A Guide To Gifting the Homeschool

Gifts. 

Homeschool. 

Schoolroom. 

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Ever thought of these concepts being mixed together?  I know that I look forward to the opportunity of gifting the Homeschool friend!  Whether the opportunity will arise from someone I’m close to beginning this new journey or perhaps a friend breaking way on a new school room for the family…I look forward to the opportunity to give!

May this guide serve to inspire you with ideas to give to the Homeschool family, friend, or family member!  I’m here to equip you with a wealth of inspiration and ideas!  Some of these are items I’ve found absolutely necessary in the schoolroom.  Others are things that I’d be very sad, and inconvenienced, to live without.  Even more, some of these items have been gifts given to us from Grandma, other family, or to our own family during Christmas!

I hope you will find a wide range of items, variety, and price here.

So without further ado…here is your Homeschool Gift Guide!

 (affiliate links included)

Gifts For The School Room

Gifts For The Homeschool Student

  • Personalized pencil boxes
  • Educational Place Mats (money, telling time, presidents)
  • Science Kits (easily found at craft and toy stores)
  • Fun themed school supplies
  • Learning Buddies for encouragement (stuffed animals or figurines to stay at the desk)
  • Reward Charts
  • United States Puzzle
  • Books, books, and more books!!!!

Gifts For the Homeschool Teacher…..Usually Mom 🙂

  • My favorite….cute desk supplies!!!
  • Classical or relaxing music CD’s/Downloads
  • Gift cards to Field Trip friendly areas (Zoo, museums, ect)
  • Goody and reward box supplies
  • Pretty Planner
  • Devotionals
  • Invitaton to Lunch with YOU….student free!

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So….have I gotten the inspiration flowing?  The ideas are endless.  At the end of the day, what will matter is the thought, the time, and the showing of love and support.  I for one know that’s what means the most to me.  While these items serve as a hands on, actual gift buying and giving guide, know that sometimes homemade and fun, thoughtful gifts are ever more special and will be remembered forever!

Good Luck and Happy Giving!

 

Jennifer Whitten FamilyJennifer is a first year homeschooling Mom of 3 elementary aged kids and step mom to one middle school girl.  She was born and raised in Wyoming but now enjoys country living in Louisiana with her husband and kids.  She is a lover of Jesus, family, gardening, canning, all things creative, and hog hunting with her husband.  Tea enthusiast and crochet addict, she can be found blogging about all things family, devotional, health, and homeschool atStop, Pray, Listen.  A volunteer peer counselor at a Pro-Life Crises Pregnancy Center, her other passion is sharing the gospel with women in need.  Far from perfect, but in love with this grace filled life with kids, Jennifer makes it her mission to Stop, Pray, Listen, and Obey.

Growing A Homeschool Child

It’s that time of year!  Garden Season!

There are very few, if ever, any days in the garden that I’m not reminded of our Creator.

I see His beauty.

I see His grace.

Planting & Growing Your Homeschool

I see the awesomeness of Creation.  And without fail….I see how my garden is so much like our lives.  No wonder the Psalmists and Jesus Himself used nature to teach.  It’s always such a perfect picture and reminder of our own lives and journeys.  So, today, I’m offering advice on how to grow that Homeschooled Child.  Now remember, I’m no professional gardener, parent, or Homeschool Mom.  But our God….He is the perfect teacher and I think you just might find some inspiration, encouragement, and food for thought here in my Homeschool Garden instructions!  Happy Planting!

STEP 1

Prepare Your Soil.  This is SO important.  The type of soil you plant your seed in often decides much of the outcome of the plant…um, student!  A soil filled with scriptural vitamins and minerals and laced with a teachable spirit has proven to be the most workable and fertile ground!

STEP 2

Thank the Lord for the seed He’s given you to work with here, aka your student!  It’s important to take care not to damage the seed while planting.  Instead, carefully place your child in the correct depth of soil (level of learning) and cover with the right amount soil (curriculum) to allow them to sprout properly!  If and when in question, know you can always refer to the guidebook (your Bible) for proper instruction, guidelines, and help to make such decisions.

