Friday, July 31

The Library

Every homeschooling family I know what ever the flavor or philosophy loves the library and we are no exception. I had not realized quite how much until I was forced to do without.

We are currently on an extended visit with my mother. We did the same thing last summer and therefore were somewhat prepared. This summer is different. My mom's library is closed while they move to their new expanded, magnificent facility. Great for the town, great for the library, not so great for us.

We have been here 4 weeks already and may be here two more. Six weeks with no new books is beyond comprehension for Froggy. We made a trip to a local used bookstore and picked her up some books to tide her through till we get home.

As for myself, I am so used to pulling up the library page and requesting a book I find interesting while surfing so it is ready for us on our next trip. I cannot do that right now since it will be so long before we can pick them up. I am keeping a running list of books to request when we get back. The list will take a few weeks to process since you can only request 10 books at a time. See I really do rely on my library for so so much.

Wednesday, July 29

WFMW - Swim Lessons

This summer marks a turning point for Froggy. She is now swimming totally on her own. She swam all the way across the pool ( a standard pool width not an Olympic size pool or anything) totally unassisted without touching. She was very proud of herself.

How did we get here? We started swim lessons when she was very young and go swimming as a family on a regular basis showing her that her parents swim and value swimming. While we tried a few different sources for swim classes, we settled on SwimKids because of the quality of training the instructors receive as well as the consistency of the program between coaches.

Learning to swim is an important life skill I believe all people should master. it is one of the few life skills Jewish parents are required to provide according to Biblical guidelines. Not everyone needs to be able to swim competitively but everyone should be able to be safe in the water. Could you or your child get yourself to the side if you fell into water deeper than you could stand? If the answer is yes then that is good enough in my oh so humble opinion.

In addition to teaching how to be safe in the water, good swimming instruction includes how to safely enter the water, ie how to judge when it is ok to jump in and when it is ok to dive. It also includes clear guidelines as to when it is safe to swim, (get out at the first sound of thunder, never swim alone, etc)

Check out what works for other at We Are That Family.

Saturday, July 25

Book Lists

Two different public library systems put out "100 Books Your Child Should Hear before Kindergarten" lists here and here. While there are many books on both lists, there are also some differences. There is no documentation I was able to find regarding how the lists were composed for either library. Still we are always looking for recommendations for good books and chances are these are good books.

That being the case I went through and compiled both lists into one, removing duplications. I ended up with 164 books which means that while there were some duplications, there were lots of differences as well. Many of the ones that were duplications were also the obvious ones that we have already read.

I think I like the list from Tacoma Public Library better simply because more of the books we have not read looked interesting. As well there were fewer on that list that we had read and not liked.

There are a few on the combined list that we read so long ago when Froggy was just a teeny tiny baby that after being reminded of them I want to share again with her. I was surprised at how few in total we had read given how many books we read.

I am not sure we are going to read all of these but it gives us lots of room to explore new books.

Here is the list. I have italicized the ones we have already read. I have marked in bold the ones that are on our library request for the next trip. I will try to update with reviews as we read through them.

Each Peach Pear Plum - This is a cute I-Spy book about Nursery Rhyme characters. It was fun finding the items but twice through and we are done.

Alborough Where's My Teddy?

Alborough, Jez. Hug

Bang Ten, Nine, Eight - A counting book. Sweet. Good quality. We might have enjoyed it much more if we had found it a couple of years ago.

Barrett, Judi. Animals should definitely not wear clothing

Barton The Little Red Hen

Barton The Three Bears

Barton, Byron. My car

Beaumont, Karen. I ain't gonna paint no more!

Bemelmans, Ludwig, 1898-1962. Madeline

Bloom, Suzanne, 1950- A splendid friend, indeed

Bornstein Little Gorilla - I found no redeeming value in this book but Froggy loves it beyond comprehension. We have read it many many times.

Brown, Margaret Wise, 1910-1952. Goodnight moon

Brunhoff, Jean de, 1899-1937. The story of Babar, the little elephant

Burningham, John. Mr. Gumpy's outing.

Burton The Little House - Real Quality - It is the story of growth and change from the house's perspective. Like all of Burton's books it has a moral which prompts discussion but is not so overwhelming that the child resists.

Burton, Virginia Lee, 1909-1968. Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel - Froggy fell in love with this on the first reading. It ended up being one of our more successful FIAR books.

