I’m so proud of myself! 🙌🏼
I’ve only purchased four books this school year (trust me, this is a feat!) and two of them are used. Everything else has been borrowed from the public library or rediscovered in our home library.
Come join me below as I share some of our favorite books, homeschool resources, and curriculum that we’ve been using this month.
What I purchased
For Which We Stand is an excellent primer for kids on the U.S. Constitution and how our government works. We probably won’t get to U.S. history until later this year (maybe even next?!), but I like to read and ingest everything we’ll be learning before we learn it. It’s been 12 years since I taught this topic, so I’ve been taking workshops from Sharon McMahon as a refresher as well.
More Nitty Gritty Grammar is a classic, and I felt my 10-year-old (who loves puns and silly things) would enjoy this as a companion to his grammar instruction. We plan on working through Michael Clay Thompson’s Grammar Island later this year.
Over the weekend, I quickly snatched up Front Desk when I learned a school district in New York was trying to ban it after a few parents expressed concern. The book is about a 10-year-old Chinese-American girl, Mia, who lives in a motel where her immigrant parents work. Many of the events that happen to Mia in the book are based on actual events the author, Kelly Yang, experienced growing up.
Being half Asian, I’m always looking for good Asian-American children’s books to share with my kids. The only strong Asian character I remember reading as a child was Claudia Kishi in The Babysitter’s Club series, so I’m glad to find this book geared towards middle grades. Once I’m done, I plan on passing it to my 10-year-old son and I’m hoping that he’ll enjoy it as much as I am.
And, thanks to my IG friend @learnincolor, I bought Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story. It’s about Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania that secretly issued thousands of passports to Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied territory. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, be sure to check out the PBS documentary about him. Also, if you want to turn the book into a deeper learning experience for your kids, Samantha created a Study Guide to go along with it.
What we’ve been studying
Did you know I quit planning for our homeschool this year?
Kinda, sorta, not really!
At the beginning of the month, we grabbed the book, The One and Only Ivan because my kids love read-alouds that have a movie tie-in. Then I decided to get the Arrow from Brave Writer that correlates with the book. (No fancy binding on my part, because 1. Too cheap, 2. Too lazy, and 3. I already have a bunch of report folders lying around.)
Next, I remembered we had tickets for the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit at the end of this month. So I printed out The Kids Guide to Van Gogh that was part of our Magnificent Modern Art Course from Art History Kids.
And then, I sat down and read through both guides in one sitting and called it homeschool planning. I have to be honest and admit that I feel kind of hypocritical after writing a series of articles about homeschooling planning, but I’m being gentle with myself and acknowledging that this is just the season of our homeschool life that we’re currently in.
Anyway, we just finished our Van Gogh unit and will probably wrap up The One and Only Ivan sometime next week. What we’ll dive into next, I have no clue?!?
What we’ve been reading
- The One and Only Ivan
- Vincent’s Colors
- Katie and the Sunflowers
- Katie and the Starry Night
- The Artist and Me
- DK Eyewitness Books: Van Gogh
- Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories
- Masterpieces Up Close
- In a Dark, Dark Room
- 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath
- How to Eat an Airplane
- Pete the Cat’s Family Road Trip
- The Biggest Pumpkin Ever
- Samson the Mighty Flea!
- Chicka Chicka 1 2 3
It’s hard for me to find the time to help my kids with writing. The little one is constantly tugging at my shirt trying to get my attention. So like math, I decided to farm it out and ordered a subscription for The Night Zookeeper online learning tool. My 10-year-old is enjoying writing and can spend hours on his laptop creating stories. I also signed my almost 6-year-old up for the program. Hopefully, he likes it, but I’m not going to push it if he’s not ready.
For the past year (or maybe more?), we’ve been watching Mark Rober attempt to make a giant elephant toothpaste volcano. It’s so fun to watch all the failures because it really illustrates how the scientific method works. Plus, anything that emphasizes grit is a win for me! Anyway, earlier this month, he was finally able to make one, and now my kids want to create their own elephant toothpaste volcano as well, albeit a much smaller version.
Money management is an essential life skill, so we’ve been attempting to incorporate it into our daily lives. My kids earn money for reading books, and we keep track of what they make on our chalkboard. They are allowed to spend as much as they want, but through all of our discussions, books we’ve read on the topic, and their goal to be like their grandpa and retire early, they’ve opted to only spend a third of their money on the things they want (which is usually V-Bucks!) If you’re interested in starting the conversation with your kids, this article from MoneyGeek is a great introduction.
On my nightstand
- The Island of Sea Women
- Empire of Pain
- The Woman They Could Not Silence
- How to Raise an Adult
- How I Became a Spy
Now I want to hear from you! Have you discovered any exciting books or homeschool resources? I’d love to know!
Xuan Klevecka is a Southern California-based homeschool mom, wife, and sometimes purveyor of vintage goods. She’s an Enneagram 5w4, a lover of good food, and a former middle school history teacher. You’ll either find her looking at road maps and daydreaming about her family’s next epic adventure or perusing recipes and cooking up a feast for the brood.