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Children's Literature for April

April is almost here and as I'm working on putting together my list of books for April, I can hardly believe we are approaching the end of Cycle 2 in Classical Conversations.

Time really does fly by.

As I look back on all that we have studied in Cycle 2 this year, I am pleased at all the children's literature we have read that relates to our Classical Conversations memory work.

Good books help the memory work come alive. 

As I put together this list, it really hit me how close we are to the end of this year in Foundations. We are going to enjoy these last few weeks reading plenty of good books together. I hope you do too!

*Thank you to Amy, Homegrown Learners' Children's Literature Expert, for this month's book list!


This list of children's literature for April covers the last couple of weeks of Cycle 2. I have not found any children's books specifically about The Gulf War. However, our family has a copy of The Liberation of Kuwait - Honoring The Veterans of Desert Storm  that was a gift to my husband since he is a veteran of Desert Storm. He will spend some time going through this book with our children, showing them pictures of his time overseas, and sharing stories about his service.

If you know of any children's literature about The Gulf War, please do share in the comments. 

I also included some books about September 11, 2001 since we will be covering that in the timeline. I always get choked up when we get to that part in the song. There are several children's books about 9/11 on the list. I'm particularly interested to read Saved By the Boats: The Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11 with my children. This is a story I'm not familiar with. We all know that tragedy does happen in our world. But when it does, I like to point my children to the heroes and this book looks like it will do just that. 

The science books I included are on the general topics of heat and electricity to provide some additional coverage of these topics for your children. My children just love anything Magic School Bus. And I think many of us homeschool moms have an inexplicable desire to be a little like Ms. Frizzle. 

There are several books on the list to help you explore adjectives and interjections with your children.  Zounds! is a dictionary of interjections that could be really fun for Essentials students. 

There is also a list of books about U.S. Presidents since they will be covered in the final week of the year. 

Children's Literature for April - Spring Sillies

In addition to the books related to our Foundations memory work, I have also included some books to help engage your children in the holidays in April.

The first day of April is known as April Fools' Day. I prefer to celebrate what we call Spring Sillies with my kiddos instead of encouraging them to play pranks on others.

So, I've included a few books that are just fun and silly books to read with your children like Do Not Open This Book! and Warning: Do Not Open This Book! The titles of these books just seem to draw kids in to wanting to see what's inside. 

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak is a unique book that demonstrates you don't have to have pictures to have an interesting book. Here's a snippet of the author, B.J. Novak reading it aloud to a group of students.

See how much fun they are having?  Seems perfect for Spring Sillies to me. 

Children's Literature for April - Palm Sunday & Easter

The books I've listed for Palm Sunday and Easter help bring focus to the real meaning of these important events. I've included Amon's Adventure: A Family Story for Easter that I'm reading with my ten year old this year. It is a historical fiction book designed to read as a family as Easter approaches. We have read and enjoyed some of the Christmas stories in this same series, but this is our first year reading the Easter book. This is one for your older children while the picture books would work well for younger ages. 

Children's Literature for April

In summary, this list of children's literature for April includes picture books and chapter books on the following topics:

  • That align with our Classical Conversations memory work: 
    • President George H.W. Bush
    • Nelson Mandela
    • Beethoven
    • Brahms
    • Dvorak
    • Orchestra Instruments
    • September 11, 2001
    • Heat and electricity
    • Adjectives and interjections
    • U.S. Presidents
       
  • April Fools Day / Spring Sillies
  • Palm Sunday and Easter

 


