Blogging Through The Alphabet with Books!!

I am so excited to tell you about this new series that I’m taking part in with a group of other wonderful bloggers. We will all be blogging through the alphabet with a new post each week! You will have a chance to read about many different topics for each letter, but to help keep me focused I chose a theme. If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen the poll that I did a couple weeks ago to let you help me choose the theme. Books had more votes than nature study and so I am excited to share a new children’s book with you each week.

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I have loved books since I was a small child and they make up a huge part of our lives now. My husband runs a used books store, we all love to read, we listen to audio books as a family, and there are bookshelves in every bedroom and most of the common rooms in the house. I have made many mistakes as a parent but one thing that I’m glad I got right was passing on a love of books to my children. I hope this journey can help children fall in love with reading.

Some of these books will be picture books and books for young children, but I am also looking forward to sharing some great chapter books for middle grades students. You will probably see some older classics that you already know but hopefully also some new books and ideas to help you find new books for your students. I may even throw in a few books for the moms throughout the alphabet.

I would love for you to share some of your favorite books with me in the comments. Click below to find out more about the other bloggers that are joining us on this journey through the alphabet and make sure to join me right here on the blog next week as we start with the letter A!

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.

Resource Library 

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)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

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Heirloom Audio: For The Temple (Review)

Often when a new review opportunity is posted I take a look at the product and then talk to whichever children would be working with it during the review period. This gives me a chance to get some input from them before making a decision about whether or not to request that review. However, when a chance to review the newest Heirloom Audio came through I knew there was no need to ask for their opinion, they love audio books, and the GA Henty audio dramas from Heirloom are among their favorites.

For the Temple Pinterest

We had grand plans of listening to this particular drama, For The Temple,  on the ride to and from an aquarium field trip that we had scheduled last week. Unfortunately, instead of the aquarium we ended up at home sick with a stomach virus. However, we made the most of a difficult situation and gathered together in the living room and listened while we rested and recovered.  They were even able to work on a little drawing, weaving, and slime creation while they listened.

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Playing with slime while she listens to For The Temple!

For the Temple is based on the novel by G.A Henty by the same title. This is the story of John, a vinter, who lives near the Shores of the Sea of Galilee. More importantly, it is the tale of the battle over the Temple in Jerusalem and its fall in 70 AD. In classic Henty style the story tells the true history of this momentous event through a fictitious story. While many of the characters are made up, you also hear the names of the very real people, such as Josephus, that played key roles. This story is mostly a tale of battle, determination, political unrest, and adventure. However, for those romantics in the group we do get John’s quiet love story woven throughout the tale.

In addition to the audio drama Heirloom has created an over 50 page study guide that can be used with this story. The study guide has comprehension questions to go along with each chapter as well as addition discussion and thought provoking questions for the chapters. As we listened, I was able to use the study guide to help guide some discussion and make sure they were understanding the story.  I think it is a well thought out guide that adds to the study of the story. I will note that it does not include an answer key so whoever is checking or assisting with the study guide will need to have also listened to the story. This worked well for us since we did it as a family, but would be important if you were assigning it as an independent project.

In a very convenient coincidence, this audio drama was based off of a G.A. Henty novel that my son read just a couple months ago as part of his literature course. This added to our discussions by allowing us to discuss the differences in the audio drama and the book.

I do want to note that I think due to the nature of this story there are some scenes that may be difficult for younger listeners. They are handled well and are not overly graphic but there are scenes that involve, mass murders, bodies being thrown off the walls, crucifixion and other persecution of Christians. I do not think you could leave them out and keep the story historically accurate but I do think parents of young children need to be aware before making a decision for your family.  Heirloom recommends this story for ages 6 to adult but while I think younger children could listen along I would recommend this more for children 8-10 years old up to adult.

Heirloom Audio dramas are a great supplement to your history program or a fun just to listen to together as a family.  Check out their website for more information on For the Temple. You can also check out my reviews of two other Heirloom Audio titles: St. Bartholomew’s Eve and Wulf the Saxon. For more reviews of For the Temple, click below and see what the other Review Crew families thought.

For The Temple {Heirloom Audio Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer 

His Mercy Endureth Forever: A Picture Book Review

A few months ago I had the privilege of reviewing T is for Tree and so I was excited when RFPA contacted me to ask if I might also be willing to review a copy of His Mercy Endureth Forever: Psalm 136 which is a beautiful picture book based on the Psalm and illustrated by Kathleen DeJong.

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I had not told the children that the book was coming so they would be surprised when the package arrived.  They love opening mail and finding out it was a new book was very exciting. My four year old couldn’t wait to see the pictures and have me read the book, so we read it aloud that very night.

The first thing I noticed was that the outside of this hardcover book was simple but beautiful. It is a depiction of the night sky. The title is written in a mix of print and cursive. It is beautifully done, but may be a bit difficult to read for a new reader with the change in font and style.

On the inside, the words are quoted from the King James version of Psalms 136. This is a beautiful section of scripture that is great to speak into the hearts and minds of our children. The illustrations are lovely. There is writing on every other page with a full color illustration on the opposite page.  The pages with the words also have small monochromatic illustrations.

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Since there are a few words in that chapter that might be difficult for young children they have included a one page glossary in the back of the book. This page helps define words like endureth, mercy, and smote. They recommend the book for ages 6-9 which I think is a good range for independent reading but I think it is also a great book for reading aloud to younger children. The repetition in the Psalm makes it very appealing to preschoolers.

All in all, I thought this was a great way to share scripture with my children. The beautiful pictures helped to engage them with the words and I expect that this is a book we will return to time after time. I really appreciated that the scripture was exact and not paraphrased. If you are looking for a beautiful way to enjoy scriptures with your children, I encourage you to check out His Mercy Endureth Forever.

Disclaimer
I received a FREE copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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.

Resource Library 

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!

 

The NEW color edition of All About Reading is ready to order! We use All About Spelling and are hoping to use All About Reading next year with my son who will be in Kindergarten.

My Snowman Paul is Free on Kindle and many others in the series are less than $1.

LAST DAY FOR THIS SPECIAL PRICING ON SCHOOLHOUSE TEACHERS!!

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WriteShop

 

FREE Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond from Write Shop!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

 

A Cozy, Book Filled December

We started our school year the day after Labor Day and that first week went just as planned. Half-way through week two we were hit with Hurricane Florence and nothing has really been the same since. We took several weeks off during the worst of the recovery but then we started working school in around relief efforts. For our family that meant helping prepare and serve meals to the volunteers that have been staying at our church to help the community.  We would school first thing in the morning before going to serve lunch, or bring math books  and reading with us to work on during down time. Music lessons were happening before breakfast or sometimes even using the laptop at the church.  This was what needed to happen and the children have learned a lot from the real life experience of helping to serve others. They have even made new friends from all over the eastern United States.  However, there are some things that I’d really like to do this December to help us focus and enjoy the season.

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We love books and have a collection of Christmas books that takes up several boxes. I try to add one or two books to it each year. While we will still be volunteering during the first few weeks of December, we will have several weeks off and even the days we are volunteering should be a little slower than those first couple of months. I want to fill our time with lots of Christmas focused read alouds. I purchased Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien as a new read aloud for my older children this year. If time allows I’d also like to read aloud A Christmas Carol to them.  If you do not have A Christmas Carol the audio book is currently only 66¢ on audible.

For my four year old I’m purchasing the book An Otis Christmas. We love all of the other Otis books that we have purchased so far and are looking forward to adding this one to the collection. These books are adorable books about a little tractor named Otis and the lessons he learns through his many adventures on the farm. The are sweet and lovely little books that he likes me to read over and over.

In addition to those books we will read lots of holiday themed picture books. I know one of the first ones they will ask for when they realize that the Christmas books are down from storage is Cranberry Christmas. This is a delightful sequel to Cranberry Thanksgiving that we purchased last year. They also enjoy The Very First Christmas which is a recordable book that I recorded myself reading several years ago. Other favorites include The Gift of the Christmas Cookie and The Very First Christmas. There are so many more and I truly couldn’t pick just a few favorites.

Throughout the month my goal is to read whenever we can. Sometimes that might mean just grabbing a book and reading for a few minutes in the morning. Other times, we will pour hot cocoa or eggnog and snuggle up on the couch to read. I have lots of recipes for great Christmas cookies that we hope to have time to bake and enjoy while we read. However, if life gets busy and there is no time to bake or baking feels more stressful there is no shame in having a premade snack. You can enjoy popcorn or cookies from the store. While I want to spend plenty of time with me doing the reading, we may also choose to listen to some of these stories as audio books when we need to be in the car.

I plan to have some of these books displayed as decorations, as well as several baskets with the other books placed throughout the house. I want the books to be a visual reminder to me of our commitment to make this a cozy December full of reading. Having them placed in various locations at easy reach will also make it easier to read in those little pockets of time between activities and commitments. When I look back at the end of the month, I don’t want it to be with regret for what we didn’t do but with peace about the time we spent together.

I thought I was going to leave you with a list of my top ten favorite Christmas books but I was having such a hard time deciding. So, I have several lists of great Christmas books that fit various age groups and situations. I would truly love to hear your favorite books because I’m always looking to add new books to our list. I hope you will join us in making December a month full of good memories and lots of books!

Books For Young Children

The Story of Christmas  (board book)

An Otis Christmas

Usborne Lift-the-Flap Nativity

One Baby Jesus (board book)

Christmas in the Barn

The Jolly Christmas Postman

Jan Brett’s The Night Before Christmas (the illustrations for this one are wonderful)

That’s Not My Snowman (board book)

Our Family Favorites

The Very First Christmas

Cranberry Christmas

The Gift of the Christmas Cookie

The Night of Las Posadas

A Little House Christmas

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift (Advent Devotional)

Legend of the Poinsettia

Chapter Books

The Best Chrsitmas Pagent Ever

A Christmas Carol

Letters From Father Christmas

Cole Family Christmas

Magic Tree House Christmas in Camelot

New Books We Are Adding This Year

An Otis Christmas

An Amish Christmas

Letters From Father Christmas

Cole Family Christmas

Audio Books

The Night Before Christmas

A Christmas Carol and Other Favorites

A Christmas Carol (less than $1 at the time of posting)

Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Adventures in Odyssey Count Down to Christmas

 

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.

Resource Library 

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!

A Christmas Carol Audio Book Only $.66 (Amazon prices subject to change)

Amazon has put Heroes Next Door: Hornet 24 on sale and there is a coupon on the page to make it even cheaper! This is a great Christmas gift.

Free I”m Thankful For…. Book from Amazon! (Always check prices as they are subject to change)

The 2018 Lego Advent Set is on sale right now for only $21.97. If you are looking for one grab it soon because they typically sell out!

 

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FREE Fall in Love with Science e-book from Apologia

The World of Peter Rabbit and His Friends Only .99 on Kindle! We love Beatrix Potter’s stories and this one includes her original illustrations.

Sunny Under the Sea  Free (always double check because Amazon changes prices regularly!)

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond from Write Shop!

 

 

Branch Out World Paddington Literature Study (Review)

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Our summer break was finally beginning and I was honestly not sure if I wanted to review the Paddington Bear study by Branch Out World. I asked my daughter how she felt about it, since it would mean doing school work on her first week of break. Looking back I’m so glad she said yes! I have loved the book Paddington for a long time but always thought of it as a book for young children so it had been several years since my 10 year old daughter had read the book. I was a little concerned that it would be to ‘babyish’ for her but my concerns were unfounded.

Picture Book Explorers - Paddington

I used this study primarily with my 10 year old but also included my four year old son in many of the activities. We all enjoyed the book and they were excited to complete the activities. My daughter did more of the research activities but the four year old joined in for coloring and cooking. He also enjoyed looking at the pictures and talking about the book.

I was very curious prior to receiving the study about how much they would be able to do with what is a fairly short picture book but the study included geography in relation to the setting, science, vocabulary, pictures study/architecture, cooking, crafts and even math. There were a variety of activities to choose from and if you did them all this could easily have been your entire week’s school work. However, it was also laid out in such a way that you could pick and choose which activities worked best for your students. So if you had younger students you could choose the activities that worked best for that age and older students could do the more in-depth and research based ideas.

Once we read the book together, we started on our day one activities. The theme for the day was setting and the activities focused on learning about both London and Peru as they were important settings in the book. They included map work, flags, timelines, and even a lesson about migration.  The study also included a tourist brochure project that students could complete to demonstrate reinforce the geography components of the lesson. My four year old enjoyed hearing about the areas and coloring the flags. My daughter went more in depth, using her atlas and other tools to research the area, find it on the map, and share with us what she learned.

