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Showing posts from December, 2012

2012 ~ NOT in Review

It's the day for the 2012 Review posts. But I just can't come up with anything clever. And with the skewed way Google Stats works, actually identifying my "most popular" posts for the year is kind of a waste of time and isn't even truly accurate. Do I really want to re-read my whole blog to choose MY favorite posts from 2012? Nope. I know there is some value to identifying what's been done in the past to improve what will be done in the future. But that just tends to make me feel like I haven't done things good enough. And that's an emotional trap!

So I have decided not to review 2012 and, instead, just think ahead to 2013. We will start back to school lightly on Thursday and then get back into the full swing of things in one week. We still have some relaxing to do!

What will our homeschool look like in 2013?
We will continue to start each day around 10 a.m. and end each day by 3 p.m. My day will start at 6:30 a.m. with my quiet time, my bike ride and…

The Week BEFORE Christmas

Our week before Christmas was moving along perfectly! It was just what I had planned ... lots of baking and reading.








And then ... WHAM! The flu hit Brynne. And everything came to a screeching halt!

We got our first snow storm, and Eli spent a small amount of time enjoying it. But, it just wasn't the same without his sidekick (and it was FREEZING) so he didn't last long.



We did read one special book that I'd like to recommend. I read that there is a reprint with updated illustrations. But, there was something special about that old book with it's old illustrations, that I highly recommend it.


Brynne recovered from the flu right in the nick of time, so she was able to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas with us (although she was moving a little slow). It ended up being a very Merry Christmas and we were happy celebrating it in our new home and new town.


Journey to Excellence will be back in full swing on January 1st, so stop back by! Until then, enjoy the rest of your …

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Activities Galore!

Thoughts about the Week ... 
With such a great week of homeschooling to end with such tragedy in Connecticut, it makes it really hard to carry on about how great things are here. However, the possibility of these types of tragedies, among other things, is one of the reasons why we homeschool in the first place. After my husband and I discussed the shooting, he sent me a text that said, "Thank you for homeschooling." There are so many arguments for and against, but I know that I cannot depend on others to protect and care for my children. It's my job, and I am grateful that I have the opportunity to do that on a daily basis. My prayers are most certainly with the families of those precious babies.

I think this is going to be one of those weeks that when I get done typing this wrap-up, I will say, "Wow! We really did do a lot!" We have cut a couple of things out here and there because of some life events, like my grandma going back into the hospital and today'…

Rediscovering Christmas ~ with Butterfly Wishes Wonderland Dreams

I will post our Rediscovering Christmas activities and thoughts on Friday. But, Shannon at Butterfly Wishes Wonderland Dreams already has her's posted. And, she has some great ideas! Hop over there to see what her and her girls did this week.

I did some personal meditation this morning about the Journey to Bethlehem, and it was good!

Rediscovering Christmas ~ Week 2: The Journey

If you are reading along with me in The Christmas Story by G.A. Myers, spend some time this week reading Chapter 4 on "The Journey to Bethlehem" and meditating on Luke 2:1-7.

My children will be reading "Little Donkey's Tale" in The First Christmas by Francine M. O'Connor, and I will be reading to them out of First Christmas by Alastair MacDonald.

We will be making a hand print donkey craft found at Planet of the Apels.


For this craft you will need construction paper, gray paint, a black sharpie marker, little hands, and lots of baby wipes.

Enjoy your time with your children reflecting on the journey to the birth of Christ. I will post all of our activities on Friday.

I Apparently NEED to Rediscover Christmas

Remember my Rediscovering Christmas series? Remember the reason for it ... to put Christ at the center of this Christmas season? Remember how I was going to post supply lists on Fridays to prepare you for the next week's lesson?

Well. Last Friday you didn't get a supply list. Why? Because I was busy celebrating the "other" parts of Christmas, and I forgot. Not only that, but I had planned for us to do our lessons on Tuesdays so I could share what we did with you on Wednesdays. And, today is Tuesday, and I haven't planned for it. In fact, in planning our week, I didn't even include it.

I need a large dose of Rediscovering Christmas. How about you?

I was going to fake it and do a fabulous post tomorrow about what we did today just so you could see how on top of this I am. But, that's wrong. Just wrong.

I will be providing you with your supply list for this week's activity today. And, instead of cramming in some kind of lesson today, just to say we did…

Charlie Needs a Cloak ~ Tomie de Paola {Virtual Book Club for Kids}

For Virtual Book Club for Kids this month, we were to read a book by Tomie de Paola and do some activities.

I was excited to read another book by de Paola because he is the author of one of my favorite books that prompted a phenomenal Christmas for us a couple of years ago. For Christmas 2010, we read the book An Old Fashioned Christmas and then decided that we were going to replicate it the best we could for our own Christmas celebrations. We bought a ball and burlap tree, made all of our decorations (popcorn garlands, paper ornaments, crystal ornaments, salt dough ornaments, orange pomanders), ordered and burned authentic bayberry candles on Christmas Eve, made luminaries, and made our own candles. Our kitchen table was covered for two weeks with all of our crafts and activities. It gave us a true appreciation for how important Christmas was for the originators of the holiday in America and how their whole family invested in preparation for it. It was so special!

For the Virtual Bo…

Rediscovering Christmas ~ The Angel and Mary

On Monday, the kids and I started our Rediscovering Christmas activities. As promised, we read in The First Christmas by Francine M. O'Connor about Isaiah's prophecy and Mary's encounter with the angel(s) and how they related to the birth of Christ. Then we read the account of Gabriel's visit to Mary in the One Year Children's Bible.

Our activity for the day was making "stained glass" angels. I drew a pattern on black construction paper and cut it out. Then I put a sheet of clear contact paper on the cutout, with the sticky side UP. The kids and I tore tissue paper into small pieces and they stuck it to the contact paper. When they were done, we added another piece of contact paper to that side and trimmed around the circle. With a hole punch and a piece of yarn we made it into a hanging stained glass work of art.


We are going to give these to my two grandmothers who will LOVE them!


To end our time together, I printed off a color by sight word lesson fro…

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Steady

This has been a wonderful, steady week. We have sat down each morning with our books and just worked through our lessons without a hitch. After a crazy Thanksgiving break, it felt good to sit down and learn some new spelling rules. Know what I mean?

The Three R's

Reading. We are about mid-way through Stuart Little. As happens with a lot of books, we are getting much more into it now. After talking with another mom, I was inspired to start a monthly book club with a couple of moms and our 7 and 9 year olds. We have decided to start with Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling. WOW! What a book! There is SO MUCH to learn about while reading it! I have decided to make it our main focus of literature starting after Christmas break. I have found some amazing resources and I will be sharing those with you soon.

wRiting. Writing continues to be a favorite subject (of mine). WriteShop Primary is a great curriculum, and I love it's style. This week Eli and Brynne finished their five-sent…