Monday, 21 July 2014

August Challenge -- Join us for a month without Screen Time!

Join us in our No-Screen-Time August Challenge of reading top-notch books instead of wasting time with TV and computer games. Pop over to Facebook and let us know what books you'll crack open on the 1st of August. (While you're there, "like"our page, please!)

August will be our books-only month

I was inspired to do this challenge by two things: first, despair at how much of our lives is wasted by living in the virtual world -- telly, computer, email, and even my children's legitimate desires to write books and design 3-D animations are eating up the hours that could be better spent on reading the hundreds of excellent books that currently lie forlornly on our shelves, gathering dust.

Second, I was inspired by Charlotte Mason's writings, especially her 6th volume about a philosophy of education -- as I understood more and more that a child's innate desire for knowledge is ignited through living books, I realised that we couldn't spark a flame if we kept all the matches in the box!

How many books can we get through in a month? That's the big question! We normally have three or four books on the go for our homeschooling, another one or two for pleasure, my elder two (in the online English courses I teach) have up to six books they're working on each week. We also usually spend hours in the car and the pool for swimming training, but all these activities stop in August, so there should be a chance to tackle at least three substantial books for each child's level.

Some thick; some thin; all brilliant!

Phoenix is now 14 and is taking on Middlemarch ahead of her Great British Novels course this year, The Screwtape Letters and the Doris Lessing Canopus in Argos series are also on her shelf (or, virtual shelf, since some are on Kindle).

Killer at 11 is going to have a choice of books from the Ambleside Online list for independent reading: titles like The Borrowers, Puck of Pook's Hill, The Chronicles of Narnia series, a selection of Edgar Allan Poe stories, and Treasure Island.

Rocky, having just now come into her own as an independent reader, has a lot of catching up to do in terms of a twaddle-free zone. Out go the Unicorn School and Flower Fairy books, and in come Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Billy and Blaze series, Doctor Doolittle, and one of my favourites, Pippi Longstocking.

Busy Timmy is 7 and, after getting glasses last year and a Kindle with its adjustable type-face, has started reading books for pleasure when there's time for doing so. He devours the Burgess animal books, but I'm going to try him with a Pocketful of Goobers (about George Washington Carver), Little Owl's Book of Thinking, and a beautiful edition of Hans Christian Andersen tales.

Fancy one of these??

And me? Well, I will still be checking my emails and FB since we'll be coming up to final enrollment for my online courses and I need to stay connected for my job, but I will be sure to a) limit my time on the screen, and b) do it only once the kids have gone to bed.

Book-wise, I usually have about five books on the go at any one time. On August 1st, though, I'm going to crack open George MacDonald's Sir Gibbie. The recommendations for this novel are very high, and the reviews on Amazon are glowing. Others on my list are Thomas Merton's Seven-Storey Mountain and Fahrenheit 451.

Will this be too much for thirty-one days' worth of reading? Too daunting to try? I'm expecting a few days' of screen withdrawal and another day or two as they get into the habit of reading for pleasure. My hope is to avoid incentivising them, threatening, or cajoling. I really want them to feast on the pleasure of reading, just for the sake of the dishes in their grasp and not the whip behind nor the carrot in front of them.

Truly, watch this space!

1 comment:

  1. How wonderful. We won't be joining in because my eldest is zooming through some Khan Academy courses and I don't worry as he reads a lot plus his computer time is limited. He is reading Interworld this week and has the next book lined up and waiting. My youngest loves books and is currently rather strangely obsessed with medical books from the library. He can only just read but he spends time looking at the pictures & questioning.
    It is a challenge that I would love though. I read non fiction constantly but seldom find time for a good book. I'm going to lever in some me time and order one of the books off your list.
    Thanks for linking up to # homeedlinkup and good luck!


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