STEP 3

Once your ground (a strange mixture of their hearts along with your own) has been prepared, and your child properly planted at the right level and proper kind of curriculum for their needs, be ready to tend your garden while it prepares to grow.  This is a season of watering and waiting.  Remember to water (teach) every day, even when you don’t see results.  You must also allow adequate sunshine into this equation!  By exposing your seed to the light of God through scripture, experience, and great fellowship, you’re adding the other essential to growth!  While you continue to consistently water (teach) your child, changes are forming and growing in their hearts, minds, and souls, even when you can’t see!  Be ready for that first sprout!  It’s so encouraging and exciting to see the beginning of knowledge take root and begin to grow!  Be sure to thank God, pat yourself of the shoulder, talk to and praise that tender sprout, and then move onto step 4!

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STEP 4

Continue allowing your student the exposure to God’s light, the regular watering of your teaching, and of course regularly monitor your soil in case it becomes depleted.  If that’s the case, a good dose of fertilizer might be needed to give your student a boost.  The best fertilizers out there are study in God’s word, church events, camps and getaways, and sometimes even just an uplifting visit and outing with other homeschool families.

STEP 5

Stay on top of the weeds and grass in your garden!  The growth of these outsiders is normal and to be expected.  It’s important to watch for these distractions and negative influences on your student.  In our garden we’ve found these in the form of too much electronics, the distractions of busyness, and over commitment.  When weeds or grass first begin to sprout, pull them immediately before they become a problem!  I know that this isn’t always possible.  But don’t give up, do your best, and continue to clean out the grass and weeds from your precious garden.  When these things are around your plant, they take the needed nutrients from the soil away from your student for their own growth.  When left to grow too long, it becomes even trickier to remove them and they can even become so entangled in the roots of your own plant that their removal causes damage.  So, tend to the weeds!

Keep Those Life Weeds Awry

STEP 6

Enjoy the fruits of your garden!  This homeshool life is beautiful!  Beautiful on perfect days, on not so perfect days, and even on those days you may be tempted to run to the grocery store to meet your garden needs instead of working the hard but fruitful garden you’re growing!  Stick to it!  Enjoy the times of rest.  Be grateful for the days it rains and your garden is watered by God’s hand so you get a break.  Be proud of your fruit, that child you grow.  Be proud of the gardener, yourself.  And above all else, give thank to the Creator of them all!

 

Jennifer Whitten FamilyJennifer is a first year homeschooling Mom of 3 elementary aged kids and step mom to one middle school girl.  She was born and raised in Wyoming but now enjoys country living in Louisiana with her husband and kids.  She is a lover of Jesus, family, gardening, canning, all things creative, and hog hunting with her husband.  Tea enthusiast and crochet addict, she can be found blogging about all things family, devotional, health, and homeschool atStop, Pray, Listen.  A volunteer peer counselor at a Pro-Life Crises Pregnancy Center, her other passion is sharing the gospel with women in need.  Far from perfect, but in love with this grace filled life with kids, Jennifer makes it her mission to Stop, Pray, Listen, and Obey.

Homeschool Summer Break Survival

Summer Survival Guide:  HomeschoolSurvival.com

The dog days of summer are in full swing here in Louisiana!  We follow a traditional school year.  Simply put, we need the break and we love to enjoy summer freedom!  It would also be way too easy to fall into a rut of discontent, boredom, or lack of structure.  Instead, we’ve found ways to dodge that bullet!  I’m here to share those!

First, although we are out of our structured school days routine, our family functions so much better with SOME kind of routine.  So, our summer days go kind of like this…..

