I Love Indie Authors

The other day I discovered that one of my favorite indie authors follows me on Twitter. It’s pretty awesome. Most of what I tweet are links to my book reviews on my other blog, including reviews I’ve done of her books.

This discovery started me thinking about just why I love indie authors so much.

1.) I get to be the gatekeeper for what I want to read. Traditionally, with books published via publishing companies, it’s those publishing companies that decide what is good and what isn’t. Make no mistake: There is a whole lot of independently published junk out there. December and January always sees a bit of an uptick of terrible books completed during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month which happens every November). But there is also a whole lot of amazing independently published books. Many of these authors give away the first in a series on Kindle. After reading that first book I am the one who gets to decide if I want to keep reading the series, find other books by the author, or never download anything by them again. Let’s just say some indie authors have been paid well for that freebie I downloaded!

2.) The cost is usually a whole lot lower. Rick Riordan is a traditionally published author and I enjoy his books. But I refuse to buy his new ones as they come out because I don’t enjoy his books enough to justify the $14.99 Kindle price. That is nuts. Indie authors generally run $4.99 or less per book. Often much less. A couple days ago I got a box set of 5 of one indie author I like’s books for 99 cents. (These are Kindle prices… I pretty much exclusively read on my Kindle because I just prefer it.)

3.) Probably because indie authors are not as well known, interaction with them is a bit more personal. They often tweet a lot. I’m on a Facebook group run by one indie author I like. She’s always having conversations with fans on there. Last fall another indie author I like was making his way across the US and stayed at our house for a couple days.

Some Indie Authors I Really, Really Like: Andrea Pearson, Tony James Slater, Heather Sunseri, Karen McQuestion, Beth Labonte, Susan Kaye Quinn, and Julie Oleszek

Sometimes You Have to Be a Little Flexible

On Monday in religion the little guys were learning about the part of Joseph’s story where he’s in jail and the baker and butler have dreams and he interprets them and then two years later the pharaoh has his dream and the butler finally remembers that Joseph can interpret dreams. We had paper puppets and went through one chapter acting it out and then started on the second chapter and I could see I was losing the boys.

So I went on YouTube and Wikipedia because you can find anything on those two sites. Using Wikipedia, I figured out which songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat cover those two chapters and we watched about 15 or 20 minutes of the movie. The boys agree that the 70s dance party at the end of “Go, Go, Go Joseph” was a little weird, but I bet they’ll remember that part of Genesis better than they ever would if I had just read it to them while they played with the puppets.

ADORAble Dishwasher

The dishwasher that came with our house started leaking and wasn’t cleaning the dishes very well so we got a new one a couple months ago. I’m pretty sure GE called it an Adora because it’s totally adorable*. The only problem is I hate to run it at night because then I miss the cute little tune it plays at the end of the cycle.

*Possibly more importantly, it is not leaking, cleans the dishes very well, and is a whole lot quieter than our old one. The one we got has a tiny top drawer for silverware which is pretty cool. Also, instead of running our dishwasher 2-3 times a day, I only have to run it 1-2 times a day (usually 1) and the wash cycle is about an hour shorter than our old dishwasher (yeah… we were running that thing most of the time). Our water bill dropped about $25 a month because it uses so much less water, so that was an extra bonus.

Silver!

A couple months ago Fritz took the National Mythology Exam. Since he is in 5th grade he was required to take the basic 30 question exam plus the 10 questions on the theme (Hercules this year). It was his first time taking the exam.

Silver!

He earned a silver medal! He only got one single question wrong out of the whole thing. He has really fallen in love with mythology this year so it’s no wonder he did so well. Pretty awesome.

Silver!

April & May Science Experiments

We picked animals to research and filled out report sheets on them (this is Fritz’s report on the blobfish).
April & May Science Experiments

We filled out some cladograms.
April & May Science Experiments

We solved a puzzle using a dichotomous key.
April & May Science Experiments

We looked at the bacteria in yogurt under the microscope. We left out a bit of yogurt overnight and then looked at it. We discovered there were a lot more bacteria on the slide the second day.
April & May Science Experiments

We identified whether plants from our yard were monocots or dicots.
April & May Science Experiments

We looked at a monocot and a dicot under the microscope.
April & May Science Experiments

We identified the body parts of a cockroach. We were supposed to do the same with a spider, but after months of watching for spiders, we never caught one (and only saw a few very tiny ones)!
April & May Science Experiments

We cut a banana in half lengthwise and put the halves in ziploc baggies. We added 1 teaspoon of yeast to one bag and sealed them up squeezing as much air out as possible. The yeast digested the banana into a soupy mess while the plain banana stayed firm and puffed up the bag a bit. (Cameron’s and my hypotheses about what would happen were completely wrong, but Fritz’s was right.)
April & May Science Experiments

We examined a mushroom and identified the parts and then dissected it.
April & May Science Experiments

History in April

We started off April learning about Ancient China using Year 1, Unit 10 of Layers of Learning.

We colored two maps of China at two different points in time. Adrian found modern day China on the big world map on the wall.
History in April

We learned about shadow puppets and made some.
History in April

We copied our names in calligraphy.
History in April

We learned about pagodas. The boys acted out the story of why they started being built.
History in April

We talked about The Great Wall of China and built walls (Fritz picked cups and Adrian used Magna-Tiles).
History in April

We learned about Hundred Schools of Thought and the boys made garlands with images representing philosophies and things they chose.
History in April

Then we moved on to Early Japan using Year 1, Unit 11 of Layers of Learning.

We learned about the Shinto creation story and talked about how it compares to the creation story we know from Genesis. They drew pictures of it.
History in April

We learned about pit houses. Cameron reminded us how he dug a big pit on the hill by my parents’ house several years ago. He intended it to be his house. They built a pit house for Woody.
History in April

We talked about what our names would be if we suddenly had to give ourselves names based on where we live or what we do. I’d be Roundedroad. Cameron would be Kickler. Fritz would be Babieslaugh. Adrian would be Tabler.

We learned about Jimmu and the three treasures. We chose three things around the house to represent valor (mint), wisdom (chess set), and benevolence (money).
History in April

We talked about the Yamoto Court and cultural exchange. We drew pictures of three things we would give to a tribe without access to technology. We chose matches, electricity, and toilets.
History in April

We colored a map of ancient Japan.
History in April

The third week of April, we learned about the First North Americans using Year 1, Unit 15 of Layers of Learning.

We learned about the Native Americans that lived in the San Antonio area and also about the six flags Texas has been under. This was not part of the planned lesson, but the little boys needed to do it for their Texas Cub Scout patch and it fit well with this week’s topic.

We learned about land bridges. We used clay to make two continents and then connected them with a land bridge in a pie plate. We dyed water blue and poured it into the pie plate making sure to keep our ocean below the level of the land bridge. We talked about how people would cross the bridge to get from Asia to North America. Then we added ice cubes to our water. Within about an hour, the ice cubes had melted and the water level had risen above the land bridge demonstrating how the two continents were now cut off from each other.
History in April

We colored a map of some early North Americans.
History in April

We learned about the giant Olmec heads and came up with a story of why they are there. Fritz thinks they are monuments to their great generals. Adrian thinks they represent their gods. Cameron thinks they are just heads because carving a whole body would be too difficult.
History in April

We learned about the Mayan hierarchy (classes) and drew pictures to go with each group.
History in April

The final week of April, we learned about Ancient South Americans using Year 1, Unit 16 of Layers of Learning.

We learned about some of the ancient South American groups and placed them on the map.
History in April

We learned about the importance of jaguars (and eagles) to the ancient South Americans and made jaguar masks.
History in April

We learned about camelids and chose to learn extra about alpacas and teach each other what we learned to each other.

We learned about the Nazca Lines and drew our own.
History in April