Guest Hollow’s Language Arts Curriculum Book and Resource list

Welcome to the Guest Hollow’s Language Arts Curriculum Book and Resource List! This list is to give you an idea of what will be needed if you are using Guest Hollow’s Language Arts Curriculum along with some helpful tips and other information. For details about the curriculum itself, please click here.

Literature-based language arts that’s engaging and fun!

In order to use Guest Hollow’s Language Arts Curriculum, you will need to obtain the scheduled books and other items separately. You may be able to borrow many for FREE from your local library! Check out the F.A.Q. below for tips on how to save money when using a literature-based curriculum.

Every purchase comes with a printable book list!

Every purchase of Guest Hollow’s Language Arts Curriculum comes with a FREE printable book list to help you with your planning and shopping.

The printable version of the book list features:

  • The ISBN number and author’s name
    You can make sure your copy of the book matches the one in the schedule.
  • Notification of when each book or item is used
    You can plan ahead when to check out books from the library. Books used throughout the year are marked “multiple weeks,” so you can decide whether you want to purchase them vs. borrow them.
  • Checklists for planning
    A handy checklist helps you plan if you are going to buy or borrow a book. It can also help you choose the format of your books (physical copy, e-book, or audio book).
  • Consumables are marked
    You’ll get advance notice of which items are consumable, so you’ll know what you may need to purchase and how many copies you may want to get if you are using the curriculum with multiple students.

Here’s an example of the printable book list:

Keep scrolling to see the full online book list (below the F.A.Q. on this page).

Language Arts book list sample

We’ve scheduled in lots of colorful, fact-filled, interesting and fun books for this year’s study! Before taking a look, We’ve addressed some common questions:

Book and Resource F.A.Q.

No. we’ve ranked items in the book list at the beginning of the printable schedule to help you plan your purchases. If you are on a strict budget, don’t have a good library system, or need to limit your student’s amount of reading, the ranking system will help you prioritize items.

Items we feel shouldn’t be dropped or substituted are marked with a #1.
Other items are ranked as follows:
#2: This item is not absolutely necessary, but highly recommended.
#3: This item is optional but recommended.
#4: This item is optional and less important than the others

Some customers only use books ranked 1 and 2. Others stretch the schedule out over two years and use all or most of the scheduled books!

You can also use substitutes from your own home or local library. For example: There is a scheduled book about nouns. If you can’t obtain that book, you can use a different book about nouns during the same week. Keep in mind that the scheduled books were all hand-picked for their content and presentation.

Some books are marked for the parent/teacher. These books are optional and intended to enhance your understanding of certain concepts to help you teach!

We were once homeschoolers, and we know what it’s like living on a budget. We wrote a blog post to help you SAVE MONEY when using a literature-based curriculum. In the post you’ll find handy tips on where to get books, what subscriptions can help out, what some libraries offer for free, where our customers go for used books, and how to find books our customers are selling when they are done. Take a look:

How to Save Money When Using a Literature-Based Curriculum

Our customers frequently resell their used Guest Hollow homeschool curriculum books on our Facebook Groups. Here’s a list of groups you can join and post in! We encourage you to try and recoup some of your investment in books when you are done by posting them for sale in our groups.

You may NOT resell, share, or distribute any of Guest Hollow’s digital products (or printed out copies of our digital products) which includes but is not limited to schedules, workbooks, printables, and other materials.

Every student’s reading ability and interest differs. If you have a reluctant reader or a student whose reading skills are not fully developed, you can do some of the following things:

  • Read books out loud
    You can read some or all of the books to or with your student. This is a terrific way to participate in what s/he is learning, too! Our children loved read-alouds, even in high school.
  • Use audiobooks
    Audiobooks can be obtained from Amazon.com or a variety of other places. There are some benefits to using audiobooks. They can be listened to in the car, during lunch, while doing chores, while keeping hands occupied (knitting, coloring, etc.), and other times when print books don’t work as well.
  • Don’t overwhelm
    It may not be the best choice to do more than one literature-based program at a time with a student who doesn’t like reading. Don’t be surprised if this reluctant attitude toward reading changes during the course of the program, though. Many of our customers have told us their reluctant readers learned to love reading using our curriculum!

No worries! Our program is flexible enough that you can use or mix-and-match other language arts components to make the perfect language arts study for your student! If you have a spelling program you prefer to use, just substitute it and skip all the spelling assignments in the Guest Hollow Language Arts schedule. Apply this concept to any other language arts components. You can even type in your other program’s lessons into our Microsoft Word version of the schedule, print it out, and have a fully self-customized schedule ready to go!

Beowulf’s Grammar is a stand-alone grammar program that comes with a printable workbook and optional teacher’s manual. It covers grammar concepts.

Guest Hollow’s Language Arts is a language arts curriculum that covers a full spectrum of language arts topics like grammar, writing, spelling, poetry, vocabulary, and literature.

Guest Hollow’s Language Arts Curriculum schedules in Beowulf’s Grammar as a grammar *spine for the grammar portion of language arts instruction. It also schedules in other books and activities that match the grammar topics covered in Beowulf’s Grammar.

*A spine book is a backbone of a study.

Our program doesn’t cover phonics, but gives suggestions in the instructor’s guide and the book list below for those of you who have students who still need some phonics instruction. Phonics can be easily added in with an additional (approximate) *10 minutes or so a day.

*The time your student needs to spend on phonics may vary from this estimate, since every child and their abilities and needs differ. You are ultimately responsible for the amount of time you choose to spend on phonics instruction.

Handwriting isn’t specifically scheduled as a separate subject, but it’s an optional component that can be added in easily. Students will also have plenty of opportunities to practice handwriting with the copywork/dictation exercises scheduled in the curriculum.

Check out the book list below for our handwriting practice suggestions. Instructions for this addition are included in the schedule. A drawing book is added in to help students work on the fine motor skills necessary for good penmanship.

Warning! Preview all materials! I strongly recommend you preview all items to see if they are appropriate for your student. Every family is different in what they find offensive!

Grammar (and Punctuation) *Spine

*A spine book is a book that lays the foundation for a study. In this case, Beowulf’s Grammar provides the foundation for grammar in our language arts curriculum.
Beowulf's GrammarBeowulf’s Grammar – *Consumable!* (after printing)

This is the spine book for this year’s grammar. Beowulf’s Grammar has been highly acclaimed by the families using it! I’ve never seen families rave over a grammar program as they are doing with this one. 🙂

Beowulf’s Grammar includes comics, colorful illustrations, hands-on activities, gentle review, memorable characters, and a combination of approaches to help students not only retain what they are learning, but to actually enjoy grammar!

Note: Families have permission to make multiple copies of the workbook, but ONLY for children in their own family. Each student will need a copy of most of the workbook pages in order to do the activities.
Grammar and Punctuation Extras – These are optional, but I recommend you get at least some of them (if not all). These books help illustrate the concepts your students will be learning in Beowulf’s Grammar. They add another dimension to your student’s learning and help cement retention.

