Handwriting and Reading: Ideas Worth Sharing — IWS #4

It’s time for another Ideas Worth Sharing post, so even thought my internet connection is barely working, I’m going to attempt it. You’ll notice that almost all my links this time have to do with handwriting and reading. That’s because it’s summer, and I’m hoping you’ll have a bit of extra time to enjoy a good book and a profitable journaling or illumination session. Enjoy!

The Art of Handwriting: Have you ever noticed how handwriting conveys not just a message through the text, but also something of the personality and mood of the writer? You can see this in personal letters from a variety of famous people in this thoughtful article. Writer Mary Savig notes that not only does “Handwritten missives create presence in the distance between two people,” but “Handwriting serves as an extension of an artist’s process.”

Penmanship Matters: If you’re not convinced of the value of learning legible, even beautiful penmanship, and ultimately developing your own personal handwriting style, this post offers more reasons for mastering this simple learning tool.

The arrest of Christ as depicted in the Book of Kells. Book of Kells: Few things make my heart go pitty-pat like seeing a beautiful illuminated manuscript, and the Books of Kells is at the top of my want-to-see-it-in-person list. In this post on BBC, Martha Kearney writes evocatively of the great book’s creation, and shares a few photos of its lovely pages. It’s estimated that it took the skins of 185 calves to supply the vellum and a variety of plants and minerals  to create the colored inks. You can see more pages in the digital collection of Trinity College, Dublin.

The Secret of Kells is one of the few movies I’ve watched just for the fun of it, and I enjoyed it enough that I’ll watch it again at some point at some point. The movie’s hero is a young boy apprenticed to the scribe who is creating the Book of Kells. There are Viking raiders and a bit of myth, as well as glimpses of some of the pages of the great book.

Illumination coloring page by Daniel MitsuiColoring pages: Illumination artist Daniel Mitsui has created some beautiful, free coloring pages of his original illuminations. You don’t have to be a child to enjoy these!

Shelfie: Did I really need another book-cataloguing app? I didn’t think so until I ran across Shelfie, the busy person’s cataloguing app. To record your books, snap a photo of a bookshelf, then approve or edit each cover as it is identified and added to your library by Shelfie. You can take any number of photos, then approve at your leisure. I had over a hundred books listed within minutes of downloading the app, and I’ve added a lot since. An additional feature is that it lets you know if there’s a free or discounted ebook or audiobook version of volumes you own. I’ve had a lot of fun with this so far, and might actually end up with the bulk of my books catalogued. Shelfie.com

Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves: My personal decorating style wavers somewhere between Grandmother’s parlor and the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, so a house without a trace of history or a shelf of books seems cold and unwelcoming to me. I think it’s entirely possible that the modern mania for decluttering has stripped away some of the layers of history and meaning that make a house feel like home. I’m all for getting rid of junk and stuff that means nothing (or better yet, not buying any of that), but family treasures that tell a story, the books and records that can be excavated to rediscover seasons of life, and the small daily things that give your heart pleasure when you see them — those things should stay. In Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves, Teddy Wayne explores the meaning and benefits of keeping a physical archive.

Scholarly Culture and Academic Performance in 42 Nations, an extensive 2014 study of students in 42 countries found the number of books in a child’s home is “the most important predictor of reading performance.” Researchers found that “a key aspect of scholarly culture, the number of books in the family home, exerts a strong influence on academic performance in ways consistent with the cognitive skill hypothesis, regardless of the nation’s ideology, political history, or level of development.” So if you ever need to justify another bookshelf, this article may help.

Awakening the Souls of Parents with Young Children: Kelli Christenberry discusses how the teachings of Charlotte Mason can permeate all of life and change the way we see the world.

Classic Learning Test (CLT): This new alternative to the SAT or ACT “invites students to wrestle with works of the greatest minds in the history of Western thought across literary and mathematical content.” This two-hour exam is offered five times a year at specified testing centers. You may read more about it, try a practice test, and download a PDF brochure at CLTexam.com.

McGuffey Eclectic Readers, the 1857 version with Charlotte Mason introduction.Review of the 1857 McGuffey Readers: Linda at Balancing it all While Homeschooling Six has written a recent review of the 1857 McGuffey Readers with introduction explaining how to use them with Charlotte Mason methods, complete with a video walkthrough. If you’ve been looking for an easy-to-use language arts program or supplement, you might want to check out the readers at Everyday Education.

Before I close, let me remind you that there’s still time to catch Amazon’s Prime Day. There are a lot of specials happening, and from what I can tell, you can sign up for a 30-day trial of Prime to take advantage of it. Prime has been totally worth it for me as I thrive on learning and growing. And of course, books make the best gifts! I love never having to pay for shipping, and Prime is so reasonably priced that it takes only a month or two each year to get my money’s worth out of the yearly subscription fee. If you homeschool or just love books and knowledge, or if you watch streaming movies or listen to music, it’s all there. Have fun!

Recommended editions of texts for Excellence in Literature

Remember that even if an image is not showing, you can usually click on the little square where it should be and get to the correct link.

Note: As mentioned in the disclosure at the bottom of the page, all links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means that a few cents from each purchase comes back to support the work we do here. Thank you for choosing to start your Amazon exploration here.


Join me at Schoolhouse Teachers for Classics-Based Writing Lessons!

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