George Bush: Forty-First President 1989-1993 (Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents)George Bush: Forty-First President 1989-1993 (Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents)George H. W. Bush (Kid's Guide to Drawing the Presidents of the United States o)George H. W. Bush (Kid's Guide to Drawing the Presidents of the United States o)Who Was Nelson Mandela?Who Was Nelson Mandela?National Geographic Readers: Nelson Mandela (Readers Bios)National Geographic Readers: Nelson Mandela (Readers Bios)Nelson Mandela (Great Figures in History series)Nelson Mandela (Great Figures in History series)Ludwig Van Beethoven (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)Ludwig Van Beethoven (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)Why Beethoven Threw the Stew (And Lots More Stories about the Lives of Great Composers)Why Beethoven Threw the Stew (And Lots More Stories about the Lives of Great Composers)Beethoven (Famous Children)Beethoven (Famous Children)Beethoven Lives UpstairsBeethoven Lives UpstairsWhat's So Great About Beethoven?: A Biography of Ludwig van Beethoven Just for Kids! (Volume 10)What's So Great About Beethoven?: A Biography of Ludwig van Beethoven Just for Kids! (Volume 10)Beethoven's Wig: Sing Along Piano ClassicsBeethoven's Wig: Sing Along Piano ClassicsWelcome to the Symphony: A Musical Exploration of the Orchestra Using Beethoven's Symphony No. 5Welcome to the Symphony: A Musical Exploration of the Orchestra Using Beethoven's Symphony No. 5Story of the Orchestra : Listen While You Learn About the Instruments, the Music and the Composers Who Wrote the Music!Story of the Orchestra : Listen While You Learn About the Instruments, the Music and the Composers Who Wrote the Music!Brahms (Famous Children (Paperback))Brahms (Famous Children (Paperback))Johannes Brahms (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)Johannes Brahms (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)Two Scarlet Songbirds: A Story of Anton DvorakTwo Scarlet Songbirds: A Story of Anton DvorakNine, Ten: A September 11 StoryNine, Ten: A September 11 StoryI Survived the Attacks of September 11th, 2001 (I Survived, Book 6)I Survived the Attacks of September 11th, 2001 (I Survived, Book 6)Saved by the Boats: The Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11 (Encounter: Narrative Nonfiction Picture Books)Saved by the Boats: The Heroic Sea Evacuation of September 11 (Encounter: Narrative Nonfiction Picture Books)America Is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell (Actual Times)America Is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell (Actual Times)September 11 Then and Now (True Books)September 11 Then and Now (True Books)The Magic School Bus in the Arctic: A Book About HeatThe Magic School Bus in the Arctic: A Book About HeatThe Magic School Bus And The Electric Field TripThe Magic School Bus And The Electric Field TripCharged Up: The Story of Electricity (Science Works)Charged Up: The Story of Electricity (Science Works)Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives (Explore!)Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives (Explore!)Things That Are Most in the WorldThings That Are Most in the WorldIf You Were an Adjective (Word Fun)If You Were an Adjective (Word Fun)Fantastic! Wow! and Unreal!: A Book About Interjections and Conjunctions (Explore!) by Heller, Ruth (2000) PaperbackFantastic! Wow! and Unreal!: A Book About Interjections and Conjunctions (Explore!) by Heller, Ruth (2000) PaperbackCool! Whoa! Ah and Oh!: What Is an Interjection? (Words Are Categorical) (Words Are Categorical (Paperback))Cool! Whoa! Ah and Oh!: What Is an Interjection? (Words Are Categorical) (Words Are Categorical (Paperback))If You Were an Interjection (Word Fun)If You Were an Interjection (Word Fun)ZOUNDS!: A Browser's Dictionary of InterjectionsZOUNDS!: A Browser's Dictionary of InterjectionsThe Book with No PicturesThe Book with No PicturesDo Not Open This BookDo Not Open This BookWarning: Do Not Open This Book!Warning: Do Not Open This Book!Humphrey's First Palm SundayHumphrey's First Palm SundayThe Donkey That No One Could RideThe Donkey That No One Could RideLittle Colt's Palm SundayLittle Colt's Palm SundayThe Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional FolktaleThe Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional FolktaleThe Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story: Stickers Included! (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights)The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story: Stickers Included! (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights)Amon's Adventure: A Family Story for EasterAmon's Adventure: A Family Story for EasterThe Legend of the Easter EggThe Legend of the Easter EggEaster Bunny, Are You For Real?Easter Bunny, Are You For Real?Benjamin's Box: The Story of the Resurrection EggsBenjamin's Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs

 



I want to remind you of the many wonderful resources Mary offers to help you teach your children about the orchestra. I am thankful to have someone like Mary provide guidance on teaching my children about classical music and the orchestra.

Did you attend her recent webinar on Vivaldi's "Spring"? My kiddos really enjoyed it and we are looking forward to what she offers in the future. 

And her newest resource in the SQUILT family, Meet the Instruments: Explore the Orchestra is a beautiful way to introduce your children to the orchestra. These give you a beautiful hands-on resource to introduce your students to the instruments of the orchestra. 


I am always on the lookout for good children's books. Do you have any other recommendations for children's literature for April?

Stop Telling Me Why You Can't Homeschool (High School)

I used to get tired of people telling me why they can't homeschool.

Quickly, however, I began to tune that out.  As my kids have gotten older I have something NEW that gets on my last nerve (well - not really, but it does kind of irritate me!).

Now, when people hear we are homeschooling all the way through high school they come up with a million reasons why they could NEVER homeschool high school.

I'm hear to tell you that you CAN homeschool high school, and that in many respects it's EASIER than homeschooling little ones. And, in many respects it is more GRATIFYING, too. 

So, in lieu of screaming "Stop Telling Me Why You Can't Homeschool High School!",  I would say, "Have faith, not fear" and then I would also share the following: 

Stop Telling Me Why You Can't Homeschool (High School Edition)

High School is THE Most Important Time to Homeschool

High School is probably THE most important time to homeschool.  By educating our children at home during their high school years we are allowing the time and space to think deeply, develop lasting relationships, and practice valuable life skills.

  • Safety - From a purely practical standpoint, our kids are exposed to less drugs, violence and bullying when they are homeschooled. This last week alone I have heard horror stories of kids selling Oxy at school, kids having sex in the bathrooms, and one girl not wanting to go to school because other girls are bullying her.  These are stories from people I know PERSONALLY.  

 

Stop Telling Me Why You Can't Homeschool (High School)
  • Influence - Who do you want to exert the most influence over your child - peers or parents. I have heard the argument "Well, they need to be in the REAL world at some time.".  That time is NOT high school. The homeschool high school kids I know are kind, grounded, and hard working. Many of them have jobs and dual enroll. They are involved in their churches and with volunteer groups. They have good relationships with their parents and siblings.Their parents are working hard to make sure they have the BEST influences so that when they DO go into the real world they are prepared to make a difference.  

 

  • Teaching them to THINK - Living in this social media age has created teens that are incapable of thinking deeply. They rely on a media snippet for information and sometimes jump on the latest bandwagon and adopt the latest hashtag. I would like to believe that by homeschooling our children we can teach them to think DEEPLY. We can give them time and space and we can have CONVERSATIONS with them about the big things in life.  

 

What About Socialization in Homeschool High School?

This question is laughable.

Here is the answer you can give whenever anyone asks you if you are worried about your kids being "socialized" because you homeschool them for high school.

"I thought school was for learning, NOT for socializing."

The kind of "socializing" our children will get in school is one that often breeds disrespect, shallow thinking, and a focus on things that kids just shouldn't be focusing on at this age. 

Many parents asked me, "Aren't you worried your kids will miss the prom, football games, and all of that FUN STUFF that comes with high school?"  It's all a matter of what you know and what you promote. Sometimes I think all of these things are more for the PARENTS than for the kids.  I'm also wondering if it's good to teach our children to spend literally HUNDREDS of dollars on the prom and to get so whipped up about a football game? 

Stop Telling Me Why You Can't Homeschool (High School)

And, as a Classical homeschooler I'm always asking myself if what we are doing holds to the ideals of TRUTH, BEAUTY, and GOODNESS.

(For example, our Classical Conversations Challenge students have an event - Protocol. The students go to a nice dinner (often hosted in someone's home), are encouraged to use and are taught appropriate etiquette, and then attend a cultural performance. Students all go as friends and there is no pressure of having a "date".)

Of course, if you don't seek out activities for your high schoolers, they will get lonely. Kids do need friends and positive peer influences at this age, which is why there is an abundance of groups, clubs, and opportunities for homeschool high schoolers.

My high schooler has been in Classical Conversations, which provides a good friendship base for her. She also is very connected with her church youth group. 

You will find that the more entrenched you become in homeschooling, the more amazing opportunities you will find for your child to be "socialized" (whatever that means).

 

How Will I Teach The "Hard Stuff" in Homeschool High School?

I get this question. I really do.

Our Homeschool Room:  Lots of Homeschool High School Happens Here!

Calculus, Physics, Latin - those make my head spin. 

Thank goodness there are WONDERFUL online and in person resources we can avail ourselves of as homeschoolers. Here is a list for you (not exhaustive, I am sure - just ones we have had positive experiences with that you might want to investigate):

I love that we have a quiet place in our basement for my high schooler to take online classes, research, and spend her days learning and creating - and I'd like to think it's more inviting than sitting at a desk looking at the same four walls each day.

We have also taken high school classes through Classical Conversations (in person) and are taking advantage of our state's dual enrollment program for homeschoolers. 

Also, keep your ears open in your area, seek connections with others just ahead of you on the high school path, and you will find many great opportunities for learning. 

I've found that HSLDA is a great resource for homeschool. 

 

What About College and Homeschool High School?

First, most colleges and universities are now homeschool friendly - many even have their own admissions counselor for homeschoolers. You will find, when you visit a college website, that there are application instructions for homeschoolers specifically.

Second, after you've been homeschooling any length of time you will start to think outside the box.  This includes thinking outside the box for college as well. Maybe your child wants to learn a trade instead of go to college. Maybe they want to attend a junior college while they live at home and then transfer into a 4 year institution. Maybe they want to start their own business instead of going to college.

