Books To Help You Talk About Race and Discrimination with Your Children

We live in a discriminatory culture. Despite laws and movements, we've still got stereotypes and biases and preconceived notions about how people might look, act, speak, work, believe. In an effort to confront my own biases and raise children that stand up for justice, fight against discrimination and openly confront and dialogue about it, I've rounded up a list of books for you.  It is my hope that this booklist will help you begin to talk with your child(ren) about race and discrimination, equality and our part in it as we work to change it. 

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As Sarah Mackenzie says in her new book The Read Aloud Family, stories are what shape us. Stories are what change us. Story allows us to step into another person's shoes, to learn about their life.  Stories create empathy, compassion, courage to change in ways that we can't predict.


I've created a booklist to help start the conversation with your kids. Here are just a few books for littles that made it on to the list:  Lila and the Crow, Let's Talk About Race, Whoever You Are, Separate Is Never Equal.


And for mamas and other parents? Here are a few options for you: A Different Mirror, The Hate U Give, Half The Sky, This Will Be My Undoing. These will be coming soon on a separate booklist.

The conversation has to start right now. Studies show that little babies and children as young as 3 or 5 can have be biased.  Don't think you're very biased? Take this test, it is quite convicting!


It is up to us as adults to begin an open, caring, respectful dialogue with our child(ren) about race, gender, identity, wealth, language, power, status. Is it hard? Is it awkward? Is it uncomfortable? YES! But without us modeling it for our kids, they won't have a safe space to learn. 


This article and this one too may be helpful to help you identify your own biases and learn more about discrimination. Want a list of books to help you start the conversation? We've rounded up a list for both adults AND kids to change your thinking, open a dialogue and begin the conversation. These books include authors, subject matter by and about women, men, children, white people, people of color, humans of different socioeconomic status, backgrounds and more.

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Playful Pioneers Curriculum Review

One of my favorite memories while growing up was sitting with my dad and brother and sister and listening to our current read-aloud. Over the years we read rich, living books such as Little House on the Prairie (and the rest of the series), The Chronicles of Narnia, The Call of the Wild and more. I spent many of my formative years donning a bonnet and pretending I lived on the prairie, harvesting crops and protecting my home from bears. Today, I am so excited to share with you our review of Playful Pioneers. 


The Playful Pioneers is a "literature and project based curriculum" put out by Jennifer at The Peaceful Press. It's obvious she poured her heart into this as it made my heart fill up with emotions as I opened it up for the first time. It is a lovely curriculum! We chose the Playful Pioneers for early elementary ages, but they also have a curriculum for preschoolers, word cards (which I will be purchasing as soon as this post is published because they are LOVELY!), chore cards, and more!

As I mentioned, we chose The Playful Pioneers package, which is based on the Little House series. This package included a parent guide, student sheets, cookbook, and weekly/daily schedules and more! It is chock-full of goodness!  The Bible verses and quotes chosen for copywork were lovely. My favorite thing about this curriculum was that it had so many hands-on opportunities! We made bread together just like Ma. We did a science experiment to see if popcorn and milk truly is tasty (I skipped that portion) and if it wouldn't overflow when mixed together just like we read! And even though our trip got snowed out, we tried to get visit horses just like Almanzo's Beau and Beauty.  


 I have absolutely loved testing it and tweaking it for our family (we are using it in conjunction with A Modern Charlotte Mason's Early American History). This curriculum opened up a lot of discussion for our family: what does it mean to call people names they may or may not like? What do we do about jealousy (like when Laura was jealous of Mary's golden hair)? Should we act lazy like Almanzo's cousin or work hard as unto the Lord? I cannot recommend the Playful Pioneers curriculum enough-so many good things here! I


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Learning Letters with Charlotte Mason (Happy Pi Day!)

Charlotte Mason suggested that children do not need formal education until they were older and to let them be a child, enjoying nature and informal learning in the early years.  Some children take an interest in learning letters before age six and there are some great ways to enjoy that.  Just like learning gentle math, learning letters and word recognition can be done gently and informally too.



Ms. Mason offered a few ideas for letter learning such as writing with a finger in salt or writing in the dirt with a stick.  Today in honor of Pi Day, we are learning letters through baking! And we get a pretty sweet reward at the end! We made a tropical pie using random fruit we had frozen earlier this year: strawberries, peaches, etc. Check out the video at the end of this post for an example of how we write in flour, salt and increase motor skills learning letters the Charlotte Mason way.



This playlist is excellent background music for your Pi Day adventures! Thanks to Padrinan for the video.

Gentle Math for the Early Years: Interview with Cindy West, Our Journey Westward


I LOVED talking to Cindy West of Our Journey Westward about gentle math.  She is a homeschooling mama and writes about her homeschooling life on  Our Journey Westward.


In this amazing episode, Cindy gives all kinds of fantastic tips for mommas who are slowly introducing math concepts to their littles. "What is gentle math?", "How do we introduce it into daily life?", math manipulatives, and more are all covered in this episode!


I have such a fantastic book list geared up for 2018! I am SO excited to share some of them with you today. 


Charlotte Mason emphasized Mother Culture essentially as a time of intentionality. This is separate from teaching children, but is a time just for Mama to focus on her own education. Miss Mason recommended reading three different types of books at one time: a novel, a biography and something" harder", something to learn. Read on for some of our favorite books from those categories. Be sure to leave a comment-do you have booklist for 2018?


The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola

The Happy Dinner Table by Anna Migeon

The Living Page by Karen Bestvater

The Glass Cage by Nicolas Carr

Last Child In the Woods by Richard Louv

The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson

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EEEK! It's the most wonderful time of the year (or so the song goes). I'm one of those annoying people who decorate for Christmas immediately after Halloween.  I love this season with all it's joy, the reflection on Christ's birth, and creating new traditions with my kids. I especially love taking down all our holiday books from storage.  It gets everyone excited about the season!


Living Books for Christmas (Ages 0-4)

1. Cranberry Christmas- Wende and Harry Devlin

2. Christmas in the Barn-Margaret Wise Brown

3. The Wild Christmas Reindeer AND Christmas Trolls-Jan Brett

4. Carl's Christmas-Alexandra Day


Living Books for Christmas (Ages 5-8)

4. An Orange for Frankie-Patricia Polacco

5.Apple Tree Christmas- Trinka Hanks Noble

6. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree- Gloria Houston with Barbara Cooney

7. The Clown of God- Tomie de Paola

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"Train up a child in the way they should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it"

-Proverbs 22:6


It's a lot of work to parent intentionally, to train my children to grow in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord". There are many ways I use the Bible to point my kids to the Lord, but this way is one of the simplest. I want the Bible to be a part of our daily lives so to that end I try to use it on a regular basis for training my children.


I've added sticky notes to my brand new She Reads Truth Bible. We keep it out in our family room so it's always easily accessible. I've color coded highlighted passages and sticky note flags by topic: kindness, respect, honesty--things that my younger kids need to work on, learn about, etc.


I've got a list of the topics and their color in the front of the Bible (not pictured).  Whenever I see a situation arise (and there are many!), I can simply find the corresponding topic and flip quickly and easily to a verse.


I love the new She Reads Truth Bible.  The translation is easy to understand, has gorgeous color maps and illustrations (top image). The cover is also very thick and durable, great for even little hands to utilize.


Want to get your own copy of the brand new She Reads Truth Bible?

Enter to win one of seven (7) copies here.



Check out a video of this gorgeous new bible here and purchase here.

The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of "Women in the Word of God every day." The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.   

Features include: almost 200 devotionals, 66 artist-designed key verses, 35 full-color timelines, 20 full-color maps, 11 full-color charts, reading plans for every book of the Bible, one-year Bible reading plan, detailed book introductions, key verse list, carefully curated topical index, smyth-sewn binding, two colored ribbon markers, and wide margins for journaling and note-taking. 



Note: I love many of the She Reads Truth products. The new Bible does not come with sticky note flags or highlighted text (that was my own DIY), however it does include gorgeous timelines, maps and other charts.   I was given this Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media.  While I was given the Bible for free,  all thoughts and opinions are my own. All images are my own and are copyrighted.

10 Living Books for Thanksgiving

There are SO MANY good books to read during the holidays.  One of my favorite things each year is unpacking some of holiday books that have been hidden away during the warmer months. 


1. Sarah Morton's Day This book tells the story of Sarah Morton as she goes throughout getting dressed, her chores, and other aspects of daily life.

2.Samuel Eaton's Day Similar to Sarah Morton's Day, this book tells the story of Samuel Eaton, a pilgrim boy in 1627.  Samuel is old enough to help with the difficult task of the rye harvest. 

3. Squanto, Friend of Pilgrims This book is geared towards slightly older children or younger kids on a more mature reading (listening) level.

3.A Thanksgiving Turkey Join the hunt for an old tom turkey as a grandfather and grandson determine to find a bird for Thanksgiving.

4. Cranberry Thanksgiving Ahhh, Mr. Whiskers and Grandmother. The characters of Cranberryport are so likeable. Be sure to make the recipe on the back! (If you ever find any of this series at a book sale, be sure to grab it up!)


5.Sharing the Bread I love the syncopation as we read through this book. This story tells how a family works together to create a feast for Thanksgiving.

7. The Pilgrims of Plimouth This picture book is fascinating for all ages!

8. The Thanksgiving Story Written by the same person who wrote The Courage of Sarah Noble, The 4th of July Story, The Columbus Story and other amazing living books, this book tells the story of a brother and sister aboard the Mayflower and their first year in America. 



9. North American Indians Another fascinating picture book!

10. Draw and Write Through History: Pilgrims, Patriots and Pirates This isn't necessarily a living book, but an awesome resource for your read alouds.  It's helpful for keeping tiny hands busy.

 Journey through Advent with A Modern Charlotte Mason.  Our Advent e-book provides daily poetry, hymns and scripture for a rich season reflecting on the birth of Christ. Learn more here. For a limited time,  take 10% off  our Advent ebook with code ADVENT.

Journey through Advent with A Modern Charlotte Mason.  Our Advent e-book provides daily poetry, hymns and scripture for a rich season reflecting on the birth of Christ. Learn more here. For a limited time, take 10% off our Advent ebook with code ADVENT.


Want to add more poetry to your day but don't know where to start? Look no further! This list below features some amazing poetry resources for the early years of a charlotte mason inspired education. It also includes a special choice just for you,  Mama.

poetry resources for a charlotte mason inspired education

There are so many fantastic anthologies and authors that we can't possibly list them all. Below are a few of our favorites. Note: links to these are affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you purchase these books.  Read our full disclosure here.

1. A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. 

There are many different illustrators of this book, including a version done by Little Golden Books that is lovely. 


2. A Child's Book of Poems by Gyo Fujawa

I love the illustrations in this one and that it features so many poems by Christina Rosetti, one of my favorite poets.

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3. Carver: A Life in Verse

This one is just for you, Mama. I found out about this book from Ma and Pa Modern. This is a biography in verse of George Washington Carver, so good!

4. Falling Up by Shel Silverstein

Really any of the books by Shel Silverstein are good for a laugh. They're full of nonsensical, whimsical poems; these are a family favorite.


(Side note- can you imagine having a ladder like this in your home library?!)

You can also add more poetry to your day by listening to it.  Here is a great resource to do so.

What poets and poetry books do you love to read? Share in the comments below!




I'm so excited to announce that season 2 (a long time coming!!) is now streaming.  You can subscribe in iTunes so you'll never miss an episode, subscribe to our email list to be notified of when new episodes air, or like us on Facebook to be notified there.

Our first episode of season 2 is so fantastic! Allie Casazza is a homeschool mama, runs her own business, a podcast, online courses and much more.  In this episode Allie offers advice on having a heart for your home, tips on how to homeschool as a minimalist, being intentional as an educator, dealing with resentment and burnout, and more.

Listen at the link below.


Y'ALL! My boys absolutely love Jan Brett books. And I'll admit-so do I! These books feature rich stories and AMAZING, intricate illustrations. Her books and illustrations range from snowy scenes, to Carolina ponds and everything in between. She's even got a few baby board books.

 A New York Times Bestselling Author, Jan Brett now has a BRAND NEW book out on Amazon and other sites. The Mermaid is a retelling of Goldilocks and The Three Bears, set undersea off the coast of Japan. 

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Go check out Jan Brett's brand new book (and if you're an Amazon Prime member, get it in just two days!)


My kids could spend 30 minutes (oy vey!)if they wanted to narrating a story we read together, it comes naturally to them at this age. Cultivating this habit so it can be parlayed later into written or oral narration is a skill I'm trying to develop in both my children and myself. 

Charlotte Mason says this about narration: “She [the mother] may read two or three pages, enough to include an episode; after that, let her call upon the children to narrate, — in turns, if there be several of them” (Vol. 1, p. 233). In the preface of Volume 6, she expounds on narration: "“As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced, children should ‘tell back’ after a single reading or hearing . . . A single reading is insisted on, because children have naturally great power of attention; but this force is dissipated by the re-reading of passages” 

There are so many ways to have your child "narrate" at this age. We've listed three below to help you get started. Use your own imagination to help your child learn the foundations of narration. Be sure to leave a comment about your experience!

Three Ways To Teach Narration Through Play

1. Dress up- A beloved time of play, dress up can also be used as a narration tool. Have your child be a specific character and act out the story. 

2. Building- Using legos, duplos, Lincoln logs, playdough and clay, or even sticks and rocks from the backyard, create a scene from the story you just read together.

3. Puppets-Line up your favorite stuffed animals and describe a favorite scene or retell the story in your own words to them.

Do you have your kids narrate through play? What narration techniques do you use in your family?


The Early Years Curriculum is Here!

It's been so hard to keep this secret from you, but I'm thrilled to announce that the Early Years has partnered with A Modern Charlotte Mason to bring you a rich early years curriculum! Geared towards kids age six and under whose state laws and regulations necessitate following a curriculum, the Early Years is Charlotte Mason inspired feast of living books and ideas and a gentle introduction to learning. Learn more here or checkout the Q&A here.


Many businesses outsource certain aspects of their day to day tasks in order to save time and money. Both motherhood and home education are full time roles in and of themselves, combining the two makes for an even larger workload.  That doesn't even include any house cleaning, side jobs or work from home opportunities, paying bills, errands and appointments, volunteer or church work, or caring for a sick friend or friend that may need help. We've all seen various studies from Fortune, and others that list a mother's salary between $65, 000 and $143,000 annually.

As home educators we are also responsible for curriculum research, lesson planning, cultural enrichment, and more. We are the Art Teacher, the Music Teacher, the History Teacher and so on. We've got our hands (and hearts) full, Mamas.

But there are some things we can go ahead and write off our to-do lists. We can choose to say no in order to free up more time to say yes to other things! You don't have to accomplish every single thing at the end of the day, it's choosing the right thing that is most important.


1. House Cleaning

Don't misunderstand, there is something to be said for teaching your kids life skills, responsibility and house work. These are necessary and right skills to cultivate in our kids. But (!!) for those of us who love a freshly clean house, outsourcing a house cleaning is the way to go. If your budget allows, a monthly or biweekly cleaning offers just a small pick me up and saves you from doing a lot of deep cleaning when you could be focusing on other things! (House cleanings work well as gifts too, if you're wanting to gift a homeschool mama something special!)

2. Yard Work

Admittedly, I draw the line halfway here.  My husband commutes an hour each way to work and we have (almost) 3 young kids. I adore working in the yard, getting my hands dirty in rich soil.  It draws me in to a deeper communion with my Creator.  I also love teaching my kids the joy, patience and responsibility of growing a garden. What I don't like is the time spent on mowing, edging, bush and limb trimming and general yard maintenance. At this season in my life, I'm not willing to lose out on quality family time while I or my husband mow our yard and so we choose to outsource that. 

3. Groceries

Again, teaching your kids money management, good health habits and other valuable life lessons is important.  But so is sanity i.e. not taking a group of crying and pinching brothers into Target (ask me how I know). Save yourself some embarrassment and get your groceries delivered (we love Instacart!!)  for this season of life.  If you so choose, there are other ways to include your kids in this aspect: look up prices online, cut coupons from local newspapers, or consider using a CSA and make your pickup trips into a field trip each week.  In our family, we do a combination of our local CSA for weekly ingredients, and then a standard grocery order for anything we might need in bulk. 

As a thank you for reading this far, I'd love to offer you a $10 credit toward your grocery delivery. What other things, if any, do you outsource as a home educator? Do you see this as a worthwhile investment for your family?

Free Charlotte Mason Inspired Audiobooks AND Free Printable

You know what's awesome?  A free booklist! Download your FREE printable of over 30 audiobooks. Listen in the car, on the plane, to the park, you name it. Our free Charlotte Mason inspired audiobooks printable is full of living books such as Curious George, Paddington, Frog and Toad, Charlotte's Web, Robin Hood, Sir Arthur and His Knights, Paddy the Beaver, and more.  It includes some of your favorite authors like Thornton Burgess, Robert McCloskey, Barbara Cooney, and James Herriot.  Download your FREE Charlotte Mason inspired audiobooks printable below and be sure to click the Audible banner below to find out how you can get TWO FREE AUDIOBOOKS!

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