Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why I Love Online Bookstores...

A lame post title, I know. But I couldn't think of anything else upbeat to call this post. Funny how a post title can help inspire an upbeat ramble instead of a miserable rant. Besides, we don't live close to a good library so checking out library books instead isn't a reliable alternative for us.

When kiddo and I discussed studying comics as a project, I honestly thought it would be easy. I mean, we're talking about comics here. The boy lives and breathes Calvin and Hobbes. Granted, his hair isn't yellow and his favorite stuffed pet isn't a tiger but he has everything else down pat, including a striped red t-shirt and a mom whose kitchen experiments, especially the ones involving greens, often turn out looking like monkey brains.

What was I thinking? Insert perfectionistic tendencies and the ever-nagging anxiety (What! How did you let him talk you into this? Comics? Not Shakespeare?). Insert sleepless nights worrying about not being able to wing it. Two days into the week and it stopped looking like a good idea. But I couldn't bear to tell him so. I am cursed blessed with stubborn genes. My desire to take full advantage of the fact that we homeschool--that we should take full advantage of our academic freedom and be creative in the way we approach our learning--has me in a Gorrila Glue grip.

It looks like I needn't have worried so much. Searching my favorite online stores for ideas (why have docs not considered this as a Prozac substitute?), I found what I think are sure winners. I'm amazed by what I've learned about Bill Watterson in two days. I'm also looking forward to learning more about Charles Schulz and understanding the comics medium better over the next few weeks.

Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and his Revolutionary Comic Strip  Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art   Charles M. Schulz: Conversations (Conversations with Comic Artists)

So, as usual, online bookstores to the rescue! Will read and discuss snippets of each book with the kiddo and take it from there. I don't feel flustered anymore. In fact, I now think it will be fun after all.

As for the rest of our week, math went according to plan but this was the only planned subject that did. German started off slow due to glitches that come with adjusting to a new program but I think we might get the hang of it soon enough.

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, Book 1)A pleasant surprise is that kiddo is enjoying the Lord of the Rings on audiobook (he loved reading The Hobbit a few years ago but wasn't eager to begin LOTR till I found this audiobook). Rob Inglis does a lovely job narrating the tale, much better than I could have if I'd made it a read-aloud. Since we take long drives about once a week, we've been able to listen to several chapters in one day. I like that we plan to listen to it only in the car. It provides the opportunity to relish the story, digest it slowly and then look forward eagerly to the next installment.

In  a nutshell, it was the same ol' start to a new school year i.e. not everything went according to plan (ha! does it ever?).


  1. We love Calvin and Hobbes here too! It's not just *any* comic though, is it? I think there are some very clever humour and philosophy hidden in the pages. Audio books work great on long car rides and give the eyes a rest!

    Alterations occur so often in my 'plan for the year' that I don't know why I still do it! I suppose I still take comfort in knowing that I have at least thought about things and resources before embarking on another learning journey.

  2. Those books look great - I'm sure you'll both enjoy them.

    Billy is an audio book fiend! In fact, he's very excited because he's just found out that our local library now has the capability of downloading audio books to your computer rather than having to physically go and borrow them. He's happy :)

  3. I love reading your blog because I get so many great ideas from it, especially ideas for books.

    We love the audio version of Lord of the Rings. Another great resource is the Tolkien professor. He has some great lectures that my kids love to listen to.


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