Sugaring! (& a Spring Reading List)

First post in my Spring Book series. Next post Becoming an (e)Reader.

For years I've read seasonal stories to my children. Stories in general but I do love marking the seasons in our reading also.

Now that our youngest is nine and we don't have good English library service we don't read pictures books together very much anymore. (Sparkle Stories fill that need for us).

We always have a chapter book on the go and reading (individually and together) is a foundational piece to our homeschool practice but mornings snuggled on the couch with a big stack of library picture books to read together - that era has ended. This is the natural progression as children grow and situations change.

If life wasn't so full of new learning and adventures I might be tempted to look back and mourn the passing of that time. Instead I'm walking the new territory of sharing books with my almost thirteen year old and talking about the ideas therein. Are we here already? (I highly recommend Honey For a Teen's Heart for this stage).

The seasons themselves - the ones I have read about, explored and discovered with my children year in and year out - model this constant change, transition and growth.

This is just the way of it.

Many of the spring stories I read to my children over the years involved sugaring. Not even spring stories specifically but books about east coast North American history and culture. Having grown up in western North America, sugaring has always fascinated me. We didn't "sugar" in Alberta.

Our years in Maine put us very close to sugaring activity but we always participated as outsiders. Not knowing anyone personally who had a sugar bush we went on "open to the public" days to experience maple sugaring.

This spring finds us in Quebec. If living in urban Maine put us close to sugaring activity, living in rural Quebec puts us into the heart of it. Happy sigh.

All those years of reading books like Miracles on Maple Hill and The Sugaring-Off Party, I hoped one day to have a similar experience with the kids. Reading blog posts from SouleMama and this sugaring off post by Aimee last year at Simple Bites ony added fuel to that flame.

Now I have my own sugaring off story to tell.

Our neighbors, the same ones I made baked beans (with maple syrup) for last week, have a sugar bush. I skied past it all winter.

I volunteered us to help one afternoon this week with collecting "maple water" as they call it. We'll have the opportunity to help again next week as the season should last for about three weeks. We've been lucky enough to have had a real winter and are experiencing honest-to-goodness sugaring spring - cold at night and warmer during the days.

I love the comfort of this. That the season still holds some predictability here where we live in woods. Though I know this is changing also.

At the end of this post I've included some spring reads for elementary aged children. (Not sure if you can see this in RSS, please pop into the blog today if you can't see the list.)

For several years now (thanks to my friend Emily for getting me started) I've kept a virtual library at Goodreads of books we've read. These books have been the lion's share of our elementary homeschool "curriculum".

Reading, lots of imaginative creative play, a bit of math and everyday writing. Lots of discovery, following our interests and community activities - elementary homeschool.

I've been pretty quiet on Goodreads this year as we've transitioned to more e-books, audiobooks, French graphic novels and reading through our personal library collection (more to come on that change in my next post). I'm still trying to figure out how to organize and collate that information (yes, I'm geeky that way).

There was a time when I kept my Goodreads bookshelves fairly organized, they're a bit out of control right now. But you are welcome to take a look and be my friend if you're into books like I am.


While I was snooping around SouleMama this morning looking at her sugaring posts I came across this Spring Book Basket, another spring reading list.

What spring books do you recommend?
« There Are No Formulas
Becoming an (e)Reader »
  • Stephanie

    Stephanie on March 28, 2012, 2:23 p.m.

    As a homeschooled kid, I loved Miracles on Maple Hill! Also Maple Sugar for Windy Foot. I was just telling my 11 year old how much she would like Windy Foot the other day. Maple syrup stories have always been some of my favorites. We live in zone 9, though, so we have oranges and strawberries in winter instead! I love your blog...I have been haunting the archives. So inspiring!


  • Rana

    Rana on March 29, 2012, 3:02 a.m.

    I'm looking forward to checking these out with my kiddos. Thanks for sharing. Btw way I am loving your book. I'm taking it one chapter at a time and mulling over what I read. I'm feeling more creative every day!


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