5 tips for reading middle grade novels with your kids

Written by contributor Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things

When my oldest children were small, I couldn’t wait until we could read middle grade novels together. I enjoyed reading picture books with them, of course, but it had been Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl who had sparked my own childhood imagination and turned me into a lifelong reader.

I couldn’t wait to introduce favorite books and characters to my kids.

The first novel I tried to read to my kids was Little House in the Big Woods. It was wildly unsuccessful.

I hadn’t yet developed my own read-aloud skills enough to deliver the long descriptive passages in an interesting way, and my girls hadn’t had enough practice painting pictures in their heads and following along with longer narrative to keep up with what was going on. It was such a disappointment.

Now, I maintain that Laura Ingalls Wilder has written some of the best books ever written (and we have gone on to read her entire series three times as a family), but I don’t usually recommend that parents just starting to read novels with their kids start there.

[Read more…]

Best books of the month

This post contains affiliate links. When you buy anything through Amazon after clicking these links, it benefits my family. Thank you for your support of this site!
best booksJamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

Sometimes the hardest part of choosing books for myself or my kids is the process of sifting through the thousands of choices available. But I find I’m much more likely to pick up a certain title if someone I know recommends it.

Maybe we can help each other with the book selection process. I’m introducing a new series today, and if you find it helpful we can do it on a monthly-ish basis.

book-buttonIt’s called Best Books of the Month.

Here’s how it works:

I’ll share a few of the titles we’ve enjoyed in our family this month, and I’ll ask you via social media what books you loved. Then I’ll compile the results into a handy list for you to bookmark and come back to when you’re in need of a good title.

So let’s get started! Here are a few recommendations from our family: (with short descriptions)
[Read more…]

When you have no money for homeschool curriculum

no money for homeschool curriculum

Written by contributor Jamerrill Stewart of Free Homeschool Deals.

I have shared the journey of my family living on one small income to accomplish our homeschooling dreams. It’s what many families do, and they do it willingly for the joy and vision of being together as a family.

It was during these same years of growing our family on a super-tight budget that it became normal to find myself at the beginning of a homeschool year with no money for homeschool curriculum.

I was greatly encouraged during that time by reading amazing homeschool books such as Educating the WholeHearted Child and The Three R’s by Dr. Ruth Beechick. Those books helped me realize that I was not going to be successful as a homeschooling mom based on what curriculum-in-a-box I bought.

I would be successful just by learning alongside my children, going on nature walks to fill baskets full of pinecones for craft projects, and loading up a laundry basket full of enriching books at our local library.

My children could have a powerful education even if I didn’t have the funding to make big homeschool purchases, and the same goes for your children.

[Read more…]

Preschool at home

Affiliate links are included in this post. When you purchase through them, it benefits my family. Thank you for your support of this site!
Preschool at Home

Note: This sale is over, but you can still order these resources individually!

Though it now seems long ago, I remember perfectly when my oldest two kids were preschool-age. Steve and I had just made the decision to homeschool, and I couldn’t wait to get started!

Now, years later, my views on preschool have changed. I no longer believe an academic version of preschool is necessary; I believe a child can pick up the same skills that will prepare him for future learning just by being in a nurturing home environment.

But I don’t regret our preschool at home at all – it was fun! While my youngest napped, Trishna, Jonathan, and I sat together at the dining table reading or coloring or crafting or talking about letters.

It was the perfect time to capitalize on my newfound homeschool enthusiasm and their boisterous energy.

There are several helpful resources in this week’s Ultimate Homemaking Ebook Bundle for those of you who feel similarly.

Maybe you want to purposely carve out one-on-one time with your resident preschooler so she doesn’t get forgotten in the hustle and bustle. Or maybe you’re hoping to keep your little one occupied while you spend fifteen minutes on a lesson with older children.

Whatever your needs, here are a few resources that may help.
[Read more…]

Create your own Little House unit study

This post contains affiliate links, and when you purchase anything after clicking them it benefits my family. Thank you for your support!
Create your own Little House Unit Study ~SimpleHomeschoolJamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

We are currently inhaling all things Little House, in preparation for our upcoming site tour this summer. Every day we learn something new about Laura and the Ingalls family, and for this homeschooling mama it’s a dream come true.

In a few months our family will be visiting three Little House sites: Pepin, Wisconsin; Walnut Grove, Minnesota; and De Smet, South Dakota. If you want to take a sneak peek and visit them virtually–as well as all the other Little House sites, make sure you check out the virtual field trip I created earlier this year.

Right now we’re rereading all of the books–one each month–and creating our own unit study to go along with them. This has sent me on a search for the best books, sites, and resources to help us learn more, and I thought I’d share my discoveries with you.

If you’re looking to get the most out of Little House, here are the resources we’ve been using:
[Read more…]