Charlotte’s Web, Learning Through Literature Packet Giveaway

Who has joined our Summer Reading Party? How’s it going? Is your family reading, reading, reading this summer?

If you haven’t already, join us here! It’s free, there will be prizes all summer long, and there’s a big freebie packet for you just for signing up.


Also included in the freebie packet is my favorite part of all – a Summer Family Bible Reading Guide!

summer bible reading

Grab it all here and enjoy!

And now for this week’s giveaway…

One of our family’s favorite read-aloud books has been Charlotte’s Web. I loved this book when I was a little girl, and my boys have all loved it too. While ordinarily I’m not a huge fan of pigs or spiders, they are perfectly wonderful and lovable in Charlotte’s Web, right?

wilbur and charlotte

Last summer Malachi and I read the book and started creating learning activities to go with it as we went. We made fun foods, learned fun vocabulary words, made fun crafts, did some creative writing – truly reading Charlotte’s Web together offered so much more than just fun reading time!

Peek Into Charlottes Web

I turned it all into this fun Read~Learn~Create book, which you can grab here. Wait. Let’s make this better. Use the code SPIDER to get it for a big discount. Now everyone loves spiders. Ha! (That code will expire June 30.)

Charlotte's Web coversm

Today we’re going to give away two copies of this great family fun learning book! Sign up below for a chance to win!

Charlotte’s Web: Learning Through Literature

This downloadable book includes 43 pages of learning activities, games, crafts, recipes, and fun! Use this eBook to encourage creativity and learning while you read Charlotte’s Web with your family.

If you don’t already have Charlotte’s Web, you’ll need that to go with this activity book, of course! Grab it at your local library or get it here to add to your shelf.

Ready for the giveaway? Sign up in the Rafflecopter below. I’ll draw two random winners on Monday, June 26.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Burning Barns, Talking Spiders, and Loving Literature With the Kids

I’ve loved the Charlotte’s Web classic book since I was a little girl. I wanted to get my own baby pig and find a cool spider in my own barn. (I also wanted a pet monkey, thanks to Curious George.)

As it turns out, I actually did have pigs, which turned out to be – something else. But we’ll stop there. I mean, should we even talk about what happened with our barn? (Really. It’s fine. I’m over it.)

And that's where the barn was...

Just last week my brother took his kids to the property where he and I grew up.
My sis-in-law later posted this pic to Facebook and tagged me with the caption,
“And that’s where the barn was…”
I can’t stop laughing at this.

(What? You don’t know my barn story? Go read this.)

Seeing as my pigs were not cute, nor did they talk, and the actual spiders in our barn (may it rest in peace) creeped me out – I lived vicariously through Fern, Wilbur, and Charlotte. Did you, too? Did you love this book?

Do you still love this book?!!

Ahhh, Charlotte’s Web

I have read this book to my kids several times through the years. Last summer, I picked it up again to read to Malachi. He saw the cover – with a girl and a pig on it – and he was like, “Meh. I don’t think I’m going to like this book.” I told him to give it a try with me and see if he didn’t change his mind. I’m pretty sure I had him hooked about three sentences in.

Main point of this post: Read with your kids, enjoy books with your kids, love experiencing life through books with your kids. But now back to Charlotte’s Web

wilbur and charlotte

We had so much fun reading this book together that it wasn’t long before we started creating projects. Then games. Then snacks. Then I thought of some learning activities he could do as we read. (There are some great vocab words in there. Malachi uses the greeting, “Salutations!” regularly now just because he loves the word, thank you, Charlotte.)

Activities and projects and games and “recipes” and crafts turned into 43-pages of family fun and learning. We decided to put it all together in a book and share it with you. This is THE BEST way to make learning fun.

Charlotte's Web coversm

Since creating this book was quite a labor intensive project – and turned into 43 pages worth of educational fun – I can’t give this to everyone for a $0.00 price-tag like I’ve been able to do with several of the learning packets I’ve created the past few months. (I’ve got more of those freebies in the works, by the way.) Instead, we came up with a better idea, in which you and I both win!

