We are at a point where we are ready to reflect a bit on our Mother Daughter Book Club experience. We have some lessons learned and some challenges we have not yet conquered to our satisfaction. Perhaps some of this will be relevant to you.
We opted to keep the group small so that no one would feel overwhelmed in hosting.
This has a positive in that all of the girls seemed to be open in sharing in the smaller group. I think it helped that the group is full of girls that are comfortable with one another. Huge plus. When we discussed our book selections, I really felt that the girls gave me a glimpse into their thought processes: the good, the bad & the ugly. Which was exactly what I hoped would happen!
The negative is that if one family can’t make it, the conversation takes a serious hit. We opted for just a few families. When one family has an unforeseen conflict with the meeting day/time, it definitely affected the quality of the discussion. Don’t get me wrong, each of the families are completely fantastic. But I think the strength in these sorts of discussions is the multitude of ideas.
Also each family feels serious pressure to be available for the meeting. That’s great because we want everyone to be committed. However, we also want it to be fun and casual. Please come for the fun and great company, but don’t sweat it if you can’t. We’ll catch you next time. It’s hard to feel casual when there’s such a limited number of participants.
2. Middle School.
It’s hectic for all kids.
Our group is made up of girls & sisters that all were in elementary school together. Due to zoning and school choices, they all split up to separate middle schools. We’d hoped that the group would give the girls a safe place to come back together and leave some crazy middle school stuff behind. Thus far this has been positive.
The downside is that no matter what your activities or school, the adjustment to middle school is massive! We are juggling an hour of homework when it was only 20 minutes the year before. Combine that with sports, band, clubs, etc…. free time? That’s an endangered species! Perhaps our group could consider becoming less structured. Instead of all reading the same book, maybe we can come together for general book talk. What we’re reading, why we like it, etc. This still gives a glimpse into their lives but without the ‘homework’.
3. To sequel or not to sequel.
We’ve been working our way through Wendy Mass’ 11 Birthdays, Finally, 13 Gifts. This is a great series and it offered us some great conversation starters. My thoughts about sequelling or not, aren’t a reflection of this series but instead sequels in general.
A positive is that the girls found an author that they enjoyed. They were excited to continue to reading.
A negative is that as we are moving through sequels it becomes more difficult to invite others into the group. This removed some options as to group changes.
One thing I know for sure. Pizza rolls. That’s right, Totino’s Pizza Rolls. That is the food that the girls cannot have book club without. So whether we are holding a book discussion group or talk… the Pizza Rolls will be there.