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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Reading; Language Arts
Laughin' and Learnin' with Funny Books Tags: funny kids books popular kids books best kids books famous kids books wally mcdoogle shel silverstein jack prelutsky robert munsch grossology

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When my son was about eight, he "discovered' the Wally McDoogle Series of books, in which the "dorky" main character experiences all sorts of ridiculous mishaps, but somehow ends up learning good life lessons along the way. (The books highlight Biblical principles and issues of character, such as honesty, humility, trusting God, loving your enemies, etc.). 

But, aside from whatever "lessons" are illustrated in the books, I really got a kick out of seeing and hearing my son laughing out loud and getting enjoyment from reading, something I hope will be with him throughout his life. Of course, I realize that everything we read can't be a continuous crack-up, but adding a little levity to one's studies often helps the learning process, and changes things up a bit. 

A couple of years later, my then seven-year-old daughter also found these books hilarious. She especially liked to read the funny parts out loud, her voice rising and falling with various inflections. Overall, a fun learning experience for her -- and quite entertaining for me.

Here's a brief list of some other funny books that have been recommended by parents, along with some accompanying free resources: 

Dear Deer teaches about homonyms and homophones. Here's a free download of homophone cards to use for games. Includes 23 homophone riddles. 

Amelia Bedelia highlights idioms of the English language, such as "Hold your tongue," and "That's the way the cookie crumbles." Here's a free idioms activity that goes along with the original book in the series. And check out the World of Amelia Bedelia for free teaching guides, activities, downloads, and online games.

Humorous Poetry:

Books of poetry by Jack Prelutsky. Here's a free download with reading and writing activities, and puzzles to go with Pizza, Pigs and Poetryand My Dog May Be a Genius. Another favorite is It's Thanksgiving. 

Poems by Shel Silverstein. Visit the author website for free downloads with lessons and activities for many of his poems.

History: Some people like to include units on tall tales and folklore. This site on American Folklore includes ghost stories, myths and legends, native American lore, and other stories. You can also choose folklore by state.

Science: The Grossology series discusses various body processes (body odor, burping, bad breath) and the science behind them. You can visit the World of Grossology for some gross factoids, (eg. a person produces about a quart of mucus each day), and information on animal grossness (eg. slime makers and blood slurpers).

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners

Daft Bat talks about seeing things from a different viewpoint.

Robert Munsch books, in particular, Purple, Green and Yellowone of my kids' favorites.

What are some of your kids faves?

Laugh Learn Linkup

Interactive Literature Sites Tags: classic literature classic novels romeo and juliet edgar allen poe lord of the flies quotes lord of the flies summary


Sites with interactive features to help study authors and particular works of literature:


Romeo and Juliet: This interactive version displays the text of the play on the left panel with clickable links to related text, video, audio and images on the right panel. There’s a Resources section with details about the characters, Plot Synopses, Facts about the play, and other information.


Knowing Poe: Learn more about “Poe the Person” through interactive features that allow you to tour his house, learn about his education, or solve the mystery of his death. Learn more about “Poe the Writer” with activities exploring his techniques. And in the “Poe Library,” along with a list of his works, you’ll find primary source documents, such as letters and original manuscripts; and the many and varying references to his works both here, and around the world.


Interactive Poetry: Speaking of Poe, visit TeachersFirst’s The Raven to learn more about such literary devices as alliteration, assonance, internal rhyme, metaphor and simile, and personification.  Move the mouse over highlighted words to see what devices are being employed. There's also an interactive version of The Highwayman.

Lord of the Flies: Start off on the island around a campfire where you must match the quotes and objects to the correct character. Move on into the interior of the island to explore some of the novel’s symbols. Back to the beach to answer some questions about the novel. And finally, a short bio blurb about the author.

Name That Literary Element: Game in which you match the definition to the correct literary element.

Know of any similar sites? Leave them in the comments.

Poetry Activities Tags: poetry

Poems, because they are shorter literary works, can provide an easier way to study figurative language and other literary devices. Listed here are a variety of ideas and activities for analyzing poetry -- and for igniting the creative spark:

Analyzing Poetry

6th Grade Online Poetry Unit: Georgia Virtual Learning

7th Grade Online Poetry Units: Georgia Virtual Learning

Poetry Unit Collection of Readings

Poetry 180: Library of Congress site with a list of 180 poems chosen for high school students. 

Writing Poetry

Poetry Resource Guide: An elementary section has poetry activities linking writing with art, and lessons for writing haiku, memoir, place and feelings poems. Additional ideas for middle-and high school students.

Write An Epic Poem: Document describing the features of an epic poem, with instructions for writing one; uses Beowulf as a model.

Poetry Word Games: Document with 50 activities to aid in the creation of poetry. Examples:

  • Choose an adverb as the first word of each line in a rhyming poem
  • Write alliterative phrases starting with a number word, followed by an adjective and a noun (four fierce fish); expand each phrase into an alliterative sentence (Four fierce fish fought ferociously).
  • Write a contrast poem on such subjects as light and dark; youth and old age; boys and girls; etc.
  • Write a rhyming shopping list appropriate for a particular person. For example, tools a cook would use (a barbeque grill; a pepper mill).

Poetry Workbook: Examine poetry and create your own using this fill-in workbook.

Interactive Poetry

Visit TeachersFirst’s The Raven to learn more about such literary devices as alliteration, assonance, internal rhyme, metaphor and simile, and personification.  Mouse over highlighted words to see what devices are being employed. There's also an interactive version of The Highwayman.

Online Guide to Literary Devices


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