Tuesday Tips: The Hidden Benefits of eBooks and Kindle Unlimited

*Some links are affiliate links, see disclosure below*

This tip is a little different from most of my recommendations because it focuses more on the homeschooling mom than homeschooling in general. However, I think it has benefits for both.
First, let me be transparent: I fought against eBooks for years, and to this day, I still love a good physical book. I have a stack on my bedside table and a bookshelf in every room except the bathrooms.

A Little Background


As a child, I read voraciously; I stayed up late, spent my free time reading, reading in the car, etc. I have fond memories of my high school years of hanging out with my friends at the bookstore with a cappuccino and a book.


Fast forward a few years, I was in the thick of motherhood, and I felt like I had no free time, and any time I did spend reading was parenting and later homeschooling books. While those were beneficial, I was losing out on the joy of reading for pleasure.


Several years ago, I started trying to intentionally add more pleasure reading to my book lists. I knew this would be beneficial for me and also for my children. I want my children to be readers, to love reading, and to choose to read. If I want that for them, I need to model that behavior. I added some fun fiction to my summer reading and eventually kept it going throughout the year.


That was beneficial, but I still wasn’t getting as much reading done as I had hoped. I am still a busy work-from-home, homeschool mom who doesn’t have much free time. I often wanted to read at night after everyone was in bed, but the lamp would keep my husband awake.

My Discovery


This was when I discovered the benefits of reading on my phone. I could read at night without keeping my husband up, I had my book with me wherever I went, so I could sneak in five or ten minutes of reading while waiting in line or at the doctor’s office. Before, I would scroll through social media during those times, but I felt like reading was a better use of my time. It helped me achieve my goals and find my reading joy again.

How Does Kindle Unlimited Fit Into This?


You may wonder why Kindle Unlimited is integral to this process for me. You can take advantage of reading on your phone without Kindle Unlimited, but it was a key component for me. It meant that there were always new books waiting for me; I could read from a wide variety of genres and books and easily switch back and forth between informative and fictional books depending on my mood that day. Am I the only one that has multiple books going at once?


For a low and easy-to-budget amount each month, I had access to what felt like unlimited book options. I was also able to use it with my children. We got books for their curriculums and more pleasure books for them to read. Like me, they still adore real books, but we found that when riding in the car, traveling, etc., the kindles are super convenient.


Recently, our subscription allowed my two teenagers and me to read the same book together and then discuss it without purchasing three copies of the same book or waiting until we had time to pass it around to each other.

Conclusions


I feel like our Kindle Unlimited subscription has helped me to read many more books than I otherwise would have read and reclaim lots of waits and riding time. (Bonus, I now get car sick when I read regular books while we ride, but I can read eBooks without a problem.)


I encourage you to check out the free trial and see if it can help you get in more reading time and share more books with your children and teens.


I would also love to hear from you what other strategies you employ to help you get more reading done.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Thomas Nelson, Everybody Always for Kids (Review)

Thomas Nelson Publishing

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

If you have been reading this blog for very long, it is no secret that we love books and reading. My personal motto is “never too many books, only too few bookshelves.” So, when the opportunity came to review Everybody, Always for Kids by Bob Goff and Lindsey Goff Viducich I was happy to accept.

I was not familiar with the author but I was familiar with other books from Tommy Nelson Publishing and was excited to give this one a try. The book was recommended for ages 6-10 and I planned to use it with my seven year old son.

A New Book!

When the book arrived in the mail, I let my son open the package. He was immediately drawn to the bright colors of the cover art.  The book has a very cheerful cover that entices the reader.

While he was most drawn to the cover, I could not help but notice the sturdiness of the hard cover book. It seemed well made, with thick glossy pages and even a ribbon attached as a bookmark.

Rather than being one long story, the book is a collection of forty different stories. The goal of the book is to help children understand that they should love “everybody, always”.

Each story is an example of how the author was able to show love to someone through his actions.

How We Used the Book

While, I planned to use this primarily with my seven year old, my three year old would most often come join us while I read. He loves to curl up in the recliner with me reading.

