Homeschooling from the Heart
Freshly sharpened pencils and new notebooks.
That was what I always loved best about getting ready for the first day of school. Oh, sure, there were the textbooks too, but what could compare to the possibilities of little volumes of blank pages? Knowing my notebooks would soon hold the requisite math problems and spelling words did little to dampen my enthusiasm. After all, might they not also harbor fantastic stories, random thoughts, and an occasional doodle sprouting in the margins? The possibilities for the new notebooks endless, what a relief to throw away the worn-out, used-up notebooks of last year and begin again.
Years have passed, and while my enthusiasm for the potential in blank notebooks reignites when I see school supplies go on sale, a feeling of responsibility accompanies it. Now I'm not just writing in notebooks, but in lives. How can I possibly impart even half of what my children need to know to face life in this increasingly difficult world?
2011 Newbery Award Winner
Book Review: Moon Over Manifest
Clare Vanderpool's debut novel Moon Over Manifest is the winner of the ALA's 2011 Newbery Award.1 Ms. Vanderpool says the book grew out of the concept of "true places" and her wondering what becomes such a place for "someone who has never lived anywhere for more than a few weeks or months at a time."2 This is a depression-era twist on an orphan train story that features colorful, sometimes shady characters in a complex plot progression with revolving storylines and a tapestry of themes well suited to thought-provoking conversations in homes and classrooms.
One summer in 1936, Gideon Tucker puts his daughter, twelve-year-old Abilene, on a train bound for Manifest, a place she's never been to but that she knows well enough from her father's stories of days gone by. He will work a railroad job that will keep him on the move, but Abilene knows that he will come back for her before school resumes in the fall. There are others in Manifest, however, who are not so certain he will return by September--or maybe ever.