Monday, November 12, 2018

Growing a Homeschool Mom

Last time I posted, I mentioned that I am a part of a Mother's Culture club. I really love this time with these other moms! I'll be honest with you and tell you last week I thought about throwing in the towel and stop homeschooling. I am so thankful for my friends who listened to me and then encouraged me.  It felt good to vent and not be told, "just send them to school". Even if you aren't a homeschool mom it is such a reminder of the importance of good friendships.

Ok, so back to the point of my post! I realized I mentioned my group, but failed to mention any of the books we've read. Here are the books we've read together and had some great conversations about.


As the popularity of William Bennett's Book of Virtues attests, parents are turning more and more to children's literature to help instill values in their kids. Now, in this elegantly written and passionate book, Vigen Guroian provides the perfect complement to books such as Bennett's, offering parents and teachers a much-needed roadmap to some of our finest children's stories.

Guroian illuminates the complex ways in which fairy tales and fantasies educate the moral imagination from earliest childhood. Examining a wide range of stories—from "Pinocchio" and "The Little Mermaid" to "Charlotte's Web," "The Velveteen Rabbit," "The Wind in the Willows," and the "Chronicles of Narnia"—he argues that these tales capture the meaning of morality through vivid depictions of the struggle between good and evil, in which characters must make difficult choices between right and wrong, or heroes and villains contest the very fate of imaginary worlds. Character and the virtues are depicted compellingly in these stories; the virtues glimmer as if in a looking glass, and wickedness and deception are unmasked of their pretensions to goodness and truth. We are made to face the unvarnished truth about ourselves, and what kind of people we want to be. 
Throughout, Guroian highlights the classical moral virtues such as courage, goodness, and honesty, especially as they are understood in traditional Christianity. At the same time, he so persuasively evokes the enduring charm of these familiar works that many readers will be inspired to reread their favorites and explore those they may have missed.


Have you fallen into a routine of checking boxes? Do you wonder why you don't have time to focus on building your children's character and love of learning?
That can change.
Better Together teaches you how to design a part of your homeschool day where the entire family can learn together. This time, known as "Morning Time,” has exploded in popularity since its inclusion in Sarah Mackenzie's bestseller Teaching From Rest. Now homeschool mom and former teacher Pam Barnhill breaks down the practice for every homeschooler.

Inside you'll discover:
  • Why every family can benefit from Morning Time - no matter what homeschooling method they use.
  • The secret to building relationships by delighting in learning together.
  • Practical tips for a successful Morning Time.
  • Resources, book lists, and ideas. You will return to our selections again and again.
  • Examples and interviews from moms showing how it looks in their homes.
Better Together is the indispensable guide to creating a time in your day to focus on the things that matter most in your homeschool.


It was back in the 1980's when Cindy Rollins, then a new mom in search of the best ways to teach her baby son, first heard about homeschooling. Thirty years and nine children later, Cindy has become a popular blogger, podcaster, and award-winning teacher. This is her story. It's a story of big families and cross-country moves and small-town living. It's about great books and morning times and nursery rhymes. It's the story of a dedicated mother's journey toward the Truth and the family she brought along with her.


Shows parents and teachers how children's learning experiences can be extended to every aspect of life, giving them a new richness, stability, and joy for living.
Every parent and teacher wants to give his or her children the best education possible. We hope that the education we provide is a joyful adventure, a celebration of life, and preparation for living. But sadly, most education today falls short of this goal.
For the Children's Sake is a book about what education can be, based on a Christian understanding of what it means to be human-to be a child, a parent, a teacher-and on the Christian meaning of life. The central ideas have been proven over many years and in almost every kind of educational situation, including ideas that Susan and Ranald Macaulay have implemented in their own family and school experience.
For the Children's Sake will benefit parents and teachers in any educational setting-homeschooling, public school, or private school.


Narration, the art of telling, has been used as a pedagogical tool since ancient times. Over one hundred years ago, Charlotte Mason methodized narration and implemented it in scores of schools in Great Britain. Over the past few decades, educators in the US, mostly in home schools, have followed her guidelines with outstanding results.

This book discusses the theory behind the use of narration and then walks through the process from beginning to end, to show how simply "telling" is the foundation for higher-level thinking and writing.

While narration has grown popular among homeschoolers, it also works well in the classroom. In this book, you will find sample narrations and many resources to help you use narration with your students in any setting. If you've been wanting to try narration, but haven't felt confident enough to rely on an unfamiliar method, this book will give you the tools that you need to make the process easier.

People are narrating every day, and this book will show you how to make that natural activity a vital part of education that enhances children's relationship with knowledge and allows them to grow into skilled communicators.

So these are the books we've been reading together and talking about. We have really learned a  great deal about homeschooling, but even how to be better mothers. I haven't reviewed any of these books, but I did give them all five star ratings on GoodReads.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Life Update

Life with three kids at home keeps me pretty busy. Our littlest guy just turned two, which means he is slightly more independent and into a whole lot more! I love getting to see his personality really coming out. Our homeschool year started really strong and I was super proud of everything we were doing, but the last few weeks hasn't seemed nearly as productive. This is fine, except I know we are nearing the holiday season and we'll be taking time off. Whenever we take time off it seems to take forever to get us focused again.

I'm also getting a chance to read a little more lately. I meet with two ladies for a Mother's Culture group once a week where we talk about homeschooling and we read a homeschool mom book together and talk over what we've learned. This has been awesome! I really enjoy my time with them and feel like they help me to grow into being a better homeschool mom.

I agreed to a few review books lately, but just haven't had a chance to finish them. I really need to get myself focused and get them read and reviewed. Plus I have two much older reviews where I half read the books and didn't finish because--life. The fact that I haven't finished them weighs on me. In all truthfulness if I put down the cell phone I'd get a lot more done in life :( I feel so addicted.

Hopefully my next few posts will be some book reviews!


Laura Kay

As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Hello everyone!

I feel like I'm completely out of the reading loop! I've barely read fiction or blogged the last few years. It's really been a crazy time in our family. We decided to homeschool our children, so that really kept me busy. Then we added a fifth child! And he is already almost two years old! I can hardly believe it. Now most recently we moved. I love our new home and the amazing bookcases! I'll have to upload photos.

With all that said, I have missed having my blog. So here I am. I'm rethinking what I'm going to blog about. I will still blog about books, but I may add homeschooling stuff and just random life stuff. I'm even thinking about renaming my blog. 

Hope everyone sticks around!


Laura Kay

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The “clever and wonderfully chilling” (Fiona Barton) suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare...

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants—the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming—until one of them mysteriously disappears... 

Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past—and a voice that won't be silenced...

A fantastic stay-up all night read! I love a good gothic story and this is gothic wrapped in mystery over mystery! I loved the ghost of Mary Hand element at the girls' school. She got under my skin and freaked me out. I didn't know what to expect from the ghost or what else was going on at the school, but I wanted to figure out what was going on. Who was she and what was she! This element is only part of the story! The story just gets more and more intense. We, the reader, is going back and forth from 2014 to 1950 and I couldn't figure out why. Then once it made sense, I couldn't make sense of it. In a good way! Not until the very end of the story. 

Idlewild Hall itself was dark and eerie and someone in 2014 is looking to bring the old boarding school back to life. A mystery shrouds the new owner and you wonder just what is her real story. Fiona Sheridan is a local reporter with a close tie to the old school, as her older sister was found dead there...but her sister wasn't a student there and the school had already been closed. Was her sisters killer really the man behind bars? Or was her death caused by something more sinister?! Fiona is on a quest to figure out whats the real story of Idlewild Hall.

And what really happened in 1950? Questions to an unsolved mystery rear their ugly head in 2014 and Fiona is trying to put pieces to a puzzle together when none of the pieces seem to be a part of the same puzzle...The Broken Girls will keep you reading until the truth finally comes out. And then scare you one. last. time.

The perfect read to sit up late into the night! Really enjoyed this book and honestly had a hard time putting it down! I highly recommend The Broken Girls (I also have read other books by Simone St. James and love everything I've read by her)!

As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.vvvvvvv

Monday, July 24, 2017

Love Story: A Novel (The Baxter Family) by Karen Kingsbury

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes a new book featuring everyone’s favorite family—the Baxters, which tells the story of how John and Elizabeth first fell in love.

From the day they met, John and Elizabeth were destined to fall in love. Their whirlwind romance started when they were young college students and lasted nearly thirty years—until Elizabeth died of cancer.

So when John Baxter is asked to relive his long-ago love story with Elizabeth for his grandson Cole’s heritage project, he’s not sure he can do it. The sadness might simply be too great. But he agrees and allows his heart and soul to go places they haven’t gone in decades. Back to the breathless first moments, but also to the secret heartbreak that brought John and Elizabeth together.

At the same time, Baxter family friend Cody Coleman is working through the breakup of his complicated relationship with Andi Ellison. He is determined to move on when a chance sighting changes his plans—and heart. Can Cody convince Andi to give their love another try, or is it time for them to say goodbye for good?

As school comes to an end, Cole presents his report on the love story between his grandparents John and Elizabeth Baxter. It is a tale that touches the hearts of the entire family, and one that causes Cole to better understand his own beginning.

Whether you’re meeting the Baxter family for the first time or finding them all over again, Love Story will stir your heart and remind you of the generational impact of love and the eternal bond of family.

My Thoughts On Love Story by Karen Kingsbury. You should know, I LOVE the Baxter series! I mean this way a fantastic series with great characters. I devoured the series in a very short amount of time. When I found out Kingsbury was writing a story, the never fully told story of John and Elizabeth you can bet I was excited.

So how did the book hold up against the series from years ago? Well for me it couldn't reach five star potential. I loved getting a peek into John and Elizabeth's past and learning about where they got their amazing faith from. This was a great part of their story. But it wasn't the whole book. The other part of the book was based on Cody Coleman and the Flanigan storyline. If I was being honest the Flanigan stories...I just didn't connect with them. I stopped reading the series once it broke off. I wasn't invested in Cody. Now someone who had read the Flanigan books will love to get caught up with Cody.

Overall, I gave the book four stars. Reading Love Story reminded me how much I missed this family. I would have given a five star, but I felt the story of John and Elizabeth could have been more of the book. Loved it overall.

As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.