Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

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

Favorite Christmas Books

My sister asked me about these this week and I realized that I hadn’t reminded you about them. So I’m here today to right that wrong.

Advent Books ~ Lifeofjoy.meJotham’s Journey is a great book that is set up with small portions to read each night throughout the four weeks prior to Christmas. It is set at the time of Jesus’ birth and is a fun adventure for children around age 8 and up. There are some tense moments that may be a bit too much for those younger than 8 but you know your children and what they can handle. It really is a good story.

If you have read this one, then there are two sequels you might enjoy as well: Tabitha’s Travels and Bartholomew’s Passage. These are set up the same way as Jotham’s Journey and also enjoyable. :)

Good Kids Christmas Book ~ LifeOfJoy.meThis is another book I really loved to read to the kids. It’s a bit longer than most of the Christmas books I had for them but I loved it so much I got it for Christmas recently. I wrote more about it on this post.

I also wrote about another book I really love called One Wintry Night which tells the salvation story. It is a sweet book that can be read one chapter at a time and with just eleven chapters it is a shorter commitment than Jotham’s Journey and the sequels.

I’ll share a few more of my favorite children’s Christmas books in the next weeks. I’d love to know what Christmas book traditions you have. I’m always looking for a new Christmas book. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº


Khan Academy

Link Khan Academy ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy father is still in ICU from having open heart surgery, so I’ll keep this short and sweet.

I have never used Khan Academy personally but my son has and has really benefited from it.

You do have to sign up for a free account but then you have access to a wide variety of lessons from all levels of math to test prep like SATs and such.

It’s worth looking into, especially if you struggle with math. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


It’s Time for Cinnamon Bear Again :)

Thanksgiving ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m spending the day with my family over at my little sister and her family’s home which is only a few minutes from my home. Brian, Lauren, and Liam came last night and will be spending the night again tonight.

I love Thanksgiving!!! We have so much fun, although it is a lot of work getting ready. But hey, I now have a head start on everything for Christmas. :) I just love this time of year.

Cinnamon Bear ~ Lifeofjoy.meSpeaking of Christmas, have you heard of Cinnamon Bear? It was an old radio show with 26 episodes that aired in ’30’s, ’40’s, and ’50’s. It aired 6 nights a week beginning Thanksgiving night and went until Christmas.

It is an adventure of Paddy O’Cinnamon. Here is a synopsis if you want to know more details. On this webpage you will find all 26 of the audios. Finally, they are also available on this page, and if you go down to Now Try Download Land, you can download the original coloring book (mind you they are very childish drawings) that your kids can color while listening or later for fun.

The episodes are very short so you should be able to find a few minutes, even during the busy days of December, to listen to an episode. If you do happen to get behind, they are short enough that you can easily catch up again. But we have some extra days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, so you have a little wiggle room. So maybe my sister Tracie and her girls will finally make it through all 26 episodes this year. ;)

One word of caution though, this does have Santa Claus in it. I sure wish I could find the old You Were There Nativity series. I listened to it once a LONG time ago on the radio and have never heard it since. Well, that’s a topic for another time. For now, go download the audios and make some memories with your kids. :)

Until next time, God bless,
Michele ºÜº

Time Sensitive Freebie people behind the Homeschool Freebie of the Day have done it again. :) They are offering a free Kitchen Skills Library.

Normally they sell this 9 pdf set for $27 but they are giving it away free for anyone that signs up for their newsletter by November 30th.

They send out 2 pdfs a week. As soon as you confirm your subscription you receive the links for the first two: The Kitchen Primer and the Sugar and Spice Unit Study on Ginger.

The first has 162 pages full of beginner tips  and suggestions for your children. You can print it out for them to have to read, review, and yes, even cook from. It includes many easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and sweets, and ideas for things to do for special days. There are even five tests, if you want to see how well your child retained the information (it also has the answer keys).

Then it has some pages to write down your own recipes and some to write down recipes you’ve tried and a place to give a rating. If I were printing this out, I would only print one or two of the additional recipe pages, as you can always print more as needed, and there are about 20 of the same page included in the pdf.

The second pdf is short but informative in its 10 pages. It is the unit study on ginger complete with a coloring page, some vocabulary, spelling work, word play, and math questions. It also includes a couple recipes, activity suggestion, and book suggestions.

