Homeschool Movement With Easter Eggs

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Here in the state of Washington it rains ALL the time. It is only sunny about 90-100 days out of the year and it can be quite depressing. As a homeschool mom, we want our kids to keep active and busy, but if your kids are like mine, they get bored with the same old activities. Recently I got a package of plastic Easter Eggs to use as a Math activity with my youngest.  After we completed the activity, he wanted more time playing with the eggs. On a whim I came up with some activities and they loved it!!!

Homeschool Activities Using Easter Eggs

The first activity they did was balancing an egg on a kitchen spoon.  Here are some things that we did:

  • Walk from the living room to the kitchen with the eggs without them dropping to the floor
  • Walk backwards from the living room to the kitchen
  • Walk forward two steps, turn and walk backward two steps and repeat

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They enjoyed this new activity and did so well with it that I decided to turn it up a notch.  Here are some other things we did:

  • Balance the egg on a spoon and hop through the house (this did cause many “broken” eggs – good thing they were plastic:)
  • Crawled on the floor while balancing the eggs under their chin
  • Scooted all over the floor on their backs with their feet straight up and the egg balancing on their feet. This was quite hilarious! 🙂

We had a great time and really enjoyed it! This was just one idea of how to beat the rainy day blues. What are some of the ways you beat the blues or keep your kids entertained on rainy days, or snowed-in days for that matter?  I would love to hear from you!!!

In Christ,

Laura

 

Laura PraterLaura is an Army wife to a Soldier who has served the last 18.5 years active duty. They reside in WA for the time being with their 3 boys. Laura home schools all 3. They are very active in their church and community. You can find Laura blogging atwww.raisingsoldiers4christ.com on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Raising-Soldiers-4-Christ/320756691285805, on Pinterest atwww.pinterest.com/RS4Christ and on Twitter atwww.twitter.com./RS4Christ.

FREEbie: Easter Cross Luminary

*This post contains affiliate links.

My boys absolutely love craft time, and the holidays are always the perfect “excuse” for a new craft! With Easter right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to create a homemade Easter Cross Luminary.

*Be sure to read all the way through to download the FREEbie!

Easter Cross Decoupage Luminary

Books are an integral part of our educational journey, so anytime we embark on a holiday-themed craft, I always try to find great books to accompany the fun. Here are some of our favorite Easter books:

  • The Legend of the Three Trees by Catherine McCafferty – This is perhaps one of my favorite children’s books of all time. There are several versions of this story available, but I personally prefer this one by Catherine McCafferty. In this beautifully illustrated book is the story of three trees with big dreams. When the woodcutters come to chop them down, they fear their dreams won’t be realized. Instead, they learn that God’s plan is always bigger and perfect!
  • The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story by Mike Berenstain – I’ve always been a fan of The Berenstain Bears, both the books and TV show. The wholesome stories share valuable life lessons that are relatable for kids. In The Berestain Bears and the Easter Story, Papa and the cubs are lured by the commercialism of Easter. But Mama is there to remind them of the true reason for the holiday and why we celebrate it.
  • The Legend of the Easter Egg by Lori Walburg VandenBosch – One of our all-time favorite Christmas books is The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered she had another book for the Easter holiday, The Legend of the Easter Egg! This treasure of a book includes gorgeous illustrations and brings a new perspective on the meaning of Easter eggs as an example of the miracle of Easter.
  • Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco – We first discovered author Patricia Polacco when our K-3 Book Club read The Bee Tree together and have been a fan ever since. In this uniquely illustrated book, we learn lessons about love and kindness, along with the beautiful tradition of Ukrainian-style Easter eggs.

Easter Recommended Book List

After enjoying these fabulous Easter books, we had fun making Easter Cross Luminaries! This is a craft that is simple, inexpensive and fun for the whole family. For a supplies list, instructions, and Easter Cross templates, download our Easter Cross Decoupage Luminary FREEbie today!

Easter Cross Decoupage Luminary

Kat ReaderKat is the proud mama to 3 incredible boys. Her family began their homeschooling journey in 2006 when her oldest was in 2nd grade, and the twins were barely 6 months old. She’s passionate about researching resources and activities that allow her children to use all of their senses and learning styles, which she shares at World of Learning. In her “spare time”, she’s a Virtual Assistant, creating printables, logos, business cards and more, and providing editing services.  Connect with Kat on FacebookTwitterPinterest andGoogle +.

