Thursday, August 21, 2014

Third Grade Read Aloud List

On the giveaway that I posted this week, I mentioned that Elliott and I have finalized a list of 20 books that we plan on reading this year as part of our school day.  This will definitely not be the only 20 books that we read throughout the school year, but I thought 20 would be a good starting point.  :)  They are all chapter books, although we plan on using some picture books this year, too.  We do use Reading Street for language arts as well, and that has a picture book each week that we read together and do worksheets about.

When we were picking books out, we kind of went all over the place.  We picked some classic books, and some new books, and some in between.  We chose books that appeal to 2nd graders, and books that appeal to junior high kids.  We chose books that will take us about a week to read, and books that will take closer to a month.  We didn't really have any set parameters, because this reading is for fun, and I wanted to make sure that it was all stuff Elliott would enjoy.  He purposely picked several that have film adaptations so that we can watch the film and compare and contrast as well.

We already had most of the books in our shelves, but will be ordering a few as well.  I like to have a copy of the ones that we read together, so we can check another copy out at the library and each hold our own copies while we read together.  In fact, there are 2 or 3 books that we actually own a second copy of because we got the second in a bigger pack from scholastic.  Even though I pulled these from our own shelves, most were books we hadn't read yet.  We have always had the problem of buying more books than we have time to read in the past, but I'm hoping that phase is over now that we have so much more dedicated time to reading together!

 This is the stack of books that we want to read together, or I plan on reading out loud to him.  We also have the Chronicles of Narnia set, and the Harry Potter books that we will try to read if we get a chance, but we might wait until next year on those.  Others that we don't have yet, but plan on reading as well include the Sarah, Plain and Tall books (I believe there are three?) by Patricia MacLachlan and Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.

There are also a number of books that Elliott has already read that he wants to read again, like the Runaway Ralph series, and the Fudge books.  So, in other words, we have a lot of reading planned. :)

We are almost finished reading Charlotte's Web right now.  I think the next book we start will be Hotel For Dogs.  When Elliott was younger, the movie was his very favorite.  I think he was probably about 3 or maybe 4.  I'm not sure exactly how old he was, but he was little enough that he called it "Hofer Tail Dogs" instead of saying it the right way.  We are pretty excited to read the book now!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Homeschooling Full Time

We started homeschooling this summer, but only a few days a week. I wanted to ease into it, both for my sake, and my son's.   I wanted him to still have plenty of time to play with his friends over the summer as well.  He's pretty lucky that most of his best friends live close enough that  they can ride bikes to each other's houses.  The one that does live in the next town over has a pretty cool mom, who is willing to bring him over here, or pick him up from here, or even both if she needs to.  So he really got to see all of his closest friends quite a bit over the summer.  I'm really hoping that continues, even with them starting school this week.  I think since we are going to be making the effort, it shouldn't be a problem.  The parents are all on board with planning play times and sleep overs through out the school year, so Elliott is pretty excited about that.

This week Elliott's friends go back to school, so we start going full time, too.  We plan on following the school calendar pretty closely, other than while we are on vacation in November.  He also gets a 4 day weekend for Labor Day instead of just the 3 day weekend his friends get.  That Friday is my birthday, though, and also the one year anniversary of the day my Dad died, so I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't be able to teach very well that day anyway.

We are both pretty excited about homeschooling.  Elliott has learned a lot of stuff, and really enjoys most things we do each day.  To me, the biggest issue is getting everything out and putting it all away again.  We don't have a designated spot to work on it right now, because my husband is working on the flooring in our bedroom.  That means we are sleeping in what was supposed to be the classroom since we can't have any furniture in our bedroom.  After our bedroom is finished, we are going to move Elliott into the old classroom and work on the flooring in his room.  We might just leave him in the old classroom, though, and turn his current bedroom into the classroom.  We haven't decided for sure yet.  Either way, I'm hoping that at some point in September I have a better place to work. :) Right now, my living room couch looks something like this during the school day.

We start out with his books in a neat stack.  As the day goes on, Elliott certainly doesn't keep everything nice and neat.  He digs through the pile to find the next subject, and things become a mess.  It doesn't matter what order I put his things in, we will end up doing them in a different order that day anyway.  Haha.  This pile doesn't include everything he does.  He also has Bible, Spanish, handwriting, and social studies, that just didn't make it into the picture for some reason.

Even though we have a chaotic mess in our living room every day, and some days it drives me crazy, we are really happy with our homeschooling adventure so far!  I feel more at peace with this decision than I ever did about him being in public school.  And it's just amazing to me when he learns something new that is supposed to be well beyond his years.  Don't get me wrong, we have our moments (and sometimes entire days!) when one of us is unhappy with homeschooling.  We've had tears, frustrations, and over all bad attitudes more than I care to admit.  But more often than not, at the end of the day, we can both say we learned something, and homeschool is the right choice for us.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School Giveaway

Elliott and I have spent the last 2 or 3 weeks finalizing our list of must reads for school this year.  We ended up coming up with 20 books that we will read for sure this year.  We read together for about 30-45 minutes every day, and I read to him for another 15-20 minutes during snack time.  He also reads to me most days of the week.  So 20 will almost certainly not be enough books to last all school year, but I think it's a good start.  Plus it gives us the opportunity to watch for more must reads as we learn about different things.

In honor of school starting, and preparing our own book lists, Elliott and I decided to do a book giveaway of our own!  All the books will be brand new scholastic books.  There will be two random winners, and each winner will get to pick the prize pack of their choice.

Prize pack 1:  Early Chapter Books


Horrible Harry in Room 2B by Suzy Kline
A Jigsaw Jones Mystery:  The Case of the Stinky Science Project by James Preller
Ready, Freddy!  The King of Show-And-Tell by Abby Klein
Cam Jansen and the School Play Mystery by David A. Adler
Junie B., First Grader: One-Man Band by Barbara Park

Prize Pack 2:  Early Chapter Books

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park
Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald
The Bailey School Kids Jr Chapter Books #5: Dragons Do Eat Homework By Debbie Dadey
The Kids of the Polk Street School: The Beast in Ms. Rooney's Room by Patricia Reilly Giff
Herbie Jones and the Second Grade Slippers by Sami Sweeten

Prize Pack 3: Chapter Books

Third-Grade Detectives #1: The Clue of the Left-Handed Envelope by George E. Stanley
Judy Moody by Megan McDonald
Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
Third Grade Angels by Jerry Spinelli
Stuart Goes to School by Sara Pennypacker

Prize Pack 4: I Can Read! Picture books

 Little Critter: To the Rescue! by Mercer Mayer
What's That, Mittens? by Lola M. Schaefer
Mittens at School by Lola M. Schaefer
Little Critter: This is My Town by Mercer Mayer
Dixie and the Class Treat  by Grace Gilman
Dixie by Grace Gilman

This giveaway isn't sponsored by Scholastic.  We just chose Scholastic books because we love them so much and want to share them with others!  We've read more than a dozen of the ones that are offered as prizes and liked them all.

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