Tagged: Reading

What Grade Are You In? A Bit of Common Sense from Understood Betsy

Summer is winding down in the northern hemisphere and schoolbooks are being dusted off and swimsuits put away. I always enjoyed getting back into an orderly and predictable schedule (as orderly and predictable as was possible in a household with...

Should the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award have been renamed?

Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Art of Historical Fiction

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award was recently renamed the Children’s Literature Legacy Award, a remarkably generic name for such a prestigious award. A lot has been said about the change, and most that I have seen has been negative, with reactions...

Middle school reading lists: What a difference 100 years makes!

Middle School Reading Lists: What a difference 100 years makes!

I recently came across an interesting comparison of two middle school reading lists. The author, Annie Holmquist, compared a list from 1908 with a current list from the same state on the basis of time period, thematic elements, and reading...

When is Reading Hard?

Reading, Comprehension, and Knowledge Do you enjoy reading? I do. I grew up reading voraciously — new books, old books, books set in the city, the country, in foreign lands, and many books that featured characters that lived lives very...

Read poetry every week; it will nourish your soul.

How to Enjoy Poetry Every Week

Do you read poetry and share it with your children? I’d like to prescribe a dose of poetry every single day, but I know that might seem daunting. How about poetry every week instead? Start with simple poems, laying a solid...

The Art of Cursive coloring book is a delightful way to practice handwriting / penmanship after you have completed the CursiveLogic workbook.

July 2017 Newsletter

A newsletter and a reading suggestion I’ve had several people ask me if there is a difference between the newsletter I hand out at conferences, and the one that comes via email, so I thought I’d show you a sample....

Choosing books for boys isn't hard: avoid twaddle and give them the good stuff.

Choosing Books for Boys

Choosing books for boys isn’t all that hard. Give them adventure — the kind with blood and courage, dirt and ingenuity — and watch their imaginations soar, assuming they haven’t been “Eustaced”* by the sort of twaddle mentioned in Martin...

A poem, truth, and the month of May illustrated by "Interesting Story" by Laura MuntzLyall, 1898.

A poem, truth, and the month of May

Under the Willows by James Russell Lowell, 1819 – 1891 May is a pious fraud of the almanac, A ghastly parody of real Spring Shaped out of snow and breathed with eastern wind; Or if, o’er-confident, she trust the date, And, with her...

If you have never said "Excuse me" to a parking meter or bashed your shins on a fireplug, you are probably wasting too much valuable reading time.

The Benefits of Reading: Seven Tips for Reading More

Why spend time reading? Just in case you need an excuse to read to your children (or just to read for yourself), the infographic below outlines a host of benefits of reading. Although there are many practical reasons to read...

Winter reading is one of life's great pleasures.

Winter Reading: Something Old, Something New

I love long, cosy winter evenings spent with a good book and a cat. This is when I whittle down the reading pile I’ve accumulated by my chair during the convention season and travel months. While some of my winter...

Summer Reading List

What’s in your to-be-read (TBR) pile? Mine is teetering way past the point of reason, and has overflowed onto a small bookshelf beside my chair, plus a few piles on the floor, to say nothing of those waiting in my...

Telling the Truth in Fiction

Fairy tales, parables, and other true stories I have been thinking about fairy tales this week after coming across a bowdlerized (to modify by abridging, simplifying, or distorting in style or content) version that appears on a third grade Common Core...

Excellence in Literature teaches classic literature in context for grades 8-12.

Why Context? What You Know Changes How You Read

Most modern readers have little context for the mindset, manners, and morals, or even many of the conflicts that consumed the characters in the novels of the late 19th and early 20th century. This lack of context can affect understanding and appreciation of the tales.

Education is an atmosphere;, illustrated by a Mary Cassatt image.

Charlotte Mason was Right! Education is an Atmosphere

Charlotte Mason said that “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life,” and she was right. A study published in 2010 on “Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success” (PDF), reports that a family’s “scholarly culture – the way of life in homes where books are numerous, esteemed, read, and enjoyed” matters. Here’s how!

Storming? Time to Enjoy Books, Games, Music and Crafts

In the mid-Atlantic region, we’re battening down the hatches in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. Preparations include drawing water, gathering candles and oil lamps, and trying to get everything washable washed in case the power goes out. Once the basics are...

Things to Know About Public Libraries

If you have a local library, support it through regular visits, volunteering, and other ways. As a homeschooler, you can help to shape your library’s collections and programs through strategic requests (nicely conveyed, of course!). And finally, an infographic on “Why Support Your Local Library?”

Great Books Week: Les Misérables is 150 Years Old

Visit the Great Books Week site for a few ideas on how to celebrate, some quotes on great literature, and more. In a world of strife and turmoil, the classics remain beautiful and timeless. I hope you enjoy celebrating this week!

Three or more books for the homeschool journey: Charlotte Mason and more.

Three (or so) Books for the Homeschool Journey

Homeschooling can be challenging, but a good book can encourage and help to renew your mind. Here are three of my favorite books about family and learning.

How to Teach Your Child: Charlotte Mason’s Education Manifesto

Charlotte Mason’s Educational Manifesto declared that not only did children have a right to knowledge, but they also had an appetite for such knowledge, and that appetite, if not squelched, would motivate them to learn.

Wintery Mix: The Carnival of Homeschooling

Here is the Wintery Mix Carnival of Homeschooling, with a healthy variety of posts on topics as varied as reading aloud, being on the bottom of the gymnastics stack, and visiting the optometrist. Enjoy!

Five stages of language arts learning.

The Stages of Learning Language Arts

There are five stages in learning language arts, and each stage has a different focus. This graphic will help you remember what to do when.

What do homeschoolers need to teach?

Homeschoolers: What Must You Teach?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at homeschooling your students through high school, remember that you don’t have to teach them everything they’ll ever need to know.

Review: The Struggling Reader Assessments and Teaching Materials

Reading is the most important academic skill we teach our students. Students must learn to read well before they can read to learn, so it’s important to create a nourishing home environment where books are read and enjoyed, ideas are discussed, and written and spoken communication is a natural part of everyday life. If you’ve created that strong foundation and your child still struggles with learning to read, there’s usually a discoverable cause. In The Struggling Reader system, the Eckenwilers have provided the tools for diagnosis, and the means for teaching what is needed.

Great Books Week Day 3: What childhood book captured your imagination?

I grew up in a quiet home with no television or other young people. My grandparents liked to read, and so did I. Books were my trusted friends and companions throughout childhood, and I loved many of them for many...

Great Books Week 2010 Blog Challenge: Day 1

Here’s my answer to the Great Books Week Challenge’s first question, “What book has had the greatest impact on your life? In what way?”

Excellence in Literature Complete Curriculum - all five years in a binder.

Excellence in Literature Worldview

Why choose worldview over specific content? Here’s why I did so for Excellence in Literature.

Read for Fun; Learning Happens Along the Way

As parents, we can’t begin to teach our children everything they need to know, but we can teach them to read, and make sure they have plenty of good books. Truths carried to the heart through the power of story wil linger far longer than anything that comes through a lecture or a worksheet. As you begin the new school year, make time for reading, and I promise, learning will happen.

Carnival of Homeschooling: The Beach Reading Edition

The Beach Reading Edition of Carnival of Homeschooling is up, and there are great posts on why to homeschool through high school, how to motivate your children, how to teach boys, and much, much more. Enjoy!

How I chose the books for the Excellence in Literature curriculum for grades 8-12.

How I Chose Great Books for Excellence in Literature

My goal in writing Excellence in Literature is to pass along my love for some of the most beautiful, thought-provoking literature in the world, and to help students learn to think critically and analytically while growing mentally and spiritually. Here’s how I chose which books to include.

Love of Learning and the Gift of Time

I’ve been thinking about learning and what makes it stick, what brings it to life, and why some students enjoy it more than others. Can you remember the last time you or your student was excited about learning? Here are a few thoughts on our school life.

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