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Summer Book List for Kids

When I first left my full-time job,  I had big plans for our summers. My son was just finishing up PreK-4 and had until then been in daycare for every summer of his young life. My daughter was only one. I couldn't wait to have the freedom to spend the summertime with them. 

Fast forward five years... we have had summers full of camps, swimming, bedroom makeovers, vacation Bible schools, slip-n-slides, sprinklers, catching fireflies, and much, much more.

As I look forward to the upcoming summer, I want to be intentional about what we do with our time this summer. I want more playtime, more family time, less busyness overall this summer.

One thing our plans include this summer is reading. 

*This post is from Amy, the book contributor here at Homegrown Learners.  I love Amy's idea of spreading a feast of books for her kids this summer... and I really like her idea of incorporating more audio books this summer, too! 

2017 Summer Book List for Kids from Homegrown Learners

Summer Reading Plans

For Me...

And not just reading for the children, but for myself. I am so inspired by Mary. Moms: take the Time to Read.

I spend most of my personal reading time on homeschool and parenting books. But I intend to broaden my scope of reading this summer. Sometimes you just need to get lost in a book, right? Not just the children, but parents too! What better example to inspire our children to read than to see their parents enjoying a good book!

I already have Why Can't We Just Play? on Audible that I plan to listen to on our way to the beach next week. It looks like a fun read to inspire me to stick to my intentions this summer. 

For the Children...

I'll pick up books to help keep their brains busy thinking and being creative (and gearing up for the next school year). 

My summer reading plans include providing them with a feast of good books to choose from.

My goal is less screen time, more reading, more playing! 

My son loves the You Wouldn't Want To.... series of books. You Wouldn't Want to Be An American Pioneer and You Wouldn't Want to Live in a Wild West Town! were two of his early favorites of this series. He picked up a couple of new ones at the homeschool conference last weekend that he began reading on the way home: You Wouldn't Want to Live Without the Internet and You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Bacteria. I'll try to pick up a few more of these books for him over the summer as well as plenty of other books to keep him reading. 

He has read every LEGO book our local library has. Multiple times. So I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting books about Legos for him. I've added a few LEGO books to this Summer Reading Plans list.

The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Daring Book for Girls are packed with interesting facts and projects that are ideal for working on throughout the summer. 

I will also be selecting readers for my daughter. She is a beginning reader, and I want to encourage her love of books. She has just finished Level One in All About Reading. I will pick up books for her that help build her confidence in reading. You can read more about Why I Love All About Reading.

We also plan to work through some of the projects in Sewing School this summer. Her biggest sewing projects so far have been sewing fabric squares together. She's only six. But she told me tonight that she wants to sew me a Wonder Woman costume. (LOL!) Who am I to discourage her from daring to dream big! :-)

Above is a picture of my son with our sweet, old dog who we had to say goodbye to today. When my son was first learning to read, he would spend time practicing reading to Patch, who was a patient and gentle listener. I'm thankful for this time they have had together. They spent hours and hours together reading. 

Family Read Alouds

I also want to make plenty of time for read alouds for our family.

When our days are less structured, our family thrives on the anchors that help give our days routine. Read Alouds are an anchor to our days. With my six year old just beginning to be interested in chapter books for read-alouds, I am selecting books I think will hold her attention.

Our next family read-aloud is The Burgess Seashore Book for Children. Our family is heading to the beach soon so I thought this would be a perfect book to read. All of the Burgess Books for Children are delightful. 

We will also be reading Pages of History with my ten year old son. I suspect this is one he and my husband will especially enjoy. 

Audio Books

Audio books helped to draw my son into reading years ago. We began with picture books on CD where he could follow along with the narration. He progressed to audio books well beyond his reading ability.

Listening to audio books over the years has allowed by active boy to be able to read books while keeping his body and hands busy. He has at least one audio book checked out from the library all the time. He likes to get up early in the morning and listen to an audio book while he plays with Legos waiting for school to start. 

My daughter is beginning to show more of an interest in audio books also. We have recently listened to The Fancy Nancy Audio Collection of short stories. Because the stories are short, they keep her attention and we can easily limit how much we listen to at a time. 

