Life at Warp Speed

life, faith, food, parenting, homeschooling and just about anything else that is on my mind

BulBul Apps – free on iTunes an Google Play July 12, 2015

Filed under: Apps,Book Apps,Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 2:24 pm
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BulBul Apps – Free Kids Apps on the App Store on iTunes.

Bulbul Apps – Free Kids Apps – Android Apps on Google Play.

This is a great free kid’s library app of e-books. If you are looking for something to add to your device, this is a great free choice. Bulbul is available for the iPad, iPhone as well as on Google Play.
Children can read on their own or choose the read aloud option. The developer has a goal of adding one free storybook per week to this collection. This app is being developed collaboratively from artists, writers and animators from all over the world. This is a great option for bringing along a portable collection that includes folk tales and fairy tales that have stood the test of time.
I would much rather use an app like this to pass the time while waiting with my son for an appointment rather than streaming mindless video content. This is wonderful for parents to squeeze in extra reading time with their children when they have a few extra minutes.




Kids Book: Sing-Along Construction Song (free today!) May 17, 2015

Filed under: Book Apps — lifeatwarpspeed @ 11:05 am
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Kids Book: Sing-Along Construction Song (Children’s Books for Ages 3-5) – Kindle edition by Louise Lintvelt, Julie Sneeden. Children Kindle eBooks @

This fun books for vehicle loving kids is free today for download for your kindle reader or app.

Recommended for ages 3 to 5.




Massive List of Summer Reading Programs 2015 May 13, 2015

Filed under: Children's Books,Homeschooling — lifeatwarpspeed @ 10:46 pm
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Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. This year’s Power Up and Read! Challenge invites students to help Read for the World Record. A free online program designed to motivate and excite your children around reading books this summer. The Summer Challenge is an easy and fun way for kids to log the minutes they spend reading as they earn rewards. You can also organize your local school group to read together to see how much your school reads together. Book Adventure | Free Reading Program. Sylvan’s Learning Centers. Book Adventure is a fun, free way to motivate your child to read! Kids in grades K-8 can search for books, read them offline, come back to quiz on what they have read, and earn prizes for their reading success. Program is on-going. Summer Reading – Barnes & Noble. The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program: Imagination’s Destination is here to help you on your way, encouraging you to read books of your own choosing and earn a FREE book, simply by following these three easy steps: 1. Read any eight books this summer and record them in this Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Imagination’s Destination Journal. Be sure to let us know to whom you would recommend each book, and why. 2. Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store between May 19th  and September 7th, 2015. 3. Choose your FREE reading adventure from the book list featured on the back of the journal.  Store Events | Pottery Barn Kids.  (NEED TO UPDATE) Summer is the perfect time to instill a love of reading in your child. From now through July 31st, read all the award-winning books on one of our recommended lists and qualify for fun prizes. Just a note, you don’t actually have to read their specific book list, I spoke with the staff last summer, and you can substitute books on the list for books that your child enjoys reading. You can find the summer reading list here: (Pottery Barn has not publicized there list yet at the time of this posting.) Half Price Books – Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program

For kids 14 and under:

  1. Read for at least 15 minutes each day for a month. (Grown-ups may read aloud to kids who are still learning.)
  2. Add up your minutes and have your parent or guardian initial each week.
  3. Once you’ve read 300 minutes, turn in your completed reading log to earn your $5 HPB Bookworm Bucks reading reward for the month.

We’ll award one top reader per age group each month with a TOP READER prize – a $20 HPB Gift Card!*

How about earning free tokens on their next visit to Chuck E. Cheese’s? Print out a free rewards calendar to get started. Mark the days off with a pen or sticker as your child accomplishes their goals. Bring in the completed calendars to your local Chuck E. Cheese’s and receive 10 free tokens as a reward. You can do this as many times as you like before 12/31/15, but only one chart may be redeemed per child per day.

Soar With Reading – a joint project with JetBlue and Random House Children’s Books.

This is not a traditional summer reading program sponsored by Jet Blue. Your child gets an opportunity to help donate Magic Tree House books to needy children during each entry period. Your child will have to draw on their knowledge of geography and the clues given by Mary Pope Osborne to figure out where Jack and Annie are travelling for their next adventure. Each correct entry will be entered into a drawing for a free airline flight for two and hotel accommodations. (this year’s contest has not be launched yet.)

Make reading fun with our Summer Reading Program | TD Bank.

Hey kids in grades K-5, participating is easy:

 Read 10 books this summer.

