App Central: Our Favorite Learning Apps and How We’re Using Them

App_CentralThere are many apps on my device. I’m happy to inform you very few are games. Why is this? Our learning apps take up the bulk of our space, and we couldn’t be more pleased with this decision. Today, we’re sharing our favorite learning apps and how we use them in our adventure called homeschooling.

Grab your reading glasses, we’ve got quite the list! And each one is well-used…

Calculator + – While a standard calculator app came pre-installed on my device, Calculator+ far outshines any other we’ve come across yet. We use this with Algebra helps and Geometry. It’s a lifesaver.

Dictionary (Merriam-Webster 1828) – We own a physical dictionary, but having a dictionary app on my device is a help while on the go. We’re big believers in looking up new words when we come across them, searching out new vocabulary is always a treat. The app includes a word of the day and weekly challenges.

Hiking Project – As we’re continually looking for new places to hike, this app is a lovely resource to have on hand.

Garden Answers – Simply take a photo of the plant you’re looking at and this app will identify it for you. Garden Answers is helpful for those of us who are not experts and/or desire immediate answers without time for much research.

Aniscience – An adorable science app for littles, discovering laws of nature and basic plant and animal species. It’s too cute for words, and a great app for beginners.

Snapseed – We use this photography editing app on a daily basis. The options available are incredible and help the children explore creativity while learning the fundamentals of good photography.

Splice – While used less often, Splice is helpful for making photo/video collage of our adventures. We create quick slides to share with family and friends, learning skills such as Ken Burns effect, slide transitions, and more.

Stop Motion – The title tells you what the app is for, but it doesn’t explain how fun this app really is. Stop Motion is a great tool for the kids to explore film making.

Podcasts While not directly an app for learning, and a pre-loaded app on the device when purchased, this app has proven to be instrumental in learning. There are so many excellent podcasts to enjoy. HERE‘s our current list, which keeps growing continually!

LibriVox – While I’m sure most of you have heard of this app before, we would be remiss in not mentioning it. We use LibriVox quite a bit, downloading reads for the road or to listen to while making meals.

Red Herring – I am not a big player of games, but when I find apps which help feed the mind as well as entertain, I’m hooked. Red Herring is a visually basic game; there are no bells or whistles. What you will find is a challenging word association game which will stretch the knowledge of your vocabulary. Given a list of words, can you determine how to categorize them properly based on what they have in common?

KAMI 2 – Here’s another game which is not high on graphics, but excellent on mind bending and thinking outside the box. You’re given a geometric image and a pallet of colors. You then have a limited number of “taps” to clear the board so the entire image is now one color. It’s more challenging than you think. As a bonus, players can create their own geometric images to challenge friends and family.

Word Cookies – I’m sure by now everyone has heard of this game. We’re addicted and are constantly one-upping each other to see who’s on the higher level. On the off-chance you haven’t heard of this game, each level consists of cookies shaped like words which you need to string together to complete the word list. Each level has new letters and an entirely new set of words which you need to find.

Capitals – Another fantastic word game. Capitals is a two-player game which has you building words using letter tiles in order to clear the board and dominate your opponent.

Piano Tiles 2 – I had reservations about this game at first. How could tapping piano notes be at all beneficial. I was entirely wrong. Piano Tiles 2 – not the original version – consists of only classical music, which the children learn by tapping their device screens. My children now know more about classical music than I, and will quiz each other frequently to name the piece within a certain number of notes. My favorite feature is the history given on each piece, including composer and country of origin.

Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System/Galactic Genius with Astro Cat – I bought the book. Then discovered there was an app. The rest is history. This entire Astro Cat series is genius.

First 5 – This Bible app was recommended by another homeschool mom, and I’m so glad I took the time to download it. It’s a great start to the day.

Bible (YouVersion) – This app was another recommendation, and I love it. There are many Bible study courses you can download for free, along with Bible reading plans. My current plan is 5x5x5 Discipleship Journal. I’m not going to lie… My favorite thing about this app is the ability to select audio; I can have the Bible read aloud to me all throughout the day while doing mindless chores or cooking meals.

Whew! Looking back, this is quite a long list. I’d tell you this is all I’ve got loaded on my kids’ devices, but that wouldn’t be true. Right now, I’ve an entire folder dedicated to chemistry apps for the coming school year. It’s becoming an addiction these free apps. There are many more which come and go, along with apps for purely entertainment value.

For the most part, the apps we download are meant to stretch the mind as well as entertain. While I’m not opposed to playing games, I wish to limit the amount of time blankly staring at a screen. The above list helps keep learning fun, increases our skill, and adds to the adventure called homeschooling.

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

~ Matthew 6:22-23

Your Turn!: Share your favorite learning apps with us so we can partake in the fun!

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Review: Trust Fund and Love Was Near by Mapelle Films

Review_TrustFund_LoveWasNearMovie night can be a challenge. Violence, language, and inappropriate material abounds. Thanks to a review of Trust Fund and Love Was Near by Mapelle Films, movie night just got easier!

Trust Fund is the first independent film to be released by Mapelle Films. The story follows Reese Donahue, a talented young author finding her place in the world, as she runs from responsibility in hopes of attaining independence and romance. What follows is a charming tale of forgiveness and true love, liberally based on the prodigal son story found in book of Luke.

Our family received a Trust Fund DVD, along with a copy of Love Was Near, from Mapelle Films. Love Was Near is a companion book to Trust Fund, giving deeper insight into lessons Reese learned during her journey. Love Was Near is written from Reese’s perspective, in first-person narrative, sharing her adventures and thoughts including “hand written” diary entries. As she closes each chapter, the reader is given questions to reflect upon which relate to lessons Reese has learned throughout the film. Love Was Near includes an introduction to be read before enjoying the movie, followed by twenty-eight chapters which correspond to the film’s storyline.

In addition to both the film and book, we were given access to a downloadable study guide for Trust Fund. While the study guide is slated for “small group study”, we found it easily adaptable to a family setting. The study includes both background on the storyline itself and characters in the movie. The study guide makes a point of sharing the original prodigal son story found in the book of Luke, making a comparison of persons found in Luke’s tale and those in Trust Fund. While you’re there, be sure to view the movie clips! You won’t want to miss out.

While movies are usually a family affair, we ladies chose to watch our first viewing of Trust Fund by ourselves. As suggested, I read the introduction in Love Was Near, then we watched Trust Fund. After viewing the movie, Love Was Near has been a great follow-up, using Reese’s questions for an open group discussion. Love Was Near is a fairly thick book. While my instinct is to rush through the material, discussing everything in one go while it’s still fresh in our minds, I do not believe this would be wise. Instead, we have discussed several points in the first chapters and will continue on through the book with each viewing.

I’ll be honest, I was a little hesitant to review Trust Fund. I not only had doubts about the nature of Reese’s prodigal story and how much would be shown, I was unsure of the film quality itself. We had nothing to worry about. The movie was beautifully made! The story is clean, entertaining, charming, and heartwarming. It is visually lovely. We’re overjoyed with the movie and excited to share this with friends. The bonus, for us, was knowing the filmmaker is a homeschool graduate. How exciting to see his success and inspiring for our children!

I don’t wish to give too much away, so there will be no spoilers in this review. However, I feel the need to point out that while this is a prodigal story, Reese didn’t seem a prodigal as much as misguided. She makes several poor decisions based on little thought and deep emotion, a lesson in itself. The film was suitable for all ages, but it is our opinion this movie would be of greatest interest to girls in junior high and above. Parents should note, while the movie is clean there are elements of romance in the storyline, should this be a concern.

Movie night is still a challenge, but with films like Trust Fund available, our options are growing. We look forward to viewing more from Mapelle Films and increasing our movie library.

If you’d like to learn more about Trust Fund, Love Was Near, or Mapelle Films please visit them at their website and on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Mapelle Films has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: Is there an age at which your children are permitted to watch more romantic movies?

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Podcast Central – Our Favorite Feeds & Why We’re Listening

Podcast_CentralThe kids are loaded. The bags are packed. It’s going to be a long drive. Do we listen to tunes? Possibly. These days, more often than not, our listening pleasure leans toward podcasts. With the excellent selection currently available, who can blame us?

Until recently, I don’t know how much attention I’d ever given podcasts. Now, we have a lovely list of choices at our fingertips and we couldn’t be more pleased. Here’s our favorite feeds and why we listen:

At Home – At Home is hosted by the sweetest group of homeschool mammas. They tell it like it is, no holds barred. Each podcast discusses the reality of homeschooling: what’s worked – and hasn’t – in their families, resources their loving, and helpful tips to get us through our homeschooling year. Each topic is carefully chosen, with thought-provoking questions peppered throughout the session. This is one of my personal favorites.

Encounters – A family selection… Each episode features a different creature of God’s creation. We’re encouraged to listen carefully, with ample opportunity given to hear what each sounds like in various situations. There’s a multitude of podcasts already available; we’ve only begun to enjoy this series. For those desiring in-depth materials regarding each podcast, visit their website (link provided) for additional links and lesson plans.

Myths and Legends – Another of our family choices. Truthfully, this is probably our top podcast choice. It’s funny, educational, and simply delightful. Each episode covers a different legend, exploring its historical context and from where the legend itself derives. Be forewarned, some of these legends are quite violent. While there is nothing inappropriate in any of the episodes (at least none we’ve listened to thus far), blood and gore are mentioned.

Your Morning Basket – Designed more for parents, YMB discusses various choices added to morning reading selections and why each has value. Several of the podcasts are interviews with homeschooling families; we’re given a glimpse of how they handle morning basket and what they’re reading. You’ll also find an occasional interview with professionals in the field of literature.

Read-Aloud Revival – Another parental selection, RAR focuses on the joy of reading aloud to our children no matter their age. Mrs. Mackenzie covers a multitude of literature her family enjoys, and encourages families to revisit this lost art. Most episodes are interviews with various authors and experts in literature.

Wild + Free We love Wild + Free’s focus on exploring the great outdoors and education outside-the-box. Why study science, history, or arithmetic inside when you could be learning through hands-on experiences? The podcast is delightful, as is their website and published materials.

Risen Motherhood For mama’s who need a moment of encouragement and edification, Risen Motherhood is a Godsend. Biblical perspective of parenting and womanhood abound.

A Delectable Education While we haven’t specifically chosen a Charlotte Mason approach to learning, we’ve greatly appreciated learning more about this method of education. We’ve learned a great deal, some of which we’ve begun to incorporate into our learning routine.

Listening to great music is always a win. But, we’re jazzed to change-up our schedule with something a little different. These podcasts keep us informed and learning something new. We’re blessed in being able to enjoy such pleasures!

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. “For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
Matthew 13:16-17

Your Turn!: Is there a podcast you recommend?

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Review: Fascinating Chemistry

Review_Fascinating_Chemistry

A new school year equals a new study in the field of science. This year we’re focusing our attention on chemistry and we can’t think of a better time to review Fascinating Chemistry by Fascinating Education.

Fascinating Education is an audio-visual approach to teaching science. Fascinating Education offers courses in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Medicine, and Atoms & Molecules. Fascinating Education is presented by Dr. Sheldon Margulies, The Fascinator, a retired neurologist who uses his life experience and expertise to help students learn. Fascinating_Chemistry_1

Fascinating Chemistry is a series of nineteen lessons which include a video, a script of the lesson and a lesson test. Each video is approximately 45 minutes in length. Videos are complete with menu and glossary, allowing the student to better follow the outline of each lesson. Students are also able to use the helpful menu feature to revisit areas which need strengthening without the hassle of scrubbing through an entire session. Lesson Scripts are an exact wording of the video lessons, including images. Several lessons contain links to lab activities for students to enjoy. Tests are given as multiple choice slide-presentations, with question helps for those who need them. After taking tests, students are able to review their test, print their test, and/or retake their test if needed. PDF versions of tests Fascinating_Chemistry_2are available. Test scores are not kept online, thus should be printed if so desired. Lesson topics include The Structure of the Atom, The Ionic Bond, The Covalent Bond, and more.

Fascinating Chemistry includes nineteen lessons total. Our family found it beneficial to break down these lessons into smaller sections, working through each lesson at a slower pace for greater understanding, rather than viewing an entire lesson in one sitting. We found the videos simple to follow and our narrator, The Fascinator, easy to understand. The lessons were clear and well laid out. The occasional labs are fun and appealing to kids.

It is our opinion Fascinating Chemistry may be used in a homeschooling setting with highFascinating_Chemistry_4 school, junior high, and/or upper level elementary students. The lessons are easy to follow and understand. Labs are equally simple. As the entire curriculum consists of only nineteen lessons, we would highly recommend breaking down the given lessons into smaller, half lessons to stretch the curriculum to fill an entire school year.

Chemistry is the name of the game for the year. We’ve just begun our adventure and are enjoying the hands-on application of all we’re learning. With the help of Fascinating Chemistry this will be a lovely journey. Now if I could only explain to my children chemistry experiments do not all need to consist of blowing things up or overflowing crucibles of foaming chemicals.

If you’d like to learn more about Fascinating Chemistry, as well as Fascinating Education, please visit them at their website. To read additional helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into the Fascinating Chemistry please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: Which area of science are you studying this year?

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Review: Make-a-State Activity

Make-a-StateThanks to Home School in the Woods and Make-a-State Activity, learning about our home state has never been as easy or as fun. This past month we’ve had the privilege of reviewing this incredible resource and can’t wait to share it with all our homeschool friends.

Make-a-State Activity, part of the vast Activity-Paks series from Home School in the Woods, makes learning fun and hands-on. This pak came with just about everything we needed to get started on our learning adventure. We downloaded a digital copy of Make-a-State Activity which consisted of project directions for our lap book, PDF images to complete activities, and a helpful “Start” file which allowed us to see everything in one location with clear directions on how assemble the lap book and all included projects. Make-a-State Activity contained a multitude of projects including Key State Facts, State Wildlife, State Geography, Famous People, and many more. It should be noted, while we chose to specifically focus on our home state of California for this Make-a-State Activity project, all fifty states are included in the Activity-Pak, allowing families to use and re-use this resource to their heart’s content.

Having previously enjoyed HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages, we were better prepared for the large quantity of printing, cutting,Make-a-State, Color_Page and assembly necessary to complete the lap book. However, it should be noted younger children might need assistance with cutting and completing certain portions of the book itself.

While we generally study history together as a family, my son and I were the only ones to embark on this particular learning adventure. Little Man is just out of fourth grade, when learning state history is suggested, and my thought was to use Make-a-State Activity to assist with achieving this goal. We decided to complete the entire Activity-Pak during the review period, working steadily through activities. We were able to meet our goal, easily finishing within several weeks.

Working through Make-a-State Activity was simple and fun. This was a great summer learning project and a lovely way to discover more about where we live. Mom appreciated the variety of options available to us. My son enjoyed including his own drawings, thoughts, and research. We love that everything is included in the downloadable file; we have permanent access to everything – pdf print outs, directions, color pages, and more! We have yet to find another company which does as excellent a job as Home School in the Woods when it comes to activity-paks and lap books. Their resources are top of the line, and incredibly affordable.

Make-a-State, State_InfoNever has completing a state research project been so easy or so fun! Thanks to Home School in the Woods, we learned much and enjoyed the journey.

In addition to Make-a-State Activity, Home School in the Woods offers a wide variety of hands-on history curriculum including Time Traveler American, additional Activity-Paks (Old Testament/New Testament/Composers/Artists), Lap-Paks, Timeline Trio, and their newest feature “A La Carte” projects! We’re excited to take advantage of this latest development, which includes a great number of games.

If you’d like to learn more about any of these hands-on curriculum or Home School in the Woods, please visit them at their website Home School in the Woods and on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+ and YouTube.

To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what Home School in the Woods has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

Review Crew Disclaimer

Your Turn!: In which grade did your children study their state/country history?

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Don’t Think You Can Homeschool? Think Again!

I_Can't_HomeschooHomeschooling can seem like a daunting journey, especially for those who are new to the concept. We are unsure of where to start, overwhelmed by the notion of taking on our children’s education, and feel as if we are not enough.

Join us as we review this fun series, sharing reasons families believe they can’t homeschool and offering encouragement for those unsure of the adventure called homeschooling.

I Can’t Homeschool!…

I Lack Self Control
They Won’t Listen
I’m Uneducated

I’m Unorganized
I Need ME Time
I Have Too Many Kids
My Kids Are Too Big

My Family Will Disapprove
I’m A Dad!
My Kids Have Special Needs

Big Changes to Our 2017-2018 Routine

Big Changes to Our 2017-2018 RoutineEvery year our learning routine grows and adapts to fit our needs. You’d imagine as the children get older, we’d tighten the belt and the work load would increase. Instead, this coming year, we’ve chosen to take a step back and lighten the load. The kids are more than pleased with the change. And no one is more surprised than I that we’re doing better than ever.

Change is hard for me. I hem and haw over whether or not this is for the family’s best interest or if I’m just trying to make my life easier. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with choosing a more simple path, I always wish to be sure I am doing so for the right reasons and not because I am being lazy or irresponsible. This year, we’ve made a few changes which definitely make life easier. One has been an adjustment for the better. The other? The other is a step of faith, based on the leading of the Lord.

This year, we’ve chosen to forego testing. Did that just make you nervous? It took a moment for the Lord to calm my heart and help me see things His way. As our children have gotten older, they’ve become more independent in certain areas of their learning. From spelling and grammar to arithmetic, the girls cruise through their lessons so smoothly they hardly need me around. Seeing as they are doing the work on their own and I am checking it on a daily basis, testing seemed a bit redundant. I watch as they study, noticing they complete lessons without heavily relying on open-book to answer correctly. On the Lord’s leading, testing has been put on hold. For now. I’ll be honest, I struggle with this from time-to-time. However, their work has not lessened in quality and their appreciation for each subject as increased. We’re taking this one day at a time, and enjoying the experiment.

Group learning, history and science, has also seen changes. In previous years we’ve done both history and science on the same day. Perhaps it’s my OCD nature which couldn’t seem to let go of covering every topic each and every day. Maybe it’s my personal schooling career which followed a similar routine. Who knows? This year, we’ve chosen to try something different. Two days a week we focus on science, and the other two we turn our attention to history. Not only does this help mom – who no longer needs to stress over having two, fun, engaging lessons planned everyday of the week – the kids appreciate having one daily focus. The length of time spent on our study has increased to accommodate our change, but no one seems to mind. In fact, it’s given us an opportunity to delve deeper and work on activities which we normally would have skipped due to time constraints.

These few changes have definitely lightened our daily and weekly homeschooling routine, and I believe we’re the better for it. Instead of increasing our work load, we’ve simplified; creating opportunity for deeper study and natural appreciation for the adventure of learning around us. Each day begins with prayer and hearts open to wherever the Lord leads.

Interested in the finer details of what we’re studying this year – including our course in chemistry and foreign language? Take a moment to pop over to view our 2017-2018 Course of Study and more at Our Year!

“Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes.”
~ Psalm 27:11

Your Turn!: Are there any major changes in your coming homeschool year?

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School Lunch, A Reason to Homeschool?

School Lunch, A Reason to Homeschool?Of all the reasons my husband and I homeschool our children, lunch just isn’t one of them. I never stop to think I am saving my kids from cafeteria food or unhealthy additives; I simply want to be around my kids. Due to the implementation of The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, I might have another reason to be thankful we homeschool.

“There has been a lot of fuss over school lunches recently. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has been implemented, with a goal of providing healthier meals for students. Portions have been reduced, and age-based calorie restrictions cap out at 850 calories. Apparently a lot of students don’t like some of the new options and are tossing portions of their lunch in the trash-prompting at least one Florida school district to consider installing “trash cams” to study wasted food. There is also concern that active students – such as athletes – aren’t getting enough calories to sustain their activity level. 

Kari Beetch, a food server at a Kansas school, is quoted by The Salina Journal noting that they have to serve what they’re told to serve, ‘But the amount of food served should be based on the individual. Every kid needs different calories. You have one kid who’s muscular and athletic and another who’s a small, skinny kid and feed them the same calories. You can’t compare them.’

Perhaps it was predictable that a system built on a one-size-fits-all model for education would eventually implement a similar approach for lunch. And that’s yet another good reason for homeschooling. Not only can you individualize the academics, you can give your children a diet that works for them.”

*(Taken from Home School Enrichment, Issue #61 Jan/Feb 2013)

This is just one more reason I am thankful my children are at home. I don’t have to worry they are eating too much or too little, if they are getting enough calories, or if they like what they are being served.

It does make me wonder though… Exactly how far will the government go to usurp the responsibilities of the parents? Why aren’t parents rising up in protest of these policies? When will parents finally start taking back their responsibilities and stop letting someone else raise their children?

The school’s job isn’t to teach the children morality, it isn’t to make sure they eat healthy and exercise, it isn’t to socialize. The purpose of public education was to make sure every child had an opportunity to learn. Just how far will the people of America abdicate their rights, until they no longer have them?

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
~ I Corinthians 10:31

Your Turn!: What is your favorite go-to lunch during the midst of a busy homeschool day?

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*Sources:

When Conversation Becomes Gossip

When_Conversation_Becomes_GossipLet’s face it; we aren’t going to like everyone we meet. In fact, there are some people we are going to dislike. We don’t agree with everyone’s choices, some people flat-out confuse us, and others are just obnoxious. When possible, it might be best to keep our opinions to ourselves and bite our tongues.

There are times when someone’s actions or habits demand a response. Someone says something or acts in such a way and we feel the need to explain to our children, sharing the worldview or character traits which brought about such behavior. However, generally speaking, when we make comments on how others live their lives, what we are really doing is gossiping. We don’t like how someone did something and feel the need to give our own opinions. We can’t believe so-and-so had the nerve to do thus and so; so we spout off about their actions. We aren’t looking to make moral evaluations and warn our children of future dangers, we are being mean and unkind.

Our children learn from watching us; what they see us do and say. If we are being unkind toward others, they will begin to copy the model set before them and develop the bad habit of gossiping about others. They will learn to be critical, judgemental, unkind, bitter, and lack grace. While I highly advise using life experiences as teaching tools, we need to be sure we are evaluating for the sake of character training and not merely being critical. Pointing out unwise decisions helps our children make sound future choices. Condemning people with our words teaches nothing except unkindness.

Let us be careful with the way we choose to speak about people, both in private and in front of our kids. Let us speak with grace and mercy, dealing with others as Christ has dealt with us.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
~ Ephesians 4:29

Your Turn!: We were always taught, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Do you agree with the sentiment? Please share your thoughts.

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Our June Reads

Our_June_Reads_2017It never ceases to amaze us how many books we finish in a month. The lists we share here are merely books we’ve used in a homeschooling/parenting capacity; there are many more which we read on our own! June’s list has a ton of incredible finds from our local library. Everything on this month’s list was completely new to us, which is always fun. All of them were used in our learning to some capacity. Most of them are now on a book wish list.

  1. What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? (Judith Viorst) – From the beloved and internationally bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst comes a brand-new collection of clever, hilarious, and poignant poems that touch on every aspect of the roller-coaster ride that is childhood.
    A poetry book I specifically chose for the kids. The poems are cute and a great conversation starter regarding feelings. 
  2. The Big Bad Book of Beasts (Michael Largo) – Michael Largo has updated the medieval bestsellers for the twenty-first century, illuminating little-known facts, astonishing secrets, and bizarre superstitions about the beasts that inhabit our world—and haunt our imaginations.
    The title alone had me, but the book itself is a gem. The Big Bad Book of Beasts is a fantastic reference guide for authors and artists, filled with both realistic and fantastical creatures to explore. This was pushed to the top of my ever-increasing book wish list. 
  3. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew (Daniel Pool) – For anyone who has ever wondered whether a duke outranked an earl, when to yell “Tally Ho!” at a fox hunt, or how one landed in “debtor’s prison”; this book serves as an indispensable historical and literary resource.
    Our girls continually seek more knowledge about old English traditions and mannerisms. This book was the perfect fit. We highly encourage a slow reading to fully intake the multitude of knowledge to be found within.
  4. The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (John Muir Laws) – The ultimate guide to nature drawing and journaling. This is the how-to guide for becoming a better artist and a more attentive naturalist.
    The ultimate guide to nature journaling, to be sure. Mr. Laws does a lovely job of explaining how to nature journal, including tips on drawing various creatures and nature finds. Don’t be scared of the obvious skill Mr. Laws has as an artist, however. Enjoy the beautiful examples of his work and move forward in confidence. 
  5. Kid Artists/Kid Athletes (David Stabler) – The series that began with Kid Presidents has new volumes that chronicle the childhoods of 16 celebrated artists and athletes!
    Okay, it was the adorable covers which caught my attention. I admit it. But the pages within are absolutely fantastic! Forget the kids, I enjoyed reading these books and continually am encouraging the kids to dig in. 
  6. Rebel Science (Dan Green) – If you think scientists are boring eggheads in white coats who never leave the lab, this dynamically illustrated book will set you straight!
    We discovered this read at our local bookstore and immediately checked it out from our library to fully explore it’s contents. Now, I’m going to have to buy it. It’s that good. Please note, the author isn’t Christian but that doesn’t come into play when reading, as the book’s intention is to give a timeline of when scientists lived and their contributions to science in general. 
  7. The Atlas of Oddities (Clive Gifford) – Atlas of Oddities takes kids on a round-the-world adventure that will help them see our planet in a whole new light.
    Maps hold a fascination for me. So when I can pick up a beautifully illustrated book for my children to enjoy, I’m all over it. The illustrations are out of this world cute and teach so much. You’ll definitely want to give this one a try.

We generally gather our reading materials from the library, but several of these have been added to our book wish list. Great reads are worth revisiting!  We were so excited to find another incredible selection this month! A few of them were excellent aids in nature study. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading.

Your Turn!: I’ve been on a poetry kick lately, do you have a favorite poet?

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