Tag Archives: Junie B. Jones

Back to Junie B.

Until recent activities made life quite hectic, I often read stories to my children at the table as they ate their lunch. Sometimes I would read a couple of picture books to entertain the younger ones, or sometimes I would choose longer books, reading a chapter or two at a time.  One of our early favorite was the Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park. We went through all the books our library had and enjoyed every one.

At the time, my youngest, Luke, was probably about three years old. He sat for the stories  and seemed to enjoy them too. But it never occurred to me that now, three years later, he didn’t really remember them. That is, until we were in a used bookstore about a week ago.

Searching the shelves for books to read, I found a stack of Junie B. Jones. “I remember this one,” I said.

My daughter Cassie picked up another. “This one was really funny too.”

“And this one was my favorite,” I answered, holding up yet another.

Luke just looked at us. “Do you remember these?” I asked, and he shook his head. So we bought a few of them before we headed home.

That night, we decided to read for 1/2 hour. We read the first Junie B. Jones book and got about half-way through it. Of course, I had to change my voice for each character. And speak very loudly when Junie B. is yelling. But that’s all part of the fun. (There are some words that parents may want to watch out for — Junie B. uses the words “stupid” and “hate” sometimes, so when I’m reading aloud, I change or omit them altogether.)

We finished up that book the next day, then started in with the second one. Within a couple of days, we had read all the books we had purchased. Luke looked a little concerned.

“Don’t worry, ” I told him. “I’ll get some more from the library.” When I brought home four more, he was excited.

I went into the kitchen to wash some dishes, and he came in too, carrying the books. “Mom,” he said, “may you read me some more of these sometime?”

What a great question! I had to smile.  “Yes, I may,” I said. So no matter how busy our days become, we are back to Junie B.

Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow’s Nest

P1050102Many homeschool curriculums are literature-based, and lists of good literature are available online and at the library. Most people are familiar with the classics, such as the books by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, or Jane Austen.  While we use the classics in our studies, we like to read more contemporary books together during lunchtime (I read aloud while the children eat), some of our favorites being the Junie B. Jones series and the Trailblazer missionary stories. New books are being published every year, and we like to try those out too. Some are good, some not-so-good. We usually don’t finish the not-so-good ones, but Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow’s Nest is one I would definitely recommend.  

The story is about ten-year-old Andy Parker who goes to spend the summer with his grandmother in the country. His dad has passed away, and now his best friend is moving — things are changing, and he suspects a new chapter in his life is going to begin. Set in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York, Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow’s Nest describes Andy’s activities with his mother’s friend John, his grandmother, and the neighbor, Mrs. Sackets. 

Written in first person, the story softly conveys Andy’s feelings and reactions to his changing world. Through Andy’s voice, author Karen Pavlicin, who lost her own husband to cancer, leads the reader gently through the changes as Andy realizes that even as he experiences loss, life is still full of hope. 

Since we began homeschooling eight years ago, I’ve known of several families in the area who have lost parents or children because of automobile accidents or illness. Even though I  lost my own father twelve years ago, I can still only imagine what they are experiencing. But for those families, I think Ms. Pavlicin’s book carries a timeless message: “With a little bit of faith, we’ll make it through a lifetime of changes.”

Road Trip

blog-roadOur part in the putt-putt project is almost done, so tomorrow we’ll be heading down the road again. I look forward to road trips, as the children have always traveled long distances well, even when they were small. We borrowed a portable DVD player once so they could watch movies, but we’ve never purchased one of our own. Instead, we’ve found other ways to make the time in the car pass more quickly. Here are some of the things we do: 

1. Sing along to songs on the iPod. When my husband gave me one for my birthday a few years ago, I had no idea what to do with it. My niece and her friend downloaded over 300 songs on it; they gave us such a wide variety of music to listen to, it’s been fun finding our favorites. 

2. Listen to books on CD. Right now the favorites that span the age range from 5 to 12 are the Junie B. Jones stories by Barbara Park. I find these and others at our local library. 

3. Listen to Adventures in Odyssey by Focus on the Family on CD. We have listened to these over and over and over…

4. Play the alphabet game. This is the game where each player searches for the letters of the alphabet in order. The players can find the letters on billboards or business signs. When we are in an area where signs are scarce, we modify the rules a little to allow for letters on trucks and license plates. 

5. Play “I’m going on a trip…” This is a fun game, though it’s harder for younger children to play. Each player names something he would take on his trp that begins with the next letter in the alphabet. The catch: he has to also name all the items previously mentioned and in the right order. For example, I’m going on a trip, and I’m taking an alligator, a balloon, a car, a door….

6. Search for states on license plates. Before we leave on our trip, I print off coloring pages of the map of the United States, one for each child. Then, as we see license plates from the different states, they color the corresponding state in on their maps.

After traveling for many hours, we’re all ready to get out of the car, but the time on the road has been a good time together.