Unto us a Child is Born!

December 10th, 2014
Child_is_bornTraditional school is winding down in favor of Advent readings, baking Christmas cookies, caroling for neighbors, wrapping presents and getting ready for travel or company!  Yay!
Below are ideas for fun things to do with kids during these busy days as well as some resources for you. From keeping Christ in Christmas to what to tell your kids about Santa to ideas for healthy holiday hors d’oeuvres… if you are like me, you could use the help! :-)
Also, here is a 10 question survey where you can give us input what you need to see in our blog posts this coming year, thoughts on our ordering process and our project priorities in 2015. We REALLY covet your input and will thank the first 100 respondents by emailing them a $10 coupon after we receive your completed surveys!
Thank you for taking a few minutes to help us out!
Praying you have a blessed and Merry Christmas as you focus on JESUS!

Christmas Fun for Kids

  • Talk about how God  gave us the first Gift — the gift of His only Son — and how that gift can be multiplied as we give that gift to others by telling them about Him. Then play this Christmas word game.

Listen to Online Christmas Music

 

 

Keeping Christ in Christmas

 

Our Favorite Christmas Books

 

Yummy Christmas Food

 

 

Don’t forget our 2014 Survey!

We need your input! Just ten questions!

 

Add more literature-based learning to your homeschool curriculum!Do you remember crying as you read Old Yeller as a child? Or cheering as you read the part in Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates where his father finally…oops! I almost gave it away!

One of the easiest things you could do today to make your homeschooling more fun and effective this year is have your children read and/or listen to more high quality literature.

Literature-Based Learning with Living Books

Everybody knows that literature is a key component to education, whether you education using Charlotte Mason methods or not.

Especially “living books” — books written by authors with a passion for their subject, full of ideas ready to capture the imaginations of their readers.

But have you ever thought about why literature is so essential?

 

  • A great book provides pleasure to listeners and readers, sparks imaginations and develops thinking skills.
  • Literature provides a language model for those who hear and read it, paving the way for better writing in future years.
  • Reading and listening to living books build experiences in young readers.
  • Literature supports all areas of your language arts curriculum.
  • By reading about other’s problems, literature helps children deal with their own.
  • Reading about other races and cultures helps readers value others who are different from them.
  • Living books may easily be used to integrate subjects.
  • Literature helps us see the world more broadly and not just centered on ourselves.
  • Excellent literature will be enjoyed by several ages at the same time, making reading aloud an activity the family can enjoy together.
  • Reading excellent literature can teach many moral lessons and develop the character of readers and listeners.

 

Homeschool families have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to incorporate more literature into their curriculum, or even better, to use literature alone to educate their children.

Even if you aren’t yet ready to ditch your textbooks in favor of total learning using real books, add more literature into your homeschooling day! Your kids will thank you!

These are some of our favorites:

 

Literature for all ages

The Bronze Bow is the exciting story of an eighteen year old boy at the time of Christ who burns with hatred after losing his father. As he travels down the road to revenge against the Romans occupying Israel, he comes to learn that death was not his enemy. He begins to see that the exchange of hatred for love can be powerful…

 

 

Johnny Tremain is a somewhat arrogant young man who is a highly skilled silversmith in Boston just before the American Revolution. However, one day he has a tragic accident and is unable to continue his work. Finding a new occupation leads Johnny to rub shoulders with the men of the Revolution. As the story unfolds, Johnny becomes a major player in creating a new America, and learns quite a bit about humility in the process.

 

Amos Fortune is a compelling story of a fifteen year old boy who is captured, transported to America and sold as a slave. He dreams of freedom yet maintains his courage and his integrity. After 45 years of being a slave he finally begins to see his hopes revealed. The character and humility of this great man will inspire your children This is one of our family’s favorites! So inspiring!

 

Hittite Warrior tells the tale of Uriah, a Hittite boy living during the Old Testament Judges. He is on a mission after his family is killed by the Greeks. This book is full of history, action, war, and suspense. As you read you become immersed in the life of this young warrior as he comes to understand peace and forgiveness.

 

 

 

Literature for high school

Quo Vadis, which translates “Where are you going?” is set after the death of Christ, during the horrific reign of the Roman emperor Nero. Quo Vadis submerges the reader into Roman culture with its politics and intense persecution of the early church. This is a story of redemption and transformation; parts of it are based on the writings of Tacitus, a Roman senator (and therefore primary source) for this time period. don’t miss it!

 

 

Although Safely Home is fiction, it realistically portrays the persecution of Christians in China. An American business man travels to China to visit his former Chinese college roommate who is practicing Christianity. The reader comes to understand the heritage of the Chinese and appreciate their strength and courage as they live out their faith. The author forces the reader to know what it means to “take up your cross daily” as the story moves the American to a slow path of returning to his faith. One of my favorites!

 

Imagine a day without textbooks or workbooks! If YOU and your children are weary of multiple handouts and worksheets, then explore literature-based learning!

Do you have family favorites other than those I have mentioned? Please share in the comments!

 

 

What’s Labor Day all About?

August 25th, 2014

 

Child labor

“Addie Card, 12 years. Spinner in North Pormal [i.e., Pownal] Cotton Mill. Vt.” by Lewis Hine, 1912 – 1913

Picnics and barbecues. Parades. Weekend beach getaways. Last days by the pool. These are what most people think of when the words “Labor Day” come to mind. We enjoy time with friends and family as most people have that day off from work. However, Labor Day has a greater and richer meaning than that!

 

History

More than 100 years ago the labor force was completely different than it is today. Men, women, and even children of five and six labored ten to twelve hours a day for little pay, seven days a week. There were no weekends. No sick leave days. No vacation days. No over-time pay. Working conditions were often dangerous and unsanitary.

In 1872, a New York City carpenter by the name of Peter McGuire rallied over 100,000 workers to go on strike and march through the streets of the city. Many people have credited McGuire for the idea of Labor Day. McGuire fought for a decade to earn rights for workers.

Workers began organizing into labor unions to fight for higher pay, shorter days, and rights for children. They fought to set an age limit on the children who worked to prevent them from injuries. Finally, in 1882, McGuire had the idea to designate one day as a special holiday for workers.

On Tuesday, September 5, 1882, ten thousand workers once again joined together in the streets of New York City. However, this time it was for the first Labor Day parade. The Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York by also celebrating a “workingman’s holiday.”

Labor Days in the late 1800s typically consisted of street parades followed by festivals for workers and their families. Elected officials used the opportunity to speak, and picnics and celebrations abounded. Then, in 1894 Congress passed a federal law declaring the first Monday every September as Labor Day.

Labor Day is the day we are thankful for our country’s productivity and strength, and pay tribute to past and current American workers who are largely responsible.

 

Labor Day Ideas for Children

Preschool

  • Have children create an “Occupation Collage.” Provide magazines and newspapers for children to look through and find workers. Cut out pictures of various workers in our country. Glue and display the pictures onto colorful, patriotic paper.
  •  Thank You Cards. Show your children how to write/stamp the words “Thank You.” Allow them to stamp the words onto paper. The children can decorate cards then deliver them to community helpers (Library, Fire station, Bakery, Post Office, etc.).

Elementary

  • Have children choose an occupation. They can draw a picture of the specific worker then together brainstorm a list of the responsibilities or things a person must do for the job. See the link for a helpful worksheet.
  • Thank you cards are perfect for elementary students! Also consider the folks that pick up the trash and deliver the mail (but nothing inside the mailbox, please!)
  •  Interview. Children can select a few jobs that interest them or that they want to know more about. Schedule interviews with people in the community and allow the children to conduct the interview after first working together on listing appropriate questions.

 Middle School

  • Build a Resume.  Middle school students can research what skills and education are necessary to obtain  jobs they might be interested in. Have them create a “future” resume of what they would need to accomplish in order to be chosen for a job in that specific field.

 Secondary

  • Volunteer. Have your high school students choose a job that they would like to pursue. Have them arrange a day where they can volunteer or shadow someone in that profession to experience the responsibilities and commitments that are necessary for success.

 

Note: The little girl pictured above worked in a mill. She told the photographer she was twelve, although her coworkers all said she was ten. 

 

Mission - business sign - art design

Do your kids know why you homeschool?

At some point, every family who homeschools makes a methodical decision to pursue this route. Homeschooling is not something one switches to overnight or on a whim. For each one of us, we have a reason or purpose for taking this path.

Not only discussing these reasons as a family, but taking the time to put them down on paper in the form of a family mission statement can help everyone get on the same page.

And when things get hard, as they sometimes do, a family mission statement reminds everyone why they are doing what they are doing.

What are your reasons?

Your reason for homeschooling might be because your children were falling behind or zooming ahead of their public school peers. You decided it made sense to teach your children at their own level, rather than having them taught where the “statistical average student” is performing.

Or maybe you are on this homeschooling journey because of your child’s health. Perhaps there are restrictions preventing him or her from successfully attending public school.

Or maybe you don’t believe in the method, schedule, or approach that the school systems offer….

You are on this homeschool journey because you want so much more than what the public schools can offer. You want your children to learn about the world from a Biblical perspective. So you intertwine God’s Word through every lesson you teach. You are preparing your children for more than just college, you are preparing them for life everlasting. You are mentoring and discipling your children in the Truth of God’s Word. You are equipping them with God’s suit of armor that will lead them to a bold, effective life in Christ.

Each one of us has chosen homeschooling for one or many reasons. We’ve stepped up and said, I can and will do school differently.

Your “reason” for homeschooling is essentially your mission.

Creating a Mission Statement

Creating a mission statement gives you purpose, meaning, and a goal. Stephen Covey states:

“A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about — what it is you really want to do and be — and the principles you choose to govern your family life.”

Success does not just happen, it requires intentionality. So, how do we go about this whole mission statement? Simple steps:

  1. Gather the family. All family members need to be present, no matter what age. All family members need to provide input. Take notes. Listen to each member with sincerity and openness.
  2. Lead your family in brainstorming your family’s core values. This will be different for each family. Examples could relate to God, Faith, Service, Discipline, Education, Adventure, Creativity, Integrity, Health, etc.
  3. Discuss who you want your family to be and what your homeschooling will be about. Parents, share your vision of homeschooling with your children. Communicate the purpose of your homeschooling, the roles you each have, the traditions you aspire to create, what kind of service projects you will be involved in or how you will give back.
  4. As a family, write out your mission statement. Make sure everyone takes part in this. The family should agree and understand all aspects of your mission statement.
  5. Display your mission statement. This is the time to display your family’s individuality! You can choose to print this and hang it in a centralized location of your home. You may have each child take part in writing and/or drawing pictures. Enjoy making this something your family will take pride in and remember.

Let it help you stay the course

Last, but not least, refer to your mission statement on a regular basis. You may have to make changes down the road as your family matures or enters a new phase of life, but having a written mission statement will help your family to live with purpose and intention!

It will also give you a written standard to fall back on when things become difficult, and help everyone “realign themselves” to what you as a family have agreed upon.

 

Have you taken the time to create a family mission statement? How has it helped you homeschool?

 

Five Steps to Start School with a Bang! Slow, lazy mornings. Days full of sun, fun and laughter. Visiting friends and family. Trips nearby or far away, seeing and doing new things. Freedom from the usual routines and responsibilities. If you and yours enjoy summer as much as we do, it is impossible to just jump back into school mode without some kind of transition. After all, grumpy kids are no fun! Here are five ways to help turn your summer-loving children back into excited, optimistic students.

1. Be enthusiastic.

This seems obvious, but the wistful, melancholy comment about summer being almost over will come back to haunt you.  YOU set the emotional tone in your home. Your excitement for the upcoming school year will be contagious. 

2. Show your children the new curriculum in advance.

Discuss the plan of what you will be covering this year. Share the book list and show any crafts or projects you will be making. Let them browse through the upcoming materials and get a sneak peak of what is to come. Talk about how awesome the upcoming year will be!

3. Gear up together!

Everyone enjoys new school supplies. I love walking into Target this time of year and seeing all the new notebooks, folders, and pens, don’t you? It gets my blood flowing! Take your kids to your favorite school supply store and allow them to help select the new supplies. Who doesn’t enjoy new highlighters or pencil boxes? There is just something exciting about opening a clean, brand-spanking new notebook. If you sometimes do ‘school on the go’, thrill your kids with new lunch boxes or backpacks.

4. Create a Routine or Schedule.

Kids thrive with daily, weekly and monthly routines. Discuss the school day and how it will look this fall. Display a daily schedule for the whole family. For your littles, this is quite simple. You can draw pictures on a chart that lays out their day for them. This can include learning time, snack time, nap time and play time. Talk about the different activities or the structure of their day. For your older kids, buy or make a planner. Your high school students should learn to schedule their own work within your parameters. Hang a monthly calendar as well so Dad will know when and where you will be once school starts. Make sure to plug in all your regular activities and any outside classes or co-ops as well as field trips, church events, and service projects.

5. Adjust your sleep schedule.

This is usually the hardest battle. I recommend starting the sleep routine at least a week before you intend to start school. Have your kids begin the school bedtime and wake times in advance. This goes for you as well. When you wait to change bedtimes until the night before you intend to start school, it will make for a rough start to your day. Ease back into it! Just remember, if the new school year excites you, it will excite them, too! Do you have any particular things your family does to hit the ground running every year? Tell me in the comments!