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Audiobooks We’re Enjoying – Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

When you all are driving around town and have a van full of kids, does silence seem to disappear? Our kids are rather boisterous (I’ll admit it), and we have two kiddos that tend to find every little reason to pick at each other. It can drive one crazy. Audiobooks have become a great way for us to all relax and enjoy something together, especially since we’ve been in the car a lot lately with swim meets and nightly practices.

In the next few weeks I’m hoping to share a list of our favorite book series, but in the meantime, there is a new set of books that we are getting hooked on. When I say hooked – I mean, absolute golden silence abounds as everyone in the vehicle listens to catch every single word from the narrator. Blessed moments. For the record, I won’t take phone calls, and I’m as equally enthralled when we really get into a book and the CD player is running. It’s a family venture, these audiobooks!

While I love reading out loud with the kids (and we do that together too), in the last bit audiobooks have been a huge blessing with late night practices (no time for read-alouds once the kids get home) and quick turn around times to be out the door for things. Part of me misses the cuddles on the couch and the opportunity to read together in the traditional sense, but for the stage of life we are currently in, I love that I can listen and enjoy it as well, and we’re getting other things done too.

Found - The Missing series by Margaret Haddix

A few weeks ago we picked up Found (aff link), the first book in The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix (aff link).  Our oldest read the first book several years ago and it was one she wanted to continue with, so we borrowed the audiobook from the library.

The Quick Summary:

One night a plane appeared out of nowhere, the only passengers aboard: thirty-six babies. As soon as they were taken off the plane, it vanished. Now, thirteen years later, two of those children are receiving sinister messages, and they begin to investigate their past. Their quest to discover where they really came from leads them to a conspiracy that reaches from the far past to the distant future—and will take them hurtling through time. (via Amazon description)

Recommended grades: 4-8

What We’re Loving

The kids have enjoyed the twist of future/past time travel and the different ideas presented in Found (aff link), along with the plot twists and mystery that surrounds the children on the plane. It is full of suspense, trying to decide who can be trusted and figuring out exactly what is happening. The end of the book left the kids hanging – literally – in time.

While the first book is set in modern time and begins to explain the time travel possibility and a peek into who the children really are, the second book begins in the 15th century, and future books involve different time eras as well. I’m interested to hear how historical figures and such are handled, especially when some different names were mentioned and the kids are trying to ‘fix’ some of the problems created by several people that messed with time.

There are a total of eight books in The Missing (aff link) series, but we are obviously enjoying these so far. While Kaleb (almost 9) needs a few things explained to him and doesn’t always grasp all the time travel explanations, he is still enjoying them as well. Have you listened to them or read The Missing series? I’d love to hear your thoughts too!

What are YOU reading or listening together right now?


Books We’ve Previously Read (or Listened to) Together

Here are a few other books & series that we’ve read together and blogged about. Click over to see our thoughts on them!

Audiobooks for Families to enjoy

Our 5th Grade Homeschool Reading List

5th grade homeschool reading list - book choices for the year from Homeschool Creations

Last year was HUGE for us in the area of reading with Zachary. For years the boy had struggled with his confidence in reading, and he finally started picking up books independently and finished his first book – cover to cover. Yes, he was in the 4th grade, so I’m sure you can understand my overwhelming joy (and tears) that went along with that!

On a complete sidenote, if any of you all have kids that struggle with reading, can I encourage you? Hang in there! Rather than go the route of reading regular chapter books, he was more interested in historical periods and biographies. And Diary of a Wimpy Kid – while they are silly and really non-sensical, he laughed and learned to love the written word, reading them over and over again. They wouldn’t have been my choice of literature for him, but they were fun. We also knew there weren’t any underlying issues (dyslexia, etc…) and being patient was hard, but he has been reading so much since then, which just brings me such joy!

Zachary’s list is built in part from suggestions from  Reading Roadmaps. If you haven’t picked up a copy of it, I highly recommend it to help build quality literature lists for your children.

Our 5th Grade Homeschool Reading List

5th grade homeschool reading list

You may be scratching your head at a few of the books (The Bee Tree and Elbert’s Bad Word) and wondering why in the world they would be on our 5th grader’s reading list. In a few weeks we are going to switch up how we ‘read’ our books a little bit and get into more discussion time about what is happening in the story: rising action, crisis, falling action, etc… In order to teach that, we’re going to use some shorter books to map together and then focus on the bigger reading pile.

