Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Church of the Saviour is hosting their 18th Annual Homeschool Used Curriculum Sale!

WHEN: Monday, March 10, 2014

TIME: 6PM TO 9PM

WHERE: Church of the Saviour, 651 N. Wayne Avenue, Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087 (Building F)

COST: FREE ADMISSION!

FOR WHOM:  All Parents

PLEASE BRING:  Bring small bills to pay for items & bags to carry your purchases.

FOR MORE INFO:  Please contact: lsquared008@yahoo.com or click here to see their flyer:cosbooksale  or click here: cosbooksale

RESOURCES INCLUDE:

  • Mounds of used curriculum
  • Used school-related children’s books & novels
  • Puzzles & games
  • Math manipulatives
  • Posters & maps
  • Educational DVDs & videos
  • Flash cards
  • Science kits

I’ve been to this book sale for the past several years.  It’s a bit of a drive from Philly, but  it’s worth the trip!  There are hundreds of resources for sale at excellent prices.  It’s also a fun social gathering for many homeschoolers.

Posted by Gwen Fredette on February 18th, 2014

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Upcoming Homeschool Conventions in PA & NJ 2013

I love homeschool conventions!

Homeschool conventions are a great way to:

  •  Learn more about homeschooling
  •  Find great curriculum
  •  Meet other homeschoolers
  •  Learn how to be a better teacher to your children
  •  Be encouraged!

There are several fantastic conventions that meet near our wonderful city of Philadelphia.  Here’s some basic information for you:

1.  CHAP Homeschool Convention (Christian Homeschoolers Association of Pennsylvania)

When:   Friday, May 10th  & Saturday, May 11th 2013

Where:  Pennsylvania Farm and Expo Center, Harrisburg, PA

Cost:  $38 per person; $65 per family

Website:  http://www.chaponline.com/2013convention/

Features:

  • Exhibit Hall– Vendors
  • Used Curriculum Sale
  • Speakers
  • Information Workshops
  • Children’s Program
  • Teen Track
  • Homeschool Graduation
  • Support Group Information
  • Much More!

2.  ENOCH Homeschool Convention (Education Network of Christian Homeschoolers)

When:  Friday, May 17th and Saturday, May 18th 2013

Where:  New Jersey Convention & Expo Center,  97 Sunfield Avenue Edison, NJ

Cost: $40 per person, $50 per couple

Website: http://www.enochnj.org/index.php/2013convention

Features:

  • Exhibit Hall – Vendors
  • Used Curriculum Sale
  • Speakers
  • Information Workshops
  • Children’s Program
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Food Court
  • Much More!

3.  SEARCH of PA (South Eastern ARea Christian Homeschoolers)

When:  Friday, June 14, and Saturday, June 15th 2013

Where:  Calvary Church, 820 Route 113 Souderton, PA 18964

Cost:   One day $20; Both days $35

Website: http://searchofpa.org/

Features:

  • Exhibit Hall – Vendors
  • Used Curriculum Sale
  • Speakers
  • Information Seminars
  • Much More!

I’ve been to all three conventions and they’re all wonderful!

SEARCH is my favorite!  It’s the closest to Philly, and my favorite homeschool author and speaker, Susan Kemmerer, will be there.   It also has the largest used curriculum sale of the three conventions.   I’ll be a vendor at  SEARCH again this year, selling my science curriculum, The Glory of Kings.   I’ll also be speaking at a workshop there on the topic: When Mom “Checks Out”.   If you like my blog, please stop by and say hello!

I believe this is a new Homeschool Convention:

4.  Teach Them Diligently Marketplace

When:  Friday, June 28th & Saturday, June 29th

Where:  Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Ave, Oaks, PA 19456)

Cost:  $15 per family

Website: http://teachthemdiligentlymarketplace.com/locations/philadelphia-pa

Features:

  • Vendors
  • Speakers
  • Homeschool Information & Encouragement

Hope this information has been helpful!

