Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

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

Fun New Game: Concept

For this past Christmas Sean requested and received a new board game called Concept.

Concept board game ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs with most games, we don’t play exactly by the given rules. ;) I’m not even sure exactly what the rules are but I’ll explain how we play it. We worked in pairs since it was a new game to us and were trying to figure it out. We felt the buddy system was the best way to enjoy the game.

So we paired up and worked as a team trying to get everyone else the word or phrase chosen.

There are cards with 9 different words or phrases on them.

Concept Cards ~ Lifeofjoy.meThree different difficulty levels, we assume. ;) But honestly, sometimes the blue ones were harder than the gray ones!

Concept Teams ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe teamed up and picked which one we wanted to try to get them to guess.

These are the game pieces (and cards).

Concept Game Pieces ~ Lifeofjoy.meYou use the green question mark piece to note what it is you are having them guess. So if it was Pancake, you’d put your green question mark piece on object the icon for object on the board.

Concept Board Game ~ Lifeofjoy.meConsulting the reference sheet, which has all the same icons on it that the board has on it but also has descriptions of what that icon might stand for. (The Word Bubble has word, phrase, or quote — I believe.) Then you put green little cubes on things that would describe the object; like food and maybe the sun for morning.

Concept game play ~ Lifeojfoy.meThe deal is that you cannot say anything but yes. So all you can do is point to the pictures on the board trying to get the people to follow you and get the idea of what you’re trying to get them to say.

The other pieces are for more complicated things like quotes or sayings where you’d but the ? on the word bubble and then use the different ! pieces for different words in the quote with the same colored cubes to help describe that word. Or for when you need to go at the word from a different angle; this way all the clues of the same color keep the different aspects separate. (Yeah, that last sentence probably just muddied it more rather than making it clearer to understand. :D )

It really is harder to explain than to play. We had a lot of fun playing it over the week of Christmas . . . okay, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.

Concept Teams ~ lifeofjoy.me Using the buddy system, even young ones  can play. :) You could also use it in your homeschooling by making cards (with only one or two choices) dealing with your science, history, or unit studies.

If you are looking for a new group game, this one is really fun. We just all talk through the clues together and holler out stuff. When someone gets it right, the next team takes a go. Although we started with really easy ones, so we decided to do two before it was the next team’s turn. In our version there is no points or scores, just fun cooperative play.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Teaching Responsibilities

Fun Cleaning Kids ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is important to teach  your children how to handle responsibilities. Life skills are so important and yet people forget to include these when training their children. When you homes educate your children you really need to embrace training your children how to do household chores and then expecting them to complete them up to your standards.

Now I will admit that I had to assess whether the standard I had was being nitpicky or reasonable. For example, I was taught to fold bath towels in half, then half again and then into thirds. That is how I thought towels were supposed to be folded. Well when I got married, my darling husband did not fold towels that way and did not see the need to do so. There were many times I went behind him and refolded the towels “the right way”. :D But by the time I was home educating  my children, either I could wear myself out doing everything myself or I could relax some standards that were not crucial to a good job being done. If they folded the towels then I left it be but if they just balled them up and stuffed them in the basket, that would be unacceptable. Do your carpets have to have the vacuum “lines” all going the right direction? I think not. ;)

Your children will still be bettered by being able to vacuum, fold laundry, wash dishes, and yes, even make dinner. When my children were in their final year or two of official education, I required the child to make dinner one night a week. This ensured that if they lived on their own, they would not have to eat unhealthy things because they weren’t taught how to cook. It also ensured that their spouses would be blessed by having a marriage partner that could help out in the kitchen when necessary. Plus it had the added benefit of giving me a night off from kitchen duty. :) Win!

Requiring children to clean up after themselves, help with dishes and dinner, vacuuming, and dusting, washing windows, cleaning the car, putting away groceries and yard work are all things that they will need to know how to do when they are on their own, so it is a good idea to teach them how to do it well. :) And then periodically inspect their work to ensure that they meet your standards.

Oh, one more thing . . . sometimes children think they have done something just because they thought about doing it. This is something that you have to work on and make the child aware that they need to follow through and do what they think about doing as soon as they think it rather than waiting where the lines can be blurred between knowing you should do something and having done it. I have one blessed child that still struggles with this and actually thinks the task has been completed when it hasn’t. I give a reminder and am usually met with amazement that it is left undone. There is no harm with this but a continued working and growing, helping this dear one to work through this difficult situation. This too shall pass . . . I hope. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Read Aloud Revival Challenge

Read Aloud Challenge ~ Lifeofjoy.meHere is something I just had to share with you today. It is a challenge to have your child(ren) read aloud for ten minutes at least twenty-five days in January. Reading aloud helps with decoding and comprehension skills.

When you sign up for the challenge you get a link to download a packet that has a calendar to print and coupons for you to use as rewards for the kids participation, like ice cream or a chore pass. I think it is a really cute idea.

Upon reading the comments, I noticed that several people were not receiving the email with the link to the packet download, so in the comments she put a link to the download page.

And I’d like to remind you that you can also get a link to book suggestion lists when you subscribe/give them your email. I just checked the list for fantasy recommendations and found many I have read and one I actually have on my reading shelf right now, and some that look interesting. There are suggestions for picture books, board books, classics, and even for struggling readers. Definitely worth looking at, in my opinion.

I hope this helps you and your children, as they improve their reading skills.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Goal Setting

Goal Setting ~ Lifeofjoy.me
Now is a good time to get your kids thinking about some goals and selecting one area to focus on in the coming year. You might give them some ideas or suggestions of some things they might want to consider but it is a good idea to let them choose the thing they will focus on for the year, because that gives them ownership of it and they are more likely to be successful.

If it happens to be an easily attainable goal, maybe suggest that each month they work towards adding another. For example, I will work at putting out a clean dishcloth each night when I run the dishwasher. I’d done this last year but let it slip, so will start it up again. Then if I’ve managed to make that a habit by February, I will add another habit I want to start, like swishing my toilet once each day.

Now I have to admit that adding a habit is easiest to attain when I attach it to something I already do at the same point of my day, every day. So the first one works because I set out the dishcloth at night when I run the dishwasher. The second one will be tougher because I don’t have a specific time designated to do this particular habit.

One other tip, model goal setting for your children. Share with them a goal that you will be focusing on. It is good for them to see you working to improve yourself as well.

Goal Setting BuJo ~ Lifeojfoy.meIf the goal is one that can benefit from some kind of poster, suggest that they make one. Flylady said that when she added a new item to her routines, she would put up a sticky note to remind her. So if I was going to swish my toilet after brushing my teeth, I could put a sticky note on the bathroom mirror to remind me to swish. I’m going to be making a page in my bullet journal for goal setting and then break it down to monthly and weekly things I can do to work towards the goal.

Here is a printable that you can do with your children. It has them list their favorites, some highlights of the previous year, and then some things to work on in the coming year. Whatever you do, don’t push them but do give them encouragement throughout the year.

I hope this gives you some ideas.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Christmas Activity Ideas

Christmastime Ideas ~ Lifeofjoy.meDo you need to have your kids practice a little grammar while on Christmas break? Here’s some fun Mad Libs that are good Christmas themed practice with parts of speech.

If you need some other activity ideas to keep your kids busy, here’s a page with some ideas. It has some easy crafty ideas. One of the ideas on the page is making a bell ornament. If your kids haven’t made their own ornament for your tree, there’s still time. ;) My sister has a couple of crafty ornaments that she has put on my parents’ Christmas tree each year. She and mom have fun moving them from front and center to hidden somewhere on the back of the tree.

Ugly Ornament in Front ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd finally, this webpage has some last minute ideas of things to do with your kids that don’t require much planning.

I hope you are making some fun memories with your kids and not just being stressed and overwhelmed. Take some time to breathe and enjoy this wonderful time of the year with your family. :)

Until next time, Merry Christmas,

Michele ºÜº

Elf on a Shelf Alternatives?

Not Elf but Mouse ~ Lifeofjoy.meI have to admit that it seems as if families have a lot of fun with the Elf on a Shelf. But I have a hard time with the concept behind the Elf on a Shelf. Basically, from what I’ve read, the concept is that the elf reports back to Santa every night about whether the child has been good or not. Seeing as I don’t like making Santa seem any more real that people and television already make him.

A few weeks ago I found Shepherd on the Search, which is a way to get in on the good fun of the Elf on a Shelf without supporting the lie of Santa. But I recently found a few more ideas here on this blog: BlessedBeyondADoubt.

The first link she has it to a site that shared the idea of A Christmas Mouse. In the explanation she shared that his great uncle is Reepicheep. Oh, now this makes this even more fun for those fans of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. She shares some ideas for things you can do with your mouse.

Jill shared some other links and ideas but my other favorite was the journey of the magi, where after Thanksgiving a wise man figurine is located in different places every day until he ends up under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. Of course, I’d have to turn this around to still having him wandering around until Epiphany, when it is celebrated that the magi found the child Jesus. But I really like the idea and will be thinking on how I will do this for my grandkids in the future. (Right now Liam is too young and lives a bit far for a daily or even weekly hunt . . . but I’ll be thinking on this.)