For each of the books, Zachary is also filling out a book report form. The above list doesn’t include his ‘fun’ reading – these are just books that we’re focusing on for our homeschool time. Currently he is reading The Lightning Thief and also the first book in the Gregor the Overlander series (one of of favorite series!!).

Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children (and Years Past)

Interested in seeing reading lists for our other kids as well? Check out our reading choices for this and past years by clicking on the links below. Stay tuned for our 3rd and 5th grade reading choices!

What books are on your child’s reading list for this year?

5th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations Take a peek at our 5th grade homeschool curriculum choices as well and see what we’re up to this year!

Our 7th Grade Homeschool Reading List

7th grade homeschool reading list 2015 {%{% Homeschool Creations

  Last week I shared our 10th grade homeschool reading list with you all, and today I’d like to share our 7th grade homeschool reading list. Our daughter’s list is built in part from suggestions from Ready Readers 3 and Reading Roadmaps. Both guides are ones that I highly recommend if you are looking to build quality literature lists for your children. The Ready Reader provides a comprehensive look at the included books in areas such as  conflict, plot, setting, characters, theme, literary devices and author of the stories. It also contains  a fabulous set of questions (and answers) to get us started. We loved the one we used last year and look forward to this one as well. McKenna and I are definitely looking forward to many of the books on her list, and she has already finished three of the books. Each week we sit down together and talk about different aspects of the books that she is reading, including the story line, characters, theme, etc… 7th grade homeschool reading list - book choices for the year Homeschool Creations

Our 7th Grade Homeschool Reading List

This list doesn’t include our family read alouds or any books or series that she chooses to read during her free time. Typically she has an assignment due for each book: a short paper summary or a story map with corresponding questions for the book. There are a few books that will require a ‘deeper’ paper for her this year as well.

A few of the above books have a video version available, so we are going to have some movie fun together (McKenna is definitely looking forward to that!). Comparing the movie to the book is a great process as well, especially since they often differ so much from each other!


Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children

Interested in seeing reading lists for our other kids as well? Check out our reading choices for this and past years by clicking on the links below.

7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2015

See all of our curriculum choices for this school year in our 7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices post. It includes our lit program and several other wonderful programs we are loving!

What books are on your child’s reading list for this year?

Life of Fred Beginning Readers Review

Life of Fred beginning readers set 1 - simple, fun, and engaging readers for children

A four year old named Fred has been a long-time friend in our house. Fred typically visits when it’s math time, but the last few weeks he has also been a part of our reading time with our youngest.

Time and again I’ve mentioned that our boys are very cautious readers. That’s the nice way of saying our girls started reading just.like.that and our boys, using the same techniques and such, get frustrated, think they can’t read, fuss, cry, or all of the above when it comes to reading time. It’s been trying to say the least.

Don’t get me wrong, they both made progress and our reading program really is fabulous and works, but last year it was a million loud cheers when Zachary finally decided to sit down and really read a book all by himself. And he hasn’t stopped since. Some kids just aren’t wired the same. (There’s a shocking newsflash, eh?)

Kaleb is pushing along the same path as his brother. Despite encouragement and the fact that he can read, there are days when it is a struggle. A huge struggle. We sit down and cuddle up, work on a lesson, and again starts the cycle. We’ll stop when needed and continue with encouragement, but it’s just hard.

The Life of Fred math books are a huge hit in our house and something we have enjoyed for years. When Educents asked if I would be willing to take a look at the Life of Fred Eden beginning readers…well, it wasn’t a very difficult choice. I’ll admit that even I was a bit curious about what exactly was inside the pages of these books. (Incidentally, they have some great deals on Life of Fred products right now!)

Here’s a peek at one of our favorites that I shared on Facebook (you can also watch it via YouTube).


We have been LOVING the Life of Fred Beginning Readers we received from Educents earlier this month. Here is a quick peek inside and a little more on what we are loving. Stay tuned for a blog post today with more (and a giveaway!)! (Sponsor)

Posted by Homeschool Creations on Monday, 28 September 2015


More About the Life of Fred Beginning Readers

life of fred eden readers-26

The Life of Fred beginning readers set 1 contains the following six books: Blue, Bus, Lake, Potato Dreams, Ducks, and Rain. Each of the books is focused on a specific color (you’ll notice the cover titles are all done in the color they feature), so children learn eighteen color words when working through the books in the three different sets. (See sample pages here.)

