Tuesday, December 31, 2019

My Top 25 Reads of 2019

As I shared in my post yesterday, I read 486 books in 2019, including 138 adult books, 16 YA, 82 middle grade, 15 chapter books, 14 easy readers, 203 picture books, and 18 board books.  The titles included in today's list are my favorites from among the novels and nonfiction. There is no ranking; they appear here in chronological order based on when I finished reading them. I've also linked to my reviews on Goodreads, Instagram, and this blog.

The Reed of God (1944)

Catholic spiritual classic by Caryll Houselander
Finished reading 1/2/19 

The Library Book (2018)

Nonfiction by Susan Orlean
Finished reading 1/18/19
My Goodreads review

We Alcotts (1968)

Middle grade nonfiction by Aileen Fisher and Olive Rabe
Finished reading 1/25/19
My blog review

Pay Attention, Carter Jones (2019)

Middle grade realistic fiction by Gary D. Schmidt
Finished reading 2/1/19 
My blog review

A Girl from Yamhill (1988)

Autobiography by Beverly Cleary
Finished reading 3/6/19
My blog review

Three Children and Shakespeare (1938)

Middle grade fiction by Anne Terry White
Finished reading 3/20/19
My blog review

In This House of Brede (1969)

Novel by Rumer Godden
Finished reading 3/27/19
My Goodreads review

The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)

Spiritual memoir by Thomas Merton
Finished reading 4/5/19

Brideshead Revisited (1945)

Historical fiction novel by Evelyn Waugh
Finished reading 4/12/19
My Goodreads review

The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage (2003)

Nonfiction by Paul Elie
Finished reading 4/17/19
My Instagram review

84 Charing Cross Road (1970)

Collection of letters by Helene Hanff
Finished reading 4/27/19
My Goodreads review

Death by Minivan (2018)

Catholic parenting handbook by Heather Renshaw
Finished reading 6/7/19

Middlemarch (1871)

Classic novel by George Eliot
Finished reading 6/8/19
My Goodreads review

Babe the Gallant Pig (1983)

Middle grade novel by Dick King-Smith
Finished reading 6/13/19
My Goodreads review

Three Brothers of Ur (1964)

Middle grade historical fiction by J.G. Fyson
Finished reading 7/15/19
My blog review

The Same Stuff as Stars (2002)

Middle grade novel by Katherine Paterson
Finished reading 7/24/19
My blog review

Inheritance (2019)

Memoir by Dani Shapiro
Finished reading 7/29/19
My Goodreads review

Save Me the Plums (2019)

Memoir by Ruth Reichl
Finished reading 8/5/19
My Goodreads review

Never Have I Ever (2019)

Domestic suspense novel by Joshilyn Jackson
Finished reading 8/9/19
My Goodreads review

Evvie Drake Starts Over (2019)

Contemporary romance novel by Linda Holmes
Finished reading 8/11/19
My Goodreads review

Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927)

Historical fiction novel by Willa Cather
Finished reading 9/10/19
My Goodreads review

To the Power of Three (2005)

Suspense novel by Laura Lippman
Finished reading 10/20/19
My Goodreads review

Till We Have Faces (1956)

Novel by C.S. Lewis
Finished reading 10/21/19
My Goodreads review

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820)

Novella by Washington Irving
Finished reading 10/27/19
My Goodreads review

The White Witch (1952)

Historical fiction by Elizabeth Goudge
Finished reading 10/30/19
My Goodreads review

I'm looking forward to another great reading year in 2020! Check back tomorrow for my reading plans and goals for the new year. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Reading in Review


As is my tradition, I counted every book I read this year, including board books and picture books I had never read before, the chapter books and middle grade novels I read aloud to the girls, as well as adult and young adult books I read for myself. The grand total is 486 books, and Goodreads claims that equals over 69,000 pages.

My busiest reading months were July and November, during which I read 60 and 64 books respectively, and the lightest was September, when I read only 25 books, thanks to morning sickness.

Here is the breakdown of books by intended audience and genre:

  • 28% Adult (138 books: 51 mystery,  38 nonfiction, 12 literary fiction, 10 classics, 7 fantasy, 6 romance, 6 historical fiction, 4 poetry, 3 chick lit, 1 play) 
  • 3% Young Adult (16 books: 6 romance, 5 literary fiction, 3 fantasy, 2 contemporary realism)
  • 17% Middle Grade (82 books: 33 realistic fiction, 26 fantasy, 10 historical fiction, 9 nonfiction, 2 mystery, 2 literary fiction)
  • 3% Chapter Books (15 books)
  • 3% Easy Readers (14 books)
  • 42% Picture Books (203 books)
  • 4% Board Books (18 books)


At the beginning of the year, I set five goals for my reading for 2019. Some of these were derailed by the fact that I became pregnant with twins over the summer and had terrible first trimester symptoms, but I did make progress on most of them. Here's a quick look at how I did. 

Goal number one was to allow breathing room for activities outside of reading. Though I still read a lot of books, I did read fewer this year than in any other year since I started tracking my reading in 2011, so I think I did a decent job of trying not to spend every minute racking up more pages read. 

My second goal, however, was to devote more time to reviewing books and writing blog posts, and that didn't really happen as I had hoped. I ended up becoming more active on Instagram, which is fine, but I really need to figure out how I can keep blogging even when blogs are not that popular anymore. I did start blogging more about homeschooling, but I still want to write about my reading life too!

The third goal I set for myself was to re-read the Harry Potter series over the entire year. This one I stuck to almost perfectly, following the schedule and blogging about each set of chapters as I made my way through the books. It was really fun to revisit the books this way, and I look forward to a few years from now when my oldest can start reading them!

Goal number four was to read books by Katherine Paterson. I did read a few of her books, but I didn't stick to my original hope of reading one per month all year long. The titles I did read were: Jip: His Story; Flip-Flop Girl; Park's Quest; Come Sing, Jimmy JoThe Master PuppeteerBridge to Terabithia (which was a re-read); and The Same Stuff as Stars.

My last goal was to simplify challenge record-keeping. I do think I did a good job of tracking my challenges this year. I had a Goodreads shelf for each one, and I kept checklists in a notebook for challenges with specific category requirements. 


I signed up for 8 challenges in 2019, but only completed half of them. Here are the details.

The goal of the Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge was to read 26 books whose titles begin with each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. I took a long break from this one in the middle of the year, but came back around to complete it in November. I also completed the Alphabet Soup Author Edition Reading Challenge, where the goal was to read 26 books, having one author represent each letter.

I really enjoyed participating in the CathLit Catholic Reading Challenge, but there were some categories that just didn't appeal to me, and I ended up crossing off only 14 of the 19 items on the challenge checklist. The books I did read were: The Seven Storey Mountain (a spiritual memoir); The Interior Castle (a classic spiritual work); The Reed of God (a book about Mary); Brideshead Revisited (book by a Catholic novelist); Humanae Vitae (book by a Pope);  Unplanned (book by a Catholic woman);  Something Other Than God (a conversion story); The Gentle Traditionalist (a book about apologetics); In This House of Brede (a long Catholic book); The Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer: Special Edition for Young Readers (a Catholic classic); The Great Divorce (a book by a non-Catholic that all the Catholics are reading);  The Catholic All Year Compendium (a recently published Catholic book); Real Music (a book about the liturgy), and Leisure the Basis of Culture (a book by a Catholic philosopher). 

I didn't end up keeping up with linking up my books for the Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge after the first quarter, but I did continue tracking them on Goodreads. I read 50 total, which was within the range for my goal of Special Agent (36-55 books). 

I completed the Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge, where my goal was Famished (26 -51 Cozy Mysteries). I read 34. 

I stuck with both the Library Love Challenge and the RMFAO Audiobooks Challenge on Goodreads until around the halfway point of the year, but realized that I didn't really need to be challenged to borrow library books or to listen to audiobooks and stopped linking up my titles. I also abandoned the Mount TBR challenge, but that was almost immediately, as I just didn't like the strict tone of the whole thing. 

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing my top 25 reads of 2019. Then check back on New Year's Day for my reading plans for 2020. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Deathly Hallows, Chapters 33-36

On Christmas Eve, I finished reading the final four chapters of Deathly Hallows: Chapter 33 ("The Prince's Tale"), Chapter 34 ("The Forest Again"), Chapter 35 ("King's Cross"), and Chapter 36 ("The Flaw in the Plan"). I have only the epilogue left!  (Spoilers ahead, as always.)

Chapter 33 is very emotional from the start, first because we hear Voldemort taunting Harry about the fact that he has "allowed" his friends to die on his behalf just moments before Harry glimpses the bodies of Lupin and Tonks in the Great Hall. Because their deaths are revealed so casually, without comment, they are possibly the hardest to endure. The chapter continues on an emotional rollercoaster as it reveals Snape's friendship with and lifelong love for Harry's mother, along with so much more backstory. On this reading, I was especially struck by Lily's relationship with her sister, Harry's aunt Petunia, and by Snape's point of view on Harry's life at Hogwarts. This was all handled beautifully and I came away feeling that I would have happily read an entire novel about Snape and Lily.

This chapter also establishes the fact that Dumbledore allowed Snape to kill him because he was dying anyway. This is one of the plot points that causes Catholic readers to question whether the series is appropriate for their kids because it is essentially a mercy killing. Coupled with the meditations on death in the "King's Cross" chapter of this book, however, I don't know that Rowling is advocating for euthanasia. I think it's pretty clear that Dumbledore has regrets, even in the "great Room of Requirement" of the afterlife, and chief among them seems to be that he did, at times, seek to gain power over death. Harry, on the other hand, never thinks to try to get out of the suffering of dying at Voldemort's hand to save the people he loves, and as Harry is the hero of the story, I'm more inclined to think readers are meant to embrace his worldview. The fact that Dumbledore didn't necessarily handle his death well suits his character perfectly, and ultimately I think it opens up the subject for discussion without endorsing his choices.

I read the ending of this book so quickly my first time through that I'm not sure I really felt everything that happens, but this time, I was definitely moved by the moments during which characters like McGonagall thought Harry was dead, and moments when, after Voldemort's defeat, the previous headmasters in the portraits give Harry a standing ovation. I also really love that Luna is the one who recognizes Harry's need for space and uses her offbeat way of relating to other people to give it to him.

All that remains of this book is the epilogue, which I have re-read over the years and which I don't love. In the interest of reading every word, however, I'll read it and post about it before the end of the month to bring the year of Harry Potter to a close.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Deathly Hallows, Chapters 29-32

Last week I read Chapter 29 ("The Lost Diadem"), Chapter 30 ("The Sacking of Severus Snape"), Chapter 31 ("The Battle of Hogwarts"), and Chapter 32 ("The Elder Wand"). My thoughts below contain spoilers.

I love the moment when Neville sees Harry arriving at Hogwarts. It's surprising that Harry doesn't realize that his fellow Dumbledore's Army members will want to help him, and that he doesn't anticipate that they will assume he's come back to help them fight. This is where I start to get frustrated with him because he insists on doing everything alone and in secret, which never seemed to be Dumbledore's intention.

Though battle is raging and Harry is on the hunt for a horcrux, there is also a lot of other action going on in these chapters, including Ron and Hermione finally sharing a kiss, Percy returning to reconcile with his family just before his brother Fred is killed, and Harry having a confrontation with Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle. Rowling does a nice job with the pacing, helping the reader to feel the urgency of each moment as it passes, but also making sure we get all the details of how subplots are resolving.

These chapters end, sadly, with the death of Snape, but I left myself hanging before we finally get to hear the truth of what he has really been up to all this time. I'm actually kind of glad to have left off there because I've been anticipating it for so long, and I think having had to wait another week to read it will make it much more satisfying.

Friday, December 20, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Deathly Hallows, Chapters 25-28

Last week's assignment was another set of exciting chapters: Chapter 25 ("Shell Cottage"), Chapter 26 ("Gringotts"), Chapter 27 ("The Final Hiding Place"), and Chapter 28 ("The Missing Mirror").  Spoilers ahead.

I was struck by Harry's observation in Chapter 25 that, for the first time, he is choosing not to act by resisting the temptation to steal the Elder Wand from Voldemort. I appreciate that Harry is growing in maturity over the course of this book and no longer acting rashly in moments where he previously would have. I also had a bit of a lump in my throat when Lupin appeared to tell everyone his son had been born. (Is this the last time we see him alive? I can't remember, but if it is, it feels very poignant, especially when he asks Harry to be young Teddy's godfather.

Another moment that had similar emotional resonance was when, while at Gringotts attempting to break into Bellatrix's vault, Harry remembers Hagrid telling him 6 years ago, in the first book, what a fool a wizard would be to try to rob Gringotts. This was such a nice way to bring things full circle even in the midst of a suspenseful scene. I had actually forgotten everything else that goes on in the vault, including the fact that each time they touch something, it multiplies. I also didn't remember Harry casting the Imperius curse, and it felt a little off to me that he got so comfortable doing it so quickly.

It also felt off - or at least too easy - that Harry is able to find out the location of the horcruxes simply by reading Voldemort's thoughts. It felt really convenient to me, and not believable. This is quickly forgotten, though, because on their way to Hogwarts to find the horcrux that is hidden there, Harry, Ron, and Hermione meet Aberforth Dumbledore, who, for just a moment, gives us the same sense of comfort as Albus himself always did when he came on the scene in previous books. He also gives a much more emotional and nuanced picture of young Albus Dumbledore and the pain the family underwent because of their sister, Ariana. And if that isn't emotional enough, there is the extra moment of joy at the end of the chapter when Neville Longbottom suddenly shows up!

I know lots of characters I have loved for seven books are about to die in the remaining chapters of this book, and that almost makes me not want to continue. But I also know that the truth about Snape is about to come out, and I've been looking forward to that for weeks!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Deathly Hallows, Chapters 21-24

My second December reading assignment for this challenge included Chapter 21 ("The Tale of the Three Brothers"), Chapter 22 ("The Deathly Hallows"), Chapter 23 ("Malfoy Manor"), and Chapter 24 ("The Wandmaker"). Spoilers beyond this point. 

This is the section of this book where all the pieces start to fit together. Harry, Ron, and Hermione have now learned of the existence of the Deathly Hallows and their significance, and they also know that Voldemort has been trying to track down the Elder Wand. They are also finally forced out of hiding when Harry slips and says Voldemort's name, a habit he has always had that has only now become actually dangerous. I had forgotten how much of this book the trio spends hiding out and reading books, and it's nice to have them back in action.

I've always loved that Harry digs Dobby's grave using his own strength rather than magic. Dobby may be an annoying character for much of the series, but Rowling really makes me feel the impact of his death through Harry's strong reaction.

For some reason, I thought there was more time spent at Malfoy Manor in this book, but those scenes seem to go by quite quickly and Harry's ability to get himself and several others out of there safely seems a bit unlikely. Still, I like that Harry is able to ask Ollivander about the Elder Wand moments before he realizes it belonged to Dumbledore and "sees" Voldemort taking it from the beloved Headmaster's grave.

I remember what happens from here in broad strokes, but not the finer details, so I'm really excited to finish the book this month and see it all come together again.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Read-at-Home Kids Report: November 2019

It took me a while to get it typed up, but here finally is the girls' reading report for November!

Family Read-Alouds

Our lunchtime read-alouds in November were No Flying in the House by Betty Brock, which was a perfect book for the two big girls, with just the right blend of magic and talking animals and mystery, and The Runaway Dolls, which left both big girls begging each afternoon for just one more chapter. At dinner, my husband read aloud Hob and the Goblins by William Mayne. In preparation for Thanksgiving, we also read Over the River and Through the Wood illustrated by Christopher Manson, Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin,  and, from Open Library, Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation by Diane Stanley. After Thanksgiving dinner, I also read aloud The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh.

Little Miss Muffet, Age 6

Independently, Miss Muffet, newly 6 read five chapter books in November:  The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting, The Missing Tooth Fairy (The Adventures of Sophie Mouse #15) by Poppy Green, Here Comes the Bus by Carolyn Haywood, Our Strange New Land: Elizabeth's Diary, Jamestown, Virginia 1609 by Patricia Hermes, and Freddy and the Ignormus by Walter R. Brooks. Dr. Dolittle and Freddy were the favorites of the list, most likely because both involve talking animals.

We also had some picture books out of the library, and Miss Muffet gravitated especially toward these three: Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary by Vicki Conrad, illustrated by David Hohn,  Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler, and The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield, illustrated by the Fan brothers. All of these had a basis in history, and that really seemed to appeal to her. She also really related to astronaut Chris Hadfield's boyhood fear of the dark.

Miss Muffet also celebrated her birthday in November and received a nice stack of books: 

  • Something Queer at the Birthday Party by Elizabeth Levy and Mordecai Gerstein
  • Something Queer in Outer Space by Elizabeth Levy and Mordecai Gerstein
  • Katie and the Dinosaurs by James Mayhew 
  • Clover's Luck by Kallie George
  • The Enchanted Egg by Kallie George
  • Walk This Underground World by Kate Baker

Little Bo Peep, Age 4 years, 2 months  

Learning to read and listening to audiobooks continue to be Bo Peep's biggest literary pursuits. In November, she listened to repeatedly to titles from the Mr. Putter and Tabby, Mercy Watson, and Doll People series (all of which she also previously heard as read-alouds). We also borrowed a set of Rime to Read books for her from the public library and she read those to herself repeatedly as well, along with Ann's Hat from our Hooked on Phonics set and The Tin Man, another reader we found at a book sale.

Bo Peep also got an early start on her holiday reading, insisting that I read the entire book adaptation of George Balanchine's Nutcracker in one sitting. Her picks from the library stack were I Need All Of It by Petra Postert (which I did not enjoy at all, personally) and Nine Months Before a Baby is Born by Miranda Paul and Jason Chin (which I loved.)

Little Jumping Joan, Age 2 years, 1 month

Jumping Joan is starting to get really into the Stanley series, and she asked for them at nap time on many days during November.  She doesn't know the titles, but identifies them either by color, or by something significant that occurs in the story ("Danley drive bus," "Danley have party," etc.) The other book from our shelves that she got attached to was The Three Bears by Byron Barton, only she kept referring to the bears as "naked monkeys."

From the library stack, her favorites were Nine Months Before a Baby is Born and The Moon is Going to Addy's House by Ida Pearle.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Fumbling Through Fantasy: No Flying in the House by Betty Brock (1970)

Annabel Tippens is a seemingly ordinary little girl who has been entrusted to the care of an extraordinary three-inch-tall dog named Gloria who can talk and perform amazing tricks. When Annabel is three, Gloria arranges for them to stay with Mrs. Vancourt, a wealthy woman who is enamored of Gloria's exceptional abilities and willing to take on the child in order to keep the dog. Annabel ages normally for a time, but when she is six, she begins to have mysterious visits from a golden cat with emerald eyes who implies that Annabel might not be so ordinary after all. Suddenly, Annabel finds herself wondering what actually happened to her parents, who Gloria might actually be, and whether she herself might have magical capabilities.

I read this aloud to my older two daughters, ages 4 and 6, and they were just the right audience. They immediately loved both Annabel and Gloria, and they were both surprised and pleased each time a new element of magic appeared in the story. Whereas I saw the twist ending coming from miles off, they are still new enough to fantasy books that they were taken totally by surprise and were clearly thrilled by how everything came together. The story also had just the right level of suspense, which kept them begging for just one more chapter but also prevented anyone (and my four-year-old, especially) from feeling too scared.

This is a gentle and charming story and it hit the same sweet spot for us as Ruth Chew's What the Witch Left and Hilda van Stockum's King Oberon's Forest.  It's a perfect family read-aloud for preschoolers on up, but would also be an excellent independent reading choice for readers up to about fourth grade.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Deathly Hallows, Chapters 17-20

Last week, I read Chapter 17 ("Bathilda's Secret"), Chapter 18 ("The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore"), Chapter 19 ("The Silver Doe"), and Chapter 20 "Xenophilius Lovegood").

Last week's chapters included some of my favorite scenes from this book, and really, from the entire series. The scenes with Bathilda are so wonderfully creepy and suspenseful. I especially love that Bathilda refuses to speak in front of Hermione because she would realize she was speaking Parseltongue.  I'd also forgotten the added complication of Harry's wand being broken.

The other scene I love is Ron's return, which occurs amidst another mysterious happening, the appearance of the silver doe. Ron is often a comic character in this series, and it was nice to see him come into his own and show that there is more to him than humor and banter with Hermione. I also love that the deluminator turns out to be his means of finding his way back to Harry. Dumbledore understood these characters better than they realized.

Since it has been ten years or more since I last read this book, I'm fuzzy on the details about what turns out to be true about Dumbledore's past, but I do like the way this book casts doubt on his character in the same way book 6 made us suspicious of Snape. It really contributes to the feeling that Harry is finally isolated and alone, in many ways, in his final confrontation with Voldemort.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Homeschool Progress Report: November 2019

First Grade

Our third official month of homeschooling is in the books! It went by so fast, but it was also very productive.


This month, M. made more progress in Singapore Primary Mathematics 2B focusing on money, including adding and subtracting dollars and cents and making change. In addition, she continued to drill addition and subtraction facts on XtraMath, and she practiced the multiplication tables in both Xtra Math and by filling out blank tables. She also did some review of solving three-digit addition and subtraction problems using the soroban. We continue to read Life of Fred every Friday (we're currently still in book four, Dogs.)


This was a very history-heavy month for M, as we finished Mesopotamia and then spent three weeks studying the Old Testament. Our Mesopotamian studies concluded with a narration on the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the information for which came largely from National Geographic Investigates: Ancient Iraq: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of Iraq's Past by Beth Gruber. (M. and I both loved the fact that this book highlighted the work of archaeologists in this part of the world and the challenges they encounter.) We also spent a day or two on the Assyrians.

As we moved on to the Hebrews, we started using our new MapTrek book and CD to place our studies in the appropriate geographic context. M. labeled important cities and bodies of water on the maps "Called Out of Ur" and "The Promised Land" and briefly looked at several others. Our main text for reading about the Hebrews was In Bible Days by Gertrude Hartman, and we also supplemented with Heroes of the Bible by Olive Beaupre Miller. (I had planned to use Miller's Picturesque Tale of Progress but found the Heroes book more engaging and better suited to M's interest in the details of things like battles and the succession of judges.) As I read aloud each day, M. colored pictures related to the day's readings, some of which came from an old Bible Stories to Color coloring book I found among my old papers and others of which I found online.

Independently, Miss Muffet read sections from National Geographic Kids Who's Who in the Bible and The World of the Bible, along with the picture books Moses, Ruth, and Joseph by Maud and Miska Petersham and Sarah Laughs and Benjamin and the Silver Goblet by Jacqueline Jules. She also watched the animated film Joseph: Beloved Son Rejected Slave, which is available on Formed.org.


Our main focus for science this month was reading heavily in The Human Body: What It Is and How It Works. We covered the nervous system, five senses and digestive system, supplementing with videos and activities from Kids Health. In addition to a narration about the five senses, M. also filled out the "Taste Tracker," "The Eye," "The Brain," and "The Digestive System" worksheets, and she watched a collection of food science videos from SciShow Kids.

At the tail-end of the month, M. had a birthday, and she received a microscope, which led to revisiting Greg's Microscope by Millicent Selsam and Arnold Lobel and reading The Microscope by Maxine Kumin (and Arnold Lobel, again) for the first time.


M.'s assigned independent reading this month included: The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting, Here Comes the Bus by Carolyn Haywood, My America: Our Strange New Land: Elizabeth's Jamestown Colony Diary by Patricia Hermes, and Freddy and the Ignormus by Walter R. Brooks. She was not quite done with the Freddy book at the end of the month, but finished it 2 days later.

Memory Work

M. is still perfecting "The Pirate Don Durk of Dowdee." I hope she's going to finish it in time to memorize a new poem for Christmas. She also finished memorizing all the countries of Europe, and now she is working on learning more rivers and bodies of water. She also memorized the first five books of the Bible and started to learn the Hail Mary in Latin.


Using the Classics for Kids podcast, we covered Beethoven, Haydn, Johann Strauss, Jr. and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Our hymn for the month was Conditor Alme Siderum, and we also practiced singing Over the River and Through the Woods in anticipation of Thanksgiving. M. continued daily practice of recorder and piano and her musical notes review.


We didn't do many formal art lessons in November, but M. created illustrations for each of her narrations and drew many portraits of family members. She also made a foam turkey and cornucopia using kits from Dollar Tree.

Physical Education

M. visited the playground several times in November, mostly during my OB appointments. She also exercised along with the videos from the Ten Thousand method.


We're still listening to my homemade audio recording of lessons 1-10 in the St. Joseph catechism. In this particular month, our music and history lessons were also heavily related to religion. We also took two field trips: one to The Visit of All Saints at the National Shrine of St. John Paul II, where M. "met" a variety of Catholic saints and learned about their lives, and another to the Shrine of St. Anthony for the Advent Family Festival.



C.'s reading really took off this month. In The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading, she worked on consonant blends at the beginnings and endings of words, including SH, TH, CH, and NG. She also enjoyed reading titles from the Rime to Read series which we borrowed from the public library, and she finally tackled Ann's Hat, a book that was way too difficult for her just a few weeks ago. She also worked on mastering a reader called The Tin Man.

Memory Work

C. learned to recite "The Pilgrims Came" by Annette Wynn and finished memorizing the planets.


C. has begun learning to use the soroban to create single and double digit numbers and to do simple addition and subtraction.


C. continued piano lessons and started practicing "Merrily We Roll Along."