Treasure Seeking: How to Find the Best Children’s Literature

I can never seem to find enough good books for my children. My daughter can devour an entire chapter book in a day or two. My  sons can, too, but they tend to be more picky. Or perhaps there just isn’t a whole lot of wholesome quality literature written for boys between the ages of 8 and 12. Unfortunately,  many books written nowadays just don’t make the cut. I want my kids to read books that will inspire and ennoble them, books that show them what it is to be heroic, courageous, and generous, books that help them develop a moral compass while appealing to their imagination. Books that preach without preaching.

So here is where I go when I’m treasure seeking:

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Ten Boredom Busters and Brain Boosters

Here’s an article I wrote for Mercatornet years ago:

Ahhh… the lazy days of summer are here.  School is over, and it’s time for a more relaxing and peaceful – “Moooommmmm!!!!” screamed my daughter. All-Star is bugging me!!!”  “Well, she won’t let me play with her,” complained All-Star. “He keeps knocking over my dolls!” exclaimed Big-Sis. I could tell that All-Star was bored and looking for trouble. “Big-Sis, come here” I said firmly. He reluctantly came. And I handed my six year old a knife.

  The summer time is often peak time for boredom among children.  They have too much time on their hands and they often don’t know what to do with it.  Boredom in children precedes trouble, such as nagging for new toys, self-pity, loneliness, bickering, and irate parents. So, aside from summer camps and field trips, how can we keep our kids happily busy and productive? Here’s my top-ten list:

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A Real Childhood Summer

Some of you are going to think I’m nuts, but so be it. We’re doing something extreme this summer, something pre-historic and archaic, something that will make most parents shudder…

We’re going media free!

Well… actually, we’ve always been.

You know how there are no-smoking zones? Our home is a no video-game zone. None. Zilch. Zero. The rule is, “If you want to play a video game, you’ve got to program it first.” We’ve got Scratch and Bitsbox. If my kids want to be creative on the computer, they can do so (after all their chores are done). But they have to be producers, not consumers. Programming time is limited to half an hour a day. Even so, my kids would rather just not. And (I hope you’re sitting!) we don’t own a T.V. or an iPad.

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Summer Chore Boot Camp

One of the big challenges of homeschooling is managing the household chores. Homeschooling often entails a lot of mess. Books are everywhere, science and art projects are scattered throughout the house, and school supplies find their way under couches and beds. This is especially true if you have little ones who try to occupy themselves while you’re working with the older kids. When we’re home all day with our children, the house gets dirtier faster. There’s more dirty dishes, more trails of mud coming in from the door, and more puzzle pieces and crayons strewn about the house. Let’s face it, homeschooling is really like having a full-time job, only your house is getting messy while you work. And it’s hard to feel peaceful when your house looks like a tornado ripped through it. But, as in all things, there’s a silver lining behind this cloud.  In this case, it’s the opportunity to train our children to be orderly and to do chores well.

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