Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

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

Summer Reading

Uncle Sean's Turn ~ Lifeofjoy.meDuring the summer it is a good idea to keep your kids reading to help them not lose any ground academically. Here’s an article with some helpful tips on how to prevent, what the academic world calls the summer slide and some tips on how to find reading material that is a good fit for your child. Don’t worry, it’s a short read. :)

Need some ideas to help you encourage your children to read? Here are several.

  • This Summer Reading Challenge looks fun. It has a checklist of not only things to read, as in different sources like an ebook, a comic book, or even a recipe but also includes a checklist of different ways to read, like with a flashlight, to a pet, and at the library. There may be one or two you want to change out but I thought it was a nice free printable.
  • This is a simple bookmark with colored dots to punch as your child reads a book.
  • At this site you can download and print a Summer Reading Bingo and she gives ideas for using it as well, especially waiting until the Summer reading needs a little infusion to keep going.
  • Then there is this fun challenge to read in 100 different places or to different people.
  • Here’s another bingo card to print.
  • And don’t forget your local library’s Summer Reading Program. Also check with the bookstores in your area. I remember Barnes and Noble used to have one that rewarded the children with on of 6 free paperbacks for reading a certain number of books.

If you need book suggestions, just do a search on pinterest. I saw lots of ideas there, for all ages.

And remember to take time for reading yourself. Kids do what they see others do. :)

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Geography Helps

US Map ~ Lifeofjoy.meI remember when the kids were young, I found a small game download that was really good and simple for geography, especially United States geography. I cannot even begin to tell you what program that was now.

First I want to share a neat old book that you can use to help teach your child about the states. Be forewarned though, it is from 1896, so the statistics will be out of date but it still has some valuable information.

Rhymes of the States

I did a quick search recently and want to share what I found. I bet you can find some app for your electronic device be it phone, tablet, or laptop. Here are the websites I found.

  • Owl & Mouse –I think this might be the creators of the maps games that I was able to download for the children when they were young. It is a HUGE resource, especially for early learning, as well as maps and things.
  • Sheppard Software–This one has a variety of levels to learn geography and landforms around the world. There seems to be something for each state on the left sidebar but my internet is lagging right now, so I cannot fully check it out.
  • World Geography Games — This one has mountains, oceans, and other landforms as well as the US geography.
  • Seterra Geography Games — This has LOTS of world geography as well as US geography, which is also broken down into sections so your child doesn’t get worn out doing all 50 states at once.

All of the above are very simply games without a bunch of extras. They are about learning the geography and practicing it. Some of them also have trivia quizzes, I think. The are all on-line play.

I found one other website that had some old games. The one that caught my eye was Amazon Trail. I believe these are available to download. Might be worth checking out. ;)

And finally, I thought this article I wrote a couple of years ago about how we handled the summer and it has a link to how to use cards for some math practice.

Well, I’ll wrap it up for today. I hope you have a great day with your children.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Toys

Toys ~ Lifeofjoy.meI have to admit, my kids had too many toys, especially for living in a small house. I’m not sure who was more attached to them, the kids or me. :\

There were suggestions about boxing up some of the toys and rotating them. I don’t know that my kids were overwhelmed by the number of toys. They did not play with just a few of them, to my recollection; they seemed to play with most of them. Of course the few that they didn’t play with, I was attached to for whatever reason (i.e. Etch-a-Sketch and Light Bright) and did not want to eliminate those. We didn’t really have a place we could store  boxed toys on rotation, so that didn’t really work for us.

But I read this article yesterday which brought up some good points. Maybe it will help you tackle this difficult topic. :) Reasons 2 and 10 are ones I hadn’t thought of in that way before and number 1 is definitely true!

It’s a quick-to-read article, so I hope you’ll jump over there and read it for yourself.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

 

History, Geography, and Biographies

Stacks ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany and I had a library day last week because we needed to use some faster internet than what we have at home to do some updates and downloads on our laptops. Then we also wanted to browse the stacks.

I had seen a kids non-fiction book series that I wanted to check out. I’ll share some of that next week after I’ve had a chance to read some of them. But while I was looking for these books I had an idea that I wished I would have had when my kids were young.

Here is the idea . . . take your children to the children’s non-fiction section. Point out the 900’s section and have your children each pick out one book for them to read and later tell you about over the next week or two. Our library has a really interesting selection of books in this section. There are books about people, places, and historical events.

If you are prone to only spend time in the library once every couple of months or so, then have them plan accordingly with maybe a couple alternatives in case they just cannot read one of the books they brought home.

Of course, be sure to have them write down the title, author, and date they read it on a log to keep track of it all. But I recommend keeping it as a reminder of all the books they’ve read and things they’ve learned rather than one of those logs that makes you write down your times and/or how long your read. There is some research that the latter type of log can actually be a deterrent to reading.

They can keep this log on any piece of paper. You can dress it up with stickers or you can print out one of these available online free of charge. (Remember to stay clear of the ones with times, unless it is something your child desires.)

I hope these ideas and resources are helpful to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Dandelions and Home Education

Dandeliions ~ Lifeofjoy.meMy father told me dandelions were weeds. I remember seeing him digging them out of the yard he had sodded. I didn’t understand why they were bad but Daddy didn’t like them, so neither did I.

Mom did not like them because it brought back sad memories of when she was a little girl. She knew things were tight financially when her mom would send her out to pick dandelion greens for dinner, which would be made into a gravy . . . a gravy Mom did not like.

Fast forward MANY, MANY years and I realized dandelions were just a wild flower. Sometimes it had the poor taste of growing in people’s well-manicured, lush green lawns. But I live way out in the country now and have grown to appreciate dandelions for what they are. :)

So when I saw the title of Sarah’s post over on her website, My Joy-Filled Life, I was intrigued. The title was “Discovering Dandelions“. I had to go see what she had to say on the topic. Knowing she is a homeschooler, piqued my interest all the more.

I love how she did not influence her children’s opinion of that ‘flower’ but instead allowed them to discover for themselves and make up their own minds. But she didn’t stop there. I encourage you to go read her article; it isn’t very long, so won’t take a lot of time.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Help for Fidgety Kids

Help for Fidgety Kids ~ Lifeofjoy.meI sure wish some of these ideas and products had been available and I had known about them when my children were young. My kids all seemed to need to tap, pat, swing, or make noise or some combination of all these most of the time. I cannot tell you the number of times I had to tell them to stop that. :D Even today, in their twenties, I occasionally tell one of them that I need him to stop making noise. LOL

Well, I read that some schools are banning these fidget spinners. I can understand why but yet it is sad for those that can really benefit from using them. At any rate, this article has some really good links to some homemade fidget toys.

Here’s a link to a recipe to make your own Calming Glitter Slime. It looks really interesting. I think I’d like to have some. ;)

Then there are these Lego Calming Stress Balls. I think I’d like one or more of these as well. Years ago, there was this one kind of small ball that when I squeezed it, it felt really good. It was a different sensation but I really liked it. I wonder if these are anything like it.

Here is a post with links to some homemade spinners, like the ones that are all the rage right now. If your child is old enough, you could look at this page with him or her, let him/her make their own fidget spinner.Help Fidgety Kids ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I got this fidget cube for Sean and Tiffany recently, very inexpensively. They really like them.

This is a good post on why children fidget. What I took away from it is that children fidget because they don’t get enough movement.

They even say that heavy chores are helpful for those who feel the need to fidget. Hey! This is a win-win. This post even links to a list of appropriate chores.

And this page has LOTS of fidgety ideas.

Don’t get overwhelmed. Just pick one or two to check out. Most of these links came from the page on the first link. There are many links on most of that site’s pages.

I hope these can be helpful to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Great Resource

I checked out My Joy-Filled Life last week, to see if the monthly scripture handwriting was available. While I was there a few things caught my eye.

 

First there was this post with lots of links for games to make grammar fun. There are some really great ideas here!!! Check it out!

 

Then there was this one for cardboard box adventures. :) It even has a book suggestion to go along with this idea.