I’ve marked some of the books with “DON’T MISS THIS ONE!” I recommend you get these titles, if possible, even if you need to purchase them.
Magnetic Poetry - Kids Story Maker KitStory Maker Magnet Kit

This magnet kit is also listed in the writing resources below, since it’s used for both subjects.
Click here to download a list of the included words and phrases.
“This kit is a colorful collection of magnetic word and phrase tiles chosen to lead kids toward outlandish storylines. Suggested by educators, we’ve color-coded the tiles so kids learn about the different parts of language. Blue tiles are nouns and noun phrases, red tiles are verbs and verb phrases, yellow tiles are prepositions… you get the idea.”
A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun? (Words Are CATegorical ®)A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What is a Noun?

*You can get read this book for free with an Amazon Kindle Unlimited Subscription! Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

“What is a noun? It’s easier to show than explain and this book is brimming with examples. Author Brian Cleary and illustrator Jenya Promitsky creatively clarify the concept of nouns for young readers. Nouns are printed in color for easy identification, and the playful rhymes and illustrations combine to highlight key words.”
If You Were a Noun (Word Fun)If You Were a Noun

This book provides an introduction to nouns and proper nouns via a space travel theme. It includes a game at the end.

Concepts: common and proper nouns, singular and plural nouns, changing the shape/spelling of some plural nouns, collective nouns
Merry-Go-Round: A Book About NounsMerry-Go-Round – A Book About Nouns

“Perfect for introductory grammar lessons! What is a noun?
 
Explore language and discover the uses of nouns and their many grammatical forms from proper nouns to common nouns to abstract nouns.”
An Ambush of Tigers: A Wild Gathering of Collective Nouns An Ambush of Tigers

*You can get read this book for free with an Amazon Kindle Unlimited Subscription! Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

“Have you ever heard of a prickle of porcupines? Or a tower of giraffes? What about a parcel of penguins? This fun-filled romp through the animal kingdom introduces collective nouns for animals through wordplay. Clever rhymes and humorous illustrations bring these collective nouns to life in funny ways, making it easy to remember which terms and animals go together. A glossary in the back matter offers further explanation of words used as collective nouns, such as sleuth meaning “detective.””
Alternate title: A Cache of Jewels
I and You and Don't Forget Who: What Is a Pronoun? (Words Are CATegorical ®)I and You and Don’t Forget Who: What Is a Pronoun? (Words Are Categorical)

*You can get read this book for free with an Amazon Kindle Unlimited Subscription! Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial
I used the Brian Cleary books in my own homeschool with great success. They are easy, quick reads that make a great addition to your “school” bookshelf as a reference.

“The latest addition to the best-selling Words Are CATegorical(tm) series, this fun-filled guide uses playful puns and humorous illustrations to creatively clarify the concept of pronouns. Key pronouns appear in color for easy identification to show, not tell, readers what pronouns are all about.”
If You Were a PronounIf You Were a Pronoun

“If you were a pronoun, you would take the place of a noun. You could be HE, SHE, HER, OR HIM. You could be EVERYONE or ANYONE. What else could you be if you were a pronoun?”
Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is an Adjective? (Words Are CATegorical ®)Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is an Adjective? (Words Are Categorical)

I used the Brian Cleary books in my own homeschool with great success. They are easy, quick reads that make a great addition to your “school” bookshelf as a reference.
Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About AdjectivesMany Luscious Lollipops

“Explore language and discover how to identify and create many different types of adjectives, from demonstratives to articles to proper adjectives.”
The Very Cranky BearThe Very Cranky Bear

This book is perfect to point out tons of adjectives as well as the adverb “very.” It also has a theme about sharing. 😉
If You Were an ApostropheIf You Were an Apostrophe

“If you were an apostrophe, you would show belonging. You could show a fox’s tail, a gray wolf’s teeth, or a camper’s bag of treats. What else could you do if you were an apostrophe?”
Greedy Apostrophe: A Cautionary Tale
*Christian parent notice: This book has an illustration showing crystal balls and wands for sale.
Greedy Apostrophe: A Cautionary Tale 
DON’T MISS THIS ONE!

“It’s the moment all the punctuation marks have been eagerly awaiting: assignment time, There are plenty of open positions for apostrophes as contractions soon there’s only one job left–for a possessive–and only one apostrophe to fill it: non other than Greedy Apostrophe. It’s not long before his greed gets out of hand, and he jumps into signs where he doesn’t belong. What will it take to put Greedy Apostrophe back in his place? This clever and zany language arts picture book will have kids eager to learn the tricks of using an apostrophe.”
The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can't Manage without Apostrophes!The Girl’s Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can’t Manage without Apostrophes! 
DON’T MISS THIS ONE!

“Just as the use of commas was hilariously demystified in Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference!, now Lynne Truss and Bonnie Timmons put their talents together to do the same for apostrophes. Everyone needs to know where to put an apostrophe to make a word plural or possessive (Are those sticky things your brother’s or your brothers’) and leaving one out of a contraction can give someone the completely wrong impression (Were here to help you).
Full of silly scenes that show how apostrophes make a difference, too, this is another picture book that will elicit bales of laughter and better punctuation from all who read it.”
Kites Sail High: A Book About VerbsKites Sail High

“Perfect for introductory grammar lessons! What is a verb?
 
Explore language and discover how to identify verbs and their many forms from the imperative mood to active vs. passive voice to verb phrases.”
Some topics: action verbs, state of being verbs, linking verbs, helping verbs, tenses, irregular verbs, imperative mood, indicative mood, subjunctive mood, passive and active verbs, sentences require a verb, contraction (isn’t), and don’t use the word “ain’t”.
To Root, to Toot, to Parachute: What Is a Verb? (Words Are CATegorical ®)To Root, to Toot, to Parachute: What Is a Verb?

“What is a verb? It’s easier to show than explain! In this fun and animated introduction to grammar, rhyming verse is used to creatively clarify the concept of verbs. Chock-full of colorful, lively examples, the playful rhymes and illustrations of comical cartoon cats combine to highlight key words in the sentences. Verbs like toss and tumble, jump and jam, jog and juggle, and jig and leap are printed in color for easy identification.”
Slide and Slurp, Scratch and Burp: More about Verbs (Words Are CATegorical ®)Slide and Slurp, Scratch and Burp: More about Verbs

“One book is never enough to explore the wide range of verbs! The crazy cats deliver loads of additional examples to illustrate the power of both action verbs and linking verbs. Brian P. Cleary’s playful verse and Brian Gable’s comical cats turn traditional grammar lessons on end. Each verb is printed in color for easy identification. Read this book aloud and share the delight of the sense and nonsense of words.”
The BIG Problem (and the Squirrel Who Eventually Solved It): Understanding Adjectives and AdverbsThe BIG Problem (and the Squirrel Who Eventually Solved It): Understanding Adjectives and Adverbs (Language on the Loose)

The text in this book is really simple, but that makes focusing on the color-coded adjectives and adverbs easier!

“The squirrels have a problem. A BIG, POLKA-DOTTED problem. And they’re watching NERVOUSLY, CURIOUSLY to see what it will do next. This goofy little story, complemented by informational back matter, teaches readers the differences between adjectives and adverbs.”

Google Books preview
Up, Up and Away: A Book about AdverbsUp, Up, and Away – A Book About Adverbs

An eye-catching and beautiful book about adverbs.
Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely: What Is an Adverb? (Words Are CATegorical ®)Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely: What Is An Adverb? (Words Are Categorical)


I used the Brian Cleary books in my own homeschool with great success. They are easy, quick reads that make a great addition to your “school” bookshelf as a reference.
Best of Mad LibsBest of Mad Libs 
DON’T MISS THIS ONE! – *Consumable!*

One of my childhood memories is filling out Mad Libs stories! Your students will have fun reviewing parts of speech with this oversized anniversary edition! This book is also used in conjunction with several writing assignments from Don’t Forget to Write (listed below in the writing section).
Lazily, Crazily, Just a Bit Nasally: More about Adverbs (Words Are CATegorical ®)Lazily, Crazily, Just a Bit Nasally – More About Adverbs

Students sometimes have a difficult time identifying adverbs. This book is one of the tools I use to help make adverbs stick!

“What is an adverb? It’s hard to explain but easy to show—and that’s just what this book does, in rhyming, comical verse that will have readers giggling as they learn. Cartoon cats guide readers through the tricks of describing when, how, where, how often, and how much in this lighthearted celebration of language.”
Under, Over, By the Clover: What Is a Preposition? (Words Are CATegorical ®)Under, Over, By the Clover: What Is a Preposition?

I used the Brian Cleary books in my own homeschool with great success. They are easy, quick reads that make a great addition to your “school” bookshelf as a reference.
Behind the Mask: A Book about PrepositionsBehind the Mask: A Book about Prepositions

Ruth Heller’s books are classics!
Elephants AloftElephants Aloft

You can only find this book used, but it’s an easy-to-remember introduction to prepositions. I got it from the library. The text is SUPER simple – just one word on each page, except for the last page. The simplicity is what makes it so easy to understand and remember prepositions. The illustrations are beautiful!
Exclamation MarkExclamation Mark

This is such a cute book! It’s meant to celebrate differences, but it’s also the perfect book for when we study interjections.
But and For, Yet and Nor: What Is a Conjunction? (Words Are CATegorical ®)But and For, Yet and Nor: What Is a Conjunction? (Words Are Categorical)

I used the Brian Cleary books in my own homeschool with great success. They are easy, quick reads that make a great addition to your “school” bookshelf as a reference.
If You Were a CommaIf You Were a Comma

This simple books shows how commas are used.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference!Eats, Shoots, & Leaves 
DON’T MISS THIS ONE!

“Illuminating the comical confusion the lowly comma can cause, this new edition of Eats, Shoots & Leaves uses lively, subversive illustrations to show how misplacing or leaving out a comma can change the meaning of a sentence completely.
This picture book is sure to elicit gales of laughter—and better punctuation—from all who read it. “
Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why, every punctuation mark counts! Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why, every punctuation mark counts!
DON’T MISS THIS ONE!


“Commas and apostrophes aren’t the only punctuation marks that can cause big trouble if they’re put in the wrong place. Now, Truss and Timmons put hyphens, parentheses, quotation marks, periods, and more in the spotlight, showing how which marks you choose and where you put them can cause hilarious mix-ups.”
Punctuation Takes a VacationPunctuation Takes a Vacation

This is a terrific book for examining the roles of the various punctuation marks and what happens when they are missing!
“Commas, periods, exclamation points, question marks, colons, apostrophes, quotation marks: take your places. 10:00 A.M. Time to study us. Learn how punctuation marks work together to make reading and writing flow smoothly.”
Writing
Illustration School: Let's Draw a StoryIllustration School: Let’s Draw a Story – *Consumable!*

Each child should probably have his/her own copy of this book.

“Created by one of Japan’s most popular artists, this book offers a story in a sketchbook. Take off into the world of fantasy with Sachiko Umoto’s unique, fun character drawings and help them finish their story with your own drawings and sketches. Practice your own with illustration techniques and follow the fun, appealing characters and elements that celebrate life and adventure. The author’s special and distinct style is simple, appealing, happy, and cute and offers artists, crafters, and art enthusiasts – with and without experience – the instruction and inspiration to draw people, characters, animals, flowers, plants and more! The fifth installment in the Illustration School series is for artists of all skill levels that want to bring the story to life visually. It offers both entertaining and fun drawing instruction and techniques along with inspiring and sweet unique-style characters and elements.”
Time Capsule: A Seriously Awesome JournalTime Capsule: A Seriously Awesome Journal – *Consumable!*

Each child should probably have his/her own copy of this book.

“For the child who’s curious to discover how mighty his own story can be.

Invite your child to explore his creativity and discover how mighty the pen can be by diving deep into what sparks his interest. With this time capsule journal, he will record awesome adventures, achievements, and milestones as he improves his penmanship. The engaging prompts encourage him to write and doodle stories—both serious and silly—while building self-esteem. He can even add interesting photographs and memorabilia.
Let master storycatcher Katie Clemons help your child assemble the perfect treasure chest of youth . . . his story!”
The Modern Speller
Note: In Book Two (on p. 4) there is a reference to “cruel and unforgiving” Indians. This is an excellent series, but obviously this sentence would be considered racist at this point in history. If you are opposed to this reference (or any others you may come across in this series), just skip the offending sentence(s) (or discuss it/them with your children).

I made use of quite a bit of “classic” books like this with my children, because I found that the content was often superior to many modern resources. When we came across something antiquated (like the Indian reference), I would point it out to them and explain why we don’t talk/think that way anymore. 🙂 It made for some great and meaningful discussions!
The Modern Speller (also used for writing and grammar practice through copywork and dictation)

This book is also listed in the vocabulary and spelling section below since it’s used for multiple subjects.

This book is a GEM! I explain how to use it in the curriculum schedule. Your student will learn and practice spelling, but also benefit in a multitude of other ways through copywork and dictation. S/he will:
★ Learn spelling in an EASY way
★ Learn and practice proper punctuation
★ Learn and practice grammar concepts
★ Learn and practice writing
★ Be exposed to poetry
★ Have the opportunity to practice good handwriting (optional)

Choose one of the following FREE books for your child’s grade (or ability):

The Modern Speller Book On (2nd-4th grade)
The Modern Speller Book Two (5th-8th grade)

You will need to download the PDF copy and either use it digitally, or print pages as needed.
Here’s an optional tutorial on how to print and bind old books, so that they are like real books!

Want a physical copy of these books?

The Modern Speller Vol. 1 – Physical copy on Amazon
The Modern Speller Book 2 – Physical copy on Amazon

Note: I’ve not purchased the physical copies. I assume they match the free PDF version(s) but haven’t confirmed this.

Magnetic Poetry - Kids Story Maker KitStory Maker Magnet Kit

This magnet kit is also listed in the grammar resources above, since it’s used for both subjects.
Click here to download a list the included words and phrases.
“This kit is a colorful collection of magnetic word and phrase tiles chosen to lead kids toward outlandish storylines. Suggested by educators, we’ve color-coded the tiles so kids learn about the different parts of language. Blue tiles are nouns and noun phrases, red tiles are verbs and verb phrases, yellow tiles are prepositions… you get the idea.”
Sincerely Yours: Writing Your Own Letter (Writer's Toolbox)
Writer's Toolbox
Sincerely Yours: Writing Your Own Letter (Writer’s Toolbox)

2nd option to save $$ if you are making a purchase instead of borrowing from the library, this book is included in Writer’s Toolbox: Learn How to Write Letters, Fairy Tales, Scary Stories, Journals, Poems, and Reports.

I scheduled in pages for BOTH options. Choose which one works best for you.

“Ready to build a letter? First, you’ll need the right tools. Open this title in the Writer’s Toolbox series and discover plenty of tips and tools to get you started. Soon you’ll be writing thank-you notes, get-well cards, and business letters like a pro!”
Some topics covered: parts of a letter (heading, greeting, body, closing, signature), proofreading, postscript, writing a business letter, addressing an envelope, and writing emails.
Q&A a Day for Kids: A Three-Year JournalQ&A a Day for Kids: A Three-Year Journal –*Consumable!*
Each child should probably have his/her own copy of this book.

“Children’s author Betsy Franco poses a question each day with only a few lines provided for a response, making this journal the ultimate no-fuss record keeper. Simply turn to today’s date and record your child’s answer. When you finish the year, move on to the next section. The diary can be started on any day of the year and makes a terrific keepsake…”
The Jolly Postman
*Note: This book mentions a postman drinking champagne.
The Jolly Postman

This book is also listed in the reading section below.

This book comes with envelopes you can actually open containing letters from various fairy-tale characters. It’s used in conjunction with the book Sincerely Yours: Writing Your Own Letter (listed above in the writing section). It’s also used for some additional writing assignments.
Don't Forget to Write for the Elementary Grades: 50 Enthralling and Effective Writing Lessons (Ages 5 to 12)Don’t Forget to Write

I love many of the ideas and lessons in this book. I’ve schedule in lessons from it for this year, but you can use the rest of the ideas in it over multiple years/grades!

Don’t Forget to Write for the Elementary Grades offers 50 creative writing lesson plans from the imaginative and highly acclaimed 826 National writing labs. Created as a resource to reach all students (even those most resistant to creative writing), the lessons range from goofy fun (like “The Other Toy Story: Make Your Toys Come to Life”) to practical, from sports to science, music to mysteries. These lessons are written by experts, and favorite novelists, actors, and other celebrities pitched in too.

★ A treasure trove of proven, field-tested lessons to teach writing skills
★ Inventive and unique lessons will appeal to even the most difficult-to-reach students
Scholastic Student ThesaurusScholastic Student Thesaurus

This book is optional if your student has access to an online thesaurus.

Students will learn to how to use a thesaurus to make their word choices more interesting. This books is used in conjunction with a reading assignment which uses the book: The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus (listed below in the reading section).
Look At My Book!: How Kids Can Write & Illustrate Terrific BooksLook At My Book!: How Kids Can Write & Illustrate Terrific Books

I schedule in this book because it has very easy-to-understand and simple examples of parts of a story and other writing related vocabulary.
“In no time at all kids can be off on a literary adventure that they can create as they go along. With the help of some spunky and humorous characters, Loreen Leedy tells kids everything they need to do to become authors, illustrators, editors, and designers of their own fantastic books. She provides step-by-step instructions as well as tips for incorporating the wildest and most original ideas. This innovative book will inspire young authors and give them the practical information they need to reach new heights of creativity.”
Some topics covered: brainstorming, book genres, research, characters, setting, planning, fiction vs. nonfiction, making a rough draft, creating a title, revision and editing, book formats and layouts, illustrations, lettering, and book binding
Once Upon a Time: Writing Your Own Fairy Tale (Writer's Toolbox) Once Upon a Time: Writing Your Own Fairy Tale (Writer’s Toolbox)

2nd option to save $$ if you are making a purchase instead of borrowing from the library, this book is included in Writer’s Toolbox: Learn How to Write Letters, Fairy Tales, Scary Stories, Journals, Poems, and Reports.

I scheduled in pages for BOTH options. Choose which one works best for you.

“Ready to build a fairy tale? First, you’ll need the right tools. Open this title in the Writer’s Toolbox series and discover plenty of tips and tools to get you started. Soon you’ll be writing magical adventures like a pro!”

Some topics covered: setting, characters, plot, dialogue, warnings (foreshadowing), fairy tale magic, character attributes, writing about a secret, repetition of words and / or actions, building suspense, characters making mistakes, problem solving, happy endings, and using strong feelings
I Want a Dog: My Opinion EssayI Want a Dog: My Opinion Essay (The Read and Write Series Book 1)
or
I Want a Cat: My Opinion Essay (The Read and Write Series Book 2)


Choose this book or the one directly below it, depending on which pet your child would like best.
“When cousins Dennis and Mellie decide to get a dog, they consider carefully what breed would be best for each family. For example, Dennis wants a big dog, but Mellie wants tiny. He has no other pets, but she has other pets that a dog must get along with. They consider different dog personalities, family situations, and personal preferences. Dennis writes an opinion essay for his teacher, Mrs. Shirky. But will his essay convince his parents to get the dog of his dreams?

This story takes a popular subject—kids getting a pet—and adds dogs of all sizes and shapes: all writing lessons should be this much fun. In the end, it’s cousins and the dogs that keep a reader turning the page. What kind of dog will Dennis choose? Will Mellie want the same kind of dog?”
How to Tell a Story: 1 Book + 20 Story Blocks = A Million Adventures
Note: The story blocks that come with this book are cardboard. If you want extra “indestructible” story blocks you can play with for years and take on car trips, etc., check out Rory’s Story Cubes.
Rory’s Story Cubes are NOT compatible with the scheduled writing lessons, and they are not scheduled in. They are a great supplement to play with.
How to Tell a Story: 1 Book + 20 Story Blocks = A Million Adventures

“Introducing an incredible storytelling package—a full-color, 144-page book paired with a collection of 20 six-sided, beautifully illustrated storytelling cubes that make it easy for any imaginative child (and that is every child) to start creating wonderful stories. Roll the blocks, and you can make anything happen, to anyone, anyplace in this or any other world.

The book is a guide to the principles of creative storytelling. It covers the essential elements like conflict—that thing that no one likes in real life, but without which no story could ever start—characters, motivation, dialogue, theme, and, of course, the climax. As you turn the pages, you’ll be prompted to roll the story blocks. And that’s when the magic starts to happen.

The blocks are coded by color, each loosely associated with a part of speech. A simple exercise about motivation, for example, asks the reader to roll the blocks and find one red block (person or animal) “who wanted nothing more in this world than to” one green block (action). Depending on the outcome, the reader might end up telling a tale of a cowboy who just wanted to dance or a mummy who wanted to race cars.

