A New Direction

I’m so excited to be taking over the reins of this blog. My name is Dawn Peluso and I was one of the folks that helped Diane with the Schoolin’ Swag Facebook page.  I’m a homeschooling mom of 3.  Our children are 11, 9, and 3.  We live in Eastern, NC and enjoy hiking, the beach, and spending time with family. We are active in our church and strive be a family that follows Jesus.

We use a variety of materials and methods in our home school and like to say our style is “Charlotte Mason Eclectic”.  In particular, we enjoy using lots of good books, nature study, hands-on history, cooking, and traveling to create a family culture of learning and growing.

Look for more posts over the next couple weeks with information about book reviews, fun home school ideas, and more.

My plan for the blog beginning in September is to have a weekly post about the history that we are studying that week (my husband and I are creating a hands on American history program for our kids and I will share that plan and the resources that we are using,  in case anyone else wants to join us on that journey), Product reviews, a monthly book review of a book for Moms, lots of guest posts from other homeschooling moms about what they are doing in their home schools and a variety of other content.  I’m very open to hearing from our readers about what you would like to see and making sure we are meeting those needs.

A Peek Into Our Morning Basket

We finished up a few of our morning basket activities from last semester and realized that a few others, while great resources, were not working with our current dynamics. Therefore, I spent some time streamlining and revamping our plans for this semester to make sure that we could successfully accomplish our morning time without overwhelming me.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

First I considered my priorities. I knew Bible was the most important so I put that in place. Then I determined what other items I really wanted to include and could include without overwhelming us.

I knew that Bible time together was my primary goal; it was the one thing I wanted to do each day even if we couldn’t get to anything else. Our church was starting a study using the book Core 52 and we decided to use that for our morning time Bible study. We are only one week in, but so far it is a great fit.

Our MorninG Basket

We all enjoy our hymn study time, but sometimes we have finished studying the hymn of the month and I was struggling to remember to find other options. This semester, I am choosing one hymn each month for our hymn study but my son is choosing one hymn or praise song each week to share with us. In this way, we can go in-depth into one song but also learn three or four other songs in just a couple minutes each day.

We will be using read aloud time to cover a variety of topics from missionary biographies, Shakespeare, economics (Tuttle Twins), and poetry. Instead of trying to cover multiple subjects in a day or even a week, we are going to have all of the books for the semester in a basket and read one at a time. We will read for a few minutes each day until we are done with that book and then choose the next book.

We will be continuing to do art with Nana over at ChalkPastel.com but have decided that it fits better in our afternoon time than our morning basket time. We are going to read about some artists during our read aloud time. Also, I am considering adding a bit of Simply Charlotte Mason picture study to our morning basket, but I want us to get in a good routine of Bible, music, and read aloud each morning before I add anything else to the mix.

I have included a list of the resources we are using this semester below and I would love to hear what you are using for your morning basket. Please share in the comments!

Morning Time Resources:

Core 52

Who Was Walt Disney

Tuttle Twins

The Father Brown Reader

Tales From Shakespeare (Wordsmith Children’s Classics)

Robert Frost

Leonardo Da Vinci

Amy Carmichael

Hymn Studys

Better Together (a great book for moms to help you organize your morning time or get renewed inspiration)

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

 

Little Women is only .99 on kindle right now! (Amazon prices subject to change always check before purchasing.)

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

If you are looking to add some new electives or switch up some of your classes, SchoolhouseTeachers.comis having a great sale and you can get a whole year for $99, that is over 400 courses to use with all of your children for one low price.

fresh start

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Pack with reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Smartick (check out our full review here) is offering a 25% off discount if you use this referral link! Elizabeth is still loving this program.

 

SchoolhouseTeachers.com (Review)

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

I have been using SchoolhouseTeachers.com  and their Ultimate Prek-12 Annual Membership for several years now. While it can be a great option as a ‘one stop shop’ for all of your curriculum needs, we tend to use it for particular subjects, to explore personal interests, and to add depth and variety to what we are already using.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

We are currently using SchoolhouseTeachers.com to supplement kindergarten math, for my sixth grader’s literature class, and a photography elective. My son has also switched over to using the Bible Study for Preteens lessons for his personal Bible time. He is really enjoying those lessons and my daughter may begin them in the spring. Over the last several years we have also used other literature courses, the Preschool Playground, and Small-World Sensory Science just to name a few. I am planning on using lots of courses next year as my son begins high school.

 

20180102_111806
He loved helping me get is stuff ready for school next week. It all fits nicely into his tub.

