Saturday, November 17, 2012

sneak peek

It's summer 2007, I've just finished sixth grade. Mama announces that we're switching curriculum from our usual hodge-podge of textbooks to a more Charlotte Mason-like approach, with most of our books and schedules coming from AmblesideOnline.

That may not sound like much, but it meant a transition for all of us. A transition in the material we were reading. Before the Big Switch, the most intellectually challenging I'd read was probably the Chronicles of Narnia. My favorite book series was The Boxcar Children. I was familiar with classics, but mostly had them read aloud to me or listened to them on CD. I wasn't using much brain power. But I did love to read. I always have.

Ambleside has children reading classic, "living" books starting from their first day of school. Poetry, old British and American authors, history, all of it. And each year there's a different reading list - no book is repeated, and all are considered "living books". It was with great sadness I heard that The Boxcar Children isn't really considered a living book. In fact, Charlotte Mason has a word for those kind of books: "twoddle". So if you jump in at seventh grade, you have six years of catch up to do.

Mama printed up a list of about sixty books I should read before I started seventh grade, and off I went. My entire summer was spent curled up on the couch, opening up a whole new world, falling in love with authors such as Edith Nesbit, Wilson Rawls, Lousia May Alcott, Jules Verne, and Booth Tarkington. Books I'd never heard of such as Rifles for Watie, Five Children and It, Penrod, Mysterious Island, Number the Stars, and Goodbye Mr. Chips that were on lists for Year 5 and Year 6 became new favorites. I was on a roll, checking off books right and left.

And then Mama said, "You need to read a harder book. You've been transitioning, but now it's time to get really deep."

And she gave me Oliver Twist.

A little excerpt from my guest post over at Living on Literary Lane today. Head on over to read the rest!


  1. Oy. Liza, I pity you. ;)

  2. I tagged you over at my blog, Jo!!! XD

  3. WHO SAYS "THE BOXCAR CHILDREN" AREN'T LIVING BOOKS! That's one woman's opinion! :D
    I haven't read a lot of those books you mentioned, and I'm trying not to be jealous. It certainly is a blessing, for he who knows not what was before him is ever a child. But I have read some and am very thankful for those. Thanks for the encouragement.

    ~ The Orinary Princess