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Awesome Books for Kids Who Love Nature

Getting outside in nature makes you smarter. Really! Look it up! Grab a copy of my new book, 100 Backyard Activities That Are the Dirtiest, Coolest, Creepy-Crawliest Ever! and learn to love getting out and soaking up nature.

There are so many things to do outdoors. This book is filled to the max with activities, tips, and it all requires very little help from mom and dad. Turn your backyard into a museum where kids can learn and explore.

Awesome Books for Kids Who Love Nature

After you get done adventuring outside, make your way indoors to devour these awesome books for kids who love nature! From stories of forest critters to deciphing animal tracks there are sure to be some new favorites to discover in this list. Enjoy!

Awesome Books for Kids Who Love Nature

Compost Stew: Kids can learn how to make their own compost pile in their backyard. They will learn exactly what can be added and what needs to stay out.

Yucky Worms: Worms are yucky…. or are they? Once kids discover how worms live, they might have second thoughts about this slippery friend.

The Tree Lady: An inspiring story about Katherine Olivia Sessions who planted trees all around San Diego.

Life in the Ocean: This book is about the story of an oceanographer by the name of Sylvia Earle who fell in love with the sea when she was young.

Over in the Forest: Learn how to move like the forest creatures and make sure to stay clear of the skunk! Kids will have fun counting and rhyming their way through the forest in this book.

      

Whose Tracks are These?: Everything you need to know about the tracks that animals leave behind can be found in this book. It is also full of some great illustrations.

The Garden of Happiness: Even if you live in the city, nature can still be found in your backyard. This storybook is about an empty lot in the city that is transformed by a little girl.

Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: This chapter book is geared towards older girls. It is about women who made their careers out of the wonders of nature and how they overcame hurdles.

Nature’s Day: Travel to the farm and beyond and discover how the seasons change at every location. From the frozen pond to the fruitful fields, nothing ever does stay the same.

Wonderful Nature, Wonderful You: The author of this story brings nature and inspiration together to create a beautiful story that will soon become a family favorite.

The Great Kapok Tree: Kids will learn just how valuable nature is…. even when it is just a tree.

The Lorax: A Dr. Suess favorite! Although we may not have any Truffula trees, this story is a great way to get kids how to understand the importance of taking care of nature.

       

Do you have any awesome books for kids who love nature to add to the list? Share them with me in the comments! Happy exploring and reading to you and your family and don’t forget to grab a copy of my new book!

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More Themed Book Lists You’ll Love:

        

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Great Books to Read with Your Kids in March

Just as the daffodils are starting to break through the dirt and everyone is adventuring more and more outside, we cannot forget to take advantage of all these amazing books! Between outdoor adventures, St. Patrick’s Day, and Dr. Seuss’ birthday, there are many titles to choose from this month.

Check out these great books to read with your kids in March…

great children's books for march

What are you waiting for? Let’s dive right in.

Great Books to Read with Your Child in March

100 Backyard Activities That Are the Dirtiest, Coolest, Creepy-Crawliest Ever!: First up on the list is written by yours truly. Since the weather starts to get warmer in March, this book is the perfect way to get outdoors and explore everything from bugs to animals. It is time to turn the great outdoors into a living museum for your kids!

Planting a Rainbow: This book teaches kids how to plant seeds and bulbs. It also gives them direction on how to care for those growing seeds. Big bonus! The illustrations in this book are amazing!

In Like a Lion Out Like a Lamb: An adorable book with rhyming text and an excellent description of March in the form of a lion and a lamb.

Puddles: What type of joy can a rainstorm bring? Puddles of course! Grab your rain boots and get ready to explore puddles of every shape and size.

    

More Books To Read With Your Kids In March

The Wind Blew: Huge gusts of winds carry away everything out to sea. Before it is out of sight, the wind decides to bring it all back.

Kite Day: Take advantage of those high winds and get outside to fly a kite. In this story, Bear and Mole have to build their very own kite.

The Tiny Seed: Follow the life cycle of a seed along with the bright illustrations that can only come from an Eric Carle book.

The Curious Garden: A young boys finds a neglected garden and decides to take care of it. As soon as he the garden starts to grow it changes everything around him.

    

Great Books to Read to Your Kids for St. Paddy’s Day

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover: The old lady is back and hungry as ever in this classic with a St. Paddy’s day twist.

How to Catch a Leprechaun: This is a great book to read as you build a Leprechaun trap. Kids of all ages love to try and attempt to catch the magical Leprechaun who is impossible to capture!

The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day: There is so much anticipation the night before St. Patrick’s day. The Leprechaun trap is set… but will these kiddos be able to catch one?

   

Great Dr. Seuss Books to Read with Your Kids Anytime!

Dr. Seuss’ birthday is on March 2nd! Celebrate this incredible author by reading his silly yet wise stories. Here are some of our favorites.

Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!: Take a trip down thinking lane with this clever book that will get kids to explore their thoughts and all of the ideas that can come with it.

The Lorax: This book is a great way to introduce environmental awareness to kids. It shows the cause and effect of your actions when using up natural resources around us.

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?: What a wise man Dr. Seuss was. Share that wisdom with your kids and teach them how to be grateful for everything they have.

What Was I Scared Of?: Give your kids a reason to not be scared of the dark with this cute story of a pair of pants… Scaredy-pants to be exact.

    

With all of these wonderful books to read will there still be time to tend the garden, celebrate the great outdoors as well as the silliest authors of all time? Of course! We are always looking for fun and educational ways to keep those kids busy and these books are the answer!

Feel free to share with me in the comments. What favorite books do your kids love to read in March?

 

More Fabulous Booklists For Your Kids!

    

Great Books to Read With Your Kids in March

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Books for Animal Lovers

Whether we’re strewing or following an interest-led unit study, I love having stacks of books around on topics my kiddos are excited about. We’ve gone through some pretty interesting obsessions, spent years following rabbit trails, and immersed ourselves in a pretty varied number of topics. One of the most enduring interests, however, has been animals.

Whether it was oohing and ahhing as toddlers or memorizing interesting facts to spout off at the dentist’s office, animals have always been an easy interest to embrace. There seems to be no limit to species, habitats, diets, and more to learn about, so animals are a solid choice for unit studies, science subjects, gifts, art projects, or just entertainment! I’ve pulled together lists of books that range from educational to entertaining, something for the toddler and the teenager, books that are breathtaking to look at and interesting to read. Go wild! 

 books for animal lovers

Books for Animal Lovers to Learn More

Not all animal books are created equal, as any animal lover will attest to. Often they’re full of colorful photos and short paragraphs, but nothing new to feed the interests of a creature nut. The Horse Encyclopedia is a beautiful volume covering everything from the history of horses to their care and breed standards. A fun and quirky book, The Truth About Animals is packed full of interesting – and sometimes hilarious – stories about how animals behave outside of cute viral clips. Vanishing is a stunning book featuring vulnerable and endangered species that will surely be appreciated by the most avid of animal lovers. A gorgeous gift, An Anthology of Intriguing Animals is full of great information, where on the other end of the spectrum is Ugly Animals, a hilariously fun and interesting book packed with less attractive members of the animal kingdom and wildly interesting facts about them. Another interesting angle is The Wildlife Detectives, which details the science of overpopulation and how ecosystems can be affected by just one species.

      

Books Featuring Animals as the Main Character

There is something so comforting and timeless about snuggling up to enjoy a tale told by a character with a tail. Many beloved stories of my own youth featured animals as the main characters, and I’ve loved sharing them with my family and finding new classics! Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH begins a trilogy of lovable and gifted rats that are downright human. More recent favorites, The One and Only Ivan and The One and Only Bob are moving and engaging stories of animals experiencing emotions we can all relate to. As a bonus, The One and Only Ivan was recently adapted into a movie! The Redwall series is packed full of action, historical fantasy, and lovable rodents, with so many books that your animal lover will be engrossed for months. A fun and lovable classic, The Cricket in Times Square is a must read, and Call of the Wild graphic novel is a unique way to enjoy another standby animal story. One of my own favorites as a child, Black Beauty has sequals, numerous movie adaptations, and a beautiful story. Something new and fun, The Finn Chronicles: Year One is a quirky collection of stories told from the perspective of a therapy dog. My own animal-loving kiddos loved Pax and the enormous collection of Guardians of Ga’Hoole books, another series that will enthrall for months on end. 

         

Books for Young Animal Lovers

It’s a simple fact – kids love animals. Babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kids of all ages are entertained and excited by furry, flying, scaly creatures. The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids offers tons of interesting photos and facts, and Jake the Growling Dog uses a pup to discuss emotions and the control we have over them. Perfect for the youngest of animal fans, First 100 Animals and the  Alpha Tales box set are colorful and educational, promising plenty of repeat readings. After Dark is full of poems about nocturnal creatures, and the DK readers like All About Bats are great resources for emerging readers who love animals.

      

If you’ve got an animal lover in your life, you’ll want to snap up several of these titles! Whether you use them to entertain or educate, your whole family will be certain to enjoy them. Use them in a strewing stack, a morning basket, as an animal unit spine, or just the fun of reading a good book together. Enjoy learning about so many interesting creatures, and be sure to let me know in the comments what books for animal lovers you’ve enjoyed!

books for animal lovers

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All from the comfort of your own home. 

This community was created to support children with intensities and help you as you help your child learn and grow. We provide resources just like this all year long, in a way that is educational and fun for children. They learn skills to help them copy and you learn how to help them along the way. 

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Great Gifts for Animal Lovers

My house has been a miniature zoo for as long as I can remember. You’ve probably seen our turtles swimming calmly in the background of some of my Facebook live videos. We became chicken keepers this year. At any given moment you can catch my youngest daughter snuggling a gerbil, our rabbit, or a lizard she’s found outside. Our dog, Bellatrix, makes frequent appearances on my social media, and that same animal-loving daughter of mine is angling to add a horse to our menagerie in the future. We love animals around here, and I know we’re not alone!

Animals are a great equalizer, typically loved by people of all ages. A cute puppy video or a funny goat picture can elicit a grin from just about anyone – it’s not tough to brighten a day with an animal! But when you’re dealing with an animal lover like my daughter, when you’re searching for gifts for animal lovers who have extensive knowledge of animal husbandry and obscure species, it can be a little tough to find that special something. I’m sharing great finds for animal lovers of all ages to help make your shopping a little easier – you may want to even snag a few of them for yourself! 

gifts for animal lovers

Educational gifts

Animal lovers cannot get enough when it comes to learning more about the furry, feathered, or scaly creatures of the world. There are so many interesting species that there seems to be a bottomless amount of material to devour, information to memorize, photos to marvel at. Check out some of these educational gifts for animal lovers that will satisfy their curiosity and quicken their hearts!  One of the most gorgeous books I’ve ever owned, Endangered is an engrossing book filled with stunning photography and compelling information about our world’s most endangered species. Another favorite here, The Ugly Animals, is as interesting as it is entertaining, with page after page of laugh-inducing and interesting animals you may never have heard of (and, full disclosure, occasional descriptions of unusual mating habits). Insecta is another of my favorites, an enormous book filled with mind-blowing macro photography of bugs that looks more like art than insect! Not forgetting the finned friends, Ocean Bingo is a fun way to learn about and appreciate the aquatic animals of our world. This tiger anatomy model makes for a great learning tool as well as a bit of decor (and there are dozens of other animal models to choose from!). Zoology for Kids comes from one of my favorite series of books and is packed with information about animals, caring for them, facts, and even activities! Younger animal lovers can enjoy a fox coloring and activity book or this animal kingdom talking book, while an animal tracks matching game involves the whole family. And just for fun, this Poodunnit animal tracking book is equal parts entertaining and educational!

         

Cozy gifts

Animal lovers are notorious cuddlers! Whether stroking a purring cat, snoozing with a sleepy pup, or forming a bond with a farm animal, there is something so healing about snuggling up with a furry friend. Sometimes, though, obstacles like allergies, weather, space, or access may keep your little creature hound (pun intended) from being able to embrace a pet. Snag some of these cozy gifts that can be worn or snuggled any time! This corgi tush pillow brings such a smile to my face – imagine carrying it onto a plane for your next trip! For the pet parent who can’t bear to be parted with their fur baby, a hoodie with cat or puppy pouch is actually quite practical. Few people know much about water bears, and even fewer get the chance to see one for themselves. Grab this tardigrade plush for the quirky animal lover who will appreciate such a unique creature! It doesn’t get much cozier than wrapping up in a wearable sloth blanket and warming your toes in proboscis monkey slippers, while your kiddo snuggles into their alligator tail blanket!

      

Stocking Stuffers

These easy gifts for animal lovers come in small packages but have a big impact! These horse hoof socks are a unique idea for the horse-lover on your list, while this rose gold paw print necklace is a subtle and beautiful way to express your animal enthusiasm. I think I’m going to order this monkey vegetable peeler for myself, to brighten up boring cooking prep! A perfect stocking stuffer for an animal-loving bookworm is this cat book light, or this funky axolotl composition notebook for your writers and poets (or just for fun school subjects). This screaming goat figure and book is too funny not to be enjoyed by just about anyone!

      

Finding gifts for animal lovers can be as fun to search for as they are to receive – I had so much fun creating this post that I added a few of the items to my cart! Animals have long provided emotional support, companionship, wonder, fun, and sport to us humans, it’s no wonder that they hold such special places in our hearts. Whether you’re looking for something quirky, cozy, or cool, I’m sure you’ve found something just right for the creature connoisseur in your life!

gifts for animal lovers

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A Million Things You Haven’t Found | Gifts for Hamilton Fans

If you’re a fan of musicals, history, or know someone with a Disney+ subscription, you’ve probably found yourself a little swept up in Hamilton-mania. It’s nothing to be ashamed of – we’ve been singing King George’s hilarious lines and triumphantly fist-bumping along with the Schuyler sisters for years, with no signs of stopping anytime soon. Thanks to it’s arrival on Disney’s streaming service, Hamilton has enjoyed a recent surge and added to the already massive fan base, leaving just about everyone with a Lafayette-loving revolutionary on their shopping list. Fortunately, I’m not throwing away my shot! Instead, I’ve gathered a fantastic list of gifts for Hamilton fans, full of unique and lovable items that even Aaron Burr wouldn’t be afraid to declare his excitement over! 

 gifts for hamilton fans

Fun Gifts for Hamilton Fans

Whether you’re looking for something subtle or a way to proudly display your love for all things Hamilton, these gift ideas have got just what you need. This historical figure hoodie is a spot-on sweatshirt that will keep you warm at Chesapeake Bay or lounging in the living room. When you’ve got to smuggle in British secrets or take some snacks along, a Hamilton backpack is a great choice to carry your goods. This Schuyler sisters shirt has already been debuted in our home and is such a favorite that I have to plead with my daughter to wash it before wearing it again. A Hamilton throw blanket is a solid gift for any fan, as is this King George mug that will have you humming before breakfast is over. A Hamilton 365-day calendar is a wonderful way to celebrate your excitement in a more subtle way, as is this colorful Schuyler sisters phone case or even this Hamilton pencil case. Whether you need to be inspired to rise and shine or fight a revolution, this Rise Up wall art is a great way to add the spirit of Hamilton to your home decor.

         

Stocking Stuffer Gifts for Hamilton Fans

If you’re looking for a smaller gift, a stocking stuffer, or a just-because, day-brightening gift, check out these smaller items that still make a big impact. A set of Hamiltones colored pencils – with Hamilton-themed punny names – is fun for just about anyone! A Hamilton lanyard is a great choice for the fan who needs to wear an ID, such a s nurse or teacher. Another universal gift, a Hamilton sticker set is a wonderful way for fans of all ages to decide how to display their enthusiasm. An Alexander Hamilton nametag pin or this Work! pin are other options for displaying your support of the $10 founding father, as is this Hamilton keychain. I’m planning on getting a song lyric necklace for my own obsessed daughter, along with this bracelet hair band holder as subtle ways for her to celebrate her favorite musical without dressing up as Peggy everywhere she goes. And this wooden Hamilton bookmark makes for the perfect companion to any of the gifts for Hamilton fans below! 

         

Gifts for Hamilton Fans That Go Beyond the Show

You may be able to spout every lyric to “Guns and Ships”, but do you know the historical context of the raps and rhymes? Load up on these excellent resources that will deepen your knowledge of Alexander Hamilton and strengthen your appreciation of just how masterfully history was put to verse. George vs. George is a fun book that explains the American Revolution from the sides of both Georges – King George III and George Washington. For superfans of the show, Hamilton: The Revolution contains backstage photos, cast stories, and much, much more insider information from the actors themselves. This Eliza Hamilton: Founding Mother reader is a perfect choice for emerging readers looking to learn more about their favorite beatboxing Schuyler sister. The book that started it all, Ron Chernow’s biography Alexander Hamilton is a must-have for any Hamilton or history fan. For even more context, The American Revolution: A Visual History is a beautiful book filled with facts and information from the war that turned the world upside down. The Hamilton Papers go into more depth over A. Ham’s infamous confessionals, and a favorite among lovers of historical fiction, a copy of I Survived The American Revolution will surely be gobbled up by your kiddos. Useful for a gift or your homeschool, this  Who Was…. founding fathers set would pair perfectly with a unit study from Waldock Way. And of course we can’t wait for Thomas Jefferson to include women in the sequel!  Women Heroes of the American Revolution shares intriguing and exciting stories of female spies, soldiers, nurses, and more!

         

Whoever the Hamilton fan in your life is, there’s surely something to delight them on this list. Educational, entertaining, and somehow original, Hamilton has brought history to the spotlight and inspired a new generation of learning in brand-new ways. The songs are catchy, the lyrics are brilliant, the characters are compelling, and the show is one that can be enjoyed on repeat for months (ask me how I know!). It’s not hard to fall in love with Hamilton, and now it won’t be difficult to find gifts for Hamilton fans… even if they’re for yourself!

gifts for hamilton fans

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Magnificent Middle Ages Resources

We love unit studies in our homeschool, and one of the most enjoyable and in-depth studies we’ve ever done has been a full-on dive into the middle ages. From the intricacies of the feudal system to the innovation and art, the middle ages have plenty to throw yourself into and learn about. I’m sharing some of our favorite books and topics from the days of yore to help you feel like you’re walking the streets of medieval Europe, no heavy chain mail required!

 middle ages resources

Non-Fiction Books

There are stacks and stacks of fantastic books to devour when learning more about the middle ages, so it’s hard to narrow down some of our favorites. Outrageous Women of the Middle Ages is one of a great series of books telling the stories of often-overlooked historical figures, from all regions of the world. Another favorite series of ours are the Horrible Histories books, and the Measly Middle Ages entry gave us the good, bad, and ugly history that we’ve come to expect. While exploring what life was like during the medieval time period, books like How to Read Medieval Art and Children and Games in the Middle Ages give unique and interesting information. No history book list would be complete without the You Wouldn’t Want to Be… series, and You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Medieval Knight is a wonderful addition to your collection. For older learners, The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England gives incredibly realistic and engrossing descriptions of life during the middle ages.

      

Middle Age Fiction

Historical fiction is one of the most enjoyable aspects of a history unit. We love gathering up for a read aloud and immersing ourselves in the world and lives of iconic characters. For something fun and different, The Three Musketeers graphic novel is engaging and entertaining. Catherine, Called Birdy is a classic, along with The Adventures of Robin Hood, Adam of the Road, The Door in the Wall, and, of course, King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table.

      

Medieval Rabbit Trails

We love rabbit trails around here, especially with my love for self-directed learning. The middle ages offers a near-endless list of topics to explore, such as ink-making (which we read more about in the gorgeously-illustrated The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane), the beautiful work of scribes and monks (seen and explained in Calligraphy of the Middle Ages and How to Do It), and the beauty of illuminated texts, such as those shown in Toward a Global Middle Ages, which offers perspective from around the world. The Medieval Warrior was a big hit here, full of medieval weaponry and battle tactics to pore over, and The Story and Language of Heraldry is a surprisingly interesting tenet of the caste system and knighthood. And while I’ve already shared one from the series, You Wouldn’t Want to Work on a Medieval Cathedral has too much fantastic information on cathedrals and their construction to leave out!

      

The middle ages was a time of beauty, invention, learning, and a whole lot more. Don’t be afraid to devote an entire school year to reading, projects, more reading, and more projects as you dive down the medieval rabbit trail!

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Perfect Poetry Picks for Your Homeschool

Poetry may be the food of love, but it’s not always a tempting snack to kids. Poetry is a beautiful and useful tool for teaching various parts of language, and some of the most beautiful, haunting, and enduring phrases of our time are found between sweet refrains and stunning stanzas. But with such a traditional history, incorporating poems into your homeschool can sometimes fall flat. Never fear! I’m rounding up some unique poetry resources that replace some of the flourishes with fun and promise to make poetry studies a favorite in your homeschool. 

poetry

Fun Poetry Collections

One of the best ways to get your kiddos engaged in poetry is to start with fun poems. Silly, absurd, even a little immature! Once your kiddos see what language can do when describing an armpit, they’ll be hooked. For Laughing Out Loud, or anything written or edited by Jack Prelutsky, really, is a classic that covers tons of topics, full of silly rhymes to elicit laughs, just like The Armpit of Doom.  While still quite humorous, I’m Just No Good at Rhyming adds another level of cleverness to the poems. For something different and engaging, Hip Hop Speaks to Children is an absolute gem that your family will enjoy over and over. When working mindfulness into your day, the works in Breathe and Be are a perfect and relaxing contribution. The NatGeo Book of Animal Poetry is a fantastic addition to a morning time basket or a gateway for younger kiddos to enjoy poetry with captivating photos!

      

Classic Poetry Collections

Don’t get me wrong, we love the silly stanzas and the giggles that erupt when we share ridiculous words together, but there’s something so idyllic about classic poetry. The Random House Book of Poetry for Children is the perfect first collection, positively filled with classics and beloved ballads. Poetry for Young People – Maya Angelou is an entry your kiddos will thank you for (and the whole Poetry For Young People series, at that). Sure, it’s got some silly standbys, but Shel Silverstein has to be considered a classic poet at this point, and Where the Sidewalk Ends is the best way to introduce his work to your kids. Emily Dickinson is another classic poet in her own right, and her collection in Hope is the Thing With Feathers is filled with gorgeous language sure to awaken those butterflies in your tummy that flutter when moved by beauty. An industry standard,  A Child’s Garden of Verses is classic, beautiful, and everything you envision about introducing children to poetry. And while they may not be for everyone, The Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allen Poe are too iconic to leave out!

      

Novels in Verse

One of the most creative ways poetry has become more mainstream and exciting has been the introduction of spoken word performance and novels written in verse – literally book-length poems that tell stories with some incredible weaving of language. Emmy in the Key of Code and The Crossover manage to tell intriguing stories for tweens, drawing the reader so deeply into the story that kiddos often forget they’re reading poetry. Words With Wings and  Love That Dog are two of the most popular novels in verse and are just so enjoyable to read. Rhyme Schemer is a powerful story that emphasizes the importance and beauty of language, and The People Shall Continue is a moving account of the strength of first nations people and their proud history.

      

Poetry really can be a blast. There are so many different and unique ways to enjoy and study it now that the subject doesn’t have to be retired to the vaults full of old-fashioned homeschool studies. Using humor, hip hop, moving stories, haunting tales, and the most incredible feats of language sculpture, poetry awakens something new within the reader and earns its place on the schedule. It may even stir something new within an unrealized poet.

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Legendary Gifts for Mythology Lovers

Do your kiddos get as obsessive about mythologies and rich backstories as mine do? I’m sure that’s why they’re also such big fans of stories like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter! Nothing beats the combination of history, astronomy, and mythology, however, like the ancient myths. Greek, Roman, Norse, Celtic… there are […]

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Fun Language Arts Additions

As a writer, I don’t hate language arts. While I didn’t always know this was what I’d do, I was always engaged during language arts class and had a deep love for reading, writing, and, to my friends’ dismay, correcting grammar. But having always been so comfortable with language and writing, it can sometimes slip my mind that not all of my kiddos are naturally strong or drawn to it. In fact, some of my kiddos are bored by it.

Maybe you’ve got a bookworm whose love of words bleeds over into a comfort with language arts. Maybe you’ve got a reluctant writer or a kiddo who is in such a hurry to get their thoughts out that they can’t be bothered to worry about spelling. Maybe you’ve got a twice-exceptional kiddo working through a language-based learning difference. Whoever you have in your homeschool, language arts doesn’t have to be a chore, a bore, or a battle. Check out these fun resources and tools I’ve found to help add some smiles while studying similes! 

 language arts

Fun to Write

Writing seems to be one of those love-it-or-hate-it subjects with school-aged kiddos. Sadly, many more of them seem to lean more towards the “hate it” camp. Some of these resources are so fun that they could be seen as downright tricking your kiddo into writing, but we’ll keep that between us. Revolting Writing, while full of potty humor and gross-out writing prompts, keeps kids engaged by teaching vocabulary words that make them giggle and providing scenarios they’ll want to write, if for nothing else than the humor. Once Upon a Pancake and Finish This Book are like beefed-up Mad Libs, providing a structure and encouraging the child to create a fleshed-out story on their own. Of course, Mad Libs themselves are a fun way to play with language and review the parts of speech. Encourage your kiddos to get creative with their descriptions and story-telling with blank comic book strips, too! Equal parts writing and keepsake, the Q&A a Day Journal is a fantastic way to start every day with writing that’s meaningful. 

      

Fun to Play

We’re big fans of gameschooling in our homeschool. Adding in an element of fun or competition always seems to draw in the most reluctant learner! Boggle is a classic game to help practice and build spelling skills, and reading comprehension dice are an active and engaging way to discuss the books you read together. Metaphors, similes, adjectives, prepositions… the Figurative Language in a Jar and Grammar in a Jar games are easy and travel-friendly ways to practice elements of language arts that don’t always show up in fun ways. No homeschool is complete without Story Cubes, which are fantastic for creative writing prompts and imaginative story telling. One of my favorite aspects of language arts is learning synonyms, which can be practiced with games like Don’t Say It!, where players must think of alternative words… or else! 

      

Fun to Read

Explore and understand punctuation with books like Eats, Shoots, & Leaves, Semicolons, Cupcakes, and Cucumbers, or Twenty-Odd Ducks, that take black and white grammar rules and turn them into colorful, memorable stories. If you’re diving into classic literature, check out Guinea Pig Classics for a fun synopsis, like this version of Pride and Prejudice told with captivating cavies! Language arts is about so much more than just memorizing rules, it’s about learning to enjoy words and stories. Ella Minnow Pea is one of those stories, using brilliant language and techniques to enthrall readers and deepen a love for what can be done with language. If You Were an Antonym is another fun story, using pictures and examples to explain just what an opposite word is!

      

Language arts may seem dull, what with all the rules and red lines, but at the heart of it all is creativity – the ability to rearrange a finite number of characters into infinite words and stories. I know not everyone will join me in my natural enthusiasm for it, but these resources are sure to sway more than a few reluctant kiddos. 

language arts

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Books With Quirky Characters

My kids are quirky, which I love. They’re so wonderfully unique and never boring, always saying and doing unexpected things and livening up any room they walk into. Lots of gifted and twice-exceptional kids are quirky, differently-wired, with fun personalities and idiosyncrasies and delightfully different characteristics. 

As much as we celebrate our kiddos’ quirks, however, it can be tough for the kids to bear when they’re young. They know they’re different, and often this can lead to struggles with self-esteem, trouble making or keeping friends, and feelings of isolation. Since our kids think we’re contractually obligated to compliment them, they don’t always believe us when we tell them how wonderful we think their quirks are, either. So I’m rounding up a list of books with quirky main characters, off-the-wall stories, and adventures that are just as wonderfully different as they are. 

 books with quirky characters

Books With Quirky Characters

We’ll talk about Harry Potter in a bit, since this list couldn’t be complete without him, but for now I’ll share a few tried and true books with wonderfully quirky, different, gifted, or just oddball characters. The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl is a fun look at a middle school genius who acquired her mental abilities in an unusual way. A Wrinkle in Time and The Invention of Hugo Cabret are classic sagas full of fascinating characters and adventures. Supergifted, Ungifted, or just about anything by Gordan Korman is sure to make you laugh and love the endearingly different characters he creates, as will Skinnybones, a book I read about 10 times as a kid and laughed out loud at each time. Millicent Min, Girl Genius should be required reading for gifted kiddos who struggle with feeling different and making friends. 

      

Books With Twice-Exceptional Characters

Struggling with quirkiness is often compounded by an exceptionality, an additional learning or physical disability. For too long, 2e characters were relegated to being supporting characters, people on the peripheral but not the main focus. Fortunately, there are now dozens of heart-warming and eye-opening books in which 2e kids can read about people like themselves. Wonder made waves when it told the story of a brilliant boy with physical disabilities, similar to the main characters in Freak the Mighty and Out of My Mind. Mockingbird is a deeply emotional story about a young girl with Asperger’s coping with extreme loss, while in a similar vein Counting By 7’s (one of my favorites) tells a humorous and emotional story of a young genius struggling with OCD and the loss of her parents. Fish in a Tree and My Name is Brain Brian are both instant classics that share the perspective of bright young kids coping with dyslexia.

      

Series With Quirky Characters

These book series don’t just introduce quirky, different, or fun characters, they offer multiple volumes to keep the fun going! Assuming you already have the entire Harry Potter series, try diving into the quirky-kid favorite, The Mysterious Benedict Society books. Enola Holmes is a more recent discovery of mine, telling the stories of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes’ younger sister you never knew about (and Netflix has produced a movie based on the first book). Classics like Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events (another you can enjoy on Netflix) and the stories of Anne of Green Gables (my personal favorite) are easy to find and widely enjoyed, plus they each have several volumes so the stories get to keep going on! Smaller series like Sideways Stories from Wayside School and Stargirl don’t have as many books, but the characters are so fun and quirky that you’ll want to read them over and over again. 

      

Feeling the isolation of being different is a heavyweight to carry for quirky kids. Helping them to not only see themselves in other characters but to see the worth and enjoyment these characters bring is invaluable to their self-worth and development. I know there are so many more wonderful books with quirky and lovable characters that I just didn’t have room to share, so be sure and leave your favorite titles in the comments below! 

books with quirky characters

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