Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

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

Student Planners

It was my job, as a homeschooling mom, to get my children to “own” their education. With Tiffany, I set up a planner of sorts for her to keep track of the things she read and studied. We talked about what she needed to do and set them up on a check list. Then she used the “planner” to write down some specific ideas/plans and then checked them off as she did them.

I got an email from Well-Planned Gal that I thought I’d share with you today because I think it is really good.


Have you ever felt frustrated when your child dillydallies during school? Most of you know, I homeschooled five kiddos, each were two years apart. So with students in preschool, 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th, I had little time for falling behind. But one of my daughters, although sweet and pleasant in every respect, seemed to have the daily ritual of daydreaming when she was suppose to be doing her math.

I tried everything from frequent reminders throughout the morning and motivating her with rewards to warning of possible discipline if she didn’t get to her work. But none of these worked. Then, one morning, I tried something completely different. It was something my father did with me, and it was something I was doing each day. I took a sheet of paper and wrote down a checklist of all her assignments.

Placing it on the table in front of her, she had a reference for what I expected her to accomplish in the day. And it worked. That day and each day after, as long as she had a reference, she would proceed from one assignment to the next. In no time, she was completing her schoolwork ahead of the other kids.

Looking back, this made sense! This daughter was smart and hard working, however, she always seemed to work better when I worked with her. This daily checklist was a way I could work along side her while having the freedom to help the other kids.

The next year, I developed a student planner! Knowing what my kids needed, this planner wasn’t just for school assignments, it includes a daily routine, schoolwork, practices and chores.

If your child is daydreaming during school time, perhaps a little guidance using my student and high school planners can help! Best of all, right now you can save 35% on any annual planner.

Student Planners


I got the link for the discount in the email newsletter to which I subscribed. I didn’t get prior permission to share the article, so I didn’t think I should share the discount code. So if you are interested you could contact them and see if you can get it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Daily Focus ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Photography Elective

I recently found out that my niece is interested in photography. I remember sharing a link some time ago (five years ago) to a Charlotte Mason approach to studying photography as a high school elective, here.

If your child/student is interested in photography, I’d stick with the suggestions on Dollie’s site. Then if your student enjoys that and still has interest you could use one of the free photography classes available online (from the links Dollie has on her site with the other suggestions).

It wouldn’t be necessary to get and use an expensive camera. Many students have a cell phone and most of those have good cameras in them. So the ideas suggested on Dollie’s site can be followed using a cell phone camera and finally printing the ones you want in the end. (We print at Wal-Mart but you could use the place you usually print photos.)

I hope this gives you some good ideas for you child that is interested in photography. And don’t forget to ask your student what they are interested in taking pictures of. Remember, the point behind this is to find your child’s interest and develop it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Should I Allow My Child to Read Books with Magic in Them?

Today’s post is guest authored by my daughter, Tiffany Michele. I hope it is helpful to you and your family. You can find her on Instagram here.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


So you’ve come across a game, movie, or book that you want to enjoy. But low and behold…magic.

Yeah it can suck to have this happen. But let me share with you something my mother had us kids do as children.

“How can you explain it not being magic or witchcraft?”

We kids took that question as a personal challenge and ended up coming up with scenarios that feel so real to me that I forget that it isn’t Cannon.

“Well you see, Mom. They have nanites in their blood that gives them abilities to freeze water by affecting the molecules around them!” or “So they have this device in their brain that allows them to move things with their minds!” and “See their ‘Wand’ or ‘Staff’ has technology in it that only works if you say the password for the ability you want to use!”

If our arguments were convincing enough, then we could play, read, or watch what we wanted. Though usually during this if my mom would look over and see a new ‘Spell’ or something she would sorta quiz us on it.

Just to see if our minds were in the right place.

I remember when we were using potions in Kingdom Hearts she looked over and was like: “Well how do you explain that?”

And me and my brothers were like: “Oh hohoho. We have explanations.” We went on to theorize that Potions were simply herbal concoctions. And the more powerful ones may or may not be imbued with nanites that can help heal you or heighten your senses creating a ‘Luck Up’ effect. (this explanation was easy to reach due to having read the Warrior Cats books that deal with Herbs and also having been fed a steady diet of Sci-Fi all our lives.)

As you can tell, I still remember these explanations. And honestly they weren’t hard to come up with. My brothers and I usually made them up on the spot. We didn’t spend much time thinking about them. We just were like: “Well here’s a logical explanation,” and that was that.

To this day I’ll find myself almost subconsciously doing this, making up explanations for ‘Magic’ and the like.

(Sometimes like with Narnia or Lord of the Rings we said ‘God blessed them’ and that was that.)

Instead of saying or thinking: “Oh no. Witchcraft etc. things! I must not let my child view this because they will think it’s real.” Challenge your child, like my mom challenged us. Take it as a learning experience and let your child come up with an answer. (We did not by any means win every debate. Sometimes we had to lick our wounds before trying again. Pokemon was one we never won until we were late teens, and then we didn’t even want to play it! It was just the principle of the matter . . . )

Kids are smart. And with the right carrot at the end of the stick, they can come up with really convincing arguments.

Personally I’m going to do this with my own kids. I’m not going to let them play Kingdom Hearts without a good explanation. I’m not gonna spoon feed them my own hard won victory. They have to do their own reasoning.

And that’s really good for them.

I will add that sometimes when we would watch certain things (like Krats Kreatures or movies with unexpected bad language) that were iffy, my parents would say: “That’s not true!” or “Bad word!” so much so that whenever we kids heard it we would start saying: “Bad word!” and “That’s not true!”

Also there were some things that even if we had an agreement for it, my parents did not let us watch it. Disney Princess movies were one of these things (though personally I don’t remember coming up with an explanation for Princesses, as a Tomboy it wasn’t my thing).

And that’s my rant. Hope it was helpful!

~Tiffany

Handwriting/Copywork ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Alternative NaNoWriMo Autumn Camp Opening Soon

November is NaNoWriMo, which is National Novel Writing Month. I’ve written about this before and this summer I wrote about a Christian alternative to the NaNoWriMo events held throughout the year: King’s Daughters’ Writing Camp.

King’s Daughters’ Writing Camp creators realize that the end of November is a very busy time, so they decided to make the official writing month be from the middle of October to the middle of November. Consequently, they are opening back up the camp, as of today.

Here is their website, so you can find out more. Here is their blog post about the beginning of camp for the fall.

Be sure to read my post from June for more information about what the camp is and why it was created. And remember, this is for all ages. So if you have girls that are interested in writing, this would be a great thing for them to be a part of.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Story Writing Practice

Tiffany and I had a girl day this week. One of the stops we made was at $5 Below. We really like that store. :) Most of the items are $5 or less. You have to be careful or you can end up spending an awful lot of money in there. :D

One of the items we found was this writing practice workbook. It was only $5 and Tiffany is already enjoying it. We think it would be good for anyone that is interested in writing, as young as 12 or so.

It has six different sections and numerous prompts in each section.

Story Starters

The first section is Story Starters. There are about 50 pages with at least one prompt on each page.

Crafting Characters

The next section is about developing characters and has about 30 pages with at least one prompt on each.

These are situations to put your characters into, to see how they respond. Here is another example: “Describe three things that your character is afraid of and why and then include them in a story.”

Filling in the Blanks

This approximately 30-page section has a prompt with a blank for you to fill in and then use it as some part of a story, either a beginning or an ending, or whatever.

Develop Dialogue

This next section is another 30 pages or so and is about developing dialogue.

A bit of dialogue is given and you are to write a scene surrounding it.

Crafting Conversations

Developing from the last section, this one works on conversations between two people. The aim is to continue the conversation, filling in who the people are and/or why they’re having the conversation.

Genre Generator

This last section is also about 30 pages long. There are at least one prompt per page. They are designed to get you thinking in another direction. Here are some examples.

Overall there are about 300 prompts in this book and although Tiffany just got it this week, she has already done a couple. I think she is liking them. :)

It would definitely be a good thing to throw into the language arts mix, especially if your child is interested in writing.

Here’s the back cover, in case you are interested.

I hope this helps you and your family.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Educating Your Teen/Pre-Teen

When your child gets about 12 years old, it is a good idea to start planning for their future and begin channeling their studies toward their interests (if you haven’t already).

Electives

Remember choosing electives in junior high and high school? Well, you have the opportunity to tailor the “electives” to be uniquely attuned to their interests and future knowledge base needed.

I didn’t do this as intentionally or aggressively with my first two but I learned from my mistakes. ;) With Tiffany, we knew for certain that she wanted to be a wife, mother, and homeschool mom.

Interest Directed

Tiffany and I talked about her interests and desires for the future. Then we planned out some areas of study. We included some study on marriage, child rearing, and homeschooling philosophies.

Being a wife means that she would need to know how to be a homemaker. We of course, had her begin cooking with me, to learn how, since cooking is a big part of the duty of most homemakers. :)

Tiffany had an interest in gardening, chickens, and goats. So we included those studies in her schedule. She also was interested in writing books, so we included time in her schedule to work on that too.

The point of all of this is to help your child get a knowledge base that will help with their future. If your child desires to do something that will require college, then preparing for that is a top priority.

Liberal Arts and Sports

Be sure to include things like art, music, physical activities/sports, if these areas of of interest to your child. It isn’t good to force them to do one of these activities, but talk with them and see if they have any interest in one of them. It’s a good idea to let them have as much say in their studies as possible.

Advisor

The goal of education is to work yourself out of a job. :) Train your child to self-educate with you checking in, answering questions, and guiding them in their studies.

Be sure to follow their interests and not dictate to them what they should do. Remember, it is their life. It is your job to help them prepare for it. Be their best cheerleader not their dictator. Help them discover what they  want to do/be and help them prepare for it.

I hope this is helpful to you and your family.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Cool Printables for Young Ones

I stumbled across this really neat website that provides some really nice printables each month. This link goes to the Raccoon set.

It includes counter cards, name recognition cards, rhyming cards, letter recognition, do-a-dot activities, and even a gameboard and a math activity. :) Soooo cute!

Apparently she releases a new unit on the 15th of each month to subscribers (which is free). Here is a link to the ones she provided free online last year.

Spend some time looking around her website. There is a wealth of information there. There are fall, winter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter, and even Ten Apples Up On Top units. Soooo much available, cute and fun!

There is a search feature at the top of the site, so if you are looking for something in particular, search for it. Such a great website.

I hope this is helpful to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Educational Games for PreK-6th Grades

I found this interesting website that has games for a wide variety of ages. You can choose a game from the all games list or look at the games suggested for specific ages/grades.

ABCya

It uses adobe flash, so if your child will access it on a computer, make sure it is enabled on your browser. Because some of the 400 games uses adobe flash, not all of them are available for play on other devices  via the app on their device but still over 300 games are available.

It is free but there are also subscriptions available with added benefits.

I also saw this article on cnet with some educational game suggestions.

I hope this is helpful to you and your children.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Holiday Prep, Yes Already

Whether you have begun your school year yet or not (or even homeschool year ’round), it is always good to be prepared for the holidays. You know they will be here in November and December, so best to plan for them now.

It can either be fun or hectic. :) I like to ask my family what activities they want to do this year and see if they have any new ideas. Our cookie decorating came from one of these discussions (and ideas I’d seen online).

Liam cookie decorating ~ Lifeojfoy.meI love to go walk through some Christmas lights! So I always like to plan that into our holiday schedule. I think this year I may see if my parents or maybe even the extended family want to do it together, since we haven’t gone with them in several years.

My awesome family ~ LifeOfJoy.me
Sean, Lauren, Mike, Brian, and Tiffany (left to right) – a bit blurry

While the children were still young enough that I homeschooled them (they have all been graduated for five plus years now), I liked to plan lighter activities for the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, with some days completely off.

I’ve done different things throughout the years. I’ve had them do the bare bones of math and Bible, with lots of cooking and crafting thrown in. We’ve read lots of books during the holidays. There are holiday unit studies, which are a fun way to homeschool through the holidays. And don’t forget about cooking/food when doing unit studies. :)

I came across this post the other day and thought I’d share it with you. It has some really good ideas. There are even ideas for fall and winter, as well.

I hope this get you thinking early enough that you have some good fun and stree-free holidays this year.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Cute Free Game: Island Saver

Tiffany found this cute game for play on the Switch a few weeks ago. There are 3 free levels and then there is a fourth level you can purchase for ?$5.99? I think. I have since discovered that it is also available on xbox one, ps4, and steam. :)

I like cutesy games and don’t generally like propaganda. ;) This is a very colorful game and gave me several hours of enjoyment.

In this game you are the bionaut and are tasked with cleaning up the trash that has landed on the island. As you remove the recyclable trash and wash (by shooting water) the goop off, you are rewarded with doubloons (a.k.a. money) and gray bankimals that arrive on the island. As the bankimals eat the fruits of the local vegetation, they process it into doubloons and they get full (they are a bank-animal) and you then help them by removing the money and they spew out the money and turn vibrant colors. :)

Since you can only hold so many items at once, you quickly need to open a bank account, complete with self-made pin. :)

The game teaches about money, banking, interest, and even taxes.

As you shoot the recyclables into the machine, it will fill up and eventually have to be emptied. You then get a tax coin from the tax machine and shoot it into the recycle center, which will then take off and land a few seconds later, empty and ready to receive more trash.

There are bankimals you can befriend and ride.

It’s a really cute and enjoyable game that even touches on loans, loan sharks, and foreign exchange/exchange rates.

There are even hats you can buy to put on your animals and paintballs to change their color combinations. If desired, you can collect the fruit from the plants and sell them to make money to buy more paint and hats. :)

I was quite surprised with this game and recommend it. (I am not compensated for this review, nor did I receive anything — I simply played the game and saw its value.)

As I was trying to spell certain names for this post, I found that the creators of the game have a website with activity sheets. They also have more financial learning help on the rest of the site. I haven’t looked it over very closely though, it seems good from what I have seen.

I hope this is helpful to you and your family.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº