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Every Book List You Will Ever Need For Your Homeschool!

Sometimes, we just need a little help finding the right books for our homeschool. This compilation of book lists is essentially every book list you will ever need all in one place!

children's books for homeschooling

Book Lists For Every Month Of The Year

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of January

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of February 

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of March

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of April   

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of May

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of June

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of July

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of August

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of September

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of October

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of November

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of December

kids reading

12 Exceptional Book Lists To Help You Homeschool By Subject

Awesome Books For Kids Who Love Nature

Books For Animal Lovers 

Books For Insect Lovers 

Must Have STEAM Books

Great Books For Independent Learners

Great Math Books That Aren’t Textbooks

Finding Books For Gifted Learners 

101 Reasons You Need Audiobooks In Your Homeschool

Books To Help Kids Learn About Geology

Fantastic Books For Plant Lovers

Family Favorite Christmas Books

Activity Books For Learning History 

reading to our kids in homeschool

8 Excellent Book Lists For Social Emotional Learning

Books To Help Kids Who Worry 

Books To Inspire Kindness And Thankfulness

Books With Quirky Characters

Books To Help Your Kids Learn Mindfulness At Home

Books That Teach Character

Books To Help Kids Learn About Autism 

Books To Teach Executive Function Skills

Books To Help Kids Learn About Anger

mom reading with child

In my homeschool, having access to book lists like all of these has made all the difference. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time I want to support reading together in our learning.

I simply pull up a book list by topic, subject, or time of year and we are essentially ready to go!

These books lists will help you find just what you need, when you need it, in your homeschool.

Take a trip to the library, load up, and happy reading!

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2021-2022 Student Planner

Hi friends! It’s time for my 2021-2022 Student Planner. This planner is specifically designed for students to help keep track of class schedules, exams, projects, assignments, grades, reading, and activities that you might need!

NOTE: This planner is a download and print type planner, it is not editable via computer at this time, sorry!

–>> Get the 2021-2022 Student Planner here!

NOTE: This planner is a PDF download. It is DATED for the 2020-2021 school year and is a full 8×10 sheet portrait layout planner with 180 pages.

What’s included?

This planner includes colorful weekly planner pages for the July 2021 – July 2022 school year. This planner is 8×10 portrait format for easier printing and binding. It includes 180 pages total.

  • Pre-dated July 2021 – July 2022 planner
  • Days run Monday-Sunday
  • Year-at-a-Glance pages
  • Monthly overview pages
  • Weekly planning pages
  • Weekly Overview pages
  • Class Schedule
  • Contacts
  • Activity tracker
  • Notes pages
  • Reading Logs
  • Assignment logs
  • Project planning pages
  • Annual grade tracking pages
  • Daily grade tracking pages
  • Attendance tracking

I’ve also added in a weekly overview page for each week. Students can keep track of assignments, exams, reading, as well as basic calendar activities!

There are also grade tracking, attendance tracking, and reading logs and a 2020-2021 year-at-a-glance page.

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I’ve also included student specific pages such as class schedules, project planners, and assignment and exam tracking pages.

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I’ve also included contact pages to keep track of all of your friends as well as an extra curricular activity tracker so you can keep track of where you need to be!

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There are also plenty of “to-do” lists and inspiration pages to keep track of things your ideas!

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This super fun planner is available right now! Click below to get it!

–>> Get the 2021-2022 Student Planner here!

Printing Tips:

I suggest printing the planner double sided. Then I take mine to a local office supply store and had it spiral bound. It cost approximately $5.00 for the spiral, plastic cover, and backing. I also suggest printing it on a light weight cardstock or higher quality copy paper for durability and to prevent ink bleeding through the pages.

If your printer doesn’t have double sided printing, you can simply print all of the odd pages, then flip and print the even pages on the back side. Just make sure you’re pages are set up in the right order to print the correct pages on the backsides.

Suggestions for use:

I get some colorful pens, I like Frixion erasable pens, and start planning! The dates are already dated along the top of each page, all you have to do is fill in your assignments!

You might even wish to use different colored pens for each subject to help keep things organized and easy to read.

Hope you enjoy this planner!

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2021-2022 Homeschool Lesson Planner

Hi everyone! It’s time for the my new 2021-2022 Homeschool Lesson Planner. We just started summer break, but I’m already planning for next year, and my HOMESCHOOL LESSON PLANNERS are a key ingredient to a successful year!

This planner is specifically designed for homeschool or classroom lesson planning. You can use this for your own teacher lesson planning, or for your students to help keep track of daily assignmentsgradesreading, and any appointments or activities that you might need!

NOTE: This planner is a download and print type planner, it is not editable via computer at this time, sorry!

What’s included?

This planner includes colorful weekly planner pages for the July 2021 – July 2022 school year. This planner is 8×10 portrait format for easier printing and binding. It includes 164 pages total.

  • Planner runs from July 2021 – July 2022 and is pre-dated
  • 2021-2022 year-at-a-glance pages 
  • Monthly overview pages 
  • Weekly planning pages 
  • Notes pages 
  • A reading log for each month 
  • Annual grade tracking pages 
  • Running grade tracking pages 
  • Attendance tracking 

Extra Homeschooling Forms:

This planner also comes with a variety of forms to help you with your planning and record keeping. If there’s a form I forgot, feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to add one in! Most of these forms were created to go along with my Homeschooling 101: A Guide to Getting Started Book. Hopefully they’re fairly self explanatory but you can use them however best suits your needs.

The Homeschooling forms include:

formspromo
  • Grade Book Record Keeping 
  • Homeschooling Vision Statement 
  • Notice of Intent to Homeschool 
  • Household Rules Chart (There are a couple versions of this, one partially filled in and one blank.) 
  • Behavior & Discipline Chart 
  • Our Family Schedule 
  • Our Commitment Worksheet 
  • Our Curriculum 
  • Curriculum Plan Overview 
  • Weekly Subject overview 
  • Weekly Schedule Overview 
  • Our Book List 
  • My Reading Log 
  • Planned Field Trips 
  • Extra-curricular Activities 
  • Craft Supply List 
  • Homeschool Supply Shopping List 
  • Photocopies Needed List 
  • Unit Study Planner 
  • Preschool Assessment Form 
  • kindergarten Assessment Form 
  • Sight Word Assessment Form (Covers Primer – 3rd Grade) 
  • Homeschool Attendance Records 
  • Homeschool Long Term Grade Records 
  • Super Mom vs. Abiding Mom Printable 
  • Blank Planner Pages to customize 

Printing Tips:

I suggest printing the planner double sided. Then I take mine to a local office supply store and had it spiral bound. It cost approximately $5.00 for the spiral, plastic cover, and backing. I also suggest printing it on a light weight cardstock or higher quality copy paper for durability and to prevent ink bleeding through the pages.

If your printer doesn’t have double sided printing, you can simply print all of the odd pages, then flip and print the even pages on the back side. Just make sure you’re pages are set up in the right order to print the correct pages on the backsides.

You can even print an extra one for your students if they prefer to work off of their own planner.

I use colorful Frixion erasable pens to start planning! The dates are already dated along the top of each page, all you have to do is fill in the subjects down the left hand column. Next add in your lessons!

I like to use different colored pens for each of my children. As you proceed through your lessons, highlight the completed items so you know that they are finished.

This super fun planner is available right now! And you are more than welcome to print extra copies for yourself or your children, so you do not need to purchase one planner per person. Yay for sharing!

Get the 2021-2022 Lesson Planner here!

PLEASE NOTE: This item is currently only available as a PDF download. It is a printable planner and is not editable online at this time.

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When Your Homeschool Day Doesn’t Go As Planned

When your homeschool day isn’t going the way you want it to, what do you do?

I’m going to be honest and tell you that what I do is often the exact opposite of what I know I SHOULD do.

Take last Thursday for example…

homeschool day doesn't go as planned

I was tired and had been up much of the night with my sniffy, allergic, and sneezing youngest son. There were a lot of work things I needed to catch up on, and my younger two just weren’t cooperating with anything. Especially school!

I should have put away my work for a bit, cuddled up with those two and a good book on the couch and reset the day – maybe even popping popcorn or going out for ice cream.

It’s what I’d tell YOU to do on an “off” day. 

I’d say, “Set it all aside and connect with your kiddo. Academics can always be made up, but hearts and relationships come first.”

homeschool day doesn't go as planned

The Reality Of Homeschooling Day In and Day out

Sometimes, though, we don’t do what we know we should do.

Sometimes we’re too tired.

Sometimes we’re too overwhelmed.

Sometimes we yell.

Sometimes we retreat to our own rooms and hide for a bit.

Sometimes we’re human.

homeschool day doesn't go as planned

 

When Your Homeschool Day Doesn’t Go As Planned

Yes, when the day isn’t going as planned, I’d tell you to connect and regroup with those precious homeschooled kids of yours.

But I’d also tell you that if you just can’t and you need a break, that’s OK too. Because homeschool moms are human and sometimes, we just need a break. We need a chance to be without the pressure of the “I should’s.”

I should be starting them on math now.

I should be reading aloud.

I should be limiting their screen time.

I should be…

The “I should’s” can be suffocating sometimes.

homeschool day doesn't go as planned

What To Do If You Just Can’t Pull It Together For The Day

If your day is going off the rails, and you just can’t show up for anyone at the moment, please show up for yourself. 

Turn on a movie for the kids and hide in your room. They’ll be OK. You can connect later and snuggle up with a good book and ice cream.

Above all, please, be kind to yourself.

Tomorrow IS another day.

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When Your Homeschool Day Is Going All Wrong

One of my favorite posts here at Raising Lifelong Learners is one from my friend, Amy. She compiled a list of all the best advice from 15 different homeschool parents, all for the really tough days. I found myself referring back to it this week!

You can find it here – WHEN YOUR HOMESCHOOL DAY IS GOING ALL WRONG

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Finding Homeschool Community (for our children and ourselves)

 
One of the challenges of homeschooling is finding a community that works for your child’s needs and interests. In this episode of The Raising Lifelong Learner Podcast, Shawna and I talk about the reality of finding a homeschool community for our children and for ourselves. 

homeschool community

It’s been a year of change for my family. 

One of the most notable differences between our homeschool now and our homeschool just 18 month ago is the lack of any real community. There are a variety of reasons for the loss, but the truth is, I find myself starting all over again in finding a community that make sense for my family.

homeschool community

Finding Homeschool Community (for our children and ourselves)

In considering how to begin again, there are a few things that I think are important to note when trying to find a homeschool community.

1. Your family is your primary homeschool community.

2. Start with interests.

3. It’s OK to walk away if it’s not working for your kiddo.

4. You may need to look for an outside the box approach for your outside the box child. 

 

homeschool community

A Conversation with Colleen and Shawna All About Finding A Homeschool Community

In today’s episode of The Raising Lifelong Learner Podcast, Shawna and I talk about how we have found community in the past and what we believe matters most for our differently wired kiddos. We get personal in this episode, sharing our struggles in this area as well as the lessons we’ve learned. 

 
 

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

Homeschooling Gifted Kids: A Practical Guide to Educate and Motivate Advanced LearnersThe Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12 (Prima Home Learning Library)The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America's Broken Education System - and How to Fix ItHome Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural WorldHomeschooling 101: A Guide to Getting Started.Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God, and Teach Your Child with ConfidenceHOW TO START, MANAGE, AND GROW YOUR GREAT HOMESCHOOL GROUP OR CO-OP: Step-By-Step Quick and Easy SuccessHomeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn OutHomeschool High School Made Easy: Find Your Why . . . Then Find Your Way (Easy Homeschool)

 
 

Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!


 

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Homeschooling High School Isn’t Something To Fear

It seems that everywhere I go – conventions, local co-ops, online forums – homeschooling moms are worried that they’re not going to be able to handle homeschooling high school “when it really counts.”

But what does that even mean?

Who decides what counts?

We do. I promise.

Really and truly.

homeschooling high school

Your Homeschool Belongs To You

Sure, all states have varying levels of requirements, but your homeschool is really yours. You and your child can decide for yourselves what it is going to look like.

Here’s the thing – your homeschool doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s.

It doesn’t need to look like your best friend’s.

It doesn’t need to look like public school.

It doesn’t need to follow a specific scope and sequence. 

It doesn’t need to be filled with reading aloud, games, morning times, curriculum, or anything YOU don’t want it to be filled with. 

Your homeschool belongs to you. 

The Best Homeschool Human Body Study Ever

There Is No Wrong Way To Homeschool

It’s weird for me to think about all the ways our homeschool has changed since we first pulled my son out of his first grade class. We’ve done it all  – full-on school-at-home, boxed curriculums, pieces and parts of random curriculums, workbooks, strict schedules, complete unschooling, and everything in-between. We now fall almost exclusively in the eclectic camp, and change things up as needed.  

There is no wrong way to do this homeschooling thing if you are all in, loving your kids, igniting their passions, and giving them opportunities to shine. 

homeschooling high school

This guy is done.

Graduated.

There wasn’t a ceremony as he’s not a huge fan of being “on stage.” No pomp and circumstance (although we are having a big backyard BBQ and party next month. I think we all need to celebrate that we [I] made it!) no declarations, no yard signs or gowns…

And that’s OK too.

high school

Homeschooling High School Isn’t Something To Fear

We all get to do what we love and want when it comes to homeschooling, life, and beyond. 

Homeschooling high school isn’t something to fear. It’s something to embrace, treasure, and enjoy. You get a front row seat to the growing adult that’s right there before you.

These have been my favorite years in this homeschooling adventure, they can be yours too. 

More Resources For Homeschooling High School

If you want to know my son’s thoughts about learning at home with me all these years you’ll hear it directly from him in this episode of The Raising Lifelong Learners Podcast. 

homeschooling high school

You will also find everything you need in this Quick Guide To Homeschooling High School

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8 Tips for Helping Special Needs Kids Transition from School Year to Summer

Sometimes special needs kids need extra help making the transition from school year to summer. These 8 practical tips will help!
Sometimes special needs kids need extra help making the transition from school year to summer. These 8 practical tips will help!
Sometimes special needs kids need extra help making the transition from school year to summer. These 8 practical tips will help!
Sometimes special needs kids need extra help making the transition from school year to summer. These 8 practical tips will help!

Many children have trouble making the transition from the school year to summer vacation. The same can be (and often is) true of transitioning from summer back to school in the fall. My oldest child (now an adult) has autism. For her, transitioning from one season to another (and even from one activity to another) was often a huge source of stress and anxiety. With years of experience, I’ve learned to minimize the stress and, thankfully, she’s mellowed as she’s grown up. It can still be stressful making transitions, though, especially with younger children.

special needs kids

Not only are our children (whether special needs or neuro-typical) transitioning from school year to summer, but they’re usually moving from a time of many hours of structured activities to many hours of free time–or at least much less structure. Even if you homeschool over the summer or homeschool year-round, you still may have a lighter schedule, so your children probably still have less structure and a more open and flexible schedule.

There are ways to help minimize the stress of transitioning from the school year to summer break, though. These aren’t magical methods for removing all anxiety from the change, but they are ways to help make it easier!

1. Talk about it ahead of time.

My daughter, even as an adult, is nonverbal. That does not mean, however, that she doesn’t understand what I say to her or that I don’t make an effort to help her understand. I do my best to talk to her about things just as I would talk with my other children. I think it’s important that we give our special needs kiddos the chance to receive information even if they don’t understand all of it. After all, they may understand more than we think! And it certainly won’t hurt to give them the chance to hear and understand, right?

For that reason, one of the easiest and best things we can do to help our kids make transitions is talk to them ahead of time. I suggest having a conversation a few weeks (or at least a few days) before making the change. There’s no need to go in-depth or make a big deal out of it (which may actually heighten your child’s anxiety). Instead, simply mention the kinds of changes that will be happening, and do your best to stay calm.

You might want to mention that your regular school year will soon be over. Talk about some of the special things you’ll be doing over the summer and when you’ll be doing them. Keep in mind, though, that it might be better to wait to mention anything (like a super fun summer vacation) that your child will want to do right this minute. 🙂 Sometimes our special needs kiddos don’t quite understand that the visit to the water park (or wherever else) is several weeks away. It’ll save stress on you and your child if you wait until closer to the time to mention it.

2. Let your special needs child choose some summer bucket list items to do. 

If your child is able, let him or her suggest some things to add to your summer bucket list! These may or may not be educational activities, but they should all be fun activities that you can do together. These might include building things, art activities, cooking or baking, gardening, playing games, and more! You might also want to include some fun summer reading! Many younger children already love reading with parents or siblings. Even teens can enjoy reading with parents or with parents and teens from another family (sort of like a summer book club)!

If your child has a hard time verbally expressing what he or she wants to do, use pictures from magazines or printed from the internet to show some choices. Then go through the pictures together.

3. Talk about how much school work you will do over the summer (if any). 

Let your child know about school work, therapy schedules, etc. For example, before my daughter graduated from our homeschool, we usually did a couple of hours of school work at least twice a week just to keep her busy and to make sure she didn’t forget important information and skills. We also kept going to physical and occupational therapy. At the beginning of the summer, I made sure she knew which days she would be doing school work and when her PT and OT sessions would be.

4. Keep as many routines as possible.

For my daughter, it was important for me to be consistent with bedtime even over the summer–at least as often as possible. I also tried to make sure she got up each morning at a fairly consistent time. She simply felt better and behaved better with consistent bedtimes and wake-up times. (She’s 25 now, and she still goes to bed and wakes up at about the same times each day!)

Another example might be allowing your child to keep morning routines or other daily routines from the school year. During the school year, my daughter knew she had to get up, brush her teeth and wash her face, and get dressed. She knew that, once she was up and dressed, we would spend 30 minutes or so reading together before having breakfast and doing school work. Then she would be allowed to play on the computer.

During the summer, we still got up, got dressed, brushed her teeth, washed her face, and got her dressed. Then we took some time to read together. On “summer school” days, we then did school work. On “off” days, she got to go ahead and play on the computer. This kept our routine fairly consistent and helped her adjust. (Note: I was certain to let her know as soon as she woke up whether it was a “summer school” day or an “off” day.)

5. Plan some “down days” to help keep your child from being overwhelmed.

Even if you enjoy going and doing and being busy over the summer, it’s important for many children–especially special needs children–to have some “down days.” Try to resist the urge to cram every day full of places to go and things to do! For many children (and parents!) being too busy is overwhelming and can take the fun out of fun activities and make them stressful instead.

Maybe you and your children can take a day now and then to just stay home and take a break. Maybe you can read some library books, play in the sprinkler, or even watch a movie together and just relax.

6. Create a visual calendar or visual schedule.

Many special needs children and even neuro-typical younger children love using visual calendars! These are simply calendars with pictures instead of words so that they’re easier to understand for children who can’t yet read or don’t read well. You can print a calendar page or draw one on a poster board if you need more space. Then draw, cut out pictures, or even use photos to show activities, obligations (like doctor visits or therapy appointments), vacations, visits with friends, trips to the library or park, or whatever else you want to include!

If a month is too much information or is too overwhelming, do a week at a time instead. If a week is still too much, do a daily schedule instead! For a daily schedule, you will simply include drawings, pictures you’ve cut out, or photos to show the order of activities for the day. This way your child will still know what to expect, but he or she won’t be overwhelmed by a huge amount of information.

If your child needs to know farther ahead of time what to expect the next day, just go over the next day’s schedule each night before bed or whenever works best for your family.

7. Try to get together with friends–especially a close friend or two–now and then over the summer.

If you’re part of a co-op or club that won’t be meeting over the summer, try to plan times for your child to get together with a close friend or two from the co-op or club over the summer. Your child may not understand why the co-op or club isn’t meeting for a while, and knowing they’ll still get together sometimes may help lessen the anxiety of thinking about not having these regular meetings.

Be sure your child understands that co-ops and clubs don’t usually meet over the summer because many families go on vacations or do other things that cause them to be away from home sometimes over the summer but that, once summer break is over, things will get back to a familiar routine.

8. Create (or let your child help create) a back-to-school countdown chart or calendar. 

You might choose something easy like a calendar on which you mark off the days. Or you could do something fun like popsicle sticks in a jar. (Start with one stick for each day of summer break and remove one stick each day.) Maybe you could make a paper chain with one link for each day of summer and simply cut off one link each day. If the countdown is something your child can participate in, it will be more fun and meaningful.

While making the transition from the school year to summer may still be a bit difficult for your special needs child, I’ve found these ideas to be very helpful for my family. Some of the ideas take a small amount of preparation, but all of them can be done easily and without spending a lot of money. And your children can help with most of these ideas, which helps make the transition more real and more fun!

Do you have suggestions for helping your special needs child (or typical children) transition from the school year to summer? If so, please share your ideas in the comments!

You May Also Like:

Free Summer Reading Tracker

10 Books to Read This Summer

Beach Bingo 

Road Trip Printable Set

Nature Journal for Little Learners

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How to Use Julia Rothman’s Nature Anatomy in Your Homeschool

This Companion Notebook Series makes it fun and easy to use the Julia Rothman series of nature study books in your homeschool with no prep!
This Companion Notebook Series makes it fun and easy to use the Julia Rothman series of nature study books in your homeschool with no prep!
This Companion Notebook Series makes it fun and easy to use the Julia Rothman series of nature study books in your homeschool with no prep!
This Companion Notebook Series makes it fun and easy to use the Julia Rothman series of nature study books in your homeschool with no prep!

Most of us love finding ways to encourage our kids to get outside and enjoy nature! I’ve always looked for ways to help my children learn and explore outdoors whether we lived in a big city, an apartment complex, or in the woods in the country. While free observation and exploration are educational and enjoyable, my children and I benefit from having a guide to help our free spirits get more organized. And I, as a homeschool mom, value resources that encourage my homeschooler to develop a love of nature and a desire to learn more about it.

Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of this article! There, you’ll find a giveaway AND a discount code for 15% off your purchase of the Julia Rothman Companion Notebook Series.  

The Julia Rothman Companion Notebook Series, a digital/downloadable series from Daily Skill Building, is designed to accompany the Julia Rothman Collection. (The Julia Rothman Collection is a series of nature study books. You can find them on Amazon.)  These notebooks are my new favorite way to accomplish my science and nature study goals! They are for children in grades 3-8 and, in my opinion, turn interesting books into truly educational resources!

Julia Rothman Companion Notebook Series

When I was given the opportunity to use and review the Nature Notebook and the other companion notebooks that go along with the anatomy book series, I was excited! I’m always open to new science- and nature-related resources. Since these resources are new to me, though, I had no idea what to expect. I have to start by saying I was NOT disappointed by what I found!

On the first few pages of the Nature Notebook, I found that there were many free printables and links to a wide variety of resources for further learning. The notebook includes links to fun crafts and activities, convenient printables for nature walks and studies, and handy copywork pages all centered around the nature theme. Additionally, each chapter of the notebook begins with an overview of the focus, extra printables, and links to even more resources such as unit studies and other activities.

What You Need to Know About the Companion Notebooks

You may choose to print the entire notebook or just the pages you need.

These downloadable companion notebooks are quite long. The Nature Notebook (which accompanies the Nature Anatomy book) is 172 pages long, so you may choose to print only the pages you need if you’d rather not print the entire document. (Some print shops give discounts to homeschool support groups and organizations. Be sure to check!)

They’re easy to correlate with the related book.

Each companion notebook relates to a particular book. Each chapter in the notebook begins by suggesting which pages of the related book correlate to that chapter. This is a wonderful time-saver and stress-reliever!

They include questions that are easily adapted for both younger and older students.

For younger students, the journals include questions designed to encourage students to think about and repeat what they’re learning. These questions are great for younger students who can answer fact-based questions relating to information that was clearly stated in the text.

For older students, there are questions designed to encourage the students to think more deeply and critically about what they’re learning. For example, older students can answer questions not only about factual information from the text but also questions requiring them to explain what causes a thing to occur or to explain why a certain thing happened.

They include space for drawing/artwork.

There are places for children to draw pictures based on what they’re observing and learning. Older students can create artwork (Some chapters even include links with guided drawing activities.) that details what they’re learning. If your student, like mine, does not enjoy drawing, you may choose to skip the drawing pages. Or you may want to encourage those students to stretch their skills by practicing a few drawings.

If you’d like to use these pages in different ways (other than drawing) you could print pictures from some of the suggested online sources and have them cut and paste them into the notebook. Or, if you have a child who enjoys photography, you can include photos he or she has taken. This article includes a few of our favorite photos taken with a cell phone! (If you have a fancy camera, that’s great! If not, that’s ok too.) You can print out your pictures on your own printer, or you can send them to a local store and have them printed more professionally. It’s up to you!

spider web

Most journal chapters for the Nature Notebook include links to additional resources.

Most of the chapters in the companion notebooks include links to resources and information to go along with the topic. This is super important because this additional information added tremendously to my son’s interest level and to the amount of information he understood and retained from each lesson.

For example, in the chapter about weather, there are links to printable charts, guided drawing activities, terminology-related copywork, and more! In studying the pages related to clouds, my son and I found that looking at the types of clouds was interesting, but drawing them really added to our understanding of them (even though he doesn’t normally love to draw). When my son put pencil to paper to actually draw some of the clouds, he automatically thought more deeply about why the types of clouds looked so different and began asking me questions about them. This led to a very cool discussion of how clouds “work,” and we both came away with a lot more knowledge than we had previously.

Some Things I Love About the Companion Notebooks

They encourage new investigation of familiar material.

I love that each journal asks questions that encourage a new look at familiar material. For example, the Nature Notebook shares information about bird feathers, beaks, and eggs–which many children have seen before. Most children enjoy encountering information they already have some knowledge of because it gives them a sense of accomplishment and familiarity. Then notebook goes on to share new and interesting information that will encourage the children to think about previously-known information in a new way and to think about both previous and new information in ways they might not have otherwise investigated.

These companion notebooks also encourage children (and parents!) to take a closer look at nature in general. Even if the notebooks don’t specifically mention, for example, a butterfly or a pinecone, you’ll probably naturally be inclined to take a closer look at these while you’re taking a closer look at whatever it is you’re specifically studying. Simply put, you’ll pay more attention to everything you see in nature even while you’re looking for specific things.

They bring new ideas to life.

I found that working in the companion notebooks helped bring alive some ideas from the correlating books that might have otherwise been glossed over. For example, my son and I very much enjoyed the book chapter related to birds. When he began working in that chapter of the notebook, he was able to slow down and really consider the different types of bird calls, feathers, and reasons why birds have variously shaped and sized beaks. He was also given a place to draw various kinds of bird eggs.

The next time we took a walk outside in the woods, we were much more interested in stopping to listen for bird calls so we could identify the birds we heard. We didn’t have complete success, but we had a great time laughing as we listened to their calls and read the suggestions for what it sounds like the birds are saying. In other words, we both learned something (Did you know that birds living in different areas have different dialects?!) and had a great time!

They make a great ongoing resource and keepsake for the future.

Whether you choose to print the entire notebook or just the pages you need for writing, drawing, etc., the pages you print will make a beautiful keepsake that your student can add to over the years. For example, your elementary student could complete some of the questions and drawings and return to the book and notebook in junior high and again in high school to add additional information. In this way, the notebook could even be a little like a time capsule for you and your student!

The series is secular but Christian-friendly.

I will explain this in more detail below in the “Final Notes” section.

There is no prep-work needed! 

If you choose to print the notebook pages (or have them printed), I supposed you could consider that to be prep-work. Other than that, though, all you have to do each day is grab your book and companion notebook and get started! As a busy homeschool mom, I so much appreciate the fact that these resources are that easy to use! And I feel like the information included and the things my son is learning are just as thorough and just as much fun as they would be with any other curriculum that requires a lot of time and effort ahead of time.

You can get an entire set of companion notebooks!

As mentioned previously, there is an entire series of companion notebooks for the Julia Rothman series (plus bonuses!). In other words, in addition to the Nature Notebook (which goes with the Nature Anatomy book), there are also the Farm Notebook (to go with Farm Anatomy), the Food Notebook (to go with Food Anatomy), or the Ocean Notebook (to go with Ocean Anatomy). There is also a Birding Notebook (to go with Audubon Birding Adventures for Kids) for those who are especially interested in taking a closer look at birds. (The Birding Notebook is a free bonus when you purchase the set of notebooks. You’ll find more information below in the section called “Companion Notebook Bundle with Free Bonus.”)

If you’re like me, it may be impossible to choose just one!

The Nature Notebook is a great resource for all ages. There are so many links and so much information that it would make a great science/biology curriculum for kids from kindergarten up to high school. Any parent who is on a budget is seeking to provide a well-rounded science or biology course could easily adapt this resource to create a year-long (or more) study for their student. One of the great things about it is that it could easily be used for a “one-room schoolhouse,” because of the variety of questions and information included.