I love that the courses provide great content, clear lesson plans, and flexibility. I can print off the lesson plans and use the course exactly as it is designed, or I can adapt the course to meet our needs. For example, my daughter is really enjoying her literature course but I wanted all of us to read Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol in December. I simply swapped out that book for the unit that was in her literature course, and now she can pick up the next unit in January. Other times I have added or taken away activities or changes the time lines for courses to meet the needs of our family.

20180124_195815
Drive Thru History!

In addition to over 400 courses, SchoolhouseTeachers.com  has a great video library. We loved watching some of the Christmas videos during the holidays and Drive Thru History is always a family favorite. There are a large variety of videos on topics including art, Bible, apologetics, foreign language, music, history and more. There are even videos specifically for parents on a variety of parenting topics.

literacy centers

If you have a young child that is learning to read or an older child that is struggling with reading the literacy center is a great resource. You can select the skills your child needs to work on and it will give you suggestions and activities to help. If your child needs help in an area other than reading, the focused learning centers link you to a variety of resources that can help in other subjects.

geometryallthree_lowres-300x174

I am very excited to have this resource as I plan and prepare for my son’s freshman year of high school! We are working towards more independent learning and giving him a variety of electives that will help prepare him both for adulthood and for the college program that he is interested in pursuing. One of the courses we are excited to use next year is Geometry with Mr. D. It has been a few (over 20) years since I have done high school math and I love that this course has videos to help him learn the concepts independently. I also am excited for him to try Personal Finance and the ACT/SAT prep courses next year.

Another awesome feature that I need to mention are the new more interactive courses and self-grading quizzes. Not all courses have these features but SchoolhouseTeachers.com has been adding a lot of new self-grading quizzes and videos. These quizzes give you more options for independence but as always you have the option of using the lesson plans and adapting the courses to meet your family’s needs.

Overall, I think SchoolhouseTeachers.com has a lot to offer any homeschool family.  Whether you want to use it for a couple of courses, to give your children elective options, for the extra content (video library, World Book access, literacy center, etc), or as a complete curriculum for all of your students the inexpensive cost and quality courses are a great addition to a home school program.  One post certainly cannot cover all that SchoolhouseTeachers.com has to offer so be sure to click on the graphic below and check out all of the other Crew reviews!

Online Homeschooling For the Whole Family {SchoolhouseTeachers.com Reviews}

 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Fabulous Four Morning Routine (Free Printable)

Between a toddler who like to rise early, a five year old that loves attention, teens who don’t like going to bed early, homeschooling, and blogging, I often feel like my time is not my own and I can get frustrated when I do not accomplish all of my goals for the day. It is so easy for the urgent (screaming toddler or ringing phone) to side track me from the important (Bible Time). In an effort to be realistic about what I can accomplish each day, move me closer to my goals, and stay focused on my priorities I created a little program I am calling the fabulous four.

Fabulous Four Morning CHecklist Pinterest

These are four things I will accomplish each day. For me, three of those things will remain the same each day: devotional/Bible time, morning time, and physical activity.  I want to make sure that I get a personal devotional time each day. Ideally, I do this early in the morning but even if it waits until afternoon nap time, the prayer and Bible reading is important and beneficial. Our family loves morning time together as a way to start our school day and encourage family learning. However, lately I have not been as consistent as I should and I really want to refocus on that time even amidst the interruptions of the toddler. I need physical activity each day for both my mental and physical health. I have plans to walk several days a week with a neighbor and hope to either walk or do Fit2B workouts (with or without the children) on the other days. The fourth will be the whatever item on my to-do list is most important for the day.  Hopefully, I will accomplish many other items on my list that day, but this will help me prioritize and give me a good reminder that I can’t do everything.

morning devotion

I chose those first three items because they are things that are important to me and areas where I desire to be more consistent.  You may have other areas that you would like to focus on such as, a particular chore, dinner prep, read aloud time, etc. I think the important thing is to have a reminder of what you want to accomplish to help you stay on track. I hope that this concept helps me to be more consistent with those habits that I want to focus on and encourages me to remember the important tasks even in the midst of the ‘urgent’.

I have included a free printable of the Fabulous Four Morning Checklist that I am using. You could print them out for each day and put them in a binder, but my plan is to put a copy into a plastic sleeve so that I can use a dry erase marker each day to track my accomplishments. I would love to know what habits or tasks you are trying to be more consistent with and how you plan to focus on those this year.

 

Fabulous Four Morning Checklist

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

$10 off $10 coupon for Evan-Moor Books makes for some great deals or maybe even a freebie!

Little Women is only .99 on kindle right now! (Amazon prices subject to change always check before purchasing.)