Tips From A (Self-Proclaimed) “Curriculum Junkie”

Tips from a Self Proclaimed Curriculum Junkie

 

The season for shopping for new curriculum is fast approaching. For a curriculum junkie like myself, that can be both exciting and overwhelming. I have purchased everything under the sun in hopes of finding exactly what I’m looking for. But guess what? Even I, myself have no clue what exactly that is. So, before you begin your search for a curriculum that fits your needs, I hope you’ll follow my advice.

1). Make a list of your goals for the upcoming school year. If you have an outline of what you hope to accomplish, you’ll have a better chance of narrowing down your items of choice.

2). Describe the method you’d like to use. Do you like literature based? Are you strictly workbook based? Do you like the idea of doing unit studies or notebooking? This will certainly help narrow your curriculum choices down.

3). Do you plan on purchasing a complete boxed set or does the idea of purchasing books of your choice and compiling them to create a curriculum catered to your teaching approach sound more appealing? This is where I struggle every single time. I love a “grab and go” complete boxed set. With 4 kids ages 6 and under, it is so appealing to me to just open an instructors manual and follow the directions. Unfortunately, I have yet to purchase a complete set that fits my style. This has become a very expensive habit. We have so much curriculum sitting in our shelves and not being used because, well, I haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for. Whatever “that” is.

4). Another important thing to keep in mind is what learning style your homeschool child has, and remember, not every child will learn the same! What works perfect for one child may not appeal to another. So, it’s important to be open-minded.

5). What budget do you have set aside for homeschool curriculum and supplies? That will narrow your choice down greatly and remember, some of the best curriculum is free! Library visits, field trips, nature walks; these can be one of the best parts of your homeschool plan!

6). Do you like the idea of a digital program (software, iBooks, etc) or is print-based a better fit? This is another topic I struggle with. I love the idea of my kids taking books (iBook/kindle form) wherever we go and not losing a paper book in the process of getting from point A to point B. I love the idea of pages not getting ripped, book covers written on, not needing storage space for yet another item, etc. But I also love the idea of them using a paper book, feeling the pages, reading a book and not using technology for everything.

7). Used or new? Do you like to be frugal and purchase used items or even borrow them? Or do you veer more in the direction of purchasing new?

I lean towards boxed curriculum, but my husband (who is referred to as “The New Farmer” on my blog) loves to piece our curriculum together using books and supplies he feels are important to use. We grab several books in all subject areas and create curriculum that works best for our kids.

Over the next several months (especially this summer) you’ll find an abundance of wonderful blogs showing their curriculum choices for the new year. I absolutely love reading about everyone’s choices! We’ll hopefully have ours narrowed and picked soon and will certainly post about our choices on my blog!

Best wishes and blessings to you and your family as you start planning for the new year!

 

Tammy CarrollTammy is the owner of The New Farmer’s Wife blog.  She and her husband recently decided to give farming a try and she’s blogging all about their adventures.  Take a moment to stop on by!

Blue Manor Education Preschool Giveaway + Giveaways & Freebies Link Up!!

 

Homeschool Freebies & Giveaways Link Up - Every Monday

Homeschool Moms Giveaways & Freebies Linky Party – Week 11

Welcome to Week 11 of the Giveaways & Freebies Linky party!  We’ve been having so much fun these last few weeks with some amazing giveaways!  Thank you to all of the sponsors so far! and Thank YOU for showing up and participating in the giveaways and freebies!

This Week’s Giveaway is sponsored by Blue Manor Education

Today, I’m going to share a review of our experience with Blue Manor Education’s Preschool Curriculum.  We tried it out with my 5 year old daughter and so far she’s loved it.

Why is Blue Manor Education’s Preschool Curriculum So Special?

Blue Manor Education Preschool Curriculum Reiew & Giveaway

  1. It’s all digital!  There are 23 ebooks included with the curriculum.
  2. It covers many different subjects.  Subjects like Math, Reading, Anatomy, Character Qualities, and more!  (Complete List of Books)
  3. It requires zero preparation!  This is great for this over worked, busy mom of 7 children.  I can just grab the computer and sit down for several minutes at a time going over the content of the 23 ebooks.
  4. The pictures are very colorful and great to keep little ones’ attention.

If There’s No Lesson Plans, How Do I Know What to Do?

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The beauty of this program is that you can pick and choose where you start.  Go with your child’s interests and move on from there.  Use the book you choose and read it with your child.  Most of the books are interactive, where you can ask your child to show you the different things that the book is telling them about.  You will reuse these books several times to make sure they retain what they are learning.  You go through all of the books, reusing them as needed until they know the information in each book.  After you’ve completed them, you can move on to Level 2.

This curriculum will work for kids aged 2-7, depending on their maturity level.  My daughter is 5 and we’ve found that some of the books were too easy for her and others were just perfect.  I liked this format though as it showed me what she needs to learn in order to round out her education.  For instance, she knew all of her numbers from 1-10, but didn’t know all of her money.  Each child will have strengths and weaknesses, so you may find that they already know some of the information in them, but unless they’re very advanced, they won’t know it all.  If  you do have an advanced child, you will want to start with Level 2.

What My Daughter Thinks…..

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Typically, in my homeschool, I’ve not done much for the preschool ages.  I’m a firm believer in letting preschoolers play as much as possible and learning through that play.  However, this curriculum is more like reading short books to your children, making it not a cumbersome process to go through.  If your child likes reading books and looking at pictures, they will enjoy this curriculum.

My daughter Avery, loves having her own school to do, since her siblings are always working on theirs while she’s wanting to play with them.  She loves having some one on one time with mommy as well.  While she never complained about doing her school work, I wasn’t exactly sure how she felt about it, so I asked her.  Avery says, “It’s FUN!!”.   While I know that’s not a very long explanation, lol, keep in mind she’s 5.  I had a feeling she’d answer that way, as she always seemed eager to get into the books and enjoyed what she was learning along the way.

Buy It

You can purchase the curriculum at Blue Manor Education’s Store.  The cost is $39.95.  In addition to the ebooks, you’ll also receive a responsibility printable chart, Teaching Manual, Quick Start Guide and even a printable learning schedule to help you get each book accomplished.

 

Would You Like to Win a Free Preschool Curriculum Set from Blue Manor Education?

Blue Manor Education Giveaway

Enter the giveaway with the many different options on the Rafflecopter widget below.  If you are reading in an email, you’ll need to click over to the blog in order to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Other Giveaways & Freebies

It’s time to link up!  If you’re a blogger linking up, I only ask that you link back to me, if possible.  I can’t wait to see your giveaways and freebies! (If you’re reading this in an email, be sure to click to the site to see more giveaways. More could be added all week!)

Handwriting ~ Pre-writing Readiness

Fine motor skills are obviously related to writing, but sensory, gross motor, cognitive, perceptual, and even visual components are equally important to a child’s developmental progression.

Before you begin to teach handwriting to your child, before you even place a pencil in their hand, ask yourself the following questions.
Can they:
• imitate movement patterns such as nursery rhyme motions with their hands?
• successfully use a variety of grasp patterns?
• understand a progression on paper from left to right?
• recognize the letters of the alphabet?
• understand directions such as up and down?
• follow one step instructions consistently? Two step? Three step?

Children can begin learning to write without total mastery of everything that I listed, but if you are aware of their needs you will be better equipped to help them progress more easily.

Recommendations:
• Let your child scribble. Provide an inexpensive coloring book, print some free color sheets, or even blank paper and crayons. Sit beside them and color with them. Coloring within the lines can come later. At first let them enjoy the experience of marking on paper and seeing that their action produces a visible result. From scribbling you can help them progress to lines and circles. 
• Try other mediums. Pudding is a fun finger-paint and is both washable and edible. If the mess bothers you too much, let them try finger painting with pudding in the bathtub. The mess will be contained.
• Explore a variety of sensory manipulatives. Play dough, rice buckets, fabric, the possibilities are limited only by your environment. Many household items can be used in different ways to provide developmental experiences. Play games that require them to move small pieces.

• Read to your child. Let them see the words on the paper as you read. This will help them recognize words and letters, see a natural left-right progression, and build their vocabulary.
• Let them get dirty. Writing with a stick in the sand, fingers in mud, and colored water in the snow are all delightful experiences that most children will interpret as play.

Do you know yet if your child is right or left handed? That fact should have an impact on how you teach writing. We have all heard stories of left handed adults who were forced by teachers to write with their right hand. But less realized is left handed children who are taught to write with a right- handed style using their left hand. Being aware from the start that your child is left handed can help you know to present tasks in such a way that they will perform them correctly instead of with their wrist abnormally bent.

Once they start writing, continue to provide opportunities other than just pencil on paper. I already mentioned window markers, but they are such a useful tool it is worth repeating. Writing on vertical surfaces helps a child’s gross motor development and the large movements help train their brain to remember what they are doing. Another useful method is air writing. Using a foam sword, a large plastic pencil, or even an empty paper towel tube, have them imitate the motions you make in the air.

If you are on Pinterest, follow any of these relevant boards that interest you: handwriting, fine motor funsensory exploration, visual cues and perception, and gross motor development.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of handwriting readiness, but should give you a starting point.  If you think visual problems could be affecting your child’s progress, please have that tested by a professional. Proper eye glasses can make an immediate difference in their functional performance.

Disclaimer: This is an informational article and is not a substitute for medical advice. If you think that your child is in need of Occupational Therapy services, discuss it with their pediatrician. 

 

Jennifer is an occupational therapist and a homeschooling mom of three children. She and her husband have been married for 17 years. Ten years ago they left their home in the city, to move to Jennifer’s family homestead, on her Granddad’s land.   They have three children, two girls and one boy, ages 16, 14, and 9.   You can read more about Jennifer and her family on her blog, A Glimpse of Our Life.

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.

 

Setting Up Centers in My Home

“Centers” are easier for us.  I set up 5-8 “centers” 3-5 times a week to let the kids rotate through. At least one of these “centers” is next to mom to work on fine motor handwriting.  They include things like play dough, a light table, mirror work, a mini trampoline , pattern blocks, coloring, sticker pages, scooter board running, pegs, and the list goes on!  We are like a mini therapy center here with the EIGHT hours of therapists we entertain each week.  If it is a therapeutic device designed for under age three and costs less than $45, we probably have a version of it!

Here’s a few pictures of the centers we have set up so far:

Need to get some of the energy out!

Need to get some of the energy out!

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A favorite center around here!  The kids will be so excited when the neighborhood grows!  Our PT is bringing us another play house.

A favorite center around here! The kids will be so excited when the neighborhood grows! Our PT is bringing us another play house.

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This kit is fun!!!!

This kit is fun!!!!

 

 

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Tracing her letters

Tracing her letters

Build it and then write

Build it and then write

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He LOVES to play in the play house. :D  He will be a good dad, one day!

He LOVES to play in the play house. 😀 He will be a good dad, one day!

This is how I’ve organized my centers. I am using the “scrapbook” organization boxes because they are easy to stack and semi-clear for easy viewing.  I place each center into each of these boxes (assuming it will fit).

 

They are so easy to use! LOVE the deal I got them for too!

They are so easy to use! LOVE the deal I got them for too!

I am planning to have boxes geared towards therapy days and non therapy days.  Mondays and Wednesdays, we have 2 full hours of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy simultaneously. This consumes a BIG chunk of time from 8:30-10:30 AM.

Another approach I am thinking of trying: Subject boxes for when we only have a few minutes here and there.
I can set up a handwriting or a reading box in a Target shoe box type of box. These are more child friendly and they could be a bit more independent.

My goals this semester are:


Phonics recognition to beginning to read
Phonetic sound awareness
Letter Identification
Independent copy writing
Independent letter copy work
Letter formation
Single digit addition
Oral counting to 50
Number writing to 20
Grouping in groups up to 10
Learn to listen for details in a story and recite those details
Learn to draw a picture and tell some facts about it
Start a 50 states study with the colonies in the forefront

Keeping the above goals in mind, we should have a great semester!  Below are some fun therapy pics from our house! Hope you enjoy!

Setting up Centers in My home

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 Do you use centers in your home?  Tell me how you differ in setting them up.

Venus JonesVenus is a veteran homeschool mom to 9, the youngest 6 of which she’s adopted.  She has been homeschooling for 13 yrs.  She recently started a new blog called Mommy Bear Blog and would love for you to follow her journey there.

Moments of Grace: Parenting the Homeschooled Child

 

Moments of Grace:  Parenting the Homeschooled Child

Homeschooling does not come naturally to me. In fact, I think of myself as the Reluctant Homeschooler. I had vision of my life as a mom, and this WAS NOT IT. I was going to drop my two children off at the local public school, take a jog down Hinson and have lunch with my friends at Trios after having spent an hour or two volunteering somewhere. But God had a different plan for me. And I sometimes wonder if He is chuckling a bit at my ridiculous ideas!

Homeschooling is SO HARD. “Normal” people spend a HUGE amount of time without their children every day. And while spending every waking moment with my children….and sometimes my sleeping moments as well since the two year old will NOT stay out of our bed…. IS a great thing (really, I DO mean this. I LOVE that I get the best part of my children’s day) there are things we deal with in an almost nonstop way that others only see glimmers of in the afternoon/evenings & weekends.

Like this morning, as my four year old was crying (for the tenth time) that her big sisters had wronged her in some horrible way while they were playing Barbies. I called all three in and discovered that the 6 yo had stolen back a Barbie that the 4 yo had stolen originally. I looked at my six year old (who is closer to seven than six) and told her that this was a great opportunity to show grace to her sister. Yes, Ryen did NOT deserve to have the doll because she was wrong when she stole it in the first place but we can show her love by letting her have it. We can show love by giving her what she clearly does not deserve. She looked at me with a mix of exasperation and skepticism.

