Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

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

Writing Activity to Develop Characters

Tiffany has come up with this really neat activity that she does with her main characters when she is developing a character for one of her books. It is such a cool activity that I asked her to write up how she does it. And she has finally written it up for me to share with you.

I hope that it is helpful to you and your children. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.


Something my Mother has wanted me to share with all of y’all is a part of my writing process we have dubbed ‘Poetic Backstory.’
Let me explain.

Let’s take a Character, let’s call her Sue.

Now in a Poetic Backstory our goal is to get to know Sue beyond her hair color and height. We want to get to know her soul.
So. Let’s take Sue and let’s think on her for a moment here.
My thoughts go to ‘does she remind me of a Sunset? Brilliant hues streaking across the sky before melting into darkness? Or is she a Sunrise peaking through the trees in the early morning light?’
I think about if she reminds me of Rubarb pie. Is she a unique yet comforting person? Is she dark and complex like German chocolate cake?
Then as I ponder these things it leads me into her life’s path.
Let me show you . . .

Sue Rae Tyler was the dying sun on a cloudy day.
She was the flicker of a candle in a pitch black room.
The sparkle of fireflies on a summer night.
Sue Rae Tyler was four years old when she broke her arm. Falling from a tree she wasn’t supposed to climb.
Yet as she walked up to her mother with blood and dirt on her cheeks, she smiled painfully as her mother shrieked.

Sue– Notice how I’m not always saying ‘Sue’ or ‘Sue Rae’ or her full name? Spice it up and don’t always use one or the other.–is a slice of Cherry pie. Cinnamon flavored whipped cream swirled on top.
She’s gap toothed smiles and she’s others before herself.

Sue Rae is the—okay lemme show you, I stopped here. Because for a moment I thought that Sue was the eldest. She hides her pain behind a smile, so why?

Instead of being the eldest like I initially thought, Sue turned out to be the Youngest. She hides the pain because she wants to be more mature like her big siblings. She doesn’t want to be treated like a baby.
So with this revelation we can continue—youngest of five.
‘Don’t be such a baby.’ And ‘Only babies cry’ Race through her little ears and Sue Rae grows a stiff shell.

Sue Rae is a swing set on a ancient tree branch.
The late night reading underneath blankets.
She grows like a weed and Sue Rae Tyler loves that
.—And stop again. See what I did here? I put an emphasizes on ‘loves’. I want that word to pop out. I want you to feel her desire and pride.
Because that’s the point of this exercise.
To feel.

Now, you try! Why don’t you try with a character from Winnie the Pooh?
Try Piglet or Tigger on for size :) .

Does Piglet remind you of apple cobbler? Does he shiver under a mountain of blankets? Is he a warm hug on a crisp fall day?
What does Tigger symbolize for you? Is he a sugar rush on Thanksgiving evening? Is he a hoard of Easter candy in the corner of a room? Does he remind you of a bright starry night?
Go from there to writing a memory that might have impacted them.
Get creative! Maybe write about Tigger’s first bounce and how it made him feel.
Or when Piglet met Pooh Bear and the feeling of belonging and friendship that grew.

And that’s it. We’d love to hear what you come up with; share it in the comments with us. Or share your experience with this activity.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Winter Nature Journaling

I’m going to share a post I did last year but first I want to add a few links to things you can see in the night sky.

 

Winter Studies ~ Lifeofjoy.meAs homeschoolers, education can look differently throughout the year. You are not stuck with one way for the entire year. I thought I’d share some seasonal ideas with you from time to time.

 

In the winter, you can take advantage of the longer dark hours and do a unit on stars, constellation, astronomy, moon, and all things space. Actually going outside and looking at the stars. Now this had always been a struggle for me because I wasn’t sure I was seeing the right stars.

 

A couple years ago, we met a man who told us about these powerful lasers that can actually point to the stars. Really! Seriously! It’s sooo cool. Sean bought Michael one of these lasers for a gift a year ago. We really didn’t know how it worked or that it even worked very well. But last year when that same man was in town, we loaned him the laser to do a star gazing with some people one evening. He said that he changed out the battery and it worked great. We brought that laser back home and gave it try and were amazed. We surmised that either the battery was too low when first we tried it or it was not humid enough out, although it doesn’t require much.

 

I highly recommend this little jewel but be careful with it, as it is strong/powerful. I believe it is very similar to this one. It is also inexpensive. :)

 

Another thing you can do in the winter (or any time) is to track the weather. Write down the predicted weather and then the actual weather. For older children, you could have them compare weather predictions (different channels, apps, media). See if your favorite source is accurate or which source is the most accurate.

 

Here in Oklahoma, we get some mild days in winter (remember winter is three months long ;) ), so take advantage of the mild days and get outside. Do some nature study, comparing what you see with what was seen before (be it fall, summer, or even spring). Or you could just get in some physical activity . . . pick a sport and learn about it and its rules and practice one element of it on a nice day; it’ll be a nice break from the normal routine and being cooped up inside.

 

Go outside and work on adjectives that describe the weather. Sometimes the feeling of the wind blowing on your face or the sun shining down on you can help describe things better. Use the time to have them write something outside, be it a short story, paragraph, sentence, poem, or even haiku. Or just take your normal educational materials outside for a while, the sunshine (if there is any) will do you good.

 

Of course there is always the library. Don’t forget to take advantage of their resources. Schedule in a library day. Going to the library is an excursion for us, so we only planned one about once a quarter. Of course, we request books all the time and stop by for a quick drop off and pick up nearly weekly but with no browsing. Having a couple hours to browse the stacks is nice and can open you up to some books you would never have thought of before.

 

Well, I think you get the idea. As homeschoolers, your educational times do not have to fall into any box. You can night school, morning school, or noon school. You really have lots of options available to you.

 

I hope this gives you some ideas and helps you think outside the box.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Winter Activities and Nature Studies

I found this cool calendar with educationalesque things to do and decided to share it with you today. It has things to do like measure your shadow and compare it as the month progresses and moon phases. Here is a link to this year’s calendar but I liked a previous year’s calendar better with star activities here. Or print off both and pick and choose or do both. ;) Here’s a post I did last year on Winter nature studies.
Winter nature Study ~ Lifeofjoy.me
People tend to think of nature study in spring because there is so much to see. But the winter can be a good time to study nature too. Put out some seeds or nuts for the birds and then you can see what kind of birds are still around your house in the winter. Of course, if you like squirrels, you could put out food for them too. My parents used to feed squirrels years ago and then they started feeding birds. Then they saw the greedy squirrels stealing the birds’ food. Now days my retired father will shoot squirrels that come around. :D During the winter you can also talk about what kinds of trees lose their leaves and which don’t, the phases of the moon, stars and constellations. Here are three websites I’ve shared before and they are still active and have some good ideas, so I thought I’d share them again today. Taking Your Homeschool Outdoors Simply Charlotte Mason: Winter Nature Study Ten Ways to Study Nature in Winter I hope these ideas help you and your children engage in some wonderful nature study this season. Until next time, God bless, Michele ºÜº

January Book Suggestions Link

Oh my gracious! I decided to check Read Aloud Revival’s January picture book list suggestion. Some of the books look so inviting. I wish I had some young ones to read these with. As it is, I’m liable to sit down in the juvenile section of our library the next time I go and read some of these myself. :)

They even have some book recommendations on Martin Luther King Jr., since his day is coming up this month. (It is January 20th this year.)

So if you are looking for some good book recommendations, check it out here.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Plain Sugar Cookies ~ LifeOfJoy.me

Homeschooling As Christmas Approaches

During the last week before Christmas I always liked to read Christmas books, like I shared last week, and include the children in baking.

Learning about other cultures can be a fun at Christmas. Christmas crafts can also be a good way to continue to count school days. :)

Remember, it doesn’t have to be boring to be educational. During the week before Christmas, I recommend keeping it simple. Reading, baking, and crafting can be great educational opportunities. :)

I hope you enjoy continued learning throughout the holidays!

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Christmas Books with Children

Throughout the month of December I always liked to read a lot of Christmas books with the children. One year I got a bunch from BookOutlet.com. Here’s my current children’s holiday book shelf but sadly, I know it is missing a few books.

Here are some of my favorites.

Another great xmas book ~ LifeOfJoy.meAdvent Books ~ Lifeofjoy.meAnd it’s sequels. :)

Christmas Chapter Books ~ Lifeofjoy.meGood Kids Christmas Book ~ LifeOfJoy.meI’ve written about these books before here and here.

One good idea is to look for a collection of Christmas stories. I have these although I don’t think I read them much at all because we did the advent ones by Ytreeide most.

