This Week – Teacher Work Days

After almost two years of homeschooling I discovered something this week. We need teacher planning days too! I reached a breaking point on Tuesday and cancelled all of Gage’s mom school time for the rest of the week. He still had a few Outschool classes and his reading tutor two days, but I disconnected from the school day completely and we’re both so much better off for it. The plan is to homeschool next year and, rest assured, there will be a scheduled teacher planning day once a month so that a another breaking point isn’t reached. There are so many posts I finally feel like writing about homeschooling, but I’ll save them for another day.

I finished 3 non-picture books this week. I’ve read 150 total books this year.

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Bauxbaum, 328 pages, 2016

I loved this book. Jessie has recently lost her mother and her father remarried and moved them across the country to LA. A new stepbrother and ultra rich private high schoolers is a lot to take, especially with no friends and mean girls targeting her.

Enter SN, who begins anonymously emailing her with encouragement and tips on how to navigate her new life. Suddenly it all becomes bearable. But who is he and why can’t they meet?

Such a rich story, full of the drama and insecurities of youth. I’m a little late to the party on this one, but happy to recommend it. Just make sure you make the waffles 🧇 .

The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon, 134 pages, 1960

Originally published in 1960 it’s the story of a cricket from Connecticut who accidentally finds himself in the Times Square subway station. He’s taken as a pet and makes friends with a mouse and a cat. Oh, and he becomes a famous musician and hundreds of people crowd around while he makes beautiful music.

Gage and I read the first half together and then finished independently (yes, I did! I needed to know what became of Chester Cricket). It was a sweet, silly, old-fashioned story about friendship and I’m glad to have read it. I’d say this is more geared to a 3rd grader. 134 pages (with some illustrations).

It’s an oldie but goodie. Did you read this as a kid?

Edutoons: A Jumpball Melee of Editorial Cartoons About the Politics of Public Education by Ron Hill, 138 pages, 2016

We were lucky enough to get a few new board members for the Friends of the Solon Library, and one of them is the author of this book, Ron Hill . This is a few years old and a compilation of his editorial cartoons about public education in Ohio and more specifically our region. I’ve always enjoyed his cartoons in the paper and this a quick, fun read about the state of education.

This book just happened to come in with donations, but I know he has a new one out that I’ll have to check out soon.

Movies watched

As part of my teacher ‘break’ I took my student to the theater, lol.
I came for Jacob Eldori and and left with tears. (watched on Netflix)

On TV

We started the new series, The Lincoln Lawyer, on Netflix. We’re over halfway through.

What’s your favorite burnout solution?

This Week – What day is it?

I took this on our family walk last night. Beautiful, right? Life is crazy busy right now, but taking ten minutes to check in feels like a necessity for my sanity. My to do list is 15 very important, all a bit time consuming, things that need to happen in the next few weeks, all while trying to finish up Gage’s 5th grade year strong. I know I’m not the only one with a crazy May.

The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day, 4.25/5 stars, 408 pages, pub. 2017

The Day I Died is one of those dark thrillers that has as many secrets as revelations. We know the main character is hiding and moves around with her son for that reason. We don’t know exactly why, but do get plenty of hints. She’s a handwriting expert for the FBI so she gets drawn into a missing child case, an entanglement that makes her itch to flee yet again. It was a nicely paced thriller with a complicated main character. Great combo!

The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis, 4/5 stars, 384 pages, 2020

The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis is a beach read with some serious issues. Brynn is recovering from an embarrassing life choice when she runs into Eli, a camp crush from her teens, who offers her a place to live. He forgets to mention that her frenemy, Kinsey, also lives there and she is also seriously ill.

I loved Brynn’s moms. They were most definitely the best characters, full of love and spice. The story of the three roommates coming together was good, even if it ended a little too simplistic for me, but hey, that’s what summer reads are for! And the cover will look good at the pool or beach.

I’ve read 143 books so far this year.

On TV the last few weeks

We finished Ozark. I didn’t dislike the end to this series, but it lacked some of the punch the rest of the seasons had.

We watch Harlan Coben’s Hold Tight on Netflix. It was solid, like most of his book adaptations are.

Movies

Dark.
Silly.

Plans for the rest of the day

We’re planning a hike in the park after dinner, but right now I need to spend a few hours pulling out homeschool year together and getting it ready to be assessed. This is required by Ohio. We can choose taking a standardized test or having a teacher assessing progress. It’s time consuming, but a good way for me to personally assess what worked and what didn’t.

What about you? Anything fun this weekend?

April Favorites

I ended my book a day streak April 15th and my reading, as I feared it would, has fallen off a cliff. It’s been an extremely busy few weeks that will continue for a few more, so I am trying to sneak in more reading time. A real bonus of taking my time with books is that I’ve completely abandoned two audiobooks already whereas before I would have probably powered through just to finish. I love the luxury of just moving on, abandoned books in my wake.

I finished 23 books in April, bringing my yearly total to 139. I read 7 fiction, 4 nonfiction, 7 kids nonfiction picture books, 4 kids fiction picture books, and 1 kids nonfiction chapter book.

My 5 favorites were

A Sparrow’s Disappearing Home by Mary Ellen Klukow and Albert Pinilla, 5/5 stars, Nonfiction kids picture book, 24 pages, 2019

One of our Earth Day reads and I loved everything about it. The illustrations were fabulous and the story of the sparrow’s search for his native habitat in an increasingly hostile world was powerful. The story ended by showing the heroes that were doing something about it, those working to save the environment and the birds. It also had a list of ways to help the birds and a map. This is part of a series and you can be sure we’ll be checking out the rest.

Infinity and Me by Gabi Swiatkowska and Kate Hosford, 5/5 stars, 32 pages, 2012

A beautifully illustrated book about infinity. Infinity is a big, huge thing for small kids and somehow this book makes it work. We follow a girl as she asks her classmates and some adults in her life what they think infinity looks like and, not surprisingly, everyone has a different answer. This had a sweet ending and led to a good discussion.

The Last Kind Words by Tom Piccirilli, 4.25/5 stars, 320 pages, 2012

Terrier Rand was from a notorious family of thieves. They were all good at stealing money, wallets, expensive items from your house, and doing it without violence. Until Collie goes on a bloody rampage leaving 8 dead. As Terry comes home for the lethal injection of his brother he finds himself more fearful than ever of the blood that runs through him.

I was drawn into this one right away and loved the balance between action and introspection. The Rand family was captivating and I loved the gritty reality of them. Terry has a follow up book and I’m going to have to see what Terry does next.

Falling by TJ Newman, 4.25/5 stars, 304 pages, 2021

Are you a fearful flightier? Terrified at turbulence? Skittish of soaring 20,000 feet in the air? Me too! And yet this thriller managed to entertain not invoke nightmares.

The pilot’s family has been kidnapped and he is ordered to crash the plane or they will die. Will he choose his family or the souls onboard his plane?

Fast paced and pertinent to today’s politics this was a great audio book.

I’m always jealous of happy fliers. Are you one of them?

Past Tense by Lee Child, 4/5 stars, 382 pages, 2018

This is #23 in the Jack Reacher series and I’ve read them all in order up to this point. I love the Reacher and especially love the books that have a family connection. Reacher spontaneously gets off the bus in the small town his father grew up in and wants to see if he can find where he grew up. But, nothing is easy with Reacher and I like it that way 🙂