I sighed. “It sucks, doesn’t it?”

She looked a little surprised.

“Showing grace to someone who doesn’t deserve it sucks, doesn’t it? It is hard. It hurts and everything in us wants to scream NO! But we do it because we love.”

She nodded.

“Do you think it was easy for Jesus to go to the cross? To show grace to us? To BE grace for us?”

“Nooooooo.” Quiet, head shaking.

“And it hurt. It hurt really bad. Not just where they put the nails but it hurt His heart because we were so bad and so undeserving. He even asked God to not make Him do it. But in the end, He DID IT. He did it because He IS love. And when we love others, we show them grace because we love and because Jesus is IN us. And He IS LOVE.”

Those thoughts just set on us all for a moment. My eight year old looked up at Ryen and said “Ryen, I am sorry I have been so mean to you all morning. Do you forgive me?”

The six year old gave her the much fought over doll (which the two year old promptly stole – but that is a whole other issue). The four year old dried her tears and hugged her sisters and off they went to play ….

This is a moment I would NOT have had if my older girls had been at school. The four year old would have had the Barbies to herself all day. The big girls would have had friends and connection elsewhere, making a rift with their little sister not seem so important. God had another plan, and it is a good one. I am so grateful that He ALWAYS shows us grace, even when we think we know better. This is a whole lot better than a jog and lunch with my friends!

 

Natasha JonesNatasha is a homeschooling mom of 6 awesome kids and has been married to Keith for 11 years. She blogs at Keeping Up with the Joneses.

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.

What to Read on a Snowy Day

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We don’t get many snowy days where we live, but when we do, you will find my boys knee deep in it. Okay, maybe only bottom-of-foot deep, but it’s still heaven to them!

When they finally come inside to get warm and dry, what’s a mom to do with all that leftover energy? You can’t “do school” on a snow day, can you? Well, being that we are homeschoolers, why not turn a snow day into a unit study?

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So, grab a cup of hot chocolate and plenty of marshmallows, snuggle under a warm blanket, and spend some quality time celebrating all things SNOW!

  1. Snow by Uri Shulevitz is a Caldecott Honor Book that depicts what happens in a village when a single flake of snow appears. Watch as this gray world suddenly becomes vibrant and alive. When you’re done reading, try painting your own scene with watercolors.
  2. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is the classic story of a little boy named Peter’s day in the snow. Peter makes interesting tracks in the snow by pointing his feet in different directions and by dragging his feet along. When you head back outside, see what kind of tracks you can make.
  3. Snowballs by Lois Ehlert is a fun picture book that uses collage illustrations. If you don’t have enough snow for a snowman (like us), gather some materials like the ones in the book or use scraps from magazines and junk mail to make a snowman collage on paper. You can also cut scraps from Christmas cards and leftover wrapping paper.
  4. The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader, another Caldecott Medal recipient, is a timeless classic (1948) that shows what happens to the animals when the big snow arrives. This book explores migration and hibernation, as well as depicting how the other animals prepare for winter. Pull out your nature journals and draw what the animals in your backyard are doing. Be sure to throw some seeds out for the birds and watch from your window to see what appears.
  5. The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino and Jon Nelson is a science lesson in picture book form. Learn how snow is formed and see enlarged actual photographs of snow crystals as if you were looking through a microscope. Take a piece of dark card stock and a magnifying glass outside to catch your own snow crystal and see what it looks like. This book might also inspire you to make cut paper snowflakes in different patterns to decorate your window!

Even if you don’t get snow where you live, you can always turn the air conditioning on and pretend it’s snowing outside! Everyone deserves a snow day once in a while.

 

Anne CampbellAnne Campbell is the mother to three boys (in every sense of the word!) and a homeschooler for the past eleven years. She is the Managing Editor of Blog at Home Educating Family Association, columnist for Home Educating Family Magazine, and member of the Home Educating Family review team. As a former classroom teacher, she loves to share resources and ideas and encourage other moms and homeschoolers. When they started on their homeschooling  journey, her oldest son was in kindergarten. They decided to take it one day at a time, one year at a time, and now she has a high school student, middle school student, and elementary student, and all still at home. They fly by the seats of their pants most days, spending as much time as possible exploring nature, and seizing learning opportunities whenever they appear. You can visit her at her blog Learning Table. You can also find Anne onBloglovin’FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.