The Wonder of Homeschooling and Books

Hello Autumn Books

September ushers in autumn and apple season for many parts of the United States. Therefore, the Read-Aloud-Revival book list for September includes a full lineup of apple related books. For those of us raised in the cultural element of commercialism, September lacks form and beauty. Read-Aloud-Revival filled that sentimental gap. 

Among my favorites, Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak, Flora’s Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall, Autumn Story by Jill Barklem, and One Green Apple by Eve Bunting, on this list of 22 books, a very simple, rather silly book stands out called Orange Pear Apple Bear by Lucie Félix.

The book plays with arrangements of the four words of the title. The watercolor illustrations are soft, sweet and playful as the concepts change with the word order. I would not be drawn to it one bit, except for this fact, it was the first book three of my three readers ever read independently.

Books at School

Today, my 1st grader completed lesson 73 of “Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons”. The title is a misnomer as far as the easy part goes and the book does not work for every student, but it has worked for mine and today’s lesson marks the change from their strange way of indicating sounds to the “new way” that is, the Helvetica way of reading words. 

This milestone corresponded with September when Orange Pear Apple Bear finds its way into my hold list, then my library bag, and into my home to the hands of my little and mid-size readers on our living room couch. The questions come to mind.

Will this be it?

Will he read this book?

Will the world of books open up before him like my eight-year-old who lowers The Ghost in the Third Row by Bruce Coville from her face to tell me with her amazed voice about how she is reading books more and more and seeing more and more how she likes them? My nine-year-old says his brain gets a little fuzzy when he reads for a long time. He looks at me between math problems with that far-a-way look behind his eyes, telling me his brain is anywhere but on the math page. It may be in George Washington’s World, in Ancient Greece, on Leif the Lucky’s Viking ship or solving mysteries with The Hardy Boys. My nearly 12-year-old is long gone, lost to the love of horses in The Saddle Club and the world of George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblins.

How remarkable that world is!

I find myself at sea with John Henry Newman memorizing “The Pillar of the Cloud” and at Barnard, eavesdropping on Zora Neal Hurston’s letters.

In Miracle on 34th Street written by Valentine Davies, Kris invites Susan to consider a world beyond her own.

“Do you know what the imagination is, Susan?”

The child nodded sagely. “That’s when you see things that aren’t really there.”

“Well, not exactly,” said Kris with a smile. “No — to me the imagination is a place all by itself. A very wonderful country. You’ve heard of the British Nation and the French Nation?”

Susan nodded again.

“Well, this is the Imagination. And once you get there you can do almost anything you want.” 

My son is our fourth born, and as such, he has grown up in a world surrounded by children. He does not often play alone. When the older kids are occupied with school, he wanders around uncertain of what to do with his boredom. 

“Books are our friends,” I tell my children, having heard it somewhere else before. 

Is my son on the threshold of this world, of these friendships?

As a homeschooling mother, this happens right before me. I know it will happen, though I know not when. Having not intentionally chosen teaching as a profession, the excitement, the anticipation, and the joy of education is something I still have to learn myself.

So I guess we’re both on the threshold of something incredible, student and teacher together.

Previously published in the weekly column, “Here’s to the Good Life!” in the Hughson Chronicle & Denair Dispatch.

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