Book Basket - Describe and explain

My Father's World uses a Book Basket method to develop a love of learning and enrich all subjects; Independent Reading Time has different goals and methods but there is overlap in book lists and helpful hints
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Book Basket - Describe and explain

Unread post by Lucy » Wed Feb 16, 2005 2:01 pm

Nancy in TX- wrote:Can someone explain to me what the book basket is? I keep seeing this and think I have an idea but I'm not sure.
Date: 4/2/2004
Hi Nancy,

Book basket is a basket full of books from the library or ones that you already have on the subjects that you are covering. For instance this year in Creation to Greeks when we studied about Noah and the first people we got books on Noah, Mesopotamia, Sumer, etc. as well as our science books on light. Now the kids can look at them at other times of the day but you have a 15 or 20 minute time each day that you set as book basket time. Some of these books the kids will read, some will just look at the pictures and sometimes you may choose to read one to them that they have chosen or you want to read to them. It is a free time and the kids get to choose what book they want to read or look at. Books on ,below , or above grade level may be put in the basket to encourage them to read as well as learn on their on.

When you buy MFW part of the curriculum includes a list of books that they have already previewed for you to get from your library.

I hope this is helpful to you.


Child or parent reading?

Unread post by cbollin » Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:37 pm

knitcindy wrote:Is the "bookbasket" time for the children to read to themselves or for me to read the books to them??
Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 9:50 am
Generally book basket is a time for children to read through, or browse the books by themselves. it is a time to begin to let children have some independent time to learn from reading.

Some of us think of it as a buffet time to sample books that are on topic and also off topic.

It is also not expected that every book is finished in the book basket time.


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Unread post by kellybell » Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:37 pm

Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 2:07 pm

Usually my kids "do bookbasket" by themselves. Every now and then I "plant" a book in there I really hope to catch them reading, but sometimes such a good book just gathers dust so, before it's due back at the library, I announce that for bookbasket, I'll read to them that day.

As Crystal mentioned, there are no expectations for how the kids are to use the book basket except that they are to spend that time with those books, with at least a book open and their attention on that book... It's fine for someone to just look at pictures, to read "above" or "below" their level, to just read the same book day after day, to start a book and never finish it, to put sticky-notes on a cookbook of things to try.


How do you implement it?

Unread post by cbollin » Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:38 pm

nollnotes wrote:This may seem like a really silly question, but can someone tell me how to do the book basket thing?

I am doing Adventures with my 8 yo, 2nd grade boy and my 5 yo Kindergarten girl. They love it and seem to be doing well with it.

I read about book basket, but how do you implement it on a daily basis. When? How long? Where? Your ideas and how you use it would be greatly appreciated.

Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 8:57 pm
I think it is a common question that you have about book basket. Here is some basic information about book basket.

Book Basket is a time set aside to enrich your children's study in the weekly thematic topics in history and science. It is designed to be a time to encourage your children to read some books on their own and learn from independent reading.

You are not expected to read every book on every list for each week. Think of the book basket time as an appetizer or even a dessert buffet. You can just sample the books. It’s ok to just glance through the informational books and read a caption or two. This can be very helpful when you have selected books that are above the child’s reading ability.

After you select the books from the library, let your child decide which book or books to glance through on any particular day. The books can be at, below and even a little above the child's reading level. However, don’t feel like you have to finish the book. Think of it as a time to browse books --- just as if you were in a waiting room and knew that you couldn’t finish a magazine.

Here is how I've done book basket over the years...
- I go to the library and select books from the list or even books that are just close enough.
- After I bring them home, they go in a plastic storage bin and just sit in a special room in our house, jokingly called the Teacher's Lounge.
- My girls can look at book basket anytime of the day. I find it helpful to send one child to the basket while working with the other child on an individual task such as a lesson from Primary Language Lessons or on their math time.
- I've found it very flexible to adjust and keep it casual reading.


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Unread post by kellybell » Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:38 pm

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 12:34 pm

The book basket is deceptively simple. It's one of those "why didn't I think of this?" things.

We enjoy ours so much that it's in use 365 days a year (but only "required" during school days).

Anyway, just fill it with a variety of books: hard, easy, long, short, picture books, cookbooks, art books, chapter books, experiment books, atlases (use a yellow sticky to show what part of the book is on Brazil, etc.), etc. I throw a kids Bible in ours too. I figure that it's always "on the menu."

Yes, like Crystal said, it's a buffet. The kids are free to sample this book or that, decide they like it (or not) and are free to get seconds (read it again) or to scrape it away (didn't like it). Kids are free to "eat only ketchup" (that would be lookign at the pictures but not reading the book itself).

And, restrain yourself from saying, "What did you read today at book basket time?" if you think it would pressure them to please you. Instead, just let them enjoy.

If there's a book in there you REALLY want them to experience, then say, "Today for book basket I'll read to you." Read the book, then tell them, "I'll keep it in the book basket until it's time to take it back to the library."

Rotate the books around to keep them fresh.

When it's library time, ask them what they think should go back (they'll find some "losers" for you to return) and what they think you should keep.
You can always choose to return a book if you are tired of it being the only thing the child is grabbing and you're ready for him to try something else!

It's really simple. Just start using it. Tell them, "we're going to enjoy these books for 15 minutes."

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Unread post by MJP » Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:39 pm

Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:55 pm

Kelly, I had to sneak a book back to the library one time. I could not face reading it again. Your post made me smile. Although I can't remember the book, I remember my intense inability to face reading it again. It came in handy though, because my library didn't get it rescanned in, but, obviously, I KNEW I had returned it. They laughed when I went over and found it on the shelf and explained why I positively knew I had returned it.

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How important is the book basket?

Unread post by txquiltmommy » Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:42 pm

beltran4christ wrote:How important is the book basket?

Is MFW still a complete curriculum if we do not use the library? We do not have regular access to a library. We have tons of books that I might be able to supplement with and I am sure I can buy some.

From the book basket in Adventures, is there any book in your opinion that is a must have? Would appreciate any suggestions.

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:40 pm
The book basket is really a HUGE list. There are several recommendations given each week to supplement the topics studied in both history and science. We have certainly enjoyed some of the recommendations, but it is by no means a required list. If you have a large home library, chances are that you will often have books that you can throw in the basket that will work just fine. In fact, we often just browse the library shelves for "on topic" books rather than specific titles. So, in short, book basket is a *very* important part of Adventures, but the exact titles that you put in the basket are very flexible.

I personally don't feel that there are "must haves" because the titles change from week to week, so even a "best loved" book only stays in a short time. I suppose one of our favorites has been a trivia book about the 50 states. That one does stay in our basket all the time since the USA notebook is such an integral part of Adventures. Also, we have a USA cookbook that we love and an Audubon bird field guide.

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Unread post by kellybell » Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:43 pm

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:38 pm

We've done ECC and CTG and are currently about 1/3 through RTR. The "must haves" are the basic package books (ie. Victor Journey through the Bible, Streams of Civilization, etc.) that are shown in the brochure and/or website.

As for book basket, the recommended books are usually great books but none of them are "must haves." That's what I like about MFW. If I cannot find a certain book basket book, the program doesn't fall apart.

You CAN do MFW without a library but the library makes it a lot easier. If you need to do it without a library, then start looking ASAP for nice things to put in the book basket. Get the TM as soon as you can, and check used book stores,, and for deals on some of the recommended books (remembering that none of them are "must haves.") Similarly, keep an eye out for subscriptions to historical magazines that might work out. We like Cobblestones, Kids Discover, and especially Learning through History. Often our book basket will have a few magazines that tie in to what we are studying. Don't forget the internet too. There are lots of things you can print out and staple together and put in the book basket.

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Unread post by Lucy » Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:44 pm

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:45 pm

We have loved book basket but there have been seasons or weeks that we have not been able to use it and it has been o.k. It does in rich what you are studying.

Also even though Marie will encourage you to look for other books you can know that all the books that are suggested are ones that they have checked out and read. In the list some books are marked and these are the ones they consider to really worth every effort to have in your book basket.

As the others said you may have some of them already or many with similar topics. I only go to the librarly every 3 weeks since I can take out 30 at a time. I some times take out more from another library if there are more I would like. So it may be that you could plan to hold books on-line and just return and pick up once every 2 to 3 weeks or how ever long they allow you to keep books.

You will be fine. The books included ,especially in the deluxe pkg., really are great.


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Unread post by tkbbrl6 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:44 pm

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:13 pm

I see book basket as a time for the kids to explore on their own from books I've selected. A time to gain more info on subjects we are studying. But I don't see it as a time that they have to account for their understanding, comprehension, etc. of the material - it's just to grasp the enjoyment of exploring more. For our book basket time I selected books that were on the recommended list and some that I found dealing with topics we were studying. I selected books at various levels - picture books, easy readers, fiction, non-fiction, etc. I "assigned" book basket as 10-15 mins for my kids to explore/read any book in the basket. I have a reading corner for them with large pillows - table lamp - and baskets of books from which to select. Some days the book basket was all the reading my dc did - if they really read the book (sometimes my middle ds selected books that were way beyond his level and then I made sure to have him read something on his level either to me or silently).

Our reading assignments are generally library books but not necessarily related to our topics of study. For us reading is a time that I use as instruction - what they read for reading they must be able to answer ? about etc. For us reading assignments are books on their instructional level - not too easy and not over their heads.

My kiddos never complained (and dd "hates" reading so she says) but they didn't see book basket time as required reading - does that make sense.? Book basket is one of their favorite times in the school day and they enjoy sharing with each other what they discover, asking me to read something aloud, and frequently could have book basket time go way beyond the 15 mins or so I schedule. Frequently if we don't have a read aloud we are working on I pull a book from book basket and read it while they eat lunch or swing on the swing-set.


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Unread post by LoveBaby » Fri May 30, 2008 1:24 am

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:34 am

Book basket is like a buffet of excellent books/videos to help futher the childs study of various subjects. Right now we are doing adventures and I have an audio/book on the Pledge of Allegience, books about the Vikings, videos on the Vikings, Leif the Lucky, Eric the Red etc. Every day the kids and I spend time looking through, reading aloud or watching the videos. In the back of the teacher's manual their is an appendix of these suggested materials from Marie. She's spend countless hours weeding through the libraries to give us the best of the best to share w/ our kids. I especially love this part of MFW. It respects the parents need for a well-rounded education without us going broke buying an entire library of books!

btw...MFW has been a direct answer of prayer for our family! I'm continually thankful it found its way into our homeschool and life!

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Unread post by mgardenh » Sun Aug 31, 2008 1:55 am

Posted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:35 pm

The book basket is where the kids have individual reading time. Each year the Teaching Manual (TM) has list in the back of suggested books. You get them from the library (at least most of us do). Generally the books are divided by weeks you are doing things, to make it easier. The books relate to history, science, etc, that you are doing. This expands on what they are learning. It is a very important part of the program and helps round out their education. You do not have to get all of the books listed just enough for your kid to read based on how much they read etc.. And sometimes you just get similar books as to the ones listed because your library may not carry them. The book basket is one way the cost of the curriculum is reduced. We do 15 minutes a day but you can do more. The TM tells you more about book basket.

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Unread post by Renai » Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:01 am

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:10 pm

Just wanted to add that book basket is designed for the "Learning to Love to Read" stage. They can choose whatever book from the basket and browse.


Unread post by cbollin » Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:50 pm

Posted: Sat May 03, 2008 6:50 am

MFW has an extensive library list for themed reading. It is called book basket. You could buy some of the books from basket list. In the MFW teacher's manual, there is a brief description of each book on the list, so it is not just a bunch of titles. And some of those titles will have an asterisk next to it -- those are books that are the top of the top on the list. The Hazell family (MFW author) reads a lot of books and not all books make it on the list. So there has been a certain level of pre-screening for you. and they leave their notes in the book basket list.

I wasn't chained to the library to make MFW work. All of the required reading is in the basic and deluxe package. Those book basket lists are extra reading to add in living books and to develop a love of reading and a bit of learning extra information.

Hope that helps a bit even if I haven't used the other program you mentioned.

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Just ordered 1st time! Advice while I wait?

Unread post by mgardenh » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:48 am

nacci527 wrote:Hello, I am sooo excited to start our first year of Unit Studies with MFW! I ordered ECC and a few extra hands-on toys for my little ones. My dc's ages are dd-10, dd-7, ds-5, dd-3, ds-1.

I am "hearing" a lot of chatter about a book basket. I am assuming this is a basket of selected books from a list that MFW supplies-(the list, that is) and we are to buy/borrow these for additional reading, or ind. reading per lesson. I have no vehicle, hopefully that will change very soon (prayers, please!) Library will have to wait, but what can anybody tell me about this list?
Welcome aboard! ECC is fun. We are in our last week.

As far as book basket goes.. It is where you get books related to the topic at hand and other things your dc are interested in. Book basket is like a feast. They don't have to read every book they can just look at the pictures or read captions or just particular sections of the books. There are recommended books that are given for you to get from the library usually but some people purchase. You don't have to do book basket. The curriculum is complete without it. Book basket just adds to the feast. The book basket list is copyrighted so we can't give out what books are on the list in advance of you receiving ECC.

Welcome aboard and have fun in MFW!
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR

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Re: Just ordered 1st time! Advice while I wait?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:33 pm

Some more ideas for prep:

The book basket list is based on the topics you are studying. So if you look at the table of contents in any of the sample years, you'll see the topics in the book basket. ECC:

It's an extra, after you've taught the lesson. It introduces the child to the fact that there is MUCH more to learn about everything in the lesson today. And these things can be about a wide range of interests -- from fiction to animals to cookbooks. If you don't have a library option, you may want to hunt through your own bookshelves or even order a few books from the list, after you get the manual. Each child is different, so you will know best what your child will enjoy. It doesn't have to be books from the list -- that's just a bonus of already-previewed ideas for you.

Reading time is also on the schedule. That is a time for actually reading books at the child's level. You can assign book basket books or there is a list of classics in the back of the teacher manual. You might have other books your family enjoys for reading time. But you could start thinking about that.

Some more ECC ideas to read as you wait (but don't get overwhelmed -- you don't need to do any of these!):

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Another Book Basket Question

Unread post by cbollin » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:19 am

gratitude wrote:I think I am over complicating book basket in my head so please bear with me. ;) We are 2 weeks into ADV, and I would like to start book basket this coming week. The other thread I started gave me some great ideas of what to do when the books are difficult to find. So now to actually getting started:

I have a basket in the living room that I have always used for books, so should I just be intentional about what books go in there for book basket time? To start book basket time do I just sit down with a book and announce that it is time to look at books? (Sounds relaxing for mom! :) ) Not read-aloud time, but looking at books for 15 minutes or so?

Since my children were very young they periodically throughout the day pull a book off the shelf and look at it; it is how they give themselves down time. Is book basket different from this? Or is it just more intentional? I think in my head I am making it much harder than it probably is. ;)

And what have you done for book basket if you did not find the suggested books? Does MFW stand alone without it?
First, before my babbling, I think you're already doing it right if the children are naturally drawn to look through books.

some "intentional" ideas: when, you have to work one on one with a student (math, spelling, whatever), that can be an intentional "book basket time" for other children.
Or like you said, it can be a time of let's all browse some books now and find something cool to share with each other before starting the dishes...
or "I have to deal with the toddler -- y'all go do book basket for a bit"

I would just add in a few more on topic books to the existing stuff in your living room.

It sounds a lot like you are a natural at book basket. Maybe that's why is feels like it's supposed to be something else? It's just part of your family already. Yes,you can read out loud from them. Yes, they can take them to bed and read for "aww, just 10 more minutes mom!"

You're a good book basket family.

Is it complete if you don't have tons of books? Yes. Book basket has several goals:
to encourage love of learning to read
to encourage some independent learning on a topic of interest
to encourage "ooh, I wanted to know a bit more on that after you read it"

Ideally, we'd want it with topics on the unit studies. But it can be with other studies of interest -- craft, hobby, getting Magazines like God's World News (check the mfw language arts page for discount info)
hopefully something on the Jamestown site might help to fill some learning time if your library has less than what you want.


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Re: Another Book Basket Question

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:00 pm

Agreeing you're a natural!

I just did the history or geography lesson and then, if it was a new topic, I would briefly show some of the books I had out on that topic. Then I'd tell ds that it was now book basket time & he could look through these books for 15 min & find something interesting to tell me.

But of course it was different on different days and in different years. I remember one year when I had a lot of medical phone calls, I wrote "Time For BOOK BASKET" in large letters on a sheet of cardstock. When I saw ds was beginning to dawdle, I'd hold up the card :)

Last edited by Julie in MN on Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another Book Basket Question

Unread post by dhudson » Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:54 pm

My kids have a quiet room time daily and they read book basket at that time. My kids are also allowed to stay up 15 minutes later if they are reading book basket books.

I have several book baskets. One in the family room where my kids drape themselves across the lounge to read and then another in the hallway in front of their rooms.

Just get books related to the topic. It does not have to be the exact books. You can spend some time and get some of the books through inter-library loan. I will do that for the asterisked books or buy them but I think the program is complete without them.
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Re: Another Book Basket Question

Unread post by gratitude » Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:34 pm

Thank you so very much. I like your ideas, and I also like this feeling of... Oh now I understand what book basket is all about. Some of what we are already doing, and it sounds like also some of them sharing what they find, and adding in some books for our topics. I understand!
dhudson wrote:My kids have a quiet room time daily and they read book basket at that time.
I like this idea a lot. We lost our mid-day quiet time when my 3rd stopped napping. I think it would be helpful for everyone. Great idea.

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What is the Book Basket

Unread post by beaglemamma2008 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:27 pm

Luv2Vacation wrote:I am totally new to MFW. I have sometimes seen people referring to the "book basket", but I can't find anything on the website or in the catalog that talks about this. Can anyone tell me what it is? Is there a list of the books somewhere? Thank You!
Yes, there is a list of books in the back of each teacher's manual that are suggested resources to go along with whatever topic your kids are studying in science or history that week. The books in the manual are merely suggestions, not requirements. If your library doesn't have those titles, you just substitute what they do have. But the resource with a * are always wonderful! And all of the books have been read by the Hazells so they don't contain questionable content. (Or if they do, there's always a heads-up.)

Here's how it works: Each day, your children choose a book and take a few minutes (15 or so) to read it (or a portion of it, or even just look at the pictures) to enhance their studies. The books can be fiction, non-fiction, biographies, cookbooks, fairy tales ... your imagination is the limit!
Jennifer, mom to:
Hannah, 8. Finished and loved K, 1st, & Adventures. Currently loving ECC.
Millie, 5. Finished Pre-K and K "lite." Currently playing her way through K "for real."

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Adv book basket

Unread post by Mexmarr » Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:07 am

erin.kate wrote:Good morning!

How many books do you include in your weekly book basket (for any year, really, but I'm asking mostly about Adv for my 2nd-grader and K'er). I feel like I'm packing it too full and the kids are flying through the books (I also include one Nest or Odyssey video weekly). Would it be better to have fewer titles and let the kids read and re-read them and savor them longer?

I have them spend 20 minutes per day with book basket. I just don't want to overload them with books that they'll skim, but I also want to offer them a lot of beautiful titles to look at and read. Hmm, such a quandary. Not a terrible one to have, though. ;) Thank you!
I think that book basket is more of a "whatever meets the needs of your family" thing. And that will actually vary from child to child within the family. I was very informal with it. My dd loves to read. I never even scheduled it. She went to it when she had the chance. I did not change it out from week to week. I tried to have 1 "new" book per week, (from Amazon, mostly 1 cent plus shipping!) I ended up getting new library books once a month or so, and would get 10-15ish, covering a month or more of topics. She would read those until I got new books, and not necessarily on the topic that we would study that week. She might ave been a week ahead and behind. No big deal, she was absorbing the info.

So, my suggestion is to relax and do what works. No matter how the logistics work, it will all be good.
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Rosy age 8 - 3rd grade, ECC
Gracie age 7- K and ECC orally (legally blind, Aspergers)
Lizzie age 4 1/2 - waiting to start K!
Andy age 3
Rebekah age 2
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Re: Adv book basket

Unread post by beaglemamma2008 » Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:43 pm

I was recently wondering the same thing, Erin Kate. On any given week, we can have as many as 30 books in the book basket. I have wondered if I would be better off with a smaller selection of "found-on-everyone's-book-list" kinds of books versus a plethora of "whatever-the-library-happens-to-have" kinds of books. (Kind of like choosing between a steak from Ruth's Chris Steak House versus heading to Golden Corral for the all-you-can-eat buffet.)

FWIW, I've just loaded it up for the past three years, and Hannah has seemed to learn a lot and enjoy it. But I'm still interested in hearing others' thoughts. :)
Jennifer, mom to:
Hannah, 8. Finished and loved K, 1st, & Adventures. Currently loving ECC.
Millie, 5. Finished Pre-K and K "lite." Currently playing her way through K "for real."

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Re: Adv book basket

Unread post by erin.kate » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:53 pm

Mexmarr wrote:So, my suggestion is to relax and do what works. No matter how the logistics work, it will all be good.
Relax? I'm not familiar, but I really should acquaint myself. :) j/k Thanks for the ideas and for sharing how you've handled book basket time in your house.
beaglemamma2008 wrote:(Kind of like choosing between a steak from Ruth's Chris Steak House versus heading to Golden Corral for the all-you-can-eat buffet.)
Ha, well, your analogy was very similar to how I explained my conundrum to my dh. :)

I seem to have at least a new book for each day, sometimes two, so that my girls have options. lol. Plus the one video when I can find one per lesson. This summer I did buy the Beautiful Feet Early American Literature package so that I own a few really wonderful books for this year alongside Adventures, which included almost all of the D'Aulaire books.

But, I can see the value to just a carefully selected handful of books that they would take more time to read. Maybe it will all come down to how much my library or ill consistently has to borrow each week ... we live in a town of 200 so sometimes it is slim pickins. Somehow I have been quite fortunate with the library this year ... I started a little later than most families so if there are other MFW users in the area, we aren't vying for the same books each week. ;)
♥Count it all joy ~
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2015: RTR
2014: CTG
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2009: MFW K♥


Re: Adv book basket

Unread post by MFW-Lucy » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:37 pm

(This was written on Friday and never was posted. :))

Hi Ladies,

I have been reading this topic today and thought I would jump in and add a comment. Book Basket is a wonderful time of enriching and discovering more about the topics you are studying each week. This includes enjoying a good story picture book or one with great pictures so that you can really "see" what places look like as well as how people live now or in the past. Having more books is like offering a buffet of tasty choices (I think this was originally Crystal's analogy :)) The idea is to create life long learners and this gives kids an opportunity to discover the love of learning for themselves through many different books. So, I always gathered as many books as possible from the list and occasionally a few extra from our library for the week (I was blessed with a couple of great libraries near me). I would occasionally read a book to my kids that I really wanted them to hear, but otherwise I just set the timer and let them read and peruse the books. So the goal for this time allows for a lot of freedom as the others have mentioned and will look a little different in each home, but in general is much more relaxed than independent reading.

One thing I found throughout the years with each curriculum is I could really depend on the books in the T.M. being good books. Each of these books has been read and chosen by the author. So if you can find these, you know you are offering the best of the best for your kids to choose from. The General Book list in the back of the T.M. are not books recommended so much by the author, but are books that are generally considered classics. This is a great resource for independent reading.

I hope these thoughts are helpful as you begin your "Book Basket" journey:).

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