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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Good Friday Nature Walk {FREE Printable}

Good Friday Nature Walk {FREE Printable} The Unlikely Homeschool

On Good Friday, weather permitting, I will be meeting our homeschool Nature Club at a nearby state park to take an Easter-themed nature walk.  I have instructed all the participants to bring a clip board or hard writing surface and a few colored pencils. (This post contains affiliate links.)

I will begin by gathering everyone in the grass to read the first few pages of The First Easter by Carol Heyer.  

I'll hand everyone a copy of the Good Friday Nature Walk notebooking page, and we will begin to walk on the designated trails.  We will look for a large leaf, complete the first box on the page, and read the next few pages of the book.  This read-walk-draw cycle will continue until we've completed the entire notebook page.  (Any Resurrection-themed picture book will work just fine for this notebooking activity.)

It is my prayer that God will use this time together in His creation to point our hearts toward the cross and the gift of new life given by His risen Son!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Homeschool Convention Show-n-Tell 2014

Homeschool Convention Show-N-Tell 2014 {Here's a peek at the enrichment items I brought home from my annual homeschool convention.} The Unlikely Homeschool

After a refreshing weekend away with The Hubs at our annual homeschool convention, I came home with two important things.

  1. A smile on my face.
  2. A basket of fun goodies just waiting to be unpacked and enjoyed.
While I tend to be a rather frugal shopper in every other area of my life, I have no desire to penny-pinch when it comes to homeschooling.  Don't get me wrong, I stay within my budget.  I buy gently-used and utilize several free-homeschooling resources whenever possible.  But, I'm also a firm believer that homeschooling is like most areas of life...you usually get what you pay for.  

While quantity doesn't usually matter, quality always does.  

This weekend, I was able to find a number of hidden gems that will go a long way to provide a wonderfully-enriching 2014-2015 school year.  While I did order/buy a few "curriculum-y" type items, I'm more excited about the following resources which will enhance and add "jazz hands" to an otherwise ordinary day.

Let me unpack my bags and give you a quick peek at my favorites.

Homeschool Convention Show-N-Tell 2014 {Here's a peek at the enrichment items I brought home from my annual homeschool convention.} The Unlikely Homeschool


Bright Lights curriculum

This had to be THE FIND of the weekend.  Every since we went to a Bright Light's conference together last fall, my Sweetie Pea has wanted to begin this discipleship course designed for tween girls. Unfortunately the $90+ price tag was a bit out of our budget.  I was able to snag a nearly-complete girl's course for only $5!  For more info on this fantastic girl's discipleship program or to start a Bright Light's girls club in your area, be sure to visit Bright Lights.

Dinosaur Fossil making/excavating kit

Per my children's request, we will be doing a semester-long dinosaur unit from a Creation perspective. The create-a-fossil-and-then-excavate-it kit I found at Nature's Workshop plus should make for an exciting end to the unit.

A Make-your-own-game kit

I knew that by bringing this simple brown box home from the Miller Pad & Paper Booth, I'd stir up all kinds of creative juices.  My kids have been brainstorming several different ideas for a family-themed game all day.  This little box has the makings of hours of delight-directed, project-based learning!

Homeschool Convention Show-N-Tell 2014 {Here's a peek at the enrichment items I brought home from my annual homeschool convention.} The Unlikely Homeschool


The Picture Bible

My first grader has long-since outgrown his The Hear Me Read Bible.  So, when I saw a gently-used copy of The Picture Bible, I snatched it right up.  While this comic-book-style Bible won't be one he'll bring to church, it will make for some exciting personal devotions each morning.

Who is God?

I've had my eye on the world-view series by Apologia for the last two years.  This year, I finally took the plunge and bought Who is God?, the first in the trio, for Sweetie Pea.  She will read this independently, but I'm hoping it will create many opportunities for valuable discussion between the two of us.

The Fallacy Detective

One of the Hubs' biggest pet peeves, is watching an entire generation of people ill-equipped to discern truth from error...to reason with logic...to voice his/her opinion in a clear, effective way.  As a Christian ad man, it saddens him to see young people falling prey to the flashy-but-false ideas presented in most ads geared to that demographic.  He has a passion to teach logical reasoning to our kids.  The Fallacy Detective will be a very intentional resource for Sweetie Pea next year.  

Homeschool Convention Show-N-Tell 2014 {Here's a peek at the enrichment items I brought home from my annual homeschool convention.} The Unlikely Homeschool

Notebooking and Art Supplies

Miller Pad & Paper has always been a bit of a weak-spot for me.  I can't seem to walk away from that booth without an arm-load of supplies.  In my defense, we always get much-use out of everything I buy from there.  This year's haul includes...
  • art paper
  • construction paper in very specific colors (Why is it that you can buy a bulk pack of construction paper, but kids only ever want to use the same three colors??)
  • new blank journals for science (A couple of my kids have been using the same journal for science time since his/her kindergarten year.  By the start of next year, most of them will need an upgrade.)
  • a timeline book (We have a timeline that we use as a family that we have been adding to for the past six years.  But, I wanted to get a set of time line pages for my kids to be able to tear out and add to their own personal history notebooks.  So, that's what we will use this one for.  The pages are card stock making them much sturdier than a timeline I could just print off the internet.  My kids will rip out the pages, hole punch them, and add them to their notebooks as needed.)
  • a set of new crayon pastels (It became apparent this past school year that one set of pastels just isn't large enough for five people to use at the same time.  It was time to buy a second set.)
  • new creative writing journals (I love the fact that all of these journals look almost exactly alike, but they each have a different line-style for different writing abilities.  Because let's face it, a sixth grader doesn't really want to write a story on learning-to-write lines.  But, a kindergartener can't write successfully on college-ruled paper.)

Homeschool Convention Show-N-Tell 2014 {Here's a peek at the enrichment items I brought home from my annual homeschool convention.} The Unlikely Homeschool


  • The Last Word- I'm hoping I'll like this game well enough to add it to my list of best language-based board games.  
  • Made for Trade- Three or four years ago, when we studied colonial life, I made a bartering game for my kids.  They used my homemade cards to barter goods and services with friends and family.  Shortly after hand-drawing all the pieces of my homemade game, I learned that there is a REAL game with the exact same premise!  When I saw it for only a few dollars at a used vendor booth, I snatched it up.
  • iMagin iff...- CONFESSION:  I bought this one for me.  I played this several years ago at a friend's house and loved it. 
  • The Amazeing Labyrinth- I've not played this one before.  But since I've never come across a Ravensburger game I didn't like, I thought it was worth the $12 gamble.  

So, that's it!  That's what snuck home with me after the conference.
Now, if you'll excuse me...I've got to find a few nooks and crannies to shove all this loot into until next fall.

On second thought...anyone up for a quick round of iMagin iff...?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Top 10 Things to Pack for a Homeschool Convention

Top 10 Things to pack for a Homeschool Convention {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Tomorrow's the day!

In less than 24 hours, I'll be on my way to my state's annual homeschool convention.  Twenty-one hours and fifty-two minutes to be exact.  But, who's counting?!

I tend to be a last minute packer...it drives The Hubs nuts.  He's more of a pack-the-week-before kind of fella'.

So, as I toss in the last few items into my suitcase, I thought I'd just share with you what I'll be taking with me to ensure a successful convention weekend.

Here they are in no particular order...

A notepad and pen 

While most speakers provide handouts for taking notes, I tend to need a little more writing space.  In addition, I love to have some paper handy for writing down possible curriculum ideas and book titles for the future.

A highlighter

The convention schedule is a well-ordered road map of dozens and dozens of great speaker sessions.  But, I can obviously only hear one speaker per session.  The moment I get to the convention, I quickly scan the schedule and highlight the titles of the sessions that I hope to attend.  That way, as I am rushing from the vendor floor to find the correct conference room, I can see the WHO, WHAT, and WHERE at a glance.

Sensible shoes

I'm all for looking nice, but I'll never understand why ladies wear heels to a homeschool convention.  By the end of a full weekend of walking from one end of a convention centerto the other multiple times, my feet THANK ME for dressing them in sensible, albeit not as fashionable, shoes.

A laundry basket

I'm not gonna lie, folks.  I buy a lot of stuff at the convention each year.  In my own defense, most of it is used and purchased at a steal-of-a-deal price.  I always bring along a laundry basket to stash away in my trunk so that I don't end up with a bunch of books flying around in the back of my van while I drive home.  I can organize them neatly in the basket and know they will STAY SECURE on the long journey back.

Cash in small bills

Most NEW-material vendors accept credit cards, but USED-material vendors prefer cash.  By having small bills, I can make a quick and painless transaction.

Address labels

Many NEW-material vendors do not carry their full stock to the convention.  Be prepared to order your books to be shipped to you.  By bringing address labels, I don't have to fill out redundant contact info dozens of times by weekend's end.  I can just slap an address label on the "contact info" portion of each form and be done.

Water bottles

Who wants to pay $2 for a bottle of water every few hours?  I am always sure to pack a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated.  (Consult your convention building regulations first, however.  Some centers do not allow outside food or drink.)


I pack for a mentally and physically draining weekend.  A granola bar or two can go along way to bolster my energy mid-day.

A backback

While I utilize the coat check to store my too-large or too-heavy-to-carry purchases, I always end up with a small pile of books and paper, as well as my water bottle and snacks, that I end up having to carry throughout the majority of the day.  

A shopping list

Prior to the convention, I spend hours researching potential curriculum options.  I can't expect to remember all those titles throughout the course of a vigorous weekend.  So, I always bring a tentative shopping list with me.  I never have to feel married to the list...it's just tentative.  But, at least I have a skeletal plan to point me in the right direction as I shop.  

Need some help planning your curriculum?  Be sure to check out my 5 favorite tips for planning.  

So that's what I'll be packing?  How about you?  What's going in your suitcase?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

5 Tips for Finding FREE {or almost free} Books for Homeschool

5 Tips for Finding FREE {or almost free} Books for Homeschool-The Unlikely Homeschool

The posting of my monthly What We're Reading lists coupled with the fact that we use TruthQuest History, a living literature-style history program which requires us to read dozens and dozens of fantastic, albeit somewhat hard to find, books has compelled many to ask...

How can you afford all of those books?

The truth is, while we do own some books, our one-income-debt-free lifestyle and our itty-bitty house makes it impossible to hoard more than a couple of bookshelves' worth.  While I would love to pack our home with all manner of literary perfection (I'd live in a house MADE of books, if I could!), I have to be rather snobbish in my selections.  (This post contains affiliate links.)

Then how and where do you get all those books?

You may be thinking.  

5 Tips for Finding FREE {or almost free} Books for Homeschool-The Unlikely Homeschool

Well, like most homeschoolers, the library has become my second home.  But, even that does not ensure I will be able to secure EVERY book I want to read or provide for my kids.  

Case in point...
Last month, I read the hot-off-the-presses, newly released book, Growing Up Duggar and my children read the out-of-print, impossible-to-find, The World's Great Stories for our Ancient Greece unit.  My local library branch did not own either one.  

What's a girl to do?  
Well, here's a list of my top five tips for finding FREE (or almost free) books for homeschool.  

5 Tips for Finding FREE {or almost free} Books for Homeschool-The Unlikely Homeschool

Utilize the Interlibrary Loan System

Every few weeks finds me ordering books from libraries all over my state...even public school libraries.  As they are PUBLIC libraries, the public has a legal right to utilize them.  Some states require you to file a paper form requesting each.and.every.book you desire to borrow from an out-of-area library.  Most, however, have on-line catalogs that you can access to request that any number of far-away books be sent directly to your local branch.  Because state-funded universities and college libraries often house rare, out-of-print resources, you can borrow these too.  The downside is that each branch generally has its own return/monetary fine policy which you must adhere to when borrowing a book.  

With the simple click of a mouse, I have access to the literary collections of hundreds of libraries.  The books are shipped to my branch and set aside for me to pick up. Rarely, do I request an interlibrary loan and come away empty handed.  

Request a library purchase

Publicly funded libraries have budgets...budgets which must be spent and accounted for.  In addition, many libraries have been given grants with which to purchase new materials.  In other words, they have money to spend.  Don't be afraid to suggest ways to spend it.  Librarians, obviously, want to purchase books and resources that people WANT to borrow.  Your suggestion is just as useful as the next person's.  

