Library Love, Family Edition – November 15, 2013

librarylovelogo1Library Love is a recurring post in which I share each week’s bounty from the public library.

Well, y’all, we finally made it to the library! Woo-hoo! Not so much of a huge deal for myself, since I already had borrowed several books online (although I did find a couple of good ones while we were there). I had been feeling some major guilt, however, because we hadn’t made a major book-hunting trip for a few weeks, and what kind of a homeschooling mom does that make me? Ay-yi-yi! So, we spent some extra time there. We had a great time hanging out with the bookish folk and reading some of our new books. Here’s what I found:

I’ll say right away that the odds of my actually reading Hush Little Baby are very low. It’s an ebook, but not in Kindle form, which means I can only read it on my iPhone or on The Boy’s tablet. Ha, ha, ha, ha! The Boy’s tablet! Whoo! That was a funny one. Like he’d actually allow me to touch it. OK, so we’re down to my iPhone. Which is tres annoying. So. There you go. I’ve been wanting to read Gods in Alabama for ages, and am excited to finally get down to it. Hopefully it will live up to my expectations, which have been raised quite high since reading A Grown-up Kind of Pretty – Joshilyn Jackson better step up on this one, I’ll tell you what. I’m also so, so, so excited to read Josh Hanagarne’s memoir, The World’s Strongest Librarian. I’ve only had the chance to read Hanagarne’s blog a couple of times in the past, but I’m very interested in learning about his experience with Tourette’s Syndrome – something that The Boy struggles with, himself.

Now, as I mentioned, we hadn’t been to the library for a couple of weeks, so The Boy was veeerrry excited to be there. I had reserved three books ahead of time for our read-aloud time together, but he went to work hunting down some books of his own. He’s very interested in all things military these days, so he found a few books in that flavor. Apparently, he also has a hankering to learn how to draw, and found some how-to books to help him on that end. The Boy gets his artistic talents from his Pathologically Literate Momma – which basically means that neither one of us can draw much more than stick figures and smiley faces. So, hopefully his book selections on that front will be of assistance. I wish him luck… And without further ado, here’s a look at The Boy’s haul:

I personally reserved the Mountain trilogy by Jean Craighead George for The Boy and I to read during our read-aloud time together each day. I thought it was sweet that he searched out The Outsiders – apparently they had just started reading it while he was still in public school, but he never had a chance to finish it before he came home to be homeschooled, and it has been on his mind ever since. Oh, that’s such a great book! I also borrowed Everybody Sees the Ants online – we’re currently using that for our read-aloud selection. Of course, there’s a Guinness World Records book in there – The Boy loooves his trivia. I’ll have to buy him his own copy for Christmas – he will read that thing over, and over, and over again. He has become his own walking book of trivia by this point, I swear.

We had such a great time lounging amongst the books earlier in the week, that we’re going back again today! The Boy is meeting his mentor there, after which we will spend some time relaxing and reading, and just soaking up the general bookiness of the place. It’s going to be a great time! Before I sign off, folks, I wanted to give you a heads up to keep an eye out for the Sunday Review in two days – we’ll be introducing the newest member of our little family!

When was the last time you visited the library? We’d love to hear what you found there!


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Weekly Review – Sunday, November 10, 2013

I don’t know, y’all, it was really kind of a “blah” week… We didn’t get a lot done in homeschool, we didn’t get a lot done around the house, I never made it to the grocery store as planned, and we didn’t make it to the library, either. Bad, bad mommy in the Pathologically Literate Household this week! Oh! I did order new science books and an experiment kit for The Boy – the curricula we had originally purchased just wasn’t working out for us, so we found a great new one by Elemental Science (Earth Science & Astronomy for the Logic Stage) that we’re really excited about! The experiment kit came on Friday and the books will come on Monday… woo-hoo! Oh, and on Tuesday, we have another package coming with another component of our schoolroom design plan… someday it will be complete and I will show you before and after pics – aren’t you just quivering with anticipation?! Yeah, I thought so. I love getting packages in the mail – this time of year is so fun because we tend to get more due to purchasing gifts online. The anticipation of opening those little brown packages is so exciting – even if I know what’s already in there. As you can see, I’m very easy to please. It’s the simple things. Speaking of simple, I read some simply great books this week:

Books I read this week:

Posts from the week of November 3rd:

Upcoming posts for the week of November 11th:

  • Library Love, Family Edition
  • Review: King and Maxwell by David Baldacci
  • …and more!

Yes, I know. I only read three books. For having such a slow week with everything else, I sure was off my reading game, wasn’t I? Blech. Anyway, Burial Rites was sooooo good! And A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty is my absolute favorite Joshilyn Jackson novel to date! It was so wonderful. King and Maxwell was good – they always are – but, well… I guess you’ll have to wait for my review to find out what my thoughts are on that one. I have a few. Thoughts, that is. About the book. And other things, of course. I know you can’t wait to hear them, so be on the lookout for that review very soon!

What did you read this week?


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Review: The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling

Learning DangerouslyThink homeschooling is only for a handful of eccentrics on either end of the political spectrum? Think again. Today in America, two million primary- and secondary-school students are homeschooled. Growing at a rate of 10 percent annually, homeschooling represents the most dramatic change in American education since the invention of the mimeograph–and the story has only just begun.
In The Year of Learning Dangerously, popular blogger, author, and former child actor Quinn Cummings recounts her family’s decision to wade into the unfamiliar waters of homeschooling–despite a chronic lack of discipline, some major gaps in academic knowledge, and a serious case of math aversion. (That description refers to Quinn.)
Trying out the latest trends, attending key conferences (incognito, of course), and recounting the highlights and lowlights along the way, Quinn takes her daughter’s education into her own hands, for better and for worse. Part memoir, part social commentary, and part how-not-to guide, The Year of Learning Dangerously will make you laugh and make you think. And it may or may not have a quiz at the end. OK, there isn’t a quiz. Probably. – Goodreads

Having recently made the decision to homeschool my twelve-year-old son, I have been doing much research on the subject – to the point of OCD-overload, actually… Thus, when I picked up The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings, I received an unexpected, true breath of fresh air. The Year of Learning Dangerously is Cummings’s memoir of the first year of homeschooling her ten-year-old daughter after several years of both public and private schooling. Cummings researched and experimented with various homeschooling methods and styles, which makes for both interesting and humorous reading.

While many homeschooling families are committed to doing so partially – or primarily – for religious reasons, Cummings’s motivation and views are purely secular. In fact, the entire situation was spurred on by long division… Her daughter did not like long division, and although she finally had mastered it, as she progressed to each grade level, she convinced her new teachers that she had no clue how to do it. Despite what Cummings would tell the teachers, they would believe her daughter – and not require from her the work that was necessary to master her current grade’s math requirements. This spurred Cummings to transfer her daughter to a strict private school in the hopes that the instructors there would not accept her excuses, however, the predicament continued. Cummings and her husband decided to spend a one-year trial period homeschooling their daughter in an attempt to make sure she received the education she needed, without being able to wiggle her way out of learning things that she found too annoying or difficult.

Cummings’s “research” seems to be mostly internet searches and a few in-person experiences at homeschooling conferences and other events, such as a homeschool prom and a homeschool graduation ceremony. She admits at one point that she is sharing “the lowest averages” of homeschooling research data, for some reason that was unclear to me. Cummings appeared to be reluctant to step out as a staunch supporter of homeschooling in general, instead choosing to pick apart its intricacies for her readers’ “enjoyment”. Dedicated homeschoolers may well be put off by her stereotypical views and fun-poking comments as she works her way through various methods of homeschooling. This is definitely not the book to read if you are looking for serious research into the homeschooling world. While there is some interesting information shared here, little of it is useful in the way a homeschooling parent might hope it would be.

The Year of Learning Dangerously is much more simply a humorous, heartwarming tale of one family’s journey through their first year of education at home. As most homeschooling families would expect, Cummings’s tale is full of trial and error, crippling self-doubt, comic mishaps, and joyful triumph. It was quite the enjoyable read for me in the middle of much more serious research, and I’m hopeful to hear more from Quinn Cummings about her homeschooling adventures in the future.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Lincoln City Libraries

What We Did in September…


As you may know, September was Hispanic Heritage Month here in the good old U.S. of A. While The Boy was home from school for most of the month, we weren’t “officially” homeschooling yet (as far as following any specific curricula, etc). We did take a few trips to the public library, however, and had some great experiences there.

What We Saw:

  • Hispanic/Latino Artwork Display: We trekked across town to visit a library we don’t usually visit to view artwork shared by members of the local Latino community as well as people who have lived in Latin countries on display in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
  • Hispanic Heritage Dance Presentation and Movie Day: We enjoyed viewing a movie about a young man’s coming of age with the help of his curandera. The cultural dance group Kurumi performed just prior to the movie presentation – it was absolutely beautiful.
  • Hispanic Heritage Read-in: Latino and Latina community members from a variety of backgrounds celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by volunteering to share part of their culture by reading stories and poems, and sharing a bit about themselves. There were Hispanic themed crafts available for the children; they were a little young for The Boy, but he dug in anyway!

What We Listened To:

  • Fiestas by Jose-Luis Orozco

What We Read:

Where would we be without our beloved libraries?! It was a great month full of other learning opportunities, as well. On another note: we begin “officially” homeschooling today – can’t wait to see what adventures that will bring to us!

Did you do anything to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in September? Tell us all about it!