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The Best Homeschool Tools for a Literature-Based Curriculum

The very best tools for your homeschool that will get you started and keep you going all year with a literature-based curriculumThe days are getting shorter, duckies, and the air is starting to smell of apples, pears, and the end of summer.

For us homeschooling mamas, that means a couple of things: 1) We can peacefully go on field trips again and 2) we’re thinking about getting started back to school.

Here at the Brison house, we use a literature-based curriculum every year, and the upcoming year will be no different. I’m just trying to figure out how to fit The Diary of Anne Frank, The Devil’s Arithmetic, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, and Number the Stars into one semester of chapter-a-day read-alouds.

But if summer homeschool was any indication, we might be studying World War II for longer than that. Which is okay, because we’re homeschoolers. We can study our subjects for as long as we want to.
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Story Time: Uncle Rocky-Sparky Protects

Fireman activities include language printable, Mentos and Cola science experiment, Fire engine craft, and double chocolate chip cookies to go with the picture book Uncle Rocky: Sparky Protects

I love Uncle Rocky books, and Sparky Protects is no exception. I’ve said it many times, but James Brewster’s amazing picture books about everyday heroes are perfect for kiddos who dream of crime-fighting, firefighting, and saving lives.

We’ve met Sparky before when Uncle Rocky rescued him to be a firehouse dog. In Sparky Protects, we get to see Sparky in action and find out if he has what it takes to be a fire dog.

With plenty of action and detailed descriptions, Sparky Protects will have your kids cheering for firefighters and appreciating the work a fire dog does.

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Dinner and a Movie: Harriet the Spy

Dinner and a Movie is a fun family night with Harriet the Spy. Get recipes for Roasted Tomato Soup, Patty Melt Sandwiches, and Divine Chocolate Cake

Harriet the Spy is one of those stories that reminds you exactly what middle school was like.  You laugh, you cringe, you remember the friendships, you remember friends turning on each other…

Like I said, you cringe.

But it’s also a feel-good movie that your kids will love and since it was released in 1996, there’s a good chance they haven’t seen it.

They totally should.

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To Kill a Mockingbird Activities for Learning

Learn about prejudice and why it's wrong with Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books I’ve probably read 10 times. I love everything about the story, from Scout’s childhood to the trial to Atticus as a father and a lawyer to the mystery of Boo Radley. I love the message inherent in the story. I love the history in its words. I love that my boys enjoyed reading it as much as I do. And as I read back through it to create these activities for your kiddos, I cried more times than I can tell you–for the sweetness of childhood, good parenting, and basic human rights.

You really can’t ask more from a single book.

There’s a lot to digest in roughly 280 pages, though, and some grownup stuff that your kids might need help understanding or dealing with. Scout and Jem’s childhood antics, their fascination with the local recluse, Boo Radley, and the trial that shakes their small southern town (defended by their own father), can be pretty heavy stuff.  But there is such an incredible array of very real characters in the novel, so many opportunities to laugh, and maybe even more opportunities to study ourselves and human nature, that this one is a can’t-miss.

So, assign To Kill a Mockingbird for personal reading if you want to, but if you read it aloud together, you get to relive the story, too. Or (and what is wrong with you?!) for the first time.

I’m kidding.  There’s nothing wrong with you. You just seriously need to read this book.

You want your kids to glean as much from this story as possible. There’s a lot of history, sociology, and human wickedness and kindness in the novel. So let’s get your kiddos reading To Kill a Mockingbird like pros. Because we want them to get it.

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