PB&J lifehack.

Does PB&J really needs a makeover?

Some bloggers certainly think so. Hacks and tricks range from somewhat useful (check out Crystal Paine Freezer-Friendly Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches) to unintentionally comical and controversial (who remembers Bev Weidner’s Peanut Butter Slices Recipe?)

Well, guess who is now brave enough to share her PB&J hack? This girl! No, I’m not kidding. I can’t believe it either. Let the merciless mockery ensue.

Lifehack is a clever technique, tip that is meant to simplify a task or make it more efficient. While my tip will not reduce the time needed to spread nut butter and jelly on a piece of bread, it will reduce your guilt over throwing away perfectly good crusts because of unexplained crust phobia that has consumed toddlers, kids and adults alike. Without further ado, I present to you the

PB&J hack

  1. Arrange sliced bread on a clean surface.


2. Using a large cookie cutter or a knife cut off the crust.


3. Place the cut off pieces of bread on a baking sheet and place in a 300F oven for 15 minutes. After bread cools off, put chunks into the food processor and pulse until desired crumb size. Transfer to an air tight container (I use mason jars.) For optimal freshness, place in refrigerator for 1 month or in the freezer for 3 months.


4. Place crustless bread back into the bag, trai Ta-da, crusts are not going to waste anymore!


**Mini-tip #2:  If you are planning to freeze the sandwiches, put peanut butter on both slices of bread. This will prevent jelly from turning bread into mushy mess.

***Mini-tip #3: Seal edges by flipping plastic cookie cutter upside down to seal the edges together.

****Correction and tip #4 from my eldest: “Mom, you can’t use PEANUT butter on my co-op sandwich. It can kill my teacher and hurt some of my friends. Use cashew butter, please.” Good point, kid, thank you.

So this long post can be summarized in 1 sentence. Don’t throw away the crusts, turn them into bread crumbs instead.

The end.

Globes, maps and scissors: why all maps are inaccurate. 

That map you have on your wall? It’s wrong.

The map we use daily in our homeschool? It’s wrong.

This Google World map? Still wrong.

The new fancy accurate map? It’s wrong too.

ALL maps are wrong. Why?

It’s square peg through round hole kind of situation: we are trying to take a sphere and represent it on the flat surface.

In this experiment we will try to do the impossible: take a 3D bubble and flatten it into a 2D map.

1. Cut a line from North to South pole along the longitude line.

2. Try to lay the “map” flat. Stretch, cut, struggle, sob, quit.

3. I made several cuts along the longitude lines, leaving the segments attached at the equator line.

Now it’s time to play connect-the-dots game: complete latitude lanes and fill in the gaps. Ta-daaaa! You have successfully transferred surface of three dimensional object to a two dimensional sheet of paper, but at what cost?

Landmasses near equator kept their shape and size. The further away from the equator, the more distorted the image is. Greenland appears to be as big as Africa; India looks tiny, Indonesia is barely visible.

Check out The True Size Of web site for some eye-opening maps.

The most recognizable version of the world map, the Mercator projection, was presented in 1569 (!!!) by the Flemish geographer and cartographer Gerardus Mercator. His projection is a great tool for nautical purposes, but is widely criticized because it distorts sizes.

Should we stop utilizing all the maps? Using a globe, three dimensional representation of our planet, seems like a logical conclusion, buuuut…

…all globes are wrong too!

Earth is not round.

No, I am not suggesting that Earth is flat, it’s just not a perfect sphere. We travel through time and space on an oblate spheroid—a sphere that is squashed at it’s poles and swollen at the equator.
I’m beginning to think that the best way to study geography is from International Space Station. Field trip, anyone?

February homeschool plans: yes, we are giving in to Olympics craze!

As Christmas season was coming to an end, I was hoping to enjoy slow January full of rest, snuggles, hot tea, good books and lazy couchschooling. Series of unexpected events and no ability to control our schedule led to the busiest month in a long time. It’s OK, we’ll move the R&R month to February!