Peek Into Charlottes Web


Charlotte’s Web ~ Learning Through Literature

Charlotte's Web ~ Learning Through Literature
43 pages of learning activities, games, crafts, recipes, and fun! Use this eBook to encourage creativity and learning while you read Charlotte's Web with your family.
Price: $7.95

P.S. I’ve started getting requests for more learning packs like this Charlotte’s Web packet. I’d love hearing your literature suggestions! In the works so far: Boxcar Children; James and the Giant Peach; Indian in the Cupboard; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Your ideas?

Some Of Our Favorite Books

This post was originally posted in October, 2013. Our kids are older now but this list of books is still our favorite!

Books, books, the magical fruit. The more you read, the more you…

Oh wait. Wrong poem.  Sometimes I get confused. Although I’m sure if I threw that poem starter out to my boys, they’d be sure to finish it with something creative. And by creative, I mean gross.

I am excited to share that all four of our boys are now all independent readers. It was a little slow in coming for our youngest, who is now a 3rd grader. But late this summer, it all clicked for him. He now loves reading! Last week he said, “I can’t believe math used to be my favorite. Now reading is so much fun!”  Awesome – just what I love to hear. (Although you still have to do your math, Buddy.)


Our Family’s Favorite Books

Boxcar Children Books
These books were some of my favorites when I was little. (You know I had my very own boxcar, right? Okay, it wasn’t my very own.  I shared it with my cousins.)  All of our boys have loved the Boxcar Children books, and now I am reading them to Malachi (age 8). Elias (age 11) has already read most of these books, but sits in to listen when he can, because who can resist?


Ralph Moody Books

We read through most of the books in this series (as a family) a year ago, and now I’m having my two older boys read the last few on their own. What I love most about these books is that they show how important it is to be a hard worker, how much fun it can be to work together as a family, and how if you put your mind to it – you can always find a way to provide. I am so inspired by these books, and my boys love the adventure aspect they include.

Books by Clyde Robert Bulla

These are the first chapter books our boys have read. We have about eight of them on Malachi’s shelf this year – and he’s made his way through two of them already. I love that Clyde Robert Bulla keeps his vocabulary simple and easy to read – all while teaching history and making his books fun and intriguing.  When I pulled these books out for Malachi, all three of his brothers said, “Oh, he gets to read those this year? Malachi, you will love them.”  I love hearing the boys talk together about books they’ve all read.


Ramona the Pest Series

Malachi pulled his first Ramona book off the shelf this year, too. So far he’s loving it, just like his brothers did. I read this series several times when I was younger. It’s so much fun re-reading these books with my kids.


Christian Heroes Books

I can’t say enough good about all of the Christian Heroes: Then and Now books by Janet and Geoff Benge. We’ve actually decided to use about 15 of these books this year to go along with our History/Geography studies with Justus, Elias, and Malachi. What better way to study the culture and history of a country than to learn about missionaries who worked there? These books are so well written and inspiring!

I also have to share that as we reach the end of each book, Justus (age 13) likes to point out, “You know Mom, this is the chapter when the missionary dies and you cry.”  Pshaw.  Okay, fine. So I cry at the end of all of these (and the Ralph Moody Books, and just about every other book I read aloud to the boys). I can’t help it.


In addition to these sets of books, our three older boys are all reading lots of books from the Sonlight reading lists for their grade level. Asa (a junior in high school) is reading some Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, The Hiding Place (you MUST read this!), and quite a few others Sonlight recommends.

What books are you and your kids reading these days?  I know I’m not the only mom who cries at the end of a good book. Help me out here – do you get choked up when you’re reading books to your kids?


Our 2011-2012 School Year Schedule

If you’ve been reading here long, you know that I keep a very loose schedule during our school days. I like to have a general routine in place, but just about every day looks different depending on the needs of the moment.

For instance, this week our family is helping with our local Meals-on-Wheels. Matt’s been taking two boys with him each morning. We’re just rearranging the schedule a little bit to make this happen. We want our boys to understand that serving others comes first (and that they still have to get the school work done later!).

As is our tradition, we hit the store last week to purchase a few school supplies, then went out for lunch.
We’ve had this before-school tradition for at least seven years and we look forward to this treat every year!

Here, without any specific hour of the day assigned to each line item (because it truly is different each day), is what I’ve outlined for our routine this year. (Read the specifics about the curriculum we’ll be using here.)

1. I wake up first in our household. After beginning my morning with prayer and Bible reading, I use this quiet time to check email and do website work.   (one hour)

2. The boys wake up and spend time reading their Bibles while I fix breakfast. (20 minutes)

3. We eat breakfast together and during this time, I read the Bible and a devotional book to everyone. (We’re reading through the book of Matthew and More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell right now.)  We work together to clean up the kitchen. (one hour)

4. Asa, Justus and Elias begin working through their assigned school lessons – doing what they can do on their own (math, English, etc.). I work with Malachi on reading, phonics and math. (one hour)

5. I read History/Geography to Justus and Elias. Malachi does individual work (if possible) or plays legos. Asa continues to work on his own. (30 minutes)

6. Justus and Elias work together on their History/Geography projects (Eastern Hemisphere Explorer, adapted from Sonlight). I read History with Asa (mostly because I want to learn myself!). Malachi does puzzles or magnetics. (45 minutes)

Malachi had a great time working on these Three-Letter Words Puzzle Cards today.
I highly recommend them if you have a beginning reader. I think I got them at Walmart,
but linked them to Amazon if that’s easier for you, and so that you could see what I was talking about.

7. Matt does Spelling with Justus and Elias, then works with Asa on Science, Spelling and/or Spanish (depending on the day). Malachi is assigned to work in his Explode the Code books. I check email and take care of any pressing website work, then I work on fixing lunch. (one hour)

8. Lunchtime! Matt leads us through Bible memory work. While we eat, I read a read aloud. (I eat a little faster than my kids, by the way. That’s why I’m able to read while we have meals. Plus, this helps mealtime be a little more…calm.)  ;)

9. I read Science to Justus, Elias and Malachi, then they work on their Science Animal Project, with help from me as needed. Asa works on his own.  (30 minutes)

10. Justus and Elias have their reading time. Asa works on his own. I read to Malachi. (30 minutes)

11. Everyone finishes their assignments for the day and works together to put away books and tidy up the house. (however long this takes)

12. Downtime, Curious George time, trampoline time, mess the house back up time – for the boys. I try to get some writing done or answer emails. (2-3 hours)

13. Work together to make dinner, then eat together. We visit or read aloud while we eat.

14. Evening times look different every day depending on whether we have company, soccer games, Bible class or a free evening. Bedtime is therefore flexible, but always includes family prayer time and sometimes more reading aloud.

15. After the boys are tucked in, I do more website work while Matt gets any work done that he needs to do.

Here are all of my past home school posts if you’d like to read through them to learn more about how this works for us!

I’ll be sure to let you know if ever a day actually goes exactly according to schedule. Don’t get your hopes up.

Do you like to keep to a strict schedule each day, or do you hold a loose routine like we do?

What We’re Studying This Year (Unless You’re More Interested in Chocolate)

I realize that some of you won’t be interested in reading about our curriculum choices for this year, but since I continually receive emails from gals asking about what books we like to use in our home school, I’m going to go ahead and share our list. If looking at our book list isn’t exciting to you, perhaps you would like to take a look at our Death By Chocolate recipe? Or maybe many of you will be interested in both? Because chocolate and books – aren’t those just two of the finest creations on the planet?

Once I finally got all of our books organized, I decided to take a picture of our shelf. Enjoy it now – that shelf won’t look so organized after we start digging in. But we can pretend that it stays pretty like this. ;)

The top shelf is Asa’s (grade 9), the middle shelf belongs to Justus and Elias (grades 6 and 4) and the bottom shelf is Malachi’s (grade 1).

We’ve been schooling with Sonlight curriculum for all nine of our home schooling years – yes this begins our tenth! We love that Sonlight is literature based and that we are able to explore and learn without using textbooks. Instead, we read both fiction and non-fiction books as we work our way through History, Science, Geography and Bible. In addition, we choose what Sonlight recommends for Readers (kids reading on their own) as well as Read-Alouds (parents reading to the kids).

Here is a breakdown of our curriculum for this year:

Asa (grade 9)

Justus (grade 6) and Elias (grade 4)

Malachi (grade 1)

Next, I’ll share about our home school schedule for this year – stay tuned!

I’d love to know what your kids will be studying this year (whether you home school or not!). Also, I need to know which you like better:  Books or Chocolate?

I know, that is hardly a fair question. (And yes, your answer can be “chocolate with a side of books”).