My Must-Have Children’s Poetry and Story Treasury Books

One of the highlights of our home education is when I carve out the time to bake up some muffins or cookies and brew a big pot of herbal tea with wild honey and call the children together for “Read Aloud Tea Time”. 

Sometimes we read a few chapters in a book we’re working through, but other times I like to switch things up and pull out a poetry book or a treasury of stories from the shelf to revisit some old favorites or enjoy the prose of talented authors. 

Today I want to share with you my must-have children’s poetry and story treasury books that we own, use, and love. These are the kind of books that you display on your family bookshelf, open again and again, and that could be family heirlooms one day. 

I love to find books at my local used book store, garage sales, and homeschool consignment store. When I don’t find what I am looking for there I also love shopping on thriftbooks.com! If you are looking to purchase any of the listed titles new, you can click on them to buy on Amazon. 

Poetry:

Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne – This is a book of thirty-five children’s verses told from the perspective of a young child who takes the reader through the previous years of their life, ages 1-5.

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson – This is a lovely collection of poetry that celebrates childhood in all its complexity and joy. The poems touch on themes of playful childhood, illness, play, and solitude.

Julie Andrew’s Treasury for All Seasons – This book is a compilation of a vast array of poems, old and new, that joyously celebrate each special season and day of the year.

Animals Animals by Eric Carle- This one is a light-hearted collection of poems by various authors about different types of animals with corresponding illustrations all by Eric Carle.

A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa – A Child’s Book of Poems is full of timeless poems and illustrations that depict children of all races sweetly interacting, the enchanting natural world, and adorable animals.

 The Real Mother Goose illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright – This book is full of traditional nursery rhymes and original illustrations, originally published in 1916.

Storybook Treasuries

Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury by Arnold Lobel – This is the first book my son read on his own, so it holds a special place in our hearts. This treasury includes all the Frog and Toad stories about two friends’ silly adventures.

Little House Picture Book Treasury: Six Stories of Life on the Prairie adapted from the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Renée Graef – I love this one for the bold, bright, and detailed illustrations and the simple stories that are adapted from the Little House books. It’s a great introduction to the novels.

A Beatrix Potter Treasury – What’s not to love about Beatrix Potter’s collection of whimsical tales? This collection would be a perfect fit if you are planning to use A Year of Tales curriculum or just want some classics to read again and again.

Jan Brett’s Animal Treasury – Jan Brett is one of my all-time favorite children’s book authors and this one includes four of her stories featuring animals.

The Children’s Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett – This is a lovely compilation of folktales and fables that illustrate virtues like honesty, courage, and compassion.

Paul Galdone’s The Folk Tale Classics Treasury – This treasury includes the retellings of classic folk and fairy tales such as The Little Red Hen and The Three Little Pigs with talented illustrations by Paul Galdone.

The Complete Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem- This treasury includes the eight warm stories of the sweet mice of Brambly Hedge who live together in a close-knit community and make the best use of what each season has to offer.

Aesop’s Fables: The Classic Edition illustrated by Charles Santore – The captivating tales in this compilation help to illustrate basic moral issues through the simple classic stories and intriguing illustrations.

I hope you find as much joy and connection in these poems and stories as we have in our home. I am sure I will add many to my must-have list over the years of homeschooling that I have ahead of me. What would you add to this list?

Our Homeschool Morning Time

Morning Time has become a beautiful anchor of our day over the last few years. With a busy toddler in the mix, it’s not always peaceful and exactly how my idealistic mind has it all laid out, but it is beautiful nonetheless. When my children were preschoolers, we called it “Together Time”. You can read about what it looked like in those earlier years in this blog post.

In short, Morning Time is a coming together of all the children in a home education setting, enjoying subjects that span across a wide age range. Morning Time can look different from one family to another, but the bottomline is that it includes the subjects that everyone can do together. These materials emphasize truth, goodness, and beauty. I have explained in detail what that includes for us below.

In the morning, after nursing the toddler and getting everyone dressed for the day, we bring our breakfast to the table for Morning Time. I also bring our basket of Morning Time materials and give each child their Morning Time menu.

A Morning Time Menu is essentially a book of transparent pages into which you can slip papers for your child to look at, read, or even write on using a dry erase marker. I bought three of these (one for each child and one for myself), and I set them up at the beginning of each week. We use the 4-page menus which means I can insert eight pages at a time. I purchased mine here.

Here are the elements we currently include in our Morning Time with children ages 5 and 6 and a half. 

Prayer and Devotions

The first thing we do is pray and thank God for our day and ask Him to come and be present in all we do. While they eat their breakfast I read from our current devotional book. They often ask questions and we discuss what I read. Sometimes they practice looking up scripture from what we have read in their children’s Bible. Recently we have also been memorizing some attributes of God using these cards from Tiny Theologians. Sometimes we add in a hymn or worship song to this time and sing together. We often pray together again, specific to what we learned in our time studying His word. Here are some of the resources I pull from:

  • Leading Little Ones To God This is the devotional book we have been using for the last year. I often tweak some of the wording to make it more palatable for little minds, but it has been full of rich theological ideas and doesn’t sugar-coat the truth, which is important to me. I love that there is a hymn and discussion questions at the end of each reading.
  • Tiny Theologians Attributes of God CardsEach Morning Time I add a card. I read the description and verse and we discuss what it means. The kids like to create a hand motion for each attribute to help them remember it. We recite all of the attributes we have learned so far. We are almost finished with these cards and I plan to begin the Names of God cards next.
  • Adventure Children’s Bible – This is the Bible my son uses to read and practice looking up Scripture.

Calendar Work and Weather Charting

When the kids finish eating breakfast, they are ready to do their calendar work and weather charting. They love this part because it is so interactive. I’ve wanted to incorporate calendar and weather into our Morning Time for so long, but I could never find exactly what I was looking for. Finally, I decided to make my own Daily Weather Chart and Traceable Monthly Calendar. Using dry erase markers, my kids trace the month name and all of the numbers leading up to the day’s date. Then they circle the date. I write the full date on our chalkboard and we read it aloud together. Then they feel or look outside to observe the weather and chart it on their weather page. If you don’t have a morning menu, these pages work great in dry erase pouches or laminated. You can download both charts here.

Character Study and Scripture Recitation

The main curriculum we are using this year is A Year of Tales. One of the reasons I chose A Year of Tales is because she offers full and rich Morning Time selections that correlate with the Beatrix Potter tale we are reading that week. Included in the curriculum is a character trait to study and a scripture to ponder and memorize. Each of these is a page in our menu. We read them, discuss different elements of them each day, and practice reciting the scripture.

Poetry Reading and Recitation

The next pocket of our menu has selections of lovely poetry slipped into it. I get our poetry from two main sources – A Year of Tales and Exploring Nature With Children. I simply read the poem each day to the children and we discuss it. After a few days of reading it, they naturally start to memorize it and we practice recitation. Sometimes we also recite poems from previous weeks as well. We study each poem for 1-2 weeks.

Art Study and Expression

Next we observe a piece of art, which I also pull from A Year of Tales and Exploring Nature With Children. Sometimes we simply observe the artwork and discuss what we see and feel from it. Sometimes the kids enjoy giving the scene an imaginative story and sharing it with us. Other times we get out our watercolors, colored pencils, or crayons and attempt to replicate the art. You can find the art supplies we use for this here.

Read Alouds

Lastly, I read our weekly Beatrix Potter tale and 2 or 3 books aloud from our book basket. The books in our book basket are usually themed according to what we are studying that week. I choose them based on the book lists in A Year of Tales and Exploring Nature With Children. Other times they aren’t themed to anything specific, they are just lovely, rich stories from one of the other book lists I follow. You can read this post about how I choose good quality books!

