Several years ago, we were contacted by ABC Television with an invitation for our family to appear on Wife Swap. They thought we would be a good fit.
I was horrified.
I didn’t for one nanosecond think this was a good idea. How dysfunctional must my family have appeared online to be contacted? I had seen the show a few times, and there was always a little bit of the crazy train in each episode.
But I knew what caused them to seek us out. They wanted a family who homeschooled. In some way, they were going to show us as a crazy homeschooling family.
Homeschooling was a lot of things, but crazy it wasn’t. It was one of the best things I ever did in my life. No one ever asked what we were doing or what our son was learning. All they ever wanted to know was, “What about socialization?”
Their children should have been so lucky! It was wonderful. Not only did we have homeschool groups to interact with, but our son practically lived on his bike and found every kid around in a three mile radius. He not only knew every child who would have been in his public school classroom, but he knew all of the children in the few grades above and below his as well.
I could write a blog about homeschooling. It wasn’t something we planned to do; it came out of necessity. When our son was screened by the public school system for kindergarten, it was strongly suggested we take him to our doctor as the screeners felt he would need medication for school. I quit my corporate job to stay home and school him myself. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when we started, but I figured it out.
I thought about the Wife Swap invitation again today as I scrolled through the books on my Nook. I don’t often think about homeschooling now that our son has graduated, but the books brought up memories. When I first looked for books to download, I didn’t go for the free books from today’s authors; I went right for the public domain books. There are still so many I want to read.
We read aloud for years – way beyond when our son could read for himself. It was simply enjoyable for us to share a book together. We bypassed dry history texts for wonderfully told history from wonderful writers. Even though most of the authors are considered juvenile authors, the enjoyment an adult derives cannot be argued.
Some of my favorite vintage authors:
– Charles Carleton Coffin … Through the day Marion remains in the swamp. His men rest beneath the leafy shade of the oaks. Long trails of moss hang pendent from the trees, waving in the summer breeze. So deep the shade, that at midday there is only twilight where the brave men lie concealed. At night, no one could find them there. ~ The Boys of ‘76
– Jacob Abbott … The news of this battle spread everywhere, and produced the strongest sensation. Hannibal sent dispatches to Carthage announcing what he considered his final victory over the great foe, and the news was received with the greatest rejoicing. At Rome, on the other hand, the news produced a dreadful shock of disappointment and terror. It seemed as if the last hope of resisting the progress of their terrible enemy was gone, and that they had nothing. ~Hannibal
– James Otis … The night was cold indeed and we suffered not a little before morning; but, as Ben said, it was better to be a trifle chilly than to feel ourselves beholden to anyone, even for that which we covered ourselves. ~Benjamin of Ohio
– Joseph Altsheler … Henry Ware walked to one of the windows and looked out for a long while. He relished little the idea of being a prisoner for the second time, even if the second imprisonment were a sort of courtesy affair. He saw from the windows the roofs of houses amid green foliage and he knew that only a few hundred yards beyond lay the great forest, which, now in the freshest and tenderest tints of spring, rolled away unbroken, save for the few scratches the French or Spanish had made, for thousands of miles, and for all he knew to the Arctic Circle itself. ~ The Free Rangers
– Elbridge Streeter Brooks … The moon struggled out of the flying clouds as Ned, for the fortieth time, slipped aside for the litter bearers to pass. And as he did so, he looked upon the face of the still form on the litter and his young heart fairly burst over the sacrifice he saw. For the moonbeams fell upon the face of the dead Colonel of the Ninth, the brave Liscum, who obeyed orders even though he knew them to be a blunder, the gallant veteran of four wars, dead in his fifth, unconscious of his country’s reward for gallant service, slated for the promotion that was never to come to him on earth. ~ Under the Allied Flags
There are many, many more vintage authors whose works we enjoyed. Their styles of writing varied. For some authors, the descriptive writing was lovely and flowing; for others, it was chopped and halting. Some authors wrote with simple words and painted simple pictures; while others used more complex wording, and we gleaned some of our understanding from context. It was, after all, no fun to read with a dictionary at your elbow.
I originally told myself I would read a book from a current author, and then read a book from a vintage author. I forgot my plan. I’ll have time again to read this winter. I think I’ll start with A Loyal Lass, A Story of the Niagara Campaign of 1814 by Amy E. Blanchard. It’s a romance.