Great books: an ingredient for boy-building

Stories are often the best way to capture a boy’s attention, the best way to drive home a moral point, and are also just good fun.  With so many kids' books tied into popular cartoons or shows, I used to fear that my kids (particularly-my boy) were missing out on enjoying and learning from classic books. great books for boys @ Home is where...

We are a book-loving family, but to my dismay, my boy preferred to watch cartoons or read only comics. I know as a homeschool mom, I can get bogged down with trying to tie everything together, to plan the perfect unit study.  I realized, however, that often my boy was best served by just sitting down and reading a good book together.  Simple. No frills.

Sit down, read, enjoy and discuss.  Books on audio from the library count, too!

There are so many great children’s books that highlight character, choosing right from wrong and growing into manliness.  A few classics a boy-heart might enjoy include;

  • Peter Pan- “All children, except one, grow up.” Who can resist such an opening line?  There is something for mom here, too.. “Look at her in her chair, where she has fallen asleep…Her hand moves restlessly on her breast as if she had a pain there. Some like Peter best and some like Wendy best, but I like her [mother] best.” Peter Pan, chapter 16
  • Old Yeller.  The Disney Movie was well done, but there are deeper man-truths in the book, and also, a sequel.
  • The Summer of the Monkeys and Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.  Yes, mom will cry-and your boy might too.  Real men have real feelings, work hard for what they want, and realize that love is more important than things; a good lesson.
  • Encyclopedia Brown.  Maybe not classic, yet…but good, clean fun and good role modeling of being honest, fair and helping others.
  • The Secret Garden.  Not automatically a ‘girl’ book, there are some boy a bit spoiled -to not be like, and one strong, intelligent hard working boy to emulate.
  • Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The book in the Little House series your boy will like the best. Lots of getting up early, hard work and lessons about gaining wisdom.

I know, from experience, that a lecture is the most sure way to shut my boy down.  A lecture seems to bounce off some invisible wall between me and him.  The subtle lesson shown, through a story, instead of lectured about, is more effective in reaching the heart.  I will chose a book, after much prayer and thought- with a theme or situation that I hope my son will absorb, make applicable to his own situation, and learn from.

I have a teen-aged son now, a few character-building books for his age include;

  • In His Steps
  • Sentinel by L. Bilbrey
  • Ender's Game
  • Swiss Family Robinson (the original version)
  • How to Eat Fried Worms

Lately, I've shared a few Grace Livingston Hill novels with my two youngest.  Most of them are pretty formula-driven christian romance, (which I have to admit that I dearly love and I re-read her books all the time) but there are a few gems that celebrate the boy. Written in the early 1900's , the books offer rich history of daily life, too.  The few I felt worth sharing with my boy are:

  • A new name
  • The obsession of Victoria Gracen
  • Found Treasure
  • Big Blue Soldier
  • The Witness (a re-telling of Saul)

Well, this concludes my thoughts on how to teach character by stealth to your children, particularly, to your sometimes resistant boys.

Any to add to the list?


*this post is based on a post I originally wrote for The Mothers of Boys Society on August 27, 2010

{good} stuff

good stuff I've found recently around the web, all with the twang of New Year, New Starts....

Good Stuff on the web -blog

{Plum Paper Designs} << clickable link

love those fancy, designer planners but just can't justify spending $50 + on them? This Etsy shop has  nice, semi-custom planners with add-ons, stickers and personalized covers ~with less sticker shock

{Only Passionate Curiosity}

Printable homeschool planners.  >>prettier than the plain ones I make up in Word, with big O's for checkboxes.....

{Elisa Pulliam}

PDF-books: How to Start the Year Equipped and Thriving. These look very good and she was having a BOGO sale...though Jenny-the-late has missed the ending day

{7 Ways to Conquer your morning routine

for those non-morning people among us. New Year, New Start!  Er...or something...

{Daily Page Notepad}

Thyme is Honey Etsy shop....simple but eye-pleasing daily checklist. Because, I will forever be an optimist that I can get my act together, and I will keep buying stuff to somehow, magically attain this, I love paper....

