Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holly Jolly Christmas ~ 20 Questions

This is a little fun "video tag" that has been hopping around YouTube lately. I thought it would make a great blog post, so I stole the idea. 

I put a few of the youtube videos below where I first saw the video tags if you're interested. 

Ok, here are the questions.....

1. Favorite Christmas Movie?
It's just not Christmas without It's a Wonderful Life, The Bishop's Wife and Miracle on 34th Street - all of those being the old black and white versions.

2. Are you on the Naughty list or Nice list?
Uh, please define "naughty" and "nice".  🤔  Ha Ha

3. Show us an embarrassing Christmas card photo!
I don't have time to go digging around looking for one. I'm not sure I have one. 

4. Have you ever had a White Christmas?
Yes, when I was a kid. The older I got, the fewer they became, especially now that we live in the south. 

5. Where do you usually spend your holiday?
Since we moved down here, we usually go to my in-law's house. 

6. Play or Sing your favorite Christmas song!
This is a blog, so you're not going to hear me sing. However, Mary Did You Know is my favorite Christmas song. O Holy Night is a very very close 2nd.

You can see this post where I shared my favorite version of Mary Did You Know. Mark Lowry wrote the lyrics, Buddy Green set it to music.

7. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?
We don't exchange gifts at Christmas anymore (we do that at Thanksgiving now), but when we did, we didn't open any until Christmas morning. 

8. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? 
I usually have to sing the beginning of the Rudolf song to remember them..... Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen. Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Then Rudolf, of course!

9. What holiday tradition are you looking forward to most this year?
We look forward to ringing the Salvation Army bell each year since we started volunteering a few years ago. It's so much fun to belt out Christmas carols, smile big, and spreading Christmas cheer to all the people walking by. One time, I think it was last year, I even brought out my saxophone and played carols to a karaoke CD. That was so much fun!

10. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?
We don't put up a tree anymore either, but when we did, it was fake most years. I can count on one hand the number of times we went to Christmas Tree Lane back home to chop (or saw) down our own tree.

11. Hands down, what's your all-time favorite holiday food and sweet treat?
Who can decide that? It's all so good! Having these foods and treats only once a year makes them all so special. 

12. Be Honest: Do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?
A few years back, I would've said receiving gifts, but I have learned to be joyful in giving. I truly enjoy giving gifts and cards.

13. Show us your tackiest Christmas attire (ex: Ugly Sweater)
I don't have one. I never have and don't plan to get one. Sorry!

14. What would your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
I can't say I've ever thought about that before. My first response would be Hawaii, but now that I am thinking about it, I would have to say that I think that going to Israel during the Christmas season would be fabulous! 

I have been to Israel before and seeing all the places the Bible mentions has brought Bible reading to a whole new level. To visit all those places in Israel during the time we celebrate our Savior's birth would just be even more special!

15. Does your family have a special holiday recipe you like to help make?
No, not a specific recipe. However, we get pumpkins during the fall, usually in October, and we make our own pumpkin puree'. I look forward to making pumpkin recipes from real pumpkin during the holiday season.

16. Are you a pro-present wrapper, or do you fail miserably?
I'm not a pro at all, but I do ok as long as the gift is a perfect box shape. I cannot do odd-shaped gifts and we won't even begin to talk about bow-making. LOL

17. Mose memorable Holiday moment?
The first year Paul and I shared Christmas together as a couple (before we were married) when I had to have help using a crow bar to get my gift from him out of a wooden crate that he made! 

18. What made you realize the truth about Santa?
I don't really remember believing in Santa. My parents never made a big deal about it. Our kids know the truth about Santa too. They don't quite know what to say when adults ask them if they're ready for Santa. I think we need to work on that.

19. Do you make New Year's Resolutions? Do you stick to them?
I used to make resolutions, but not anymore. I never kept them, so I stopped making them.

20. What makes the holidays special for you?
Just spending time with family and friends whom I love. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

5 Random Things ~ Christmas Edition

1. Sibling LOVE

This was part of the photo session we did for our Christmas card photo this year. With all their fussing, bickering and carrying on with each other, I am glad they really do love one another. And these pictures are the proof if they want to deny it! LOL

2. Snowman Tree
I was in my Dr.'s office recently and they had this tree on display in the waiting room. It was so stinkin' cute! 

If you don't know, I LLUUUUVV snowmen. I'm going to have to hit the store after Christmas and get one of these little table top trees (for half price!) and make a display in my house for the winter months. 

3. Ugly Sweaters
Now you can wear your ugly Christmas sweaters and eat them too!

I laughed when I saw this in the store a couple of weeks ago. I almost want to get one of these cookie kits. Let's start a new Christmas tradition! :-D

4. Upside Down Tree
My sister-in-law's fiance' put their tree upside down, attaching it to the ceiling. I'm not sure why he did that, but I think it's cool. I'm all about different.

5. What?

Can you read the words on that little manger scene? It says "Jesus is the Season... We are the reason."

I'm not sure about this one. I mean, it sounds good and all. Jesus did come to earth to die for our sins, but to say that we are the reason? Something about that just doesn't ring well with my spirit. 

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What is Copywork? How do I use it? and an Example

What is copywork and when should I implement it?

In a Charlotte Mason approach to language arts, there are 4 levels. 

First, you simply read to and expose your child to a variety of excellent literature. 

Second, you ask the child to narrate, or tell back, that which was read to him. Much more realistic than a forced list of comprehension questions, this forces the child to process his thoughts. 

The 3rd level is copywork, which is simply copying over that which is front of you. While this sounds simple, the student must pay attention to even minor details, such as punctuation, spelling, capitalization, usage, mechanics, etc. This is why it is so important to choose excellent and varied material for copywork.

Dictation, the 4th level, which is implemented once a child finds copywork not much of a challenge, usually in the high school years, uses the same material, but instead of copying it over, the lesson is read aloud to the child, who must write it down directly from his processed thoughts. 

How to obtain the maximum benefit of doing copywork:
  1. Review the selection to be copied orally with your child, pausing at commas, more so at semicolons, and more finally at periods, etc.
  2. Tell the child that they may look at the selection to be copied over as many times as they wish, and make as many attempts at perfection as they need, but by the time they bring it to you to look at, all the punctuation, capitalization, etc. must be perfect, or they will have to erase the entire lesson and copy it over again the same day. 
  3. Follow through! Step #2 will take some determination with which to follow through, but it is the key to making copywork effective. Once your child has to go through this process once or twice, it is very unlikely that they will slack on this again, as they know the consequences they must face. This forces them to truly pay attention to every little detail in the material being copied. 

Adelle just finished copying a poem by Isaac Watts that was in her Copywork for Little Girls book.  She completed copying this poem in about 8 days and we then discussed what this poem meant and what Mr. Watts was saying.

                                    Against Pride in Clothes
                                    by Isaac Watts

                                    Why should our garments made to hide
                                    Our parents' shame, provoke our pride?
                                    The art of dress did ne'er begin
                                    'Til Eve, our mother, learned to sin.

                                    When first she put the covering on,
                                    Her robe of innocence was gone;
                                    And yet her children vainly boast
                                    In the sad marks of glory lost. 

                                    How proud we are, how fond to show
                                    Our clothes, and call them rich and new;
                                    When the poor sheep and silkworm wore
                                    That very clothing long before!

                                    The tulip and the butterfly
                                    Appear in gayer coats than I;
                                    Let me be dressed fine as I will,
                                    Flies, worms, and flow'rs exceed me still.

                                    Then I will set my heart to find
                                    Inward adornings of the mind;
                                    Knowledge and virtue, truth and grace,
                                    These are the robes of richest dress. 

                                    No more shall worms with me compare,
                                    This is the raiment angels wear;
                                    The Son of God, when here below,
                                    Put on this blessed apparel too.

                                    It never fades, it ne'er grows old,
                                    Nor fears the rain, nor moth, nor mold;
                                    It takes no spot, but still refines;
                                    The more 'tis worn, the more it shines. 

                                    In this on earth would I appear,
                                    Then go to heav'n and wear it there;
                                    God will approve it in His sight,
                                    'Tis His own work and His delight. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My Favorite Christmas Song

By Mark Lowry

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you've kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again;
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the Lamb!

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the Great I Am! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Avoiding Homeschool Burn Out

This isn't a "how-to" post. This is an account of how I have avoided burn out this year.

So we are in our 14th week of the school year and while we haven't exactly found our "groove" yet, I have certainly figured out what is not working in our curriculum.

You can see by my extensive curriculum list that I was a little planning happy for this school year. I gave all of us an excessive amount of work. I certainly had HIGH expectations and not being realistic at all. We weren't more than 2 months in when I started to feel the affects of too much work and slowly started adjusting the load.

I started combining subjects. For example, I started counting copywork and handwriting as 2 in 1 instead of doing the two separately.

I noticed that our Bible curriculum is taking only about 3 out of 5 days to complete. Our history is completely Bible-based, so I combine Bible and History together... sort of. We complete the Bible curiculum in 3 days. On the other 2 days, we review the catechism drill, Bible memory and Hymn study right before we begin the history lessons. There is also some geography in the history textbook, so we're going to cut out geography from Easy Peasy for now. Did all of that just make sense?

We have completed only 2 lessons of our science curriculum and realized it's a LOT of handwriting, so we're going to go through a more simple science book that we just have in our home library in which Jonathan has taken a keen interest and save the Reason for Science for maybe next year when both children are ready to write that much.

I also purchased workbooks that cover language arts and math that are a year or two behind their grade levels, but the information is presented in a different way, so the kids' minds are still being worked as they review the info they already know. I use these books on days where I'm not able to teach the children their formal lessons, or if we are traveling for field trips. I am still counting these as school days.