Personally, I am interested in the health benefits of ginger root and the essential oil. So here are a few links for you to go with your study.

Well, I guess it would be best if I sent you over to the link to sign up for these free materials. I definitely feel it is worth giving them my email for these free resources (and I don’t even have homeschool aged children any longer ;) ). Jim Erskine has never abused my email inbox and I don’t believe he has ever given my email to anyone either and I’ve been receiving his other newsletter for many many years.

Remember this is only free to receive through the end of November and it is coming to an end much quicker than you think. ;) I am struggling to realize that Thanksgiving is actually next week!!!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

My Goal as a Homeschool Mom

goals ~ Lifeofjoy.meIn the early years, my goal as a homeschool mom was to have my children know God, what they believed and why, read, write, math, and know how to find answers to their questions.

I knew that there was absolutely zero way for me to teach my children everything they would ever need to know, so it was important for me to teach them how to find the information they need when they need it.

Growing up, I didn’t really know what I believed or why. My religion was more about the things I could and couldn’t do rather than knowing that God created the world, made man and placed him in the garden. Man sinned and needed a savior. Jesus came, lived a sinless life, died for our sins, and resurrected from the dead three days later.

If my kids didn’t watch or read certain things, I wanted them to know why. If they didn’t take things (drugs, alcohol, or smoke), I wanted them to know why. Most importantly, I wanted them to have a relationship with God themselves. This was the focal point of their education. Oh, they learned to read, write, and do math–sometimes even with tears. :D They even learned how to research and find the information they need, when they need it.

As they matured, it was important for me to turn the responsibility of their education over to them. I was to help guide them and provide materials but they needed to take ownership of it. This can be done by letting them choose the curriculum or, to some degree, the style or philosophy of their education.

Sean devoured science books in his final years. Tiffany worked on writing a book and learning about things concerning animals, gardening, and decorating a home, among other things. I made each of my children, in their senior year, be responsible for making dinner one night every week, so that they would be able to feed themselves well on their own and once they were married. Yes, even my boys; they can cook, they just choose not to. ;)

Homeschooling does not have to be hard and by no means does it need to look like schools. I think it is important to foster a love of learning so that they will continue to do so the rest of their lives, in some way. It is not good for anyone to become stagnant; we should all be continuing to learn new things.

I hope this helps, realizing that you don’t have to be everything and in charge of everything, as your child grows and matures.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Help to Overcome Disappointments

Overcoming Disappointment ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs a mom, it is easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many pulls on our attention and it can get difficult to get it all done. This can lead to disappointment.

Lysa TerKerst has a lovely, encouraging, free printable with twelve Biblical truths and declarations you can make to overcome disappointment. She even includes thoughts to reflect on and questions for you to consider (and even write out on the printable pages). It truly is an encouraging download. I hope you’ll go check it out.

These truths are even good to share with your children. They can be copywork and be used as a prayer to the Lord for you and your children. You could spread it out over about six weeks, doing one page a week. There are two verses printed out with two declarations and then a few more verses for you to look up yourself. You can do one verse each day and follow the example of the first two declarations/prayers to make your own out of the other verses.

I must let you now that I received this in my email completely free. I looked for it on the website to share with you and found that although it is still available for free, you do have to sign up for their email list. I recommend you do so, it really is encouraging. Click here to get it for yourself!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Homeschooling Styles

Homeschool Philosophies ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is a great day and age to home educate children! There are soooo many options! Actually, so many options that it can get down right confusing. There are even a lot of different philosophies about how to educate children.

I came across this website that does a good job of explaining the different styles and gives some pros and cons of each, as considered by the author. Now. I have to admit that I have not read all of the links but what I did I thought would be very helpful to explain the differences. Consequently, I decided to go ahead and share it with you today.

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Styles

I hope this helps you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


A Study of Nature

When I went outside recently to take pictures of my mums, I found one of those hurtful sand burrs. There were a group of them still on a stem. I gingerly pulled the stem out of the ground, so as not to get them stuck in my fingers. ;)

sand burr stalk ~

I decided to share it with you today because look what I saw.

nature study ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat is a seed that was just coming out of the burr. What a great way to teach your children about the law of genesis or some might call it the circle of life. These burrs are the abominable “fruit” of this weed and the carrier of the seeds inside for it to repopulate.

As you can see then, fall is just as good a time to observe nature as spring. Many things are coming to the end of their productivity but some have sprung back to fruitfulness, like my mums. :)

Take some time to get outside and just really look at one little bit of nature, in minute detail. Pull up a weed by the root so they can see that as well.

There are so many other things to see at this lovely time of year. I hope you’ll get them outside to enjoy it. Maybe even have them take some pictures and then put them on a larger screen so that they can see it even larger and see details. Then maybe even draw, paint, or sculpt what they see.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Savor the Moments

I received this email from Lisa Jacobson, of the other day. I thought her words were so good and encouraging that I asked her permission to share them with you, here today. She graciously agreed.  I ask you to pay special attention to the part after the second picture (emphasis mine); it’s really so very true. Without further adieu, I give you her words.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Can you believe I was 40 when I had our youngest son here?

Lisa and Hakon 2018

And, yes, I had moments during the pregnancy when I wondered if this was such a good idea.

Wondered if I’d have the stamina to keep up with him.

Wondered if I’d wish I was free to do “other things” while home caring for him.

Now he’s 12 and I’m . . . (it’s okay, you can do the math :) )

And now I know. It was a VERY good idea.

I love how he makes me laugh.

Keeps me young.

Points out the fat rabbits on the lawn and the frogs in the flowerbeds.

He reminds me of the sweet and exciting things left in this world.

Lisa with Dauntless and Hakon 2018

So I find that, as an older mom, I’m less in a hurry.

I KNOW how fast the years go.

And I savor these moments with him in ways that, frankly, I regret not having done with the older ones.

But you don’t have to wait until you’re an older mom to learn these things.

Please don’t wait.

Decide today that you’re going to laugh (more than you cry).

Stop to watch the fat rabbits and hoppy frogs in your yard.

And remember the sweet and exciting things still left in the world.

Trust me. You’ll never be sorry if you slow down.

In His grace,


Lisa Jacobson

on IG: @Club31Women


journal writing ~ Lifeofjoy.meA couple weeks ago I shared a link to the Daily Fun Facts, which also includes a journaling prompt. Well, that got me to looking at journaling and its benefits. And, you guessed it, I’m going to share my findings with you here today.

This first article gives different journal types and some benefits of journaling. Did you know that journaling can reduce your stress and increase your health and memory? Yep, it can! :) The cool thing is that you can have a journal dedicated to just one thing or combine different types of journals into one and just vary what you decide to include each time you write.

This isn’t just something helpful to children. It’s helpful to adults as well. Why not take this opportunity to start your own journal and have a journaling time in your school day, where you and your kids journal. Theirs may have pictures with a sentence, poem, or even a paragraph or two written about the picture or write about how unfair you are. ;) In this article the author shares his experience with journaling and some benefits he’s gained from it.

Now this guy does admit that he switched to an electronic journal but I highly advise you to use pen and paper, as the actual writing makes connections in your brain that are good for you. (reference that first article again ;) )

Okay, not sold on journaling for yourself yet? Read this article. I know it is a bit lengthy but there really are that many benefits to journaling! I’m encouraged to do more of it myself. Gratefulness journaling sounds like a really healthy habit to start.

Still not convinced? Here’s an article with some more reasons and later in the article it shares ideas on how to grade a journal, if you decide to do that.

I remember one English class I had in school that required a journal entry daily. That was difficult for me because I was constantly stumped with what to write. The teacher did provide some time in class to do the assignment and sometimes gave suggestions or put on some music for us to write to, where we could write about what the music made us think about or create a short description or story that would go with the music. I remember one time the music reminded me of a circus and that’s what I wrote about that day.

So this article has some reasons to use journal writing with students but the real jewel of this one is the ideas it shares. It suggests that lists are easy for children to write and thus a great journaling topic. I shared in a post several weeks ago, towards the end of my post, a really neat list idea one homeschooling mom had for her child, that made writing it painless. ;)

And the final link I have for you today is one that has a list at the end of it with 33 journaling ideas.  I didn’t, personally, find the rest of the information on the page helpful but the journaling ideas saved it from getting cut from my list. :D

If these ideas are not enough, just search on any search engine, including Pinterest, and you will have way more than you need! :) But more than anything else, I hope that this post encourages you to journal more. Oh! And you can always let them decorate their cover like I shared yesterday. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº