Books I Have Read (free printable for kids)

I’m still blogging in my mind, but no one has invented the Telepathic Blog App yet, so I can’t prove it.  I did, however, attend a fun and refreshing little blog conference here in San Antonio last weekend, and I am really, truly, planning to start blogging again.  Soon.  Maybe.

In the meantime, here’s a quick little project I did this morning for my kiddos, and I thought I’d take a moment to share it with you.  This is the first printable I’ve ever shared, so be kind.  🙂

Books I Have Read - free printable

Books I Have Read – Title, Date finished, Author, and 2 line Summary for 5 books (free printable in PDF format)

Every time one of my younger children finishes a school book, I take him or her out for an inexpensive treat – a dollar burger, a trip to The Dollar Tree, or something similar.  If they want, I let them wait and use 2 outings at once for a trip to the dollar theater (which actually costs $2 for each of us).  They always ask if reading a “regular” book can count, but I would be taking someone out every day of the week if I were that generous!

But here is a compromise: With this printout, they can earn an outing every for 5 books they have read – and they’ll have a good start on writing a mini book report!  As they gain practice, I’ll add a few more lines for the summary and switch to a 2-page format.  It will be easy since my printer does 2-sided printing painlessly.

Of course you can make up your rules, but I did put just a few requirements for my own children as to which books are acceptable:

  1. It must be a new book that you have never read before.
  2. You must read it – audio books are great, but they don’t count toward this goal.
  3. It must be at an appropriate level for you.

In the future, I might require that a minimum number of books on the list be non-fiction.

My kids are already enthusiastic readers, but I think this will encourage them to read with more purpose, seek out new titles, and retain more of they read since they will be summarizing each book as they finish it.

Do you use something like this? Would you like to?  If you download and use this, I’d love to hear what you and your children think!

Help a shy girl break out of her shell.

Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit NEWS {Giveaway}

See that button above?  I want to win a pass to the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit.  And I want you to help me.

Smockity said I had to write an awesome blog post about this conference in order to enter the giveaway.  But the whole reason I want to go is because my awesome is all used up.  I need to recharge my awesome.  So I need you to pretend that this post is awesome.  Say lots of awesome things about it in the comments, because the winner will be chosen based partly on the number of comments.   Can you do this for me?  Will you do it if I tell you that one commentor will also win a pass?  And then if we both won, we could meet in real life!  And I could act all awkward because I’m actually really shy in real life, but you didn’t know that because I’m such a bigmouth on my blog.

The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit is in San Marcos, barely an hour from my house.  Interested?  Here’s how to register.  I know Perry will want me to go.  I know this even without asking him, because he just told me about it even though I already knew.  Also, he always encourages me to do stuff like this and I whine and say that I’m too shy for conferences and too tired to go get energized and encouraged.  But then we go to a conference and I love every minute of it while he gives me the “Are you ready to leave yet?” look.  So if I win a free pass, I’ll put on my big girl pants and just go.  I’ll do it.

So pop over to the Winter Summit facebook page and see what it’s all about, but first leave me a comment.  Better yet, leave 3!

Want to enter to win the pass for yourself?  See how here.

Homeschooling infographic

I’m not sure when was the last time I posted an infographic, but this one is very…informative.  Homeschooling is more than an educational choice; it’s a way of life.  Whether you plan for it or not, it has a huge impact on your lifestyle, daily routine, and everything your family does both as a group and individually.

My parents started homeschooling in the early 80’s, before it was even on the radar for most people.  Now, according to the image below, 1 in 25 American children is homeschooled.

Among the 14 children in my own family, some are fiercely determined to homeschool and others have put their children into public schools.  The determining factor seems to be whether they consider themselves Christians and attend church regularly.  It’s sad for me to even think about the fact that some of my siblings don’t, but I hold out hope that they will turn back to God.  They’re young, and God’s promise is strong to parents who train up their children in the way they should go.  My parents were not  perfect, but they tried.

Homeschooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up

Living the Answer online classes

Living the Answer online classesLast year, Lydia and Kaitlyn took an online essay class taught by David Vogel at Living the Answer.  You can read Kaitlyn’s review here, and my own comments in this post.  It was intensive, but they loved it and their writing and confidence improved by leaps and bounds.  They took Essay Writing: Zero to Sixty in a Semester which combines two of Living the Answer’s most popular classes – Intro to Essays and Essays II.

This summer, 13yo Natalie and 11yo Becca are going to take Intro to Essays.  They tend to be reluctant writers and are a little apprehensive about the class, but I’m excited to see what Mr. Vogel can do for them.  I know they are eager to learn because they just started a blog of their own, but they lack confidence.  Mr. Vogel’s highly interactive classes are very engaging, and constructive criticism is really an area where he shines.

Megan is also slated for a class this summer, and she’s not the least bit apprehensive.  She can’t wait to start Introduction to Logic.  This is a course in which she had already expressed interest, and now she gets to study under the teacher her older sisters raved about last year!

His classes aren’t cheap, but he gives a lot of individual attention and feedback to his students, so he really is selling his own time – and since the classes are often entirely filled, I know other kids like him as much as my own do.

Next?  Maybe my older girls can try out the advanced essay class, Mastering the College Application Essay.  This class is aimed at competent essay writers, consisting of a three-hour workshop with a one-hour review the following week for just $25.

Interested?  David also offers online classes in Christian Worldview & Apologetics, Government & Economics, Philosophy, and Algebra I and II.  You can see a schedule for this summer here.  He is also adding several new classes next year.  Want to know what and when?  Like Living the Answer on facebook for updates.

Snapshot: reading lesson


Perry begged to have Calvin sit with him during his reading lesson today, and Calvin was happy to comply.

Naive, Unworldly Homeschoolers

Cindy has a must-read post: to help you answer concerns about Those Poor, Naive Homeschoolers

In any discussion with critics of home education, the objection will eventually crop up that “homeschoolers won’t know how to deal with the real world when they’re grown.” It seems safe to assume that those who raise this objection aren’t worried that homeschooled children won’t be able to figure out how to buy groceries, drive a car, or effectively conduct personal business, given the fact that they are raised by people who do these things right in front of them every day.

Instead, the questioner seems most of the time to be referring to the cultural and moral differences between Christian homes and the non-Christian public schools. The objection could be accurately restated as “Homeschoolers will see so little of the brazen sinfulness of mainstream American culture that they will be shocked into helpless paralysis at the sight of {insert popular but blatantly sinful and unbiblical behavior or attitude here}. As if Good were such a weak little thing that the first whiff it gets of Evil will cause it to clutch its girly skirts and faint!…

Read the rest

Snapshot: time to celebrate!


Perry finished his 1st grade math workbook recently, so the two of us are out for a celebratory milkshake. I have decided to make a tradition of this: your choice of $1 treats for any qualifying accomplishment. Yes, milkshakes at Chik-fil-a are more than a dollar but I have a gift card. Next up: Rachael is about to finish a reading book, while Bethany aspires to go 3 days without an accident. Yes, we will most certainly celebrate that feat when the long-awaited day arrives.

Snapshot: Princesses do school too


4yo Bethany is enjoying her first-ever school book, Spectrum Preschool Math Readiness. I love their workbooks for the younger set!

Jonathan Park volume 8 is here!

Just a word to all the Jonathan Park fans out there – or homeschooling parents looking for something fun to add to next year’s science curriculum – volume 8 is here!

The Copper Scroll

When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, one scroll stood out from all the rest. It was made of copper and described more than sixty vast, hidden treasures — and how to find them. But where are those treasures now?

This real-life riddle has stumped archeologists and treasure hunters for almost sixty years. Now Jonathan, Kendall, Jim, and Jessie think they’ve uncovered a clue that may unlock the mystery. As the Creation Response Team follows clues from one biblical location to the next, opposition increases on every side. The team’s even being tailed by Myles Morgan!

Join the Creation Response Team for a heart-racing archeological treasure hunt that will uncover ancient artifacts from Bible times and reveal exciting testimonies to God’s amazing creation and His inerrant Word. . . in Jonathan Park and the Copper Scroll! 

It’s full price which is still a great deal, but you can get all 8 for 50% off!

Product image

4 Moms: What do you do when the children need to learn subjects you can’t teach?

4moms35kids 4 MomsIt’s Thursday again, and this week the 4 Moms are tackling the question, “What do you do when the children need to learn things you can’t teach (a foreign language, dissecting, trig, etc)?”

This used to be a scary question in the early days of homeschooling when many people believed parents weren’t qualified to educate their children unless they had a degree in teaching.  To some, it’s still a scary question.  Since I am a second generation homeschooler and have been that student, I don’t find it scary at all.  I hope my own experience can provide some encouragement for those who do still have these concerns.

One good answer is to learn with your children.  Many parents take this route, and it works beautifully for many subjects, but in some cases it just isn’t practical.

Another possible answer is to find another teacher such as a private tutor or a homeschool co-op.  This option is becoming wildly popular and solves the problem for many families, but there are costs and time commitments and sometimes other difficulties as well.  For one reason or another sometimes this too is undesirable or impractical.

This is the issue that drives many homeschoolers to return to the public school system for high school, but it doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker for homeschooling.  There is another way.

I was finishing up 5th grade in public school when my parents made the decision to homeschool.  My mom was terrified.  She had no college education, and 5 children at the time, 3 of them under 5yo.  She also had no confidence that she could teach a high school student, which I would be within a few short years.

I was already an advanced student in several subjects, and math was going to be an issue immediately.  Although I was just a 5th grader, I had been moved to the 8th grade math class in my school, which I finished with flying colors.  That was no surprise, since I was already studying 2nd year algebra after school at home.  Guess what?  We were already homeschooling, though we didn’t know it at the time!

When we started homeschooling and my mom was unable to help with my math, my education didn’t come to a standstill.  Instead, at my parents’ urging I learned to teach myself.  Even before the days of Google and the all-knowing Internet, I learned that with some persistence I could find the answers I needed.  If I ran into a concept I didn’t understand, I looked it up in another book.  And another.  And another.  Sometimes my dad’s old college texts provided an answer, and sometimes I had to visit the library.  Eventually, I found a teacher or author who thought like I did and the explanation  became clear – or I began to wrap my mind around the concept through repeated exposure.  Sometimes it was frustrating; I remember crying over functions, but eventually I realized how simple they were.  Either way, I was always able to advance.  Sometimes it was a struggle, but these during these times I was learning other lessons as well as the specific mathematical concept that plagued me at the moment.  In the end, I completed not just 2nd year algebra but also geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus and physics.

I did the same with Latin, completing 2 years of study even though neither of my parents or anyone else we knew had studied the language.  The first year was a breeze, but the second took more like two years.  The text was massive and dry, and I felt grammar and syntax weren’t always presented clearly.  There were times I wanted to quit, but I finished the book – and I learned to truly apply myself during that difficult time.

I’m not the only one; several of my children have already surpassed me in subjects both compulsory and voluntary, following their interests and abilities to both teach themselves and learn from other sources.

Some children are more self-motivated than others, and I may have done better than some when it came to teaching myself.  However, I believe any child can and should be encouraged to develop this ability, and the best way to do it may simply be through necessity.

Homeschoolers are sometimes criticized for not having good study habits, and this may be warranted since they often don’t have the sheer workload that a student in a more traditional school setting may have.  However, they also tend to be praised for their resourcefulness, creativity, problem-solving skills, and ability to think outside the box.  The question of how to learn a subject your teacher doesn’t know is the perfect opportunity for a student to develop and exercise those skills.

Have you faced this issue? What was your solution?

From the other Moms:

Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

  • August 2 – How do you handle bossy older sisters
  • August 9 – Q&A

Recent topics:

About 4 Moms, including a complete list of all past topics