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

If you are looking to add some new electives or switch up some of your classes, SchoolhouseTeachers.comis having a great sale and you can get a whole year for $99, that is over 400 courses to use with all of your children for one low price.

fresh start

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Pack with reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

Apologia has a new FREE Christmas/Advent E-book!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Smartick (check out our full review here) is offering a 25% off discount if you use this referral link! Elizabeth is still loving this program.

 

Build: Stronger and Deeper

As I sat down to think about 2019 and plan for 2020 I was really struggling with coming up with a word to describe my goals. I had a page full of words but none of them really seemed to express what was in my heart. The more I thought about it, I was able to narrow it down to stronger and deeper but I felt like it wasn’t cohesive.  As I continued to pray and think about it on Wednesday, it finally came to me: Build. I wanted my focus to be on building stronger and deeper relationships and on making myself physically stronger so that I can continue to enjoy being active with my children and husband.
*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *
2020 pinterest
In 2020 I want to:
Build a Deeper Relationship with God
Build Deeper Relationships with husband and children
Build Deeper Relationships with others
Build My Physical strength and health and make myself stronger.
Build a Deeper Relationship with God.
I plan to continue to work on being consistent with my daily devotional and prayer time. As a family and in conjunction with our church family, we are going to also be going through the book Core 52. I have been a Christian for many years, but want to always be growing closer to God and deepening that relationship.
Build Deeper Relationships with husband and children.
All in all I have good relationships with my husband and children but I want to continue to grow those relationships. With children in varying stages of growing up (from 13-1) I have to be very intentional about giving them each what they need.  Along those same lines, I want to make sure that I continue to work on my relationship with my husband. It can be easy to neglect our relationship in the midst of the day to day needs of our family, but it is really important that I prioritize that relationship. I am hoping to work out a good system for having one-on-one time with each member of our family.
Build Deeper Relationships with others.
While I love hospitality and enjoy spending time with others, it can be really easy for me to get so focused on the daily needs of my family that I do not take time to cultivate friendships. I want to make sure that I am taking time this year to build deeper friendships and be fully present for those people that God has placed in my life.
Build My Physical strength and health and make myself stronger.
My last area of focus is on my physical health and strength. I took some small steps towards regaining my strength last year through online PT with Tummy Team and some exercise with Fit2B. I had a hip injury that set me back a little bit but I’m ready to refocus. It is really important to me to be physically healthy and fit enough (to the best of my ability) to be active with my children. I have started back doing my Fit2B workouts and I am going to be walking with my neighbor. I am hoping that the exercise will help me have more energy and motivate me to do more active things with my children.
Those are my priorities for 2020 and how I plan to Build: Stronger and Deeper. I would love to hear about your plans for 2020 or any suggestions for building stronger and deeper relationships.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

$10 off $10 coupon for Evan-Moor Books makes for some great deals or maybe even a freebie!

Little Women is only .99 on kindle right now! (Amazon prices subject to change always check before purchasing.)

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

If you are looking to add some new electives or switch up some of your classes, SchoolhouseTeachers.comis having a great sale and you can get a whole year for $99, that is over 400 courses to use with all of your children for one low price.

fresh start

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Pack with reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

Apologia has a new FREE Christmas/Advent E-book!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Smartick (check out our full review here) is offering a 25% off discount if you use this referral link! Elizabeth is still loving this program.

 

Hymn Study: He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

 

Another childhood favorite! I remember singing this song in Sunday School and how comforting it was to know that we were in God’s hands. I remember visualizing God literally holding the world in the palm of his hands. Though the lyrics are short and simple it holds a powerful message. We can trust God because he is in control.

He's Got The Whole World In His Hands Picture

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

While I was very familiar with the lyrics of the song, I knew nothing about the background of the song. My research revealed that this was an African-American spiritual. The song would have first been passed down orally and had multiple variations both in the text and the tune. However, as the song began being printed in various hymn books it became more standardized.

4 He’s got you and me, brother, in his hands. . . .
He’s got the whole world in his hands.

The repetitive nature of this song makes it a very easy one for children to memorize and sing along with. It also lends itself really well to hand motions. We always enjoyed using our fingers to symbolize rain or pretending to rock a ‘little bitty baby’ in our arms when we sang this song growing up.

This song lends itself well to adding a bit of nature study by talking about the Earth or the wind and rain. You could even add extra verses to the song about other things that we know God has ‘in his hands’.

If you want to add a little art to this study, you can check out the He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands lesson with Nana from You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels.This is a fun way to engage your little artists in hymn study or your musicians in art. You have access to this lesson if you are an You Are An Artist Clubhouse Member   You can also have them draw what they see in their minds as they listen to the song. For young children you might trace their hands and do some type of hand print art work.

