What books to read next? 40 Books Challenge

What books to read next? 40 Books Challenge

Wondering what books to read next? Join me in my New Year 40 next books reading challenge! Today I’m sharing about categories 6-10 in the booklist and the book (or books!) I’ve selected for each.

Welcome to the 40 next books reading challenge!! We’ve had a good start to 2019 and hope you have too. Can you believe it’s already May?

I have to tell you, having a list with categories has really motivated me to try new topics and search out different books than my normal comfort zone series and authors I normally read. What about you? Have you tried a new book in another genre or new author?

Yes, it’s also brought out my competitive streak even if it is just me staring at my Goodreads number of 40 I put in for my goal at the beginning of the year. My inner child does a dance when it reports I’m 1 or more books ahead of schedule.

If you haven’t checked out Goodreads yet, click here to go to the website. Truly, it’s a good resource and helps you keep track of what you’ve read or would like to read later.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

What books to read for the 40 next books reading challenge. Check out what I'm reading for categories 6-10. #readingchallenge #40nextbooks

40 Next Books Reading Challenge

First of all, if you haven’t joined in the 40 next books reading challenge, I invite you right now to pick out your first book. Admittedly, it’s not always easy to stick to a list and I’ve veered off of it several times. However, I always go back to the categories and am determined to go through the entire 40.

Also, if you’re a list person like I am you get that little squeal of joy when you can mentally check off numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on!

Now, I also want to emphasize this is not something that has to be done in a year! It’s the year of my 40th birthday, which is where the 40 comes in. Be that as it may, it does not mean you have to stuff 40 books in the year or limit it to 40!

Different ways to participate in the book challenge

Everyone reads at a different pace, has other motivations, and prior commitments taking all their time. I love to read with a book in hand, but sometimes I just can’t give myself an hour or so a night. When the kids go to bed, half the time there are lunches to be made, laundry to do, the kitchen to clean, etc.

For me, this is the perfect time to listen to an audiobook, when I’m doing little thought activities like folding laundry, cleaning, or editing pictures. Definitely, don’t rule out those audiobooks! There are so many places you can easily get them now and listen to an app right on your phone.

Put on your earphones and bam! You’re in Winterfell.

Where to get audiobooks

My 4 main go-to places for audiobooks.

  1. Hoopla Digital – I discovered Hoopla on a suggestion from a local librarian and have the app on my phone. You will need a library card.
  2. Overdrive and the Libby app – Another app on my phone I got as a suggestion from a local librarian. See if your local library participates in the program as you do have to enter your library card information. Bonus: It’s free!
  3. Local library for books on CD for the car.
  4. Audible – I love Audible but I don’t always love to pay for it! This is my last source for when I know there’s a book I really want to listen to and can’t seem to locate anywhere else.

So let’s get to it! What books are you reading for categories 6-10?

Books to read: 40 Next Books booklist

In case you need a reminder – here’s the list I’m following for the challenge! You can also join my email list and get a PDF download of it as a bonus. Check it out below!

40 Next Books Reading Challenge booklist #40nextbooks #2019booklist

Books to read: the next 5 books

After finishing the first 5 books for the 40 next books reading challenge, I set to selecting the next five! I like to do things organized and in groups. Absolutely it’s that listmaking tendency again. It makes me feel like I have power over something. 😉

Now, pick out your own books in the categories or read along with me! Use the hashtag #40nextbooks or join the book discussion in the blog comments. I’d love to see what you’re reading and add to my own booklist!

6. Historical Fiction

In truth, historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and I read a lot of it! I’ve actually read several good historical fiction books lately and will give you a sample here.

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter

by Hazel Gaynor

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is set in two locations in two different times with stories that intertwine. First, there is Grace Darling, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter in 1838 who bravely fought to save those in a shipwreck near her lighthouse. In Northumberland, England the story centers on her and her family, relationships and what happened because of this incident.

The second setting is 1938 in Newport, Rhode Island when unmarried 18-year old Matilda Emmerson is sent away from Ireland and her notable family for a time to have her baby far away. The family must avoid scandal at all costs as Matilda’s father is in politics. She stays with Harriet, a relative who is also an assistant lighthouse keeper.

