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 July 2017

What We're Reading in July-summer reading picks for a homeschooling family of 7

We are deep into summer and our daily reading times have become a great way to escape the heat. These long, balmy days have found us curled up on a blanket in the shade, stretched out, reading together right in the middle of the front yard. Admittedly, we get a few funny looks from the neighbors across the street, but we just shrug it off and keep on turning page after page.
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I've even been lucky enough to bring my book to the beach a few times. Each time he's able to go with us, the Hubs has volunteered to play lifeguard to our adventuresome five and has encouraged me to get lost in a book. He's pretty dreamy like that.

Here's a peek at what's been occupying our bookshelves lately.

Read aloud- everybody

By the Great Horn Spoon- This little gem has been sitting upstairs in our library for a few years but has gotten passed over for other titles...until now. My only regret is that we didn't crack it open sooner. My boys, especially, have loved reading the zany tales of young Jack and his faithful butler, Prasieworthy, as they set out from Boston to strike it rich during the 1849 California gold rush. 

Jamie- that's me!

A Proper Pursuit- I'm not a huge fan of adult fiction, so please take this little rant with a grain of salt. On the whole, I have always liked Lynn Austin books. Well, as much as anyone who doesn't love fiction can like a fiction book. But, I'm over 100 pages into this one and am still waiting for the hook. On the plus side, the premise, like most Austin novels, is not your average fluffy Christian romance, but actually has some substance. The World's Fair of 1893 provides the backdrop for this coming of age story. After learning of her father's upcoming marriage to a woman she hardly knows or even likes, Violet Hayes, escapes to Chicago to find solace in her grandmother and three great aunts, or at least that's the official plan. Secretly, however, she determines to find her long lost mother and rematch her parents before it's too late. While there, she is introduced to impressive socialites, suffragettes, and a long string of eligible bachelors. All have an agenda and all attempt to pull Violet towards a life of their choosing. It's up to Violet to determine which path to follow.

So far, the book has been good, but not great. For now, I'll continue to plod along hoping that the best parts are yet to come.  

Sweetie Pea- 9th grade

Some Must Fall- She's nearly done with this epic fantasy written by a fellow homeschooler. It's a long book and has taken quite a commitment of time. But it's been worth it, apparently. She continues to tell me how unpredictable and realistic the plot is despite the fact that its medieval setting has not typically been her favorite in books past. It's the first in a 2-title series. We'll see if she moves on to book number two when she's done with this one. 

Super Boy- 6th grade

War Horse- Set during WWI, this book shows the brutality and chaos of war through the eyes of a horse. In the end, the story is packed with positive messages of friendship, love, and courage. But parents should be aware that it also contains a few graphic battle scenes and a couple of pages' worth of the verbal mistreatment of one boy during his father's drunken rage. Since my son is reading it aloud to me each day, we've been able to have some meaningful conversations about the casualties of both war and broken relationships. The publisher's suggested age range for this book is 8-12. I'd definitely err on the side of 12 versus 8. 

Blonde Warrior- 5th grade

Henry Reed, Inc.- Henry Reed, the son of an American diplomat to Italy, is sent to New Jersey to live with his aunt and uncle for the summer. While there, he joins forces with neighborhood friend, Midge, to learn all he can about American free enterprise. Together, they launch an entrepreneurial campaign that leads to one misadventure after another.

We read this book as a family a few years ago. I find that past read alouds make great read alones for my younger kids. If I wait a couple of years after reading a book aloud and then recommend it to one of my kids when they are old enough to read it solo, they remember it just enough to know that they liked it, but not enough to remember all the details of the plot. They enjoy the plot so much more because the familiarity of the story feels like a rekindled relationship. And since I've already vetted it, I can trust that it's appropriate reading material for them. 

Greased Lightning- 3rd grade

On the Far Side of the Mountain- This is the sequel to the wilderness adventure, My Side of the Mountain, that we read together as a family a couple of years ago. In this second installment, nature dweller, Sam Gribley, is joined by his sister, Alice. Together they build a tree house settlement in the woods only to find their plans thwarted by a conservation officer who confiscates Sam's falcon. The plot thickens when his sister goes missing. It's up to Sam to find both his bird and his sister, but he'll have to venture to the far side of the mountain in his search.

The Dude- Kindergarten

Dan's Hat- This was just one of a series of vintage emergent readers I picked up at a used book sale recently. I love its bright illustrations and simple one-syllable words. Because it is a retired classroom reader, it contains many stories in one volume which makes it seem like a chapter book to my little guy who wants desperately to read big books like his older siblings.

That's what we're reading in the heat of summer. How about you?


  1. We just finished up Pippi Longstocking as our family read aloud. My kids absolutely loved it. I didn't prefer it, but I my kids thought it was hilarious and they keep talking about it so I love that about the book. We are reading Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St John this month. We are through the first two chapters and are excited for the rest of the book. My little lady is reading Robert McCloskey books, Make Way for Ducklings, Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine. I do not tire of hearing her read these over and over. :) My little man is reading Billy Mink by Thornton Burgess. His love for animals makes me smile, he always wants to learn more about them. We love to read outside on a blanket too, it's one of my favorite parts of summertime with my kids! Happy reading!

    1. That is exactly how I felt about Pippi Longstocking, and yet my kids loved it. Treasures of the Snow was one of my favorites from a few years back. What great picks you've got going this month. Thanks for sharing.