I've had a fun couple of weeks leading my sixth graders through a study of Charles Dickens and an abridged version of David Copperfield. Meanwhile, my kindergartner has been requesting his favorite picture-book version of A Christmas Carol, which is putting us all in a Christmas mood. All of the kids read a collection of Dickens stories presented in comic-book style (this wonderful Marcia Williams book), and Oliver Twist was a particular favorite, so we've been squeezing in a bit of Oliver! over the last two weeks, a little at a time. The David Copperfield movie is next. I'm holding the line and waiting to play our audiobook of the full Christmas Carol until after Thanksgiving.
If only I had a few days to read some of the Dickens books I loaded on the Kindle. I've never actually read David Copperfield. Cricket on the Hearth would be fun. And after our recent study of the French Revolution, I'm sure I'd appreciate A Tale of Two Cities quite differently than I did has a teenager. Which reminds me that I'm convinced the best way to enjoy literature is to study it alongside history.
But I don't have time to read Dickens. After all, I didn't even get far in Les Miserables, which I started reading a few weeks back, hoping to finish by the end of the year. We're a big fan of the musical Les Miserables (I know, who isn't?), so when Lane was assigned an abridged children's version of that novel, all the kids read it, some several times. I was pretty thrilled when, last week as we read about the Three-Day Revolution in France, Sydney said, "Mom, this is the revolution in Les Mis. You know, the barricades?"
The girls are loving their study of Queen Victoria and the Victorian age and are particularly interested in the changing fashions of the period. Which has me happily collecting images from Pinterest for their display board on the topic. If I had the time, I'd study more on 19th century fashion and costumes. One of my daughters could spend hours studying period dresses. Maybe she'll design dresses someday....
Speaking of Pinterest, aren't there so many tempting projects to be found there? I roped some friends into making ornament wreaths last weekend, and now I have my eye on sewing stuffed-songbirds for Christmas ornaments. Not to mention the crochet projects I'd like to get done. I wish I could sit down for several hours with the girls and crochet with them. They've been learning the craft with a group of friends and are working on all sort of projects.
There hasn't been much time for crocheting this week, though. A friend invited me to try freezer cooking with her and this weekend is our big Cooking Day. Yes, that needs capitals. We've got big ambitions for tomorrow and spent the week planning for the big event. More on that later.
We're happily taking Thanksgiving week off from our school routine. After a day trip to Council Grove (I forgot to mention that Toby and I have been reading Holling's Tree in the Trail), I want to get the kids working on making Jesse Tree ornaments. We've done all sorts of Advent devotions and activities, but this is our first year to do a Jesse Tree. I've been scouring the internet for manageable ornament projects that we can actually do. We'll see. I've got some other Advent plans in the back of my mind that I'd like to pursue.
Our favorite Thanksgiving picture books are on the coffee table to remind me that I need to read them to my younger kids. I can't forget that! It is a great sorrow to me that I've lately had to out-source most of the picture book reading for Toby and Lydia. It has been hard to let my older kids have the pleasure of reading Old Hat, New Hat repeatedly to Lydia when I'd like to be the one doing it. It is so cute when she says, "Wait!" I'd really like to read Toby the beautiful library book I found about a little girl who came to America from Ireland during the Irish potato famine, but I think Hope or Sydney will get to do that instead. They read to him every day when I teach Lane grammar.
Hope and Sydney are starting in on MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin this week. I'm hoping to read it myself during our Thanksgiving break. The girls were supposed to read to chapter eight this week, but Hope just told me, "Mom, I accidently read to chapter 17." MacDonald was a significant inspiration to C. S. Lewis. Wouldn't it be great to spend a few weeks reading through MacDonald's books? I wish I could. They will be spending four weeks studying the book for their Tapestry studies. I'm really looking forward to discussing it. Speaking of goblins...
I have abstained from Harry Potter all these years, but after the final book was released and I heard talk of the Christian imagery, I decided to check it out for myself. I don't really have time to read it right now, but it was on the library shelf when I walked the children's fiction "R" section. I impulsively threw it in our library box, because when I looked for it over a month ago, it was checked out. I suppose Harry Potter ought to be read straight through, but I'm reading it about five pages at a time. I'm usually asleep by the sixth page.
It is anything but boring around here.