Books on the Brain

I’m consumed with books right now. Planning them, finding them (this is harder than it sounds…), gathering them, soon-to-be reading them.

I’ve always had the girls read their individual readers at their own pace and haven’t really worried about it too much. We’ve never really processed them very much because, frankly, when you are teaching four kids you just count on some of them to do certain things on their own. Individual readers fall into that category for me. I make everyone have a one-hour down time after lunch in which they are to read their scheduled reader for a minimum of what I’ve requested. After that they are free to read any book they choose for the remainder of that hour.

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This year things will be similar to that with this one big exception: the book journal. I’ve struggled to implement book reports with the girls, but I think I have a good plan for it this year. I gave both of the older two a notebook with an ability-appropriate book report form taped inside. I found the book report forms here. Next to that they will keep a running list of the books they read throughout the year. After they finish each book they will write up a report about it right here in this same notebook. When they complete 5 reports they will choose a reward out of a jar.

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That’s where I could use some help. What sorts of things would you consider putting in a reward jar for kids who have done something like this? So far I have two: dinner out and choose a new book at Borders. I need some more creative ideas that aren’t terribly cost prohibitive.

What would you suggest?

Also, speaking of books, one of my biggest problems is organizing all the weekly books we have in a central area. It is not uncommon, indeed, it is very very common to hear me say, “Has anyone seen _____________?” It is too common. I’m hoping this new solution will help us out this year. I’ve gathered all the books for read-alouds and individual reading as well as the book journals and put them in, you guessed it, another covered crate.

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And as an added bonus, the crate happens to match my window treatments:

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Now then, to finish stringing and hanging the other one that has been draped over my stairs for the last three months…

Also, since we’re on the topic of books, I’ve decided Millie has gotten the shaft in the picture book department. By the time she was on the scene we’d pretty much moved into chapter books as a family and I haven’t done the best job of reading all the great picture books we have to her. So in addition to the scheduled Sonlight reading, I’m adding in two picture books/day of books we already have.

Okay, enough about books. What about my book report jar rewards? I could seriously use your help!

The Problem With Sleeping In

Warning: Random bits of useless information ahead. Detour may be necessary.

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I didn’t wake up until 10am this morning. Gasp! Shock! I know. I also didn’t go to bed until almost 2am this morning, so the math makes sense, but still. I can’t keep this up. The problem with this routine is that it perpetuates itself and here I am, wide awake at 12am again. Only I don’t have the luxury of sleeping in until 10 again in the morning.

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So, we’re starting school back up again on Monday. I think I could possibly be the most prepared for this I’ve ever been. My oldest is entering 5th grade this year and I also have a 4th grader, a 2nd grader, and a kindergartener. It’s about time I got myself organized in this department. The problem, though, is in implementation. I can organize just about anything. Maintenance, however, is not one of my strong points. But I have higher hopes this year because of the way it is all organized. Ask me again in four weeks, I guess.

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Chloe turns 9 soon. As she’s read all of the Little House on the Prairie books too many times to count, I thought it would be fun to introduce something sorta new, but also familiar. Enter the The Girls of Little House. Now then, I have no idea of the quality or content, but they look good, and we all know we DO judge books by their covers, so there’s that. Most of the original versions are going out of print and are being replaced with abridged versions with realistic covers instead of the traditional illustrations. I snapped up as many as I could off of Amazon (with the 4 for 3 plus free shipping deal), Half.com, and Paperbackswap.com. I think there was only one I couldn’t find and am not willing to spend $35 on. Should make for a pretty sweet birthday gift. Shhhh, don’t tell her, okay?

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I’m working on making a bunch of these right now:

Crate Covers

I found the tutorial here. They are rather addicting to make. So far I’ve made one for a friend’s birthday present, three for hostess gifts (filled with Trader Joe’s yumminess), one for my hall closet upstairs (to organize bathroom stuff in – need to make 4 more for that closet!), and these three for some of my Classical Conversations tutors to organize their weekly supplies in. I need to make 5 more for them. Oh, and also I need to order more fabric. Note to self: order more fabric soon.

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Speaking of Classical Conversations, my group has 45 kids enrolled. I was taking a head count for our upcoming back-to-school family picnic and if everyone comes, including spouses and siblings, we’ll have 100 people there. Dadgum. We’re sorta official now.

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I’m at that point in our school planning where I’m deciding on all the extra-curricular activities for the year. So many things to do, limited amount of time in which to do them. I need to be reminded of my philosophy of extras. That philosophy is this: Will said activity add lasting value to their lives, both throughout childhood and adulthood? Ballet and bowling will most likely not. Piano and choir most likely yes. American Heritage Girls? I have no idea.

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I received a surprising phone call from my group ticket sales lady with the Cardinal’s this week. She wanted to offer me two tickets to an upcoming game against the Astros in one of their party rooms, including food and drinks. I waited a minute for her to tell me the special group price, but she said they were free. Yippee! We already had 4 tickets to the nosebleed section for that same game, but I sold them in a hurry. That money will now pay for babysitting while Craig and I go act like we belong in a section better than normal for us. Think we can pull it off?

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Okay, that should just about do it. It’s late again and none of us wants a repeat of this blogging scenario tomorrow night. Ahem…