We’ve just entered summer in the southern hemisphere, which means that we’re real close to summer break.
The spring in my step since our last homeschool reading list update was diverted, so this Spring reading list is belated.
Here’s some of what we’ve recently been reading:
1. The Wombles Go Round the World (Elisabeth Beresford, Bloomsbury Publishing)
Not long ago I initiated a quick introduction to stop motion animation. One of the ways I did this was to show our Homeschoolers some short videos of The Wombles. I grew up watching the episodes after school.
They’re unique, quirky and imperfect. To see what I mean check out their official YouTube channel. The Wombles are recyclers. They reuse things humans discard. It’s this cultural attribute that also makes the Wombles a helpful teaching tool in lessons on creation care.
To our surprise, on a recent visit to the local library, we discovered that they had a novel featuring them.
The Wombles go round the World, is an exciting story, which happens to include a visit to Australia, strange food like bracken bun and acorn juice. In two air balloons, Orinoco (who is always hungry, like Garfield) and Bungo, head off in one direction; Wellington and Tomsk go in another. The novel captures the same unique, quirky imperfection found in the stop motion series.
2. The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (William Doyle, Oxford University Press)
Doyle’s work on introducing the French Revolution and the reign of terror which followed it, is outstanding. I was a little unsure of introducing these introductions, given the University level of reading. However, our two teens tackled the topic with interest and relative ease.
The highlight for me was hearing them refer back to the book when discussing characters in a movie. They also showed a passionate understanding of the paradox where inequalities and injustices were created by those who fought for justice and equality. It’s inspired me to pursue more topics and pad that with free lectures from Universities such as Yale online.
3. Viking Longboats
Unfortunately I forgot to record the author and the publisher for this one. Overall, Vikings Longboats is a fun and information read. It has well drawn illustrations positioned around well researched information. What we found particularly exciting was reading a history book that includes a positive presentation of the Vikings conversion to Christianity.
As a rule I limit borrowing of library books to four during the term. They can borrow any book from the junior fiction section, as long as the final four includes one non-fiction choice.
We borrow, on average, 24 books at one time, so I see it as an important lesson in decision-making. Finding good reasons for our choices is practicing discernment and responsibility. Vikings Longboats was one of those fine picks.
4. The Book of Exodus with John Calvin’s Commentary
Throughout the past few months we have worked our way through the book of Exodus. Each of our homeschoolers has the New Living Translation and takes turns reading a chapter out loud. We’ve followed directly on in our reading from Genesis. It’s drumming home God’s reminder about who He is.
For instance, if God was selling an idea of Himself, he’s P.R work needs adjusting, but that’s not what both Genesis and Exodus does. Both books speak of God’s revealing of himself to humanity as God. Christians, therefore, don’t worship a human idea of God, but the true God who makes Himself known to us. Faith acknowledges this truth, reason follows it.
To balance out things, I use the English Standard Version. For this time round I decided to work with John Calvin’s Exodus commentary. I wanted to see how Calvin handled the topic; where he went with the issues of tyranny and liberation.
As of today we just passed chapter 36 and are heading towards completing this journey just in time for the beginning of the holidays. The result is that I’m no less a fan of Calvin. It’s also helped me to introduce our homeschoolers to another key historical figure from the Protestant reformation, in a real and relevant way.
5. The Works of Banjo Patterson (Banjo Patterson, Wordsworth Editions)
As part of our Australian history curriculum focus this year, we’ve added the Works of Banjo Patterson. He was an Australian poet, probably best known for penning the unofficial Aussie anthem, ‘Waltzing Matilda’. The Works are part of getting to know a richer part of Australian history from the early 20th Century and how that has impacted Australian culture.
What I’m reading:
1. The Theology of Schleiermacher: A condensed presentation of his chief work (George Cross, 1911)
I’ve written a little about this new reading project here: Reading Schleiermacher In Context: Moravian Theology & The Twilight Of The Enlightenment
2. Endangered Gospel (John Nugent, 2016 Wipf & Stock Pub.)
Nugent’s book is good. He brings up a discussion about what it means to be Church in a society flooded with secular humanist social justice and charities. He’s main point so far: ‘When Jesus said, love others. He meant love other Christians, not those in the world.’ That’s me paraphrasing him, but it conveys the guts of his thesis.
He dances around the issue of replacing of Jesus as the Gospel, with either the moralist gospel, on the right, or the social gospel, on the left. I was hoping that he’d be blunter about that. Stating it as it is, but unfortunately what straight talk there is, is skewed by what seems to be a quest by Nugent to avoid the politics. Not something I think can be evaded when it comes to a topic he’s writing about. [I’ve got a blog post pending on this one]
For Aussie kids, summer means pool time, practicing sun safety with slip, slop, slap, shirt; cooking, long lunches in the shade and some well earn’t down time.
What it means for us homeschoolers, though, is a change of gears. Like a lot of home education, we might slow down in our learning, but we don’t completely stop.
Our homeschool reading this year has been exciting and we’ve been more deliberate in our reading choices. With the upcoming summer reading competition at our local library, we’re gearing up for a bonzer reading season!