This is the THIRD Charlotte Mason Carnival and I have been late to the previous two. I do want to make it to this one for I am passionate about living books.
I would like to talk about what LIVING BOOKS have done for us at home. They are our antidote to burn out, to boredom, to dreadful days of going through insipid textbooks trying to retain disjointed information. After grazing in the pasture of the living books, I do not know if I will be able to return to the desert of public school teaching. The look of the basal books and the booklets with questions about those stories (though not all are bad, treating them as texts to be dissected, and the forced activities that follow each reading), the leveled readers, and the filth they sell us and they I promoted when I taught, all of it gives me serious shivers. Not to mention the Science and Social Studies text books. I won’t be able to wake up at 6 am every day knowing I had to use them.
Many object to the term living. In a strict sense I agree that there is one and only living book, The Holy Bible, what we mean by the term living book it is derived from Charlotte Mason’s idea of living, wholesome books, and used in all respect to mean books that put us in straight touch with ideas and with other minds.
Much has been said about what and what not constitutes a living book. There is though an infallible rule to me. Those books you could read again and again and again, those books you do not tire of listening to, those are living books.
Back to what living books do for us, I can’t simply conceive our learning and living without them. They are our “curriculum”, for I rarely use anything in addition to living books. I can’t but thank Ambleside, An Old-Fashioned Education, Stephanie (here is her bookshelf), Simply Charlotte Mason, and my many CM inspired friends for their constant recommendations when it comes to living books. And apart from the comfort of sharing and seeing the living books others are reading, there is nothing as the gratification of finding them yourself.
Since I have no reference for living books in Spanish, and my childhood has a mix of twaddle and living books, I am now in the pursue of finding titles in Spanish that fall into the living book category. I will be adding titles in Spanish that are not translations in a few months, when, Lord willing, I will travel to Madrid and hopefully be able to visit some old and new too book stores and find several living books that I will share, as well as titles available in English that I’m always catching in the library sales and retail stores, etc.
If your days are long, your weeks never end, your children are not motivated and you dread the routine you’ve gotten into, do something for you and your children, find a few good books, and let the ideas and learning flow from them! Trust me, they will.
P.S: latest “living hits” at our household:
The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton
Japanese Twins, from the Twin Tales
The Princess and the Kiss
Phewtus the Squirrel, VH Drummond