Recently I have purchased the Life of Fred elementary set to supplement math and there are days where I count that as reading as well as math.

All of this may sound a little complicated and topsy turvy, but it has made our school days so much less stressful.

It wasn't until I was watched Just Sew Trish's avoiding homeschool burnout video when I realized that avoiding burn out is exactly what I have done. I can now stop condemning myself for not using all the curriculum I bought for this year and stop thinking that I am short-changing my children and even being lazy.

BTW, I think taking so much time off in November, which we have done, has helped to avoid burn out!

One of the beauties of homeschooling is that we can completely customize our days, our schedule and our curriculum to fit our needs. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Homeschool Mother's Journal ~ Dec. 1, 2016

In My Life
In the past 6 months or so, I have been learning that God's grace is sufficient indeed and to trust in Him more. Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus! It's true. 

In Our Homeschool
Our school work has been minimal in November since we give gifts for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. We took some time off and focused on getting those gifts prepared as we would normally do for Christmas, so there's not a whole lot to report in our homeschool except that we're back to our normal schedule and moving forward! Today is our 66th day of school. 

What's Working/Not Working
Working - I talked about implementing a new routine/schedule to help us get our work done last month.  Our new schedule/routine plan is working. I got out our "Class Schedule" poster and wrote out a daily agenda. We are getting up a little bit earlier and following the list of school work, even if we're off on the time a bit. Now I just need to get a cleaning schedule going. 

Not Working - I already know that I cannot put a new blog post out every single day, so I don't know what I was thinking when I I tried to post what we were thankful for every day last month. I have a hard enough time keeping up with this blog once a week, let alone once a day!  😂

I also have more ideas to blog about than time to actually write about, so I think I'll stop saying that I'm going to blog about this or that so as not to get hopes up just to be let down when I can't deliver. I'm sure there's a lesson in being trustworthy and promise keeping in that somewhere. What can I say? I'm sorry.

Some Changes
Menu - I'm going to have to redo my menu plans once again. I shared my Fall menu several posts back. It looked a little empty and I needed to rework it. I don't know what the problem is, but the recipes I have listed on there just aren't working for me. I haven't gone by that menu in weeks! I watched a video by Andrea Mills on Youtube where she talks about how she organizes her meal plan. She calls it The Self-Planning Menu or The Menu That Plans Itself. I love her idea and I really think it can work for me. I have everything necessary to start working on it, but it will take a little time. You're going to have to watch her video for the explanation. 

Curriculum -  The kids are in need of some help in math. We were supplementing with Easy Peasy online, but these children are getting a little too "addicted" to playing on the computer. I think EP is a great curriculum, but I'd really like to keep them off the screens as long as I possibly can. I looked at Life of Fred books again. These guys like to read (score!) and so I thought Life of Fred math books would be good for them. So, we are still using Math-U-See and now supplementing with Life of Fred instead of Easy Peasy. To top it off, I got a fabulous deal purchasing the entire elementary set from another homeschool mom. Can't beat that! 

We're Purging... Again
I am tired of junk cluttering up our home, especially if it's stuff we aren't using. Once again, we began the purging process last weekend. We started in the big storage space we rent. We made 3 piles: Keep, Donate & Garage Sale. We have so much more room in that storage when we were done... and it only took 4 hours! Maybe we can go down a size and save a little bit of money after I have a garage sale in the spring.
My hunny brought home a few more boxes from work so I can toss more stuff. Now as I clean the house daily, I can easily get rid of items that we don't need or aren't using. Again, I'll have a donate box and a garage sale box. I get the kids involved too. I have them go through their closet and take out clothes and toys they don't use and can't wear any more. 

This is quite a process, but it's so relieving when it's all done! Then we'll probably have to do it again next year.  LOL

A Restoration Project
I have several pieces of cast iron cookware that I've had for about 15 years or so. I've used them and tried to maintain them, but I've done something wrong and now they're just sitting in the cabinet and have for the last 3+ years b/c I didn't know what to do with them. Some pieces are a little rusty, some are gunky and some just make the food cooked in them taste absolutely terrible. I know that I have some very reliable and quality pots and pans here, (besides the fact that they were all gifts from my hubby) so the thought of throwing them out is not something I am willing to do. So I am beginning to try to restore them. I have spent about a week looking at youtube videos and instructional blogs to learn what to do. It's a little tricky because everyone has a different opinion about how to restore, re-season and maintain them. So, here goes the biggest experiment for me ever! I will try not to get discouraged along the way because getting that non-stick finish on cast iron takes time. I don't need new cookware, I just need to restore what I have and learn to maintain them.  

A Video/Photo/Quote to Share
"The real Gospel is not that if we follow God, we will get the desires of our heart. The real Gospel is that following Christ is about changing the desires of your heart to desire Him above all else." ~From the video below, only 10 minutes long. It's worth checking out.