My particular library branch has an easy-to-use, on-line request form that I have to fill out detailing the publication information of the book I'd like for the librarian to purchase.  It takes just a few seconds. Within a week or so, I usually get an email alerting me to the new purchase and informing me that the book will be put on hold FOR ME as soon as it is processed in the catalog system.  Out of dozens of book purchases I have submitted over the years (including some curriculum-style resources), only one submission has been denied.  In fact, Growing Up Duggar was a purchased-for-me book as well as the one I am currently waiting for, The Talks

5 Tips for Finding FREE {or almost free} Books for Homeschool-The Unlikely Homeschool

Keep a running list of titles

It's no secret that I haaaaaaaaate department store shopping.  But, put me in a book store or at a used book sale and WATCH OUT!  I've got book-shopping moves you've never seen before.

Ok, that last part was a bit eye-brow raising, wasn't it?  Let's just mentally edit that one out, shall we?

In all seriousness, I love a good used book sale.  While the books are not necessary free at a sale, they are often as little as a quarter.   But, since my space and budget are limited, I can not morph into a book-crazed shopaholic at a book sale (garage sale, thrift shop).  I must shop with purpose.  Throughout the year, I keep a running list of titles I'd like to add to our curriculum.  I consult the curriculum catalogs that I've chosen to use for the up-coming school year and write down the resources that I do not currently own or do not think I can borrow from the library.  Recently, I've begun putting that list on Pinterest for easy recollection. 

I tend to be a person attracted to "the shiny".  I can get easily distracted by any and all books that catch my attention.  By maintaining a well-ordered list, I can shop with purpose and make my purchases count.  Here is a collection of books that I came home with from a recent library used book sale.  (You'll notice the book in the far left corner.  I've been searching for a Biblically accurate account of the Christmas story for years.  I FOUND ONE!  It depicts a TODDLER Jesus being presented with three gifts by MANY wise man at a HOME, not a stable.)

5 Tips for Finding FREE {or almost free} Books for Homeschool-The Unlikely Homeschool

While most of my purchases tend to be non-fiction books that I would consider to be core elements of a curriculum, I DO purchase fiction books.  We typically read them, enjoy them, and then donate them BACK to the library for the next book sale.  

Request books as gifts

Not wanting to be a "plastic toy giver", my mother almost always gives my children books for Christmas and birthday presents.  She lives in a large metro area and has access to wonderful new and used book stores.  Every few weeks in the summer, I'll get a phone call from my garage-sale-hopping momma prattling off titles that she happens to be staring at and asking if she should purchase or pass. By keeping a running list of titles I am looking for, I can give her a quick "yes" or "no".  Since she lives on the opposite side of the country, she is not able to just pass them along to us with ease.  She puts all her book purchases away in a box.  When the box is filled, she ships them out for me to tuck away and dole out at birthdays and holidays.  (Which reminds me...I have a small collection of Elsie Dinsmore books at the bottom of my clothes closet just waiting for one special little girl.)

While I've never done this, you could request that birthday party guests forgo plastic toys gifts and bring books for your child instead. 

Start a book swap club with other families

A book swap club/group can be rather formal with a Facebook group page and specific borrowing/loaning rules.  Or, it can be as simple as a few friends who share similar book/curriculum standards who loan out resources to one another.  Either way, by partnering with other moms who have book needs, you can potentially have access to resources that would otherwise be out of your budget.  

Over the years, I've formed a close circle of homeschooling mom friends who I trust with my books/curriculum and who apparently feel the same about me.  If I'm in need of a particular title or resource, I shoot them a collective Facebook or email message asking if anyone has that item and might be willing to loan it out.  

A few months ago, Sweetie Pea had the privilege of enjoying, Beautiful Girlhood, a book that has been on my MUST READ list for her for quite some time.  We borrowed it from a lovely friend in my trusted circle.  

Lest you think the street only goes one way, I, too, enjoy blessing other families with resources that they simply can't afford.  It was an honor to be able to loan an entire Sonlight Science curriculum to two of my favorite ladies in order that they might form a small science co-op for their kids.  As I have a really bad memory, I am sure to add all my loans to the ON LOAN sheet in my family binder.  I can easily keep track of who has what.

Got any books-for-free secrets to share?  I'd love to hear them!

Monday, April 7, 2014

15 Minute Art Project: Hand-Painted Tissue Paper {for gift bags}

15 Minute Art Project: Hand Painted Tissue Paper {for gift bags} This is a lesson in pattern. [The Unlikely Homeschool]

Art at our home is a MUST.  No matter how harried our homeschool days seem to be, once a week, I intentionally carve out a time and a space to create!  

While, many of our art lessons are the slow-and-steady, enjoy-the-journey kind, sometimes they have to be the create-a-masterpiece-in-three-easy-steps kind.  Because, let's face it, some weeks are more harried than others and art time has to be squeezed into the speed of a blink.  

This, 15 minute hand-painted tissue paper project, was not only fast, it was USEABLE.  We were able to stash our creations away to be used in a one-of-a-kind gift bag for a friend's birthday.  

You will need:

  • a piece of white gift wrapping tissue paper 
  • watercolor paints
  • water
  • a paint brush

15 Minute Art Project: Hand Painted Tissue Paper {for gift bags} This is a lesson in pattern. [The Unlikely Homeschool]


Fold the tissue in half and then in half again.  

15 Minute Art Project: Hand Painted Tissue Paper {for gift bags} This is a lesson in pattern. [The Unlikely Homeschool]

Repeat this folding process until your tissue paper is about the size of a 3x5 card.  

15 Minute Art Project: Hand Painted Tissue Paper {for gift bags} This is a lesson in pattern. [The Unlikely Homeschool]

Paint a heavy wash of water on the front and backside of the tissue paper.  You want the water to seep through each layer of the folded sheet of tissue.  

15 Minute Art Project: Hand Painted Tissue Paper {for gift bags} This is a lesson in pattern. [The Unlikely Homeschool]

Using only two or three colors, paint a simple design on one side of the tissue paper stack.  Allow the design to set for a minute or two and then reapply the colors.  

15 Minute Art Project: Hand Painted Tissue Paper {for gift bags} This is a lesson in pattern. [The Unlikely Homeschool]

If the tissue is drying too rapidly, reapply a layer of water wash to allow the color to seep through to each layer.  (Be sure to apply the water to one section of the design at a time, as opposed to sweeping your wet paintbrush across the entire design at once.  This will help to prevent the colors from bleeding onto each other.)

Set your project aside to dry COMPLETELY.  Overnight is best.  

15 Minute Art Project: Hand Painted Tissue Paper {for gift bags} This is a lesson in pattern. [The Unlikely Homeschool]

Unfold the tissue to reveal the repetitive pattern you've created.  

15 Minute Art Project: Hand Painted Tissue Paper {for gift bags} This is a lesson in pattern. [The Unlikely Homeschool]

Use your one-of-a-kind tissue paper to line a birthday gift bag of a friend!

Need more homeschool friendly art projects?  Here you go!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Club Unit: The Duchess Bakes a Cake

Book Club Unit:  Hands on science projects and craft for The Duchess Bakes a Cake {The Unlikely Homeschool}

What do you get when you combine a delightful children's classic about a baking project gone awry, a marshmallow catapult, and four adorable little boys? (This post contains affiliate links.)

My favorite book club meeting of the entire year!

This past month, it was my turn to lead the Littles in their bi-weekly book club.
I was given the task of designing a unit around the Virginia Kahl classic, The Duchess Bakes a Cake, and to be honest, I wasn't all that thrilled to be assigned to a book about baking...knowing that I'd be teaching a pack of boys.  


The book is so funny and filled with lots of action!  And what boy doesn't love a story involving catapults and knights in shining armor?! (I'm actually not sure which was more funny...the story, or my mediocre attempt to read with several different European accents.) 

After reading the book together, we talked a little bit about the hierarchy of European monarchy.  (Since the author does not clearly show WHICH European country is the setting for the story, we chose to enjoy it along with the Geography Club which was "touring" Germany for the morning.)  We discussed how a Duke and Duchess would have been land-owning royalty, in line for the throne just after the prince and princesses.  

