A Family Apart

by Joan Lowery NixonReading Level: Ages 9-12Reviewed by Kathy The Orphan Train Adventures are fictionalized stories based on the Children’s Aid Society’s efforts during the years 1854-1929 to place poor and orphaned children from New York to welcoming families out West. Mrs. Nixon vividly recreates late 19th century, and introduces us to 6 unfortunate children …

Writers INC

by Patrick Sebranek, et alReading Level: High schoolReviewed by Kathy Christopher Paolini, former home-schooled student and author of bestselling Novel Eragon, used this book as one resource to help him learn the craft of writing. Considering his second novel Eldest (release date August 23, 2005), has been neck to neck with “you know who” on …

Troll Fell

by Katherine LangrishReading Level: grades 5-8Reviewed by Kathy Troll Fell Is a fine fairy tale of Viking lore, nicely written with a happy ending. Peer Ulffson is recently orphaned and much to his dismay is taken by his wicked, greedy Uncles to slave for them at their mill. His life worsens when he uncovers Uncle …

The Witch of Blackbird Pond (1959 Newbery Medal Winner)

by Elizabeth George SpeareReading Level: Grades 5-8Reviewed by Kathy Don’t judge a book by its cover! There are no real witches here; only imaginary ones stirred up by wagging tongues, suspicions and ignorance. This historical fiction novel is set in Late 17th century Colonial England, gives a stirring and compelling look into the good and …

The Doll People

by Ann MartinReading Level: Ages 4-8Reviewed by Kathy I’ve always suspected my dolls were doing sly things behind my back. Now I know they’ve been having parties, story-time, and adventuresome travels. Oh, the busy lives of dolls! The Doll People is Toy story meets The Borrowers, and is a sweet read for any girl who …

Running out of Time

by Margaret Peterson HaddixReading Level: Ages 9-12Reviewed by Kathy It’s 1840; or so the children of Clifton village and the book’s readers are lead to believe, till the first plot twist reveals the year is really 1996. Clifton was meant to be a utopia for it’s residents-a secluded, authentic historic village, a safe place to …

Messenger

by Lois LowryReading Level: Grade 6+Reviewed by Kathy Don’t even think of reading this book unless you’ve read the prequels-The Giver and Gathering Blue, as this sequel puts pieces of the previous stories together. Messenger proved true to Lowry’s style- haunting and emotionally stirring; a read that gets under your skin and raises questions pertaining …

Lunch Money

by Andrew ClementsReading Level: Ages 9-12Reviewed by Kathy If your home-schooled kids are the least bit curious about public school, Lunch money is an excellent tutorial. Have them follow 12 year-old Greg Kenton around Ashworth Intermediate School for a few days and they’ll have a new appreciation for how good they’ve got it! Greg has …

Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles)

by Patricia C. WredeReading Level: ages 9-12Reviewed by Kathy Sixteen-year-old Cimorene is a stubborn and unconventional princess. She’d rather fence, cook, and study Latin than pursue more traditional princess pastimes like dancing, embroidery, drawing, and etiquette. When her parents arrange her marriage to the boring Prince Therandil, she escapes the castle walls, and becomes the …

For this family, only home school makes grade GRESHAM — Tamra Orr thinks some kids just don’t belong in school. “School can be a very damaging experience for a lot of kids,” the Gresham resident said. “It’s against their every nature. They want to discover, learn, move. School’s an artificial environment.” So Orr, who moved …

Teen sage is “Seen and Heard” Kyle Williams considers himself a normal Oklahoma 14-year-old with hobbies such as throwing a football, playing the guitar and appearing on CNN to talk about his latest political book. But Williams is far from the average teen-ager. Homeschooled in Guthrie, Williams’ interest in politics has led him to writing …

New book teaches ‘unschooling’ When Medford resident Pat Farenga talks about “unschooling” children, he’s not referring to the recent budget cuts in education. He’s actually talking about homeschooling children in new and creative ways – the subject of his new book, “Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling.” “Unschooling” is a word coined …