Saturday, March 29, 2014

Living Books Forum: A Book Ignited a Fire...A Learning Fire!

Do you have a childhood favorite read, one that impacted you so greatly you remember every page? 
Maybe a picture book, a chapter book?

After reading your favorite book, did you reach for others by the same author? The same topic or genre?

Not long ago one of the learners in my home read a book that started a literary fire, a fire that burned brightly for months, actually almost a year if you count all the extended studies ignited off to the side.

The book that started the fire? 

The Story of Florence Nightingale by Margaret Leighton

I remember the evening she finished the book. She closed the book, clutched it to her chest, and remarked, "That was a good book! I feel like I know Florence Nightingale. I know the trials she faced as she treated people. I know about her courage to do something other people thought she shouldn't do. That was a good book!"

"Do we have any other nurse books?"

Wow! The power of a story!

We walked to the bookshelf and pull a few others. One after another, they were read, each time adding another layer of learning. When she read the all books we owned, we looked for more. 

Eventually her study broadened to women who changed medical science. That leg of the learning journey became a biographical science project (really mini research projects grouped into one) which spark studies in human anatomy and physiology, later branched to health and nutrition. Each learning segment was sparked by the one before, but ignited by one book.

                                         The Story of Florence Nightingale by Margaret Leighton

Keeping great books--books that are alive and carry the reader into the story-- in my home is one of my greatest pursuits. Finding books which capture attention and ignite learning, all the while building reading confidence and fluency. Finding books is now part of my yearly planning as I consider curricula for the coming year. Sometimes I comment, "I used to spend hours thumbing through catalogs, now I reference book lists and search garage sales, used bookstores, and Ebay". When we find literary treasures, eyes light up. Learning fires are started!

                                              Are there books in your home that ignite learning? 
                                     Do you want to learn more about how you can spark interest? 

           Join us at Living Books Forum, April 5, just one week away. 

Workshop descriptions here.

Register here. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Living Books Forum: Excerpt from The Wright Brothers: First to Fly by Madge Haines and Leslie Morrill

What is a living book? Another mom inquires. A term best defined by an excerpt, a sample. 

Here are a few excerpts from one in a series we enjoy, Makers of America. The book is titled The Wright Brothers: First to Fly by Madge Haines and Leslie Morrill and invites the reader on adventures of experimentation with the Wright brothers from the time they were young boys to their famous flight.

"One evening Wilbur said to Orville, 'I wish I could find the scientific law that made the small helicopter rise. Then I think I could figure out why the big one we made did not fly.'

'I'll bring you some books from the town library,' Orville offered. 'I know you have ready everything your're interested in, in Father's library.'

During those months while Wilbur was slowly gaining his strength, he used his hands in making light, delicate things. He became very skillful in using chisels and tools. He read books and magazine articles on the subject of flying.

As Orville came into his room one evening. Wilbur looked up from a magazine and spoke with a new note of eagerness. 'A man in Germany has made a glider that can carry him through the air.'

'Otto Lilienthal. He has been experimenting with gliders. He waits for a strong breeze, then he runs down a hill into the wind, and the glider actually carries him.' Wilbur was demonstrating with his arms. 

Orville reached over to take the magazine from his brother. 'Why don't we make one?'

Wilbur nodded. 'But we'd better do some studying first.'"

"With the wind blowing harder then ever, the plane kept climbing. Now it was ten feet off the ground and still in the air. Now it was flying right away from Wilbur.

The boy who had been watching jerked off his cap and waved and shouted, 'He's flying! He's flying!'

Orville did not hear. He was too busy trying to steer the plane and to think of what was happening...with 'the machine moving forward, the air flying backward, the propeller turning sidewise, and nothing standing still.'

In a few seconds the plane began to come down, but it did not crash. It settled gently on the sand.

'How long was I up?'

'Twelve seconds!'

There are living books for almost every subject, at every reading level, from beginning readers through adult. 

How do we incorporate those into our days?

One simple way is to have the books available, in your home, where children and young adults have them accessible.

Tina Farewell and I will be sharing how to build a home library with title your children will enjoy. Later in the morning Tina will be sharing how to teach grammar, vocabulary, mechanics and conversation from the contents of living books. I will be offering a workshop on using living books (real books) through the high school years. 

Workshop descriptions for ALL the workshops offered at Living Books Forum can be found here.

Come to Living Books Forum and you will gain lists of titles as well as practical helps to make learning engaging and memorable in your home.

