Book Reviews & Extras - Older kids, 6th-8th and teens

My Father's World uses a Book Basket method to develop a love of learning and enrich all subjects; Independent Reading Time has different goals and methods but there is overlap in book lists and helpful hints
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Book Reviews & Extras - Older kids, 6th-8th and teens

Unread post by Heidi »

ECC - Book basket & reading recommended for 7th-8th graders
TNLisa wrote:Is it possible to see the lit recommendations for ECC before I purchase the TM/kit? I've heard all about the "book basket" but I won't be able to purchase ECC deluxe kit until AFTER our curriculum sale. I was hoping to pick up some of the book basket/readers there...but have no idea what they are! Thanks!
I have found nearly every book on the book basket list in our library system! Or when I can not, (rare) - they always have great substitutes.

Save yourself some money on the book basket books. The books in the deluxe kit - I would buy those first.

Just my two cents.
FL Mommy of 3 "sensational" kids
Homeschooling since Fall 2004
Child 1: Blue LLATL/MFW 1, Adventures, ECC
Chld 2: MFW-K, MFW-1+ joined Adv, ECC
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Re: ECC - Book basket & reading recommended for 7th-8th grad

Unread post by Lucy »

Hi Lisa,
The only way to see these is to see a T.M. So when you are at the convention or when you get to see a T.M. you can decide on the ones you would like. The author has written an asterisk by the ones she feels are must reads.

There are 4 very engaging missionary books that are meant to be part of your 7th and 8th grader's reading for the year and you can purchase those from MFW. I have already personally read 3 out of 4 of these books and they are excellent but best suited for a more mature reader. They show the power of the gospel in such awesome and amazing ways.

I originally thought that the books for 7th and 8th graders were meant to be read alouds but recently while talking with David Hazell found that they are really intended to be readers. I think this is so that if you have younger kids you do not feel that you must be reading two sets of read alouds. I think that the older kids could listen to the Deluxe read alouds if they like and I also think that if you felt the readers for 7th and 8th graders were too much for them to read alone you could read them aloud. I would definitely read them along with the child so that you can discuss the things that they are reading in the books.

I hope this helps you.
wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.

ECC - 7-8th grade reading

Unread post by cbollin »

Blessed with six wrote:Is there a recommended reading list somewhere in my ECC Teacher's Guide for 7-8th Graders?
Thanks a bunch!
Try looking through the info from this link:

MFW recommends their Missionary Biography Set for 7th and 8th Graders
This includes four inspiring, “can’t-put-it-down” books:
The Narrow Road
I Dared to Call Him Father
Peace Child

MFW also recommends that you use literature guides from either Progeny Press or Total Language Plus. So whichever of those that you'd chose would work.

Some of the novel and other book basket books will work for jr. high reading time as well.

Also, I'd think that books that are listed in the very last pages as General Reading for sixth grade could be done in jr. high. I certainly didn't read most of that list in elementary school.

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jr hi readers

Unread post by bdking »

Everything that Crystal said is basically what we are doing, plus I added some in both the reader and read-aloud category.

Many of the books we chose came from the MFW jr. high suggestions, the book basket list, and a few were from other sources.

I just put his book list in order of the countries we will study this year. I actually arrange them on a bookshelf in the order they should be read. He just grabs the next one when he is done with one. I did the same thing for my 4th grader. I also added a few bks to the missionary read alouds that MFW suggests (again, most of these were from the book basket list).

My 8th grade ds just finished The Yearling and the progeny press guide that goes with it. This is a high school selection according to Progeny press so the study guide is pretty long. He has done well with it, though.

We did two Progeny Press guides last year also, but we actually went over the questions orally rather than require written answers. It worked for where he was at as a 7th grader. This year as an 8th grader, I have had him fill in the study guide himself. We do a few questions orally here and there. We will do another Progeny press study guide at the end of the year.

We are enjoying ECC.

GA Henty for elementary vs. high school

Unread post by cbollin »

caod wrote:We are doing CTG. We love to do read alouds and usually read some that are recommended in the library recommendations. We have read the Golden Goblet as a read aloud and loved it. Now we have started The Cat of Bubastes. My question is: Who else has read this book? We have loved every book we have read but neither my kids or I are getting into this very much. We can only read a small amount at a time. There is a lot of description in it. I have mixed feelings about plugging along with it. I usually stop every paragraph or so and say, "do you understand what he is describing?" and I usually get, a NO.

Have any of you read it. Does it get a little more "exciting". Did you find it well worth the effort. We are a third of the way through right now. I have girls ages 9 and 8.
well, I haven't read it but.... You have a 8 and 9 y.o.
This book is used in MFW's High school year 1 program
I noticed in my copy of CTG manual, it lists this book as grade 6 and higher.
It's not really a hit in your house.

Therefore........ I vote put it aside and consider it "book basket" style of not having to finish it. (good book for much later, just consider it a preview this year for way down the road.)

If you need a different read aloud for a few weeks, (other than the ones in deluxe) Consider doing a non-history related read aloud for fun?? (there are ideas in the very back of the CTG manual of general reading. maybe there is a book on that list that might be more fun.)

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Re: GA Henty for elementary vs. high school

Unread post by MJP »

Henty's books do tend to start out slowly. This was a comment from both of my boys even though they do enjoy his books. My boys both read this book on their own while doing Creation to the Greeks, but they would have been 10 and 12. I would not have tried it with my youngers.
Wife of 1 for 18 yrs. Mom of 7--ages 1-15--1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th and 9th grades & (one on the way)
Psalm 16:8
Currently using--1850 to Modern Times
Previously--MFW K , 1st, CtoG, RTR, Exp. to 1850
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Re: GA Henty for elementary vs. high school

Unread post by Julie in MN »

My son & I tried to read a Henty book for probably 6 months & never finished. It was about Spain in South America. I agree that Henty spends tons of time describing the surroundings. Maybe he researched the accurate details & wants to use all his research, but we just couldn't get excited about it all. And his sentences were so long that I often had to start over because I had emphasized the wrong thing or something. Some sentences were half a page long.

If I try it again, I'm going to get the audio version. Someone told me those are well done...? I would think the person would have at least studied the sentences in advance :o)

But I agree with the others that it's okay to stop a book after you've all given it the old college try.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
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Re: GA Henty for elementary vs. high school

Unread post by caod »

Thank you for your thoughts. I think we will put it down. We have often read books that are above their reading level and have enjoyed every one of them, until this one. It seems to work when it is read aloud. I think we could cope with the confusing language if the story line would get a little more exciting. I just wondered if it would soon get exciting and the boring part would be over or was the whole book going to be this way.

Anyway, I think I hear that this is typical of a Henty book. We actually read Shakespear this past summer and they LOVED it, they begged for more. But this hasn't done that to us. Thank you for telling me your experiences. If anyone else has something to add, feel free.

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Re: GA Henty for elementary vs. high school

Unread post by KimberlyND »

We read alot of the Henty books with our older three. Most we read as read-a-louds with me doing the reading. But our 3 were older than your dds. And it was our oldest ds who liked them best. My opinion is they are more suited to older boys although our older daughter did like them, too. I won't get our books back out until ds is at least 13. But I do plan to read them again as we learned so much from them.
Kimberly in ND
MFW user since 2007, gone through K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CtG, RtR, Exp. to 1850, & 1850 to Modern Times
Using ECC 2014-2015 with an 8th grade son and 4th grade daughter
Have been HS for 19 years and graduated 3 dc.
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Re: GA Henty for elementary vs. high school

Unread post by mamaofredheads »

My boys LOVE the Henty books on CD. Jim Weiss does many of them in an abridged form that is more appropriate for younger ones. Jim Hodges does the unabridged versions. We have some of both. We are blessed to have both of these men at our book fairs in the Dallas area. I make a list of all the Henty books or Jim Weiss CDs listed in my MFW book basket list and pick up some of them at the book fairs.

Jim Weiss is at greathall dot com

Jim Hodges is at jimhodgesaudiobooks dot com
If you sign up for his e-mails, he has specials quite often.

These are all well loved. I think it's a great way to do Henty without having to read Henty. :) Our 11 yo ds has requested Henty CDs for Christmas. I'm looking around for a sale on the ones he wants.

cbollin wrote: Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:06 pm check the library too. They might have it listed on a book on CD. Ours does anyway. (In fact, our library has quite few of Jim Weiss's audios)

Michele in WA
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Re: GA Henty for elementary vs. high school

Unread post by Michele in WA »

We LOVED Cat of Bubastes!!!!

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Re: GA Henty for elementary vs. high school

Unread post by lyntley »

I fell asleep during the audio version but my 10 YO DD is enjoying it.
Lynnette: Wife and Mother by the will of God.
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Re: GA Henty for elementary vs. high school

Unread post by JoyfulDancer »

We haven't gotten to it yet, but I purchased a coloring book that goes with it. I'm going to try having them color as I read it. I tried to read it myself while nursing the baby at night, but it put me right to sleep. :) After reading all these comments, I'm thinking this may be one we wait on.
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Re: GA Henty for elementary vs. high school

Unread post by Lucy »

Dear Connie and All,

This was a hard read for my daughter in the high school program, Ancient History and Literature, last year. I think it is included for the great detail it gives into daily Egyptian life. So, do not feel to badly if your crew is not jumping for joy over it. I agree with the others that setting it aside is fine.

A friend of mine has an older manual and it recommends this book in CTG as a read aloud for younger kids and as a reading book for 6+. In the newer manual I have it is not recommended for read aloud. So may be you have an older manual. Just thought it was worth mentioning.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
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Re: GA Henty for elementary vs. high school

Unread post by gressman9 »

BTW....I talked to Jim Weiss's wife at a convention and she said that the audios are slightly abridged....but in a good way. He cuts out parts of the lengthy descriptions. My 14 yr old just read this in the highschool program. She said it was WAAYAYYY too descriptive but the story line was excellent.

Julie in MN
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"Fun" Books

Unread post by Julie in MN »

baileymom wrote:We have a 12 yr old DD who is more like a 8/9th reading level. We've done lots of great literature...Anne of GG series, Lord of Rings Tril, Watership Down, Little House series, Treasure Island...those are some she's read this past school yr.

I'm mainly looking for some books that are fun/easy reading so her brain does not work so hard every time she picks up a book. Our YA librarian recommended Hattie Big Sky, Page, and Just Ask: Diary of a teenage girl (??? christian YA series ???) which we checked out last night. Not too worried about Hattie or Page, but has anyone read the "Just Ask" series? Does anyone else have any suggestions?

Thanks for helping!
As far as great literature, have you looked through the lists in the back of your MFW teacher manual? There are some classics there. Has she tried Little Women, or Little Men? How about the Elsie books? The main character is younger but the vocabulary is not. I've always liked books by Chaim Potok (The Chosen, etc). And you said you've read LOTR -- be sure you read the Hobbit, too.

Also, if she won't get to any of the MFW years, check the read-alouds that she'll miss, because they're all great. How about the ECC 7-8th grade missionary biographies? And there are tons more in the YWAM series of missionary biographies. We added a few & always enjoyed them.

I have really enjoyed the two books from Daughters of the Faith that MFW uses. I know there are several more in the series. Does she like historical stories?

Along the same lines, does she like the biographies? So many inspiring women & men I'd love to read more about -- Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, Helen Keller & Annie Sullivan, Anne Frank, George Washington Carver, books about .... I'll stop now :)

Lighter books my son has read recently ( but still about that age group) include Maniac Magee, My Side of the Mountain, and Bud, Not Buddy. Even lighter still, last year he read only funny books for a while. They may seem young, but some are such classics that people refer to them so it's good to know the reference -- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Pippi Longstockings, Hank the Cowdog, Amelia Bedelia, Alice in Wonderland, etc.

There is also a thread here, but most may be too young for your dd?

Hoping to hear some more ideas. I haven't read any of the books you mention after your first paragraph.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Question about book basket for middle school kids.

Unread post by cbollin »

ncmom2boys wrote:When we did Adventures and ECC my boys were much younger. Book basket was a fun time for them & I did not make them read entire books at that point. However, now at the middle school level, I'm not sure how I should handle book basket time. Do you all have your dc read entire chapter books, or what do you do? God willing, we will start RtR in January.

Does MFW have a particular view on this issue? I'd love to hear it!
I don't know what MFW thinks. Maybe Lucy will chime in later.

Middle school/jr. high my experiences thus far...

book basket goals do not change from elementary to middle school. If the book is a dud, my kids don't have to finish it. In fact, we put one down the other day. blah. turns out it wasn't one on Marie's list, but. that's beside the point.

