Zero to 100

December 27, 2013 at 4:17 am (Education) (, , , , )

Go From Zero to Well-Read in 100 Books (as per Book Riot)… I wanted to see how “well-read” I already am.  I put two * after it if I’ve already read it.

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain **
  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle **
  3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton **
  4. All Quiet on the Western Front by Eric Maria Remarque
  5. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay  by Michael Chabon
  6. American Pastoral by Philip Roth
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy **
  8. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery **
  9. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  11. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  12. Beowulf
  13. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak **
  14. Brave New World by Alduos Huxley
  15. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  16. Call of the Wild  by Jack London **
  17. Candide by Voltaire
  18. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer **
  19. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
  20. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  21. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger **
  22. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White **
  23. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  24. The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson **
  25. The Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe **
  26. The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor 
  27. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  28. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky **
  29. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  30. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller **
  31. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes **
  32. Dream of Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
  33. Dune by Frank Herbert **
  34. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  35. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  36. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  37. Faust by Goethe
  38. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley **
  39. A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin
  40. The Golden Bowl by Henry James
  41. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  42. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  43. The Gospels **
  44. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck **
  45. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens **
  46. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald **
  47. Hamlet by William Shakespeare **
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  49. Harry Potter & The Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling **
  50. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad **
  51. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  52. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams **
  53. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien **
  54. House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
  55. Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  56. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins **
  57. if on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino (* haven’t finished it yet)
  58. The Iliad by Homer **
  59. Inferno by Dante **
  60. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  61. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison **
  62. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman **
  63. Life of Pi by Yann Martel **
  64. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis **
  65. The Little Prince by Antoine  de Saint-Exepury
  66. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov **
  67. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez **
  68. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert **
  69. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville **
  71. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf **
  72. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie **
  73. The Odyssey by Homer **
  74. Oedipus the King by Sophocles **
  75. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  76. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster **
  77. The Pentateuch **
  78. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen **
  79. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  80. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  81. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare **
  82. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne **
  83. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut **
  84. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  85. The Stand by Stephen King
  86. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  87. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  88. Their Eyes Were Watching by Zora Neale Hurston **
  89. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe **
  90. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  91. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee **
  92. Ulysses by James Joyce
  93. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  94. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  95. Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee
  96. Watchmen by Alan Moore
  97. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  98. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte **
  99. 1984 by George Orwell **
  100. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

So barely  more than half. These lists always make me feel as though I have fallen so short as a human! But 50 Shades? Really, that makes you well read? Hmmm.  Somehow I feel like that book is entirely out of place here.  There are some on the list I may have read, but I can’t remember whether I did or not.  I did not * those.

Which ones have you read? What do you think of Book Riot’s list?

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Book Lists, Book Lists…

June 28, 2013 at 5:01 am (Reviews) (, , , , , )

And this particular one from Australia…

Apparently, every year Australia puts out a list of 101 best books of all time from information gathered from the people.  (Great article here that I refuse to plagiarize.)  I adore lists, especially book lists, so of course when I found this (via Kate Morton’s facebook page), I just couldn’t leave it alone.  I must peruse it, check things off of it, make notes, and comment on it – of course.  So blogosphere and bibliophiles: every ten books on the list there will be a break for my thoughts.

Dymocks 101 best books list

1. The Hunger Games trilogy  by  Suzanne Collins
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
3. The Harry Potter series by  J.K. Rowling
4. The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
7. Jane Eyre by  Charlotte Brontë
8. The Help by  Kathryn Stockett
9. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
10. The Lord of the Rings (Books 1-3) by  J.R.R. Tolkien

For starters, favorites and all time bests don’t necessarily mean the same thing.  The Hunger Games is brilliant, and I think it shall stand the test of time and always be amazing.  But best series ever? No.  Top hundred – absolutely – best ever? I think the public’s opinions will change in a few years when a new fad tops the charts.  I have yet to read The Help.  Clearly I am missing out on something truly amazing and shall add it to my TBR pile as soon as possible.  I hate fads, but I love a good book and I’ve yet to hear anything negative about The Help.  As for the Inheritance Cycle… I never finished it.  After I read Eragon, I could not erase the thought that it felt like Star Wars with dragons.  I love Star Wars, I love dragons, but I have not been in the mood for it and frankly, it just didn’t rock my world.  Everything else on the this portion of the list I have no qualms with and I will whole heartedly support.
11.The Bronze Horseman  by  Paullina Simons
12. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
13. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
14. Cloudstreet  by  Tim Winton
15. The Bible
16. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
17. Jasper Jones  by Craig Silvey
18. Life of Pi  by  Yann Martel
19. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
20. Atonement by Ian McEwan

I have never heard of The Bronze Horeman, but I am familiar with the author.  Twilight saga? Best 101 books of all time? Not even close.  Clearly, some things are here out of sheer popularity and intense marketing propaganda. Wuthering Heights is a novel of sheer and utter brilliance.  Have not read Cloudstreet? Have any of you? Please comment.  The Bible! So glad it made it. I have yet to read George R.R. Martin – I know, I know, for shame.  Who is Craig Silvey? What is Jasper Jones? Sounds enticing.  Life of Pi, good… Kite Runner, I’ll accept.  Atonement makes my heart SING.
21. The Happiest Refugee by  Anh Do
22. Persuasion by  Jane Austen
23. The Pillars of the Earth by  Ken Follett
24. Red Dog by Louis de Bernières
25. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
26. The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
27. Breath by Tim Winton
28. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
29. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
30. Birdsong by  Sebastian Faulks

And now I am starting feel inadequate as a reader.  I have only read four out of these ten books! Persuasion is my all time favorite Austen.  The Power of One I thoroughly enjoyed.  1984 a forever stroke-of-genius classic. And Red Dog, I vaguely recall.  Pillars of the Earth, The Eyre Affair, and Birdsong are all waiting my attention on my book shelf, and I have not read, heard of, or purchased the others.  I work with bookstores, I used to work IN a bookstore.  This is regrettable, I feel out of touch.
31. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
32. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
33. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
34. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
35. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
36. The Earth’s Children series by Jean M. Auel
37. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
38. Remembering Babylon by  David Malouf
39. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
40. The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris

The Great Gatsby will always remain marvelous, every time I read it.  There’s even a post on this blog about that very fact.  Anna Karenina is utterly awful, I hate that woman, and Tolstoy the dear man made me miserable by writing her with his beautiful words.  Could not get into Earth’s Children, and no, I did not name my daughter after the lead character.  Sookie is amusing, but shouldn’t be on the list.  And the rest are loitering about in my library desperately seeking to be the next on my TBR  pile, but Wolf Hall is the most likely to make there this year or next.  Shhhh… don’t tell the others, I wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings.
41. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
42. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
43. Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon
44. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
45. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
46. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
47. The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien
48. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
49. The Forgotten Garden by  Kate Morton
50. The Broken Shore by Peter Temple

I haven’t read 41-46.  The Hobbit, of course, is marvelous.  The Catcher in the Rye is awful, but I won’t fight it anymore, I have given up.  It has become a classic, and so it shall be.  I shall grunt and be mildly bitter about it until I am 85 though.

The Forgotten Garden is a work of genius.  Morton’s best work, though all her work is wonderful.  (I love Kate Morton so much, the sentences regarding her work get their own lines.)

Never heard of The Broken Shore, but the title sounds lovely, and so does the name Peter Temple.
51. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
52. Marley and Me by John Grogan
53. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carré
54. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
55. A Simpler Time by Peter FitzSimons
56. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
57. A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute
58. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
59. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
60. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

I have read exactly two of these books.  My goodness, that’s even worse than the last ‘shameful’ I gave myself.  I loathed Running with Scissors.  Hitchhikers shall always amuse me.
61. The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman
62. Dirt Music by Tim Winton
63. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
64. Room by Emma Donoghue
65. The Surgeon of Crowthorne by Simon Winchester
66. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
67. My Booky Wook by Russell Brand
68. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
69. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
70. The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

This Tim Winton fellow is frequent, and still unfamiliar to my ears.  Tried Kafka on the Shore, but will try again later.  I wasn’t in the mood. North and South IS on my TBR pile.  Ender’s Game was delightful, but I didn’t finish the series.  I ADORE Simon Winchester and must find this title, it is one I do not own, nor have read.
71. One Day by David Nicholls
72. Bereft by Chris Womersley
73. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
74. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
75. Magician by Raymond E. Feist
76. Salvation Creek by Susan Duncan
77. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
78. Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
79. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
80. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Finally! Dickens makes a proper appearance.  Why did he not arrive sooner? He should have been near the top.  Nicholas Nickelby is what I would have chosen.  The Alchemist is good, but a bit over rated.  And the rest have yet to grace my brain with their presence.
81. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
82. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
83. Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
84. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
85. Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves by Matthew Reilly
86. Mawson by Peter FitzSimons
87. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
88. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
89. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
90. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I have read Water for Elephants, good but not a top 101 book, and the Poisonwood Bible.  I protest Barbara Kingsolver being this low on the list.  Poisonwood Bible is easily a top 25 piece, for sure.
91. The Shifting Fog (aka The House at Riverton) by Kate Morton
92. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
93. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
94. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
95. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
96. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
97. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
98. Bossypants by Tina Fey
99. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
100. The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
101. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

Again, I absolutely adore Kate Morton, she is marvelous. Geraldine Brooks is also quite grand, but I’ve yet to read this one.  Tuesdays with Morrie, enjoyable, but not a top 101.  The Lovely Bones was pretty wonderful, but though it is a 4 to 5 out of 5 star book, it doesn’t quite fit here to me.  Although I might have put Sebold’s memoir Lucky – if nonfiction were allowed – on the list.  I really do need to read a Sedaris, all his titles make me laugh.

And there you have it… I have completely dissected a wonderful list and probably made it entirely less interesting.  But, it does help me sort out a few titles that have been gathering dust for some time and give me an idea of what to tackle sooner rather than later.  Perhaps it may do the same for some of you.

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So Many Books

November 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Title: So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading

Author: Sara Nelson

Publisher: Putnam

Length: 242 pages

Ironically, when I find myself so overwhelmed by my mountainous TBR pile I become crippled and damn near illiterate, I find that the perfect cure is a book about books.  More specifically, a book with lots of lists and descriptions and lengthy lamenting of how many books there are in the world that are begging my attention.  So my latest reading slump (if anyone but me were keeping tabs, they’d see I only read two books – other than children’s books – in the whole of October) I picked up a copy of Sara Nelson’s quasi-memoir  detailing a year in the life of a professional book reviewer.

It’s short and sweet, and has a lovely methodical layout.  Each chapter is dated, and dedicated to a week of time (I am assuming, as the whole purpose of the project was to read a book a week and write a bit on her life as she read said book, but I didn’t count the chapters and they are un-numbered).  It was a pleasant read, I enjoyed the simplicity and quickness of it.  But it also made me think, I found myself journaling after I finished every chapter.

She has a little segment on Then & Now, discussing the great reads of her adolescence and what she thought the first time she read it versus how she feels as a grown up and I found myself solidifying my plan to have my kiddo journal and document her own reading experiences throughout childhood to remember the titles and authors as well as her true feelings on the subject matter.  Of course, we’ll keep it age appropriate, at first she will only be able to summarize briefly, but then she’ll have proof of the process of change and growth as a literary being.  I’ve journaled my whole life, but not always with purpose.  Purpose is a delightful thing to have.  The ability to later compare your thoughts and feelings about literary ventures with such clarity would be such a treasure.

The chapter reminded me of my re-reading of The Great Gatsby earlier this year, and how much I truly enjoyed it.  It reminded me of a need to re-read Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, which I always hated, but feel I was just too immature and boisterous to care about a man fishing.  Typically, my Then & Nows are quite vague, but with all this recent documentation of my reading life, I’ll have a better view of my lit-brain when I’m 80.

But above all, the chapter reminded me that there is value in my re-reading.  Often, my TBR pile is so high, I feel guilty when compelled to read something I have already read.  Should I really be doing this? I wonder.  I know Persuasion nearly by heart, shouldn’t I be tackling Bauer’s Ancient History, a book I’ve been slowly pecking through, and loving it, for almost a year and a half now.  Shouldn’t I be immersed in George MacDonald’s Lilith, a book I’ve had for ages, but keep only relishing in the first chapter and never moving on – over and over again?  The list goes on.  And yes, there is a physical list in my own writing, with not nearly enough checked off titles because I continually pick up others.

Then Sara Nelson says, “If you want to make the book god laugh, show him your reading list.”  I nearly died.  YES!  However, every so many weeks, I find myself sitting down to write a new one anyway.  I find them therapeutic, refreshing, even mysterious as I tend to write them haphazardly allowing my subconscious to take over and just see what spilled out of the ink pen next.  What has been hiding in the recesses of my bookshelf that my brain remembers is calling my name?  I think that’s why book lovers revel in their lifestyle so much.  Whether they care a lick about the mystery genre, every book lover enjoys a good mystery.

Being a patron of libraries and used bookstores, I often find myself in the middle of a mystery.  Whether it be a random scribble in the margins: Secret meeting in the place at 8, password candles, or some such nonsense, highlighting or dog-eared pages, when a book shares owners all sorts of questions arise.  Most specifically, for me, I often find stashed bookmarks in the books I read.  Sometimes at the start of a chapter, or in the middle of randomness where someone either wanted to savor a line or simply gave up reading the book; sometimes it’s a receipt or a thank you note, birthday cards, and even checks… things people stashed and forgot about, or possibly the item just slid into the pages when the book was stashed into a purse or bag.  I often wonder which of these is the story for whatever scrap I find.

SMB,SLT had a small post-it stuck between pages 54 and 55, the beginning of February 27th, chapter: The Clean Plate Book Club.  Did they run out of time and have to turn a nearly over due book back into the library? Did they give up because they hated it? Or give up out of principle, because the chapter is about seasoned readers having the power to give up on a book if they aren’t interested in it, wanting to prove something to themselves?  Did they simply mark the chapter because the ideas within its pages spoke to them?  We may never know.  It keeps the mind reeling, though.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea that mature readers, seasoned readers, are the only ones who can give up on a book part way.  Nelson describes it as a reader’s rite of passage.

“Allowing yourself to stop reading a  book –  at page 25, 50, or even less frequently, a few chapters from the end – is […] the literary equivalent of a bar mitzvah or a communion, the moment at which you look at yourself and announce: Today I am an adult.  I can make my own decisions.”

Funny, I always thought of it as something slackers do in high school.  Post motherhood, I thought it was something I did because I killed brain cells while being pregnant and having a baby.  Quitting kills me every time, but there are times that I feel compelled to do it, mostly because I either plan to finish it when I’m in a different mood, or I discover the author is what Paul Collins would describe as someone who writes ‘unequivocal crap.’

It seems, then, I am a late bloomer in, yes, even reading.  I thought at least I had escaped that title in one thing in life, having been a very early reader.  But apparently not.

The most interesting chapter for me, though, where I might leave a small post-it myself, is March 15th: Eating Crows.  It’s all about recommending books to friends and how it can possibly damage the friendship.  What if one likes it and the other doesn’t? What does this say about each person? How does this new information you have gathered about your so-called friend change the friend dynamic.

This is where I found myself saying, ‘Oh, hell.’  I’ve been around book nerds, book people, bookstore staff, customers, friends, family, the whole shebang, and this is the first I’ve heard about this dilemma.  I recommend books to people all day, every day.  It’s my favorite thing to do.  If I recommend a book it is because I either liked it, or I truly think you may like it.  May is a big word in this sentence.  If you don’t like it, that’s your own business, but I’d love to discuss why and learn more about the world around me.  It isn’t going to make me not want to be friends with you, that’s just shallow and dumb… even though I may secretly think that what you read is shallow and dumb, I know that somewhere someone is thinking the same thing about what I read – so why should it matter?

The next chapter about borrowing or loaning books is also silly to me.  I don’t loan it if I’m not ok with not getting it back – usually.  If that’s not the case, then I’ll tell you PLEASE PLEASE GET THIS BACK TO ME one day, and that only happens with someone who has already established a good track record.  If I don’t say that, you may bring it back, or just consider it a gift if you fall in love with it.  I don’t care.  I have plenty of books, and multiple copies of some of my favorites.  A book will not ruin our friendship unless you write one about me that is awful, spilling the beans that you’ve actually hated me all these years but haven’t said so because… Then, we might have issues.  That hasn’t happened to me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.  And no, I don’t have anyone in mind, I’m just used to being surprised by what people think of me.

All in all, Nelson you served your purpose.  I have a new list of titles to tackle, nothing you mentioned in your book because we have entirely different reading tastes.  That’s not true.  They are similar in the way a Venn diagram is similar.  Not a Venn diagram, more like if there are four quadrants of reading (I, II, III, and IV), and I & II are two different kinds of book snobs and III & IV are polar opposites of I & II who read varying kinds of ‘unequivocal crap’, we are readers I & II.  Still, we may not have the same, identical tastes, and in real life you would probably never want to be my friend, but I enjoyed your book and it has made me voracious for the piles and piles on my own shelves again.

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Home-School Curriculum

March 15, 2010 at 5:02 pm (In So Many Words, The Whim) (, , , , , , , , )

Please read this post in its entirety before you judge.

I’m a be prepared kind of person. So even though I don’t have any kids, I want to be prepared if and when I do. With that in mind, I’d also like to say that I truly believe in the old saying (Marx was it?) that “the hand the rocks the cradle rules the world” and that if we are bothering to spit children out of our bodies, we should be prepared to be well invested in their lives AND their education. For some people, the best they can do is sending their child to learn from someone else, whether it be public school, private school, or private tutoring. I believe that a healthy combination of many things including home schooling would be best I can do for my children.

In this post, I want to share my planned curriculum/ education plan for my children. I’m posting it because I want input. I want my fellow bloggers to pipe in and tell me what’s its missing, what they would add, etc.

So… take a look:

The Lesson Plan (2nd edition)

Staples to be exposed to: A bible verse a week, two hours of reading a day (minimum), two hours of exercise a day, one hour of cleaning or gardening a day, never more than one-two hours of television/movies per day on average.

Try to include one audio lesson per week that changes from subject to subject… perhaps a book on CD once a month.

A possible minimum of 200 volumes to read per year… count it up once the lesson plans are more specific, like the Darwin and Egypt Studies.

