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July Books in Our Homeschool

Our July has been a real storm of a month. With the heat that is unbearable, and a tornado that touched down 11 miles or less away from us! We have tried to get into our normal homeschool routine, but not quite yet. What hasn’t changed…we have a stack of books to read this month!

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With our different types of curriculum that we are using, we have a great list of books to read. Even if we don’t do all our school, we will be reading all the books!

Gather Round Homeschool Books

One of our main curricula is Gather Round Homeschool. This curriculum is a unit study based curriculum as I have shared with you before. This month is Asia, so we have some great book recommendations within the teacher’s guide to find some good books. There is a book list for each unit that is broken down by age/learning level. From this study, we will be reading The Story About Ping, The Year of the Panda, The Big Wave, and Amy Carmichael. The Big Wave is a family read-aloud that we will follow up with a fun study from Lit Wits.

BibloPlan Year One: Ancients Books

As part of our Bible and History curriculum, we are using BibloPlan Year One: Ancients. There are some great Literature Readings for each grade level listed in the teacher’s guide. We are adding in some of The Answers Book for Kids during our lessons, and just about anytime we have questions. We are also reading The Ark, The Reed, and the Fire Cloud together. While we have already read them, Little Miss will be reading The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls on her own. I love how fun and simple these are to read.

Morning Time Books

This year we are adding in some Morning Time lessons to our days. I have loved this idea and played around with it on and off. Now I am ready to jump in. I love the books they have suggested for the Summer Adventure 2020. We will be reading Math Curse, His Shoes Were Far Too Tight, Are You a Dragonfly?, Tyger! Tyger! and The Very Lonely Firefly to name a few. Oh, I can’t forget to mention Catwings! This is a book that I loved as a child and I was thrilled to see it on a list for me to read to my kids!

All Through the Ages

On top of these fun lists, I love to check out book ideas in All Through the Ages, History Through Literature Guide from Nothing New Press. This book is full of book ideas for everything! They are broken up chronologically and geographically. This is great because I am doing both, history from the beginning and geographically by unit study.

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Do These 5 Things By the End of July

If you were to ask me what you should do this month, I would tell you these five things.

Go on a Picnic

Ok, this one is one that I haven’t done in a long time! I was given the idea from another post that I read right here. This gave me the idea that I need to do this more with the kids. Just getting out of the house and having fun. So, I plan to get out and do at least one picnic this month!

Read a Book

This might sound simple to many, BUT, as an avid book lover, I love to read books. I have not been able to do this as I wanted in the last few years. However, I changed a few things, and I am excited about being able to read a full book. Summer is a great time to grab a book, sit in the sun if you are a sun lover, or in the air conditioning if you like it cool. Just grab a book and read!

Get Outside

While it is warm, it is still great to get outside. Go for a walk, water the flowers, just sit outside. Do something outside this month. The weather is nice, most of the time, so get out and enjoy it. The sun is a great thing that everyone needs to survive. If plants need sun and water, so do you!

Drink Your Water

This goes with getting outside. You need to make sure you drink enough water. They say it takes 21 days to make a new habit, what if you made it a habit to drink your water this month? What if you included the whole family in this challenge. What would that mean for them?

Be Present

The most important thing I can think about for this month and every month would be to be present. Take the time to be present for those who matter to you. Be there for your spouse, your children, even your pets. Just take the time to be there for them.

What is something you want to do in July?

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Our Summer Reading List

Our summer reading list for the whole family, plus a link-up!

I have always loved reading. Growing up, you could always find me with my nose stuck in a book. My kids have grown up this way also. With lots of extra-curricular activities not being able to happen this summer, we have found ourselves reading a lot more books. Check out what we have on our summer reading list!

Green Ember Series

This is a series I have wanted to read for a long time. Now that I have the full collection, we plan to read this for our family read-aloud book. I am excited to join in on the fun that I hear about from everyone else. I think my kids will love it as well!

The Dream Traveler’s Quest

This is a new series for me. I happened upon this series and I am thrilled that I grabbed them. I plan to have Ray Ray work through these four books. They are based on a boy about the same age as Ray Ray who is going on a quest to find the Five Seals of Truth. This is based on the five truths of God. I also plan to read through them quickly before I hand them over to Ray Ray.

