Category Archives: Thoughtful Thursday

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

Health Unit Study Suggestion and Online Resources

I’m sure you are talking with your children about proper hygiene right now. Maybe it is time for the homeschooler to do a basic/generic health study. ;)

  • Find out why hot water is needed for proper cleaning of the hands.
  • Run a stop watch while they sing which ever hand washing song they choose, to know how long is long enough to wash the hands.
  • Find out why you shouldn’t touch your face.
  • Why should you cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze? Why not use your hand to do so?
  • Research what boosts your immune system and what foods have those nutrients.

Here’s an interesting article on the value of fresh air and sunshine from the experience of the flue in 1918.

Here is an interesting compilation of links for all kinds of things to do, from virtual field trips to youtube channels to zoo cams to art to stories. This is really a great list of suggestions/links.

I hope these ideas and links are helpful to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Living Books for Different Subjects

I pinned this link to a cool webpage where she shares some great living books for several different subjects. I won’t write a lot today so that you can hop over there and check it out.

Here is the link to World Geography with Picture Books. Now, don’t just limit this to using with the youngest children; I still like a good picture book. I see quite a few on this list that I’m familiar with and enjoy.

On this page of the same website, there are lots of links to books by subject including math, science, and even Bible and character study. I remember now that I found this site from a link my sister used for USA Geography books, so be sure to check that out too.

I hope this is a blessing to your home and that you find many books to enjoy.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Read Alouds and More

I just stumbled upon a very interesting website that I want to share with you. The particular page I’m sharing today is about read alouds. You may be aware that I love read alouds and find that they have a wonderful place in home education. I know that some of my children’s favorite memories of homeschooling include our read alouds.

One of my keys when reading was to give each character their own voice. When I read The Wilder King Triology, which I highly recommend, and I got to the third book, I came up to another new character/group of characters, and was at a loss as to what voice to give them. I ended up going with a very southern twang. Tiffany says that is how she reads it every time still. :D

This page has some ideas on how to keep kids attention and quiet during read alouds. I intend to spend some more time looking over the website, it looks interesting.I hope it is helpful to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Lent: Easter is On Its Way

In just a little over six weeks it will be Easter or Resurrection Sunday, as many Christians prefer to call it. :) It is one of the two most important holidays in my year because it celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead bringing us eternal salvation, if we believe on Him.

Preparing for Easter

In the weeks leading up to Easter it is good to put our focus on who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Did you know that if you read 3 chapters of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) each day, you will read through all of them in a month? That covers most of what the Bible tells us about Jesus and what He has done for us. (Since Easter is 6 weeks away, you could read two chapters five days a week and get them all read before Easter.)

So how will you prepare yourself and your children for the approaching holiday?

I remember doing an inductive Bible study with my kids one year during advent (before Christmas). I really enjoy inductive Bible studies with all the marking of symbols and such. Here’s a sample of what one is like. I’m sure you could do the same thing on your own, without having to worry about if the study was going to lead you into the author’s beliefs/interpretations.

Easter Study Links/Ideas

  • YearRoundHomeschooling has a nice study with videos (linked), art, poetry, music, and craft idea links. I find the art and poetry to be interesting ideas. She has some printables linked too as well as some products (some of which are free) in that section.
  • CreativeBibleStudy has a nice 10 lesson study for Easter. It has a passage to read with a few focal scriptures to write and then usually some questions. It is a short study and doing one to two each week will have you completing it by Easter. I really like this one. :)
  • If you have littles and you subscribe to totschooling.net, you can get their free Easter printables, although this one is not really focused on the holiday as far as Biblical but still useful.
  • TheFrugalHomeSchoolingMom has some links for some Easter (biblical from what I saw) ideas.

I have past posts for Lent and Easter/Resurrection Sunday but I’ll save those for another week. (If you want to check it out ahead of time, just type lent easter in the search bar above and it will show you posts I’ve written with those words.)

I hope this helps you keep your focus on the Savior this season. I’m off to figure out what I’m going to be doing. I’d love an inductive Bible study. ;)

Until next time, God bless,
Michele ºÜº

How to Stop Saying No

Tiffany and I watched this video on youtube by a mother that uses the Montessori method with her very young children (baby/toddler, and preschool age). It amazes me how someone can be such a ‘helicopter mom’ and allow them to be so incredibly independent at the same time.

At any rate, she talked a bit about how she redirects her children when they are getting into something that she doesn’t want them to get into. As she was sharing, I really liked how she found a different way to tell her children no without saying the word no. Children hear the word directed at them so often when they are little that it is frequently their most used word, which can be very frustrating.

Be sure to have positive interaction

I decided to look around and see what I could find to share with you today. One thing that I found was that parents need to remember to give positive words to the child. Make sure you are taking time to smile and show approval overall. This starts early in a child’s life. Then because you’ve given ‘yes’ looks, the child should notice a difference in a ‘no’ look or a look of disapproval, without you even having to say no. It’s an interesting idea. I know that I didn’t compliment my children enough–I gave them plenty of love though. ;) (Disclaimer: I do not agree with everything presented on these pages but there are some good ideas and good information too.)

Along these lines, I found some interesting ideas on this webpage: How to Say No

Offer Alternatives

Sometimes we tell a child no but could instead offer an alternative, you cannot have this but you can have this.

More Ideas (webpages)

  • This one has some good tactics to use. I really like some of these ideas and think they can be very helpful. Of course, it takes a lot more thought than just saying ‘no.’ ;)
  • This one talks some about what kids hear, when they aren’t completely focused on what you’re saying and then gave examples on how to word things to compensate for this. Very interesting! There is even a page to print out to help remind you.
  • Finally this one has some different alternative statements and ideas that I found interesting. It has a printable too. :)

I hope these help you have more positive conversations with your children and help get you through the valley of “No.” :D

Until next time, God bless,
Michele ºÜº

Stars and Sky Watching

Did you know there are 88 constellations? I sure didn’t! I was shocked. I looked at this webpage on Seasky.org and was totally surprised.

Since my recent post about how you could let students help pick their own studies, I decided that I may add some ‘unit’ suggestions from time to time. I love stars, constellations, and sky watching; so I thought I’d see what I could dig up for a month study to do.

Constellations

Then I found this that explains why there are 88 constellations! Very interesting to me. Of course it wouldn’t be very interesting to the normal 7 or 8 year old though. ;)

Here is a listing of 15 constellations that ‘everyone’ should know and how to find them.

Here’s another page with some introductory info about the main constellations.

Here’s some basic information aimed at younger ones about constellations and what they are: https://www.ducksters.com/science/physics/constellations.php

My Night Sky

Astronomy.com has what is called a stardome (which is powered by Noctuasky.com, so you can go there too) and with it you can see what the sky will look like from major cities. BTW, they have an app too, so you can access it while you are outside. I entered Tulsa to find that tonight at 6:30 tonight, I can see Venus and Mercury in the Western sky. I can also click on View in the dropdown menu and check constellation names and lines, to help identify some of those.

EarthSky.org will give you quick info about when the moon rises and what is in your night sky–here.

Interested in understanding how to read a star chart? Here’s some instruction on that, and they reference the skydome. ;)

Study Ideas

So, this is how I’d approach a study on stars:

  • Take children outside after dark (best during the winter, even though it is cold, because it is dark earlier and can see the stars without having to stay up too late) and have them look up.

Do you  live in a well lit area? Talk about that and how the lights are hindering you from seeing more of the stars.

Go someplace less populated/lit to better see the stars and note the difference.

  • Talk about constellations and name have each child pick one more popular/well known constellation to look up and figure out how to find it in the night sky.
  • I’d probably keep Ursa Major/Big Dipper as something you want to point out, as it is the most important because with it you can navigate.
  • The next week talk about some lesser known constellations and have each one select one to look up, as with the popular one.
  • Talk about why some constellations are not viewable now and pick some to view at another time of year.
  • Meteor Showers!!!! This is one of the most fun things to do. Have the older kids research this and pick one for you all to watch.
  • Talk about the what stars are–again another thing older students can research
  • What are some Biblical references to stars?

I definitely recommend a laser like the one mentioned in this post for your night sky viewing–it’s sooooo cool. :)

  • You could also do some study on the moon and its phases–even journaling it by drawing what the moon looks like each night, and when it became visible.
  • Don’t forget the planets. Like I mentioned, Venus and Mercury are both visible in my night sky tonight. I may just have to go outside after dinner and see if I can find them.

There is so much you can do with this but I think this is enough of a jumping off point or enough to touch the topic to see if there is any more interest. Remember not to overwhelm your children with this, just keep it light and simple–the idea is to cultivate their love of learning, or spark it again, if need be.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please let me know in the comments if it is or if you try it and what your experience was with it.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Involving Children in Creating Their Routines

As home educators it is a good idea to include the children in what they study and the order in which they study subjects. They don’t go to a school and thus don’t have to be in a situation where they are told what to do and when to do it. However, even in brick and mortar schools the students get to pick some of their courses as they get older.

Tiffany and I were talking the other day about this subject. Well, we were talking about how she dawdled getting her lessons completed once she was old enough to do them independently. We brainstormed some ideas that might have helped her focus a bit better.

One of those ideas was to communicate clearly that she could do her studies in whatever order she desired. I made a checklist of things that they had to do but she didn’t realize that she didn’t have to do them in the order listed.

Involve the Child in Planning

Another idea was to let her have some say in the topics she studied and to help her brainstorm those. Write them on sticky notes and let her rearrange them.

Another idea is to allow the student to pick a topic for the month or even just a week. Or pick an overall subject and then pick weekly topics to study. There are a lot of ways this can be done. By allowing the child to have some input into what they are to study, they are a bit more motivated to do the studies.

Another thing that we did do was to rotate between science and social studies; we did not study both in the same month. You can have a broad topic like mammals and the first week they can do some basic study about what a mammal is and make a list of them. Then they can pick a specific mammal to study the next week. Or have them pick a water mammal, large mammal, or small mammal to study each week. Oh and by the way, mammals are vertebrates, so you can study what that means. There are different types of mammals, see this website for some information.

Older children can be encouraged to dig deeper into the subject or find an unexpected example of the subject . . . e.g. the armadillo is a mammal. You can have each one write some questions about the topic (with their corresponding answers) that can be used to play games for review.

A Child is More Apt to Enjoy Learning about a Topic of Interest than Something Chosen for Them

Talk with your child about what you think is important that they learn and find out what they’d like to learn. Then find a way to include them in planning out how they learn.

It is still important to have times of study together, in as a group . . . Bible sharing/teaching and read aloud times are just two ideas of this but it can be anything you need to do with everyone. Teaching your child how to study independently is an important skill too but you don’t want to sacrifice family bonding.

Even the Youngest Child can Make a Choice

You can start this process even with very young children. It starts with letting them pick which outfit they want to wear or what they want to eat (choice 1 or choice 2). It can progress to do you want to play with this toy or that toy or do you want to play with clay or color.

As they get older, they can choose between learning about fire trucks or polar bears or whatever else you give as an option. This helps you learn your child’s preferences and can help you tailor their education in a way that delights them.

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to help your children enjoy learning. After all, learning is a lifetime endeavor, not just something done as a child because someone makes you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Home Education Encouragement (Podcasts)

Back when I was homeschooling I got my main encouragement online. When I first started I was on the forums on AOL and found Practical Homeschooling’s forum. I found some like-minded ladies that made some great suggestions and helped me relax.

Then I was introduced to another homeschooling encourager–Cindy Rushton. I was so appreciative of her and her materials. She started the first online homeschool conference. It was great. If you listened in line, you could attend free. There were giveaways and all kinds of encouragement.

After her kids graduated a lot of things in her life changed and she passed the online homeschool convention to another veteran homeschooler–Felice Gerwitz of Media Angels. Felice runs a podcast to encourage homeschoolers–The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network. There’s LOTS of help and encouragement for home educators available there.

Now, I’m not going to say that everything on the network will be something you will agree with but I’m sure there will be helpful information for you there. There are also freebies given monthly. Oh, did I mention that there is no charge? I’m sure there will be items available for sale there too but that’s to be expected.

I hope you find this helpful and encouraging.

Until next time,

Michele ºÜº

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