Except February is full to the brim with fun events and learning opportunities: Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, webcasts and online classes, the biggest book sale of the year, regular meetups and clubs, co-op classes, tutoring sessions and Winter Olympics 2018.

Olympic games were always a HUGE deal in my childhood home, especially Winter Olympics. But how do I tie this unit in with Valentine’s day and other holidays?

There is a Greek connection to everything, it seems. Coincidentally, we have been going down the Ancient Greece rabbit hole for the past few months, so this unit study will fit in organically into our schedule. Our history unit will tie it all together:

  • the Ancient Olympic Games were staged in Olympia in honor of Zeus,
  • Valentine’s day is influenced by Greek festival in honor of Pan, held around February, 15th
  • Athens is a birthplace of democracy, making it relevant to Presidents’ day study,
  • Groundhog day…I’m sure there is a festival that was celebrated first week of February.

During the next few weeks we will cover the plethora of related subjects. Here are just a few:

  • geography
  • history
  • culture
  • art
  • music
  • I’ll throw in some PE for a good measure

Opening night plans

As much as I enjoy the atmosphere of a live broadcast, we have another commitment on Tuesday mornings, so we will settle the party with taped Opening Ceremony in the background. To kick off the party we will:

  • snack on fruit and vegetable plate arranged in Olympic symbol;
  • start drawing flags of the countries participating in the games (you could find free printable version, but we prefer to sneak in some coloring/writing practice and add a unique personal touch to the flag banner. We will pick a handful of flags to draw each day.)
  • make Olympic torches and have a relay (or maybe a game of hot potato.)
  • kids will design an obstacle course and all family members will try to conquer it. Anticipation is killing me! I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

How are you incorporating Olympic fun to your homeschool or after-school enrichment?

Do you want to build a snowman? Baking soda dough.

The winter is almost over, and to my kids’ chagrin, it hardly snowed in Oklahoma this year. I’m not complaining, but they are. Loudly.

To distract them from this tragedy, during the past few weeks we painted with ice, froze some treasures in a block of ice, instantly froze some water, and played with this “win-win-win-win” fun messy baking soda dough. Why quadruple win? I’m glad you asked.

  1. Kids did 100% of prep work and loved every moment of sifting, measuring, stirring and molding. Sifting is not required, the boys insisted.
  2. They enjoyed the messy sensory fun and played with the dough for hours. They built (and destroyed) snowmen, created mountains, clouds,
  3. Just when the boys started losing interest, I asked them if the would like to add some vinegar to their creations. You could see the wheels turning “Vinegar…baking soda dough…YASSSSS!!!!”
  4. …aaaaaand my favorite part: both baking soda and vinegar can help clean all over the house. While baking soda mixed with vinegar is not the most effective cleaner, the aftermath of this fun messy sensory activity can be used to scour sinks and bathroom surfaces.
    *****I always thought that baking soda+vinegar cleaning solution was effective, but the science behind this fizzy bubbling reaction proves that I was wrong. Baking soda is basic while vinegar is acidic, their reaction produces water and sodium acetate. Mostly water with tiny amount of salt in it.*****

Note: this dough is not edible.

Note #2: the recipe is modified to make enough fizzy dough for an entire preschool class.


4 lbs (about 8 cups) baking soda

0.5 cup salt

2 cups of water

4 tsp dish soap



optional: food dye, glitter and few drops of essential oil.


  1. In a large bowl combine baking soda and salt, whisk.
  2. Add dish soap and stir until the mix is crumbly.
  3. Slowly add water until the snow dough reaches the desired consistency. If it’s too crumbly, add more water, if it’s too runny, add more baking soda.
  4. Optional: add glitter and few drops of your favorite essential oil.
  5. Time to play! Mold your baking soda dough! We made snowmen, volcanoes, snowflakes and flowers. After your creations are completed, use dropper or a condiment bottle to pour vinegar on baking soda dough.
  6. If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that there is a twist. We made some baking soda snowflakes and tried to  freeze them. It would have been a great activity…if the recipe didn’t have salt in it and the dough didn’t freeze. Oops.
    I’ll combine 1 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water and repeat step 6. Stay tuned for the updates!

