Homeschool Resources

We keep this page loaded with posts that explore ideas and issues, suggest booklists, and spark discussions about homeschooling, unschooling, and home learning. This tab can be a great resource for parents and caregivers who are suddenly homeschooling their children because of the Covid-19 pandemic or for families that were already on a homeschool path. We hope these resources will be fun, interesting opportunities for exploring writing and reading with your middle-grade readers.


We will update regularly, so feel free to visit often!

Middle Grade Authors


  • Home Learning: A World of Opportunities to Read & Think
    Home Learning: A World of Opportunities to Read & Think
    September 9, 2020 by
    by Aixa Perez-Prado Last March schools across the world closed due the Covid-19 pandemic. Teachers, parents and students were unprepared. Many had difficulty with the online learning that was offered. Even under ideal circumstances, hours of daily screen time will not be feasible for many young learners. Therefore, some families have chosen to try their hand at home learning, otherwise known as homeschooling. If you are one of these families, or if you simply wish to augment the remote learning your child is receiving from school with books that will help you do it, this article is for you. Out of school learning time can provide kids with a chance to acquire knowledge in a manner that is free and flexible. Allowing kids the freedom to explore topics of interest instills a love for learning and inspires curiosity. But this freedom is not always available in a highly structured school day. Thankfully, it can be available at home. Encouraging kids...
  • Coronavirus is a wish your heart makes
    Coronavirus is a wish your heart makes
    May 22, 2020 by
    Greg R. Fishbone looks for the silver linings in the coronavirus pandemic....
  • Journaling in the Time of Covid-19
    Journaling in the Time of Covid-19
    May 11, 2020 by
    Six months ago if someone had told me I’d be writing a blog post titled “Journaling in the Time of Covid-19” I would have said, “What’s Covid-19?” We could all start sentences that way now… “Six months ago, if someone had told me…” “… schools would be closed for months…” “… I would not see my parents for months …” “…. Zoom would be part of everyday life…” “… a mask would be part of my wardrobe…” “… people would run out of (WHAT?!) toilet paper…” Times are rapidly changing and that means we are all having new and unforeseen experiences. There’s no better time than now to be journaling. I have written in diaries and journals off and on since this date: Not long ago, I shared the following story in a Facebook post: In February of 1977, I was a fifth grader in Westerville, Ohio when the Energy Crisis coincided with weeks of unusually cold weather. Today I...
  • Garbage Writing Exercise
    Garbage Writing Exercise
    May 6, 2020 by
        If you need a creative boost for yourself, your children, or students…Garbage Writing is the perfect solution!   *Set a timer for 15 minutes. *Write, write, write…nonstop! *No editing. (Your internal editor will hate this…but it’s such a great way to get past all those judgments and fears of words not coming out right).   This can be rambling nonsense. A rant that lets you get all your anger and frustrations out on paper. Or…if you have a story you’d like to write, an issue you’re working through, etc. you can keep that in mind during this exercise. But if you choose this option…you still need to let the words flow and not edit. Yes, there will be lots of garbage to toss at the end, but you’ll discover gems that gleam so brightly that might not exist without letting your words gush out like this. Garbage Writing is great to do with writing groups, classes, etc. And...
  • Everywhere Book Fest
    Everywhere Book Fest
    May 1, 2020 by
    Coming to a screen near you … via YouTube … it’s the Everywhere Book Fest: a virtual gathering of kidlit authors, illustrators, and books. The idea: in a time when we can’t go out to find the book, let’s bring the book to the reader. The schedule for the two-day event features live and pre-recorded sessions on such topics as sibling stories, writing #HERstory, and Magic vs. Science. The beauty of this event is that even if you can’t catch it live, you can still go back to YouTube to watch the sessions on demand. SO … for those of you still supplementing asynchronous school activities … check it out. And for those of you who just love good kidlit discussions or want to get ideas for new books to read…check it out!...
  • Women In STEM (Math & Science) - Author Interview with Laurie Wallmark, and Giveaway
    Women In STEM (Math & Science) – Author Interview with Laurie Wallmark, and Giveaway
    April 6, 2020 by
     Today we’re interviewing Laurie Wallmark, author of Numbers in Motion, and several other titles.                                   This book features the STEM topics of mathematical equations and science, and how Sophie Kowalevski became the first woman in the world to receive a doctorate in mathematics that required original research and inspired a generation of mathematicians. Sophie was also the first to hold a university chair in mathematics, and the first to be the editor of a major scientific journal.   Tell us about Numbers in Motion and what inspired you to write the story of Sophie Kowalevski. As long as I can remember, I’ve loved math. Why? Because it’s fun! Although several of the people I’ve written about before have been talented mathematicians, they were recognized in different fields. I thought it was time to share a woman mathematician’s story with kids.   2. How did...
  • STEM Tuesday-- Astronauts and Space Travel -- Interview with Author Tanya Lee Stone
    STEM Tuesday– Astronauts and Space Travel — Interview with Author Tanya Lee Stone
    March 31, 2020 by
    STEM Tuesday–Astronauts and Space Travel– Interview with Author Tanya Lee Stone   Welcome to STEM Tuesday: Author Interview & Book Giveaway, a repeating feature for the last Tuesday of every month. Go Science-Tech-Engineering-Math! Today we’re interviewing Tanya Lee Stone, author of Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared To Dream.  It’s a fascinating look at the early days of astronaut training where women were barred from participating despite, in some cases, possessing superior skill levels. The New York Times Book Review said, “Stone’s carefully researched book makes the point that in the 1950s and ’60s there were ’13 women who… had the Right Stuff’ – but were the wrong sex at the wrong time.”  * * * Christine Taylor-Butler: Tanya, you are one of the most accomplished authors in the field with more than 100 books under your belt. One of your superpowers seems to be telling compelling stories of lesser known historical figures whose contributions have left an indelible mark...
  • Homeschooling in covid19
    Kids At Home? We have got some resources for you!
    March 26, 2020 by
    Hi Everyone, We hope you are all doing well and staying safe. In light of the current COVID-19 social distancing requirements, I bet more than a few of you are at home with your families.  It can be difficult to find ways to keep everyone occupied, especially for kids of all ages. 🙂 Thankfully, TONS of organizations– including the kidlit community– have stepped up and are offering online FUN resources. We have compiled some of them here. Note, this is not a full list of everything that’s out there. If you have more suggestions, please add them to the comments so everyone can see them.   Here is a list that we have compiled so far:  (click on the highlighted words in each listing for the link)   Connecting with Children’s Authors SCBWI Connect – the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators  has compiled a huge list of links to connect with authors for resources, activities, and book read...
  • Homeschool Activities
    What Can Homeschoolers Do All Day?
    March 22, 2020 by
    With a nod to Richard Scarry’s, WHAT DO PEOPLE DO ALL DAY, we offer this possible schedule for keeping homeschoolers busy. These ideas come from education thought leader Tim Elmore. Elmore’s no-profit, Growing Leaders, offers leadership skills for students as well as teachers, parents, and coaches. Click here to see a bigger version of this picture.   For other ideas on how to energize your homeschool activities, click on our Covid-19 Homeschooling Resources tab....
  • Homeschooling in covid19
    10 Suggestions (+ 1) For Suddenly Homeschooling Your Kid(s)
    March 20, 2020 by
    Hi Mixed-Up Filers. We’re working on filling our blog with resources and lesson plans to assist you as you navigate homeschooling amid Covid-19. Before I became an author, I was a teacher, and I spent the last years of my career creating and facilitating a program that worked with homeschooling parents. So, I figured I’d brush off some that experience and share some simple strategies to help those of you who have suddenly found yourself not only trying to work at home but trying to homeschool your kids as well. I hope some of these suggestions prove helpful to you in the weeks (and months) to come. 10 SUGGESTIONS (+ 1) FOR SUDDENLY HOMESCHOOLING YOUR KID(S) 1. Breathe. This is a strange and stressful time for everyone. It’s okay to not be sure how to navigate all the things being thrown at you. Take time to decompress, get extra sleep, and go easy – on yourself, first. Then you can...
  • The Great Upending
    The Great Upending – Book Discussion Questions and Activity
    March 20, 2020 by
    The Great Upending, by Beth Kephart First, listen to author Beth Kephart reading the first few pages of THE GREAT UPENDING here. Then, on March 31, get the book! You can buy it here:                  Amazon                 Indiebound Then, read … and enjoy. You can answer these questions as you read or after you’re done. It might be fun to do this online with some friends too. Also – if you’d like to read an interview with the author, look here. HOMESCHOOL ACTIVITY   Below are some questions you and your family might consider as you read this book. Sometimes, when Sara and Hawk sit outside, they listen to the sounds of their world: “The farm noises There are cows in the cow barn, goats in the goat barn, cats in their cuddle, and the old horse Moe, who snorts like a warthog.” What are the sounds of...
  • adventures in familyhood
    Twenty Virtual Field Trips to Take with your Kids
    March 18, 2020 by
    Looking for lesson plans that get you out of the house but maintain social distancing? Feeling a little house-bound? Try this website: from Adventures in Familyhood. 0You’ve got access to 20 virtual tours of museums, zoos, and aquariums all over the world, plus lesson ideas, activities, and book suggestions to help you frame your lesson plan.   Have fun! Let us know about your trip!...
  • STEM Tuesday-- Astronauts and Space Travel -- In the Classroom
    STEM Tuesday– Astronauts and Space Travel — In the Classroom
    March 17, 2020 by
    Reading books from this month’s list confirmed something I instinctively knew – I am nowhere near adventurous enough to be an astronaut. Here are my brief takes on the books I read. Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez Countdown tells the story of how mankind journeyed to (and first walked on) the moon. Unlike most books about astronauts, this book is told in free verse poetry. It is also primarily illustrated, gorgeously, by Thomas Gonzalez.   Lost in Outer Space by Tod Olson This book screams for a read-aloud. Once you get into it, it gets increasingly difficult to put down. Olson does a great job of telling Apollo 13’s story. He puts his own spin on it by sprinkling the perspective of Commander Jim Lovell’s daughter Barbara (a teenager at the time) throughout.   Cutting-Edge Astronaut Training by Karen Latchana Kenny This book is a quick but informative read, covering how astronauts...
  • Middle Grade Author Michele Weber Hurwitz tackles an environmental mystery in her latest book, Hello from Renn Lake
    Middle Grade Author Michele Weber Hurwitz tackles an environmental mystery in her latest book, Hello from Renn Lake
    March 6, 2020 by
    I’m so thrilled to interview MUF contributor Michele Weber Hurwitz about her newest middle grade book, Hello from Renn Lake (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House Children’s, May 26 2020). The book centers on 12-year old Annalise Oliver whose family owns and runs a lakeside cabins in Renn Lake, Wisconsin. As a young child Annalise discovered she could communicate with the lake. However, when an algal bloom threatens the lake, she can no longer hear Renn. Annalise and her friends desperately search for a way to save their beloved lake and their community. Michele, I just love how you alternate between 12-year-old Annalise Oliver, and centuries old Renn, the lake. And then Renn’s cousin, Tru, the river, also has a voice. How did you come up with making the lake and river actual characters in the book? (Also, I was so happy you included Violet, a small quiet lake.) In my first draft, I didn’t have the lake and river narrating. In...