Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

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

Year Long Travel Quest

travelling adventure ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere is a fun little activity to help teach your children some research skills and find some interesting places of the world. There are 36 weekly sites with clues and of course their answers. The goal is to identify the name and location of where the intrepid traveler Mrs. Waffenschmidt has traveled.

The first week I would talk about it with your child and work through it together. Probe them, see what their ideas are and give them ideas of what to search for, if they are stumped. You can also talk about how they could find the information without the internet. ;)

Here they have some ideas for how to use this in a classroom setting that you may be able to utilize but I’d just use it as a fun research activity for your kids.

Of course, this is a free resource online and as such, the answers are provided online also. So they do have some ideas if that happens.

I hope you enjoy this interesting geography study one place at a time. You could even use it as a jumping off point for other study if you so desired.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Don’t Get Too Busy

Busy ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhen our children were teens, my oldest said he wanted to play basketball. We had moved to the country and were home focused. We have a basketball hoop out in the back yard. Yes, it has a dirt ‘court’ but to my thinking, if he really wanted to play basketball then he’d be outside playing and I told him just that.

He went outside and played for a very short time and came back inside. I knew if it was something that God wanted him to do, and something he really had a strong desire to do, he’d be out there practicing, either early in the morning before it got hot or in the evening after it cooled off in the summer. I was willing to put in the time and money needed if he showed it to be a strong desire but I was not willing to do so if he only wanted to play for socialization. I did NOT need to be that busy and spend that much money because he wanted to hang with friends. ;)

I encourage you to take a look at the extra curricular things you and your children are considering for the new school year and determine if they are something God wants for them or if the activities are simply good things to do but not really necessary or really profitable for each child.

I read this article recently that had some good points about busyness and such. Much of the busyness is our own making and we put added stress on ourselves by rushing around getting places. It is a good article but there are a few unnecessary words; just needed to warn you. ;) One point he brings out is that people (including himself) are busy because they are afraid of being alone with themselves. Fortunately I am not like that, I enjoy peace and rest and even my alone time. :) The end of the article is really good!

I hope this encourages you today to take a fresh look at your commitments, pray about them, and following God’s leading as to which ones are important to keep and which ones, although good, are adding undo busyness to your lives.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Homeschool Free Resource

Homeschooling Resources ~ Lifeofjoy.meNearly two weeks ago, one of my favorite resources had a server meltdown and lost ten plus years of posts/resources. Although this is a horrible thing,  now is a great time for you to visit frequently and sign up for their email list where you will get exclusive links as well.

Monday through Thursday they will have new freebies but then on Fridays they will post 5-8 past freebies. The good thing about this is that they will probably be checking these freebies to ensure that they are still active, so you should not get any duds. :)

Oh, sign up for the email list right away because they will be sharing some links exclusively with subscribers. So head on over and check out Homeschool Freebie of the Day.

This week they’ve shared a dictation resource, a language arts resource and one for science, craft, and art projects. I’m headed to do some downloading, so I can check these out and save them for my kids use. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Are You Training Your Child or Is Your Child Training You?

Training Children ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is difficult to know when to begin putting your foot down with children. As babies, many times, we are the ones that are trained . . . they cry and we feed them, change them, hold them, put them to bed and so on.

I tried to get mine on a schedule as quickly as possible, mostly because I do not function well on little sleep. :D Filling their bellies and making them wait for about 3 hours before feeding them again trains them. Whereas waiting until they cry to be fed trains you. Hmmm . . .

It continues as they get older and begin wanting things. Our church is a family centered church which means that the children stay with the parent throughout the entire service and there is no children’s programs available. When my children were little, we sat in the back row near the bathrooms so that I could make a quick escape with a noisy child. My children did not tell me they wanted to go to the nursery; I didn’t allow it. They learned to sit and play quietly in the service.

If one of the children became noisy and me tapping them did not stop it immediately, we went into the bathroom where I corrected them and then we promptly returned to our seats.

One weekend I had my grandson in church with us. He is not yet two years old and this was last year some time as I recall. At any rate, we sit near the front and we did not change that this day. He got a bit fussy and loud, so I took him to the lobby and quieted him. When he stopped fussing, I took him back into the sanctuary but sat on the back row, in case I needed to escape again quickly, which I did about 15 minutes later. These are valuable times and worth missing the service if necessary for a few services to train the child that they must be quiet in service. I could still hear the speaker via the sound system, as I adjusted our little fellow’s attitude. He finally saw the light and we went back in for the remainder of the service.

This is how you train your child. If you are not training your child then you are the one being trained. Yes, sometimes it is easier just to give in and do what will keep them quiet in the moment but is that really teaching them the thing you want them to learn.

Also, giving them too many things to occupy them for the service time is not really training them to pay attention or sit and listen either. I do not believe a child should have an electronic device in a service; there are probably rare exceptions but is your child really an exception? Teaching a child to sit and write, draw, or color during service are a good idea. I even have some links to some printable listening pages you can print out for your children to use in services. There are even some set up so that pre-readers can use them.

Remember the Bible tells us to train our children not just to raise them. We also need to be setting good examples, being the best role models we can be for them. That means that you should be paying attention to the speaker too and not on facebook or doing something else on your phone. I know there are Bible apps on the phones now days, but if the temptation is too great to get sidetracked, maybe you’re better off with a printed Bible and notebook too.

I hope you’ve endured my rant and don’t hate me. :D

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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