I is for If You Give A Mouse A Cookie…

I struggled a bit with books for the letter I. There were not any that jumped out at me at first and then I was looking at my son’s book shelf and thought of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and the others in the series by Laura Numeroff. This series is perfect for read aloud time! I am even thinking about using them for a special ‘tea party’ featuring some of the foods from the books.

I is for Pinterest

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If you have not seen these books, the premise of the book is that if you give a mouse a cookie he will want a glass of milk, and he will need a straw, and on and on it goes. It is a cute little book that is lots of fun to read with young children. The patterned language allows them to quickly pick it up and begin to help you ‘read’ it even when they are not yet actually reading.  Other books in the series feature pig, moose, and other animals and their adventures. The illustrations by Felicia Bond are absolutely adorable.

There is even a free movie series made about the books on Amazon Prime. I have not seen all of these but we enjoyed the Christmas Cookie episode. There have also been cute poems and memes made using the same language pattern, such as this If You Give A Mom a Muffin example.

These are simple fun reads that are great for preschool and elementary age students. Have you tried this series? Which one is your favorite?

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Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

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H is for Heroes Next Door: Hornet 24

Heroes Next Door: Hornet 24 holds a special place in my heart. My husband wrote it and the two lead characters are heavily based on my two oldest children. It is a historical fiction novel based on the Vietnam War. It was inspired by my son’s interest in the war and his relation with several different veterans. When my husband started looking for books for him to read, they often had content that we found inappropriate for children (drugs, language, relationships, etc). He wanted to create a book that would be interesting to students, give an accurate historical picture, and yet still be appropriate for a younger audience.

h is for pinterest

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During the story the reader experiences basic training, flight school, and twelve months of life, service, and sacrifice in Vietnam. These stories are told by a veteran helicopter pilot who lives next door as Matt and Ellie develop a friendship with their neighbor, Mr. Ed

Through the story, there are references to current events and culture of the 1960s, life in the Army, flight physics, and modern life lessons for young folks. Chris really tried to create an immersive environment to share a typical story and give background information about a controversial war. He also worked to take a moderate position, helping to explain either polarized side of the debate.

This book is a great addition to a US History course, a fun read aloud for any age level, and is a good independent read for upper elementary and middle grades students. While I am sure they are just a little biased since they are on the front cover, it really is my children’s favorite letter H book. My son has read his copy over twenty times.  I highly encourage you to check Heroes Next Door: Hornet 24 out and let me know what you think!

As a bonus we are running a give away in honor of the one year publishing anniversary! You can find that giveaway HERE.

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When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

April showers

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

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It sometimes seems that the kids need you ALL. THE. TIME!

It’s okay to just want 20 minutes of quiet… so you can get things done.

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Transcripts Made Easy (Review)

Some days I’m really excited about preparing my son for high school and college; other days I’m in denial about how rapidly that season is approaching. We started our homeschool journey when my oldest son began first grade and he is  now finishing  seventh grade.  My first thought when the review for Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork by Janice Campbell became available was that the review would not apply to me since I did not have a high school student. Then I quickly realized that with my son taking Algebra in eighth grade next year I would need to decide how I was going to do his transcript. I had never heard of Everyday Education but a quick look around their website showed me that they had a lot to offer and I was excited to read the book.

Transcripts made Easy

We reviewed a digital copy of the book but my need to highlight gets the best of me and so I printed out the pages so that I could hold them in my hands and highlight things that I found interesting or important. I like to read in bed at night before I go to sleep but I was a little worried that this material might be too dense for bedtime reading. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Though there is a lot of information, the author’s style of writing made for easy reading.

 

Based on the title, Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork, I was expecting information on how to make a transcript, forms, and recording keeping. While all of that is included, I was pleasantly surprised at how much more was packed into this book. The book goes through the planning process for high school and helps you decide what classes your student needs to study, skills and habits that they need to cultivate, various ways that you can schedule high school courses, college alternatives, special needs considerations, and how to document life experiences. I read the book through in just a couple of days, highlighting as I went along, but I plan to go back and reference this book again and again as we plan for and work our way through high school.

I really appreciated the fact that the book was trying to present a one-size fits all answer to our students. For example, when she talked about scheduling high school courses she gave six different schedule examples. Some of those, like college-style schedule and year round schooling, were familiar to me but there were others like sequential scheduling and the one-subject plan that were new concepts for me. After reading over our options, my husband and I are discussing the pros and cons of various methods to help us decide on a plan for my son.

The book also talks about how to document life experiences and skills. For example, Campbell shares how you could document work done on a family farm or time spent learning to create a web page.

“Do not let educational experiences slip by because you can’t think where to fit them on the transcript-just add them to a Subject Worksheet and consult the Course Classification System for ideas on where they will fit. …Your student is learning daily from all that happens, and there is no reason why informal learning experiences cannot be structured to become credit-earning courses and preparation for life.”

I highlighted that quote in my book because we highly regard those life experiences I really appreciated that they could be used for part of his high school courses. She goes further into detail in the book as to how to document those experiences.

The books goes over grading, how to grade, what to grade, and even how to write a transcript for those that are using the unschooling method for high school. She did not give one right formula but lots of examples and options that you can use to make it work for your family and still have an honest transcript.

Then at the end after having worked through planning high school, keeping records, grading, preparing for college or non-college options, there are multiple examples of transcripts and other record keeping forms. She gives blank copies of the forms in the back as well as detailed instructions for creating those forms in a word processing program.  She even gives examples and help with diplomas.

The final portion of the book is a glossary of important terms, a book list for parents, and a list of websites and resources that can are helpful for planning and learning. I had read several of the books, but I’m looking forward to checking out a couple of the ones with which I was not familiar.

All in all, I think Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler’s Guide to High-School Paperwork is a great resource for middle school and high school parents. This book can help you prepare for high school or if your student is already in high school it can help you get your records and forms together for college or whatever experiences your student is preparing for after high school. Check it out over at Everyday Education and don’t forget to check out what other Crew members thought about this book.

 

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Orville Wright: The Flyer, Heroes of History (A Review)

When I saw that we were going to have the opportunity to request to be on a review for YWAM Publishing I knew my son was going to be excited. He already has several books from their Heroes of History series, and was excited to be able to request a new title. After looking over the list his first choice was Orville Wright. As a child I was fascinated with the Wright Brothers and my son seems to share that interest. Living only a few hours away from where they made that first historic flight makes them even more interesting.

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Once we got news that we were selected for the review, we started watching the mail and waiting for the book to arrive. He was quite excited to open it and start reading when it arrived a few days later. Considering that we intended to use the Study Guide to accompany the book I had planned to take 2-3 weeks to go through the book, he loved it so much he completed the entire book in just a few days. He then used the book as he went back through and did the study guide activities.

The Heroes of History series are all biographies of heroes that had a historical impact and told from a Christian perspective. Some of these go back to the founding of our country, men such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Others are more modern day heroes like Ben Carson and Billy Graham. Orville Wright sits in the middle of those, living from 1871 to 1948.

Orville Wright: The Flyer, tells of the life of Orville Wright from the time he was about six years old. It includes stories of him and his siblings playing with rubber band flyers when they were young, how they loved kites, and how they learned to fly. They began the first chapter looking ahead to a flying accident in which Orville broke his leg and then went back to his childhood. This was very memorable to my son who actually said, “I like how the authors use one of the most tragic moments to introduce the book.”

 

The study guide is a PDF including 83 pages of ideas and activities. You could use this to make the book into a complete unit study or you can pick and choose activities to make it fit your needs. There are discussion questions for each chapter, writing prompts, creative writing activities, hands on projects, and arts and crafts. It also includes a timeline activity, basic information sheet, and several maps. We chose to select a variety of activities to expand on his learning through the book.

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Fact Sheet, Map, and Timeline

I started by having my son complete the basic information sheet, timeline and a couple of the maps to help him show me what he had learned while reading the book. He then chose a writing project and a hands-on component from the study guide and we finished it off with a field trip to the Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk.

For his writing project he chose, “As Wilbur did in 1896, write a letter to the Smithsonian Institution, requesting information about an area that interests you. You can contact the museum at Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, P.O.Box 37012, MRC508, Washington, DC, 20013–7012 or via e-mail at learning@si.edu.” This was a lot of fun for him and he is waiting and hoping to get a response from them on his request for information.

 

For his hands on project, he chose to find a small household machine that he could take apart and study. He found an old drill. He took it apart, labeled each of the parts, and shared with us how the parts worked together to make the drill run.

 

 

We finished our unit study off with a wonderful field trip to the Wright Brothers monument and national park. We had a lot of fun learning even more about the brother, running down the runway and flight path of those very first flights, and even eating lunch in the lifesaving station from which the famous telegraph of their success was sent in 1903.

C.S. Lewis once said, “Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” I think that Orville Wright: The Flyer like the other books from YWAM Publishing offer children great examples of real life heroes. The books work great as a family read aloud, independent reading, or complete unit studies when combined with the study guides.  If this book interest you, you might also want to check out my review of one of the other books in the series about Alan Shepard . You can also click below to check out the variety of reviews by other Crew members. There are so many great choices to choose from.

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G is for Green Ember

Who doesn’t like talking rabbits? Add in a few swords and some classic good vs evil action and you have a recipe for a great family read aloud. This great series by SD Smith is one of our family favorites. The first book took a few chapters to really get into, but after that, we were all ‘hooked’. We actually enjoy listening to these as audio books on our travels, but my son also has the paperback versions of most of them so he can also read them independently.

Green Ember Pinterest

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The main characters are rabbit siblings Heather and Pickett. At the beginning of the Green Ember they lead very ordinary rabbit lives, but then a series of tragic events lead them on an exciting adventure of fighting for both their safety and good vs evil. The book is exciting and not gratuitously graphic but it might be a little intense for some young readers. There are battle scenes and the audio version has some very good sound effects.

“I really liked that the rabbits were able to fight off the villains. It was full of adventure and excitement. You never knew what was going to happen next.” Matthew, age 12

We thoroughly enjoyed this book and the others in this series. I always appreciate being able to give my children fun examples of bravery, valor, honestly, and other important values. C.S. Lewis once said, “Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” I think these books are a great example of offering our children stories of brave knights and heroic courage.

My daughter also really wanted me to mention Gooney Bird Greene as a G book that she really enjoyed. Gooney Bird Greene is about a young girl named Gooney Bird and her adventures at school. It is a great choice for students that are just getting into chapter books.

Have you read the Green Ember before? I noticed that it is currently free with kindle unlimited.  What is your favorite ‘G’ book? I would love for you to share in the comments and let us know.

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When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

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You Are An Artist is having a spring sale right now on their courses included a great Easter course.

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Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

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F is for From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

This week my daughter chose the book. This is the book that I assigned her to read last week and when she was finished she immediately asked me if I would chose it as the ‘F’ book in the series. It is a longer chapter book and so I had allowed up to two weeks for her to finish it but she had it done in about four days.

F is for pinterest

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From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a fun book about a girl and her brother who run away and live in an art museum for a little while. They have many adventures and meet a lady named Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. They also discover and solve a great mystery.

” I really liked it. I thought it was really neat how they slept in the museum and found Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I liked the mystery part of it as well. I would recommend this book for students that are in the mysteries in about fourth or fifth grade. I think it would be good for both boys and girls.”  Elizabeth, Age 11

I think this book speaks to the adventurous parts of our soul. So many times as children, we long for something exciting to help to break up the day-to-day routine. I know as a child I used to imagine myself having a grand adventure and solving a big mystery. Books like this allow us to live vicariously through the main characters and have adventures while never having to leave the comfort of our own homes.

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Have you read From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler before? What is your favorite ‘F’ book? I would love for you to share in the comments and let us know.

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E is for Ellie’s People

Last April we had the privilege of traveling to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to visit some friends and see the sites. While were there my daughter enjoyed learning more about the Amish culture. Since she was so interested in the culture, my mom found the book Ellie by Mary Christner Borntrager for her as a part of her Christmas gifts.  Ellie is the first book in the Ellie’s People Series.

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Ellie pinterst

Ellie is also one of my daughter’s nicknames, so it seemed like a great book for her. In our hurricane relief efforts, our family has had the opportunity to meet and work with many different groups of Amish and Mennonite who have traveled to our church to help with the relief work. This has fueled my daughter’s interest in these unique cultures.

The author was born and raised Amish and uses the books to share the stories of her childhood and youth among the Amish people. Each book focuses on the story and life of one particular person (the namesake of that book) but also shares about others in the community. While these books are fiction, they include a lot of real information about the Amish culture and Mary Christner Brontrager’s childhood.  My daughter even mentioned that, “I like how it uses a few words of Pennsylvania Dutch and then includes an English translation for those words.” In Ellie we learn about Amish weddings, funerals, and other customs through the eyes and experiences of Ellie.

After reading Ellie, she asked us about getting more books in that series. I was able to get a good deal on a collection of them and she read them rapidly. Reading late into the night and each morning before she got up. I loved that she found books that she enjoyed that much and that were also helping her learn and appreciate more about another culture.

Have you read Ellie before? What is your favorite ‘E’ book? I would love for you to share in the comments and let us know.

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D is for Danny and Daisy Dolphin

This week I chose a picture book that is near and dear to our hearts. My children have all loved this book (and the others in the series) and the fact that it is set in our home state of North Carolina. Though not as well known as some of the other books I have shared, it is a wonderful addition to any children’s library.