With the help of youtube, we toured a medieval castle.


Then, we explored the baking power of leaven.  

Having never baked anything in her life, the adventurous Duchess attempts to bake a cake one day.  She soon learns the dangers of adding too much leaven to her recipe and finds herself overtaken by an out-of-control cake.

Book Club Unit:  Hands on science projects and craft for The Duchess Bakes a Cake {The Unlikely Homeschool}

I had the boys hold hands in a tight circle and then spread out to demonstrate what leaven does in a cake.  

Next, we discussed the three main kinds of baking leaven: baking soda, baking powder, and yeast.  We conducted a little experiment to determine which of the three would produce the most gas and rising power.  

Leaven experiment

What you'll need:

  • three empty bottles (They should all be the same size and have a narrow neck.)
  • three balloons
  • 1 T. of each of the following: baking soda, baking powder, yeast
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. of sugar
  • 1/2 c. of vinegar
  • 1/2 c. hot water
  • funnel
  • large jelly roll pan (optional)


Using the funnel, pour the following into each empty bottle:
  • BOTTLE 1: one tablespoon of baking soda
  • BOTTLE 2: one tablespoon of baking powder
  • BOTTLE 3: one tablespoon and 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar

Book Club Unit:  Hands on science projects and craft for The Duchess Bakes a Cake {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Pour the liquid into each bottle and IMMEDIATELY cap each bottle with a balloon.  
  • BOTTLE 1: 1/4 c. vinegar
  • BOTTLE 2: 1/4 c. vinegar
  • BOTTLE 3:  1/2 c. hot water (After you cap this bottle with a balloon, you will need to shake the bottle a bit in order to stir the yeast and sugar together.)
The gas created by combining the solids and the liquids will be INSTANT causing the balloons to fill and rise.  

Book Club Unit:  Hands on science projects and craft for The Duchess Bakes a Cake {The Unlikely Homeschool}

I wish I had taken an "after" picture when our experiment was completed.  The balloon from the yeast bottle ended up growing so large that I was afraid it might pop and send a gooey mess all over the room.  


At the kings request, the cavalry, dressed in their regalia, comes to the aid of the Duchess who is stuck on top of an ever-growing mound of cake.  They unsuccessfully attempt to hurl objects at her in order to knock her down off her lofty perch.  

The boys were excited to replicate some knightly attire by making cardboard shields.  The Hubs was gracious enough to cut out shield shapes from scrap cardboard and attach duct tape handles to the back.  

After looking at the crests painted on medieval shields, the boys created their own one-of-a-kind shields.

Book Club Unit:  Hands on science projects and craft for The Duchess Bakes a Cake {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Marshmallow Catapults

At one point, the calvary uses catapults and large rocks to try and shoot the Duchess off the cake.  

In an attempt to recreate the scene, we used popsicle stick catapults and large marshmallows to destroy a tower of cups.  

Book Club Unit:  Hands on science projects and craft for The Duchess Bakes a Cake {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Rhyming Game

The author used rhyme to give the book a poetic feel.  

After reminding the bots of some of the royal hierarchy and official positions in a medieval community, I had them each choose a medieval title to be their team name during the rhyming game.  We had a knight, a prince, a king, and a duke (I think?!)

The rules of the game were simple.  I would call out a word and the boys had to shout out words that rhymed with my word.  Each boy could call out as many words as they could think of and as long as it rhymed with my word, he earned a point.  (Since our meeting room just happened to have a chalk board, I could easily keep score.)  The medieval character who earned the most points at the end of the game was declared the winner.

For simplicity, I chose one-syllable words such as 
  • man
  • fish
  • sun
  • ball
  • top

Book Club Unit:  Hands on science projects and craft for The Duchess Bakes a Cake {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Naturally, baking a cake would have made for a great addition to our morning of fun, but our space was not conducive to an extensive baking project.  Instead, we enjoyed snacking on some homemade pretzels that the Geography made in their tour of Germany.  

Book Club Unit:  The Duchess Bakes a Cake {The Unlikely Homeschool}

For more book-club or homeschooling ideas, be sure to follow me on Pinterest.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Winner of the $25 Grapevine Study Store Credit

Photo Credit

Congratulations, Erin MacLean!

(This post contains affiliate links.)
You are the winner of a $25 store credit code to Grapevine Study!  You will be contacted via email and will have 72 hours to respond or the prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be selected.

Thank you to all those who entered.  If you did not win, but would still like to snag one of these helpful studies, be sure to head on over to Grapevine to receive 25% off their Old and New Testament bundles. (Sale ends April 31, 2014.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 31, 2014

What We're Reading in April

What We're Reading in April {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Our book baskets are full and overflowing this month.  Due to some unseasonably cold temps keeping us pinned inside for days on end, my family was in a reading frenzy the last few weeks of March.  I'm hoping to continue that momentum into the warmer month of April.  ("April WILL be warm...right?!" she asks as she heads off to put on another pair of wool socks.)

Here's a look at some titles we're wrapping up and a few that we hope to crack open in the coming weeks.  

Read Aloud-Everybody

Mountain Born- After finishing up the delightful classic, The Velveteen Rabbit, we began reading this simple tale about a young boy's experience as a shepherd-in-training.  And while we are not yet halfway through it, I think it will potentially provide many wonderful applications for the upcoming Easter season.  

Jamie-that's me!

Growing Up Duggar- It's no secret that I've always enjoyed watching 19 Kids and Counting.  Having read the two previously released books by the Duggar clan, it was only natural that I would want to snag their newest title.  I was not aware, however, that it is book specifically written for teenage girls, not adults.  And while the writing style does not grab me, I have enjoyed the book and have tucked away some parenting tips that I think will prove to be helpful in the next season of mothering.  I have added this to Sweetie Pea's list of "Mom assigned" books.  But, as there are a few mature topics, such as abortion and sexual purity, discussed in a few of the chapters, I think it is best kept shelved until her early teen years.  

Growing up Duggar has been a quick read.  I have two more chapters and will then be moving on to The Talks...because I'm a firm believer that you should be prepared for the next stage of parenting long before you ever get there.  And with two kids in their tween years, that NEXT stage will be here before I know it!

Sweetie Pea-5th grade

The Babysitter's Handbook- (Mom assigned book) Sweetie Pea occasionally gets asked to babysit her one-year-old cousin, and while she watches Little Miss in our home under my supervision, she takes full responsibility and care of her.  She does an excellent job and was really not in need of any "how to" resource.  But, I knew that she would enjoy reading it and would be encouraged by the importance I put on her roll as "babysitter" by assigning her a special reading assignment about it.  Although, this book has given her a few helpful tips, it has also caused her to disagree with a few popular parenting/babysitting practices that are suggested by the authors...for which I am glad! 

Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Biography- (Mom assigned book)  

The Moffats- (Read for fun book)

Super Boy-2nd grade

My Father's Dragon- (Mom assigned book) This fantastical adventure has always been a family favorite.  But since he was quite young the last time I read it aloud, Super Boy is re-discovering his love for it.  

The Lego Idea Book- (Read for fun book) I've currently got a Lego replica of the city of Sparta growing in my basement...and by "growing", I mean completely taking over every available inch of the floor.  But, that's fine by me. Who doesn't enjoy a good historical re-inactment?

Blonde Warrior-1st grade

Wagon Wheels- (Mom assigned book)  Disclaimer:  In one particular sentence of this book, the word "Lord" is mentioned in a flippant, casual manner.  As this goes against my faith beliefs, when we reach that chapter in the book, I plan on using that sentence as a catalyst to discuss with my son the importance of not using God's name in vain.  

Mr. Putter and Tabby Drop the Ball- (Read for fun book) When she found out that her brother enjoyed reading his first Mr. Putter and Tabby book, Sweetie Pea went online and ordered the library's entire collection for him.  (Or maybe it just appears that way from my position sitting next to the mounting pile.) He's been reading a new one each day.  

Greased Lightning-Preschool

Out of print ABeka Phonics early readers- (These are the same readers I learned to read from in Kindergarten.  I've, now, had the privilege of enjoying them with four out of my five children...so far.)

So, that's what we'll be reading in the coming days?  How about you?  
What's on your bookshelf?


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