5 Chapter Books for Back-to-School

5 Chapter Books for Back-to-School

A couple of weeks ago, What to Read Wednesday featured 9 back-to-school books.   I admitted at the time that I started out wanting to make 5 recommendations and ended up making 9.  Problem was, I wanted to do 15, but the tech gods would not cooperate.  I’ve been lamenting not recommending those other books ever since.

You might be looking for  chapter books for back-to-school.  Well, I have them.  And I’m determined to let you know about them.  Because I’m stubborn.  Sue me.

Chapter books for back-to-school

Chapter Books for Back-to-school--Ramona the Pest

Ramona Quimby is one of my all-time favorite book characters, and Ramona the Pest is one of my favorite books about her.  This is the one in which she starts kindergarten, gets in trouble for pulling those boingy curls of a classmate, and has her first crush and rather humiliating heartbreak.  I love Ramona, because I was soooo that kid when I was little.  Even when she has the best of intentions, trouble seems to find Ramona. Maybe your littles can relate.

Chapter Books for Back-to-School--Junie B Jones First Grader (At Last!)

For hilarity and just plain adorable-ness, you can’t beat Junie B Jones by Barbara Park.  Junie is misunderstood, and most kids can relate to her antics.  Even when she’s trying her level best to be good, Junie seems to end up in trouble, and her reactions are priceless and timeless.  If you have a little one who feels the world is unjust, give him or her Junie to commiserate with.

Chapter Books for Back-to-School--The One and Only Stuey Lewis--Stories from the Second GradeWhat’s neat about The One and Only Stuey Lewis–Stories from the Second Grade by Jane Schoenberg is that it’s a bunch of related short stories about Stuey surviving the second grade.  So your littles can read one story at a time.  It’s a brilliant and funny introduction to chapter books for littles who are just moving up from picture books.  And it makes second grade seem survivable.  Your littles will love it.

Chapter Books for Back-to-School--Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing

The book that introduced Fudge.  I mean, Come On.  Of course, the 4th Grade Nothing is Peter Warren Hatcher, Fudge’s older brother, who is So Over his little brother.  It’s hard to be the good son when an adorable ball of terror is following you about, messing everything up.  For kids with younger sibs, this book will either make them grateful they don’t have a Fudge in their lives or feel like someone finally understands.  Either way, it will make them laugh.

The Teacher's Funeral1.) Peck, and you know how I feel about him.  2.) “If your teacher has to die, August isn’t a bad time of year for it,” is how it starts.  And for some reason, that line is hilarious.  3.) It’s set in Indiana.  And if you don’t know how much I love Indiana, you haven’t been paying attention.  Plus, how would you feel if your teacher died and you thought you’d get out of school for a year only to have Your Sister take over and keep the school going?!  This book is set in 1904, when such things were entirely possible.  A funny and feel-good story (as ever from Peck), The Teacher’s Funeral will have your littles riveted.

I know what you’re thinking.  9 + 5 Does Not = 15.  But for the life of me, I can’t remember what that 6th book was.  So you’ll have to settle for a total of 14 back-to-school books.  I mean, you can’t read them all at the beginning of this school year anyway.

Happy reading!

Love wins,



6 Homeschool Curriculum Organization Hacks

6 Hacks to Keep Your Homeschool Curriculum Organized All Year

No matter how you homeschool, there are always materials to be kept in order. So much paper. So. many. books. (Well, I mean, if you’re at my house, there are more books than a library.) So many craft supplies. You need to keep all that stuff on hand because you just might need it, but you also have to keep the stuff you absolutely are going to use this year separate from the extra.

Whether you follow a curriculum of your own devising, like I do, or you purchase someone else’s, you have to be able to just grab that stuff each morning and get busy. And you have to make sure you know where that stuff is all year long.

What, oh what, is a homeschooling mama to do?

I’ve been at this a while, and I’ve learned some tricks. Though my classroom is pretty much walled in bookshelves, not all of them are books I need for this year. Seriously, this year’s books could get swallowed up in there and I could spend half the morning searching for what we need. We can’t have that, my friend. We need to be organized. Even if you don’t have a separate classroom for your homeschool, you can use some of these tricks.

Teaching History With Novels

Teaching History with Novels

History is probably my favorite thing to study.  It was my favorite subject in high school and one of the most interesting parts of college.  What I love about history is that it’s everywhere.  You can’t study literature or art or music without also studying history.  In fact, in our homeschool, we have used music history, art history, even garden history to supplement (or count entirely toward) our history lessons.   We learn just as much from studying the arts of a culture as we do from studying its politics.  I mean, the two are often intertwined, aren’t they?

I crush hard on using novels to teach history, too.  I love to find books written during an era we’re studying so the boys can get the nuances of language and society as they learn about the history of a place.  It’s not as hard to do as you might think.  But there are also more modern works set during historical periods that can really transport a little back to that time.  There’s nothing better than falling back on a novel I enjoyed as a child except maybe finding a new one for the boys and I to enjoy together.  I have A Lot of favorites, but there are some that genuinely stand out as genius.

Story Time: Sunflower House

Story Time: Sunflower House

It was super easy to come up with a book for this week’s Story Time.  You can’t beat Eve Bunting at picture books, and Sunflower House is no different from all her other brilliant works.  With rhythmic rhymes, Bunting and illustrator Kathryn Hewitt lead your littles through the life cycle of a sunflower from seed to flower to seed as well as giving you the brilliant idea to plant a circle of sunflowers in which to play.  I want a sunflower house myself!

I’ve come up with some very cool activities for you to do with your littles, too, so let’s get on with it.

%d bloggers like this: