What We Are Reading This Week : June 7, 2020 - June 13, 2020

I took a mini-break from blogging. I don't have the right words but one of the only ways I know I can make the change is to continue educating myself and my children. I will educate myself by listening to others and by reading. So with the current events of the country, our book list for this week will reflect that. One of the small, very small, changes will be that our books will have more diversity to them. I realized that my children's books are mainly white authors. I believe in the Black Lives Matter movement and that I have white privilege. Our book list this week will be just one of the small steps I take.

With that brief introduction here are the books we are reading this week. This post does NOT contain any affiliate links.

Description from Amazon: "Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexander’s unforgettable argument that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” As the Birmingham News proclaimed, it is “undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S.”

Now, ten years after it was first published, The New Press is proud to issue a tenth-anniversary edition with a new preface by Michelle Alexander that discusses the impact the book has had and the state of the criminal justice reform movement today."


Description from Amazon: "Have you researched Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education but discounted it as old-fashioned and overtly religious? Then this is the book you need to read. In A Literary Education, Emily Cook lays out how she has brought Miss Mason’s ideology into the modern age for secular homeschoolers. In conversational prose she discusses the key tenants used in Charlotte Mason homeschooling and explains how to make them work for your family. You’ll read about:

· Living books and how to use them
· Reading aloud: the why and the how
· Nature study in the 21st century
· How to inspire creativity in your children
· How to get the most out of the preschool years
· How to combine children of multiple ages
· And much more!

In A Literary Education, Emily shares her 14 year homeschool journey and how she has learned to take Charlotte Mason’s method of home education into the 21st century to give her children a beautiful living books education.

I am just going to share the two books we are reading aloud this week. I will start to include individual children's books in July when we officially start back with homeschooling.

Description from Amazon:

"In this imaginative adventure from Newbery Medal–winning author Beverly Cleary, a young mouse named Ralph is thrown into a world of excitement when a boy and his shiny toy motorcycle check in to the Mountain View Inn. This timeless classic now features a foreword written by New York Times bestselling author Kate DiCamillo, as well as an exclusive interview with Beverly Cleary herself.

When the ever-curious Ralph spots Keith's red toy motorcycle, he vows to ride it. So when Keith leaves the bike unattended in his room one day, Ralph makes his move. But with all this freedom (and speed!) come a lot of obstacles. Whether dodging a rowdy terrier or keeping his nosy cousins away from his new wheels, Ralph has a lot going on! And with a pal like Keith always looking out for him, there's nothing this little mouse can't handle."


Description from Amazon: "Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack."

What are you reading this week for yourself and as a family? What is your favorite read aloud?

Also, I do plan on reviewing these books after we finish them and sharing any activities/discussions that we did while reading the books.

Reflecting On Our Last Two Years of Homeschool

We finished our 5th-grade year and now we are in between grades. At the end of the school year I like to reflect on how that year went for us. I thought I would share my top three reflections.

1. Breaks are a necessity. 

Not only would I get burnt out having school every day but so would my child. I didn't realize it in the first year. I wanted to keep going on the same days that public schools were in session. Now I realized that those kids and teachers are probably burnt out before they get a winter or spring break. The winter break where I live is only 2 weeks and the spring break, if they are lucky is 3 days. They do get off federal holiday's and once a month there is an in-service day. That was just not long enough for us. It is okay to take breaks to avoid that oh so wonderful burnt out feeling. 

When we would take a nice break, my kiddo was able to refocus. That is why this year we are implementing year-long schooling, starting July 6th. I am hoping this will help us spread it out more evenly. 

2. You are home, not in a classroom. 

The first year and for the first half of this year I still acted like we needed to be in a classroom. We are at home, so the rules are probably more relaxed than they are in a classroom. Once I started to relax and go at our own pace everything went much more smoothly. We would even take our schoolwork outside just to change up the scenery on nicer days. 

3. Find the curriculum that works for you. 

Oh, this one I am still struggling with. It is okay to change your curriculum. If it doesn't work, try something else. We still have yet to find a writing/grammar curriculum that my son likes. We have tried two so far. I probably should have switched in the middle of the year when he would complain because he hated writing so much. This year we are trying our third. I am hoping doing a video/online program as we do for math will help. I am crossing my fingers and dotting my I's that we finally found a curriculum that he likes. Also, if you have a curriculum that works, I say stick with it and don't branch out. "Why break what doesn't need to be fixed," is what my Grandma has always said. 

What are some of the changes you are making to your 2020-21 school year? How has your homeschooling changed over the years?

Keeping My Home School 6th Grader Organized

We will be starting our third year homeschooling this July. This past year we lost papers and our list of assignments that we wrote down. Thankfully, I also keep digital copies or our plans.

Since we are having a break between 5th and 6th grade, I brainstormed ideas that I hope will help keep everything together and organized. My plan is also to help give him more independence by giving him his assignments for the entire week instead of the day.

I have my planner that I will share at another time that is now planned out till September.

I purchased him a planner from Target. It is a 2020-21 Weekly/Monthly Planner from Blue Sky. It starts in July, which is perfect.

The monthly part of his calendar I have added important dates and figured he can go in and add anything he wants with it.

In the weekly part, I listed his assignments for the week on the correct day. We are only going to home school Monday - Thursday, leaving Friday's open for co-op, trips to visit family, field trips, or catch up days. Every Sunday or Monday morning I will update his planner with the new assignments.

I do not have his language arts in his planner yet, I need to dive more into the curriculum calendar for that before I add it. (You can read more about our curriculum choice for 6th grade HERE)

Another way I am helping him stay organized is he will have a folder system that has all the papers he needs for the week in their assigned day. I did a post yesterday on how I created this folder system.

I didn't take any photos, but his completed work will go into a regular 3 ring binder to make setting up his portfolio at the end of the year. I will add his work to that just to help keep myself organized and less work at the end of the year.

How do you keep your family organized? I am always looking for more ideas!

DIY Folder Organzier for Homeschool

My soon to be 6th grader has trouble keeping track of papers that he needs to for the day. I tend to hand him his papers first thing in the morning with his list of assignments. Since he is older, I wanted to give him more responsibility. He will be getting his assignments for the whole week every Monday. I will be posting tomorrow about my plans for keeping him organized.

Today, I wanted to share this super easy and affordable DIY Folder Organizer.

I remember one of my teachers having something very similar to this in case we lost assignments and I wanted to recreate my own. Do you ever remember anything from your childhood that is so ordinary but clever? This was one of those moments.

What you'll need:

File Folders
Yarn (not pictured)


Line up your folders.

Tape your folders together -- I wished I had colorful duck tape or folders to make it more personal but this is what we have on hand.

Add a loop of yarn on the back with tape.


I did add the days of the weeks to the top of the folders to coordinate with the papers he will need for that day. You can personalize this however you want. Again, I wished I had some different color folders or duck tape.

What is your tip for keeping your kiddo organized?

Our 6th Grade Curriculum at a Glance

We haven't started 6th grade yet. We will start in July! However, I have taken this mini-break from school to focus on what curriculum we have decided to go with for 6th grade.

Please note, there are no affiliate or referral links in this post. This is just the choice we are using.

I have decided to do Level 6 of Build Your Library. We really like this curriculum. However, I wish it was slightly meatier so I will be creating mini unit studies on the books, interactive notebooks, and note booking. We haven't done any official type of note booking in our home school yet but I do want to include more writing. I will be either creating my own, using teachers pay teachers, or finding free resources online from other wonderful families. I read Emily is going to be updating level 6 and that should be out by the fall time. We will be using the current version just because it aligns well with the older version of level 5. I do want to do a weekly update when we start school, so you can follow along with what we are doing and what I added.

We also will be using Teaching Textbooks for math. My son and I both really enjoy the online set up of it.

We have yet to find a writing/grammar curriculum that we like, so this year we are trying Essentials in Writing.

We are not a real fan of the Real Science Odyssey, so this year we are going to try something new. My son wants to learn about Earth and Space. I have heard good things about this curriculum so I thought we would try it out. We decided on Elemental Science: Earth Science & Astronomy for the Logic Stage.

I am also going to add TeaTime. My goal is once a week in some sort of variety to fun to basic. He will also be doing a free typing program I found. Watching that boy type hurts my soul, so I would like him to have some basic typing skills.

This is our 6th-grade choice in a nutshell.

What curriculum will you be using this year? What is your child's favorite book? (I am always looking for new books to give to my kiddo to read)

Why We Homeschool

"Why do we homeschool?" is a question that I often receive. The short answer is we enjoy the freedom that homeschooling provides for us.

The freedom I mentioned is that we can take family vacations when it is right for my family. When my son was in the public school system I would have to get "approval" from the school district that he would miss a period of school.

I have always had this urge to homeschool. I wanted to badly but believed that I wasn't capable of teaching my child. How wrong was I to believe that? I would take my youngest to the playground or on mini hiking trips during the spring and fall days. I kept thinking about how I wished my oldest was here, being outdoor, not stuck in a classroom, and spending time with us on these beautiful days.

With those thoughts in my mind almost every day three years ago, I finally took the plunge and pulled him out of public school at the end of his 3rd-grade year. I have enjoyed almost every minute of it.

So I homeschool because I like being around my children and the freedom that comes with being able to go outdoors on beautiful days to when we can go on vacation.

So Here I Am Again

I am bound and determine to make this a habit. Today is a new day. Day 1 out of 365. I plan on posting every day for a year.

Since I am restarting this blog, I do plan on saving my previous post. You need to show where you started to keep track of your own progress.

So let's restart.

Hi, I am Victoria!

I am a homeschooling mom, to a preschooler and now a 6th grader.

My plan for this blog is to focus on homeschooling and DIY projects.

It is nice to meet you and welcome to my blog: With the Sutton's