Posted by Gwen Fredette on April 6th, 2013.

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Church of the Saviour is hosting their 17th Annual Homeschool Used Curriculum Sale!

WHEN: Monday, March 18, 2013

TIME: 6PM TO 9PM

WHERE: Church of the Saviour, 651 N. Wayne Avenue, Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087 (Building F)

COST: FREE ADMISSION!

FOR WHOM:  All Parents

PLEASE BRING:  Bring small bills to pay for items & bags to carry your purchases.

FOR MORE INFO:  Please contact: lsquared008@yahoo.com or click here to see their flyer: cosbooksale

RESOURCES INCLUDE:

  • Mounds of used curriculum
  • Used school-related children’s books & novels
  • Puzzles & games
  • Math manipulatives
  • Posters & maps
  • Educational DVDs & videos
  • Flash cards
  • Science kits

I’ve been to this book sale for the past several years.  It’s a bit of a drive from Philly, but  it’s worth the trip!  There are hundreds of resources for sale at excellent prices.  It’s also a fun social gathering for many homeschoolers.

Posted by Gwen Fredette on March 3, 2013

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FREE HISTORY CURRICULUM – ESPECIALLY FOR HOMESCHOOLERS!

Hello fellow homeschoolers!  I’m one of those crazy people who is always writing.  Over the years I’ve put together much of my own history curriculum and I decided to start a new blog where I post my lesson plans.  It’s called U READ THRU History.  Here are some of the curriculum highlights:

  • It’s FREE!
  • Charlotte Mason (literature-based) method of teaching (each lesson revolves around a book you get from the library)
  • Created especially for Homeschoolers!
  • Perfect for multiple ages (grades K – 8)!
  • Builds reading & writing skills in children
  • Curriculum is for one full year of study
  • 17 Lessons on Early American History (Each lesson contains work for 1 week)
  • 17 Lessons on Ancient Egypt & Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Christian Emphasis
  • Teacher’s Guide included
  • Outline of the Year included
  • Simple, Easy to use!

I decided to post the first 3 lesson plans on the blog so interested families can get an idea of what the curriculum is like.  Beginning in early September I will post additional lessons — one each week.    Check out the tabs at the top of the         U READ THRU History blog to see the Teacher’s Guide and outline of the year.   If you live in Philadelphia nearly all of the books for the lessons can be found within the Philadelphia Library system.

Here’s a link to the site if you’d like to check it out: U READ THRU History.

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Also, don’t forget to check out my science curriculum, The Glory of Kings, for grades K – 3.

The Glory of Kings is a simple, beneficial way to teach your student science because it:

  • Is Literature-Based -  Lesson plans revolve around “Living Books” which enable you to bond with your child/ren while you read and learn together.
  • Uses Popular Science Books – The books chosen for this curriculum are readily available through you local library or can be purchased on the internet.
  • Is Bible-Connected – Each lesson plan connects the subject studied to a Bible passage pertaining to that same subject.
  • Is For Multiple Ages – Lessons plans have activities for kids in grades K-3.
  • Uses Simple worksheets that correspond with lesson plans.
  • Has Fun, Hands-on experiments and educational games.
  • Uses Creative Projects to teach scientific concepts.
    –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –
    3 Curricula are available through Silver Lining Press:  The Glory of Kings (Human Body, Space, Animal Classifications), The Glory of Kings II (Weather, Electricity, & Oceanography) and The Glory of Kings III (Geology, Simple Machines, & Plants).  They’re also very reasonably priced! ($20 for a hard copy, $10 for an E-copy)  Here’s a link for the curricula at Silver Lining Press.   The site also shows a sample lesson plan and an outline for the year:  Silver Lining Press.
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    Posted by Gwen Fredette on August 21, 2012

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A wonderful way to bond with your children and cultivate a love of reading is to read often to your children.

Tired of reading princess and superhero stories?  Following is a list of outstanding Read-Alouds for kids ages 4 – 8.  Those marked with an “E” are easy-readers.

