Wednesday

Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt Printable for Readers and Non-Readers

Please feel free to direct people to this blog post to download their own scavenger hunt, but do not share the files. 
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If you asked my children what is your favorite holiday tradition, they would all say it is our annual Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt. We pile in our minivan and drive 30 minutes to a neighborhood that goes all out for Christmas with decorating. Preacher Man drives slowly through the streets while the kids and I try to be the first to mark off the things on our list. I’ve been able for the past few years to find Christmas scavenger hunt printables on the internet, but some of them have really odd items like a dolphin (who decorates with a dolphin at Christmas?) and none of them were really great for Levi who still can’t read well enough to read his own list, so I spent most of my time yelling to the backseat what he should be looking for. Necessity is the mother of invention and this year I made our own Christmas Scavenger Hunt printables and one that is specifically for non-readers in your family so they can be part of the fun without needing assistance.


In case you are curious about how we play, when you find something on the list at a house, you have to yell and point out the house you are using and what item on your list you are using it for. That house is then off limits to other players for that item, but could be used by other players for a different item as long as they claim it. The first one to get everything on their list wins and gets to choose where we grab our supper before heading home. It’s so much fun and would be a great thing to do with youth groups, friends, and, of course, your family.

Just print out your choice of printable below (or both!), schedule a night to go out, and have a blast celebrating our family’s favorite time of year! 

A Scholé Power Hour: Resources

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Now that we’re a good three months into our school year, I wanted to do a short series on our Morning Meeting time for this year. It usually takes me a couple of months to iron the kinks out of everything we’re using, get the scheduling down just right, and replace resources that didn’t work for ones that will. Hopefully that’s encouraging to some of you that despite seven years of homeschooling I still need a few months to get things clicking on all cylinders!

The first major change for the year was that Morning Meeting had a name change. Grace would always tease me that Morning Meeting would usually occur in the afternoon and sometimes even at night: “It’s not really Morning Meeting, Mom, if we don’t do it in the morning.” Point taken. So I began to think about new names for that time of our school day when I came across the term Power Hour from Jen’s blog, Forever, For Always…No Matter What. I loved the name and it addressed something else that had been bothering me about our Morning Meeting time: length.

So the next change I made was being determined to pare down our Morning Meeting time to fit within an hour time constraint. While our normal time of an hour and a half to two hours wasn’t necessarily bad, it just took a large part of our day, and I felt like I needed a nap after all that reading to the kids and keeping Levi from running amok. After some trial and error, I’ve been able to trim everything down to fit within an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes. I even set a timer for the first few weeks to make sure that I was keeping true to my vision for our new and improved Power Hour part of the day!


So now for the fun part: book list! Listed below are the resources that I'm using with my kids this year during our Power Hour time. These resources are for the ENTIRE year so don't look at the list and panic. In the next post about our Power Hour time, I'll show how all of these are scheduled over the week and over the year. Believe it or not this is the list that's been culled to keep restful learning happening around here.

Bible Study

Bible Study Guide for All Ages: We have used and loved this Bible program since we started homeschooling. You can see my review here.

Sweet Speak by Elizabeth Jimenez: While this book is geared toward teenage girls, the content is fabulous for anyone to learn how to let their words be words that build instead of destroy. I chose this for us to read through and discuss together because we ALL need this study around here!

Poetry

Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson and Poetry for Young People: Edward Lear: The Poetry for Young People series is one of my most favorite finds since we started homeschooling. These books make studying and reading poetry painless since they have notes about the poems, bio about the poet, and definitions of words included in the text.

Sing Song by Christina Rossetti: This collection of poems should be a staple in your home if you have younger children. 

Rhymes and Verses: Collected Poems for Young People by Walter de la Mare

All of the above poetry books are meant to be read for enjoyment over the course of the year, but to actually study poetry I'm using the following book from Memoria Press. 

Poetry for the Grammar Stage: We'll only be covering the third grade poems this year, one each term.

Geography

Visits to the Middle East by Sonya Shafer: I've been so impressed with how easy these books make learning geography. This year we are focusing on the Middle East, but I plan to continue the series with my kids because it's so effective.

The Complete Book of Marvels by Richard Halliburton: I grabbed this book about two years ago and immediately fell in love with this amazing living geography book. Copies are sometimes difficult to find and can be pricey, but it's well worth it if you can find a copy within your budget.

The Glorious Adventure by Richard Halliburton: In this book, Halliburton, an adventurer from the early 20th century, follows the path of Odysseus' journey from Troy back to his home in Greece. I thought this would be the perfect way to finish up our study of geography for the year.

History

Builders of the Old World by Gertrude Hartman: I mentioned this series of books when I talked about my favorite living history books and I still love The History on the March series just as much. We're finishing the last 1/3 of this book before moving on to the next one.....

Makers of the Americas by Marion Lansing: This is the American history overview book from the History on the March series. This series is out of print, but you can usually find copies of the books for pretty cheap on the internet. 

Science

The Burgess Seashore Book for Children by Thornton Burgess: Since our main science focus this year is on the ocean, adding this book to Power Hour was a no-brainer. It's a classic!