I'm taking some audio books on our upcoming vacation that I hope the whole family will enjoy. I find that having audio books to listen to on long car rides helps keep the peace and helps keep the screens off. Win, win, win. :-)

An Audible subscription is also a good investment for your homeschool.

Summer Reading Programs

Do your children participate in summer reading programs?

My kids like to participate in the summer reading program at our local library. Over the years, it has been a great motivator, especially for my son. Several summers ago, when he was just beginning to read chapter books, he was inspired by the librarian when she told him he would now be able to track his progress by the number of minutes he spent reading instead of the number of (picture) books.

My kids enjoy being able to track their reading throughout the summer, get a special sticker to show their progress, and earn whatever prizes the library offers. If you have a reluctant reader, perhaps participating in a summer reading program will provide the motivation needed to keep picking up books all summer long. 

My children will read for pleasure all summer long, but I will also encourage them to read a variety of books. I like for my older one to loop through a schedule of different types of books - - history, fiction, science, etc. And my daughter, well, we just need to keep encouraging her to read. To fall in love with reading. 

You'll find a variety of books in our Summer Reading Plans list. As you face the upcoming summer, I encourage you to be mindful of what you want to accomplish this summer. For me, I want plenty of relaxing connection time for our family, and hours and hours of reading and playing.

I hope you find some ideas from this list to help you with your summer reading plans.  


Why Can't We Just Play?: What I Did When I Realized My Kids Were Way Too BusyWhy Can't We Just Play?: What I Did When I Realized My Kids Were Way Too BusyPages of History Volume 1: Secrets of the AncientsPages of History Volume 1: Secrets of the AncientsPages of History Volume 2: Blazing New TrailsPages of History Volume 2: Blazing New TrailsThe Burgess Seashore Book for Children (Dover Children's Classics)The Burgess Seashore Book for Children (Dover Children's Classics)The Burgess Bird Book for Children (Dover Children's Classics)The Burgess Bird Book for Children (Dover Children's Classics)The Burgess Animal Book for Children (Dover Children's Classics)The Burgess Animal Book for Children (Dover Children's Classics)You Wouldn't Want to Live Without the Internet!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without the Internet!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Bacteria!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Bacteria!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without ElectricityYou Wouldn't Want to Live Without ElectricityYou Wouldn't Want to Live Without ToiletsYou Wouldn't Want to Live Without ToiletsYou Wouldn't Want to Live Without BooksYou Wouldn't Want to Live Without BooksYou Wouldn't Want to Live Without Clean WaterYou Wouldn't Want to Live Without Clean WaterYou Wouldn't Want to Live Without Writing!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Writing!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Insects!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Insects!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Gravity!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Gravity!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Sleep!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Sleep!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Bees!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Bees!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Vegetables!You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Vegetables!If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World's People, 2nd Edition (CitizenKid)If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World's People, 2nd Edition (CitizenKid)When on Earth?When on Earth?Where on Earth?Where on Earth?If America Were a Village: A Book about the People of the United States (CitizenKid)If America Were a Village: A Book about the People of the United States (CitizenKid)How to Build Your Own Country (CitizenKid)How to Build Your Own Country (CitizenKid)If: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and NumbersIf: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and NumbersAwesome LEGO Creations with Bricks You Already Have: 50 New Robots, Dragons, Race Cars, Planes, Wild Animals and Other Exciting Projects to Build Imaginative WorldsAwesome LEGO Creations with Bricks You Already Have: 50 New Robots, Dragons, Race Cars, Planes, Wild Animals and Other Exciting Projects to Build Imaginative WorldsThe LEGO ArchitectThe LEGO ArchitectThe LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Idea Book: 181 Simple Machines and Clever ContraptionsThe LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Idea Book: 181 Simple Machines and Clever ContraptionsThe Dangerous Book for BoysThe Dangerous Book for BoysThe Daring Book for GirlsThe Daring Book for GirlsSewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to MakeSewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to MakeSewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing; 20 Projects Kids Will Love to MakeSewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing; 20 Projects Kids Will Love to MakeThe Fancy Nancy Audio CollectionThe Fancy Nancy Audio CollectionPeter PanPeter PanThe Wonderful Wizard of OzThe Wonderful Wizard of OzThe Collected Stories of Winnie-the-PoohThe Collected Stories of Winnie-the-PoohThe Boxcar Children Collection: The Boxcar Children (Book 1), Surprise Island (Book 2), The Yellow House Mystery (Book 3)The Boxcar Children Collection: The Boxcar Children (Book 1), Surprise Island (Book 2), The Yellow House Mystery (Book 3)Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's LibraryEscape from Mr. Lemoncello's LibraryMr. Lemoncello's Library OlympicsMr. Lemoncello's Library OlympicsThe Green Ember (The Green Ember Series: Book 1)The Green Ember (The Green Ember Series: Book 1)Ember Falls (The Green Ember Series: Book 2)Ember Falls (The Green Ember Series: Book 2)The Black Star of KingstonThe Black Star of KingstonThe Bark of the Bog Owl (The Wilderking Trilogy Book 1)The Bark of the Bog Owl (The Wilderking Trilogy Book 1)The Secret of the Swamp King (Wilderking Trilogy)The Secret of the Swamp King (Wilderking Trilogy)The Way of the Wilderking (Wilderking Trilogy)The Way of the Wilderking (Wilderking Trilogy)