Books Especially for Kids Ages 4 – 8

  • Good Night, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas: Three little dragons have a hard time going to sleep. E
  • Get Well, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas:  Three little dragons are sick.  E
  • Happy Birthday, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas:  Three little dragons try to make birthday presents.  E
  • Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel:  Adventures of a silly frog and ridiculous toad.  E
  • Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel: Adventures of a silly frog and ridiculous toad.  E
  • Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel:  Adventures of a silly frog and ridiculous toad.  E
  • Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel:  Adventures of a silly frog and ridiculous toad.  E
  • Owl At Home by Arnold Lobel:  Adventures of a ridiculous owl.  Very funny! E
  • Small Pig by Arnold Lobel:  Adventures of a silly pig.  Very funny!  E
  • The Digging-est Dog by Al Perkins:  A dog digs up everything.  Very funny!  E
  • No Roses for Harry by Gene Zion:  A dog gets an ugly sweater as a present.  Very funny!  E
  • Harry, The Dirty Dog: A dog enjoys getting dirty for a day.  E
  • Harry by the Sea:  A dog has silly adventures by the ocean.  Very funny!  E
  • Harry and the Lady Next Door!  Harry the dog has an opera singer for a next-door neighbor.  Very funny! 
  • The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss:  Everyone’s heard of The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham, but these stories are fantastic also and very funny!
  • Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss: Another great tale by Dr. Seuss.
  • The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack: Duck in China in danger of becoming duck dinner.
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf: Bull in Spain selected for a bull fight.
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter:  A rabbit gets into trouble in a garden.
  • Beatrix Potter:  The Complete Tales:  All of Beatrix Potter’s stories are wonderful.
  • Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback:  Joseph learns to make the most of an old coat.
  • Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey:  A girl and her mother have an adventure while picking blueberries.
  • Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey:  Two ducks have a hard time finding a home for their soon-to-be baby chicks.

Books Especially for Kids ages 7 & 8.

  • Tales of King Arthur: The Sword in the Stone by Hudson Talbott:  Wonderful retelling of King Arthur story for children.  Amazing Illustrations!
  • Tales of King Arthur: Excalibur by Hudson Talbott: Wonderful retelling of King Arthur story for children.  Amazing Illustrations!
  • Tales of King Arthur: King Arthur and the Round Table by Hudson Talbott: Wonderful retelling of King Arthur story for children.  Amazing Illustrations!
  • Lancelot by Hudson Talbott: Wonderful retelling of King Arthur story for children.  Amazing Illustrations!
  • The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward:  A boy goes out to hunt a bear and brings home a bear cub instead.
  • Aesop’s Fables (Many versions of these fables are available by many authors.)  Creative “thinking” stories for children.
  • Aladdin and Other Tales from the Arabian Nights by N.J. Dawood (This is not the Disney version.)
  • The Flying Carpet by Marcia Brown (Another story from Arabian Nights.)

Most of these books can be found at the Free Library of Philadelphia.  Children who read during the summer can get rewarded through the Library’s summer reading game.  See this link for more information: http://libwww.freelibrary.org/summerreading/docs/SRFlyer2012.pdf

Posted by Gwen Fredette, July 17, 2012

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So, you’ve finished your 180 days, completed your evaluation, submitted your portfolio, and possibly have even turned in your goals and objectives for the 2012-2013 school year.  Whew!  Now the big question:

What to do with the kids all Summer of 2012?

Philadelphia is a city full of fantastic summer activities!  Here are a just a few:

  1. Science in the Summer at your local Philadelphia library.  This program is available to all kids in Philadelphia in grades 2 through 6.  This summer kids will be learning about Oceanography.  Children will learn about sponges, coral, mollusks, and sharks.  They also get to do fun, interesting experiments.   If you’ve already submitted your goals and objectives for the next school year, you can count these classes as school time.  Best of all, its FREE!  Check this website to find out when the classes will be held at your branch:    http://www.scienceinthesummer.com/greater_phila/philadel.html
  2. Summer Reading Game at your local Philadelphia library.  Kids in grades K – 6 are encouraged to read books at their local library.  The more books they read, the more prizes they can win.  This program has really motivated my children to keep reading all through the summer.  It’s FREE!  Check this website for more information: http://libwww.freelibrary.org/summerreading/
  3. Home Depot’s Kids Workshops.  This program gives children ages 5-12 the opportunity to build simple projects.  It’s FREE!  Check out this website for more information: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/ContentView?pn=HT_WS_KidsWorkshops
  4. Upper Darby Performing Arts Theatre.  If your kids like drama, this is a great program and its very inexpensive.  This year shows include Tom Sawyer, Seussical Jr., & Annie, as well as several other shows.   Check out this website for more information: http://udpac.org/
  5. It’s not too late to sign your kids up for Summer Camp.  There are numerous great Christian camps out there.  Two camps my kids have enjoyed are:  Spruce Lake Christian Wilderness Camp and Camp Iroquoina Soccer Camp.  Following are the web addresses: http://www.sprucelake.org/wildernesscamp/camps.html and http://iroquoina.org/
  6. Don’t forget Vacation Bible School!  If your home church is not doing one, there may be other good churches nearby that are.  Kids have the opportunity to play games, do crafts, learn great new songs, and hear the Word of God.
  7. Free  Movies:   Kids can watch movies for free on Thursdays at 1pm at the Overbrook Park Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia (7422 Haverford Avenue, 19151-2995;  215-685-0182) .   Movies include: Puss in Boots, Despicable Me, and Because of Winn Dixie.  Check out this link for more information: http://libwww.freelibrary.org/calendar/calbydate.cfm?loc=OVP&ID=34046
  8. Free Young Peoples Concert Series at the Mann Music Center:  Give your children the free entertainment of music and dance at the Mann.  They are hosting five free shows this summer.  Check out this link for more details. http://manncenter.org/education/young-peoples-concert-series
  9. Don’t forget to take your kids to Pennypack or Wissahickon Park!  Both of these parks are part of the Fairmount Park system and give families the opportunity to “get out of the city” while they’re still in it.  Whether you’re going for a bike ride or just a hike, they’re a great place to visit.
  10. Two Free Nights at the Franklin Institute:  Target Community Nights at the Franklin Institute are fantastic, and they’re free.  This summer the free nights are on July 18th and August 15th from 5 to 8pm.  Check out this link for more details:  http://www2.fi.edu/visitor-guide/events/community-events.php
  11. Free Craft Projects at Michael’s crafts:  If your kids enjoy working with their hands, some of these activities might interest them.  Check out this link.    http://www.michaels.com/Store-Events/store-events,default,pg.html
  12. Barnes and Nobles free book program:  Barnes and Nobles will give each child a book after completing an 8 book reading record during the summer.  Check out this link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/summer-reading/379003570/

Hope some of these ideas are helpful to you!

Posted by Gwen Fredette July 3, 2012

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MONEY SAVING TIPS FOR HOMESCHOOLERS

Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive.  There are so many wonderful free (or almost free) resources to take advantage of.  Here are some helpful freebies I’ve found:

ART:

