Monday, December 12, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up and Currently Reading - Dec.11, 2016

My first weekly wrapup and currently video on my youtube channel. I need to start looking for a better recording camera. :)
What are you reading?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Book Haul 2016

I went book shopping again. Don't worry I used trade in credit for these.
After last week's Classics bookshelf tour I realized two things.
First thing is that I still have some classics packed up in one of these totes. There are about 13 BIG totes full of books waiting for our basement to one day be done so they can go back on bookshelves.
Second that I my classic's collection is pretty small and missing some books I really should own and have read. I am working on a list on goodreads of classics I need and I bought some while I was out.
I also picked up a few other books too. ;)
Any suggestions for classics I need to pick up?
Here is a link to my goodreads books I want to pick up:
And here is the link to the shelf of ones I know I own:
I'm pretty sure I don't have all my books on that list.. but that is a task for another day.
Let me know what I need to add to my classic's collection!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

2016 Classics and Old Books Bookshelf Tour

My first bookshelf tour. I chose my Classics and Old Books bookshelf to share with everyone.
What books should I add to my classics shelf? I know I need to expand and read more classics.
I also think I must have more in a tote because I remember a few that weren't on the shelf. Opps.

Friday, November 18, 2016

October - November Birthday Book Haul

My birthday was Halloween and since my family says I am impossible to buy for.. they gave me gift cards.  Works for me.  So I spent those on BOOKS.  Of course I did.  Here are the books I picked up.  This is my first actual youtube book haul so be gentle..
Have you read any of these?  Any book recommendations?
Follow me for more on youtube.  I do book and homeschool videos.  :)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Review: The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I just finished the last page and I don't know what to think about this book. In a way I hated it.  I hated how it drained me.  The language was awful.. but I know that real life is that way. The cussing, the teenage boy hormones, the depression.. they are all part of real life. It just makes me sad reading it. I struggle with the point of this book. It is just a weekend in the life of a confused, angry teenage boy who has been expelled from one of many private schools.  There is no plot.  Its very character driven.  You get to know Holden.  You see his weaknesses and strengths.  Although he drinks, cusses, smokes, runs away from school, gets expelled, he has a good side that you see through his love of his little sister.  It was refreshing after the depressing chapters to see how he treats Phoebe.  He redeems himself in the end.  I wonder if he is just boxed into being what he doesn't want to be and is lashing out.   Since his parents are rich he is expected to be and act a certain way.  He obviously doesn't want to or he wouldn't have been expelled.  Given caring parents that took the time to see him for who he is and encourage those interests could of lead to him achieving something rewarding.  The ending didn't really leave me with the impression that it would happen that way.
The book is listed as one of the books recommended for 11th graders. I hesitate to hand it over to my son but I can see how it would be relateable. He has anger and anxiety issues so he would (I imagine) feel a connection to Holden but I won't know until he reads it.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Review: The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

The Invisible ManThe Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a required reading choice for my 11th grader this year. He chose it. I read it first in two days then he read it a couple chapters a day. I found it very interesting. He found it a little slow in some parts. It lead to some interesting conversations about whether the main character was mad to begin with or went mad because of the invisibility. My son said in the beginning that having that power would be amazing. Being able to do what you want, when you want. By the end of the book, he said he would only like to be invisible if he could control it. I'm sure the main character felt the same way.

At first I felt sympathetic towards Griffin and how frustrating it must of been to not be seen and to be open to the elements. His actions though toward the end squashed those feelings. I do think the author had fun playing with the emotions of the reader (as H.G. Wells is very good at).

As a child of the 90s I remember a movie of a similar nature of this book but I can't find it. I think maybe my memories of what it was and if it actually followed the book are off. If I can find it, I think it would be a nice addition to reading this together. If you know which movie I am thinking of, please feel free to comment below. I think I would still like to see it.

This is a great book for young adults and adults alike. If my 10 year old shows some interest, I will let her pick it up.

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Learning Japanese Series - Part 1 - Materials

This year my 5th grader has decided that she wants to begin learning Japanese.  I'm both excited and scared.  I have no knowledge of Japanese beyond counting to 10 and saying hello.  This is a new experience for both of us.

