Fall is officially here. We’re in our third month of school. And the weather is definitely cooling off around here in Tennessee. While we got off to a great start with our school year, I’m feeling compelled to slow down. In September, we didn’t read as many books as I would have liked, so I’m planning to snuggle down and read more together in October because providing my children with rich ideas to feast on is so important.
Here’s what we read in September:
We have gotten into a routine of reading aloud during breakfast and in the afternoons between school work and P.M. chores. Daddy reads at night before bed time. These are the books we’ve been reading in September.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Marjerie Williams
This book was on our AO booklist last year but we never got to it, so I tacked it on for this year. It’s the tale of one stuffed rabbit who becomes “real” and what that means. A sweet story that really warmed our hearts. Do you have a child attached to an animal or doll? He or she will especially appreciate The Velveteen Rabbit.
Little Pilgrim’s Progress by Helen L. Taylor
We finished this book and have started on the second book, Christiana. If you are looking for a good book to share the Gospel with your children in an easy-to-understand way, then I highly recommend Little Pilgrim’s Progress. My 5 & 6-year-olds beg for it every morning at breakfast. Bonus: The illustrations. Next year we will attempt the original Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, but I think this version is a great intro for little ones.
Ten Girls Who Didn’t Give In (Lightkeepers series) by Irene Howat
We’re reading slowly through the stories in this book. This month we read about Lady Jane Grey and Anne Askew — two women from 16th Century Britain who renounced Catholicism and were martyred for their faith. These stories have prompted lots of questions and challenged our girls to commit to standing firm if/when they face persecution. They’ve certainly convicted me.
On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The girls have been reading this series with their Daddy for several months now, and I will often listen in and chuckle to myself while washing dishes. I just love Laura’s character. Her antics are so familiar and yet so innocent. In this book, Laura’s family moves to Minnesota where they face many trials and misfortunes like blizzards and plagues yet persevere and rise above it all. Great character-building stories for children.
I figured that since we’re talking books I should include the ones we’re reading aloud together during Morning Time. Morning Time is the 1 hour+ block we do together just before independent learning time. It’s where we focus on history, science, and geography, music, art, poetry, and foreign languages.
In addition to our curriculum, in September we started reading:
Sarah, Plain & Tall by Patricia Maclachlan
While the girls were resistant to this Newbery-Award winning novel at first, they’ve connected with the young characters, Anna and Caleb, and want to know their outcome. The story is set in the prairie during the late 19th Century. Think “Little House on the Prairie.” It’s the story of a father and his two children who have lost their wife and mother and Sarah, the woman from Maine, who comes to fill the void in their lives (and vice-versa).
This book accompanies our composer study for the year. We’re learning about the life and times of Johannes Brahms as we listen to his works, and this book has resonated with the children. Reading biographies about young people who were so impassioned and diligent in their pursuit of their dreams is so rich for young children. We may not have a young Brahms in our family but his rags to riches story is an inspiration to work hard and persevere.
Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare by Diane Stanley
This is another biography we’re reading as an introduction to Shakespeare. The illustrations are quite nice, too.
Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutskey
This book of poetry is perfect for little kids. The rhymes are light and lyrical, and Marc Brown (the author of Arthur books) is a brilliant illustrator. We read a poem or two each morning from this book.
Caveat: Don’t think we read ALL of these books every day because we don’t. Morning Time is about SHORT lessons. So we read for about 10 minutes in a book 3-4 times during the week. Then, the girls narrate to me. That’s it.
Last month Kate read Mary Poppins, which she really enjoyed, although Mary P. isn’t so sweet and lovely as she is on the movie. In September, she’s been reading all The Boxcar Children books she can find at the library. I’m secretly hoping she finishes them soon so she can move on to another author.
The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lankester Brisley
Her Mom-assigned book is The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lankester Brisley. Written in 1925, this collection of 21 stories about Milly-Molly-Mandy and her friends reminds me of one of our favorite picture book series, Flicka, Ricka, & Dicka by Maj Lindman. The tales are about real-life childhood issues like how to spend your very first money and spending the night away from home. The darling illustrations by Brisley make this book a great chapter book for new independent readers.
Cora & Annabeth
Just before nap time each day I’ll read from a basket of books that are what I’d call “classics.” These books are some we own and some we’ve checked out at the library. Most of these books are listed in The Classical Reader from Classical Academic Press. Others are on AO’s Year 0 booklist. With the little girls, I’ve been reading the following:
Freight Train by Donald Crews (and others by this author)
Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman (and others by this author)
Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones by Ruth Heller
A Baby Sister for Francis (and others in this series) by Russell Hoban
Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant
Danny & the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff
George and Martha series by James Marshall
Swimmy by Leo Lionni (and others by this author)
This month I haven’t finished a single book, but I have been reading through 3 and will likely finish at least one this month 🙂
The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica N. Taylor
Many reputable bloggers highly recommended this book about how women can and should make time for themselves. I admit that I suffer from self-induced guilt although I’m trying really hard to give myself grace, and, because of this book, I’m recommitting to taking at least 30 minutes a day to rest and do something I enjoy — read or write. I also love how this book offers space for reflection. Plus, Taylor writes in a conversational tone so it’s a really enjoyable read. I will finish this book soon.
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (a Mary Russell mystery) by Laurie R. King
This book is the first in a series by King based on Sherlock Holmes and his young female counterpart. Several book bloggers I follow also recommended this series, but I’m struggling through it. The cases in this first book just aren’t hooking me for some reason. Still, it’s clean and it’s about Sherlock Holmes — two pluses in my book. So, I’m sticking with it for now, but I’m not sure I’ll read the next one.
Seasons of a Mother’s Heart by Sally Clarkson
My friend Sarah and I are finishing up this excellent book for homeschooling moms. Full of inspiration and personal anecdotes, Seasons is a real encouragement and a book I’ll definitely come back to in the years ahead. It’s perfect for book club or to read through by yourself.
That’s what we’ve been reading in September. October is here and we’re slowing down and enjoying some new books together. Happy reading and happy Fall!
What are YOU reading right now that is making you smile/think/feel inspired?