My Kids’ Favorite Books: a book list for later elementary to middle school

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One of my favorite things to see, as a parent, is my children curled up on the sofa, or sitting outside on the porch swing, or numerous other places reading! And let me add to that- reading without me telling them to go read….reading because they want to!

So, as I’m thinking about Christmas gifts (or birthday gifts, etc.) for my kids or nieces and nephews, I love to include BOOKS as part of their present.

Reading is one of those wonderful pastimes that is the same as it was 100 years ago. You find a book and you read it. (granted, I suppose you could be reading it on a kindle or ipad or something, now) ūüôā And, it is just as beneficial as it ever was. It stimulates the imagination, it feeds you with knowledge, it broadens your scope of life and history by learning of others’ experiences, it inspires through achievements and endeavors of people before us, it sharpens your spelling skills and builds your vocabulary without ever having to pull out a textbook to do so. What a great gift!

So, with Christmas shopping underway, perhaps you will enjoy this little list of some of my kids’ favorite books to read. I love book lists because they help me narrow down my options instead of having to search through the thousands of children’s books out there and not knowing where to start. There’s a lot of trashy books out there too, so I appreciate lists that give me good, wholesome choices.

We actually used several of these titles for school reading. I buy several books at the beginning of the year and then let the kids choose which ones they will read. When they’ve finished that book, they go back to those options and choose again. They really like handling it this way, as it allows them to have some say in what they read for school.

So, here you go:

Book List for approximately grades 4-8 or ages 9-13

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Curriculum Pick: Geography and Prayer

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Geography and Prayer??

Yes, they can go together! This is my favorite resource for teaching geography through prayer. Sound weird? Well, it makes so much sense.

I wanted my kids to know geography. Not only where to find countries on a map, but something about that country and it’s people. This is the perfect resource….

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Easy Economics for High Schoolers

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Let me tell you about a great resource for teaching economics to your high schooler. It’s called Biblical Economics in Comics¬†by Vic Lockman.

It actually looks and reads like a comic book! You might be thinking, Comic book…for a high schooler? ¬†How can that be all that educational, and aren’t they, after all, a little old for comics?

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7 Favorite Learning Resources Under $20 for Ages 3-5

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Here is a list of 7 Learning Resources that I really like for preschoolers/kindergartners. I’d say Ages 3-5 would best benefit from these picks.

This year, we are homeschooling our 4th preschooler. (Our other children are in 7th, 6th, and 1st grade!) Along the way, I’ve used some products that were just so-so, some that weren’t worth the time or money, and some that I loved and have used over and over again!

What makes these ‘keepers’ to me?¬†

  1. My kids have enjoyed them and actually used them
  2. I have enjoyed my kids using them (something that is complicated or overly time-consuming or messy is probably not going to be a winner in my book. So, my “keepers” are resources that are simple, yet effective
  3. Economical- We don’t (can’t) buy our kids every neat book or toy we see. So, resources that get the job done without breaking the bank are a must for us.
  4. Durable- Toys or puzzles that break after one child uses them, won’t be bought again!
  5. Educational- the whole point of a “Learning Resource or Activity” is for it to actually teach¬†kids a skill or strengthen a skill or thinking process or encourage creativity.

So, here you go: 7 suggestions for books or activities that teach – while being fun, too! (and all under $20)

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2 Books Every American Family Should Read

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Don’t you love reading together as a family? ¬†It’s a fun time, a “together” time, an inspiring time. ¬†There’s nothing like snuggling with a couple of kids while a toddler falls asleep under the coffee table. ūüôā (at least, that’s how it happened at our house!!) I have some books that are perfect for family reading time. Let me tell you about them!

Rick and I wrote these books last year for Master Books:¬†¬†Fight for Freedom + America’s Struggle to Become a Nation.

Yes, they are written as 4-6th grade history curriculum, but the whole family will enjoy hearing these stories from our founding era – stories every person growing up in the 1800’s in our country knew. But, these are not just a conglomeration of boring facts to memorize and bits and pieces with no meat. This is a wonderful gathering of true and engaging stories from America’s History. So, they are equally appropriate, used as a Family Read-Aloud book.

