Library Love, Junior Edition: April 7, 2014


Library Love is a recurring post in which we share our bounty from the public library.



It’s been a while since The Boy and I spent some quality time at the library; last week we made up for lost time. We spent a few hours there reading and working on schoolwork, and searching for some good reads for him to get into during Reading Time. Confession Time: I’ve been letting him get off easy for Reading Time lately. He’s mostly been reading copies of Guinness World Records for 2011, 2013, and 2014 over and over (don’t know what happened to 2012; got lost somewhere in the Nether, maybe). The Boy is a true lover of trivia, fo sho! Late Winter is an easy time to get lazy in homeschooling and reading is one of the areas that I let slip. No more, friends! We’re back on track and raring to go! Here’s a look at what we found:

Most of these have been on my TBR list for The Boy for a while now, and then he found a cute little book about Shelties (our Ruby is a Sheltie) – I don’t think Smarty-Pants Sheltie is going to be great literature, but at least he’s reading, right? I chose The Lions of Little Rock for him because he is quite a champion for the people and I know he will be caught up in the passion and fervor of this story of the children who attended the first desegregated schools in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1958. Likewise, for our Read-Aloud Time, together we will read To Kill a Mockingbird – I’ve never read it, either, so I’m looking forward to that one, as well. April is National Poetry Month, and in honor of that we’ll be reading two books written in the form of poetry – Love that Dog and Hate That Cat. They’re both short and sweet, and I think a great way to keep The Boy’s attention while studying poetry. It’s going to be a great couple of weeks of reading for the two of us and we can’t wait to share with you how it goes!

What have your kids been reading these days?



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Weekly Review: Sunday, March 16, 2014


It’s the middle of March already, and tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day! Over the last week the clouds have disappeared and the sun has been out, and the little birdies have returned to the tree outside my bedroom window to greet me each morning when I wake. Ahhh, I just love Spring! I hope the rest of you are enjoying these days of nature’s renewal as well. We didn’t get a whole lot of school work done over the past week: for one, it was so nice out we were outside much of the time, and it was also Spring Break for the public schools and The Boy had friends over to the house on many days. That’s the beauty of homeschooling, though – it’s flexible like that; it allows us to take advantage of a beautiful day or a special visit here and there. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, y’all – I could never have made a better decision than I did when I made the decision to homeschool The Boy. Enough of my soapbox climbing, though – let’s get down to business. I did manage to fit in some reading during all my time in the sunshine this week:

What I read this week:

What I’m currently reading:

Posts from the week of March 9th:

Upcoming posts for the week of March 17th:

  • Review: Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler
  • …and more!

Y’all, please don’t judge – I’m not a proponent of marijuana usage at all, although I did take some time to read a short book about the use of medicinal marijuana for pain management. A close family member suffers from terrible, chronic pain and just cannot get the pain under control – I’ve been researching many options, although since medicinal marijuana is not legal in our state, this definitely is not one. One book you do need to head straight out and look for is Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. Following a high school senior on his 18th birthday – which is also the day he has decided to end his life – this novel is absolutely breathtaking. Many a tear were shed, folks. In the three novels of his I have read, Quick has proven to have a sensitive and knowledgeable view of mental illness and the torment it wreaks on its victims. He is officially on my list of faves. A Killing at Cotton Hill by Terry Shames was a nice, easy read – a small-town mystery starring an ex-chief of police and a feisty lawyer who team up to solve a murder. The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose, book #4 in Rose’s Reincarnationist series, moved a bit slowly but turned out to be rather mesmerizing. And let us not forget my dear, dear Chelsea Handler – while Uganda Be Kidding Me was not as fabulous as some of her previous books, it was still quite wonderful – as long as you can handle loud women with an inappropriate, crass, twisted sense of humor (which I totally can!). Check out any of these books, y’all and you’ll have yourself a good read for the next week. Go on, now. Off to the library you go!

What did you read this week?


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Review: The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling

Learning DangerouslyThink homeschooling is only for a handful of eccentrics on either end of the political spectrum? Think again. Today in America, two million primary- and secondary-school students are homeschooled. Growing at a rate of 10 percent annually, homeschooling represents the most dramatic change in American education since the invention of the mimeograph–and the story has only just begun.
In The Year of Learning Dangerously, popular blogger, author, and former child actor Quinn Cummings recounts her family’s decision to wade into the unfamiliar waters of homeschooling–despite a chronic lack of discipline, some major gaps in academic knowledge, and a serious case of math aversion. (That description refers to Quinn.)
Trying out the latest trends, attending key conferences (incognito, of course), and recounting the highlights and lowlights along the way, Quinn takes her daughter’s education into her own hands, for better and for worse. Part memoir, part social commentary, and part how-not-to guide, The Year of Learning Dangerously will make you laugh and make you think. And it may or may not have a quiz at the end. OK, there isn’t a quiz. Probably. – Goodreads

Having recently made the decision to homeschool my twelve-year-old son, I have been doing much research on the subject – to the point of OCD-overload, actually… Thus, when I picked up The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings, I received an unexpected, true breath of fresh air. The Year of Learning Dangerously is Cummings’s memoir of the first year of homeschooling her ten-year-old daughter after several years of both public and private schooling. Cummings researched and experimented with various homeschooling methods and styles, which makes for both interesting and humorous reading.

While many homeschooling families are committed to doing so partially – or primarily – for religious reasons, Cummings’s motivation and views are purely secular. In fact, the entire situation was spurred on by long division… Her daughter did not like long division, and although she finally had mastered it, as she progressed to each grade level, she convinced her new teachers that she had no clue how to do it. Despite what Cummings would tell the teachers, they would believe her daughter – and not require from her the work that was necessary to master her current grade’s math requirements. This spurred Cummings to transfer her daughter to a strict private school in the hopes that the instructors there would not accept her excuses, however, the predicament continued. Cummings and her husband decided to spend a one-year trial period homeschooling their daughter in an attempt to make sure she received the education she needed, without being able to wiggle her way out of learning things that she found too annoying or difficult.

Cummings’s “research” seems to be mostly internet searches and a few in-person experiences at homeschooling conferences and other events, such as a homeschool prom and a homeschool graduation ceremony. She admits at one point that she is sharing “the lowest averages” of homeschooling research data, for some reason that was unclear to me. Cummings appeared to be reluctant to step out as a staunch supporter of homeschooling in general, instead choosing to pick apart its intricacies for her readers’ “enjoyment”. Dedicated homeschoolers may well be put off by her stereotypical views and fun-poking comments as she works her way through various methods of homeschooling. This is definitely not the book to read if you are looking for serious research into the homeschooling world. While there is some interesting information shared here, little of it is useful in the way a homeschooling parent might hope it would be.

The Year of Learning Dangerously is much more simply a humorous, heartwarming tale of one family’s journey through their first year of education at home. As most homeschooling families would expect, Cummings’s tale is full of trial and error, crippling self-doubt, comic mishaps, and joyful triumph. It was quite the enjoyable read for me in the middle of much more serious research, and I’m hopeful to hear more from Quinn Cummings about her homeschooling adventures in the future.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Lincoln City Libraries