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Archive for the ‘Parent's Resources’ Category

ghc_250x125Dear Readers,
In June 2014, the Great Homeschool Convention is coming to Ontario, California.  I am excited and honored to be a speaker on the roster and look forward to seeing many familiar faces and making the acquaintance of some of you that have followed this blog, but whom I’ve yet to meet. I am presenting three sessions, and while the topics for these have yet to be determined by GHC, as you can imagine they will involve something to do with the wonderful world of children’s literature, whether that’s history, science, geography, or just fabulous family read-alouds!

I’m also looking forward to hearing from some speakers myself, and hope in particular to catch a session by Dr. Kathy Koch.  Dr. Kathy is the author of How Am I Smart? A Parent’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences, which helps parents and teachers better unders518wCmxBNeL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_tand their children’s and student’s learning strengthsDr. Kathy provides down-to-earth, yet compassionate counsel on parenting and her brief video posts are always good for a boost.  Kathy reminds us about the importance of respecting our children in the various ways they are gifted and letting go of trying to form them into our own image. Her approach resonates with those of us who love Charlotte Mason and how she taught us to respect the individuality of our children.  Her current post addresses that very topic.  You can read it here.

Readers of this blog who are interested in attending either the Greenville, SC convention, or the Cincinnati, OH conventions can register online through this link. For those attending the California convention, registration will be available next month.  Because we are also trying to support the Blickenstaff family due to their recent tragedy which you can read about here, any registration you place through our site will earn a $5 donation for the Blickenstaff family through the Patty Pollatas Fund. Thank you for your support, and I hope to see you in Ontario in June!

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Hello Fellow Book Lovers,

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.–Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

Well, summer’s lease is nearly over, and despite our wish that it could linger just a bit longer, school days will shortly be upon us!  So, to give us all a boost (myself included), I am hosting a “Back to School” Literature Soirée on Saturday, September 8.  I will cover more literary analysis, but this time we will look at how to analyze historical literature within the context of the heroic quest.  This will be a fun adventure as we consider how the heroes and heroines of the eras of exploration, discovery, and colonization provide examples of heroic archetypes fulfilling their own unique destinies.

I will present an overview of the best historical works for children covering the period of the early 1600s up through the Civil War.  The concentration will be early American History, but some world history will naturally be a part of that.  So roughly speaking, here is how the day should go:

9:30-10 am: Arrival and get acquainted with a cup of coffee or tea

10 am-10:30: a brief session will look at current statistics of American student’s knowledge of history and literature as well as the why’s and wherefore’s of the “notebook approach”

10:30-11:30 am: the best children’s literature of Early American Exploration, Discovery, and Colonization

11:30 am-noon: Analyzing historical literature using the elements of the heroic quest (definition and overview), anthropomorphism, the orphaned child literary trope, and others!  (not to worry, I will clearly define all of these before setting you out on your own).

Noon-1:45: Working lunch applying literary analysis to various works of historical literature. This time we will work in pairs to save time

1:45-2 pm: Coffee Break

2:00-3:00 pm: the best Children’s Literature of the American Revolution–the Civil War

3:00-3:30 pm:  Wrap up and feedback on take away

So to recap: Saturday, September 8, 2012

At my home: 1306 Mill Street, San Luis Obispo

Time: 9:30 am–3:30 pm

Cost: $30 (which will include lunch– please email me if you need gluten free or vegetarian)  You can register here.

Finally, this soiree is already half booked with ladies returning from our summer session.  So please register soon, to insure you have a place!

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Dear Readers,

Many of you are aware that in May, the Great Homeschool Convention is coming to California for the first time.  These regional conventions are the “new kid on the block”, as far as home education events go, and around the country are successfully garnering great attendance, energy, and excitement!

At this time in home schooling history, when the needs of families are more and more diverse,  these larger regional events have managed to breath new life into homeschooling symposiums and have attracted big name speakers from a broad range of perspectives regarding education. They also offer a dynamic teen track and a children’s convention as well.  All of these options add up to a breath of fresh air to us, and we are excited to be a part of this new event.

I will be a featured speaker, and will be presenting twice in the course of the weekend, and of course, Beautiful Feet Books will be there to serve you with all of our products related to history, science, music and geography through literature.  At the time of this posting, the topics and speaker schedule has not yet been finalized, but I will keep you informed as soon as that information is available.

Here’s the info:  The Great Homeschool Convention, May 24-26, 2012, Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, CA. Here is a direct link.  We look forward to seeing you at this exciting new event, and do hope you’ll stop by our booth and say hello!