{What Comes Next}

A Study in Brown blog. She writes about seeking simplicity and experimenting with living with no internet in the house.  I don't think I would like this, I don't think I could do it, and yet, the thought intrigues me with the possibilities....


Happy New Year, bloggy friends!



5 Ways to get back to the swing of homeschool after winter break

The Homeschool-mom part of me is excited to tackle the new year, The mom side of me is dreading dragging my children back to the homeschool table...

homeschool book

bereft of bright and shining faces this winter?  Here are a few ideas to get things moving:

  1. switch things up ~ is Bible or Math usually your first subject? Why not switch up the order of things, or move Bible to before school...or?  Make a visual line-up the kids can see and look forward to.

  2. ease into it~ make the first week an abbreviated week, with less subjects, or end the school-day a bit earlier and get outside, or snuggle up for some cozy reading. Or? the possibilities are endless.

  3. Start a new subject~ pull out the study materials you didn't quite get to yet, now is a great time to dive into something new.  Bored with your studies? now might be the time to look for a short-but-sweet unit study.

  4. Try a new schedule ~ things getting really stale?  Make a new schedule, move things around, change the times, shorten some studies, lengthen others.  Now might be the time to try a block schedule, with Science only 2 days a week, for example, and freeing up Fridays for "Art Fridays" or "field trip Fridays". Think a little outside of the box you have made and switch things around, experiment, try a new class.

  5. KISS/Just Read ~ I know for me, I tend to make things way more complicated than they need to be.  I need the perfect unit study, the perfect reference books, the perfect outline and the perfect worksheets.  Sometimes (a lot of the time) simply opening up a good book, reading it, and discussing it gets the job done.  Simple, but true.

Here at {Home} we are going to switch things up, re-arrange our schedule and start new subjects.  #5 was started a month ago, we are reading a Grace Livingston Hill novel and discussing. How about you, are you looking forward to a fresh start?


our winter season has been about abiding. falling real short here on overcoming, championing, shining, excelling, celebrating, funning.....

sometimes, it's all you can do to hide in *Him

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We've had a really nice, restful Winter break.  Lots of family-time, we hosted friends over for our church's winter Bible conference.  We had 7 extra guests for a week-end, which dwindled down to 5 quests for the week. (plus our expanded family of 8!)

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I dared to buy Emma-the-wonder-labradoodle a bright red winter coat...because it was not really clothes, more of a I technically did not break Sky's "no dressing the dog" edict.  If genetics rule, then I am in the running for crazy cat-lady and eccentric-old-lady-who-puts-her-dog-in-dresses (no joke)

She looks fabulous!!

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Amie and Demi-Sky have been very busy drawing, painting and writing creative stories.  I love to see them busy.  I love to see them busy on things not dictated by me. The above is a self-portrait in works by Amie, it is pencil and not quite finished.

The only schooling during the break has been our current read-aloud, which is this book by Grace Livingston Hill.  She is one of my favorite authors, and I collect her books in hardback, early edition.  She wrote during the 1930's and her work are faith-filled.  I started this one with the kids, not sure if they would like it, but they are really in to it. Very cool homeschool-mom-moment when at the beginning we ran into the word "fobish" which happened to be a vocabulary word from Sky's study of "The Scarlett Pimpernel" it was ultra-cool to read that word in this novel, kind of like spotting animals in the wild....

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So, this has been our winter season, one of hiding and abiding.

I hope the coming year will be full of the fruit and joy that come with abiding in God, for you all, as well as us here at {Home}

those no-good, rotten sort of days

Well, hullooo there!  Um, yeah, I'm still here...sort of. Have you ever had one of those no-good, rotten sort of days?  How about several in a row?  How about a year of them?

