Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

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

Book Suggestions and Lenten Read Aloud

March Reads ~ Lifeofjoy.meSeveral weeks ago I raved about the book Teaching from Rest and in the past I have talked about the Read Aloud Revival website. Well, I had forgotten that the two were both by the same lady, Sarah Mackenzie until I received (and read) a recent email from her.

She recently sent an email with a list of picture books for March. I thought it was a great list and would share the article link with you today.

Some of the books she shared are “funny” books. I didn’t recognize very many of them. Two books that I read to my kids when they were young were Fox in Socks by Dr. Suess (pronounced Soyss) and Stand Back Said the Elephant, I’m Going to Sneeze by Patricia Thomas. Both of these had me laughing as I read them. They were not on her list though, so I thought I’d suggest them to you. :)

And finally, another book I have not personally read but think it would be a fun read is by the same authors of the wonderful advent stories I’ve shared about before. The story is Amon’s Adventure by Arnold Ytreeide. Bear in mind that I have not yet read this one but it is set up like the advent ones and are to be read throughout Lent which starts the week of March 3rd and goes until Easter. :)

Well, that’s it for me today.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Help for Homeschool Moms

Sarah over at My Joy-Filled Life is hosting a month long series for helping homeschool moms. It appears that each day she or one of the blogger friends are posting a helpful post.

She also has a bunch of sponsors. The actual post links are below those sponsor links. I recommend scrolling past them for now and jumping right to the article links. (I think you can guess that I’m not affiliated with this at all. ;) )

I saw that there would also be some freebies and giveaways throughout the month. So, head on over and check it out. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


Blind Date with a Book

Blind Book Date ~
Probably should have used a few more words but I did it quickly. ;)

Have you heard of Blind Date with a Book? I hadn’t until Tiffany told me about it when I was contemplating what to write for today’s post.

It looks like this was the idea of Karissa, a librarian in Canada. You can read about how she did this here. From what I’ve gathered, she wanted a different kind of display for Valentine’s Day and came up with idea to wrap the cover of a book with brown craft paper and give some key words to describe the book. As she said, the descriptions were kind of like a dating ads. The idea is to get people to try out a book based on the keywords, not on the cover. It seems that she started this back in 2015.

There is actually a company that sells books this way, except that they are completely wrapped and you must unwrap them to read them. I think this takes away from the ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ aspect though.

Karissa said that she was playing with the idea of a ‘what did you think’ form to get some feedback from patrons. Another library in Virginia took off with that idea and included a ‘Rate Your Date’ questionnaire in each book and enticed patrons to fill them out and return them to be entered for a prize drawing. :) What fun.

So, are there some books you have wanted your kids to read but didn’t want to just make them read them? How about covering several different ones, putting some key words on the cover, and letting them pick one to read? It could be biographies or fiction or even easy picture, whatever books you want to dress up and make a fun ‘game’ of it with.

If you are part of a homeschool group, you could do this as a group. It could either be done as a secret santa kind of thing or as a book loan, where the owner of the book has their name in the back to be returned at the next gathering.

If you give this idea a try, let me know how it went.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

PS. I came across this really neat idea for some YA books. I don’t know about the books themselves but I thought the approach was quite well thought out, to enable the blind date with a book virtually. When you click on the ‘ad’ you liked, you are taken to the book on amazon. I loved her descriptions/ads


Scheduled or On-Demand

scheduled or on demand ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was one that believed you “don’t wake a sleeping child.” This led me to feeding on demand, as in when the child was hungry. However in recent years I have had my thoughts challenged and am now leaning more towards a scheduled child.

One of the reasons for this is that I’m finding that even I can get on a schedule and by doing so, train myself to be hungry at those times. And if I should be hungry sooner, I can always practice a little self-control and drink some water to help tide me over until it is time to eat again.

Some of this realization has stemmed from the book, Bringing up Bebe, which I have talked about before here and here. But I must admit that I woke my babies up during the daytime when they were newborns and threatening to get their days and nights mixed up. So even in that I was scheduling to a degree. And when it seemed that my child would nurse around the clock, I put them on a semblance of a schedule and was thankful when it was successful.

The benefits to having a scheduled child is that there seems like there would be less frustration and tantrums, once the child is scheduled. Of course, ensuring that your child can sleep any where would be a good idea unless you want to be bound by your schedule daily, even with naps and such. One way to accomplish this is to avoid the tendency to be quiet during nap time but also avoiding doing the same thing every nap time. Basically, you want to keep things varied, so that your child does not need his/her environment to be any particular way to be able to sleep.

Schedules and routines are tricky things. They look binding but are freeing. In giving a child a schedule, they know what to expect. They cannot tell time yet but they know that after lunch, it is nap time/quiet time or after a bath in the evening it is story time. These things can give a child security.

Remember, you are the parent. You set the schedule. And consequently, you can choose to change things up as you desire. :)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Raising Imitators

Like father like son ~ Lifeofjoy.meWhether you think about it or not, you are raising imitators, especially when you home educate your children. In reading Teaching from Rest, that I urged you to read, last week I was reminded again that we as parents should model what we want our children to do. Nobody wants to just do something because they are told to do it but children like doing things they see others doing.

In Teaching from Rest Sarah quotes Andrew Kern of CiRCE Institute, “Teaching is the art of being imitated.” This thought struck me, as I was thinking about it in regards to school teachers but then I remembered what I’d learned so long ago about modeling and making disciples.

I guess I just wanted to remind you that your children are watching everyone they come in contact with. Many they will imitate. It is important to be cautious about those they are around the most–are they acting in a way you want your children acting. Are you doing things you want them imitating?

I’ve written about this before when I spoke about Mother Culture, but it is just as important for fathers.

When my children were very young I’d let the watch some shows on PBS. One of those was Arthur. After a while, I realized that I did not like how Arthur and his sister DJ interacted–it was not behavior I wanted my children imitating. I stopped allowing them to watch that show. How do the characters in the shows your children watch behave? Is it behavior you want your child to mimic?

Just something to think about.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Homeschooling Must Read

Homeschool Resource ~

I was at my youngest sister’s house one day last fall and saw that she had this book. I was interested, so I requested it from our local library.

I have to say that this book is wonderful! It would have been such an encouragement to me in the days that I educated my children.

I cannot recommend it enough! It is a short book, an easy read, and very helpful. I will be purchasing a copy to put in my library and will be shared with others as the Lord brings them to me.

Do yourself a favor: Get this book and read it and read it again. :) It is not very expensive either. I have found it for as little as $8 and for about $12 on Amazon with prime shipping. I even saw it as an audible book.

I hope you’ll do yourself a favor and pick this book up, even if just from the library.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

The Powerful but Nearly Forgotten Key

Don't forget ~

Mom had knee replacement surgery last week. The next day following the surgery the physical therapist was running her through some of her exercises and was trying to tell her what to expect over the next 24 hours. He said that her leg would begin to wake up and it would be the most trying time with pain and that she’d need to stay ahead of the pain with the meds. Well, Mom was polite and nodded her head signalling that she had heard him and understood what he was saying but after he left she asked me to agree with her in prayer that she would NOT have what he described. She told me that she’d been doing great, thanks to God and all the people praying for her and she was not going to accept his negative report. :) (So proud of my momma!)

The next day before she was discharged from the hospital, she gladly notified that same physical therapist that she did not have the pain he said she would have. Of course, he said he was happy for her but it wasn’t the norm.

I share all this to say that just because someone else or even a great number of people have a particular experience does not mean that you, or your children, have to have the same experience. Just because research has shown that a child at a certain age is defiant, does not mean that you have to accept your child being defiant.

Now I will admit that know that many children go through a stage where they do not share, can be helpful to you as a parent but that doesn’t mean that you accept it. I would suggest that you use such information as prayer points and to help you train your children.

It is so easy to forget the simplest and most important step to any child rearing situation: Prayer! Actually, it is easy to forget that step for any situation in life. It almost sounds trite but it truly is the most important thing we can do as we go through our life . . . ask God for His help and guidance through each situation.

If Mary Jo is constantly screaming, ask God what to do about it, to lead you to information about how to deal with it, AND to help Mary Jo stop screaming. You see you want to ask for wisdom in each situation but then also to ask for God’s direct intervention in the situation as well . . . look for the “easy” button . . . God helping out is definitely the easy option but you don’t want to be immobile either. Getting His guidance to information that can help is vital. Maybe she is hurting somewhere or maybe she is just being stubborn and wants her own way. There are a great many possible reason for any situation and the best bet is to ask for God’s help in finding a solution as well as His touch in your child’s life.

I hope that this has helped remind you of the simple thing that is super powerful. (Even I have to remind myself to pray about situations, and it is usually one of the first things I tell others to do. ;) )

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Homeschooling Throughout the Year: Winter

Winter Studies ~

As 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 Nature Study

Winter nature Study ~

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

Getting Ready for a New Year

Plan for the New Year ~

I believe that we should always trying to better ourselves. The beginning of a new year is a good time to decide what area I want to focus on this year. Children can (and should) do this too. I found some good printables to help.

This first one is from 2014 but it is a good one. So, I recommend printing it out and putting a number sticker over the wrong year or using some correction fluid or correction tape, to erase it, unless you are one of those that can easily edit it before printing. ;) Here is the page describing this printable. The original link went 404 on me but I persevered! :D

This one is a little different but it goes along with what a lot of people do, creating a word for the year. It also has the individual write down a want, a need, something to share, and something in which to succeed. It’s a nice contemporary printable. At the same link is a New Year’s Eve bingo printable as well.

The same site also has a really cute Year in Review. I have shared this one before, I think but she updates it every year. It is really a nice printable and colorful, although you could definitely print it out in greyscale to conserve on colored ink, if you so desire.

This one is similar to the last. It too is a year in review printable. The author shares her family history with this and it sounds like a very sweet tradition that is a great memory maker. :) Like the previous one, it has you list some of your favorite things, which could be really interesting to look back on after several years and see what changed and what stayed the same.

Then there were a few game ideas that looked interesting as well. This memory game looked really cute! And here is a page with a lot of New Year’s Eve ideas to include children. The idea on the last link for glow stick games was so cute that I’m including a link to that one as well. With the days shorter, winter is a good time to try some of these games, if you happen to live in an area that gets some warmer weather this time of year. ;)

Finally there was a really cute idea for a decoration for a New Year’s party. If you happen to be one that takes their Christmas decorations down by the first, this could work for you. I, however, am not only not home as we go to my sister’s home, but keep my decorations up until Epiphany on January 6th. But it really is a cute idea. You could get a jump on some of the decoration clean-up by taking the ornaments off the tree and changing it over to a New Year celebration tree. Check it out here. :)

Well, I believe I have rambled on quite long enough for today. I hope you have a great New Year’s celebration with your family, whether it be at noon on December 31st, midnight of the first, or some other time. (I knew a lady that changed her clocks and celebrated the new year with her young children at 8pm, so they still got into bed on time. But you could just make it a thing, there are lots of ideas out there and listed above as well.)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº