Books We Don’t Read and More: 4 Moms Q & A

moms of many manageWelcome to this weeks edition of 4 Moms, 35 Kids: How Moms of Many Manage.  This week the 4 moms of many are answering reader questions.

Be sure to visit the other Moms to read what questions they’re answering:

KimC at Life in a Shoe
Connie at Smockity Frocks
Headmistress at The Common Room

Darci says, “I am praying about your willingness to share with me, or your readers, your opinion on what Sonlight books you omit from your reader list for your children?  I’m doing core 4 now with my boys, the readers and read alouds, and was wondering if you’d share with me what books in that list you DO NOT approve of?”

“Don’t approve of” is probably too strong, but I’m happy to share with you the list of books that we chose not to read to our children or we read with editing.

Some books we chose to omit because there were some minor things and we didn’t see much value in the remainder of the book. Others which may have had more objectionable material we included (often with editing) because we thought that the book had value and merit.

My caveat: We may not have the same standards for our children that you have for yours. When I talk with friends it seems that we have stricter standards in some areas and looser standards in others. Also, I’m relying on my very tired memory here, so simply because something is not on my list, please don’t assume that it will be appropriate for your kids and simply because it does make this list don’t assume it’s inappropriate for your kids.

So here is a list of Sonlight books that we have chosen not to read to our children or that we read with editing. (I’ve not included books that we read with slight editing for language.)

Core 1:

Beginners Story Bible – Did not read – We steer clear of  ‘bibles’ that aren’t the Bible.

Mrs Piggle-Wiggle – Did not read.

Core 2:

NONE

Core 3:

Pedro’s Journal – Did not read. I could write a whole post on why we chose not to read this book, but the short answer is that it represents an unbalanced (and from what we’ve read in source documents) inaccurate view of the motives of those historical figures that are portrayed.

Incas, Aztecs and Mayans – We read this book with significant editing. While it was straight forward about the pagan beliefs of these peoples, there were some parallels drawn between their religion and Christianity that, while appropriate for adults, we thought weren’t clear enough to present to our children.

Core 4:

Cheaper by the Dozen – Read with editing at the end.

Core 5:

Red Sand, Blue Sky – Did not read.

Shadow Spinner – slight editing – This book is set in a harem, so if you aren’t ready to introduce the possibility of men having multiple wives and concubines or if you are not willing to field questions about this ungodly lifestyle you may not wish to read this book.

Seven Sons and Seven Daughters – read with editing -  A girl disguises herself  and lives as a man and while disguised another young man falls in love with what he thinks, but isn’t entirely sure is a man. We probably will not read this to our younger crew.

Core 6: (we haven’t finished reading through the books in this core.)

The Story of the World – Inaccurate and unbiblical history presented as fact.

Mara, Daughter of the Nile – read with editing – I chose to change this as a read aloud so that I could edit some of the romance scenes.

Shana @ Here We Go… is planning on homeschooling and has a son who has an August birthday. She asks, “What is your opinion of “red-shirting” a kid so they are the oldest in their “class”?”

We’ve always ‘red-shirted’ our children if possible. It seems that there is less stigma for a child to graduate early or be ahead than to have them repeat a year. I think it’s a specially good idea for boys.

Of course this doesn’t mean that you have to slow down his education. In homeschooling the child’s grade is merely a label used by the authorities (and so the cashier at the grocery doesn’t think you’re violating  government regulations when your kids tell her that they don’t go to school), it doesn’t have to affect the level at which he is learning.

Emily says, “I wondered if you have any good tips for keeping up milk supply while pregnant.”

I have breastfed up until the last trimester with several pregnancies. Make sure you drink plenty of water, nurse often and get  lots of rest. It’s also helpful to make it a priority and realize you can’t do it all, so you may have to say no to some extra activities for a time.

I have found that supplementing with alfalfa tablets helps and is safe to continue during pregnancy. I posted more of  my breastfeeding tips here.

Do you have any questions that you’d like me to consider for next month?

Be sure to visit the other moms of many to read their thoughts and ideas:
Smockity Frocks – Socks and rough housing
Life in a Shoe – Must have baby equipment and more
The Common Room

Recent 4 Moms topics:

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

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38 Responses to Books We Don’t Read and More: 4 Moms Q & A
  1. Carron
    January 27, 2011 | 8:58 am

    My son is 5, reading 4 to 5 letter words with one or two syllables & short sentences. I’ve been using The Beginner’s Bible for him to read himself, while I read the entire excerpt implied from THE Bible. What advice can you give me in regards to teaching him to read from THE Bible? Thanks and I absolutely adore your blog, I thank God that I found it :) We use your recipe for laundry soap too!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Carron,

    Thank you.

    As soon as our children know the letter sounds and most of the phonics rules and are able to decipher (perhaps about the level that your son is right now?), we spend the first 2-5 minutes of each reading lesson by having them read from the Bible. We introduce new sounds and combinations as we come across them and give them lots of help with long and/or unfamiliar words.

    We give lots of praise that they are able to read the Word of God and will be able to study and read on their own without mom or dad having to read to them. This is a big deal, since they know that being able to read the Bible is the reason that we are teaching them to read.

    As their reading improves we increase the amount of time that they read from the Bible, working up to the point that they are comfortably reading a chapter at a time. At which point they begin to read the Bible independently in the mornings with the rest of the family.

    [Reply]

    Carron Reply:

    Thanks Kimberly! I believe that I started out with a spirit of intimidation and gave him the storybook with short Bible stories. After reading your blog, I have found that God has filled me with the courage & confidence that should have been there to begin with!

    Thank you! What translation does your family use?

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    The children have NKJV Bibles, I generally read from the ESV or NAS, Mark uses an NAS and a NKJ. The kids are beginning to read the New Testament in the original Greek, I can’t wait until they’re all the way there!

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  2. Aron
    January 27, 2011 | 9:09 am

    I’m glad to hear that other mama’s red shirt their kiddos. We just decided to “hold back” 2 of our kids due to birth dates. I wasnt keen on the idea of my oldest being done with HS at 17 years old. We have 2 more summer babies (so far) and we will do the same with them.

    [Reply]

    AmyG Reply:

    Does “red shirting” mean hold back a year or more to start a grade? sorry, never heard the term before. We have held back all of our boys at the beginning. Now we don’t use grade levels at all so it doesn’t matter. But when I was a high school teacher, I could pick out all of the early starters, especially boys. They tended to be very frustrated and burnt out on school as a whole. I wanted my kids to love learning and not feel pressured to be at a level unattainable for their younger brains.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Basically yes. In this instance we’re referring to children who have birthdays that are close to the cut off for starting school. (i.e. kids must be 5 by September 15 to start school and your child turns 5 on Sept. 14) Rather than starting the child that first year they are eligible and them always being one of the youngest children in their class, we ‘hold them back’ and start them just before they turn 6 so that they are one of the oldest children in the class.

    It’s a football term. :)

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    Aron,
    I think, that unless a child has a late birthday, 17 (or a very early 18) is the normal high school graduation age. Save for Pre-school, I went to public school for my entire pre-college educational career; I started kindergarten at 5 and graduated high school at 17 (as did the majority of my classmates).

    [Reply]

    AmyG Reply:

    Thanks. I appreciate all of the good discussion!

    [Reply]

  3. Amy in Luzianna
    January 27, 2011 | 9:38 am

    Concerning your comment about The Story of the World – I know you’ve written about this topic before but I can’t seem to find where that post is. Could you help me out? We’re thinking about our options for next year and looking at Sonlight Core 6. Thanks!

    We’re going through Core 5 now and we also found that Red Sand, Blue Sky was certainly inappropriate. Just noticing that it is published by The Feminist Press was our first tip-off. Thanks for the heads up on the other books for Core 5. I haven’t finished pre-reading yet but I’ll be wary of these. Thanks so much for sharing!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Sure Amy.

    Most of the specifics that I’ve written about SOTW have been in the comment sections. On this page of comments I explain how SOTW directly contradicts the Biblical account of Jesus’ death (I’m having trouble linking directly to the specific comment, sorry) and on the comments on this page I point out some of the evolutionary presuppositions of the book and link to a review of the book that sums up SOTW’s careless treatment of facts, legend and opinion.

    [Reply]

    Amy in Luzianna Reply:

    This was really helpful! Thanks Kim!!

    [Reply]

  4. Bonni
    January 27, 2011 | 10:32 am

    Great advice!! I started my children reading from the Bible also. I was disappointed in lists of books that even Christian companies recommended. As my children became teens, I read the recommended books first, and often found them offensive. Have you seen the book recommendations from Elizabeth Elliot? I found some great suggestions there!
    Great post!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’ve not seen the recommendations by Elizabeth Elliot. Do you know where I can find them? I’m running into difficulty keeping some of my older girls supplied with good books.

    Thank you.

    [Reply]

  5. Lisa
    January 27, 2011 | 10:50 am

    Hi Kimberly!

    Thank you so much for posting this book info. It’s so helpful for many of us to have a “head’s up” on some of them from a trusted source. I was wondering if you’ve come to a decision on what you’ll be using for a curriculum next? I remember there being a post or two on the fact that you were not going to continue with Sonlight. I have wondered if you’ve made any decisions on that yet? Again, thank you for your thoughts on some of the more, perhaps “questionable” books.
    Blessings!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes, we’ve decided. I have a post draft started and hope to post about what we chose (History Revealed), why we chose it, what we think and more about choosing curriculum next week.

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    Oh, what a wonderful choice! We just love Diana Waring’s cd’s. We have the What in the World CD’s on Ancients. They have a “whole family” curriculum now too! That sounds like it will be a great fit for your family and for your goals. I’ll be looking forward to reading your post on it soon!!

    [Reply]

  6. Amy R
    January 27, 2011 | 12:38 pm

    Thank you for posting this! We are still a long way from “real” homeschooling, as we just started our oldest (2.5 years) doing some little preschool stuff this month. It’s really an encouragement to read the information you’re sharing as we research curriculum options and look forward to doing school!

    [Reply]

  7. Taryn
    January 27, 2011 | 2:20 pm

    I agree with you on your choices. We saw the BW Cheaper by the Dozen movie and had the book-I threw it out. I prefer the King James Bible. I have a list/tract(avpublications)that shows where the KJV has a one-syllable word the New KJV has a word with more syllables(KJV-house NKJV-habitation). I like the keepersofthefaith.com web site-good books(interesting articles/book reviews). I didn’t like SOTW, either. We liked some Abeka readers-bought from Christian Liberty Press, the Amish Pathway Readers(Timberdoodle) and the Christian Light Readers(Mennonite).

    [Reply]

  8. Taryn
    January 27, 2011 | 4:05 pm

    Veritas Press recommends some books I didn’t like: The Story of Us by Joy Hakim history series and the Jean Fritz biographies. The library has these books so it’s worth getting one and reading with discernment. We didn’t like the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia($30) Veritas Press recommends,either. We did use the VP catalog to choose some books from the library. I like the Rod and Staff(Mennonite) catalog-PO Box 3, 14193 Hwy.172, Crockett,KY 41413. They have many storybooks for all ages-although I’m not a fan of The Pilgrim’s Progress. Abeka has a good children’s version Swiss Family Robinson(3rd-8th) and their Booker T. Washington autobiography is worth reading for American literature. I didn’t like Alpha Omega Publication’s choices for American Literature-11th grade(Our Town and- The Old Man and the Sea).

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  9. Carrie
    January 27, 2011 | 4:16 pm

    On breastfeeding while pregnant…
    I just did this while pregnant with our second (so I don’t have tons of experience, but it is fresh on my mind). I would add to also be mindful of how MUCH food you need to eat. I added calories everywhere I could (such as switching to whole milk). I gained 24 pounds and have already lost all of it (plus some that was sticking around from my first pregnancy- so don’t worry about getting fat).
    Also, I was warned by some that my unborn child wasn’t getting everything he needed. After he was born 10 lbs 4 oz, I certainly will not let that thought cross my mind if I am ever breastfeeding and pregnant again.
    Thanks for helpful advice!!

    [Reply]

  10. Taryn
    January 27, 2011 | 4:50 pm

    Our Baptist church uses the NASV but we prefer the KJV. If I remember correctly the NASV uses “hades” instead of “hell”. There are a few things like that but the NASV does use the word FORnication where some new Bible versions(NKJV)-Matt.5:32,etc. do not use it. The New King James Version uses “Helper” instead of “Comforter”(KJV) for the Holy Spirit(John 14,15,16). Rev.13:16 has “on”(tatoo?)and not “in”(microchip?). It’s interesting. Some things are obvious,some things are subtle(New Age and theory of evolution words). Matthew 7:14 is an example of subtle “works salvation”-using the word-difficult-instead of-narrow.

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  11. Melinda
    January 27, 2011 | 5:05 pm

    a thought on another topic, or Q&A topic,
    How do you begin with blog reviews?
    I see homeschool bloggers getting tons of neat resources to review, and I want in on it too!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Great question Melinda. I’ve added it to my file.

    [Reply]

  12. Taryn
    January 27, 2011 | 5:33 pm

    I have to add- the KJV says in Mark 10:24,”…Children,how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” Many new versions say-”…Children,how hard is it to enter into the kingdom of God!” They omit- “for them that trust in riches”. I wouldn’t want to read that to my children or grandchildren.

    [Reply]

  13. Tami
    January 27, 2011 | 9:25 pm

    Just wondering why no Mrs. Piggle Wiggle?

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Disrespectful and destructive children who were not dealt with in a biblical manner.

    When we deal with sin in our children (especially when they are young), we explain that the reason we respond in a certain way is because God’s Word tells us that responding in this manner demonstrates our love to them. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle did not exemplify what we were trying to teach our children day in and day out.

    [Reply]

  14. Valerie
    January 27, 2011 | 11:06 pm

    loved reading those answers! Thanks for taking the time to do it.

    [Reply]

  15. Jessica
    January 28, 2011 | 9:43 pm

    Thank you for the information on books you do not read. I was wondering if you have a place to go that you can find out about these books before hand or do you read them first before presenting them to your children? You made a reference to “source documents”.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I simply read the books before giving them to the children.

    I’m using the term ‘source documents’ to refer to writings of those who first recorded the historical events. In this particular case, journals and letters written by Christopher Columbus himself.

    [Reply]

  16. Taryn
    January 29, 2011 | 11:24 am

    I trust keepersofthefaith.com for books-Christian biographies(William Wilberforce-England),books with primary source documents,missionary memoirs(Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose- an American missionary during WWI-Pacific),etc. I always read books before my children.

    [Reply]

  17. Taryn
    January 29, 2011 | 11:26 am

    That should say WWII-Pacific.

    [Reply]

  18. Emily M.
    January 31, 2011 | 9:43 pm

    Thank you Kimberly for answering my question! Carrie, thank you as well! I like your advice on eating a lot! ;) Actually I have found that it has made a difference. And I do have to giggle at the thought of your poor deprived “tiny” 10 and a half pound baby! =)
    Thanks again to you both!

    [Reply]

  19. Amy
    January 31, 2011 | 10:54 pm

    I had to laugh about your comment about Shadow Spinner. Just reading the Bible with my kids has made me explain things, like multiple wives, that I would rather not have talked about! You never realize how strange things are until you have to explain them to little children.
    I am so glad you are so discerning in your choice for your children’s education. Keep up the good work!

    [Reply]

  20. Caroline Evans
    September 15, 2012 | 5:49 pm

    Hi there,
    Thanks for your blog. Would you mind elaborating on your post on “The Story of the World – Inaccurate and unbiblical history presented as fact.” I haven’t seen it in person. Was thinking of using it for our kids but preferred Heart of Wisdom’s concept of History from Adam to Messiah. Would like to know your thoughts.

    [Reply]

  21. Megan
    May 9, 2013 | 10:52 pm

    I’ve been looking at homeschool curricula reviews and reading suggestions and came across this post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Also, did you ever happen to learn where to find book recommendations from Elisabeth Elliot? I always loved reading her work and it sounded interesting to see a list compiled by her but I haven’t found one in my search.

    [Reply]

  22. Emily
    December 6, 2013 | 11:31 am

    Thank you for your post! We’ve done many of the same editing with the reading program in our family.

    I was wondering if you had another entry further detailing your objections to The Story of the World Series. I enthusiastically bought them hearing great testimonies from other HS friends. However,my mom (who helps in our family learning)and I have been disappointed/concerned about the focus that the book takes (currently just on book 1). It seems to have an unbalanced emphasis on pagan beliefs/stories instead of focusing on Biblical history.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Most of the specifics that I’ve written about SOTW have been in the comment sections. On this page of comments I explain how SOTW directly contradicts the Biblical account of Jesus’ death (I’m having trouble linking directly to the specific comment, sorry) and on the comments on this page I point out some of the evolutionary presuppositions of the book and link to a review of the book that sums up SOTW’s careless treatment of facts, legend and opinion.

    [Reply]

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