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For the 30th book that I read this year as part of the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, I chose Golden Sun by Ruth Sanderson. This is actually a youth fiction book that I read to Olivia, but it fits the goals of the challenge (e.g., over 100 pages, has a plot).

The book is the fifth one in the Horse Diaries series, and is a wonderful story that combines history, Native American life, and horses.
Much like how the book Black Beauty is narrated by Black Beauty (the horse) himself, Golden Sun is written in a conversational tone and told from the perspective of the horse (also named Golden Sun).
Golden Sun is a chestnut snowflake Appaloosa. During the summer, he treks through the mountains with his rider, a Nez Perce boy named Little Turtle who collects healing plants. He accompanies Little Turtle on his Vision Quest where both realize their true calling.
Golden Sun intersperses words used by the Nez Perce which Olivia and I knew because we had read the Kaya books (an American Girl series about a Nez Perce girl).
The Kaya books had a translation/dictionary in the back to explain what the Nez Perce words meant which was helpful. Having read that series first, we had a greater appreciation and understanding of Golden Sun.
Golden Sun has realistic, beautiful illustrations by Ruth Sanderson. Her ability to capture the detail and beauty of horses is consistent throughout the entire Horse Diaries series.
There is a sixth book in the series that will be released (hopefully) soon. Both Olivia and Sophia are looking forward to reading it.

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For the 29th book that I’m reading this year as part of the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, I chose When We Were Friends by Elizabeth Joy Arnold.

I just started reading the book on Friday, and can tell it is a book that I’m going to like it. The writing style is easy to read, and the characters are well-developed and seem like “everyday” people – they could be one’s friends, neighbors, or colleagues. 

The book is best described on the back cover:

Lainey Carson and Sydney Beaumont were the closest of friends — until they reached high school and Sydney’s burgeoning popularity made it easy for her to leave the contemplative, ungainly Lainey behind.


Eighteen years later, Lainey, who lives at home caring for her mother, is an artist who’s never found the courage to live her dreams. When Sydney shows up on her doorstep with her infant daughter, insisting that Lainey is the only friend she can trust, Lainey reluctantly agrees to take temporary custody of the baby to protect her from an abusive father.


But that very night, Sydney appears on the evening news — claiming that her daughter has been kidnapped. Unsure of whom she can trust, Lainey is forced to go on the run with a child who is not her own — but whose bond with her grows stronger every day they spend together.

In search of a safe place to stay, Lainey befriends a man who, concerned for their welfare, offers them a home. But as the two grow closer she starts to realize that he may be harboring his own secrets.


An utterly riveting story that will keep you turning the pages, When We Were Friends asks how we define motherhood and family, whether we ever truly overcome our pasts, and what friendship really means.

From some of the reviews I read about the book, the plot is unrealistic and a bit far-fetched. However, if you know that going in you can adjust your expectations. For the most part, the reviews of this book are positive and it comes highly recommended.

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For the 28th week of the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, I’m reading Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children’s Crusade by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. after a friend recommended that I read this book.

Honestly, I approached the book with a bit of trepidation given part of the title: slaughterhouse. I wondered why in the world he’d recommend a book with a rather violent word. Certainly, I thought, the type of action in this book would not be pleasant.

Maybe it was, perhaps, because I told him about the book I read last week called Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. Excellent book…though quite a disturbing topic about which to read (bubonic plague). What I found fascinating about this well-written book was that the characters are very similar to how people would act in any disaster or crisis.

Some people choose to run away from a crisis in fear; others choose a range of negative behavior; and others come forth and truly made a difference in helping comfort those affected by the disaster (in the case of Year of Wonders, it was the plague).

Back to Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children’s Crusade.  This is a satirical novel about a soldier’s time-traveling, World War II, and life experiences.

Billy Pilgrim is the main character who is a Chaplain’s Assistant.  He is an ill-trained, fatalistic, and disoriented American soldier who doesn’t like wars. During the Battle of the Bulge, Billy is captured by the Germans who put him and his fellow prisoners in a former slaughterhouse in Dresden. Their building is known as “Slaughterhouse Number 5.”

Both the German guards and POWs hide in a deep cellar. Because of their safe hiding place, they are some of the few survivors of the city-destroying firestorm during the Bombing of Dresden in World War II.

After the war and being in a plane crash, Billy believes he was kidnapped by extraterrestrial aliens from the planet Tralfamadore where they exhibit him in a zoo. He becomes “unstuck in time” and experiences past and future events repetitively and out of sequence.

Although Billy truly believes he can travel in time, I think these are hallucinations or a way of coping with the effects of war. Some are memories of events he went through…while others are just fantasies and mental images he creates to simply get through his life.

As Billy travels (or believes he travels) forward and backward in time, he relives moments of his life – fantasy and real. He spends time in Dresden, in the War, on Tralfamadore, walking in deep snow before his German capture, in his post-war married life in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, and in the time of his murder by Lazzaro.

All of these moments and locations (with the exception of Tralfamadore) deal with misery, sadness, boredom, and death. Reliving these experiences – and revisiting places which have brought such pain – is something Billy does throughout the book and his life.

Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children’s Crusade is, perhaps, one of the most non-linear, unusual narratives I have ever read. That being said, it is a fascinating book about free will, fate, and the disordered nature of human beings. The writing style emphasizes the mental chaos and confusion that Billy felt because of the effect of the war and of seeing Dresden.

The one thing that was a bit bothersome about the book was the author’s overuse of the phrase “So it goes.” Apparently it is used 106 times in this 186-page book. The phrase is a method of transition when death has happened or is mentioned, and the author moves onto a different topic. It underscores the unimportance and insignificance that he places on death.

It’s interesting to note that the author himself was in Dresden when the bombing happened. There are a few times when the author indicates that he was present at certain places, including Dresden. Vonnegut did this by saying “That was I. That was me. That was the author of this book.”

Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children’s Crusade is ranked the 18th greatest English novel of the 20th century by Modern Library. It is recognized as Vonnegut’s most influential and popular work. It is certainly, in my opinion, worth reading.

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This week, as part of the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, I’m reading Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. 

The description on the back cover summarizes this historical fiction book well: 

When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated mountain village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. 

Through Anna’s eyes we follow the story of the plague year, 1666, as her fellow villagers make an extraordinary choice: convinced by a visionary young minister they elect to quarantine themselves within the village boundaries to arrest the spread of the disease.

But as death reaches into every household, faith frays. When villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must confront the deaths of family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of love.  As she struggles to survive, a year of plague becomes instead annus mirabilis, a “year of wonders.” 

I began reading this book and didn’t want to put it down 38 pages later.  Picked it up again in the evening and reluctantly put it down at 65 pages.  The author writes with great regard for period detail, and uses elegant prose. 

Inspired by the actual remote British village (Eyam) commemorated as Plague Village because of the events that transpired there in 1665-1666, the author tells this story from the perspective of 18-year-old Anna Frith.  Ann was widowed by the mining accident that took her husband’s life.

After her husband’s sudden death, she is unable to work the mining claim that had provided a decent living for her family.  Instead, Anna is reduced to working as a servant at the village rectory and to taking in a border sent her way by Michael Mompellion, the rector.

Unfortunately for everyone in Eyam, the new cloth that was brought into the village by this traveling London tailor was infected with the “seeds” of the plague that was soon to devastate the village.

The Church in Eyam contains detailed displays and accounts
of when the village went into voluntary quarantine
when “The Plague” was imported in infected cloth from London in 1665.

Eyam, a village of less than 400 citizens, had one church (see picture above) and Michael Mompellion (its rector) was depended upon for his leadership and moral guidance. He asked his congregation to close the village off, with no one allowed in or out until the plague had run its course.

Reluctantly, the villagers agreed that it was the right thing to do. Little did anyone expect that two-thirds of those sitting in the church that day would not be alive one year later.

The Year of Wonders is both a captivating and harrowing account of the bubonic plague, and its effect on a community as well as the people – rich and poor…child and adult…alike.  It’s a fascinating look at what happens to a group of people who made the decision to cut themselves off from the rest of the world to await their fate.

As more and more people die the painful death that comes with bubonic plague, some find a strength that they never knew they had while others become filled with doubt and all of the worst aspects of human nature. Eventually, Anna, and Michael and Elinor Mompellion provide the care and comfort that makes it possible for the village to honor the pledge that it made to protect its neighbors.

Geraldine Brooks fills the Eyam/Plague Village with realistic human beings who, in barely twelve months, display all the best and worst that human beings have in their nature. The people she describes in Year of Wonders are no different than the people you might encounter the next time that you find yourself in a natural disaster that temporarily cuts your area off from the rest of the country.

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FOR TODAY

Outside my window…there’s a clear blue sky.  The pine trees are still after swaying back and forth last night during the thunderstorm.

I am thinking…about how nice the cool air felt this morning when I let the dogs out. After a heat index of over 100 degrees over the past couple of days, this is a welcome relief.

I am thankful…to have been able to spend part of my birthday with my sister.  We enjoyed a morning of strawberry picking with Sophia and Olivia, and then visiting a buffalo farm where we all enjoyed a nice lunch together. 

From the learning rooms…the girls and I had a fun week focusing doing the “Smart Summer Challenge.” This week’s theme was “Me on the Map” – so everything we did we looked at from a geography angle – whether it was embroidery, paper cutting, 4-H projects and demonstrations, or visiting different farms. 

In the kitchen…I have two flats of strawberries that will are being eaten fresh.  Later today, I’m going to try some new recipes – for strawberry-lemonade; a salad with strawberries, asparagus, and walnuts; and a strawberry pie.

I am wearing…a hooded sweatshirt and pajama pants.  It’s still early morning and no one is awake yet…except some of the cats.  The dogs went back to bed after going outside.

I am creating…items for The Summer of Color. I just found out about this ten-week blog party this morning, and am excited about it.  I’ve been doing more writing and less creating than last year, and want to get back into doing more of the visual arts/crafts again.  Having a weekly challenge focused on a particular color will be a good motivator to start creating again. 

I want to catch up and do the first three weeks (the colors for each week are blue, green, and pink); while working on the fourth week (July 4th-11th). Yellow is the focus for the fourth week.

I am going…to visit my mom and dad this morning.  Sophia, Olivia, and I will be going out to breakfast with them (they are both home-bound so it’s going out to eat is something they enjoy). We’re going to help weed their vegetable garden, clean the carpets in two rooms, and replace the batting in a quilt I made for my dad many years ago.

I am wondering…when I’m going to sit down and figure out the schedule for next year for homeschooling.  I want to use many of the books and resources I have on hand this year rather than buying as much new curricula as I have done in the past. 

As much as I like Sonlight (which I’ve used for the past few years), it is quite expensive. Perhaps picking and choosing from Sonlight and supplementing it with what I already have will be the best route to go during the 2011-12 school year.

I am readingTwisted Tree by Kent Meyers but didn’t like it. After 92 pages, I just couldn’t get into the book. I found it to be a rather grim book.  There was a review in a book for book clubs, and it sounded intriguing as did the discussion questions.  However, from the onset, the book was more on creepy than what I wanted to read.

The next book I’m going to start reading is Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. According to O, The Oprah Magazine, “Year of Wonders is a vividly imagined and strangely consoling tale of hope in a time of despair.”

I am hoping…that the lawn mower comes back soon. It has been at the repair shop now for over a week and the grass is getting really long.     

I am looking forward to…bringing a couple of peonies and tiger lilies indoors today, and putting them in vases.  I’m going to help my dad (who has Alzheimer’s Disease) cut some flowers that are blooming at his home, and put them in vases as well. He use to cut flowers during the summer and bring them in for my mom and him to enjoy. 

I am hearing…the fan.  Not much of anything else.  It’s very quiet and peaceful at this time of the morning.

Around the house…I’m getting projects done that I’ve wanted to get done for some time now. I went through a basket of “to do” projects and did them as I went through the basket. No putting them aside to work on later. I either did them, helped the girls do their projects, or put them in the donation bag.

Yesterday, I did mending, sewing, and needlefelting. I helped Olivia with another embroidery project; and Sophia with sewing a dress and an embroidery project. 