I love the fact this story is based on the stories and true bravery of the women lighthouse keepers of this time period. I’ve read several books by Hazel Gaynor, and she’s a strong writer. Full disclosure, I have a fondness for lighthouses so it was a perfect fit.

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

Bonus historical fiction books:

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale Sokolov and his experience trying to stay alive in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Surprisingly because of his knowledge of languages, he was given the “honored” task of tattooing prisoners numbers on when they entered the camp. He deals with his struggle of the guilt of feeling like a traitor and trying to survive and make a better life for himself and fellow prisoners.

For me, this was a new perspective on the concentration camp life and treatment by the Germans. It was a difficult read to get through at times because the realities of the time period are so heart-wrenching. It didn’t help that I was going through some other emotional issues when I read it! Therefore, this may be a book to read in the right season of your life.

Explorer Momma’s rating: **** 4 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief is one that’s been on my to-read list for a LONG time. Somehow I’d just never gotten around to reading it, and most likely many of you out there beat me to it. I have not seen the movie yet so am interested to see how it’s put on the screen.

Liesel’s first act of book thievery is at her brother’s gravesite. She picks up the Gravedigger’s Handbook, unable to read a word, but so begins her love of books. Liesel learns to read and steals books from Nazi bonfires, the mayor’s library, and more. She lives with a foster family and eventually they hide a Jew in the basement.

I can see why this powerful, well-written book was so popular and on PBS’s list for the Great American Read. If you haven’t read it I highly suggest you do.

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

7. Alaskan Author

To the Bright Edge of the World

by Eowyn Ivey

To be perfectly honest, it took me a while to select a book by an Alaskan author, but I’m so glad I did. To the Bright Edge of the World took me to the cold, harsh days of 19th-century Alaskan exploration. It’s not something I would have instinctively chosen and that’s where having the book challenge and categories helps to stretch me just a bit.

Colonel Allen Forrester is granted a commission to lead a team to explore Alaska’s Wolverine River. At the time it was unpassable and past attempts ended in tragedy. Yet, it is the key that opened our largest state to the Gold Rush and American presence.

The story goes back and forth between Colonel Forrester and his young wife Sophie. She’s entered a risky pregnancy and is waiting behind in the military barracks. The thoughts, fears, hopes, and lives of the characters are poignant and bring them to life off the page.

I truly enjoyed this book and the Alaskan wilderness it painted along with the struggles of the people involved. I hope you check it out too!

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

Read more about the 40 next books challenge

40 next books to read list. A fun reading challenge for all. #booklist #40nextbooks

8. Anne of Green Gables

This category is one you should not skip. Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books/series of all time. Moreover, the books made a huge imprint on me as a child and helped shape my outlook on life. I love Anne, her drama, bright hopes, and determination. All the books are fun and have good lessons for kids and adults alike.

I’ve read Anne of Green Gables often and recently read much of it with my daughter. Therefore, I decided to choose the second book in the series, Anne of Avonlea, for the book challenge. But really, you should read the entire series!

Anne of Avonlea

by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Oh, how I adore all of these books! However, I have always loved Anne of Avonlea for its new characters and locales on Prince Edward Island.

We see her trials, antics, and scrapes as she teaches at the Avonlea schoolhouse. She finds new kindred spirits. First, in her student Paul who tells her the stories of fairies. Also, she meets the delightful Lavender Lewis in the little stone house called Echo Lodge. Don’t you just ache to live in a little stone cottage on Prince Edward Island tucked in the woods called Echo Lodge!?

Lucy Maud Montgomery always keeps me amused and engaged in the stories, laughing or crying where it fits. In Anne of Avonlea, we have orphaned twins, Marilla, Gilbert, Diana, Anne is almost grown up, and a surprise love story. Love.

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

9. Space

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet has been hailed as a modern Science Fiction masterpiece.

The book centers around Rosemary Harper and the life she wants to leave behind to go on new exciting adventures to faraway galaxies. She joins the crew of the crazy and chaotic ship called the Wayfarer. However, she’s unaware their new assignment will possibly risk her life.

With a wide assortment of characters, all with their own quirks, we navigate the plot. Rosemary has adventures but also learns more about family. Truly, she has to figure out how to rely on and work with others and not keep everything to herself.

Explorer Momma’s rating: **** 4 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

10. The Olympics

When I started to think about the Olympics category my mind immediately went to The Boys in the Boat. My father had recommended it several times to me as one I would enjoy and even went so far as to loan it to me for a while. Unfortunately, it sat in a pile and never was read!

