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Growing Up

Growing Up

Simple.Home.Blessings. does Morning Time

Gathering - morning time place mats for your kids. Finally get to the art study, hymns, and Bible memory work you have been wanting to get to, effortlesslessly
This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Gathering

The entire time I have been doing homeschool, a morning time routine seemed a natural way to work through our day, getting devotion, prayer, memory work, and the like into the mix.  Something informal for the little ones to be able to naturally start to join in as they were ready.  I found myself sitting in the same place every morning (the hearth in our living room) and telling the kids, “Gather ’round.”  Not all of them would come, but I had the quorum I needed…usually.  The little ones would wander in and out throughout our Gathering.  They would hear a song they wanted to enjoy with us and come running.  They would wander back to their toys when the music died down, toddling back in for their turn to sit on Mama’s lap for reading.  It was really loose.  And inconsistent.

We started settling into a routine of morning time a while back.  It was a natural outcome of the rhythms of our day.  But getting a routine right took some adjusting.  And sticking to it became even harder as seasons in our lives changed.  Thankfully, I feel like we have really found our homeschool groove in the past 6 months.  Scheduling seems to be easier. Getting through the day without major tantrums is a blessing in itself.  And staying the course when diaper changes or nap times interrupt our day has become de rigueur. Continue Reading

Growing Up

We Said Good-Bye to Kindergarten Math

Why we said Goodbye to Kindergarten math

I am not normally one to completely give up on something right out of the starting gate.  But about 2 years ago, I gave up on kindergarten math about 3 lessons in.   Yep.  3 lessons.   I thought we could go back later, when I had a little more patience.  Later ended up being an entire year.  We said good-bye to kindergarten math and we never looked back.  Two years later and one kid more in kindergarten and I have absolutely no regrets.

Is it time for you to say good-bye to kindergarten math, too?  Or should you not even waste your time, energy, and money on a math curriculum for your kindergartner?  I don’t know.  But I don’t mind sharing my thinking behind this epiphany to help you decide. Continue Reading

Growing Up

A Simple Christmas Tradition: A Pickle and a Gift

add a pickle search to your Christmas holiday traditions - ideas for making it a favorite tradition with your kids

My husband is notorious in our family as a lover of pickles.  He is a particular pickle lover – he only prefers peppery pickles.  Sorry, couldn’t resist the alliterations!  Anyway, we received a pickle ornament some time back because of my husband’s well-known passion for pickles (I may or may not stop).  Attached to our pickle ornament was a story of a pickle tradition in which a pickle ornament is hidden on a Christmas tree for children to find.  The first child to find the pickle receives a prize.  In the years following we have started to do this tradition with our kids.  And our kids LOVE it!  It is one of the only traditions for the holidays our kids discuss the moment we get the tree out of storage. Continue Reading

Growing Up, Nest Building

First Day of School 2018

What a beautiful homeschool space! I would love to learn here!

We just finished our first day of school for the girls (and AG, by surprise) in our updated homeschool space.  I know it is Labor Day. But Labor Day means Daddy is home and I have help for the day. We also have our first community day with Classical Conversations tomorrow.  I am trying to alleviate the busyness of the morning tomorrow whilst establishing an understanding that we do school AT home.  I had to explain this to the girls a few times because excitement has an affect on their ears!

Continue Reading

Growing Up

Awesome Alphabet Books

Awesome Alphabet Books - must have Picture books for little learners

We have some young alphabet loving learners in our house!  It started early for my oldest girl and I think she passed it down to her sister and her brother.  G was able to sing the alphabet (with some little stumbles) at 18 months.  And just a couple months later, she had the whole thing.  Then she started working on learning the letter sounds.  By the time she was 4 she had just started reading (through a combination of phonics and sight words) without me “teaching her to read.”

To a lesser extent, W (5 years-old) is interested in the alphabet.  She has known all the letters for a long time and is proficient at writing them, too.  But she is less interested in finding out what sounds they make.  Teaching her to read has been an extended process which requires much patience.

And on her heels is AG (2 years-old).  In love with all things letters and books, he is well on his way to becoming a reader.  His most requested picture books are alphabet related.  And he spends much of his time identifying letters.  And he loves to match the “big” letters to the little letters.

I share this as an awed observer because kids (in general) amaze me.  They are seriously little sponges that make learning look completely natural and fun!  The way learning should look!  I did very little to help my kids fall in love with the alphabet.

But as I sit back and wonder at my kids and their learning to read without me, I try to evaluate.  I think, “What made this possible?”  And I come up with two specific things over and over:  Continue Reading

Growing Up

A Preamble Flag Activity

Create a Preamble Flag to learn the Preamble to the US Constitution and celebrate America's freedom and flag.

This past year our girls learned the Preamble to the US Constitution.  Well, I should say, we ALL learned it.  Previously, I didn’t know it past “We the people!”  This homeschooling thing is good for all of us!

Anyway, as we were working on memorizing the Preamble, I had an idea for a simple craft for the girls to do in order to help them spend some time with the words.  It is a sort of puzzle to make the American flag.  I spent a long time creating it and when I printed it out for G to work on, she informed me I had gotten it wrong.  I guess it took me so long to do the craft, she memorized the Preamble in the interim.

In fact, the Preamble states, “We the People of the United States in order to form a…”  I was leaving out “of the United States.”  Nothing like having a 6 year-old correct you.

There is always a good reason to celebrate our freedoms as Americans, right?  So, I thought I would share our printable puzzle activity with you. Continue Reading

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