I hope that you have enjoyed this study and join us each month for a new hymn study!

Hymn Study Resources:

Lyrics and Background

He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands (sung by kids w/ scrolling lyrics)

He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands (Mahalia Jackson)

He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands (Choir)

Song with video (Laurie London)

Download Your Freebies Below!

Hymn Study Fact Sheet

He’s Got The Whole World Copywork

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

$10 off $10 coupon for Evan-Moor Books makes for some great deals or maybe even a freebie!

Little Women is only .99 on kindle right now! (Amazon prices subject to change always check before purchasing.)

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

If you are looking to add some new electives or switch up some of your classes, SchoolhouseTeachers.comis having a great sale and you can get a whole year for $99, that is over 400 courses to use with all of your children for one low price.

fresh start

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Pack with reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

Apologia has a new FREE Christmas/Advent E-book!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Smartick (check out our full review here) is offering a 25% off discount if you use this referral link! Elizabeth is still loving this program.

 

 

2020 Book List and Plans

I got really slack about tracking my reading in 2019, so much so that I honestly can’t tell you if I met my goal or not. I am hoping to try and go back and figure out how many books I read, but for the moment I am just looking ahead to 2020. I love the feeling of a new year, such a clean slate and a chance to refocus. I am working through my goals and plans for the new year, and will post more about that later in the week but today I thought I would share my reading goals and some ideas for books to get you started on your reading goals for 2020.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

2020 books
The Start of My Reading Stack for 2020

I was very blessed to get a great stack of books for Christmas this year from my mom and my husband. I am hoping to use that stack, a few books that was already working on, and a great new Bible study book that our church is using to get started on my goal of 24 books in 2020. I have also created a very simple tracking sheet to log my books so that I do a better job of keeping track in 2020. I have included a link to the tracking sheet in case anyone else would like to log the books you read in 2020.

I am currently reading The Hobbit with my oldest son and then we plan to dive into the Lord of the Rings Trilogy together. While I do not count books that I read to my children among my list, we are each reading our own copies and discussing these books. It has been a good experience for us so far and a great bonding experience.  Since I am enjoying the shared literature with my son, I am thinking about adding Little Women to my list and having my daughter read it along with me. She is going with a friend to see the movie this week, so I think that will peak her interest. (Just in case you want an audio version, this is my favorite audio version of Little Women.)

One other book that I am counting that will involve my children is Core 52. Our church is going a study this year using Core 52 and I picked up a copy for our family. It seems to be a great way to study the Bible in about 15 minutes a day. I am hoping to include the readings in our morning time as a way for us to go deeper into the Bible together. I will be continuing to use Mom Heart Moments for a personal time in the morning. I read the selection and Bible verse that is included and then go into the Bible and read the chapter or sometimes chapters surrounding that verse for context and study.

On the homeschool front, I was very excited to get Better Together and Plan Your Year both by Pam Barnhill. We have been doing a morning time off and on for years in our homeschool but I felt lately like I needed to revamp our time and I am excited to see what she has to say. I hope to glean some new ideas and some encouragement for the hard days.  Next year I will have a child in ‘tot school’, a child in elementary school, a child in middle school, and a child in high school. I know that it is going to take some strategic planning to make sure that we get time together as a family as well as all of the time they need to be learning their individual subjects. I am looking forward to reading Plan You Year for some ideas and suggestions for streamlining my planning while still meeting everyone’s educational and relational needs. I also began reading Homeschool Bravely this year and look forward to finishing it.  I am also very excited that Sally Clarkson has a new book, Awaking Wonder,  releasing later this year that is focused on homeschooling! You can pre-order it from Amazon and be guaranteed their lowest price between now and launch day. This also often means you will get it delivered to your door on launch day.

For my personal growth, I am going to be reading Rhythms of Renewal by Rebekah Lyons and When Less Becomes Moreby Emily Ley. In today’s world, it can seem like all we do is rush from one thing to another. There are so many ways we can use our time and it can be easy to over commit. I am looking forward to reading these books and seeing that ideas and strategies I can glean for simplifying our daily lives and adding rhythms to my days that will as the tag line states, ” trade stress and anxiety for a life of peace and purpose.

I encourage my children to explore various hobbies and to continue to learn and grow. However, I recently realized that I had stopped modeling that behavior in my own life. So I picked up the book Respect the Spindle along with a drop spindle and wool and plan to try to learn how to use a drop spindle to make yarn. This will tie in well with our history interpreting and my daughters weaving hobby.