 After much research and a couple different purchases, we decided that this looked like the easiest and best option for her to begin with.
Japanese from Zero Book 1.
This book is a series.  As you complete the book you can go on to the next level.  Here is a link to the whole series if you want to check them out.  He also has a Korean series.
Japanese From Zero Series
ALSO to make it even better the series has a youtube channel with great content relating to the lessons.  You can find it here:  Japanese From Zero! Youtube Channel

Along with this book we use various Japanese youtube videos and different programs.  The first is the free version of a program called Byki 4 Express.  We are not affiliated with them.  It was just one of many programs I researched.  Below is a screenshot of what it looks like when you add it and add your students.  You can add multiple students which I liked.  It keeps your progress separate.  At this point I haven't decided if I want to purchase the full program or not yet.  

Byki 4 Express

Another resource I've just discovered through our local library system is through the website 

Our library offers a free membership to card holders.  Most library systems offer a membership through some language resource website so its definitely worth checking out.  I've only just found it so I can't share any input on it.  I can review it later after we use it for a while if anyone is interested.

Here is a screenshot of what it looks like.  My favorite part is that it isn't a program so there is no downloading.  Just open the page and get to work.  

Now that is the material we use or will be using. Next part of this series will be more about what we have actually been doing.  You can see some of the ideas of how we incorporate Japanese into day to day activities.   I do hope you will come back to see more of what we are doing.

And I would LOVE to here what you are doing in learning a new language.  IF you are learning Japanese and want some company, feel free to let me know.  Leave us a link in the comments if you have any good websites, books or if you've written a blog about learning japanese.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Night by Elie Wiesel

Night (The Night Trilogy, #1)Night by Elie Wiesel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wonder why we never read this book in high school during our study of the Holocaust. So very short but so emotional. The one we read in school was the Diary of Anne Frank. Hers was more personal and more in depth. This is the story of a jewish boy and his family's experience of being sent to concentration camp after concentration camp. I just kept thinking why did they keep making them run or hauling them around in cattle cars without food or water for days. What was the point? Then I thought about the timing. It would of been close to the end of the war. They were basically forgotten. It ended up saving some of their lives. Although this is a short book it leaves you with so many uncomfortable feelings and questions. Most of them start with.. WHY??! I cried for the boy so many times especially the end with his father. The hell that they were put through. Putting it on my 16 year old son's reading pile for homeschool next year. These things shouldn't be forgotten. I just realized this was a trilogy and now I will have to get the next two books.
Can be purchased at this link:  Amazon

View all my reviews

Saturday, May 14, 2016


This isn't a how to cope with anxiety post.  I don't have the answer.  This is an experience post about anxiety.

Homeschooling with anxiety AND homeschooling an anxious child can lead to some interesting conversations and actions. My son and I both have anxiety.  We both don't cope well with changes or pressures.  My son is 16 and has been in public school since he started 6th grade.  If you've read my blog then you know before that he was homeschooled.  His public school journey was a mixed bag.  He enjoyed being around kids and the changing classes made it more interesting for him.  He needed a change of scenery to keep him stimulated.  At the same time dealing with peer pressure, social norms, hormones, other people, and bullies made him miserable.  When he is anxious he lashes out or shuts down.  So you either get the glassy eyed stare or raging moody teenager. There is no in between.

I've realized that he gets it from me. I have trouble with people skills, changes, and knowing what to do in social situations.  Only difference is that I've had years of experience dealing with it.  I was never homeschooled.  School was the only option.  I spent many of my school years wishing a hole would open below me and swallow me whole.  Even as an adult when faced with a different situation I can react badly or shut down.  I think those experiences make me understand some of what my son feels and want to help/protect him.  I know that isn't always realistic.

The thing about anxiety is that people that don't deal with it have no idea what you are feeling.  They don't know how to deal with you or what to do.  They often feel we are over reacting or even attacking them.  When in reality we are just trying to cope with our overwhelming emotions.  It can cause problems in relationships and friendships.

Let me see if I can describe anxiety.  My anxiety anyway.  Its this feeling like the world is getting smaller, the place you once felt safe doesn't feel safe anymore, that everything is and can go wrong.  Its a feeling in your chest.  Mine feels like an asthma attack.  I feel like I have tensed up and can't relax.  All my emotions are near the surface.  All my fears are running back and forth in my mind.  All the doubts and all the scenarios have played themselves out in my mind.  I can cry without being provoked.  I can stare into space for an hour and not know it.  My head is full of cotton.  When I try to talk to someone, it makes it worse.  They stare at you like you are the craziest person they know.  They don't understand why you are so upset.  Then I second guess everything I said.  Did I say the wrong thing?  Should I have said that?  Will they be mad?  Will they run as far away from me as possible?  Now.. take that and apply it to all stressful situations.

The key is learning triggers and avoiding them.  Great advice.  Wish life would comply with that request.  

Homeschooling can be good and bad for the anxiety-prone person.  It can give you the calm, stable environment you need to learn in.  At the same time you build yourself a cocoon and shut out the bad things.  This of course can lead to stronger reactions when you do have to deal with difficult things.  Changes are hard.

As a first time high school homeschool mom, my anxiety is really high.  I'm dealing with some personal issues.  We have people staying with us while they get on their feet which was kind of sprung on me at the last moment.  We also have a mostly torn apart basement that needs massive work to deal with the after effects of being flooded twice.  All our homeschool things, my books, our possessions that were in the basement are either scattered through out an already full house or in a full storage.  My son also was attacked at school and has no desire to return to school next year.  So I'm trying to figure out the best options to homeschool him and make sure he gets all the credits and help he will need to eventually enter college.   Learning about transcripts, credit requirements, different curriculum levels, learning where your child is out at those levels, all the different testings (PSAT, ACT, SAT, SAT II).  Also support systems.  Co-ops would be a great help but what if anxious child refuses (like mine did).  Then where do you stand.  Getting started is a challenge.

High school is no joke.  I'm not even sure where to start.  Research.  Research.  I know that much. The thing about me is once my anxiety gets too high I freeze.  So I've frozen.  At least I have the summer to help get things sorted out.  Oh and don't forget the budget.  I have a very strict budget to work with too.

This was a long, rambling post.

Do you deal with anxiety?  Have someone you live with that has this type of anxiety?  Do you homeschool while dealing with anxiety?  Do you homeschool an anxious teen?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Booktube Newbie Tag

Did you know I have a youtube channel for books, reading, and homeschooling?
I posted this and life got in the way.  I haven't posted anything since but you can check out this if you want.  Hopefully when life calms down I can get back to posting more.

Book Review: I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

In my quest for literature that I can read aloud or listen to the audio book that will allow my sheltered children to see how other children live around the world, I came across this title.  I personally wanted to listen to it first to see how graphic it is.  Its not at all graphic.  I wonder if my 9 and 10 year old might be a bit young to know really what the book eludes to in the married life part.  I may wait a few more years to let them read it.  My 16 year old I would have no problem with him reading or listening to this book.

The AR Book site ( ) says the book is a 6.2 reading level so that seems about right to me.  If you didn't know, that website is great for finding out the grade level and finding the ar testing code for school children.  As a homeschooler we don't have AR testing, of course, but its helpful in finding appropriate reading material.  Quite a helpful site.

Audible has a great audio reading of the book which you can download free when you sign up for a trial.  
Amazon of course has a paperback copy for around $7 new which is a pretty good price.  

The story is told from the girl Nujood Ali as she looks back on her ordeal.  She comes from a poor family in Yemen who have some family trouble.  Her father agrees to marry her to a man 30 years older than she is.  It is told that this is unfortunately not uncommon in this part of the world.  At the end you hear more of what is happening to help other young girls in similar situations.  She is very matter of fact and tells you how the events unfold from the eyes of a child.  I was amazed that after being beaten, abused, and mistreated in so many ways by her husband at the age of 10, she still had the determination to stand up for herself and demand a divorce in court.   I wonder what has become of her.  I plan to research more and see where she is now. 

I was struck by how much more of a child she was than my girls who are the same age are in some ways.  They are very sheltered (and I'm cool with that) but they aren't interested in candy or toys.  It makes me realize how different the culture there versus the culture here.  She spoke of not having a tv.  My children have always had a tv, ipods, and electronics.  Candy or toys wouldn't be exciting for them.  And her excitement at school.  School there wasn't mandatory. I say wasn't because I don't know if things have changed since the book was published.  I can already imagine working this into a unit.  Learning about Yemen, where it is located, all about the culture and the people.  I hope when they do read it aloud that it opens us up to conversations about change, injustice, morality, and being strong.  

I loved the audio version because they pronounced the words that I would probably have butchered if I had read it aloud.  

Hope this all made sense and someone finds its useful.  I just wanted to share my thoughts.  
Blessed Be.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Library Book Choices - March 1, 2016

The newest video is up on my 10 year old's library book choices for the week.

Some great books and some boring books.  If you are interesting in hearing more about any of these let me know.  Also if you need any names that I probably butchered, I can reply here with them.

Be Blessed!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Too old for crafts?

Do you think that kids get to old for crafts?  Or is it just the personality of the kid?  My daughters used to love crafts.  They would always ask to create something.  They loved beads, cutting paper, coloring, pop-up cards, making christmas ornaments.  Now at 9, 10 and 16, they inform me they are "too old for crafts".   They are even against decorating for holidays.

Today I suggested we cut out some shamrocks to hang or a shamrock suncatcher I saw here.   I got an eye roll and a firm no from the 9 year old.  Sigh.

Some days it seems that the only thing they are interested in is youtube and video gaming.

What do you think?  Are today's kids "too old for crafts"?  Can we convince them to keep being crafty?  How do you encourage kids who only want video games and youtube without taking away all electronics?

I even have a variety of kids in different school situations.  My homeschooled daughter thinks the same way my public school kids do.

Give me your thoughts.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ancient Egypt Unit

I am currently uploading a new video to youtube on our ancient Egypt unit I am putting together.

We started reading the Story of the World vol. 1 after Christmas break.  After pre-reading some chapters to see what the content is, I found that I like the layout of the chapters. I thought this would make it easy to change into units or just to add extra lessons.  I also have the activity book to go along with it but my daughter isn't too fond of worksheets.  Of course that won't stop me from throwing some in now and then.

What I did was write down a note about what each chapter's focus was.
Chapter 2 is the story of Osiris and Isis so I wrote Gods
Chapter 3 is Hieroglyphs
Chapter 4 is Mummies
Chapter 5 is Pyramids

From there there I pulled out all the books relating to those topics and Egypt in general.. No that is a lie.  First thing I did was go to Amazon and look for activities.  I'm a kid at heart.  I love hands on things.  I almost bought two of each so I would have one to do!  I ordered these two.

Egypt Mummy Excavation Kit

Scientific Explorer Our Amazing Mummies Model Kit

Ok back to all the books. I pulled all our Egypt themed material.  The next step was watching youtube Egypt units videos to see what we might like then hitting up the library.

Here is a break down of all the books I am optimistic about using:

Tales From Ancient Egypt - Roger Lancelyn Green

People of the Nile: Rhythms of Daily Life - Don Nardo

Ancient Egyptians and Their Neighbors An Activity Guide - Marian Broida

Science in Ancient Egypt - Geraldine Woods

Mummies Made in Egypt - Aliki

3-D Thrillers! Mummies 

Mummies, Bones, and Body Parts - Charlotte Wilcox

Make History Ancient Egypt - Nancy Fister and Charlene Olexiewicz

Crafts From the Past The Egyptians (Chick-fil-A book)

Creative Fun Egyptian Activity Book - Sue and Steve Weatherill

Ralph Masiello's Ancient Egypt Drawing Book

Pyramids! 50 Hands-on Activities to Experience Ancient Egypt

Tutankhamun - Robert Green

Adventures in Ancient Egypt - Linda Bailey

Cleopatra - Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema

Wow.. now that is a huge list.  They are all linked to Amazon if you want to check them out.  Most of them you can find for .01 used on the amazon market place.  Its my favorite place to buy books.

I almost forgot our read aloud book.
The Magnificent Mummy Maker - Elvira Woodruff

(Note.. My 8 and 9 year old LOVED this read aloud!)

I am a little excited to be studying Egypt.. It was always my favorite subject in school.  I don't know about my daughter but Christmas break did wonders for me.  I feel ready to get school going full blast.

You can check also out the video I did on all this on our youtube channel if you are interested.

Blessed Be!