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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 2021

Stack of kids' books on a side table

This past weekend while speaking at the annual North Dakota Homeschool Association conference, I received a lovely card from Wendy, a long-time blog follower, thanking me for creating this little community on the web. At the end of the note, she mentioned that these monthly What We're Reading posts are her favorites to read. 

I hear that a lot. 

Turns out, people who like to read, like to read about what others are reading.

  

After slipping the envelope in my direction, Wendy went on her way. I looked for her the next day, but our paths never crossed again. Consequently, I never got a chance to give her my thanks and to tell her that these monthly book-ish posts aren't just her favorites to read; they're my favorites to write.

So, if you're reading this, Wendy...here's a list of the titles we're thumbing through this month!

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What We're Reading in February 2021 #homeschool #kidlit #booklist

Read Aloud- everybody

Johnny Tremain- We're almost done with this living literature look at the early days of American independence. The language is a bit antiquated for my 8-year-old to always understand, but my older boys are really enjoying it.

When silversmith apprentice Johnny Tremain burns his hand in an accident, he can no longer work for his master and is forced to find a new trade. He takes a job at The Boston Observer and ends up playing a pivotal role in the fight for independence. 


The Detective's Assistant- Loosely based on the extraordinary adventures of the country's first female detective, this book combines the perils of crime-solving and the gravity of the abolitionists' movement of the mid-1800s. 

When orphan Nell Warren is delivered to the doorstep of her Aunt Kitty, she has no idea that the next year will find her capturing a jewel thief, uncovering a plot to poison someone, and saving the life of President-elect Abraham Lincoln. 

We listened to this on audio and really loved it. However, I'm not sure if it would have been as enjoyable in print. The narrator did a fantastic job presenting all the many accents and dialects represented in the pages. Please note: In an effort to solve a case, Aunt Kitty dresses up as a fortune teller in one chapter and Nell acts as a ghost in another. However, in both cases, the author is quick to point out the ridiculousness of both scenarios. 


Jamie- that's me!

Finding Freedom- I've been a British royal watcher since the mid-80s when I saw a demure Princess Diana step out of a London hospital to introduce baby William to the world. I was probably only six or seven at the time, just barely old enough to stay up late enough to watch the post-dinner nightly news. But, the moment Princess Di came out wearing that turquoise and white sailor dress, carrying a teeny king-to-be, I was hooked. Since then, my fascination with the royals has been slightly less than center. (I have a life to live, after all) But, I'll admit to enjoying more than my share of tell-all memoirs. (Can we still be friends?)

This latest book focuses on the brexit of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle. To be honest, the writing has been a little bumpy. The authors often name-drop key players, assuming that the reader is familiar with those particular international moguls. In addition, they continuously contradict their portrayal of Markle's childhood, implying that she grew up practically impoverished while also detailing the numerous elite schools and organizations she was a part of as a girl in Los Angeles. 


Sweetie Pea- 12th grade/College Sophomore

The Great Divorce- My daughter is finishing up this classic allegory she started last month. In this tale of a bus ride from heaven to hell, C.S. Lewis challenges a reader's view of good and evil. 


Super Boy- 9th grade

Guts & Glory: The American Revolution- Admittedly, this book is below my son's reading level, but it is giving him a more in-depth look at our current history topic. Filled with lots of pull-quotes, graphics, and charts, it's allowing him to learn more specific details of the American Revolution than what I have been able to cover in our group history time.

Pro tip: When using a living book approach to teach history to a wide range of ages, select read alouds that are age-appropriate for your middle child. Then, assign personal history reading to any older kids from time-to-time. This will allow everyone to learn challenging material while not inundating really young learners with too much information. 


Blonde Warrior- 8th grade

The Ranger's Apprentice- This is the first in a best-selling series that features fifteen-year-old Will who has been chosen to be the next apprentice for the kingdom protectors. I purchased this book last weekend for my son, assuming that I'd eventually need to order a few more in the series. He slammed through it in two days and immediately requested the next three titles. 

Please note: This particular book contains the words hell and d*mn.


A Wrinkle in Time- I'm currently leading a tween boys' book club for my middle son and a couple of his friends. This sci-fi classic is our February pick. We have one more meeting to discuss the last few chapters and will then gather together to watch the Disney movie version. 


Greased Lightning- 6th grade

John F. Kennedy and Pt-109- Ever the autodidactic, my fourth-born has decided to learn all he can about the life of President Kennedy. He's been culling JFK-themed books off our home library shelves and has created quite a TBR stack. This vintage Landmark book recalls Kennedy's extraordinary story of shipwreck and survival during WWII.


The Dude- 3rd grade

The following books are a bit below my youngest son's current reading level, but after we read them as a family during our history unit, he decided to read them again to himself. They are both leveled readers that recount the lives of two boys on opposing sides of the Revolutionary War. Reading them back-to-back allowed my son to see how there are always good people on both sides of nearly every political disagreement. 

Sam the Minuteman- This book follows the life of a Whig boy who's tasked with taking up arms against the British troops who have invaded Massachusetts. 


George the Drummer Boy- This book follows the life of a Torie boy who is given a drumming post in the British regiment that is stationed in Massachusetts. 


So, that's what we'll be reading this month. What's on your bookshelf in February?

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