Living Books Forum: Workshop Descriptions

April 5, 2014, Metro Church, Winter Springs, FL

Workshop Descriptions

8:30 am  Doors open for check in with opportunity to browse book tables, get a cup of coffee
9:00- 9:30am The Power of a Story- Bob Farewell
Living Books Basics: Life-Changing Potential - Cheryl Bastian and Tina Farewell
We can work beside Thomas Edison, fly the Atlantic with Charles Lindbergh, and discover Narnia with Lucy and Peter through the incredible power of Story. Living Books introduce us to people, places, and experiences—real and imagined—which touch hearts and minds. Booklovers Tina Farewell and Cheryl Bastian share practical experiences from the whys and hows of successful family read aloud time to developing an excellent Want-to-Read Book List and building a home library that will shape a family’s culture with a Museum of Memories.
How to Create an Interest-based Study- Holly Giles
Living books can be used to create a learning adventure, an interest-based study. Holly Giles will present practical ideas for using informational and living books as well as community resources to cover all content areas in an integrated unit study. She will demonstrate how to compile a study using living books as the foundation with examples from Pagoo by Holing C. Holing (beach and sea life, shelling, weather, geography, and field trips), Misty of Chinoteague by Marguerite Henry (islands, horses, farming, weather, historical events, and field trips), and The Last Egret by Harvey Oyer (Florida history, Indians, birds, waterways, and ecosystems).
11:15am – 12:15pm
Making Language Arts Meaningful: Copywork, Grammar, Vocabulary and More! - Tina Farewell
It’s so easy to make the language arts come alive using Living Books, including the finest Living Book, the Bible. Tina Farewell explains the language arts components as well as the life application of copywork, grammar, vocabulary, listening, comprehension, questioning, and conversation and how these concepts can be taught in meaningful, simple, and realistic methods.
Not Just Literature: Weaving Living Books into High School Courses – Cheryl Bastian
Living books do not have to be abandoned as young adults approach and enter high school. In fact, their learning potential makes them ideal for high school. In this workshop, Cheryl shares how to integrate living books into any content or interest area, ultimately teaching and bolstering high school level (and beyond!) content. The benefit: the young adult becomes well-read and remembers what was learned. Included in the workshop will be suggestions for accommodating middle and high school young adults with learning challenges.
Fantasy: Pros and Cons- Bob Farewell
Examine fantasy; see for yourself the delightful way it stimulates the imagination. Character traits, moral decisions, good versus evil—these impact young persons for life. From the writings of Hans Christian Andersen and George MacDonald to C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, we can learn much from the created worlds of these exceptional storytellers. Join Bob Farewell, a lover of Story, to learn how to integrate this genre in your home learning environment.
12:15- 1:00pm Bring Your Own Lunch for Books and Conversation
1:15 – 2:15pm
Eureka! History, Science, and Geography with Living Books for One or More Learners – Cheryl Bastian and Tina Farewell
“I found it!” A curious child shares the excitement of discovery, a question answered, much like the exhilaration enjoyed by explorers, inventors and leaders who changed history. Who were those influential people? How did they change history? What did they discover? Where did they live? What was their sphere of influence? Cheryl and Tina invite parents to help children ask questions, fueled by learning, sparked by history, geography and science, which came alive through the study of prominent (as well as inconspicuous) people and significant events with Living Books.
Favorite Read Aloud Books: Creating Lifetime Memories through Sharing Living Books- Bob Farewell
Out of thousands of books available, what makes a certain few stand out? What do families love about them? What makes them great for all, both children and adults? As Robertson Davies wrote, “A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity, and once more in old age.” Each family’s culture is unique-based upon the books and experiences they have shared. Relive some of the Farewell family’s favorites in this workshop.
2:30 – 3:15pm
Q & A: Get Your Questions Answered! – Bob and Tina Farewell, Holly Giles & Cheryl Bastian
All attendees will be given a 3x5 card when they check-in at the Living Books Forum. As the pages of the day are turned, attendees are invited to write down questions they feel were not answered during the day. The epilogue for the day will be a forum Q&A to get those questions answered. We hope you will make plans to finish the day with us!

Register here. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Living Books Forum- Question Asked, Answers Offered

Great question asked today. It was posted over on the Living Books Forum Facebook page. I thought I would post it hear with the comments posted with hope the answers may help parents wrestling with what Living Books are and how they are used in the home school.

I heard Living Books are part of the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education. I don't use the CM approach. Will I be able to apply what I learn at the Living Books Forum to our homeschool?

Theresa commented, "The answer is YES! Absolutely! I don't use CM but have learned so much about Living Books. My homeschooling has become a lot more fun. My kids are now excited to learn."

Cheryl answered, "Absolutely! Books that allow for learning, no matter what your philosophy may be. The Story of Louis Pasteur is an amazing Living Book which allows the reader to walk alongside Louis in the chem lab to grow bacteria and across the ocean to find a solution for the French silk industry. The biography is a GREAT book, a Living Book because the reader is living at the time of the setting. This book could be incorporated into a classical cycle of history or a unit study. It could be used as a source for a traditional research paper. It makes a great addition to an independent chemistry study. So, though the book may be called a Living Book by Charlotte Mason, it is at the core, a biography that can be woven into any study in any educational philosophy."

Tina responded, "What are some other terms for Living Books? Dr. Ruth Beechick also called them Whole Books and Real Books. Some call them Classics. Some call them Library Books! Simply put, they are books that are typically written by one author who loves the subject and that shines through the book. It causes something noble in the heart of the reader and often begs to be read again and again.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Living Books Forum Coming to Orlando Area

Why Living Books Forum?
This event, created from an outpouring of parents who attended a workshop about living books presented by Cheryl Bastian and Tina Farewell at Books and Beyond 2014, is intended to equip parents and educators as they deepen their knowledge about living books as well as how to use them to maximize the learning potential of their children. Living books can impact every content area, for every child (including a child facing learning challenges), from elementary through high school. We hope to see you there.

What is a living book and how can it impact my family? 
Living books are authored by one person (typically), passionate and knowledgeable about a subject or story presented. This text is penned in narrative, conversational style, allowing the reader to walk alongside the characters, inviting the reader into the story--hence into the historical era or geographical context--involving the reader's senses and emotions, making learning natural and memorable. The subject comes alive, engaging thinking and learning on a deeper, more thorough level than a traditional textbook.

Living books can be incorporated into any learning or teaching philosophy, used as a primary resource or supplemental material with the purpose of enhancing interest studies. Living books can be used to teach any subject (yes, even math!) at any level, elementary through adult. 

Whether you are just learning about living books or trying to use them at the next level in high school, this event will offer something for everyone, at any point on the learning journey.

8:45 am to 3:30 pm

Metro Church
1491 E. SR 434, Winter Springs, FL 32708    

$10 per person OR $15 per couple
which includes coffee, hot tea and water along with light snacks.

Register here.

 Please bring your own lunch. 

We love babies and know you do to! We welcome babies who need to attend with mom and can sit quietly on a lap, but unfortunately we cannot provide childcare for this event.

Workshops to be offered: 

Workshop Descriptions here.
Register here. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Learning with Living Books: The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers

Sitting with some of my older learners in a flight class where they are learning to read flight charts and maps to make a flight plan. Can't help think about The Wright Brothers and other aviators who paved the way for where we are today.

Living books have allowed our family to join Orville and Wilbur, as young boys, in their workshop where they drew plans (because their mom encouraged them to draw their creations first) and then built. We smiled as they tried to make their sled travel faster and their kite fly higher. The books, The Wright Brothers: Pioneers of American Aviation by Quentin Reynolds in particular, allowed us to "live" at the time of the brothers, experiencing the time period, one we would not experience otherwise.

Reading The Wright Brothers sparked an interest to learn more, dig deeper and then extend our study to other aviators.

Wilbur and Orville Wright: Young Aviators, Augusta Stevenson
The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot, Alice Provenson
The Story of Amelia Earhart, Adele De Leeuw
Amelia Earhart: Young Air Pioneer, Jane Moore Howe

Our family has loved where living books have taken us. Where will they take your family?
Share your experiences in the comments.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Johann Gutenberg and the Printing Press

This past week I prepared and taught a class on Johann Gutenberg for the co-op my children enjoy once a week with eight other families. Children were eager to learn, eager to find out more about the German printer who printed the first Bible on the movable type printing press.

 Johann Gutenberg was born into a wealthy family fortunate enough to have books. Gutenberg, fueled by his passion for the written word was determined to find a way to create books faster than handwriting every word, the norm of his day.

We arrived at co-op early so I could set up my teaching area. Breeze blowing, sun shining brightly, I decided to teach outside. I spent 15 minutes talking about Gutenberg, his biography and his accomplishments. We talked about the printing process and I explained how we would make relief, Styrofoam, and monoprints.

We all enjoyed learning together while enjoying the beautiful day. 

Once home looked on the shelves of our home library for some living books so we could dig deeper in our learning. Indeed, I found a few:

The Printers

If you find your children interested in bringing a part of history alive through printing, here are some resources you might find helpful: 
  • Lessons plans for fruits and veggies prints, styrofoam prints, lithography, monoprints, linoleum block printing, and more -
  • Styrofoam tray prints -
  • Nature prints -