Reading time: you must finish book or better find another similar one of length with a Progeny Press guide to study with it, or be willing to do some kind of lit analysis on your other selection. In elementary, reading time we finished our books, did informal discussion and analysis, but didn't require PP guide for reading comprehension. So, those are books from which I plan to have language arts lessons, so I want them to finish.

free fun time reading: anything goes :)

Yes, there were times in elementary that they got their reading time books from books on book basket, but it's a fine line in some of it.

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Re: Question about book basket for middle school kids.

Unread post by ChristyH »

:) I am listening in on this. I am returning after a year away and I plan on assigning a few of the book basket books. I have found that my kids will read if assigned but not always if not assigned. One of my younger sons feels lots of accomplishment having read the assigned readers but he wouldn't have picked them up on his own. For my middle school daughter I plan on making a reader list for her and maybe assigning a few small reports through out the year from book basket books.
Married Scott, 1992
Erin, 13
Connor, 10
Gavin, 10
ECC 2007-2008
CTG 2008-2009
RTR 2009-2010
1850 to modern times 2011
Julie in MN
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Re: Question about book basket for middle school kids.

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I've been pretty similar to Crystal:

(1) Book basket time = approximately 15 minutes exploring all there is to learn through books by looking at book basket books, which are usually on school subjects but sometimes on other interests. It was more an exposure to learning thing at our house, rather than always actual learning. David Hazell once told me a rule for my non-book-loving kid: You must have a book in your hand the entire time.

(2) Reading time = approximately 30 minutes or one chapter per day if the book is at your level (more than one chapter if it's a younger book). This was an "actually reading the book" thing at our house, and we talked about books (and studied a few in junior high). My son could choose these books, but usually I picked them out. They were not often on history topics because he could get burnt out on one topic, so they might be funny books or classic books or mystery books or books that his book club assigned. Sometimes he had more than one book going.
Last edited by Julie in MN on Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Re: Question about book basket for middle school kids.

Unread post by dhudson »

I usually don't assign the majority of book basket books but I give them time to read them.

However, my kids are assigned the General Reading List books in the back of the TM. I always have mine reading some "classical" or great book but it may or may not be in the Book Basket list.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002

Re: Question about book basket for middle school kids.

Unread post by cbollin »

ncmom2boys wrote:Your replies are helping me think this through. I also tried to find some other posts about book basket time.

I noticed that PP guides were mentioned. We actually tried to use one here this year, and it didn't go so well. Are there any other guides that are recommended?

There's an entire FAQ archive on book basket to read through.
but I know I enjoy questions even if the answers are already there. :)

PP this year? Do you have a student who is in 7th or 8th grade yet? I can't tell from siggy line. maybe some of the tips that a range of us have done with PP guides would help to use them? MFW doesn't recommend using them until 7th/8th grade and has specific suggestions that tend to work well.

I certainly didn't use them as all independent work or while using too many other things in English time. Some parts we did as open discussion questions.


Re: Question about book basket for middle school kids.

Unread post by MFW-Lucy »

Hi Kim,

I am just chiming into to say that Dawn, Julie, and Crystal have given you a pretty clear picture of the differences in Book Basket and Reading times. These are 2 distinctive times with different purposes. In a sense all of the Book Basket books are assigned but in a way you may not be used to. I like the way that I have heard Crystal share about it in the past. This is like the buffet where you can taste a little bit of everything. These books do not have to read cover to cover. Some children may only look at the picture or read the captions with them where as others may read a page and then move on to another book. Even older kids can get a lot out of pictures which can help us understand information about people and places in history. So even for your older students I would not discount some of these non-fiction picture books. This is a time to discover and gather more information about the time period that is being studied without the pressure of having to read it all and report.

Using literature guides in 7th and 8th grade begin to prepare students for the kind of work that will be required in high school. As Crystal mentioned we do not recommend these before this level since we want to create a love for reading and having to report on or study a book each time you read it does not foster this love. Even in 7th and 8th grade we only recommend 2 a year while the rest of the year we recommend choosing other historical fictions or great classics from the list in the back of the Teacher's Manual or from other sources. MFW only has 5 PP titles we currently recommend and sell, although PP has many. Like Crystal I would be interested to hear what problems you had while using the study. You will find other literature unit study but, what we found is that most either give no opportunity to view a book from a biblical worldview or include to many other language arts subjects in the study. We found the PP studies to be straightforward while offering a look at the book through the eyes of the Bible.

