Reading Goals 2013


We like books in this family. We really want to like books, and we want our children to love them.

I usually don’t like making a reading list for the year. Makes me feel too boxed in, and a failure if I don’t read those books, especially if I didn’t read even one of them by April! I tell myself I’ve seen better success by just going with what I feel like at the moment.

Now as a homeschooling mom however, I’m realizing my inadequacies and have proceeded on a random course of self-education. I’m also realizing my time limitations! Nudged by the example of our teammates—who are reading hounds: making yearly lists, reading them, exceeding them, and writing reviews of ALL of them—I made a list of books I’d like to read this year.

If I’m going to understand some of the subjects and philosophies I feel I need to understand in order to classically educate my children in a Christian manner, I knew I’d better get going now on some of this reading. I expect to exceed this list and didn’t include much Christian fiction, because I’m sure I’ll read that and don’t want to make a science out of it. That’s my leisure reading. But this is my homework:

To prepare for the logic stage:
10 Ways to Destroy Your Child’s Imagination by Anthony Esolen (Seth really wants me to read this one!)
How to Read a Book OR How to Speak, How to Listen by Mortimer Adler (I’ll probably read the latter and save the former for next year. Seth says the latter is easier.)

Homeschooling in general:
Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell
I’m almost done with this. I have a goal to review this one for Ita Vita to organize my thoughts.
For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
This is waiting for me in America. It’s my homework for My Father’s World, the curriculum I’ve chosen for our content subjects and the arts for elementary. It explains Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education, hopefully in a digestible format. I also want to review this one.

For history:
History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer
I love Bauer’s writing style in The Well-Trained Mind, my favorite tome ever for homeschooling, as well as her children’s history curriculum Story of the World; so I’d like to read her adult history series. This volume ends after the fall of Rome, just like the children’s first volume.

For Literature:
Politically Incorrect Guide to English Lit
Some classics—Uncle Tom’s Cabin for sure

With Seth:
Biography of William Carey by S Pearce Carey—already 10% done! (about 400 pages) We read to one another at night when the kids go to bed. He reads to me while I exercise or wash dishes, and I to him while he does home maintenance projects. We want to finish by the time we leave for furlough.
Pilgrim’s Progress by Bunyan or Heaven by Randy Alcorn (We’ll see what we feel like after furlough.) 🙂

Some Christian fiction goals:

Finish Auralia’s Colors fantasy series by Jeffrey Overstreet (I’m in the middle of book 3) and three others. I’ve had a shelf of books new-to-me for going on two years that I haven’t had time to read yet. I’d like to tackle three of them. I find it ridiculous how busy I am now with four kids…homeschooling…mission stuff…no time even for my Christian fiction! sniff

One on family: either Beautiful Girlhood (in preparation to go through with Callie some day) or The Wilderness Within by Benneth Jones (actually I think this one might be more devotional for women)

Would also like to get to one devotionalChanged into His Image by Jim Berg. I’ve been wanting to read this for years, and never got around to it.

Children’s lit—This is not a chore. I love children’s lit! It was my favorite class at PCC, and I wasn’t even an education major. I was given some books that I need to preview to make sure they’re good for the kids. If you’ve read any of these and can give me your reviews, that would be so helpful—whether they had any objectionable content, or were absolutely the best-ever-must-schedule-this-one-as-a-read-aloud-every-year-type book. I won’t get to all of these, but I hope to get to some of them.

Midnight Magic by Avi
My Brother Sam Is Dead by Collier
The Slave Dancer by Fox
Voices After Midnight by Peck
Summer of My German Soldier
Onion John by Krumgold and Shimin
Anastasia Again by Lowry
The Giver by Lowry
Park’s Quest by Katherine Paterson
Soup by Peck
Belle Prater’s Boy by Ruth White
The Man in the Box—A Story from Vietnam by Mary Lois Dunn
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
Mitch and Amy by Beverly Cleary

Now just to get the time to read them all!



About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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10 Responses to Reading Goals 2013

  1. Ann Bedford says:

    Amy, you are amazing. It makes me tired just reading your goals. Can’t imagine having the energy to read after your busy schedule.

  2. Katie says:

    Quote from our fridge: “After three days without reading, talk becomes flavorless” 🙂 Read, Amy, Read! If we are too busy to read, we are just too busy! Your list looks great. Go for it!

  3. kkkjk5 says:

    Karis just got Mitch and Amy from the library–I read only the first 2? chapters, and it started good, but the end of the chapter, Mitch almost gets beaten up by a couple of boys a couple of years older than him that also were trying to smoke, and now he’s afraid to go to school. Was kind-of sad, so I don’t know how it ends and if it’s good to read–you do have to watch some of Beverly Cleary. The rest I don’t know!

    • Amy says:

      Is it objectionable to the point that you won’t let her read it? I remember Mom disliking Ramona and Her Father. Dear Mr. Henshaw is a Newbery, but that isn’t always good.

  4. Melissa P. says:

    I’m a firm believer in having a large stack of “to read” books and choosing what I want to read when I feel like it. I have read thousands of children’s and teen books the last 6 years as a librarian and am so excited to read some more “adult” themed ones, even though kids ones are still my favorites. (Side note: I was not allowed to take Children’s Lit in college.) Anyway, I have read a couple of the books on your list. Onion John and The Giver (and sequels) are some of my favorites and ones I reccomend to everyone. Dear Mr. Henshaw was ok. All three however will give you many ideas to ponder. Let me know if you have any specific questions related to these. I love talking books.

    • Amy says:

      Yay! I was hoping for your input. I love your job. 😉 Didn’t know those books had sequels.

      I’m mainly previewing them for objectionable content. Here’s an idea of some specific questions I ask while reading–
      1. For fiction, I assess these categories:
      a. Biblical–Did the author honor Scriptural truth or a Christian worldview even if unwittingly?
      b. Creative–Did the author grip the imagination by inventing characters, situations, or other aspects of reality?
      c. Style–Did the theme, vocabulary, and composition represent an enduring standard? (Books with “stupid” in the title, in the category of Goosebumps, would not fit an “enduring standard.” I want classic and enduring books, not “twaddle,” the term coined by educator Charlotte Mason.)
      d. Credible–Were the characters, plot turns, and relationships believable?
      e. Affections–Was some truth presented powerfully to the affections?

      More specifically, does the story make kids smart and adults in general look foolish, hateful, inept, unethical, etc.
      Does it blur lines ethically? (Sometimes it’s okay to lie, sometimes not, for example.) Or does it support my efforts at teaching good character?
      Does it have any educational value?

      That’s enough for now. I don’t necessarily mind if a book is lacking in some of these points, depending on which points and how many; but I do want to know in advance so that if I do deem it a worthy read, I can discuss certain questionable elements with my children.

      Your thoughts? Take Mr. Henshaw–what do you mean by it giving many ideas to ponder?

  5. Melissa P. says:

    I will have to reread Onion John and The Giver (not that I mind) to be able to answer those questions. However, I remember thinking Mr. Henshaw made it sounds like divorce was a perfectly normal and ok thing to do, which is why I did not enjoy it. I’ll get back to you.

  6. Pingback: Reading Goals 2014 | Ita Vita

  7. Pingback: Evaluating 2013 Goals | Ita Vita

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