Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

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


I find having routines help me be more productive. It also helped me a lot when the children were still schooling, as it enabled them to know what was expected of them and accomplish it.

I attempted scheduling, you know, with times and everything but that did not work for us at all! Times made it a total bust for us. BUT having the list of things that needed to be done, and even an order in which to accomplish them, was very helpful.

I recently have added to my short morning routine and now I’m getting a lot more things done each day. I’m not following it 100% but I’m getting way more accomplished than without something in writing.

Routines ~ Lifeofjoy.meAbove is my routines from my bullet journal. I don’t mark anything off; it’s just for reference. (It is odd that the brightest colors on the page, scanned the lightest.)

You have some kind of routines now, whether they are good or bad only you can say. For years I had bad routines, ones in which I flew by the seat of my pants and got little accomplished. It feels good to be more productive with my days. I’ve heard it said, many times, that the best way to get a good start in the morning is to plan for it the night before. So I’ve added to my evening routine.

On this Home Organization website, there is some help, ideas, and printables to guide you, if you are interested.

I hope you’ll give writing down your routines a try.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

St. Patrick Freebie and More

St Patrick Unit ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve got a few time sensitive freebies for you today.

The first one is a free unit study on Saint Patrick just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Since I’m already an email subscriber, I just clicked the link and was taken to the download page. So click here, sign up for their emails (very few), and get your free unit study.

The second one is a freebie or two when you sign up for the emails (also very few) over at Enrichment Studies. There is an Easter enrichment unit free to subscribers. Down at the bottom of the page under Recommended Resources is a listing of some art works (with samples) with a suggested schedule of use in a free pdf.

The last is a freebie reminder. Don’t forget to check out Homeschool Freebie of the Day (and go back to older pages as well, as some older items are still available). One freebie I found interesting was the “Make your own cartoon printables”. I followed the link but it didn’t go to what I thought it would. So, here is a link to the printables page on that website. It is a pretty cool site and even has some free ebooks, on top of the hundreds of single printables available.

I hope you find these useful.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Disciplining Part 2

Discipline Part 2 ~ Lifeofjoy.meThe biggest resource I had when my children were little, other than the Bible, was a small book from Michael and Debi Pearl, To Train Up A Child. One of the biggest things I learned was to expect first time obedience from children. This meant no counting . . . 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . because that only teaches the child that you don’t mean it until you get to three. :o Shocking, I know.

Now I have to admit that it has been ages since I read that book, as in sometime in the 90’s, but I believe that it had a lot of valuable tips. I probably don’t agree with it 100% but then the only thing I do agree with 100% is the Bible. ;) If you are in need of some help in this area, I recommend getting this little book. I found that it is now available on Amazon.

A book Tiffany read in the last couple of years and told me about, is Bringing Up Bebe, which shares the experiences of an American family living in France and how child rearing is different in the two places. There were so many good points in this book that I bought it. It talks about having specific times children eat, ensuring they eat healthily, greet adults properly, and how they are taught to be sage or wise. (There are a few cuss words in it though. We are removing those words from our copy. ;) )

We didn’t do “time outs” much when my children were little. There were probably some occasions when I did but I don’t recall that being a big part of disciplining them. However, when a time out is used, it is important to be diligent and not let the time go beyond what is appropriate. I did some research and basically learned that if time out is used, it should only last as many minutes as the years of age. For example, a six year old would have a six minute time out and a two year old would have a two minute time out. I also learned that a timer should be set in the child’s view, so that they can see when it will be over.

These are important points because you do not want to provoke your child to anger. I am certain that longer time outs than what is appropriate for the child is anger provoking and thus probably not very helpful in the long run.

Another thing I found was that the time out should be in the same area where the family is at the time  not sent to another part of the house. Of course, I’m sure there are exceptions to this.

I’ll close today with this link to an article I thought had some good Biblical tips on parenting. I hope it blesses you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Disciplining Children

Discipling Children ~ Lifeofjoy.meDisciplining children is such a difficult subject but it is so vital to a happy family. There were two big areas I struggled: consistency and attitude.

Be Consistent

It is draining to raise children, especially when they are in the ages that they are pushing limits. It is imperative that you remain consistent. If you say something, be prepared to enforce it because if you slip once, your child(ren) will remember that they got away with it once and hope that this will be another time they will be able to do that thing. It is in your best interest and in your child’s best interest to let your word be your bond and always say what you mean.

If you tell your child not to do something, they need to know that you are going to back up what you say. In other words, that you mean what you say. If you say that they are not getting dessert if they don’t pick up their toys but then when it is time for dessert, you cave and give them some even though they did not pick up their toys, you have just taught them that YOU do NOT mean what you say.

When you tell a young child not to touch something and they touch it anyway, quickly remove the object from their person (be it their hands or their foot or elbow or whatever body part they touched the object with), calmly but firmly tell them “no no” and lightly smack their hand. This does not have to hurt them. The point is to let them know that this is not allowed. Now it may be necessary as the child gets older to smack them a bit harder but this brings me to my next point, never out of anger.

Don’t Discipline Out of Anger

When you are angry, it is so easy to discipline out of anger because so many times you get frustrated having told the child numerous times about the thing already or they’ve broken something they weren’t even supposed to touch or they are making a scene in public. But the best thing to do is to take a deep breath and get control of yourself before disciplining your child for his/her inappropriate behavior.

End With Love

Once the  discipline time is over, be it a timeout or a swat, hug the child and reassure him/her of your love for the child. This one is vital. This lets the child know that you still love him/her even though he/she did something that was unacceptable.

This has gone long enough for today. I’ll get into some specifics and resources next week.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

D’Nealian Handwriting

d'nealian links ~ Lifeofjoy.meI’ve been wanting to better my manuscript handwriting for a while. I have a Creative Lettering workbookish thing I got from Aldi several weeks ago. I haven’t used it yet but I did look through it the other day and found that it isn’t quite what I’m wanting right now but I will use it this year, I think.

I decided that I’m really interested in D’Nealian handwriting style because it is an italic style handwriting and it generally looks really nice. I did a little research about it and found that it is more natural for some kids to learn. But as with most things, each child is different, so what may work best for one may not work so good for others.

If you have a child that struggles with handwriting, maybe you should change up the style you are using with that child.

Here are some links I found:

  • k12reader has some worksheets to print for learning to form the letters. There are individual pages you can download and print or all of the upper case in one and all of the lower case in one.
  • If you are unsure of how to form the letters, you can find videos on youtube that run through them. I increased the speed to 2x so that I wouldn’t have to agonizingly sit through it going so slowly. ;) Here’s one that is sped up 3X already. :)
  • Here are some worksheets at writing wizard for both ball and stick and D’nealian handwriting.
  • If you want to make your own worksheets, you can use this webpage over on handwritingpractice.
  • Here is one more youtube video that has directions, by an instructor in how to form the letters. She teaches them in groups of like construction. I’ve linked to the first lesson but if you click here, you will go to the page where the other 6 are located.

Over on, in response to a person’s question some suggestions were made for strengthening a child’s fine motor skills by giving them opportunities to use those muscles in a fun way by cutting, finger painting, playing with play dough and such. Here’s the link, the information you want is the second paragraph right after the A:, although it isn’t spaced quite right (if the paragraph you read doesn’t seem right, read the one before it. ;) )

I hope these are helpful to you. They were to me. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Winter Olympics 2018

winter olympics ~ Lifeofjoy.meWell, in case you have had your head in the sand like me, the Winter Olympics have started. Of course opening ceremonies are not until Friday but according to the official website, competitions have already begun.

I remember one year when my kids were young, we watched the olympics a lot! We put socks on our feet and “skated” across the kitchen floor. :D  I don’t know if my kids remember that or not but I do, especially since I bent over to open the bottom drawer in the kitchen and swung my leg up behind me in the air and pulled something. :))

As homeschoolers, we have the opportunity to turn everything into a learning event, so we could even binge on the Olympics and it was educational. We learned a lot about the different sports and were introduced to curling that year.

Want to take advantage of a learning opportunity?

  • Have the children pick a sport and find out the rules, history, and how much time is spent practicing it.
  • Have the children pick a country and learn about that culture, history, and people.
  • Learn about the history of the olympics

You could keep a medals count. Here is a printable to help you do that. They also have a word search. It’s a couple years old but should still be relevant.

