Books I Have Loved This Summer, Books I Look Forward To Reading

C.S. Lewis once said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” I have a new book list I am dying to share with you.

I am so thankful for the Internet, aren’t you?! It allows us to find books within seconds and either check them out at our local libraries, or use our devices to get them delivered brand new to our doorsteps! Oh, technology surely has its pitfalls, but I do love that we can do some things so much easier in this day and age.

Disclosure: As an Amazon associate, I can recommend these books to you, and might receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Our homeschool has seen the accumulation of these beloved books over time. I cannot say that I’m ashamed to admit that I still have to read a handful of the more “adult” books I ordered for myself, because… you know what? The picture books get my attention first.

C.S. Lewis once said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

Do you agree?

I sure do! That’s why I picked out the books on this list to reflect my hunger for living books. These books give us the noble ideas, the virtues and the facts about a person, place, time or process in the world. Some of these stories are fiction; many are nonfiction.

Please take some time to study this list. They span subjects of history, literature, science, math and I threw in some fun book basket ideas and summer read alouds, for good measure. I cannot wait to share these titles with you! You might get some ideas for future reading in your upcoming school year, or you might find something to enjoy before the school year begins. We have either read, or will read, every one of these books listed in our own homeschool.

We will be studying middle ages history this upcoming year, and I could not be more excited! The cross-section castle book looks amazing. I also cannot wait to read authors with whom I have not become familiar. They will become dear friends, I am sure, just like A.A. Milne and C.S. Lewis were for us this past school year.

As this new school year begins, I thank you so much for supporting me and my mission to recommend quality, living books to families who love to read with their children.

In addition to these wonderful books, when you get the chance to sit down and think about what poetry you might read next year, you might consider Robert Louis Stevenson. I have a freebie I will send you that includes: 3 summer poems, copy work, an interactive 4-square template, and project ideas to introduce you to his work before you dive in and get his poetry collection. If you love his poetry already and are searching for a sweet, illustrated collection of “A Child’s Garden of Verses”, I am happy to share my recommendation with you here:

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (Illus. Tasha Tudor)

Would you like the Poetry Mini-Unit (Freebie)?

One of my favorite homeschool memories of all time was when we read Aliki’s A Medieval Feast and later held our own very special medieval feast, complete with cornish hens and “blackbird pie”, medieval tarts, and of course, “ale”. Where would we have gotten that inspiration if it had not been for that picture book?

Morning Time In Practice + FREE Poetry Mini-Unit

Disclosure: As an Amazon associate, I may earn a small commission from the purchase of these excellent morning time resources, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

I hope I am not sounding like a broken record.

By now, you probably know that I am pretty passionate about the practice called “morning time” in the homeschool day. To read up on how we have enjoyed this thirty to forty-five minute period, try these blog posts:

Make Morning Time More Beautiful

History Lessons, Book Lists and Morning Time

December 2021 Morning Time

Morning Time

While I love singing hymns and reading about history, I cannot contain my excitement surrounding our “beauty loop” for the upcoming school year (for a rising third grader and kindergartener).

The beauty loop has its benefits. First of all, you are able to rotate subject areas on a three to four day “loop”, allowing everyone to get acquainted with composers through composer study, artists through picture study, and poets through their poetry and accompanying biographies. If you missed the free planning template for the beauty loop, feel free to grab it below.

Secondly, I love how deep we can dive with our subjects. We have studied A.A. Milne for a solid semester this year. We studied Bach for at least six months of the school year, and we have been able to get acquainted with Michelangelo for the past three months. I have found that this deeper “friendship” lasts throughout a lifetime, as I myself am forever changed and tethered to the minds behind the great works.

Morning Time Beauty Loop Plan

Right now, I’d like to share the nitty gritty of our upcoming year’s beauty loop by inserting our plans. These are not set in stone, but I have already gathered my books and have linked the resources we’ll use during the loop below for you. I am making units to go along with each poetry study (designated by term). I hope this helps you in some way to at least visualize what it can look like.

If you’d like to snag a FREE mini-unit for our Robert Louis Stevenson poetry study, I invite you to subscribe to My Little Brick Schoolhouse community. You can do that below.

If you want to purchase A Child’s Garden of Verses to go along with the unit (not necessary, but recommended), Amazon is offering a great price right now.

