What we are reading this week

Sunday, July 23, 2017

I mentioned last week that I was going a bit crazy over the genre of books we have been reading lately.  It seems like all we have been reading had to deal with knights, castles, animals, & magic and I was really needing something different.  This week we have thrown in a historical fiction book by one of our very favorite authors and it is making me feel a little better about the other two books we are currently working our way through.  

Update on The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick:  This was a really good book.  It was suspenseful, funny, touching & empowering.  We all ended up really liking it.  We still don't plan on reading the series for a couple of reasons.  1) our library doesn't have them and I just can't buy another whole series and 2) I need a little break from series.  But I have heard so many great things about this series that we may end up coming back to it at some point.  

Read Aloud- All 3 Boys

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

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I just happened to stumbled across this book when I was sitting on the floor of the library looking through every shelf.  I was discovering all sorts of books that I had heard of or books that I didn't realize were written by certain authors.  Then I came across this book.  We love Christopher Paul Curtis.  Bud Not Buddy  and The Watsons go to Birmingham -1963 are two of our all time favorite books.  The boys still bring both of those stories up.  I was excited to see another story by this author that I had not heard about.  This book is not on any of our book lists.  You have seen my ever growing booklist, this one should be on it.  I started it a few days ago and it has had us all laughing.  But it has also taught some really great lessons too.  Honestly, I would just like to spend a whole day reading this to the boys and I don't think they would object.  I think there is a reason that this book holds two prestigious book awards.  It's just so good.  And if you have not read this author yet, go right now and find one of his books.  You will be so happy you did.  

Nighttime Read Aloud- Britton

The Green Ember by S.D. Smith

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We are halfway through this book now and I am still waiting to "get into" the book.  I feel like it has had a really slow start.  I have heard this from a couple families that read this.  That it took them a while to get into it, but once they did, they loved it.  I have heard so many great things about this series, so I really hope we end up liking it.

Nighttime Read Aloud: Greyson & Lincoln

The Ranger's Apprentice: The Battle for Skandia by John Flanagan

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Book four in the Ranger's Apprentice series has taken off.  This book is a continuation of the previous 3 books following the lives of two apprentices and one of the master craftsman.  I feel like this books is moving at a much faster pace and it is getting really good.  The last three books set the scene and this one is where the action begins.  Not that there wasn't action in the last three books, there was. We are not many chapters in and I honestly cannot wait to pick this book up each night.  I didn't feel that way about book number three so I am happy to have a faster pace in this book.

This week we are also starting our brand new curriculum, Build Your Library.   This curriculum is all literature based and will be having us add an additional 3 books to our daily reading.  I'm hoping I have a voice by the end of the week!

What are you reading this week?
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Lincoln's 10th Birthday

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Here I am, a month late again.  For some reason I just can't get these birthdays blogs out in a reasonable amount of time.  Better late than never, I guess.

My middle son, Lincoln, turned 10 in June.  I really cannot believe this child is 10.  He acts way older than his age, so he seems like he should be older, but the idea that I now have 2 out of 3 children in double digits is mind boggling to me.   They really need to stop growing up so fast!

Lincoln chose to go rock climbing for his birthday. The day before his birthday we headed to Mall Sport, which is a mall totally dedicated to sports and outdoor activities.   They got to to climb on the bouldering wall for 30 minutes and then had two attempts to climb the tall vertical wall.  They have all improved so much since taking rock climbing classes.  I am always so impressed at how strong they are.

He wanted to show me that he could hang from the top with one hand.  

After rock climbing, we went out for Lincoln's birthday dinner.  He chose T.G.I. Friday's.  It is so funny that they have so many  North American food chains here.  They are such a novelty to my kids. They love that they can get club sandwiches and chicken fingers there.  You would think growing up in Asia, they would want rice & noodles, but nope they still want the things that kids from the USA eat. It makes me laugh.  

Birthday morning!  He chose pancakes for breakfast.  

 Time for presents!

 He was very surprised to get the next Fablehaven book.  We had it sent from the States.  It just came out and the library doesn't have it yet. He couldn't wait to start reading it.  

Even in Chile, the fidget spinners are a craze. He was also very excited to get this. 

 Birthday dinner: Chicken kebabs and cheeseball. 

And we finished off his birthday with a Harry Potter cake.  

Happy 10th Birthday, Lincoln. I hope this year brings all you wished for.  
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Curriculum Choices for 2017-2018

Friday, July 21, 2017

A new year has started and this is the time to see if all the new curriculum choices I've been researching for months will actually be a good fit for our family.  It's funny because I feel like this is our first real year of homeschooling.  I've been homeschooling for 9 years now!  I'm excited about our new history & science curriculum's this year.  These two subjects I have felt like we needed to add a little more substance to and I think our new program will help with that.  I'm looking forward to seeing how much the boys accomplish this year and what goals we will end up meeting.  Here is what I have chosen for this year.

