Archive | Books RSS feed for this section


20 Sep

One of the expectations for our 4-6 grade English class includes writing in a journal.  This assignment is not graded or evaluated for penmanship and spelling, I just check to make sure they are making regular entry’s.

Over the years, I guess off and on since high school, I have kept a journal.  Sometimes months go by, and I write nothing. In other seasons, I write daily.  It’s not on the “must get done” list,  it’s just something I enjoy when the time is right.

This year,  my journal has taken the form of  Not Without Aim  using a computer rather than a neat looking book and fancy pen.  The writing takes me much longer. I edit, and edit, and edit again and still find mistakes. The penmanship has improved dramatically though!  ;)

A few of my journals are timeless.

One in particular is a record of significant events that have happened in our lives.  At times I’ve done a good job keeping it up, but it has tons of gaps. Never-the-less, I enjoy looking back through it, and maybe someday the children will too.

The little pocket journal , very little, fits in a side pocket in my purse.  This one is specifically for names. When I meet someone new,  I often will write down their name and a little something about them.

Then there is the journal that I like to bring when I go to my sisters’ homes.  They have so many good ideas – books, movies, places to go, recipes, fun things to do… so I  jot them down.

One of my favorites though, is my journal for quotes. I’m not sure if it is because I like the feel of this particular book, or the fact that my sister gave it to me. Likely, it has to do with what all is written within it’s pages!  As I read a book, I take note of key points or sayings. Upon finishing the book, I try to narrow them down to just a few key passages that I especially appreciate, and record them.  It is becoming a wealth of wisdom from various authors all wrapped into one little volume!

I don’t know if my children will ever take to journal writing, but no doubt, one day they will enjoy looking back to what they wrote for this year of English class.


growing a princess

6 Sep

We have a budding little princess in our house.  Her favorite color is pink.  She likes to make her bed in a “fancy” sort of way. Her preference would always be to have her hair done up with sparkly ribbons and bows, and the wider the dress spins, the better!

I love that she has this passion at her young age, but without direction, her passions could easily lead her into much trouble.

The True Princess, written by Angela Elwell Hunt, has become one of our favorite read aloud books.  Our little daughter loves it because it is about a princess, and I love it because it teaches the characteristics of a true princess.

The story opens as the “generous king” sets out on a journey, leaving his sweet daughter in the care of  her nanny.  “The king instructed Nana to put away the royal robes and crown of the princess and hide her away from the palace. ‘Remember,’ he said, ‘no one would expect a child of the king to be living as a servant.’ ” 

In the everyday life of common people, the little princess learns  to laugh at herself, care for her own needs,  serve rather than be served, and sing joyfully while working – lessons that will benefit her life and others forever.

I am thankful for a little girl that desires to go through the hard work and training to become a “true princess”.

No Boredom Allowed!

13 Jul

Yesterday was one of those days that everything went right!

The kids science class was going so well, I think they went half an hour over what was intended. When they were done, they all headed off to work on reading, taking notes, and making creative pages.

Hoping to give the kids some inspiration, I showed them examples of each other’s work. Well… it worked better than I anticipated! They were all busily working for the next two hours! After seeing the older kids notes, the younger crews pages started taking on a whole new look.  No longer a quick drawing with a short sentence or two, Humphrey the whale has a pull tab to jump out of his pocket with an informative list of facts!

My two youngest decided they no longer wanted to be held back by waiting for me to listen to them read.  They each picked up books on their own and started sounding out the words. I don’t think they are retaining much, but more importantly, for now, they want to be in the game and are excited to read.

Then to top it all off, my son came in to show me what he had been working on.  Similar to one a cousin had made years ago, he was creating leather journals.

Two of our goals in raising children are to instill a love of reading and love for learning. Sometimes it might not feel like we’re making progress, but yesterday the fruit was evident!




Don’t let boredom set in this summer.  Give them a little inspiration and who knows what might happen!

The Reading Contest Begins!

1 Jul

My two oldest contestants and I visited the library this morning and returned with an arm load of books.  They helped me to quickly pick a wide assortment – with something for everyone.  It was tempting to overload on books, but we decided we could always come back in a week or two.  As soon as we got home, the kids started devouring the books!

The theme for this year’s contest is science.

Before the kids could begin, I gave them a few more details:

They will be evaluated in 3 specific areas:

1. All books should be written down on their personal book list upon completion.  (I will be looking at both number and length of books read.)

2. They should keep a science journal, recording  notes and sketches as they gain information. (I am hoping to see some improvement on note taking skills and artistry.)

3.They will be given a comprehension quiz at the end of each book. Each correct answer will be worth one point. (This one will take a bit more work on my part. I will have to scan through each book read to create appropriate questions, but it will be worth the extra work if it will motivate them to read for content.)

My ideas are still forming for my two beginning readers.  Today they read every other page out loud to me.  It needs to be short and simple for them.  Afterwards they had fun drawing in their nature journal and copying a sentence from the book.

I would love to hear other ideas of how to expand on this month long science adventure!

Our Semi-Annual July Reading Contest

30 Jun

Tomorrow is already the first day of July!  I was determined to make a “fun” schedule at the start of summer.  June was full of wonderful days, but time is slipping away quickly! So, determined to not let another month slide by –  Friday, July 1st, will mark the beginning of our Semi Annual July Reading Contest.

I am not going to say too much about it yet due to the fact that I have not revealed all of the information to the kids.  What I will tell you, as I did them, is this:

– there will be 3 separate levels of competition, covering 6 of our children – ages 4-14

-the books will all be provided by mom

-there will be a 1st and 2nd prize at each level ( I am a typical mom and want everyone to win – but, the first prize on each level will definitely be worth working towards!)

I will share a few more details after the race begins!

a must have, timeless classic!

19 May

Yesterday, as I read to the children, I found my self chuckling over and over through the pages.  Some books I never tire of.  My daughter had asked if she could pick out the book this time.  I had already made my choice, but decided to let her choose instead, wanting to see what she would pick.

When she brought it to me, I was glad I did! It was Winnie the Pooh

Often when people are critiquing movies or books, they speak of the character development throughout the story. Well, I love the variety of little characters in Winnie the Pooh.  Maybe this is a reflection of my intellect or lack thereof (lol), that I find myself relating to each of them at times.

In the story,  Christopher Robin Gives Pooh a Party, and We Say Good-bye ,  Owl, supposedly very wise,  finds himself at a loss. “Owl tried to think of something very wise to say, but couldn’t…”  At times I find myself trying to think of something wise to say, unable to think of anything – I wisely choose to be silent instead!

Or how about the “Anxious Pooh Song”.  If you aren’t up on your Pooh stories – Pooh is concerned that everyone might forget to come to his party, or worse – forget who he is, or what the party is for.  His little song is a ridiculous muddled up mess! It actually reminded me a bit of those “Chaos dreams” I referred to in an earlier post.   When there is too much disorder in my home, I often I start dreaming about it!

Then, there is  Kanga, speaking as a mom often does, “Drink up your milk first, dear, and talk afterwards.” I think I must have sounded something like that at the breakfast table this morning.  “Please eat your breakfast, sweetie, you can practice your pig-latin when you’re finished.”

Eeyore, Tiger, Piglet, and Rabbit  all have their own fun little quirks… but most loved of all, is Pooh!

No doubt, Winnie the Pooh is a timeless classic worth passing down to the children and grandchildren.

a little motivation and determination

11 May

Have you ever gone through one of those periods of total discontentment of your position in life? If so, then you will be able to relate well to the book, Chester the Worldly Pig.

“Of all things,” grumbled Chester, “why on earth did I have to be a pig? A pig is no better off than a cabbage or a carrot, just something to eat. But before I end up as so much sausage and ham, I intend to try and amount to something.”  Like Chester, we often go to great lengths to become something we’re not.  The journey along the way can bring about surprising humorous adventures, leading us to places we may not have expected and revealing strengths we never knew we had. Illustrated on the front cover of his book, Bill Peet portrays what a little motivation and determination can bring about in the life of a pig.

In the end, it’s Chester’s …  – well, never mind. You will simply have to get the book and find someone special with whom to read.

PS. Thank you to Ma Sands for recommending Bill Peet’s books.  We have checked out two from the library so far and thoroughly enjoyed them both!