I am pondering…how nice it was to see several friends during the past couple of weeks, and how I need to make time to stay connected with people. It’s so easy to get wrapped up with caregiving that other aspects of my life are put on hold.

One of my favorite things…seeing all the baby toads that the girls have been finding, observing, and then releasing.  It’s also been so nice to hear the wren singing every day, and watching the parents bring food to their babies.  There are three wren families here this year which is great. I saw a monarch yesterday in the butterfly garden yesterday (it always makes me happy to see butterflies).

A few plans for the rest of the week…visit my parents (today), celebrate the Fourth of July (Monday), take Sophia to harp lessons (Tuesday), take my dad to his quarterly doctor appointment for Alzheimer’s Disease (Thursday), do fun/educational activities related to the theme of “government” with the girls, and start some creative projects this week focused on different colors (most likely doing quilting and embroidery).

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…this is an eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly that Sophia, Olivia, and I saw on Thursday morning. We stopped for a bit at a lake before Sophia’s harp lesson.  As we were walking back from the lake, this butterfly was drinking some water from the road and then was flying around us at eye level. It spent quite a while flying and landing around us.

It was a beautiful butterfly, and the photograph below doesn’t do it justice.  Nonetheless, it captures a few moments in time that were memorable to us.

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly that was
flying and landing right by the girls and me.

To see other people who are participating in the Simple Woman’s Daybook during June, please click HERE.

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Every Friday starting on July 1st through the middle of August, there’s a Smart Summer Challenge going on at Pink and Green Mama,  Naturally Educational, and Teach Mama.  The goal is to do daily educational (yet fun) activities with your children. 

As the challenge says, “The learning activity can be as simple as reading a book, or doing a simple science experiment, or as involved as packing up the crew and visiting a museum or hiking your local park. It’s as involved as you want it to be, and our focus is to help parents realize the important role they play in helping their kids avoid the summer learning slump.”

They have daily suggestions for ideas if you need inspiration, and each ties into a weekly theme.  This week, the theme was “You are on the Map.” 

During the past week we did the following activities:
Sunday – Did 4-H projects for the county fair.  Both the girls finished their embroidery projects – Olivia made an embroidered pillowcase and wall hanging; and Sophia made an embroidered stuffed dog.
Olivia’s embroidered elephant.

Olivia embroidered the first letter of her name
as well as flowers, leaves, and vines.

At 8 and 10 years old respectively they’ve been doing embroidery for a few years now and enjoy it.

Today’s map location:  home (to do the project).  Embroidery, itself, though is believed to have originated in the Orient and Middle East at about the same time. Chinese embroidery dates back to at least 6,000 BC. (Source)

Monday – Olivia learned to do papercutting with an exacto knife for one of her 4-H projects.  This was a challenging project because the knife has to be held a certain way in order for it to cut properly.  After cutting the image of the horse, she layered black and blue paper behind the cut-out sections to create the picture.

This is the paper cutting that Olivia made. 
She cut the image out of white paper with a knife and
then punched holes with a paper punch along the top and bottom.
She put black paper behind the horse and
then blue paper behind the entire picture.

Sophia spent the majority of the day preparing food for her 4-H demonstration about using herbs in cooking/baking, medicines, and personal care products.

Sophia doing a 4-H demonstration about herbs.
She showed how to make cucumber-basil-ginger herbal water,
sage tea, and lavender spray. In addition to these items,
the club members and parents could sample
chocolate chip mint cookies and iced mint tea.
All the herbs used were from our garden.
Both the girls did a demonstration in front of about a dozen people on Monday night. 

Olivia loves to do puzzles, so she did a demonstration titled
“How to Eat a Puzzle.”
She showed the 4-H members and parents how to make
a puzzle sandwich, and then
invited them to eat their first puzzle piece. 
Puzzle sandwich that Olivia and I made together.

They will do the same demonstration at the County Fair on July 13th.

We also visited two farms where 4-H members live.  One had rabbits, horses, dogs, and cats.  The 4-H member focused on sharing information about her rabbits and showing them at the fair.

The girls listening to a presentation about rabbits.
Rabbits are on their list of animals they’d love to have.

The other place we visited was a dairy farm.  The girls both learned a lot about raising and showing dairy cows; and now want to do the dairy project. 

