Stuff We Like: Spring Edition

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

Shelli and I have been hard at work planning the summer issue (lots of good stuff coming up!) and some exciting changes to the website, but we’ve also been enjoying the pleasures of springtime life. Here are some of the things making us smile this spring.

:: I have been reading so much for our summer reading report in the next issue that I feel like I haven’t cracked a book for my personal reading list in ages. (Though I did reread The Boarded-Up House mystery with my daughter.) My 1st grader is reading (with lots of help) The Burgess Bird Book for Children and listening to Will in Scarlet as an audiobook. My 7th grader is reading nothing but manga and listening to the Beatles' Hard Day’s Night pretty much on repeat in her room. I think we may have a case of spring fever. (But I do have Station Eleven on my night table based on Suzanne’s recommendation!) —Amy

:: Am I the only person obsessed with Foyle’s War? I am a sucker for a period mystery, and it’s the perfect background for knitting. —Amy

:: I got sucked into the Pinterest vortex last year and made a quilt out of pillows, but oh, wow, am I glad I did. We have been dragging it into the backyard every day for school time, hang out time, and (not infrequently) dinner. It’s actually very easy to make but not so easy to store. And making it did help me stick to my personal Pinterest rule of one pin in, one pin done. —Amy

:: We have been having so much fun playing with The Kids’ Book of Weather Forecasting: Build a Weather Station, Read the Sky, and Make Predictions (one of the books from our spring issue’s nature resources roundup). There’s nothing like making your own barometer to appreciate the changeable nature of our springtime weather. —Amy

:: With spring’s arrival, we have been enjoying watching many songbirds move into our wooded yard to make nests and find food. My boys frequently refer to the iBird South app on our family's iPad to identify the birds and hear what sounds they make. (There’s an app for each region, so click on the link.) My boys have also enjoyed the Audubon Plush Birds they received at Easter, and I love them because they play real bird sounds, which are provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Seriously, I have yet to separate my 5-year-old from his wood duck, which he had been asking for for a long time! —Shelli

:: Since my boys (including the adult one) are total Star Wars geeks (and, frustratingly, two dvds checked out from two different libraries had too many scratches on them for us to watch), my husband recently purchased all the Star Wars episodes on iTunes. (It’s the first time they have been released in digital format — get all the details here.) Not only are we watching all six episodes, we are also watching all the “extras” that comes with it, and for us, that’s what makes this purchase worth it. The “making of” documentaries, deleted scenes, and other interviews with people who have worked behind the scenes are making this a fun, educational experience. Since we are watching only about 30 minutes a day, this is going to stretch out for weeks too! —Shelli

We picked it up at a library book sale thinking it looked fun, and sure enough my 8-year-old loved The Mad Scientists Club. Though this collection of stories is pretty old — it was written in the 1960s — it was still a fun, clever read. It’s about a group of boys who call themselves the Mad Scientists and get in all kinds of mischief as they outsmart the adults in their small town. My son is eager for me to get the next book in the series. —Shelli

What's your family loving this spring?