  • Print out the summer reading form.
  • Write down the names of the books you’ve read
  • Take the form to the nearest TD Bank
  • Receive $10 in a new existing Young Saver account
  • Excellence in Reading – Mensa for Kids.Earn a commemorative certificate in recognition of your outstanding achievement and get an Excellence in Reading T-shirt, too! The Mensa Foundation recognizes and encourages education, gifted youth and lifelong learning through programs like the Mensa for Kids Web site and other activities. To encourage the joy of reading, the Foundation has developed the Mensa for Kids Excellence in Reading Award Program! Read and earn a free t-shirt and award certificate.

Veritas Press is a popular Christian classical homeschool curricula and on-line class providers. They are hosting a summer reading contest. Please note that you may NOT submit your entry until AFTER your student has completed their reading lists.

Summer Reading Contest

Someone once said that “reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” Summer can seem like a fun break for the first month and half, but soon students are craving more than the daily trips to the pool. That’s why every summer we have a summer reading contest. It doesn’t just keep their minds sharp for the following school year, it allows them to visit many different “someplaces” in one summer.

Please encourage your children to be a part of the contest this summer. It begins now and continues through September 15, 2015. We only ask that you as parents or teachers verify what the children have read, and then, after they have met their goals, complete the online entry form. Please encourage them to read good literature, not just look for a book that meets the page count criteria. Click here to download a reading chart if you would like to track your student’s progress.

Veritas Press Reading Contest Rules

1. Reading Quantity 1. Kindergarten & 2nd Grade: 40 Easy Readers (ex., Frog and Toad are Friends) 2. 3rd & 4th Grades: 25 books of at least 125 pages (ex., The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) 3. 5th & 6th Grades: 25 books of at least 150 pages (ex., Treasure Island) 4. 7th – 12th Grades: 25 books of at least 200 pages (ex., The Fellowship of the Ring) 2. After the child has completed the readings, entries must be submitted online by 5:00 PM EDT, September 15, 2015. 3. The first 250 submissions in each age division will be given a $10 gift certificate. 4. A drawing will be held from all submissions and will be announced in the October Epistula. There will be three winners from the drawing. 1. $150 First Prize 2. $100 Second Prize 3. $70 Third Prize Need some suggestions? Check out our summer reading lists.

California has a Scholarshare program that partners with California public libraries. Students that complete the summer reading challenge can enter for a chance to win $500 in a 529 college savings plan. You can enter your child here: Of local interest to San Diegans, your child can earn free admission to the San Diego Fair by reading 10 books. You can download a reading log here:

**Do check back for updates with additional reading programs. There are several that have not released their information for 2015 yet that I will add to this blog when it is released.**

Always, sign up for your local library reading programs. Happy reading this summer with your kids! L@WS P.S. If you are at a loss for picking good books for your kids to read, check out my blog about Good Literature here:


80 Phonics Readers – free again in case you missed it! July 23, 2014

Filed under: Book Apps,Early Elementary,Homeschooling Apps,Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 10:16 am
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There is a huge iBook giveaway from Francis Morgan & Josephine Lai of their 80 early phonics readers. This giveaway will not last long so start downloading as soon as you see this post since each iBook has to be purchased individually. You need to download the iBook reader app in order to read them on your Apple device.

Books 1-52 here:

Books 53-80 here:




80 Phonics readers – Free for a very limited time! June 29, 2014

Filed under: Apps,Book Apps,Early Elementary,Homeschooling,Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 8:51 am
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There is a huge iBook giveaway from Francis Morgan & Josephine Lai of their 80 early phonics readers. This giveaway will not last long so start downloading as soon as you see this post since each iBook has to be purchased individually.

Books 1-52 here:

Bookes 53-80 here:




Animal Circus: Toddler’s Seek & Find App gone free today! April 18, 2014

Filed under: Apps,Book Apps,Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 1:24 pm
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Animal Circus: Toddler’s Seek & Find. An interactive activity book (2+) on the App Store on iTunes.

Toddler’s Seek & Find – My Little Town (HD+). An interactive picture book. for iPad on the iTunes App Store.

My Animals: Toddler’s Seek & Find – An interactive activity book (HD) on the App Store on iTunes.

Tiny Firefighters on the App Store on iTunes.

My Zoo Animals: Toddler’s Seek & Find – An interactive activity book. on the App Store on iTunes.

My Little Town: Toddler’s Seek & Find (In The Morning). An interactive activity book (2+). on the App Store on iTunes. (free version)

Toddler’s Seek and Find has a number of  interactive picture book app for the iPad and iPhone that are top rated, award winning, and very popular. Currently, Wonderkind is offering the HD version of Animal Circus for free download for a limited time. This is normally $1.99. I also linked the free version of My Little Town app.

This app is full of colorful hand-drawn illustrations, and nearly everything on the page is interactive with interesting and funny animations and sounds. This makes it a perfect app for toddlers who are just interested in tapping the display and aren’t ready for more complicated play on a device. M still loves this app, and it always elicits a ton of giggling. Even though, I have clourophobia, this app is cute enough that I can handle playing with it with M.

Highly recommended for 18 months to 4. Grab the HD version of My Animal Circus while it is still free. Check on the developer’s page for other versions of the apps that will work with your device.



Nighty Night! bedtime story app gone free for a limited time! April 17, 2014

Filed under: Apps,Baby/Toddler,Book Apps,Kids,Preschool — lifeatwarpspeed @ 10:45 pm
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Nighty Night! HD – The bedtime story app for children on the App Store on iTunes. (iPad)

Nighty Night! HD – The bedtime story app for children on the App Store on iTunes. (iPhone)

This is a very cute, award winning bedtime story app for young children is currently free for download. This is normally $2.99. This app does support multiple languages as well.

Recommended for ages 1 to 4.



Good Literature is What Everyone Needs to “Feed” Their Child’s Soul

If you don’t know me IRL, you might not know that I am a homeschooling mom of 5yo boy. I am also a bibliophile. There are shelves and shelves of books in my house. I have multiple library cards from systems across the state. I often get cards where I vacation frequently so that I can avoid toting a stack of books with me in my luggage. Used bookstores are a dangerous place for me to step foot in. I seriously have a love for books.

Within the homeschooling community (and even outside), many families emphasize literature and lots of it. I am of the school of thought that there is a lot of what I call junky children’s literature that occupies the shelves of the library. Fun, entertaining books that don’t always have much redeeming value. We read some of them just like everyone else, but we try to pick the better stuff. Don’t get me started on what I think about Junie B. Jones. I get it though. I get that people just want kids to read anything. I don’t think it is that hard to find entertaining books to interest children, so I won’t be writing about that in this post.

So, what if you want to provide good literature to feed your child’s soul? Stories that have stood the test of time. Stories that inspire the imagination of girls and boys. Stories that instill timeless values. Stories teach about courage, loyalty, honor, sacrifice, generosity, love, kindness, character, honesty, trustworthiness, family and duty. I am probably forgetting something here, but you get my point. Those are the sorts of stories I remember spending hours reading when I read through the entire children’s section at my local library.

So, instead of making my own lists of great English literature which would take ages. I pulled from existing online literature lists:  Sonlight which is very well known in the homschooling community for their literature-rich curriculum, Ambleside Online which is a free Charlotte Mason (living books) curriculum, Great Books Academy reading list (focuses on classics of Western literature), and 1,000 Good Books which was compiled by a group of Christian classical homeschooling moms.

There is a fabulous list of Sonlight books that are grouped by 4 year history cycle and grouped by grammar, logic and rhetoric stages here: I did not include this list in the spreadsheet because I wanted to respect the restrictions on sharing the list.

If you are a fan of classic literature for kids, Veritas Press has a book recommendation tool that you can find here:

It used to be that we would call a well-read person educated. That is something that I think is largely lost in our culture. I think when we fill up our minds with mindless media and junky literature, we do so at the expense of the things that are really good for our heart, mind, and soul.

So, I am sharing a google doc with you to make it easy for homeschoolers to find good books to read with your children or for you to have around for your children to read. If you don’t homeschool, then you might find this list as a place to pick out a book or two to read at night with your children. Maybe make it a goal to do a book every month or two. I would ask that you share this blog entry rather than the direct link to the doc so that I have an idea of how many are clicking through. There’s a convenient link below for your use that you can bookmark.

Happy reading!


Edited and updated on 2/21/15:

I have added four more lists. One is a list of beloved library classics for kids sorted by grade level. The second is a list of books to read aloud to the preschoolers, toddlers and babies which also includes a selected list of picture books that correspond to a specific letter sound which works well as reinforcement for those teaching children to read. I felt that there are many parents with non-school aged children that were looking for better choices for their search for what to read next.

The third list is a compilation of the literature selections from Susan Wise Bauer’s Writing for Ease curriculum. I agree wholeheartedly with her argument that good writing springs from reading copious amounts of great prose. I have no idea how we expect students to produce good writing if all they read is the prose that is typically found in junky children’s literature.

The fourth list is going to be a work in progress as I have only completed the K and 1st grade courses. I really have enjoyed and valued the literature selections of the original language arts courses which I continue to have access to as a private user of K12. I don’t like the changes I have seen with the CC-aligned K12 and will be sticking to the older courses and those literature selections. This list contains many selections that do not appear on any other lists and should not be overlooked.

ETA 4/23/16:

I discovered this mom’s blog where she has created lists for various interests and genres. You are sure to something that suits the tastes of your reader here:

Click though here to the list on my google drive:


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