Review: Britfield & The Lost Crown

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We may have mentioned a time or two that our family loves books. Not just a little. A lot. There is always room for one more great read, and this month we added to our growing library with the first book in a spectacular new series, Britfield & The Lost Crown.

“Tom continued to think about the day as he stared at the peeling paint on the ceiling. He thought about Mr. Grievous’s threat, the file about his parents locked in the office, six more years at this miserable place and his friend Sarah. It was a long night, but Tom knew at that moment it was time to leave Weatherly.”

~ Britfield & The Lost Crown

Britfield & The Lost Crown is the first book in a new series by C.R.Stewart released by Devonfield Publishing. Britfield & The Lost Crown is an adventurous story taking readers through a discovery of prominent English landmarks as they uncover the mystery of young Tom’s past. Aided by his best friend, Sarah, and a slew of amazingly helpful acquaintances, Tom will do everything in his power to uncover who he really is and remain free of their hateful orphanage forever.

Already the winner of several awards, our family was eager to review the first book in the new series and excited to explore the multitude of learning possibilities. Our family received a signed paperback copy of the book, access to the Britfield website, and a link to download the Britfield Study Guide.

As I prefer previewing reads before passing them off to our children, I made sure I was the first to sit down with the book. Being a quick reader and given the reading level of the story, I found I was able to complete the book within one evening; finishing in approximately four hours. Afterwards, I made the book available to my children and took time to explore the possibilities of the Britfield study guide and website.

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I found the Britfield Study Guide to be well thought out and thorough. Available for free to teachers and homeschoolers, the study guide includes learning opportunities focusing on vocabulary, comprehension and “Going Deeper” exercises which encourage learners to think beyond the story. Portions of the study guide also include “Learn More with Technology” which assists learners in becoming familiar with online research.
For our family’s purposes we chose to focus our attention on the “Going Deeper” portions of the study guide, preferring to approach the questions openly in group discussion. We found this worked best for our family as the other sections of the guide would have been a review of skills already learned by my students and I wanted to spend a greater amount of our time on the Britfield website.

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Upon visiting the Britfield website, we were immediately impressed by the amount of options available to us. Readers can learn more about not only the series itself, but the author, various awards, opportunities for teachers to explore the Britfield Classroom Creativity Experience, and the upcoming Explorer’s Club.
For those ready to jump into a learning adventure inspired by the book, a series of seven options are also available for exploration: Yorkshire, The Midlands, Oxford, Windsor, Richmond, London and Canterbury. Selecting any of these subcategories will immediately launch you into a fresh study of this English landmark. Depending on which landmark you choose to focus on, readers have the option to examine maps, peruse beautiful photographs of the given area, learn a bit of history and geography, and more.
We explored every aspect of the website. We found the resource too good to pass up, and eagerly studied each landscape thoroughly.

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We found Britfield & The Lost Crown to be a wonderful book. The story was clean, well-paced, had beautifully developed characters, was filled with adventure, and encouraged a desire for deeper study. We found the book to be enjoyable for even our adults readers, while easily manageable for younger listeners. The book would be a perfect Morning Basket read for families to explore together, giving plenty of opportunity to incorporate both the Study Guide and website learning adventures.
If the front cover – beautifully illustrated and incredibly soft to the touch – doesn’t immediately grab you, within minutes the story will pull you in and have you wanting more.

From what we are told, movies for each of the books in this fantastic series are in the works! No news yet as to when they will be released, but we’ll definitely be keeping our ears open for any new developments. Until then, there is still plenty to explore while we wait for the next installment in the series.
I am so glad we took the time to review Britfield & The Lost Crown and add yet another amazing read to our home library. Don’t you just love a good book?

If you’d like to learn more about Britfield & The Lost Crown please visit them at their website and on FacebookTwitteror Instagram!

To read additional reviews like this one, and gain more insight into this fantastic read, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

Review Crew Disclaimer

We’d love to know… Do you have a favorite historical fiction series you enjoy?

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Review: Nothing by Natalee Creech

It has been said a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps this is why picture books continue to draw people in, no matter our age. When we find a book which perfectly blends the magic of illustration with the gift of words, we know we’ve found a keeper. A recent family find, Nothing by Natalee Creech, published through WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, not only fits the bill but is using the medium of picture books to share the Love of God. It doesn’t get much better!

Worthy Publishing Group is an established book company whose mission is, “To help people experience the heart of God.” Of their vast selection of titles, WorthyKids creates vibrant children’s literature including Nothing by Natalee Creech. Together, former teacher turned librarian, Ms. Creech, and talented illustrator, Joseph Cowman, bring to life this beautiful picture book expressing the heart of Romans 8:38-39.

“NOTHING can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: note death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.”

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Nothing is a hardbound, full-color picture book with over thirty pages of beautifully created illustrations. Readers will find this to be a book of highest quality. From the dust jacket to the pages within, Nothing is a well-crafted read. Suggested for children aged four to seven, Ms. Creech’s rhymes are sure to delight and teach the depth of this passage, while Mr. Cowman’s art will draw them in.

I no longer have littles in our home. (There are days I am still coming to terms with this sad fact.) However, a good picture book should always be appreciated, no matter our age! I specifically wished to review Nothing as my husband is an illustrator and the cover of the book immediately caught my attention. I also have the privilege of having little people visit me on a regular basis and having new picture books to share with them is a treat. Nothing was no exception.

Upon receiving our read, I was immediately impressed with the quality of the book. The illustrations were everything I previewed online and more. The cover and dust jacket are simply magnificent. A mix of mat and high gloss layers, with a rich color palette, this book pulls you in and begs to be read. The pages within are well bound, easy to turn, and equally charming to behold. And while the illustrations are worthy of many moments of admiration, the text itself is no less lovely. Through her gift of rhyme, Ms. Creech reminds readers there is nowhere we can go where we are separated from the love of our God. Her ability as a writer, her heart for children, and her love of the Lord shine through wonderfully. Readers could visit this book regularly and never tire.

We mentioned Nothing is suggest for children aged four to seven, but we would slightly disagree. While we find the reading level to be accurate; frankly, we would recommend this read to anyone who has an interest in beautiful picture books and a heart for poetry. Nothing might be intended for the young, but will bless those of any age. Myself and my children, ages ranging from seventeen to twelve, all agree; this is a beautiful book.

From time to time, everyone should be reminded that nothing separates us from the love of Christ. Even us adults. Especially when we are deceived into thinking we are unlovable or our mistakes too big to be forgiven. Nothing is a heartfelt, touching reminder for all of us, from the young to the old, that we are loved beyond anything we could imagine.

If you’d like to learn more about Nothing by Natalee Creech or WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group please visit them at their website and on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, or Instagram!

To read additional reviews like this one, and gain more insight into this fantastic read, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

Review Crew Disclaimer

We’d like to know… What was the last picture book you read and with whom?

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The Practice of Oral Reading

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I’m sure we all encourage our children to read. Silently. But, how much time is spent on reading aloud? Oral fluency seems to be necessary for good comprehension and an enjoyable reading experience.¹ If we aren’t already doing so, adding oral reading to our homeschooling routine might be of benefit.

Since their births, we have tried to instill a love of reading in our kids. Even before they could understand, we would read to them or read in front of them. However, reading to them isn’t enough. I want to make sure that as my children are growing, they are also reading to me.

There are some great ways to encourage oral reading. We can model how to read; ideally with us reading fluently to our children. We can read often; every day I make time to read with each child and have them read to me. We can read as a group; our family could memorize a poem and say it together.

What makes a good reader? One indication they are doing well, is that they are reading with expression; they will sound happy when it is called for and sad when necessary. Another pointer is that they are reading without struggling.

If you are looking for a great way to incorporate oral reading into your homeschool learning day, look no further than your book basket! If you care to find something a little more formal, I would highly recommend McGuffey’s Eclectic ReadersThe key is to read at least once a day, preferably reading the same passage throughout the week. This might seem boring at first, but the repetition is important. Reading the same words over and over, builds fluency and helps your child become comfortable with the text. After a day or so, your child will be less anxious about the words; focusing more on expression and delivery.

When children read out loud, we can better detect their struggles and offer them positive feedback; helping them complete their learning goals. This is especially important for children who are already struggling with reading, giving them the help they need to be stronger readers. Our children’s education will flourish when they are fluent readers. Fluency may seem out of reach, but it can be achieved. With consistent practice and constant encouragement, our children will ultimately reach their goal.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

~ Joshua 1:8

 We’d love to know… Does oral fluency play a part in your homeschooling day? How do you find ways to encourage your child to read aloud?

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Do We Have Bibliophilia? Probably!

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Bibliophilia or bibliophilism is the love of books. Accordingly a bibliophile is an individual who loves books. A bookworm is someone who loves books for their content, or who otherwise loves reading.
– Wikipedia

That, in short, describes the people in our house perfectly. Our home consists of several thousand books, not including the thousands more we borrow from the library each year.

Even if we weren’t homeschooling, books would have been an important part of our lives. My husband had a collection consisting of several hundred before we got married. When we got together, the set was increased by my addition of several hundred. Before kids, we added another hundred or so. Since having kids… Oh, my!

We have discovered books aren’t just an important part of our lives, they are essential. Not a day goes by that we don’t use several books to help us get through our studies and keep us entertained.

We have reference materials for art, history, science, logic, apologetics, Biblical studies, and so much more. Our collection of books is vast and eclectic. We have a little bit of just about everything: comics, graphic novels, classics, fables, poetry, art, architecture, design, mystery, adventure, fantasy, and logic. We have Stephen King, Norman Geisler, Roald Dahl, Shel Silverstein, C.S. Lewis, and the list goes on.

One of our favorite activities is perusing the public library; nabbing the latest and greatest, along with the old and well-loved. We now have five library cards between the six of us and, even then, often max them out. We have been known to check out a hundred books a week. And our interest lists keep growing.

I find it interesting that when people see our cart full of library books – Yes, we have a cart. A bag just wouldn’t hold them all. –  they immediately assume we homeschool. It’s as if the books are an arrow pointing to our methods of education. We’ve also found it interesting that some parents hinder their children from selecting a larger number of reads from their local library. One parent was overheard to have told their children, “Two books. No more.” My children were horrified. However, it was a great catalyst for conversation. I’m sure the mama had a justifiable reason for her statement.

Should we ever find ourselves in a predicament and not know what to read, there are several resources available. Honey For a Child’s HeartThe Book Tree, and Books Children Love are just a few. Fortunately, we don’t have to use these resources very often. There are always great reads waiting in the wings!

Books are a huge part of our lives; they bring us together, entertain, and instruct. We’re extremely grateful to the Lord for the multitude of resources He’s made available to us, and the many books we’ve been blessed with over the years. May He bless us with many more!

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

~ Philippians 4:8

 We’d love to know… Do you love books, too? Which book is your favorite?

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Our November Reads

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Where has this last month gone? For that matter, the year. Without even trying it seems our days have been filled with a flurry of activity; pulling our time in several directions and leaving us in awe of our many adventures. Before we prepare to fully immerse ourselves in Christmas cheer, we want to take a quick moment to peruse the few reads we included in our monthly routine.

We’ve broken down our list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Learning Resources:

  • The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for The World’s Most Adventurous Kid (Dylan Thuras & Rosemary Mosco) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- Created by the same team behind Atlas Obscura, the #1 New York Times bestseller that has over 600,000 copies in print in its first year, The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid is a thrillingly imaginative expedition to 100 weird-but-true places on earth.

General Reading:

  • Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say (Kelly Corrigan) ⭐️⭐️⭐️– In channeling the characteristically streetwise, ever-relatable voice that has defined Corrigan’s work, Tell Me More is a meaningful, touching take on the power of the right words at the right moment to change everything.
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Susan Cain) ⭐️⭐️⭐️ In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. 
  • The Final Curtain (Ray Comfort) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – “How could any successful, famous person who is rolling in money and who is surrounded by adoring fans be depressed? Happiness comes from what happens to us, and if good things are happening, we should be happy. So why the depression? That is the question that they and we ask ourselves. Why?” If you are suffering from depression or know someone who is, this book can help you find hope.

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… 

  • RThe Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide is a fantastic book. The illustrations are lovely, and our children enjoyed learning about fascinating places around the world we don’t often hear about. We were so blessed to receive this book.
  •  The FInal Curtain is an amazing read, and one I highly recommend. It’s fitting for young adults and anyone who looking for a way to minister to people battling clinical depression. 
  • The other two reads were personal selections for myself. I found both topics intriguing but slightly disappointing.

Well, this month’s list is short but sweet. Between learning adventures, outings, and a holiday, we spent more time with personal reading than we did on group selections. No problem with that! In December, we’ll be taking a break from our regularly scheduled book list in order to fully enjoy the Christmas holiday! Be sure to check back here in January as we share another round of fabulous, and sometimes not so fabulous, reads.

We’re curious… How many Christmas books does your family currently own?

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3

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Our October Reads

 

our_october_readsOctober has come and gone. While we most assuredly made time for great literature, this month had us occupied with reading of a different sort. Political material! It made for many a fun conversation, and we all learned a great deal about what is going on in our state and country. In between discussions, events, and family gatherings you could find us in our respective corners digging into this month’s incredible reads.

We’ve broken down our list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Learning Resources:

  • Walden (Henry David Thoreau) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- A vivid account of the time that Henry D. Thoreau lived alone in a secluded cabin at Walden Pond. For the student and for the general reader, this is the ideal presentation of Thoreau’s great document of social criticism and dissent.
  • Narrative on the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Frederick Douglass’s Narrative, first published in 1845, is an enlightening and incendiary text. Born into slavery, Douglass became the preeminent spokesman for his people during his life; his narrative is an unparalleled account of the dehumanizing effects of slavery and Douglass’s own triumph over it.
  • Historium (Richard Wilkinson and Jo Nelson) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- There are more than 160 historical artifacts to be discovered in Welcome to the Museum: Historium. Wander the galleries of this museum whenever you wish—it’s open 365 days a year!—and discover a collection of curated objects on every page, accompanied by informative text. Each chapter features a different ancient civilization, from the Silla dynasty of Korea to ancient Rome.

Children’s Books:

  • Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems (J. Patrick Lewis & Douglas Florian) ⭐️⭐️⭐️- The U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate and an award-winning children’s poet join their prolific forces in this picture book of poems about cars. But they’re not just any cars…
  • The Night Gardener (The Fan Brothers) ⭐️⭐️⭐️- One day, William discovers that the tree outside his window has been sculpted into a wise owl. In the following days, more topiaries appear, and each one is more beautiful than the last. Soon, William’s gray little town is full of color and life. And though the mysterious night gardener disappears as suddenly as he appeared, William—and his town—are changed forever.
  • The Little Gardener (Emily Hughes) ⭐️⭐️- There was once a little gardener and his garden meant everything to him. He worked hard, very hard, but he was just too little (or at least he felt he was). A story that teaches us just how important it is to persist and try, no matter what the odds.
  • The Alphabet Primer Series (BabyLit Books) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️-