Here's how this week is shaping up:

  • fielded a call from one of the Biola teachers in which, teacher inquires with concern if my child (who shall remain anonymous) has a learning disability.  I had to decide whether telling said child that a teacher was questioning his/her  brain capabilities would inspire them to pay attention better and actually do their homework, or if it would just seem mean.   {add to my list of things I didn't imagine saying as a parent}
  • go to a Dr.'s appointment at the wrong location.
  • Try to leave for Dr.'s appointment at the wrong location and find out daughter left her car blocking my car in the driveway and her boyfriend has the spare key.
  • Did I mention my grandmother is living in my living room?
  • And that a teen-in-need is now sharing my boy's room?
  • And that my brother-in-law visited this weekend and slept on the couch?
  • Reschedule Dr. Appt. for 3 days later at correct location, arrive for back-to-back visits for yourself and a child and discover your new appt. is not today, but is tomorrow.
  • You are now 1 1/2 hours early for child's appointment...which ends up happening 45 minutes late, because they forgot about you.
  • And then, you were supposed to have a learning record meeting, but you don't have your paperwork in order because [procrastinator!] and now the Dr. thing has really taken all of your free you have to reschedule that, too.
  • ...And one of your children is making you want to go join the circus, or something
  • .... And you are going on a trip you vowed to lose 10 pounds for but you can't stop eating.
  • and you were supposed to fill out a bond application for the conservatorship thing [see elder care, alzheimer's] and you lost it. Spend 20 minutes searching house for it.

I crawled in to bed in defeat by 3:00 but then realized I needed to go pick up Josie's new glasses. which are at the place I went to for the Dr. appointment in the wrong location. -And then got the call that the glasses were ready an hour later.

Sky took me out for dinner, let me choose because [bad day] and we went to Rubio's.

And hey! the lobster burritos are back!!!   And just like that, life didn't seem so bad anymore.

and then we went to Barnes & Nobles,  shared a warm peanut butter cookie and splurged on a salted caramel mocha because [bad day]

and life was okay again.

The Rosie Project -Book Review

*this post contains affiliate codes

Some books you just love, this is one of those books.  I enjoyed this book so much, I recommended it to Sky (we favor different genres, so the book has to be high quality for us to recommend to each other ) and he loved it, too.

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The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a romantic comedy.  The story is from the male protagonist's point of view, which you don't run into a whole lot in romantic comedies...and it is a great spin.  The story is about genius genetics professor, Don.  He is brilliant, but socially very awkward, making you wonder if he might be on the autistic spectrum.  Apparently, his friends and colleagues wonder this about him, also.  An early scene involves a friend asking Don to fill in for him, delivering a lecture on autism.  The resulting experience is hilarious, I could not stop laughing through this part, and had to read it aloud to Sky...this was the point he decided to read it....  This scene played in my head as performed by Sheldon from "The Big Bang Theory" t.v. show, I wanted to call the show and tell them they needed to do this scene with Sheldon.

So, the story centers around Don, deciding that it is time to look for a wife- and going about it in a very systematic way (imagine flow charts, scientific surveys and applications). Enter Rosie, who is the antithesis of Don's list of wifely attributes- who he mistakes as a "wife applicant" but who is really looking for help on a personal genetic project.  The rest is sweet, hilarious and even has some mystery thrown in.  Don really starts to grow on you, he really is a caring person, just a little "awkward" in his delivery.  I loved, loved this book.

5 stars out of 5 stars!

I read very fast, and I am always reading something.  It is easy for me to enjoy something, but not easy to obtain 5 out of 5 with me, I really loved this story.

The best part, there is a sequel coming out in December!  It's called

The Rosie Effect


You know you're a homeschool-mom when...

You know you're a homeschool-mom when...  

1. You find yourself re-purchasing books and materials you have bought and sold before. Sometimes more than once.

2.  You order something you need and after it arrives you find it on your shelves, you forgot you already had it.


I'm sure we could start a running list of these!


Books I have purchased, sold and then re-purchased later:

  • Usborne Encyclopedia of World History
  • Sonlight "I can read" books
  • Veritas Press History cards (purchased 1st set when the children were very young, sold them, purchased all 4 sets later for Classical Conversations, threw them out, purchased the last set again for Amie's History this year.)
  • Story of the World books
  • Story of the World vol. 1 audio
  • Shurley English
  • Beginner's Bible
  • Mere Christianity
  • Screwtape letters
  • Bob Jones Fundementals of Literature (found it on the shelf after ordering a new one, thought Meg threw hers out...ouch)


I know there are more, I just can't recall them, which is probably just as well.

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there you have it, true confessions of a homeschool mom