The books all follow Fred, a four year old genius boy who has a doll named Kingie. Together they go on adventures. In this series, you follow Fred and Kingie as they take the bus to Fall River Lake, learn about different colors (blue, orange, red, brown, pink, and gray), meet ducks, talk about emotions, learn how to cook potatoes, and so much more random silliness.

Each hardcover book features a combination of real pictures and images along with drawings of Fred and Kingie, other creatures, and cartoons. They are completely non-sensical stories that children l.o.v.e. to no end. In short, the stories are simple and engaging. Silly, yes, but in such an amazingly fun way.

Targeted toward children ages 4 and up.


Our Thoughts on the Life of Fred Beginning Readers

life of fred eden readers-44

We have the first six readers (Eden set 1), but Kaleb has been toting around his reader pile for the last two weeks. Every day he pulls out two or three of them and we read and re-read the stories together. And it isn’t just Kaleb who has been engaged with the books! As we have curled up and the laughter begins bubbling from him, the other three kids are soon crowding around to see what is happening with Fred and Kingie. (Yes, they all love Fred – even the high schooler.)

Where this boy normally reads with ZERO voice inflection (i.e. questions don’t sound like questions and he has completely flat tone overall), he is giggling, reading with different voices, speech rate patterns, and truly engaging with the stories. It has been so amazing and fun to watch the process.

life of fred eden readers

These silly, non-sensical stories are bringing this little boy to life. Yes, he still gets a little frustrated here and there reading, but he tries so hard. We had intended to videotape him reading a story, but he was extremely nervous and after five tries – well, we decided that we’d just tell you that he thinks Fred is very funny. Very funny. Kingie even more so (especially when you see what Kingie packs to take to the lake). We’ve had more conversations about how Kingie could have even fit a pool table into his bag, never mind lifted it.

We laugh at the drawings (Fred does have a square head after all). We laugh especially hard at Kingie’s paintings – because they are always amazing and completely ridiculous. Did I mention these books are funny?

life of fred eden readers-99

Text on each page is fairly minimal in the six books we have, and the books aren’t overwhelming, wonderful for hesitant readers. Keep in mind this is not a full reading program (no teacher’s guide or specific introduction of blends/words in any order), but readers for children to practice the skills they have already learned and help them further enjoy the reading process. They may likely pick up several new words and some added confidence in the as they go through the stories too.

While initially I wasn’t sure what to think of the books, I did know how much our kids have loved Life of Fred for math, and these readers are no different. They are books I know we will go back to over and over again. Yes, they are beginning readers, but so often that confidence boost and added humor are needed to bring life to our reading!

Save an extra 10% TODAY ONLY!!

Currently Educents is offering discounted bundles for purchase. You can purchase the Life of Fred readers directly from their site AND save an extra 10% off with the coupon code HSC10. It’s a special code JUST for my readers, so be sure to use it!!

The LIFE OF FRED SALE ENDS October 18th, so don’t miss it!

Be sure to browse the rest of their affordable deals as well!

A Bonus Giveaway!!


Educents has also offered one of my readers the Life of Fred Beginning Readers Set 1! To enter the giveaway, follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget below.

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LIfe of Fred beginning readers - simple, fun, and engaging for children

Our 10th Grade Homeschool Reading List

10th grade homeschool reading list 2015 - Homeschool Creations

Our 10th grade homeschool reading list is largely based on the required reading for Literature and Composition by Janice Campbell. We added in four books to read together just because they were several we both wanted to read, and I wanted to have a grasp on what she was actually reading. You may remember that Laurianna is technically only in the 9th grade, but I suppose we could count this as one of the beautiful things about homeschooling! We can adjust our grade level and/or class load as it fits. Last year she completed the first literature class in the series we are working through from Janice Campell and earned a high school credit. This year’s Literature and Composition class will also earn her 1 high school credit.

The typical pace is for reading (to stay on top of things) is one book per month, but I have a feeling one of the books on her list may cause a little bit of angst (it’s causing me angst because I’m the teacher of the co-op class and I’m trying to figure out how to wiggle my way out of reading it again – I’m not afraid to admit that!).

10th grade homeschool reading and literature list - Homeschool Creations

Our 10th Grade Homeschool Reading List

For each of the above books, Laurianna will have a variety of papers to write (at least three per book). Papers and essays vary from author profiles (learning about the life of the author), approach papers (quick summary, discussion questions, and character profiles), and some lovely essays based on questions presented in the Literature and Composition text.

A few of these do have a video version, so we’ll be having fun comparing the text to the movie version. We also have plans to attend a local Shakespeare center and see Julius Caesar or The Importance of Being Earnest (leaning toward the latter).

The “Just for Fun” Additions

Sadly, much of Laurianna’s spare time will be taken up with her school reading and other fun hobbies, but we did want to add in a few books to read together – which we’ve already finished and loved! She does love to read though, so hopefully we’ll add a few more fun books in as the catch her attention.

This list also doesn’t include any of the family read-alouds that we will be working on together. Overall not a huge list for the year, but several of the books are fairly hefty and will involve a lot of essay writing and discussion, so definitely enough to keep her busy for the year!

Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children

Interested in seeing reading lists for our other kids as well? Check out our reading choices for this and past years by clicking on the links below. Stay tuned for our 3rd, 5th, and 7th grade reading choices!


See all of our curriculum choices for this school year in our 9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices post. It includes our lit program and several other wonderful programs we are loving!

What books are in your kid’s reading stack for this year?

10 Reasons to Use a Kindle Fire for Homeschool

10 reasons to use a kindle fire for homeschool - Homeschool Creations

The Kindle Fire has become one of our go-to resources during our homeschool time and is one of our favorite homeschool supplies. Aside from the lovely price point (psst – don’t miss the deal below!), there are many reason to LOVE the convenience of the Kindle Fire.

Kindle fire pre-order for $50

Currently the Kindle Fire 8GB 7”  has a GREAT pre-order price – $49.99! Click here to find out more!

Reasons to Use a Kindle Fire for Homeschool

Classic eBooks are often free (or greatly discounted) – as a go along for our high school literature class, this has been a fabulous resource! We can bookmark places in the ebooks, highlight portions to remember (without messing up a paper book), notes can be typed along.

Curriculum eBooks can be easily loaded onto the Kindle and save shelf space. Several of the programs that we use offer an ebook version (both our Literature and Geography classes did last year). We loaded the eBook version onto the Kindle for our daughter to use, and the physical copy went on the shelf for me to reference. 

Clickable links are easy to navigate when you are already using a device. This may seem obvious, but there are books that offer links in them and while a physical copy means I need to type out the URL, we can just click through and see the link.

Schoolwork while traveling is much easier (and lighter). The Kindle takes up much less room and allows for more freedom when we are on the road.

Kindle ebooks are often cheaper than paperback versions – and readily accessible. While we take advantage of our library all the time, sometimes we need a book a little more quickly and can find it very cheap (especially the classics!). They are all books we can keep and save for the future too! Our library is over 1/2 hour away, so the time and gas we save purchasing an eBook sometimes outweighs the free library borrowing. Don’t forget too that your library may offer eBooks to borrow!

Finding sheet music and tuning the guitar is simple for music. Our oldest is working on guitar lessons, and her Kindle has become invaluable to her as she practices. She can tune her guitar using an app and quickly find needed sheet music as well.

Listening to music while working is helpful. Sometimes the schoolroom can get a little crazy, so our oldest pops in  headphones and listens to her favorite music to keep surrounding distractions to a minimum.

A thesaurus and dictionary are always at hand! Much to my children’s chagrin, they really have no excuse for using weak words in their papers (grins). I’m a stickler for having them expand their vocabulary, so those are two tools that are frequently used as apps.

Parental controls are available to set, including times for the device to ‘shut off’ – not that we ever have to worry about that (wink).

Video clips or online tutorials can be found when needed. There are times when I am working with one of our other children and our oldest needs a little math help. She often will hop on YouTube quickly to find a tutorial for the problem. We also use it to look up video clips that fit in with our history studies. Our boys may be rather happy to look up LEGO building ideas (grins).


10 reasons to use a Kindle fire for homeschool fb2

We aren’t big on apps overall (call me a mean mom) and have kept our Kindle Fires primarily for schoolwork, although Pinterest browsing and email time are also allowed via the Kindle. While our kids don’t have their own Kindles (they are shared devices), it has allowed for a little more freedom and independence for our older children – and a better understanding of how easy it is to get sucked into various devices…watching the time disappear.

What ways has a Kindle helped your homeschool time? 

* Kindle Fire images courtesy of Amazon