I’m not going to overwhelm you with links, because hey! there are olympics to watch but here are a few websites I found with some good links for an olympic unit study.

  • This one is aimed at 3-9yo with a Montessori approach–very cool.
  • Sonlight has a free download available to aid in your South Korea study (because that is where the winter olympics are this time).
  • Here’s a good compilation of free unit studies and printables.
  • This one has some good ideas and good points about not trying to do it all too . . . it is worth reading, just take a few minutes and head over . . . includes ideas for the night of the opening ceremony.

I will close with sharing this fun idea that was used for a summer olympics but really looks like it could be used now too: Hosting an Olympic Games Event with games like stacking styrofoam cups and a hula hoop slide. Looks like it was a lot of fun.

I hope you will make some good memories with your children during the Olympics. Oh! and don’t hurt yourself. ;)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Blood Moon, Red Moon, Moon Study Links

Moon phases ~ Lifeofjoy.meDid you see the lunar eclipse yesterday? I did not but I understand it was both a blue moon, meaning it was the second full moon in the month, and a blood moon. Dinah Zike had a good write up about it earlier this week. I think it is good information, even though it has now too passed, because there will be more in the future sometime. ;)  Here is the link to her blog post.

Moon ~ lifeofjoy.meHere are some  links to some unit studies, activities, and printables on the moon. I hope they will be helpful the next time your little one (or even older child) has an interest in the moon, astronomy, or the solar system.

  • This page has a good number of Montessori-inspired moon activities including some painting and even scissor practice.
  • This page has a good collection of activity links including a glow in the dark moon phase mobile that looks really neat. :)
  • Here’s another page with a lot of Montessori-inspired moon activities including a video at the bottom.
  • This one includes directions to make an inexpensive DIY telescope. :)
  • Donna Young has a moon study outline.
  • And finally, here is how one gal’s interest led to a study of the moon and astronomy. Pretty interesting quick read.

I hope these pages are helpful to you. If nothing else, hop on over to Dinah Zike’s page and read the quick information about the colored moons.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Copywork, Penmanship, or Handwriting Practice

Copywork ~ lIfeofjoy.meMy baby sister and her girls came for a visit the other day; we like to get together once a month to talk homeschooling and just basically catch up. I know from past conversations that she really liked the copywork calendar printable from My Joy-Filled Life that I linked to last year in this post on handwriting and copywork. Having subscribed to her newsletter to obtain one of the calendars to see if I could recommend it, I still get updates from her that I read every now and then. Recently I noticed that she decided not to do the monthly free printable again, as she compiled the whole year into a one-time download to be purchased

for a nominal fee of under $3. Consequently I wondered what my sister had decided to do and told her I’d search around for some other freebies and share them today. :) (Aren’t I nice?! :D )

Oh! If you haven’t read that post I did last year on handwriting and copywork, you really should because there is some interesting tidbits about handwriting and its benefits for the body.

Copywork ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, let’s get started . . .

  • Here is a page that has several collections of copywork pages. The  verse is displayed in cursive, then in a large grayed cursive that younger ones can trace, and then finally lines for the child to write the verse on. There are three different sets with five verses each. Then lower down there are links for a free printable with twelve verses on a particular topic and in addition to the lined paper it has the verses illustrated to aid your children in memorizing these scriptures. Really very cute! You do have to click on each verse though to get the to the printables for each verse or you can just download the chart from this main page.

  • Here are some from Proverbs with links to some C.S. Lewis quotes and some from Dr. Suess too.  She also has a link to her pinterest board with lots more copywork pages.
  • On this page, the author shares 21 different verses she has created printables for.
  • Here  at A Diligent Heart, are ten verses in manuscript (print) in a choice of four versions for you to download.
  • Hubbard’s Cupboard has some as well.
  • Free Homeschool Deals has a LOT of links
  • This last one is not exactly copywork but you can use it to select one verse from the listed reference. It is a year long project to create a scene from the given reference using Legos.

There is also a curriculum called Write Through the Bible. They have several scripture passages to choose from.

If there is enough interest, I will consider creating a monthly calendar with a daily scripture to use for copywork.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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 ~ 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