Olivia is taking a look at a three-year old cow.
They would start out with a spring calf to show next year (one that is born in March-May 2012; and show it in July 2012).
This is the size calf that the girls would work with:
about 100 or so pounds.  Not the huge 1,500+ pound ones.
Today’s map location:  three different rural towns in Minnesota (including home).  Olivia’s paper cutting projects has ties to China.  More information about paper cutting is HERE. 4-H began in 1902 in Clark County, Ohio.  More information about 4-H is HERE.
Tuesday – The girls enjoyed having two friends over.  They introduced them to Bailey and Hoss (the pony and miniature horse), played a game, climbed trees, had a picnic in the fort, and searched for and found lots of frogs and toads. 
In the afternoon and evening, we spent time reading.  One of the books we read was Arabian Nights: Three Tales by Deborah Nourse Lattimore.
 
Today’s map location:  Today was spent at home.  One of the stories we read takes place in ancient Cathay (known today as China). The other stories were set in fictional locations.
Wednesday – We picked strawberries at a nearby patch and learned about strawberries.

Sophia holding some strawberries that she picked.

We also went to a buffalo farm and were so excited to see lots of young ones in the pasture.

Buffalo in the pasture.

In the late afternoon, we had a backyard picnic while enjoying the sounds of nature.  The strawberries and picnic tied into our on-going nature study that we do (we try to do at least one nature study per week using the Handbook of Nature Study).

Having a picnic on the deck.

Today’s map location:  two small towns in Minnesota (one for the patch and picnic; and the other for the buffalo farm.

In addition, we can add Brittany, France (where the garden strawberry was first bred) to the places we “visited” this week.  The garden strawberry is a cross between two varieties – one from North America and the othe from Chili.  The former is noted for its flavor while the latter was noted for its larger size.

For the American bison (also known as the American buffalo), the location is North America.  At one time, their range was roughly a triangle between the Great Bear Lake in Canada’s far northwest, south to the Mexican states of Durango and Nuevo León, and east along the western boundary of the Appalachian Mountains. Due to commercial hunting and slaughter in the 19th century, the bison nearly went extinct. Today, buffalo can be found in reserves, on farms, and a few national parks.

Thursday – Sophia had a harp lesson in the morning; we went to the library to return some books and check out more books; and learned about Vietnam a bit in the afternoon.  We are finishing up our multi-year around-the-world geography study. 

Some of the postage stamps from Vietnam that
Sophia has in her geography book.

We skipped ahead from U to W back when Prince William and Princess Catherine were married (since Prince William’s mother was from Wales)…and then continued on with X, Y, and Z (Mexico – since no countries in the world start with the letter X; Yemen; and Zambia). 

Realized we didn’t do V…so we began learning about Vietnam today. 

Today’s map location:  two cities and one rural town in Minnesota for the harp lesson, library, and at-home study.  We also learned about Vietnam today…so we “traveled” back to the east.

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On 5 Kids and a Dog, there’s a series called the ABCs of Homeschooling.  This week’s letter is “L.” 

Alphabet ATC or ACEO Available - Needlefelted  Letter L …is for Literature

Literature is written or spoken material that is the work of the creative imagination, including works of poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction. Through the current curriculum I’m using with the girls (Sonlight), we’ve been introduced to wonderful literary works in each of the genres mentioned.

Girls Reading on Box Day
Sophia and Olivia on “Box Day” – when the books
for the upcoming school year are received.
They enjoy looking at all the books they’ll be
reading or listening to during the upcoming year.

In addition to using the books that are part of the Sonlight curriculum, I’m also using several lists of books to introduce the girls to a wide variety of literature (e.g., Newbery Medal, Caldecott Medal). 

The Association for Library Service to Children has a website that has information about different awards that are given each year to children’s books that are of high quality.  Each award has a different focus.  The ones that we’re focusing on include:

(John) Newbery Medal – honors the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

(Randolph) Caldecott Medal – honors the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

(Theodor Seuss) Geisel Medal – honors the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished contribution to the body of American children’s literature known as beginning reader books published in the United States during the preceding year.

