(The books I read about homeschooling high school are here.)
I have all of Julia Cameron's books, so I felt the need to have this one, too. I didn't like it as much as some of her other books (most notably The Artist's Way and The Right to Write), but that might have been because I kept grumping about the conventional dieting advice she gives, such as using artificial sweeteners (see Nina Planck's Real Food for why these are bad, and why conventional dieting advice may not be so great.) While I am fairly sure that some of Cameron's other advice is bang-on -- the basis of the book is the same as her other books, namely that doing three pages of freewriting every morning will help you figure out problems in your life, including problems with food and weight -- I also felt that she really focused quite a bit on deprivation. I don't think she meant to, but it seemed to be there as an undercurrent throughout the book. She did list a good set of questions to ask before snacking, though, using the acronym HALT: "Am I hungry/angry/lonely/tired?" (I'm not sure what you do if you answer yes to all four, as I do sometimes. Does that mean you're allowed to eat chocolate?)
A YA mystery set in Ancient Egypt, written by the author of Moccasin Trail, which Andy read to the kids a couple of years ago. We seem to have skipped ancient Egypt this time around in favor of hitting ancient Africa and ancient China -- by kid request. I wondered if either of the kids would like to read this book on their own, so I read it one afternoon while I rocked Chipmunk. (Lest you think I am a speed reader, you should know that I usually have to rock him for hours.) Good book. I enjoyed it. And I liked all the little details about goldsmithing, too.
Another juvenile novel, which I was trying to decide whether or not to read aloud. I ended up passing it along to Katydid, but I think she may be too caught up in her current Harry Potter phase to care too much about it. It would be a good read aloud. It's part Sonlight's Core 5 program, the story of a young Chinese boy from a fishing village who does not want to be out on the sea.
I actually started reading this one last year. It's by the director of the Human Genome Project, and is sort of a spiritual memoir (he talks about his conversion as a former atheist) as well as a justification for an evolutionary view which does not deny the existence of God OR assume a literal creationist or intelligent design stance. In the end, though he is not Catholic, he holds up John Paul II's writing on evolution as a paradigm for the way in which evolution ought to be viewed -- a perspective he calls biologos. Worth reading.
I started reading Kon-Tiki because I saw it on the Kolbe elementary literature list, and I was thinking about having Gareth read it and wondering if I could read it aloud to both him and Katydid. After it gets going I think it would make a fine read aloud for older kids, but in our house, with our level of chaos, I think it would take forever. So I'm hoping to make this Gareth's first "assigned" reading. Coming from an unschooly, Montessori-ish background as I do, the whole idea of assigned reading makes me squirm in my seat, but Gareth is the kind of kid who needs a little nudge now and then to expand his horizons. And I think he would enjoy Kon-Tiki, as it combines many of his present and past interests: archaeology, fish, weird animals, ships and sailing... I have to admit that I've avoided the idea of assigned reading, because required reading often makes me treat a book like work, which I dislike... but then, I have a lot of school baggage I still carry around with me. I really enjoyed Kon-Tiki -- Thor Heyerdahl has a companionable understated sense of humor and a gift for description -- and will probably pass the book on to Andy as well as Gareth.
Some notes on this one here. Now I want to read all the books he read.
Books in Progress:
I love Michael Pollan's writing. This book is no exception. And I could completely understand why he tried to napalm the groundhog that was eating his tomatoes. Funny, thoughtful writing.
This is the first time I've read this book. I don't know why I have put it off until now; what a wonderful, helpful book of meditations. I think I had some weird mental block given me by high school English classes.
I'm reading this along with the Baltimore Catechism, which the kids and I work through in the mornings.
I've been reading this one here and there, according to season (which is how it's organized).