Who Would Love the Nature Notebook

  • Students who already enjoy nature but want to more fully appreciate and learn more about it would find this Notebook to be an excellent framework for a great curriculum.
  • Those who don’t know much about nature would definitely benefit from this Notebook. The information and links are so varied and numerous that you are certain to find something that sparks interest in your child.
  • Families who feel like they can’t study nature because they live in the city or other areas that don’t seem to lend themselves to the study of nature will find that this Notebook gives you the resources you need to make it happen.  The questions and links in this Notebook will bring your awareness of nature to life so that you can see the nature that is all around you. From the mayfly on your windshield to the pigeon in the parking lot, you will begin to notice more about nature and hopefully begin to seek it out in a meaningful way through the use of this Notebook.

The Food Notebook was created to accompany the Food Anatomy book, which digs into the study of social studies in a way that is both novel and fascinating. While the Food Notebook does not include links to other resources, it does include many places for illustrations, writing definitions, explaining concepts, and more.

My favorite page in this notebook is the one for the creation of a fishmonger’s visual lexicon. My son’s favorite page in the notebook was the one in which he got to illustrate and label the Scoville scale. I allowed much freedom of expression (and many laughs!), and I think we’ll both remember a lot from this one! Take a look below to see the Scoville scale and our illustration of it. 🙂

Food Journal

This notebook and the book it was created to accompany may be better suited to students who are in the upper elementary grades and above. They are definitely enjoyable and interesting but require an understanding of more complex concepts and more difficult terminology regarding foods, kitchen equipment and utensils, and food-related traditions from around the world. They have fun (and even funny) facts but might be difficult for younger students to fully grasp due to unfamiliar terminology related to other nationalities.

Also, I have to say I never would have thought a study of food-related information could be so much fun. 🙂

Who Would Love the Food Notebook

  • Young foodies would enjoy having a world of international foods opened up to them. My son has always been fascinated with food and its history, and we thoroughly enjoyed working through many pages in this notebook.
  • This is an excellent non-traditional way to study the world and so many of its various cultures.
  • This would also be perfect for a student who needs additional social studies education.

The Farm Notebook includes pages for answering questions, creating illustrations, and demonstrating understanding of information learned. One of my son’s personal favorite pages in this Notebook is the one in which he got to illustrate the development of a chicken embryo. Similar to the Nature Notebook, there are links to activities, worksheets, printable fact cards, and guided drawings. Others go even further and include links to resources for long-term projects such as composting with kids, birdfeeder crafts (that don’t require expertise in woodworking!), and canning with kids, to name a few.

Who Would Love the Farm Notebook

  • This notebook would be great for students of all ages.
  • Older students could work through the notebook as well as many of the accompanying links independently.
  • Younger students would definitely need much more adult guidance but could definitely enjoy and learn from this resource.
  • Whether or not your students know anything about farming, this resource would be another great educational resource and keepsake to enjoy for years to come.

The Ocean Notebook, as with most of the other notebooks, does include some links to printables, unit studies, life cycle activities, matching games, and more. The extra links in this notebook are found on one page at the beginning of the notebook. Interestingly, this notebook includes questions about topics covered in the book all the way from the ocean floor to the waves and birds above and many of the fascinating large and small creatures that live on its shore.

As is the case in the other notebooks, there are places for illustrations, recording of facts, simple questions based on facts, and questions designed to generate thoughtful consideration of more complex ideas. For example, a younger child may answer the question, “What is a group of dolphins called?” while an older child may want to discuss some of the creative ways in which dolphins behave. At my house, questions such as this often lead to more research and further discussion, which my student thrives on.

Who Would Love the Ocean Notebook

  • Most kids, teens, and even adults enjoy learning about the ocean and the beach. The Ocean Notebook helps the ocean come to life and made my family want to take a “field trip” to the beach!
  • This notebook, much like most of the others, would make a great resource for students of all ages.

If you’d like to buy the set of four companion notebooks, you’ll receive the Birding Notebook for free! (The Birding Notebook accompanies Audubon Birding Adventures for Kids, which is sold separately). It includes information about 25 birds as well as their habitats, beaks, feathers, and more! It also includes space to document your birding activities and journal pages for documenting a birdwalk.

Final Notes:

This series is secular. There is no faith-based content, but it is Christian-friendly. Any mentions of evolution and/or the age of the earth from the book(s) are noted at the beginning of the notebook(s) and have been left out of the companion guides.

The Ocean Anatomy book does include some information related to evolution, environmental issues, and sex/reproduction. There are NO questions or activities related to these topics in the associated notebook.

The Food Anatomy book contains references to beer and wine and one image which I would suggest that parents consider for appropriateness. References to these have been left out of the notebook as much as possible.

In both the Ocean Anatomy notebook and the Food Anatomy notebook, book pages that may be of concern are conveniently listed at the beginning of the notebook so that parents may preview the pages in the book before sharing them with their students. I personally chose to include and discuss these topics with my student (with the exception of the picture of a wooden nutcracker which is carved in the image of a naked woman which I marked out with a permanent marker).

I highly recommend the series of anatomy notebooks along with the books that they were created to go along with. My son is learning so much from including the notebooks as he reads through the books. I am enjoying the addition of questions and activities that truly turn these books into a thorough educational resource for learners of all ages and learning styles.

Ready to Buy AND Get a Discount?

If you’d like to buy one (or the whole set!) of these companion notebooks, we have a discount code for you. Use the code HHM15 to get 15% off your order! This code is good through 6/30/21, so don’t wait to order! You’ll find links to each notebook and the whole set of notebooks by clicking this link.

Homeschool Giveaways

Melissa Overland is a full-time wife and homeschooling mom. (She also happens to be the identical twin sister of Wendy Hilton who is co-owner of Hip Homeschool Moms.) She loves all things nerdy and creative and is quite unable to keep a clean house. She finds solace, however, in training her children to put God first, to be not only educated but also happy and content, and in aiming to learn to be better at the housekeeping thing as a family! She lives in the South with one husband, two children, and one cat, all of whom must be tough enough to survive life with no grains or gluten, very little sugar, and lots and lots of sloppy kisses.

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Meeting the Asynchronous Needs of Your Gifted Child

I remember her online comment like it was yesterday.

Her seven-year-old was reading at an eleventh grade level, had just completed sixth grade math, was exceptionally emotional, and had trouble holding a pencil.

the aysnchronous needs of your gifted child

She was struggling to meet all of her daughter’s needs as a new homeschooling mom and was reaching out for help.

Other readers chimed in, some offering great advice, but others criticized her for “pushing her child” and said that “all kids are gifted;” they just show their gifts at different times.

And I felt for her.

Her child was asynchronous and she felt all alone, tired, and defeated. She felt like homeschooling her gifted child had been a mistake.

I remember her post because it was like she was typing out my own thoughts. 

How do you meet the asynchronous needs of gifted children?

The term “gifted” holds, for so many people, negative or even threatening connotations. But, like not all children have special needs, not all kids are gifted.

As defined by Webster’s, gifted means having exceptional talent or natural ability.

The National Association for Gifted Children goes further:

Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.

Unfortunately people often confuse the term giftedness with gift.

Children are a gift. They’re a blessing. They are all important and have special talents, abilities, and struggles.

Meeting the Asynchronous Needs of Your Gifted Child

 

What does a gifted child look like?

While gifted kids are as different from one another as anybody is from another person, there are some traits and characteristics that bear watching for if you think your child is gifted. Keep in mind that not all gifted kids exhibit all of these traits.

Gifted kids:
  • process information faster and more effectively than same age peers.
  • may exhibit a highly developed vocabulary earlier than most children.
  • speak in complex, grammatically correct sentences early on.
  • are continually asking increasingly complex questions that show insight and advanced understanding.
  • spontaneously begin reading at very early ages.
  • pick up on the nuances of language and can precociously converse with adults at early ages.
  • perseverate on topics of interest (focus intensely for long periods of time), and seek out their own exposure to these topics.
  • have depths of background knowledge about the world around them that surprises even their parents.
  • remember things with little to no repetition.
  • are critical and creative problem solvers, often finding connections between seemingly disconnected things.

 

How do you keep gifted kids challenged?

Knowing beyond a doubt that your child is truly gifted (through ability, achievement, and IQ testing) isn’t nearly as important as creating a nurturing and challenging environment in your home. Being the kind of parent that recognizes ability and interests, and then capitalizes on those to help their child learn is the best thing you can do for a gifted child.

So how do you do it?

  • Follow your child’s interests. Gifted children who aren’t challenged can often become undermotivated and turned off of learning altogether. An underachieving child can spend more time arguing with parents about homeschool than actually learning. By tapping into your child’s interests and focusing their learning in that direction, you can stimulate their motivation to learn.
  • Find mentors for your child. Is your child interested in programming, but you don’t know your way in and around technology? Find someone they can learn from. A computer-engineer friend might be willing to meet with your daughter on the weekends to talk and play around with computers.
  • Fill up the house with resources. Books, computers, DVDs, streaming video subscriptions, toys that inspire creativity, etc. all provide outlets for learning and thinking. It’s important to bring your gifted child up in a resource-rich environment and encourage him to become a lifelong learner.

Meeting the Asynchronous Needs of Your Gifted Child

By tapping into your gifted child’s interests and strengths, you’ll motivate him or her to keep moving forward, and you can work on weaknesses within the framework of strengths.

Like the mother reaching out for help in meeting the asynchronous needs of her seven-year-old daughter, you may struggle from time to time keeping up with your gifted child. We all do!

Remember that you’re not alone and that gifted kids have special parenting and academic needs. Your child can and will learn, and you will be able to nurture his or her unique abilities.

Are You Homeschooling A Gifted Child?

The Learner's Lab

The Learner’s Lab is the community created just for your quirky family.  It’s full of creative lessons, problem solving activities, critical and divergent thinking games, and the social-emotional support differently-wired children and teens need most.

All from the comfort of your own home. 

This community was created to support children who are gifted and twice exceptional. We address topics just like this all year long, in a way that is educational and fun for children. They learn skills to help them cope and you learn how to help them along the way. 

We invite you to join us. Get all the details HERE.

Meeting the Asynchronous Needs of Your Gifted Child

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Dear Burned Out Homeschool Mom

Are you having a hard day today? A hard week? Feeling exhausted? Frustrated? Ready to give up? Ready to ship your little sweeties off on the next big yellow bus that passes your house so you can take a break? I understand! I’ve been there too.

NOTE: Please read all the way to the bottom of this article and enter the Mother’s Day giveaway! I’ve partnered with a great group of bloggers to bless some moms by giving away FOUR $100 gift cards to the winners’ choice of Hobby Lobby, Christianbook.com, grocery store of your choice, or a restaurant of your choice. 

I’ve been homeschooling for 24  years, and I’ve had many days when I thought I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was ready to give up. To pack up my kiddos and send them off to school somewhere…anywhere…so I could regain my sanity. You too? Yep, I get it!

So what can you do about it if you’re in that situation? Dealing with burnout is a very real and serious issue. However, there are some effective coping strategies that can help you relieve some of the pressure and get into a better routine.

1. Put on a happy face.

One of the most important things I’ve learned over my homeschool years is that I set the tone in my house. If I wake up feeling grouchy, my children will probably be grouchy that day too! But if I decide to try my best to be happy (or at least pleasant), my children often behave much better. Of course we all have days now and then when we just feel crummy. That’s life. But if we try most of the time to be pleasant, our children will (hopefully!) learn from our good examples and will be more pleasant too. And even if you don’t feel happy, do your best to act happy! You may even end up tricking yourself into feeling better. 🙂

However, there’s something important you need to keep in mind. If you think you’re truly depressed, you need to see a doctor you trust!

Depression can be dangerous and often isn’t something you can get over on your own or pretend away. If you wake up consistently feeling down,  please don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to seek medical help. Many of us have gone through depression. It’s so much better to admit it, seek help, and move toward feeling better! In fact, it’ll end up being better for you and your whole family. So don’t just “think about it.” If you’re depressed, get help. Now.

2. Take care of yourself.

I know. That’s easier said than done. But it’s also important. Necessary. For the good of your entire family, you must take care of yourself.  I don’t mean that you have to eat only organic fruits and vegetables, work out five days a week, sleep late every Saturday, and never deal with stress.

Those things would be nice, but they aren’t what I’m talking about, and they’re probably not always possible right now, anyway. But there are things you can do to take care of yourself. You may not be able to do all of them, but maybe you can do one or two things for yourself. Think about which of these things you can incorporate into your daily routine. Or maybe there’s something that’s not listed here that’s more important to you. Think about yourself and your own situation, and use these suggestions as starting points.

  • Read a book for fun.
  • Go for a walk with a friend–or even all by yourself.
  • Call a friend to chat for a few minutes.
  • Go on a date with your husband or have a girls’ night out with friends.
  • Try not to eat too much junk food.
  • Take a good vitamin supplement.
  • Get out in the sunshine as often as possible.
  • Turn on some music to enjoy while you do housework.
  • Take a “power nap.”
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Get to bed at a decent time.
  • Diffuse essential oils or burn a candle to make the house smell good.
  • Take a bubble bath, even if it’s early in the morning or late at night.
  • Dance.
  • Bake something for fun.
  • Write in a journal or keep a gratefulness journal.
  • Sit outside in the sun and be quiet and relax for a few minutes. 
  • Listen to an inspirational podcast.
  • Color or draw.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Perform a Random Act of Kindness.

3. Don’t stress about your homeschool.

Think it’s easier said than done? Maybe, but -believe it or not- your homeschool does NOT have to be perfect. You do NOT have to be a perfect teacher. Your children do NOT have to be perfect students.  Actually, ALL of these things can be perfectly IMperfect, and your kids will STILL turn out okay!

Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that public and private school teachers are just people? They’re just like you! There’s nothing magical or perfect about them, either! Give yourself a break and realize that the single most important thing you can do to be a good teacher is care about your students.  (And I’m willing to bet that you do care about them quite a lot!)

Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s important to have balance in your homeschool. Yes, your children do need to participate in outside activities like art or music lessons or church activities or sports if possible. But they don’t need to do these things every single day or every single evening. If you find yourself living in the car to get to all of those extracurricular activities to the point where you (and maybe your children too!) are tired and miserable, cut back on what you’re doing!

Or it could be that you’re in the opposite situation. Maybe you never get out of the house with your children. In that case, choose one or two activities to begin participating in. Start small. Maybe meet some friends at the park once a week or so to let the kids play and the moms visit. Maybe let your children begin a class or sport of some kind. Maybe your local library has a storytime. Think about what might work for you and your children, talk with other moms in your local homeschool group or local area, and get out of the house once in a while for some fun!

4. Pray about it.

Personally, I’m the worst about worrying, feeling helpless, worrying some more, and then finally praying about it when I’m not sure how to handle a situation. I don’t know why I do it, but I often think of praying as a last resort instead of a first response. I have to remind myself sometimes that God cares about everything we go through–whether it’s related to our homeschools, finances, personal lives, or other areas. I guess sometimes I feel like I’m bothering God with my small problems when there are so many more important situations going on with so many people. But guess what? God cares about our homeschools! He cares when we feel burned out. So don’t wait to pray until you feel like things are out of control. 

5. Ask for help from friends or family.

Sometimes we are reluctant to ask for help from friends and family members. We may feel like we don’t have people we can ask for help. If you do have family members close by, ask them for help! If you don’t have family close by or if your family members can’t or won’t help, ask a friend.

It’s so important to be part of a local homeschool group, church, playgroup, babysitting co-op, or some other kind of supportive group or organization if you possibly can because most of us at one time or another need help! You may be able to trade babysitting with another family or hire a teen who’s willing to work for a rate you can afford. Local churches or homeschool groups may even have volunteers who are willing to give you a break once in a while. It won’t hurt to ask!

6. Keep this in mind.

Most of us go through burnout at one time or another. It’s not fun. It’s not something we want to go through. But it is normal. And it is possible to get through it and keep on going with a happy life and a happy and productive homeschool! Going through burnout does not mean that you have to send your children to school somewhere in order to feel better again. It doesn’t mean you’ll always feel this way. It just means that you need to make a few changes in order to handle things until you feel better. It means you need to reach out for help. It means you need to give yourself some grace for a while.

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Want more information about preventing or dealing with homeschool burnout and other related topics?

Here are some additional articles that I think you’ll find helpful! 

Preventing Homeschool Burnout

Want to Prevent Burnout? Try Year Round Homeschooling!

Worried About Finishing the School Year?

Combat the Homeschool Blahs

If you’ve gone through homeschool burnout, what have you done to get through it? We want to hear from you!  

Mother’s Day Giveaway

If you read (at the top of this article) about this giveaway, you already know I’ve partnered with a great group of bloggers to bless some moms by giving away FOUR $100 gift cards to the winners’ choice of Hobby Lobby, Christianbook.com, grocery store of your choice, or a restaurant of your choice.

I know the Rafflecopter below has quite a few entry options, but each blogger generously chipped in her own money to bring you this giveaway, so I hope you’ll take a few moments to complete all the entries. And the more entries you do, the better your chances of winning!

The giveaway ends May 7 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email to claim her prize (so be sure you check your email on May 8 to see if you won!). By entering this giveaway, you will be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers. (We hope you’ll love being on their email lists! Give them a try! If not, you can unsubscribe.) Please be sure to read the Terms & Conditions upon entering the giveaway. By entering, you agree and acknowledge your understanding of the Terms & Conditions.

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