Monday, March 7, 2016

Dear Canadian CM Homeschoolers,

Let's Help Each Other Find Living Books!

There is such a wealth of resources and book lists for homeschoolers using Charlotte Mason's methods. I appreciate these even more when I realize how difficult it is to start from scratch to find living books for a particular subject. I need all the help I can get to find living books on Canadian history, geography, literature, and art!

Yes, I have found little helps here and there. These are some helpful websites I've seen:

-Ambleside Online's Canada page has a number of suggestions.

- The Ambleside Online forum has a post entitled "Comparison of Canadian History Books" with excerpts from several books that could be used as "spines" for Canadian history. 

-The Simply Charlotte Mason bookfinder has quite a few pages of Canadian resources. Not all of them are living books, though. This resource will become more helpful as more people leave reviews for the books listed. 

-O Canada History is the blog of a Canadian homeschooling mom listing many Canadian history resources by time period.

-Maple Hill Academy. This is the personal blog of a Canadian Charlotte Mason homeschooler. It has not been updated very often lately, but it has several posts with her past plans for Canadian history.

-The Canadian Homeschooler has a "Canadian History Through Living Books" page. I haven't explored it yet, but it looks like it might be a great starting point for living books from different time periods in Canadian history. (post edited to add 08/03/16)

-Tea Time with Annie Kate has reviews of several Canadian books that Annie Kate has used with her family over the years. (post edited to add 08/03/16)

Still, there is a lot of trial and error in finding living books, especially when you buy online and can't actually see what you're buying beforehand. One of my early mistakes was The Story of Canada by Isabel Barclay (not to be confused with any other books with the same title). It was mentioned briefly as an overview of Canadian history for early elementary on the Ambleside Online Canada page, and I ordered it. It was written in simple, short sentences, perhaps suitable for early readers, but lacking any detail that might capture the imagination. So even with the help of recommendations from websites like the ones I mentioned above, you can end up with a book that is not suitable for reading and narration. 

I think the best way we Canadian CM homeschoolers can help each other is to share whatever wonderful living books we're finding on Canadian history, biography, geography, literature, or art. I think it's also important to share in places others will find our help. Sharing on a Facebook wall in response to a question is great for the moment, but a few days later it's hard to find again. Some places you can share that might help others for the future:

-Charlotte Mason Canada FaceBook group. Click on "Files." There are several documents, including a "Canadian History" document with an editable list of books.

-Simply Charlotte Mason bookfinder. With a basic (free) subscription, you can review books already in the bookfinder, which will really help others who are trying to sift through the many, many options listed (16 pages of books come up when you search for "Canada."). Not all of the titles included in the bookfinder are in fact living books, and it will be so helpful to the rest of us if you share even a brief review of the books you know.
With an upgraded (paid) subscription, you can also share resources publicly.

-Ambleside Online forum. If you are a member of the forum, you can add a short excerpt to the "Comparison of Canadian History Books" thread that will enable other forum members to compare different texts and decide what to buy.

-On your own blog or website. If you have a blog, please review Canadian living books and resources you have used. If you leave a link in a comment below, I'll add your links to my "CM in Canada" page so others can reference them long-term from my page.

And now over to you. What is your favourite place to go for recommendations for Canadian living books? Where would it be most helpful for you if others were to share their recommendations and reviews? Let's talk!