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… 

  • Historium, part of the Welcome to the Museum Series, is fabulous. We’re in love with each of the books. The artwork is beautifully done, and the pages within offer hours of learning fun.
  • Our family likes to collect picture books. This month’s selections were a great deal of fun. The Night Gardener was incredibly sweet. The Alphabet Primers from BabyLit had us wishing we still had little ones. But we not going to let that stop us. A great many books from this series will more than likely find their way onto this mama’s bookshelf in the very near future.
  • Walden was a lovely surprise. We weren’t sure what to expect, and I didn’t know how much the kids would appreciate the essays within. Surprisingly my children loved it! They found the language beautiful and Thoreau’s descriptions and thoughts meaningful.

The weather is finally cooling down, and we’ve stocked up on ingredients for hot cocoa. This is the perfect weather for curling up with a good book and immersing ourselves in a story. Join us again during the month of November as we explore a world of books and the adventure of reading. What will we read next?

We’re curious… Do your literature selections tend to correspond to other areas of learning?

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3

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Getting the Most From Our Reads

getting_the_most_our_readsSurprisingly, I read as much young adult fiction as my children do. I enjoy the genre and especially appreciate being able to share these books with my kiddos. Our family also delights in classic literature. We laugh, cry, and share some wonderful memories centered on great books. Together we’re getting the most from our reads.

In our family, reading books extends beyond the page. We soak up the words and make them come to life. Through conversation, play, and more, we use these steps to help us:

Read – No matter how we choose to read, sharing a book with our child can be fun. We pick one of the following methods and go to town:

  • Together – We snuggle on the couch, gather round the table, or cuddle in bed at night. No matter when or how, we enjoy the read as a family.
  • Alone – Some of our books make the rounds. Mom reads it first – making sure it’s a clean read – then it goes through the crowd, usually from the fastest reader down.

Story Coaster – After we finish our book, we hit the plot points. Were my younger children able to follow along? I use this time to ensure they understood who the main characters were and the focus of the story; reviewing vocabulary and literary terminology I wish for them to learn. Only a short amount of time is given to this, but it is well worth the few moments and our children have learned much in this practice.

Reenact – Depending on our chosen book, acting out portions of the story is included. While reading Little House on the Prairie, we might build a cabin with Lincoln Logs or do a little baking. Most stories inspire some form of hands-on activity to partake in.

Discuss – While the reading, in-and-of itself, is always a treat, I rarely leave a book without taking a moment to check in with my kids. I want to hear their thoughts on the read and cover important ground which the Lord has prompted me to share. This takes our book to a new level, moving past what’s on the page and encourages our children to correspond the story to reality.
A key-note: We launch conversations with open-ended questions. The goal is to get our children to talk, not merely answer “Yes” or “No”. We ask what our children liked/disliked about the book; what they learned; their favorite character/portion of the story; and their take on the book in general. As our children mature, we discuss world views which might be present. (One series which comes to mind is Hunger Games. These books launched many wonderful conversations about government and reform. The writing was not at its best, but the benefits from our talks was well worth the poor literature.)

Watch – If there’s a movie, we’re more than likely going to watch it. This launches entirely new discussions on difference between the two, which they liked better, and more. Plus, who doesn’t like a good movie?

Play – Did you know many popular books, authors, and publishers have websites filled with games and activities? For added fun, we enjoy hopping on to one of these sites and playing games which relate to our read. Our favorites are the The Chronicles of Narnia, Mysterious Benedict Society, and Harry Potter websites.

For those with littler children, or are unsure of where to start in their literary adventure, we highly recommend Five in a Row. With FIAR all the work is done for you! Each week, you follow a suggested read and enjoy the multitude of activities available. Included are questions to discuss with your children and additional resources. Once you’ve grown comfortable with the format, branch out and choose your own books.

We love great literature. By discussing these books and bringing them to life, we are creating wonderful memories and life-long lessons for our children to remember forever. Our books jump off the page and we get the most from our reads.

Now we’re curious… What is your favorite part of reading a book?

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Our June Reads

 

our_june_reads_2018It’s summer time! Instead of things slowing down, they’ve amped up higher than ever with a ton of fun activities and even more incredible reads. Summer reading programs have begun, and this year we’re participating in two separate libraries; reaping the rewards of great literature. June’s list has a few new books to hit the market, picture books, and others which added to our learning fun. As usual, all of our reads were an adventure!

We’ve broken down the list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Picture Books:

  • Photicular Books (Workman Publishing Company) ⭐⭐⭐ – Photicular technology. Each full-color image is like a 3-D movie on the page, delivering a rich, fluid, immersive visual experience. The result is breathtaking. The cheetah bounds. The gazelle leaps. The African elephant snaps its ears. The gorilla munches the ocean_puzzlesleaves off a branch. It’s mesmerizing, as visually immediate as a National Geographic or Animal Planet special.
  • Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor (Robert Burleigh) ⭐⭐ – Filled with gorgeous illustrations by acclaimed artist Raúl Colón, this illustrated biography shares the story of female scientist, Marie Tharp, a pioneering woman scientist and the first person to ever successfully map the ocean floor.
  • Ocean Puzzles (Dr. Gareth Moore) ⭐⭐⭐ – Ahoy! You’re an accidental pilot aboard a submarine that’s sinking fast! Solve the puzzles to take control and navigate safely back to land. Devised by an expert on brain training, these mental gymnastics—and a friendly dolphin—will see you through your ocean adventure! You can’t skip a puzzle, but there are hints to help and full answers to get you on your way.
  • The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea (Helaine Becker) ⭐⭐ – The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea shows how the ocean works and why this immense ecosystem needs our protection. Experiments using everyday materials help explain scientific concepts, such as why the ocean is salty, how temperature affects water density and why fish don’t get waterlogged.atlas_obscura

Learning Resources:

Books for Mum:

  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Casia Lisa) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – guernsey_literaryJanuary 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… 

  • The photicular books were amazing to view. Learning how these books are made was even more fascinating.
  • One of our libraries is focusing on an ocean theme this summer, thus the increase in literature on this topic. Ocean Puzzles is an incredible picture book; one in a series. The included puzzles will challenge your children to think hard.
  • I never thought I would be a collector of anything. However, I’ve discovered I love maps/globes and encyclopedia of information. Atlas Obscura is amazing! I borrowed our copy from the local library. But, it’s on my growing list of “need to own”.
  • We’re studying Botany this coming learning year, which is why we purchased The Botany Coloring Book, but, frankly, it’s amazing! If you’ve yet to see it, check it out! It’s incredible.
  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society was a suggestion from my oldest girl. It seems a movie is coming out in a couple of months and, being a period piece, she was drawn into the story. It was a great read, but probably not one for the kids. There is a little – a very little – bit of language, and the subject matter being post-WWII the read was a sobering one. I am very much looking forward to the movie, which I can ClearPlay to ensure anything inappropriate be removed; allowing for our family’s enjoyment.

Coming soon… Comic Con, a day trip, heading back to daily book lessons, and so much more. Homeschooling keeps us busy exploring and learning through life experiences. Join us again during the month of July as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading. What will we read next?

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3

Your Turn!: Is your family signed up for a summer reading program?

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Our May Reads

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How can it possibly be the end of May? Didn’t this month just begin! No matter how often I tell myself things will slow down near the end of the school year, we never seem to make it. In fact, it always seems more busy than ever. This has been a fun month of reading, learning, exploring, and increasing in wisdom. May’s list has a few new books to hit the market, picture books, and others which added to our learning fun. As usual, all of our reads were an adventure!

We’ve broken down the list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Picture Books:

  • A Year Full of Stories (Angela McAllister) ⭐⭐⭐ – This treasury of 52 stories collects together a rich resource of myths, fairy tales and legends from around the curious_crittersworld, with a story for every week of the year.
  • Hippos Can’t Swim and Other Fun Facts (Laura Lyn DiSiena & Hannah Eliot) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This hilarious book is full of fun facts about all sorts of animals, from sleepy ants to jellyfish that glow!
  • Curious Critters (David FitzSimmons) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Enjoy amazing close-up images of twenty-one common yet often overlooked North American animals. Whimsical but educational narratives accompanying each animal highlight fascinating natural history information.

Learning Resources:

  • Quick Answers to Tough Questions (Bryan Osborne & Bodie Hodge) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Leading readers through six main areas of discussion, apologists Bryan and Bodie have dedicated themselves to teaching the Word of God and presenting the gospel message.
  • Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities (Amy Stewart) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐- Stewart takes on over two hundred of Mother Nature’s most appalling creations. It’s an A to Z of plants that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend.
  • The Big, Bad Book of Botany (Michael Largo) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Organized alphabetically, The Big, Bad Book of Botany combines the latest in biological wicked_plantsinformation with bizarre facts about the plant kingdom’s oddest members, including a species that is more poisonous than a cobra and a prehistoric plant that actually “walked.”
  • Wild Animals of the South (Dieter Braun) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Famous German illustrator Dieter Braun offers his readers an accurate representation of animals from the southern hemisphere in this gorgeously illustrated volume.
  • Wild Animals of the North (Dieter Braun)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – From the polar bears of the Arctic to the North American pumas and pandas in Asia, North takes children on an exciting journey of discovery. The stunning and accurate drawings show these animals in all their natural majesty and the witty and charming descriptions will teach children all about their new favorite animals!
  • Smart About Sharks (Owen Davey)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Owen Davey returns to nonfiction to explain the mysteries of those denizens of the deep. Some deadly, some not-so-deadly, and almost all just generally misunderstood.
  • Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature (Amanda Wood & Mike Jolley) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Natural World explores and explains why living things look and behave the way they do in a series of visually compelling information charts.
  • Under Water/Under Earth (Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Dive below the surface and find out what happens under earth and under sea—from early submarines and deep-sea life to burrowing animals and man-made tunnels.
  • 50 Cities of the U.S.A. (Gabrielle Balkan) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Explore skyscraper streets, museum miles, local food trucks and city parks of the United States of America and discover more than 2,000 facts that celebrate the people, culture, and diversity that have helped make America what it is today.

Books for Fun:

  • Remnant Trilogy (Tim Chaffey & K. Marie Adams) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – A three-book series surrounding the life of Noah. We are given a thoughtful look at this incredible man of God and taken on a journey in Biblical truths.

Book Club Reads:

  • Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – For Guy Montag, a career fireman fantastic_voyagefor whom kerosene is perfume, this is not just an official slogan. It is a mantra, a duty, a way of life in a tightly monitored world where thinking is dangerous and books are forbidden.
  • Fantastic Voyage (Isaac Asimov) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Four men and a woman are reduced to a microscopic fraction of their original size, sent in a miniaturized atomic sub through a dying man’s carotid artery to destroy a blood clot in his brain. If they fail, the entire world will be doomed.

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… All of these books were fantastic; there wasn’t a single one we disliked or regretted picking up.
We are absolutely in love with just about everything coming out of Flying Eye BooksWild About Sharks, Wild Animals… The illustrations are absolutely fabulous, and the pages within hold a wealth of information.
The Big, Bad Book of Botany is a fantastic resource to have on hand, along with another in the series we’ve recommended, The Big, Bad Book of BeastsOwning both is definitely one of my goals for this coming year. For now, I’ve kidnapped a copy from the local library.
And, finally, Master Books – Quick Answers… and Remnant Trilogy. Visit their website, peruse their resources, and download samples of their incredible curriculum. I wish I had discovered this company years ago. There are not enough adjectives to describe this fantastic Bible-based company or their resources.

