I laughed when I saw this recently in a post at the Ambleside lists. I know that I'm not going to substitute a book from a list just because it's challenging initially, or because we don't absolutely feel entertained by it. Living books are a joy, but joy is not necessarily, actually I believe it's the opposite to, what we understand by fun. Cindy writes sharply about Charlotte Mason on choosing school books. When Charlotte Mason said the child must enjoy the book, she wrote it side by side with the idea that the child WORKS his own education. If this is done correctly, the child won't have to sweat blood, or the mom won't have to become a clown either. This is not passive entertainment as we discussed at the Poetic Knowledge book club, but it's not the factory result oriented model of education of modern schools either.
And if I don't have the funds for a book I know is wonderful, I try not to get too obsessed with it, but to simply do with the other many living books we are blessed with, and I save up for it, or try to see how I can get it. I'm talking to myself, a Charlotte Mason education does not depend on an out of print edition of a great book that costs a small fortune for a one salary family. I do get lost in that mood at times, the I NEED THAT BOOK, and I forget how much I already have, and how much we can trade, swoop, give away! (Right, friend? :)
This year, when deciding on the books my daughter will be working with, those I'll read aloud and she will narrate and LABOUR herself, I made some adjustments to the Ambleside list. For example, after listening that Parables from Nature does not render very complete narrations from otherwise good narrating kids, and after perusing the book, I decided to leave it out. Little did I know that Lindafay, which by the way has a new yahoo group list for her curriculum that supports her blog, has that book for third grade! We may give it a try later on. There are many other interesting differences between Ambleside and her curriculum. I encourage you to join her list and find out for yourself. She has been an enormous help to me. I knew her site for long, but it's thanks to Brandy that I looked again, and then I SAW IT!, and I'm glad now she opened the group, because it's inspiring me to mold our own program and to not be afraid of making some changes, substitutions, or variations.
Another book I left out is Trial and Triumph. We have a different outlook at christianity, I'm not telling you to do the same, but I'm encouraging you to make your own decisions, even if you are not a very experienced mother, it is fine to leave books out, add or not others. To me it's more a question of ARE YOU SINCERELY USING BOOKS AS CHARLOTTE MASON SUGGESTED? And again, do you do this because everybody does it? Or do you know the true reasons of reading slowly, asking for narrations, and such? (Which doesn't have to be either at the exact pace suggested anywhere.) It's the pace that allows assimilation and enjoyment, the opposite to, read, check mark. With Lindafay and Ambleside we have excellent GUIDELINES, dare to tailor your own program of studies.