Wright on Time: Arizona (book 1)

Join the Wright family as they homeschool and RV around the United States in search of exciting and new learning experiences. In this easy chapter book, we are introduced to dad Harrison, mom Stephanie, and kids Aiden and Nadia, a family who loves learning and spending time with each other. Their first stop is Arizona, where they do some spelunking and digging for gems. Readers will enjoy learning right along side the Wrights as they explore such things as iron pyrite, garnet, bats, stalagmites and stalactites (and read how to tell the difference between the two), and a mysterious device.

What a nice series this is, educational and appropriate for your children. I had a chance to chat with the author, Lisa Cottrell-Bentley about her Wright in time series. Here’s what I found out:

HSB: Lisa, what’s the story behind the series – how did you come up with the idea to write about a homeschooling family that RV’s.

My (always homeschooled) daughters are currently 13 and 9. For years my older daughter and I read books together (my younger daughter and I have, too, but my older daughter has always had more opinions about the books she’s read). While she loved the books, she was often disappointed with the school-centric views of the characters. She was also always bothered by the mean spirited sibling and friend relationships and the lack of parents in the stories.

One day, while swimming together, we got to talking about what the best book series ever would be and the Wright family was created! Over the course of weeks of many conversations, we created the characters in the stories and the overall story arc for the series. Since I was already a writer, I took it upon myself to actually start writing the Wright family’s stories.

We knew we wanted the whole family involved in each story, and what better way to do that than to have the family *BE* together in a physically small vehicle? Since the Wright family travels so much, the only consistent characters are the two parents, two children, and their pet turtle.

HSB: Did you do any cave exploring as part of the research for the book?

Oh, yes! My older daughter has been fascinated with caves for years, so we always go to as many caves as we can find wherever we are. While researching this book, we went to all the Arizona caves we could find. I also talked with a private cave owner.

We recently went on two different trips (one to NM, TX, AR, LA, MS) and went to two different caves, and then another trip (to IL, MO, IA) and went to several more. We always find it amazing how each cave can be so different. My daughter’s love of caves has made her interested in bats and geology, too (she’s currently taking a 4 credit college class in geology).

HSB: What’s your style of homeschooling?

My family considers ourselves “Life Long Learners”, or “Radical Unschoolers”. It’s hard to give a label to exactly what we do, especially now that our 13 yo is in college. Suffice it to say that my husband and I facilitate our daughters’ interests to the best of our abilities. We’ve never felt the need to give them homework assignments or use a curriculum since their lives have been full and rich without them. While there are a variety of homeschooling styles, this has worked really great for our family.

HSB: How many more books do you plan in this series?

I plan to write at least 50 Wright on Time books, one for each state.

It has been recommended to me that I write ones for Washington D.C., the U.S. territories, and possibly other countries, too. I may; I am definitely not ruling them out, but I’m starting with the 50 U.S. states.

In these books, the Wright kids (Nadia and Aidan) will age and grow.

Each book is set in a new month. We’ll see the children as they age, get new interests and abilities, and get bigger. They start the series at ages 7 and 11 and will end the series 50 months older. :) I’m planning for the last 12 or so books to be closer to YA (Young Adult) in nature rather than children’s chapter books. My readers have been really excited about this since they, too, age and grow.

At this time (November 2009), the first book is published, the second book will be published in December, and the third has had its illustrations started. I’ve written the first six completely and the next two are well on their way to being completed.

HSB: It’s nice to see a book about real world homeschoolers. Do you have any advice to send out to your fellow homeschoolers about how to stay inspired?

Follow your heart and your children’s interests! I’ve learned more as the mother of my two daughters than I ever imagined I could possibly learn. I love seeing the world through their eyes and realizing that everything amazing is possible. If you lose your inspiration, spend some time really looking at your children. They are amazing people AS-IS. Be their partner in life and you’ll never fail.

Thanks to Lisa for providing me with a copy of Wright on Time: Arizona for this review.

To learn more about the author or the series do stop over to the website: http://www.wrightontimebooks.com/

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