Monday, December 10, 2018

Books With Bean ~ The Little Prince

book reviews by teens, book reviews, the little prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Title: The Little Prince

Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Published: 1943

Genre: fantasy, children’s, young adult, adventure, philosophy 

Summary: The Little Prince lives on his asteroid not doing much except watching the sun rise and set, getting rid of Baobab trees and taking care of his rose. One day the Little Prince leaves his asteroid and as he travels he learns more about life, especially the lives of grown ups who are much different the what the Little Prince is used to. 

What I liked about it: I have loved this book since I first read it many years ago. I didn’t understand it as well the first time I read it and each time I reread it I find myself realizing more about it than I had the previous time. It is a beautiful book that has a lot of meaning in it for anyone who reads it. 

Language: None

Romance: None

Violence: None

Magic: There is no explained magic. It’s not a normal fantasy with a magic system and a lot of fancy spells. The magic is not really anything more then really just the imagination of a child. It is simple and pure in a way that most books aren’t anymore. 

Recommended Age: I don’t really think there is anyone too young or old for this story. It is a fun adventure for a child and interesting look at the human personality and life for those who are older. It can be enjoyed at any age and only gets better with each reading. 

book reviews by teens, book reviews, the little prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

*This is the next-to-last installment of our Books With Bean column. Arlene has done these as a part of her schoolwork for her senior year (book analysis, writing, and graphic arts.) She will be graduating this weekend, so next Monday will be the final installment. We both hope you have enjoyed these book reviews. You can read back through all of them anytime by clicking the small orange Books With Bean tag at the bottom of any of these posts.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The End of Homeschooling ~ Part 3

When you come to the end of your home education journey, you will have to come to terms with all of the books you have collected over the years. Picture books, field guides, chapter books, textbooks, art books, novels... the shelves go on and on and on.

Evaluating your book collection

How do you decide what to keep and what to let go? Maybe you've already purged your shelves of all but the most treasured of childhood books and now you are down to the high school level reading material. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you begin to sort those shelves:

1- will my children (or grandchildren) ever want to read this book again?

2- will I or my spouse ever want to read this book again?

3- is this a fairly recent edition in good enough condition that I should consider selling it?

4- is this book a solid resource that would bless some family I know because it fits with their teaching and learning styles (should I gift it to them)?

5- was this a book I wish we had NOT used? If so, is it a poor quality or content weak resource... or did it just not click with my kids?

6- in five years will I wish I still had this book to re-read or loan to family friends?

7-is this book worn out or used up and just needs to go in the recycling bin or kindling pile?

(If you have not already begun this process with the children's picture books and middle school resources, then choose just one area to start with. Move to another area in a month or two.)

Finding new homes for your books

After you've evaluated your books, or at least a few shelves' worth of them, talk with your spouse or adult children and make sure no one is upset by your rating of each book. You might have listed them by final destination spots in a notebook, or simply put color coded post-it note flags in them. Another option is to fill each shelf with books destined for the same end.

Once you've got your piles and the OK from the family for those you want to part with, get online and decide where and how you want to offer those titles from category #3 for sale. Does your local homeschool group host an annual used book sale? Is there a local facebook group to sell them from, or are you going to list them on one of the nationwide used-curriculum sites? Sometimes all you need to do is let your friends with middle school aged kids know what you want to part with. Books from popular homeschool publishers like Apologia, Math-U-See, IEW, and Memoria Press tend to find their new homes quickly!

Next, look over that pile of #4 books. Gently offer these books and resources to families you would like to bless. They might be thrilled with the offer, or they might decline. Don't be pushy, give them time to think over your offer before they need to decide. On a similar note, do NOT make them your dump site! If they only want one or two of your 40+ chapter books, then just gift them those two. You can find somewhere else to dispose of the others.

If you have a pile of #5 or #7 books because they are falling apart or because they were just horribly written, then look for one of those large book and paper recycling bins in the parking lot at the library or supermarket and give then a toss. If that book truly was awful - it can better serve someone after it is recycled into couple of egg cartons. :)

Final thoughts about your book collection

Overall, you probably will not get rid of as many books on this first culling as you initially think. Be willing to lower your price if necessary on books you want to sell, or look for places that collect free used curriculum to bless others with. After six months or a year you may want to go through the process again.

Our house will probably always look like a small library. That's OK with all of us since we have books we love. Our goal is not to get rid of all of the books - just to move the ones we are done using to new homes so that we can better organize and find the ones we love!

Come back later this month for part 4 in the End of Homeschooling series - What about mom?

In the meantime, you can read parts one and two in this series again anytime!

Monday, December 3, 2018

My Picture My Story ~ West Baden Springs

another look back at life through a picture

West Baden Springs, friendship, road trip, travel, graduations

Today's look back is from May of this year. The girls and I were headed to southern Indiana for a friends' graduation open house. While mapping out our route, we realized that we would only be about half an hour from the historic hotel at West Baden Springs. Simply put - our road trip took on another stop or two. :)

I love my kids, and their friends. They keep me young and remind me to find  joy in the everyday things of life. Since Arlene will be graduating soon, I decided to try to take at least one selfie with her each month of her senior year-ish of high school. Well, this was one of those times when she said "Here Mom, give me the phone, my arms are longer." This picture was taken near the end of our detour to West Baden. We planned an extra hour or so for this part of the trip. The girls and I had read a lot about the restoration work that had gone on at the West Baden Springs hotel over the past 20 years, and we wanted to take a step back in time and think about what it would have been like in its heyday in the 1920's.

Since we were headed for a graduation open house later that day, we planned to stop early and pick up one of their other friends along the way. Their friend Zed is about as chill as they come. He enjoys life, and likes mostly everybody, so off the four of us went to peek back into the 1920's lifestyle of the rich at West Baden. 

We were not disappointed! The hotel is a great place to stay (or so I've been told by friends!) and welcomes day visitors to the restaurant, gift shops, spa, and golf course, so we blended right in - LOL! We never really blend in, we just don't mind sticking out. :)

The mosaic work in the lobby floor was amazing, the open atrium was a feat of engineering, and the detail work on the furniture was inspiring. We took time to look around the gardens some as well. The great thing about exploring somewhere new is doing it with friends, so you have someone to reminisce with later. :) I am so thankful to be able to call our daughters friends.

I would really like to return again next year and spend a couple of nights as a guest at the hotel. I think it would make a great spot for a writing retreat! Let me know if any of you want to underwrite my trip ;)

The graduation open house? It was fun too! But that is a story for another picture to tell.

If you would like to see more of our trip to West Baden, check out the pictures on our Instagram page!