Books & Film - Reviews and Recommendations, Our Homeschool Curriculum/Mid Year Check Ins

What We’re Reading in October

I read several blogs, and one of my favorite things is seeing monthly posts of what other homeschool mamas and their kids are reading.  As a new blogger, and a lover of books, I wanted to do the same here.  I got a little behind over the past few weeks, so I’ll fill you in on what we’ve been reading the for the past six weeks.  Hopefully, I’ll be on a monthly schedule of what we’re reading, and post around the middle of each month.  This post contains affiliate links.  

What I’m reading:  I did something recently that I haven’t done in over a decade…..I read a fiction book for pure enjoyment!  You can usually find me reading books about homeschooling, how to be organized, or just reading ahead in the kid’s textbooks to stay a step ahead.  When we were hit with Hurricane Florence last month, I decided to pull a book off my shelf that I had purchased this summer on a visit back home.  I enjoy books by local authors, and automatically feel a connection with them.  

Hungry Mother Creek by Heather Cobham was an enjoyable, light read, but with depth.  I read most of this by candlelight and a headlamp, while all was quiet and dark after we lost power for several days.  Heather did a great job capturing the charm and quaintness of Oriental.  The characters were likable and had a familiarity to them.  It is a novel about new beginnings, the friendship of women, has a few unexpected twists, and a loyal dog.  I highly recommend taking a break and reading something just for you.  It was good for me to just enjoy a book without a highlighter in hand!

Our Read Aloud (for September): Heroes Next Door Hornet 24 by Chris Peluso This was a book I might have never read, but am glad I did!  It was written by the husband of a homeschooling mama, who is also a good friend.  We actually began reading this about a week before school was over this spring.  Our together read-aloud time fell to the wayside over the summer, so in September I decided we would start over and this would be the first read aloud of the new school year.  I have known this family for a few years, so I knew the characters well, and the kids enjoyed them in the book, as their personalities were just as we knew them.  I have never read any “war story” themed books before, and this one surely did not disappoint.  The perspective of a neighbor sharing his story with a couple of curious kids was what was so original about the book.  The story that their neighbor, Mr. Ed, shares with them puts you right in Vietnam with him.  We got to know what daily life as a helicopter pilot was like:  from the food, to the training, to intense fighting, and even what they did on their time off – without the adult content that is typical for the subject matter.  Although it is written for younger audiences, I enjoyed it myself, because I did not grow up in a military family, or have a decent history class in school.  The questions the kids asked, and his response, was in terms I could also understand.  I thought the entire book was informative, exciting, and an inside look at the Vietnam War from a unique perspective.  I would recommend this to middle schoolers as well as moms like myself.  As a side note of something I gained from the book:  get to know your neighbors and elders.  You many never know what kind of stories they have to tell if you never ask.

Our Read Aloud (for October):  Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories.  For October, I wanted to find a book of spooky ghost stories – not the more contemporary ones filled with gore and gross – just quality stories, the kind that are fun to tell around a campfire.  Dahl’s book is a group of 14 stories hand-picked by him (not written by him).  We have read a couple of them, and while we’ve enjoyed the subtle spookiness, the language has definitely stretched my vocabulary!

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Frankenstein.  I am a Usborne consultant, and I had a booth at a local festival over the weekend. I discovered a couple of short adaptations of these two books in my inventory.  They are both quick, easy reads that can be read in just a couple of our morning read aloud sessions. At the end of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, I found it had Quicklinks with all sorts of cool things about Robert Louis Stevenson.  Did you know that RLS’S wife claimed to have burned the first draft because she disliked it so much?  Stevenson rewrote it in just three days!  There are many more interesting things I found, including printable mustaches!

My 9th Grader is currently reading short stories from BJU Fundamentals of Literature.  There has been some she has liked and some not so much.  She does prefer the short stories over assigned novels, as we have done so in the past.  Perhaps this will be a great tool to help figure out what kinds of books she would enjoy.

My 7th Grader is reading the Bronze Bow as suggested in his history curriculum by Notgrass.  It is the story of Daniel bar Jamin, who is bent on revenging his father’s death by forcing the Romans from Israel.  His hatred shrinks when he begins to hear the lessons of a traveling carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth.  He is about two-thirds of the way through, and says it is a good story, but does not give it the rave reviews that I had read about.

That will round out the month of October for us.  What are you reading?  

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