I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

What We're Reading in February 2016

What We're Reading in February 2015-book choices for homeschool

This past week, I had an interesting conversation with the local librarian. The discussion had the potential to be heated and impassioned on both sides. We both took opposite sides of the "Just get them reading and worry about WHAT they're reading later" debate. Since you know me to be a momma who clings fast to the Philippians 4:8 life-grid and who believes that books should be woven with beauty, virtue, redemption, and the struggle of human nature, I'm sure you can guess what banner I waved during our chat. Sadly, she dismissed my opinion.

Oh well, I can't influence the literary pallets of everyone.

After we agreed to disagree, I checked these books out. There are five pallets that I'm shaping and I've got no time for the cheap, the vain, or the tawdry. I'll not settle for good. I want my kids reading only the best.

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Read Aloud- for the four oldest

The Door in the Wall- This has been on our TO READ shelf on GoodReads for a very long time. For whatever reason we've always passed it up for other titles. Until NOW! We are in the middle of our medieval unit in history and this tale of boyhood heroism, knights, and castles is a natural fit. 

Read Aloud- for the two youngest

The Snow Walker- Based on the true story of a young boy's bravery during the New York Blizzard of 1888, this book will hopefully inspire all kinds of conversations about how my boys can look for opportunities to help others even while they are still very young. 

Jamie- that's me!

The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?- I read this book back in my early twenties and remember really enjoying it. Now, in my late(r) thirties, I thought it might be good to revisit it. My life has certainly taken on new twists and turns in the last ten years, and my purposes and passions have too. I will be reading it along with the other ladies in my Monday night Bible study.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up- Last summer my Bestie went on a tidy binge. I found her stacking board games on-end, folding her socks into thirds, and decluttering like a diva. She had gotten some kind of organize-all-the-things bug and was on a mission to restore her already lovely home into a place of joy. When I asked her about her new found tidying neurosis, she just pointed to this little book. I immediately requested my own copy from the library. Apparently, the word had gotten around about this special tidying "magic," because the book had so many hold-requests already placed on it that I ONLY JUST got my turn to read it...6 months later! I'm half-way through with it and to be honest, I'm not really sure if I like it. Perhaps that is because I have already heard about all the book's best tips from my friend and am not reading any particularly life-changing suggestions. Or, it could be because I am having a hard time grasping how all of the decluttering works in a home of seven people who all have their own definition of what "sparks joy."

Dear Mr. Knightley- I've been inspired to read more fiction. So, here goes...

Sweetie Pea- 7th grade

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch- (Middle School Must Read book) My Sweets is still plugging away at this one from last month. While it is a good book, it is a Job-like fiction and is filled with lots of sadness. She's not really a fan of sad and so it's been a bit of a trudge for her to read it. "Everyone dies. The End!"

The Bronze Bow- (Just-for-fun book) I think it is wonderfully providential that she is reading this book just before Easter. 

Super Boy- 4th grade

The Sword in the Tree- (Mom-assigned book) We all read this together as a read aloud several years ago, and really enjoyed its simplicity. 

Boy Scout Handbook, 6th Edition- (Just-for-fun book) Proof that books build generations, this oldie-but-goodie was my father-in-loves scout handbook from childhood. The Hubs inherited it several years ago and has now passed the torch to our son.

Blonde Warrior- 3rd grade

Socks by Beverly Cleary- (Mom-assigned book) I'm a firm believer in playing to a child's passions. My son currently has an obsession with all-things-cats. Since we don't own a cat and don't plan on getting one in this lifetime, I've done the next best thing for him and have checked out a ton of books from the library featuring CATS...including this one!

Voyage with the Vikings- (Just-for-fun book) Since he loves listening to For God and Country (a series of historical audio dramas put out by Adventures in Odyssey), I thought he'd like to venture into the Odyssey historical fiction books.

Greased Lightning- 1st grade

Little Lucy- (Mom-assigned book) He's chugging through readers pretty quickly these days and is almost ready for an early chapter book. This is just one of several trade-show-books I've got lined up for him in the coming weeks.

One Hundred Shoes- (Just-for-fun book)

I'd love to know what you're reading! Care to share?


  1. I'm fairly certain that Door in the Wall is partly set in Ludlow in Shropshire. You might enjoy looking up pictures of its castle. Ludlow is a beautiful place to visit if you are ever in England.

    1. Thank you, Sarah! I will definitely take your expert advice. I can only imagine how beautiful it is there.

  2. We too are currently reading a Door in The Wall. We are studying Medieval History using My Father's World. This book was included in our package. Thank you for sharing what your family is reading. It is helpful. I agree with you on Phil. 4:8 and I remind my kids of it frequently.

    1. I've heard great things about My Father's World. My friend uses it and loves it!

  3. My 5-year old recently finished reading by himself The Life of George Washington written by Josephine Pollard in 1893, and is now reading Our Hero General U. S. Grant, also by Pollard in 1885. He loves these history books that have a virtue approach woven in. You're absolutely right about giving our kids the best to read.

    This is my first homeschooling year and his reading has really taken off for Kindergarten.

    1. I'm going to be looking up those books! They sound great.

  4. Curious about the idea of stacking board games on end! I had considered getting this organization book, but I either have time to tidy up or I have time to read about tidying up, not both. So given you're review, I'm going to stick to the act rather than read the book. (But I still want to know more about stacking board games on end!)

    1. I meant "your review", not "you're review" -- ugh!

    2. I haven't gotten that far in the book, but my friend reinforced all the boxes with heavy tape on each corner, stacked them side-by-side but upright and seems to really like the method. I'd be afraid that the pieces would fall out of the box as it was taken from the shelf.

      So far, I'm not in love with the methods in this book but mostly because she only takes into account HER joy. She's single and doesn't have to account for the joy things give to other people in a household.

  5. Oh you always have great books listed. I had to go and buy the Snow Walker. My mother in law has started reading aloud to my youngest 2 each week. (I'm happy she is taking an interest in homeschooling, after ten years there is hope.) she is originally from New York, Long Island area so this book sounds like just the ticket for their next read aloud. I know my son and daughter are building memories with their Nana as they read through chapter books together. They are on their 3rd book since December, so I think they'll stick with it as long as there is a new book to look forward too. Thanks for sharing this title.

    1. Oh, I hope they like it, Adrienne! It's a fun, but simple early memoir kinda book.

  6. I always love reading what your family is reading! Currently we are also in the Medieval Ages so are reading "The Hidden Treasure of Glaston." As my kids are super close in age we have been enjoying family literature time, where all of the members individually read (including my husband) a book and then we watch the associated movie if there is one. So far we have read, "Where the Red Fern Grows," "Holes," and are now on "Hatchet." My 11 yr old daughter is stuck in a Nancy Drew phase, my 10 yr old son is absorbed in WWI and WWII non fiction and I just got stuck into Leah Remini's book "Troublemaker" about her experience in the Scientology movement. I strongly agree with what your stance on reading that you took with the librarian. There is too much great fiction out there to resort to trash with your kids, just so they are reading. It is also something I have fought hard for and am always on the look out for great reads to share with them.

    1. It sounds like you are creating story-formed lives, Coreline. We love to watch the movie version after reading the book, too. Next on our docket will be Mary Poppins, I think. My oldest two have seen the movie, but I don't think my younger kids have. So, that will be fun to watch together after we read the book.

  7. Hi Jamie

    I look forward to your book choices each month. I was wondering how you approach and assess their reading level? I have a 7 year old boy who LOVES to read and who does VERY well both in comprehension and fluency. How do I choose books that aren't too easy but offer a place for growth? Thanks in advance!