Ages 2-3
• 2 15 minute Kung Fu lessons through out the day
• ABC’s, 123’s, etc.
• Learn a new bible verse each week (or segments of verse)
• Practice singing various songs
• Story time for as long as you can get them to listen
• Incorporate daily “art time”

Age 4
• Start McGuffy’s primer
• Basic addition and subtraction (using objects)
• Start 30 minute Kung Fu lessons a day
• Once a week nature walks, berry picking, plant and animal identification
• Learn new bible verse each week, Ten Commandments
• Singing time
• Story time for at least thirty minutes a day
• Daily art time
• Reading to include:
All the Beatrice Potter books
All the Dr. Seuss Books
Mercer Meyer Books

Age 5
• McGuffy’s first and second reader
• 30 minute Kung Fu lessons every day
• Learn basic Chinese words, purchase Chinese lessons on audio
• Learn basic Spanish words, purchase Spanish lessons on audio
• Learn new bible verse each week, Beatitudes
• Singing time, basic music lessons, early piano
• Once a week nature walks, berry picking, plant and animal identification
• Learn to make tarts and pies with the berries, include basic arithmetic with kitchen supplies
• Daily art time
• Take turns reading stories to each other for an hour a day
• Reading to include:
The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
The Little House on the Prairie series – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Grandma’s Attic series – (research and buy)
Beverly Cleary books
• History and science lessons to correspond with questions asked… ie:”Mommy, where do bricks come from,” sit down and do research on the topic. Keep track of such questions and research adventures in a notebook and incorporate them into fun games the following week to keep the things fresh in their mind, but unassociated with the question. Have them make up a story about a brick maker and an adventure he had, etc.
• Organize once a month field trips to places like the zoo or the museum.

Age 6
• McGuffy’s third reader
• 45 minute Kung Fu lessons every day
• Continue with basic Chinese and Spanish
• Start American Sign Language
• Start basic Latin
• Music theory, piano lessons, and fun singing time
• Continue once a week nature walks and baking parties, in these get more focused and researched with science and math lessons. Go into detail on how water boils and bread rises, the science of heat, talk more about the math behind cooking. On nature walks talk about all the plants, the science of those plants, their origin, how to use them in the kitchen. Also, in the kitchen, teach them to tell time and utilize a timer.
• Continue reading out loud to each other for an hour a day and memorizing a bible verse once a week.
• Continue once a month field trips.
• Basic anatomy
• Daily art time, creative assignments pertaining to anything we’ve read or started learning.
• Reading to include:
Amelia Bedelia books
Max and Me and the Time Machine
Louisa May Alcott
Let the Circle Be Unbroken seriesluding a twenty-six word spelling and definition list every week (one word from each letter of the alphabet, go in order)
• Start a basic Spanish vocabulary list each week as well, 10 words a week.
• 1 hour Kung Fu lessons a day, to include the work out as well as Chinese history and philosophy.
• Piano lessons with Stephen, find a children’s choir to join or look into local children’s theatre
• Continue once a month field trips.
• History lessons to include: Susan Wise Bauer’s History of the World and historical fiction books
• Each month we’ll pick an animal to study… what they eat, where they’re from, different names people use for them all over the world, they way they move, how they affect humanity
• Continue learning a new bible verse each week.
• Continue reading to each other for an hour a day.
• Swimming lessons in the summer.

Age 8
• McGuffy’s fifth reader
• Enroll in Kung Fu lessons at Davey’s school
• Piano lessons, children’s choir, children’s theatre activities if they like
• Reading to include:
The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Lord of the Rings series
• Continue with basic Latin, basic Spanish, basic Chinese, and ASL
• History lessons to be included topically with books we read and languages studying. Also read Susan Wise Bauer’s History of the World.
• Start working through basic Science texts (use the textbooks as a loose outline to collect interesting literature on those topics)
• Spend an hour every other day with math assignments
• Go to first Kung Fu tournament, continue going every third month if they enjoy them
• Start multiplication tables
• English Grammar, start including a twenty-six word spelling and definition list every week (one word from each letter of the alphabet, go in order)
• Continue learning a new bible verse once a week.
• Continue once a month field trips.
• Continue once a month animal studies… what they eat, where they’re from, different names people use for them all over the world, they way they move, how they affect humanity, and how humanity affects them.
• End of year project on any topic.