  • No set wake up time, but once we’re up everyone still gets ready for the day and grabs a bite to eat!
  • The house hasn’t gone away, so neither have chores!  We do try to get them done early so we can enjoy the day
  • Outside time is a MUST.  I don’t care if they’re catching bugs, riding 4wheelers, or playing in the dirt, that’s the best part of summer!
  • Downtime is so important too.  Our heat here is brutal, so thankfully they’re all for it by mid-day and I get the break I need!

Second comes summer projects….

  • The Garden is big at our house.  It’s enjoyable to tend to and always a good teaching tool in so many ways.  The kids learn how to grow, harvest, and the basics of food storage.  They also get a good dose of summer work!
  • Where we live berry picking might come in second.  Different kinds of berries here are only ripe and ready for a small window of time, so we try to stay on top of gathering them for jellies, freezing, etc.
  • I have some major summer projects in mind.  They haven’t happened yet.  I hope to tackle revamps of all kids’ rooms before we hit the books again.  Until then, I advise you to consult your favorite Pinterest board for better advise 🙂

Third is the summer fun…

  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • 4Wheeler Rides
  • Jeep Riding
  • Sleepovers
  • BBQs
  • VBS
  • Visits to Grandma’s

Last but not least are the MEMORIES…

  • I don’t remember my best childhood day in front of a TV or Video Game, neither will they!  So get outside and PLAY!

Enjoy the Down Time:  HomeschoolSurvival.com

 

Do you school year round?  If so, what is your family’s version of a Summer Survival Guide?  Do you have other suggestions?  We’d love to hear your memories as well!  Leave them in the comments below!

HAPPY SUMMER!!!

Protect Your Homeschool Gifts

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Perhaps you’re a veteran homeschool parent.  Maybe like me, you’re nearing the end of your first year.  You might even be in that familiar stage of researching your education options for your children.  I’ve been at a place where I knew I had a heart for Homeschool, but it wasn’t quite time.  Whatever stage you may find yourself, we are ALL familiar with THE question…

What will I tell the people who are against us homeschooling our children?

How will I explain that I know this is best for my children?

How do I respond to that one family member who always has something bad to say about our decision?

This same question can be packaged in many different words.  It can also be found being asked repeatedly in almost every homeschool ‘discussion forum’.  Homeschool and ‘Pre-Homeschool’ Mom’s alike have faced the opinions of others on more than one occasion.  Sometimes it may really bother us.  Other times you might not care.  I know for myself, I kind of broke from that ‘newbie’ homeschool stage into that ‘I got this and you can’t tell me otherwise’ frame of mind.

We could go on all day about the wonderful advantages of homeschooling.  We could provide site research, statistics, personal experience, and more to back up what we do.  That’s not what I’m here to share today.

I’m here to tell you something else when it comes to explaining yourself and your family’s decision to others…..

You simply DONT HAVE TO!!!!!!

In all reality, I feel there are certain people who deserve explanations.  That list of people is personal for each of us.  I can also tell you that the list of ‘critics’ is probably just as personal.  For us, criticism didn’t come from those close to us, but to those who actually had no right or place within our family to voice their opinions.  I shared our journey in the beginning not because I had to, but because I wanted to.  It’s exciting, fun, and I enjoy the input of others….until it became negative.  Kids are very smart, they pick up on the comments of disapproval, and it was actually entertaining to hear their opinions of these moments.

At the end of the day, the Lord showed me that I simply didn’t have to share our journey, this gift, with any and every one.  It IS a gift to me, and I have learned to protect it.  Thankfully, we’ve been very blessed.  Even the few family members who are not on board with our decision, have decided to support us whole heartedly.  That too has been a gift.  As for the ‘other’ opinions I mentioned above…I’ve learned that if I don’t put the information out there-it leaves less opportunity for criticism.  As for the now rare occasions that the negativity of another filters to my children, I simply use it as a great moment to teach my kids how NOT to act when they grow up!

And for the record….most everyone I know has something great to say about what we’re doing.  If not, then it’s usually just a reason why THEY can’t homeschool.  But like any good thing…there will always be a critic.  Just remember, you don’t have to explain why you do what you do.  Just like the public school parent doesn’t have to explain why they’ve made the choice to send their child to school.

Keep doing what you’re doing.  Treasure this gift.  Enjoy the journey.  And don’t EVER be afraid to protect and cherish what God has given you!

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Jennifer Whitten FamilyJennifer is a first year homeschooling Mom of 3 elementary aged kids and step mom to one middle school girl.  She was born and raised in Wyoming but now enjoys country living in Louisiana with her husband and kids.  She is a lover of Jesus, family, gardening, canning, all things creative, and hog hunting with her husband.  Tea enthusiast and crochet addict, she can be found blogging about all things family, devotional, health, and homeschool at Stop, Pray, Listen.  A volunteer peer counselor at a Pro-Life Crises Pregnancy Center, her other passion is sharing the gospel with women in need.  Far from perfect, but in love with this grace filled life with kids, Jennifer makes it her mission to Stop, Pray, Listen, and Obey.

 

Louisiana Homeschool Lesson – We Challenge You!

I think we’ve all had a good dose of winter this year.

Even deep in the South we’ve experienced snow more than once or twice….that’s just unheard of here.

As the warm days pop their heads into our life here and there, we’ve stayed outside as much as possible.

It’s been great for the kids, and even greater for Mom!

I’ve been blessed to live in the North and South.

The diversity of God’s creation is simply amazing!

It’s also really fun to discover and learn from.

So, here’s a mystery lesson with a challenge for your homeschool!

Go ahead… break up the schedule and enjoy with us!

THE ONLY RULE IS… THERE ARE NO RULES!!!

Leave answers simple for the young ones, let the older kids do a little research, or even use these pictures and questions to start a unit study on Louisiana!

Louisiana Homeschool Lesson Clue #1

Louisiana Homeschool Lesson Clue #2

Can you identify these? (Louisiana Homeschool Lesson Clue #3)

Louisiana Homeschool Lesson

Post your answers to our Facebook Page to see if you’re right!

Leave any questions there if you have any!

Now here’s the really fun part….

We want to see the neat, the mysterious, the funny, and the amazing of where YOU live!

Take the pictures and upload them to our Facebook Page!

You can leave information or challenge US to figure YOUR pictures out!

Ready, set, GO…..and have fun outside this week!

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PreSchool…ING vs. PreSchool

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MOM’S DISCLAIMER:  Let me first say that this here little guy in the ‘ing’ photo….that’s the baby of my babies.  The littlest of my people.  The forever youngest of my brood.  So, I’ve been there, done that in more ways than one with my other kids.  I’ve seen the ‘classroom environment help a child thrive.  I’ve seen it completely drop the bomb.  While I’m no expert, I’m no newbie either.  The following is the observation and opinions of a Mama’s heart.

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I read a new-to-me term the other day.

Preschooling.

That’s right, not just Preschool or PreK but Preschooling.

It struck me and hasn’t left the soil of my MamaTeacher brain since.

Or my heart.

Instead, it has redefined the way I see my little guy’s academic future.

It spoke of that active, hands on time spent with a child, preparing them to learn.

The nurturing of their own unique little spirit.

Not the learning itself.

DSCF0859-001We school traditional.  Set curriculum.  Set schedule.  Goals and testing.

The fun, the intrigue, the interesting, the strange, the silly, the memories….those come from, before, after, and in between our ‘traditional’ school day.  That, as we know, is the beauty of this homeschool life.

Either way, there are a few basics to look at before we go further, no matter how you homeschool in your family.

1.  Age.  Yes, this does matter.  Even if you believe in completely child-led learning, there is a time that each individual child is ready to learn and progress academically.  States differ in law as to when academics are required.  With that said, each child has a natural, God given desire to explore the world around them.  For the interest of this post, Preschooling is the year or years before we start a formal curriculum of Bible, Phonics, Math, Language Development, and Science.

2.  Goals.  Whether you are  a ‘traditional’ family like ours, an ‘unschooling’ family, or each and every family inbetween….we all have goals for our kids.  Call it what you will-you homeschool, send your kids to school, unschool, or train them for the Peace Corp with an agenda in mind.  Again for the interest of this post, we’re going to officially call our PreSchool/ing goal that of preparing our children for said formal/informal introduction to curriculum/learning.

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With #1 and #2 out of the way, let’s move on to the basics.

PreSchool…excuse me….Preschooling, to me is all about forming a foundation for their education.

Biblical.  Real life skills.  Academic.

The heart of this matter is letting them be kids.

They have the rest of their lives to grow up, meet expectations, and deal with the world around them.

So at the center of Preschooling my youngest child is nurturing his wonderful imagination.

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Letting him thrive exactly where he is, and encouraging him to be who God made him today.

There’s more than enough God-given activities and basics surrounding us to worry about purchasing the perfect games and play items.

God gave this particular little man into a family with other siblings.

That there is better fertile soil to learn than anything you can buy.

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Only child?  Oldest child?  That’s cool…rock where God has your child today.  There are opportunities that child will have today that my little guy will not.

Like the one on one with Mom.  Or the relative ease and smaller expense of more hands on ‘field trips’ and activities.

God has you, and your child, exactly where you are suppose to be.

Embrace that.  Give thanks.  And let the fun begin!

We let our little guy venture in and out of the school room as he pleases.  He enjoys learning and wants his own work to do at times.  The following are some practical suggestions for activities to fit into your PreSchooling day.

TO HELP BUILD FINE MOTOR SKILLS

  • PlayDoh
  • Dull Tip scissors with old newspapers and let them go to town
  • Teach them to pinch instead of grabbing crayons/pencils with a fist

INTRODUCTION TO PHONICS AND MATH

  • Singing the alphabet together
  • Counting everyday objects as fun
  • Educational cartoons and apps
  • Letting him/her play ‘school’ with older siblings

PRE-WRITING ACTIVITIES (Tons of free printables online)

  • Tracing different lines and patterns on dry erase boards
  • Tracing then writing their name on dotted-line printouts
  • Drawing in the dirt with sticks and such

Do these things sound familiar?  That’s because most of you probably do some or all of these already with your kids for fun.  All it takes is attention and time, fun and games.  Play and lots of giggles.  Consider Preschooling before the formal curriculum begins.  We naturally fell into this approach and I see him being more and more prepared for school everyday.  So, until then….we are enjoying the ing of this age and stage!  And I so hope that you will too!

 

Jennifer Whitten FamilyJennifer is a first year homeschooling Mom of 3 elementary aged kids and step mom to one middle school girl.  She was born and raised in Wyoming but now enjoys country living in Louisiana with her husband and kids.  She is a lover of Jesus, family, gardening, canning, all things creative, and hog hunting with her husband.  Tea enthusiast and crochet addict, she can be found blogging about all things family, devotional, health, and homeschool atStop, Pray, Listen.  A volunteer peer counselor at a Pro-Life Crises Pregnancy Center, her other passion is sharing the gospel with women in need.  Far from perfect, but in love with this grace filled life with kids, Jennifer makes it her mission to Stop, Pray, Listen, and Obey.

 

46 Cent Lessons – Writing and Sending Letters

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Todays culture is full of cell phones, email, and having everything we want available at our fingertips.  Yet some very important things are being lost.  Patience seems to be one of them, as we can now get any and every bit of information we please with the touch of a screen.  A screen most of us carry in our pockets or purses!  One thing I think we can all agree on is that the art of letter writing is growing smaller and smaller each year.  Lets face it, even Christmas Cards sadly seem to be a thing of yesterday.  Most of our kids don’t even know what a pen pal is.  And those fun chain letters?  Let’s just say that the one we received and sent out was a sad disappointment….it takes more than one or two people on the chain to make the things work!  Now text messages….I’m sure I speak for many of us when I say that most of our two year olds know what those are!

