My Victory of the Week

Some days it’s best to wear your pants a different way.

I stepped outside to take out the recycling. Joshua, Caleb, Daniel, and a neighborhood friend were all playing in and around the trees on the hill behind our house.

I heard Caleb ask, “Master Joshua, how much longer do we have to train?”


Two new seven-year-old boys have moved onto our street in the past few weeks. Joshua and Caleb’s world keeps getting happier and happier.


Right now it’s recess time at “Yawn City Elementary School.”

Daniel keeps running in my room, holding the Batmobile, giggling, “Save me, Mom! Save me!” with Caleb, half-heartedly chasing him, holding a Skylander statue. These two make such adorable playmates.

Joshua is still downstairs finishing up his seat work. He had a day dreaming problem this morning. He has three new books arriving in the mail in the next few days, and that is all he can think about. Joshua is an obsessor, another fine quality inherited from his mother. (Sorry, kids.)

I warned him this morning, “Joshua, you will not go to recess until you finish that seat work. It’s not my fault that you’re sitting there daydreaming about books.”

“What did you say I’m daydreaming about?”

I figured that meant that he thought I was wrong, so I back-tracked, “Well, whatever you are daydreaming about. You need to do your math paper.”

“But what did you say before?”

“Your books..”

“Oh, yeah, you were right. I’m daydreaming about my books.”

We love books around here. At least I handed down ONE good quality!!  You’re welcome, dear world.

That has been one thing I have loved about our A Beka language arts curriculum. They include such quality novels and stories. Granted, Joshua hated Swiss Family Robinson and Pilgrim Boy,  but all of the reading material has been chock full of great stories, almost all of them with morals that are hard to find just anywhere. Many of the stories in the third grade curriculum are from centuries ago. They have points I had never even thought of.

Our favorite was this one:

This story of Hilda is relatable, funny, and many of the values in this book are things that we often forget about in our modern age. I’m talking about things like removing distractions from our lives because they prevent us from remembering to pray, not because the distractions are harmful in themselves, but simply because they keep us from what’s best. We never want to accept something that’s kind of good, at the cost of experiencing what is best.

Joshua would probably not admit that he enjoyed this book, but he did, and I did too. He also learned a lot about smallpox and obedience!

Now some of you may wonder why Joshua did not enjoy The Swiss Family Robinson. Oh my goodness. I didn’t blame him. That book really was “” If you only saw the movie, you can’t understand. The movie was solid family fun! The book……talks about survival. The book tells you that the treehouse was actually not sustainable all year long. They had to build a house out of a cave for monsoon season.  Okay, that still sounds interesting, but see, the book tells you, in agonizing detail, how they MADE things, how they survived.

Yes, some of you will love it. If you are like Joshua and me, and don’t care how they made the things….it’s a boring book. I really just wanted to read about the animal adventures, meeting the girl, and the shipwreck incident.

Our book love doesn’t stop with Joshua. Caleb was my VOW.

Victory Of the Week!!!

I downloaded a lengthy 2nd grade formal reading assessment from the Ohio State Department of Education, and ……Caleb passed it with flying colors!

I was so excited. That was reason #1 I wanted to home school Caleb: to give him a boost in reading skills. The other formal reading assessments I’d used on Caleb were only lists of words to read, but this Ohio one had the whole nine yards: word recognition and multiple stories, of all different types, to read with comprehension questions.

Here’s a link for anyone else that is interested:

Caleb is enjoying reading too. He has always loved being read to, but now he finally has the confidence to read on his own.

Henry and Mudge is my absolute favorite series for encouraging youngsters to read. All four boys enjoy those books. They are sweet, relatable stories about a boy and his dog.

But yes, my boys are still terrified of dogs. Someday, when they are much older, we will get them a dog of their own, and I figure that will take care of that. For now, there is no way on earth that I am taking care of a dog.

Every morning, Caleb and Joshua do a math paper and work in their “seat work notebook”, during the first hour of school. The seat work notebook has varying tasks, but it always includes spelling work and a writing assignment. The other assignments vary, which keeps it interesting. Caleb asked me today, “Mom, when are you going to put ‘Read a book,’ in my seat work again?”  That made me smile. I’m so glad he’s finally enjoying reading.

Here’s what I did to help Caleb enjoy reading more:

1. I ordered A Beka 1st grade readers. Last semester, Caleb read the 2nd grade readers, but A Beka is an advanced curriculum, and those readers were too much work for Caleb. I learned a valuable lesson from Joshua’s teacher, Mrs. DeSatnick, last year. She told us, at Open House, “With young readers, you want them to read material that is just right for their level, or easy for their level. Reading books that are above their level actually hinder their learning.”

Best reading advice ever, and Joshua flourished in reading in her class. He still reads several years above grade level, but he didn’t get there by reading books that were too hard for him.

2. I kept taking Caleb to the library and letting him pick out whatever he wants to read. Yes, he reads Garfield and Ninjago more than Frog and Toad. I am no book snob. There is only one kind of book that does not enter our house:

Captain Underpants:  ew, ew , ew.  Parents, do yourself a favor, and everyone that has to talk to your children a favor, and avoid those books. “Poopy” and ‘stupid’ are about the only adjectives you will find in those books.

Don’t confuse Capt. Underpants with Capt. Awesome. They are two very different series.

We LOVE Captain Awesome.

3. I started letting Caleb do more ‘silent reading.’ I think reading to me makes him nervous because I correct him a lot.

4. I gave incentives. Read 30 books, get a Lego set. Obviously, that was a hit.

I could talk books all day long, but the natives are getting restless, so I’d better run. This will be a big weekend for us. Friday night I’m hosting the moms from my home school group, so I really should be getting ready for that!

Have a great weekend!





  • I really like your blog!! I hope to homeschool in the fall ( my oldest is in kindergarten now & have two younger than her) & your posts are encouraging and honest & a good read for someone like me who is going to be just starting out thank you!!! 🙂

    • Thank you so much! Homeschooling is definitely challenging with little ones running around, but we make it work. Some days I love it, and other days I want to run away…far far away. 😉 Thank you so much for reading and for your kind, kind words!!

  • You sound like a fun teacher! Thanks for the tip about Secrets in the Maple Tree and the diagnostic tests. I’ll bet your home school moms enjoy their evening!

  • queenmommyjen

    I had to read Swiss Family Robinson and 2nd your description. Nothing like the movie for sure!! Good victories this week 🙂

  • McMom

    “Someday, when they are much older, we will get them a dog of their own, and I figure that will take care of that. For now, there is no way on earth that I am taking care of a dog.” BAHHAAHAA! Amen, Sister 🙂 Loved getting details about how you run your homeschool day! Yay for loving books – that is a quality they definitely got from you. Alan and I…not so much. Such a great quality…thank you!

  • Donna

    Precious picture of Daniel on the stairs! Funny…I liked the how to stuff better than the animal adventures in Swiss Family Robinson!

  • Love your book recommendations! Not that we can read them now but they are on the back burner for when Avery gets older 🙂 I always had a hard time finding books that my step-son was interested in; I know he would have liked these. But now he is a cool high schooler 😉

  • Pingback: First Year Of Homeschool in Review: and 4 Things I Will CHANGE for Next Year | Stories of Our Boys

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