Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Club at Home

This post could also have been titled:

Sometimes Mom *Does* Know Best...

This week each of the kids is reading a different chapter book. I'm reading the book, too. Then we get together and discuss it. They have enjoyed this process so far, having my full attention, in turn, to talk about the things they find in their books.

Dd6 is reading "Mr. Popper's Penguins". I have a Progeny Press Literature Guide for it. We're using some of the questions and the vocabulary lists from that, but picking and choosing. I also have a Scholastic guide to penguins with activities. She's the arts-and-crafts lover so we're going at a slow pace with the book and throwing in the extras for fun.

Dd9 is reading "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe". Or, I should really say, he *read* the book. He was so hooked, it took him just one morning to finish. I have to say, he was not interested in reading the book when I suggested it. But I asked him to just try it, and that he could choose the next book. Did I mention he loved it? And, I'm pretty sure he has chosen the next book--next in the Narnia series!

Before I gave him the book, I gave him an overview on the life of C.S. Lewis. So much from the book comes from themes from Lewis's life. I know I have found reading Narnia to be much more pleasurable knowing these things. For him, I also have a Progeny Press Literature Guide. Since he was so into the book, we'll save many of the Progeny questions for later.

I also have to mention that when Ds9 and I started looking at some of the Christian allegory ideas in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" he become visibly excited. His whole face lit up. He started seeing the book in a whole new light. He first read it because it was a great story. He then appreciated it on a deeper level. It was really fun to find these things together.

C.S. Lewis once wrote that a truly good children's book is so good that it also appeals to parents. Thumbs up to that!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I LOVE Rainbow Resource

I have to put in a plug for my absolutely favorite go-to source for my teaching needs:

When I first started homeschooling, I was overwhelmed by the vast number of companies selling teaching materials. I was looking for a reputable company from which to buy my curriculum materials, math manipulatives, and fun extras. I heard about Rainbow Resource from The Well Trained Mind and decided to give them a try. I have been a fan ever since!

I truly think that the highlight of my June is receiving their 1300 page catalog! For the past 4 or 5 years I've read it almost cover to cover. The product reviews (for almost every single product) are very thorough and their website offers customer reviews in addition to  this.

I have always received fast service, particularly when I place my order earlier in the summer (June/July). On the extremely rare occasion that there was a problem with something I ordered, I have always received friendly service and the problem was corrected.

As a bonus, the Rainbow Resource family is truly a family-oriented company. I have also appreciated their commitment to homeschooling--From their website:

"In the Old Testament, God's people offered up the first fruits of the harvest as a sign of trust in His provision.  We would like to do something in this same spirit.  We are offering up all our profits for the month of June and giving them to homeschool families who have educational needs due to hardships of any kind..."

How cool is that!

By the way, it's not just for homeschoolers! Any "brick and mortar" schoolteacher, any parent, or grandparent would LOVE to get their hands on these products.

Give them a try!