girls

Just finished the list for Book Circle, Spring 2014!

We are getting started a little bit late this spring, mainly because my girls and I meet outdoors and this winter has been COLD! Essentially, we only have 8 weeks for book circle, but I am excited to see how many of these great reads we get through!

Each semester carries a loose theme. Last Fall, we read about girls from different parts of the world who overcame obstacles of loss, transition and family crises.  This spring, we are coming back home to the US, and looking at the lives of girls from early 1900’s through the Depression Era.  Throwing in Because of Winn Dixie, which occurs a few decades later, because I try to make it a point each semester to throw in a story about a girl and her animal friend 🙂

So here it is! A big thanks to AMightyGirl.com for always guiding me toward the best finds for us!

Moon over Manifest   Image 8   Out of the Dust   Image 4

Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry   Image 7   Because of Winn Dixie   Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 2.40.24 PM

May B. A Novel   Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 4.47.42 PM   Counting on Grace   Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 4.48.11 PM

And last but not least, I found this little GEM today as I was looking for Depression Era content.  Dalhart TX is my home town! My parents and grandparents grew up there. I was stunned when I saw this!  Even if I don’t get to it for Book Circle, I am definitely going to read it with my daughter.  Then send a copy to my family members.

Survival in the Storm   Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 3.17.41 PM

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Homeschool Queen ironically has a distaste for princesses

I have never bought princess playthings for my daughter. Not a tiara, nor a wand. Not a Magic Mirror vanity, not a $10 princess gown. Disclaimer: other family members have bought these things for her – in which case I just smile appreciatively.

Don’t get me wrong, I never would outright BASH a princess.  I appreciate that Belle is an avid reader and that Ariel is a passionate learner.  I applaud Cinderella and Snow White for serving their families without complaining and growing bitter. Jasmine, Mulan and Pocahontas – the POC (princesses of color) are breaking all kinds of cultural legalism.  These are all good things!

The part that I struggle with is the idea that in most cases, the main character – an intelligent female – ends up looking to a man for her happily ever after. Frankly, my issue is more with our traditional misogynistic culture, than with these young women.

“Why does every princess have to have a prince?”

All three of my kids went to see Frozen, and they loved it. Many people around the web have criticized Elsa for her individuality. Their argument revolves around the assumption that her expression is sexual. This is interesting to me, because there is no love interest in the movie for Elsa.  She simply wants the freedom to express her gift without subjugation. Was she sexy? UH, yeah.  Was she using her looks and body to lure a man? NO!! Frozen blew my mind because it is a different kind of love story – TRUE LOVE IS SACRIFICIAL and at it’s core, has nothing to do with romance.

Friends, I don’t mean to sound judgmental. We have definitely experienced every disney movie ever made. I find it ironic however, that the spin for male main characters revolves around adventure and accomplishment. The spin for female main characters 9x out of 10, revolves around finding true love.  For this mama – I am looking for a different message for my daughter.

My hope for my little princess (warrior), is that her true love will be an equal, a partner. Her relationship will be one where each person respects and values the other. Mutual deference and honor. True love is sacrificial, for both persons, whether male or female.

Agree with me?

Wanna get in my face and yell at me?

What am I missing? Teach me.

What would you add?

 

Mighty Girls Literature Circle

In September, my daughter and I started a book circle for girls (age 9-11ish) here in Tuscaloosa. Our intention is to explore the lives and experiences of girls throughout history, both at home and abroad. Each book we read features a brave, strong overcomer who challenges us to stretch ourselves beyond what we know as people who live in Alabama, America. The fall semester was fantastic! Here is our structure:

1. We choose 6 books that the girls read and discuss during the semester. I suspected that the mamas weren’t going to want to purchase many more than this!

2. The girls take two weeks to read the book, and we discuss the first half one week, and the second half the next week. This is a great system because some girls read very fast and others not so fast. Two weeks gives the not-so-fast readers enough time to get the book finished. And it is a short enough time span, so that the rapid readers don’t forget what they read!

3. We meet for 2 hours. Discussion lasts for 1 hour, and then the girls explore and play for the 2nd hour. It is such a great time frame, because they work hard the first hour to sit still and stay engaged. The 2nd hour, they are free to run, climb and imagine. Mamas pick them up around noon.

4. Each semester carries a particular theme. For our first semester, we focused on girls around the world, all who faced great odds, danger and some sense of loss. We read The Breadwinner, Number the Stars, Wild Girl, Inside Out and Back Again, Esperanza Rising, and The Island of Blue Dolphins. These books opened our eyes to life around the globe – Vietnam, Mexico, Brazil, Poland, Afghanistan and the Pacific Islands. Our spring semester will bring us back to the US, focusing on the historical biographies of young heroines in America.

5. The moms are welcome to either drop-off their daughters, or stay and listen and participate.

During fall and spring, our participants are homeschool girls. But during the summer, we will add public school friends, and will incorporate the 2014 summer reading list provided by our ISD. The girls can utilize our literature circle for anything from a social interaction and discussion, to a reading portfolio for school! If you have any suggestions on how we could make our circle even better – please let me know!

Book Circle

We will be starting back up in the spring – mid march.  If you homeschool near Tuscaloosa, come join us.

Happy reading!