Monday, July 22, 2019

My Homeschool World Exploration Reading List

Hi there! I hope you are all enjoying your summer and staying cool.

Today, I'm sharing my reading list for World Exploration. I based this list on books I currently own from Book Shark's Eastern Hemisphere, and then I added in a whole lot of other fun titles. This is my 6th grader's reading list for this year.

Please read more about how we will use Book Shark in a relaxed way this fall here.

My Homeschool Reading List for World Exploration

History and Non-Fiction Titles

Nelson Mandela: No Easy Walk to Freedom
Mother Teresa: A Photographic Story of a Life
Gandhi: Young Nation Builder
52 Days by Camel: My Sahara Adventure
The Travel Book: Mind-Blowing Stuff on Every Country in the World
Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions
Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forests of New Guinea
My Awesome Japan Adventure
Moonbeams, Dumplings, and Dragon Boats
You Wouldn't Want to Work on the Great Wall of China
Not for Parents Africa: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know
Kids Around the World Cook
Wow Canada!: Exploring This Land From Coast to Coast to Coast
Buried Alive: How 33 Miners Survived 69 Days Deep Under the Chilean Desert
Where are the Galapagos Islands?
It's Disgusting and We Ate it! True Food Facts From Around the World and Throughout History
Where is the Taj Mahal?
What Color is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women
Countries Around the World: Australia


Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade
A Long Walk to Water
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
Daughter of the Mountains
Call it Courage
Li Lun, Lad of Courage
The Kite Fighters
The Big Wave
Journey to the River Sea
Navigating Early
Crow Country
The Year of the Dog
Sweet and Sour: Tales From China
Out of Many Waters
Escape from Saigon
When My Name Was Keoko
Facing the Lion
The Cat With the Yellow Star
The Master Puppeteer
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons
Born in the Year of Courage
Breaking Stalin's Nose
Henry Reed, Inc.
Just So Stories
Rickshaw Girl
Around the World in 80 Days
King of the Wind
Red Sand, Blue Sky
Water Sky
Beat the Story-Drum: Pum-Pum

This list is long, but it is very much intended to be a list to choose from, not an exhaustive list to cover. My kiddo is also a voracious reader, and last year I ran out of books for her! So this year, I set out to plan a bit heavier.

Want to see my other reading lists for this year?

I have:


High School American History
Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

My Homeschool High School 20th Century World History and Literature List

Today I'm sharing my homeschool reading list for 20th Century World History. My 11th grader will choose books from this list this year. 

You can read more about how I plan to use this reading list in our homeschool at this post.

My Homeschool Reading List for 20th Century World History and Literature


A Cartoon History of the Modern World (Volumes 1 & 2)
Albert Einstein and His Theory of Relativity


White Fang

You can also check out my reading list for high school American history here

Sunday, July 14, 2019

My Homeschool High School American History and Literature Reading List

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer! Fellow homeschoolers, today I'm sharing my homeschool reading list for American History. My 9th grader will be choosing from this booklist this year.

You can read more about how I plan to use this reading list in our homeschool at this post—hint, it does NOT involve reading every single one of these books! (Although, I have high hopes that we'll get to many of them.)

My Homeschool Reading List for American History and Literature (9th grade)


The History of US series by Joy Hakim
The Cartoon History of the United States
Lewis & Clark (A graphic novel)

Rip Van Winkle (and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)
The Cay

I already own many of these books, but several of them are on my wishlist to purchase. We have a couple of good used book sales coming up and I have my fingers crossed that I'll find some of these titles! If you have any favorites I didn't include, please do let me know!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Combining Book Shark and Brave Writer Boomerangs/Arrows

Last time, I shared our curriculum picks for the upcoming 2019-2020 homeschool year. Summer is in full swing, but I'm already planning for next year. (Planning may be one of my favorite parts of homeschooling!)

In that post, I mentioned that we would continue using Book Shark this coming school year, but that we'd be switching things up a bit. We have used Book Shark (and before that Sonlight) for years. I love it. I love the plans all laid out for me. I love checking the boxes. And most of all, I love reading all the books.

But this year I wanted to try something different and make more of an effort to streamline our read-aloud time. I spend a lot of time reading aloud, and I wouldn't have it any other way. But I also know my limits. We are getting into heavy high school math and more organized science, and these things take up a lot of time. My kids are heavy into sports. I started working from home last fall and will need even more time for that this fall. In short, I need to maximize the read-aloud I have!

Books we read last year for Book Shark World History Part 2

I also want to get more into discussing books with my kids—talking about the writing (not just the content) and playing around with the titles a bit more. And it's just nice to explore and try something new from time to time. That's where Brave Writer comes in.

This year, I got subscriptions to the Boomerang for my older two homeschoolers and a subscription to the  Arrow for my youngest. I am super excited to dive in come September. But I didn't want to just add these plans on top of an already full year of Book Shark, so I needed a simple plan to accommodate both.

Basically, my plan is to:

  • Explore the Boomerang/Arrow selection of the month—with this program we'll read, discuss, and explore one title per month. Both include literary analysis, copywork and dictation, discussion ideas, and ideas for book club parties (how fun is that!?). 
And then we will:
  • Use Book Shark as independent reading—but not in a scheduled way. What I did is to go through each Book Shark (or in the case of my 11th grader, Sonlight) Core and pick and choose from the titles. I left out some books—though really, not very many. And I added in a few others that looked good to create a list of fabulous titles to choose from. Choose from, not complete!

My plan is to take each booklist and fill up a milk crate of titles for each child. (And I'll post my lists to the blog soon!)

Books we read last year for Book Shark History of Science (with some additions)

Each day, I plan to have a set time for everyone (including me!) to just read quietly. Remember silent reading in school? It was my favorite part of the day. 💗

I'm planning for perhaps 30 minutes or so after lunch, to start, and maybe longer if all goes well.  During that time, they can pick whatever they want from their crate to read—whatever piques their interest and looks good. They can read one book at a time or have several going at once. Anything goes.

There are several titles from their lists that I want to read, so I'll be joining in too! We'll also likely read some books together in the evenings, since we've done that since forever. Then, I'll either use Book Shark's provided questions from my Instructor Guide to talk about what they read— or just make a point to discuss what they are reading a couple of times a week.

I think this will make several things easier:
  • I won't feel pressure to get to each book. 
  • But everyone can still read books within "their" time period. One thing I love about Book Shark/Sonlight is how well my kids know history from spending a year in one time period or area of the world. 
  • No need to worry about what chapters to read— we'll just have our set amount of time to read and relax each day. 
  • It will give me a built-in time to read during the day!
  • It will save time. Instead of doing two separate Book Shark read-alouds for my high schoolers in different levels, I'll just do one Boomerang read-aloud for us to discuss together. 
  • The kids can read what they are interested in. I have always told my kiddos that they are free to drop a book they don't like, even if it's "on the list." But that's not quite the same as choosing your own book from a pile of titles. I think this will make reading even more fun and give them a chance to try things, reject things, and choose what they feel like on a given day. 

If they run out of things they are interested in from the booklists, I plan to help them search out more titles that interest them. And I am going to try to resist the urge to have everyone finish their crate—that's not the point! (At the same time, I have found that those "less interesting" books make excellent books to read aloud before bed—and they often end up being sneak favorites.)

Do you use Book Shark or Sonlight in a free reading manner? I'd love to hear about your experience!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2019-2020

I've been squeezing in as much time as possible lately planning out our next year of homeschool. I adore planning, researching curriculum, and ordering shiny new books, so this is absolutely no hardship!

As my kids grow, I find I need to purchase less and less—but I do still have some fun boxes showing up at the door and we have some new things we're trying this year. I plan to linger over summer as long as possible, but I'm also starting to get excited about our upcoming school year.

Today, I'm sharing our curriculum picks for the 2019-2020 homeschool year!

This year, I have three homeschooling—my boys are 11th and 9th graders, and my youngest daughter will be entering sixth grade. My oldest daughter is officially graduated and will continue on at a local community college, where she started full-time as a dual-enrollment student this past year.

I hope to share reviews about as many of these programs as possible. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a comment!

I also regularly share what we're doing and reading on Instagram, where you can follow me @onehomeschoolingmama.

Okay, on to the picks!

Our 2019-2020 Homeschool Picks for 11th, 9th, and 6th grades

Logic and Critical Thinking

My 6th grader will use:

My 11th and 9th graders will use:

Everyone will play around with:


My 6th grader will use:

My 9th grader will use:
My 11th grader will use:


My 6th grader will use:
(While we are not a Christian family, we used Apologia's Swimming Creatures last year because she wanted a marine biology program and it was the one full curriculum I could find. She loved it, and we found the religious aspects easy enough to modify/skip.)

My 9th and 11th graders will use:

History and Literature

My 6th grader will use:

  • A selection of books from BookShark's Eastern Hemisphere
  • The Arrow from Bravewriter — we dabbled in these a bit last year, but this year I signed us up for the whole year and I can't wait to get started!

My 9th grader will use:

My 11th grader will use:

My 9th and 11th graders will also use:

  • The Boomerang from Brave Writer. This will be our first time trying it, and I'm looking forward to some great conversation!

(Note: While we have consistently used BookShark/Sonlight for several years, this year I am mixing things up a bit— taking out some books, adding in others, and using the books in a more "free choice" manner. More on that in a future post!)

Language Arts

My 6th grader will use:

My 9th and 11th graders will use:

My 6th grader will use:

My 9th and 11th graders will use:

Everyone will dabble in:

All plans are subject to change, but this is my starting point at least! In the coming weeks, I'll share our booklists for history and literature, plus plans for our laid-back Shakespeare study.

Thanks so much for stopping by!