Dork Diaries

Now this is a series way off from the first two. This is a series that Little Miss is into. She loves them and the style they are written in. They are fun and simple for her to read. I am happy that she has found her series. Seeing her grab a book and go out and read is one of my favorite things in the world.

Picture Books

Picture Books on our summer reading list

Baby Girl is in a stage, actually, she has been in a stage for a long time, where she loves to have me read her books. She is not interested in the big chapter books, so we focus on picture books. With the library here offering curbside pickup, I am able to pick up a bunch of picture books to add to our collections. This month I am excited to share with Baby Girl some of the classics that I grew up on.

Books for Mom

I have two physical books in my possession that I hope to read. This does not include my list of books on Kindle. The two physical books that I want to read this summer are Before We Were Yours and Sold on a Monday. These two books have been talked about by friends of mine. If I can get through two books, I would be grateful! I used to read all of the time for myself, now I read for the kids. Mom wants some mom reading!

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Dory Fantasmagory Tiny Tough – A Book Review

Dory Fantasmagory Tiny Tough Book Review

My kids love books. That is no surprise. They love all kinds of books. Recently it was Talk Like a Pirate Day, and we had a lot of fun at our local library going on a hunt for doublins and taking Pirate selfies. It was no surprise they fell in love with Dory Fantasmagory Tiny Tough as soon as we got our hands on it.

Dory Fantasmagory Tiny Tough Book Review

“The fifth adventure in the enormously popular Dory Fantasmagory series takes on the tried-and-true theme of childhood friendships, and turns it on its head, Dory-style.

When her big sister Violet has friend trouble at school, Dory tries to come to her rescue. But Dory’s active imagination takes over, and she is sure that Violet’s lost treasure (a friendship bracelet) has something to do with pirates. In search of the treasure, Dory meets up with a real pirate crew and finds that a pirate’s life is harder than she thought. At sea, Dory longs for her imaginary friend Mary. But Mary has gone off with an exciting new friend of her own and Dory is crushed with jealousy. Just when things can’t get any worse, Dory’s old enemy, Mrs. Gobble Gracker shows up and Dory’s ocean adventure takes a surprising turn.

There’s a ton of treasure in Dory’s fifth adventure as Dory mixes in pirates, pals (real and make-believe), and her own imagination into one wild and wet free-for-all.”

This cute little chapter book is recommended for ages 6-8. Each page has cute little drawings that go with the words on the page. While the cover is a beautiful color picture, the inside is just black and white, which keeps the distractions to a minimum.

Dory Fantasmagory Book Review

Little Miss is 8 now, and just getting into chapter books. She has fallen in love with this book. Now she wants me to get the first 4 in the series for her to read. She loves that the pages are simple to read. The words are not too big or too small for her reading level.

The storyline is a great one for kids of this age. We see how Dory can be picked on by her older siblings when she is the annoying little sister. At the same time, they can see how the family can pull together and have a great time also. I enjoyed sitting down on a lazy Sunday and reading the whole book in one day myself. It was funny, cute, and all over good.

This is a great book for kids that uses imagination and encourages your kids to do the same.

Dory Fantsmagory Tiny Tough Book Review

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The Curse of the Werepenguin – A Book Review

Have you heard of a Werepenguin? No? I hadn’t either until we got the chance to read The Curse of the Werepenguin from Penguin Random House. We received an Advanced Reader Copy of the book for our review.

About the Book

All orphan Bolt Wattle has ever wanted was to find his true family. When a mysterious baron in far-off Brugaria sends for Bolt, he wonders if he’s getting closer to finding his long-lost parents. But Baron Chordata appears to be a twelve-year-old boy who wears tuxedos all the time, shouts at everyone, and forbids Bolt from asking questions. Things couldn’t get any worse . . . until midnight, when the Baron bites Bolt and turns him into a half boy, half penguin. Then things really couldn’t get worse– nope, wait, they get a lot worse. With the help and hindrance of a plucky girl who just might be the world’s greatest bandit, a whale cult led by a man whose weapon is a stale loaf of French bread, and a sinister but friendly fortune-teller who can’t stop cackling, Bolt’s on a quest to reverse the curse, return to human form, and stop the Baron from taking over the country of Brugaria with his army of mind-controlled penguins in what might be the weirdest–and funniest–middle-grade novel you’ve ever read.

About the Author

Allan Woodrow is the author of many books including The Pet WarClass DismissedUnschooled, Field Tripped, and now, inspired by Dracula, old werewolf movies, Young Frankenstein, and an odd affection for fish sticks, The Curse of the Werepenguin. When Allan isn’t writing or noshing on breading-coated seafood, he’s often presenting to schools, libraries, and conferences. You can learn more about Allan at allanwoodrow.com.

What We Thought Of It

This was such a fun book to read. It was easy for me to read aloud to the kids. We had a great time laughing at the silly parts. I would caution you that this is about werepenguins, and while it is funny, there are some intense/scary parts that younger kids would not enjoy.

Being a middle school book, it is recommended for ages 8+. There are 352 pages. These pages are broken down into four parts and 49 chapters. The chapters are short and easy to complete, which makes reading it that much easier! There are a few cute cartoon-like drawings in the book (which is the Advanced Reader Copy, so this may have changed for the final printing).

If your kids love a fun yet weird book, this is the one you will want to grab! It just became available for sale today! Grab your copy right here:

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**I have been compensated for this post by receiving a free product. All opinions are my own no matter what and I have not been influenced in any way.**

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Using the Library to Teach Preschool at Home

I love the library. I have always loved the library. My kids have been going to the library since they were born. While we always checked out fun books to use at home, I never knew how much my library could really be used for preschool, until this past month.

My local library is part of a chain of libraries. All of the libraries in the region are connected, and we can request books between them, or even go to the different branches and check out their building and books. This makes for fun field trips! Yes, my kids are excited to have a field trip to a different library!

While spending time at the library a few weeks ago, I found a blue bag filled with some fun looking things. These bags had been hanging by the children’s audiobooks, I just never looked at them. They were the Storytime to Go Kits. Yes, storytime to go!

These kits are awesome! They have everything you need for a storytime. Their intended purpose are for daycares, but I am taking them and using them for Baby Girl and her preschool lessons.

We go to the library once a week. That means, once a week, I am able to grab a new storytime kit. This kit includes 5 books, a CD with songs to go with the topic, and an activity. This activity can be a puzzle, flashcards, or hand puppets. That is what we have seen so far at least. Once I get the kit, I can find free printables on Pinterest that goes along with the topic.

Our library has over 100 of these storytime kits within all the libraries in the region. That means, there are over 100 topics that we can cover in our preschool homeschool lessons. These topics range from holidays and seasons to nursery rhymes, colors, and shapes. This is just the tip of the iceberg that is available in these kits! That means, all the ideas that I would have for teaching preschool at home, is available in a storytime kit to help bring books into our learning!

How much easier could it get for me!? I have 5 books on the topic I want to teach and I can switch these topics up each week to keep my child interested! This is perfect!

Pinterest has lots of free printable options available also. This means that I can find tracing, cutting, and more on worksheets that go with the topic we are focusing on that week. I don’t have to worry about too much over planning, and can just read the books all week if it gets too busy.

On top of this fun resource that I found, when visiting a neighboring library, I found out they were part of a new program for the library system, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. This is a fun program that enforces the belief that a child who has had books read to them will excel in learning more than those who don’t. They are offering rewards for the number of books that the child has had read to them before they reach kindergarten.

Since this is not our local library, I was hesitant to join this program. However, this library is in a neighboring city, the city where our bank is located, so I knew we would make our way there at least 2 times a month. I signed Baby Girl up for the program, and look forward to seeing her earn prizes for something we do on a regular basis, read books!

When it comes to homeschooling your preschool child, do you utilize your local public library?

 

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Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors – A Book Review

I am always busy it seems like. I have so much going on with the kids and my husband’s health. Some days I just feel like I am not doing enough to raise my kids in the way that God wanted me to. I feel like I am messing them up more than preparing them for a future. Jami Amerine must have read my mind when she wrote Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors: How Less Than Perfect Parents Can Raise (Kind of) Great Kids.

What Is It

This is a 200-page paperback book with 17 chapters. There are two parts to this book, Part 1: Relent and Reprieve and Part 2: Reward and Receive. Between these two parts and the chapters, you will read about the biggest parenting lie we often believe, why we need to seek the Bible and the wisdom of spiritual giant, why we can’t make our kids love Jesus, how to rest in our identity as daughters of a perfect Father, and so much more.

Each chapter starts with a page with a quote on it. I really enjoyed this page and spent some time just sitting and pondering on this quote. The chapters are nicely written and on topic, and the pages are clean and uncluttered.

What I Thought Of It

I loved reading this book. It was like sitting down and talking with a friend. I was able to read this while raising my own kids. I could pick it up and set it down without feeling like I had to start over. I was also able to read this while spending time on the treadmill. It was not hard to read and get information out of while still being busy with those kids I am trying to raise.

I am thrilled to have had the chance to journey with Jami Amerine. To laugh with her and to cry with her. I really did feel like a friend was helping me through the tough times I have had to go through. And knowing that someone else has done the same while still moving forward, even on sticky floors, has helped me to slow down and think of my house as sacred ground.

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Beloved – A Devotional for Young Women (A Homeschool Crew Review)

Raising kids can be hard. Making sure they are learning all they are supposed to learn, from school, to chores, and of course their faith. Little Miss in my oldest girl, and when I got the chance to review Beloved: 365 Devotions For Young Women from Zondervan, I jumped at the chance!

What Is It

Beloved is a hard covered book with 370 heavier pages. The simple flower design on the cover goes throughout the book adding something to the pages without being too crowded. There is one devotion page for each day of the year. It is undated, so you can start your year whenever you want to.

This devotional is aimed at girls ages 13-18 years old. All of the devotions are based on different women and girls from the Bible. Through this devotional, we see that the Bible is not just a book for and about the guys. We have our eyes opened to the everyday and extraordinary women.

How Did We Use It

Little Miss is a few years younger than the recommended age for this devotional, but I knew this was something that she would still enjoy, so I decided that this was something we would do together. Little did I know, I would gain just as much as her as we read through each day.

Each day started with a short Bible verse. Each of these verses are about different women of the Bible. They do not jump around like other devotionals that I have read, rather, they go together from one day to the next, telling the story of the woman.

Following up after the Bible verse is the devotional that goes with that verse. This devotional will take a lesson from the Bible verse to teach us. On Day 36 the verse was Genesis 19:25-26, the devotional takes the disobedience of Lot’s wife and shows us that curiosity can lead to disobedience. This was the perfect starting point for a great conversation with Little Miss about curiosity and sinning.

And it wasn’t just that day that leads to conversation. Each day we sat down, we ended in conversation about how we can learn from this devotional. While the stories are old, they still ring true in what we face today as young women following Jesus.

What Did We Think

Both Little Miss and I fell in love with this devotional. This was exactly what we were looking for as a way to grow stronger in our faith together. This was not too old or too young for her. Reading it with me, she was able to understand and learn from it. I can see this being a devotional that she will use over and over again, always learning something new each time she reads it.

The pages are thicker, which means they will not likely tear from constant use. There is a space at the bottom of each page for notes, which I am leaving for when she can take her own, and there is even an attached ribbon bookmark, which makes her feel extra special when she uses it.

We both loved that the devotions were short, but they were deep. There was a lot of learning that we both got out of it. Where I would see something for me as a wife and mother, she would pick out something for her as a daughter and sister. This is a book full of lessons, and for now, a lot of bonding time between the two of us. I can not wait until Little Miss is ready to take this on her own and dig even deeper into her life as a young woman of God.

There are 60 other reviewers who had the chance to use this with their daughters, click the picture below to see what they thought of it!

 

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women {Zondervan Review}
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One Blood for Kids by Ken Ham – A Review

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

My primary goal when raising kids is to raise them to see everyone as a child of God. This can be hard to explain in today’s political correctness that seems to be everywhere. Ken Ham and Master Books has helped me with this with One Blood for Kids: What the Bible Says About Race.

For this review, I received the digital download of One Blood for Kids. I was able to send this over to my Kindle account and access it on our iPads for the full-color experience (which I recommend!)

My copy had 64 color pages that talk to us about the 7 Spiritual “Races” of the Bible. When I say, color, I mean color! The pages are beautifully full of color and pictures that take what we are reading and allow us to see it as well!

This book talks about the young earth, and how the fossils that we find are from Noah’s Flood. This makes sense to our family, and even more sense when described in the way that Ken Ham described it.

There is no right or wrong way to read this book. We chose to read this book during our Bible Study time at the beginning of our homeschool day. I loved the little “Set the Tone” sections on the pages. I used those as our starting and stopping points of reading each day. Some days we would read more pages, other days it would be less.

On the days we read more, it was more of the storytelling side of it. The days when we had less to read, these pages were packed with a lot more information.

The main point throughout this book was that there was one race, the human race. This was further broken down to the 7 Spiritual Races of Created, Fallen, Rescued, Divided, Saved, Lost, and Lamb’s Race. We learn about each of these as we go through the book.

We have learned so much through reading this book, mom and dad included! The kids had a question that if we all came from Adam and Eve, how could we be different colors? That was explained in a significant way that everyone understood. It also helped us understand why, in our family, some kids have different colored hair and a slightly darker skin tone than the other.

My kids come running when I say that it is time to read One Blood for Kids. They are excited to learn more about the human race and how we are all related to each other. This is a great book that takes the politics out of the equation and only shows the history of the Bible as to where we all came from.

If you are like me and want to teach your kids that everyone is a child of God, no matter their skin color, One Blood for Kids is the book you will want to have in your hands!

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New York City – By the Way ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

I am going to admit something to you, I have a slight addiction. That addiction is to great books! Whenever we pass by a bookstore, my kids know that we will be spending quite some time there. Last year we had a chance to review a By the Way book, and we loved it. When we found out that there was a new book, New York City from, By the Way, we were excited to check it out!

What Is It

New York City – By the Way is a hardcover book that is filled with beautiful color pictures and cartoons. Each page is a heavyweight page and stands up to kids flipping through them (I know this because I brought it to Bible study one night and a dozen kids were busy reading it when they finished their work.)

There are 48 pages full of information in this book. We follow Alex and Lexi with their youth group as they travel to New York City and learn about the history of New York City and even about the animals!

How We Used It

This is one of those books that you can hand to kids and not worry about what they will read. That is what we did at first. The kids tore it away from me when I opened the package and went off to look at it! The first thing they did was to take a look at finding the hidden images throughout the book.

After finding the images, it was time to read. There is a lot of information in this book. This is not a sit-down and read it all the way through in one sitting with a three-year-old book! Instead, this is a start at the beginning and read for a bit. In fact, after reading the first page, the kids wanted to jump to different parts that they found interesting while looking for the hidden images.

Ray Ray is in love with New York City. He does want to visit there one day, so he is the one who took the book to read the whole thing through. He came back to me with tidbits of information that he had learned. “Mom, did you know there are 175 zip codes for one city! We only have one for our whole city!” “I loved how they talked about 9/11, but I wanted more about this.”

What We Thought Of It

This book has been a hit in our house! The kids love looking through the pages and looking at the pictures. I really enjoyed the way the information is presented, in a story format. This made it easy for the kids to gain an interest in different topics. As they were searching for the hidden pictures, they found topics they wanted to learn more about. This was a great way to build their interest!

I also loved the way that the story shows God in everything. Not only did we learn bits of information about New York City, but we also learned about God and Jesus throughout!

After reading this book with the kids, we all long for a visit to New York City to see some of the sights that piqued our interest while reading this book!

Three other books were included in this review. They are Ireland, Indiana, and Alaska. Check out the reviews right here:

By the Way Book Series: New York City, Ireland, Indiana & Alaska {By the Way Reviews}
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