When we lose our history (our heritage) we will lose our freedoms; that’s what’s happening today in our country. That’s one reason¬†we wrote these books – to do our part in preparing this generation to stand for truth and principle as the men and women you’ll hear about in these books did.

Did you know that Judge Roy Moore has endorsed these books? He personally called me and told me he wants every American family to read them!
“Rick and Marilyn have done a remarkable job of documenting the struggles and sacrifices of brave men and women who, ‘with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,’ risked their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to build this land we love.¬†Every American would benefit by reading these marvelous works designed to preserve our heritage as a nation.”¬†–Chief Justice Roy Moore

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Creative Geography Teaching Tools

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Geography is something that many schools are ignoring these days, but really there are so many fun resources that make teaching geography a breeze!

My kids learned so much just because we had fun resources in the home; I never had to treat it as a school subject. ( I did use one geography book in junior high school, but that’s the only ‘formal book’ I ever used).

Homeschooling offers the opportunity to think creatively and explore unconventional ways of learning. Though book-learning is essential and helpful to many subjects, it isn’t necessarily the only way.

Here are some resources- many that I’ve used through the years- ¬†that you can use to feed knowledge into your kids about geography in a very fun way!

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5 Reasons Why Your Child Wants to Learn History from Uncle Rick!

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5-reasons-why-uncle-rick
The Uncle Rick Audio Book Club is your child’s home for inspiring American history. (you’ll also find Scripture audios and adventure stories, too!)
 You will hear stories that dig deeper than your history textbook- and that are far more interesting!
These stories will stick with you, and your knowledge of American History will become much more solid.
The best part is that while you are learning more and absorbing all sorts of historical facts and figures, you are actually enjoying doing so. Since these are audio stories, you can easily learn your American History while cleaning your room, riding in the car, or doing chores, or whatever!
But don’t take our word for it!
Here is what our listeners have told us about why they love learning history from Uncle Rick:

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2 Paragraphs You Should Memorize

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preambles

Here are 2 paragraphs every American should know by heart- The preamble to our Constitution, and the preamble to the Declaration of Independence!

Have your children (or whole family) memorize them and discuss their meanings together.

I like to laminate these for added durability. Then I can use them for multiple children throughout the years.

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So Many Choices- Which is Right for Me? 5 Tips for Choosing Curriculum

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choosing curricuum

I had 14 children and I’ve been homeschooling for more than 35 years- I’ve gone through some curriculum!¬†¬†Here are some things I’ve learned along the way about choosing curriculum.

#1-¬† There isn’t one perfect curriculum that works for every child.

So you chose curriculum last year for your oldest and this year the next one is coming up, so they can just use what the oldest child used. Simple. Easy. Maybe…..

Each child is so unique. I found that sometimes a curriculum I used for many of kids with success brought extreme discouragement to a younger child. Kids think differently. Some are very logical. To them, the math’s and sciences make perfect sense, but oh, the English language….¬†Or, words come easy to one child. They can sit down and create an interesting story or letter, where another child can sit and look at the paper and stress over having to come up with just the right words to communicate what they want to say .

It’s okay that kids learn and think differently. It’s a temptation to get exasperated when your child learns differently from you. You think something makes perfect sense and is incredibly easy, but your child is overwhelmed by it.

Learn to step back and observe how he learns and how he thinks.

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Setting Your Kids Free

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Do you feel bound by your curriculum? Do you feel guilty if you don’t do every problem? Are your kids overwhelmed, bored, or frustrated on a regular basis? I want to encourage you to free your children and free yourself, too!

A simple tip to remember is to give your child enough practice to challenge them, but not so much that you overwhelm them. I wish there were a simple rule for how much to give them. I used to think the textbook writers knew this and what was provided in the curriculum is exactly what every child needed. Boy, did I ever find out the hard way!

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