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The second day focused on exploring words. We learned about the author, discussed the story using questions and narration, and worked with some vocabulary words. There was a lapbook style activity with the vocabulary words that my daughter enjoyed because she loves the cutting and pasting of lapbook pieces. We also could have done a great creative writing activity but skipped it since it was summer and she was on break. I may go back during the school year and assign the writing prompt because I think it was a great way to encourage creative writing. It involved them writing and adaptation based on the novel.

The third day involved learning about the illustrator, studying the pictures and then learning about architectural design and several artistic techniques that were used in the illustrations.  There was an art activity, a lapbook component, and a game that could be used in working with these ideas and concepts. Illustrations are such an important but sometimes overlooked part of picture books and I was glad to see a day devoted to their study.

The fourth day was exploring science. There were several fun science experiments in this section, even one that was edible. I think edible components tend to always be the favorite in this house! There was also a nature study component which I really appreciate. My son enjoyed observing nature and then telling me all of the things he saw that he wanted me to write in his nature journal (since he is four and not yet writing on his own). We are planning on expanding that study over the next few weeks at various locations to talk about how different places have different plants and animals.

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The final day was exploring maths, crafts, and more. This was probably our favorite part of the study. There were several activities with math from learning about parallel lines to finding numbers in the illustrations (a great activity for my young son). Another activity that my son loved was the packing activity. He had to work on packing a suit case and deciding what he would need and what would fit. It actually worked out beautifully to coincide with an overnight trip that we were taking. Then came my daughters favorite activity: baking. They had a recipe for Strawberry Tart. She worked on these and made them as a special afternoon treat when her grandmother came for a visit.

There were a variety of other activities from field trips, tea parties and other fun snacks. Some of them were quite simple (popcorn) and others were a little more involved. I will note that this is a British company and since we are in the United States there were a handful of supplies and ingredients that I had to adapt or look up to determine what they were as they were terms (and spellings) not commonly used here. This was a great learning opportunity for the children and did not hinder our ability to use the study.

This was a fun unit study and I think we would enjoy using other literature studies in Branch Out World‘s Picture Book Explorers series would be a great way to bring a little excitement to our school year. Check out their site and let me know which study sounds like fun for your homeschool and don’t forget to click below to check out the reviews done by other Review Crew members.

Paddington Bear {Branch Out World Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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.

Resource Library 

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.

July Reading Goals Update

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

In January I decided on a goal of reading at least twelve books this year that were just for me. This means I did not count books that I was reading aloud to my children. To many of you this sounds like a small number but life had gotten busy. I had gone from reading multiple books a week (pre-children) to rarely reading a book on my own.

When I last updated at the beginning of June I had finished reading Heroes Next Door, Finding Selah, and The Unhurried Homeschooler. I decided that this was going to be Our Summer of Reading and it is paying off with multiple completed books over the last two months.

I finished reading Read Aloud Family and I am so glad that I did. It was a wonderful book full of practical ideas and encouragement to increase the amount of reading that was taking place in our home. I’ve really seen a difference in our priorities and the amount of reading that we have been able to get in since I implemented some of those strategies.

Next, I read Pocketful of Pinecones. I have owned this book for two years and kept meaning to read it, but never felt like I had time. I’m so glad that I took the time to read it and this summer was perfect timing. The book gave me a renewed love of nature study and some easy fun ideas for fitting more nature study into our days.

Then I read two books that were not on my original list,  No Longer Little and Love, Honor, and Virtue by Hal and Melanie Young. I did a full review of those books on the blog but I am glad that I added them to my list. No Longer Little is a new book about parenting tweens and I felt like someone had been in my house watching my tween when they wrote it. I felt encouraged that I was not alone and appreciated the strategies that were included to help navigate these tumultuous years. Love, Honor, and Virtue is written to boys ages 12-early 20s. I read it to see if it was a book that would be beneficial to my son. While I think in our case my son is not quite ready for it, I believe that it is a great book to help you facilitate discussions about sexual behavior and temptations with your son. I do advise pre-reading it first to make sure your son is ready for the open and frank nature of this book.

I am almost finished reading Clay and Sally Clarkson’s latest book, The Lifegiving Parent, Stay tuned to our Facebook page for a book study on this book in the fall. I have learned so much thus far and encourage you to check it out.

In addition to those I’m going to read The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood which is the next book in the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. This one is just for fun. It is pleasant, easy to read and so very quaint. It is perfect for summer reading, just grad a comfy spot, some lemonade and enjoy!

Help! I’m Homeschooling: Helpful Habits for the Heart of Homeschooling is one I’m starting this week. It was just released and I’m excited to check it out. It was written by fellow home school mom Tricia Hodges and designed to help new and veteran home school moms establish good habits. I’ll be sharing a full review as soon as I’m finished reading it.

The other two books that I’ll be working on to round out my twelve are God Schooling by Julie Polanco (releases soon) and Book Girl: A Journey through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life by Sarah Clarkson which releases on September 4th. I’ll be doing a full review of God Schooling on the blog.

Once I’ve completed those first twelve books (hopefully around mid-September) I plan to continue reading and beat my goal. I’ve really been enjoying spending more time reading this summer and I hope it is a habit that I can continue this fall. What books have you enjoyed lately? Share them in the comments!

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.

Resource Library 

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!

LAST DAY to get a great deal on a LIFETIME Notebooking Pages membership. This is their last sale before they go to annual memberships.

You Are An Artist Clubhouse Memberships are now Open for enrollment!!

Apologia 25% off and $5 Shipping Back to School Sale!!

Alice in Wonderland on Audible for less than $1!!

Give Your Child The World is on sale on Kindle for less than $1.

$0.99 for 3 Months of Kindle Unlimted (limited time offer)

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Poetry Pack from Write Shop! 20 Printable Activities and Worksheets, including: Practice exercises, brainstorming worksheets, poem planning worksheets, word banks, and colorful lined writing pages

 

Pocketful of Pinecones

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Pocketful of Pinecones (aff) had been on my ‘to-read’ list for quite some time. I purchased it months ago and finally had the chance to read it. I often describe our schooling style as ‘Charlotte Mason-Eclectic’ and I love nature study. Even with my love of nature study we don’t do it as often as I’d like so simple easy ideas are always welcome.

Since my reading time has been more limited over the last few years I’ve tended toward nonfiction titles that I felt were beneficial to my growth, but I’ve missed the fun fictional books. This book was the best of both worlds. It is a book with ideas and thoughts about nature study woven into a fictional story.

The story is set in New England in the mid 1930s. It shares the story of Carol and her children as they embark on their first year of homeschooling. The book is divided into seasons and each chapter is a diary entry from the mom sharing what they did that day. The chapters are short and easy to read, making it a great choice for a busy mom that may not have long stretches of time to read.

She shares ideas of how they found various things to study in their nature study, working on their nature journals, books for learning more, and great quotes and copy work.  At the end of each chapter there is at least one question to help you follow up and apply that chapter to your own nature study with your children.

While I really loved this book, I do feel like I should mention that it was a little unrealistic in a happy ‘hallmark movie’ kind of way. While they had a few difficult situations, everything always wrapped up very nicely and more simply than what I tend to experience in real life.

If you are new to nature study this is a great book for giving you ideas to get started and understand more about what nature study might look like in your home. If like me, you have been doing nature study for awhile this book can help give you fresh ideas and reignite that excitement about sharing nature with your students.

The author, Karen Androla has another book about this family, Lessons at Blackberry Inn (aff) which I’m hoping to purchase and read soon. She also has a non-fiction text, A Charlotte Mason Companion (aff), which I have found to be very useful in understanding the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy.

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.

Resource Library 

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!

Alice in Wonderland on Audible for less than $1!!

Give Your Child The World is on sale on Kindle for less than $1.

Amazon Prime Day is coming up Tomorrow with LOTS of great sales. If you are not an Amazon Prime member you can get a free 30 day trial to take advantage of the great sales.

$0.99 for 3 Months of Kindle Unlimted (limited time offer)

This might be my favorite deal, 66% off a 3 month subscription to Audible. If you have not tried it, now is the time!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Poetry Pack from Write Shop! 20 Printable Activities and Worksheets, including: Practice exercises, brainstorming worksheets, poem planning worksheets, word banks, and colorful lined writing pages

Read Aloud Family Chapter 8: Set Yourself Up for Success

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‘Books are like watermelon’

Have you ever worked really hard to set up the perfect read aloud setting? You know…made tea and crumpets with jam, adjusted the chairs (or beanbag pillows) just so? Only to have a toddler melt-down? An older kid suddenly remember an assignment or project that they must do? Bath time take longer than you planned? Unfortunately, more times than I care to admit we’ve lost the opportunity and wound up not reading at all.

There is something wonderful and fun about baking treats and setting up a fun ‘book club’ culture for your read aloud, BUT sometimes that just isn’t the reality. I find that especially when you are dealing with preschoolers and young children sometimes you just need to take the opportunity and read.

If I spend 20 or 30 minutes getting everything ready I may miss the opportunity. If I keep books lying around in plain sight, I’m more likely to remember to just stop and spend a few minutes reading. I don’t have to wait until we have a whole afternoon to spend reading. Just 10 minutes a day can allow us to work our way through a book.

Another lesson that I learned in setting myself up for success is to not wait until evening. While we occasionally read in the evening, I found that I’m much less likely to read if I wait. After dinner time tends to get taken up quickly with clean up, baths, etc. and the preschooler gets tired and disruptive. If I go ahead and read before dinner or in the morning, we are much more likely to actually read.

Screen time is an often debated and sometimes controversial topic but I think the points she brings up in this chapter are so very important. While every family has to make their own rules about screen time it is important to remember that even as adults the lure of screens can take us away from better options. I love the analogy of books being like watermelon and screens like candy. If I offer my children watermelon, they are happy and enjoy the sweet juicy (healthy) treat.  However, like most children if I give them a choice between watermelon and candy they are likely to choose candy. There is nothing wrong with candy in moderation, just like screens but it important that we help our children make books the default choice.

In order to help with that screen time balance and to help make books the default she suggests, “instead of certain times of day when screens are not an option, set times when they are. “ This helps keep the parents from constantly having to answer questions about screen time and helps other options like reading and active play as the default activities.

I know in our family the more screen time I allow, the more they crave. We have occasionally taken a week long fast from screens and after a couple of day they stop missing them and return to naturally enjoying other activities.

Overall, keep it simple, keep books accessible, and make reading a default choice. In doing these things we set ourselves up for success in reading aloud. What simple changes can you make to help make reading the default in your family culture?

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.

Resource Library 

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: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Poetry Pack from Write Shop! 20 Printable Activities and Worksheets, including: Practice exercises, brainstorming worksheets, poem planning worksheets, word banks, and colorful lined writing pages

You Are An Artist is having a 25% off sale this week on several of their programs including American Landmarks, Sharks, Backyard Nature Study, Seashores and more. There are some great free lessons you can try to see if this program is a good fit for your kids.

Art Adventures with ChalkPastel.com

If you are looking for a reasonably priced homeschool curriculum to get you going next year then this is a great deal! We use it for my preschooler as well as select courses for my middle schooler. The price is for all the classes for all of the children in your home and this is a great 3 day sale! By Fall they will have over 400 courses all included for that same price! https://schoolhouseteachers.com/dap/a/?a=59468 (ref)

america-meme

Read Aloud Family Chapter 7: Debunking 5 Myths

read aloud family

Years ago when I first started homeschooling, I had visions of us all sitting curled up on the couch with me reading.  The children would be sitting quietly with their full attention tuned to what I was reading. Sound familiar? That vision was never our reality. Thankfully it did not take me long to figure out that my son was not going to sit quietly and contentedly for me to read. However, if I gave him something to occupy his hands, we could still enjoy many great books together.

This is what myth four in chapter 7 of the Read Aloud Family(aff) is all about. ”My kids should be sitting still while I read aloud to them.” For many children sitting still will actually make it harder for them to focus on what you are reading. By providing something for their hands (and sometimes bodies) to do their brains can more easily focus on the story. My daughter enjoys coloring, crafting and my oldest son tends to build with Legos or sketch in his notebook. My four year old will color, build with blocks, or play in a sensory bin. He even tends to wander around the room if I’m reading a chapter book but as long as he isn’t disruptive we let him go. He will sit with me to read picture books with him and we talk about the pictures and the story.

Another myth that hits close to home is myth number two, “It only counts as reading aloud if you do the reading yourself.” We love to listen to audio books while we ride. I can’t read aloud in the car because I get car sick but a good story makes the miles go by quicker (and more peacefully). Sometimes this feels a bit like ‘cheating’ since I’m not actually doing the reading but the children are still getting the benefits of a read aloud. We have listened to many stories as a family while driving. In addition to the benefits of the read aloud (vocabulary, story, etc), it makes long drives so much more pleasant. I’m sure we aren’t the only family who struggles with unrest during long car rides.  The children tend to ride more contentedly with less arguing when there is a story being told.

While all 5 myths are important, the one that I needed to hear most and that I’m still working on remembering is, “light books don’t count.” Light books most certainly count and can have a great many benefits. There are so many classics that I want my children to know, it can be hard to remember that it really can be beneficial to read light and fun books together as a family.  Like many things in life, there is a time and place for classics and a time and place for light and fun books. We recently read Mr. Lemoncellos’s Library. The children, and myself, laughed through most of the book. It was fun to just enjoy a funny story together.

Remember it doesn’t have to look like the picture in your mind, be an extended process (even ten minutes of reading is beneficial), be a classic book, or even be you doing the reading for your family to get the benefits of reading aloud. Don’t wait for the perfect time or even the perfect book. Grab a book from your shelf and get started today! Which myth most resonated with your family?

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.

Resource Library 

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: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Poetry Pack from Write Shop! 20 Printable Activities and Worksheets, including: Practice exercises, brainstorming worksheets, poem planning worksheets, word banks, and colorful lined writing pages

You Are An Artist is having a 25% off sale this week on several of their programs including American Landmarks, Sharks, Backyard Nature Study, Seashores and more. There are some great free lessons you can try to see if this program is a good fit for your kids.

Art Adventures with ChalkPastel.com

If you are looking for a reasonably priced homeschool curriculum to get you going next year then this is a great deal! We use it for my preschooler as well as select courses for my middle schooler. The price is for all the classes for all of the children in your home and this is a great 3 day sale! By Fall they will have over 400 courses all included for that same price! https://schoolhouseteachers.com/dap/a/?a=59468 (ref)

america-meme

Our Summer of Reading!

My ‘big goal’, this summer, is to have a summer full of reading for the whole family!

I’ve been leading a book study on, The Read Aloud Family (aff) and I was very much convicted that I needed to get back to spending more time reading both aloud to my children and on my own. I have loved reading since I was a small child but as an adult I found that the busyness of life and the ready availability of technology made it easy to put my reading aside.

At the beginning of the year, I made a goal of reading 12 books during my personal reading time and I’m well on my way to achieving that goal.I am working hard to put the phone/computer away earlier at night and settle in with a chapter or two in a good book. I also am trying to go back to reading being my default activity if I have to wait somewhere instead of scrolling through my social media.

In addition to my personal reading, I really want to make sure that I’m prioritizing reading aloud to my children.  Reading aloud to the little ones comes naturally and easily most days. The picture books take only a few minutes to read and the four year old is always reminding me ( some would say begging me) to read.

Reading aloud to my older children (12 and 10) has been far more apt to get pushed to the side. I always planned to read aloud to them at the end of the night just before bed. It seemed like such a great way to wrap up the day. However, the reality of our life is that the end of the day almost never worked out like I wanted it to. The little ones were tired and cranky, I was exhausted many nights, and clean up and showers always took longer than we planned.

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So what is a mom to do? I decided to switch things up and try reading at other times. Sometimes I’m reading in the mornings and sometimes I’ve been reading in the late afternoon while we sit on the front porch. I keep the book handy and I try to make reading aloud my default whenever we have a few extra minutes. I’m still a work in progress, but I am definitely seeing an increase in our read aloud times.

We are also working as a family to make reading a fun and enjoyable part of the summer. The older children both have comfy spots in their rooms to read as well as hammocks that they can hang outside if they want to read outside. We make sure that their shelves are well stocked with lots of books that interest them so that picking a new one is fun and easy.

To help hold me accountable and encourage others to join me on this journey I’ve been posting pictures of the books we are reading and the children reading in various places on my Instagram. I’d love to have you join us! Share a picture of your current book or your favorite reading spot. Join me in making this the summer of reading and making memories with our children. If you are looking for more help with incorporating reading into your home check out our 5 Days for the Love of Reading Series.

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.

Resource Library 

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.

Friday Deals and Freebies!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Poetry Pack from Write Shop! 20 Printable Activities and Worksheets, including: Practice exercises, brainstorming worksheets, poem planning worksheets, word banks, and colorful lined writing pages

Starting tomorrow (Saturday) You Are An Artist is having a 25% off sale on several of their programs including American Landmarks, Sharks, Backyard Nature Study, Seashores and more. There are some great free lessons you can try to see if this program is a good fit for your kids.

Art Adventures with ChalkPastel.com

 Homeschool Review Crew Weekly Link Up