Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Mellow Monday and a Good Book

I made a personal "rule" several years ago to stay home on Mondays. It simply gets our week off on the right foot if we can regroup after the weekend and be busy at home. This Monday we had the added issue of sick little ones to nurse. While I comforted them and tried to get some housework accomplished, the "Big 3" did their morning chores and some independent schoolwork.
By the time the little ones went down for their naps, I was exhausted. When we finally got our late lunch cleaned up, I decided to spend some time chilling out and reading Leepike Ridge to the kids. We started the book weeks ago, but had only read a few chapters. We kept putting it aside to read our science or history books. We picked it back up over the weekend and were quickly hooked. On Monday, we ended up reading together the entire nap time and finished the book! We just couldn't stop until we found out how it ended.

I was originally inspired to buy the book after reading what Laurie Detweiler (of Veritas Press) had to say about it. She said, "Be prepared to leave the laundry in a pile, the dirty dishes in the sink, because once you start reading this you will not stop until you hit the last page. And please don’t punish your children if they stay up past their bed time." Well, that sold me.

The story takes a few chapters to warm up. (That's why we were able to set it aside for a few weeks.) But by the middle of the book, the suspense builds and it becomes a serious page-turner. It is the story of Tom Hammond, an eleven-year-old boy who floats down a creek on a piece of packing foam from a refrigerator box. He gets swept into a cave and that's when the real adventure begins. N.D. Wilson includes all the essentials for an adventure story: treasure, survival, intrigue, courage, and a good dog! It is has elements from works like The Odyssey, Tom Sawyer, King Solomon's Mines, and Robinson Crusoe. (Fair warning: it is a bit scary at times. Even the big boys admitted to being a little shaken up when we read at bedtime on Sunday night.)

Once we were finished with the book, the kids used the remaining daylight on that crisp fall day to go on their own adventure in our woods. They, too, had the essentials: flashlight, metal detector, sharp stick for digging. They ended up finding a turtle which we kept in a box for 24 hrs to observe. Not bad for a homeschool day with sick little ones. In addition to the math they did in the a.m., we covered history (an element from the story,) science (lots of neat cave info, plus the turtle experience,) and literature (Wilson has a good writing style and we talked about how he paints vivid pictures with the words he chooses.) Though Monday was not a typical homeschool day, I think it fits in with my overall philosophy of inspiring a love of learning rather than just filling their heads with information.






5 comments:

Wendy said...

I keep hearing about this book. I'm going to have to get this.

Mike said...

Jen,

Mellow Monday is such a great concept. I wonder if I could figure out a way to have this at work?

Love you.

ellen b. said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I love childrens books and this one will go on my list. Blessings...
http://happywonderer.wordpress.com/

Mary@notbefore7 said...

"inspiring a love of learning rather than just filling their heads with information" AMEN SISTER!

Loving the Mellow Monday thing.

Hmmm...think I might have to buy that book for the future...

So, are you a Classical Ed gal?

Kate said...

love it!
btw - took that jane austen quiz and i am : "Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see."

pretty much to a tee.