You may also call the office at 573-426-4600 to speak with one of our consultants if you are still not clear on the use of Book Basket or other language arts for 7th and 8th graders.
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OT: Reading for Junior High Boys

Unread post by momma2boys »

CharleneHoell wrote:I have decided I need some advice from those that may know more about reading development than I do. My ds, 12 1/2, used to be an avid reader. His reading level and comprehension are post high school, but this year I have really struggled getting him to finish a book, novel or non-fiction. He used to wander off and I wouldn't see him for hours because he would get lost in a book. Now, I have to assign him a 1/2 hour of reading in order for him to read anything at his reading level. When he chooses to read, he seems to gravitate to books he's already read that are on his bookshelf...ones that are easy reading at this point. I have also noticed that when he reads, he either reads out loud or mouths the words. This is totally new! I might also add that he as Asperger/ADHD symptoms that we are trying to deal with as well.

So, my question, is this normal in a pre-teen boy? I don't want him to lose his love for reading? I have also wondered if all the hormones have made him less able to focus and concentrate. He says that reading out loud helps him to remember what he's reading. I am at a loss as to whether this is no big deal or whether he needs to be evaluated by a professional? Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.

Hmmm. Well, my son has Asperger's and is going into 7th grade. He, too, loves to read. BUT... he is very, very picky about what he does and does not like to read. Very picky. If he finds a series that he likes, he will disappear for hours reading, devouring the book. If it's a book that he's not into though, it's like pulling teeth to get him to read. So my challenge has been finding books for him that both interest him and that are what I consider to be appropriate content wise (not a lot of boy/girl stuff which is SO common in teen books - ugh). So, maybe part of the solution for you could be finding age appropriate books that interest him? I can share a list of some that he's liked if you are interested.

As far as mouthing things out as he reads - I don't know. If it's a new thing that he's doing... I really don't know. Maybe someone else can chime in on this aspect of your post? If you suspect Aspergers or ADHD, you could take him in to get tested but you don't necessarily need to. When my son was young I just did a bunch of research online. I read lots of blogs and forums to glean information from other parents and learned a lot of things that helped both my parenting and general understanding of how my son operates. I did get him tested a few years ago though I'm not really sure how much good that did. I already knew what his issues were - didn't need a doctor to confirm that for me. But if he ever needs additional helps, I know that I can tap into those for him.

Much grace to you!
Anna (CO)

Still married to the love of my life
Mom to two boys, 13 and 11 - both adopted and with their own unique special needs

We've done ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR and on to EXPL-1850 this year!
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Re: OT: Reading for Junior High Boys

Unread post by mom2boys »

Not dealing with any specific issues here but would love a list of things that your jr. high boy likes to read. I struggle with finding good YA books - everything seems to be boy/girl or vampire related!
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Re: OT: Reading for Junior High Boys

Unread post by CharleneHoell »

Anna, you bring up some very valid points, because my son can also be very picky about what he reads. I think that may be part of the problem along with his high reading level. He has read so many of the classics for his age, C.S. Lewis, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Newberry Award winners that I deemed appropriate, etc. I, too, am having a difficult time coming up with ideas. I bought Honey for a Child's Heart and made his summer reading list from that. Thank you so much for your suggestions.

Charlotte, this is what my son has throughly enjoyed reading:
all of the Redwall series by Brian Jaques
anything by James Kjelgaard
Indian in the Cupboard
Dragonspell (Christian allegory)
Kingdom Dawn Series by Chuck Black
Binding of the Blade series
Where the Red Fern Grows/Summer of the Monkeys

I get many of my ideas for him by going to Finding Christ in Fiction. You can trust anything that she has on her website. She won't put anything on there that she has not read first. I also agree with you that it is hard to find things that are not full of vampires and guy/girl stuff.

Blessings to you both! Charlene
Married to a wonderful husband for 18 yrs
Daughter of the King!
Been loving MFW for 8 years!
Ds 10th grade
Ds 8th grade
Dd 5th grade
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