Homeschool Discoveries

Sharing a few things I've discovered along the way…

Collage Saturday: Week #2 of Summer Break June 1, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 9:56 am

This was a short week for us (as I’m sure it was for many people) with our family returning late Monday afternoon from a 4-day weekend out of town.   It felt more like a “break” week than last week did, since last week was so full/busy.   We didn’t make any big plans — we mostly stayed home (besides taking care of a bunch of errands…and actually having time to do them in the morning before everyone was tired and crabby!)

When it was time to take our summer break, I told the kids I would give them two weeks without bugging them about “school stuff” at all (We have some light schoolwork planned for the summer).  But they still managed to learn a lot anyway.  🙂


I tried to keep a few notes of the learning activities the kids did this week…mostly on their own initiative, or with a little prompting/suggesting from me when they were out of ideas on a few rainy afternoons:

  • Letter writing (Miss M — age 9)
  • Using the dictionary to check spelling (Miss M)
  • Snap circuits (Mr. E  — age 6 and Mr. K — age 4)
  • Fill-it-in Math Word Problems (like mad libs, but with a math question at the end)
  • Miss M and I tried a new yeast bread recipe (Italian breakfast bread)
  • Educational iPad games
  • Science “One Minute Mysteries”
  • Mr. K dictated a short story to me
  • Started “Owls in the Family” as an afternoon read-aloud with all three older kids
  • Finish a woven potholder (Miss M)
  • Miss M learned how to make twice baked potatoes
  • Typing practice (Mr. E and Miss M)
  • I finished a long read-aloud with Miss M
  • Finding new books at the library (a nice review of using alphabetical order for Miss M)
  • Practicing etiquette at a backyard tea party
  • Birdwatching in the backyard (we observed a female goldfinch for quite a while)
  • Started Life of Fred Cats, at the kids’ request
  • Random picture book read-alouds


Have a wonderful weekend!


I’m linking up with Collage Friday, The Weekly Wrap-Up, and Homeschool Review!

Homegrown Learners

Book Discoveries this Week: The Mysterious Benedict Society

Filed under: Books — kirstenjoyhill @ 8:16 am

The past couple summers Miss M and I have devoted our bedtime read-aloud time to a series.  This year I didn’t have a particular series in mind, but I thought we would start out our summer with a change of pace.  We’ve spent a majority of the school year reading some pretty serious historical fiction…so we’ll turn our attention to some lighter reading for a bit.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee MBSStewart.   This combination of mystery, adventure, and fantasy kept us up late reading many nights through all of its 485 pages!

Many children answer a classified ad that asks, “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?”  But after a series of very unusual tests, only four very different children are selected by Mr. Benedict for a special task.  These four children become The Mysterious Benedict Society.   The children are asked to go on a dangerous mission together to uncover what is really going on at an unusual boarding school run Mr.  Curtain — a man who apparently has an evil plot in mind that involves sending hidden messages in TV broadcasts and the like.  The Mysterious Benedict Society employs their diverse talents to discover what is really going on at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, trying to put a stop Mr. Curtain’s evil intentions.

This was quite an exciting, funny book.  So exciting, in fact, that not only did we stay up too late several nights…My eyes kept skipping ahead wanting to read ahead silently (aka more quickly) to see what would happen…and Miss M grabbed the book and read a few chapters during the day on a few occasions and told me that I could just catch up later.  🙂  Normally we save our bedtime books to read together, but since this one was so long I thought it would help us get through it in a more reasonable amount of time to read parts of it separately.

The Mysterious Benedict Society has a couple of sequels — Miss M will be reading those on her own.  In fact, she insisted I get a copy of the next book ASAP from the library as soon as this first book was finished.  I was happy to oblige, since Miss M has been hard to please as of late when it comes to her own pleasure reading.   The next book in the series is plenty long as well, so it should keep her busy for a bit.

Her love of the Mysterious Benedict Society, along with a recently found love of Roald Dahl books, helped me figure out a bit more of what kind of books to suggest for her — I think funny, outlandish and mysterious are three adjectives that describe her current reading tastes! We just picked up the first Series of Unfortunate Events book as well as the Nurse Matilda collection to add to her book basket.   If you have any other books you think I should suggest to Miss M that fit some of those characteristics, let me know!

I’m linking up with Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!