With that being said, let me introduce the 46 cent lesson…..

Writing and Sending Letters

This is something that has wonderfully blossomed back to life in our home and is so easy to incorporate into the schoolroom!  My Grandma and I have always exchanged letters, some years more than others.  Trials of health and loss have revived this tradition in our family and spread it through all generations.  Letter writing and card sending have become a joy!  And yes, an easy classroom supplement as well!

The Educational Benefits of Letter Writing:

  • Hands on Lesson for Pre-K and Kindergarten about the Postal Service and how it works!  Let your wee ones draw pictures for someone, then demonstrate how we address the envelope, let them seal it and put on the stamp!  Use this as a time to draw a ‘map’ of where our letters go from our own mailboxes to the recipients-including the post offices and mail trucks/airplanes in between!
  • 2nd and 3rd grade elementary English usually includes letter writing as a skill, along with properly addressing envelopes.  Use this lesson to allow your children to follow through with and send their letters.  I know my kids do better with this lesson when it’s their idea who they write and they actually know their work will end up with that person!
  • Hand writing letters is a great motivational way to throw in some extra handwriting practice for any elementary age.
  • Every age and generation can always use a refresher on being thoughtful and how simple words and gestures can be a gift to others.

 

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Beyond the personal letter and card, there are so many more things that can be mailed!  Need some inspiration?

  • Local leaves and/or Flowers-press between two sheets of wax paper and you can send a piece of your home
  • The week’s best worksheet!  Family and friends who aren’t around our children daily love to see their progress for themselves!
  • Pictures- Print a few off of your phone or computer and include fun or descriptive quotes on the back
  • Questionnaire for the recipient – This could be a way to get to know someone better, a lengthier form of research for a school project, or a lesson in family history where I guarantee the answers received will become a keepsake!
  • Fill in the blank story – What a fun and creative way to get your emergent writers imaginations cranked!  Have them begin a silly or interesting story and leave certain words blank.  They can even include the proper word type to use underneath (noun, verb, adjective, ect.). Can you say awesome English lesson supplement?
  • Movie ticket stubs, food receipts, or other small items that would be a hands on way to share with the recipients what it is you’ve done that week.
  • That week’s Bible or Sunday School lesson, including any crafts or worksheets-what a great way for our children to hands on share the gospel with others!
  • Copy your hands then add a personal message!

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The possibilities are endless!  So are the recipients!  Here are a few ideas to get you started

  • Grandparents
  • Aunts and Uncles
  • Cousins
  • Missionaries your church helps support
  • Other homeschooled families (network through online support groups-use your Mommy judgment on this one)
  • A sponsored child
  • Active military, veterans, wounded warriors-visit this site for more information
  • The children of your family or childhood friends

This easy, possibility filled lesson is worth far more than a handful of change.  Introduce your children to the gift of sending and receiving mail.  Something taken so much for granted is a gift we can revive in their generation as well as our own!  Have fun and write with your kids!  I know I enjoy it as much as they do.  So do the ones we love and send letters to.  It’s kind of become a new family tradition for us and our far away family!  I hope it can become the same for you!

Jennifer Whitten FamilyJennifer is a first year homeschooling Mom of 3 elementary aged kids and step mom to one middle school girl.  She was born and raised in Wyoming but now enjoys country living in Louisiana with her husband and kids.  She is a lover of Jesus, family, gardening, canning, all things creative, and hog hunting with her husband.  Tea enthusiast and crochet addict, she can be found blogging about all things family, devotional, health, and homeschool at Stop, Pray, Listen.  A volunteer peer counselor at a Pro-Life Crises Pregnancy Center, her other passion is sharing the gospel with women in need.  Far from perfect, but in love with this grace filled life with kids, Jennifer makes it her mission to Stop, Pray, Listen, and Obey.

A Rookie December – Our First Homeschool Year!

 

We were rookies this December!  That’s right….this is our first homeschool year!  And what a wonderous, challenging, blessed adventure it is!  We thrive on routine, order, a schedule, and formal school time.  So far….it has served us very well!

Okay you veterans, now is your time to chuckle!  I almost guarantee you already know what’s coming!  That’s right!  Then.  December.  Happened.

LESSON LEARNED, LESSON SHARED:

DO NOT PLAN NORMAL SCHOOL WEEKS BETWEEN THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS!!!!

Next year…these weeks will hold less curriculum and more room for Jesus’ gifts & opportunities.

This is a beautiful example of a primary reason we homeschool…. Our days and our schedules CAN revolve around God’s leading and….it’s OK!!!

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At the end of the day I’m reminded of the lessons I really want my children to bring from this  December and carry into the days that follow….

  •  CHRIST, our Savior is alive, He is real, and He is amazing!  His birth is not just a story.  The gift of His love may have began that first Christmas Day….but it lives and reigns in every day since.  Let my teaching bring this truth to life in your little hearts!  For God’s work is far from finished, and even farther from ever being boring!

     Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

  • Not only are we blessed with the daily wonder of Christ, but that of each other as well!  May we spend our days with the awe and wonder of who He has created us, and each other, to be!  At the end of our busy, school and life filled days, let our hearts sing His praise!

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  • We follow the steps of the first Christmas when we learn to truly give.  I watched my little girl out give me these past days.  Our school day came to a halt when we learned of a need.  That day, phonics and math may have been overlooked.  But the lesson of giving not your leftovers, but what you might even need yourself…..that was a truth far more important!  A truth Christ reminded me of through the heart of my Kindergartener.

 

  • We find real joy in learning how to receive.  God’s gift of a savior wasn’t earned and never will be….it was free.  Undeserved.  Unearned.  Grace.  A gift unreceived is unaccepted.  Receiving Christ is life!  Let my example be that of living grace.  And that you my children, will always know you are loved by HIM who freely gave for you.  THAT is true love.

For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8

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  • Perhaps most important….that the true gift of Christmas NEVER ceases and is not confined to a month or to a day.  Jesus is alive and real every day of our lives.  And that God is, to this day….still in the creation business.  Only a prayer and some faith away!

 

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10

 

This coming year I want my children to see more grace.  I want them to recognize each opportunity to give.  Not only of items…but of themselves.  Most of all, I want them to see how freely Christ gives to us all.

How about you?  Will you be finding new areas to of your family and school days to focus on more this next year?  I’d love to hear them!

 

Jennifer Whitten FamilyJennifer is a first year homeschooling Mom of 3 elementary aged kids and step mom to one middle school girl.  She was born and raised in Wyoming but now enjoys country living in Louisiana with her husband and kids.  She is a lover of Jesus, family, gardening, canning, all things creative, and hog hunting with her husband.  Tea enthusiast and crochet addict, she can be found blogging about all things family, devotional, health, and homeschool at Stop, Pray, Listen.  A volunteer peer counselor at a Pro-Life Crises Pregnancy Center, her other passion is sharing the gospel with women in need.  Far from perfect, but in love with this grace filled life with kids, Jennifer makes it her mission to Stop, Pray, Listen, and Obey.

Homeschool Energy Management

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Fill a balloon.  It can only handle so much air before it bursts.

Boil a pot of water covered with a lid.  It won’t be long before some escapes.

Fire up a pressure cooker.  The pressure builds and the steam whistles as it escapes.

So it is with kids and their energy.  EVERY single day!

It looks a little like this.

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True story, this was not a staged picture!

Their energy is amazing yet can often be overwhelming!  Today’s tips offer practical and easy strategies to help point that energy in the right direction!  I figure that God filled them with it-so it’s my job to teach them how to use it!

Aiden

 

Never would I want to hinder or harness my kids’ natural talents.  However, I’m a real Mom with real limits!  Endless patience and tolerance for the sounds, sights, and smells of untamed childhood is NOT a part of me!  So until I become that perfect parent with built-in sanity made of steel, I must find other ways to help our family and school time function smoothly!

 

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  • Fresh Air and Sunshine are KEY!  Get the kids outside, rain or shine, on a regular basis.  We strive for daily in our home.  The benefits of clean air, an open atmosphere, and Vitamin D from the sun are countless!  You too Mom…I myself try to venture with them outdoors as much as possible!  It makes a world of difference in my own state of mind for the rest of the day!  It helps me to reboot you could say!  Country living means your yard and surroundings themselves can be your playground.  City living likely means you have access to all kinds of parks and outdoor activities.  Any which way you slice it, spend some time out in the open!
  • Wild Time!!!  Give them time to run wild and free, to burn off that extra steam!  I recommend this be done outdoors, as it enforces that there is always a time and place that this is appropriate, and that it’s not!  Don’t be afraid to go crazy with them sometimes!  There’s something extremely fun, stress relieving, freeing, and hilarious to be found in really letting loose with your kids!  And I have a feeling they’ll remember it for the rest of their lives
  • Concentrated Energy!  Focus time!  There is something almost therapeutic in focusing your energy on something such as crochet.  Open your mind here, as the possibilities are endless!  For my kids, it’s everything from creative doodling, crochet, lego building, puzzles, and sewing! Whatever way you choose to do it, there’s something very productive and fulfilling in focusing your energy into a project!  It also calms me, it calms my children, and is great for creative and artistic development!

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  • Working Out.  Think physical education here.  I’m not talking about the kind of exercise you get through cleaning house, feeding animals, walking through walmart, or completing other daily tasks.  I mean consistent, continuous activity that raises your heartrate and gets you sweating!  The benefits go far beyond physical fitness and straight into the realm of helping them burn that extra energy!  It can be the simple walk through the neighborhood (or woods in our case), a nice bike ride, or a fun game of basketball in the driveway!  No matter what the method, exercise is key to helping them burn and use that extra motivation they’ve been blessed with.  Be creative and use your imagination for fun ways to incorporate exercise into your family!  However, don’t overlook the necessity in teaching the little ones the fundamentals such as skipping, jumping, and standing on one foot!
  • REST & RELATION!!!  Here’s my final and very important piece of Homeschool energy management!  I love quiet time, it just may be my most favorite time of the day!  I incorporate this into our daily schedule for the obvious reason that MAMA needs it!  But also because I want my children to know how to be still, to enjoy the peace, and to not need outside stimulation to be content!  If this concept doesn’t work on the first try, please stick with it and keep trying!  For yourself and your children!  Naturally, my energy filled, super active children resisted this concept at first.  But sure enough, it grew on them and every once in awhile I find them being the ones that ask for quiet time!  Just as our bodies were wired to have energetic moments, we were also wired to need rest….even that of our minds!2013-12-25

Try implementing these suggestions into your schedule for a week or two and notice the changes!  For us, everything becomes so much more effective!  There’s a time to be loud and wild, which also means there’s a time to be quiet and still!  This has made the learning flow more freely and lowered the frustration level in our school room tremendously!  Once that’s established, don’t be afraid to go with the flow of the day and your kids!  Some of my favorite homeschool moments have been morning, outside breaks that have turned into hours of family time outdoors!  These times often lead to Daddy teaching us plant identification and other great opportunities that come natural this way!

Have fun, own the energy, and don’t be afraid to claim the quiet time! 

 

Jennifer WhittenJennifer, who blogs at Stop, Pray, Listen is a homeschooling mom to three beautiful children ages 4, 5, and 8 and she’s also the stepmom to one, age 12.  She is married to her best friend.  She believes her gifts in this life are to follow Jesus, serve Him, love her husband and kids, and raise her babies the way God intends! Her job is to Stop. Pray. Listen. Love. and Obey.  To read more about Jennifer and her family, please visit her at her blog.