Thank you, Amy Fisher

When we started with ambleside year 1 this past summer, we left out these three books:

    But in one of my posts, Amy Fisher told me, please, read Parables from Nature. Yesterday I decided to read the first story to my oldest while she was having breakfast. Maybe it was because we are not in school mood,  the fact that I did not expect a narration, or that I truly had connected with the story at that moment. Maybe I'm used to reading things that challenge my tongue beyond sanity. I suspect that not having read it at the time in the summer when we started new and difficult books, and that she has been seven for almost three months may have helped. What was it I'll never know, all I can say is that the moment was ripe yesterday for this book to take root and we now thirst to continue it.

    Trial and Triumph. When I saw it for sale for four meager dollars, by a mom in our group, my fingers tripped to secure the buy, and I took the copy though she alerted me that it had some minor coffee stains on the outside rim. I almost lost it for I saw Trial and Triumph for kindle, and stupid me thought we had it for free when that's not possible, it won't be in the public domain for many years, that's another Trial and Triumph novel I'm reading. I got the book. It's perfect. This will have to be another post for I defend that the only and one true church, the church that began at the day of Pentecost, has always existed, even when we may not have a record of those who were worshiping like this. But we have records from the eighteen and nineteen hundreds in other places than the USA, that give proof to what I defend. They show people worshiping like many of us do before the so called restoration movement because we read that in the Scriptures. The pattern is autonomous congregations, we have the name christian, simply christian, and the churches were called a christian church, the church of Christ in such and such location, as we read about the church that met in Corinth, or Ephesus, etc. The Restoration movement did not restore His church, that always existed, it was an attempt from many to come back to the New Testament christianity, and many did. That is why I never thought that this book is the history of the Lord's church, but it is church history or history and biographies of religious people. It's part of the history of our civilization, and many events have had a tremendous political and social impact. The people in the book are worth knowing about, so I'm glad we are now reading it and we'll be with it for much time to come. It's good to know about other creeds and thoughts to question and examine the reasons for our own believes.

    Last book or books. The Shakespeare stories. Some wait until the child is nine or so, some say younger children can relate to them and they help them build muscle too. I just waited because my copy of the Lamb's book is waiting for me in Madrid. I thought that if I waited two more years, my oldest will be in year 3, my youngest in year 1, and they may have more interaction together and maybe act out the plays. I don't know, on the other hand I'm eager to become acquainted with Shakespeare.

    Why did I get this book in Spanish? Because it's not Shakespeare himself, him we'll do our best to read in the original language (insert a scared look as I type, yes, Shakespeare intimidates me), and because I need to do some of the readings in Spanish. I like to insert a few substitutions of those things I find in Spanish and that I believe they don't tarnish our reading experience. If of all the Ingalls books I read some in Spanish, if I choose for example, Heidi, Pinocchio, the Meindert Dejong titles, Robin Hood, Peter Pan, they will be fine, as they grow, do you think my girls will miss out on something?

    11 opinion(s):

    Kelly said...

    What was it Amy liked about Parables of Nature? I read the first two or three stories from it and abandoned it. I found it so sugary that I couldn't read it without rolling my eyes. It's on my shelf so the kids can read it if they want to -- I'm assuming the AO ladies know better than I do -- but I really don't like that book.

    Willing to be convinced, though. :-)

    Silvia said...

    Hi Kelly... hmmmmm.... this can turn into an interesting conversation.
    I left the book out because I thought it was too difficult or cumbersome. I heard Brandy say her son never gave good narrations from it, so I simply got scared.
    I'm only one story down.
    I assure you I'm coming back and reporting... I'm going to ask Amy to tell us what she likes about PFN, but she said this:
    Some thoughts? Please, oh please don't toss out Parables of Nature for good!! It's one of my all time favorites! It is difficult going in year one though, admittedly.

    It will be nice to talk more, but I need more stories to get a real impression. Now I'm slanted to see if I find it too sugary, ha ha ha. Don't worry (if you were), this is a book that I've heard so much about it that it's difficult to see where I stand on it myself. I'm total pray of peer pressure and pride to say that we could read a Victorian book? (Is it how her style is considered?)

    Silvia said...

    ... now I'm reading the comment and I sounded as if we dropped books that are difficult just because. It's not the case, but we can only take so much or so much at a time round here. I'm very new to all this, the girls too, and there are two languages which is beautiful... at times... and hard at others.

    Kelly said...

    It's funny what different tastes people have. When I read the AO lists and they post their disclaimers about some of the fairy stories, and explain why your kids ought to know those stories in spite of the violence, and just laugh. I don't have any trouble with that kind of thing.

    On the other hand, I DO wish they'd explain some the super-sweet sentimental things they recommend -- those are the things I need to be conviced to let my kids my near.

    They do have a note on the Eugene Field poetry page (Year 2) that some of them are "excessively saccharine." We only spent a week on Eugene Field.

    Silvia said...

    I'm with you when it comes to the fairy tales... My girls never had any problem with Hansel and Gretel, or the Cindirella where the birds pluck the eyes of the step sisters. As for the sugary, my problem is that not being a native of the English language, I always put the blame on me for finding it too sugary or too harsh, say. Any book in Spanish and I have my opinions on it, books in English, specially selected by the AO advisory team, intimidate me to openly say we consider them too goody goody sweet and sugary.
    At the AO year 1 there was an interesting exchange of opinions about Mary Poppins... almost any book at the AO produces different reactions, likes and dislikes in all of our diverse families. We all coincided though that these books have made us think, and many have helped us grow.

    Silvia said...

    I forgot to say... we, specially I try very hard to like everything those I respect love... that's a fault in my non assertive character, but I don't want to fall into the excessive debunking and stupidly opinionated fault finding group, so I just try to adjust and like everything. Man, that's hard, no wonder I'm seen as very uptight, I may be like that, ha ha ha. My dh helps me take things a bit lighter, and myself much less seriously!
    Glad you stopped by and we had this conversation. I always associate you with the How to Train a Dragon books, ah, and also with with Tolkien and George MacDonald!

    amy in peru said...

    Silvia & Kelly,
    I love Parables of Nature (though it took some trudging through when my boys were younger), for the same basic reason I loved Robinson Crusoe a year or two later and I currently like reading them Plutarch! These are a well crafted stories with very important life lessons stitched throughout. Character, self-government, moral training... you know, the good stuff. But the really good stuff isn't ever the easy stuff!

    I love stories, parables and/or lessons when the author allows the reader to discover the moral for himself instead of forcing it.

    Some might feel that PoN too syrup-y... hmm... I definitely did NOT. Every story is different, some more sentimental than others. Also, some of them were easier to understand than others, but all were several steps above my kids reading level in year 1. Sometimes they got it, while much of it probably went over their heads... but, how can we ever know? They glom onto stuff that we never would have thought!! By year 2 (age 8) they definitely got more from the stories, but overall, I consider the benefit was mostly mine. :) I learned important lessons from having read it!!

    Everyone of us is different and we all hold different opinions. I just hoped you wouldn't throw PoN out completely without giving it a fair chance. These are the books (those I mentioned are just a few) that I consider the heart of a living education... those that, in my opinion, are most likely to sprout the beautiful life giving/changing ideas in us... often times completely unawares!

    Oh, and I hear tell that Brandy is actually reconsidering PoN!! ;)
    My kids didn't give great narrations either, but I didn't consider that a good reason to toss it... too valuable of lessons for me to ignore.

    amy :)

    PS. "Fisher Academy" comes from the idea that we are training Fishers of Men... but my last name is actually not Fisher! ;) heheh.

    Silvia said...

    Hi Amy. I'll correct and say Amy from Fisher Academy. I thought backwards and told myself... hmmmm what a fitting last name she has! Silly me!

    Thanks for your explanation. I read the second parable just myself, and as you say, I'm liking them a lot. Probably they'll be better as you say for older children, and there is the plan of simply reading them in two times instead of one setting. They tend to be long and have more than one plot, I've heard and seen in the first two stories.

    I admire both of you, and I'm still very little assertive, but I'm glad that you told me to give it a second try. I definitely will have as a rule to do this, to reconsider and plan differently, make adjustments and such. I respect Kelly's sentiments of not enjoying the too sugary stories. We all have a different frame of mind, and I know she is not there, tossing things just because, but she has to be loyal to her educated guts.

    As for us. Well, I've learned that as you say Amy, especially I learn much from these type of books, as for the girls, you know me, I tend to load them up too much, so I'm trying hard to strike a good balance. If everything is of the challenging order, they are going nowhere... if I ponder and plot :) K, how to introduce or how many of these meaty books to have, it goes better. Healthy foods and books are great, but we all get tired of the veggies and salads if we get no brake. What do ya think?

    Silvia said...

    no break, English, English...

    Kelly said...

    Thanks, Amy. :-)

    Silvia, I started AO 1 in August of 2007 with my four youngest, who were at that time: 12yos (who will never be able to read), 8yod (who was reading well for her age), 7yos (struggling reader), 4yod (non-reader).

    So I was reading everything aloud, and I did all the books except for PoN. It took us 18 months to get through it. The children loved the poetry selections and wanted more than one a day, so I usually did one from the assigned poet and one from AO's collection of poems arranged by the month. We got through the assigned poets long before we finished out the "year," so we reread favorites, and I read some from the Golden Books Family Treasury of Poetry, and some from Mother Goose.

    We also read Plutarch's Poplicola, but that was with all the children (at the time the olders were: 18yod, 16yos, 14yod).

    I've never shied away from "meaty" books; I've just taken them in smaller bites.

    In addition to the scheduled schoolwork stuff, I read aloud in the afternoon just for fun (meaning they didn't have to narrate): Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Heidi, and Pinocchio. There must have been others, but I don't remember them.

    ... and that's not including Morning Prayers with the Bible reading we do then.

    Plus French lessons.

    I'm in Year 3 now with that group of four. The older girl in that group, who will be 13 next month, is doing AO7 on her own this year, but she's still sitting in on the AO3 readings because she loves them and enjoys being with us. And I'm still reading everything aloud, because this younger group is made of the son, now sixteen, who will never be able to read, and the two youngers who are having a terrible time learning to read (the 11yos has made huge strides in the last few weeks though, so I'm encouraged).

    So my situation isn't at all typical, but I think it's helpful to see how other families are doing things, so I share in detail.

    Silvia said...

    Kelly. Thanks so much for sharing how and why you do what you do. It's very helpful. I tend to put myself to run the rat race. Your example is giving me yet more freedom and wings... I'm not looking at the books any more as constrained in the suggested years, but I'm more willing to try them if given the case at a different year.

    Thanks for commenting, I'm very privileged to have someone like you and Amy who take time in their life to help me figure out mine.

    It's so lovely that they wanted more poetry :)) We've also not been able to stick to ONE poem, and since we don't do school Fridays, we've read most days a few poems too!

    Happy Thanksgiving, friends.


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