The Boys in the Boat

by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat is one of those books to which you become emotionally attached. In my case, you start talking to the main character Joe Rantz. “Come on Joe! No, don’t do that! You can do it! Yes, yes, yes!!”

One of eight rowers on the University of Washington’s 1936 crew, Joe and his crewmates show what hard work, determination, and spirit can do. All from lower working class families during the Great Depression, the boys seek what many deem as impossible. They go for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics under Hitler’s gaze.

Spoiler alert!: Let’s just say it goes well for them and may have you jumping up and down cheering with tears in your eyes. Not that I’d do that or anything… 😉

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

What are your next books to read?

Have any of these books caught your eye? Or maybe you have others you’re reading that would fit in the categories. I’d love to hear about them. I’m always up for a good book suggestion!

If you can, follow along with the challenge! I’ll be posting on Instagram and other social media with #40nextbooks, and I hope you do the same.

Who doesn’t love to talk about books and share stories? It’s a part of human nature and helps us grow! I can’t wait to hear about your books and reading journey.

Post your reads for the challenge at #40NEXTBOOKS!

Happy reading!

Pin it here!:

Do you have a books to read list? Check out the #40nextbooks challenge and what I'm reading in the current categories. Let's read! #bookstoread #booklist #bookchallenge

More book suggestions:

Women’s what to read next: a cold weather booklist

What to read next for history fans

Summer what to read next

Spring book list: what I’m reading

What To Read Next For History Fans

What To Read Next For History Fans

When I created the title for this post I struggled with a term to pull these books altogether. Historical fiction? No. A Year in Provence is based on experience and considered non-fiction, even though it reads like fiction. Also, a couple of them are more of a blend of historical fiction and science fiction. If I boil it all down it’s simply what I’ve read lately and enjoyed so I decided to go with the general what to read next for history fans.

This page contains affiliate links.

When I pick out a book I tend to gravitate to anything that looks period, a good mystery, another culture, or another world. If the story is a mix of those things, even better. It’s not often I’m interested in a book about where I am now or my daily problems and experiences. With a book I like to be transported somewhere else, which I suppose in many ways all books do, but there you go.

So what to read next?

The War That Saved My Life

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Set on the British home front in World War II, this book was not what I expected from the description. Ada has been a prisoner in her mother’s third-floor apartment building for her entire life because her mother is embarrassed and does not want to deal with her. She has a club foot and can’t walk so she crawls around to do the chores. She flinches in fear she’ll be hit or locked in the dark cupboard every time her mother comes near. Often when alone, she stares out the window longing to be free to run around outside like her brother.

Ada and her brother sneak out to travel with the other children to the country as the threat of bombs become more real in town. Of course, they want to escape more than just the bombs.

This is a beautiful story with an amazingly honest heroine in Ada. She’s isolated and uneducated and makes mistakes. However she learns so much about herself, others, kindness, and love.

This is a Newberry Award-winning book for middle grade, but I think it’s one good for anyone to read. Whether you’re interested in history, human character, or whatever, there’s something in it for you. This is one I’ll gladly pass on to my daughter. What to read next?

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

Lilac Girls: A Novel

by Martha Hall Kelly

I came across this book after reading We Were the Lucky Ones, and once again the book is based on a real-life heroine.

Lilac Girls is told from three different female perspectives during World War II. Caroline is a New York socialite, Kasia is a Polish teenager sent to a concentration camp, and Herta is a German doctor trying to prove herself in a world of Nazi men. It’s amazing how the author follows these three viewpoints throughout the war experience and even after. 

The first half of the book I didn’t think there was any way these women’s lives could possibly intersect as we learn their loves, passions, and experiences. Magically, the threads of the story do come together, and I’ll not spoil it. However, it was powerfully written and especially effective to see the three drastically different points of view.

This is not a light summer read, but definitely worth your time. What to read next?

Explorer Momma’s rating: ****1/2  4 and 1/2 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

The Unkillable Kitty O’Kane

by Colin Falconer

Kitty O’Kane is a fierce Irish girl who’s made her way out of the tenements of Dublin. She’s determined no one should suffer like she did, and no man should have such power over others as her abusive father did. Youthful Kitty is determined to change the world.

This book is all over the place as we follow Kitty on the Titanic, the sinking of the Lusitania, and in the suffragette movement in New York. She becomes a journalist and travels to Russia, actually ending up in the Winter Palace as it’s stormed. Then, after several years of travel, she goes back to Ireland where she helps in the Irish Civil War.

There’s a lot more to it, including several love interests, and may seem like a lot to throw into one story for one person to experience.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed it, and I’d recommend it. What to read next?

Explorer Momma’s rating: **** 4 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

A Year In Provence

by Peter Mayle

When I sadly heard the news Peter Mayle died in hospital in January, I immediately became nostalgic for his brilliant book, A Year In Provence. I pulled it out after not having read it in over 10 years, then decided to try the audio version, and was not disappointed.

This book is popular for a reason. Peter Mayle has the uncanny knack of transporting you to another locale, pokes fun at his own culture, and embraces a new. He relates his experiences as he and his wife relocate from England to Provence. It made me want to jump on an airplane to Provence and immediately find a local restaurant. I then would dine on a simple 5-course lunch with a wine from rolling hills of beautiful lines of grapevines visible from the window. I’m currently planning a trip to Provence. At least in my head.

If you’re traveling to France or even thinking about it, I highly recommend reading this book. I loved it in high school, and I appreciate it in different ways today. What to read next?

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

Would you like some of my other book recommendations?

Spring book list book with a flower

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

by Theodora Goss

I picked up this book as a new mystery and flipped through to discover characters such as Sherlock Holmes, Mary Jekyll, Edward Hyde, Frankenstein, and more. Admittedly, I was hesitant, but a quick read of the first few pages pulled me in. How in the world Ms. Goss pulled all these characters together is still a mystery to me! 😉

Mary Jekyll is left penniless except for a huge, empty house when her parents pass away. She hears her father’s old associate Edward Hyde is in the neighborhood and meets up with his daughter Diana. They manage to consult Sherlock Holmes on some personal matters and end up helping to solve a series of murders all over London introducing literary characters right and left as the story moves along.

This was an interesting book, and I enjoyed the literary references. The development of so many characters did slow the story, which would be my only complaint. At any rate, it was diverting and really anything with a fairly accurate Sherlock has me hooked. What to read next?

Explorer Momma’s rating: **** 4 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

To Say Nothing of the Dog

by Connie Willis

This is my throwback book of the day and truly a trusted favorite close by on my bookshelf. I read it when it first came out in 1998, and every time I’ve read it since I can count on an intelligent, witty, time-traveling, jaunt to Victorian England and beyond. I’d call it a historical sci-fi, and it’s a lot of fun.

Ned Henry is sent back in time looking for the Bishop’s birdstump, an atrocity of a statue/vase? from Coventry Cathedral as a part of the cathedral’s restoration project. He can’t get back to the correct time and ends up picking through the rubble after the WWII Nazi bombing.

Another time traveler, Ned’s associate Verity Kindle, is working on another part of the restoration and somehow brings something from the past to the future. Boom! We have a classic ahh! we’ve changed something in the past and have to restore it storyline, but with oh so much more. There are so many things going on in this book you’ll wonder how they’ll all come together make any sort of sense, but it’s perfect. At least for me. And I love jumble sales. What to read next?

Explorer Momma’s rating: ***** 5 stars

Buy it here on Amazon.

What are you reading lately?

What are your favorite books so far this year? Do you have suggestions what to read next? They can be old or new, classics, young adult, whatever. I love to read, and I hope you do too and encourage it with your kids, friends, relatives, or random strangers.

Until next time!



Spring Book List: What I’m Reading

Spring Book List: What I’m Reading

This page contains affiliate links. Spring Book List: What I’m Reading

The family leaves the country in a few days, and I’m in complete list-making, near panic mode. This, and the kids being home all the time made me a little behind this week. So, this post is a fun one, just a book list of what I’ve read and enjoyed lately. I love to read, and I always have. I’ve lined our basement with bookshelves of all sorts of things I cannot bear to give away. Are you the same? What sorts of books do you like to read? I enjoy a variety of genres, but most of what I read leads back to history or culture even if that culture is imagined or unknown.

Unfortunately, lately I haven’t had as much time as I would have liked to devote to this pastime, but I managed some good ones in March and April I’d like to share! So without further ado…

Here’s my spring book list, or what I’m reading

A Gentleman in Moscow

by Amor Towles

Count Alexander Rostov is found guilty of being an aristocrat in Moscow, post-Russian Revolution. The only reason he’s not sentenced to death is a poem he published seeming to support the cause of the common man. Therefore, he is not shot but given life in the Metropol Hotel across from the Kremlin. The government puts him on house arrest and not allowed to leave the hotel.

This is a remarkable story about a man and his interactions with the people who come and go in the Metropol Hotel. The book brilliantly transitions through years of his life and the people who come and go in a fascinating story. The author pulls you in and creates a likable character with interesting relationships in a difficult time. Mr. Towles shows great talent weaving the story in the limited setting. Truly, this is a book I could not put down and enjoyed immensely.

On a scale from 1 – 5 stars I give it a 5-star rating.

***** Go pick it up today or order from Amazon here!

We Were the Lucky Ones

by Georgia Hunter

This is the story of a Polish Jewish family during World War II. From the different points of view of the family members and they’re spread all over Europe and the world, you get an amazing perspective of what it was like for them during that time period. One brother is in France and at the beginning of the war and can’t get home to Poland. Another brother and his wife are sent to work in Siberia. The parents and sisters stay in Poland and go through the unbelievable with an amazing sense of optimism and determination for their family to be together again.

This is a powerful book and better than any history book on the experience of Jewish people during World War II. What makes it all the more amazing and makes a huge impact is the fact it’s based on a true story. The author of the book has researched, spoken to family members, been to these locations, and created an amazing piece of work in taking down her family story. The writing takes you back to that time and almost makes it feel like you are there with them.

This is one of the best books I’ve read in years and one that stays with you. It may not be a beach read, but I highly recommend reading it for your own education.

On a scale from 1 – 5 stars I give it a 5-star rating.

***** I would give it more if I could. See it here.

How to Make YOU Time in Your Mom Calendar

Do you love reading but have trouble finding the time? Those Mom demands can be pretty intense!

The Wise Man’s Fear

by Patrick Rothfuss

This is the second book in what is supposed to be a three-part trilogy entitled The Kingkiller Chronicles. In the first book, The Name of the Wind, the author introduces us to Kvothe. He is a hero, a villain, we are unsure what stories we can trust. The first book gives us his upbringing, the story of his family, him living as a wild child on the streets, and his entrance into the University. We hear about this as he tells his story to Chronicler, the king’s scribe.

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe continues to tell his tale to Chronicler. This time we get part of his University story, violent feud with another student named Ambrose, and his time away from University life. He trains, becomes a warrior, a man, and makes some dangerous connections.

If you’re a Sci-Fi Fantasy fan this may be the series for you. In fact, you’ve probably already read it. I love Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time and most anything written by Brandon Sanderson. Because of those interests, my brother and several other friends (all male) recommended this series to me as an amazing must-read. The writing is good, great descriptions and world building. It took me awhile, but once I go into The Wise Man’s Fear I really felt for Kvothe and felt invested in his life, friends, and world. I dove into the second book but had a lot of distractions along the way with kids and busy schedules, etc. I had a hard time staying interested as I had in the first, but that could be due to many things.

Most Sci-Fi Fantasy fans I know who’ve read it give it 5 stars hands down.

On a scale from 1 – 5 stars I give it a 4-star rating.

**** See it here. Or The Name of the Wind here.

Sanditon: Jane Austen’s Last Novel Completed

by Jane Austen and Another Lady

Sanditon is the last unfinished novel by Jane Austen, 12 chapters written the year of her death, 1817. It gives us a delightful and sensible heroine, Charlotte Heywood, and takes our setting to the seaside of what the locals hope to be an up and coming resort town. All of our normal story points are in place for a Jane Austen novel, displaying people’s character traits and flaws to the extreme. Charlotte meets and interacts with the circle in the town of Sanditon: the beautiful Miss Brereton, the pedantic and inaccurate ridiculous Sir Edward, Mr. Parker, the hypochondriac Parker sisters, the witty and wealthy eligible Sidney Parker, and a whole cast more.

I will not give away the ending; however, I thoroughly enjoyed the story development, elaboration, and ending completed by “Another Lady”. The transition between writers is quite seamless and is a great read for those craving more Jane Austen. Moreover, this paperback edition, again I will say finished quite agreeably by “Another Lady”, is one of my favorites to read just as summer approaches. It is light-hearted, funny, and a fun study of character.

Sanditon makes me laugh, cry, and cheer for our heroine. I read it almost once a year. Therefore:

On a scale from 1 – 5 stars it gets a 5-star rating.

***** Buy it on Amazon here!

That’s what I’m reading, now what are you reading?

So, there you go! These are the books I’ve read lately, actually some of the best I’ve read in a long time. Pick one out that appeals to you and escape with it for a little while. My schedule is so crazy I have to practically mark time on my calendar to get reading in, or often it just cuts into sleeping time. But it’s necessary! Learn new things and embrace new stories and characters. It’s worth a book-hangover now and then.

What books are you reading? I’m getting a list ready for summer, and I’d love to look at your ideas. In the comments please let me know your summer reading favorites or suggestions! Have fun!

10 Tips to Get Kids Excited About Learning

10 Tips to Get Kids Excited About Learning

This post contains affiliate links.

TIP #1: Provide healthy food choices at home, and involve your kids in food preparation.

Get kids excited about learning nutrition. This is a win-win for kids and parents alike! How can you get kids to get excited to learn nutrition and make smart eating choices?

First of all, consistently make healthy foods at home for meals and provide healthy snack options around the house.

Secondly, get your kids involved as much as possible in the meal preparation so they know what is actually going into the food that they eat, and it becomes familiar. If they’ve never eaten or seen a mango why would they choose to eat it anywhere else?

Last but not least, and this is the tough one, you will need to purge your kitchen cupboards of all those unhealthy snack choices. I know if I have the choice between a chocolate chip cookie and an apple, I would probably grab the cookie and run. Rather, make the easy grab and go snack option a healthy fruit, veggie, or a whole grain avoiding processed foods and sugars.

Provide healthy choices at home, and your kids will learn to pay attention to what’s in their food and choose good foods on their own.

10 tips to get kids excited about learning

TIP #2: Be the biggest cheer-leader in your child’s school learning, and get involved!

Get kids excited about learning at school. YOU must get excited and involved in your kids’ learning. Talk to your child about what they’re learning in school. Then speak to them about how you used something they’re learning in a real-life situation and how it helped you. Use positive comments only like, “Those fractions will come in handy when we bake your apple cake tonight!”

NEVER say, “Oh, I always hated math! I could never get it.”

If you say you don’t like it, or a sibling, or other older influential person in your child’s life says something similar, it can do huge damage to how your child feels about the subject or idea. It’s difficult, but of huge importance to ALWAYS be as positive and encouraging as possible. Then if you want to take it to the next level, plan parties and games to complement school. Include your family and friends in these activities. Above all, be involved. Consequently, this will also highlight you as a fun, relatable parent, one your child is more likely to open up to about other things in their lives.

 Boy with a telescope by Teddy Kelly

TIP #3: Travel the world! Be open to new ideas and experiences.

Get kids excited about learning all sorts of anthropology! This is by far my favorite tip and gets huge buy-in from kids! Travel around your state, country, the world if you can. There is no teacher like experience, and no greater opportunity to see different cultures and languages and really learn history and geography than travel. Is your son interested in the American Revolution? Go to Washington D.C. and Williamsburg and learn about the events that happened in that area. Does your daughter complain about memorizing French words and not see the use of it? Go to Paris, Montreal, or Monte Carlo and let her see the signs, menus, and maps in the language. Have her order for the family in a cafe in French, and go see the local sights. If you can, visit with a local family so she can hear them interacting in the language.

Gargoyle looking over Paris

TIP #4: Create a physical location in your home to view your travels and learn geography.

Get kids excited about learning geography. Complete a wall maps project. First, buy a United States and a World map. Secondly, and involving your kids, attach the maps to cork board, make nice frames, and hang the maps up in a playroom, bedroom, study or wherever you like. Next, place a pin on your own city, and discuss the layout and meaning of maps. Define and show the continents, countries, states, cities, etc.

Then, start pinning your travels. If you go to see Grandma in Austin, Texas, put a pin there. Then let’s say you make a trip to Chicago tagging along with Dad on his business trip, put a pin there. If you go to London, Cape Town, Hong Kong, or Melbourne, pin it on the map and talk about the area. Kids LOVE this, and LOVE to see their pins all over the maps.

TIP #5: Read, read, read! Every day. Books can take you to far away places and teach nearly any subject.

Get kids excited about learning to READ. This should really come higher in the list but may seem like a no-brainer. Reading is one of the most important ways to get kids excited about learning. Of course read, but I mean read consistently. Often. Daily, In different situations. Have your kids read out loud to you, read stories at bedtime, have quiet reading time for everyone (parents included) on the weekends or during the summer when you’re home. Fascinate kids by books so they can’t put one down, and you can celebrate a win. I am currently reading a giant of a book by Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear, second in a trilogy. Let your kids see you reading books interesting to you, and make your local library a friend.

Little girl reading

TIP #6: Do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti! Music makes the world go round.

Get kids excited about learning music. Study after study has shown how much music affects our learning. Chris Brewer, in his book, Music and Learning speaks of how music creates “attention, attitude, and atmosphere” for learning. It wakes us up and attracts our attention, can put us in the positive mindset for learning, and creates a certain ambiance inductive to learning. Depending on your goal you can find music to get your kids into any activity. Play some world dance rhythms to energize, classical Mozart to focus and concentrate, or watch Wakko from Animaniacs sing the states and capitals for memorization. The sky’s the limit!

Music quote-Beethoven

TIP #7: Have your child create a budget plan, using their allowance, to practice math and early financial planning skills.

Get kids excited about learning math. With your child create a basic budget plan. I love Dave Ramsey’s children’s program with give, spend, and save envelopes (see the link here for more detail on this).

First of all, plan what chores around the house your child will be able to complete. Next, decide how much each job is worth. I like to keep some chores as expected and simply your job as a part of the family like making your own bed, but it depends on the child and age. If your child earns $10 a certain week they can, for example, give $2 to church or charity, save $4 for that big toy they’re really wanting, and have $4 to spend on their class book order today. Those numbers will vary, but discuss allowance and how to save for desired items. Lastly, when they have saved up for a bigger item you can have your child count and take their own money to the store and pay themselves. Real-life experiences important to the individual are incredibly motivational for learning!

TIP #8: Go to a Mexican restaurant (or French, German, the language your child is studying) and order completely in Spanish!

Get kids excited about learning world languages. You may have a real life need for tacos or enchiladas! This happens often to me, and what an opportunity to speak Spanish and make someone’s day. This goes along with traveling but even in your own town you can make this a reality. Let’s say your child is learning Spanish. Therefore, when they get to that inevitable food unit go to a local Mexican restaurant and let them know they can eat only if they order completely in Spanish, using polite phrases and all the rest. Bonus! I can almost guarantee it will put a smile on your server’s face.

For more advanced students use the language for your conversation at the table also. Practice at home before you go and decide if they will order for you too. It’s amazing how our stomachs can make us jump out of our shells to try something new!


TIP #9: Visit museums and conduct home experiments guided by the interest of your child.

Get kids excited about learning science. When it comes to science I like to base our activities on the current interests of my children. My son declares the extinct Tasmanian Tiger is the coolest animal ever and wonders if there are some still out there hiding. Well then, if we can’t immediately mount an expedition to Madagascar, we visit our local Nature and Science museum and find similar animals. If my daughter wants to see a volcano erupt, we create that effect using vinegar, baking soda, and food coloring in our own volcano or with a kit. Let them guide you!

TIP #10: Get out and about in nature. Explore our world!

Get kids excited about learning to be outdoors. This is another tip I just love. I am a Colorado girl after all and can think of no better way to get a child excited about learning about the outdoors and their world than getting out in it. You can do this in any season and compare the differences. Go on a nature hike, in the nearest National Park or your local neighborhood park. The exercise will do them good, and then plan a snowshoe trip, ski adventure, camping expedition, or form a bird-watching club. As a result you will mould your kids into outdoor loving, camera and journal toting naturalists, or the closest you can get.

Camping by Zach Betten

Use these tips to motivate, inspire, and get kids excited about learning. Try one out today!

Brewer, Chris. Music and Learning: Seven Ways to Use Music in the Classroom. Tequesta, Florida: LifeSounds, 1995.

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