2012-2013 Book Lists, Writing Lists, and a Little Bit of Pink (at my house?!)

You would think that “Writing” would be on the top of my list of subjects to teach my kids each year, since I absolutely love to write. It seems though, that except for some journaling and small projects here and there, Writing seems to always get pushed to the bottom of our list, trumped by Reading, Math, History, Science, and the like.

This year though:  I have a writing plan for the boys, and we will be sticking to it!

First, let me share the boys’ Reading Lists with you, such as they are right now. I plan to adapt these through the year and hopefully add to them in January. Seeing their Reading Lists will help make their Writing Assignment List make more sense. I think. At least it makes sense in my head.

Here is our partially filled book shelf. Not all of the books have been filed yet.
I’m still working on it.
  But doesn’t it look clean and organized?  :)

I typically go off of Sonlight Curriculum’s book list for our Reading, History, and Science. Their lists are wonderful, huge, and thorough, so I have found that I need to pare each list down to make Reading/History more attainable for my family.  In addition, for Asa, Matt and I hand selected some books we’ve been wanting him to read that will help shape his character and give us an opportunity to discuss topics with him that we feel are important. With each list, some of the books will be read with a parent, and some will be read independently. I didn’t type out our family “Read Aloud” book list because I’m still working on it.

Asa (Grade 10) – Studying 20th Century World History

Justus (Grade 7)  and Elias (Grade 5)

Malachi (Grade 2)

Malachi is not yet a fluent reader, but is making great strides!  We have not pushed him, and at his own pace, reading is finally start to click.  He has loved the Frog and Toad Books we started having him read this summer, so I feel that he will soon take off and plow through that list. Not to worry, I have many more books ready to add to his list once this happens. :)

I plan to read The Story of the World (Ancient Times, The Middle Ages, and Early Modern Times) to Justus, Elias, and Malachi as we study World History this year. Even though the boys are all at different grade levels, I have found that it works very well for me to study the same History subject matter with them altogether. Each of them catches and learns what they are capable of for their age. It works beautifully.

In addition, the three younger boys will be studying science together, focusing at least first semester on a Human Body unit – all books from Sonlight.

Of course, our entire family will be reading the Bible and some devotional/study books together at breakfast time each day. Asa and Justus will continue to learn Spanish from the incredible Rosetta Stone CDs. Malachi will use Miquon math books, while the other three use Teaching Textbooks at their grade level (5th, 7th, and Algebra 2). We’ll go through grammar books, phonics books, spelling, handwriting, and vocabulary books as is needed and grade level appropriate. And I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but that’s okay. As long as they are learning how to learn, we’re good to go, right?

Now…for writing. Here  are the plans I’ve made for each boy. I will assign deadlines for each project.


  • Write one 3-5 page paper about what you loved about your summer, what you feel God taught you, and how you feel you grew.
  • Write one 3-5 page research paper about a subject chosen from something you’re studying in Science.
  • Write one 3-5 page research paper about a major event you’re studying in History.
  • Write one 3-5 page research paper about a person you’re studying in History.
  • Write one fiction story, following the guidelines for LTC.
  • Write one poem, following the guidelines for LTC.
  • Write one (or more) devotional, which you will present at church when the opportunity arises.
  • Write two book reviews, choosing from the first four books on your reading list. Agree? Disagree? Personal thoughts and goals?
  • Write letters and emails of encouragement as the need arises.

Justus and Elias:

  • Write a one page research paper about something you’re studying in History.
  • Write a one page research paper about something you’re studying in Science.
  • Write one poem, following the guidelines for LTC.
  • Write one fiction story, following the guidelines for LTC.
  • Write one song, following the guidelines for LTC.
  • Write dictation sentences on Mondays and Wednesdays to practice and learn good sentence structure.
  • Journal each Monday, one full page, highlighting events from the previous week.
  • Write and send cards of encouragement as the need arises, about one each week.


  • Journal twice each week, and illustrate.
  • Write dictation sentences on Mondays and Wednesdays to practice and learn good sentence structure.
  • Create and write fun/silly sentences with Mom, then illustrate.
  • Make cards and write notes of encouragement, at least one each week.

This is a very long post, so if you’ve stuck with me this long, you now get to see the pink I was referring to in my post title. When we purchased school supplies for the boys earlier this week, on Malachi’s list was “card making supplies” to go with his writing assignment of making and writing notes to people. (Justus and Elias got to pick out ready made notecards instead.)  I already had card-stock, and I let Malachi pick which colors he would like in his “card making kit box”. He chose green and blue, of course. But then he also chose pink “for the grandmas and aunts and ladies at church”. How sweet is he? He also chose some cupcake stickers, deciding that he may need to make treats to take people that he made cards for. I love this idea, and think it is a perfect service idea to  follow up on our Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve Curriculum that we’ve done the past few years.

Phew, so there you go. Hope you survived this post which was about twice as many words as I typically write in one post. I’ll try to make up for it on the next one by writing very little. No promises.  Apparently I have lots to share as we prepare for school next week! ;)

Whether you home school or not, I’d love to hear:  Are you starting school soon? Are you ready?! :)


  1. Angela says

    I love hearing about your school plans!!! We will be starting our 3rd year of homeschooling after Labor Day. I am very excited to start this year. God lead us to a new curriculum. We will be using My Father’s World this year. I can’t wait to start! I have started puchasing a few school supplies, but we really don’t have much we need to get.

    Malachi is such a sweetheart! It is great to hear that he is thinking of other people :)


    Ami Reply:

    Just like you, God has led us to My Father’s World. We went to the Midwest Homeschool Convention and I chose all of David Hazell’s lectures, not even realizing that the same person was talking on all the subjects I was drawn to and that this person was affiliated with a box curriculum. We are two weeks into Adventures (starting early because we’ll be having a break in September when our new baby is born). The feel of our schooldays has completely changed with this new curriculum. I thank God because this is clearly what we needed now and he made this change so obvious to me.


    Lisa Reply:

    We LOVE My Father’s World!! :) It took me a couple of years to find a curriculum that I really liked and I plan on using it through high school. We will be on Rome to Reformation this year. I am excited to start.


  2. says

    We are planning to start our homeschooling year on August 15th. It’s taken me awhile to get excited about it since our summer has flown by so quickly, but I’m getting there!

    Thanks for sharing your book lists! I’m always looking for some good books to add to my childrens’ reading lists.


  3. Amanda Rossman says

    Going into my second year of homeschooling, I really enjoyed your post! It is nice to see what other people are doing and especially what books they have enjoyed. Thanks!


  4. Rachel says

    We’re starting our 4th year. I picked up supplies for the kids Monday. I filled a plastic dish pan for each with colored pencils, crayons, paint, rulers, tape, glue, etc. They were so excited! I’ve ordered a few books from Rainbow Resource and am awaiting their arrival. Most of our learning is done from library books, though. We go every week.


  5. Mary says

    I do hope Justus and Elias will be reading “Aladdin and Other TALES from the Arabian Nights.” ;-P


    Laura Reply:

    Ha! Fixed it. :)


  6. Serenity says

    Loved this post. HOWEVER, I really popped in to say Happy Birthday!!! Hope your day is wonderful!


    Laura Reply:

    Aw, thanks!!


  7. says

    What great reading material! I am excited for your boys this year : )

    Crazy Love is an awesome book! You and Matt should definitely read it too if you haven’t already ; )


    Laura Reply:

    Matt’s read and I’m excited to. He’s also reading a new one by Francis Chan – what a great author!


  8. Lisa says

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! Thanks Laura, for taking time to tell us all about your school prep!

    We are also in the throws of school preparation. I planned on starting school next week, but an unexpected life circumstance put us back a week! No worries, with school prep done, now next week I’m going to do some food preservation/cooking/baking/freezing all coming from encouragement here on this site! Now I have time to do something that’s really going to help our first weeks of school to go very smoothly!

    I’m so glad that you’re taking time lately to share about the homeschooling side of your life! Being a heavenly homemaker is so much more than just what happens in the kitchen. All areas of our homes are important to our lives being glorifying to God. Especially the education of our kids, within that home! Anyway, thanks for sharing your school preparations. I love the books you’ll be using this year. Looks like a great line-up and love the writing goals, too! I always come away from this site with encouragement, and I just wanted to encourage you that what you do here at Heavenly Homemakers is SUCH a blessing to others!

    Thanks Laura!


    Lisa Reply:

    P.S. We’re starting our 8th year of homeschooling!


  9. Dana says

    My brother and I adored that Greek Myths book. We checked it out so much from the library that my mom finally bought it for us. :-)

    I also wondered if yall were doing a drawing course this year. I thought that was a cool addition.


  10. Jessica says

    I loved detailed posts about homeschooling plans & why you chose what you did. Isn’t it so nice how flexible we can be with educating our own children? The goal is to teach them how to learn & to love to learn, so if that happens to be at a different rate than other children, like reading, that’s ok!

    We’ll be starting our 2nd year, continuing with Five in a Row, plus Eagle’s Wings Alphabet Island & Kindermath, & Grapevine Studies for Bible. I haven’t picked out a date yet. I should probably start sooner than later though b/c I’m almost 6 weeks pregnant & I have always gotten “all day sickness” about this time. Good thing our Kindergarten plan is relaxed. :)


  11. joanie says

    Nice reading lists, Laura ! I do not use SOnlight, but those are pretty much the books we read, plus some others. I like your writing lists- if they can read and write well, all else is easier. I do start them copying the Bible when they get to 3rd grade. THe younger ones do one verse a day. Our eldest started college at 16, but from 3rd- 10th grades, he was able to get through Leviticus : )) What fun he had with all the “begats” !
    In 7th grade, they also start with copywork. I type up pages of quotes, poems, verses- a wide variety of character building things. They copy one a day.
    Our eldest daughter started college at 15 ( with both teens, it was their choice). She and her brother found the work very do-able thanks to their writing and reading skills.

    I have always given them alot fo work, and since they know nothing else, they do it : )) We do the core things ( spelling, history, English, math, science, reading, Bible) plus the copying, Bible copying, art, logic , honme ec, carpentry etc..
    One science book series I would highly recomend for grades 4-6 or so is the Apologia elementary books… They are wonderful books and include a notebooking type journal which ends up as a really cool keepsake. They have titles like ” Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th day.”
    SOOOOO.. keep assigning those writing and reading things ! Both are fun and really do help everything else!
    Our youngest two, 7th and 9th grades, are still at home with me, and I am dreading the end of my 16 yr ( so far) homeschooling life.


  12. Brooke says

    I think I’m going to need to buy a book or two from Asa’s reading list. They sound very interesting!

    My oldest will be starting the 1st grade on the 13th. And I”m not ready… well, somewhat. I need to shop for more school supplies on her list (she attends a local Charter school). And my middle daughter wil be starting Preschool the first week of Sept. and luckily we don’t need to buy her too much to do that.

    Laura, do you do your homeschooling all on your own…? What I mean is do you report to anyone, even the state? I’ve never understood how that works if you you homeschool and just everything yourself. How do you know the “standards” or do you follow a set of particular standards from a source? What about “graduating” from middle school, high school, etc??? I do have several homeschooling friends but most of them are a part of Classical Acadamies out here and they turn in certain assignments every 4 or 5 weeks.


    Laura Reply:

    We have to fill out paperwork with the state at the beginning of each school year, but I don’t have to turn any reports into them through the year. I am following the Nebraska Education standards as I figure out how to fill out a transcript with my high schooler so he will have a full and completed transcript to turn in to colleges. Every state is different with what they require from home schoolers. I’m thankful for the home school moms in my town who have graduated some of their kids to help me navigate the transcripts to be sure I’m not leaving anything out!


    Brooke Reply:

    Gotcha. thanks for filling me in :)


  13. Penny says

    Although I no longer homeschool and haven’t for a while now, I did use an online course that is called teach2write. It was relatively inexpensive and lasted for about 6 weeks for each course. Was pleased with the course and the time frame was not to demanding. Thought I would post this in case someone would like to check them out. For the record, I am not in any way affiliated with them. I am just a mom who was at times overwhelmed with teaching writing to a son who had absolutely no interest in the subject. :)


    Penny Reply:

    Sorry, just googled teach2write and it pulled up some sites connected to UCLA. This was not the program that I used. I did some more looking and it is Home2teach. Sorry for the confusion. Told you it has been a long time.


  14. Lana says

    I am retired after homeschooling my five for 23 years. After 3 years off just thinking about all the work we did makes me tired :) Press on! You all can do it one year at a time!


  15. Angela says

    Happy Birthday Laura! August 3rd is a great day to be born :) My daughter celebrated her 1st birthday today


  16. says

    Do you really like the Rosetta stone program? I was thisclose to buying it for my girls, and then I read a review talking about how ineffective it is….


    Laura Reply:

    Yes!!! It was hard to fork over that much money for it, but Asa and Justus learned so much spanish last year and LOVED working on it! I can’t say enough good about it. It’s a great program!


  17. Odegua says

    This is all so encouraging! Particularly love the tip on copying the Bible, Joanie. I’m adding that to our homework right away. Thanks for sharing, Laura, and giving others a chance to share too!


  18. julie says

    Great list! “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping” is a fabulous book written by Dr. Henry Cloud, partly in response to the Josh Harris’s book. Dr. Cloud is a christian and has some excellent points. If Asa is thinking of writing his paper on that subject, it would be a great resource. (If not, it might be a book to consider for his Senior Year).


  19. VJ says

    I just found your website this morning, what a blessing! I am now behind on my today to-do’s because I have been exploring Heavenly Homemakers! Happy late birthday! We are also self-employed, several small businesses from home. I have been homeschooling since 2002. My daughter has graduated and I have a nine year old son. We are using Heart of Dakota as our curriculum and we LOVE it! We took this summer off and, depending on family circumstances, we will either be starting school back on the 13th or the 20th. Thank you for your website! I may not “comment” much, but you are on my desktop and I will be here often. It is so encouraging to find other moms who are paddling the same kind of boat! Blessings to you all!


  20. Kylee says

    I love finding good reading list for my girls. I have 3 girls ages 8, 3, and 3 months. Do you have any recommendations for finding good books for their ages. Thank you so much!!


    Laura Reply:

    Well, this isn’t a very thorough list, but here are some I’ve posted in the past that I recommend: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/gifts-of-books


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