Book Review Christi's Reviews Weekly *Winks*

Dear Winkie

Dear Winkie,

I was thinking about changing our homeschool’s name to something with a Star Wars reference.

Conferring with Neko he thought it should be ‘The Revanites’. Masters who sought the balance of both the dark side and light side of the force. Believing neither one path (Jedi or Sith) was the answer, but rather being reborn to walk a path that was neither.

I think it’s kind of fitting for us. Though I am not sure how that should look on a diploma someday…

Revanites Temple of Knowledge?

Revan High School?

Star Forge Academy?

As we near the end of our school year I am looking at the activities we had planned to commit to this fall.

While we have enjoyed the art class so far, I think it is time to move on. I would rather take the kids on a picnic. Break out an art journal and let them draw what they see or feel. We were grateful for the offerings of the local co-op but I have come to terms with our desired scheduled and feel it takes a priority.

I think most people use co-op as way to give to the community… or to get a break from teaching their own kids.

When we need a break we take one. No guilt. No pressure.

I think the reason I joined last semester was to find friends and possibly some likeminded homeschoolers. It turns out most of them are too busy to be friends. I have more value in friendships from loose meetings or standalone classes. So I have pulled back and settled in offering something back to my local homeschooling community on my own terms. Something that works way better for us.

Another one of those “on my own terms” kinda of thing was joining a book club.

A suggested theme gets voted on. For July it was Historical and Romance.

You can pick one, a combination of both, or something else. I am listening to The Shepaherdess of Siena: A Novel of Renaissance Tuscany on my Kindle at the moment. It’s about an orphaned peasant girl who doesn’t have much hope to ride and race horses. She overcomes those odds and in doing so raise the spirit of her people. (ß And that is why I am horrible for Amazon book reviews. It’s either that or I end up sharing too many spoilers.)

I also found The Thirteenth Tale in a similar search but I decided to save it for when a Gothic or Suspense theme comes up. That one is about a renowned author who constantly tells a different version of her past to cover up something tragic. Until she is ready to finally enlist the help of a biographer to unravel the truth that transforms both of them.

Either audiobooks are amazing for letting you get things done… it’s a new way for parents to ignore their children… or it’s designed to drug your soul into an alternate reality…

Well as I wait for some of these things to fall into place, let me share with you some of our other moments…

Lil Man has had a bit of trouble in the neighborhood. He is tall for his age and older kids will give him a hard time. While we have worked on his temper the kids his age are taken aback from his occasional outburst when he thinks something is not fair. I can’t really ask for patience or understanding from any of them because I believe it’s part of the learning (developmental?) process. When I had almost given up hope new neighbors arrived. They have boys the same age and younger. Although the oldest boy is about the same age he looks younger than Lil Man. None of this bothers the kids and Lil Man loves hanging out and showing them around.

Rosa (formerly Pinkalicious) has amazed us with her ability to play almost anything shown her. She is hungry to learn more and we think she really needs a teacher to teach her the notes and proper skills. Then again I am reminded that some people can develop their own skill in their own way. I think we will try looking at Youtube videos first. We will keep an ear open for the right teacher or learning tool for her. In the meantime we will begin our music program this year with recorders. The kids are very excited about this. They hope to master enough to play Christmas music in a couple of months! Rosa can already play a couple of tunes, but playing in concert with each other is still another skill to master.

Lila (formerly Purplicious) has finished her first chapter book on her own and within the week! The children are given the same recommended time for reading, 30 minutes daily. However Lila reads beyond those requirements with a hungry eagerness. Which might have something to do with the magic of Junie B Jones…

Junie B. Jones never called to me so I didn’t think to buy this set. Someone donated them and Lila took them right away.

Which reminds me. I am still amazed that she taught herself to read. I consider it my job to introduce or to make available materials. The desire to read happens when they are ready. That’s all them and I have learned to respect that. It’s has never happened when they have been pushed.

No matter how amazing the box curriculum or tool was… each and every time it was only when the circumstances and desires were right to cultivate their abilities.

Surprisingly Neko also read with the same speed this week. I can’t tell you how many times I have placed a book in his hands only to see it met with disdain. Honey Bear was the only one to succeed in this endeavor… until now. I recently found the first book in the Spiderwick Chronicles at the reuse center last week and brought it home to be tested.

Neko greeted me with the familiar look.

“Try it. Read one page and see if it grabs you.”

A few minutes later and I knew I had finally found a winner! Neko is also discovering the universal truth of books being different than the movies – and this is the first book where he interrupts me to tell me about every detail! I am pretty sure this is not going to replace his passion for gaming but I still consider it a win.

Back to Neko and Lila who started and finished their books at the same time. I thought that was funny and began to chuckle. It was about this time that it dawned on me that I had forgotten to turn in our reading sheets for the library’s summer reading program.


I am sure it was grand gathering.

The eyes and hearts of children swelling when amazing prizes were distributed.

I decided to let them pick their own rewards. At one point I offered coloring books and stickers… which were refused by Lila because she felt they would “accidentally” appear on the walls.

No. They don’t accidentally appear on walls. Some child overwhelmed with giddy pony dancing powers puts that there.

I looked into her eyes. She couldn’t possibly help herself. *sigh* Well at least she knew herself well enough to know it was a temptation.

This went on with each item pointed out to them. When I finally couldn’t take anymore I whisked them to the opposite side of the store. They selected My Little Pony trading cards, candy shaped like burgers, gumballs, sweet chili Doritos, and peeps. Those who had finished their books were given an extra chemical aberration.

One thing is for sure. I am NOT going to fall for this program again next year.

Well… unless it’s like the Six Flags reading program! No. I need to stay strong.

I’m trying to remember if there were any reading programs (that we participated in) where it was fun and flawless? As in after all that work I would remember to use them in a timely manner?

Maybe the one with those Six Flags tickets. Only after all said and done we arrived on a day they were not useable. Blimey.

On the other hand as a kid I remember earning a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut…

It’s hard to say what I would sell my soul for. I am not making any promises….We’ll just say I’m keeping my options open.

And finally Winkie, a random thought:

If we were to develop a way to shrink our food (imagine Willy Wonka’s television), would the calories be the same or would they also diminish in nutritional value?





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