Monday, November 28, 2011

Advent: Week 1 - Prophecy

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Memory Verse - Matthew 1:22-23 
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.'

Verses to Read – 

·         December 1st - 2 Peter 1:19-21
·         December 2nd - Isaiah 11:1-2 & Jeremiah 23:5-6
·         December 5th - Isaiah 9:1-7 & Matthew 4:13-16
·         December 6th - Isaiah 7:13-14 & Matthew 1:22-23
·         December 7th - Micah 5:2 & Matthew 2:5-6
·         December 8th - Isaiah 53
·         December 9th - Malachi 3:1 & Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 & Mark 1:1-11

     Ornaments to Use - (download ornaments)
      December 1st - Bible
      December 2nd - Stump
      December 5th - Lightbulb
      December 6th - Sign
      December 7th - Map of Israel
      December 8th - Cross
      December 9th - Megaphone

Song – Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

(If your child can handle more, there are at least six more verses!  Or also consider memorizing Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.)

Activities -

·         December 1st
  • Sid the Science Kid 'Light Scavenger Hunt'  When the lights are low, is it easy to pay attention to the different light sources?  Explain how we should pay attention to the Bible like we would do a light in a dark room.  Explain how people a long time ago had to pay attention to their 'Bibles' if they wanted to know what to look for when Jesus came.
·         December 2nd
  • Make a tree out of paper (or anything else if you are creative. =) 'Cut' it down to the stump.  Talk about if the tree will grow back into a big fruitful tree.  Then have a branch grow up from it and have the child glue 'fruit' onto it.  Explain (to your child's ability) how Jesus came from David/Jesse's line and was like a shoot that came up out of a stump.
·         December 5th
  • Sid the Science Kid 'Cave of Darkness'  In the dark 'cave' can you see anything? Do you know where anything is or about anything?  What if you have a flashlight? Jesus makes us be able to ‘see’ things clearly and know how to do things. Explain how Jesus is a light in the darkness.
·         December 6th
  • Look at different signs.  What do they tell you?  The people were able to look forward to great hope by looking and waiting for the sign.
·         December 7th
  • Color map of Israel.  Point out Bethlehem.  Find Israel on a map.
  December 8th -
  • Color a cross while listening to the reading.   Explain in Isaiah 53 how Jesus was sent so that he could die for us.
·         December 9th
  • Set up an obstacle course for your children.  Then have child push away the obstacles and go through the course again and see how much easier it is.  Your children could even shout "Make ready the way of the Lord, Make his paths straight!" While they are clearing away the obstacles.  Explain that this is why John the Baptist was sent.

Check back throughout the week to see more details on how we did each activity.  To see the entire list of verses we are using and breakdown of the weeks, click here.  Also, I'd love to know if you are doing this along with us!  Let me know if you have any questions or if you have any other ideas for celebrating Advent.

Merry Christmas!       Pin It

Friday, November 25, 2011

Advent Tree with Verses and Pictures

Well now that Thanksgiving is over, I am excited to officially be able to look toward Christmas.  One thing we do to focus on Christ during this season is celebrate Advent.  We will light the candles and read the verses, but to add a little something more tangible for the kids we convert our (now bare) Thanksgiving Tree into an Advent Tree!

I have read a few variations of how the weeks during Advent are to be broken up, but was never quite satisfied with how it all fit together, so what I did was go through all the typical Advent verses and create the following list.  You will see the date first in the row, but of course there is nothing sacred about the dates I chose =)

Prophecy Candle (remembering how Christ was pointed to prophetically)

(12/1) Day 1 - 2 Peter 1:19-21
(12/2) Day 2 - Isaiah 11:1-2
(12/5) Day 3 - Isaiah 9:1-7 & Matthew 4:13-16
(12/6) Day 4 - Isaiah 7:13-14 & Matthew 1:22-23
(12/7) Day 5 - Micah 5:2 & Matthew 2:5-6
(12/8) Day 6 - Malachi 3:1, Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 & Mark 1:1-11
(12/9) Day 7 - Galatians 4:4-3 & Ephesians 1:9-12

Preparation Candle (remembering how the stage was set exactly right for Christ to come)

(12/12) Day 1 - John 1:1-9
(12/13) Day 2 - Luke 1:5-25
(12/14) Day 3 - Luke 1:57-66
(12/15) Day 4 - Luke 1:67-80
(12/16) Day 5 - Luke 2:1-3 & Micah 5:2

Angles Candle (remembering how the angles proclaimed the good news)

