26 August 2015

Reading Aloud to Teens ~ And Our Book List So Far

I know of only a few parents, in real life, that still read aloud every week to their children once they are in their teen aged years. 
Some read the occasional book to their highschool aged child/ren during a schooling year - many never do, but elect to have their child do any/all the reading by themselves during the higher education years.

Currently, we're a family that still read aloud to our youth (teens) - we all enjoy it;  and, amazingly enough so do the many guests (family and close friends) that come to stay with us. Yes, we keep our read aloud 'tradition' going if guests are staying more than 1 evening with us.  Off topic a bit here... many of those same visitors want to know what happened in the book, after they've returned to their own homes.
We're a non-television watching home, and reading aloud in the evenings has long been part of our family lifestyle.  Family reading is not an every night happening in our home, it's buttoned off from 6 nights per week - back in the younger years - down to 3 or 4 nights a week now; however, the children and I still have family book basket, reading time, together most schooling mornings. We share in the reading there, with us each reading excerpts.  But that is a completely different topic.
With read alouds, which also includes listening to audiobooks together, we enjoy getting to know the characters in each book together, and appreciate the lively conversations that go with each read aloud. While Dn reads, he does the lions share of it by choice - though I do manage to snaffle the occasional book away from him to read aloud - the children and I have our hands active: folding washing and then doing delight led crafts.  Anyone not reading helps to fold the washing.  With audiobooks, we usually listen to these during afternoon craft time, or as car time listens.

As our children are growing in maturity we find it very interesting, and informative, to hear them articulating their developing opinions on spiritual, moral or social issues presented in a book - or what they think about a book's characters, and their conduct, and why they think that.  Excellent opportunities for some in depth discussions.

Some of the titles we select to read are not necessarily the pinnacle of classical heavyweight literature, nor do they contain the most convoluted story line we could possibly find; though some books we select to read do fall into one, or both, of those categories.  And, as the children get older we are purposely electing to read aloud to them titles that contain some very gritty, sober topics - these are books we would never hand over to them to read alone, as we want to discuss the content *with* them; we often need to edit out portions, especially in books like lol... OMG! ~ Ivester.  The other books we choose are usually ones that are enriched with character quality themes, and are stories that stay with us long after the pages are closed.  Some of the other titles are for historic value, or for the laugh-out-loud factor, or merely as summer time no-brainer listens☺; but the greater portion of our reading has long been from 'living books', where the language is rich and the character lessons stay with us long after we've closed the pages.
Think of Rosalie  -  in A Peep Behind the Scenes - trusting the Good Shepherd to, "Hold me fast; don't let anyone pluck me out of Thy hand, not father, not the new mother, nor any of the people here.  Please hold me tight; I'm so afraid. I'm only a little sheep, I have no one to help me, so please hold me tighter than the rest.  Amen."
In Quo Vadis we witness Marcus Vinicius' change in character - once he accepts Christ as his personal saviour - and the manner in which he now loves his Lygia, and those that serve them both.  He is changed from an arrogant, self-centred Roman citizen to a loving, strong, godly man; as can been clearly seen in the last letter he penned to his friend Petronius,   "And so days and months pass here in calmness of heart. Our servants and slaves believe, as we do, in Christ, and that He enjoins love; hence we love one another. Frequently, when the sun has gone down, or when the moon is shining in the water, Lygia and I talk of past times, which seem a dream to us; but when I think how that dear head was near torture and death, I magnify my Lord with my whole soul, for out of those hands He alone could wrest her, save her from the arena, and return her to me forever. O Petronius, thou hast seen what endurance and comfort that religion gives in misfortune, how much patience and courage before death; so come and see how much happiness it gives in ordinary, common days of life. People thus far did not know a God whom man could love, hence they did not love one another; and from that came their misfortune, for as light comes from the sun, so does happiness come from love. Neither lawgivers nor philosophers taught this truth, and it did not exist in Greece or Rome; and when I say, not in Rome, that means the whole world. The dry and cold teaching of the Stoics, to which virtuous people rally, tempers the heart as a sword is tempered, but it makes it indifferent rather than better. Though why do I write this to thee, who hast learned more, and hast more understanding than I have?"

One of my favourite posts on character in books , & reading to children, is penned by Liz and is found over at Living Books Library:  Vision for Children, First Installment.   I keep going back to read that post, again and again.  It's beautifully crafted, and resonates so deeply with me.

I'd love to see what others who also read to their teens, including those that have youth much older than ours, have chosen to include in their read aloud selections.

ETA: For anyone that is interested in being encouraged to read aloud to your children (all ages) perhaps try listening to some of the Read-Aloud Revival   Podcasts here (listed at the bottom of amongstlovelythings blog post).

I'll share a list of only the favourite read alouds  ...
Here's our List of Favourites Read Alouds to Teens so far
(including a few audios):

Disclaimer:  Some of these titles listed contain content issues that I have noted elsewhere on our blog.  I won't repeat myself here.


Jay 13 (with Daisy 11 listening in)
A Long Way from Chicago ~ Richard Peck
The Bronze Bow ~ Speare
Cyrus the Persian ~ Sherman A. Nagel
The Elusive Pimpernel ~ Baroness Orczy (read by Karen Savage.  Recommend the other two Orczy titles Karen reads too.) 
Favorite Poems, Old and New ~ Helen Ferris 
The Girl of the Limberlost ~ Porter  
God King ~ Williamson
Hittite Warrior ~  Williamson
Just William (audio series) ~ Crompton, read by Martin Jarvis
Kite Fighters ~ Linda Sue Park
Lord Peter Wimsey (Older BBC radio dramas) ~ based on Dorothy L. Sayers
Quo Vadis ~ Sienkiewicz
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever ~ Robinson
Julius Caesar ~ Shakespeare 
Within the Palace Gates …. ~ Siviter

(the following titles: mostly with Jay)
Aeneid ~ Virgil (audio)
D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths
Death Comes As the End (Egypt around 2000BC) ~ Christie
FOTF The Luke Reports         (audio.  a favourite family, annual, relisten)
Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
Idylls of the King ~ Tennyson (audio)

The Thirty-nine Steps ~ John Buchan
Greenmantle ~ John Buchan, read by Peter Joyce
Mr. Standfast ~ John Buchan 

2014 (this year we catered more to Daisy with read alouds, but adding them here anyway as Jay enjoyed listening in)
Jay 14 and Daisy 12
A Boy and His Bear ~ Harriet Graham
Captain Blood ~ Sabatini
The Fellowship of the Ring ~ Tolkien     (Jay read this aloud to Daisy)
Fire, Bed & Bone ~ Branford
Little Dorrit ~ Dickens (BBC, Dramatised)
Luther: Biography of a Reformer ~ Nohl
Moonfleet~ Faulkner
Otto of the Silver Hand ~ Howard Pyle 
The Raven in the Foregate ~ Ellis Peters  (audio, with Jay)
Royal Escape ~ Georgette Heyer

Scaramouche ~ Sabatini
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight ~ unknown, read by David Rintoul  (with Jay)
The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow ~ French
Where the Flag Floats ~ Grant (NZ title)
The Year 1000 ~ Robert Lacey, read by Dereck Jacobi     (with Jay)
    During summer break we started listening to some very predictable mysteries:
BBC  Paul Temple & ...... ~ Francis Durbridge Audios  
(Paul Temple stories are old fashioned radio drama's.  We appreciate the fact that the husband and wife team  - Paul and Steve - love each other very much, and treat each other with respect.  Their social life is very 1940s though ;) )
Carry on,  Jeeves ~ Wodehouse

2015 (titles enjoyed so far, up to 08/2015  ... will update as we go along)
Jay 15 and Daisy 13
Bleak House ~ Dickens
Do Hard Things ~ Harris & Harris     (Jay & I are reading through this with Daisy.  We read this with Jay when he was 12. )

David Copperfield ~ Dickens 
Don Quixote ~ Cervantes, read by Roy McMillan

The Hound of the Baskervilles ~ Doyle     (with Jay)
I am David ~ Holm 

Isaac Newton ~ Tiner 
Les Miserable ~ Hugo    abridged edition 
lol...OMG!  ~ Ivester      (sober read, secular title. Details 'physical' relationships!!)
Lorna Doone ~ R.D. Blackmore
The Man in the Brown Suit ~ Agatha Christie, read by Emilia Fox
My Escape from the Auto de Fe at Valladolid: October, 1559 ~ de la Mina

Nicholas Nickleby ~Dickens  (audio)
Out of the Depths: The Autobiography of John Newton ~ Newton, read by Willam Sutherland
Out of Many Waters ~ Greene SL 7 
Passenger to Frankfurt ~ Agatha Christie, read by Emilia Fox
Pilgrim’s Progress, and, Christiana ~ Bunyan     (audio. favourites, which often get repeated)
The Return of the Ring ~ Tolkien     (audio, with Daisy)
Tartuffe ~ Moliere         (with Jay.  We were both surprised that we appreciated this title so much.) 
The Two Towers ~ Tolkien     (audio, with Daisy)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin ~ Stowe      (with Daisy)

    During term breaks we choose to listen through lighter listens, or reads:
Beatrix Potter Cottage Tales (series) ~ Albert     (with Jay, see my review at the end of this post)
The Green Ember ~ S.D. Smith (audio)  (fun, young!, listen.  Wholesome values)
Just William's Luck ~ Crompton  ;-) 
Paul Temple series (dramatised, BBC radio)

To be continued, and updated......

24 August 2015

Our Week Ahead ~ Monday 24 August 2015

    This is the last week of one of our 6wks of scheduled learning.
All of us are looking forward to week away from academic learning and plan to have a very out and about week, next week.  Really hoping the weather will co-operate and gift us with some serious splashes of sunshine.

    With only two & half, official, weeks left until spring starts, our livestock are making the most of the pending switch in the seasons.  Little Dorrit, turkey hen, is foraging around to try and find the best spot to nest, and Dandelion is working on covering the over hens.  It looks like our lamb quota this year is going to be only three lambs -  rather disappointing results from our ram, Aba-ram;  looks like we'll be moving him along to another owner, and getting in a new ram.  Zoological experiments can get a little costly.

   On a few other subject fronts:
We're enjoying going through the book of Proverbs as a bible study.  There are so many things to stop and discuss in this book of the bible, that we often end up taking a few days just to get through one chapter.
    This morning, the children and I were counting through our weeks left of scheduled history learning, and literature to read, for this year.... only 13 weeks left  :) ; and, then we'll be embracing Christmas time and summer holidays.

    Jay is appreciating the experience of having another teacher mark his work in one of his learning areas; science.  This, outschool, term he's been working through Cosmo Science, with Nathalie T as his coach/teacher.  I'm having him read through differing viewpoints to the ones Cosmo present in their course; nothing like reading through emphatic (supported) view points from both sides of a 'debate' or theory to expand ones own viewpoint on a topic.  We've just recently read and discussed through various excerpts on global warming, and, vaccinations.

·       Family
All:   Proverbs Chapt 17+

·       Daisy
History & Geography
1: Biblioplan Early Modern Times:
Ch:26 Whiskey Rebellion; Napoleon’s Rise pgs 627-629 (selections in 629-634), 635-650   Mon to Fri 
Mapping: BP wk 26: Napoleon’s Conquests

History, Literature, & Book Basket:
1: Book Basket:
Do Hard Things ~ Harris (reading with mum)
Girl in a Cage ~ Jane Yolen & Robert Harris (Robert the Bruce (Scotland) 1380AD)   
    Jay enjoyed reading the Girl in a Cage, last year, and recommended it go in Daisy's optional reading pile.

Hard to Claim ~ A.J. Kitchin (1857 New Zealand history)        
    This is a newer NZ historical fiction book, and one I haven't read through yet.  I've had a quick flick through it and - as it details wholesome character values, along with trusting in God - decided to let Daisy have the joy of being the first to read it.  I'll post a review once we've both completed it.
The Westing Game ~ Raskin (modern times)
 Another one of Jay's recommended reads.

2:  History Reading: 
FMoMT M.Press: Nelson

1:  Essentials in Writing, Level 8:  L. 30+ Mon to Thurs

·       Jay
History & Geography
1: Biblioplan Early Modern Times:
Ch:26 Whiskey Rebellion; Napoleon’s Rise pgs 627-629 (selections in 629-634), 635-650   Mon to Fri 

History, Literature, & Book Basket:
1: Book Basket:  
The Tale of Three Kings ~ Edwards
King Alfred’s English ~ White  complete
Rip Van Winkle & Other Stories ~ Washington Irving

3:  Audio’s for this month:  
Purchase Through Audible
B: Death to the French ~ Forester  

1:  Greenleaf Guide Yr 3 Lit (1550-1900)  ~ Shearer
Lesson 18:   Wordsworth  (1770-1850),  (French Rev 1792), Lyrical Ballads 1802  (complete)
    Jay and I both recommend this Literature Course: well; to anyone that will pause long enough to listen to us :)    The guide is so easy to use and the content is interesting for Jay; and, rigorous enough to satisfy requirements for those, like me, looking for a thorough course that contains a good cross-section of authors and their works - and is not dry and dull for the student.  I'm definitely planning to have Daisy go through this Greenleaf literature guide in a few years time.  
Maths   IXL yr12
Science   Cosmos for School  (Term 3)  Weds, Thurs
Languages  Rosetta Stone French   Mon, Tue, Wed, Thurs

18 August 2015

Modern Times ~ Idea Collecting Post

I'm archiving this list here for myself, to refer and add to, as I start to work through our highschool options for a Modern Times History & Lit study in 2016.  