Age 9
• Archery classes
• Do a Native American Indian Study
• Native American Legends and practices
• Camping trip, teach to fish
• Have the multiplication table memorized
• Master division and word problems
• Find/hire a Spanish teacher or kids Spanish classes
• Continue listening to Chinese audio lessons
• Continue Piano lessons
• Continue Latin and ASL lessons
• Reading to include:
The Wrinkle in Time Series – Madeleine L’engle
The Prince and the Pauper – Mark Twain
The Five Little Peppers and How they Grew – Margaret Stewart?
• English Grammar, cont. including a twenty-six word spelling and definition list every week (one word from each letter of the alphabet, go in order)
• Continue learning a new bible verse once a week
• Continue once a month field trips
• Continue Kung Fu lessons
• Continue once a month animal studies… what they eat, where they’re from, different names people use for them all over the world, they way they move, how they affect humanity, and how humanity affects them.
• Make sure we have covered basic TX and U.S. History (have all the president’s memorized).
• End of year project on anything.

Age 10
• Continue Kung Fu and Piano lessons, along with any activities they enjoy that go along with that (ie: tournaments, recitals).
• Continue learning one bible verse a week.
• Continue with Spanish, Latin, and ASL lessons.
• Go to Deaf Fest.
• Mastery of Fractions.
• Continue once a month animal studies… what they eat, where they’re from, different names people use for them all over the world, they way they move, how they affect humanity, and how humanity affects them.
• Obtain a fifth/sixth grade curriculum for science and history to be covered, or write own.
• Study the weather, climates, environment, etc. Spend the year completing a 20 page assignment on any major weather event in all of history. Combine the 12 animal studies from the year into this assignment by including information on how those 12 species were affected (or not affected) by the major weather event.
• Enroll in any electives desired at the middle school (second half of being ten).
• Cover lots of music and art history, as well as basic European history (summer vacation in England).
• Start reading the Get A Grip On… series. We own Evolution, Ecology, Astronomy, and New Physics.
• Reading to include:
Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling
Anne of Green Gables series – L.M. Montgomery
I am Charlotte Doyle – Avi
The Giver – Lowry
The Phantom Tollbooth – Junger

Age 11
• Start covering the Russian alphabet, start mastering basic Russian vocabulary, study Russian culture and history. Spend the year completing a 30 page research paper on Russia. Learn to cook Russian dishes. Vacation in Russia.
• Buy a Rosetta Stone for Russian.
• Continue translating basic Latin texts.
• Spanish and Latin lessons should be conversational, translate history and science lessons into Spanish and Latin and then back to English again.
• At some point in time I want to include Hebrew lessons
• History reports due once a month, pick their own topic out of lessons covered (2-3 pages).
• History lessons would include three sessions of reading and researching a week and two history channel selections that tie into the topic of each week.
• Spend a year putting together a “States” project together; include a 1-2 page written assignment on a state event that had/has international impact. Include a 10 page paper on the state that they find most interesting. Include in depth study on the presidents, their wives and their significance.
• Field trips to the beach, summer swim team if interested.
• Science: the equivalent of sixth grade basic science – Home-school or public school science classes for labs and such.
Read Get a Grip on Ecology
Study basic botany and whatnot
• Choose a sport at the middle school to join, or continue with Kung Fu training, or both.
• Start using modules (like from middle school) for math lessons, mastery of each topic before moving on.
• Reading assignments to include:
Invitation to the Game
Push Cart Wars – Jeanne Merril
Robinson Carusoe – Daniel Defoe
Robin McKinley books
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Remaining Harry Potter books
• 50 Book Challenge every year. Shelfari account and reviews on each book read.
• Continue memorizing one bible verse a week, but now include in depth word studies, meaning, history, and context of the verses.
• Piano lessons continue, unless they want to pick up another instrument (more than welcome to join the middle school band).
• Health, Kinesiology, Grey’s Anatomy and whatnot

Age 12
• Hire a Russian tutor
• Continue a sport. Continue musical instrument. Begin voice lessons if interested.
• Spend the year studying the Chinese culture. 35 page report due at the end of the year. Read through Kung Fu: History, Philosophy & Technique. Vacation in Taiwan.
• Study the nature and history of the Asian religions. Study Chinese poetry. Include discussions on our worldview.
• Begin reading through the U.S. History List
• 5 page once a month history reports due on any topic, 3 of these assignments through the course of the year may be incorporated into the 35 page China report.
• Reading to include:
Dai Sijie, go through his writing together, discuss worldview
• Astronomy, spend the whole year on stars and planets – field trip to NASA with friends. Space Camp?
• Pre-Algebra modules.
• Continue once a week bible verses and 26 word vocabulary tests.
• 10 page animal report on animal of choice, incorporate information on how the stars and planets affect this animal. Find out if this animal is part of any of the astrological charts and discuss metaphysical ideas and world view.
• Take Chinese calligraphy classes together somewhere.
• Egypt Studies (refer to the JARS Egypt project/ Appendix)… these studies will overlap ages 12-13 and take 4-6 months or as long as interest in subject is maintained
• Field trips to Museums are a MUST

