Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our Literature Evenings

     In the past couple of years, I have planned a few Literature Evenings. I sooooo looooove this idea!  I wish that I could do it more often.....I wish I lived somewhere near all of you...or at least near I could celebrate literature with kindred spirits!

     So far, I have presented A Literature Evening with CS Lewis........which really should have been broken up into three nights! One for each of his author personalities:  the philologist, the Christian writer and the author of Narnia.  I have prepared, on paper, evenings for Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain, but have not yet done those.

     I successfully hosted a Christmas through Literature Evening.  We have now made it a tradition for the week between Christmas and New Year's. It is always a cozy evening. This year will mark our fifth season.  I will write a post specific to this theme shortly........but first, I wanted to share the basic idea with you so that you have the background information for hosting your own evening for Christmas.

Music and Literature by William Michael Harnett  1878

Here is the general plan for our literature evenings:

1. Draw the name of an author (Twain), or pick a theme (Christmas). Or, just choose one that fits your life or needs. You can focus on an author of the time period you are studying.

By the way, you do not have to be homeschooling family to do this, nor must you even have children. It can be an adult-only party if your children are gone or too young.

2. Collect all resources from your home shelves and the local library, including interlibrary loan if need be.

3. Go through each resource, deciding which ones to use, and what part of them to use. I make a file on the computer. There will always be too much. This is good. Put it all down and use what you can. Once folks enjoy an author, they always like to come back to more. Take what seems best each time. I make sure to include biographical information.  I try to provide variety as much as possible:  photos, paintings, plays, poetry, short stories and definitely any humor......whatever I come across that is important, interesting and/or relevant.  And hopefully, entertaining.

4. Once the evening is planned on paper, only then it may be scheduled on the calendar. This is in order to keep me from trying to put it together at the last minute. I try to have two ready to go at all times.

5. Email an invitation to all interested parties. There will be a sample invite in the post about our Christmas Literature Evening. I invite adults and children aged 10 and up.

6. We planned 3 hours, but spent about 4 hours......we could not get enough.....this is including a break in the middle for coffee cake and juice. I plan to always keep it simple....always a simple dessert. Or, I would have a dessert potluck.

7. Display books in basket. Have candles lit, light a bit dimmed. Set the mood. Cozy fire in winter. Around the Christmas tree in Christmas season. We held one evening out of doors because it was a warm June night.

8. I did most of the reading aloud, but others may read as they feel led. Certainly offer that opportunity.

9. Try to have something to break up the monotony of just straight reading: for Christmas, I used Christmas Mad-libs. The kids want to use the other Mad-libs for other literature evenings....for CS Lewis I had a game using two books about the Narnian Chronicles called: "Guess the Character" as well as a short play he wrote when he was young, for the kids to perform. Variety helps.

10. Using highlighter, mark all that was done on the plan. Place the date in the computer file. Save for future reference.

I originally thought I would let others bring what they want from the author.......but it seems easier to plan for the evening myself.  Folks are more relaxed if they do not have to feel responsible for anything.

If anyone does this, I would love feedback.......who knows, it may show up in a book someday.

Literary Blessings to you!


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