Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

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

A Lost Practice

Lost Practice ~ Lifeofjoy.meI wish I had taught my children to write thank you notes when they were young. I always ensured that they thanked people for gifts and such and only had the write thank you notes to people that sent gifts and were not there when the gift was open to receive the verbal thank you. But in hindsight, I think I probably did the a disservice by not requiring it for all gifts and experiences.

I read this post on entitled, How to Write a Thank You Note (and why you should). It was a very nice short read but completely got the point across. Thank you notes are a practice that can bring a little joy to the receiver. Think about it though, they took time and effort to give something to you.

I remember as a child, my mom would have my sister and I write thank you notes. I remember her writing it out so we would write it correctly. I have no idea how old I was.

Anyway, back to the post I read, the author gave specifics about how to compose a thank you card/note as well. She even gave examples of how her family gives thank you notes frequently and how it even blesses those who receive them that are not in the practice of giving them.

I think I may even up my thank you note giving a notch or two. ;) I think it is much more important than which fork to use for which course (use them from the outside to the inside and you should be okay ;) ) and can really bless someone who has blessed you.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº



Be Aware and Pray

Be Aware ~ Lifeofjoy.meI tried to keep communications open with my kids both as they were growing up and continue to do so now. Unfortunately, I’ve learned in recent months that I was clueless about what they were actually feeling. I had no idea my sweet daughter struggled with depression, panic attacks, and anxiety. Of course, to be fair, she didn’t realize that her feelings had names or that her feelings weren’t normal.

Thankfully, these are things that I have never really had to deal with, except for the occasional minor bout (I’ve talked a bit about it here and here.) but it left me clueless to notice any symptoms.

This post is to encourage you to be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, as well as self-image/self-worth. You should not go overboard complimenting your children, as that will do one of two things, namely puff them up with pride or make them question whether you are being truthful or not in other matters too.

I wish I had known what my children had felt and would have known the signs to help guide them to positive emotions. Please don’t misunderstand, all my children know I love them and have known it all their lives. They are also very aware that I am a momma bear and will look out for them as best I can but sometimes they (in hind sight) didn’t know how to describe what they were feeling and because I am a very optimistic person, I didn’t realize what was going on.

It’s hard when your child has a bad experience. You try your best and guide them to positive behaviors. I wish I had know how serious things were and would have prayed about each thing. I guess that is the takeaway . . . the big point I want to make . . . talk to your kids and really listen . . . take time to really listen . . . and then take each little thing to God in prayer and seek His guidance. Prayer should always be the first and last thing we do but unfortunately, way too often, we completely forget to pray about specific things. I know because I have smacked my head and said “Duh!” way too many times.

So, if you do not struggle with any of these things, do your children a favor and dig around for some information about what they look like/sound like/act like, so that you are aware and can pray and get them the help they need.

I hope this crazy rambling is helpful to you today.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº



Juvenile Non-Fiction Book Suggestions

Several weeks ago I recommended that you take your children to the library and let them browse through the 900’s section of the non-fiction books of the children’s section. I had heard of a book series that sounded pretty interesting. I checked them out to see if I could recommend them but when I was searching the stacks for them, I found some more books that looked interesting and that is what sparked the idea to let the children browse the section to find books that interested them.

Here’s some from the first series.
Good Children's non-fiction ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe two on the left are from the Who Was Series and the right are from the Where Is Series. I loved the book on Milton Bradley. I enjoyed the book on Alcatraz too. But the book on the Amazon had some evolution worldview and some such information, so be aware of that. These were really good books though. I started reading the on on Winston Churchill but needed to stop to write this. What I read so far was good and interesting.

I like that they do not dumb down the information but define possible new words right in the text. I recommend these books. They are chapter books with a medium size print. Very nice! At the end there is a timeline of world events and the subject of the book so that you can see what was happening in the world as well. Good idea.

In the Where Was books, there is a color fold-out map in the back. It is perforated so be careful when you open it for the first time. This series of books also has another subcategory, What is. I couldn’t find any of those in our branch when I was there, but I bet they are good as well.