Age 13
• Start Greek lessons
• Algebra modules
• Once a month 6 page history reports due on any topic.
• Geology, field trips to include rock climbing and natural science museums. Include introductory topographic map information to lead into age 14 topographic map stuff.
• Additional reading material:
Yearning for the Land: A Search for the Importance of Place – John Warfield Simpson
The Map that Changed the World – Simon Winchester
• Continue studying musical instrument, Continue playing or practicing a sport.
• Continue bible studies. Go through the history of Christianity up through the Roman Catholic Church.
• History lessons would transition from our Egypt study into Alexander the Great and the Greek/Roman period.
Possibly include the Manfredi trilogy
• Greek History, Greek Mythology. Architectural and cultural studies. 40 page end of year report. Vacation in Greece.
• Read The Illiad and The Odyssey together.
• Reading to include Bauer’s Novels:
Cervantes – Don Quixote
Bunyan – Pilgrim’s Progress
Swift – Gulliver’s Travels
Austen – start with Pride and Prejudice, if we can’t fit ALL of Austen we must include Northanger Abbey
Dickens – Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby
Bronte – Jane Eyre
Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter, House of Seven Gables
Melville – Moby Dick
Stowe – Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Flaubert – Madame Bovary
Dostoyevsky – Crime and Punishment
Tolstoy – Anna Karenina
Hardy – The Return of the Native
James – The Portrait of a Lady
Twain – Huckleberry Finn
Crane – Red Badge of Courage
Conrad – Heart of Darkness
Wharton – House of Mirth
Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby
Woolf – Mrs. Dalloway (read Michael Cunningham’s The Hours together)
Kafka – The Trial
Wright – Native Son
Camus – The Stranger
Orwell – 1984
Ellison – Invisible Man
Bellow – Sieze the Day
Garcia Marquez – One Hundred Years of Solitude
Calvino – If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler
Morrison – Song of Solomon
Delillo – White Noise
Byatt – Possession
A Separate Peace and Peace Breaks Out – John Knowles

Wizard of Oz and Maguire’s Trilogy, also see the musical “Wicked”

Literary Criticism Assignment for the year: Discuss Fantasy vs. Reality, What literary pieces throughout history have focused on fantasy vs. reality? What novels have skewed your idea of reality? Include a study in pop culture when a novel or set of novels have skewed the public’s view of fantasy and reality? (Twilight, Harry Potter, pretty much any book fad, follow the rise of the book in culture, the economic value, quote reviews, and find any/all statistics regarding behavior directly or indirectly related to the fad.)

• Start studying plays and theatre history, as well as films and film history.
• Cover a brief stint on writing, creating, and publishing:
Penguin Special – Jeremy Lewis
Learning a Trade – Reynolds Price
Infamous Scribblers – Eric Burns
• Continue taking any electives that the public schools offer.
• Go through 365 Intellectual book together.
• Dickens on the Strand and Ren Fest every year.

Age 14
• Bauer’s List to be read on Monday’s and Wednesdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are to cover all other material, Friday’s schoolwork will be determined on a weekly basis
The Story of Me: Autobiography and Memoir – PART TWO of The Well-Educated Mind
Augustine – The Confessions
Margery Kempe – The Book of Margery Kempe
Michael de Montaigne – Essays
Teresa of Avila – The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself
Rene Descartes – Meditations
John Bunyan – Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners
Mary Rowlandson – The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration
Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Confessions
Benjamin Franklin – The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Henry David Thoreau – Walden
Harriet Jacobs – Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself
Frederick Douglas – Life and Times of Frederick Douglas
Booker T. Washington – Up from Slavery
Friederick Nietzche – Ecce Homo
Adolf Hitler – Mein Kampf
Mohandas Gandhi – An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth
Gertrude Stein – The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
Thomas Merton – The Seven Storey Mountain
C.S. Lewis – Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
Malcolm X – The Autobiography of Malcolm X
May Sarton – Journal of a Solitude
Aleksandr I. Solzhenistyn – The Gulag Archipelago
Richard Rodriguez – Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez
Jill Ker Conway – The Road from Coorain
Elie Wiesel – All Rivers Run to the Sea: Memoirs

• Geographical mastery: memorize locations of every significant country on the globe. Study topographic maps, pick twelve countries not already studied and write a ten page report on each. Include topographic information, and create a topographic map of at least one region.
• History to cover all the third world countries being memorized and the history of map-making.
• Additional reading material:
• One page animal report including information on how the topography/terrain of their homeland affects them and their lifestyle to be tacked onto the end of each country’s report… the animal must be from/found in that country.
• A Study of Mormonism and various occults and secret societies around the world. Go in depth. Include the various occult studies in the geographical, political, and economic studies of the third world countries verses America. Discussions on our world view. Cultural aspects of religion and money, how one affects the other and whether it should or not.
Books on Mormonism, Freemasons, The Templars, etc.
• Darwin Study – see appendix
• Darwin Study to lead into Biology I material
• Additional reading material:
The Anthropology of Turquoise: Meditations on Landscape, Art, and Spirit by Ellen Meloy
• Geometry
• Continue utilizing Shelfari
• Start looking through writing competitions for college scholarships
• Choose any language to pursue.
• Pick the country, set up a budget, and schedule the family vacation.
• Choose any electives or regular courses at the public school.
• Continue bible verses and historical/contextual studies.
• Continue sport and music lessons of choice… join the public school choir? Or band?

Age 15
• Bauer’s List to be read on Monday’s and Wednesdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are to cover all other material, Friday’s schoolwork will be determined on a weekly basis
The Story of the Past: The Tales of Historians (and Politicians) – PART THREE of The Well-Educated Mind
Herodotus – The Histories
Thucydides – The Peloponnesian War
Plato – The Republic
Plutarch – Lives
Augustine – The City of God
Bede – The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
Niccolo Machiavelli – The Prince
Sir Thomas More – Utopia
John Locke – The True End of Civil Government
David Hume – The History of England, Volume V
Jean-Jacques Rousseau – The Social Contract
Thomas Paine – Common Sense
Edward Gibbon – The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Mary Wollstonecraft – A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America
Karl Marx and Friedrick Engels – The Communist Manifesto
Jacob Burckhardt – The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
W.E.B. Du Bois – The Souls of Black Folk
Max Weber – The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Lytton Strachey – Queen Victoria
George Orwell – The Road to Wigan Pier
Perry Miller – The New England Mind
Joh Kenneth Galbraith – The Great Crash 1929
Cornelius Ryan – The Longest Day
Betty Friedan – The Feminine Mystique
Eugene D. Genovese – Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made
Barbara Tuchman – A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein – All the President’s Men
James M. McPherson – Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich – A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard
Francis Fukuyama – The End of History and the Last Man
• Algebra II
• Chemistry
• Continue sport and music lessons of choice
• Continue lingual studies
• Interested in any certifications?
• Interested in any activities at the public high school?
• Go through European literature and history
• In depth study on Catholicism all the way up to Martin Luther. The History of the protestant and catholic churches, how that affects America historically and politically. Discussion of our World View. Read ALL C.S. Lewis material.
• 50 book European literature/history challenge in chronological order of history itself…
To include:
Man of Blessing: A Life of St. Benedict – Carmen A. Butcher (H)
Autobiography of Henry VIII – Margaret George (FIC)
The Constant Princess – Philippa Gregory (FIC)
Mary Queen of Scots – Margaret George (FIC)
Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire – Amanda Foreman (H)
Horatio Hornblower series – C.S. Forster (FIC)
• Vacation in Europe, go backpacking this time
• Additional Reading to include:
Age 16
• Bauer’s List to be read on Monday’s and Wednesdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are to cover all other material, Friday’s schoolwork will be determined on a weekly basis
• Bauer’s Part Four: Plays
• Pre-Cal/Trig
• Physics, read the Get A Grip on New Physics book.
• First aid and CPR certified
• Interested in any activities at the public high school?
• Continue sport and music lessons of choice
• Start taking college courses at the community college or AP Duel Credit at the High School or a mix of both: English, History, Macro-Economics and Government
• In depth study of sexuality, culture, nature vs. nurture and political stand points. Discussion of world view. Include in depth scientific research.
Jeffrey Euginedes’ Middlesex
Wesley Stace’s Misfortune
Ovid’s Metamorphosis
Recall Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours
• In depth study of art history and the relationship between sexuality, religion, and politics with art.
• Vacation to country of interest (tie into art)

Age 17
• Bauer’s List Part Five – Poetry
• Margaret George’s Helen of Troy to accompany the re-reading of The Illiad
• Calculus, Business Calculus
• Read A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Narr
• Biology II
• Anatomy
Complete Grey’s Anatomy
Find the Anatomy Color Books
• English II
• Micro-Economics through the college
• History II…. Any or all of these can be taken at the community college or mixed with AP Duel Credit classes at the High School, whichever they prefer.
• Continue with any sport and/or music lessons
• Continue with their language courses
• Really start making their own plans

By Age 18
I hope to send them out into the world with an associate’s degree and a rock solid understanding of all religions and faiths. From there, they can choose whatever they wish/ God has led them to: more education, whatever job opportunities, more travels, missions, work with their father (whether Jon is still a millwright or if we’re running our own businesses). The garage apartment would be built for them to live at home if they like for minimal rent fees (give them benefits without making them irresponsible).

Feedback desired and encouraged.

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