RIP Short Story Monday: Four Last Stories

Although the RIP challenge technically ended last week with Halloween, I had one more week of ghostly short stories to enjoy. As with past weeks, I enjoyed how each of the stories I read had a different feel. Walter de La Mare’s story was probably my least favorite of the week, but I enjoyed each story (also including stories by Penelope Lively, Alison Lurie, and Ray Bradbury) to some degree. (None of these stories are in the public domain, so I cannot link to them for you.)Continue Reading

The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer (Non-Review)

Although I file this post as a review, I cannot really review The Well-Trained Mind: The Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer and her mother Jessie Wise (third edition, 2009). I only read the Elementary chapters (Part I) in full and bits and pieces of Part IV since my son is only four years old.

As I have pondered my son’s next year and a half before he begins kindergarten, I’ve found myself rather concerned about the local public schools and I’ve been pondering home schooling or other options. Obviously, I don’t have to make any decisions right now, but The Well-Trained Mind gave me some ideas for how homeschooling can work right. This book is one extreme because it provides ideas for giving a fully Classical education at home — including heavy emphasis in memorization during the early elementary years, and teaching your third grader Latin. They also promote their own textbooks ad nauseum (textbooks which get horrible reviews on sites where they are sold). If I were to home school (again, jury is still out), this would be a fantastic place to start for ideas on what to teach: I’d probably find my own less expensive resources and modify the programs to be a bit less labor intensive on mother and child’s part. The authors indicate that modifications are to be expected depending on your teaching style and preferences. I appreciated their acknowledgement of the need for flexibility.

All that said, The Well-Trained Mind certainly delivered what it promised (at least for the parts I read): it guided a parent on how to begin the intimidating process of teaching your child the classics in a classic style at home and from a young age. This is something to revisit if I do decide to home school my son (or even if I decided to supplement his daily life with home lessons in addition to what he learns at school; I believe it can be done and can be fun).

If you home school, I’d be interested to know how you incorporate classical literature into your curriculum. What’s your home schooling style?

Season to Taste by Molly Birnbaum

Just months before Molly Birnbaum was to enter the Culinary Institute of America to fulfill her dream to become a chef, she met with a violent accident. Although she escaped with her life, in addition to other physical wounds she had lost her sense of smell. Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way (Ecco, July 2011) is Molly’s story of finding her place in the kitchen again. But Season to Taste is far more than a personal memoir: it’s also a journalistic study of what smell means to flavor, cooking, and daily life. Continue Reading

(Kids Corner) Some Cybils 2011 Books about … Pets

As I’ve been reading through Cybils Fiction Picture Book Nominees, I’ve found so many wonderful books that I’ve reached a point of realization: I will not get time to post on all of those that I have loved reading with Raisin. I have been trying to keep them in categories and I’ll keep doing so for a few more weeks. Keep in mind as you see the books I’ve mentioned below that these are only some of the many wonderful books about pets. In my next Cybils post, I’ll share some thoughts on books about some other animals.Continue Reading