There are over 120 titles in the Who Was Series. They cover all different people from Houdini to Tubman to Franklin to King Tut to Mozart and oh so many more. There are a couple dozen in the What Was Series ranging from the Gold Rush to Pearl Harbor to the San Francisco Earthquake and more. The Where Is Series has around twenty books covering the Solar System, the Eiffel Tower, and Easter Island to name a few.

I do not receive anything from recommending these books. I hope you enjoy them. I did and I don’t even have young kids anymore. :D

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº



Free Trial Offers for the Summer

Free Trial Offers for the Summer ~ Lifeofjoy.meOnce again Homeschool Buyers Co-op has some free programs to give a try for the summer or at least a month.

There’s a 30-day trial of an online homeschool planner, Homeschool Planet.

Discovery Education Streaming Plus has videos and lesson plans free until the end of August, as does National Geographic.

Then there is Miacademy and Homeschool Piano. IEW has a free downloadable video lessons for high schoolers! You should check that one out!

There is also Always Ice Cream and Clever Dragons interactive learning websites for grades K-8 that looks interesting.

And there’s several more too! You should go check it out. It is time sensitive, so hurry on over, the summer won’t last forever. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


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

Train a Child

Today my friend Ana shares how she is growing and maturing through raising her son. The struggle is real. It is our desire that her sharing here today will help you in your situation, whatever it may be.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

It’s so wonderful that the lord doesn’t base his love for us on how we act or if we are deserving. He basis his love solely in that we are his children. This week has been, yet another trial in the saga that is raising my son.

Man I’m telling you, I used to be able to go anywhere anytime with my girls and never once fear the behavior of my children. Insert my three year old son that has me terrified to do much of anything. I am afraid to go anywhere, for at any moment he can pick some situation that will be his undoing. It’s awful. And before you think for one second that I haven’t read or sought counsel from everyone I know on how to deal with it . . .  well I have. And if I’ve done it once, I’ve done it a million times. I have shed more tears over not knowing what he needs than any other fact of my life.

I spend my days afraid if it will be a good day or a bad day and I’ve allowed it all to hang on the balance of my sons attitude. Today I hit a wall as he began a huge fit at my daughters jujitsu class, for he didn’t want to relinquish the phone I had allowed him to play with. He yelled and kicked and hit me on the way to the car. As I buckled him he yelled at me, “STUPID!” I disciplined him and buckled into the car myself.

I was dumbstruck, hurt, embarrassed, angry, and above all DONE. At that moment my heart refused to acknowledge that I had any love for this child at all. I was so hurt that tears stung my eyes and I just wanted to hide. Instantly I thought, why did we have a third! Why? We were so good with two!! The fourth thought was . . . “wow Ana you are a horrible person!”

I was beyond tired of battling with this tiny being and trying to survive my day and feeling so alone in the battle. Every time I would try to explain to my husband my distress and my frustration, all I saw was the pain in his eyes hearing that I was not enjoying mothering our son.

It is a catalyst loving something that brings you to the edge of insanity and right as you’re about to jump says, “Mommy I love you.” As I drove home sad and eerily quiet, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Good thing I don’t just love you when you are obedient!”


He loves us despite our failures and our disobedience. That’s his example to me in how to love my son.

Love is patient!!! Man that one is hard. I so badly want to be plucked out of this battle field that I feel like I’m in with my child. I so badly want his stubbornness to subside and his soft and gentle spirit to come forth. I want him to oblige my dreams and behave all the time. But as I made him oatmeal this evening for dinner, yes oatmeal, and he said, “Mommy I love you!” I responded, “Thank you,” still angry and his little face looked up at me and asked, “You love me too right?” I knew immediately that I did. I love him despite this season of training . . . I love his smiles and giggles and strength. I love that he is mighty and a leader . . . and I understood what God was trying to tell me . . . I allowed myself to respond with my flesh to the situation, instead of my spirit man. I replied . . . “Yes buddy, I do, very much!!” I picked him up and held him and cried again at the knowledge that even when I fail as a mom or as a daughter of God, He’s got my back . . . He’s got my heart and he is gently and lovingly still training me.

All for His Glory,
Ana Osborn



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


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