Already it is time to be looking ahead to January, and that inevitably means looking at the term just gone and asking myself what went well, what we enjoyed as a family, what we long for more of, and what we can't wait to be rid of. Reading a chapter book has always been hugely important to me and to the children. Through all kinds of literature we have learnt so much, not only about historical events, geographical places, mathematical ideas and classic literature; not only about good writing, story structure and well-crafted sentences; but also about being a family, the value of all stopping and being together at the same time and the extra-special feeling of a long hug on the sofa with mum and the dog.
But somehow it hasn't worked so well this term. The book I wanted to read in September wasn't in the library and, although I placed a reservation, was a long time coming. I picked something unknown by a famous author and it didn't take long to realise why it was unknown! We tried and old favourite of mine and my eldest son's, but the other two children found it boring. Having a looser time-table and working more hours myself meant that we found it hard to make the time to read.
However, in just the last few weeks, we began "The Eagle of the Ninth" by Rosemary Sutcliff, a book I had had on my "to read" list for a long time. After a slow start (oh please, not another to give up on) the story got going and is now racing along at an exciting speed. Today, for the first time, I had a request to go straight on and read the next chapter! Reading it has reminded me how important this shared experience is, how much I love reclining on the sofa, the dog's head in my lap, one son listening in stillness, two other children drawing and colouring, interrupting with the occasional question or observation. It has been warm and precious and not only contributed a huge amount to our knowledge of Roman Britain, but has deepened our emotional connection, soothed scratchy relationships and reminded me again of so much that I love about our lifestyle of home education.
Books for January are already on order!