I started a classics book club for myself and my kids. For those who are like me and would like to start one up, but don’t have enough friends who are interested. LOL! I joined a few meetup.com groups in my area and posted each book club meeting and started a secret private Facebook group for those who I knew to join in as well. (Ultimately, it became just a Facebook thing. After about six months on meetup, we had about 40 members on the Facebook page, so it ended up starting to just be new people being added by word of mouth or if I met people at homeschooling park days.)
I have a few goals — read classics and hopefully foster some friendships with other homeschooling moms for myself and other homeschooling kids for my daughter.
Here is how I introduced it:
I’m starting a classics book club for ages 4ish-10ish (younger and older certainly welcome). The plan is to read one classic a month and have a party based on the book to celebrate our accomplishment. This is a club for the kids, so the kids should be reading the classic or have the classic read to them. It’s up to you whether it will be an abridged version or not.
Hopefully, we parents will also read the books and have the chance to read some great classics we read as a child or ones we never got to. And, in the process introduce a whole new world to our kids and inspire them to love reading.
Each event will be a little different. Kids can dress up. I’ll plan fun activities and a themed snack. Every other will be in my backyard, which means they’ll probably get messy since it’s all dirt. The other times we will go somewhere else that will enhance the book.
When I say book club, I mean it in its simplest form — reading a book together and doing activities. 🙂 This is very casual. No formal questions or discussions. Just, getting together to do activities that expand on the book. It’s not necessary to come every time and coming to one party does not mean you have to come every time. So, no need to commit to coming to every one. Come when you can. No pressure!
The Theme for Each Book Club
And in that theme, I try to make each party title related to travel. We also made passports for each child. They get them when they arrive and at each station, they stamp a letter of the “place.” Then they leave it behind. That way, those who don’t come every time aren’t responsible for remembering it.
Update: I loved this, but soon realized it was an idea that stems from a more structured format than I planned. It would work great in a classroom or as a co-op, but I found that it was a lot of work for me — I kept trying to do enough activities that covered all the stamps — and, half of the kids weren’t interested, including my own! In a classroom, this would be a simple way to keep track of all the kid’s completion and progress. But, in a book club like this, when it isn’t necessary for all kids to do all the activities, nor were they required to do the stamps, it was just busywork. So, I sadly let them go, but hopefully some of you will find a place for them for your classroom or libraries or whatever. 🙂
Feel free to download and print copies for yourself — I add six blank pages.
Passport interior first page
And, I have a donations box out if anyone wants to help with supplies. I thought about making it an activity to pay for, but it seemed a little strange, when I was doing it for my daughter and getting so much from it myself. And, also this way, those who can’t afford it can still come. I’ve gotten enough to cover at least half of the costs each time, which is way more than I expected! Love giving people!
I will try and do a post for each one, but it may take awhile. But, I’ll list the books we read as we go. I’ll also put the Pinterest board I created next to it. (PS: For those of you who are part of this book club — any future books listed are subject to change!! 🙂 ) And, just as a reference, we started the book club when my daughter was 4 1/2 years old, but the activities can work for lots of age groups — the oldest I’ve had doing stuff is an 8th grader, and they had fun too! 🙂
- “Oh, the Places We’ll Go”
Dr. Seuss (Pinterest Board)
- First Stop: China!
Little Pear and Little Pear and Friends (Pinterest Board)
- Destination: Wonderland!
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Pinterest Board)
- All Aboard!
The Boxcar Children (Pinterest Board)
- Up the Rhine to Switzerland!
The Overall Boys in Switzerland (don’t get the paperback on Amazon, it doesn’t have pictures!)
- Berry Picking
- Creek Exploring
Minn of the Mississippi
- At the Seashore
A Bear Called Paddington
- Farm Fun
Two and Two Are Four
- Homesteading Adventure
- Mystery at My House
Nate the Great
Nate the Great Goes Undercover
Nate the Great and the Lost List
Nate the Great and the Phony Clue
Nate the Great and the Sticky Case
Nate the Great and the Missing Key
Nate the Great and the Snowy Trail
Nate the Great and the Fishy Prize
Nate the Great Stalks Stupidweed
Nate the Great and the Boring Beach Bag
- Play and the Park
- Crazy Fun
Mrs Piggle Wiggle
- Visiting a Farm
- Southern Picnic
- Fun at the Beach
Swiss Family Robinson
- Dinosaurs at the Fair
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs before Dark #1
- Double Trouble
Lisa and Lottie
- A Play and the Park
Henry and Mudge
Took a break while I was pregnant and had a newborn.
I have so many different levels, decided to try out multiple books with different levels, but similar themes. We’ll see how it goes. (Update: Was a little difficult because there are just so many activity options. Might change it to just two focus books – but offer younger and older level options.)
- Exploring China
Picture Books (2 and up): Tiki Tiki Tembo, The Emperor and the Kite, Mei Li (hard to find and expensive!…I’ve hopefully got one coming from the library, so I’ll have that at the party)
Chapter Book (4 and up): Owls in the FamilyChapter Book (7 and up): There’s an Owl in the ShowerChapter Book (12 and up): HootAdult Book: Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl (Not a known classic…but sounds like could be one someday. Not surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of owl themed books for adults. It turned out to be a really interesting book!)
- Fun at the Beach
Picture Books (2 and up): A Day at the Seashore, The Seashore Book
Early reader books (3 and up): The Overall Boys (This is a very old book. You’ll find it here. There are a couple things you may want to skip, you’ll know what I mean when you get to it. Eek!)
4 and up: The Wheel on the School
6 and up: Baby Island
9 and up: Bright Island
Adult Book: The Old Man and the Sea
- Berry Picking
Picture Books (2 and up): Wild Berries, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear, Jamberry, Blueberries for Sal, Saving Strawberry FarmChapter book (7 and up): Strawberry Girl (This book includes the term colloquial term at the time of “crackers” to describe poor white people in Florida. The author has a series where she visited these regions before writing about them. So, she uses the terms and language they used at the time she wrote them.)Chapter Books (11 and up): (please check descriptions to make sure the content is appropriate for your child) Esperanza Rising, A Taste of Blackberries , The Secrets of Blueberries: Brothers, Moose & MeAdult Book: The Grapes of Wrath
- River Romp
Picture books (2 and up): Rain, Drop, Splash, Where the River Begins
Chapter Books (4 and up): The Wind in the Willows, Paddle-to-the Sea
Chapter Books (12 and up): The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- Turkey Time
Picture book: (2 and up):The Thanksgiving Door, Over the River and Through the Wood
Picture book (4 and up): Molly’s Pilgrim, Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving
Chapter Books (5 and up): The Great Turkey Walk, The Thanksgiving Visitor
Teen and Adult: An Old-Fashioned Girl
Years 5 – 6 (Covid Years: virtual and distanced book club meetings, which were essentially stations set up for kids to do. They would book a time and go through the stations as a family. My kids would hang out near our door and chat and talk with them.)
- Pippi Longtocking
Thing Finder Show and Tell (virtual activity)
Pippi Picnic (virtual activity)
Visit Villa Villekulla (distanced book club)
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins
I’m a Penguin (virtual activity)
Penguin Party (distanced book club – got rained out, so just gave bags and info for pickup)
- Fun at Gone-Away Lake (distanced book club)
Country Living (distanced book club)