Here are some more individual stories we have.

I like this one because it is cloth and very brightly colored.

I had intended to show you a picture of the inside but the page I snapped a photo of was the same as the cover. :D Oh well, it’s bright inside and has the words on one side of the page and on the facing page is a full page picture. (Sorry, too late to take another picture. ;) )

I recorded this cartoon from television one year because I really liked it and then one day I heard that they’d send you a copy of the book for free. I like that I have this. :)

This next one is a favorite. We read Cranberry Thanksgiving in Five in a Row, so this one was extra fun for us.This next one is a favorite of mine because it talks about the real Saint Nicholas.

I got that one from Book Outlet . com too. :)

The last one I’ll share with you today is the one I got for my little grandson last year (I think). It is a hide and seek book, Christmas style. :)

I hope you’ll cuddle up with your children and make some memories together with some meaningful books. I’d love to hear your favorites.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Book Suggestions and Printables for Christmas Links

With the holiday season upon us, I thought I’d share a couple links for some Christmas themed printables and book suggestions.

First is the link for some cute Christmas words and pictures for some matching or handwriting practice and the second is a cute printable of the nativity with some handwriting practice pages too. You do have to register your email with them for a free account and these are available for free but I’m not sure how long, so click on over to “Only Passionate Curiosity” quickly. :)

Reading emojiThe other is a very long list of Christmas picture books from Read-Aloud Revival, some I have read and others I have not. I’ll share some of my children’s Christmas books with you next week. :) (I was too tired to take the pictures tonight. :D ) There are also links for Christmas novels and short stories, Audios, and even some bookish gift ideas.

I hope these links are helpful to you and enhance your December reading. :)

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

Thanksgiving ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Happy Thanksgiving 2019

I’m spending the day with my family over at my little sister and her family’s home which is only a few minutes from my home. Brian, Lauren, and Liam and my parents will be there too. I love Thanksgiving!!! We have so much fun, although it is a lot of work getting ready.

I’ve got most of my gifts purchased already. Now I just have to get them wrapped. There are a few people, all male, that didn’t have their lists ready yet but I’m on it and will wrap it up this next week, I hope! :)

Cinnamon Bear ~ Lifeofjoy.meSpeaking of Christmas, have 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. My sister didn’t make it through last year, even with the extra days between Thanksgiving and Christmas but she says this is their 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

Advent Books

I post something about these books every year about this time, so that you have time to obtain them and be ready the Sunday after Thanksgiving. :) This year I’m just reposting it. ;)


It is already November 14th and Thanksgiving is coming soon. I love this time of year but it moves so quickly. Before we know it, it will be a brand new year. :)

One of the things I liked to do during the Advent season when the kids were younger was to read an advent book. The ones I’m showing you today are for the older ones. Of course the younger ones in your family may also enjoy them but there are some tense scenes that may be too much for the littlest members of your family.

I’m sharing this week because you may need to order a book or request it from the library (if your system has it).

Advent Books ~ Lifeofjoy.meI have to admit that it has been quite a number of years since we’ve read this, so I don’t remember much of the story line. I do remember that we enjoyed it. We enjoyed it so much that I bought the sequels.

Advent ~ Lifeofjoy.meAdvent ~ lifeofjoy.meThe book would be started on Sunday, December 3. But if you think you may have trouble reading it every night, I guess you could start early. ;)

Give Jotham’s Journey a try this year, if you haven’t read it before. Next week I’ll share some books that can be read with the younger ones next week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Career Planning

When I started was in ninth grade I remember taking a test that helped point you toward a career in which you’d be interested. I would never have considered computer programing but because of the test I found something I loved doing.

I wish I’d have thought to look for a similar test when my children were in their teens. I think it would have helped them know what they wanted to do with their life. So, I thought I’d look around and see what I could find to share with you. You will probably have to submit an email address to get the results, so you could always get a special email for this  and other career prep/college prep sites.

Here’s what I found:

  • https://365tests.com/job-tests/career-assessment-test/
  • https://www.whatcareerisrightforme.com/
  • https://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/careers/what-career-is-right-for-me.html
  • https://www.princetonreview.com/quiz/career-quiz
  • https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/careers/career-quiz
  • https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/guide/personality-test-advance-career/

I hope this will be beneficial to you and your children to help them see what career might be interesting to them.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº