What I’m Reading: 2014 Edition

What I'm Reading in 2014.  Cultivated Lives | HeatherHaupt.com

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This last fall, Rich and I attended the HSLDA Leadership Conference in Baltimore.  We had the chance to visit DC and decided to stop by the Library of Congress.  In all of the times I’ve been there, I had never made it to the Library of Congress.  It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!  I don’t see how one can walk away from there and not want to read, read and read some more…

Thomas Jefferson's Library {Library of Congress}

The part that affected me the most was Thomas Jefferson’s library.  Wow.  That man loved books.  I mean, really, really loved reading books.  In fact, after the original Library of Congress was burned by
British troops during the War of 1812, Thomas Jefferson donated his personal library as a replacement.  Any guesses as to the size of his donation? At that time, he owned 6,487 books.  As I twirled around, gazing in wonder at his collection, my mind was taken back to my teen years when I attended the Summit Ministries worldview conferences in highschool.  My love for books and desire to read broadly was solidified there and I can still hear Dr. David Noebel giving us one of the first “Quotes of the Day” and telling us…

To be a leader, you gotta be a reader.  

We are people of The Book.  In order to stand firm, we must be grounded in the book of first importance, The Bible. {Hence our Family Bible Reading Plan.}  Reading broadly and voraciously, helps us to think about things and prepares us to have influence on others.  As mothers, we have influence.  We are leaders, even if that is in a focused capacity.  And I want to be a mother who reads, who thinks, who inspires her children in these same pursuits.  Our children are watching and ready to imitate.  Don’t we want to guide them and inspire them to think deeply, to grapple with tough issues, to be able to understand the past as they forge into the future?

Buuuuuuuuuuuut I’m one of those easily distracted people.  I tend to dream big, but struggle with the follow-through.  And that is where all of you come into play.  This year, I want to READ.  I have a stack upon stack of books around here and I’m going to start working through them.  I probably won’t get through all of them, but I’m listing out some of the books on my “want to read” list and as the year progresses, I’ll mark them as “READ” and share a bit about what I liked or didn’t like.  I have no idea what to expect in many of these, but I acquired them one way or another and want to give them a shot!  So I’m viewing this post as a form of accountability and you get a peak at what I’m reading. Ha!  Please tell me, I’m not the only one who loves to get a peek at a friend’s bookshelf?

So here’s the great book list of 2014:

Spiritual:

The Bible {my spring Bible study is on 1 John}

Heaven by Randy Alcorn ~ I asked my dad for a couple of his top recommendations and this was the first book he mentioned. currently reading

Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity and the Things We Made Up ~ I’ve had this on my Kindle for a while and since I’ll be reading about Heaven, I decided to hit this one as well.

The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization ~ This is the second book that my dad recommended.  It goes into the influence the Bible has had on virtually every aspect of Western Civilization.  The examples that my dad told me about were mind-blowing.  It sounded fascinating and from a parent’s standpoint, I thought it would be excellent to read as I seek to educate my own children.  You certainly won’t find this perspective in any of our library books.

24/6: A Prescription for a Happier, Healthier Life ~ Not sure if this book belongs in this category, but it goes into the benefits of observing the Sabboth.  My friend Amanda recommended it, so it is waiting on my Kindle, ready to be read.

The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas ~ An advent devotional from Ann Voskamp.  I didn’t get a chance to read this last year, so I’m going to do it this next December.

 

Marriage:

Power of a Praying Wife ~ I need to re-read this every couple of years.  It’s that time again.

My Beloved and My Friend: How To Be Married To Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses

 

 

Parenting/Family/Education/Development:

Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids ~ This is my mama reading for our unit on HONOR.  The book centers around bringing honor into our relationships. Currently Reading {I should blog about this one…  It is amazing.}

For the Family’s Sake 

Heartfelt Discipline ~ I’ve wanted to read this for a while as I’ve enjoyed many of Sally Clarkson’s books.

Life Skills for Kids

First Words: A Parent’s Step-by-Step Guide to Helping a Child with Speech and Language Delays  {FINISHED}  I checked it out because Greta’s speech is definitely delayed.  Love the practical advice even though it was easy to rule out one of the main things she discusses which is Autism.  It is chock full of all kinds of practical advice that you can do from home to help your children learn to communicate more effectively.

The Art of Strewing: Instilling the Love of Learning by Piquing your Child’s Natural Curiosity ~  While I’m not an unschooler, I have much in common with this aspect!   There is power in creating the environment that draws your children into exploration!  So excited to dive in and read this ebook.

Praying for Boys: Asking God for What They Need Most ~ I had the privilege of meeting Brooke McGlothlin last year.  Excited to read this one.

Praying Circles Around Your Children ~ At OhAmanda’s recommendation a while back, I snagged this.  It was amazing.  It was a quick read and I want to go through it again this year.

FICTION or Fun Reading:

In This House of Brede {FINISHED} This was a fascinating, albeit meandering look at monastic life.
Ender’s Game ~ {FINISHED}This is one of my brother-in-law’s favorite books.  Rich is reading it for the second time as he just put a request into our library to reserve the movie when it arrives.  I need to get on this one so I can have it read before the movie arrives too.

One Hour After{FINISHED} Ok, this was one of those “end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it” books about what could happen here in the U.S. if we were hit by an EMP.  Didn’t even know what an EMP was before reading the book.  It was a little freaky.  Note: It was intense, a little violent in parts and had foul language in it.  Think “military-action film” as far as violence and language goes.  Although reading about violence is far different than watching it, so it didn’t seem as intense.  I’m not a fan of either violence or language.  I could have lived w/out the language, but the violence wasn’t over-the-top.

The Book Thief

Kisses for Katie

 

Blogging, Etc…

iBlog Pro <– so excited to dig into this.  I contributed a chapter which means one chapter already read! 🙂

Your Blogging Business: Tax Tips from a Bookkeeper Turned Blogger ~ Yup, I made just enough last year to have to pay some medical bills {oh yeah} and start worrying about this {sigh}.  I’m figuring out taxes this year!

Misc:

A Million Little Ways: Uncovering the Art You Were Made to Live ~ Living our lives creatively as artists reflecting the Creator God.  This sounded Edith Schaefer-ish which naturally makes me want to read it.

Conversationally Speaking ~ This got great reviews so I bought it and now it is sitting here ready for me to read!

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More and Restore Your Passion for Life ~ I came home from a blogging conference last year with a stack of great books and this is one of them.  My friend borrowed it already and said it is great.

Robert’s Rules, Simplified ~ Now that I’m on a board, I guess I should really read this book.  🙂

A much needed break

Thankfully, we were able to get away this last weekend.  Rich and I both spoke for a homeschool kick-off meeting up north.  I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful it’s been the last couple of weeks to get to speak twice alongside my hubby.  I don’t think he expected to like it as much as he did!  Afterwards we traipsed up further north to spend some time with my aunt and uncle as well as make a trip to Lowell Observatory {where the planet PLUTO was discovered}.  Greta fell asleep on my back and that cuddle time was heavenly.

Flag lowellflag Collageflag - sedona

Cultivating Life-Giving Speech: A Family Devotional

Cultivating life-giving speech is so important and a daily occurrence - like building a tower one block at a time... A review of a new family devotional: Learning to Speak Life

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Oh the tongue is such a tiny part of our body and yet it wields such great power.  With it we can build each other up or tear one another down.

“The tongue has the power of life and death.”  Proverbs 18:21

Over in these parts, I’ve noticed that we’ve become a little lax with our tongues.  There has been more bickering, whining and complaining than I’d like to admit.  So when my friend Carlie asked if I wanted an advance peek at her new book that she wrote with her husband, I jumped at the chance.

It can be so easy to speak as the culture speaks.  But it is rarely uplifting.  And if it isn’t negative, its oftentimes full of empty praise and promises.  And yet, God’s Spirit inside of us makes it possible to pursue a different mode of communication with others.   We are excited to embark on this 9 week family devotional that will take us through the Fruit of the Spirit.

Learning to Speak Life: The Fruit of the Spirit – A Review

Learning to Speak Life: Fruit of the Spirit ~ A review of a delightful family devotional geared for kids 3-10! | heatherhaupt.com

Here’s what I like about it:

  • It is laid out well and yet also easy to adapt to each family circumstances.
  • It draws us into Scripture.  It has age appropriate suggestions for the over 7 and the 6 and under crowd that include copywork and memorization. There is also a great “Digging Deeper” section!  Nothing changes us quite like the Holy Spirit bringing conviction as we dig deep into the Word!
  • Faith Confessions – Part of speaking life is speaking truth – God’s promises – into our lives.  It is so inspiring to focus on what God CAN do in and through us instead of focusing on self and our shortcomings.
  • Imagination/Movement component.  Children learn so much through dramatization and movement.  There is a skit for each chapter that allows the children to role play inspiration for showing that Fruit of the Spirit in Action!
  • Another short story that brings home the point.
  • Silly Sayings: fun tongue twisters that also emphasize the point!
  • Great family discussion questions.
  • A family project – another HANDS-ON component that helps us live out this fruit in our lives.

In preparation for starting this devotional and well, because today was such a rough day in the bickering department, we sat down to talk about how our words can be used to build each other up or tear them down.  The wonderful thing about reading blogs is finding great ideas to tuck away for later…  My friend, Sarah, had blogged about a fun activity she had done with her boys.  Inspired by that we sat down to build tall block tower.

A great object lesson on how we can use our words to build each other up or tear one another down.

A great object lesson on how we can use our words to build each other up or tear one another down.A great object lesson on how we can use our words to build each other up or tear one another down.A great object lesson on how we can use our words to build each other up or tear one another down.

They built and built – carefully constructing a beautiful tower.  And then with one carelessly misplaced elbow, the whole thing came crashing down.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.  I took that moment to talk to the boys about how our words can be used to build one another up or tear them down.  We discussed how EASY a careless word can totally decimate someone.  I’d love to say that we had a great time of conviction and wonderful prayer together, but they were far more interested in building their tower again.

Tomorrow is a new day and with our block experience fresh on our minds, we’ll revisit this concept again as we dive into our first Fruit of the Spirit: LOVE!

Are you needing to focus on what the Bible has to say about the Fruit of the Spirit and grow in speaking life to each other? You can buy the book on Amazon for a special rate of $5.99 until August 1st.

You can also enter to win a PDF ebook copy on the rafflecopter widget below!   The giveaway ends on Sunday evening.  Because this is for a digital product, I’m so excited to let you know that this giveaway is open for ALL my readers, not just the one’s living here in the U.S!
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10 Books that Inspire a Lifestyle of Learning!

Books for the homeschool mom that inspire and equip you to pursue a lifestyle of learning with your family!

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It was a cool spring evening and all of us were filled with excitement at the prospect of spotting a comet.  Since it was to appear in the lower horizon after dusk, we pulled out the telescope in hopes of getting a better look.  The excitement was contagious as we anxiously looked westward for any glimpse of this celestial treat.  My parents were with us and as we gathered around the telescope a neighbor drove by and stopped to chat.  They chuckled and rolled their eyes at our excitement.  The phrase, “oh you homeschoolers” rolled off their tongues.  We smiled back!

I couldn’t help but feel a little sad for them.  Learning is so much more than ‘school work’.  It enhances every facet of life and takes place all the time.  Our goal with raising these four children of ours is to woo them into the wonder and adventure of life-long learning.

We never found the comet that evening, but we did notice Jupiter shining overhead.  We focused the telescope on it and experienced some of the wonder that Galileo must have felt when he caught that first glimpse of Jupiter’s moons.  Keegan breathed out a, “just like Galileo saw” as he witnessed the sight.  His discovery that we had experienced in books now jumped into real life.

There is no shame in being ‘one of those people,’ one who embraces a lifestyle of learning.  I’m ever so thankful for the opportunity to pursue the delight of discovery and exploration along-side my children, not matter how we end up being labeled.

So today I wanted to share with you 10 books that have inspired our pursuit of a life-style of learning!

 Pursuing a lifestyle of learning...  10 books that inspire!

General Homeschool Favorites

1. For the Children’s Sake

Although not specifically a ‘homeschool’ book, THIS book embodies my approach to parenting and inspires me to pursue ‘true education’ alongside my children.   It touches on literature, dialogue, weaving faith in to everyday living, the importance of play and cultivating a love for nature.  I’ve reviewed it more fully here.

2. Educating the Whole-Hearted Child

Weaving all of life together where our faith and learning are seamlessly woven into normal every-day living is vitally important to me.  This book is another one that’s influenced me! {Review here}

3. The Way They Learn

Embracing a life-style of learning also includes understanding how each of our children learn best.  Subtitled, ‘How to teach to your children’s strengths, this book goes into further detail to help you figure out your child’s learning styles and tailor their education so that they can really flourish.  As one of those out-of-the-box learners myself, I’m so grateful that my mother took the time to figure out my learning style and help me thrive in my studies.