Beauty Loop is a  3-day rotation, change topic each term:

TERM 1
9 weeks
TERM 2
4 weeks
TERM 3
4 weeks
TERM 4
7 weeks
TERM 5
6 weeks
TERM 6
7 weeks
POETRY (day 1)Robert Louis Stevenson
6 poems 
Term project: dramatization of 1 poem
A.A. Milne3 poems
Term project: cereal box biography
Christina Rossetti
Term project: lap book biography
Favorite Poems Old & New – seasonal themes
6 poems *include poetry of Wilhelm Muller, a contemporary of Schubert
Term project: compose an original seasonal poem
Eugene Field (Field Poetry)
5 poems
Term Project: create a comic strip to summarize one of Field’s poems
Jack Prelutsky 
6 poems from  Ride A Purple Pelican
Term project: plan a poetry tea and invite someone special to hear recitations and view accompanying artwork (gallery walk)
COMPOSER STUDY – Classical period
(day 2)
Schubert (first 2-3 weeks focus on biography)SchubertSchubertBeethoven(first 2-3 weeks focus on biography)BeethovenBeethoven
PICTURE STUDY
(day 3)

Renaissance period
The Stuff They Left Behind: Ancient Rome (Simply Charlotte Mason)The Stuff They Left Behind: Ancient RomeThe Stuff They Left Behind: Ancient RomeGiotto (Simply Charlotte Mason)Raphael (Simply Charlotte Mason)free choice (tracing favorite works with pencil and tracing paper with narration)
Morning Time Beauty Loop by Term and Subject

Resources Used in Morning Time

Doxology (reference: YouTube “Doxology: Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”)

Singing the Great Hymns (Simply Charlotte Mason)

Poetry-

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne

Who Was A.A. Milne? by Sarah Fabiny

AmblesideOnline Poetry Anthology Volume 2: Walter de la Mare, Eugene Field, James Whitcomb Riley and Christina Rossetti

Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris

Schubert’s Winterreise: A Winter Journey in Poetry, Image and Song by Franz Schubert, Wilhelm Muller and Katrin Talbot

Ride A Purple Pelican by Jack Prelutskty

Composer Study-

Music Study With the Masters: Schubert (Simply Charlotte Mason)

Music Study With the Masters: Beethoven (Simply Charlotte Mason)

Picture Study-

The Stuff They Left Behind: from the Days of Ancient Rome (Simply Charlotte Mason)

Picture Study Portfolios: Giotto (Simply Charlotte Mason)

Picture Study Portfolios: Raphael (Simply Charlotte Mason)

Does this help you in some way? Please feel free to comment below, and ask any questions by emailing me: mylittlebrickschoolhouse@gmail.com

December 2021 Morning Time

Disclosure: As an Amazon associate, I may collect a small portion from the purchase of some of these morning time resources, at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

What IS Morning Time, Again?

Morning time has been a staple of our day.  I like to call it the “coffee” of the day, because not only does it warm us and sustain us, it seems vital to getting the day going, if you know what I mean.  Cindy Rollins, author of Morning Time: A Liturgy of Love , defines morning time with a beautiful quote: “What is morning time?  It is capturing the hours of your day before they flit away.  It is making sure the most beautiful things happen first.  It is impossible to regret that.”

How can I disagree with Rollins here? She has hit the nail on the head, for our family.  If we did not dedicate about half an hour to an hour of our day to this sacred time…school would definitely be more about checking things off a list. What’s so bad about checking things off a list?,  you might be thinking.  If that’s you, well you can decide if there is something missing from your home life.  Are you missing out on connection?  Morning time is for you, friend!  These are referred to as “mornings without measure”, yet small habits lead to profound outcomes.  Ask someone who has done morning time for FORTY years!  Cindy Rollins is your gal.  She will speak to the profound impact morning time has had on her family in her appearance on the Thinking Love podcast (episode: “The Art of Morning Time”).  She raised and homeschooled nine children.  NINE.  How many morning times do you think they had all together over the years?  Although every one of her children are grown and out of the house, she still has her own morning time.  This liturgy of love, as she calls it, gets deeply engrained.  It becomes a way of worshipping our Lord.  It becomes a way of noticing the true, good and the beautiful. 

Morning time is an ART to be practiced.

Morning time is NOT a rote system.  It is NOT something that has to be thematic or “matchy-matchy”.  Connections will be made, regardless of which hymns, Bible passages, poems, or other elements you select.  It is more of a chance for ALL present to marvel at God’s creation and truth.  It is less about the homeschool parent getting up to “teach her children something moral or good”.  It is more about taking this all in together.  The focus is on the content, the subjects, the works of art. 

