Summer Reading


The youngest boy has been reading and listening to many books this summer, and a few have turned out to be much-loved. The summer started out with him on a Brixton Brothers kick. He read all four books, and then together we listened to three of them on audiobooks. Unfortunately the fourth one was never made into an audiobook much to the annoyance of the boy. The boy was also bothered about the fact that there were no more sequels, so he contacted the author, and the author was very nice and replied back to him. The boy often contacts authors, and I am so surprised at how many respond to him. It is great for my author-to-be.


After reading the Brixton Brothers he listened to The Wolfstonecraft Detective Agency. I picked this one out, and he wasn’t sure he would like it. Thankfully he is willing to give anything a try, and he did enjoy this book. I don’t think he was as crazy about it as some of our other choices this summer, but he is waiting for the sequel to come out. That’s always a good sign.


The Island of Dr. Libris was a quick, fun read. He didn’t talk about it too much, but he did like it and got through it in one day. He was a fan of Escape from Mr. Limoncello’s Libraryso I was hoping he would like this one too. It didn’t disappoint, but I don’t think it was as much loved as some of the others.


The boy loves to listen to a Doctor Who book every now and then. The Way Through the Woods is probably one of his favorites. He has actually listened to this twice which shows how much he liked it. Doctor Who books are probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but for my son they are a fun way to spend an afternoon.


Both my son and I have been listening to The War That Saved My Life. This is a wonderful book that I would recommend to others especially for children 9 and up. It is about a young neglected girl with a clubfoot who is evacuated out of London during WW2. My son was a little reluctant to listen to it, but it has now become his favorite book of the summer. The audio version is especially wonderful because the narrator does such a great job.

Back to School?

I was all ready to have the kids begin school again, as I was getting tired of our summer routine. By the amount of fighting they were doing I thought they were also getting tired of it (even if they wouldn’t admit it).

But then the kids stopped fighting and did some of this:

and some of this:

We went to the used library bookstore, and we founds some treasures to keep us busy.

So I’ve decided we are going to have a few more weeks of this:

and this:

Summer Fun

I love summer because the kids have hours of free time, and in that free time they always come up with some great ideas. For instance Tru and Decca pulled out their Zoobs and got creative. Decca turned himself into The Statue of Liberty.

Tru decided to make some armor for Mr. Casey. Mr. Casey is a stuffed animal who has been in the family for over ten years.

This is the armor before placement.

And here is it on. Mr. Casey is now safe and protected from Kingsley.

Besides playing with Zoobs, Tru had been reading books. He loves to read, and he has discovered several new books this summer.

Decca has been obsessed with Scratch lately (even more than before), and he has been making several cartoons on it. He has one series called Max and Dirk about a boy and his owl.

He also has made a series called Lieutenant Buck which features a sidekick named Fezzy, who is a fez. It is quite cute!

Autry has been keeping herself busy with drawing. She can spend hours a day working on her art. Here are some of her drawings.

The last picture is a sketch of a young Lin Beifong from The Legend of Korra. The kids have been watching and re-watching this show all summer. I’ll admit I have watched it too. It is actually a wonderful show that I highly recommend for the whole family.

Another series we have been watching this summer is Lark Rise to Candleford. It is a BBC period series (so already I love it) that is appropriate for the whole family. It is available on Amazon Prime for streaming. If you like BBC period shows you may want to check it out.

The post office is the main setting for Lark Rise to Candleford.

So, what has been going on at your house this summer?

Saturday Reading Corner

Usually on Saturdays I post a weekly update, but we are winding down here for the year. The kids are doing less and less academic work, so I find it hard to write an academic update when there is not much going on academically.

Although academics are done for the school year that does not mean that no learning is going on. It just means that the kids are learning and doing what they please, and we are all enjoying the change. I am enjoying it so much that I am debating whether or not the kids should unschool next year, but alas that is a discussion for another post.

In this post I want to talk about reading and books, two of my favorite subjects. This week I have been reading aloud to the kids from four different books, and my book-loving kids have been in heaven.

One of the books we are reading is The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt. This book is part of the Johnny Dixon series which I have mentioned before on the blog. The boys love this series, and I think the draw is that they are spooky and a little scary (especially if you are on the younger side). The books were written in the eighties, but they take place in the fifties, and it seems a perfect combination. The eighties were a time when kids weren’t coddled so much, hence the horror element and occasional swearing, and the fifties were a time when people were a little rough around the edges, hence the smoking, gruff professor who is a main character of the books. This is a great series for any young mystery/horror fans, and we are all having so much fun with it.

Another book that we are reading this week is the final installment in The Sisters Grimm series, The Council of Mirrors. The twins, especially Autry, have loved this series from the very beginning. It was the first series of books that Autry ever collected, and it went a long way towards making here the book lover that she is today.

Honestly I don’t love this series. I find the writing average, the constant pop culture references annoying, and the plot confusing at times. I do love the characters though, and I think that is part of the draw for the kids. One character in particular, Puck, is very funny and his hijinks are the highlight of the books for the kids. They love Puck, and the rest of the characters, and we can’t wait to see how this series in. We are about fifty pages away, and I know all the kids, especially Autry, will be a little sad when we finish that last page.

Another series I have mentioned here before is the Akimbo series. Decca reluctantly began the first book we had, Akimbo and the Crocodile Man, and soon was under the spell of these sweet, short, first-chapter books. We are on our third book from the series, Akimbo and the Baboons, and he is still loving them. The books all have the same set-up. Akimbo lives on a nature preserve in Africa with his parents, and some scientist or naturalist visits their home to study an animal. Akimbo gets to go along with the person to study the animals, and something dangerous happens. Akimbo uses his smarts and knowledge of animals to get out of the situation and then the book ends with everyone safe. Akimbo is a great series for any kid that loves animals and is just starting to read independently. Honestly they are below Decca’s reading level, but he loves animals hence his high interest.

Finally Tru and I continued our study of Shakespeare this week (something he is enjoying so much!), and he and I both recommend the No Fear series. The translations are side-by-side with the text, and that helps so much when you are reading it. Next up for us is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I am going to have Autry read that with us. She will be out of school soon, and I am looking forward to spending a good deal of the summer enjoying many great books with here. I can’t wait!

Summer Reading

I have been trying to put together a list of books I want to read with the kids this summer. We have always read books together, but this year I have not been able to read as many books as I would like to. As my kids get older it seems I have less and less free time to spend how I want. Instead of reading to my kids for hours a day, I am in the car taking them to or from various activities. Because of all this running around, our read-aloud time has been severely shorten. I am lucky if I have time to read them a chapter or two a night.

And I miss all the reading we used to do. Even though my kids are getting older, they all still love to sit in front of the fireplace or cuddle on the couch and listen to a good book. This summer I want to go through as many books as we can to make up for our lack-luster year.

So far I have chosen a mix of new books published within the last year and older classics. I have also tried to pick out books that all three kids will be interested in, which can sometimes be a challenge considering the kids are four years apart.

Here is what I got so far:

  May B.Wonder

The Case of the Deadly Desperados

The Lions of Little Rock

Treasure of Green Knowe

Five Children and It

Swallows and Amazons

This is the list I have so far. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. I am always looking for a good book, whether it be a classic or something modern. I love to discover wonderful books to share with my children.

Weekly Report

It’s funny how every year I start the summer off thinking that the kids should continue doing some academic work. The kids always readily agree to this, and I think the reason is that they know that I never stick with that plan. The kids know that I love summer as much as them! It’s funny, but I think my big speech about how we are going to continue homeschooling through the summer actually signals the start of summer for the kids. So as I give my big talk, the kids just nod and agree, and then they run off and celebrate. One year I think I will surprise them, and actually make them work through the whole summer ( That would show them!).

So what have we been doing? Well Autry is actually still in public school, but it is winding down, so even she feels that she is on break. Her last official day is next Wednesday, and I can’t wait!! It has been a great year for Autry, but I really need a break from getting her up every morning and packing her lunch everyday.

Almost 11

The twins birthday is coming up (they’ll be 11), and I am planning their party for next Saturday. We are having an old-fashioned outdoor party at a park. We are going to have a water-balloon fight, a limbo competition, and other games. It is getting harder to plan their birthdays. Autry wanted a dance party, and Tru wanted a Nintendo DS themed party (not sure how I would have done that). Tru very quickly nixed the dance party, and Autry didn’t want a DS themed party. They couldn’t agree on anything, so I just took it over and planned it myself. Sometimes I think it is a little hard for them to have to share their birthdays, but they are quite close. By the end of their birthday, they are always happy to be twins and to have each other.

The twins at 6

Autry had her end-of-the-year performance for her acting class a few weeks back. She played a turtle in Yertle the Turtle and Sylvester in Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. She was great!

As a turtle

As Sylvester

Decca decided to start his Hideaways in History program early, and he didn’t need anyone’s help. He found a box and made it into a sarcophagus. He decorated the lid with a picture of Prince Decca and added some hieroglyphics that he found in one of his Egyptian books. He then wrapped up in some cloth and also “mummified” his cat. He had so much fun! I am so happy with Hideaways in History already, and we haven’t even started it.

There is a mummy inside....

Mummified prince and mummified cat

I started a summer reading/writing program for the kids (is that school?). It is just my way to get the kids to read and write in the summer. They are working at earning gift cards to Barnes and Noble. My mom and I put together a little bulletin board. It is a summer themed scene. The kids read and write to earn beach balls, and each beach ball they earn equals a dollar from Barnes and Noble. At the end of summer they will get a gift card, and they can use it for new books for the fall. They are all working hard trying to earn their beach balls. Tru seems to be putting the most effort into it, but reading comes easy to him, and I think he already is planning what to do with the money he earns.

I am still working our history program for next year. I have weeks one and two scheduled out, and I have decided on many of the books we will be using. I will post our schedule up in a few weeks for anyone that wants to see it. I am happy with what I got so far, and I think this will turn out to be a great year. You can see my book choices here.

Some of the books for next year