I did not really think that he would understand most of it, but welcomed him joining us for reading. However, he quite surprised me when he started talking about the stories.

 In one of the earlier stories the author jokingly talks about swimming with sharks. After we finished that story, my three year old looked at me and said, “Mommy, we not swim with the sharks, they might eat us.”

I am quite sure that was not the point the author was trying to get across, it certainly proved to me that he was paying attention.

My seven year old loved the book and would ask me to read each night and try to get me to read two or three stories at a time, instead of the one that I promised.

 I appreciated the opportunity to talk with him about showing love and kindness to others in a variety of ways.

Bonus!

In addition to the book, we were given a five day lesson plan set with questions and hands-on ideas to go along with five of the stories from the book. These lesson plans included fun hands-on activities as well as discussion questions. They are available as a free bonus download on the website.

Thoughts and Conclusions

Overall, we really enjoyed Everybody, Always for Kids and felt like it was a great way to start conversations about different ways that we can show love to those around us. While I think the target age of 6-10 is probably the ideal age for this book, I do think that younger children can get something from the book and that it could still be a great jumping off point for conversations with older children.

Be sure to click on the graphic below and see what the other Review Crew families thought and how they used this book in their homes!

Everybody Always for Kids Reviews

“Learn With Homer” Review and Deep Discount!

Have you met Homer yet? Learn With Homer was born (well, it became public) in August of 2013. In the short time that has elapsed since then, this adorable pigeon and all of his buddies have gained quite a following…over 1 million children now learn with him! So what has all these prominent media, news, and educational sites buzzing? Stick with me, and find out!

What is Learn with Homer? Here is an infographic to help you understand the method:

homermethod

Learn With Homer accomplishes these four steps through beautiful, colorful graphics, gorgeous photography, engaging stories (a variety of history, myths, fables, folk tales, nursery rhymes), songs (from all around the world…and the vocabulary is linked to the lessons!), art, poetry, and games. There is so much to love about this site/app! This is not merely a reading program. It has such a wide scope of learning, including history, science, poetry, music and so much more (and they add new updates frequently)! Here is a screen shot to give you a sampling of the compelling beauty of the lessons:

homercolor

Just seeing images like these made ME want to play! Our art-loving daughter has totally fallen in love with this site. Even though the site gives suggested ages as 3-8, our 9-year-old has enjoyed it SO much! I logged her in and gave her the freedom to poke around on her own. She played for over 2 hours (there is no fluff…it is all lovely education presented in such a way that children love to learn), took a break, and went back for another hour. I wanted to see if it would really draw her in, or if I would have to “sell” its virtues to her. In no time at all, I heard her singing along with songs. She repeatedly came to me to share something she learned, or to tell me the plot of a new story. I didn’t even get a chance to try out my sales pitch! First thing this morning, she wanted to get back on.

katiehomer
She loves the drawing and art options, and the fact that she can get new “thinking caps” for her little kitty avatar.

Currently, Learn With Homer is offered for pc (web version) and iPad. The iPad version got a spectacular facelift just today! The new version includes little adorable Wickles who play in Pickle Wickle Park. Guess what they like to snack on? Now there are even more fun features to enjoy!

picklewicklepark

The web version is slated for update very soon, and there is an Android version in the works as well. If that’s not enough, an iPhone version will come out after the first of the year!

Need stats? Here you go! There are 22 levels for learning with Homer currently…including over 1,000 lessons and activities! The program is proven to boost reading scores by over 74%!

In a recent study conducted by the former US Assistant Secretary of Education, students who used Homer for 15 minutes a day over a 6-week period nearly doubled their scores on the TOPEL (Test of Preschool Early Literacy), a leading predictor of future reading and academic success.

homerstates

Are you dying to try it? No wonder!  Click here to sign up for a free 30-day trial! You can also get 50% off an annual subscription to Homer! Click here! The special discount code is already plugged in for you! Can it get any easier?

Disclaimer: I was given a year’s free subscription for Learn With Homer in exchange for an honest and objective review.