Book list for 1st and 2nd graders

Here is my hopeful list of books we will get through during this school year, 2014-2015.  Our kids will be in 2nd and 1st grade this year.  We use the library as our #1 source, only purchasing books if they do not have them.

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I would love to here your comments on the books on your list, a suggestion to add to mine, or your thoughts of any of the books below.

Finish up Burgess Bird Book by Thornton Burgess –FREE online

Mr. Poppers Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan –possibly the other books in the series also

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks, along with the other 2 books in the series

Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Other AudioBooks on our list to get through

The rest of The Magic Tree House series, we are on book #39 now

King of the Golden River by John Ruskin, FREE audio online

Parables from Nature by Alfred Gatty

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling

50 Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin

The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, 13 books

Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

Stink series by Megan McDonald

Books to be read for bedtime

Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand, the movie Nanny McPhee was based off this book  (Lilly)

Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet by Tony Abbott, series of about 10 books I believe  (Turner)

The Sister’s Grimm series by Michael Buckley, 9 books in the series  (Lilly)

Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows, 9 books in the series  (Lilly)

*Yes, we will be busy this year reading some great literature and some just for fun!  I will give an update of what we thought on the book after completing it. Of course, we will be reading other stories, but this list is of the ‘major titles’ we will read together.


Last Day of School, Full of Surprises :)

2013-2014 has come to a close.  The kids had a great year, it was our first FULL year of homeschooling. A success, and ready for next year. The kids are getting 2 weeks off, and they are excited to play with their friends whenever they like.

Today, we decided to have a day of surprises for them and end with a bang!

Surprise #1:  Donuts!


Surprise #2:  A 2 hour Art Workshop (Turner opted not to participate, but Lilly had a fantastic time!)


Surprise #3:  Lunch at one of their favorite Japanese Steakhouses (the ones with the fire!)



Surprise #4:  Jason and I had printed out Diplomas to make it more official. They loved them and kept saying all day they have graduated and get to move up!


Surprise #5:  No school work!  They took the afternoon to build.  Lilly built a spaceship, and Turner a Limo.



Surprise #6:  Later tonight they are going swimming with their friends and we’re getting ice cream!

My kids don’t know who Bach is

My kids are your typical everyday kids. They get grumpy if you wake them up too early, they watch movies, play with their friends, learn new things, and even whine to try and get their way.  They are six and seven.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing your kids to others, and even easier when it comes to homeschooling and what everyone else is doing.  I’ve been victim to this. I let myself get pulled in after reading another blog where so and so was learning 2 languages that year and doing a unit on famous composers.  I thought, “Wow, my kids need to get going and not get behind.” So I started researching what I would teach them. Then reality hit. My kids are six and seven, they don’t need to know who Bach is right now. They have their entire lives ahead of them.

So I stopped researching. We enjoy learning a ton of things around here, but you won’t catch me trying to cram information about Mozart to my six year old (unless she asks). We do listen to classical music in the car though 🙂

It’s fun to read blogs and see what others are up to, but don’t get too caught up in it. You can’t teach your child everything!  You don’t know everything, no one knows everything.  And even if you cover the Great Depression, who knows how much they will remember in a few years. Everyone has GAPS in their education and knowledge, you have to decide what is important to you (and your state mandates) then go from there to decide what to teach your kids (and maybe ask them what they want to learn about).

So, if you ask my daughter or son who Bach is right now, they won’t have a clue.  Give them a few years and ask again.

However, Turner can talk your ear off about BMX, car makes and engines, Minecraft and Legos. Lilly can go on about ballet terms and knows more facts about animals than I probably do!

What about your kids?  What are they really interested in right now?

Easy Peasy…. is it really easy?

I was thinking about a completely free homeschooling resource called Easy Peasy today.  We have been using this for about 5-6 months now.  However, not all subjects. At first, I was a little overwhelmed with understanding how to maneuver the site and find my way around, but with a little patience and some reading, I figured it out soon enough.

The site has everything K to 12. We mainly use it for art study, science and some history.  We also use the McGuffey Readers daily.

My kids were in K and 1 when we started using this after Christmas.  It seemed short and too the point, everything laid out, so not too much work involved.  On the flip side, everything may be laid out, but do I agree with “everything”, do I think that “everything” is enough?

A few thoughts:

1.  Math is WAY too easy, First Year Math is better suited for Pre-K to me, maybe Kinder.  The older years may be more of a challenge, I haven’t looked, but I personally wouldn’t recommend EP for elementary Math.

2. EP has you do each subject daily.  We tried it and it didn’t work for us, I felt to rushed to get it all in without really taking time to talk about things, just click on links and do them sort of thing. It never seemed in depth enough, so we now do either Science of History each day, not both.  I feel like the material is being covered better and the kids are more relaxed.

3. EP has you start at Day 1 and follow it in order.  We like to skip around though.  We decide what we want to learn about and look to see what resources EP has for that subject, i.e. birds. You would find EP’s bird unit in Zoology.  Then maybe we want to do the Human Body, so we hop over to Biology and study that.  EP has it laid out pretty nicely to find what you want.

4. I like some of the games and videos we get to link to, I probably never would have found them myself, but the site tends to repeat itself a lot, and we just skip those days.

5. Lap books, lap books, lap books.  When I first started homeschooling I thought lap books were fun and exciting and so did my kids, but after the 4th one they get a bit…. boring.  So we find other activities to do instead and haven’t done a lap book in 4 months.  I would rather my kids go outside and observe birds to see differences, etc than fill out a lap book when they are in K and 1.  They get more out of it.

Wrapping it up:  Easy Peasy is a good resource and I would recommend it to other families.  Make sure you are doing what is best for your style of teaching and just because it says you should take a quiz one day, maybe skip it, maybe quizzes aren’t for your kiddo right now.  Maybe doing their 10th lap book isn’t either.

Look around the site and get ideas to inspire to do other things.  It’s free, why not try it out and see if it works for you.

Has anyone else used the site?  What do you use it for?


*These are my own opinions.

Labels and goals

In previous posts I have labeled us as 1/3 Un-Schoolers, 1/3 Classical, and 1/3 Charlotte Mason, but why did I do that?  Doesn’t that just put us in a box?  Can we stray from the box or are we stuck in there forever….?   Let me answer:  I did that so I can relate to readers and help us with goal setting, HOWEVER, we are not stuck in the box, we don’t have a list of what to do each day marked down to the hour, and we can change our minds whenever we feel like we should.  So can any of you.

I am a firm believer in doing what is best for your child’s education, that’s why we homeschool. 

We are not fans of government ran mini-prisions for our kids, however, I understand some kids have no choice.  When my child was in public school I kept thinking of all the negative around him and how no one there, not even his teacher, cares for him as much as I do.  I am the one who understands his strengths and weaknesses best, who can cater to his needs.  It’s not the teachers fault, its the entire school system.  I don’t blame the over-worked teacher who has WAY TOO MANY kids in his/her class.  Most teachers do their best, and that’s all most parents can ask, but I’m not one of them, and I decided that I could tackle homeschooling.

The only thing that really matters is whether your family is happy. 

Labeling our homeschool is beneficial in setting goals for our kids.  It creates a philosophy so we all understand what we are striving for each day.  We are striving to be happy, life-long learners of life and academics. We are striving for our kids to see the importance and the fun in reading great books. We are striving for them to appreciate nature and the beauty it holds, and how we all need to make sure to keep it that way. We are striving for them to want to learn. We are striving for them to understand that it’s okay to not know the answer, but it’s important to be able to figure out how to find the resources to get the answer. We are striving to raise good-hearted people.

I’m sure pretty much everyone would agree on our goals, no matter what homeschool style they fit into, but how we get there is different.  That’s where your philosophy comes into play.  You may be wanting to study bees, but your kids wants to know about dog breeds….. do you go ahead with what you want, or listen to your kids and their interest at that time and go with theirs (saving Bees for another day).  And when you decide on a subject how do you approach it….living books, lap books, field trips?  Those are all different ways, all good in their own way, but depending on your philosophy it may be different than other people.

What is your philosophy on homeschooling and your goals?

Children are amazing and can do amazing things if you open your heart and mind and give them room to flourish.