Friday, November 29, 2013

Find me on Facebook!

I decided to make a Facebook page to connect more with those that read my blog. You can find it here. 

I've been using Facebook to get notifications from my favorite blogs when new post are up, so I thought I could do the same here.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Daybook

Outside my window it's too cold here! Woke up to temperatures in the teens. If it's going to be this cold, it should just go ahead and snow!

I’m thankful for time spent with family and breaks from school to recharge.

I’m thinking about Advent!

In the schoolroom we are on break! Surprisingly, the next three weeks are planned out and ready to start next Monday. (I tell myself not to get use to this!Surely a one time miracle.)Just three more weeks are left in the term! I'm excited to be halfway done with this school year. I listed some general plans for school during Advent here.

From the kitchen I braved it and fixed a venison roast from Scott's fall harvest. Still don't like it! Although, I will eat a little because the cost of meat (and everything) is just too high and this is a good savings. All my boys said it was good. I'm going all out for Thanksgiving . . . . (lol!) and preparing a veggie tray to take to my uncle's for a big family gathering. I'm planning a nice brunch Thursday with just us and then a evening meal with my side of the family.

I am creating homemade Christmas cards. This is the first year that I actually like what I made and I didn't spend tens of hours making them. I don't have enough, but I have some paper cut for more, just need to doing some stamping and gluing. All my material for these cards came from Close to My Heart. Sorry about the quality of the picture; I sometimes forget to change the settings on the camera.

I am working on creating a peaceful Advent for my family that will lead to a joyful Christmas. Working on avoiding the stressful Advent that leads to no Christmas joy.

I am reading still The Mission of Motherhood
and loving every word. I have an Advent book coming today and my hope is to be able to but the Motherhood book down to start this new one next week. I also have some books on my Nook that are unfinished and I have A Catholic Homeschool Treasury on Caleb's Kindle that I really would like to read. I was really hoping to get some reading in this week . . . . .

I am hearing the heat running constantly . . . . well it turns off for a few minutes and then kicks back on. Caleb practicing Christmas songs on the keyboard.

Clicking around
Living Liturgy at Everyday Snapshots go and see what other are planning for Advent!
The Joy of Copywork
Liking Homeschooling

Around the house because it's a break week there are some extra cleanings going on around here. I deep cleaned the master bedroom this week. I'm cleaning cabinets today. Hoping to clean the bathroom cabinets today or Friday and deep clean the living room on Saturday. Deep cleaning means sweeping under EVERYTHING, cleaning base boards, cleaning curtains, and anything else that doesn't get cleaned in that room on a weekly basis.

Praying for the needs of family and friends . . .  let me know if I can add you to my prayer list.

One of my favorite things is my very helpful boys. I asked for help cleaning on Monday and I got cheerful, right away attitudes to help . . . . oh, I'll admit it, I offered extra screen time. They did a great job and I got the projects done in an hour so we all won.

Plans for this Week (and next) I think I mentioned everything I'm doing this week. I'm really looking forward to the first week of Advent. I'm hoping to have lots of post this Advent. Scout stuff needs to be taken care of for a meeting next week too.

A picture of Scott from his duck hunt yesterday. This man gets up at 1:20 am to make these duck hunts . . . . yes, that's plural; he does this about once a week during season while the numbers are good.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

School Schedule During Advent {The end of the second term!}

Some of my favorite school weeks occur during Advent. We take on a more relaxed atmosphere and include more literature during this time. We have just three weeks left in the second term (half way done for the year!). Sometimes the last week ends early because the boys think Christmas will come sooner if they hurry and get two days of work done in one day!

This year's plans include no formal history, spelling, writing, and grammar. This subject tend to pop up in other stuff so they don't become completely forgotten. One day a week is all independent work for my boys (I work a half day) and I do include some Language Arts that are easy to be done without my help.

For science we are learning all about Christmas Trees using Christmas Trees and How They Grow and this oldie looks wonderful. I found some you tube videos about Christmas Tree farms to watch too. I also checked out several Christmas books at the library that centered around Christmas trees. Last year we read The Carpenter's Gift and that book would fit with a Christmas Tree study and I highly recommend the book!

Most of our school day will center around reading. We normally start our school day with "Morning Basket" and here is what's in the basket for Advent. We will be enjoying some plays and poetry from How Far is it To Bethlehem and we will enjoy Kersti and Saint Nicholas from one our favorite authors Hilda Van Stockum. Between library books and our family library we will have enough books to read one day all through Advent and Christmas. 

Some other books I bought this year include Letters From Father Christmas (because someone checked it out from the library the day before I went to check it out) and Silent Night (bought simply for the art work). A last minute add to the order was Cranberry Christmas.

For religion we will be studying the Liturgical year (Advent) with  An Introduction to the Liturgical Year and books on many of the feast days that are celebrated during Advent. Some books I bought to grow our family book collection include The Baker's Dozen and Lucia, Saint of Light . We will also do some Jesse Tree devotionals using the Holy Heroes Jesse Tree DVD.

Math will remain the same and we will trudge on in that study.  Tyler will be finishing the Math-U-See Gamma book. He is looking forward to Delta and learning division (seriously!). I had planned for Caleb to be done with Epsilon by the end of the year, but I think it will take him through February. I'm ok with this and still think we are on schedule.

Afternoons will be for life skills (aka extra cleaning projects, extra reading, art & crafts, and "Advent Projects". Really just a slowing down and enjoying some freedom to prepare for the joyous event.

For arts & crafts I bought A Simple Start in Christmas Chalk Pastels and maybe some we'll do some stuff I've pinned.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Advent Plans {2013}

Advent is one of my favorite times of year. For me the waiting for Christmas is peaceful. We don't take part in a lot of extra activities outside the home and we keep it simple here at home. I like to wait in peace. This year I will be waiting to do some activities until Christmas. They are Christmas activities anyway and I don't know why I felt they had to be done during Advent.

I completely change our school routine during Advent and I will have a post next week with all those details. 
We will be doing a Jesse Tree and devotionals. I bought Holy Hereos Jesse Tree DVD. I'm still not decided if we will do this during school time or at dinner time and most likely it will depend on the day.

I'm embarrassed to say that we have never had an Advent Wreath because I always put off buying one. I had one given to me one year, but I got it out on the first Sunday and realized it didn't have any candles. That took me two years to recover from and I final bought a new one and candles this year. Unless all the matches disappear between now and the first Sunday of Advent, we are good to go!

To me, waiting means reading, so the book baskets are full and my Amazon wishlist is still calling my name. There will be lots of reading going on in this house during Advent! My post on our school plans will have some books in it.

We will be celebrating as many feast days as we can. We will do it with reading and maybe some activities, but mostly reading. I'm sure there will be post in the future on those.

Be sure to check out the Living Liturgy at Everyday Snapshots! There is a link up with everyone's plans for Advent.

Also, be sure to check out Sarah's post at Amongst Lovely Things because she has a wonderful way with words and says everything I wish I could say about planning for Advent. Enjoy!

I'll be sharing our Christmas plans in a couple of weeks. Tell me what are your favorite Advent Traditions and are you starting anything new this year?

Friday, November 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes

It's been awhile since I did a 7 Quick Takes! Not much time for editing, so please excuse my mistakes!

1) We are on Thanksgiving Break! Yes!! I have some cleaning projects to accomplish this week. I also need to finish up the Advent plans.

2) The boys are really enjoying The Mitchell's Five For Victory as a read aloud. They actually request it over reading Redwall. Redwall is an action adventure, so this is a big surprise that melts my heart. I ordered Candian Summer, the second book in the trilogy for a Christmas gift (surprise boys!-Caleb usually reads the blog).

3) I've been pushing, pushing and rushing, rushing with math for both boys. It was causing a lot of anxiety on my end and Caleb said he felt rushed too. Turns out that Tyler is right on schedule and there was no need for the rushing. I think I can try a slower pace with Caleb. Honestly we have a lot to still cover before reaching the goal of Algebra in ninth grade. Yet, pushing too fast causes more problems. A little research told me that in our area kids typically take Algebra I in high school. In homeschool curriculum, many times it has kids taking Algebra I in eighth grade. Caleb is on track for ninth grade which turns out to be the norm for our area. It will still be an everyday push, but not a rush. I feel better now!

4) Christmas gifts are all planned. About half are bought. With some online Thanksgiving weekend shopping will put me very close to done! This was a goal of mine because I didn't want to worry about gift shopping during Advent. I like a small amount of shopping, but I hate crowds, so shopping in-store in December is at the bottom of my to-do list. I won't be doing any shopping on Thanksgiving nor will I will shopping at stores that are open on Thanksgiving Day next weekend. This is in support of a cousin of mine who doesn't get much of a Thanksgiving Holiday because she is forced to work Thanksgiving Day so that the store can open at 8 pm.

5) Did you know when you buy a print book from Amazon that you can get the Kindle version for free? This is also true for cds! At least the ones we bought qualify. Sometimes it's hard to decide which version so I like these options.

6) I'm looking forward to visiting family next week! Caleb is pretty excited too since he missed their last visit while at a scout camp out.

7) Books I'm reading: The Mission of Motherhood has been a delightful read. I highly recommend this book! Of course, I'm not too far in, but this book truly speaks to my heart. I was surprised because I read a homeschooling book from the same author and I wasn't impressed. Little House on Rocky Ridge  is one that I was pre-reading and decided to stop and I'll be reading this out loud to the boys this coming spring or next school year to go along with history. I'm a lucky mom with boys that enjoy the Little House series! I just got Beauty in the Word yesterday and I'm really looking forward to starting this book.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mornings Like These . . . .

. . . . makes starting school work really hard. This play time together is so much more important than anything they could learn from a book. It's completely undervalued in today's society, yet its lack is what's wrong with the world today.

** I was suppose to state that Caleb being the mature almost thirteen old he is didn't pick this activity but wanted to show his brother love by participating as asked by his little brother. You can believe that if you want! ; )

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Living Liturgy

Pam over at Everyday Snapshots is starting a Living Liturgy blog series for all of us to build habits of faith in our domestic churches. The first post on Living Liturgy Area of Focus is already posted. Another post has monthly planning details.

I've decided to jump in and join her on this journey. I feel like we do a good job of teaching the faith to our boys and putting God first in our family, BUT because it's priority number one there is always more than can be done and more to learn. It's a never ending wonderful commitment and we are excited to put forth some extra effort. I'm looking forward to learning from others and getting some new ideas. One thing I'm looking forward to in this journey is working together with my husband. It seems like most of the time I dictate the what, how, and when in this area and I'm looking forward to sharing this task together.

I believe Pam is right on with her areas of focus: Prayer, Keeping Sunday, Education, Liturgical YearSo much so that these will be our area of focus too with one small change; Keeping Sunday will be given less focus (at this time).

Following is some notes on our ideas and goals from our initial brainstorming time. I included things we are currently doing, trying to get started and what we want to be doing. I tend to do most of our domestic church activities during the day and some will now be done in the evenings to include Scott. I'm sure to find more as everyone share their own over at Everyday Snapshots.

-monthly Adoration (the boys and I already have a thirty minute spot at our church)
-morning prayer time before school (happens 2 days during the week-need to get done daily!)
-meal time prayer (this some how gets missed)
-praying at bedtime and rising (keep reminding boys to do-recently printed some prayer cards for their use-Caleb needs a new prayer book)
-thinking about purchasing Children's Daily Prayer book 
-weekly family Rosary (out of habit at the moment-the boys and I were doing this during school time earlier this year)

-study of Catechism made top priority (getting done, but needs more focus-and this would be good for parents to do too)
-create a monthly book basket with liturgical titles to be done once (or twice) a week during religion time during school hours
-saint study (already being done)
-spend thirty minutes (or more) a day during school hours on religion education (already being done)

Liturgical Year
-Saint Study during school time (already done but needs work)
-Advent preparation (already being done)
-Christmas preparation (needs improvement during the two weeks we are on break from school during this time)
-Lent Preparation (already being done)
-Easter Preparations (needs improvement-need more details)
-daily Gospel reading (need to move to dinner time and be more consistent)
-celebrate Baptism days
-celebrate saint name days 

I have really spent the last week working on plans to celebrate the Liturgical year for the remaining of the year. I put together books on Saints for Novemeber and put them in a basket and put two days in the boys school planner to read from the basket. I'm starting to work on Advent preparations and I will do a separate blog post on those.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Challenges of Teaching History (and what is working right now)

History has always been a challenge for me to teach. My boys lack interest in this area. I find subjects they like on occasion but usually they lack interest. It has always been a challenge for me to teach history in a manner that appeals to them.

I'm not a big hands on person . . . .  well I am, but it's not a fun activity with my boys. I then had to remind myself that I made this statement a few  years ago when I had boys that lacked fine motor skills that made a lot of the projects my doing (to hurry up and just get it done).

I have gone back and forth on teaching them together or apart or some combination for history. Teaching apart is really too time consuming for me. I don't have enough time to plan two separate plans and the time to teach at different times even if covering the same time period. The problem we run into when I teach them together is finding material that is at each of their levels (they are three grades apart). When we do a combination of both I just can't keep it all straight. I've spent a lot of time researching materials, looking at blogs to see how other families handle history, and many hours in prayer.

Our game plan for this year was a state study for Tyler (because I did that with Caleb at this age) and Middle Ages and Renaissance with Caleb. After a ridiculous number of hours later I realized yet again this wasn't going to work. The only changes I had made from previous years was the amount of time I spent planning (much more than normal). I did realize that text books or very thick living books were not going to work for. If you are not a history lover, reading detailed filled books (no matter how enjoyable mom finds them) isn't going to help you gain any interest in history. Keep the reading light and dig deep when an interest is found. Now what do we use to accomplish this? This sent me back to the drawing board.

I become inspired on Jessica's blog, Shower of Roses and I really was intrigued on how she taught history in her home. This made me take a second (or third or fourth, I've lost count) look at Home School in the Woods products. Long story short, I did lots of pondering and figured out how to make these products work for us. I think the biggest obstacle in that decision was the fact that Home School in the Woods products are not Catholic. 

After two months we are all happy with our history journey this year!

Want some details? I have combined the boys together and we are using The Middle Ages Passport along with Catholic historical fiction and Saint books. Using Living books is the BIG factor that makes this work for us. The second thing that makes this work for us is that the readings from Middle Ages Passport are living and the length is reasonable and most importantly they keep the boys interested. We do some of the activities suggested. We are also keeping a notebook of the activities. (We won't be doing any lapbooking.) The notebook will come to use when we are finished and need to review over everything we have learned. We have skipped some of the "stops" on subjects that we had a nice living books or topics I just didn't think the boys would care one bit about. We are currently skipping the section on knights just because we have already read so much (from other sources) that it's not necessary to read any more.

I plan to have this finished in the next month. (We may need another month as I was looking at the books I'm still wanting to read.) We will pick up The Renaissance and Reformation after Christmas break in January (looks like February now). Most likely I will use Catholic books to cover the reformation.

 After that I hope to spend a few weeks on Missouri history before school ends (standard fourth grade requirement in Missouri-Caleb could use the review). Next year I plan to start where we left off with American History last year using The Early 19th Century and continuing along that path.

No ideas yet on what high school history will look like in our home.

Some books we have enjoyed with the Middle Ages Passport:
Augustine Came to Kent 
Favorite Medieval Tales 
Saint Benedict 
Saint Dominic

Still on our list to read (or just started):
Francis and Clare 
The Blue Gonfalon (Emmanual Books has this one.) 
Crossbows and Crucifixes 
Saint Catherine of Siena 

Want some scheduling details? We have been spending two days a week (40 minutes to 1 hour each) on history. The boys also have a "history/science book basket" that they do one day a week in addition. Tyler picked up the Favorite Medieval Tales book to read recently, but Caleb tends to pick science books to read. These books include some random books from the library and some that I purchased but didn't have time to formally assign. Favorites included Ye Castle Stinketh and others in that series. Ones that are still in the basket and not read (and no one seems interested) include The Art of Catapult and Oxford History: The Middle Ages

I'm planning on doing a post just like this on how science is working for us this year later in the month. 

One of My Favorite Bloggers is Hosting a Giveaway for the Feast of St. Andrew!

Sarah over at Amongst Lovely Things is one of my favorite bloggers. We have a lot of things in common and lots of stuff not so much in common. I find her writings inspiring and her insight on many topics get me thinking.

Right now she is hosting a giveaway for a St. Andrew Christmas Novena Bracelet or Chaplet from Loreto Rosaries. Be sure to go over and check it out!

Be warned that I'm feeling better lucky blessed lately and I'm planning on winning this!  ; )

Saturday, November 2, 2013

All Saint's Day 2013

We decided to celebrate All Saint's Day with a small family party. (Scott missed the party after deciding not to take off work early due to already planned days off in the near future.)

Surprisingly just the three of us had fun. The party started with prayer and the Litany of the Saints. Asking all the Saints to pray for you brings a wonderful amount of peace and was a great start to the party. The boys made cupcakes as the first task. We read about what today was about and then read about how a saint becomes a Saint. Then we played several rounds of Saint Bingo thanks to Jessica at Shower of Roses and her All Saints Bingo cards. We then made crafts. You can never be too old for lunch bag puppets! We used Lacy's Saint Puppet Templates. Well worth $3! I'm sure we will make more in the future seeing that I'm well stocked on brown lunch bags and Tyler enjoys them. While each of us made a puppet (yes, even I made one-St. Francis!) we listened to our Glory Story CD on St. Therese of Lisieux. Next we had a Saint Relay Race. I got this idea from another blog (I can't find my bookmark to let you know where) and this was the hit of the party. The boys had to do the Corporal Works of mercy like the Saints do and I timed them. Caleb beat Tyler by thirty seconds. 
They feed the hungry like St. Elizabeth of Hungary by putting icing on the cupcakes we baked. They help build the Church like St. Francis with their legos. They prayed for the living and the dead like St. Cyprian by leading us in prayer. They clothed the naked like St. Martin de Tours by dressing a stuffed animal. They filled cups of water to give drink to the thirsty. They gave to the poor like St. Nicholas by throwing socks full of pennies into our bean bag game. Finally they taught the faith like St. Patrick by reading a question and answer out of the catechism. It was a long game, but much enjoyed. 

Caleb feeding the hungry.

Tyler building the Church.

Caleb building the Church.

Tyler clothing the naked.
Caleb clothing the naked.

We ended the afternoon with saint presentations. Each boy gave an oral narration on their favorite saint. Caleb choose St. Nicholas and Tyler picked St. Michael.

We did have a big mess to clean up afterwards!

We ended the day with evening Mass and the boys got to be servers.

Weekend Checklist

1) Tyler first time deer hunting-CHECK but no deer (yet)

2) Caleb deer hunting-CHECK (out right now)

3) Clean Tyler's closet-CHECK (cough, cough)

4) Reorganize scrapbooking supplies-CHECK

5) Make room in hall closet and new stuff to fill the space-CHECK

6) Tyler's Room cleaned- finishing up right now

7) Lots of random things done all day to avoid spending more than 5 minutes at a time in Tyler's room-CHECK (this was a last minute add on)

It's just been one of those days. One project leads to many! I have an even longer list a little task that I need to get done this weekend and really should have been done first, but that has been delayed!

What are you accomplishing this weekend? (Maybe I'll accomplish our All Saint's Day party post too.)

Caleb and Tyler on Halloween. Same from last year! This is what happens when you go to buy the costumes they  picked out two days before Halloween. My checkbook liked it though! I'm not for scary on Halloween and this is beyond what I normally allow which is probably why they didn't mind wearing them two year in a row. (And yes, Dad, that is your shirt. Mom said it was ok to destroy-sorry!)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...