(12/19) Day 1 - Luke 1:26-38
(12/20) Day 2 - Matthew 1:18-25
(12/21) Day 3 - Luke 2:8-15

Birth Candle (remembering the birth of Christ)

(12/22) Day 1 - Luke 2:1-7
(12/23) Day 2 - Luke 2:15-20
(12/24) Day 3 - Matthew 2:1-12

Jesus Candle (remembering how Christ is the light of the world)

Christmas Day - John 8:12

I collected/made pictures to go with each of the days and cut them out and put string through them to make them like ornaments for our Advent Tree (see below to download).  Each day we add an ornament to the tree and read the verses.  This year I will have lesson plans to go with each week including an activity of some sort to go with each of the days, a weekly memory verse, and a song to learn/memorize each week.  I will share these (hopefully a week at a time) with you starting in a few days so that you can celebrate Christ along with us if you'd like!


I look forward to celebrating Christ with you this Advent season.  I would love to hear how you point to Christ in your celebrations during this Christmas time.  Please share!

Merry Christmas!       Pin It

Monday, November 21, 2011

Corn Cob Birdfeeders

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Remember when we made our Indian Corn Necklaces?  Well, I told you that I'd show you what we did with our leftover corn cobs!  We turned them into bird feeders!  I got the idea from The Kids' Nature Book that we have been using this year.

First I had to look up what birds eat.  I didn't want to accidentally put something on the corn cobs that would hurt them!  We gathered crushed up rice cakes, chopped almonds, wheat berries, sunflower seeds, soaked raisins, peanut butter, and of course our bare corn cobs.

All ready to go!

Then we assembled the feeders.  First we slathered peanut butter all over each of the corn cobs.  This was really good practice for Trevor.  Then we sprinkled a little of each of the foods onto them.  Sorry I didn't get any pictures of this, but my hands were a mess too!  Lastly, I rolled and pressed the cobs over one of the plates to make sure that every last bit of peanut butter was covered!

Our finished product!

You're supposed to hang these in a tree, but being that we live in a condo we do not have trees of our own, so I tied them up with some string and hung them on our balcony.  Sadly, we never actually saw any birds eating off of these, but after a few days they were picked clean!  We're going to have to see if we can re-cover these with peanut butter and treats for the birds to enjoy again.

If you like the idea of feeding birds in the winter, other ideas along the same line might be decorating a "Christmas Tree" outside for birds (hang apples or donuts coated with peanut butter and seeds from a tree) or decorating a snowman with food for the birds.  If you have any creative ideas you have used or heard of for feeding birds in the winter, please share!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Lesson Plans

For the month of November and December we're taking a break from our normal lesson plans around here and focusing on the holidays!  This month we are practicing being thankful of course, and next month we will be focusing on Christ by celebrating Advent. Here's what we've been up to...

Morning time:
  • Interactive Calendar (Although I've revamped our calendar from how I originally created it.  It doesn't look nearly as nice now, but it's much easier to use!)
  • Devotions using His Mighty Warrior, which I'm really enjoying!)
  • Singing time (Trevor is learning Come Thou Fount and the Doxology to help reinforce that all of our blessings come from God!)
  • Reading The Thanksgiving Story. We're really enjoying this book.  It's a chapter book, so it is hard enough to challenge, but still simple enough to be enjoyed.

Sorry you can't actually see Trevor =) This video was taken very early morning when I enjoy a nice dark house.  If I get the chance to take a better one I'll switch it.

Thanksgiving Tree:

Fun and Games:
  (I can't remember what blog I found the Thanksgiving timeline game on...if you are reading this and it's yours, please let me know!)

And of course we are still visiting grandparents, going to the library, playing at the gymnastics center, going to our homeschool group, class at church etc.

What have you been up to?  I love getting new ideas and still need to think of a few things to do for the next week or so!

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Indian Corn Necklaces

Can you believe the seemingly endless amount of activities to do related to autumn?  It seems like every time I click onto someone elses  blog I see another fun fall craft, or recipe, or activity.  I thank God for the abundant harvest he gives us all the fun things we can do relating to it!

One fun thing we did this year was make Indian corn necklaces.  I have always seen beautiful Indian corn this time of year, but I had never bought it before.

Beautiful Indian Corn

The kids proudly displaying their corn!

The first thing you have to do is remove the kernels from the cob.  I found it was easiest if I broke the cobs in half, then the kernels just had to be sort of pushed off one-by-one from the broken end.  What I liked about this part is that all of us were capable of doing it, even Mackenzie!  She didn't get very many, but it really kept her focused and occupied for quite a while!  Trevor was very excited when he got ALL of the kernels off of his one (half of a) cob.

The kids hard at work!

Our beautiful pile of kernels!

I was amazed at how many kernels we got!  I really could have just bought one cob of corn.  The next part was hard for Trevor because you have to  w  a  i  t.  The kernels need to soak in water for quite a while to soften them up.  One website I read said to soak them in boiling hot water for one hour, but the kernels were still way too hard to work with.  Another site said to soak them for a few hours and then your kids should be able to string their necklace using a blunt needle.  Yeah right!  I could barely get a regular needle through.  So we let them soak all day and then I strung the kernels on the needle and Trevor's job was handing me which kernel he wanted to go on next and then pushing it down the string.

We ended up making two necklaces.  I would have loved to use up all our kernels to make more, but my fingers were just too sore!  If anyone knows of an easier way to make these, please let me know because I'd love to try again next year, but not at the expense of my fingers =)

Afterward we were left with three bare corn cobs.  What would you do with these?  Here's what we did!

Happy Fall!                 Pin It

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Review: His Mighty Warrior

I recently discovered a neat website that offers bloggers free books in return for a reviews.  This is a fantastic find if you are a blogger and love to read =)  The website is Blogging for Books, go check it out if you have a blog!  The first book I agreed to review is called His Mighty Warrior: A Treasure Map from Your King.


Before I even opened this book I was pleased.   The front cover is slightly puffy.  I know that’s silly to note, but it just gives an extra something special to the book.  The cover art is of a boy on an adventure…what young boy wouldn't be intrigued by that!  The first thing I noticed upon opening the book is that the beautiful artwork from the cover continues inside.  Each page is really a picture in itself with the words set on top.   ***Confession: I was assuming that I would try to sell this book after I read and reviewed it, but it is just such a quality looking book that I want it on my shelf!

This book is not a story, but more of a devotional for boys.  Each page that you open to features a (fictional) letter from God to your boy, a Bible verse, and a prayer for your boy to pray in response to the letter and verse.   It reads like the final words of instruction and encouragement a father would give to a son who is going off on a journey.  Each letter encourages or instructs your boy in a way that he should act (be courageous, be a protector, obey the rules, etc.)  and is doctrinally strong on points like God's sovereignty and our utter dependence on Him. The content is not dumbed-down, but is still appealing to young, imaginative minds.  Here is an example from one of the ‘letters’…

"You will be surrounded by boys and girls who do not want to follow the rules.  I do not want you to be like them.  I want you to be a leader, not a follower.  A true leader will be strong and do the right thing."

The prayers are fantastic responses to the letters.  Each one is honest, often with a confession of wrong behavior and a plea to God for help in doing the right thing.  Here is an example of one of the prayers…

“Dear God, I want an awesome attitude.  Please help me have a grateful heart no matter what happens.  I want to be a hero for you and help others do the same by my example.  I’m Jesus’s name I pray, amen.”

My only critique is that some of the verses are from the Old Testament and could be taken out of context if the book was being read alone by your son.  For example, Deuteronomy 7:6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God.  The Lord you God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”  While it is true that Christians are holy in God’s eyes and that He chose us to be His, this verse was spoken to the Israelites, and I don’t feel right applying it perfectly to us.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I would explain to my son that the principle of this verse is good, but that it wasn’t spoken for us.

This book seems like it would be best suited for a boy around the age or 6-10 years old, but would probably be enjoyed by younger ones as well (they just would not get as much out of the application).  The principles are really even great for older children (and us parents, too!) but some of the wording might just be a little too silly for them to get into.   I think this book could be read to anyone because the principles it encourages are wonderful, but if your child has actually made Christ the Lord of his life, then this book should be incredibly convicting and (through the Holy Spirit) could produce life changing results!

If you are looking for a great book to encourage Biblical principles in your son’s life, then I would highly recommend this book!  I was not required to give His Mighty Warrior: A Treasure Map from Your King a positive review, but I gladly do!

Would you kindly take a moment to rate my review?

Happy Reading!       Pin It

*I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanksgiving Tree

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Last year my family started the tradition of having a Thanksgiving Tree.  Every time a holiday rolls around I have a hard time dealing with the commercialization and trivialization of the event.  I guess I just feel that if we are going to say that we are celebrating Thanksgiving (for example) that we should actively practice being thankful.  Likewise, if we say that we are celebrating Christmas, we should actually celebrate Christ and not just worship material goods.  I really don't desire to swim against the current in these matters, but I do try to redeem as much real purpose out of the holidays as I can and am always looking for new/better ways to do so!

This Thanksgiving Tree is one way that we practice actively being thankful during November.  What I did was cut out a bare tree from a thick piece of poster board and covered it with paper grocery bags (it needed a little mending this year from being in storage all year =).  Then I cut out enough leaves to account for each day starting with Reformation Day, going through to Thanksgiving Day.  On each leaf I wrote one thing that we can be thankful.  I tried to pick things and people that Trevor might be thankful for.  Last year we focused on family members and his little 'friends.'  This year we are doing family members again and then this time neighbors.  We start on Reformation Day by being thankful for the Bible, and end on Thanksgiving Day by being thankful for Jesus (makes a nice transition to Advent).

Bare Tree
Thankful Tree!

Each day before dinner a leaf 'falls' off of the tree.  We talk about why we are thankful for that person or thing.  Then we pray and thank God for it (and if it's a person, we pray for them too!)  Lastly, if it is a person we write them a little letter saying that we are thankful for them and why.

Last year I just wrote out the letter, but this year I included some copywork on it so that Trevor could be more involved and practice his writing too!  If you would like to do this with your child, feel free to download this copywork for your own personal use.

I cut out my leaves by hand, but you could use a die-cut machine, a fancy Cricut, or just a simple leaf punch.  If you want to be cool like me ;) you can download my template, print it onto cardstock, and cut until your little heart is content!



This is just how we do our tree.  I have heard of other variations, so be as creative as you would like!  My friend Stephanie (who laughs at me for cutting out my own leaves) and her family add a leaf each day so that they end up with a tree full of thanksgiving!  I think that's a great idea.  If your child(ren) are handy with scissors, you could let them cut the leaves out and any age child could decorate/color the leaves and now you've got a great Art project! Do any of you do a Thanksgiving Tree?  How do you do it?  Any other ideas of how to be purposeful about this Thanksgiving season?

Happy Thanksgiving!    

Friday, November 4, 2011

Good Books Copywork - is, she, can, see

Here are this week's copywork pages.  If you frequent this blog, you might remember that I am putting together copywork pages for each of the spelling words we are learning this year.  These sheets are a marriage of two resources, The Writing Road to Reading and the 1000 Good Books  list at Classical Christian Homeschooling.  The spelling words are taken in order from the Writing Road to Reading and I have paired each one with a sentence from one of the books on the 1000 Good Books list.

Previous weeks copywork packs:
 This week's copywork pack:
These sheets are a great way practice the daily spelling word, gain greater proficiency in writing letters, and start to learn basic sentence structure (capital letter in the front, lowercase almost everywhere else, punctuation at the end, space between words, etc.)

I think I am going to be taking a break from these copywork pages until the new year so that we can enjoy the holiday season doing fun things related to Thanksgiving (and fall!) and Christmas (and winter!)  We are currently doing copywork as part of our thanksgiving tree (I'll get a post up for that soon!) so I didn't see a need to do it twice.  If you are enjoying these pages and would like more before the new year, just sent me and email and I'll try to get you the next packs =)

Happy Writing!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Science Activity - Estimation Exploration

Last week's science activity from Sid the Science Kid at PBS Parents was all about estimation.  The purpose of this activity was to learn about estimating numbers of objects and then checking the estimates by counting.

This is what we did:

  • Give the child 20 pieces of something (marbles, crayons, acorns, etc.) and let them observe what '20' looks like.  We used these foam sheets because Trevor had been playing with them that morning lining them up to make roads.
  • Next give the child 10 pieces of that same something.  Let them observe what '10' looks like and note that it is less than '20.'
  • Then give the child another (unknown by the child) number of the item and have them estimate how many is there.  Have the child count the items to see if they were close.
  • Repeat as many time as you'd like.

 Here's Trevor getting a good feel for what '20' looks like.

Now he's trying to estimate how many were in this pile.  He kept trying to count to make his guess.  Estimation was definitely a new concept for him!

Finally, counting to see how many were actually there (of course he had to line them up like a road =)  I was really impressed at how good his estimations were!  He never guessed anything silly, like 400.  He mostly guessed '10' or '20' which I thought was good because he was likening it to the sizes of the piles I gave him to observe in the beginning.

I thought this was another simple, yet brain-stimulating early science activity.  And I love that once again, there was really no prep work.  Have you done anything like this with your child?  I'd love to hear about any fun activities you have done with your kids!

Happy Estimating!

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