Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Does this count as a "book club?"

I've long been a bit intimidated by Kolbe's book list and curriculum. I sold my husband on it because it was the education I wish I'd had, but each year we get closer to high school increased my anxiety just a smidge. No, I wasn't losing sleep about it... yet. Madeleine's only in third grade, after all.
To reduce my worries, I have picked up some of the books the kids will be reading. I could read them and understand what was going on, but I felt like I was missing something. I tried joining an online classics reading club, but that... didn't work out. To be perfectly frank, think of the level of comments on newspaper articles. Yup. Only this time on works of literature.
Being the book fiend that I am, and raising more, we hit a bookstore this weekend. The education and workbook section was right next to the children's section so I didn't even need much of my designated "browse alone" time. I found "The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had," by Susan Wise Bauer. I read the back cover and knew it was coming home.
In the first chapter, Bauer points out the study of literature has existed outside of universities for quite a long time. Women's groups would gather in someone's parlor and they'd talk about books; handwritten journals were written about them; no professors were involved (except maybe as guests like anyone else). [As I write that, I remember the salons that Richelieu tried to control back in his time. Yeah, living room lit studies have been around a while.]
She posits that all one needs is the books, an appropriate reading level, the time for the reading, a journal to record one's thoughts about the book, and someone to discuss them with. Five things, some harder than others depending on the day.
Books--library or Amazon. Easy.
Appropriate reading level--I wasn't worried, especially after the simple "paragraph test" she had on pages 25-26.
Journal--does a blog count?
Time--I've kept a list of books finished each year since Christmas arrived once and I felt downtrodden. It's been 18-24 a year.
Now, for someone to discuss them with.... [Facebook friends who already know the answer--sh!]

There's various moms' groups I belong to. Our homeschooling group is wonderful but our interests are so varied, along with our time to give to such a project. We're talking about over 200 families, folks; while there would probably be some interest, setting a time that would be good for enough of us would be trickier than I feel like dealing with. Besides, one of the wonderful aspects is we don't have required or obligatory meetings; to have a book club would kind of throw a monkey wrench into things.
The Catholic homeschooling moms' group already has a book on apologetics. The dozen or so of us has felt a need for that background, so we've already got a book.
The parish moms' group is wonderful for support for motherhood, but homeschooling... not as much. We have a wide variety of reading tastes.

Okay, Gentle Reader. Where could I go for an intelligent person, likes to read, not intimidated by big books, that I could see on a regular basis without twisting anyone's schedules out of whack? I'll keep you in suspense; put your guesses in the combox.

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At 5:34 AM, Blogger Zach said...

How wonderful! When should we expect you over? :)

What? Oh, never mind... I was hoping you'd set it up at our place, and Nancy just hadn't informed me yet...

At 3:58 PM, Blogger HISchild said...

Me too! I would love to read what the kids should read and be able to remember what I read in HS and College that didn't involve African literature (nothing to relate it to!)


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