Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Summer Plans

Soon, our homeschool year will be over and it's time for summer holidays. 
As homeshoolers, we don't need to schedule our schoolwork according to the Finnish schoolyear. Yet, we do, at least approximately. We start our school year by mid-August and take a small break - like a long weekend - during the autumn term. The autumn term ends in December, with a longer break (about 3 weeks or so) around Christmas and New Year. The spring term starts at the beginning of January, and then we take a week-long break at some point along the way and another break around Easter. We aim to finish the academic year by the end of May.

This leaves us a long summer break: two and a half months. I remember this as the glorious, sunny, wonderful season of freedom from my childhood. It makes sense I want to offer something similar to my son...

What's the plan for the break?

It's not like we're going to be lazy all the time. We'll do more sports and outdoor activities, weather permitting. We'll go swimming, once the water in the lakes warms up a little. We plan field trips, studying nature in a way that's just not possible during other seasons. We might do some arts and crafts, too: the sort of projects that we don't have the energy to plan and do during the academic year. When my husband is off from work, we'll have the family holiday with a bit of travel.

And, bookworms as we are, there will be lots of reading for fun. Having completed a second round of the Famous Five series, Junior Bookworm decided to read all the other adventure series by Enid Blyton that have been translated into Finnish. At the current rate, this should keep him busy at least until mid-July - probably not through the entire summer...

And my reading list, in addition to tourist guides etc. to plan and prepare for the family trip, includes at least some fiction and a great deal of non-fiction....

On the fiction side, I'm looking forward to Up Close and Personal by Jeff Lucas (Helen Sloane's Diary continued). I've also put The Rosie Project by Grame Simsion on library hold, and hopefully will get to read it at some point during the summer. If I find myself wanting more fiction, I might get the next part of Anna Elliot's Georgiana Darcy's Diary series.

As for non-fiction, Shauna Niequist's Cold Tangerines is already in my Kindle Library, and I have been saving it for the summer. I'll probably get Bread and Wine after reading that, if my book budget allows it. Patrick Henry Hughes's I Am Potential has been on my TBR pile for a long time, and it looks like a good book to take along for the family trip.

Then there's the TBRR i.e. To Be Re-Read stack.
Linda Dillow: What's It Like to be Married to Me?
It's been a while since I read this, and I feel I need to refresh my memory. Perhaps I'll grab Tim Kimmel's Grace-Based Parenting for a re-read, too. I've found these books very helpful for remembering what's essential about our family relationships.

David Keirsey: Please Understand Me II.
I thought it only fair to give this MBTI book another chance. Reading it in the hospital when my ankle had just broken, I kept falling asleep in the middle of a page. (All that pain, and pain medication.) I don't even remember the temperament result I got when I did the questions, except that I was as strong an Introvert as could be... I'm on the library hold queue for this one.

Richard Lederer: Anguished English and More Anguished English
Laughter therapy. Language humour is one of the things that makes me laugh the most.
I know I can make language mistakes with the best of them - malapropisms, misspellings, strange grammar, etc. I'm not laughing at the people who make the mistakes - I'm laughing at the effect these mistakes have. The contrast between the intended meaning and what the words are actually saying (or the different ways in which they can be understood). 

The only problem with these books is that my son wants to know what's so funny when I laugh with tears in my eyes. Some of these things just can't be explained in another language. 

An example, not from these books but from real life, is this photo I snapped in Taiwan, many years ago...
Does anyone want to guess what message the sign on the right is supposed to convey?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

May Reading in Twitterature

Most of my reading in April and May has been in Finnish. No use to put those books into Twitterature posts, because they aren't likely to ever be translated into English.

But I do have three good books to recommend for you, and I'm happy to be able to link with Modern Mrs Darcy's Twitterature link-up of short book reviews.

Brené Brown: Daring Greatly

Keri Wyatt Kent: Deeply Loved: 40 Ways in 40 Days to Experience the Heart of Jesus
If you are looking for a profound and practical devotional, this is it.
And if you want to read more about this book, please check out Tim Fall's review; that's where I found this book. Thanks, Tim!

It's so good I really don't know what to say about it. I could not have given myself a better (early) Mother's Day present. 

As Lisa-Jo Baker herself wrote, it's not a how-to book but a me-too book. Her story is in many ways very different from mine, but lots of things just 'clicked' and resonated. 

Do read it for yourself.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Reading This Year, So Far So Good

One third of this year has gone by. Let's see what it looks like in numbers.

Books I have read or listened to as audio books: 46
(At least. Not sure if I've remembered to put all the books in my list.)

This includes 32 books in English, 11 in Finnish, 2 in Estonian ja 1 in Swedish.
English seems to be dominant, but right now I have mostly Finnish books either in progress on in the most immediate TBR pile (i.e. library books that need to be returned within the next couple of weeks).

- 32 'traditional books' (paperback/hardback)
- two audio books
- 12 e-books, which is a new thing for me. And I would not have read so many of them if our public library system didn't have e-books available, too.

Divided between my categories:
Christian non-fiction: 11
Other non-fiction: 27
Fiction: 8

Am I reaching my reading goals?

1) Two or more good Christian books per month: yes. Four months and 11 books: the average is more than two per month. And all of them have been pretty good, or even great.

2) Books to learn about specific topics.
I've covered a wide range in my non-fiction. I should hope I have learnt something from them, too. :)

3) Just for fun? Well, yes. Especially fun books were Helen Sloane's Diary by Jeff Lucas and Georgiana Darcy's Diary by Anna Elliot. And I listened to Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, just for fun. (Thank you, Librivox.) 

4) New books for my son? Oh well. He got so keen on the Famous Five series, he now wants to re-read all of them. Fair enough. I'm hoping to find something new for the summer holidays, though. Something that'll take him a while but is portable enough for the travelling we hope to do. I don't want to end up repeating the Gran Canaria strategy too often. ("Here, play this game on my tablet so you don't run out of books, son.")

5) Read books we already own.
Oops. Did OK in the beginning of the year, but then lapsed, tempted by the library e-books plus some e-books I bought or downloaded for free. Not to mention the library holds that suddenly became available all at the same time....

6) Read the Bible every day.
I have read the Bible aloud to my son almost every day, it's a part of our routine, but as for reading on my own, yes, I admit I have missed some days. Not too many.