Books Around Our Home(school)

We are unapologetically book people.

Some people don’t quite understand how you can be a book person and be a Waldorf person. Now granted, I’ve never claimed to be a Waldorf purist or a “Steiner Says”er, but I’ve thought the people who feel Waldorf education is anti-book rather miss the point. I find that, at the heart of this crazy Waldorf way of learning and living, is the story. And isn’t that the heart of every good book as well? We weave our day with stories— sung stories about little leaves waking, off-the-cuff stories about little boys washing the sleepy dust left by sandman, laughing stories told about naughty children who somehow overcome and find their better nature. There are so many stories to be told, books cannot even begin to hold them all.

But don’t get me wrong—we are crazy in love with books. We have a ridiculous amount of them and still manage to come home from the library with bags and bags full. I always have to laugh when I am trying to use my Educator Discount Card at Barnes and Nobles and the clerk asks me if these books are for school. We’re homeschoolers! It’s all school, and we love to read.

Daniel (kindergarten) has been enjoying the story of Dick Whittington and His Cat. This is an English folktale, and as we usually do, we start out telling the story “from the heart,” without the aid of a book. I find that this is my favorite method of first telling a story—just me and my little guy snuggled up on my lap and a story. It’s a great tale of a young man’s rise from poverty to greatness, and makes little hearts feel like they can do big things. Later, though, I pull out my copy of Marcia Brown’s Caldecott honor book version.

I love the beautiful woodcut illustrations.

We don’t do much more with this story than just tell it or read it, although it can also be used to teach the letter C using the picture of a curled up cat.

Another story we’ve been using for kindergarten is The Little Red House with No Doors from Autumn Seasons of Joy.

Nicholas has been reading The Velveteen Rabbit’>The Velveteen Rabbit. I found a beautiful version illustrated by Michael Hague at Half-Price Books for only $1! Love, love, love finding bargains.

We really enjoy Michael’s Hague’s illustrations, so that made this an especially great find.

This story is recommended in Oak Meadow Year Three. I will admit that I was a little reluctant. My instinct is always, always to protect my children against things that might hurt their hearts, and this is such a bittersweet tale. On the other hand, I also worry that by introducing things before they are ready that they just won’t quite get it, and they’ll miss out. My fears were misplaced. Nicholas really seemed to enjoy it and was especially intrigued by the idea of a toy being real.

We’ve been implementing what I like to call “You read to me and I read to you” time for this book. I read a paragraph or two, and then Nick reads a paragraph or two. In this way, I’m able to check for comprehension as well as fluency and expression while reading. Nick likes to barrel on full speed ahead without regard for punctuation, so we’ve been paying particular attention to stopping at the end of sentences.

On his own, Nicholas is reading My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics)’>My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. This was based on a recommendation over at Wonder in the Woods and when he finishes this trilogy I think we’ll take her recommendation again and move on to Gary Paulson’s Hatchet.

He raced through this book at a pace which shocked me. When I asked why he liked it, he looked at me as if I were silly and said, “Mom—there’s s trained falcon.”

‘Nuff said, I guess.

Katie Grace is getting classic with Rudyard Kipling’s A Collection of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories">Just-So Stories.

She especially seems to enjoy reading them out loud to Molly, who can out-harumph! the best camel. Katie has been studying the ancients and is now up to ancient Persia, so I think the timing of this book is excellent. She’s learning that every cultures searches it’s heart to answer the great questions of why and how, and these stories are gentle answers. We’ll end with a creative writing assignment of coming up with a Just-So Story of her own.

Michael is reading Lord of the Flies, Centenary Edition’>Lord of the Flies.

He’s studying civics this year and is really getting into the issues of citizenship and leadership, which makes this a great match for him. Of course, so far the thing that has struck him most is the line “Sucks to your asthma!” but he’s only a few chapters in. He’ll end with a major essay on the book.

Added Bonus: When they’re all jockeying for position and trying to kill each other to get their own way and say “Knock it off. This isn’t Lord of the Flies.” at least one person will know what I am talking about.

So, what are your kids reading right now?

It’s not too late to come join us on Waldorf Wednesday! Come and share your link.

1 Comment

  1. //

    I’ll say again that I’m new to Waldorf. And I’m glad that I’ve come to love so much about it before ever reading that someone might espouse the idea, “Well, you know, Waldorf is anti-book.” Because our family feathers our nest with books and Always have. We love books. And always will.

    Last year or so, I was talking to a small group of 4th graders about My Side of the Mountain and they were really intrigued by this question re: the boy’s use of the poached deer. It went something like this… “It’s illegal to poach the deer. And it’s illegal for anyone to benefit from a poached animal. So, when the boy used the deer, he was committing a crime. Would it have been better for him to leave the dead deer to rot or to use it?” The age old philosophical question between ethic and law sparked just as fiercely in the 10 year old girls I was talking with as it did when I was part of the same question discussion in law school.

    You might like this blogpost –from one girl who reads to another (:

    Can you please post at least twice a day?? (;


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