This book is probably of limited interest to my readership (assuming I know my readership.) But – just so you know what took so very much of my reading time the past several weeks, here you go:
Homeschooling: a Patchwork of Days by Nancy Lande This book contains essays from 30 different homeschooling families, detailing one day in their lives. Usually, it’s also accompanied by some of their homeschooling and education theories, and a follow-up a year later. It’s over 10 years old now, so some of the activities are a little dated. And (strangely enough considering that I am a practicing Christian), I was pretty weirded out by the numbers of people who included Bible learning daily, even if there was no other formal instruction. Still, overall, it was a nice way to look at a lot of different styles of homeschooling, from strict schedules using workbooks to unit studies (integrated learning around a specific topic) to unschooling. Thinking about homeschooling before doing any research, I’d thought I’d fall more on the formal end of things. I think I was wrong. I’m definitely still not down with the “they’ll learn what they need to if you just answer their questions and follow their interests” theory, because I think that kids will naturally gravitate towards their strong areas and avoid difficult ones. But sitting and doing workbooks for scheduled times as a few families did seemed boring for the kids and led to a lot of conflict. And since one of my primary motivations for looking at homeschooling is avoiding burnout caused by boring busywork, doing the exact same thing they do at school at home doesn’t seem that useful. Most appealing seems “unit studies”, where you focus on a particular project and use real books (not just textbooks), literature, projects, and field trips to learn about the topic and learn the skills needed to explore it.
While interesting, the homeschool book took a very long time to go through, and I felt in need of some extra light reading to follow. This one, passed on by a friend, has already been promised to two others wanting to read it. Maybe I should print out a Book Crossing tag for it.
The Very Virile Viking by Sandra Hill The year is 1000. Magnus Ericsson is a simple Viking man who likes plowing both fields and, um, women. He’s not ashamed of either of those, but with 11 living children, he’s become a laughingstock. He decides to take his nine youngest children and head for the New World, where his two older brothers had gotten lost years earlier. Going to a land without women and taking a vow of chastity should keep him from fathering any more children. But while sailing through a fog, he sees a vision of an old woman with prayer beads, and ends up in a very strange place called Holly Wood. The first woman he meets is, alas, beautiful and wearing clothing a lot skimpier than Vikings are used to. The last thing Angela needs in her life is another creep like her ex-husband, but Magnus might just have a good heart buried under all that macho bluster. And the Blue Dragon, her family’s struggling vineyard is certainly in need of help – in fact, her grandmother had been praying for a man for Angela and lots of children. There might be a bit too much praise for Wal-Mart and order-in pizza, but the romance is sizzling and the story highly amusing.