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Book Series for Middle School Boys

Does your child enjoy reading?  

Some children naturally pick up books and read them - they are their hobby, an old friend they enjoy spending time with.

Other children would rather do anything EXCEPT read a book.  

I understand. I have one book worm and another "not-so" book worm.  

Some mean parents actually MAKE their children sit down and read (that's me!). Recently, however, we've discovered some engaging book series that have kept my middle school boy INTERESTED IN READING. 

And what's better still is that these are series his friend are all talking about, too - so it's almost as if they have a competition to see who's going to get them read first.

Engaging Book Series for Middle School Boys

5 Book Series for Middle School Boys

We love physical books in our home. Usually, when I know a series is good, I will purchase the series so that they can remain on our shelves - available to be read again or to be loaned out to friends.

(I might be a bit of an addict with free shipping, but I certainly have lots of books to show for it!)

 

The Rangers' Apprentice

These books (12 total) will keep your boys busy for a few weeks! This series is based originally on a set of short stories written by John Flanagan to encourage his son to enjoy reading. 

They chronicle the adventures of Will, apprentice to the secretive Ranger Halt. 

*You might also like the prequel and the spin-off series, The Brotherband Chronicles.

 

Baseball Card Adventures

My son loves anything Dan Gutman writes.  The Baseball Card Adventures are such a great way for your baseball obsessed child to learn more about the greats of the game.

Joe travels back in time to meet the heroes of baseball.  The stories provide so many interesting facts (which we know our sports obsessed kids love to collect). 

Jackie & Me was my son's favorite adventure

 

Sports Series by Mike Lupica

Another set of books for your sports lover, these books by Mike Lupica (an ESPN sports writer) are great "TO DO and WHAT NOT TO DO" books (my 12 year olds' words exactly).

So far The Big Field has been my son's favorite.

 

100 Cupboards

If you aren't familiar with N.D. Wilson you SHOULD BE! 

Henry discovers secret cupboards behind the plaster of his bedroom walls, and there the adventures begin. 

My son finds the fantasy aspect of these books extremely engaging - and as I've looked at them they seem like something I would like to put on my reading list, too!

 

The Wingfeather Saga

These books, by Andrew Peterson, are lovely.  A series of four fantasy novels, they are classic good versus evil stories that captivate your readers that love fantasy. 

We highly recommend!

 


Engaging Book Series for Middle School Boys

Click the images below for a description of each of the books.

The Ranger's Apprentice Series (Complete 12 Book Set)Ranger's Apprentice Books 1-5 PaperbackJohn Flanagan Rangers Apprentice 12 Books Collection Set (The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, The Lost Stories, Erak's Ransom, Halt's Peril, Oakleaf Bearers, The Burning Bridge, The Icebound Land...The Battle of Hackham Heath (Ranger's Apprentice: The Early Years)The Tournament at Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice: The Early Years)The Ranger's Apprentice Series (Complete 12 Book Set)Brotherband Chronicles (Books 1-5 in the Series)Jackie & Me (Baseball Card Adventures)Ted & Me (Baseball Card Adventures)Honus and Me: A Baseball Card AdventureMickey & Me (Baseball Card Adventures)Babe & Me: A Baseball Card AdventureWillie & Me (Baseball Card Adventures)Roberto & Me (Baseball Card Adventures)Shoeless Joe & Me (Baseball Card Adventures)Satch & Me (Baseball Card Adventures)Ray & Me (Baseball Card Adventures)Jim & Me (Baseball Card Adventures)Abner & Me (Baseball Card Adventures)Baseball Card Adventure Series Set Bundle-Gutman- - Shoeless Joe, Honus, Babe + 4 Bonus Youth Baseball BooksThe Big FieldHeatFast BreakTravel TeamThe Only Game (Home Team)QB 1Last Man OutTrue LegendThe BatboySummer BallPoint Guard (Home Team)Million-Dollar ThrowFantasy LeagueSafe at Home (Comeback Kids)Long Shot (Comeback Kids)Game Changers: Book 1The UnderdogsThe Extra Yard (Home Team)Two-Minute Drill (Comeback Kids)Game Changers #3: Heavy HittersThe DH (The Triple Threat, 3)Lone StarsGame Changers #2: Play MakersHot Hand (Comeback Kids)Wild PitchMike Lupica SetThe Door Before (100 Cupboards Prequel)100 Cupboards (100 Cupboards, Bk 1)Dandelion Fire (100 Cupboards Book 2) (The 100 Cupboards)The Chestnut King (100 Cupboards Book 3) (The 100 Cupboards)The 100 Cupboards (3 Book Series)On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga)The Warden and the Wolf King (Wingfeather Saga)North! Or Be Eaten (The Wingfeather Saga)The Monster in the Hollows (Wingfeather Saga)Wingfeather Tales (The Wingfeather Saga)

 


Does your middle school boy like to read?

