Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Literature-Based Life

Earlier this week, I was pondering about a post of our upcoming Christmas Literature Evening, and I realized:

We live a LITERATURE-BASED LIFE.

I guess I always kind of knew that, but it just really struck me this morning.

Our homeschooling is literature-based: historically, scientifically, language arts, religion and sometimes math. This means we hardly ever use a textbook. We learn through our literature, or from primary sources.

All of our animals always have literature-based names: Stridor, Sebastion & Viola, Ivanhoe, Holly & Ivy, Rum Tum Tugger, Jennyanydot, Mr. Mistofoles & Skimbleshanks, Huckleberry & Tom Sawyer, Darcy & Bingley, Mr. Wickam, Donegal...there are probably more :)

Can you figure out where all of the names come from? Some are pretty easy.

The kids drama fun is almost always based on literature. For the moment, they are focusing on "Little Women." We all love live theater, and are very partial to those based on literature: Anne of Green Gables, Secret Garden, Jane Eyre

Which brings us to our music, again often coming from literature: from the musicals of Les Miserables, Jane Eyre & Little Women, to the music of movies based on literature: Sense & Sensibility, Emma, Pride & Prejudice.

Which brings us to our movies..............almost all of the movies we view, were fine literature first.......and sometimes, about literature themselves such as 84 Charing Cross Road starring Anthony Hopkins. Another phenomenon in this house: we often watch a movie, and run to the library to get the book.

Birthday parties have quite frequently been literature-based, as well as many of our tea parties. Anne made a birthday cake once, shaped like an open book, with gummy bookworms crawling out of it.

Sewing is also starting to take on some literature in this house: one of the girls is beginning to sew a "Little Women" dress.............and the others are not far behind.

Our car rides used to be filled with literature on tape.....but now that the kids are older.....it is spent discussing literature.

Our home decor supports the storage of literature :)

About games: I worked very hard.......searching ebay and buying from the UK a couple of special, high-quality literature-based games: Winnie-the-Pooh to be specific, like the Peter Rabbit's Blackberry Game, by the same company, but not sold in the US. We have Lord Of the Rings Monopoly (the kids ignore the original Monopoly now :))...do we have Lord of the Rings RISK, too? I wonder.....but would not be surprised.

When we take trips, we often make literature stops, as seen by our most recent Star-Spangled Adventure: homes of Laura Ingalls Wilder (four of them, to be exact), Louisa May Alcott (two of her homes), Margaret Sydney (Five Little Peppers), Henry David Thoreau (plus we walked all the way around Walden Pond)......and more. And, a trip to Eureka, CA, to visit their great-grandmother, is not complete without stopping at our favorite used bookstorein Old Town (Booklegger). We save up our money for just this visit!

Our souvenirs are just about always a book. Not a tourist book, but actual pieces of literature. Maybe a primary resource. I bought at least thirty books on our big cross-country trip. The kids bought mostly books, too. Definitely adds to our home decor. :)

We go to Yellowstone and I come home and order every book, especially primary resources, from the library. In fact, we may be the most abuser, I mean user, of our dear library, where our librarians are our friends. Whenever we study a topic, I scour the online catalogs of our libraries, and order, order, order.........

All through their growing up, the kids have imagined (and still do!) they are part of literary worlds. Lord of the Rings, King Arthur, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women...........and so on, ad naseum. :)

Any shopping, especially, thrift store shopping, requires going through every book, looking for a treasure. My home is now full of these treasures. It does leave you with dirty hands, though. :) Matthew has become addicted to browsing the on-going library sale, truly.

Our family traditions are often literature-based. We just finished celebrating Advent, and my youngest had 24 books to unwrap, one each morning of December, leading up to the birth of the Christ Child. All are Christmas literature, of some sort. And, of course, there were three more new Christmas book finds under the tree!

My children have SO many family memories, book-based. I wonder if they will laugh at the memory of me on the treadmill, reading aloud to them. I doubt it. I think they will think only of the gift of literature they received: Pyle's Knights of the Round Table, Little House books (prequels and sequels), The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Around the World in Eighty Days.....and the list goes on and on....

And, then there is the feet tickling.......as long as they keep tickling.....the longer mama would read to them. Anne and Matthew discovered that at young ages, and tickled my feet through the Chronicles of Narnia and all eight of the Anne of Green Gables books. Whenever I got near the end of the chapter, Anne would whisper: "Matthew, keep tickling and she will keep reading" I always pretended I did not hear. :) I enjoyed the tickling, but I have to admit, I was not ready to close the book yet........I wanted to know what was going to happen next, too.......even though I had already read through the stories several times.

I gave a baby shower for my friend Shawna a couple of years ago. What do you do for a mom, who is having her third child, who has everything she needs....especially one who is a new homeschooler? Why, you throw her a literature baby shower of course! When I sent out the invite, I sent a list of all of the books in the FIVE IN A ROW curricula. I asked the guests to bring a book off of this list or one of their favorites from childhood. It was so much fun.

And speaking of gifts, what do you think is the most common gift received from me??? Yep, you guessed it........a book, of course. For a baby gift, I like to give a special board book. One of my favorites is So Many Bunnies Board Book: A Bedtime ABC and Counting Book. I like it so much, I got it for my friend, twice! :) Oops!

I have taught the kids to use literature as a way to meet people. :) I tell them if the introductions do not take off naturally, to ask the person what their favorite books are. This usually works quickly, and also lets us know pretty quickly if someone is a kindred spirit, too. :) I do the same thing to draw out shy youngsters, or even adults. Almost always works...except when they say: I hate books. :( Gladly that does not happen too often!

I asked Matthew, 17, if he felt we lived a literature-based life. He said, "I guess so." I asked him, "How?" He says, whatever I am reading at the time, affects my thoughts and real-life experiences.

I asked Anne, 19, the same question. She said, "No, we live a faith-based life, literature-saturated." I must admit she is right. Good for her to bring me back down to ground. :) But, it seems that a faith-based life, is going to be one spent in looking for the beauty in all things...from the places we go, to the things we see, to the books we read.

So, what do you all think? Am I bibliophile....or what? :) Are you?

5 comments:

LLMom said...

Confessed bibliophile here! Are family is very much the same! Having a book shower is a great idea.

Woman of Faith said...

Man...I wish I were. I can't get Freddie interested yet, but I would love for my kids to get immersed in books. I love to read, but honestly DON'T, because I'm always focused on other things. I love books, though. Now I know who to ask for suggestions. Hee hee.

Leonie said...

Definitely can relate - and love this whole post. Happy New year!

SuzanneG said...

Great post, Chari!!! Wonderful examples of how this permeates every aspect of your lives.

Brenda said...

What a great post! Would love to know how it has all worked out with the older kids. How did you deal with those pesky college requirements & entrance exams? Thx!