brain and it needs stimulation.

So I read books. Because I can. I have discovered I can read a book a month. Then, it turns out, I can read a book a week. The latest discovery is that I can finish a 530-page book in 2 1/2 days if it is as good as Anthony Doerr’s “All The Light We Cannot See.” That’s when the kids were on a mini-break from homeschool. But, on average, it takes me a week. That’s 52 books a year. If I give myself a two-week break, and to make math easier, that’s 50 books a year.

Mortimer Adler wrote that the best books of Western Civilization can be put on a list that numbers about 100 titles. In two years of reading one of these “best books of the Western Civilization” per week, I can read them all. You can, too.


Help Me Be Good Books

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Besides the references to manners, virtues and character in our Bible curricula, we use Accountable Kids for a hands-on approach to character building. After all, I am dealing with concrete thinkers. DS and DD are five and three, respectively. They see their morning cards, they go accomplish the task in the picture. When finished with all the cards, they receive a ticket, which they redeem for an activity they enjoy. The same process happens in the afternoon and evening.

Last week, I was glad to find some books at the library which supplement our character training so well, I am thinking about buying them. It’s not as much a financial decision as it is a logistical one. I have been warned by veteran homeschoolers that my house will become engulfed in books. We love books, but we do not want to get suffocated by them. Hence, our great appreciation for the local library.

As a member of several Yahoo Groups, each with a specific theme under the general category of “Homeschooling,” I learn a lot from veteran homeschooling moms. I am so thankful for their generosity. Recently, on one of these groups, I read about a series of books on individual character traits, published by Scholastic and written by Joy Berry. The name sounded familiar and then I remembered she was the author of the potty training kit we bought a few years ago.

I made a mental note of the series and went on with my life, as I was not sure we needed to look into other character curricula as yet.

When I got to the library last week, I saw new books on display in the children’s section. Sure enough, it was the Scholastic series “Help Me Be Good”. Six of them, to be precise. There are a lot more in the series.

My children loved the books. They asked me to read them over and over. We even took two of them to church, for a tactile, concrete reminder about interrupting and being messy. So this last time in church, when they started talking a little louder in their pews, I put the book in their hands and asked, “Remember what we read about?” It worked to settle them down.

It was a good day at the office. Like anything though, this method might grow old and ineffective on them over time. Oh well. I will cross that bridge when I get there…