Check out this fun and EASY activity:

Detailed step-by-step instructions can be found >>>here<<<.

Explaining Bernoulli’s Effect to a 5-year-old

If I stated Bernoulli’s principle to my 5-year-old, I’d probably get crickets or millions of questions as he would try to understand this word soup (for a young kid, anyway.) Ok, let’s try it:

If no energy is added to the system, an increase in velocity is accompanied by a decrease in density and/or pressure. The law is directly related to the principle of conservation of energy.

Hmm, he picked option c.) mumble “Ooooookaaaaay” and walk away.

What if I tried a different approach? Here goes nothing:

Explaining Bernoulli’s Effect to a 5-year-old

Can you throw a ball?

Can you throw water? (Pro tip: make sure you ask this question outside.)

How about gas? Can you throw air? After all, air doesn’t hold it’s shape the same way solids or liquids do: you can’t grab a handful or pour a glassful of air. Go ahead, try it!

This experiment will demonstrate that air, like other matter, responds to force. We will apply force to the air molecules and throw them! We will send them flying in a single direction using Bernoulli’s Effect. We are going to throw air!

Materials needed for this experiment:

Let’s start small:

  • Plastic or paper cup
  • Large balloon or a heavy duty trash bag
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Adult supervision and help
  1. Cut a hole in the bottom of the cup. The plastic cup we bought kept breaking, so we ended up using heated knife to create the opening. (Please, please, please use caution and responsible adult’s help!!!) To avoid sharp heated objects, use paper cups.20180127_214254
  2. Create a membrane that will go over the top of the cup by cutting off the neck of the balloon or by cutting a circle out of heavy duty trash bag/shower curtain. Stretch it over the lip of the cup and secure with the rubber band.20180127_214301
  3. Point your air cannon at the lightweight object, gently pull back the membrane, then release it. You can also fire your air cannon by tapping the membrane.
  4. Play around with the size and shape of the container, shape, size or the position of the opening. Which changes improve or diminish your air cannon’s performance?
  5. Optional: fill the plastic cup with water vapor (made with dry ice or fog machine) or smoke (smoke bomb.) Repeat steps 3 and 4.

Fun experiment, isn’t it? Let’s multiply the fun factor by making it BIGGER!!!!

*****Since this project is much more labor intensive and attention demanding than the small one, we made this version of air vortex cannon during kids’ nap time.*****

For the giant version of this experiment you will need:

  • 32 gallon plastic trash can
  • heavy duty trash bag or a plastic shower curtain.
  • bungee cord
  • box cutter
  • Adult supervision and help
  1. Using the box cutter, cut a 6″ hole in the bottom of the trash can (most trash cans have a line that will guide you.)20180127_215115
  2. Cut a piece of heavy duty trash bag and attach it with bungee cords over the top of the trash can. Option 2: use duck tape to secure the membrane to the opening. We added a bungee type cord handle for bigger…”kick.”20180127_215126
  3. Point your air cannon at the target (solo cup tower or a balloon) and gently tap the membrane.
  4. Oooooh and aaaaah
  5. Play around with the size and shape of the container, shape, size or the position of the opening. Which changes improve or diminish your air cannon’s performance?
  6. Optional: if you have access to fog machine or another smoke source…USE IT!!!! Fill the inside of the air vortex cannon with smoke from available source and repeat step 3. The rolling rings of smoke will demonstrate Bernoulli’s effect.

The science behind the experiment:

Bernoulli’s principle states that the faster air is moving, the lower its pressure. The air inside the vortex ring moves faster than the air outside the vortex. The pressure inside the vortex is higher than the pressure outside. When the membrane is pushed forward, it rushes the air molecules toward the air cannon opening. This action causes a chain reaction of air molecules crashing into each other on their way out. The outer edge of this moving air is rolling backwards on itself and… whoosh! A stream of air rushes straight out of air vortex cannon.

Explaining Gravity To A 5-Year-Old

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High school physics usually include a brief introduction to Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation:


By then, physical science students already have a preconceived notion of what gravity is. Teachers  have to explain it in a  way that’s entertaining, but not too difficult, considering the nature of the law of gravity.

But how do you explain the concept to a curious 5-year-old who relentlessly barrages you with never-ending questions?

As with any difficult concept, first of all, give your little scientists a lot of examples and counterexamples!

Second, break the new information down into small manageable chunks.

Third, let them practice and explore!

Fourth, sacrifice some of the details and accuracy in favor of the big picture. Dan Heath, co-author of Made to Stick, notes that “the more you know about something, the harder it is for you to imagine what it’s like to lack that knowledge”. This has consequences when communicating ideas, especially to a young child.

Finally, don’t assume that you know your student’s learning style.  Multi-sensory experience creates more connections and associations and helps your budding scientists remember and retain learned information more effectively.

With that in mind, let’s go on an adventure of

Explaining gravity to 5-year-olds

Most 5-year-olds have experimented with gravity. A lot. Just Google “kids vs gravity.” Ouch!

Gravity is an invisible universal force of attraction that acts on all matter. It keeps you and everything on Earth from flying out into the space.

Sir Isaac Newton, an English mathematician who lived 300 years ago, discovered gravity.

What was the world like before the discovery of gravity? Did everyone float around?


No, things have been falling down since prehistoric times, and surely Sir Isaac wasn’t the first one to notice it, but he was the first one to come up with a theory that we now know as law of gravity.

One of the most famous anecdotes in the history of science says that Sir Isaac Newton made the discovery when he saw a falling apple.

He noticed that the objects always fell to the surface and he realized that some force must be acting on falling objects, it has a hold on…everything! Newton called this force “gravity” and he determined that gravitational forces exist between all objects.

You exert gravitational force on the people around you too! That force isn’t very strong because you are not very massive.  Now if you were the size of a planet, it would be a different story.

What goes up must come down…Down…does it mean that things in Australia float off into the space? No, as it turns out, no matter where on Earth the object is, the planet’s gravitational pull will always draw it toward the center of the planet. In this case “up” means “away from the Earth” and “down” means “toward the center of the Earth.”

It can be demonstrated with these simple experiments.

  1. Wrap a tennis ball with a few rubber bands, ask your child to put a finger under the rubber band and gently pull away from the ball. Repeat the experiment on all sides of the ball. The rubber band will act like gravity.
    My 5-year-old upgraded this experiment: replace tennis ball with an apple and finger with LEGO minifigures.
  2.  Experiment with a balloon and static electricity. Rub a balloon with a wool cloth or your hair to create static electricity, then attract small pieces of paper to the surface of the balloon. Explain to your students that the Force is keeping pieces of paper on the surface of the balloon.

Newton described gravity, but he didn’t know how it worked. “Gravity must be caused by an agent acting constantly according to certain laws, but whether this agent be material or immaterial, I have left to the consideration of my readers,” he admitted.

For over 200 hundred years nobody truly considered what that might be, until in 1915 an agent causing gravity was described by none other than Albert Einstein. According to his theory, gravity is much weirder.  It’s a natural consequence of mass’s existence in space.

Well, this just begs for a General Relativity Explained to 5-Year-Olds post, don’t you think?


Professor Astro Cat: our current obsession. 

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As a mom of extreme outlier, I struggle to find fun, colorful and INFORMATIVE children’s books for my kids.

A few weeks ago the Scientist casually asked me about black holes, gravitational waves and Einstein’s work. Easy enough task, right? While researching the topics and trying to simplify the language, I put “quantum physics for 5 year olds” and stumbled upon Dr. Dominic Walliman’s TEDxEastVan video Quantum Physics for 7 Year Olds. 5, 7…close enough. 

That lead me to his YouTube channel and I stayed up all night perusing the videos. 

That, in term, lead me to Amazon where I bough all the children’s books he wrote. Oops, that wasn’t the plan, I only wanted to purchase one, but kept slipping and falling onto the “buy” button. Repeatedly. 

Today we read Professor Astro Cat’s Atomic Adventures. My wiggly kid who is NEVER still and is ALWAYS moving…sat still, barely breathing, with his eyes wide open for 2 hours. It a miracle!!!!

I share our read-aloud wiggly struggles and strategies to improve the experience here
Now please excuse me while I go out and patiently wait for our fabulous UPS driver by the road!  He is delivering these today: 

Professor Astro Cat’s Atomic Adventures

Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System

Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space

Professor Astro Cat’s Human Body Odyssey

What are your favorite children’s books? Bonus points if your gifted or 2e learner is mesmerized by them. 

Reading aloud to wiggly kids

Research shows that reading aloud to young children from the day they’re born is the single most important thing parents can do to prepare their kids for learning and reading on their own. It helps to develop a child’s vocabulary, phonics, storytelling and comprehension, and simply a familiarity and appreciation for the written word. It also fosters empathy, and encourages social and emotional bonding between parent and child. (See www.ReadAloud.org for more information and research.)

An award-winning author Emilie Buchwald said “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” An avid reader myself, I have always dreamed of perfectly peaceful snuggles during our hours-long read-aloud adventures. Who doesn’t like to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and read, read, read?

My kids, apparently. They’re wiggly and full of energy, to say the least. I often joke that we read AT them, not TO them. Many attempts to make them sit still ended in tears, meltdowns, self-deprecating comments and aversion to story time. What was I doing wrong?


I was conditioned to believe that good listeners sit perfectly still, hands folded in their lap, listening ears turned on and eyes wide open. After all, fidgeting while being read to can seem rude.

With constant nagging, “Sit down, sit still, stop wiggling, stop fidgeting,” the kids  were spending ALL their mental energy trying to keeping their bodies still and could not concentrate on the story.  Attempts to build early literacy through reading aloud were detracting from my boys’ enjoyment of the books. We had to find a better way to enjoy reading together, so we came up with the compromise.

If you have been following our Reading Snowflakes Challenge (#readingsnowflakes  on  Facebook and Instagram pages,) you have noticed that my kids always have some kind of project that keeps their hands (or mouths!) occupied during reading times. To make read-aloud sessions a positive experience, I read, they listen and keep themselves busy with quiet activities during reading times.

These are some of out favorite activities:

  • drawing or doodling in the journal
  • playing with playdough or slime
  • building with LEGO, Duplos, wooden blocks
  • creating with magnets
  • working on a puzzle
  • creating shapes on geoboard
  • finding a way out of mazes
  • building with toothpicks, pipe cleaners, marshmallows, dry noodles, etc
  • playing single player logic games (Shape By Shape, Q-bitz, Rush Hour and others)
  • exploring sensory bins (salt, sand, beans, chickpeas, water beads, shaving cream)
  • scissor practice (this is our favorite activity this winter! We have soooooo many beautiful snowflakes created during reading times!!)
  • acting out scenes from the book

How to maximize read aloud time:

  • let the kids explore the books on their own, even if they are not fluent readers yet.
  • read aloud in the morning,
  • read during meal times,
  • explore story time at the local library or bring a book to read during playdates,
  • have a tea party (poetry tea time became our favorite activity!)
  • OUTSOURCE! listen to audio books and podcasts in the car.

What read-aloud tips or activities do you have? I am always open to new ideas and suggestions.

Favorite Books Of 2017

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Up until a year ago, given the choice between fiction and non-fiction, I would pick fiction in 10 out of 10 cases. Something changed on New Year’s eve 2017. What happened a year ago?

We officially started homeschooling our twice exceptional son.

Term twice exceptional (or 2e) often refers to intellectually gifted children who also have some form of disability or learning differences. So double the challenge, double the fun.

As a self-proclaimed research junkie, I NEEDED to have more information, so I turned to books, Amazon, library, friends, Facebook groups and trusted web sites. I read this article and down the rabbit hole I went.  Over the half of the books I’ve read this year are non-fiction.

Out of 75+ books I’ve read in 2017 these ten stood out the most:

  1. The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star by Tom Clynes  confirmed my suspicions that our 5-year-old is highly gifted and that turning to non-traditional parenting choices was the right thing to do for our family, despite all the sighs and well intended advice we received.
  2. The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism by Kristine Barnett I picked up this book after seeing Jacob Barnett’s Forget What You Know TED Talk. Jacob has an IQ higher than Einstein’s, a photographic memory, and he taught himself calculus in two weeks. But his story is all the more remarkable because his extraordinary mind was almost lost to autism. Surrounded by experts at home and in special ed who tried to focus on Jake’s most basic skills and curtail his distracting interests Jake made no progress, withdrew more and more into his own world, and eventually stopped talking completely. His parents knew that they had to make a change.
  3. Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him by Sally Clarkson, Nathan Clarkson  Inspiring, heartbreaking and uplifting, this book made me feel like I’m not alone. We have an outside-of-box kid too, and I found myself tearfully relating to Sally’s story and making mental notes for the future. Nathan’s perspective was unique and eye-opening. I highly recommend this wonderful book!
  4.  The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do by Peg Tyre Thought provoking summary and analysis of the research showing that boys and men lag well behind girls and women in school achievement.
  5. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown  At the end of the day I often find myself exhausted, but looking back at the day I realize that nothing important was accomplished.  “What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance?” Greg McKeown inquires in his book. He offers a simple but profound idea: that we accomplish more when we are more selective about where we direct our efforts. This book was essential (hehe) for me in 2017, with all the changes and new projects.
  6. Young Children Reinvent Arithmetic  Implications of Piaget’s Theory by Constance Kamii,‎ Leslie Baker Housman   Preschoolers easily grasp ideas behind fractions,  number lines, geometry and algebra elements. I see 3, 4 and 5 year olds exploring difficult concepts and taking on the challenges. Silly kids, they weren’t told yet that they hate math!
    Kids love the challenge of games. Why not use this attribute and incorporate games into learning? Instead of using endless worksheets and tests, give them problems to solve.According to Piaget’s theory, “children acquire mathematical knowledge…by constructing them from the inside, in interaction with the environment,” in other words, given the chance to explore and experiment, they will use their knowledge to  invent new ways to find solutions, explore patterns and make connections.  Let’s make math fun!
  7.  The Martian and Artemis by Andy Weir
    Andy Weir’s unique writing style, humor, meticulous research come together in well thought out, interesting, well paced page-turners. Once I picked up his books, I couldn’t put them down. Sleep? Who needs sleep, sleep is for the weak!
  8.  A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor. Such a beautiful and gripping story. This is one of those books that will stay with you long after you’ve read it.
  9.  Maisie Dobbs  After reading the first novel, I was very excited to find out that Jacqueline Winspear published thirteen books in the series.  A quick, light mystery with an engaging main character set in England in 1929. I would love to see this as  a TV show!
  10. Wonder by R. J. Palacio  August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.
    Oh, what a wonderful book!!!! Well-written, touching, emotional and meaningful, this book become 2017 favorite instantly. We read it 4 (four!!!!) time. Our peculiar son fell in love with main character. I think he identifies with Auggie. You see, our eldest is 5 years old and since he was 18 months old we kept saying “His brain just works differently”. He absorbs every bit of information and remembers it FOR-E-VER, his vocabulary surprises and amazes us every day, he skipped 2 grades already, he adores everybody he meets. He is also very sensitive, VERY intense, VERY unpredictable. Parenting him is not easy, traditional parenting did not work with him and only deepened his anxiety. 80% of the time he can pass for a neurotypical kid, so when the atypical behavior kicks in, it is usually attributed to him being “spoiled” or “coddled.”
    **********SPOILER ALERT**********
    This book also helped us deal with a loss similar to that of August’s family. Loss of a beloved pet was (and still is) incredibly painful, and Daisy’s storyline helped our kids understand and cope with the devastating loss of a four-legged family member.

What books grabbed your heart and stayed with you in 2017? Share in the comments! 2018 is almost here and I NEED more, more, more reading material! Always.


2017 in books

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  1. The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star
  2. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
  3. Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt
  4. Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him by Sally Clarkson, Nathan Clarkson
  5. A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students (The Templeton National Report on Acceleration, Volumes 1 and 2)
  6. It’s OK to Go up the Slide: Renegade Rules for Raising Confident and Creative Kids
  7.  It’s Ok Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids  
  8.  The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder (The Out-of-Sync Child Series) by Carol Kranowitz and Lucy Jane Miller
  9.  Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary “Executive Skills” Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their potential by Peg Dawson ,‎ Richard Guare
  10.  How Children Learn by John Holt
  11.  How Children Fail by John Holt
  12.  They’re Your Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate by Sam Sorbo
  13.  The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When The World Overwhelms Them by Elaine N. Aron Ph.D. 
  14.  Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne,‎ Lisa M. Ross
  15.  No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame by Janet Lansbury
  16.  Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie  
  17.  Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande 
  18.  Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
  19.  The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling by Quinn Cummings 
  20. The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do by Peg Tyre 
  21.  Bright Not Broken: Gifted Kids, ADHD, and Autism by Diane M. Kennedy,‎ Rebecca S. Banks,‎ Temple Grandin
  22.  The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed by Temple Grandin,‎ Richard Panek
  23. The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius by Gail Saltz M.D. 
  24.  Young Children Reinvent Arithmetic: Implications of Piaget’s Theory by Constance Kamii,‎ Leslie Baker Housman 
  25.  Let’s Play Math: How Families Can Learn Math Together and Enjoy It by Denise Gaskins
  26.  Burn Math Class: And Reinvent Mathematics for Yourself by Jason Wilkes 
  27. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  28. What is Unschooling?: Living and Learning without Schoolby Pam Laricchia
  29.  Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  30. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath,‎ Dan Heath
  31.  Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  32.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  33.  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
  34.  The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism by Kristine Barnett




  1.  Sandstorm (Sigma Force) by James Rollins
  2.  Map Of Bones (Sigma Force) by James Rollins
  3.  Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
  4.  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  5.  What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  6.  The Circle by Dave Eggers
  7.  The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
  8. Storm Front (Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher
  9.  Fool Moon (Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher
  10.  Grave Peril (Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher 
  11.  Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  12.  Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  13.  Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  14. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  15.  Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs) by Jacqueline Winspear
  16.  Pardonable Lies: (Maisie Dobbs Novels) by Jacqueline Winspear
  17.  The Dinner by Herman Koch
  18. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  19. In the Woods by Tana French
  20.  The Likeness by Tana French
  21.  Faithful Place by Tana French
  22.  A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  23.  Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
  24.  The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
  25.  Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
  26.  Beartown by Fredrik Backman
  27.  The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti
  28.  Artemis by Andy Weir
  29. The Trouble Begins: A Box of Unfortunate Events, Books 1-3 (The Bad Beginning; The Reptile Room; The Wide Window) by Lemony Snicket,‎ Brett Helquist
  30. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  31. The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin
  32.  I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Read-alouds with kids

  1.  Wonder R. J. Palacio
  2. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  3.  The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
  4.  Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  5.  The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  6.  The Trumpet Of the Swan by E. B. White
  7.   Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
  8.  Mister Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
  9. The Moffats by Eleanor Estes
  10.  Mary Poppins by Dr. P. L. Travers
  11.  Charlie And the Chocolate Factory by R. Dahl
  12. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
  13.  James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  14.  The BFG by Roald Dahl
  15.   Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car by Ian Fleming (author), David Tennant (narrator)
  16.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce (author) David Tennant (Narrator)
  17.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race against Time Cottrell Boyce (Author),‎ David Tennant (Narrator)
  18.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang over the Moon by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Author),‎ David Tennant (Narrator)