Reading Lists

For many years, I scheduled out 180 days of reading in Bible, History, Science, and Literature. I've stopped doing that now, but we still have a master list of books for each time period for both history and science. The link below is our master list.

Barefoot Meandering Reading Lists

The following links are to the 180 days of scheduled reading lists.

2nd - Medieval/Early Renaissance
3rd - Late Renaissance/Modern
4th - Ancients
5th - Medieval/Early Renaissance
6th - Late Renaissance/Early Modern
7th - Modern
9th - Civics and Economics

And if you're interested, here's the post where I discussed changing the way we do reading lists.

The New Reading Lists

This has been a year for changes for us, including homeschooling. One area where the fit was just no longer right was our reading lists, so we took our old hardcore reading lists and made a laid-back version. Don't get me wrong; the new lists have all the same books on them as the old, and the boys were always allowed to skip books that they didn't like. But now the lists are "more like guidelines" instead of being a daily reading schedule. I've broken the lists down into sections with Well-Trained Mind divisions. Each year has a history list and a science list. In addition, there's a list for most grades that have literature selections and/or subjects that I want the boys kids to cover during that year.

This is working really well for us. Jared was always willing to read extra, but Nikki and Joshua were only reading from the list with very few forays into other reading. Now, they have the list as a guideline, but they're more free to leave the list and explore library books for a while.

And yeah, I get that lots of people have always done it this way, but it never worked for us in the past. :-)

So, the new reading lists are actually just lists of books instead of 180 day reading schedules. I will most likely update these lists occasionally as we find new books, or decide we hate other ones. It's more than forty pages long, so there's a table of contents for it.

I confess that in the past, I considered the Well-Trained Mind soft on science, and even though my littles just read good science books, I had other choices lined up for high school. Two things changed my mind about this. The first is the fact that Jared--my serious reader who is hyper-interested in science--stopped doing science once we tried to follow a program. Oh, he'd read the stupid books if I reminded him to, but his heart was no longer in it. I kept at it, though, because we were supposed to have a High School Science Program, weren't we? Part two was meeting two high school girls who hadn't had the High School Science Program. Instead, one voluntarily read books on quantum mechanics and string theory. (The other prefers history.) This was my reminder: Adults don't usually take a class or buy a text book when they want to know more about a subject. They often read books written by professionals to laymen. They're living books, not dead, dry, boring ones.

In addition to living science books for high school, I also found the Self-Teaching Guides to use as a spine, and then was amused to find that this is precisely what the Well-Trained Mind recommends. And, of course, The Teaching Company has awesome courses and even more awesome sales--we got the coveted astronomy series for a song recently with an email coupon.

Some will think this is not good enough for High School Credit, which brings up another point: No matter what we do, we will never be an accredited school. Even if I bore my children into submission, their diplomas will still be homemade by their mama, so we might as well focus on pure learning and joy of learning instead of in terms of "proper" high school courses. We'll stick with what's worked for the past decade.

If anyone has any additional suggestions, particularly for high school science, please let me know, but with this caveat: We're not interested in atheistic rants. Let me make myself clear--I don't really care about the beliefs of the author unless he chooses to rant about my faith. Jared and I read Contact by Carl Sagan this year, and then we started to read Cosmos by him as well. I found the atheistic content in Contact just rather sad. If I understood so little about Christianity, I'd probably have trouble believing, too. But when we started Cosmos, and he was asserting his opinion as a scientific fact, I got irritated and deleted him from both my Kindle and my reading list.

That said, there are some exceptions on our list. *shrug* There are a precious few books which are one of a kind and very practical for our lifestyle, so they remain on the list regardless of the amount of atheistic ranting or liberal drivel that manages to permeate an otherwise good book.

Speaking of which, some of our high school science books are practical science for our lifestyle, such as books on composting and solar power. Others are purely interest led.

One final word regarding the lists, particularly the high school reading: We haven't actually read all of these books, so I can't vouch for them. Some of them I've read, or am reading, and they have parts that annoy me, but not so much that I decided to figuratively throw the book against the wall. I stopped doing that literally after I got the Kindle. Heh.

Posted on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 by KathyJo




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"It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it."
~ Jacob Bronowski

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