Our local summer reading program begins this coming week – which always means a ton of good reads – and we’ll be gearing up for another year of homeschool adventures in just a short month. Join us again during the month of June as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading. What will we read next?

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3

Your Turn!: Are you currently part of a book club?

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Review: The Great Escape by M.J.Thomas

https://thehomeschoolmomblog.wordpress.comIt’s here. It’s finally here! You’ll forgive us if we’re jumping for joy and ridiculously excited to share with you The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls (Book #3): The Great Escape, the newest release in The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series from M.J. Thomas and Worthy Kids/Ideals. Our copy arrived a few days ago and we can’t put it down.

Worthy Publishing Group is an established book company whose mission is, “To help people experience the heart of God.” Of their five distinct imprints and vast selection of titles, Worthy Kids/Ideals creates vibrant children’s literature including The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. The series began with THESE two amazing stories, and is followed by The Great Escape.

“Join Peter, Mary, and their dog Hank as they discover ancient scrolls and travel back in time to stories in the Bible. They find a world filled with wonder, adventure, and danger. They must search for clues to solve the secret of the scrolls … or they will be stuck there forever… Perfect for emerging readers ages 6 – 9, homeschooling families, and lovers of adventure, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls brings beloved Bible stories to adventurous life.”
~ Secret of the Hidden Scrolls

In our newest story, The Great Escape, Peter, Mary and Hank find themselves transported to the deserts of Ancient Egypt where they meet the Pharaoh’s daughter and experience firsthand the ten plagues God brought upon the land in order to free His people. Along the way they meet an old enemy hiding behind a new identity; one who will stop at nothing to prevent the children from completing their mission and returning home. Together the children discover, “GOD IS POWERFUL AND WILL SET YOU FREE”! Hidden Scrolls

I’ll be honest. One of the main reasons this mama is so excited for the release of Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Great Escape is that now my eleven-year-old son can stop asking me – every. five. minutes. – when his book will finally be here. While the official release date was the first week of April, an advanced copy was kindly sent our way just a tad early. Thus the minute the calendar said March, the mailman’s deliveries were met with anticipation. The moment it arrived he pounced on it and barely let it go long enough for his mum to read it herself. What a fantastic problem, don’t you agree? I love watching my children enjoy good, Bible based literature and Secret of the Hidden Scrolls is everything lovely.

Specifically targeted for 6-9 year olds, homeschoolers, and those who love adventure, our family has found Secret of the Hidden Scrolls to be a perfect fit. Our son was able to finish his first read-through in approximately one hour. (I say his first because, since, he’s read through it several more times. Which goes to show just how much we love this series!)  We were especially blessed to find we received a signed copy of the The Great Escape, which meant the world to my son. As with the first two books in the series, we appreciated the inclusion at the back of the book complete with specific references to Scripture covered and notes on the story itself.

Hidden+Scroll+Activity+Sheet_ScrollStealerIn addition to enjoying this fantastic read, we made sure to visit The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls‘ website. There we were able to sign up to be part of the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Club. We just know it’s going to be fun! We were also able to enjoy the Activities page and read the Story Behind the Story. (For those just discovering this series, Secret of the Hidden Scrolls website is also the perfect place to preview each story or order a set for the family!)

We are absolutely excited about this book, and the entire Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series. Now, just like Mr. Thomas’ son, Peter, we’re anxiously awaiting another one! We’re not sure when it’s coming, but we feel certain another read is on its way. Until then, it looks like we’ll just have to re-read and be patient.

If you’d like to learn more about The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls by M.J. Thomas or WorthyKids/Ideals please visit them at their website and on FacebookTwitter or Instagram!

FTC Disclaimer

Your Turn!: In The Great Escape, Peter and Mary discover firsthand what it must have been like enduring each of the ten Egyptian plagues. Given the last plague as the worst, which of the other nine plagues would have affected you most?

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