Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

Because child rearing takes so much thought, especially when home educating.

Mother Culture

Refreshing ~ Lifeofjoy.meMother Culture is something I learned about when I was reading A Charlotte Mason Companion. It has been mentioned in a variety of ways in the homeschool community.

When I think of mother culture, I think about what a mother does. Not the mothering, wifeing, housekeeping, and such but the things she does for her. Now I’m not talking about going to a movie with girlfriends or getting a pedicure, although those things can and should be a part of your life. I’m talking about interests and continuing to learn; a continuing education if you will.

It’s important to continue growing and learning. Are you a musician, artist, crafter? Do you actively pursue these ventures? Do you take time to read each day? Do you make sure you have time with God every day, praying, worshiping, reading the Bible, just plain communing with Him on some level every day? I know it is easy to let this slip. There’s so much to be done but this is really one piece of your daily puzzle that you NEED.

Aside from spending some time, be it a few minutes or longer, in pursuit of God, you also need to be spending time doing something you enjoy and if it will nourish your mind, that’s a bonus. ;) It is good for children to see you doing these things. This way they see that you place value on them. If all your children ever see you do is work and watch television or spend time on social media, is that really the example you want them to follow?

Remember that you are making disciples of your children. They pay attention more to what they see than what they are told. Remember you are the most important role model in your children’s lives. If they see you pursuing God, knowledge, and profitable activities, they will follow suit in time.

I’m including some links here if you desire to find out more about Mother Culture.

After reading those articles, you will find that Mother Culture is also closely related to reading. It is suggested that you have three books going at any given time (other than the Bible), a stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel. At any given time you read whichever one you feel like reading.

Tiffany has said that she finds it difficult to talk to new moms because she asks about them and all they can talk about their child. Although she loves hearing about the children, it also hurts her because she knows it is important that they continue to have pursuits of their own. Thankfully she’s read A Charlotte Mason Companion and is convinced of its value. I hope you are too.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Preparing For a New School Year

Bouquet newly sharpened pencils ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere in OK the schools begin their new year in about mid-August. This was always very odd for me because when I was young school never started until AFTER Labor Day. The first couple of years that we lived here, it caught me off guard when they got out of school about the middle of MAY! That was a bit frustrating to me because they were already out of school and we homeschoolers were still plugging away. I quickly realized my error and did some schedule shifting the next year. ;)

Because the new school year starts in August, July is school supplies month. I love school supplies. It reminds me of the line from You’ve Got Mail when he says he’d send her a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils if he knew her name and address. Of course, I’d send sharpened colored pencils since they’d be prettier. ;)

At any rate, now is the time to watch the sales and stock up on pencils, pens, paper, glue, and pocket portfolios. Years ago I got such a good deal on spiral notebooks, I think they were just 17¢ each, that I’m still working through my stockpile of them. But I need to go through my stash and see if there is anything I do need to purchase.

I bought some tracing paper today. Sadly, it was NOT on sale and there was only one brand. It wasn’t even in the school supplies aisle but in the coloring craft aisle. I even asked an employee working in the area if they had any and she didn’t know of any at all. :( I need it for working on some lettering styles. I supposed to place the tracing paper over the page in my book and practice that way because I can then see through the paper and work on forming my letters.

Some of the items I stock up on are the yellowish-orange disposable mechanical pencils, papermate colored pens, paper of different types, notebooks, tape, and glue. I used to stock up on index cards and sticky notes and sticky flags. But I use my bullet journal for that now. What do you stock up on?

Of course, looking over any new curricula you intend to use is a vital step in preparation. Sometimes they suggest using specific office type supplies. Be sure to take a look at those recommendations now while things are on sale and save yourself some money. ;)

You might also think about what you can do to celebrate your first day back at “school.” (I’ll share some ideas in the coming weeks for first day ideas.) Will you jump in all subjects right away or ease back in slowly, one subject at a time?

