Enchanted Ivy

October 22, 2014 at 3:26 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

EnchantedIvyCover_LoRes312hTitle:Enchanted Ivy

Author: Sarah Beth Durst

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Length: 310 pages

It was the matte finish that got me.  So many young adult fantasy novels have the glossy cover that screams: I’m complete brain candy and will rot your mind! READ ME!  But not Enchanted Ivy, maybe you can’t tell from the picture, but if your fingers touch the cover, you’ll know.

Ivy here is a play on words.  The main character, Lily Carter, is trying to get into Princeton (her back-up school is another Ivy League option: Harvard).  No biggie, right? She just has to pass a top secret admissions test provided by the Old Boys her grandfather went to college with and she’s in…

Insert Tolkien and Harry Potter style creatures of myth… shape shifters, a gate to a magic world, gargoyle professors, unicorns, dryads, and ivy (and trees and flowers) that obey commands, and you’ve got the fixings for a fantastical adventure that occurs in a day or two and can be read faster than that.

Cassandra Clare meets C.S. Lewis and Sarah Beth Durst brought us a fun filled fantasy with a few romantic moments or two to satisfy our girly hearts.

When I read these books, I’m mentally cataloging them… will I recommend this to kids at the store? Will I recommend this to my niece?  Will I recommend this to my daughter?  For Enchanted Ivy, yes on all fronts, as long as their school work is done.  The book is both exciting and innocent enough for tweens and teens, I enjoyed it, but I don’t feel like I wasted my time or killed brain cells in doing so.  The author, after all, is a Princeton gal herself.

As for a few cheesy soulmate lines, I both loathe them and am a sucker for them.  I met my husband when I was 14, all the first meetings and teenage hormones is sheer nostalgia for me.  Although Durst does a great job at keeping these on the very far back burner.

 

Permalink 1 Comment

The Mother of all Bryson Books

October 19, 2014 at 4:12 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

P1000485Title: The Mother Tongue

Author: Bill Bryson

Genre: Linguistics

Length: 245 pages

How many times am I going to spend entire reviews singing the praises of Bill Bryson, bowing down to his mage-like powers as a wordsmith?  Not often enough.

The Half Price Books Humble Book Club read Simon Winchester’s The Professor and the Madman for our September discussion.  GREAT book, but I had already read it.  That being the case, I plucked another linguistics title by an author I adore: Bill Bryson’s The Mother Tongue.

As with any typical Bryson piece, the book was well researched, enjoyable to read, and all the information was cleverly shared.  Bryson is witty, almost snarky even – but far less snarky in this book than, let’s say, A Walk in the Woods. I take great delight in clever snark.  And yes, I just chose to use snarky as a noun…

Although by describing Bryson’s work as snarky makes him sound much more irritable than he truly is.  On the contrary, Bryson always seems a bit jovial to me.  Sarcastic wit written with a broad smile, and possibly rosy cheeks.

If you love languages, English, history, factoids, dictionaries, evolution of words, or all of the above – The Mother Tongue will keep you fascinated.  If you enjoy witticisms, sarcastic commentary, clever jokes, good conversations, intelligent thought, and possibly your college English professor – Bill Bryson is the guy you want telling you all there is to know about “English and How It Got That Way.”

He’ll talk about Latin and Gaelic, the French and German.  He will discuss Shakespeare, Chaucer, and the Oxford English Dictionary.  There’s a whole chapter dedicated to swearing and the origins of some of our favorite – and not so favorite – expletives.  He’ll recite palindromes and tell you all about London Times Crossword Puzzles (which I desperately would like to get my hands on)… Also, if you ever felt bad about your spelling, this book will give you a full history on how it’s not you, it’s English.

I turned the last page and as it always is on the last page of a Bryson book, I’m already scouring the shelves for another Bryson title.  Can the others live up to the awesomeness I just read? I’m not so sure.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Books, books, books, more books, and oh! – some books.

October 15, 2014 at 1:50 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , )

I went back to work full time, temporarily, but I’m working 40 hours a week again.  I’m still freelance writing.  I’m still acting as a marketing consultant.  I’m still homeschooling my daughter.  I’m still working on my novels.

