When we connect with people, even through their biographies, they can inspire and challenge us. When we read about others with similar interests who go on to do great things, that makes us more willing to try hard things as well.
We reach the “early chapter book” stage, and all of a sudden, we go from nice, friendly, stories about families supporting each other and getting along to this focus on everything annoying, mean-spirited, selfish, and disrespectful. Here’s a list of good, quality, enjoyable literature in that upper elementary level (grades 2-4, primarily) that does NOT celebrate mean, catty girls or rude, potty-humored boys… but are still fun to read.
Homeschool, although still called school, should NOT seek to emulate a classroom designed for challenges that home environments simply do not share.
The problem is: boxed, do-the-next-page curricula don’t work for us. Based on our kids, their learning styles, and our family rhythms we have chosen an eclectic, unschool-y approach. So far, it’s working pretty well.