How to Tell a Story combines the surprising whimsy of Mad Libs with the compelling fun of storytelling cubes. Its exercises and games will have readers mastering the basics of storytelling while exercising their creative muscles. And who knows where that journey will end?”
Finger Puppet SetFinger puppets These are optional. You can make your own finger puppets or use any other puppets you have on hand.

This set of 16 finger puppets will be used with a writing project and the Tales from Shakespeare book (listed below in the reading section). You can use any puppets, or finger puppets. I linked to this set because it comes with 16 puppets – both people and animals.
Just the Facts: Writing Your Own Research Report (Writer's Toolbox)Just the Facts: Writing Your Own Research Report

2nd option to save $$ if you are making a purchase instead of borrowing from the library, this book is included in Writer’s Toolbox: Learn How to Write Letters, Fairy Tales, Scary Stories, Journals, Poems, and Reports.

I scheduled in pages for BOTH options. Choose which one works best for you.

Ready to build a research report? First, you’ll need the right tools. Open this title in the Writer’s Toolbox series and discover plenty of tips and tools to get you started. Soon you’ll be collecting and organizing facts like a pro!
Some topics covered: choosing a topic, sources of information, brainstorming, taking notes (index cards), writing an outline, introduction paragraph, body of a report, topic sentences of paragraphs, sentence variety, writing a conclusion, revision, proofreading, writing a bibliography, and writing notes in your own words (no plagiarizing).
Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into ComicsAdventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into Comics

“In this action-packed cartooning adventure, kids will have as much fun making comics as reading them!

Once upon a time . . . a princess tried to make a comic. And with the help of a magical cartooning elf, she learned how – well enough to draw her way out of an encounter with a dangerous dragon, near-death by drowning, and into her very own adventure! Like the princess, young readers will discover that they already have the drawing and writing skills it takes to make a comic – they just need a little know-how. And Adventures in Cartooning supplies just that.”
Words, Wit, and Wonder: Writing Your Own Poem (Writer's Toolbox)Words, Wit, and Wonder: Writing your own poem 

2nd option to save $$ if you are making a purchase instead of borrowing from the library, this book is included in Writer’s Toolbox: Learn How to Write Letters, Fairy Tales, Scary Stories, Journals, Poems, and Reports.

I scheduled in pages for BOTH options. Choose which one works best for you.

“Ready to build a poem? First, you’ll need the right tools. Open this title in the Writer’s Toolbox series and discover plenty of tips and tools to get you started. Soon you’ll be writing rhythms and rhymes like a pro!”
My Dog Is As Smelly As Dirty Socks: And Other Funny Family PortraitsMy Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks

This book is used along with the book Words, Wit, and Wonder: Writing your own poem  (listed above in the writing section).

This book is a creative exploration of similes and metaphors, as well as a springboard for a family member description writing assignment. Cute!
Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk: What Are Similes and Metaphors? (Words Are CATegorical ®) Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk: What Are Similes and Metaphors? (Words Are Categorical)

This book is used along with the book Words, Wit, and Wonder: Writing your own poem  (listed above in the writing section).

I used the Brian Cleary books in my own homeschool with great success. They are easy, quick reads that make a great addition to your “school” bookshelf as a reference.
City LullabyCity Lullaby

This book is used along with the book Words, Wit, and Wonder: Writing your own poem  (listed above in the writing section). It illustrates onomatopoeia.
“Ice cream truck jing-a-linging Nine phones ringing, ten horns beeping In the stroller Baby’s sleeping.

Will anything wake up that snoozing baby? Follow the red stroller through the cacophony of the city and find out! Rhythm, rhyme, and lots of noisy onomatopoeia from premier children’s poet Marilyn Singer, coupled with chaotic, colorful art from an acclaimed European illustrator, make this a rowdy read-aloud, with plenty of things to find and count on every spread.”
One Day, The End: Short, Very Short, Shorter-Than-Ever StoriesOne Day, The End.: Short, Very Short, Shorter-Than-Ever Stories

This book is optional. It’s used for one writing related assignment.

““One day. . . I went to school. I came home. The end,” says our storyteller—a girl with a busy imagination and a thirst for adventure. The art tells a fuller tale of calamity on the way to school and an unpredictably happy ending. The genius of this picture book is that each illustration captures multiple, unexpected, and funny storylines as the narrator tells her shorter-than-ever stories, ending with “One day. . . I wanted to write a book.” An original and incredibly deep combination of text and art invites readers to make up stories of their own.”
Handwriting
How to Draw Cute Stuff: Draw Anything and Everything in the Cutest Style Ever!
Note: The book has instructions on how to draw a witch. Christian parents can emphasize that this is is “fairy tale” witch.
How to Draw Cute Stuff: Draw Anything and Everything in the Cutest Style Ever!

This book is NOT scheduled. Instructions on when to use it are in the instructor’s guide/schedule.
One of the easiest ways to improve handwriting is to work on the related fine motor skills via drawing and other similar activities.

“Draw anything and everything—people, animals, and things—and make it CUTE. It’s easy! Budding artists just have to pick up their pencils, pens, crayons, or gel markers and follow these step-by-step how-to sequences. They’ll learn the basics of Japanese kawaii, which emphasizes simple, rounded shapes; faces with large eyes and sweet expressions; and personifying inanimate objects. They’ll also master animals, mythical creatures, food, plants, vehicles, and more!”

If you’d like to try other drawing books, here are others I recommend:
Ed Emberley’s Drawing Books
Illustration School Books by Sachiko Umoto
Startwrite
This program is optional.
I used Startwrite in my homeschool for years. If you’d like to create handwriting sheets for your student’s assigned copywork, I highly recommend you get this program. It has all of the major handwriting fonts and is easy to use.

Read my review here.
Poetry
A Child's Introduction to Poetry (Revised and Updated): Listen While You Learn About the Magic Words That Have Moved Mountains, Won Battles, and Made Us Laugh and CryA Child’s Introduction to Poetry (Revised and Updated): Listen While You Learn About the Magic Words That Have Moved Mountains, Won Battles, and Made Us Laugh and Cry

“Poetry can be fun — especially when we can read it, hear it, and discover its many delights. A Child’s Introduction to Poetry joyously introduces kids (and parents) to the greatest poets in history — from Homer and Shakespeare to Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou — and provides excellent examples of their work and commentary on what makes it so special and everlasting. The book covers every style of poem, from epics and odes, to nonsense verse and haikus, and is filled with examples of each one.

This multimedia package encourages children to listen, read, and learn, and opens the door to a lifetime of appreciation of a rich literary tradition. Also included is a removable, fold-out poster of “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, one of history’s most iconic poems.”

Favorite Poems Old and New: Selected For Boys and GirlsFavorite Poems Old and New: Selected for Boys and Girls

“Over 700 classic and modern poems written by poets from William Shakespeare to J. R. R. Tolkien, Emily Dickinson to Langston Hughes, and covering a range of favorite topics—pets, playtime, family, nature, and nonsense—ensure that there’s a poem to please every child. A truly comprehensive collection that is the ideal way of introducing children to the joys of reading poetry.”
Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and DrawingsWhere the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings

I still have this book from my childhood. When I was a child, I read the silly and creative poems in it over and over!