  • Grades K- 3: Skip buying an art curriculum and check out one or more of the following books from the library.  Each book contains approximately 8 lesson plans.  They’re wonderful and easy for young children to follow.  Drawing and Learning about Bugs, Drawing and Learning about Cars, Drawing and Learning about Cats, …. Dinosaurs, Dogs, Faces, Fashion, Fish, etc.
  • Grades K – 6: http://www.miniclip.com/sketch-star/en/create/  This site is a fun way to teach kids about animation.  Kids have the opportunity to create images online on several frames.  The program then runs the images quickly across the screen and the child can see his creation moving!
  •  Grades 4 – 6: Skip buying an art curriculum and take a trip to your local library.  Check out one or more of the following books from these two series.  The first series, Start With Art, has 4 titles:  Start With Art: Still Life, Start With Art: Landscapes, Start With Art: Animals, and Start With Art: People.  Each book contains approximately 12 lesson plans.  Kids view work done by a famous artist, learn a bit about the artist and his style, and then use the same technique in art work of their own.  Wonderful!   The second series, Come Look With Me, has at least 8 titles: Exploring Landscape Art with Children, Animals in Art, Exploring Modern Art, American Indian Art, etc.  Each book contains approximately 12 lesson plans.  Kids view work done by a famous artist, learn a bit about the artist and his style, answer questions about the famous piece they are viewing, and then can try a similar technique in their own work.
  • Grades 7 – 12: These You-Tube instruction videos by professionals are excellent and a wonderful supplement to your art curriculum.  Some of my favorites are the following: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQOQucZQiqs&feature=relmfu  (teaches students how to draw faces), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfQzHDcvSBQ (how to paint a tree in acrylics), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkZfzz_z6NY (how to paint a mountain scene), and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rriZ2WssTCI (how to paint an evergreen tree).  There are so many free online classes to choose from!

MUSIC:

  • Grades 4 – 6: Check out this book from your local library: Lives of the Musicians, Good Times, Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought).  The book explores the lives of approximately 19 famous composers, offering some humorous information about their private lives.
  • Grades K – 6: http://www.classicsforkids.com/   This website is wonderful.  It gives brief biographies of famous composers and gives kids the opportunity to push a button and listen to some of the composers’ most famous pieces.
  • Grades K – 6: http://www.makingmusicfun.net/  Another fantastic website.  It also gives brief biographies of famous composers.  Free word search worksheets can be printed based on  each composer’s biography.  Parents can also print free sheet music and free manuscript paper.

SPELLING:

  • Grades K – 8: http://www.bigiqkids.com/SpellingVocabulary/Lessons/wordlistVocabularyEighthGrade.shtml  Skip buying a spelling curriculum.  Get your child a good notebook and use the spelling/vocabulary words listed for your child’s grade from this list.  There are 40 weeks of word lists provided for each grade.  Have your kids practice writing their spelling words in their notebooks everyday, and have them practice writing sentences with their spelling/vocabulary words.
  • Grades K – 8: http://www.aaaspell.com/grade1.htm  Similar to website above.  There are 30 weeks of word lists provided for each grade.  Have your kids practice writing their spelling words in their notebooks everyday, and have them practice writing sentences with their spelling/vocabulary words.

HISTORY/GEOGRAPHY:

SCIENCE:

MATH:

LITERATURE:

  • Grades 4 – 12: http://www.nt.net/~torino/novels3.html  This site has free literature discussion questions for each chapter of many award-winning novels.  Click on the name of the novel you are interested in, and the discussion questions will come up.

CREATIVE WRITING:

TYPING: http://www.freetypinggame.net/  This site has free typing games and free typing lessons.  The games help your child build speed and accuracy.

PRE K – KINDERGARTEN:

Hope these tips/sites are helpful to you!

Posted by Gwen Fredette on June 12, 2012.

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Homeschooling for High School: A “Specialized” Education 

Over the years my friend and fellow homeschooler, Audrey, from Philadelphia, PA has been a great “go-to” person for homeschooling ideas and information on resources and programs.  She’s had many years of teaching experience, having worked at a private special needs school in New Jersey for 8 years as a Special Education teacher, and now as a homeschool teacher to her own children for more than 13 years.  Recently she also won an award for being one of two National History Day Teachers of the Year (for the senior division).  In addition, she’s been a great evaluator for my older children.  Not long ago I interviewed her to hear some of her ideas for homeschooling for high school.  Here’s a few of her tips for giving your high school student(s) a fantastic education:

On Why to Homeschool for High school: “Homeschooling works. ‘If it ain’t broke; don’t fix it.’  Our family had been taking one year at a time, but realized homeschooling was working.  The next step was high school.”

On Benefits of Homeschooling for High school:  “Homeschooling has given me the opportunity to cater an education to each of my children’s needs and goals, particularly for high school. For instance, my oldest, Reginald, has been interested in meteorology since middle school. Over the years he has had opportunities in the following programs:

  • Kathy Orr’s Weather Contest (Reginald did a weather forecast for the 4 pm news show.)
  • Weather Camp at Penn State
  • Weather Camp at Howard University through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Participant in a Community Weather Group Sponsored by Penn State
  • Monthly Meteorologist Class with Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz
  • Participant in Homeschool, City, and County Science Fairs (Some of his projects focused on meteorology.)

“Reginald has also enjoyed playing the violin for many years.  Because we were homeschooling, Reginald had the opportunity to be part of the following orchestras: Montgomery County Community Orchestra, Old York Road Symphony Orchestra, and the Delaware Valley County Youth Orchestra.  He was able to incorporate his love for music in other areas of his life.  Reginald had a vision for a youth orchestra at our church.  It started in January 2010.  It continues today.  We incorporate evangelism and scripture memory into the rehearsal times.”

“Homeschooling gave him the opportunity to be part of the Dual enrollment program through the Community College of Philadelphia his junior and senior years of high school.  His unique education was due to his homeschool education.  Reginald is currently a freshman at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York majoring in Atmospheric Sciences.”

“I am currently homeschooling my second oldest, Lydia, for high school.  She has loved having a flexible and unique education.  Lydia’s interests are in fashion and art.  Over the years she has had opportunities to participate in the following programs:

  • Art Classes through Abington Center for the Arts
  • Art Classes through the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
  • Textile and Design classes at the Fabric Workshop and Museum at 12th and Arch
  •  Young Artist’s Workshop at the Moore College of Art (Two summer sessions and one fall session)

“Lydia has been able to incorporate her love for the arts in other parts of her life as well.  She makes jewelry.  She has a blog.  She reads magazines about entrepreneurs.  We started a “Homeschool Entrepreneur” curriculum at one point.  Lydia has been responsible for the Arts and Crafts activities for our church’s “Take it to the Streets” Community Festival for the last two summers.  In 2010 she assisted the Vacation Bible School Craft Director for the 2 week program.  Again, her unique, artistic education was due to her homeschool education.  Lydia is currently a junior in high school.”

On Planning a Specialized Education: “Great Field Trips can be planned that cater to your child’s interests with a little advance planning and a few phone calls.  Volunteer work can be arranged at various places as well.  You’d be surprised what opportunities are available.  It also helped me to talk to others about homeschooling for high school before I got started.  They were a great help with ideas.  By looking a bit ahead at colleges that focus on your child’s interests, you can find out about high school requirements or programs that will help them pursue their goals.  Pray that God will help you find ways to specialize your child’s education.  As God called us to homeschool, we knew he would show us the way.  He did!”

On Teaching Subjects such as Languages, Higher Science and Higher Math: “We used programs that offered ‘help’ lines for my children.  A simple phone call would get them the help they needed.  We found Rosetta Stone to be a great language program.  We used Apologia for science and Videotext Algebra and Videotext Geometry for math.”

On Diploma Programs: “If you want to apply for a grant, being part of a diploma program is a requirement.  Some diploma programs also have well-organized group activities or events for their students.  Three diploma programs in the Philadelphia area are: PA Homeschoolers (http://www.phaa.org/), Buxmont Christian Educational Institute (http://buxmontchristianed.org/), and Mason Dixon Homeschoolers (http://www.mdhsa-pa.org/Program/Diploma-Program.php).”

On Favorite Homeschool High school Books: “I’ve found these books to be a great help to me in homeschooling for high school.  They can be found in the Montgomery County Public Library System.  I recommend you begin reading them when your child is in the 7th or 8th grade.”

  • Homeschooling High School by Jeanne Dennis
  • The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer (This book can be found in the Philadelphia Library System.)
  • College-Prep Homeschooling by David Byers

On Helpful Websites: “These websites are helpful for homeschoolers of high school students:”

Audrey adds that Homeschooling high school has had its challenges; it has often been difficult to balance high school graduation requirements with so many specialized opportunities.  However, the results in Audrey’s family are enough to impress any college or future employer, and the blessings have been enormous.  Thanks Audrey for your excellent tips!  Audrey does evaluations for homeschoolers.  If you are interested in contacting her, her email is listed below.

wisdomsway@hotmail.com

Copyright April 17, 2012 by Gwen Fredette

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One of the many things I love about homeschooling my children in Philadelphia is that our children have the opportunity to read great literature, and as their teacher, I get to have a say in what literature they read!  When I first started homeschooling it was hard to know which books to choose.  Over the years I’ve compiled a list of excellent books that are written well, and often have a compelling message behind them.  Following are books that I’ve loved and chosen for my children:

3rd grade/4th grade: 

  • The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dalgliesh:  Young boy encounters some bears on a trip home from his aunt’s.
  • The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh:  Young girl travels to a new home with her father and lives with a Native American family for a time.
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White: A spider helps a pig survive.

4th/5th grade:

  • Homer Price by Robert McCloskey:  A boy in a small town helps its citizens overcome a series of ridiculous events.
  • The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White:  Swan learns the importance of being a great listener, rather than a great talker.
  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary: Mouse learns to ride a boy’s toy motorcycle.
  • The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden:  Boy learns a little about Chinese culture by having a pet cricket.
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan: Woman becomes a mail-order bride.

5th/6th grade:

  • The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman:  Boy receives a beating each time the king’s son misbehaves.
  •  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:  Written by my favorite author, C.S. Lewis; Christian principles, master of fantasy.
  •  Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink:  Girl in the midwest grows up with Native Americans close to her home; sees prejudice in her community.
  • The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene Du Bois: Professor takes a balloon flight to the doomed island of Krakatoa.

6th/7th grade:

  • Sounder by William H. Armstrong:  African-American boy grows up in a town filled with racism and prejudice.*
  • My Louisiana Sky by Kimberly Willis Holt:  Girl grows up with two mentally “slow” parents.
  • The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli:  Boy growing up in the Middle Ages has to live with a permanent handicap.  Christian principles.
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry:  Based on the true story of the Danish resistance to Nazism during WWII.
  • The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare:  Boy learns to respect and admire his Native American neighbors.
  • The Hobbit:  J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy masterpiece!

7th grade/8th grade:

  • Old Yeller by Fred Gipson:  Boy becomes a man while his father is away from home.
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor:  African-American family lives in a town filled with racism and prejudice.*
  • Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt:  Boy grows up during the Civil War.
  • Diary of Anne Frank:  Girl lives in a secret annex during WWII.
  • Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse:  Girl encounters many problems trying to immigrate to America.

8th/9th grade:

  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare:  Girl lives with Puritan relatives after her family dies, and is accused of being a witch because she knows how to swim.
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen:  Boy learns how to survive on his own in the wilderness; deals with parents divorce.*
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell:  Allegory about Communism.*
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson:  Girl is raped and is afraid to talk about it.*
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee:  Girl learns about racism in her town.*
  • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer:  Issue of cloning in the future.*
  • Night by Elie Wiesel: Account of a Jewish boy held prisoner at a concentration camp.*

Many of these titles are great for book discussions!  Discussion questions are available online for many of these books as well.  In particular, this site: http://www.nt.net/~torino/novels3.html  is a great resource and has excellent discussion questions.  They’re free!

I highly recommend that you read the literature that you assign to your child.  Particularly the books that are marked with an asterisk(*) have parts that are heavy in subject matter, and should be read first by the parent, if it all possible.

All of these books can be found through the Free Library of Philadelphia. http://freelibrary.org/

Hope that my picks may be a help to you!

Posted by Gwen Fredette on 3/14/2012

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