Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Craft Paired with Nature Journaling

 I love you.  I love you not.  I love you!  Today, we decided to make a fun craft -- heart-shaped bird feeders.  If you have small amount of bendable wire and Cheerios, then you can make this craft, too!  Simply bend the wire in the shape of a heart and thread the cereal onto the wire.  We decorated ours with red bows and hung them on a low tree branch.  As we stood back to look at the love we'd hung on the tree, we decided include a sketch of this in our nature journals.  I hope the birds the hearts as much as we did!

Brandon's Sketch

Nahtan's Sketch

The boys with hearts above their heads!

Sunday, December 30, 2012


We have have been blessed in 2012.  Our year has been difficult, busy, eventful, and even a little adventurous. We have lost loved ones, moved into a new home, and begun anew.  Hence -- the reason I have neglected my blog for so long!  We've moved away from dear friends and are in the midst of making new friends.  We've encountered hardships and experienced some unforgettable adventures this year. We've even made some significant changes to the way we homeschool (some of these changes I like, some I don't!) We're also getting used to our new surroundings and finding a little nitche in this new place the Lord has planted us.  Through all of it, the Lord has been with us - in sickness and in health, in sorrow and triumph, and He will continue to walk beside us, ready to catch us when we fall and to encourage us through anything.  We're thankful for health, for family, our new home, our new church, the continued opportunity to homeschool, and for friends near and far.  Indeed, we have been blessed!

Friday, August 10, 2012

First Day of School 2012 - 2013 School Year

This school year will be quite an adventure, because we've moved to a new area. It has been difficult to move away from our closest friends, our church, and our Classical Conversations group, but at the same time, we look forward to what the Lord has in store for us here in the Richmond area!

In years past, we have ventured to Dunkin' Doughnuts for a "delicious and nutritious breakfast", and then we celebrate the freedom and fun we have in homeschooling by driving by a local school that is in session while listening to fun music in the car.  I realize this seems juvenile, by we have so much fun doing our drive by!   Then, when we get home, we sit down in our newly organized school room to look at all the books we'll use for the school year and talk about the things we plan to study.  We also give the boys a gift basket of assorted school supplies and always try to include candy and special things that helps make the learning journey more fun.  You know . . . essential smelly erasers, neon gel pens, cool paper pads, etc.

This year was different.  Rather than go out for breakfast, I decided to bring in doughnuts to enjoy at home.  After we gave the boys their school supply gifts and talked about the school year, we spent the day playing board games.  We had a "no school" first day of school day!   It was a fun day!  I'm looking forward to our new school year -- especially with our new Classical Conversations community.  It will be a blessing to establish new roots and friendships.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Merry Christmas!

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Historical Fiction to Read Aloud

Reading aloud to my children is one of my favorite things about homeschooling.  I love our cuddle time on the couch with a blankey and a good book.   In case you're looking for some good reads, here's our American History read aloud plan:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Our First Day for the 2011 - 2012 Homeschool Year

We truly consider it a blessing to homeschool, so we have a few little traditions that make our first day of school special.  Our traditions revolve around school supplies, a school year overview, and a breakfast outing.  First of all, my boys don't enjoy shopping for new school supplies.  In fact, they would be okay with just using things we already had on hand.  Me?  Not so much!  I like the look and feel of new folders, papers and pens.  So, I always put together a little assortment of goodies I think the boys will enjoy foru our school year kick-off.  I found a cool container and put pens, pencils, markers, crayons, smelly erasers, a small daily school planner and a stash of candy.  When the boys come into the school room on day one, they are greeted by their new supplies.  I also display our new books/resources and tell them about some of the things I've planned for the year.  After that, we head over to Dunkin' Doughnuts for a delicious and nutritious breakfast.  Once our breakfast is over, we pile into the van, turn on some fun music and take a drive, being sure to swing by a nearby public elementary school.  As we drive by we shout (inside the vehicle, of course!) "Homeschool rules!!"  Then we take turns listing off all the things we appreciate about homeschooling.  Here are a few things at the top of our list:
  • A flexible schedule
  • A great teacher AND terrific students!  :)
  • Lots of read-alouds
  • Field trips almost every month
  • The ability to study things we're truly interested in
  • Lots of projects and experiments
  • Classical Conversations
  • Getting school work done faster than a "regular" school kids in a classroom setting
  • Having mom help whenever its needed
  • Being able to pray, read the Bible, and talk about God in the things we study
So . . . here are a few pictures from our first day of school:

Brandon - Grade 4
Nathan - Grade 6

Nathan & Brandon enjoying our traditional doughnut breakfast on our first day of school.

I think they're ready for the fun to begin!

I pray the Lord will bless us as we seek to glorify Him in the things we study together this year.  May we grow and learn and use our knowledge to further His Kingdom.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Children's Literature and Picture Books for the Young and Young at Heart

Hallelujah!  I've recently rediscovered that you're never too old for picture books!

Yesterday I went to the library and felt a bit of sadness as I looked at the seemingly never ending book stacks filled with  illustrated children's literature that my boys children are now too old to read.  I thumbed through a few titles the librarian had carefully set out for the display and reminisced about the days gone by when we would pour over dozens of picture books with great anticipation and interest.  As the kids have advanced in their reading abilities, they have graduated out of the heavily illustrated books and into the world of chapter books and children's novels. 

Making a trip to the library is something my boys and I have done since they were tiny tots.  To this day, we still enjoy our weekly jaunt to the "big house of books".  Over the years, we have read hundreds of books.  I've gone through countless lists, checking off titles we read to ensure that I exposed my children to some of the finest titles ever published.  I remember a time when I longed for the days of getting lost in a Newbery Award-winning novel with my boys.  But . . . now, I sometimes wish for those sweet moments and memorable lessons that only a picture book can bring.

As I reflect on the past couple of years, I have found myself gravitating towards the chapter books and children's novels in effort to stretch their reading skills and train them to read for longer periods.  Now, the boys are now terrific readers, so I find myself in full circle wondering, "Why not return to an occasional classic told in pictures and words?"  As I stood in the midst of so many beautifully illustrated stories, I found myself wondering how a few picture books would go over with my boys.  Would they think the books were babyish?  Would they think I was crazy if they found a boatload of these so called juvenile easy readers in our book basket? 

 I LOVE children's literature and picture books.  I STILL enjoy looking at the pictures and allowing my imagination about these short stories to run wild.  So . . .I wonder, "If I still like these books, why wouldn't my kids?"  I could find no answer to this question, so I decided to load up my book bag with a dozen classic children's books!

Here's a look at what I checked out:

Well . . . long story short:  my kids did NOT think I was crazy!  They did wonder WHY on earth I brought home so many "easy" books (as they called them).  But I simply explained, "A few years ago, I read all of these to you boys.  We read them together before you knew how to read.  We loved these stories then, and I still love them.  I'll bet you will too." 

Just a little while ago, I found my 9 year old son doing this:

He set the timer on his watch and decided to read ALL of the books--and he DID!!  (By the way, his favorite is "Dick Wittington and His Cats".)

So, I once again have a list of classic children's literature for younger readers.  (Children's Book Guide has a terrific list!)  This summer I plan to fill our book basket with several titles from the list every week.  I'm going to encourage my boys to rediscover some of those beautiful stories told with pictures and words.   And . . . if no one is looking, I'll probably spend a few moments getting lost in some of these precious stories, too!  ;)   After all, they're for the young AND young at heart, right?
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