Greyson is in Grade 7 & Lincoln is in Grade 5
Both of the boys work on the same level for each subject except math.

Daily Virtues & Manners

We choose Virtues
We Choose Virtues

365 Manners Kids Should Know

History, Language Arts, Poetry, & Art

Build Your Library

We will be using the grade 5 curriculum with both boys.  I love that this curriculum can be used with multiple age children.  We started with this grade because I felt that if we skipped, there was just too much history we would miss out on.  We will cover from the first Americans to the Civil War in history this year.

We will be studying american Artists and American poets, such as Emily Dickinson & Robert Frost.

Language arts will be reading an amazing selection of books.  I'm excited for this part!


Elemental Science-Biology for the Logic Stage

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All About Spelling

All About Spelling Level 3


Teaching Textbooks level 6&7

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Spanish for Kids: Risa y Sonrisa

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Typing Club


IEW- Level B


Britton is in 2nd Grade:

Manners & Daily Virtues

We Choose Virtues
We Choose Virtues

365 Manners Kids Should Know

Language arts & Phonics

Explode the Code
Explode the Code Book 1

Hooked on Phonics (We also use the app)

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Writing with Ease
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All About Spelling 

All About Learning Press Logo

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History, Art, Poetry, Language Arts

Build Your Library- Grade 2

Britton will be learning about the Medieval period from knights to the Crusades to the Vikings.  Art will be focused on artwork from this time period, as well.

Science will be focused on Earth and Space.


Spanish- Risa y Sonrisas

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Computers- Typing Club

Extra Curricular Activities

Spanish Lessons with tutor (all 3 boys)
Forest School (all 3 boys)
Homeschool PE Class (all 3 boys)
Rock Climbing Club (All 3 boys)
Boy Scouts (Greyson)
Robotics Team (Greyson)

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What we are reading this week

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

It's been a couple of weeks since I last shared the books we were currently reading.  If you want to see the books I missed posting about, check out this link.  It has all the books we have read for the past 4 years.  There are so many good ones on that list!  We finished the Bunnicula series.  My 7 year old just loved those books.  And another new favorite is Belle Prater's Boy by Ruth White.  It was such a beautiful story of friendship.  It tackled quite a few tough topics, but was just so beautiful.  This week we are on to 3 new books.

After Lunch Read Aloud- All 3 boys

The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick

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The boys and I started this book a week ago and are about 3/4 of the way through it now.  I have heard so many great reviews of this book and was really looking forward to it.  It is even written by an author that is from my area in the United States!  I think I may be "series-ed" out.  Every book is series today.  I just want a wonderful stand alone book.  So I think this may be where my review of this book is coming from.  We will only be reading the first one together and if they boys want to continue, they can finish the series on their own.

It's a story about a boy and his two friends that are searching for his sister.  They start to notice strange activity at their local zoo and begin to think the zoo may have played some part in the disappearance of his sister.  It is a cute story so far, but I think I am just really craving some good historical fiction.   Needing a little change from magic, kingdoms, and animals.

Nighttime Read Aloud- Britton

The Green Ember by S.D. Smith
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This another series that I have heard wonderful things about.  It's only two books, plus a prequel, so I think I can handle this one.  Again it is about animals and kingdoms, but we honestly are not far enough into it to give a good assessment.     It is recommended for middle grades and I would agree if the child was reading it alone.  I have had to explain a few things to Britton to help him understand what is happening, but so far he seems really interested in the story.  I'll have to tell you more next week because I can't even give you a summary of it since we just started it.

Nighttime Read Aloud- Greyson and Lincoln

The Ranger's Apprentice: The Icebound Land by John Flanagan

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We are on book 3 of the Ranger's Apprentice series out of 12.  This really is a series where you have to read all the books.  They do not end with closure at all.  So if you start, you will be committing to all 12.  But they are pretty fast reads.  We can get through them in about a week and a half.  The boys are really enjoying the story of the apprentice ranger, who has gotten himself into a little trouble in this book. I like how brave he is and how he never gives up no matter how beaten down he is.  I also like the relationships he has and how the characters will go to extreme measures to help out their friends in need.  It is a really positive story with positive role models for the boys.  I am interested to see where this series of 12 will take us over the next few months.

That is what we have been up to this week.  This is also our last week before school starts!  It was a short winter break, but I am excited to get back into the swing of things.

Any great books that you would like to suggest?
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