Does he have a favorite series?

 

Best Book Series for Middle School Boys

A Plan for Reading Instruction: All About Reading

I am in planning mode for the upcoming school year as I am sure many of you are also. Planning and prepping to be more accurate.

My plan for reading instruction is to continue using All About Reading for both my children this year.

We have been using All About Reading for several years now. I'm a big fan of their curriculum! We tried several other reading instruction programs before making the leap to All About Reading. Since making the switch years ago, I have not regretted it. Even though my oldest child had to endure jumping around until we found a program that worked for us, my youngest has benefited from those trials and errors. When it was time to begin teaching her to read, I started her out with All About Reading. 

Wondering why I Love All About Reading? In a nutshell - it's fun, it works, and there's a money back guarantee if it doesn't! You can read more about it here

*This is a post from guest contributor, Amy. I love the perspective Amy brings with younger children. I know you will benefit from her wisdom. This post contains affiliate links.

My Plan for the Year

My oldest child is a avid reader. We have been using All About Reading (AAR) through Level 3 with him. This year we will work through Level 4, the last level of All About Reading. Even though he is an excellent reader, I will use AAR Level 4 to make sure we cover the final phonograms, give him plenty of practice to read aloud, and strengthen his comprehension. 

My youngest has just completed AAR Level 1. She is soaking up everything she can read! I'm fascinated while watching her read signs, menus, just everyday items she sees that not too long ago she could not read. She will be starting on AAR Level 2 this fall. 

In addition to using AAR Level 2, we will also use the supplemental Reading Games with Ziggy with my daughter. These are games that are designed to go with AAR Level 1. Since we have already completed Level 1, these will primarily be for increasing her confidence in reading and give her extra practice. 

We have a Ziggy the Zebra puppet from when we did AAR Pre-Reading Level. Both of my kiddos got involved every time I pulled Ziggy out. So I expect at times I'll be able to turn over the games to my son and let him lead my daughter in these games. Ziggy is just fun! We will use him with the Reading Games with Ziggy.

One of the greatest joys of our homeschooling journey has been watching our children develop into readers. 

Prep Work for This Year

I have found that the better organized I am, the better my homeschool days flow. So part of prepping for this school year is getting my All About Reading materials organized. 

The first thing I need to do is put away all of our materials from last year. I've had my son put the reading and phonogram cards from last year, that we won't need this year, into numerical order so they will be ready to go when I use them for his sister in a couple of years. 

For my emerging reader...

Since I have used All About Reading Level 2 with my oldest child already, there won't be much prep work to get it ready. I'll have the kiddos help me make sure all the phonogram and word cards are in numerical order. That's about all I'll need to do since I put all the lesson activities in a 3 ring binder when I did this level with my son. I share more about that in Tips and Tricks for using All About Reading

There is some prep work for Reading Games with Ziggy that I need to do. The games have to be cut apart and put into file folders. Once I get them set up, it will be easy to pull them out to use. The Teacher's Manual for AAR Level 1 tells you when your child is ready for each supplemental game if you have them. Again, these are extra for Level 1, because there are still plenty of fun activities built right into Level 1. 

For my fluent reader...

AAR Level 4 is new to us, so I will need to prep all the materials for the year. I will start by tearing apart all the word and phonogram cards and putting them into the reading review box. This will be a great project for my son to help me with!

I will also go through the Activity Book and prep each lesson's activities. I put all the sheets for a lesson into a page protector and put them in a three ring binder. Some of the games require cutting, so I just go ahead and take care of that ahead of time. 

While this up-front prep work does take a while, it truly makes AAR a grab and go curriculum with no daily prep work required.

I've tried just pulling out a lesson each day and doing the prep work on the fly. This does not work in my house! It gives the kids too much time to get distracted and run off doing something else before I can get ready for our lessons. Yikes!

So I have learned that doing this prep work ahead of time is extremely beneficial in our house. I do this each time we purchase a new level of AAR.

Helpful Hints

If you are using AAR Pre-Reading Level or Reading Games with Ziggy, you can order a Ziggy the Zebra puppet directly from All About Learning Press when you place your order. You can also find similar ones on Amazon if you already have your materials in hand and then realize you wish you had Ziggy - yep, speaking from experience here!

And if you are new to AAR, you may want to visit my Tips & Tricks for Using All About Reading. I hope it will help your family on your journey to reading! 

Are you planning to use All About Reading this year? I'd love to hear from you!

 


How to Make the Most of Your Homeschool Time

Have you ever had a homeschooling day where you feel as if you didn't accomplish A SINGLE THING?  

Maybe a toddler derailed your plans - maybe it was a moody teenager. Perhaps you got out of bed with the best intentions for the day, but nothing quite seemed to get done.

Does any of this ring true?

I know that there have been PLENTY of those days in our homeschool, especially in our early years when I felt  my children should guide most of their learning. I had a theory that if I followed my children's lead, then beautiful learning would occur. A lot of the time it did, but some of the time it resulted in a disjointed sense of learning and little accomplishment - aka a dreary homeschool day.

Three years ago I stumbled upon a concept that changed everything. It helped us make the most of our precious homeschool time.

This one thing guaranteed my children would have TRUTH, BEAUTY, and GOODNESS in each of their homeschool days - even if those days were derailed by circumstances out of my control. 

This one thing changed our homeschooling days dramatically - and I'd love to share it with you today.

 


That one thing is Morning Time --- or WHATEVER time of the day you want to use that is most convenient for your family!

(Maybe you want to have an "After Lunch Time" or "Mid Morning Snack Time" -- or one year we did the English tradition of Elevenses - which was having tea and snack at 11 a.m.!)

 

Why We Use Morning Time In Our Homeschool

 

  • Children and adults NEED structure and predictability. This routine improves behavior and gives our children a sense of security because they KNOW what is coming when they get out of bed each day.

  • As a homeschooling parent it has always been my goal to expose my children to truth, beauty, and goodness. Giving my children just a little of each of these - first thing in the day - lets me feel a sense of accomplishment no matter what else happens in the day.

  • We all need an anchor.  Morning Time gives my children (and me!) that anchor. It's the one thing that remains constant, and a time when we are together. Without it, a day feels incomplete. Morning Time centers our hearts and minds on those things of beauty and reminds us of our mission as home educators.

What We Include in Morning Time

Over the years this has changed based on our school plans for the year and the ages of my children, but generally we include three big things in our Morning Time.

Keep it simple. Don't try and throw too much into this time.  

Normally, a 30-45 minute time over breakfast worked well for us. You may have to adjust this is you have little ones running around.  Or, don't set your expectations too high -- allow your littlest ones to play on their own in a high chair or safe space while you have Morning Time with the others. If a teen is moody and doesn't want to come to the table one morning, don't force them - they will only negatively impact your time.

 

What to Include in a SIMPLE Morning Time

1.  Bible reading/Devotion

Choose whatever devotions work well for your children and their ages. We've used devotion books, recited prayers from Luther's Small Catechism, and simply read aloud from our Bible.

2. Memory Work Review/Memorization

Our Classical Conversations memory work was always reviewed at this time. My Challenge age daughter sometimes had larger poems she was memorizing or other pieces of memory work, and we would work on these during that time.

3. Fine Arts

We studied great artists and their works learned about composers and their works.  For a season we would do a drawing or chalk pastels lesson or learn about something in nature for a walk later in the day.

 

Morning Time doesn't have to be fancy. It just needs to be simple, consistent, and beautiful. 


The Back to School Backpack/Morning Time = Done!

I've been quietly working on a BIG project with my good friends Pam, Cindy, and Tricia.  Pam is the brains behind Your Morning Basket, Cindy is the nature expert at Nature Explorers, and Tricia offers wonderful art lessons at Chalk Pastels. 

We've put together a back to school digital backpack (including morning time plans --- all done for you) -- to kick your school year off well -- to give you that consistency and beauty your children crave each day.

Available for a LIMITED TIME, this is what you will receive in the digital Back to School Backpack:

  • The Back to School Morning Time Plans (7 weeks!)
  • SQUILT Mozart Composer Spotlight
  • Birds Video Art Course
  • NaturExplorers Beautiful Birds Nature Study

AND.... there are bonuses, too:

  • A September Listening Calendar from SQUILT — Enjoy a bit of wonderful music everyday.
  • Chalk Pastels Art in Space ebook from chalkpastel.com — Get ready for the solar eclipse with some fabulous and fun space art.
  • A 10 nature walk sampler from 40 Creative Nature Walks: Outdoor Science Labs on the Go from NaturExplorers
  • BONUS: Three weeks of Morning Time Plans. Our normal seasonal plans are seven weeks. This super-set of plans includes 10 weeks of scheduled plans.

Do you have a Morning Time in your homeschool?

 Tell me about it.