4. Endangered Minds: Why Children Don’t Think and What We Can Do About It

There is a lot that is broken in the way our culture views education.  This book has nothing to do with homeschooling specifically and yet so much to do with empowering and equipping me to step outside of the traditional ‘school’ mentality.  This is the book that ignited my fascination with how the brain learns.  It is an amazing book that will turn your thinking upside down.  It’s been a few years since I’ve read it and I’m feeling due for a re-read.

“Without experiences, there are no concepts. Without concepts there is no attention. Without attention, they don’t know what you are talking about.” ~Jane Healy in Endangered Minds

 

Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten

I’m passionate about the preschool/kindergarten years and rather alarmed at how skewed popular approaches are for these critical years.  I’ve listed many articles and resources on this topic under the Cultivate Learning link at the top of the blog.  Here are two of my favorite books on the topic.  Both rely heavily on research which is awesome when you feel pressure from all over to go hardcore on academics at very early ages…

6. School Can Wait

This book was written by one of the fathers of the modern homeschooling movement, Dr. Raymond Moore.  It is heavy on the research and I’ve been hesitant to recommend it in the past.  In recent years I had two friends finally wrangle my hesitant recommendation of this book and they both loved it.  We live in a culture where there is so much pressure to educate our really young children despite a lack of grounding in research.  This book clearly lays out the research and gives a vision for what education in the early years can look like – literature and dialogue rich with lots of time spent with the mother!  If you are wanting something similar, but a little less technical his book Home Grown Kids would be an excellent choice too.

7. Miseducation: Preschoolers at Risk

Ok, I love just about everything written by David Elkind.  He is an educational psychologist who isn’t particularly homeschool friendly.  But this book will open your eyes to how dangerous is can be to push academics at a young age.  It is truly insightful.  In a day and age where people are trying to teach their babies to read and already planning for college admission, this is a must read book that will empower you to do what is best for your child now, knowing that it will pay huge dividends later.  And what is that: a play-based, experience rich approach that lays the groundwork for a life-long love of learning.

Parenting

As a homeschooling mother, I want to take into account all aspects of their growth and development.  Parenting well is essential for the homeschooling environment to function well.

8. A Family of Value

I knew this one would be good when my dad purchased a hard copy for each of his daughters after reading the kindle version.   This common-sense, practical approach to parenting has been a breath of fresh air in our home.  His quirky sarcasm and no-nonsense style was so helpful to me as we assessed where modern psychology has doled out some really bad advice on parenting that has infiltrated everywhere, including Christian circles.  He has a way with words that makes it easy to remember the old-fashioned parenting principles he talks about.   I loved the emphasis on raising children who are respectful, responsible and resourceful.  His focus on marriage-centered families is powerful and his call to embracing leadership in our parenting is brilliant.  While I didn’t agree with everything he said, it is the kind of book that makes you think hard.  It was fun reading this shortly after my sister had as it provided ample ammunition for lively conversation.

 

Stories that Inspire

What better way to learn about a life-style of learning that to watch it play out in a riveting story…   Here are a few that stand out to me.

8. Gifted Hands

I first read Ben Carson’s story when I was a girl.  I was captivated by how he came from an uneducated, broken home and rose to become one of the top neurosurgeons at Johns Hopkins.  At the time, I was impressed with his mother and the hard work he put into his studies.  Now as a mother, I’m even more amazed.  If this single mama who was illiterate and holding down 3 jobs could inspire and equip her kids to pursue excellence in education and character than the rest of us have no excuse!  I recently had the opportunity to hear him speak.  I’m not usually the autograph type, but I had to take down my well-worn copy of this book and ask him to sign it.  His comment, “Wow, it actually looks like this book’s been read.”  Yes sir, several times.

BenCarson

9. The Art Lesson

I think it is so cool to find inspiration for parenting and education tucked into a delightful picture book.  It’s a win-win for the whole family.  I love this autobiographical picture book from one of my favorite author/illustrators – Tomie dePaola.  It so winsomely explores the benefit of free expression through art with the need for instruction.  It inspires me to pursue a bit of both. (Related post: Art vs. Craft)

10. Cheaper by the Dozen

Xander made his acting debut as the youngest boy in a play based on this book.  A friend of mine told me this was her favorite ‘homeschool’ book and that intrigued me enough to check it out.  Learning is so intentional and woven into every nook and cranny of family life for the family in this book.  Your kids will be entertained by this read-aloud and you’ll all probably be inspired!

What inspired you in your pursuit of life-long learning for your family?

I’m linking up with the ladies from the iHomeschool Network for 10 Weeks of Top 10 lists as well as Angie from Many Little Blessings.  Be sure to check out everyone else’s Top 10 book lists this week!

10in10

Screen-Free Bliss! See you in a week…

Well, after all of my big talk about limiting screen-time, I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to go screen-free myself.  I’m not used to the every-day blogging like I did for this last series and my poor brain is feeling pretty fried.  Ironic, isn’t it?   So as I mentioned 2 weeks ago, next week is national “Screen-Free Week” and we are participating!

I also want to avert any more of this…  My 5 year old decided to color on baseball catcher leg guards one day this week when I was putting last minute touches on a post.  A clear reminder why I must blog when my kids are sleeping.

catcher

Plus, I’ll have plenty of time to READ!!! I’m looking forward to Kevin DeYoung’s, The Hole in our Holiness.   Are you reading anything interesting right now?  I’m always looking for interesting books.

We are also going to dive into more books from our Heritage History collection. Remember when I wrote about them?  I read a book about the adventures of Captain Cook on my own.  It was fun spending an evening going back and forth between the book and my globe as I tracked his progress across the Pacific.  I think I’m going to select Heroes of Progress from the Early American CD for my next fun read!  The boys are excited to dive into Stories of Robin Hood for our next read aloud!  By the way, they are having a great sale right now if you want to take advantage of it.
Spring Sale at Heritage History

Also on my MUST DO list: Capitalizing on the last of our spring weather to get outside and enjoy the last vestiges of our desert spring before we hit the 100’s…

desert

desert3 desert2Petroglyphs

On a recent trip to the Blythe area to speak to a homeschool group, some friends took us off-roading and we found these incredible petroglyphs.  I’m thinking we need to go find some closer to home now! 🙂

Ok, signing off.  See you on the other side!

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The magic of books!

There has been a lot of reading going on at the our home of late. We’ve always loved reading, but personal reading has sometimes been more in the category of wishful thinking, than as avidly pursued as I’d like to admit. More couch time has produced the opportunity to get thru more of my desired reading list (most recently finishing Hidden Art and Pride and Prejudice!)and has also provided opportunity to read even more delightful books to my boys.

Keegan is obsessed with books right now. He’s just beginning to tolerate us actually reading to him as he usually prefers to turn the pages and babble about what he is looking at. 🙂

So I was honored to be tagged by my friend, Tara, to list my 7 favorite children’s books.

Obviously since my kiddos are still very young, most of my books are in the simple/board book categories…

Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:

Good Night Moon – a true classic. This was my favorite book as a toddler, and it has proved to be quite the favorite for my boys, especially when they are in that 15m-2 year age. Thankfully, it comes in boardbook format, which is helpful at this age. I can “read” it with my eyes closed!
Runaway Bunny – a little bit more complicated of a storyline, but such a precious story. I love this book so much, it inspired how we chose to decorate the nursery! Xander loves to “find” the baby bunny as he takes different forms throughout the book just as I once did. As a mom now, I appreciate this book all the more.
Where the Wild Things Are – Another childhood favorite of mine that has been transferred to my son. And like the Runaway Bunny, a parents perspective is a special treat now.
Barnyard Dance – We have grown to love many Sandra Boynton books, but this is my all-time favorite! It is very lyrical and funny. It has produced many giggles and imitating of various farm animals over the last 2 years! I can quote the entire book for you. Really.
Chugga-Chugga, Choo-Choo – like Barnyard Dance, this was a library find, that after hoarding for several months (I love online renewals), we finally decided to buy. The pictures of the little boy’s toys put to use as surroundings for his train are awesome. I can’t wait to see that kind of creativity continue to unfold in my boys.
Where is My Mommy – Xander loves this one. He frequently “reads” this to his little brother for as long as Keegan will tolerate.
I’d Be Your Hero – This delightful book is the conversation between a boy and his mother. He describes his imaginary world where he’d be his mother’s hero and she encourages him as he exhibits Godly character. I love the scripture verses that are included. It’s been a special book that Xander and I read together.
Wild Animal Baby – ok, so this isn’t a book, but my boys have LOVED this magazine designed for kids 12months-4 years of age. Xander loves getting mail and a chance to “read” his own magazine. I love keeping one or two handy in the diaperbag for when we are stuck at the dr’s office, etc. Thanks Mima for such a wonderful gift!

I’d like to tag my friend Jess and the Millers (you guys don’t have a baby out of the oven yet, but I know both of you were avid childhood readers!!!)