Modern Times History Spines
Biblioplan Companion Text (& Advance Maps)
The Story of New Zealand ~ Bassett
Kingfisher Encyclopedia

Modern Times Secondary History Spines.
Australian Pioneers ~ Cassell’s (selections) (Daisy)
Reed Illustrated History of New Zealand ~ Matthew Wright

Modern Times History & Literature (Highschool)
Norton timeline (great for slotting books into)
Ambleside on Line 
Veritas Press, and, Sonlight's Booklists
Christine Miller’s All Through the Ages (book)

Picture Books & Illustrators -  Art Study
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers ~ Gerstein  (purchase)
Little One Step ~ Simon James (already own)
Drawn from New England: Tasha Tudor ~ Bethany Tudor
Pictures Telling Stories: The Art of Robert Ingpen ~ Sarah M. Cox

TGC: Life & Writing of C.S Lewis (audible download) (book list here)
Mere Christianity (Jay)
The Screwtape Letters (Daisy)

World Wars
The Rise & Fall of Adolph Hitler (youtube)
Good Morning Mr Hitler (archive for Dn, he wants to view this)
Nuremberg Trials (youtube)
Chariots of Fire (DVD)

Biographies/Christian Church
It is Not Death to Die: Hudson Taylor ~ Cromarty 1832-1905  (missionary/Biography)
George MacDonald ~ C.S. Lewis
Gandhi ~ Wilkinson   1869- 1948 (India/Biography) (Daisy)
Winston Churchill ~ Severance    (WWI & WWII/ Biography)
BBC - World Wars    The World Wars   (Churchill Speeches)
The Gathering Storm (Churchill.  DVD)
Joseph Stalin : Dictator of the Soviet Union ~ Benda Haugen (Daisy)
Stalin ~ Albert Marrin
Hitler ~ Albert Marrin
The Hiding Place ~ Corrie ten Boom
Mark of the Lion : The Story of Charles Upham ~ Kenneth Sandford (Jay)
Post WWII Evangelical Movement/Healing Revival in America  Graham, Branham, Roberts, Coe, Allen   (Discussion: Include articles,  audios,  youtube clips,  and biographies from both sides)

Possible options:
Already own

New Zealand
A River Rules My Life ~ Mona Anderson
Petticoat Pioneers: North Island Woman of the Colonial Era ~ Macgregor
Runaway Settlers ~ Elsie Locke (younger,  but still a good read for Daisy)
Hard to Claim ~ A.J. Kitchin (1857)  kindle edition
The Hill: Pioneers in Australia from 1841 ~ compiled by Ronald Hill  (selections)
Gold! Gold! Gold! The Life & Times of John Mitchell Barr ~ Lynton G. Barr
We of the Never-Never ~ Aeneas Gunn
The Camel Who Crossed Australia ~ French (Burke & Wills.  younger & easy read)
The Drover's Boy ~ Egan, Ingpen (Australia 1920's)  Picture book. mature content

World Wars
Snow Goose ~ Paul Gallico
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit ~ Judith Kerr

War & Peace: A Collection of Classic Poetry & Prose ~ (Morpurgo & Agnew)
Poetical Works of Henry Lawson  (Australian)
Greenleaf Guide Modern times Literature (Poetry) Guide (free download)
The Golden Treasury ~ Palgrave (Oxford

The Gammage Cup: A Novel of the Minnipins ~ Kendall (for Daisy, needs discussion)

Need purchasing.    **Content? Pre-read
It is Not Death to Die: Hudson Taylor ~ Cromarty (1832- 1905)  (missionary/Biography)

New Zealand/ Australia
Nancy Wake ~ FitzSimons  audio  (Australia/Paris/Spy Biography)  **
A Fortunate Life ~ A.B. Facey (Australia)
United Kingdom
Winston Churchill ~ Severance    (WWI & WWII/ Biography)
Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in Our Times ~ Bradford  audio  (Biography)
Monarch of the Glen ~ Mackenzie  **

Prisoner 88 ~ Leah Phileggi  (Idaho 1885)
No Promises in the Wind ~ Hunt  (1932 USA/ Depression) audio
Years of Dust ~ Albert Marrin (USA/Depression)  (already own)

