Book Pile ~ Spooky Reading

Lately we have had trouble getting to the library on a regular basis. I miss the days when a weekly library trip was part of the regular routine! We still go when we can, but we’re lucky to make it once every month or two. I am hoping we will be able to make library trips a priority in the near future, but for now I am planning to pick up a few new books each month to have on hand. I don’t normally buy many books outside of “school” books, but I had so much fun picking these out that I am determined to make it a tradition, every few weeks or so. It’s amazing how much fun a stack of shiny new books is!
Here are my picks for October….all spooky books!
  • Demon Dentist – This one has been on my list ever since I heard the author compared to Roald Dahl. James has volunteered to preview it and let me know if it’s too scary for his younger sister.
  • The Witch Family – This one is for Rose (9) – she has already read it and told me it was “awesome”.
  • Through the Woods – A very spooky graphic novel… James (12) read it in one day and said it’s pretty scary. I would definitely not recommend this title to anyone under 12, having read one of the stories myself!
  • It – This one is for me.  I remember reading it as a young teen (my parents weren’t too big on policing our reading!) and I have always wanted to re-read it. Usually around this time of year I read The Haunting of Hill House, which is my all-time favorite ghost story, but this year I decided to switch things up.

So that’s our “fun” book pile for October!

Math with Picture Books

For several years now I have been determined to gather a collection of math picture books and use them to add interest to our math studies. I have failed to accomplish this each year, but this year I actually did it! I’m going to share our reading list in a minute, but first I’ll tell you how we’re using math picture books in our homeschool.

 We read a picture book each week.

 That’s it. Everyone reads a math picture book each week, from the 14 year old down to my 9 year old (my 16 year old is trying to finish up Algebra 2 while doing Geometry, so she’s excused).   Some will be overly simple for my older kids, or go over the head of my younger one.  Others may give a little food for thought, or explain a concept in a way that finally makes something click.

Our Math Picture Book List

1. Perimeter, Area, and Volume: A Monster Book

2. Shape Up! Fun with Triangles and Other Polygons

3. Multiplying Menace

4. Multiplying Menace Divides

5. Full House: An Invitation to Fractions

6. What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras?

7. Actual Size

 8. The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Early Mathematics

9. Mummy Math

10. Apple Fractions

11. The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat

12. Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci

13. A Remainder of One

14. On Beyond a Million

15. Math Potatoes

16. Spaghetti and Meatballs for All

17. Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra

18. Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi

19. Math Curse

20. One Grain of Rice

21. Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone

22. Cut Down to Size at High Noon

23. If You Made a Million

24. The King’s Chessboard

25. How Big is a Foot?

So far, this is a great success! I have my youngest choose a book for me to  read aloud to her each week. That way I get to experience them all too. Math with picture books is one of my very favorite things about our new homeschool year.

Till next time!

Homeschool Summer Reading List

Row of Books in Shelf

It’s summer! I am excited to actually have time built into our schedule to make it to the library. During this past school year, library trips just didn’t happen often enough. But this summer we have some convenient gaps in our schedule between picking up one kiddo and dropping off another….so I am planning a weekly library day! That means a library list is in order.

My own summer reading list includes some just for fun books. I read Wolf Hall during our recent vacation and was pretty excited to learn there was a sequel. And I loved the first Grantchester book so I definitely want to read the next two of those.  Middlemarch is one I have had sitting on my nightstand for months.

I also have some books I am reading in order to be able to discuss them with Grace next fall. She will be continuing to read through Sonlight’s Core 300 (secular-friendly books only). She will be starting off on week 12 with that Core next fall. I have found that reading the same books makes all the difference in being able to discuss. I can’t read all of the kids books, obviously, so I am focusing on high school literature. Christopher is officially a high schooler next fall too, but thankfully I have already read most of what he will read.

I also want to read some books about homeschooling or learning ~ for inspiration….

Next up I have a list of books to search out for the kids or suggest to them if they are stuck ~ some elementary/early middle grade for my youngers…

Some later middle grade/young-adult titles for my olders….

Rose just started reading the Story Thieves series and she absolutely adores it. She literally sighs as she reads and tells me it is “the best book ever!”. I know the kids won’t necessarily like all (or even most) of my suggestions, but I think we’re off to a good start. I’d love additional summer reading suggestions if you have any!

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Read-Aloud List & Sonlight Core 200

I love read-alouds. In our homeschool, read-alouds have always been majorly important. If I could keep only one “thing” that we do, it would be read-alouds, hands-down. We have used Sonlight (or BookShark) for years ~ and both of these are book-heavy programs. I love that. We are all about books here. But a couple of years into using three different Sonlight/Bookshark levels something began to feel a little…off. Eventually I realized I really missed reading to everyone together. My oldest two are 16 and 14 and have completed all of the Sonlight and BookShark read-alouds (after SL Core H, there are no more assigned read-alouds).  My youngest two are 12 and 8, for the record.

So, I decided that since I really missed reading to everyone all at once, I could just start ~ reading to everyone all at once. Genius right? But I decided that it wouldn’t have to be a long and complicated thing, just 15 minutes a day or so, with a bit of discussion afterwards. Well, we are on our third “together” read-aloud book, and this is working so well for us.

As I said, we are Sonlight/BookShark users. I prefer to use BookShark, because it is secular, but alas, the high school levels of BKSK did not release early enough for my oldest to use. So she will finish BookShark 100 (tomorrow!) and begin Sonlight Core 300. We chose to skip Core 200 (History of the Christian Church). However, there were many books in the literature section of Core 200 that I wanted to read with the kids, so I decided to make those my read-aloud list. That way we don’t miss out on them, and we have a set list of books we can enjoy together.

These are going to be our “together” read-alouds:

  • Outlaws of Sherwood
  • The Best of Father Brown
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ~ we actually just finished this one!
  • Enchantress from the Stars
  • The Gammage Cup
  • Going Solo
  • Jane Eyre
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
  • Oliver Twist
  • A Parcel of Patterns
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • Romeo and Juliet ~ Shakespeare Made Easy version
  • Treasure Island
  • Twelfth Night ~ Shakespeare Made Easy version

I may or may not get the Sonlight instructor guide that goes with the Core 200 literature program – we are already one book in without it and I do find that I miss having the notes handy. Either way, I think this list will appeal to most of my kids ~ though I may hold off on Jane Eyre and Oliver Twist until we have read through the others. I don’t plan to read through these on any sort of schedule; we’ll just spend a few minutes a day working through them. 

As for my younger two, who do still have BookShark read-alouds, I will continue those with them. I am currently reading Strawberry Girl with Rose from BookShark 2. James is working on BookShark Eastern Hemispheres and he and I have been on a bit of a break from read-alouds lately, but we are going to start reading Daughter of the Mountains next week. 

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

A Review of Henry Huggins

James and I just finished reading Henry Huggins by Beverly Clearly (scheduled in Sonlight Core B). We loved this book! It’s pretty rare for us to read our SL books ahead of schedule, just because the program involves so much reading and we are usually behind! But for this book we frequently read a day or two ahead just because we wanted to finish the chapter and find out what happened. This book is about a young boy, Henry, who finds an abandoned dog. After much negotiation with his mother and some adventures on the bus he arrives home and launches into a new life with his new pal, whom he names Ribsy because he’s so thin.

This book has a lot of laughs, for both kids and parents. Each chapter is a new adventure in Henry’s life. Henry gets two guppies and finds out that they are quite…prolific. He enters Ribsy in a dog show…with hilarious results. He loses his friend’s football in an unusual way… and comes up with an even more unusual way to buy him a new one.

Henry is funny, Henry is smart, Henry is imaginative….and while he isn’t perfect, he does tend to do the right thing most of the time. There are a few other books in the Henry Huggins series: Henry and Ribsy, Henry and the Clubhouse, and Henry and Beezus, to name a few. I believe we will be checking a few of these out of the library for some fun summer reading! And of course, reading anything by Beverly Clearly tends to take me right back to childhood when I read all the Ramona books several times over.It’s very cool to read them again as an adult.

Read-Aloud Thursday: Gooney Bird Greene

James (7) and I just finished reading Gooney Bird Greene, one of the read-alouds in Sonlight’s Core B. I was a bit hesitant to start this book with him because, well I’m almost ashamed to say it but, I judged the book by it’s cover. Ssshhh. But really, from looking at the cover I thought….oh dear, a girly book. And James is just not into stories about sweet little girls in tutus. He likes adventure, and humor, and a good story. Well, I am happy to say that I was totally off-base about the cover, because this book was full of funny little adventures and it was a really good story. We both loved it.

Gooney Bird Greene is a a story about a girl who is a more than a little different- and new in school. She quickly makes her way into the hearts of everyone in the class with her seemingly wild stories about her life. But her stories have a unique twist-while they start out sounding far-fetched, they are absolutely true. For example, one day she tells the class she went for a ride in a flying carpet. The students, of course, are awed, but the teacher wants to make sure Gooney Bird knows the difference between made-up stories and real stories. ” I only tell absolutely true stories,” is Gooney Bird’s response.

And so she does. It turns out that the flying carpet was a rolled up carpet she had crawled inside of in the back of a moving van. When the van hit a bump, the carpet flew out the window-with Gooney Bird tucked safely inside. There are many more “wild” stories throughout the book,  but I would hate to give away any more:). The book is also filled with sneaky educational stuff-like the children’s’ discussions of what makes a good story.

My son and I very much looked forward to reading Gooney’s stories everyday, and we were a little sad to reach the last one. But, as she herself pointed out, there are many invisible stories everywhere- and they are only made visible when we decide to tell them.

You can be sure we’ll be looking for other Gooney Bird Greene books at the library.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to stop by Hope Is the Word for more read-aloud suggestions.

Read Aloud Thursday: The Harry Books!

My three year old recently discovered the set of books by Gene Zion about Harry the dog. She loves them and…. I have to confess that I do too. Unlike some other picture books that shall remain nameless,  I honestly don’t mind reading these over and over….and over. There is so much good humor here-both at a child’s level and an adult’s level. That Harry is one funny dog.

In No Roses for Harry, Harry receives a knit sweater covered in roses as a birthday gift from Grandma. He doesn’t like it because he doesn’t like the roses…and he goes to great lengths to lose the sweater, eventually succeeding in a very humorous way!

In Harry the Dirty Dog, Harry refuses to take a bath, eventually letting himself get so dirty that the family doesn’t even recognize him anymore-or do they?

In Harry by the Sea, Harry has an adventure at the beach, gets lost (because all the umbrellas looks the same), is mistaken for a sea monster…. and becomes a hero.

And my personal favorite: Harry and the Lady Next Door. Harry cannot stand the neighbor’s singing voice and devises plan after plan to make her see the proper way to sing. Eventually one of his plans work…perhaps even better than he expected.

My library has all of these books, but we were lucky enough to collect them at used book sales over the years. They have been a hit with all four children. We love that white dog with black spots!

Thanks for stopping by, and check out more reading suggestions over at Read-Aloud Thursday.