(Laura Ingalls) Wilder Award – honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.

Reading is such an integral part of homeschooling for us.  Since the girls were young, I have read to them daily. Once Sophia began reading on her own, she spent more time being able to read independently which expanded the number of books she listened to/read each day. The girls both listen to books on CD as well.

In addition to reading inside, the girls enjoy reading outside – on blankets on the ground with the clouds and trees as the backdrop…or in one of the climbing trees in the backyard.

Reading Aloud Outside
Sophia reading outside on an early-fall afternoon.

Literature has introduced the girls to historical facts, given them insight into different cultures; and provides the inspiration to learn more about different times and traditions other than their own.

Some of our favorite homeschool memories center around literature-based unit studies.  The first series we did was the American Girl one that focuses on ten year old girls from a variety of ethnicities and time periods in the United States. 

We started with the Kaya series which was set in the 1700s with the Nez Perce and finished with the Julie series that was set in the 1970s and had a Chinese-American sub-theme (this was nice for the girls who are both Chinese-American).

Olivia Reading Outside
Olivia taking a look at one of the American Girl books
under the willow tree on the nature trail
in the back part of the farm.

The girls and I did crafts, cooked/baked food that tied into each series, and took field trips to places to bring alive what they were reading in the American Girl Series.

Field Trip to Fort Snelling - Food Rations
The girls learned about rations, the Victory pledge,
and Victory Gardens when we did the Molly unit study.
Here, at Fort Snelling, there was a homeschool day
focused on WWII (when the Molly series took place).
This display shows rations at the time (e.g., food, gasoline, shoes).

The other series that we enjoyed was written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Starting with Little House in the Big Woods and ending nine books later with The First Four Years, we not only read the books but did hands-on activities and took a trip to Pepin, Wisconsin (where Laura spent the early part of her childhood).

We visited Pepin once when we started the series and were reading Little House in the Big Woods to see where Laura’s childhood home was located, saw the cemetary where some of the people mentioned in her book were buried, and visited a museum focused on the Ingalls family/Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

In 2010, we went back to Pepin with the girls’ grandparents; and stopped at the lake and went through town.

Lake Pepin
Sophia, Olivia, and Papa (the girls’ grandpa)
on the shores of Lake Pepin (Wisconsin).

Children’s literature also has opened up the girls’ imagination and fostered an enthusiam for learning about things that they normally wouldn’t have thought or known.  For example, I read to the girls a long time ago a book called Mailing May in which five-year-old Charlotte May Pierstorff begs to visit her grandmother, but her parents cannot afford to send her.

In Idaho in 1914, the train is the only way to make the 75-mile trip over the mountains. The Pierstorffs come up with an unusual solution – mailing May. Sending her as a package is a third of the cost, and since her mother’s cousin Leonard handles the railroad mail car, she does not have to travel alone.

So, we were on a trip up north a few years ago, and visited a train museum.  There happened to be an old, restored mail car at the Duluth train museum. This brought to life this book which the girls clearly remembered and made the connection to; making the visit such a fun experience for the girls.

Old-Fashioned Mail Car in a Train
The girls in a restored mail car a train museum
in Duluth, Minnesota.

Another way that literature has been a part of homeschooling is by sharing the gift of reading and quality books with others.  We have donated many books to the local second-hand shop.  All the proceeds from the sale of the books help fund programs that serve those in need in the community.

The girls also donated some books to Books For Africa through the 52 Weeks of Giving program that we’re doing this year. 

And, perhaps, most meaningful (on a personal level) is seeing the gift of reading and literature shared between generations.  One of my father’s favorite books that his mother read to him when he was a boy was The Story of Ferdinand.

The story, written in 1936, is about a bull who would rather smell flowers than fight in bullfights. He sits in the middle of the bull ring failing to take heed of any of the provocations of the matador and others to fight.

Sophia Reading Papa His Favorite Book
Sophia reading Papa one of his favorite childhood books.
At the time (August 2010), he was able to still read the book.
Now (June 2011), with Alzheimer’s Disease,
he struggles with reading,
but enjoys being read to and listening.
Literature has been and will continue to be an important and central focus of homeschooling for us. 

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