Parallel Journeys ~ Ayer  (WWII Germany)
The Book Thief ~ Zusak  (WWII Germany)
Night ~ Wiesel   (semi-autobiographical/ WWII Germany)    ** 
The Boy on the Wooden Box....   ~ Leyson (on Shindler's list)
The Boy Who Dared ~ Bartolleti    WWII Germany)  audio  
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich ~ Solzhenitsyn   audio   1945+  Russia **
Operation Mincemeat ~ Macintyre   audio  WWII Britain 
All Quiet on The Western Front ~ Remarque  BBC/dramatised audio   audio   book
After the War ~ Matas  (post WWII/Palestine)

Other Modern Titles
The Chosen ~ Potok  (modern era, year?)
Cry, The Beloved Country ~ Paton (Africa) audio option  SL300
1984 ~ Orwell  **
To Kill a Mocking Bird ~ Lee
Black Like Me ~ Griffin  (already own)
Outliers: The Story of Success ~ Malcolm Gladwell  SL400
The Time Machine ~ Wells   audio
Enchantress from the Stars ~ Engdahl   SL200 (Science Fiction)
One of George MacDonald's titles not already read

TGC: Churchill  audio    look for a British presented alternative?
TGC: The Entrepreneur's Toolkit  audio   ??
Literature Guides
Essentials in Literature Level 8 (For Daisy? ties in perfectly with modern times)
7 Sisters Literature Guides various options

17 August 2015

Our Week Ahead ~ Monday 17th August 2015

We're, pretty much, just carrying on from last week, which is detailed here, so I'll just detail items that are new for this week below.

I'm not sure how it happened, but we seem to be trying to listen to, or read through, as many Charles Dickens titles as the children can during the highschool years - which is great as I've never been through Dickens' unabridged works either .  The only Dickens' 'stories' I had exposure to during my out schooling years was Oliver Twist, &,  A Christmas Carol.

ETA: For those wanting a good, extras, suggestion list for Dickens, be sure to check out Chareen's post here.
(I'd just spotted her post in my blog's reading list, and had to share ☺)
And though we are not at the point, in history, where we are going to 'study' Charles Dickens life, again.... some of the items we have ear marked for that are:
Invitation to the Classics ~ Cowan pg 259
TGC;  Classics of British Literature: Lecture 32: Dickens - Writer With a Mission
The World of Charles Dickens ~ Angus Wilson (mature biography. Content Issues)

Bar the first four books I've listed just beneath, the rest of the titles we've been through this year.  (We have not been 'studying' through all these books , just immersing ourselves in Dickens' writing style, and discussing each book as we go along):
Oliver Twist
A Christmas Carol
Great Expectations (literature study during 2012)
Little Dorrit    (Daisy's favourite)
A Tale of Two Cities   (Though I enjoy the opening parallelism in this book, it is my least favourite Dickens title so far, perhaps due to the fact that I constantly seem to be comparing this work to other French Rev titles, by different authors, we've also been through.)
David Copperfield    (I really enjoyed this)
Bleak House   (Jay's favourite)
Our Mutual Friend
Nicholas Nickleby (dramatised, BBC)

Our Week Ahead
·       Daisy
6:  Audio’s for the next 6 weeks:

An Introduction to The Old Curiosity Shop ~ David Timson (free download or go here)
The Old Curiosity Shop ~ Dickens (1840)

An Introduction to Bleak House ~ David Timson
Bleak House ~ Dickens (BBC Dramatised)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin ~ Stowe (Read by Mark Smith.  This is our family's favourite reading of Uncle Tom's Cabin)

·       Jay
History, Literature, & Book Basket:

1: Book Basket:  

Rip Van Winkle & Other Stories ~ Washington Irving

3:  Audio’s for the next 6 weeks:  

B:   Choose 1 Charles Dickens title:
The Old Curiosity Shop (1840)   "purchase' free kindle first
or Barnaby Rudge (set in 1780) written 1840-41  "purchase' free kindle first     with the Intro
or Nicholas Nickleby ~ Dickens ( Unabridged) written in 1839     with the Intro

So happy to add that we only have 3 official weeks left until spring is recognised as being here.  The trees are starting to blossom and the weather, thankfully!!!, is consistently getting warmer.
Two more lambs have been born in our small flock, which makes our ongoing zoological project interesting and exciting.  Unfortunately :-(  these two are male,  so they're destined for 'harvesting' - we've nicknamed them Roast, and, Toast.