Lives of the Scientists by Kathleen Krull: I discovered this book at our library and fell in love. It's fun, informative, and has great pictures.

Literature

Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin: A classic book that covers famous myths and tales.

The World's Best Fairy Tales (Reader's Digest Anthology): I know, I know. A Reader's Digest book? Honestly, though, this collection is fabulous and you can find the book for cheap! It is actually a two volume collection, but I only have the second volume which is awesome by itself. 

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: An amazing book that weaves Chinese folktales into a great adventure story.

Art and Music Appreciation

Artists we are covering: 20th Century Artists (Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Wassily Kandinsky, and Jasper Johns), Van Gogh, Georgia O'Keefe, and Claude Monet. I use Mike Venezia books to give background on the artist and choose five paintings for us to study from each artist, except the 20th Century Artist study where we only study two painting from each artist.

21 Lessons in 20th Century American Music by Gena at I Choose Joy: This is probably one of the things I'm most excited about this year! While I want my kids to know about the greats of classical music, American music did some amazing world changing things during the 20th century and this curriculum makes it easy to teach and learn about the different genres, composers, and artists that lived during this time. A fun, modern way to do music appreciation!

Miscellaneous  

Getting Started with Latin by William E. Linney: We are having so much fun using this book. It's easy to teach even for someone with no previous Latin exposure (me!) and presents Latin in small bite size pieces. 

Philosophy for Kids: 40 Fun Questions That Help You Wonder About Everything! by David White: We're only doing one question each week, but this book has brought some great discussion about right, wrong, truth, ethics, etc. to our Power Hour time. Highly recommend!

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig: I think this book has become a staple of homeschool families. It's wonderful for introducing children to the Bard and helping them memorize passages from his most famous plays.

It looks like a lot to get through, huh? I promise that it's not with a little bit of scheduling, so stay tuned for part two where I show how I take all of this and turn it into a workable plan that doesn't feel rushed or strained.

What’s your favorite Morning Meeting/Power Hour resource?

Let me know in the comments below because I’m always looking for new resources!
Chelli

Thursday

The Truth About Dealing with Attitude in Your Homeschool

Sometimes when I’m writing blog posts as part of a group, topics come up that I feel wholly inadequate to write about. This is one of those posts! Our Everyday Scholé group is writing about how to maintain a restful homeschool when you are dealing with negative attitudes from your children. While I could write a post that sounds good about how to do this, it would be a work of fiction. In all honesty, I haven’t yet figured out a good way to keep my children’s whining, complaining, grumpiness, and hormonal mood swings from affecting my attitude and our homeschool.  So instead of telling you how to fix the problem, I’m going to lay it all out there and talk about how it really works around here.



When it comes to losing my mind, a few whiny, negative comments from my kids can cause teaching from rest to fly out the window. Usually this is for a couple of reasons: 1) We just did this exact scenario yesterday about the exact same issue and I’m over it. Or 2) I’m trying to give the kids plenty of free time, make things fun, spend hours researching curriculum, and a thousand other things to keep our homeschool fun and interesting, but I only get negative feedback. I wish I could tell you that I handle my composure and my attitude well during these moments, but I don’t. I do great at teaching from rest as much as it depends on me, but when I start adding my actual students into the mix things get difficult. Apparently they didn’t get the memo that we’re doing this homeschool gig via leisurely learning and restful teaching now so the bad attitudes are no longer welcome.

However, despite my short-comings in this area there are some things that are helpful to remember when trying to stay in teaching from rest mode when bad attitudes show up.

I can’t force them to change their attitude. This seems to be my default method for dealing with my kids’ when they’ve gone off the rails. If I find the right thing to take away or the right punishment, then they will magically turn into compliant angels. It doesn’t work that way. In fact it usually has the opposite effect. The more I try to force the more their attitude worsens.

I need to be a thermostat not a thermometer. Thermometers reflect heat. In other words they don’t change the temperature, they just show the same. Thermostats, on the other hand, actually control temperature by not letting things get too warm. While I might not be able to force my children to have good attitudes, I can control the situation by not letting my attitude reflect theirs.

We all need to take a break. When you homeschool you are around family all day long. While this is good, in some ways it can be bad as well. Sometimes poor attitude is the result of needing some space from each other or getting out of the house. If our day is really going south and everyone seems to be in a bad mood, I might try to do a fifteen minute walk around the neighborhood with the kids or let everyone have an hour of alone time to regroup.

Be a detective. Bad attitudes almost always have a root cause and it helps me to remember to search for what it is. Are they not getting enough sleep? Are they hungry? Are they ill? Are they frustrated with the work I’m asking them to do because it’s too easy or too difficult? If you can cure the cause, the bad attitudes should soon go away as well.

When I’m able to remember these four things, I am much more able to keep our homeschool time in the sweet spot of restful teaching and learning.


For more helpful tips on how to keep restful learning in your homeschool while dealing with attitude problems check out what my fellow Everyday Scholé bloggers have to say:

  

  
 What’s your go to solution when attitude problems arise?

Chelli