Quality, not Quantity, in Reading

‘And now it was that, being on some occasion made asham’d of my ignorance in figures, which I had twice failed in learning when at school, I took Cocker’s book of Arithmetick, and went through the whole by myself with great ease.    I also read Seller’s and Shermy’s books of Navigation, and became acquainted with the little geometry they contain…While I was intent on improving my language, I met with an English grammar (I think it was Greenwood’s), at the end of which there were two little sketches of the arts of rhetoric and logic, the latter finishing with a specimen of a dispute in the Socratic method; and soon after I procur’d Xenophon’s Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there are many instances of the same method.   I was charm’d with it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer and doubter.’

Benjamin Franklin, from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin



‘Being well-read isn’t as much about how many books you read but is [about] the quality of your reading.’


M_____ Bullard, from a written narration of How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler

Getting Ready

Heart of the Matter has, for the last several years, hosted a “Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop. ”  I love the Hop; it is a wonderful way to see the homeschool environment of tens–no, hundreds– of other moms.    I’ve participated for a couple of years, but I chose not to this year.   The fact is, not much has changed in the last 4-5 years.    I’m thankful for that.   I’m thankful that we experience a peace and comfort in that area that I don’t take lightly; I hear others who agonize over gaps between teaching methodologies and poor results.

In our home, the biggest changes for us are the books we’ll read.   I posted our reading lists on a separate blog page that you can access by clicking on that tab up top.   The other bit of preparation that must happen here is our notebook planning.

I could expand upon why notebooking is such a staple for us, but others say it more eloquently than I would.   This is Barb’s post from Harmony Art Mom.    Beyond the beautiful keepsakes that we have of the kids’ studies, I am amazed at the “pegs” that these notebooks place in the kids’ minds.    By performing this type of written expression, the kids can recall a tremendous amount of history and science, and these have become interesting enough that they are options for higher level studies (i.e., college majors).    I’ve posted some pictures and thoughts of the kids’ history notebooks here and here.   

Our son will begin his first year of his Great Book studies in the fall.   I pulled together a hybrid of previously bought notebooking pages from notebookingpages.com, and from Hold That Thought notebooking pages.    (I apologize for the lighting and fuzziness on these pics–geesh!)

Amy Bayliss featured several posts on altering those black-and-white dollar store notebooks.   You have to check out her most recent  post how-to on creating a rolled paper flower.   In the meantime, the first of three posts was here, instructing us in how to refurbish these babies.   I thought this would be a great idea to build some scholastic enthusiasm in our youngest, who has decidedly different attitudes about home and school than her older brother and sister.   As things would have it, the day I planned to work on this project, she got an offer to go and play with her cousin.   Guess where refurbishing notebooks fell on that priority list?   So I decided to go it on my own.    I do wish my pictures did justice to how really pretty these came out.   The before version is in the middle.   Can you tell by the number of pictures how excited I am?   Okay.   This is the closest I’ve been to scrapbooking in 5 years or more.   Give a lady a break.

And of course, I couldn’t forget the backs:

When the youngest returned home, she LOVED the notebooks.   I think that she wanted to get started on her own more than she wanted  to eat.    I made her have dinner, which I think gave her more refurbishing energy!


I am officially pumped.

P.S.  Thanks, Marcy, for reminding me to go back and add Amy’s links!  Love my readers!

Excerpt from Caddie Woodlawn

 Caddie’s father’s words to her, reflecting upon her fear of growing up and becoming a young lady:

‘It is the sisters and wives and mothers, you know, Caddie, who keep the world sweet and beautiful.   What a rough world it would be if there were only men and boys in it, doing things in their rough way!  A woman’s task is to teach them gentleness and courtesy and love and kindness.   It’s a big task, too, Caddie–harder than cutting trees or building mills or damming rivers.   It takes nerve and courage and patience, but good women have those things.   They have them just as much as the men who build bridges and carve roads through the wilderness.  A woman’s work is something fine and noble to grow up to, and it is just as important as a man’s.   But no man could ever do it so well.   I don’t want you to be the silly, affected person with fine clothes and manners whom folks sometimes call a lady.   No, that is not what I want for you, my little girl.   I want you to be a woman with a wise and understanding heart, healthy in body and honest in mind.’

from Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

Gifts Differing: Two Kids, Organized for the School Day


Romans 12:4-8

4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

 5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

 6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

 7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

 8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.