Well, keep your eyes peeled for those wonderful deals.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Praying for Your Children

Prayer for Kids ~ Lifeofjoy.meI think one of the best prayers you can pray for your children is that God would give them the friends HE wants them to have. I prayed this for my children and it seems that God was even more selective than I was. ;)

Tiffany and I have joked about her being invisible in the past. To some extent it seems she still is. ;) I think it was a protection of sorts so that she didn’t get caught up with the wrong kids. Of course, it was not easy for her. I tried a number of things to help her make connections with others–homeschool gatherings, church gatherings, youth specific activities– but in the end, she was pretty lonesome. I did my best to make up for the lack of friends her own age and today we are the best of friends, for which I am exceedingly grateful.

She has turned this around in her life today. She’s a mature young lady that goes out of her introverted comfort zone and seeks out others at church. Through it all, she has found she is much more comfortable talking with older people than with people her own age. So many of the older ladies just love her and remark over how sweet she is. :)

I guess my point is that she turned a difficult time, a time where she was really “invisible,” into something good. She now seeks out others who seem to be alone and talks to them, making them a bit less invisible too.

I was reminded of the whole invisibility thing when I saw this article posted by someone on facebook. It contained an interesting and a bit familiar story. I felt it was worth reading.

I hope that if you find yourself in a similar situation, you will remember to treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Summer Fun Ideas

Summer Fun Links ~ Lifeofjoy.meSome time ago I came across this webpage on the Dating Divas site. They have a lot of cool things there if you have never visited their site. Usually I go there for marriage ideas but some of them are moms too and provide some ideas to do with kids too.

Here they have 50 things to do with kids. They have all kinds of ideas including indoor and outdoor activities from scavenger hunts to pajama night to “paint slip-and-slide” and much more. In true dating diva fashion, some ideas even include free printables. :

In case that isn’t enough, here is a list of 101 things to do this summer. This list has a good variety of suggestions with many that are more on the tame side. ;) There are suggestions from “Take a Hike” to “Cloud Watching” or “Stargazing” and “Plant a garden” to “Make Homemade Cards.” There really are a lot of great ideas. You could print of the page and have the kids highlight/check off the items as they do them. With 101 suggestions, it will take a little while. :)

Need even more ideas? Here’s a list of 50 free or cheap things to do this summer. And if you and your kids are still bored or in need of suggestions, me thinks you’re too picky :D but you can find so many more ideas on pinterest.

I hope you and your family will have fun making memories this summer. Read some books, make some food, spend time outside, and be sure to get in some cuddles. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Vote ~ lifeojoy.meThis coming week is the primary elections in Oklahoma. I don’t generally vote in the primaries. In order to vote in the primaries you must be registered for a specific party. The reason for this is so that people from the other party can’t get the weaker candidate on the ballot to oppose their candidate. If you want to see if your state is having primaries this year, you can check this webpage.

It is important to teach your children about civics and their responsibilities as a citizen of this country. In Oklahoma it is one of the few requirements we have for educating our children. One way we teach children about civics (and really most everything) is by what we do. If we spend time researching which candidate to vote for and go vote, we show our children that we place importance on it.

If you are looking for a curriculum to teach your children about our government and how it works, the HSLDA has some good information on teaching civics here.

I hope this is helpful to you and reminds you to check into your state’s upcoming elections.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº



Signing and Children

SIgning with Littles ~ Lifeofjoy.meI recently heard of a young homeschooling momma whose young boy, about age 7, stopped talking. I cannot imagine what challenges she is facing, especially if she doesn’t know sign language in any form.

I learned sign language from books. Truth be told, God enabled me to learn it pretty decently. Unfortunately I never had a clue that teaching babies/toddlers was a thing, as I definitely would have used it with my children when they were young because they did not really talk much until they were two years old. Brian and Lauren (my son and daughter-in-love) are teaching my grandson some sign language and it is really helping them communicate better.

I found a few links to share with you today. I hope they might be helpful.

A lot of libraries have baby sign language books and other resources available.

I found that there are lots of articles online touting the benefits of teaching toddlers and young children sign language. It can help them communicate more readily. It connects both sides of the brain and more.

I hope this helps some. As always, if you have any specific questions, let me know and I’ll try to help.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Educating the Preschooler

Preschool Learning ~ Lifeofjoy.meMuch of the little ones’ time should be spent outdoors and in play. As you do things throughout the day point out the number of things or color of items. Name body parts and objects in the home and outside. All these things build a child’s vocabulary.

To give you ideas of activities you can do with your young child, Before Five In A Row is a great resource. (I was going to include a picture of it but I cannot locate my copy just now. :( )It has a treasury of ideas to draw from in one part of the book. In the other part of the book it shares some quality children’s books and some activity ideas you can do that relate to that book.

Unlike Five in a Row where you read the same story five days in a row doing a different activity with the child each day, Before Five in a Row is not repeated, unless child directed (I know some children that will ask you to read the same book to them over and over again but others do not.) You just pick up one of the books as you desire and do something with your child. Don’t make this schooly! Keep it fun and as impromptu as you can. ;)

Before Five in a Row is a good way to get your feet wet with some activities that springboard from a book. I highly recommend it.

As I was preparing this post I looked up some Charlotte Mason ideas on preschool. I found that habits are a big focus. I’ll post more on that another day but want to mention this free resource for your further information. Smooth and Easy Days is just a little ebook to give you some basic information about habits and will give you some things to think about.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Cute Educational Game to Make

I saw this pin on pinterest; I seldom go to my feed on pinterest because I get lost for hours and slow my computer way down because of all the tabs I open up. :D But I was there the other day and saw this really cute idea.

It uses simple supplies which include a lightweight box bottom, toilet paper rolls or paper towel tube or even a wrapping paper tube, some glue, a marker or pen or some such item, scissors, and a pom-pom.

It is such an easy crafty idea that even a child could make it (now not a young one but definitely elementary age). You cut the paper tube into pieces, number them, and glue them to the box at varying angles. When it has dried, you use the pom-pom as a ball and roll it through the tubes in a specific order. (Think ball maze.)

You could even make two and have kids race each other or put letters on the tubes and make words or go through the alphabet. So many ways to play with it.

Here’s the link to this cute little DIY game.

I hope you enjoy this idea.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Ending the School Year

THM cupcake ~ Lifeofjoy.meAlthough we homeschooled year round, we had time away from our usual studies too. I worked out a calendar to include our 180 required days and worked in blocks of time where we were had a break from typical studies too.

I never thought about last day celebrations and such. The article I’m sharing with you today has some good ideas for ending a school year. While I don’t completely agree with everything shared, I think the ideas are worth sharing.

I hope it helps you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Celebrate the End of the School Year

By Leah DeLaughter

As the days get warmer, and summer approaches, the children seem to anticipate the end of the school year. The natives are getting restless! Whether you take a three-month break for summer, or teach year-round, it is good to have a sense of completion. Acknowledge how far you have come this year; celebrate together, and prepare to move forward into the new school year with renewed vigor.

By the end of the school year, many times our homeschools are just limping along. Both kids and moms start sleeping in, and the school day somehow ends earlier, as focus begins to wane. It’s ok to recognize this time for what it is: winding down for a time of relaxation before the next big push for the new school year. So, with the school year coming to a close, how can we celebrate it together?

Approaching the End of the School Year

The first question to answer is, when are you going to end your school year? How will you determine that you are finished? This question may be harder than it sounds. Do you have to complete the entire curriculum you started at the beginning of the year? (If that’s the case, most of us would never end the school year!) Do you end when you have reached a certain number of school days or when your child has reached an academic goal or passed a test? Have a goal in mind, but give yourself and your children some grace. You can always pick up where you left off next school year, and most curricula spend the first part of the year reviewing old material anyway. Can you count one of your family trips as a school field trip? I’m sure your children learned something during the trip! Don’t cut your year short by any means, but make a realistic decision of when you want to end, and stick to it!

Once you have decided when you are going to end school for the year, put it on the calendar, and let the children count down to the end of school. As the final weeks approach, look over your school work. Are there any projects that are halfway done that you want finished (such as a State Notebook, a sewing project or a story?) Are there any subjects that can be dropped for now and picked up again next school year? What subjects do you and your children want to focus on for the last few weeks of school?

Be sure to get some pictures of the kids in their study environment for memory’s sake, especially if you are interested in making a memory book or photo collage. You’ll never regret having pictures of your kids reading or studying, so make sure you sneak some in now if you haven’t earlier in the school year.

Straighten out your papers and grades. I, for one, am horrible about keeping track of grades. I put all graded tests and papers into a folder, and at the end of the year take them out, and record them into a Word document. If you don’t have a way to keep track of grades, find one. There are many useful resources out there for this. For those who don’t believe in grades, (and I’m right there with you,) create a Word document for each student and write about their accomplishments that year. Did they learn to read? What are they able to do in math? What books did they read? What projects did they work on or complete? This documentation will help you remember each year what each child has accomplished as well as reassure you as the years go on that your child actually is learning!

Spend some time sorting through all of those papers, tests, and drawings that have piled up during the school year. Which ones are going into the recycling bin? Can you mail any of the pictures to Grandma? Which of the papers, maps or tests do you want to keep in a folder? Put the important papers to keep in a folder labeled with the year. You don’t need to keep every scrap of paper, just the ones that you feel are your child’s best work.


Now is the time to celebrate! You and your children have made it through another school year together! Don’t get hung up on whether or not you completed every single thing in the curriculum. Focus on what you did accomplish. On the last day of school or soon afterwards, have an awards ceremony, and present each child an awards certificate (preferably several) for his or her accomplishments. For example, “Congratulations, Jonathan! You completed Kindergarten” or “Good Job, Heather! You memorized your multiplication tables!” Think about some things your child has achieved this year, and congratulate him or her for it. Did your child memorize the Declaration of Independence, or learn the 50 states and capitals? Did one learn to spell his name? I like to give at least two certificates per child.

Give a small gift. Go to a dollar store, and get them some stationary, or a cool pen, or a shovel and pail. It doesn’t have to be big, just something to let them know how proud you are of them and that this is a special time. And, don’t forget to get a picture of everyone on their last day, together with their teacher! Give yourself and your children the acknowledgement of a job well done this school year.

Leah DeLaughter is the homeschool mother of three beautiful children who are 6, 11, and 13. They have been homeschooling for eight years, and have lived for ten years as missionaries in Tanzania. Leah loves to spend her time reading on her Kindle, playing with her kids, and having dates with her husband, Bill. She writes about her homeschooling journey on

Copyright 2018, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by Author. Originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read TOS Magazine free at, or download the free reader apps at for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.

Continuing Education through the Summer

Summer Activities ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere in Oklahoma most of the public schools are getting out for the summer already. It was a shock to me when we first moved here that the kids were out in the middle of May and that they started back in August!!! What?!? School wasn’t supposed to start until after Labor Day and let out the first part of June . . . that’s how it always was for me in both Ohio and Virginia. So that next year I did some readjusting of our schedule and shortly there after our school year looked drastically different; after all, it is hot as blazes here in August, so you might as well get a jump on “school” not that I ever really let them stop learning. ;)

So, during the summers I had some requirements:

  1. Read the Bible daily
  2. Participate in the library’s summer reading program
  3. Chores
  4. And most summers I required they play an educational game each day
  5. and do some cards on our GeoSafari, being sure to include math in either the game or the cards. (I made some cards to review things they learned throughout the year as well as packets of cards we bought.)

These were to ensure that they didn’t think they were going to sit around and play video games or watch television all day throughout the summer and that when we started formal lessons again that we didn’t have to do quite so much catch-up or review. Oh don’t misunderstand, there were many a year that the boys would be struggling to get their required books read before the deadline but complete it they did. :) Here’s a post I wrote with some summer activity ideas.

I also wrote a post on Summer Reading a couple of years ago and spent some time last night checking the links to ensure they still worked; good thing too because one was completely busted and a few needed updating. Anyway, check out that post for some reading scavenger hunt ideas. And just as I was putting in that link, I realized I did one last year with completely different links, which are all still active. It has some good links for Bingo cards to print with reading challenges/goals on them, as well as a simple bookmark to keep track of the number of books read.

I’ll share some more summer activity ideas next week. Until then I hope I’ve given you some ideas to keep your kids learning this summer.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº