Thursday, April 30, 2015

Read Aloud Thursday :: From the Boy's Shelf


I'm trying to pay attention to the picture books on our shelves these days as I can see in the (very, very distant) horizon that picture books days are fading. Just this week, I did some major bookshelf rearranging to make room for more chapter books and our every growing nonfiction collection for school studies. I pared down a few of the girls' picture books and tucked them away in a closet for now as I'm also noticing that our collection of boy picture books is accumulating which is as it should be. Even good change is hard, mamas.

Anyway, these are the books that have been on repeat from the boy's shelf the last several weeks (actually, probably the last couple months!)

  • Sam & Dave Dig a Hole - boys and dirt, what more is necessary. The boy enjoys this one as you read about Sam and Dave digging for adventure and coming close several times. This was a recent win that we picked up at the library on a whim.
  • Dragons Love Tacos and Not Your Typical Dragon - We can't get enough of dinosaurs and dragons and these these two books are noteable in that I haven't gotten (too) tired of reading them repeatedly. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've shared these two here on the blog before and they are still in rotation. (Yep, still going strong since February!)
  • Little Pea / Little Hoot / Little Oink - oh, we love these little books. This is one of our very favoritest sets of board books to buy our friends if they invite us to a one- or two-year old birthday party. And the boy is at the delightful age where he gets the humor in these books. Little Pea is our favorite, but the other two share their turn in the read-aloud spotlight as well.
  • And Poppleton. The girls have checked out every Poppleton they could get their hands on at the library and we have all enjoyed this series. Cynthia Rylant is one of our favorite for easy readers and we have gone through our Annie and Snowball and Henry and Mudge phase as well. But right now, pigs that have a llama as a next door neighbor are the favorites.
All four munchkins will actually gather round when I pull out a stack of picture books for which I am very thankful ... and I'm thankful that in this season this boy has three big sisters who are pretty easy-going about reading some of these favorites over and over to him as well. I think picture books still have a lot of life left in his house, now that I think of it. : )

Sharing alongside with Amy for April's Read-Aloud Thursday.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Reading Report ::: April 2015


April means wrapping our our Classical Conversations tutorial.

April means being outside more.

April means that the end of our school year is in sight and it's time to knuckle down and get 'er done.

All that adds up to the fact that I didn't get a ton of reading done this month and that's okay. : ) We also had a LOT (comparatively speaking) of traveling by two of the girls this month. The N's went with their dad on a short trip early in the month. N2 had her grandparent trip to the St. Louis Zoo at the end of the of the month. Those of us left behind didn't want to read ahead in our current chapter book (at the time it was The Green Ember) without the whole crew gathered so it took us much longer to get through it that might think. We more than made up for it by reading the last sixty pages in one fell swoop because we couldn't put it down!

Anyway, this is what I managed to get to this month:
  • Theodore Roosevelt by Clara Ingram Judson - read and blogged for Amy's Newberry challenge.
  • Steeped in Evil by Laura Childs 4/22/2015 - sometimes I just need a nice mystery and Laura Child's tea shop mysteries are a clean and easy read.
  • The Unmapped Sea by Maryrose Woods - couldn't put it down when I got started with this one, which I think says a lot about this book which is 5th in the series. And, yet another cliffhanger!
  • The Green Ember by S.D. Smith - our never ending April read-aloud. Even thought it is the only one that we read this month, it's not because it wasn't wonderful! If you don't have this book, you need it. Blogged a bit on it here.
  • One failure - I was supposed to read 1984 for last month's Reading to Know challenge and I got about 1/3 of the way through and fizzled out. 

Next up in the read aloud list. We finished The Green Ember last week and read the last 60 or so pages straight through because we couldn't put it down. #readaloudrevival

On tap for May:
Fortunately, there is never a shortage of things to read, right?

Happy reading!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Theodore Roosevelt by Clara Ingram Judson

"Why do you volunteer?" friends asked him.
"I like life," he answered thoughtfully; "I have no spirit of reckless exhilaration. But I have an interest in Cuba and her urge for freedom from oppression. I find it easier to explain to my children why I go than why I would not go. When a man believes something is right he must be willing to back his faith with his body - I can do no less.
Just finished this honor book for the 1954 Newbery Award. Yes, I'll be blogging this one. #shepherdslovebooks2015

As part of Amy's Newbery challenge, I read a fantastic biography of Theodore Roosevelt by Clara Ingram Judson. Of all the options from the 1950s, you are probably wondering why this one? I had my reasons. : ) First, we are wrapping up a year of American history focus in Classical Conversations and this is a great tie in. Second, the cover! I loved the painted look to it and it instantly drew me in. And, third (and probably the best reason), I have always been fascinated by Teddy Roosevelt, but have not read much about it. I seized the opportunity!

I'm not going to go into a long description of his life and accomplishments - if you don't know them already, then you need to learn more about this amazing man. Rising from a childhood plagued with illness, he worked hard to strengthen his mind when his body was weak, and over time, strengthened his physical abilities so that he became the outdoorsy and active president that is most known.

His rise to presidency was fascinating. He entered the political arena because of his fascination with how the ward (city council) was run. He was a ward member, state legislator, federal officer, police commissioner, governor of New York, and President of the United States. He also was extremely knowledgeable about the navy, in spite of never having served as a naval officer, and wrote books counselled the government on many naval matters. His stint in the army is well known as he led the Rough Riders and helped Cuba win their independence.

After reading this book, I had nothing but admiration for Theodore Roosevelt. His work ethic and determination was inspiring as well as his moral standards and ethics. Several times in his life, he was pigeon holed into certain public offices where folks though he might serve quietly. No such luck! Anywhere that Teddy served was given 100% of his loyalty and attention. He was never looking to climb a political ladder and move to the next bigger and better spot. He was a humble servant who loved his family and his country and that was evident in the way that he lived his life.
Remember, doing what you have to do, whether you like it or not - that's courage.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

A Present Participle List for April

realizing that I get why people call these present participle lists from some of our Classical Conversations memory work this year. "A present participle is a verb plus -ing...". Thank you Cycle 3 memory work.

#itssimplytuesday and she was simply a delightful Lincoln! Presidential presentations today at CC!

checking books out of the library like it's my job. The oldest has a paper on Susan B. Anthony due next week and little girls did presidential presentations on Lincoln and Reagan so the house has been full up on historical biographies.

remembering that next week is National Library Week and I really want to do something for our librarians. They are so kind to us crazy homeschoolers and our huge pile of checkouts and holds each time we go in.

reading Theodore Roosevelt by Clara Ingram Judson for Amy's Newbery challenge. Sharing this book with B because when she spotted it, she immediately started reading the first chapter in the car on the way to her soccer game. We are also about half way through The Green Ember as our read-aloud. 

anticipating the end of our CC year in just two more weeks. It has flown by.

This girl was on fire. 🔥⚽️

watching soccer and lots of it. I love the spring season (though I don't care for soggy games so much). 

trying to write a little every day. I've been doing the #listersgottallist challenge on Instagram and while the prompts aren't all terribly deep, it's a little bit every day.

realizing we have less than 40 days of school left. Just, wow.

cooking ... not much the last few days. A few in our family have been out of town and those left behind have made do with leftovers and takeout. 

eating too much sugar! Moving Easter candy and sweets out of my line of sight!

looking back on this 2014-2015 school year and realizing that it's not been our finest. This past year (with the fostering) has been a huge fog and I am just now coming out of it a little lot on the bruised and battered side. Thinking through what is to come this next year (most especially, the last year I'll do the bulk of the planning for N1's school work before she enters the CC Challenge program) and grieving that a bit. Not the entering Challenge part - it's an exceptional program that I know will be really, REALLY good for her. This year was just so .... hard and disappointing. 

planning a little person turning eight very, very soon. Yet another Very Hard Thing. : ) We have acquiesced to a friend event this year and she is having a hard time making up her mind as to what she wants to do within the parameters we have given her.

sharing this photo.

Super E. #itssimplytuesday

He is just such a cool kid.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

King of the Wind: The Story of the GoDolphin Arabian by Marguerite Henry

When Allah created the horse, he said to the wind, 'I will that a creature proceed from thee. Condense theyself.' And the wind condensed itself, and the result was the horse.
For Amy's Newbery Challenge in March, I read King of the Wind: The Story of the GoDophin Arabian by Marguerite Henry. This was the 1949 medal winner and from an author that has long been on my to-read lists. Marguerite Henry turns up on many of the booklists that I scour for ideas, yet she has not been one that we have gravitated to in our home. Partly, I think, because I am admittedly not one of those little girls that LOVED horses growing up. I love watching the majesty and beauty of horses and petting them is safe at times; however, I am one of those people that when I actually got ON a horse, it never went as intended. I have memories of being a little kid and a horse getting spooked and running away with me seated on its back, hanging on for dear life as well as getting pitched into a bush during college when a horse came to a sudden stop. Ergo, books about horses are not a huge priority to me. : )


This happy smile is misleading.


I did love this book. This story starts with a young Arab stable boy and a mare that is one of his charges. When she dies shortly after giving birth he takes the young colt under his wing and nurses it and cares for it and promises to keep it safe. This sounds easier than it was as the colt and the boy were shortly sent to France as a gift to the current king as a gift offering from the sultan. Unfortunate circumstances followed the pair and even though the boy and horse are separated several times, life and a few kind individuals conspire to bring them back together. 

Without going into too many details the story does end happily for the boy and the horse. I also appreciated the glimpse into life in for this servant boy in Morocco and his later life in England and France. I can see me pulling this back out as a history read-aloud and tie it in with our Cycle 2 work as we cycle back around in Classical Conversations. This was a winner in my book so, thanks Amy, for the prompt to add this one to our shelves!
Agba swallowed. He felt a tear begin to trickle don his cheek. Quickly, before anyone noticed, he raised his hand to brush it away. His hand stopped. Why, he was growing a beard! He was a man! Suddenly his mind flew back to Morocco.
My name is Agba. Ba means father. I will be a father to you, Sham, and when I am grown I will ride you before the multitudes. And they will bow before you, and you will be King of the Wind. I promise it!
He had kept his word!

Thanksgiving trail ride. #simplethingssunday

Happy trails.