 

 

This also caught my eye. Apparently she has activities/links to activities to do based on a book month (like Five in a Row). So cool! This is the one that I saw and as I looked it over and got to the bottom, I saw she has lots of stories done and/or planned. What a great resource for mommies with little ones.

 

This is a great resource. I hope you’ll find something there you can use.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Animal Names

Animal words ~ Lifeofjoy.meWords are fun. Here are some I was reminded of this past week.

Pachyderm: I thought this was just an elephant but technically it is any thick skinned, very large mammal. This includes elephant but also rhinoceros and hippopotomus.

Dromedary: I thought this was just a camel but as it turns out, it is specifically a camel with one hump. A two hump camel is called a Bactrian.

I always have a hard time with telling the difference between alligators and crocodiles. But evidently the difference is in the snout. Crocodiles have the pointier snout and crocodiles have the more curved. It sure would have been easier to remember if the curved snouted one was the crocodile since the first letter is a curved letter. So I guess that means I have to remember that it isn’t the way I think it should be, analytically.

If you can see it, the crocodiles have their fourth bottom row teeth show over the top jaw, so it looks like a toothy grin. Or so they tell me.

These are some words to get you started.  You can stop here or use it as a spring board to talk about other easily confused critters or other big/fun words.

Here are some more ideas:

  • dragonfiles/damselflies
  • apes (gorillas, chimps, and such)
  • butterflies/moths

I hope this sparks some interest and fun for you and your children.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Games for Learning

Games ~ Lifeofjoy.meI just wanted to remind you today that games can be a good educational tool. I have a board game called NumberQuest that I played with my kids. Each child plays at whatever mathematical level they are at individually. I like math, so this one is a great one for me.

Microsoft Casual Games has a couple of numbers games that can be good to help you or your child. One is Sudoku. If you are not familiar with Sudoku, it uses the numbers 1-9 and they are used once in each row, column, and grid. It is a very good game which promotes thinking through these kinds of concepts.

Another math game I found recently, but have played without knowing its name, is Kakuro. This one I’ve played in paper and pencil format but recently found there is a free game app. I wish it were a Microsoft Casual Game because they have daily challenges, so there is always a new game but it is still a good game. This one is like a crossword puzzle where the digits in each square across add up to the total specified and a number can only be used once in any calculation. It’s some good thinking practice. It takes a bit to get started but I found that if I use the pencil feature and place possibles in each square, I can find the right answer in a few tries.

This week I also found some good games on Gamehouse.com which may be found elsewhere and maybe even for free but I haven’t looked. One is Sumico where you are given a target number and you click adjacent tiles to sum up to the target given. It is really good and makes you think a bit. It includes negative numbers as well.

Another game I played on Gamehouse is Chillout 2048 where you slide like numbers together until you reach the sum of 2048. There is some strategy necessary and lots of practice on the doubling of numbers.

Well, this is running a bit long, so I’ll just remind you that there are also a lot of word games available as well. Microsoft casual games has a couple I like that are quick to play: Wordament and SnapAttack. In Wordament it is like the Boggle game where you are given grid with letters and you create words by clicking on adjacent letters. SnapAttack you are given a rack of letters and a grid with a several words on it and you try to use all of your letters intersecting one of the words on the board.

There are some apps on my phone that I enjoy that provide word building: Word Bird, Word Cookies, and Word Monsters are a couple I can think of right now.

I enjoy games from Gamehouse.com and have purchased some from them without incident. They allow you to play games for an hour to see if you like it enough to purchase it. They also have a monthly subscription where you can play all of their games.

It is good to exercise the brain. I hope this will serve to remind you that there can be value in playing games.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Easter Unit Link

Easter ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’m going to keep this really succinct today because you need to run over to the Teaching Home newsletter and do their Five Day Easter Unit. Don’t attempt to do everything listed unless you take some time to do so. It is a very good Bible study with suggestions for music and films to enjoy.

I know Easter is in just a few short days but this may have exactly what you are needing to round out your Resurrection Day Celebration.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº