My List: a plan of study, and what I am reading and learning right now

I love learning. Love it. I collect knowledge, I adore logic, I devour stories, and I enjoy good writing.
I want to know new languages, play an instrument, and in general be “accomplished” – although with no netting of purses or painting of screens.

I’m a fast reader, and learn well through books, so i excelled at homeschooling. I got a pretty good education, but I didn’t get much of art instruction/history/appreciation, or music either, after i began homeschool in the seventh grade. A mom can only do so much, I know, but I sure love The Arts. I might wouldn’t have ever gotten enough anyways. Literature, i got a lot of – i devoured classics both for school and in my spare time. Jane Austen, Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien – all fun reading.
I liked my science, but as I’ve grown up I’ve realized that it was very religious and that though it talked a little about secular theories like evolution and the big bang, the information my books presented on those subjects were more like straw men designed to demonstrate how untrue the theories were.
History, I got a decent bit, but of course there’s always more history to learn about.
Math? I did Saxon, I did college algebra, I DID MY TIME! and I am quite done with math for now. (spoken like a true Liberal Arts Student, eh?)

Aside from math, i’m nowhere near done learning. There are subjects i feel deficient in, and others I simply want to learn.
Here is my loose plan of study, with resources mentioned where i have something figured out. I tackle whatever i want, whenever i have the time and the inkling. I’m a SAHM, so I can read when kids are playing or watching tv, and at night when my husband lays them down to sleep.

If anyone has books or additional subjects to recommend, i welcome the suggestions.

Things I want to study and am studying (in no particular order):

Music: Play Guitar – I own a guitar, a chordbook, and have found songs to learn. I look things up on you-tube when i am stuck. I need to set aside time several times a week to practice, instead of once every several weeks. I took music appreciation in college; but I would like to read about and listen to more classical music. Also, we take the boys to concerts at the local university a few times a year.

Languages: French and German – working on this regularly on my duolingo app – a very good language app. For English speakers, it has Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, and Italian.

Science – not sure what resources to use –  I want to study evolution – there are obvious gaps in my education because of my christian curriculum. I want to find a mainstream biology course, and study evolution, and also to study the big bang. What is the name of that branch of science, anyone? Also i know a little about evolution because I watch Dinosaur Train with my 2 and 3 year olds (for that matter, I am also well informed on the various kinds of train locomotives…).

Philosophy. – not sure what resource to use. I never took philosophy in college. I know a bit, Luke took it and told me about things, and when reading I come across concepts and ideas, but i would like to go through a book or course and have all the basics in one place. Thinking of just buying something like ‘Philosophy Made Simple
I also am reading some of Nietzche’s writings, and plan to read other philosophers later. Preferably AFTER I study basic philosophy, so the concepts will be familiar already.

Drawing – I have a little book to start with, one of those step by step things. My drawing has always been pathetic. handwriting too, but that’s a lost cause. …being a child naturally gifted at school, anything that was very difficult I thought i just couldn’t do. So i figured i was simply incapable of drawing, though if it isn’t bragging, i’ve always had an eye for color. and once i was homeschooled, there was really no art education (my mom does more art now with my younger siblings, ah the perils of being an older child! but good for them!). I have bought a ‘how to draw’ book, and am giving it another shot. I would rather finger paint. i love fingerpainting. but i really want to be able to draw so i am trying and wincing at my feeble attempts…

Art history. I have Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting and am reading through it. Fascinating stuff! Also, I want to get a good biography of Vincent Van Gogh, as i loved the Doctor Who episode about him, and my son loves the style of painting. Also there are a few art documentaries in my Netflix Queue.

Writing: I continue to read good books and blogs, and I am blogging/writing, both here and privately. Furthermore, I am writing a novel, which i wrote a huge chunk of during NaNoWriMo 2013. I’m slacking, but I hope to get a finished draft by June. (yeah that’s gonna happen…) Also i will read On Writing Well, by Zinsser again, within the next few years. I read most of it during a Nonfiction Writing class and it is AMAZING.

Literature: I would like to read some literary criticism of Harry Potter, because I love Harry Potter, and because I struggled with literary criticism in college. I was used to reading literature for pleasure, but not used to analyzing it. I would like to learn how to do that. And obviously i’ll continue reading excellent books. Some of the books on my to-read list are To Kill a Mockingbird, The Chosen, more Agatha Christie, and Les Miserables (in english, but perhaps someday in French! recommend a translation, anybody?). I will probably re-read The Iliad and The Odyssey (gotta be the Robert Fitzgerald translation!) soon simply because i love them so much and it’s been a couple years. There’s a huge list of things i want to read and re-read, to me ‘literature’ is mostly entertainment 😀

History: no particular resource. I simply read whatever book strikes my fancy. there’s no time or place i am burning to study right now. I would like to watch some of the documentaries I’ve spotted on netflix.

Geography: I am embarrassed to admit that i still don’t know where all the states in the US are, and i certainly don’t know all the countries of the world. I would like to get a world and state puzzle, to help me learn them.

Other: I am learning about Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism. Currently reading The Way I See It by Temple Grandin, and The Out-of-Sync Child, by Carol Stock Kranowitz.

some of the other books in my library basket: An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, and Stitches by David Small (a memoir told as a graphic novel, it is really well done! I recommend it but it gets pretty dark and depressing at times).

Recently read on my Kindle: A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans, and Why I am Not a Christian, by Richard Carrier

Netflix faves: Doctor Who, Merlin, Dance Academy, and Avatar (unfortunately i am all caught up on all of those! but i love to rewatch things.)

This is an ever-growing list, but it’s quite a list for now and I feel like I’m already making a good start at it. and hey, my husband will have suggestions of books to buy me for every special occasion for years to come.

So, anyone have a book I just HAVE to read, a suggestion for a resource to help my studies, or another subject I ought to tackle? What sorts on things are on your ‘list’ to study?

9 thoughts on “My List: a plan of study, and what I am reading and learning right now

  1. Naomi

    What an ambitious plan of study–yes, very much a liberal arts education!

    Do you ever pick up old college textbooks? They’re usually super cheap at yard sales and thrift stores or at because the publishers crank out a new edition every couple years, forcing everyone to buy new. I learned the most about evolution (having only had exposure to creationist curriculum before college) in a geology class. A biology textbook might be good too, but I don’t remember learning much about evolution in that class.

    As for literature, it’s tough to beat the Norton anthologies used in many college classes. They give you a sampling of so many texts and have excellent introductions (biographical information about the authors and the contexts in which they wrote) for each author, giving you a starting point for following your literary interests.

    Goodness. Writing about this reminds me how life-changing reading this stuff was for me…realizing that I’d been fed so much bunk all my life. Whew! Enjoy the ride! 🙂

  2. lanamhobbs Post author

    Those are great ideas. I actually took biology and learned a lot, but nothing about evolution even though I’m pretty sure my teacher (a very good, caring teacher) was an athiest. Seriously the number of really nice non-conservative Christians/non Christians I met in college was astounding. I was taught no one could be loving or good without Christ…
    My other gen Ed. Science class was geology and that really challenged creationism, actually. I expected, having studied creationist science, to have evolution shoved down my throat in biology, and to have to write essays of the proof of ‘old earth’ in geology. Like I said, geology information refuted a young earth, but the teacher pretty much just presented accepted facts and theories and I could answer all test questions without compromising what I believed (but started doubting) about a young earth. He never set out to convert anyone, just to teach his subject. I was not prepared for my beliefs to be quietly respected in college, and that was a bigger eye opener than anything.

    Thanks for the text book idea, I’ll have to keep an eye out at the next library book sale, I’m sure I’ll find some good stuff 🙂

    1. Naomi Clark

      Yes, yes! I know exactly what you mean. I was stunned when I got to college and found virtually none of the extreme liberalism we’d been warned about. Granted, the school I attended was in a very conservative part of the country, but even so it really didn’t live up to the alarmist hype. 🙂

  3. Pingback: birthday presents – and just a happy day today | Lana Hobbs the Brave

  4. MyOwnPerson

    I’m on the same boat as you as far as science is concerned. I want to learn more about evolution and the big bang (astrophysics is the field you’ll be looking for, I believe). Huge gaps in my education thanks to homeschool science curriculum.

    1. lanamhobbs Post author

      Astrophysics! I feel smarter just knowing the word 🙂 I’ve always loved science, I’m looking forward to studying more of it. Have you picked any books yet? I’ve been reading a cool site about evolution, I’ll try to find the link and comment it here, if I can remember where I saved it.

  5. ahandyguide

    For evolution, I highly recommend “The Ancestor’s tale” by Richard Dawkins. I know Dawkins has a reputation has a militant atheists, but his books on biology are very good. “The Selfish Gene” is also well liked, though I haven’t read it.
    Or if you wanted to go all out, you could pick up Gould’s behemoth of a book “The structure of evolutionary theory.”

    The big bang theory falls under Cosmology. In fact, it is the major defining theory in cosmology. Though astrophysics and astronomy also have a lot to do with it. For more information, I would suggest the works of Caral Sagan or the non-technical writings of Stephen Hawkings, such as “A Brief History of Time,” and “God Created the Integers” though that one isn’t about cosmology. NASA’s website also has a lot of good information and lots of links (

    Also, Sagan’s book “The demon haunted world” is an excellent book as well. It isn’t so much about the big bang as it is about science and skepticism. In fact, pretty much everything ever made by Sagan is highly recommended.

    You said you were interesting in both philosophy and science, you might want to look into Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper. They pretty much pioneered the Philosophy of Science as an area of philosophy and most scientists philosophical views are at least generally aligned with one of these two (or a combination of both). Kuhn’s most well known work is “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.” This two are drier and more dense than any of the other books I have mentioned, but the ideas in them are amazing. They also help give an idea about how scientists view the world.

    On a different topic, if you are interested in a different view of history, the Kojiki and the Nihongi are two Japanese history books. Written in the 700’s they were basically suppose to be history text books for the people of that time. It includes a lot of Japan’s myths and legends, as well as a lot of history. The only problem with these is finding translations. The most common translations are from the 19th century and the translators had a bad habit of suddenly switching to Latin because they felt some of the topics in the books (i.e. incest) were thought too harsh for their sensitive readers. Though this is only a minor annoyance.

    1. lanamhobbs Post author

      These are great suggestions! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this 🙂
      Cosmology- that’s the word! I knew I’d heard the proper word before…
      Philosophy and science together sound like my cup of tea, I think I’ll start there. I need to go add books to my amazon wish list/library request list. Thanks for the great suggestions 🙂

  6. Pingback: life is what you make it | Lana Hobbs the Brave

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