Butler, John, 1952- Whose baby am I?

Cannon, Janell, 1957- Stellaluna

Carle, Eric. The very hungry caterpillar

Chen, Zhiyuan, 1975- Guji Guji

Chodos-Irvine, Margaret. Ella Sarah gets dressed

Cooke, Trish. Full, full, full of love

Cowell, Cressida. What shall we do with the boo-hoo baby?

Crews, Donald. Freight train

Cronin, Doreen. Click, clack, moo : cows that type

Daly Happy Birthday, Jamela!

De Paola Strega Nona : An Original Tale

Degen Jamberry

Demi The Empty Pot

Dillon Rap a Tap Tap : Here's Bojangles-Think of That!

Dorros, Arthur. Abuela

Dunrea, Olivier. Gossie and Gertie

Eastman Go, Dog, Go!

Eastman, P. D. (Philip D.) Are you my mother?

Eclare A Handful of Sunshine : Growing a Sunflower

Ehlert Growing Vegetable Soup

Elya, Susan Middleton, 1955- Bebé goes shopping

Emberley, Ed. Go away, big green monster!

Everitt Mean Soup

Falconer, Ian. Olivia

Feiffer, Jules. Bark, George

Flack Ask Mr. Bear

Fleming The Everything Book

Fleming, Denise, 1950- Lunch

Fleming, Denise, 1950- The cow who clucked - Funny and cute

Fox, Mem, 1946- Time for bed

Freeman, Don. Corduroy

Gag Millions of Cats

Gág, Wanda, 1893-1946. Millions of cats

Galdone The Three Little Pigs

Goose Mother Sylvia Long's Mother Goose

Grimes, Nikki. Welcome, Precious

Guarino, Deborah. Is your mama a llama?

Hamanaka, Sheila. All the colors of the Earth

Henderson, Kathy, 1949- Look at you! : a baby body book

Henkes, Kevin. Lilly's purple plastic purse

Hill, Eric. Where's Spot?

Hindley, Judy. Does a cow say boo?

Hoban Bedtime for Frances

Hoban Is it red? Is It Yellow? Is It Blue? : An Adventure In Color

Hoban, Russell. Bread and jam for Frances

Hobbie, Holly. Toot and Puddle

Hoffman, Mary, 1945- Amazing Grace

Holabird, Katharine. Angelina ballerina

Hutchins You'll Soon Grow Into Them, Titch

Hutchins, Pat, 1942- Rosie's walk.

Isadora, Rachel. Peekaboo morning

Jenkins Biggest, Strongest, Fastest

Jenkins, Steve, 1952- What do you do with a tail like this?

Johnson, Crockett, 1906- Harold and the purple crayon

Joosse Mama, Do You Love Me?

Juster, Norton, 1929- The hello, goodbye window

Kasza The Wolf's Chicken Stew

Katz, Karen. Counting kisses

Keats, Ezra Jack. The snowy day.

Kent The Caterpillar and the Polliwog

Kimmel I Took My Frog to the Library

Kimmel, Eric A. Anansi and the moss-covered rock

Kraus Leo the Late Bloomer

Krauss, Ruth. The carrot seed

Langstaff, John M. Over in the meadow

Lewis, Rose A. I love you like crazy cakes

Lin, Grace. Dim sum for everyone!

Lionni Swimmy

Lobel Frog and Toad All Year

Lobel, Arnold. Frog and toad are friends.

London Froggy Gets Dressed

London, Jonathan, 1947- A truck goes rattley-bumpa

MacDonald Mabela the Clever

Marshall George and Martha

Martin, Bill, 1916- Brown bear, Brown bear, what do you see?

Martin, Bill, 1916- Chicka chicka boom boom

Mayo, Margaret. Dig dig digging

McBratney, Sam. Guess how much I love you Sweet and sad. I cried and cried. Reading as my mother was spending her last days did not help.

McCloskey, Robert, 1914- Make way for ducklings

McDermott Raven : a Trickster Tale From the Pacific Northwest

McDermott, Gerald. Raven : a trickster tale from the Pacific Northwest McKissack, Pat, 1944- Goin' someplace special

McFarland Widget

McGovern Too Much Noise

McMillan Growing Colors

McMullan I stink! - We live this book and come back to read it over and over again.

Meddaugh, Susan. Martha speaks

Numeroff, Laura Joffe. If you give a mouse a cookie

Opie, Iona My very first Mother Goose

Orozco Diez deditos / Ten Little Fingers

Park Bee-Bim Bop!

Parr Do's and Don'ts

Peet Kermit the Hermit

Pfister, Marcus. The rainbow fish

Piper The Little Engine that Could

Portis, Antoinette. Not a box

Potter, Beatrix, 1866-1943. The tale of Peter Rabbit.

Rappaport, Doreen. Martin's big words : the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rathmann, Peggy. Good night, Gorilla

Rex, Michael. Truck Duck

Rey, H. A. (Hans Augusto), 1898- Curious George

Riley Mouse Mess

Rockwell The Toolbox

Rosen, Michael, 1946- We're going on a bear hunt

Rylant Dog Heaven

Say, Allen. Grandfather's journey

Scarry Best First Book Ever - Froggy loves all the Richard Scarry books. I find them cluttered and do not like them near as well.

Scieszka, Jon. The true story of the 3 little pigs

Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. Dog and Bear : two friends, three stories

Sendak, Maurice. Where the wild things are

Seuss, Dr., Cat in the hat

Shahan Spicy Hot Colors = Colores Picantes

Shannon No, David!

Shannon Lizard's Song

Shannon, David, 1959- Duck on a bike

Shaw, Charles Green, 1892- It looked like spilt milk.

Sherry I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

Sierra, Judy. Wild about books

Silverstein, Shel. The giving tree

Simmons, Jane. Daisy and the Beastie

Slobodkina, Esphyr, 1908- Caps for sale; a tale of a peddler, some monkeys

Steig, William, 1907- Sylvester and the magic pebble.

Stoeke A Hat for Minerva Louise

Swanson The House in the Night

Taback, Simms. There was an old lady who swallowed a fly

Tafuri, Nancy. Five little chicks

Titherington Pumpkin, Pumpkin

Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

Waber, Bernard. Lyle, Lyle, crocodile.

Waddell Owl Babies

Waddell, Martin. Farmer duck

Walsh, Ellen Stoll. Mouse paint

Watt, Melanie, 1975- Scaredy squirrel

Wellington Mr. Cookie Baker

Wells Yoko

Wells, Rosemary. Noisy Nora

Willems Knuffle Bunny : a Cautionary Tale

Willems, Mo. Your pal Mo Willems presents Leonardo the terrible monster

Williams I Went Walking

Wilson Bear Snores On

Wilson, Karma. Bear wants more

Wood, Audrey. The napping house

Yolen, Jane. How do Dinosaurs say good night?

Young, Ed. Seven blind mice

Zion, Gene. Harry, the dirty dog

Science and History

Reading, writing and arithmetic are easy at our house. They are such an every day part of our lives that Froggy is learning all she needs to and more without any great effort on our part.

Science and History are not so easy. I love science and love sharing it with Froggy. She knows lots of neat things, things I know I did not know at her age. Some of her favorite books are the Magic School Bus series. We talk about everything we see and do and explore. Yet there is no rhyme or reason to our explorations. The scientist part of my brain says how do you know that you are providing the full spectrum of desired information if you have no plan while the unschooler part of my brain says the best way to learn is living and following your interests and fooy on plans and checklists.

I think as far as science goes I may eventually have to make a list of things I want her to know / experience by X time and then just check them off as we reach them in our own unschooly fashion.

History is an even bigger mess. I hate history and see essentially no point in learning it as a formal subject. My feelings on the subject are you can't help but absorb some by living and thats all you will ever need. Clearly most people disagree with that. Luckily we live near DC and there are tons of fun living ways to explore history that happen without teaching. As well, my husband is a big history enthusiast and believes it is very important. So while I know that is the area Froggy is being exposed to the least, I also know despite my own prejudices Froggy will eventually get enough to hold her own in an educated society.

I will say that Geography is different. I feel Geography is very important and we spend lots of time learning Geography at the slightest opportunity. We have to huge maps up in our family room, one of the US and a Decater map of the world. We show famiy and friends travels on the map plus all the neat places we visit though books.

Wednesday, July 8


We are taking a hiatus from schooling. I will also be taking a hiatus from blogging. My mom is very ill. The whole family is with her. My mom and family are all I can think about right now. I will come back here when life is just a bit more manageable.