Keeping a Book Journal Instead of Book Reports

Reading is a huge thing for children. We need to teach them to love to read. So how do we do that while still knowing what they are reading? Take out the book reports and give them a book journal instead!

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Book reports suck the fun of reading out of the book. You need to spend the time paying attention so that you can write words on paper, be it the number of words or the number of pages you need to write. Kids start to not want to read because of having to write a book report after reading the book.

So, what do you do instead? How do you know your kids are reading the books they say they are? As I was reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, I found out about book journals. While this book is written for public school teachers, there is a wealth of information for homeschoolers as well!

Book Journals over Book Reports

I have modified the idea of the book journal from Donalyn Miller to make it work for us. However, I loved her idea of allowing a child to abandon a book that just doesn’t fit for the child. I know that I have found some books that just didn’t work for me to finish, so I agree with allowing our children to do the same.

That is why I have a section in my new book journal that not only allows us to track the books the kids have read, but also write down the books they have started and abandoned. Within this section, I have a notes column. Kids are able to write down notes about the books they have read, but they can also write down notes on the books they abandoned. Who knows, maybe they will come back to these books later.

How Do We Use the Book Journal

This is the fun part, you use it how you want! you can print the pages and just use it as it is. You can put it in a three-ring binder, bind it with a binding machine, or staple it and go. But you can also use it as a notebooking guide. You can take the pages and cut and glue them into a regular notebook. Make your child a whole notebook full of remembering the books they have journeyed through, and keep it for your records of what they have done.

Not only do you have the chance to list the books that have been read, but you also get the chance to write down the books your child wants to read. Let them take control over this. Let them find books they want to read and write them down.

I also take this further by giving space for your child’s favorite quotes from the books they read, their favorite parts of books they have read, their favorite characters from the books they have read, and a list of their favorite books. By having my kids write down these favorites, I know if they read the book or not.

I also have one page to allow children to track the different genres they are reading. This is something new for me. I hadn’t thought about making my kids read different genres, I was just happy to have them reading! This year we are making a few changes to our reading time. Not only do we have daily drop everything and read time, but we are also exploring different books and genres. I can’t wait to see what this will bring forth in my kids!

Grab Your Own Book Journal

I am in love with the book journal I have created. My kids love that I don’t pester them about the books they are reading when I can grab their journal and see for myself.  My kids love the fact that I trust them to pick books they will read. They get ideas and recommendations from me, but ultimately, I leave the choice up to them.

Give your child the freedom of their reading and allow them to love reading, by having them fill out a book journal instead of numerous book reports by grabbing your copy right here.

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Using Kindle Unlimited In Your Homeschool

A thing that I love about homeschooling is the fact that we can use books to help us learn. Reading, even if it is out loud to the children, is a great way to help your children learn. The tough part, your local library is not going to have every book you want to use in your homeschool. The answer, putting your Kindle and Amazon account to use with Kindle Unlimited.

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One thing that I love about Amazon is the Kindle Unlimited account that I have. I never realized how much this account would help with our homeschooling. It has given me options to add more books to our homeschool life.

We have found many great books within Kindle Unlimited that have helped us enrich our homeschool. I want to share a few of them with you so that you can give it a try yourself.

The Green Ember Series

Ok, so I reviewed these books in the physical format and my family LOVED them! We joined the bandwagon and wanted to read them all. Little did I know, I could get all of these books for FREE with my Kindle Unlimited account. If you have doubts about this series, this is the perfect time to sample it and see what you are missing.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

This is a book that my children love! We read it together and watched the movie after. This was the first time that we did a comparison between the book and the movie. Just as I had hoped, the kids loved the book so much more. This is a well-known book and movie, so why not include it in your homeschool journey? If you have not read it before, you are missing out on so much compared to what the movie shows. Not only that, if you don’t want to use this as a read-aloud story, your older elementary children will be able to enjoy it on their own!

Fall Books

I love adding books into our homeschool that workaround the topic we are learning about. Right now we are focused on fall. There are good plenty of books available on Kindle Unlimited that will allow you to focus on fall.

Fall Leaves is a great book that is easy to read. It can be read as a short poem, or as a more in-depth study.  There are two ways to read this book, and my kids loved reading it both ways. This is a fun book to introduce fall to your children.


The Roll-Away Pumpkin is another great book to read during the fall season. This fun little story is about a pumpkin that gets away…the ending is a delicious ending that can solve a problem of a large pumpkin rolling down into the town. This is one that your kids will love!

Pumpkin Jack is a fun story about a pumpkin that doesn’t just disappear. This story takes us through the stages of a pumpkin after it is done being carved for the holiday season. This is a fun story to teach your children about how pumpkins can grow from seeds.

The Lord of the Rings

This was a fun find for me. I love this series and I love this series and being able to introduce this series to my kids is on the top of my list. Not only is this a great movie, but it is also a great book series. I read all of them before I watched the movies, and let me tell you, the books are WAY better! I am thrilled to be able to access these books within our Kindle membership to read to my kids.

The Unhurried Homeschooler

Now, this is a mom book! This is a book that I recommend homeschool moms, new and veteran, read. It has been recommended in groups that I am in, and I honestly could not have loved it more. This will help you focus on your “why” vs trying to check off all the boxes when it comes to homeschooling.

Having access to all sorts of different books with the click of a button means that we are never without a book for our homeschool. Mom and kids can read what they need to have a book on hand to read. I firmly believe that reading is an essential item in teaching anything to my kids, so having access to books for free is a huge bonus for us!

If you are homeschooling and wondering how to get access to all the books, check out Kindle Unlimited and grab those books to allow your child, and yourself to read what you want!

How have you used Kindle Unlimited in your homeschool? Or, if you are just learning about this, how do you plan to use it in your homeschool?

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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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