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    Books & Reading, Other Thoughts

    Seven Quick Takes on the AO Conference, Reading Aloud, Blogoversary Celebration Prizes, and More!

    November 6, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Seven Quick Takes

    :: 1 ::

    In case you missed the big, huge, exciting Facebook announcement on Monday, here it is:

    Simple Flyer small

    That’s right! AO is having its conference in Texas this year, and I get to go! Woo hoo! It was tough last summer when I wasn’t able to attend the Indiana conference, so I. am. thrilled.

    Raise your hand if you’re going!!

    :: 2 ::

    We’ve been working our way through The Swiss Family Robinson, and loving every moment of it. I had forgotten how much fun this one is as a read-aloud, and I’m so glad we’re doing it again.

    I’ve been considering which direction to take when we’re done, and I think I’ve decided we’ll do Pinocchio {for the third time}. Pinocchio is a favorite of mine for first grade, and since I’m feeling all sentimental about being on my last first grader, I think another {final} reading is in order.

    :: 3 ::

    This week’s links collection:

    :: 4 ::

    This month in 2011:

    The Mother as Fairy Truth

    Funny that I found this post this week, for this is the week that I read this fairy tale — Prince Darling, one of my favorites from The Blue Fairy Book — aloud for the fourth time. I have loved it each time, but it felt extra special since this is my last time reading it for first grade.

    :: 5 ::

    My own book pile is growing larger. It’ll be exponentially larger when my copy of Island of the World arrives. I like to have a novel going over Christmas break, and I was still trying to make a decision when some strong, positive from reviews tipped me over the edge on purchasing this one. It’s a hefty tome, clocking in at 850 pages, meaning I’ll likely only have time to finish this one book {unlike last year’s Jane Austen spree}, but that’s not concerning. It’s been on my list for a long while, so I’m looking forward to it.

    Is anyone familiar with O’Brien’s science fiction? His Voyage to Alpha Centauri looks interesting to me…

    :: 6 ::

    As you know, last week I announced that in January I’ll be giving away ten awesome prizes in celebration of the upcoming Afterthoughts 10th blogoversary. Today, I want to tell you about another prize. This one I’m calling the ED Snapshots Prize Package {otherwise known as the Build an Awesome Homeschool Package 😉 }. One lucky reader is going to get Plan Your Year — which is where I get my super cute calendars and planning forms that I use for school planning in the summer and year round for all sorts of special things — a Your Morning Basket big basket, which is my favorite Circle Time resource, and access to all of Pam’s Latin printables {where she makes Latin fun!}.

    Your Morning Basket Race to the Colosseum - Set 2
    One quick note on Plan Your Year, since most people don’t realize this: Plan Your Year is the only homeschool planner you ever need to buy! Purchasing it gives you lifetime access, and Pam updates it every year with current calendar dates, new forms that users have requested, and more. So basically, this is a prize that will keep on giving. 🙂

    This is a fantastic prize package!

    :: 7 ::

    Answering Your Questions:

    • Question: I would love to see you blog more about KISS Grammar. How do you use it, what ages/grades, what results are you seeing, how to implement….?
      • Answer: Someday, I’m going to write a post about this, but I’m not sure when that will happen, so I thought I’d give a brief answer here. For years, I just printed out the KISS printable workbooks and did them with my oldest. Last year,  I ended up with two students that needed to do grammar, and so naturally I bombed with both of them. This year, I’m attempting KISS with everyone at the table during Circle Time. I’ve tried and failed at Circle Time grammar before, but this time it’s going well. I’m using the Level 1 6th grade workbook, which I emailed to my Kindle. I won’t go into why I chose that particular one. My practice is that, on grammar days, I write out between 1 and 4 sentences {which I get from the workbook on my Kindle} on a white board. After that, we identify everything we can in the sentence — subject, verb, prepositional phrases, whatever. My youngest student just listens. My girls identify the subjects and verbs. They are starting to get prepositional phrases. My oldest identifies everything else. It’s not a big deal and takes only a bit of time, and I’m still seeing progress … so I can’t complain!

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  • Reply Rachel Marie November 7, 2015 at 7:07 am

    I’ve never heard of Michael O’Brian, but that book looks interesting! I’d also like to read his book, Harry Potter and the Paganizatuon of Culture. Have you read any other books by him? I have an almost 14 year old son who I cannot keep in books! He reads very fast and it is incredibly difficult to find books that are worth reading that he likes. He loves fantasy which I don’t enjoy nor do I know how to steer him to appropriate books due to lack of time to preread. He’s read The Lord of the Rings books and the Chronicles of Narnia books multiple times. Anyway, I’m wondering if O Brian’s books would be okay for him.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel November 9, 2015 at 6:44 am

      This will be my first O’Brien, so I can’t advise you on this … yet. 🙂

      • Reply Phyllis November 24, 2015 at 5:10 am

        Um, maybe read together, if he’s a mature 14-year-old. The war parts of Island of the World are extremely horrifying. At least, they were to me.

        Brandy, I want to ask you about KISS, too, if that’s not too lazy of me. I just want an easy guide of where to start!

  • Reply Melissa November 6, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks for answering my KISS grammar question Brandy! It sounds simply enough and if it’s working, I’d go with it 🙂 I am still curious, how you chose your level, but I’ll try to patient and wait for your full post ;-p

    I’ve looked at KISS in the past and need to revisit the site. I like what you said about using a few sentences during circle time. I just may consider this for 2nd term.


  • Reply AFG November 6, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Michael O’Brien is a Canadian author from my husband’s hometown. We love his work, and just received our copy of the new book too. I have not read his science fiction, though.
    My AOyr1 daughter and I just read “Prince Darling” today and I instantly thought it was quite a CM-type of fairy tale, with all the talk of the will, and faults becoming bad habits etc.

  • Reply Elizabeth November 6, 2015 at 10:49 am

    I LOVE Michael D O’Brien, however Voyage to Alpha Centauri is one of my least favorites. I just did a giant book purge and all of my Michael D O’Brien fiction survived, except Alpha Centauri.

  • Reply Jen Snow November 6, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Me! I’ll be there! I’ll admit that I’m a little bummed it’s in Texas this year since I’m not a big fan of Texas (no tomatoes please, Texas friends!!), but I’m not going to let a little thing like that keep me away. 😀 I’m so glad you’ll be there this time too, Brandy. You were one of the people that I was particularly sad not to meet in Indiana. Yay! So exciting!

  • Reply Virginia Lee November 6, 2015 at 9:13 am

    I’m going, I’m going, I’m going!!!! To the AO conf that is. =) We live in CO, so TX is quite doable. Excited is not a big enough word to describe my jubilation!

    Are you speaking or leading a discussion or otherwise sharing your CM wisdom while there? I’m hoping so. But either way it will be great to meet you and all of the other CM/AO moms.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel November 6, 2015 at 9:51 am

      I don’t know in what capacity I’m working at the conference yet, but I told them I’ll do whatever they need me to do. 🙂 And I look forward to meeting YOU finally! 🙂

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