I believe (for my own children) that a college education will serve them well, but I don't believe in a college education that costs upwards of $40K/year and puts a child into sometimes lifelong debt. Surely there are better ways to steward our time and money.   

Third, your child will be uniquely marketable to colleges BECAUSE they are homeschooled. Keep good records, encourage them to have unique experiences, and help them cultivate their God given potential - then have FAITH everything will work out! 

I've found these resources and articles to be very helpful in this area:


Helpful Books for Homeschool High School

Why Freshmen Fail: and How to Avoid ItSetting the Records Straight: How to Craft Homeschool Transcripts and Course Descriptions for College Admission and ScholarshipsPlanning High School Courses:  Charting the Course Toward High School Graduation (The HomeScholar's Coffee Break Book series 1)The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling TeensHomeschoolers' College Admissions Handbook: Preparing Your 12- to 18-Year-Old for a Smooth TransitionCollege-Prep Homeschooling: Your Complete Guide to Homeschooling through High SchoolHomeschooling and College: How I Rocked the SAT and Got into the School of My DreamsThe Question, Teaching Your Child the Essentials of Classical EducationHigh School Testing: Knowledge That Saves Money (Coffee Break Books) (Volume 18)

 


Please don't be afraid to homeschool high school. I'm right there with you and it's really not that bad - in fact, I think it's a lot of fun!

The next time you tell someone you're homeschooling high school and they say they could NEVER do that, just smile sweetly and say, "Oh, I think you might surprise yourself.  If I can do it, I know YOU can do it, too."

 

Talk to me about homeschooling high school.  What are your fears?  What are your success stories?  I'd love for the comments below to be an encouragement to all who read this post!

Stop Telling Me Why You Can't Homeschool High School

Paper Airplane Science for Kids

Making paper airplanes is one of the most fun activities in our homeschool. And, it is an activity where there is a TON of learning taking place, so the fun is an extra bonus!

It ranks right up there with the day we made magnetic slime!

I'm not exactly sure what it is about folding a piece of paper and letting it fly across the room that is so enticing (especially to the boys!), but I do know that capitalizing on this is something that must be done!

(My son has been making airplanes for years, and we just finished paper airplane science in my class of Abecedarians at Classical Conversations, so I've had some practice in this area.)

It's a great chance to learn about the science and history of flight, and to also feed into our children's creative side. 

Paper Airplane Science for Kids

Before you start making your paper airplanes, some books about flight must be read to catch your child's interest.  (I must say that my favorite is probably Leonardo and the Flying Boy - it's been loved in my house for years!)

Books about Flight


How Paper Airplanes Work

Your kids might be very interested in the specifics of how flight works.  Other kids might just want to start building planes and experiment on their own.

This video is one of the best and most concise I've found (and I love that it mentions Newton's Third Law of Motion!)


Paper Airplanes to Make

Now that your children understand the science behind paper airplanes, here are some great ideas for planes to make:

Straw Paper Airplanes: Not all planes are created equal, but this one sure does take a magnificent flight! All you need is some construction paper, drinking straw, tape, and scissors to get this unique paper airplane to take flight. 

Simple Paper Airplane Pattern: This simple, yet effective, paper airplane design was created by the World Record holder for the longest paper airplane in flight! You can also take a look at the Paper Airplane Patterns Submitted by Viewers where there are a lot of different ideas to explore. 

Bernoulli's Paper Airplane Experiment: By using surrounding air to help propel a paper airplane, this experiment is perfect for testing out a not so standard airplane pattern. 

NASA Paper Airplanes: There are several paper airplanes pattern that NASA has on their website. Here are a few for you to try:

Amazing Paper Airplanes: This site gives directions on how to make more elaborate paper airplanes such as the Triplet Paper Airplanes. Perfect for the advanced paper airplane maker. 

Fold N'Fly: There are a ton of ideas for paper airplanes on this site. You'll find a little bit of everything from the more elaborate to the simpler designs. 

10 Paper Airplanes: This site is great for visual learners. There are several different paper airplane patterns to choose from and each one has several photographs and some video to show exactly how to create paper airplanes. 

Fun Paper Airplanes: Use this site to print patterns directly from your computer. There are several levels to choose from, as well as some new ideas I'm sure your young pilots and engineers have yet to discover. 


Paper Airplane Supplies

Below, I have listed some supplies that will help your kids make the perfect paper airplane as well as some of our favorite books. 


Do you have a paper airplane obsessed kid?  I hope these resources have been helpful to you!

Paper Airplane Science for Kids