D is for Dolphin Pinterest

 

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Danny and Daisy: A Tale of A Dolphin Duo is book #13 in Suzanne Tate’s nature series. The beautiful illustrations are done by James Melvin. We have collected most of the books in this series and a few of her history books as well. They are all wonderful but Danny and Daisy was so well loved that my children wore out our first copy and I had to purchase a second copy.

Danny is a wild dolphin who needs help because he is alone and hungry. Since he is unable to get enough to eat or find his pod, he is brought to a science center to recover. There he meets his friend Daisy dolphin who was brought there because she had problems with her eyes. Together they have a great time and recover while also meeting lots of ‘helpful humans’.

This series of picture books is great for learning about different animals, mostly sea and beach animals, and how we can be ‘helpful humans’ and take care of the environment. They are short picture books that are fun to read and can be enjoyed my children of any age but I have found that my children particularly enjoy them from around ages 3-8. They could also be a fun way to introduce a science study about marine life with older students.

Have you read Danny and Daisy before? What is your favorite ‘D’ book? I would love for you to share in the comments and let us know.

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C is for Chronicles of Narnia and Circumference (or Sir Cumference)

If my family could only keep one book aside from the Bible, it would be the Chronicles of Narnia. I know some of you are thinking that it is a whole series of books, which is correct, but we have a copy that has the entire series in one volume so I can count it as one book. Our entire family has enjoyed listening to them together and my oldest has read most of them several times.

C is for Chronicles of Narnia and Sir Cumference pinterest

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C.S. Lewis has a way with words and the Narnia series is no exception. They are a delightful and engaging story that mixes this world with other enchanting and exciting worlds. A world in which children can become kings and queens, in which good battles evil, and you never quite know what is going to happen next. Animals that talk, trees that come alive, and children that become heroes and heroines.  As I raise my children to grow into strong young men and women who do hard things, this is a book that provides both enjoyment and a good example.

In addition to the fun and enjoyment of reading, they provide a powerful allegory to the life of Jesus Christ.  I think Sarah Clarkson said it well on her blog, “I loved Aslan. And even as a little girl, I knew it was God I was learning to love through him.” Even as an adult, I think that the story helped me to grow in my own faith in Jesus Christ. We know the story is fictional but its portrayal of the character, relationship, and sacrifice of Christ helps our finite minds to really grasp something so infinite.

I promise I won’t do two every week but with Pi Day coming up next week I couldn’t help but mention the Sir Cumference series. These books are such a fun way to learn math concepts. This nine book series is written as picture books about Sir Cumference, his wife Lady Di of Ameter, and their son Radius. They tell fun stories of knights, dragons, and castles while teaching geometry concepts. While even my four year old enjoys hearing the stories, the math concepts do well for students in upper elementary and middle grades.

So many good books to choose from but these are two series that we have really enjoyed.  I would love for you to share your favorite C book in the comments. Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers who are joining us on their journey through the alphabet and stop back next week for the letter D.

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When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

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Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

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Gertrude Chandler Warner and The Boxcar Children (biography of the author and her inspiration for the series). Free with Kindle Unlimited

B is for Boxcar Children and Ben Carson

I remember devouring the Boxcar children books when I was a child and I have been pleased to watch my older children, especially my son enjoy them as well. This is one of those special series that spans the generations. and excites the imagination. Tales of orphaned siblings whom created a life for themselves living in an abandoned boxcar excites the imagination. They were enjoying life and having adventures but also overcoming adversity. They eventually find their grandfather and go to live with him. However, they continue to have adventures in various places and solve mysteries that always seem to find them.

Bis for Pinterest

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There are over 100 books in this series but I primarily recommend the first nineteen books as they were written by the original author. After the author, Gertrude Chandler Warren, died in 1979 the publishers had the other books written. There were some other cute stories but in my opinion, they were never as good as the original books.

These beginner chapter books are great family read alouds or can generally be read independently by about second grade. The exciting adventures of the Alden siblings can encourage imaginative play and adventure. I loved watching my children go outside and pretend to have similar adventures and solve mysteries after their imaginations were sparked by the books.

Another great book for the older set is Ben Carson: A Chance at Life. This book,published by YWAM, is a good fit for upper elementary or middle grades students. This biography tells of the life of famous brain surgeon Ben Carson. I love having my children read books about heroes and role models as they develop their understanding of the world. Ben Carson is an excellent role model and this biography is both enjoyable to read and informative.

I could probably choose a dozen more books with the letter B but those are two that we really enjoyed. I would love for you to share your favorite B book in the comments. Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers who are joining us on their journey through the alphabet and stop back next week for the letter C.

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Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

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Gertrude Chandler Warner and The Boxcar Children (biography of the author and her inspiration for the series). Free with Kindle Unlimited