I’m also still reading.

I’m a busy sort of gal – I’ll never stop reading.

So on the docket this last week was Stolen by Kelley Armstrong, Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (gee, you’d think I was a romance reader, which is funny, I never thought I’d join that crowd), and Lies That Make You Pay (a title I reviewed for Money-fax.com).

To be fair, I was pleased that book two in the Otherworld series was far more action oriented than it’s first book Bitten.  The romance and sex scenes took a back burner to the story which made for a much better book.  Having read Stolen, however, I began to be a little irritated Alone from the Girl in the Box series.  Stolen was published first (June 2010) and Alone (December 2013) seems like a bit of a rip off of Kelley Armstrong’s work.  This may be a complete coincidence, but I’ll have to read more of each series to find out.

I’m still enjoying Bill Bryson’s The Mother Tongue and I just started reading Edward Rutherford’s Sarum.  I’ll be sure to post reviews when I’m finished, but sneak peek review for Bryson: he’s marvelous and I adore this book.  I’m taking my time and savoring every glorious word.

I’ve currently completed reading 75 books this year.  I know that not everyone reads that much.  I also know plenty of people who read a lot more than that.  So I nearly choked on a laugh when a lady told me today that she had read too many books to keep track, like 75 books too many.  Ever.  Not this year, not in the last two or three years, but ever.  If you’ve made it to your mid-forties and have only read 75 books ever, I want to know what school you went to and how this travesty happened.  To be honest, however, I think she has read quite a bit more than that, I think people who don’t work in bookstores don’t really have realistic views on book quantities and what that looks like.  75 sounds like a lot to people, until you look at 50,000 – 100,000 every day.

What have you been reading?

Permalink 1 Comment

Literacy and Education

October 4, 2014 at 4:31 pm (Education, In So Many Words, Reviews) (, , , , , , )

Every day I read.  And since having a child, every book I read is filtered through a mental checklist of sorts: Would this be useful to Kiddo?  How would I feel about her reading this? What age is this appropriate for? How can we apply tools, principles, morals, themes, etc. that we learn from reading this to our lives?

Does this mean she’s the center of my universe and I do it all for her?  No.  I read for myself.  It might not seem like it when I’m making lessons plans, blogging reviews with Amazon affiliate purchase links (every time YOU buy a book by clicking the link from my site, a portion of that money is used as much needed income – thank you), posting about bookstore events, etc.  But I do so much of it for me it verges on selfishness.  This is my vice, my hobby, my job, my world.  I am a book fiend and somehow I have made that work for me on as many fronts as possible.

But even with all that self-serving book binging going on, determining how my reading material could mold the mind of my child – whether directly or indirectly – is a constant subplot to my life story.

If I weren’t homeschooling, would I have been interested in titles like Why School? If I wasn’t teaching my daughter to read right now, would a book on literacy research been a desirable past time?

I laughed at myself several times this week.  By the time I’m done raising my daughter I could have a PhD in education, going by my thirst for educational theory.  However, it’s not even remotely close to what I desire to earn a PhD in.  Is every parent required to study this hard? No.  Is it necessary to do all this leg work to be a homeschool mom?  Absolutely not.  You are qualified to teach your child just by virtue of being their parent and longing to make a priority of their spiritual, educational, and physical growth, of viewing your parent-child relationship as something worthy of being tackled with excitement and care.  But for those naturally driven to research and reading, for those who have undeniably lofty ideas regarding the swoon of academia, for those who possibly have an unhealthy love for pens and paper, stacks and shelves, mahogany and oak, for those people it’s a little hard not to fall “victim” to the pull of differing philosophies regarding your life choice to teach your child yourself.  (God help me when it comes to instructing her on the laws of grammar as I’ve never quite mastered getting over run on sentences, they are my favorite grammatical mistake.  Those, and sentence fragments, I suppose.)

why schoolWhy School? is a diminutive sized hardback with a picture of an old one room schoolhouse on the front.  Behind the schoolhouse – identical to what I long to build on my future homestead, although much larger I’m sure – is a vast sky of blue inviting you to all the possibilities contemplation and the school of thought might have to offer you.  The book begins with a tale about a janitor who had suffered some brain damaged, but chose to work at a community college to be around “where it happens” and to have access to materials he could study and/or take home to his daughter.  It was a beautiful tale regarding academia and how it is viewed from different sets of eyes.  Most people see it as a mandatory road map in life, one they can’t get out of.  Some see it as a golden ticket to the land of opportunity.  Few actually see it for what it is meant to be: a place to learn.

The author, Mike Rose, talks about many things regarding school and college and life.  He discusses blue collar life vs. white collar life.  He addresses a few political issues, some I agree with and some I don’t.  But one thing is clear: he is passionate about learning.  He is passionate about education.  Rose’s goal is to make others aware of the importance of developing the mind and taking charge of what we put in it, whether it be tools and life skills or book facts.

“We live in a time of much talk about intelligence.  Yet we operate with a fairly restricted notion of what that term means, one identified with the verbal and quantitative measures of the schoolhouse and the IQ test.  As the culture of testing we live in helps define achievement and the goals of schooling, it also has an effect on the way we think about ability.” – pg. 73

I loved that part.  I loved how he addressed the parts of the brain used by those who work with their hands.  My husband works with his hands, he is a millwright.  More than anything, I want to balance my child’s developmental education with things both her parents are passionate about.  I want her to continue to love books, but I want to allow her to be passionate about building things (the girl is a master tower builder when it comes to legos and VHS tapes).  So much creative energy is dismissed when people look at their mechanic or a machinist.  People do not understand how even your diner waitress is the Queen of her domain, has mastered brain patterns you cannot fathom, and has an internal clock and rhythm you could not duplicate without years of practice and training.  I understood this example Rose provided well, having waited tables just long enough to say I learned to do it the best I ever could and could not do it forever.  (I was a good server, well-liked by most my customers, but I was no Wanda.)

lit resI read chapters of Rose’s book in between dives into Adolescent Literacy Research and Practice.  Where Rose is quaint and inspiring, though thoughtful and well-spoken, Adolescent Lit. is all academic essays, lengthy work cited pages, references to studies and schools of thought.  The book is written by public school educators for public school educators, but one would be remiss if they didn’t hear the constant hum of “Homeschooling is the answer” to nearly every issue they address.  The writers would laugh, I think, as there is an entire section dedicated to how people tend to read things and find support for their own arguments and core beliefs even where there may be none.

Timothy and Cynthia Shanahan were the contributors I enjoyed reading the most.  They talked in great detail about what literacy is truly about, what being able to write is for, and how important it is in the education process to not confuse its purpose.  Literacy and developing good writing habits are at the core of understanding any subject – not just literature – but math, science, and history as well.  Writing isn’t merely about communicating what you have learned, but a process of diving deeper into a subject and gleaning a more thorough understanding of it.  Not just about memorizing facts and regurgitating, but thinking about what those facts mean to you and how that may or may not affect your world view.  It is about engaging the brain and coming up with new thoughts about old concepts.  It is about developing theories from research.  It is about invention and progress.  It isn’t just about basic comprehension, it’s about eventual enlightenment on any given subject.

Several essayists in the book discuss the issue of the misconception that writing is only for the literature major and how there is only one way to read.  There is great detail on how the practices for reading a science text cannot be considered the same as those to read classic fiction.  So many do not address this, which is why we have children in our schools reading their chemistry and physics homework, plodding their way through formulas, but they haven’t internalized it.  They only barely understand, it’s passion-less math or vague theories… whereas teaching these same kids how to read their science text (and giving them more than just standard textbooks, but also journals produced by scientists and articles from the professional world) will bridge the gap between the information and the passion to do something with that information.  Not everyone is Einstein, but we are not raising independent thinkers with a drive to feed their brains.  We are raising frustrated honey bees who have been deprived of pollen, and by doing such a thing they become useless drones who produce nothing.

I say this screams “homeschool is the solution” to me because the essence of the discussion in the book is teach a child to read for each appropriate discipline and you give them the world.  You teach them how to teach themselves.  You teach them how to use their brains and be studious and good stewards of their minds.  Not for the sake of a grade, not for an award or blessing, but for the act of embracing the knowledge itself.  We are driven by standardized tests – and I get it, how else do you assess where a child is when you must maintain some semblance of order while still addressing the needs of 30 students at a time.  How else do you sort them out and provide the best education possible?  If you can, you teach them at home.  Smaller classrooms, a personal relationship, true observing of where that child is developmentally and how you can aid them on the path to true literacy.  In Texas a homeschool is considered a private school run out of the home.  If there was nothing I liked about Texas (and I love Texas, but if I didn’t), this fact alone would keep me here as long as possible.

There’s also a thing called Unschooling that I’m finding more and more I lean to (I am combining classical education and unschooling education styles in my “private school” that is the Klemm home).  Unschooling is child driven.  You pursue their interests with a passion when they have them.  You learn what you can while they are motivated to learn it.  Every moment is a possible classroom moment.  The other day we researched praying mantises after discovering one in the garden we were weeding.  Kiddo was so excited and immediately went to her bug book and found a picture of one, thrilled to see something in the book that she had just seen in real life.  Well that’s easy when they’re in pre-school, people like to say.  Yes, it is.  But it can continue to be that way as they get older.

“Reading classrooms at the secondary school level typically tend to minimize student choice (Guthrie & Davis, 2003).  However, giving students opportunities to ‘self-rule’ and ‘self-determine’ can make learning more personally meaningful and intrinsically motivating (Deci & Ryan, 1985, Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier, 1991; Ryan & Powelson, 1991).” – pg. 286

What do you think?

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Voyager

October 1, 2014 at 4:23 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

P1000526Title: Voyager

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Genre: Defies Genres, but most commonly found in Historical or Romance sections, sometimes Fantasy

Length: 1059 pages

Seriously, the first thing I exclaimed when I was done reading via illness induced three day marathon was “Holy Crap on a Cracker!”  Clearly I need to find new expletives.  That particular one was not worthy of the book it came on the heels of.

As always, Diana Gabaldon is fabulous and a wonderful storyteller.  Where I’ve usually plucked my way through her books, reading a little here and a little there as a fairy tale adventure before bed – this time I just plowed right through until I was done.

I picked up the third installment of Gabaldon’s book – a first edition mass market paperback from November 1994 that life threw in my lap somewhere along the way – after watching the new Starz series to date.  Putting Gabaldon’s story to film has been a long time coming, but it was worth the way.  I watched 6 episodes in a row, tucked neatly in my bed with a bag of jalapeno chips and lots of hot tea.  Don’t let me fool you, I’d been planning my all-day cave viewing for nearly two weeks, and it would have happened whether I’d been sick that day or not, but being sick definitely helped me get away with it.

See, I planned on writing a review for the show to accompany my other Diana Gabaldon related posts. But the show doesn’t really need one. They’ve done so well, in my opinion, and followed the story hook, line, and sinker. Although I find my fairly prude self fast forwarding through the sex scenes, I think the show is wonderful.

Especially awesome was seeing the author – Diana Gabaldon – pop up in The Gathering episode.  She has such a lovely and obvious face, I was so excited for her to be IN her own creation in that manner.

Naturally, when I ran out of episodes I sought out the next installment of the book – having started reading the series ages ago, but never finished. (I can’t finish it all at once, I have to savor it.)

Permalink Leave a Comment

FRANK!

September 30, 2014 at 9:29 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , )

frankTitle: Frank

Author/Illustrator: Connah Brecon

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Available for Purchase: October 2014

“Frank was late.  Frank was always late,” Brecon’s book begins.

Frank! is full of dance parties, lizard king invasions, and a school teacher that won’t quit.  It’s a lot of fun and a great way to discuss timeliness, pocket watches, and working together with your kiddo.

We read this over the summer for kid’s story time at Half Price Books Humble and one of our favorite features of the story are the three pigeons who follow Frank the Bear everywhere.  We enjoying scoping them out and finding them napping against a tree trunk on one page and lurking on a fence board on another.

Cabin and FrankBrecon has other picture books, but this is his first to be published in the United States.  He lives in Australia, and we were pretty excited to get a chance to review his debut book.  Kiddo thought Frank! was pretty exciting and she can be seen “reading” the book here on the left (she’s not yet four in this picture).  The other kiddo at story time that day was looking through another title we received earlier that month.  We’re pleased with our first experience with Running Press Kids and look forward to more of their publications in the future.

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Things That Burn Me ‘Bout My Kindle

September 27, 2014 at 5:05 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

kindle

I love reading on my kindle.  I wasn’t sure that I would, but I do.  Somehow, once you get the darn thing to work, it goes a little faster. Since acquiring my own, I’ve already read 7 titles.  There’s a reason that statistically kindle users read more than non-kindle users.  There’s more access, they’re conveniently portable, and there’s lots of free stuff to download so it’s poor people friendly.  (Trips to the library use gas.)

But that’s IF you can stay connected to the wifi.  Clearly, I’m on my wifi now – typing this onto my online blog.  My kindle, however, can’t find the connection.  Can’t make the connection.  When I do have a connection I download everything I can as fast as I can because there’s no telling when it will disappear.  I CAN guarantee that it will disappear if I plug my device into my computer to manage documents or to charge it.  As soon as I unplug, I have to set it all back up again.

When I have a connection, it loves to download things I didn’t ask for.  Those pages at the end of books that invite you to read other stuff the author has written?  Yeah, avoid them like the plague unless you have plenty of money and really love the author.  You even blink at that page and it will download the book.  I called customer service and the very helpful people un-downloaded it for me and returned my money… for the book I had already read instead of the one I didn’t want.  I had to call back and say, “Nope, you got the wrong one.  I need that book, I should be charged for that book as I already read it… it’s the OTHER one I don’t want.”  Currently I don’t have either.  Despite their speediness in answering phones (no lengthy wait times for these awesome people), I am not looking forward to calling yet again.

You would think this is user error.  I thought so too.  Clearly, it’s me we’re talking about here.  Technology is not my strong point.  However, I can read directions.  I can navigate myself around websites, and I READ.  (Also, there are tons of online complaints about the same issues I’m having.) More and more I’m finding that technology is not my strong suit because there always seems to be something wrong with it.  Computers always get viruses.  Phones drop calls. The electronic features in your car leave you trapped inside after a car accident because the door won’t open and the paramedics have to pull you through a window (true story); the electronics features in your (different) car stop working and the window just FALLS down while you’re driving down the highway. Kindles forget how to find their wifi.  It’s not so much that I’m ANTI-tech… it’s that it is only worth it to me when the tech is actually making my life easier, not more difficult.  Yay! I read 7 books on my kindle.  They were great books! I enjoyed my time with them.  But were it not for my extensive physical library, I’d be out of reading material before bed tonight.

If YOU have a kindle, or are thinking about getting one, you might want to write this stuff down:
online:www.amazon.com/kindlesupport
e-mail:kindle-cs-support@amazon.com
phone: 1-866-321-8851 or 1-206-266-0927

Permalink 2 Comments

Fizz and Peppers Got a New Cover!

September 27, 2014 at 2:12 am (Fan Art) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Remember my obsession for Fizz and Peppers? Do you also recall my adoration for Bryan Collins?

You can imagine my squeals of joy when this happened:

Munkcoverthumb

This second is my favorite. Munk really POPS!
fizz newest cover

Just thought I’d share and send two of my favorite people to promote some online love.

Permalink Leave a Comment

There’s Something About Bungalows

September 27, 2014 at 1:44 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

P1000507Title:The Last Beach Bungalow

Author: Jennie Nash

Genre: Fiction

Length: 271 pages

I love beaches, and despite my father’s distaste for them, bungalows as well.  So naturally, the cover of the book moved me the instant I saw it.  But it took me awhile to sit down to read it.  I was saving it.  I was saving it for when I needed to lose myself in a fictional bungalow romance.  The romance, of course, being with the house, not between people.

