Tag Archives: homeschooling

The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise

This book has been on my radar for a while since I’m always looking for inspiration for homeschooling. A recent post on books about books and reading from The Modern Mrs. Darcy pushed it to the top of my reading list.

Subtitle: A Guide to Classical Education at Home

Published: originally in 1999. I read the second edition published in 2004. The newest (the fourth) edition was published in 2016.

Genre: nonfiction education

Length: 710 pages of text (but probably 1/4 of that is book lists), 810 pages total Continue reading

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You’re Never Weird On the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

I’m a big fan of Felicia Day, having watched her in such delightful shows a The Guild, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and other geeky shows. This book has been on my radar for a while and I felt like a nonfiction book for a change.

Published: 2015

Genre: nonfiction memoir

Length: 260 pages Continue reading

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Physics books

I decided we’re going to do some physics this month. Turns out it’s been four years since we covered that topic, so it’s about time we cycled back around. That means I need some books for the kids. Miss Adventure is easy – I’m going to start her with The Great Motion Mission by Cora Lee that I got for Mr. Curiosity the last time we did physics (follow that link for my original review).

Finding just the right book for Mr. Curiosity was trickier. I had to get some options and let him choose, and I’ll share those options with you.

First off, I grabbed Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics by Jim Al-Khalili. This book presents ten chapters of physics questions that seem like they can’t be answered using scientific principles, but upon further review they can be. The book looks interesting, but perhaps a bit too dense for my 13-year old.

Next, I grabbed A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking. This is a shorter, companion book to the classic A Brief History of Time. The book attempts to describe what we know about time and space, and how they are created and interact. The book has color illustrations and photos to break up the text and would have worked fine for Mr. Curiosity.

I also checked out For the Love of Physics by Walter Lewin. Lewin is a physics professor at MIT and has turned information from his classes into a highly accessible book. This is a bit closer to a textbook, in that it methodically works through physical phenomena we can see and/or touch. He’s even got a YouTube channel so you can watch his lectures, if you don’t get enough by reading his book.

Ultimately, Mr. Curiosity decided to read How to Teach Quantum Physics to Your Dog by Chad Orzel. The hook here is Orzel explains quantum physics concepts by explaining them to his dog, Emmy. The book includes multiple conversations with Emmy, who acts as the clueless reader. She just happens to enjoy chasing bunnies or squirrels and would like to apply quantum physics to catching them. She never quite gets there, but you laugh heartily at her attempts, and learn something in the process. Mr. Curiosity is finding this book so readable, he’s reading it for fun as well as for schooling.

So, if you’re interested in learning something about physics, something here should fit the bill!

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Homeschooling: The Teen Years by Cafi Cohen

Subtitle: Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 13- to 18- Year-Old

Published: 2000

Genre: nonfiction homeschooling

Length: 318 pages of text, 344 pages with index

Interest: I’m a little nervous about Mr. Curiosity getting close to high school and how to modify my unit study style of homeschooling for high school or turning our topics into courses on a transcript. So, time for some research.

Summary: This book attempts to address all the components of homeschooling a teen. It breaks the information up into three parts. The first part covers details of what homeschooling can look like and why homeschooling a teen can be a good thing. The second part goes into some details of covering the topics a high schooler is expected to take. The final section talks about resources homeschoolers often utilize, like co-ops, the library and the internet. At the end of each section, the author summarizes key elements as simple starting points, and books that expand on the topics.

Final thoughts: This book was much more helpful than I expected. It was general enough that it would work for everyone from a school-at-home approach to a more unschooling approach. I’m not sure how many new ideas I got from the book, but It definitely bolstered my confidence that my approach will continue to work for us through high school. The biggest downside to the book is when it starts talking about internet resources (and sometimes even book or magazine recommendations). The specific websites are typically way out of date (geocities, anyone?). It was interesting to see how much things have changed in 15 years on the internet, with resources being much more available now compared to previous decades.

Title comes from: It is descriptive of the title.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 79/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or subtitle to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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The Spark by Kristine Barnett

Subtitle: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism

Published: 2013

Genre: nonfiction memoir

Length: 288 pages

Interest: I saw it reviewed in a Simple Homeschool post and thought it sounded interesting. I was looking for some nonfiction, and hadn’t read any homeschool inspirational books in a while. Guess it was time for this book. Continue reading

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Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie Tolan

Published: 2002

Genre: YA fiction

Length: 216 pages

Setting: Traybridge, NC, present day

Interest: I had seen it reviewed on The Hub and was interested because it was about a homeschooling family. I started reading it because we were chilling out in the children’s section of the Seattle library and I needed something to read. Luckily, they had this on the shelf. I didn’t finish it that day, but I was able to check it out of my local library and finish it. Continue reading

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The Colossal Book of Mathematics by Martin Gardner

Subtitle: Classic Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Problems

Published: 2001

Genre: nonfiction mathematics

Length: 694 pages of text, 725 pages with indices

Interest: I was looking for books for Mr. Curiosity to use for math this year, and did a quick search of my local library system. This came up as something and it sounded like it was full of potential topics for our fun math Friday activities. I figured it was worth checking out.

Summary: The book is actually a collection of Gardner’s Scientific American Mathematical Games columns put forth as brain teasers and activities you can do that related somehow to a field of mathematics. There’s quite a collection of topics, arranged into twelve sections including arithmetic and algebra, plane geometry, solid geometry and higher dimensions, symmetry, topology, probability, infinity, combinatories, games and decision theory, physics, logic and philosophy, and a miscellaneous section. Each chapter also includes an addendum that updates the topic (since his original columns were written decades ago) and a bibliography if you’re interested in more material.

Final thoughts: While most of the topics are well beyond what we could manage now, I’ve gotten several ideas from the book – every from hexaflexagons to Conway and Paterson’s Sprouts game (we did his Game of Life last year) to replicating polygons. It’s definitely not something you’re going to sit down and read from cover to cover. Interestingly, StatsGuy recognized Gardner’s name as a well-known mathematician.

Reading challenges fulfilled: none since I’ve just been skimming topics and not actually reading each chapter

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or subtitle to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog

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