Jill even shared several more idea links. Do go check it out, if you’d like to find some alternatives to Elf on a Shelf.

Well, that’s it for today.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

A Few Christmas Ideas

Christmas Ideas ~ Lifeofjoy.meI have a few Christmas ideas I found online to share with you today.

The first is a sweet little verse a day  countdown for kids, specifically for younger children. It is a free printable pdf. She also has it in KJV here, if you prefer. She also shared about a darling product that appears to have come out last year but I didn’t see it (of course my kids are all grown, so there’s no wonder). It is call Shepherd on the Search. I really like this idea. I know it is a knock off of Elf on the Shelf but I always thought that seemed more like bribery, whereas a shepherd searching for Jesus is inline with my beliefs.

Here are 14 ornaments to print out. You can choose colored ones or ones to color. I think these drawings appeal to a little bit older child. They are really quite nice. It is a shorter version of a Jesse Tree.

This one looks like a fun activity. It is a photo scavenger hunt Christmas countdown. It has a scripture verse to read and a word to take a photo of. The first of December was a Road with John 14:6 as the verse. This could be a fun activity for pre-teens and teens to do. I noticed that pinterest had a couple others that could be fun too.

Then there is this Christmas story scripture reading plan. I saw several on pinterest. They are also called advent reading plans.

I hope these things give you some good ideas for ways to make this month special and keep the focus off of the gifts they will receive.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

DIY Christmas Countdown

DIY Christmas Countdown ~ Lifeofjoy.meTiffany has no space in her room for her Christmas tree this year and made the decision not to put it up. Of course, that does NOT mean that she is going without Christmas decor. She already had some white “twinkle” lights up and didn’t want to remove them so she added the multi-color lights to them.

Then she got some of her favorite ornaments and hung them on the strand of lights. :) But it just wasn’t quite complete so she got out some of her large drawing paper and put two pieces together. Then she used a marker to draw a Christmas tree spread over the two pages. Finally, she added numbered ornaments, one for each day until Christmas (or maybe it is Christmas Eve, I’m not sure). But then she colors in the highest number decoration each day, thus counting down the days until Christmas. :)

I thought it was such a cute idea that I just had to share it with you. Here’s what it looks like.

DIY Xmas Countdown ~ Lifeofjoy.meThat’s the picture with the pretty ambiance. Here’s how it looks with a flash, so you can see it well. ;)

DIY Xmas Tree Countdown ~ Lifeofjoy.meShe’ll work her way up the tree until she colors in the star on Christmas day (or eve, whichever it is she chose, since we basically have Christmas both days).

DIY Countdown Closeup ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis is a very simple countdown that can be made easily with supplies you have on hand right now.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Happy Thanksgiving and Cinnamon Bear

Thanksgiving and Cinnamon Bear ~ Lifeofjoy.meI hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am celebrating at my sister’s home with my parents, sister, her family, and of course, my hubby, kids and sweet grandson. :) (I count my daughter-in-love in with my kids, I’m not skipping her.)

Cinnamon Bear ~ Lifeofjoy.meHave 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

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Christmas Chapter Books for Littles

I thought I’d share a couple of Christmas books that are chapter books and thus could be spread out over several days reading. This might be good for those that are pretty busy during the Christmas season but still want to have an ongoing story to read.

Christmas Chapter Books ~ Lifeofjoy.me The first is One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham. It has eleven chapters. They are not very long chapters, for the most part, but you could read them with little ones.

This one reminds me of the Jesse Tree because she goes back and explains creation, the fall, the flood, and Abraham. Then proceeds to the nativity, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a lovely story that doesn’t just tell the nativity, which is unique for a Christmas story.

The second is The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas An Austin Family Story.

Christmas Chapter Books ~ Lifeofjoy.meI love this story so much I got put it on my Christmas list last year; as you can see, I received it. :)

This is one isn’t exactly a chapter book but it is long enough and broken down into days, leading up to Christmas. It can easily be divided up into several different readings. There are eleven places where you could break it up (well, you could break it up more if you wanted but, I wouldn’t do it any more than that). The first and last sections would be the longest. There are a couple of sections that are very small and could easily be read together. See the large letter O? There are nine more throughout the story and would be good stopping points.

Advent Book ~ Lifeofjoy.me

This one is a delightful story about a new baby being born in the family and a child learning humility. I first got this one from the library on the recommendation of another homeschooler and loved it.

Either of these two books or both of them could easily be ready throughout the advent season without the pressure of something you have to do every day.

I hope you’ll consider these books for your holiday reading this year; I believe they’ll be a blessing to you and your family.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº