Biographies for Book Lovers – MBFLP 254-2

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Biographies that you might enjoy as much as Hal did

Finishing up a listener’s question from episode 245, (“What Are You Reading Right Now?”), this episode Hal is talking about some of his favorite biographies, and why he likes reading this special form of history.

Biography is more than just the facts

Some years ago, Hal started reading biographies to learn more about figures in local history. What impressed him was how, when he’d been reading the life stories of men who had faced challenges and lived life with honor, faith, and courage, it started to show up in his own thinking — “How would such-and-such have handled this?”

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, after all. Paul wrote to the believers at Phillipi,

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, 
whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, 
whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, 
if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. 

(Philippians 4:8, NKJV)

A life well and truly lived will show evidence of these things. What better way to consider them than to observe how other humans have applied them to the struggles of life?

People are complex

A well-written and honest biography will include the facts of the person’s lifetime, as well as the cultural context he or she dealt with. Much of the current “cancel culture” betrays an inability to recognize the good that a person accomplished in spite of their times, instead forcing long-passed people through a filter of 21st century sensibilities. At the same time, an accurate biography will acknowledge the faults and failures of the subject. Humans are highly complex and inconsistent beings, which may prevent us from reaching our best potential as well as hindering us from sinking as low as we might!

An account of someone whose life work has been assessed through the lens of time, whose impact has been seen by the outcomes of his actions and words, can be a powerful encouragement and example to follow — or an earnest warning of ways and ideas to avoid! And that’s why biographies can be good for the character and soul. It’s worth considering!

Why reading biographies can be good for the soul

 


If you’d like to know more about biographies Hal mentioned, links are here

(and for history, here are links to books from the first episode )

If you’d like to leave a comment, question, or request, our Listener Response Line is (919) 295-0321

 

 

 

 

History for Book Lovers – MBFLP 254-1

History for book lovers like me

Earlier this year we talked about books and authors the two of us enjoy together (episode 245, “What Are You Reading Right Now?”) and we mentioned that each of us has genres we like personally but separately. A caller on our Listener Response Line reminded us that we hadn’t returned to those books – “You teased us a little bit!” she said – so this week, Hal is sharing some books of history and biography which he’s been reading.

The Value of History

Over half the Bible is historical narrative, and God tells His people to remember the past and talk about it with their children. In Deuteronomy, Moses tells the people:

Remember the days of old, 
Consider the years of many generations.
Ask your father, and he will show you; 
Your elders, and they will tell you:
When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, 
When He separated the sons of Adam,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the children of Israel. 

(Deuteronomy 32:7-8)

The reference to “nations” and “peoples” says this is more than the history of Israel – it’s all of us as “sons of Adam.” When we learn about history, we’re learning how God has guided people and nations over the centuries, with and without their cooperation or consciousness, and we can learn or take warning by their example.

Hal shares recommendations for books on historical topics!

Our own Benjamin Franklin, whatever his personal theology, observed to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?” (here’s a transcript) … and we know this to be true because it’s in Scripture:

The Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

(Daniel 5:21)

That’s a good thing to remember during this election year! And it’s a good reason to take a look at history, too.


If you’d like to know more about books Hal mentioned, here are links to all of them … 

If you’d like to leave a comment, question, or request, our Listener Response Line is (919) 295-0321

 

 

 

 

What Are You Reading Right Now? – MBFLP 245

These are challenging times, and whether you need entertainment to pass the idle hours, or something diverting at the end of a stressful day, a good book is great to find. We’re book people, for sure, and we know the value of trusted authors and especially, those who have lots of titles to discover! So this episode, we’re talking about our favorite books and authors – some we share, and some we don’t!

We discovered we both enjoy mysteries 

As a genre, good detective stories offer a vision of right and wrong, and the possibility that truth can be found and justice prevail. We really like istories with likeable, well-developed characters, intriguing plots, and particularly, heroes who are fundamentally decent people. Stories with ambiguous or situational morals, protagonists we wouldn’t introduce to our family, or anything supernatural or occult, we don’t enjoy at all – those, we avoid.

Some of the classics we enjoy are the books by Dorothy L. Sayers and Ngaio Marsh, two authors of the “Golden Age” of British detective stories. From the same era, on our side of the Atlantic, are Erle Stanley Gardner (the creator of Perry Mason) and Rex Stout (whose eccentric genius Nero Wolfe was only a lightweight version of the somewhat eccentric author) – both of them, quite prolific!  (more below …) 

 

 

More modern authors, and featuring female protagonists, are Dorothy Gilman (whose Mrs. Emily Pollifax is more of a spy than a traditional detective) and Alexander McCall Smith, a Scottish mediccal professor who remembers his childhood in Botswana with a series about a woman who opens the first “Ladies’ Detective Agency” in her country.

Deserving special mention are the father and daughter duo, Tony and Anne Hillerman. Tony’s novels about the Navajo Tribal Police are packaged as supernatural thrillers, when they’re actually police procedurals placed in the complex culture of “the Rez” – the spooky covers simply recall elements of the traditional religion of “the Dine’ as the Navajo call themselves. His daughter Anne picked up Tony’s characters after his death, and she’s carried on the stories with the same skill her father displayed. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Hillermans’ books, and their description of the culture and landscape were confirmed by our travels in Arizona and New Mexico – doubling our enjoyment!

We have other books which Hal prefers more than Melanie, and some the other way around – to find out more about our favorites, check the longer article on our own blog here!

Help Your Child Become a Stronger Reader ~ Plus Limited Time Special Offer

The biggest struggle I have had in our homeschool, has been teaching my children how to read. My oldest was an avid reader at an early age. My other 3 children struggled with reading. It took them much longer to be able to read on their own without my help.

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I believe my oldest was able to read earlier because I had more free time to work with him. He is 6 years older than my next child. After my 2nd oldest was born they started coming around 2 years apart! At one point, I had one in middle school, one with dyslexia, another that needed weekly physical therapy and a baby. To top that all off, I began working from home shortly after having my fourth child.

It sure is hard to find that balance of being able to spend extra time with a struggling reader, when you have so many other things that you are juggling at once. This is where technology can come in quite handy and really be a blessing in your homeschool. I have to be honest, when I first started homeschooling I wasn’t a fan of putting a child in front of a screen, but sometimes you just have to do what you need to do! There is no judgement here. Sometimes we are in survival mode, and that’s okay, at least we are able to still be with our children everyday.  I am so thankful for the opportunities that are available to us now vs. when I started homeschooling 17 years ago.

I have a child that would get extremely frustrated sitting next to me being pushed to read words outloud that she struggled with. It was a daily fight and so exhausting. I would put this same child in front of a computer reading program, and she would excel! She really enjoys the games because it doesn’t feel like school, and it is exciting and engaging. I would have to set a timer to have her stop, because she would want to keep playing. She was actually learning to read and I didn’t have to do anything!

Help Your Child to Become a Stronger Reader:

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Apps and websites to help students access reading materials and educational videos

Apps and Websites to Help Students Access Reading Materials and Educational Videos

67: Apps and websites to help students access reading materials and educational videos with Dr. Monica Burns

 

Dr Monica Burns

In this episode, we welcome Dr. Monica Burns to share her favorite apps and websites to help students access reading materials.

Dr. Monica Burns is an EdTech and Curriculum consultant, author and former New York City public school teacher. She visits schools across the country to support PreK-20 teachers to make technology integration meaningful and sustainable. Monica’s website ClassTechTips.com helps educators place “tasks before apps” by promoting deeper learning with technology.

Dr Burns’ favorite websites for reading materials

  • Epic: Currently $7.99 a month and there is a free 30-day trial
  • Newsela: free
  • ReadingIQ: Currently $7.99 a month and there is a free 30-day trial

Find more ideas from Dr. Burns here.

Dr. Burns’ favorites websites for educational videos

All these resources are free

One of Dr. Burns’ favorite tools is Adobe Spark because it allows students to easily create graphics, videos and web pages. Read more about it in her guide.

Dr. Monica Burns’ Blog & Podcast
Blog – ClassTechTips.com/blog
Podcast – ClassTechTips.com/podcast

Follow Dr. Burns on Social Media
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest
Instagram

Books by Dr. Monica Burns

Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom

40 Ways to Inject Creativity into Your Classroom with Adobe Spark

 

Don’t forget to Subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss future episodes and tell your friends about it.

And be sure to join our Facebook group where we can talk about this together.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

 

Apps and Websites to Help Students Access Reading Materials and Educational Videos

12 Stories of Christmas

12 Stories of Christmas

12 Stories of Christmas

Episode 81

12 Stories of Christmas. It’s our favorite time of year! We love Christmas time around here. In this episode, we talk about some of our favorite Christmas stories… both books and on the big screen.

Listen in for some great book and movie suggestions for your family this holiday season. Get ready to snuggle in for a good Christmas story this year.

If your Christmas library is looking bare, we have suggested some of the books you might want to add to your collection. These books also make really great gifts. It’s always nice to receive a good book that can become part of your family’s Christmas tradition.

Books mentioned on the show:

    • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
    • ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
    • The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers
    • The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
    • How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
    • Letters From Father Christmas by JRR Tolkien
    • Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
    • The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
    • The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel
    • The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry – Illustrated by P.J. Lynch
    • Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble
    • A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz

Hallmark Christmas Movie List

 

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Please visit www.fpea.com to learn more about who we are!

Summer Reading List

Summer reading ListSummer Reading List –  Episode 74

Join Florida Parent Educators Association’s (FPEA) Chairwoman, Suzanne Nunn  and Sharon Rice to talk about our Summer Reading List. What better time to sit back and relax with a good book? This summer, we want to enjoy a good book for the sake of enjoyment. So, we have some suggestions for you! Listen in and pick one to dive into this summer … or more than one!

Some of the ideas mentioned in the show.

Sharon’s Reading List

Suzanne’s Reading List

 

Consider creating a summer book club with friends. Make it simple and fun. Choose books. Maybe create some games or projects for the end of the summer to coincide with the chosen books.

 

Join the conversation in the comments or on Facebook page your Summer reading list ideas. What is your family reading this year?

Please visit www.fpea.com to learn more about who we are!

Join us June 28-29, 2019 for Fun in the Sun!

Sherri Seligson will be joining us for this FUN and INFORMATIVE field trip in the FLORIDA KEYS!

There will be opportunities to Snorkel, Dive and many other fun events over the weekend.

FPEA Fun in t

 

Book Clubs Instead of Book Reports

Finish Well Radio Show, Podcast #090, Book Clubs Instead of Book Reports, with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

Book Clubs Instead of Book Reports

In “Book Clubs Instead of Book Reports,” episode #090, Meredith Curtis weighs in on the question: should we write book reports or have a book club? She shares why book reports affect the way you read a book and how it is possible for them to suck the life out of reading. However, she gives tips for making them more interesting to write and read. Meredith explains how book clubs can revolutionize literature in your home school and treat the entire family to an hour of fun, food, and great learning. She also gives practical advice to help you get started and questions you can start with to get the ball rolling.

 

 


 

High School Curriculum by Powerline Productions

Powerline Productions, Inc.

Being World Changers, Raising World Changers!

We offer books and ebooks to help you homeschool to the Glory of God!

Check out our great literature classes!

 

 

 


Show Notes

What is the purpose of writing about a book or discussing a book?

Why we tried book clubs

Book Reports

Why they can be helpful

Why they can be harmful

Why they are boring

How to make book reports worth writing

Book Clubs

Why they are more fun than book reports

E.G. Robin Hood

Why they are help you dig deeper into the work of literature

How books clubs make you want to read more

What are the challenges?

Book Clubs

Setting up a book club

Having a Focus (Scarlett Letter Symbolism, …)

Food & Drinks

Building a Lifetime Habit

Alternatives to Book Clubs

Homeschool Co-op Classes

Chatting Online

Family Dinner Table

Questions that Work for All Books

Did you like this book? Why or why not?

What was your favorite part of the book and why?

Who was your favorite character and why?

Did anything that happened in the story surprise you? Why did it surprise you?

Does anyone in the book remind you of someone in your family or one of your friends?

Did you like the characters in the book? Why did you like them?

Was their one or more characters you didn’t like in this book? Why didn’t you like them?

Resources

Finish Well Radio, Podcast #024, Link Between Literature and Political FreedomFree Reading Lists by Powerline Productions at joyfulandsuccessfulhomeschooling.com

 

 

 

 

 

These Courses all include Book Club Discussion Questions

 

American Literature & Research Course by Meredith CurtisBritish Literature & Writing High School Course by Meredith CurtisCommunications 101:Essays and Speeches High School Course by Meredith CurtisFoundations of Western Literature High School Course by Meredith Curtis

Newspaper Reporting Middle School Course by Meredith CurtisWho Dun It? Murder Mystery Literature and Writing High School Course by Meredith CurtisWorldview Understanding the Times High School Course by Meredith CurtisHIS Story of the 20th Century: High School Workbook by Meredith Curtis

The Importance of Fun – MBFLP 224

Who said school can’t be fun? This episode, we sit down with our friends Roger and Jan Smith, long-time homeschool parents and leaders in Louisiana. The topic is simply, “Fun” – what it can do to create memories, bond family members, and make learning a lot more enjoyable for parents and students alike!

Recently we visited with Roger and Jan Smith, leaders in the Louisiana homeschool community and dear friends of ours. One evening our family and our friends were playing a fast-paced game together, laughing hysterically, and thinking about what an important, bonding thing that is.

We were noticing how well our teenagers interacted with the adults in the room, and the obvious respect going in both directions, and we were talking later about how the shared experiences build that sort of relationship. They’re more and more important as we all become more individualized and isolated, focusing on our work and entertainment through private screens—even when we’re in the same room, we’re not interacting.

That’s one reason we love audiobooks when we’re driving or working together, because the whole family can share that experience and have a basis for conversations later. It’s a good reason for reading aloud together, even when the children are reading well on their own. We try and make intentional choices to do things together so in later years, our adult children will have memories that draw them back to their family home.

Another thing we do is make a big deal over family holidays. Birthdays are an example. In our home, the one we’re celebrating gets to choose the family menu for the day. At supper, we center the conversation on memories of the birthday person. Afterward, we take turns sharing things we love or admire about them. It’s really touching – everyone loves being appreciated, and it’s very easy to overlook the chances to communicate that respect.

A Sense of Humor

Shared humor is another thing we look for. A study of newlywed couples noticed how they interacted, especially the moments of humor in the midst of a problem. It defuses situations and reduces tension if we can refer to a shared joke or inside story. It’s a sign of a healthy relationship if you can still smile, if you can still laugh, if you can lighten up in the midst of your stress. That applies to your kids as well as your mate!

In fact, that study really pointed out that our relationships are formed from the moments we share. Little things count. It’s not like you have to learn a new language to really score points with your kids. Instead, you just need to  hear when they speak, make eye contact, and come back with a positive response.

And that’s something you get a dozen times a day to do. If you miss one, just determine to catch the next. It’s something you can build up without feeling like you have to make a huge investment before you see any benefit.

(Listen in for more great ideas about building memories and relationships with your family!)

Developing Language Skills in your Young Learner

LCP Ep 13: Developing Language Skills in your Young Learner

 

Developing Language Skills in your Young Learner podcast #homeschool #homeschooling #languageskills #languagearts #reading #writing #preschool #elementary #literarycafepodcast #drseuss #rhyming #rhythm #repetitionThe time to start reading and developing language skills in your young learner is now.

Reading at least 15 minutes per day from the time your child is an infant and even through high school will not only promote a bond with your child and an enjoyment in reading, but help develop vocabulary, reading, and writing skills.

Visit Katie’s website for more fun ideas and tips to use in your homeschool at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage  or her Facebook Group.

Join Katie Glennon as she shares step by step how to easily develop language skills in your young learner with practical tips, resources, and book and activity ideas that help you get started right away.

Show Notes

Developing Language Skills in your Young Learner

If you suspect your child is experiencing language or processing issues, you may want to check out Dianne Craft’s articles and materials at diannecraft.org. I used quite a few of her materials, articles, and her Brain Integration Therapy guide.

Book Title Suggestions for Rhyme, Rhythm and Repetition

Start with simple Dr. Seuss Books – Hop on Pop, Dr. Seuss’s ABC’s, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Then longer Dr. Seuss Books – Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham

Sheep in a Jeep

Sheep Go to Sleep

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear?

Assorted Poetry Books – The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury

Reading Activity Suggestions

Start with nursery rhymes and finger and hand motions while you recite them together.

As you read together, point to each word as you read it aloud.

Point to the pictures on the page and comment and ask questions about them. (Depending on the age of your child, you can ask them a question about what a picture is or a color in the picture.) As they get older or more familiar with the book, you can ask more complex questions. (Visit Using Higher Order Thinking Skills in your Reading to gain ideas in asking questions and developing thinking skills.)

Repeat reading the same books (as long as your child shows interest in it) for at least 15 minutes per day.

Use your child’s finger to point at the words as you say them and allow them to turn the page if they want.

Take turns reading sentences or pages so that your child doesn’t feel overwhelmed by reading too much at one time. (For practical and fun ways to engage reluctant readers, visit Ultimate List of Fun Ways to Engage your Reluctant Reader.)

Put magnetic letters on the refrigerator for play opportunities.

Have a letter of the day or week and let your child tell you whenever they see that letter during the day.

Depending on what kind of learner you have, you could try different kinds of activities to learn the alphabet

Songs, chants and books read aloud (audio books) for auditory learners

Use pictures of the alphabet that have animals or pictures within the letters so that the learner can make connections or stories to help them remember the letters for visual learners.

For tactile or kinesthetic learner –
Cut letters out of sand paper and trace the letters with their fingers.
Trace letters of the alphabet in the sand or shaving cream or finger paint.
Trace letters in the air using whole arm movements and paint letters on the driveway with water and a paint brush.
Form letters with your whole body or out of play dough or pipe cleaners.

For rhyming books or poetry –

Read a line with a rhyming word at the end and stop reading once you get to the rhyming word and let your child say the rhyming word.
Copy down the poem and leave a space at the end of the line for the rhyming word and let your child fill in the blank.

For Sight Words –

Copy sight words down on index cards to make flash cards. (If your child has a difficult time reading a part of the word, write that part of the word in a different color.) (Go to www.sightwords.com for lists of words and activity suggestions.)
Copy word family words down on index cards to make flash cards and write the word family sound in a different color.
Make duplicate copies of these words for games – Go Fish, Old Maid, Memory or Concentration Matching Game.

For Writing Activity Suggestions

Have your child paint or draw a picture on the top half of a page of paper. Then have your child tell you in a sentence what the picture is about. Write down what your child says underneath the picture as he/she says it so they can connect what they are saying to what you are writing down.

As your child gets older begin the practice of having them retell parts of stories back to you or short stories back to you. Then have them practice writing down one sentence at a time (even if they are using inventive or “creative” spelling) until they can write down more than one sentence, building up to multiple sentences. They can then draw a picture about what they just wrote about.

For detailed steps and more ways to help your struggling or early writer, visit Teaching your Struggling Writer How to Write.)

Be sure to comment in the Comments box any ideas you’d like to share about developing language skills that your family has found helpful! Or, if you found any ideas here helpful or have any questions! I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for visiting!

Make sure you download our podcast at iTunes or subscribe to the Literary Cafe Podcast by clicking on the Android or RSS feed buttons below the recording on this page! And make sure you share this page with other homeschoolers with middle and high schoolers and are wondering how to get started writing in these grade levels!

 

Developing Language Skills in your Young Learner podcast #homeschool #homeschooling #languageskills #languagearts #reading #writing #preschool #elementary #literarycafepodcast #drseuss #rhyming #rhythm #repetition