Last week, my teenage daughter said to me, “I love talking about books.” I couldn’t agree more. And the popularity of book clubs is evidence that we’re not alone. What a pleasure it is to read a good book and then talk about it!
Thankfully, doing these two simple things is an effective way of developing critical thinking skills — provided you ask and discuss the right questions. So, as I promised in my last post, here is a list of questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy that you can ask your children/teens to help them think critically about the books they are reading.
It’s spring! Time to start planning for the coming school year. In years past, I used to spend hours browsing home school curricula. This year, with our second teen heading to highschool in the fall, there isn’t that much browsing to do. We’re pretty much sticking to the stuff that we know has worked for us in the past. For those of you who are deciding on curricula, here is a list of our favorite books from this year:
When my oldest was a kindergartener, I wrote some super short stories to help her learn to read. I then used them to teach all my other kids to read, along with a variety of other phonics books. Variety is the spice of life, so it is good to give your emerging readers a mixture of books with which they can learn to read.
When I was a child, my mother used to say, “Idleness is the devil’s workshop.” I find myself saying the same thing to my kids whenever boredom leads to trouble. Not that I’m against boredom. A certain amount is healthy — it allows children to use their imaginations and creativity in a free and leisurely manner. Excessive boredom, however, makes children want to eat when they’re not hungry and waste time on video games (which we don’t do here). It also incites kids to pester their siblings because they have nothing else to do.
The warm, care-free days of summer are a wonderful gift. But children still need structure. They still need to use their time constructively. Besides play-dates, swimming, biking, and sports, here are some things we are doing to make the most of our summer days.
There is no question that one of the single most important skills to teach our kids is to read. I would argue that it is not only our job to teach them HOW to read, but more importantly to LOVE to read. The amount kids read has a direct relationship to better scores on standardized tests and an easier time with grammar, spelling, and writing. As we approach the summer months, how can we motivate them to spend part of their days reading and not lose all of those skills we have worked so hard on during the school year?
Around this time of year as I think about Christmas shopping, I know I have to tackle the toy closet in order to make room for more stuff. However, one look at our toy storage, which is a dangerous undertaking, makes me want to revolt against plastic toys, toys that need batteries, toys with a million little pieces, and toys in general. The thought of having to buy even more toys makes me feel like this:
One of the luxuries of a childhood summer is having the time to get lost in a book. You know a book is really engrossing when a boy doesn’t come for lunch because he just can’t stop reading. Here is a list of chapter books that All-Star and Feisty couldn’t put down:
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: