July 22, 2019

4th Grade Charlotte Mason Homeschool Plans, 2019-2020


This is our third year of doing a full Charlotte Mason style curriculum with short, morning lessons on a wide variety of subjects according to a strict timetable designed to fit our family. I love to consult Ambleside Online, a Catholic Charlotte Mason curriculum, as well as Wildwood Curriculum for ideas, but I put it together in my own way.

I love our homemade Charlotte Mason plans so much for many reasons. I can plan knowing myself and my children to ensure that we can actually accomplish 90% of our plans. I can choose affordable books of the highest quality and I can keep everyone in the family in the same historical time period on a 4-year history cycle with up to three different streams of history (our country, a near neighbor, and ancient). Finally, I can avoid books that I do not care for . . . even if everyone else in the world thinks they are wonderful or appropriate.

I have tried to note in [ ] whether I'm using a free book or how much I paid for each of the resources we are using. I am committed to homeschooling with free or really cheap books as part of our journey to be debt-free while living on one income.

You can see past plans and recaps here.

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure to learn more.


Bible Lessons

This year I am reading narrative portions of the bible during our morning time during breakfast using the lists available on Ambleside Online and using a New Revised Standard Translation. In Home Education, Charlotte Mason stresses that reading the bible should be enjoyable and I feel that we are enjoying a more modern translation better than the King James Version.

Language Arts: Reading/Literature, Spelling, Copywork/Handwriting, Recitation, Grammar, Modern Language


Reading/Literature (30 minutes/week of a book chosen by me, plus evening readings of Shakespearean plays as a family)

This year, Peter will be reading the following titles at least 1 afternoon per week and in other free time if he chooses:

Tales of the Greek Heroes by Robert Lancelyn Green [$.50 book sale find!]
Number Stories of Long Ago by David Eugene Smith [free Google ebook]
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe [Nice illustrated hardcover for $5 from a local used bookstore (also free ebook)]
The Heroes of Asgard by A. Keary [free Google ebook]

We are planning to spend about 30 minutes twice a week in the evening reading a Shakespearean play aloud. We will have 2 Folger editions of the play to share among me, my husband, and my son. Our tentative plans (flexible at this point to accommodate any local performances I learn about!):

Term 1 - Julius Ceasar - We will attend a local abridged free Shakespeare in the Woods performance this week! [2 copies of the play for $4.49 each from Thriftbooks]
Term 2 - Romeo and Juliet
Term 3 - The Taming of the Shrew

Spelling (3x10min/week)

All About Spelling Level 3 and All About Spelling Level 4 [bought both teachers manuals from eBay for about $15 each]

We have a few lessons left in level 3 and then we will go on to level 4.

Grammar (2x15min/week)

Grammar is a new subject for us this year. Honestly, I didn't look at many options. I took a look at KISS Grammar and liked how it was organized. I also like that it is in a workbook form and that it is free! We are using the middle school level 1 book which I had printed at the local university print shop for $11.

Copywork/Handwriting (4x10min/week)

This year, Peter will select his own sentences for copy work. He will select sentences in his afternoon occupation time and mark them with book darts. Later, during lesson time, he will write a few lines in cursive in a notebook. This year he will be doing this writing in a wide-ruled notebook instead of a primary-ruled one. He will also begin writing narrations. He will start at about 1 per week. He is dreading it already, but I know it will not be too hard once he gets used to it.

Recitation (3x10min/week)

Each 6-week half term he will prepare to recite beautifully (often memorizing) 2 poems and 1 passage. I will choose a poem and a passage and he will choose the other poem.

The whole family will take part in reciting our prepared pieces at our low-key poetry teas during our break weeks. We will eat a snacky dinner, drink tea, and enjoy everyone's unique contributions.

Poetry (Listen to the same poem read aloud every day for a week at morning time)

We focus on a different poet each term and although I do not follow Ambleside Online's poetry schedule, I do choose the majority of our poems from their collection. This year we will focus on:
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • John Keats
  • Eugene Field

Modern Language: German (4x15min/week)

We are continuing our study of German through Talkbox.mom [generously funded by a grandfather]. This year we will also include learning German songs using YouTube and other resources found on Mason's Living Languages.

Social Studies: History, Geography, Citizenship


History (2x30min/week, 1x20min/week, oral narration after each reading, plus occasional written narrations)

I spent a very long time trying to find a good history spine for both of my students this year. I knew that I did not want to use This Country of Ours or The Story of the World because I do not care for them. I looked at many other options in light of Mason's words about history and history books. Some I eliminated because of their price, some for racist content, some for drawing too many conclusions for the reader. In Mason's own words:
It is not at all easy to choose the right history books for children. Mere summaries of facts must, as we have seen, be eschewed; and we must be equally careful to avoid generalisations.
The natural function of the mind, in the early years of life, is to gather the material of knowledge with a view to that very labour of generalisation which is proper to the adult mind; a labour which we should all carry on to some extent for ourselves. 
As it is, our minds are so poorly furnished that we accept the conclusions presented to us without demur; but we can, at any rate, avoid giving children cut-and-dried opinions upon the course of history while they are yet young. What they want is graphic details concerning events and persons upon which imagination goes to work; and opinions tend to form themselves by slow degrees as knowledge grows. --Home Education, 287-288
After much searching, I think the books I have chosen will serve Peter well this year.
He will learn about the American history of the 1800s using the following books:

He will learn about British history of the 1800s using the following books:

Peter will also begin keeping a Book of Centuries. I splurged on this beautiful heirloom-quality book in the hopes that it might be a treasured possession one day. For that to happen, it is going to require regular additions. Peter will be asked to add at least one entry and one picture per week during his afternoon occupation time.

Geography (2x20min/week, oral narration after each reading, plus related mapwork that I keyed to the readings)
This is a subject that we all love and I think that it is going to be even better this year after I have learned more about how Charlotte Mason did geography with her students by listening to the ADE podcasts on the subject.

From last year, I have reduced the number of pages assigned for each lesson to leave more time for using maps without rushing. Each lesson begins in front of an appropriate atlas page where I ask my son questions about geography that he can answer using the map. We will also have some lessons for map drills where he will complete a blank map with the atlas in front of him, then will complete a blank map from memory.

I also bought an atlas. I choose this one from 2010 which was recent enough and affordable enough for our purposes. [$25.20 used on Amazon]

Citizenship aka Plutarch (1x30min/week, oral or written narration after each reading)

Another new subject for Peter is Citizenship. For term 1, he will familiarize himself with some of the names and places of Rome by reading Stories from the History of Rome by Mrs. Emily Beesly [free Google ebook).

Then, he will follow along while I read one of Plutarch's lives per term. We will use Anne White's study guides to study Julius Caesar and Demosthenes this year.

Maths


Math (5x30min/week, dictated narration after each lesson which I record in our math notebook (we use one of these)

Beast Academy, 5B-5D [already owned gift from grandparent]

My son loves math. And I mean really loves it as in he will sometimes work on math for hours a day if he has free time. This year, he hopes to take the AMC exam in November at a local university for fun, so we may spend some time preparing for that, but otherwise, we will work on completing Beast Academy. When that happens, we will move on to The Art of Problem Solving: Prealgebra or Algebra depending on where he places according to their diagnostics.

I have zero interest in rushing him forward into any level of math. However, I want him to find math challenging and enjoyable. So we work on our math curriculum for only 30 minutes a day and he enriches that experience with books, websites, and apps in his free time.

Science: Experimental Science, Nature Lore, Special Studies, Nature Notebook


Experimental Science (1x30min/week science reading, oral or written narration after each reading, 1x30min/week activity or experiment)

Another new subject this year for Peter is experimental science and he is excited to begin studying a new topic each term. He will use the following books for science this year:

Term 1: Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey [previously owned $1 book sale find!] and Astronomy for All Ages by Phillip Harrington [already owned]

Term 2: Matter Molecules and Atoms by Bertha Morris Parker [$14.79 new on Amazon]

Term 3: Magnets by Rocco V. Ferovolo [$12.61 new on Amazon]

Each book will be supplemented with activities and experiments that relate to the reading, chosen from experiment books I own or from the web.

Nature Lore (1x20min/week, oral or written narration after each reading)

Peter will read 1 chapter a week of The Story-book of Science by Jean-Henri Fabre [free Google ebook]

Special Studies (afternoon occupation)

I chose the following topics for the year using the rotation found on Sabbath Mood Homeschool :

Term 1: Butterflies and Wildflowers
Term 2: Evergreens Trees and Birds in Winter
Term 3: Insects and Non-flowering plants

Peter will read a bit from a book on the topic of his special study about once per week. I will also continue to read seasonal nature books and books on our special studies at morning time.

I will prepare object lessons as I find the wherewithal based on things I think we will be able to observe. I will prepare by reading the Handbook of Nature Study and watching YouTube videos on the topic.

Nature Notebook (daily entries, nature watercolor drawings, nature walk as an afternoon occupation)

My son is responsible for noticing something from nature and dictating a line or two to my husband or me to write into his nature notebook daily. We still miss a few days a month and that is perfectly fine for us. We do this all year round, 7 days a week.

This year, I am asking Peter to take a 15-minute walk in the neighborhood every afternoon we are home to give him some fodder for his daily entry.

Morning Time

I will continue to read living science and natural history books as part of our morning time. These titles are not narrated.

Wild + Free Nature Group

We will continue to participate in a weekly year-round nature meetup at a rural property.  With our nature-loving friends, my kids get plenty of opportunity for free play as well as opportunities like a wildflower walk with a naturalist, a bird walk with volunteers from the Audubon society, night-time backlighting with a biology professor to see nocturnal insects, as well as camping with other families at a state park. It keeps me accountable for getting us out for half-days in nature every week no matter the weather and has become an important social outlet for my kids.

Art and Music: Watercolor, Drawing, Handicrafts, Singing, Artist Study, Composer Study, Music


Drawing (afternoon occupation)

This year I am not making time for watercolor brush drawing in my son's schedule of lessons. However, he will still be required to paint about 1 specimen per week in his nature notebook. It is not something he looks forward to, but I think this small amount will keep his skills growing in a way that will not make him hate watercolor!

He will also be asked to draw along with some Art for Kids Hub YouTube videos that I curated into a list he can choose from. I chose ones that focus on realistic animals, objects, or landscapes (and not ones that are characters, silly animals, etc.)

Handicrafts (afternoon occupation)

This year, Peter will not have handicrafts as part of his morning lessons. However, he will be expected to work on handicrafts like sloyd, sewing, crochet, cooking, and gift-making of various types every afternoon that we are home. We will use resources like:
I will teach him new skills and help out with his projects as needed, but mainly he will manage his work himself.

Singing (2x10min/week)

We will learn the following songs this year. We will also work through the solfa lessons from Children of the Open Air

The Battle of New Orleans
The Star-Spangled Banner
Follow the Drinking Gourd
Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Shenandoah
Ding Dong Merrily on High
When Johnny Comes Marching Home
Battle Hymn of the Republic
The Jam on Jerry's Rock
Goober Peas
Drill Ye Tarriers, Drill
The Bonnie Banks of Loch Loman

This year, I chose many songs that match our historical time period (1800s). I only choose songs that I think we can all enjoy and I don't worry if they are true "folk songs" or "Americana" or just fun songs to sing. I consult Ambleside Online but I do not follow their rotation per se.

Artist Study (1xweek at morning time)

This year we will study 6 works from a different artist each term:

Term 1: Monet [Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, $18.95+shipping]
Term 2: Van Gogh [Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, $18.95+shipping]
Term 3: Durer [Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, $18.95+shipping]

I love how easy these portfolios make studying the artists, but I think this may be the last year that we use them because I'm not very happy with the quality of the prints for this price. I did contact Simply Charlotte Mason about what I saw as miscolored prints (that looked completely different than digital online versions) and I felt my concerns were dismissed out of hand. If the prints are not going to be colored well then I might as well just have them printed locally for a fraction of the price!

In case you are wondering, I have been least satisfied with Rembrandt, Turner, Van Gogh, and Monet. The others have met or exceeded expectations.

Composer Study (1x10min/week)

This year we will study the following composers using YouTube performances of their work and Classics for Kids episodes:
  • Term 1: Robert Schumann
  • Term 2: Franz Liszt
  • Term 3: Richard Wagner
This is another subject that I have simplified. We may learn more biographical information about the composer, but I am not making it a priority this year. I choose compositions to listen to from Ambleside Online's lists, but I do not follow their rotation.

Music (7x20min/week)

Peter will continue to use Hoffman Academy [Not an affiliate link! We just love Hoffman Academy.] He is currently in Unit 10 and he expects to continue with Hoffman Academy as long as there are lessons available for his level (it currently goes up to unit 12, but I believe there will be more units added in the future). 

Physical Education

This year, Peter will participate in swimming lessons and will enjoy an active lifestyle with hikes, bike rides, roller skating, and walks around town often, especially in spring, summer, and fall. We may also participate in a homeschool gym class and ice skating lessons depending on whether they fit into our schedule this year.

So there is our plan for the year. And I'm so excited to get started! By the time I am actually hitting publish on this post, we already have one week of homeschooling under our belts and it is going really well. Of course, I always find that the second week is harder than the first! But Peter is excited to read new books and he is loving the new subjects and new materials for this year. I know we are all going to learn a lot and makes lots of wonderful new connections this year.

July 7, 2019

1st Grade Recap and Review of our Homemade Charlotte Mason Plans

I had so much planned for my son's first-grade year!!! Here is what worked, what didn't, what I changed on the fly and how this is all going to affect next year's plans.

What a year! I cannot believe the child I see in this picture was my precious John around his 6th birthday. He is a much bigger 7-year-old now who has grown and changed in so many ways throughout the year.

He has always been my child who humbles and teaches me. I push him too hard and he lets me know. I'm so thankful that he shows me in many different ways when I am lacking in patience and not doing my best. This year there were so many times when I would feel like he wasn't paying attention or trying only to realize that he just needed more time (minutes, weeks, or months) to get a concept.

At the beginning of the year, I feared he would never remember how to read "the," but, of course, he does now. At the middle of the year, I didn't know what it would take for him to understand how to "carry the one." But he surprised me by getting it about a month later even though we had just left off and never tried again! And at the end of the year, I thought it would be years before he could manage his own piano practice sessions . . . but he is doing it already! He surprises and delights me . . . when I can remember to take a chill pill, that is.

On to the recap . . . .

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure to learn more.

Language Arts: Reading/Literature, Copywork/Handwriting, Recitation, Latin and Greek Roots


Reading/Literature (5x20min/week)

It has been a lot of work for John to learn to read and he has done it. When he began the year, he did not know all his letters and knew very few of the sounds each letter made. He knew no vowel sounds at all.

Now he can slowly read books like Reading Literature--First Reader by Treadwell and Free.

I did follow my basic plans for John, but I learned a lot. I hope I will do even better for John next year in knowing how to best help him move forward toward reading fluency.

With some movable letters, a small whiteboard, some homemade sight word cards, and some easy readers including Bob books, nursery rhymes, Hop on Pop, and then All About Reading readers (from Thriftbooks), he went directly from knowing a few phonograms to reading simple sentences. When I think about it, the progress has been dramatic, but he hasn't loved it.

He has cried and he has doubted. He has let me know how hard it is. But he is reading, albeit still almost only with an adult at his elbow. But reading, nevertheless.

Copywork/Handwriting (5x10min/week)

He did spend a few minutes each morning copying a few lines of copywork that I prepared for him using this website or taken from a Kumon workbook on letters. He still has to work on dawdling, but his handwriting has improved a lot.

Recitation (3x10min/week)

Each 6-week half term he memorized 2 poems and 1 passage. I picked one poem and the passage and he picked the other poem with my approval. Silver, The Children's Hour, and There is no frigate like a book were some favorites. He joined the rest of the family in performing at our twice-per-term poetry teas. He seemed very proud of his efforts.

Poetry (Listen to the same poem read aloud every day for a week at morning time)

We did focus on a different poet each term:
  • Emily Dickenson
  • Walter de la Mare
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson
I think we all loved Walter de la Mare the most!

Latin and Greek Roots (daily at morning time)

We had used these English from the Roots Up Flashcards at morning time for a few years and I planned to continue with them. However, I realized that none of us was retaining what we were learning and they didn't seem to fit in the big picture of our homeschool so I dropped them before we barely started them for the year.

During the year, I learned more about Talkbox.mom and by term 3 we had finally started a modern language. It was not something that I thought I was ever going to be able to handle, but so far we have enjoyed learning our first box of German words and phrases as a family. John did not always love listening to the German audio, but he didn't mind incorporating the phrases into daily life if he felt confident he knew them.

I have a lot of ideas about how to make our German studies more fun going forward.


Social Studies: History and Geography


History (3x30min/week, oral narration after each reading, plus related mapwork that I keyed to the readings)

I created my own book list and schedule of readings to give John an introduction to America's "Age of Heroes" or mainly pre-colonial history. I did include a few biographies and early colonial period books, partially because we just studied the 1600s in our homeschool. Because I plan to have all of my students studying the same historical time period each year, John won't get back to that time period until 4th-grade.
And we completed almost all of these titles, except we stopped 50 Famous Stories Retold after Term 1 because This Country of Ours was taking even longer than I had planned. Some of those chapters are very long! I also moved The Courage of Sarah Noble to morning time because I let our Term 3 kind of sputter out at the end due to burnout and the fact that we had already met our legal requirement of 180 school days.

I think history was one of John's favorite subjects and I enjoyed seeing how his narrations improved throughout the year. The mapwork I planned wasn't too successful, especially because John isn't reading fluently. Next year, I will not plan mapwork that needs to be added to a blank map each history session. Instead, we'll leave mapwork for geography and just consult a map as needed to go along with our history reading.

Geography (3x10min/week, oral narration after each reading, plus related mapwork that I keyed to the readings)

We completed all of our geography readings, except we didn't get as far in Elementary Geography as I had planned. We will use that book along with others next year.

John seemed to love geography, if not mapwork. Paddle to the Sea was a particular favorite and it was hard for him to wait a whole week to hear more of that book. And it wasn't just the story, but the geography of the Great Lakes that captivated him. Suddenly, he was noticing the Great Lakes on every map that he saw. It was a delight to him and also helped him to begin to orient himself on world maps--something he had not really been able to do before.

Mathematics


Math (5x20min/week)

Life of Fred: Elementary Series by Dr. Stanley F. Schmidt [already used by my older son, bought via Black Friday sale on Educents]

We completed the first five Life of Fred books and had started Farming before we left off for summer break. But we also mixed in lots of other types of activities like Kumon workbooks on time and money, work in Gattegno's Mathematics Textbook 1 using Cuisenaire rods, practicing addition by adding up thrown dice, solo logic games, and a few Mammoth math worksheets.

My other son is very interested and very gifted in math. For that reason, I have spent my time and energy reading and thinking deeply about how best to nurture his love and talents. John is not as wild about math as his brother, but the things I've learned about kindling an enjoyment for math apply equally well to him. To that end, I give him lots of time to wrestle with a problem if he needs it. I don't care how much we accomplish in a math lesson. We just spend the allotted time and move on. We do not drill--we play, we practice.

Sometimes John was frustrated with math. But I think it was overall a positive subject, especially when I trusted that he was doing his best.  I can't really say if he accomplished more or less than peers in public school, but I know he can work much more confidently with numbers than he could last year.


Science: Natural History, Special Studies, Nature Notebooking


Natural History (3x10min/week, oral narration after each reading)

I read the following to John and he narrated:
I had planned to read Among the Farmyard People, but we didn't get to it. Maybe another time.

Special Studies (1x20min/week, oral narration after each reading)

I chose the following topics for the year using the rotation found on Sabbath Mood Homeschool :

Term 1: Wildflowers and Seeds / Birds and Spiders
Term 2: Shells and Marine Life / Birds at the Seashore [in preparation for a few weeks at the beach]
Term 3: Wildflowers and Trees / Insects

Although it wasn't in my original plans, I decided to combine the boys and read books on these topics to them because I often found the same books that I thought would work for both of them.

I occasionally prepared object lessons based on things I thought we would be able to observe. The ones I prepared were VERY successful. But it is so hard for me to know what we are going to see. However, I have learned that it works best for me when I don't just read the Handbook of Nature Study to prepare. I am more successful by also watching YouTube videos.

Nature Notebooking (daily entries, weekly entries, nature watercolor drawings)

My son is responsible for noticing something from nature and dictating a line or two to my husband or me to write into his nature notebook daily. We still miss a few days a month and that is perfectly fine for us. We do this all year round, 7 days a week.

John's narrations have gotten more descriptive over the course of the year. Sometimes he gets in a rut of many days of "It was cold today," but then he will surprise us with what he notices. He took a lot of enjoyment this spring and summer in noticing all of the firsts in our yard (first firefly, first Monarch, etc) and recording them in his journal.

Morning Time

As planned, I selected many living science and natural history books as part of our morning time. These titles are not narrated. I am actually going to put all of our special study reading in morning time next year. Everyone in the family is benefiting from these studies. We all have so much to learn.

Wild + Free Nature Group

New for us this year, we participated in a weekly year-round nature meetup at a rural property. The group includes several homeschool families as well as several families with preschool-aged children who intend to homeschool. This was a great way to keep me accountable to weekly half-days in nature . . . even in pouring rain or freezing temps.

John really enjoys our Wild + Free group, especially the opportunity to play wild and free with the other children. He is my child who will always splash in the creek, and smear himself with mud, and climb the trees. Thankfully, he has really grown in his ability to hold his temper when he has to wait his turn to do something he really wants to do.

A note on our nature progress:

This was the first year that I was wowed by my kids' nature knowledge being beyond my own. On a nature walk with a naturalist, my kids were identifying tree after tree that I could not have identified. Even my four-year-old was able to notice a small flower and then pick it out of the wildflower guide even though I had missed it myself. I certainly don't say this to brag, but rather to say that these practices of reading nature lore, nature notebooking, and spending free time in nature make a big difference over the years.

Art and Music: Watercolor, Handicrafts, Singing, Artist Study, Composer Study, Music

Watercolor drawing (2x20min/week)

We did do watercolor drawing 1-2 times a week all year. It was still a drag. It was still not as fun as it should be. It was hard for me to participate myself while holding a crying baby. I wasn't as patient and sensitive as I needed to be. John found it frustrating to not be able to depict what he could see with his eyes on the paper.

I can tell he is proud of his nature notebook as a whole. We had started a practice of meeting weekly to share our creations and notebooks and that was really a highlight for the kids, but it was a little too unstructured and because we let the kids share everything they had made, it was taking a very long time that we didn't have once soccer season started. I think we need to revive this tradition and try to keep it to notebooks only plus one thing so that we can fit it into our routine better.

Handicrafts (2x30min/week)

This year we planned to do:

Term 1: Sloyd using Paper Sloyd: A Handbook for Primary Grades by Ednah Anne Rich
Term 2: Finished up Sloyd gifts for Christmas, then embroidering using this kit.
Term 3: Sewing using Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make by Andria Lisle

In Term 2, we actually dabbled in lots of different yarn arts, including lucet weaving, knitting, and the beginnings of crochet. 

John really enjoyed handicrafts and he made lots of Sloyd, origami, and made a nice embroidered gift for his Grandmother. He especially enjoyed luceting and made beautiful bracelets and necklaces by luceting several yarns together.

I hope that next year I can do a better job at creating space to help the children learn handicrafts without getting frustrated and overwhelmed with juggling the needs of younger children. It is definitely a work in progress.

Singing (2x10min/week)

I choose folk songs and hymns. I consult Ambleside Online but I do not follow their rotation per se. This year, I selected the following:

The Gypsy Rover
Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow)
The Minstrel Boy
If I Had a Hammer
Go Tell Aunt Rhody
Low Bridge--Everybody Down (The Erie Canal)
Let There Be Peace on Earth
Cockles and Mussels (Molly Malone)
Amazing Grace
The Rhyme of the Chivalrous Shark
Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above (Catholic)
Star of the County Down
Turkey in the Straw
Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Shenandoah

And we learned all but the last three. We will be learning the last 2 next year, but I've dropped Turkey in the Straw completely for now.

I find it hard to learn the words and tune to folk songs, and I have the lyrics to look at. John has to learn everything aurally because he isn't reading well enough to follow along with the words. Sometimes this wears him out, but if he enjoys the song's energy, he will learn it. I always have John in mind when I select songs and determine the order we will learn them in.

Although not all songs are his favorite, John learned many songs by heart this year. Sometimes he and Peter would take our family songbook upstairs and sing together before bedtime. I think he appreciates learning songs more than he did at the beginning of the year.

Artist Study (1xweek at morning time)

This year we planned to study:

Term 1: Turner [Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, $18.95+shipping]
Term 2: Gainsborough [Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, $18.95+shipping]
Term 3: Dali [$3 art book from a Half Priced Books store]

But for Term 3 I caved and bought another Picture Study Portfolio of Mary Cassatt. We all enjoyed Cassatt's pictures and we are excited to plan a trip soon to visit the National Portrait Gallery to see some of her work in person.

My boys were so reluctant when we started picture study a few years ago, but now it is something we all enjoy!

Composer Study (1xweek at morning time)

This year our planned composers/materials were:
Each term I picked out pieces to watch on YouTube. That part of the study worked well when we did it. Sometimes the amount of listening doesn't seem like enough to amount to anything. I'm trying to accept that whatever we do is much better than nothing.

Music (7x15min/week)

John began work on Hoffman Academy [Not an affiliate link! We just love Hoffman Academy.] in May and he is midway through Unit 3. I really didn't want him to start at age 6, but he begged us. It has definitely taken more work to help him practice and keep him motivated, but I think we are over the biggest resistance.

After our almost 3 week break from practice when we traveled to Florida, he had a very hard time coming back to the piano. I realized that he had developed some slipshod practice habits because he had needed a bit more oversight of his practices than my husband had been able to provide (he did a great job with John but just didn't know as much about piano or what John really needed to be doing!).  I took over his lessons and got him back up to speed and he is now practicing regularly and making steady progress. The one downside of Hoffman Academy is that if you don't actually learn what you need to learn before moving on, then you keep feeling further and further behind. And there is no teacher to catch you!

I think there have been times where he would have quit if we would have let him, but he enjoys playing too. I hope that he will continue to work on the piano for a few more years at least.

Physical Education

This year John participated in AYSO Soccer (Fall and Spring), a weekly open swim at the YMCA with other homeschoolers, and summer swimming lessons. He also enjoyed an active lifestyle with hikes, bike rides, roller skating, and walks around town often, especially in spring, summer, and fall.

John is a very active boy who loves running, playing, swimming, climbing trees, and more.  

Overall Evaluation

John learned so much this year. And I learned so much about John. Because I did all of John's lessons directly with him, we spent a lot of time together. It was wonderful and it was difficult. I am a pusher and John pushes back. It is always a fine line between requiring best work and seeking to micromanage. I know that I got it right most of the time, but I also got it wrong a lot and too much.

I'm thankful that John is resilient and that we have the opportunity to continue to challenge and love each other. I hope that I gave him enough love to make up for the many times I lacked patience for his fidgeting or dawdling or negativity. I delight so much in John and he humbles me more than the others. This year I got to better see how his mind works and I got to better understand what he needs and what he thinks. I'll be using all of this insight to better structure our homeschool next year.

July 2, 2019

3rd Grade Recap and Review of our Homemade Charlotte Mason Plans

I had so much planned for my son's third-grade year!!! Here is what worked, what didn't, what I changed on the fly and how this is all going to affect next year's plans.



This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure to learn more.

Overall, most subjects went according to plan. But it was an exhausting year for me. With a new baby born a few months before we started lessons and two children doing lessons instead of one, I really had to learn a lot about juggling lots of differing needs at the same time.

My expectations were too high! Too high about how easy it would be to switch between so many lessons with two children and so many interruptions. Too high about how much everyone would love everything. And too high about how easy it would be to really step up my oversight of how the kids would spend some of their afternoon hours--basically I wanted to institute afternoon occupations and I wanted it to be easy and didn't understand how draining it would be for me to have so little personal downtime in the afternoon.

Throughout the year I did a lot of tweaking and a lot of contemplating. A lot of things clicked for me when I listened to the A Delectable Education podcast episode When the Feast is Too Much which was very encouraging. I realized that some of the "extra" things we do as a family need to be taken into account when planning what we do and don't do in our lesson time. Stay tuned for how next year is going to look a little differently.

Confession time--This was the first year we were subject to the homeschooling laws in our state so it was the first time we had to count our homeschooling days. Even though I planned out 36 weeks of homeschool lessons, which would have equaled the mandated 180 days, I was also able to count other days that we did field trips or other educational activities. So we hit 180 days way before we were finished the lessons I had planned before I gave birth. I meant to finish our lessons strong . . . but I didn't!

We did take an hour a day to finish up several books that we were in the middle of, but then we just stopped. No end of term exams, no 12-week term, nothing. We just fizzled out into an early summer break at the beginning of May. So you may notice a lot of books that we didn't get to or didn't finish!

So, on to the recap!

Bible Lessons

I read narrative portions of Genesis and Matthew to Peter and John who took turns narrating. Then we continued with Exodus and Luke, which we have not finished yet but will pick up in the fall. We started using an online version of the King James Version. I have heard so many reasons why this is the translation to use, but after using it for most of a year, I am not convinced. We began using a different translation that I also don't particularly love, but the kids seemed to get much more out of reading it. Our Bible lessons will continue to evolve next year and beyond.

Language Arts: Reading/Literature, Spelling, Copywork/Handwriting, Recitation


Reading/Literature (3x20min/week , oral narration after each reading)

Peter read and narrated the following titles:
American Tall Tales by Adrien Stoutenburg [$3.99 on Thriftbooks]
Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes [$1 book sale find!]
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome [$1 book sale find!]
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson [.25 book sale find!]

He also started The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett [Library] but didn't finish it.

Peter enjoyed all of the books. Kidnapped  was not his favorite for quite a while, but once he got used to the language he did enjoy it. He said American Tall Tales was his favorite.

Peter is a very strong reader but I know he would benefit from more practice reading aloud. I'm hopeful that I can do a better job next year with requiring more of it.

Spelling (3x10min/week)

All About Spelling Level 3

I had thought we would finish this book and start the next level, but we didn't. We got so close to finishing level 3, but I didn't have the heart to keep pushing it when our school year sort of petered out at the end. This program is still working very well for my son. He really retains all of the spelling rules and generally spells words correctly if he has learned the applicable rules.

Copywork/Handwriting (4x10min/week)

Peter finished My Book of Writing Words: Learning about Consonants and Vowels (Kumon Workbooks) and then switched solely to copying selections from our poems and passages. Eventually, I decided to choose our copywork from Spelling Wisdom. I like the selections and I appreciate how the spelling has been standardized and Americanized when appropriate.

Peter's ability to write in cursive has dramatically improved over the year. He can now easily write something in cursive even without seeing an example. He chose to write his thank you notes, as well as his other writing in cursive most of the time.

Recitation (3x10min/week)

Each 6-week half term he worked on reciting beautifully (often memorizing) 2 poems and 1 passage.

We continued to perform our recitation pieces at our low-key family poetry teas during our break weeks. It was positively lovely every single time. Peter definitely improved in his performance over the year.

Poetry (Listen to the same poem read aloud every day for a week at morning time)

We did focus on a different poet each term:
  • Emily Dickenson
  • Walter de la Mare
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson
I think we all loved Walter de la Mare the most!

Latin and Greek Roots (daily at morning time)

We had used these English from the Roots Up Flashcards at morning time for a few years and I planned to continue with them. However, I realized that none of us was retaining what we were learning and they didn't seem to fit in the big picture of our homeschool so I dropped them before we barely started them for the year.

During the year, I learned more about Talkbox.mom and by term 3 we had finally started a modern language. It was not something that I thought I was ever going to be able to handle, but so far we have enjoyed learning our first box of German words and phrases as a family. Peter especially enjoyed learning and practicing his German.

Social Studies: History and Geography


History (3x30min/week, oral narration after each reading, plus related mapwork that I keyed to the readings)

Peter read from the following books as planned:
The only planned history book he didn't get to was Shh! We're Writing the Constitution which I ended up reading during morning time. I also had him stop reading from The boys of '76 after the first term as it was taking too much time and he was struggling with it.

Overall, Peter rose to the challenge I put before him for history. He learned a lot and he gave good narrations. However, I assigned too much reading that was too hard. It was too much to get through during the time we had allotted. I also expected him to add to maps before each reading session and it made things too hectic. He learned so much! But I was a bit of wreck trying to keep us all moving in the right direction. I will be dialing it back next year so we can get a lot more by reading less.

Geography (3x10min/week, oral narration after each reading, plus related mapwork that I keyed to the readings)

  • Marco Polo: His Travels and Adventures by George Makepeace Towle [Printed Ambleside Online's free version]
  • The Guyot Geographical Reader and Primer: A Series of Journeys Round the World By Arnold Henry Guyot [free online]
Our geography plans worked well. As I have learned more about the way Charlotte Mason did geography, I will be altering our way of doing geography next year. But this year went well. We finished the North American section of the Guyot Reader and will probably pick it up again the year after next.

Mathematics: Math, Number, Geometry


Math (4x30min/week, dictated narration after each lesson which I record in our math notebook (we use one of these)

I had planned on doing Beast Academy 4 times a week, work with Cuisenaire rods once a week and geometry once a week. We started out that way, but then by term 2, I dropped the Cuisenaire rods and by term 3, we were doing geometry in Beast Academy and it was working so well that when I retooled our schedule to add a German, I dropped geometry all together. So although I had planned on completing Beast Academy 4B-4D, we were actually able to complete those along with 5A.

This curriculum is still impressing me daily and it is still working wonderfully for my math-loving son.

Number (1x25min/week, dictated narration after each lesson which I record in a math notebook)

We worked through Gattegno's Mathematics Textbook 1 using Cuisenaire rods until I felt that we weren't getting as much out of it anymore. 

Geometry (1x10min/week, dictated narration after each lesson which I record in a math notebook)

We started using Khan Academy's geometry topics but I didn't love doing it like this because there was no drawing of figures. We switched to using Mammoth Math's (I won it in a giveaway!) 7th-grade geometry which was very challenging but had a lot of constructing angles and arcs. We dropped it when we got to more geometry in Beast Academy.

Science: Natural History, Special Studies, Nature Notebooking

Natural History (3x10min/week, oral narration after each reading)

Peter read from the following books, but he didn't finish Secrets of the Woods which he did not like!

Special Studies (1x20min/week, oral narration after each reading)

I chose the following topics for the year using the rotation found on Sabbath Mood Homeschool :

Term 1: Wildflowers and Seeds / Birds and Spiders
Term 2: Shells and Marine Life / Birds at the Seashore [in preparation for a few weeks at the beach]
Term 3: Wildflowers and Trees / Insects

Although it wasn't in my original plans, I decided to combine the boys and read books on these topics to them because I often found the same books that I thought would work for both of them.

I occasionally prepared object lessons based on things I thought we would be able to observe. The ones I prepared were VERY successful. But it is so hard for me to know what we are going to see. However, I have learned that it works best for me when I don't just read the Handbook of Nature Study to prepare. I am more successful by also watching youtube videos.

Nature Notebooking (daily entries, weekly entries, nature watercolor drawings)

My son is responsible for noticing something from nature and dictating a line or two to my husband or me to write into his nature notebook daily. We still miss a few days a month and that is perfectly fine for us. We do this all year round, 7 days a week. This year he took it upon himself to write some of his entries. His entries also became much more detailed over the course of the year.

During weeks where we have lessons, I allotted time for him to make a drawing and either write notes about the drawing or dictate to me to write them. This is not a favorite activity. But I think we all love looking back at what he has created.

Morning Time

As planned, I selected many living science and natural history books as part of our morning time. These titles are not narrated. I am actually going to put all of our special study reading in morning time next year. Everyone in the family is benefiting from these studies. We all have so much to learn.

Wild + Free Nature Group

New for us this year, we participated in a weekly year-round nature meetup at a rural property. The group includes several homeschool families as well as several families with preschool-aged children who intend to homeschool. This was a great way to keep me accountable to weekly half-days in nature . . . even in pouring rain or freezing temps.

Peter doesn't love to spend time outside as much as his siblings. However, he mostly enjoyed our time at our nature group. His bigger outdoor passions include hiking and camping. He has been going on longer (8 miles+) hikes with his father on a regular basis and we have been able to camp several times this year, including while on vacation in Florida.

A note on our nature progress:

This was the first year that I was wowed by my kids' nature knowledge being beyond my own. On a nature walk with a naturalist, my kids were identifying tree after tree that I could not have identified. Even my four-year-old was able to notice a small flower and then pick it out of the wildflower guide even though I had missed it myself. I certainly don't say this to brag, but rather to say that these practices of reading nature lore, nature notebooking, and spending free time in nature make a big difference over the years.

Art and Music: Watercolor, Handicrafts, Singing, Artist Study, Composer Study, Music


Watercolor drawing (2x20min/week)

We did do watercolor drawing 1-2 times a week all year. It was still a drag. It was still not as fun as it should be. It was hard for me to participate myself while holding a crying baby. I wasn't as patient and sensitive as I needed to be. Nevertheless, Peter's drawings did improve and mature and were a lovely addition to his nature notebook. We also did some other drawing practice, which he enjoyed more than watercolor.

I think if other subjects had been less intense/busy, there might have been a better attitude for this subject. We'll see how we do next year.

Handicrafts (2x30min/week)

This year we planned to do:

Term 1: Sloyd using Paper Sloyd: A Handbook for Primary Grades by Ednah Anne Rich
Term 2: Finished up Sloyd gifts for Christmas, then embroidering using this kit.
Term 3: Sewing using Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make by Andria Lisle

In Term 2, we actually dabbled in lots of different yarn arts, including lucet weaving, knitting, and the beginnings of crochet. 

But by Term 3 my son had moved on to Sewing School 2. This was a bit problematic because I had never learned to use the sewing machine I bought after getting married almost 15 years ago. So a lot of our time was spent learning to get my machine going, realizing it wasn't working correctly, taking it to a shop together, learning that a gear had irreparably broken, and doing some research to buy another (simpler) model. While visiting family for Easter, we were offered a free "vintage" model. After tuning it up, we now have a working sewing machine. I still have not used it, but Peter has been able to complete several projects (all be it after we had wrapped up our homeschool year) without my hands even touching the machine.

He still doesn't have the confidence to iron without some help because he did burn himself very, very slightly when he tried. So he isn't completely independent, but I'm really proud of where he is getting with his sewing even though it was quite a journey to get there.

Singing (2x10min/week)

I choose folk songs and hymns. I consult Ambleside Online but I do not follow their rotation per se. This year, I selected the following:

The Gypsy Rover
Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow)
The Minstrel Boy
If I Had a Hammer
Go Tell Aunt Rhody
Low Bridge--Everybody Down (The Erie Canal)
Let There Be Peace on Earth
Cockles & Mussels (Molly Malone)
Amazing Grace
The Rhyme of the Chivalrous Shark
Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above (Catholic)
Star of the County Down
Turkey in the Straw
Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Shenandoah

And we learned all but the last three. We will be learning the last 2 next year, but I've dropped Turkey in the Straw completely for now.

I find it hard to learn the words and tune to folk songs, but Peter does not seem to have a problem with it. He loves learning every single verse and I listen to him when I forget the words. It was wonderful to have so many songs to sing while hiking and on the beach or driving in the car. The kids sometimes just sing the songs together when we aren't even around. I keep our printed lyrics in a binder to form our own personal family songbook.

Artist Study (1xweek at morning time)

This year we planned to study:

Term 1: Turner [Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, $18.95+shipping]
Term 2: Gainsborough [Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, $18.95+shipping]
Term 3: Dali [$3 art book from a Half Priced Books store]

But for Term 3 I caved and bought another Picture Study Portfolio of Mary Cassatt. We all enjoyed Cassatt's pictures and we are excited to plan a trip soon to visit the National Portrait Gallery to see some of her work in person.

My boys were so reluctant when we started picture study a few years ago, but now it is something we all enjoy!

Composer Study (1xweek at morning time)

This year our planned composers/materials were:
Each term I picked out pieces to watch on YouTube. That part of the study worked well when we did it. Sometimes the amount of listening doesn't seem like enough to amount to anything. I'm trying to accept that whatever we do is much better than nothing.

Music (7x15min/week)

Peter continued to work on Hoffman Acadamy [Not an affiliate link! We just love Hoffman Academy.] He has recently completed Unit 9 and I continue to see great progress and enjoyment of his piano lessons. I bumped his practice time up to 20 minutes a day and he generally does it happily with no complaints.

Physical Education

This year Peter participated in AYSO Soccer (Fall and Spring), a weekly open swim at the YMCA with other homeschoolers, and summer swimming lessons. He also enjoyed an active lifestyle with hikes, bike rides, roller skating, and walks around town often, especially in spring, summer, and fall. 

Overall Evaluation

We had a very full year with lots of learning within and outside our formal lesson time. Next year, I'm giving myself more permission to plan less-- fewer days of lessons and less reading for each lesson. This way we can continue to do all of the additional learning that we love--like morning time and our outside commitments of our Wild + Free group plus our twice-monthly math games meetup--and still have lots of time for free time, chores, hikes, and more.

May 1, 2019

15 Living Book Authors to Buy at Used Book Sales

In the past, I've shared my best tips for scoring big at used book sales and I've explained how buying used books fits into my Charlotte Mason homeschooling with free books (or at least really cheap ones).

But it is book sale season and I'm getting excited thinking about what special living book is just around the corner in my future. Someday very soon, I'll be leafing through shelves and stacks of books only to find another treasure to add to our library collection.

In the mad dash to the perfect books to take home, I'll be consulting my list and my memory to find my favorite authors to look for. Below are 15 of the authors I'll be hunting for this year and for many years to come.


This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure to learn more.

David Macaulay

I love these books! My boys frequently consult this one, and we have read this one and this one and this one and this one at morning time over the years. This one was a present for my son with a current interest in the human body. And I picked up most of them at used book sales for about $1.

Because his books are so popular, you are guaranteed to find some at any big sale. It is just a matter of finding the best hardcover copy of the ones you need for your collection.

Aliki

Oh my word. There is just something special about books by Aliki. I'm still waiting for the day I find my favorite book about Egypt at a book sale, but we have many from book sales already, including one about Medieval food, Feelings, Manners, and How a Book is Made. Because Aliki wrote and illustrated over 50 books, I still have many more to add to our home library. And my favorite library sale even has a special section just for her books :-)

Howard Pyle

How do I love thee, Howard Pyle? Let me count the ways. I love your stories about pirates, about coming of age in medieval times, and, of course, about Robin Hood and King Arthur. But most of all, I think I love your quirky fairy tales. Your illustrations are breath-taking. Each book is a beautiful labor of love. I can't stop buying your books, even if I already own them. I have to buy them to give away. They are that good!

Fortunately, I can read Pyle's books and see his illustrations via the many free titles available on Google books. But nothing beats buying a reprint in good condition. So look for Otto of the Silver Hand or one of the many King Arthur Dover reprints or Men of Iron next time you are at a large or small sale. And count yourself very lucky if you snag a hardcover copy of The Wonder Clock like I did!

Marguerite De Angeli

Initially, I didn't see all the fuss about Marguerite De Angeli. We read The Door in the Wall years ago to go along with our reading of Story of the World: The Middle Ages and, while the boys enjoyed it, it wasn't my favorite. How fortunate I feel that I listened to this wonderful podcast episode on the way to my favorite book sale. In it, several books by Marguerite De Angeli were gushed over.

And wouldn't you know it? I finally ventured into the collector's corner of the sale for the first time and found both this book and this one. I splurged on them (paying about $10 each for very good condition hardcovers) and we loved them! I've since added her beautiful mother goose and Black Fox of Lorne (LOVE!), which I scored last year in a very fruitful $5 book sale haul.

Jim Arnosky

Have you noticed that most of the authors on this list are both authors and illustrators? I guess that is why I find these books so valuable to own. You don't just want to read the words one time, but rather enjoy the books and illustrations over and over again.

Jim Arnosky has written and illustrated so many beautiful books about nature. I always learn something from his books and I find them very inspirational for our nature journaling. Our most recent addition to our library was this one in preparation for our beach vacation, but I would pretty much buy anything I could get my hands on at a book sale.

E. Nesbit

Many people have heard of Five Children and It, but Edith Nesbit wrote many more titles filled with magic and adventure. And because they were widely published, they are widely available at used books sales. We have picked so many that we are able to read a new one every year. I think this one is my personal favorite, but I still have many more to hunt for!

George MacDonald

Arguably one of the most influential writers of the fantasy genre ever. I cannot believe that four years ago, I had never heard of him. He influenced ALL (and I do mean all) of my favorite childhood authors, from C.S. Lewis to Madelaine L'Engle to E. Nesbit to Lloyd Alexander.

And fortunately, his books abound at used book sales. Once we read this captivating and timeless fairy tale I started adding every title I could find to our home library. Somehow MacDonald manages to tell deep stories in such a straightforward style; it is simply magic.

Robie H. Harris

Here is another author to go in my favorite nonfiction category. These are the title I prefer to use to teach my kids about babies, sex, and puberty. And I often see them at used book sales.

Nothing beats good, honest conversation about these topics, but these books provide a great jumping off point. We read this one in preparation for baby Harry's birth and I frequently find my kids looking at the pictures in this one for older kids. Even though the content is a bit mature for them (and we don't read it aloud), I know that they will find information there when they need it.

Ingri d'Aulaire & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire

More author-illustrators who I never heard of before having children! And so many favorites to choose from. My overall favorite is probably this oddball collection of Scandinavian folklore but I also love the historical biographies of Columbus, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Leif Erikson and others. And I continue to look back in regret on the time I found a stack of these at a book sale for $1 and I only bought one. They would have made the perfect gift for any child in my life.

H.A. Rey

I thought I hated Curious George until I read a few of the books actually written by H.A. Rey or Margaret Rey. Unlike the modern incarnations that populate my library, these books are actually interesting and Curious George acts a lot more like a monkey acting child-like than a child acting like a monkey, which I prefer . . . and so do my young kids who request these over and over.

We also love Find the Constellations, which I picked up for a $1, and I plan to use it for an astronomy study next year. Maybe I'll luck out and this will be the summer to find this one!

Arthur Ransome

For years, I wondered what is this Swallows and Amazons that everyone keeps mentioning and why haven't I heard of it? Then when I was crazily grabbing every folk tales and fairy tales collection I could get my hands on at a big book sale I purchased this one not knowing that it was also written by Arthur Ransome. And, because I love scary but charming fairy tales the best, I was in love! (FYI, you can read it for free here.)

This year, my son and I read Swallow and Amazons (another book sale find), which was an absolute pleasure that every child should read by the way, and since there are many more in the series, as well as many more titles by Ransome to find, I'll surely be adding to our collection every chance I get.

Jean Craighead George

What child doesn't love My Side of the Mountain? But Jean Craighead George has written so many other stories over the years and all of them involve close connections between people and their animal neighbors. A few years back we enjoyed this book and we have also read several of this series at morning time.

After finding them on the nature lore list at Sabbath Mood Homeschool, my dream is to come across one or more of this series next. Regardless, her books are often available at used book sales and provide an easy way to add a little nature lore at read-aloud time.

Mary Pope Osborne

Love them or hate them, the Magic Treehouse Series is everywhere! And, of course, they are widely available at every used book sale. However, that is not why I put Mary Pope Osborne on this list. In fact, I would not buy that series for my home library since it is easily available at my public library and the books are really just good practice for beginning readers and not the sort of thing to be read over and over again.

But Mary Pope Osborne wrote many, many books before Magic Treehouse. Her retelling of Greek myths (which oddly enough uses Roman god names) was the one that captivated me as a child and my children and I love her simple retelling of medieval stories. In fact, that book led us to read translations of both Beowulf and Gawain and the Green Knight at morning time when my kids were 1st grade and younger. Recently we enjoyed this book and we also love Tales from the Odyssey (which is free on kindle right now!).

Meindert DeJong

I'll admit that I'm kind of late to the Meindert DeJong fan club. After hearing the name over the years, I picked up this Newberry Award Winner and, when we finally got around to reading it, the whole family was absolutely captivated by it. Wow! What a different and special book. Recently, I have been selecting literature books for my rising 4th grader to read next year and I came across this post about DeJong. Now I can't wait to hunt for more books! I'll be on the lookout for this one next.

Glenn Orlando Blough

To make it a nice round list of 15 authors, I added one last *wishlist* author to the list. I've never found a book by Glenn Orlando Blough. Actually, I've never actually held or seen one of his books! However, thanks to the wonder of the internet and the Internet Archive, my children and I have been drawn into his delightful books of nature lore in ebook form.

But, maybe if I look long enough . . . .  For all of you book sale lovers, you know that it helps to have those hard to find gems in your sights to keep up the thrill of the chase!

These are 15 of the best authors I've found to look for at used book sales. But, of course, there are many, many I could have chosen (Lois Lenski, Alice Dalgliesh, Opal Wheeler, and Marguerite Henry to name 4 more!) Which authors are on your book sale wishlist?

March 18, 2019

What We're Reading: Spring 2019

Spring is in the air in Pennsylvania! While plodding along in the winter doldrums, then taking our first  *real* family vacation to Florida, I hadn't shared the books we've been enjoying since before Christmas. So, here they are!

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure to learn more.

Poetry


We finished our study of Walter de la Mare and we moved on to Alfred Lord Tennyson. We read the following every day for one week at morning time:

The Song of Shadows by Walter de la Mare
Nobody Knows by Walter de la Mare
The Little Green Orchard by Walter de la Mare (Four-year-old's favorite!)
Five Eyes by Walter de la Mare
Trees by Walter de la Mare
The Song of the Secret by Walter de la Mare
The Wind by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Land of Nod by Robert Louis Stevenson
My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson
Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Break, Break, Break by Alfred Lord Tennyson

If you want to see more poems that we enjoy, check out Poetry to Read Aloud.

Morning Time

We finished the following books at morning time since January:

The Story of Painting for Young People: From Cave Painting to Modern Times by H.W. Janson and Dora Jane Janson
Beachcombing: exploring the seashore by Jim Arnosky
Grammar-Land by M.L. Nesbit (read as a free Google ebook)
Zathura by Chris Van Alsburg
Underground by David Macaulay
Outside Your Window, Winter Section, by Nicola Davies
The Japanese Fairy Book by Yei Theodora Ozaki (free kindle version)
Black Jack, last of the big alligators by Robert M. Mclung (free version on my free nature lore list)
Sea Star by Robert M. Mclung (free version on my free nature lore list)
The Amazing Bone by William Steig
Buttons and Beads: Lenape Princess Wynonah and the future president by Gretchen E. Hardy
Pagoo by Holling C. Holling
A Day in the Woods by Ronald M. Fisher
Marching with Aunt Susan by Claire Rudolf Murphy

We've also been reading at morning time, and will continue to read slowly for some time:

The Wonders of Chemistry by Archie Frederick Collins (free online)
The Green Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (free online)

To see even more books we've enjoyed at morning time, check the Morning Time page.

Lunchtime Read Alouds


Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski (finished)
The Mystery of the Roman Ransom by Henry Winterfield (finished)
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Night Books

The boys have been loving the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper and my husband has been having a great time enjoying this wonderful fantasy series for the first time.

The Bears of Blue River by Charles Major
Greenwitch by Susan Cooper
The Grey King by Susan Cooper

I've been reading


Miss Marple: The Complete Stories by Agatha Christie
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
The World is Our Classroom by Cindy Ross
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
The Grace of Enough by Haley Stewart
The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The Story of My Life by Hellen Keller

Whew! It looks like I've read so much. But I think it is still about 3 books a month. However, this time I have read an autobiography, a classic, cozy murder mysteries, a homeschooling memoir, historical fiction, thrillers, a YA novel and some high concept sci fi. Not too shabby. I will admit that I couldn't put any of them down, which is to say that I only read it if it was compelling to me. I have not been in the mood to slog through anything and I have set many books aside for this reason.

I'm also slowly re-reading Home Education by Charlotte Mason with an in-person reading group.

My husband and I are also just finishing reading The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, Book 1) by Robert Jordan aloud to each other in anticipation of the upcoming Amazon tv show in the works.

These are most of the books we've been reading outside of our formal lessons. You can see the ones we use during school time at 1st-grade plans and 3rd-grade plans.

Read any good books lately?


Past Months:

What we're reading: November Edition
What we're reading: October Edition
What we're reading: September Edition
What we're reading: August Edition
What we're reading: Summer Edition
What we're reading: June Edition
What we're reading: May Edition
What we're reading: April Edition
What we're reading: February Edition
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