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10 Great Book Series for Middle Grade and High School Readers

It's been my observation that reading for pleasure often drops off when children hit the middle grades on in to high school years. There are probably a variety of reasons. Kids are moving from books with bigger words and at least a few pictures to books that are thicker and meatier. Kids at this age are often reading more and more required, school-related material and finding less time for pleasure reading. Video games and other electronic devices tend to take precedence over books for many kids. And, sadly, we often give up reading aloud to this age group.

Books for high school
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Sometimes we can reignite kids love of reading- or stir it up to start with- if we can get them hooked on a great book series. There are some middle grade and high school series that have become really popular because of movies made about them, but there are some other series that aren't as well known but are great reads as well. Here are ten of my favorite series for middle grade and high school readers.

Help! I Think My Homeschooled Child Is Falling Behind!

I was encouraging one of my daughters- whose name I won't mention- to get going on her math today as she was dragging her feet. "You are already behind in math," I said. "Do you want to get any more behind?!" This child looked at me with great sincerity and said, "Mom, I'm homeschooled. Who am I behind?"

She's right, of course. One of the most wonderful things about homeschooling is that there is no "behind." But we homeschooling moms can get sucked into the idea that there is. We think thoughts such as:

"All of my friends' kids who are in public school are reading now. Why isn't my daughter reading?"

"That textbook says it's for 6th grade, but my child- who would be a 7th grader- is struggling to get through it."

"My friend said that public schoolers cover biology in 9th grade, but my child is an 11th grader and we haven't covered it yet. We must be behind."

"Surely all other 10 year olds have basic addition and subtraction down. My child must be behind because she still counts on her fingers."

Homeschool problems

I'll admit that even though I've been around the homeschooling block long enough to know better, I still get caught up in thinking or worrying that one or the other child must be "behind." I made one of these comments to a fellow homeschooler once. Her reply: "Behind what?" Ah, the wisdom.

Looking for a Plant-based Alternative to Emu Oil? (a Schoolhouse Crew Review)

It wasn't long ago that I discovered emu oil. I was impressed with the things I found that it could do to help my skin. But I wasn't sure I was thrilled with the source of the emu oil. And I have quite a few vegan friends who won't use products like the emu oil because they are animal-based. So when we had the opportunity to try out GREEMU from Devonian, I was very interested. GREEMU is distributed by Koru Naturals, the awesome company that we reviewed for when I had the opportunity to try out emu oil and emu oil products for the first time.

Plant-based beauty oils

What is GREEMU?

GREEMU is plant based. It is mad of macadamia seed oil, organic palm oil, shea butter, sunflower seed oil and rice bran oil. It has been developed so that people who prefer not to use animal-based products can get the benefits of emu oil.

Heroes of History Biographies from YWAM Publishing: Theodore Roosevelt (a Schoolhouse Crew Review)

I love to read good biographies with my children. Good biographies aren't dry and dusty and boring. Good biographies make the characters come alive so that readers see them for the real people that they were (or are).

We've been thoroughly impressed with the selection of biographies we've found from YWAM Publishing- some we've reviewed and some we've just read on our own-, and we were glad to have the opportunity to review for them again. This time we reviewed Heroes of History- Theodore Roosevelt. We also received the Digital Unit Study Guide for the book. This is a downloadable unit study to accompany the book.

YWAM Publishing biographies

YWAM Publishing

Science Curriculum and Worldview: Does It Really Matter?

As homeschoolers, we have so many curriculum choices. And, although many people think all homeschoolers are Christians or at least religious, that isn't necessarily true. People of many different beliefs homeschool. So there are curriculums written from many different perspectives and worldviews.

Christian homeschoolers often have differing opinions about whether or not it matters if their curriculum comes from a Christian worldview perspective or not. One of the subjects that is most often discussed when it comes to talking about curriculum and worldview is science. Does it really matter if Christian homeschoolers use a science curriculum that is written from a Christian worldview perspective?

Science and worldview
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I think it matters. We've made the decision to primarily use science curriculum that has a Christian worldview for several main reasons.

Why and How to Support International Missions...And an Opportunity to Provide Study Bibles to Africans

Our family has always had a love for and desire to support international missions. My husband and I both grew up in churches that had a focus on missions, and for many years the church we've raised our children in did the same. We've wanted our family to be missions focused as well.

Why bother with international missions? Sometimes it seems as if missions in other countries are so far removed from our day to day lives here. We see pictures of people from other countries or read accounts of what missionaries are doing, but it can be difficult to really know why and how to get involved.

International missions

I think the "why" is clear. In Matthew 28, as Jesus prepares to go back to heaven after the resurrection, he gives his disciples these instructions: 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Why Teach Young Children About Life From Conception to Birth- And a Beautiful Resource to Help

At some point in your child's life, and often early on, will come the question- "Where do babies come from?" Depending on the age of the child, the answer to this question may be as simple as "from a mommy and daddy who love each other" to a more complex explanation. It's always been our goal with our kids to give as complete an answer as the child needs, depending on age. We've also tried to use correct terminology, and we've been very deliberate about not acting embarrassed or flustered- just matter of fact.

Do young children really need details? I think so. Giving kids as much information as we need to for their age and giving correct information in a way that doesn't communicate embarrassment or confusion creates a safe place for them to ask questions. And I always want them to feel free to ask questions because I would much rather they come to me with questions than to go to other sources where they may get incorrect information or information from a source with a different value system.

children's book
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I recently had the opportunity to review Wonderfully Made by Danika Cooley. This is a beautiful book for answering some of the basic questions about babies and their development. It doesn't deal with the question of how conception happens, and it doesn't get detailed about the birth process. But it covers the development of a baby from conception through birth in a way that provides correct, factual information with a distinctly Christian worldview. That makes it a perfect book to share with even young children when they begin to ask questions.
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