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Library to the rescue

July 16, 2013

It’s been five weeks now since we ended our school year (which I still haven’t wrapped up in a blog post and maybe never will…) and it’s pretty much been five weeks of Legos, movies, board games, and playing outside (them) and five weeks of lying flat on my back as much as possible and trying to keep food down (me).  They’ve been the more successful ones.  Two weeks of Zofran for me and it’s kind of, sort of, making a tiny difference.  It’s not the wonder drug I remember it being when I was pregnant with E.


On our good days, which are admittedly more often than not, I manage to remind everyone to do piano and scriptures, but that’s about the extent of our academics this summer, unfortunately.  I always vow that we will not lose our math skills.  We will keep them up!  This year anyway, it’s NOT happening.  But today, I was feeling slightly more energetic and decided we would head to the library to try to prevent mushy brains.

I remembered a list in The Well-Trained Mind of the different kinds of library books Jessie Wise made her children check out on a weekly basis: a science book, a history book, one art or music appreciation book, one practical book (craft, hobby or how-to), a biography, a classic novel, an imaginative storybook, and a book of poetry.  Plus any other books they wanted.  Every week!

Boy, have I been missing out!  We should have been doing this all along.  But nonetheless, we started today.  I didn’t want anything to do with crafty books, so we left that one out, and the classic novels are scattered throughout the children’s section and I didn’t want to try to track them down, so in the end I made each of the boys a list of six: history, science, art or music, biography, poetry, and a fable/folk tale.

I realized I have really done them a disservice in that I always pick out our school books by myself.  They’ll request things from time to time, but they really have no idea how the Dewey Decimal system works or how books are shelved despite our multitudinous trips to the library and at least one Miss Rumphius Five in a Row unit (she’s a librarian.)  Homeschool mom fail!  During lunch I gave them a quick overview and explained where each type of book could be found, which was good because going to the library with a 3-year-old?  It’s crazy!  It would have been impossible to chase after him and help the other three navigate the children’s section at the same time.  But they did fairly well on their own and we didn’t lose the toddler in the process.

A is smart enough to look up topics on the computer to find the exact call # of the subjects he wanted and actually took the longest time choosing.  D grabbed the smallest books of each he could find and then sat down to read Clone Wars books.  We’ll see how exciting his John Quincy Adams biography is this week.

He did take his poetry book (about animals) to bed with him tonight and came in to me a while later to say, “I’ve read three poems already and they’re just so fascinating, I can’t stop!”  And then went back to his room and finished the book! Success!

Like I said, why have I never done this before?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2013 10:08 am

    Brilliant idea! I follow so many of the WTM ideas but just never got around to that one. I usually order all our library books online. I am definitely planning a library day now.

  2. July 17, 2013 6:53 pm

    My kids love the WTM system, but we don’t do every category every week – I can’t lift that much, and neither can they. They receive 4 assigned literary styles, in addition to their free choice, and I try to hit every genre twice a month.

  3. July 21, 2013 8:30 am

    I usually pick the books we need at the library too and my kids just kinda visit the same sections over and over again. This is a great plan to get them to know where to find different books and also hopefully read more of a variety.

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