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 October 2018

Apparently, this is the Year of the Book Club for our family. Last month, I joined a Well-Read Mom group in our area. My oldest two kids enrolled in a literature class at our co-op. (While not an actual book club, it kinda feels like one.) And at the invitation of a recent homeschool grad who has a passion for great books, my middle son linked arms with a handful of other homeschoolers who love reading and talking about books as much as he does. They've been reading the same book and then coming together once-a-week at our local library to discuss what they've read.

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Needless to say, when the autopsy of the 2018-2019 school year is all said and done, books and the friends we have formed because of them will be two obvious markers worth noting.

Here's what we're reading this month.

Read Aloud- everybody

North! Or Be Eaten- We're still right in the middle of the action of this book that we started last month. It is the second title in the Wingfeather Saga and tells of the Igiby family and their desperate attempt to escape to the northern Ice Prairies to flee the evil Fangs and their troll companions.

While I'm not usually a fan of the fantasy genre, I have grown to enjoy this series. It can lean towards redundancy and wordiness in places, but the themes of family, courage, and adventure that are woven into each chapter seem to redeem the large investment of time it takes to read the books aloud.

Jamie- that's me!

An American Childhood- As I mentioned last month, this is the first book on the Well-Read Mom reading list for the year. It is the detailed memoir of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard's 1950s childhood. While the personal narratives themselves are not altogether that compelling or interesting, the writing style and attention to detail of each story are really impressive. The fact that I've found myself saying, "I remember doing that as a child!" many times while reading even though I was not even born in the '50s, is proof of Dillard's timeless writing. The specific situations that she recounts might be personal to her life story, but the feelings and convictions they evoke are universal to humanity.

The Heart Between Us- In a quest to fulfill the bucket list of her heart donor, Megan Jacobs finds her way back into the life of her estranged twin sister Crystal.

While the main plot of this book seems heavy, it's really more of a light, entertaining fiction, typical of most Christian fiction books on the market today. I'm only about a quarter of the way in, so the verdict is still out. But so far, I'd say that the writing is good, but not great.

Leaving Legalism- I'm a recovering legalist who spent years in the cult-like circles of fundamentalism. It's taken a long time to heal the deep wounds of spiritual abuse and to realign my heart to the freedom found in the Gospel. Not surprising, when this book came across my path, I couldn't wait to crack it open.

Kendra Fletcher is a homeschooling mother of 8 and former legalist who, like me, fell prey to the false sense of security and worth found in the clutches of a rules-based religion. This book is a look at how she broke free from the bondage of man-made laws in order to find the grace of Christ again.

None Like Him- I've hosted a Bible study at my house on Monday nights for the past four or so years. Actually, to be more accurate, it's kind of a cross between a Bible study and a book club. We pick a non-fiction, Christian book, read one chapter of it each week, and then meet at my house on Mondays to discuss what we've read and to pray together.

We're starting this new title by Jen Wilkin this month. I'm only one chapter in, so I hesitate to give it rave reviews. But so far, I really like it. Each chapter details one attribute of God that only He possesses but which humanity tries to copy. Wilkin's has included a handful of discussion questions about each attribute which will, hopefully, help to guide our study group each Monday. She has also written a companion book, In His Image, that tackles the 10 attributes of God that He calls us to replicate in our own lives.

Sweetie Pea- 10th grade 

Total Money Makeover- My girl went through Dave Ramsey's Foundations in Personal Finance student curriculum a couple of years ago, but since college and financial independence continues to creep closer and closer, she felt like she needed a refresher course of what she had previously learned. She decided to read this book which is essentially the cliff notes of the year-long video class and workbook.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens- This is just one of many character building titles on her MUST READ list that I put together for her last year. To be honest, I disagree with the "self-image" thrust of this book. I do think, however, that the author provides a lot of concrete and proven principles for making decisions and achieving a goal.

Brio Magazines- Sadly, there was a small snafu in my daughter's Brio subscription and she didn't receive several months' worth of issues. Not to worry, however. The fine folks from Focus on the Family kindly amended their mistake and sent her all the magazines they had failed to send this past spring. She's now spending most of her free time getting caught up.

Super Boy- 7th grade 

Oliver Twist- Like I said, my daughter and oldest son are in a semester-long literature class at our co-op and have been assigned to read through this Dicken's classic. Because of its archaic language and because of their already busy schedules, I've encouraged them to listen to the audiobook. My son has taken me up on my suggestion.

We don't have an Audible account, but I was able to grab the audiobook for about $2 on Amazon. He's been using the free Audible app to listen to a few chapters each evening while simultaneously following along with the text in the Bantam Classic paperback edition.

Blonde Warrior- 6th grade

Peter Pan- This month, my middle son, along with his homeschool book club, is reading through the unabridged version of this J.M. Barrie classic. They plan to finish it up by next week and then watch the movie together to celebrate.

The Ostrich and Other Lost Things- Following Peter Pan, the club will move on to this little gem. We read it together as a family last year and since then, my son has read it a few times to himself. He can't wait to discuss it with his book club friends. It's the coming of age story of Olivia Grant who has to wrestle with the hard reality of her older brother's autism diagnosis.

Greased Lightning- 4th grade

Ramona the Pest- My kids are all huge fans of Cleary books. So, I was not surprised when my son pulled this particular title off our home library shelves. It is the second book in the Ramona series and tells of Ramona's bumpy foray into kindergarten.

The Dude- 1st grade

Level 1 Easy but not Boring Readers- My youngest son is still in the learning-to-read phase but is now ready to start veering from emergent readers. In the coming months, I'll be checking out many leveled trade show readers from the library, starting with the ones on this curated list.

Sarah, Plain and Tall- This is my most favorite middle-grade fiction book of all time. I've read and reread it to all of my older kids. And now it's my youngest son's turn to meet Sarah. What I like best about the book (and the four other books in the series) is that the author has written volumes of life between each line. The story is more about what's not written on the page than what is.


Let me tell ya' about one more book before you go. I read Homeschooling Gifted Kids several years ago when I struggled to see how an average mom like me could homeschool her gifted kids. It not only gave me some practical tools to help me succeed, but also the encouragement I needed to keep on keepin' on. The book has recently been updated to accommodate for the ever-changing homeschool landscape and is now better than ever.

Do you, like me, have a gifted child you struggle to challenge, motivate, or keep up with? From now until 12pm CST on Tuesday, October 9th, head on over to Instagram and enter to win your very own copy of Homeschooling Gifted Kids.  

That's what we'll be reading in October. How about you? 


  1. I have a confession. I'm not much of a pleasure reader (GASP!). Not because I don't find pleasure in it, but because I can't ever seem to find the time (other than 11:00 at night). BUT! I have three books going right now and I'm enjoying all of them.

    -Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin (This is my first experience with Jen Wilkin, and I'm loving her passion for Bible literacy and putting the mind over the heart aka the typical women's "Bible study" which can, at times, lean heavily toward feelings and questions like, "How does this Bible passage make YOU feel as a woman?" In this book, she is training women to ask "What does this passage tell me about God and His universe-big plan of redemption?" LOVING IT!)

    -Follow Me by David Platt (Yes! And Amen! Simultaneously convicting and encouraging in the way we should go!
    Which is, into Christ via the Scriptures and then out into all the World proclaiming the Gospel, our own
    comfort, safety and prowess aside.)

    -Never Say No, by the parents of the Switchfoot band brothers, Mark and Jan Foreman (Despite the shocking title, this book is down to earth and makes me want to be less of stick in the mud when it comes to raising my kids!)

    9 yr. old daughter is reading through all of the Narnia books and is nearly finished with the Last Battle as well as random books about cats

    7 yr. old son is reading through all of the Imagination Station books he can get his hands on as well as books about outer space and Galileo.

    2 yr. old daughter can be found chewing on books regularly.

    1. I love Jen Wilkin's writing style and David Platt wrote one of my most favorite books, Radical. I've not read Follow Me. I'll have to look for it. I love how he doesn't mince words. He just boldly says what needs to be said even if it steps on the toes of church goers.

    2. Yes, he just let's the Bible speak... Let the chips fall where they may. I loved Radical as well. Follow Me is the continuation of Radical. I don't know about you but I find I need my toes stepped on by the Word on a regular basis. 😏

  2. Thanks for sharing your book lists again! :) I love to see what you all are reading, especially since we have kiddos around the same ages!

    Me: I am not reading much for myself as all my spare time is spent trying to keep up with what my kiddos are reading. I am very much enjoying some of their assigned books though!

    Read Aloud: We are working to finish "Penderwicks at Last" and loving it just as we loved the others! We're working much more slowly through it now that school and activities are in full gear, but we do get in at least two chapters a week while they are folding laundry. :)

    10th grade daughter - Her assigned book this month for literature is "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. I read it and couldn't put it down - loved it! Then I was told it was just the first in a series, so we checked out the second one at the library yesterday. I'm excited to dig into it.

    She is also reading a chapter a day of "Screwtape Letters" for spiritual formations and is doing "Fearless" by Sadie Robertson for a girls' Bible study group.

    6th grade son: His latest assigned book is "Hatchet". I read and very much enjoyed this one too! We also found out this is the first in a series. He read ahead of his assigned schedule, finished it this week, and has started another already! Very good read - especially for boys!

    Kindergarten son - He is reading every book he can get his hands on. We got a bag full at the library yesterday. His current favorite author is Melanie Watt. He thinks her Chester books are absolutely hilarious and is starting on the Scaredy Squirrel books now. :)

    1. I've been wanting to read The Giver myself. You'll have to let me know what you think after you read it.

      And thanks so much for the reminder about Hatchet. I've been wanting to have my oldest son read that, but I keep forgetting.

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