This is a beautiful story that Nash has written.  All that is within is conveyed on the front cover except for the holiday aspect – the story revolves around Christmas time.  But maybe that’s what Christmas looks like in California.  I don’t know.  I’ve never been there.

The story is about April Newton, a cancer survivor, who is building her dream home with her husband.  Except she has an impression of her McMansion that stems from the state of her lackluster life, and instead she seeks wisdom and warmth from a beach bungalow.

The owner of this 1928 original bungalow is seeking a buyer with heart.  What would you give – besides money – to live here? Bring your offers, your stories, and a promise to preserve and protect.  Winner will pay $300,000.

The story is lovely. Lines like, “I wanted to hear the sadness out loud that I felt so silently in my bones,” trickle through and keep you turning the page.  It’s about coldness and warmth, on a level beyond the skin, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  But my favorite part was at the end, in the reader’s guide, when the publisher thought to ask teary eyed book clubbers: “Have you ever fallen in love at first sight with anything or anyone – a person, a dress, a dog, or a house?”

Yes.  Several times over, yes.  With a dog (a beagle, Geoffrey Chaucer), with a bike (a 1960’s Sears Cruiser), with two of my previous homes, and finally – the most appropriate answer – a bungalow.

Recently, we’ve been home hunting.  We’ve been redefining our dreams, our lives, our priorities.  Is it stuff?  Is it land? Is it the right neighborhood or is it being debt free?  I’ve dreamed of beaches in Georgia, of hole in the wall houses in Galveston, of land in the country, of many places… but briefly, I was madly in love with a bungalow being sold by a widow – just like in the story, but there was no contest.

It had teal trim, just down the road from a university I once planned on attending.  It was for auction as is for $55k.  There were fig and citrus trees in the back, just behind a box garden that was just beyond a patio I could have lounged on for hours.  There was a lean-to that had been enclosed to make a faux laundry room and I nearly cried with glee when I walked into it, because I’d been having discussions all year with my editor as to whether the general public these days would know what a lean-to was.  The walls in the lean-to weren’t finished and I dreamed of finishing them myself and painting them sunshine yellow.  I could see myself folding laundry with my dogs at my feet, my husband’s tools in the corner.

Just inside the back door was kitchen with custom made cabinets, floor to low ceiling.  They had been made by the man who had lived there.  Like Nash’s story, the daughter was the one showing the house.  She had tales about her father and uncle making those cabinets.  I envisioned a vintage style refrigerator where the appliance should go.

Hardwood floors, a cast iron stairway her father had welded himself.  The living room was my least favorite, but it would do, I didn’t plan on spending much time there.  The downstairs bedrooms were cozy and the attic was built out with two more – one large and strangely shaped with nooks and cranies to tuck oddly built shelves.  I wanted to hide my library there and create a writer’s nook – or make it my daughter’s bedroom.  I wasn’t sure, but it seemed like a nerdy-princess’s dream tower.  Also upstairs was a much newer restroom than was down below and a tiny bedroom fit for a doll – or a cool playroom nook.

My best friend drove me there to look.  My daughter twirled around the rooms telling me she’d live there (which was a big deal since we were leaving the only house she’d ever known).  We walked the property, me saying awkward and possibly inappropriate things in my distraction and awe while my best friend asked the real questions.  I kept going in and out.  I mentally filled the house with my own things and started visualizing what didn’t fit going into the trash can.  Outside there was a garage clearly meant for a carpenter.  The yard clearly meant for dogs and a garden.  I was dying to show my husband.  The neighborhood wasn’t quite right, but the house was a dream.  Small and quaint and restful.

Like April Newton, I wanted to rest there.  I could see myself there for years to come, if only it would offer me the peace and coziness away from the outside world that I desire most.  Like April Newton, it was not meant for me.  I can’t find any photos of it online, which must mean it’s off the market.  I only hope that whoever finally found it is treating it well.

