days to come & summer reading

Cosmos and Zinnias

Cascades of Morning Glory


Swiss Chard

"Worn Out"

Cosmos and Zinnias

Walking Stick

We are reveling in all that is Summer, right now, but in the back of my mind I know a transition is coming for our routine. These past three days have been spent solely at home for me and the children, something unusual for us during the break. I did this intentionally, since I saw that the calendar had nothing scheduled for these days, and because I wanted to see what we would do with ourselves. As it turns out, we have been happily occupied with cooking, cleaning, reading, building, creating, gardening, playing outside, dog sitting and more. The weather, just in the lower 80's, has contributed to our homebounded-ness because any higher and we'd be poolside. This time at home has given me visions of our schooling days and just how good they are, for all of us. I see the need to change up our learning days to manage the strengths and weaknesses of both children (and myself!). I'm excited to have had this break as a way of mentally decompressing from the routine, of what did work at one time, and to examine what changes can take place for us all to thrive. My children are growing. At ages eight and ten I'm in awe of the sweet relationships that exist, the amazing time we have together, the communication that takes places. Although taking the time to be with one's children is marketed as "sacrificial" I just can't help feeling such wealth when I'm with them.

I've been meaning to recommend three authors we've been enjoying over the Summer:
Felix Salten, Rick Riordan and Elizabeth Goudge.

Rick Riordan wrote the Percy Jackson series, a contemporary take on the Greek gods and their half-mortal/half-god children. My ten-year-old loved this series (we read it together) and is begging me to start the next series, Heroes of Olympus, with her. After a heavy dose of the Greek gods and all their drama, we're taking a break for the moment!

Felix Salten wrote Bambi, Bambi's Children, Renni the Rescuer and A Forest World. My eight-year-old and I read these books together, and he loved them. Salten has a beautiful way of describing the natural world in a way that transports the reader to that place, but also educates about the ways of the animals within that space. Renni the Rescuer is the only book that departs from the forest, and takes place on the battlefiled as Renni is trained to rescue injured soldiers. As is true in the natural world and war there is sadness and death. The author does not prolong this subject, but I wouldn't read these stories to children six and under. By the way, the Bambi books are nothing like the Disney movies. I enjoy the movies, but these books are wonderful in their realistic scope of story.

I can't say enough about Elizabeth Goudge. What an amazing author. Each book that I have opened has impressed me, and so far I have read four and am working on my fifth. She wrote in the early 1900's, and each book seems to have redemption at its core. Yet that description can be misleading. Goudge, like Salten, transports. Salten's world is mostly nature, but Goudge has her settings in villages, small towns, homes and all seem to have gardens and woodlands nearby. Her descriptions of the gardens, for this gardener, are almost as wonderful as the story and characters which they frame. My daughter and I have read The Little White Horse, a wonderful, fantasy tale and we are now reading Linnets and Valerians (complete with a pet owl, a pet monkey, a giant, a cave in the mountain, a book of spells, a man with amnesia, and four siblings to experience it all!. So far, these are the only two that, to me, are children's books. I have read The Scent of Water (which is probably my favorite so far; I could live in the cottage that is the main setting), The Dean's Watch (which, yes, is about a watchmaker, a dean and although redemptive, terribly sad) and now am working on The Castle on the Hill (which is set in England during World War II giving it a despairing context, but the characters are interesting and the gardens so descriptive that I have to continue reading). These three stories are for adults. Goudge has written many, many more books so I will stay with her for some time.

I am now tasked with finding what book my son and I can read together next as he began inquiring about this just before we finished A Forest World today!