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Dear Readers,
My daughter Rebecca recently sent me the following link regarding how educational paradigms are being challenged across the globe.  This is due to countless factors, but for those who have chosen to depart from institutionalized education, to create their own educational experience, I think you’ll find this talk by Sir Ken Robinson inspiring, challenging, and motivational.  Robinson is the author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, which is on my book list for summer reading. His talk on new educational paradigms seems timely for me personally, as I have determined to devote this summer to a neglected pursuit of the arts in our home.  I intend to intentionally pursue music, drawing, art history, and literature in a new and fresh way.  Robinson’s presentation has further convinced me of the importance of the arts and I think you’ll see why.  One thing he notes is that children are being anesthetized in unprecedented numbers through the overuse of Ritalin; this presumably to enable them “to learn.”  But Robinson notes that the opposite of anesthetization is aesthetic experience.  This occurs through the arts (and even through science and math) when the human faculties are totally engaged, “senses are operating at their peak  . . . when you’re resonating with the excitement of the thing you’re experiencing . . . when you’re fully alive.” This is what art, drama, music, and literature can do for us, and should do for us.  So by way of encouragement, consider how you might devote this summer to a pursuit of the kinds of engagement that Robinson advocates here.  Remember that the parts of the brain  developed through engagement with the arts, can eventually help to build the capacity for those lagging academic connections.  And even if that were not true, the emotional and spiritual connection provided by  times of renewal, reflection, and refreshment through art, will be a beautiful end in and of itself.  Here is the link.  Let me know what you think!

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Dear Readers,

Last Saturday I had the gratifying experience of meeting with 40 lovely ladies for a full day seminar discussing children’s books, education, literature, and history.  Despite the fact that we had over six hours together delving into these absorbing subjects, as usual there simply wasn’t enough time to cover it all!  So in response to some of the requests that emerged in our discussions, I’ll be posting over the next few days on some of these topics.

First of all, and a topic I come to with a great deal of enthusiasm, is the “story behind the story” of many of the best children’s books.  Honestly, the reason I come to this with such eagerness is that in this arena I happen to know one of the foremost authorities on children’s literature today!  Her name is Anita Silvey and I had the delightful opportunity to sit under her while doing my graduate work in children’s literature at Simmons College in Boston.  Since that time, Anita and I have maintained a warm friendship and I never miss a chance when visiting Boston to make a date with Anita.  She is one of those people who brings out the best in everyone she knows, and just sitting discussing children’s literature with her for an hour over lunch is always inspiring, informative, and invigorating!  I know if you were able to meet her you would feel exactly the same way!

So here’s one of my secrets:  Anita’s books on the history of children’s authors and illustrators!  I posted last year about her book Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book and you can access that here. A number of the stories I shared with you on Saturday–Robert Ballard, Jim Trelease, Andrew Wyeth, David McCullough, were adapted from this book. There are many, many, more on contemporary authors and the books that inspired them as children. I find these stories SO valuable because as mothers and educators we never really know which book or books may be the catalyst or inspiration to focus our child on their particular path in life. And of course, this points to the importance of Charlotte Mason’s notion of “abundant and orderly” serving of books.

Now, if what you’re really looking for is the stories of the authors themselves, then Anita offers a number of really important resources. But to start, I would recommend one of two: Children’s Books and Their Creators and The Essential Guide to Children’s Books and their Creators. Hardly a month goes by for me that I am not pulling one or the other of these off my shelf to reference. The first title is over 800 pages and contains about that many entries related to children’s authors, genres of children’s literature, historical and cultural forces as formative to various genres, and personal perspectives from the authors themselves. The Essential Guide offers many of the same components (and indeed carries over into this paperback edition much of the same material) but arranged alphabetically from Aesop to Zwerger (you may remember that name as Zwerger is the remarkable illustrator of the edition of The Selfish Giant that we looked at in the literary analysis component of our day). So for the really ambitious I would recommend the first title, and for those that want a slightly simpler more condensed (albeit still 500 some pages!) version I would select The Essential Guide. This is a great place to start. I have many more guides to children’s literature that I will feature later, but this is a wonderful place to start!

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Hello dear Readers!

WOW!  What a wonderful time I had with all of those who attended the Orange County Literature Seminar on Saturday.  I’m not quite sure if I should enjoy myself as much as I do, since I am supposed to be working, but every time I have the opportunity to be with young, intelligent, and devoted mothers like yourselves, I come away feeling so encouraged, energized, and blessed to be able to do what I do.  Thank you to each one of you that made that group the special gathering it was and for carving time in your busy schedules to attend.  I always learn so much during the literature analysis lunch hour, as I appreciate your astute evaluations of the books as well as your unique and individual perspectives.

One thing I regret was that while I had asked you to bring a children’s book to share with the group,  it completely slipped my mind and the day was suddenly over!  So I’d like to do some postings on those “neglected” books if you’d like to share them with me.  That way, we can extend our discussion a little more and get to know each other a little better!

Also, I would really appreciate if you could post a comment here on your reactions to the seminar–what you found most helpful, inspiring etc.  Also ways in which you’d like to see the seminar improved, enhanced, etc.  Also, if there was a topic you’d like to explore a bit more, I would be happy to do so here in the blog.  Courtney posted a request for what a typical home school day (with a rich literature base) looks like for me, so I intend to post on that in the next few days.  So again, thank you so much for coming, for sharing your lives and for being such warm and gracious listeners!

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Hi Reading Friends,
The Orange County Literature Seminar is just around the corner!  I am extending the deadline for the discounted rate until tomorrow night at midnight!  So you can still register here.  Also, for those of you that are already registered, please be thinking of a favorite children’s book you’d like to share during our working lunch!  I’ll also be emailing you with specific details by Thursday so be looking for that to come through your regular email.  Can’t wait to spend this time with you!

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