There’s just something about bungalows.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Welcome to PreSchool at “Klemm University”

September 23, 2014 at 7:15 pm (Education) (, , , , , , , )

Teach Your Child to Read Outside and Play – A Lot

It’s been awhile since I shared a bit from our homeschooling adventures.  Since my last homeschooling post, we purchased Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and have progressed to Lesson 9.  We’ve taken Poet Laureate and Professor Mark Strand’s advice about memorizing 1500 lines of poetry and memorized the first four verses of Psalm 1, with the intent of memorizing a verse a week until we know the whole book by heart (no, I did not do the math on this and I have no idea how long it will take – I think the less I know in this regard the better).  We’ve moved, and have done a lot of exploring our new school-site – via bubble blowing.  We’ve learned to play Checkers (pretty exciting for an almost four year old), and we’re tackling bead projects.

Drawing Dinosaursdinosaurs

She got this cool dinosaur coloring book awhile back, but has really taken to it in the last few months.  The book teaches your kid how to draw properly named dinosaurs step by step.  Whether you’re a die hard dinosaur believer, or a skeptic to their existence, all kids love dinosaurs – they’re just so cool!

Activity books like these teach kids to follow step by step instructions, help with dexterity and handling writing utensils, and keep them busy for thirty minutes to an hour at a time.  Win, win for everyone.

Moving and Acoustics

Empty HouseThe great thing about moving with a small child is teaching your kid the art of donation from a young age.  What we don’t need anymore, we’ve been donating.  For a kid who has outgrown those things, it’s time consuming, but giving them the knowledge and opportunity to come to conclusions about their own belongings is an eye-opening experience.  I haven’t forced her to get rid of anything, and I’m overjoyed to have so many moments when my kiddo comes to me and says, “Mama, I don’t need this anymore.  We can give this to another kid.”  And off to Goodwill we go.  (At our garage sales she selected things to sell and was quite the little negotiator.  She made about $5 off old toys other kids carried off and put that money right in her piggy bank.  Now, she keeps telling me she has plenty of money for Chick-fi-la…)

On top of all that, every kid should get a chance to stand in an empty room and shout at the top of their lungs.  (Or spin in circles singing All Around the Mulberry Bush while shooting a soft dart gun…)

teach read book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

This book came highly recommended by my sister who has taught 5 kids to read (not including myself when I was 4) and has 2 more that are on their way to starting lessons.  The above link is for Amazon.com, but I actually purchased my copy from hpbmarketplace.com.

Teach Your Child to Read goes straight into the phonics and skips the step of learning what a letter is called.  My kid could already identify all her letters and knew most of her phonics, but she’s enjoying diving right into the decoding process by seeing an “m” and knowing to say “Mmmmm.” We’re only on Lesson 9 and she can already read words like “mat” and “sat,” “am” and “Me” just by sounding them out.  These beginning lessons do not teach sight words but sounding out and decoding a word even if it means you don’t understand the word right away.  I like this because it allows a child to read outside their vocabulary and have the tools to learn new words.

We do the rhyming and say it fast/ say it slow exercises while outside playing bubbles:

bubbles

Here, she’s not just practicing the “sssss” sound (and writing it, look at the chalkboard behind her), she’s also blowing some stellar bubbles while sporting a Seed Savers t-shirt, compliments of S. Smith, author of the series.  Kiddo adores Sandy and the shirt she gave her.

Beads and Dexterity

No preschool program is complete without crafts!

While moving I rediscovered some craft supplies from my own childhood.  I thought about donating these as well, but kiddo begged to do a bead project and I determined that these were worth saving.  The star was her first try, it took about an hour to complete; so if your preschooler doesn’t quite have the patience and attention span, be prepared to split a project like this into two sessions.

beadsCheck out Klemm University for more frequent updates. We are an online homeschool group based in Texas and would love for other homeschool moms, teachers, and general citizens to pipe in with ideas for keeping our educational journey more exciting, diverse, and thorough.  Come join the conversations!

Permalink 3 Comments

Next page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 404 other followers