Tag Archives: reading

A Reading Rundown: Good ideas from Great Books


I have been a plugging along reading these last few months, and what fun it has been! I wanted to share some of what really stuck with me after the books were closed and put away. After all, there are scores of reviews found on books on the Internet….I wanted to share something different. Be advised that these are not necessarily main thoughts, just the leftover parts…like the fat build up on my thighs after I’ve eaten too many skillet cookies, or something like that!

JanuaryEducating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson

  • Rest is for mommas, too! I don’t like to admit I need rest, and I think naps are overrated. But I have discovered, especially as I homeschool, that a short rest (for me that’s reading a book or scrapbooking) is just what I need! I get the kids all settled, and enjoy about 20 minutes of undisturbed peace and quiet. And, what’s more, I don’t allow myself to feel guilty for it!
  • Instead of a movie night, try cuddling up with popcorn and other snacks for a “reading night!” We gave this a try and loved it! I am anxious to try it with an audio book – I was too busy reading to eat popcorn.
  • Limit phone use (and other technology) to really “get something done.” This is pretty basic, but served as a good reminder to leave my phone away from the area where we do school. It was so helpful! I need to try that again!

FebruaryGood and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller

  • “Come when you’re called” is pretty self-explanatory. But I love the way the authors encourage you to get near to your child and for them to get near to you to discuss things. How often are we yelling, “Would you clean up your toys?” from the kitchen? And then we wonder in amazement that our kids annoyingly holler at us! We’ve been practicing having the kids come to us when we say their names. We’re still a work in progress on this.
  • The authors introduce the term badgering to refer to a kid pestering, relentlessly, to get a parent to change an answer. My kiddos, as young as they are, try this technique now and then. After explaining to them what badgering and bullying were, I now simply say, “Mommy said you can’t do that right now. Since you’re asking again, I am feeling bullied.” They actually apologize on their own, and move on to other things! This one has been so useful in our house!
  • When you give a child a task, it’s so important to follow-through, or check in with them. You can ask them to let you know when they’re done, or you can simply watch them accomplish it. This has been helpful in helping our boys follow through with our requests, instead of finding out hours later that a bed was never made. Reduces momma’s blood pressure just a bit!

MarchWordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life by Douglas Wilson

  • My favorite quote from this book is, “Read until your brain creaks.” Man, I love that thought. It makes me just want to read and read. He encourages readers to have 20 books going at once – a dangerous thought for this half-book-reader-who-doesn’t-always-finish-the-book! But it’s encouraging, too, that you can pick up a book – from an array of choices – that best suits your mood!
  • Stretch yourself – write a genre you wouldn’t normally write or read something you wouldn’t normally read. You’ll be stretched and maybe enjoy something more than you thought!
  • Don’t worry about the fact that you will forget most of what you read – rest in the thought that you have been shaped by it

April For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan S. MacAulay

  • Forming good habits with the kiddos is so worth the time. Having good habits for the everyday and mundane frees up a kiddos mind (and a momma’s!) to think about more important things! I have been making a list of the habits I want to better instill in my kids (like what to do when we finish our work early, how to best leave the table after dinner, etc.) so I can focus on bigger ideas with my kids.
  • Kids need to be outside – often. The best education comes not within the four walls of a building, but in the world around us – God’s creation. As much as I don’t like bugs, letting the kids capture and examine a grasshopper can teach far more than any textbook on the subject.
  • “Blessed are the peacemakers.” The words of Jesus. Simple ones that I have heard hundreds of times. But I have never been encouraged to apply them to my life as a mom. So powerful.

I hope you’re keeping up with reading a book or two each month of your own! I would love to hear how a book has recently impacted your life as a woman, a wife, or a mom!

Stay tuned – later this week I have a fun craft to share!



Read an Entire Book? Check!


On January 30th (with a whole day to spare!) I finished reading Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson. Yay! I was way excited to compete a book (all 376 pages, thank you very much!) – and I couldn’t have chosen a better book to kick off my reading challenge!

I loved soaking it all in – and I am pretty sure I underlined a fourth of the book! If you homeschool, or think you might, this is a homeschooling “textbook” of sorts with many helpful tips and insights. I plan to reread it again in the future, as I am sure I would get something more out of it the next time I get a chance to read it. (Book List 2014, anyone?)

I hope you’ve made a reading challenge for yourself. You wouldn’t have to choose as many (and certainly not as few) books as I have listed. Even one book this year could be a very rewarding goal! I once heard a wise man say that a busy mom could get through a 300+ page book easily by reading just one page every night before bed – how encouraging is that thought?!

And while you’re at it, what a great goal it would be to choose a book each month to read out loud to your kiddos! We read several books a month here because we homeschool, but even working mommas can enjoy some cuddle time with a great book and a sweet little one or two! We have just cherished the shared “memories” of the wonderful books we are reading! (Who can get enough of the Little House on the Prairie series?!?)

“Take a look, it’s in a book, a reading rainbow.” Oh that good ol’ Reading Rainbow song! Now that that’s stuck in your head, I’ll close.

Happy reading!


Below is a recap of my (perhaps overambitious) list of books I am reading:

JanuaryEducating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson

FebruaryGood and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller

MarchWordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life by Douglas Wilson

April For the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan S. MacAulay

MayThe Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

JuneKilling Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

July What Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings – and Life by Laura Vandekam

August The Discipline Book: How to Have a Better-Behaved Child from Birth to Age Ten by Martha and William Sears

SeptemberUncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

October When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg

November Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

DecemberCharlotte Mason’s Original Homeschooling Series: Volume 1 by Charlotte Mason

BonusHints on Child Training by H. Clay Trumball

DIY: A Reading Highlighter Bookmark


I was shopping in the teacher store one day, and saw something like this little doodad. I knew it was something I could make, and so I tried it out early last year when I was teaching our oldest little man to read. At the time, I wanted something to help him transition to focusing on lines instead of individual words. Since then, we have also used this to highlight vocabulary words and do other word studies. They are super simple and inexpensive to make!

To make this, you will need:

  • A paper cutter
  • Transparency sheet (or other thin plastic sturdy piece, such as a plastic to-go container)
  • Yellow (or other light color) permanent marker
  • Sturdy paperboard or cardstock
  • Tape (not shown)

Once you’ve gathered the materials, away we go:

First, cut your paperboard to the desired dimensions. Mine is 6″x2.”

Then, cut a window. I made one that is 1/2″x5.” I did this by placing the paper cutter blade down 3/4″ down from the top and 1/2″ in from the side. (At this point, I taped the paperboard to the cutter to keep it from sliding.) I then cut the 5″ length. I repeated this by turning the rectangle upside down and making the same cut. Finally, I cut the small, half inch length on each end to remove the “window.”

Okay, this is the super easy part. Color a section of plastic (slightly bigger than your window) with the permanent marker. Finally, tape it to the “back” of your paperboard. And, voila! A reading highlighter for your favorite new(er) reader!