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Story Time: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

You didn’t think we were going to get through Christmas without a Grinch Story Time, did you?  If you did, you don’t know me very well.

Story Time: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Grinch is my favorite Christmas story.  Why?  Because the Grinch is a naughty guy, but he isn’t evil as might be supposed.  I love the idea of turning the bad guy into a marshmallow, and if you had known my beautiful husband when we first met, you would know I excel at it.  I learned it from the Whos of Who-ville.  The secret is to just keep being good and joyful and let that stuff rub off on the bad guy.  Next thing he knows, he’s been married for 13 years, lives for his family, and would give his neighbor the shirt off his back.  His heart grows three sizes before his brain can catch up.  Yeah, I know, it doesn’t work Every Time.  But when it does work, it’s a beautiful thing.  So it is with the Grinch.

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The Joys of Guided Reading

You’ve probably noticed that I talk about reading and/or literature in almost all of my posts. I probably always will. I’m one of those crazy librarians who can’t think of a better way to learn about the world than to read a good story. (But if you’ve read more than one post here, you already know that.)

May I have your attention, please?

May I have your attention, please?

The Littles and I share a love of both reading and learning.  We look forward to our school sessions and during breaks we genuinely miss school.  Sometimes we pick a book to read together just for the sheer fun of it, even when school is not in session.  Now let me explain our favorite class: Guided Reading. When I say guided reading, I mean reading aloud together, going over vocabulary from the book, answering questions out of study guides I create for each book, and doing some sort of hands-on activity that helps us keep that day’s chapter in our minds. For me, it’s the most important class we do. For one thing, look at the English language practice we get. Vocabulary, reading comprehension, the chance to discuss grammatical twists and turns, and practice understanding how the language works. The boys take turns reading every other page, and we usually do a chapter a day. If they have questions, we can all stop for the answers before moving on. There’s no confusion or passing over a chance for knowledge because their psyches can’t assimilate the lesson. This helps tremendously when we read books from other centuries like Robinson Crusoe or Oliver Twist (you knew I was going to throw Dickens in there, didn’t you?). Then when we’re done we answer both ‘what happened’ questions and critical thinking questions, because there’s no point in reading a book about the plight of the poor if they don’t know what a plight is or don’t understand just how devastating poverty was in Dickens’ time and is today. Sometimes these books give us the opportunity to explore current events. For instance, has the poverty problem been solved in our world?  And what can we do to help?

Beyond the English language practice, the activities we do might be an art project or a science experiment or anything in between. It’s an opportunity to learn more than just history and language. We can incorporate any subject into these activities, even geography and math. And it’s fun! Guided reading is our very favorite time of the school day.


Right now we’re reading Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright.  If you’ve never heard of this gem, let me tell you, it is quickly becoming one of my favorite chapter books for children.  You know how some authors plant you in that slow, lazy childhood summer place so deeply you feel it wrap you up and spirit you away?  This book has the stuff.  It was first published in 1957, so it has that innocence about it that only mid-20th century children’s books have.  To be honest, the reason I chose it for guided reading right now is I’ve been pushing this book at those boys for a couple of years, practically begging them to read it on their own or for book reports, and they kept passing it over for ‘more exciting’ stories.  I was so afraid they were going to miss out on this beautiful, amazing  story because it didn’t have zombies or Greek gods in it.  Solution?  Make it a class.

And you know what?  They Love This Book.  We’ve laughed together over how much they like it after all that stubborn refusal to read it.  And hopefully I’ve convinced them to try a new genre.  Hopefully, as they grow, they will be like me and want to know All The Stories in the world, regardless of genre or age level.  Well, maybe not, since it’s impossible to achieve and it leaves you with this wistful longing to be reading even when you’re having the time of your life.  And wondering every time you pass a house, a field, or another person, what the story is there if you can find it in a book.  Hmm.

Nah, let them be wistful.  So long as they are readers.

Guided reading is an amazing way to dig in deep with your littles, introduce them to books they may not otherwise read, and supplement your learning experience with a lot of fun.  There are novel studies and lesson plans all over the interweb and soon I’ll be opening my own shop to offer you some affordable novel studies so you don’t have to do the work all by yourself!  Pick a book, find some questions and activities to go along with it, and guide your littles through the glorious pages.  And check back here in a few weeks.  I should have several Lit Looking Glass Novel Studies up and ready for you.

Shamelessly plugging.

Love wins,



It’s Hallo-Week! Free Resources for Homeschool

brokeback ktSo, I am seriously laying on my couch right now with a heating pad under my lower back, typing to you, my lovely readers, because even when I am down, I have a responsibility to you.  See, a few years back, I got this brilliant idea to move a birdbath from one part of the yard to the other.  A concrete birdbath.  Now, I had purchased this birdbath on my own, transported it home on my own, set it in its original spot on my own.  Yeah, it’s heavy, but I’m a pretty strong person, and I know how to lift correctly.  Except, on this particular day, my scatterbrain was off in La La Land.  I had recently started working at the library, and I had been working on my latest novel, Frog’s Princess, that morning, and my brain was infused with daydreams about how wonderful life is.  It was not considering that whole ‘lift with your legs’ thing.  When I went to move the bottom of the birdbath, it felt like someone pulled my spine in two.  I had never had problems with my back, and this truly astonished me.  I Did Not Believe I could be truly hurt.  So I had to lay in the yard writhing in pain for a while.  So putting pressure on my legs made it feel like that person was still dangling from my lower half, continuing to finish the job.  Hurt schmurt.  I could walk if I stayed bent at a certain angle.  And I did.  I even went to work that day.  And worked my whole shift.

What a maroon, as Bugs would say.

I’ve had periodic back pain ever since.  Usually not of the crippling variety.  Now, I can’t tell you what I did this weekend to cause the crippling pain I’m having now.  Nothing that I am aware of.  Even so, my back has decided it does not want to support me right now, and nothing I do seems to be changing its mind.  Weak.  Lame.  This sucks.

But enough about me!. It’s Hallo-Week!  The best week of the year.  And you may be wondering where to turn for free resources to present to your little homeschoolers.  Well, I have them.  Some of these you will find on my Pinterest Board, Halloween Awesomeness, so if you follow me on Pinterest, I apologize for doubling up.  But you know by now how much I Love Halloween, and in school this week we are reading ghost stories from China and Japan (which ties in to geography rather beautifully, if I do say so myself).  The rest of the week is All Halloween for us.  To get us pumped about our Halloween Party on Saturday.  And to pretend Halloween lasts longer than just one evening.  Because it rocks.  (And because yes, I can teach from the couch in a prone position.  Poor Littles.  They were hoping for a sick day. lol)  All of the following resources are free.


We skip out on our Saxon math books this week to do fun Halloween math.  This post isn’t about My Worksheets, it’s about other awesome blogs and their worksheets.  So here are some links.

Wtiches’ Brew Halloween Math Activity witches' brew

This worksheet is awesome.  It’s a witches’ brew recipe that your child has to multiply by different numbers to make it serve more people.  FUN!!!!

Math Drills has a bunch of Halloween Math Worksheets including skip counting, ordering numbers, patterns, and geometry.

Kidzone has worksheets separated by grade,  kidzone including this awesome graphing workseet.

TLS Books has both math and language arts worksheets with a Halloween theme including count and color sheets like this one. halloweencountandcolor3


Classroom Jr. has worksheets for 3rd through 5th grade, like this cool one with bats. batty for math

(Whew.  Ever tried to type while flat on your back with a laptop on your stomach?  This Is Hard! haha)


TLS Books has both math and language arts worksheets with a Halloween theme (did I say that already?) including alphabetizing Halloween words. alphabetizing Halloween

St. Aiden’s Homeschool offers this very cool Missing Punctuation worksheet about the Salem Witch Trials.  missing punctuation Salem

I fell completely in love with this free download for journaling and more from Thistle DewOctoberYou have to scroll down quite a bit to get to it, but it’s worth it.  And it looks like Kim has one for every month, so I will be returning to her blog frequently and with much pleasure.

Squarehead Teachers has a couple of Halloween Parts of Speech worksheets along with some other fun activities.

If you’re littles are studying French, check out the French Halloween Lapbook at Here’s an Idea (the printables are not free, but the ideas are).  And a Free Halloween Bingo game from the same sweet lady.   If Spanish is the language they’re learning, there’s a selection of Spanish Halloween worksheets at ABC and  123 and a cool skeleton parts worksheet from SpanglishBaby, apparently now defunct or moved, but you can save the image on Growing Up Bilingual and it still prints out just fine.  Just right click on the picture, select Save Image As… and save it to your computer.  Then you can print it out.spanish skeleton

Technically, I guess you could do that here on my blog, too.  However you want to do it. 🙂


Creekside Learning has a post containing 25 Halloween Science experiments Halloween-Science-Experiments, which should make everyone happy.

Three Boys and a Dog has a week-long skeleton unit that we will definitely be enjoying this week.

Frugal Fun for boys has directions for this Awesome Candy Corn Catapult that the Littles can’t wait to build. candy corn catapult

How about a Free Unit on Vampire Bats from Educating Everyone 4 Life?  I know. Awesome.  You can compliment it with this Free Bat Unit Study from Royal Baloo.

These science projects from Fantastic Fun and Learning have the fizzies if your littles like them. fizzy science


Here’s an interesting History of Witches and Their Broomsticks from Made.In.Transylvania that even has directions for making your own broomstick.

There’s also an intriguing article about Forensics in History related to the Salem Witch Trials that Littlest will particularly enjoy.  Plus, since we’re studying forensics in science right now, it is Perfect!  Grab this free Salem Witch Trials Lapbook from Beautifully Bohemian to go with it.  salem-witch-house-750x400

Hub Pages has a good article about the history of Halloween.  There are also a Close Read History of Halloween from Panicked Teacher and a What Is Halloween/ Printable from BusyTeacher.  Click on ‘request the worksheet’ to download 9 pages of different types of lessons. There are other free printables on BusyTeacher, too, so browse around.

Arts and Crafts

Crushing hard on these Ghost Rubbings from It’s About Time, Teachers.ghost rubbing last

Free Teacher Worksheets has a bunch of cool printables for cutting and pasting practice, like this Dracula page. dracula

Buggy and Buddy has directions for these gorgeous Blow Art Halloween Trees that Everyone should try.halloween tree

O…M…G… Lit Mama herself can’t wait to do this Spider Web Art from Learn with Play at Home. web art

Who doesn’t crush hard on Cindy’s The Art Curator for Kids site?  If you don’t, it’s because you’ve not yet been there.  She has created this gem–ghost stories of china and japan–100 Ghost stories of China and Japan, which has art lessons, language lessons, and cultural lessons.  We are definitely grateful for it this week.


Just a couple things here, because they’re fun and cooking is a good way to practice math and how to take care of yourself when you’re a grown up.

The recipe for these Easy-Peasy Chocolate Crescent Witch Hats is available on Pillsbury’s site. crescent witch hats

Yummy Mummy Truffles? Yes, please!  Get the recipe at Mod Podge Rocks.  yummy mummies

Marshmallow pops kids can make themselves are over at Better Homes and Gardens.  Too stinkin’ cute.  marshmallow pops

All right, lovelies.  I’ve given you a portion of the stuff I’ve found to make this Hallow-Week fun and memorable for your littles.  The rest is entirely up to you.  I’m going to get this laptop off of my belly now.

Love wins,


P.S.  I just know you’re forgiving me any type-o’s.  Due to the circumstances. 😉