Our entire Morning Time usually lasts about an hour. Then we break for more play, chores, and outside time before jumping into short individual lessons for each child. It has been such a life-giving way to bring us together at the beginning of each day. I hope this was a helpful post as you plan your days. 

Homeschool Planning 101

2019-08-02 12.41.11 1The planning side of homeschooling is admittedly half of the fun for me! After choosing all of the curriculums and resources that I am using for the school year, weekly planning is essentially making it all come together and writing down the game plan for each day in one place.

When and how often do I plan?

I usually have one big planning session a week where I spread all of my resources out and fill up the following week’s planning sheets. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. It depends on how much hunting around Pinterest and Instagram I do to find supplemental resources, crafts, and projects. I usually do this one evening a week alongside my husband with some dessert and a cup of tea. My husband spreads out on the other end of the table doing bills or working on his business. We call it our weekly “table date.”

After school each day I also look over the next day’s plans and revise anything based on what actually got accomplished that day. For example, if my son really struggled to understand the math concept for the day, I may erase the next day’s plan to move on to the next unit and spend another day reviewing the concept. This is why I always write in pencil in my planner! I love using mechanical pencils for this because they write so thin and erase so cleanly.

How Do I Plan?

There are three parts to my weekly planning:

1. Writing out the plan

I use all of my curriculum and guides to write out a plan for each day in my DIY planner (more details about that later in this post). I don’t write word for word what I will say or do in the planner. It is more of a reference of page numbers, titles of poems or books, and general ideas of activities. I also spend some time researching anything I may want to add in like additional handicraft projects or activities not listed in my guides and write those ideas in the planner. I find most of my additional ideas on Pinterest and Instagram.

2. Requesting and gathering library books

I use my master booklist to request the books I need from my county’s library website. It usually takes anywhere from 1-10 days for the library system to have the books that I request on the hold shelf ready to pick up. When I sit down to plan, I request the books that I need a few weeks before I need them. It can get really confusing, that is why having the master booklist is so helpful! Requesting them a couple weeks ahead of time gives the library time to get them on hold for me and once I pick them up, I have some time to look through them before I use them for school.

I also use this planning time to go through my current stack of library books and make a return pile of books we’ve finished.

3. Ordering supplies and preparing materials

After I have written down the plan, I make a daily list of additional materials I need to purchase in my planner. I also write down anything I need to do to prep, such as saving an egg carton, printing and laminating cards from a shop, or buying museum tickets. You can find the printer and laminator I use, as well as more of my favorite lesson preparation materials in a list here in my Amazon storefront. I spend a little time ordering anything I need to, printing, laminating, or gathering things from around the house that I may need the upcoming week.

My DIY Planner

There are so many lovely planners out there, but I just wasn’t fully satisfied with any, simply because I had a very specific format in my mind that was tailored to the subjects we are studying. I also laid the planner out in the order that we cover the subjects daily, so that I can just go down the list throughout my day. The other custom thing about the planner is that I made the boxes smaller for the subjects that I have a full self-explanatory curriculum for, and the boxes larger for the subjects that I need to write a lot of details for.

I originally got the idea from my friend, Sarah at @TheSilvanReverie. She shared her daily planning sheet in this blog post about Morning Time. You can find it in the section titled, “How I Plan Out Morning Time”.

I took her general idea and expanded on it to fit my needs. I created the planner in Google Sheets, printed it double-sided at home. I created a 2-page spread for each week and then got it bound at Staples for around $5.

Here is a little peek inside the planner, blank and filled out for my first week of school!2019-08-02 12.46.46 2.jpg2019-08-02 12.47.09 12019-08-02 12.48.35 1.jpgI have created a blank file of my planner for you to download and edit to fit the subjects and order you need. Download the Word Document here or open the Google Doc here. **You will need to save a copy to your own Drive. Click File – Make a Copy. Then edit away!**

I hope this helps you as you begin for a new school year. If you download and use this template, I would love to see and share pictures of your planners, customized to your homeschool. Post and tag me on Instagram!