“Shel Silverstein, the New York Times bestselling author of The Giving TreeA Light in the AtticFalling Up, and Every Thing On It, has created a poetry collection that is outrageously funny and deeply profound. Come in . . . for where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein’s world begins.
You’ll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.
Shel Silverstein’s masterful collection of poems and drawings stretches the bounds of imagination and will be cherished by readers of all ages.”
Enormous Smallness: A Story of E. E. CummingsEnormous Smallness – A Story of E.E. Cummings 

Enormous Smallness is a nonfiction picture book about the poet E.E. cummings. Here E.E.’s life is presented in a way that will make children curious about him and will lead them to play with words and ask plenty of questions as well. Lively and informative, the book also presents some of Cummings’s most wonderful poems, integrating them seamlessly into the story to give the reader the music of his voice and a spirited, sensitive introduction to his poetry.”
A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos WilliamsA River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams – This book is optional.

 
“When he wrote poems, he felt as free as the Passaic River as it rushed to the falls. Willie’s notebooks filled up, one after another. Willie’s words gave him freedom and peace, but he also knew he needed to earn a living. So he went off to medical school and became a doctor — one of the busiest men in town! Yet he never stopped writing poetry. In this picture book biography of William Carlos Williams, Jen Bryant’s engaging prose and Melissa Sweet’s stunning mixed-media illustrations celebrate the amazing man who found a way to earn a living and to honor his calling to be a poet.”
Vocabulary, Spelling, and Multi-Subject
The Modern Speller
Note: In Book Two (on p. 4) there is a reference to “cruel and unforgiving” Indians. This is an excellent series, but obviously this sentence would be considered racist at this point in history. If you are opposed to this reference (or any others you may come across in this series), just skip the offending sentence(s) (or discuss it/them with your children).

I made use of quite a bit of “classic” books like this with my children, because I found that the content was often superior to many modern resources. When we came across something antiquated (like the Indian reference), I would point it out to them and explain why we don’t talk/think that way anymore. 🙂 It made for some great and meaningful discussions!
The Modern Speller (also used for writing and grammar practice through copywork and dictation)

This book is also listed in the writing section above since it’s used for multiple subjects.

This book is a GEM! I explain how to use it in the curriculum schedule. Your student will learn and practice spelling, but also benefit in a multitude of other ways through copywork and dictation. S/he will:
★ Learn spelling in an EASY way
★ Learn and practice proper punctuation
★ Learn and practice grammar concepts
★ Learn and practice writing
★ Be exposed to poetry
★ Have the opportunity to practice good handwriting (optional)

Choose one of the following FREE books for your child’s grade (or ability):

The Modern Speller Book One (2nd-4th grade)
The Modern Speller Book Two (5th-8th grade)

You will need to download the PDF copy and either use it digitally, or print pages as needed.
Here’s an optional tutorial on how to print and bind old books, so that they are like real books!

Want a physical copy of these books?

The Modern Speller Vol. 1 – Physical copy on Amazon
The Modern Speller Book 2 – Physical copy on Amazon

Note: I’ve not purchased the physical copies. I assume they match the free PDF version(s) but haven’t confirmed this.
English from the Roots Up, Vol. 1: Help for Reading, Writing, Spelling, and S.A.T. ScoresEnglish from the Roots Up, Vol. 1
Can’t find it on Amazon? Try My Father’s World.

“English from the Roots Up teaches 100 of the most-used Greek and Latin root words. It will help your child build vocabulary and comprehension, as well as figure out unknown words by deciphering their roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Grades 2-12.”
I’ve used this excellent book with all of my students (both my own and tutored). Highly recommended! I’ve also included links to lots of fabulous freebies that will help you round out this program with printable flashcards, tests, and more!

In the schedule I’ve linked to FREE notebooking pages, tests, games, and flashcards (that feature the root words) to make using this program even easier!

You may also like this set of English from the Roots Up flashcards, especially if you have a reluctant writer.
Rummy RootsRummy Roots

Use this game to practice and learn Greek & Latin roots for vocabulary.
Bananagrams: Multi-Award-Winning Word GameBananagrams or Banangrams WildTiles

” FUN FOR EVERYONE – Gather your family and friends and race against each other to build crossword grids. This anagram game that will drive you bananas.

ENTERTAINING AND EDUCATIONAL – While this game is easy to play, Bananagrams is also educational. Teach your kids how to spell words and have fun at the same time.

GREAT FOR TRAVEL – Bananagrams comes in a fun banana-shaped case. This game doesn’t take much space like other board games and brings tons of fun while travelling.”
Uncovering The Logic of English: A Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and LiteracyUncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and Literacy 

This book is for YOU, as the parent-teacher. You will use this book as a reference to explain spelling and pronunciation to your student on an as-needed basis throughout the year and years to come. I’ve scheduled it in the “Parent/Teacher homework section!”
Hangman gameTake ‘N’ Play Anywhere Game to Take ‘N’ Play Anywhere – Hangman
Unscheduled

You’ll use this to practice spelling words from the Modern Spelling book on Fridays (among other activities).
Reading and Lesson Tie-Ins
Prescription for Reading: Teach Them PhonicsPrescription for Reading: Teach Them Phonics

This book is NOT scheduled. You’ll need it if your student still needs to work on phonics, or if he has any gaps in his reading instruction. I used an earlier version of this book with all of my children. If I could only choose one book to teach reading while stranded on a desert island, this would be the book I’d choose!

“This second printing volume contains the five enhanced Progressive Phonics reading levels developed by Dr. Christman. They are designed for all literacy programs: school, community, employer, library, home, and immigrant. There is a complete explanation of English phonic principals (English is 98% phonic). Stories are included at each phonic level to make learning to read quick and enjoyable. With this method, anyone who can read can readily teacher another.”
Bookworm Journal: A Reading Log for KidsBookworm Journal: A Reading Log for Kids 

“Children will crave reading time once they get a taste of this clever book log. Every time you and your child finish a story, fill out a journal entry with the title, author and rating of the book. Then, tear off the perforated corner of each page to see the bookworm “eat” his way through the journal.”
Thank You, Mr. FalkerThank You, Mr. Falker – This book is optional.

“The real-life, classic story of a dyslexic girl and the teacher who would not let her fail. A perfect gift for teachers and for reading students of any age.”
This book is such an inspiration for any student struggling in any area. It also introduces the topic of dyslexia, and how you can overcome difficulties with hard work. The little girl in the story grew up to be a children’s book author!
The Jolly Postman
*Note: This book mentions a postman drinking champagne.
The Jolly Postman

This book is also listed in the writing section above.

This book comes with envelopes you can actually open containing letters from various fairy-tale characters. It’s used in conjunction with the book Sincerely Yours: Writing Your Own Letter (listed above in the writing section). It’s also used for some additional writing assignments.
The Right Word: Roget and His ThesaurusThe Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus

“For shy young Peter Mark Roget, books were the best companions — and it wasn’t long before Peter began writing his own book. But he didn’t write stories; he wrote lists. Peter took his love for words and turned it to organizing ideas and finding exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time.

