I took a homeschooling test, which said one of the areas of homeschooling that I leaned toward was Thomas Jefferson Education. I’d never heard of it, but looked into it. I liked a lot of what I read. But, like any of the homeschooling philosophies, I pick and choose what I think will work for us.
There were two things that I could start immediately, without knowing much else about the philosophy — read classics to your kids and make sure you are also focusing on your own education, which they term “you, not them.” It was just the push I needed! I’ve been really wanting to start reading classics, but never seemed to find the time. So, I started a kid’s classics book club, and an adult classics (and cookbooks) book club with all the ladies in my church congregation.
And, I’m loving it! I get to plan these get togethers, for the kids and for me. It’s been a really great way to get out of my shell. I’m a huge introvert, so having lots of people over is a bit overwhelming, but it’s good to get out of my shell every now and then. Twice a month is enough, right? 🙂
I personally don’t like to sit and talk about books in a group, so I knew I needed to figure out a way to do a book club that promoted reading the book without it just becoming a get together for anybody. I set up a secret Facebook page and invited them all to join — over 60 people! My goal though was to just offer it. I never wanted anyone to feel obligated to come, because people are busy and a book club just might not be their thing. But, there might be just that one that they want to do with us, so I invited everyone to join.
I tried to emphasize that it’s a book club, because we’ll all read the book. But, it’s not a book club in that we aren’t going to sit around in a circle and have a discussion for an hour. But, there’s still a fine balance we are working on between those who really want a book club and those who don’t want to read at all.
There are people who don’t like to read or don’t want to read the book, but still want to come, which is great. I hadn’t expected that. I just assumed there would be some people who really wanted to read a book, some who’d read it just to say they did and others who would just choose to skip the ones they weren’t interested in. So, it’s been interesting having people who want to hang out, but have no desire to read the book.
I’m still figuring out how to make sure the people who did read the book feel comfortable about talking about it. Since, it does feel a little bit rude to talk about something the other person has so little interest in, they didn’t read the book. But, there are some who read the Cliff’s notes I link to. I think that’s a happy medium. 🙂
I was hoping to appease the people who did really want to sit and talk in a group. So, for the first get together, I tried a separate area for people to sit to discuss and had real questions, but that didn’t work. What did work and led to more conversations were the quotes and questions I spread out as table decorations.
Here’s the description I gave for the book club. I did not come up with the name by myself. I looked up a bunch of lists and chose this one, because I like to read and eat! 🙂
Read & Feed Book Club (but not really)
“A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” -Mark Twain
I’d like to be one of those people who just reads classics for fun, but that really hasn’t happened. So, in an effort to start checking off a list of classics, I thought I’d see if anyone would like to join me. To hold ourselves accountable and celebrate our accomplishments, we’ll have a party when we finish each book.
There’s no plan for a formal sit down to discuss the book, but anyone is welcome to do so. You can discuss or not discuss the book all you like. So, there you have it, a book club in that we all read the same book, but not really a book club, because we aren’t going to sit as a group and formally discuss it.
The plan would be every other month or so. And, to shake it up a bit, we wouldn’t read a classic with just the ladies each time. We’ll do some kid-friendly classics as well, where the whole family can read the book, and we’ll have a family-friendly party.
Since classics might be a bit much every time, sometimes we’ll have a party based on an entertaining cookbook, where everybody reads the cookbook and chooses a recipe from the book to bring.
I’m trying to keep this casual and uncomplicated. Come every time, or every so often — whatever works with you and your schedule.
I used the picture above for my Facebook secret group page. For credit info, it can be found here.
The great thing about a Facebook page is that it allows for some conversation as you all read the book. You can create different events. I also used it for polls on what books everyone would like to read next (based on my list of classics.) And, within the book, you can do a poll for bringing items.
I found and used or modified tons of basic questions that would work with many books. I printed these and laminated them. I use them as table decorations to help with conversations.
Book Club Questions
Cookbook Book Club Questions
Here is our list of books. If there is a corresponding Pinterest board, I will link it. You can look at my How To: Book Club Pinterest board for all the links I found when planning and implementing the club.
1. Tale of Two Cities (Pinterest Board): Tale of Two Cities: Bangers and Baguettes
2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Pinterest Board): Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (Kids’ Classic Book Club Version)
3. A Love Affair with Southern Cooking: A Southern Linner
4. Emma (Pinterest Board): Matinee
5. Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing: Russian Dinner
6. A Study in Scarlet (Pinterest Board): Afternoon Tea
7. Pollyanna: A Glad Afternoon
8. Swiss Family Robinson: Backyard Island Fun
9. Murder on the Orient Express: Lunch and a Movie
10. My Life in France: Afternoon Soiree