Connection.  If we had no morning time, we’d be missing out on connection. Morning time lends itself to connection.  Connection in the sense of relationships, yes.  However, connection reaches beyond the necessary relational connection with children.

Charlotte Mason holds to the idea that “education is the science of relations”.  It is a principle of her famous “twenty”.  Miss Mason called this the guiding principal of education.  Why “science” of relations, you might ask?  I am reading In Vital Harmony: Charlotte Mason and the Natural Laws of Education by Karen Glass.  Glass purports that the term “science”, when used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (the industrial era), was simply a buzzword.  So, maybe Charlotte Mason could have used a different word, but “science” spoke to so many of her contemporaries at the time.  It was THE word. 

We can look at the next part of the statement, “Education is the science of relations”.  We see the word “relations”.  Miss Mason divided knowledge into three categories – knowledge of God, knowledge of man, and knowledge of the universe. All realms of knowledge are bound together, whether we perceive it or not.  Finding the relationship between the realms of knowledge is the key to education.  This is the science of relations. All knowledge, of that which is observed and abstract alike, is bound together. Doesn’t this sound a lot like classical education?  I digress.

My point is that morning time is something I plan to carry out with my students for as long as I homeschool.  Hey, even if I didn’t homeschool, I would still find a way to have “morning” time with my kids.  It would just not take place in the morning. There are just too many connections to be made to give it up!

What Does Morning Time Look Like Now?

Morning Time Part I in the kitchen

Breakfast

Sing the Doxology

Sing a hymn together:  Singing the Great Hymns

Pray together

Clean up together: my seven-year-old boy sweeps, I hold the dust pan for him, my little girl washes dishes, and I help her.

Come back together for Morning Time Part II in the living room.

Beauty Loop (4-day rotation): joke book (Highlights), picture study (The Stuff They Left Behind: Ancient Egypt), composer study (Bach), poetry (various)

Math Mini Lesson: As of late, this exists to gather all kids to practice our Classical Conversations skip counting.  They listen to the song, and place the numbers on laminated grid paper using wet erase markers.  Prior to this, I was practicing different skills by the month with the kids.  In October, we learned how to round whole numbers to the nearest ten, so I taught a short (5 minutes maximum) lesson on “the rounding hill” and made it fun with a car and math word problems about our ancient history.

Ancient Times Study Loop (3-day rotation): read aloud and students narrate- read aloud the remaining portion and students narrate –coloring page and map work

We are using The Story of the World: Ancient Times.

Advent Morning Time

The basic rhythm of our morning time has stayed the same, except we are now just focusing on our Advent resource for Part II of morning time.  We have paused everything else, to date.  Whether I layer in the beauty loop, math mini-lesson, and ancient times study will depend on our day.  However, I think whenever you introduce something new to morning time, it is good to start small, then slowly add on. 

Right now, we are enjoying reading the devotions and singing the songs from The Advent Jesse Tree .  We are going to begin our Christmas School the week before Christmas, and it will pair well with The Advent Jesse Tree. Our Christmas School resource has scripture readings included already, so we can just focus on our Joyful Feast and drop The Advent Jesse Tree, if it’s too much scripture reading during morning time. We can move the Advent readings to the evening, right at the dinner table, since Daddy will be home then. 

I will keep you updated regarding the flow of morning time in months to come! 

Looking Ahead to January

I cannot wait to begin our Picture Study Portfolio: Michelangelo for our new picture study in 2022!

One thing I have learned from this morning time journey is to not add too much at once!  Once we start Michelangelo picture study, we will be shelving our Ancient Egypt picture study. 

Another thing I’d like to incorporate somehow in the spring months is nature study and nature notebooking.  Although our Charlotte Mason co-op has a built-in nature study time, it would be lovely to step outside in the early spring air around 10:00 am each morning to just sit and observe God’s glory displayed in a North Carolina springtime.  Even taking a walk down the block as part of morning time would be a refreshing way to start the day. 

Morning time takes on different forms as the seasons change.

You are never too far along to begin a morning time with your older kids.  Pam Barnhill has some great wisdom and tips regarding this topic, morning time with multiple ages. 

Likewise, you are never too young to begin morning time with your babies.  A song, a prayer and a short nursery rhyme, repeated as often as possible throughout the week, can begin a lifelong habit.

I wish you well on your journey! If you have made morning time a practice, what has worked well for your family?

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