 


Download the Summer Printable Book List for Kids

 

For more inspiration to continue reading and learning all summer long, checkout All About Learning Press' reminder of How To Beat the Summer Slide - - Keep Learning All Summer Long!  

 

Free Resources

What are you reading this summer?

 

You might also like: 

25 Reasons to Homeschool

How to Use Notebooking in Your Homeschool

 

25 Reasons to Homeschool

When our family decided to abandon the ideal of traditional school I was MOTIVATED. I knew exactly why we needed to homeschool. As time went on, however, (and the realities of homeschool sunk in) I needed to remind myself why we had chosen this path -- why we had chosen to swim upstream.

Because let's face it -- when you homeschool you are doing something different. You will find yourself swimming upstream in so many ways.

Why do you homeschool?  

I posed this question to the Homegrown Learners Facebook and Instagram communities and received many insightful, heartfelt, and passionate responses. 

I pray this list will encourage you - lift you up on the hard days - and serve as a reminder to you why we do what we do for our precious children. 

(And at the end of the post I've included a printable list so you can put these reasons somewhere you can see them on a regular basis!)

 

25 Reasons to Homeschool

One mom in our Facebook community put it so beautifully, and I needed to share her thoughts with you.  This mom is living inside MY head and MY life - because these are my thoughts, too.


I never would have dreamed I would homeschool my now ninth grader. It kept coming to my mind and heart for two years straight before I even considered it. I know now that God was pressing it on my heart to prepare me. My child had wonderful teachers. He was a very good, well behaved student at school, yet something was crushing his soul...I could not put my finger on it...I just felt it at a gut level. I could see his eyes turn bright as we started any holiday from school. His curiosity and love for learning flourished at home. I could see his spirit dim each time it was time to return to school. I had a epiphany as I dropped him off at school one morning. As he walked away, it was in the sad way he carried his shoulders. I decided in that moment that I had to listen to my heart. I had to get out of the panic of the all or nothing thinking. I knew we had to try. I had to ask myself; what if we try it a year, and it does not work? The world won’t stop turning. That was going on four years ago. It is the best decision I have ever made. It was a very personal decision, but has opened doors for growing our faith, growing our family ties, and opportunities for interest led learning that a public school setting could not do. It was a gut thing. For the first couple of years, I said we will see how this year goes. We are in for the long haul now. It has become a lifestyle. It suits us, and my son is thriving in every way. It is daunting sometimes, and brings me to my knees regularly. So very grateful and blessed that we gave it a try.

Don't you love that?  

Following are 25 reasons - compiled from moms all over - to homeschool. 

I pray it will encourage you -- and don't forget to print your list for extra encouragement!

 

25 Reasons to Homeschool

 

 1.  Children are glorious square pegs that don't fit into schools' round holes.

 

2.  Your kids are worth it!

 

3.  Our children deserve to enjoy their childhood without any added pressure to grow up too quickly!

 

4.  We want kids to be who they are, not who their peers tell them to be

 

5. Common core has no place in our children's education.

 

6.  FREEDOM!

 

7.   Time. Time for family. Time to enjoy learning.

 

8.  It keeps coming to your mind and heart for years before you even consider it.

 

9.  Children's curiosity and love for learning FLOURISH at home!

 

10.  More time to spend with DAD.

 

11.  It opens doors for growing our faith, growing our family ties, and opportunities for interest led learning that a public school setting cannot do.

 

12.  To raise children with a Biblical worldview

25 Reasons to Homeschool Your Children

 

13.  So children can meet new people, travel to different places, learn at their own pace, learn to love God and others,  and learn to serve.

 

14.  Children can more easily develop their own identities.

 

15.   NO BULLYING!

 

16.  Children can more easily develop a love for learning.

 

17.   It is safer for children with severe medical needs/allergies.

 

18.  It is the parents' responsibility to train our children in the way they should go, loving and disciplining them all the way through. 

 

19.  You've been teaching them since birth.  Why stop now?

 

20.  SAFETY

 

21.   You want MORE for them.

 

22.  To be with your children for every daily triumph and tragedy

 

23.   So much learning occurs through field trips and hands on learning - only achievable through homeschool!

 

24.  To let BOYS be BOYS!

 

25.  To have the freedom to play outside all day on the beautiful days and spend all day curled up with books on the rainy ones.

 


The day will come (and it WILL come, believe me) that you will be discouraged on your homeschool journey. You may consider sending your child to school. You may question the value of all of your sacrifice and swimming upstream.

Please print this list to encourage you.  Keep it in your school area, in your homeschool planner, or somewhere you can see it DAILY. 

We often need reminders about WHY homeschooling is the right thing to do. 

Download the 25 Reasons to Homeschool Printable

This download is 2 pages. 

Do you have a reason to homeschool?  Add it in the comments below!

25 Reasons to Homeschool

Essentials: Our First Year in Review

Like many of you, the end of our school year is in sight. Whew!

We have just completed our first year of Essentials in our Classical Conversations community. This time one year ago I was wondering how in the world to prepare myself and my son for our first year of Essentials. He was already getting a little apprehensive about it. We had visited an Essentials class and attended a Faces of History event. He was starting to get an idea of the work involved in Essentials. I knew he could do the work, but he wasn't so sure. 

Today I'm providing a review of our first year in Essentials and how things turned out for us as well as trying to answer some questions that many of us have when facing Essentials for the first time. 

Essentials is the afternoon portion of Classical Conversations that is available to fourth through sixth graders and covers English grammar, writing, and mental math. 

(*Thanks to Amy for providing this post today!)

Classical Conversations Essentials:  Our First Year in Review

Essentials: Our First Year in Review

Help! My child is apprehensive about Essentials!

When my son was in third grade, we visited a couple of Essentials classes to get an idea of what we were going to be getting into. I left there giddy with excitement! Grammar and writing are interesting (and fun!) to me. But my son, my fun-loving, active boy was apprehensive about what was in store. The closer we got to the beginning of fourth grade, the more uneasy he became.

Sometimes that just happens when kids, or any of us, are faced with something new and unknown. 

I eventually got to the root of his concerns. He was concerned about writing, which in his mind equaled handwriting. He thought there were hours and hours each week of handwriting in his future in Essentials. I assured him that we would work through it all together, and that he would not be on his own.

He also needed to hear that I would still be his teacher and would be determining his work load and assignments. His Essentials tutor would lead the class each week but I would be setting his individual assignments. I love this aspect of Classical Conversations; that they consider the parents the teachers who are best equipped to teach their own children.

Some kids face new things like an adventure. No uneasiness at all. Truthfully, my son is like this with most things. But if your child is experiencing a little uncertainty, you may just need to get to the root of it and provide some reassurance that you will be facing this together. 

What should I do in third grade to prepare for Essentials?

There are no prerequisites for Essentials. Your child can start Essentials without having any previous formal grammar or writing instruction. 

But my son had been exposed to grammar in earlier grades. We did IEW's Fix It Grammar in third grade. It was a simple course that took a small amount of time each day. While I don't think it is necessary for a student to have had grammar prior to Essentials, for my child, I'm glad we did. It gave him more confidence that he would be successful in Essentials. 

In third grade I also used IEW's Teaching Writing Structure and Style to gently introduce writing. I snagged a used set of the older version of the DVDs and went through the first few units in third grade. Primarily we used the key word outline format to prepare my son's Classical Conversations weekly presentations. Again, this was definitely not necessary. But for my son, he was ready and it helped him with his weekly presentations. Once we started Essentials, he was already familiar with key word outlines and it helped jump start his confidence. 

If you haven't done any formal writing or grammar programs before Essentials, it's okay. Essentials is designed as a three year program so you will continue to cover the same material for 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. But if you want to get a head start on a formal grammar or writing program before Essentials, and you feel your child is ready, I certainly recommend these two programs because they work so well with what is covered in Essentials. 

Reviewing the English Grammar memory work from Foundations is also great preparation for Essentials. Practicing multiplication facts will also help them with the mental math games played during Essentials. You can have your child work on these throughout the summer.

How should I prepare myself for Essentials?

  • Connect with your Essentials tutor. Our Essentials tutor scheduled meetings with the parents prior to Essentials starting. We spent time putting together our notebooks and she helped us get organized. She gave us lots of encouragement for the upcoming year as well as helped us know what to expect.
     
  • Study your teacher's manuals: Classical Conversations Essentials Guide, IEW's Teaching Writing Structure and Style and IEW's History Based Writing Lessons. The info you need to know is in your teacher's guides. Just take the time to get really familiar with them before the year begins.
     
  • Organize your materials. Okay, I've said it before, but it's really true. I can't use something that isn't organized. I end up just putting it aside and never using it if it's not organized. This was not an option with our Essentials materials. I should have spent more time before our classes began to get myself better organized. That would have helped with the panicky feeling I felt those first few weeks.
Classical Conversations Essentials -- Our First Year in Review

This is what worked well for us this year:

  1. CC Connected - there is a wealth of resources on CC Connected created by other CC moms. Make sure you add Essentials to your subscription to access the Essentials materials. 
     
  2. Getting organized - once I got myself and my child organized, our days and weeks flowed well. 
     
  3. Essay illustrations - our tutor suggested that the students illustrate their essays. From that day on, my son illustrated all of his essays. He enjoyed adding that element of creativity to his papers. Our tutor included the illustrations in the end of the year book she made for each student with the collection of their essays. I'm thrilled to have this keepsake. Turns out that my son was the only one in our class that illustrated their stories. It's not for everyone, but my child really enjoyed including that with his papers. 
     
  4. Dictation / typing - my son dictated his papers to me and I typed them. This was a lifesaver! Remember that stress he was feeling about handwriting, well this completely solved that issue. I am planning for him to work on his typing skills over the summer and am hoping that he will be ready to type more on his own next year. But I don't want him to miss the process of composition just because he is stressed about getting it down on paper. I will help him with that until he is ready to do it on his own. Mary recommended us using Typing Tutor for Kids this summer. 
     
  5. Pacing assignments - we didn't do every assignment this year. I paced my son's assignments based on his overall workload and abilities. And this was not a problem. Again, CC is setup so the parents are the teachers. The tutors do provide an outline of assignments, but it's up to the parents to decide what each individual student is assigned to do. 
     
  6. Faces of History - each student chose a person from the Cycle 2 time period, the Middle Ages, and wrote a research paper on that person. They dressed up like the character and read the paper to the parents and students at our Faces of History presentation event. My son thoroughly enjoyed the entire process. That's him in the picture above dressed up in his version of Lief Erickson, Viking Explorer. 

In summary, our first year at Essentials was a success. Although it started off a bit shaky as we both were trying to figure out what to expect and how to be organized with our materials and lessons, we ended the year well. I am thrilled at all that my son learned in Essentials! He grew by leaps and bounds in his writing, grammar, and mental math this year. I am more than impressed with how well he did.

I share all of this as an encouragement to you mamas who may be concerned about Essentials. You know your child best! Just come alongside them and encourage them on this journey together.  

We are already talking about what we will cover next year in Essentials. Just this morning, my son was talking about Faces of History for next year and is wondering who he will write his paper on. That's a huge jump from where we were a year ago! 

Classical Conversations Essentials:  Our First Year in Review

If you are an experienced Essentials mom, what other words of encouragement would you share with an upcoming Essentials family?