Readers of all ages will marvel at Roget’s life, depicted through lyrical text and brilliantly detailed illustrations. This elegant book celebrates the joy of learning and the power of words.”
Archaeologists Dig for Clues (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)Archeologists Dig for Clues

This book is used in conjunction with a writing assignment from Don’t Forget to Write.

“Archaeologists on a dig work very much like detectives at a crime scene. Every chipped rock, charred seed, or fossilized bone could be a clue to how people lived in the past. In this information-packed Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science book, Kate Duke explains what scientists are looking for, how they find it, and what their finds reveal.”
The Other Side of the Story: Fairy Tales with a TwistThe Other Side of the Story

This book is read in conjunction with Once Upon a Time (linked above in the writing section). It’s also used to show different points of view.

“That’s NOT the way it was!” say five characters from some of the world’s most beloved fairy tales. In reality, Cinderella wasn’t the sweetest belle of the ball. She was an annoying chatterbox. Jack was a petty thief. And Little Red Riding Hood? Spoiled rotten! It’s all about point of view. Pull up a chair, and get the full scoop straight from the mouths of the wicked stepmother, the giant, the prince, Baby Bear, and the wolf. Get the Other Side of the Story!
The Iliad and the OdysseyThe Iliad and the Odyssey

This book is used in conjunction with the book Child’s Introduction to Poetry (listed above in the poetry section).

“Thrilling comic-strip action, with monsters, mighty heroes and even mightier gods and goddesses.The Iliad tells the story of the war between Greeks and Trojans; the love between Helena and Paris; Achilles and Hector’s deadly combat; the Trojan Horse… The Odyssey depicts the perilous voyage home of the Greek warrior Odysseus; his struggles against the one-eyed Cyclops; the terrible Sirens; the dreadful, six-headed Scylla… These classic Greek stories have been retold with lively text and a dramatic cartoon style, making them accessible and fun for children.”
Tales from ShakespeareTales from Shakespeare

This is used in conjunction with the book Child’s Introduction to Poetry (listed above in the poetry section). It’s also used in conjunction with a writing assignment/project).

Seven Shakespeare plays are illustrated in a comic book fashion in this perfect introduction to not only his plays, but also the Globe Theater! Students will use this book as a springboard to writing their own puppet show(s).

“Come wend your way along London’s Thames River to the Globe Theatre, where seven favorite Shakespearean plays are being performed! Marcia Williams brings to life ROMEO AND JULIET, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, JULIUS CAESAR, HAMLET, MACBETH, THE WINTER’S TALE, and THE TEMPEST, making liberal use of Shakespeare’s rich dialogue. With the help of her signature comic-strip style, the Bard’s 400-year-old masterworks become as relevant to young readers today as they were to theatergoers way back then.”
What Do Authors Do?What Do Authors Do?

This book is used to show students the process authors go through to get their stories published.

“A sprightly text and colorful illustrations follow two creative people-and a talkative dog and cat-through the writing process step by step, from the inspiration for a story to the satisfaction of sharing the book with readers. Eileen Christelow based this instructive picture book on questions children asked during her classroom talks around the country. Simple enough for young children to understand, and with the entertainment value of fiction, “What Do Authors Do?” is children’s nonfiction at its best.”
Forms of Government (Cornerstones of Freedom: Third Series)Forms of Government

This optional book goes with a lesson plan in Don’t Forget to Write (listed above in the writing section).
Choose two of the following books by Jon Scieszka.
Your choice of book(s) will be used with a writing assignment from Don’t Forget to Write (listed above in the writing section).
Math Curse
Math Curse
Associated writing assignment: Combining math and other school subjects with creative writing
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
Associated writing assignment: Writing a fairy tale with a new point of view
Baloney (Henry P.)
Baloney (Henry P.)
Associated writing assignment: Writing a tall tale
Squids Will Be Squids
Squids Will Be Squids
Associated writing assignment: Writing fables
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
Associated writing assignment: Adding crazy twists to fairy tales
Read-Alouds
Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook: Eighth Edition Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook: Eighth Edition

This book is a MUST-HAVE for any homeschooler’s shelf. This is assigned reading for the parent, as well as lists of books to choose this year’s read-alouds from (if the ones I’ve scheduled are not good matches for your family). I’ve scheduled it in the “Parent/Teacher homework section!”

“Recommended by “Dear Abby” upon its first publication in 1982, millions of parents and educators have turned to Jim Trelease’s beloved classic for more than three decades to help countless children become avid readers through awakening their imaginations and improving their language skills. Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook, updated and revised by education specialist Cyndi Giorgis, discusses the benefits, the rewards, and the importance of reading aloud to children of a new generation. Supported by delightful anecdotes as well as the latest research, an updated treasury of book recommendations curated with an eye for diversity, Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook offers proven techniques and strategies for helping children of all backgrounds and abilities discover the pleasures of reading and setting them on the road to becoming lifelong readers.”
Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryCharlie and the Chocolate Factory

“But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!”
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMHMrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

“Some extraordinary rats come to the aid of a mouse family in this Newbery Medal Award-winning classic by notable children’s author Robert C. O’Brien.

Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma. And Mrs. Frisby in turn renders them a great service.”
The Best Christmas Pageant EverThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever

“Laughs abound in this bestselling Christmas classic by Barbara Robinson! The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world.” The siblings take over the annual Christmas pageant in a hilarious yet heartwarming tale involving the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds, and six rowdy kids.
Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys Herdman are an awful bunch. They set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s toolshed, blackmailed Wanda Pierce to get her charm bracelet, and smacked Alice Wendelken across the head. And that’s just the start! When the Herdmans show up at church for the free snacks and suddenly take over the Christmas pageant, the other kids are shocked. It’s obvious that they’re up to no good. But Christmas magic is all around and the Herdmans, who have never heard the Christmas story before, start to reimagine it in their own way.
This year’s pageant is definitely like no other, but maybe that’s exactly what makes it so special.
The One and Only IvanThe One and Only Ivan

“This stirring and unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendships. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated novel is told from the point-of-view of Ivan himself.
Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.
The One and Only Ivan was hailed as a best book of the year by KirkusSchool Library Journal, and Amazon, demonstrating it is a true classic in the making. In the tradition of timeless stories like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope. An author’s note depicts the differences between the fictional story and true events.”
The Hundred DressesThe Hundred Dresses

“Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is “never going to stand by and say nothing again.”
Owls in the FamilyOwls in the Family

“Every child needs to have a pet. No one could argue with that.
 
But what happens when your pet is an owl, and your owl is terrorizing the neighbourhood?
 
In Farley Mowat’s exciting children’s story, a young boy’s pet menagerie—which includes crows, magpies, gophers and a dog—grows out of control with the addition of two cantankerous pet owls. The story of how Wol and Weeps turn the whole town upside down s warm, funny, and bursting with adventure and suspense.”
Bambi: A Life in the Woods
Note: If you have a sensitive child who will be upset by death (or disappearance) in a story, you will want to skip this title.
Bambi

“Bambi’s life in the woods begins happily. There are forest animals to play with and Bambi’s twin cousins, Gobo and beautiful Faline.

But winter comes, and Bambi learns that the woods hold danger—and things he doesn’t understand. The first snowfall makes food hard to find. Bambi’s father, a handsome stag, roams the forest, but leaves Bambi and his mother alone.

Then there is Man. He comes to the forest with weapons that can wound an animal. Bambi is scared that Man will hurt him and the ones he loves. But Man can’t keep Bambi from growing into a great stag himself, and becoming the Prince of the Forest.”
The Indian in the CupboardThe Indian in the Cupboard

“It’s Omri’s birthday, but all he gets from his best friend, Patrick, is a little plastic Indian brave. Trying to hide his disappointment, Omri puts the Indian in a metal cupboard and locks the door with a mysterious skeleton key that once belonged to his great-grandmother. Little does Omri know that by turning the key, he will transform his ordinary plastic Indian into a real live man from an altogether different time and place! Omri and the tiny warrior called Little Bear could hardly be more different, yet soon the two forge a very special friendship. Will Omri be able to keep Little Bear without anyone finding out and taking his precious Indian from him?”
Choose one of the following:
Henry Huggins
Option 1: Henry Huggins

In the first novel from Newbery Award-winning author Beverly Cleary, boys and girls alike will instantly be charmed by an average boy whose life is turned upside down when he meets a lovable puppy with a nose for mischief.
Just as Henry Huggins is complaining that nothing exciting ever happens, a friendly dog sits down beside him and looks pleadingly at his ice-cream cone. From that moment on, the two are inseparable. But when Ribsy’s original owner appears, trying to reclaim his dog, Henry’s faced with the possibility of losing his new best friend. Has Klickitat Street seen the last of rambunctious Ribsy?
A Little Princess
Option 2: A Little Princess

There are several editions of this book available. Any of them will do. 🙂 This was one of my favorite books when I was a child.

“A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett tells the story of Sara Crewe, daughter of Captain Crewe. She is an only child who was always treated like royalty. After her father’s death she undergoes numerous trials at the hands of a wicked boarding school headmistress. Living in poverty, she finds the strength and resilience to endure her new life until fate attempts to reverse her fortunes once more.

One of the most beloved children’s novels of all time”
Choose one of the following:
The Littles
Option 1: The Littles

“The Littles is a timeless favorite that’s been enjoyed for decades. Ready to grab the attention of a new generation, fresh cover art brings an updated look to this classic series.

Meet the Littles, a family like any other but with a few tiny differences! They live in the walls of the Bigg family house where they get everything they need. In return they make sure the Bigg house is always in good repair.
When the Biggs go away for the summer the Newcombs come to stay in their house. And the Newcombs are slobs! The mess the Newcombs make attracts one of the Littles biggest enemies: mice! Just when it seems like things can’t get any worse, they bring a cat to live with them. How will this little family get out of such big trouble?”
The Borrowers
Option 2: The Borrowers

“The Borrowers—the Clock family: Homily, Pod, and their fourteen-year-old daughter, Arrietty, to be precise—are tiny people who live underneath the kitchen floor of an old English country manor. All their minuscule home furnishings, from postage stamp paintings to champagne cork chairs, are “borrowed” from the “human beans” who tromp around loudly above them. All is well until Pod is spotted upstairs by a human boy! Can the Clocks stay nested safely in their beloved hidden home, or will they be forced to flee?”
Choose one of the following three titles:
Stuart Little
Stuart Little

“Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he’s shy and thoughtful, he’s also a true lover of adventure.
Stuart’s greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?”
The Trumpet of the Swan
The Trumpet of the Swan

“Louis is a trumpeter swan, but unlike the rest of his family, he can’t make a sound. And since he can’t trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays no attention to him. But when his father steals him a real brass trumpet, Louis has to find out if it’s the key to what he’s wanted all along.
E. B. White’s classic book is a tender novel of overcoming the odds and learning to do things on your own terms.”
Charlotte's Web
Charlotte’s Web

Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.
E. B. White’s Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come”
For the Parent/Teacher
Revitalize: Breathing Life and Encouragement into Your HomeschoolRevitalize: Breathing Life and Encouragement into Your Homeschool – This book is optional.

This book is a resource for Christian parents in the parent/teacher homework section. If you are not a Christian, you can skip it. 😉

“While the Bible does not mention homeschooling, there are Christian principles within its pages that address all of the struggles and doubts that homeschool parents encounter all year long as they educate their children.

As you read through this devotional book, you will read scripture to uncover truths to help you become confident in what God wants your homeschool to look like and help heal any areas that are in need of repair. Each week you will also be issued a challenge to help you institute these changes and assist you in focusing on yourself or your children. If your homeschool needs a breath of fresh air and a renewed focus, this is the book to help you do it.”
Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook: Eighth EditionJim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook: Eighth Edition
(Also listed in the read-aloud section)

This book is a MUST-HAVE for any homeschooler’s shelf. This is assigned reading for the parent, as well as lists of books to choose this year’s read-alouds from (if the ones I’ve scheduled are not good matches for your family). I’ve scheduled it in the “Parent/Teacher homework section!”

“Recommended by “Dear Abby” upon its first publication in 1982, millions of parents and educators have turned to Jim Trelease’s beloved classic for more than three decades to help countless children become avid readers through awakening their imaginations and improving their language skills. Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook, updated and revised by education specialist Cyndi Giorgis, discusses the benefits, the rewards, and the importance of reading aloud to children of a new generation. Supported by delightful anecdotes as well as the latest research, an updated treasury of book recommendations curated with an eye for diversity, Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook offers proven techniques and strategies for helping children of all backgrounds and abilities discover the pleasures of reading and setting them on the road to becoming lifelong readers.”
Prescription for Reading: Teach Them PhonicsPrescription for Reading: Teach Them Phonics
(Also listed in the reading section)

This book is NOT scheduled. You’ll need it if your student still needs to work on phonics, or if he has any gaps in his reading instruction. I used an earlier version of this book with all of my children. If I could only choose one book to teach reading while stranded on a desert island, this would be the book I’d choose!
“This second printing volume contains the five enhanced Progressive Phonics reading levels developed by Dr. Christman. They are designed for all literacy programs: school, community, employer, library, home, and immigrant. There is a complete explanation of English phonic principals (English is 98% phonic). Stories are included at each phonic level to make learning to read quick and enjoyable. With this method, anyone who can read can readily teacher another.”
Uncovering The Logic of English: A Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and LiteracyUncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and Literacy – This book is optional.
(Also listed in the vocabulary, spelling, and multi-subject section)

This book is for YOU, as the parent-teacher. You will use this book as a reference to explain spelling and pronunciation to your student on an as-needed basis throughout the year and years to come. I’ve scheduled it in the “Parent/Teacher homework section!”
Pinecone hedgehog

The terrific materials listed above are for Guest Hollow’s Language Arts Curriculum! We invite you to take a look!

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