One more thing is of vital importance; children must have books, living books; the best are not too good for them; anything less than the best is not good enough; and if it is needful to exercise economy, let go everything that belongs to soft and luxurious living before letting go the duty of supplying the books, and the frequent changes of books, which are necessary for the constant stimulation of the child's intellectual life. - Charlotte Mason (School Education, p. 280)
SimplyCharlotteMason.com describes a living book as:
Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The books pull you into the subject and involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject “come alive.”(What is a living book?)
Ever since I was introduced to the Charlotte Mason when I first read A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning(TM) by Karen Andreola and then found Ambleside Online, I have been a big proponent of living books. I will admit that it took me a few years before I jumped in with both feet, but when I finally did there was no turning back.
Our history, literature, and science studies have been so enhanced with the use of living books. I enjoy it so much that I still read many of them aloud so I don't miss anything myself!
So how does using living books look like in our house?
Since we do a lot of reading from books and don't use workbook pages my kids do oral or written narrations, mapping, notebooking or journaling pages, or do a timeline to help them in their learning and retaining information that is read.
- For history we use a spine book. Right now we are reading from This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall and Abraham Lincoln's World by Genevieve Foster. I then enhance our spine readings with biographies and historical fiction. Favorites: Genevieve Foster books, Child's History of the World,
- We also use living books in geography. The kids then use a map and mark it accordingly. Favorites:Paddle-to-the-Sea and others by Holling C. Holling, Complete Book Of Marvels by Richard Halliburton.
- Literature usually consists of classic books, most which have the kids begging for more. Favorites: Understood Betsy, Princess and the Goblin, Children of the New Forest, Oliver Twist
- I will admit when it comes to science we have had a tougher time with some living books and have resorted to using the Apologia Elementary Series. I have found Apologia to work for us, but I have found that if my child develops an interest in science it has usually come from a living science book, rather than the textbook. Favorites: Burgess Bird Book for Children, Burgess Animal Book for Children by Thornton Burgess, Pagoo by Holling C. Holling, It Couldn't Just Happen by Lawrence O. Richards
All Through the Ages by Christine Miller
TruthQuest History Guides
If looking for some great fiction stories check out my series 5 Days of Great Kid's Books.
Coming up tomorrow--The iPad, Kindle & More
Please stop by the following blogs for more Homeschooling Essentials. Also, head on over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew for even more!!
Mary @ Winecup Christian Homeschool
Jenni @ Conversaving
Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos
Karen @ Tots and Me
Beth @ Weavings
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling
Karen @ My Harbor Lights
Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings
Kristi @ The Potter’s Hand Academy
Tara @ This Sweet Life