Finally, my husband gave me an adorable book called My Favorite Christmas. This book includes stories from a variety of famous personalities about their Christmas memories. I plan to read a few of these over the next few days and probably finish it during the 2020 Christmas season.

I know this list does not include 24 books. I like to leave room on my list for books that I see as I go along. I have been asking for recommendations on my Facebook page and hope to incorporate a few of those books into my list as well. I am trying to include a variety of books from religious to fiction. I would love to know what books you recommend or what books you are planning to read this year.

2020 Reading Tracker

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

$10 off $10 coupon for Evan-Moor Books makes for some great deals or maybe even a freebie!

Little Women is only .99 on kindle right now! (Amazon prices subject to change always check before purchasing.)

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

If you are looking to add some new electives or switch up some of your classes, SchoolhouseTeachers.comis having a great sale and you can get a whole year for $99, that is over 400 courses to use with all of your children for one low price.

fresh start

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Pack with reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

Apologia has a new FREE Christmas/Advent E-book!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Smartick (check out our full review here) is offering a 25% off discount if you use this referral link! Elizabeth is still loving this program.

 

 

What Does A Weary Mom Need? Rest or Recharge (and a free printable)

Sometimes, as mothers, we feel so very weary. Whether it is from the baby who won’t sleep, the toddler who is into everything and doesn’t slow down all day, or the teen that is pushing boundaries and learning how to handle the influx of hormones; we are tired, drained, and overwhelmed. When I feel that way, I typically try to find a way to rest and get more sleep. Sometimes a nap or a good night’s rest is just what our bodies need. However, through the years I’ve come to realize that sometimes what I need most is not actually rest, but recharging.

rest or recharge graphic

Sometimes that weariness is more mental than physical. When I am mentally weary, I may still feel physically weary but sleep does not replenish me in the same way. I can get a good night’s sleep and still feel weary in the morning from the stresses of life. In those times, I need to make a conscious effort to do something that will recharge my spirit.

Recharging will look different for different people, and honestly sometimes, it looks different for me from one time to the next. Sometimes I need to sneak out to the front porch with my Bible and a hot drink and just spend some extra quiet time with God. Sometimes I need to lose myself in a good book for an hour or two. Other times I need to draw energy from friends and family. While it may seem counter-intuitive, when I spend time watching my children play with family and friends, share hot cocoa and conversation with my mom friends, or enjoy a fun family tradition like driving around looking at Christmas lights; it recharges me and encourages me in the mundane.

I encourage you to take a few minutes today to think about the things that ‘fill your cup’. What activities give you renewed hope, energy, and joy? Make a list of the things that can recharge you and keep it in a place that you refer to it when you are weary. Then whenever you need to be recharged you can pick something off of that list to help you.  This can also help you as you determine what extra activities to accept and which ones to turn down. For example, a big Christmas party might drain you but a quiet dinner with friends might recharge you. For some people taking their children to a parade and watching their excitement would recharge, for others it would drain. Only you can determine what is draining and what is recharging.  Sometimes, we have to do those things that drain us but when we recognize the difference it makes it easier to find a good balance and fill our cups back up after we have poured them out.

I hope that you are able to find things that will emotionally recharge you during this season and throughout the year. I have included a free printable that you can use to make your list, simply click on the link below to download and print the template.  I would love to hear ideas about what you do to recharge, please help others by sharing in the comments.

Rest and Recharge Template

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Pack with reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

Apologia has a new FREE Christmas/Advent E-book!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Smartick (check out our full review here) is offering a 25% off discount if you use this referral link! Elizabeth is still loving this program.

Reflecting on 2019

card2

Some technological glitches left me searching my Prime Photos account for pictures to go on my Christmas cards. This unexpected task turned into a wonderful opportunity to reflect on all of the wonderful things that we did and the memories that we made in 2019.  Life often seems hectic and days with a toddler and a teenager can sometimes feel challenging and stressful. However, looking back at all of the pictures reminded me our times hanging out around the fire pit in the back yard, swimming and playing at the river, fun field trips, family dinners, cookie parties, hikes, camping, fellowshipping with volunteer groups and so much more. 2019 has its challenges but amidst all of them, there were wonderful memories being made.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

I want to encourage you today to take a few minutes to reflect on your year. No matter what hardships or challenges you faced (or are still facing), take time to think back to the memories that you made with your children and the fun that you experienced. You might look back through your pictures or sit down with your children and start talking about what they remember from this year. Hopefully one memory will lead to another until you have a long list of fun times in 2019.  I think when the days are challenging and life is busy it can be a challenge to remember and be thankful for our blessings. Looking back over the year is a great way to refocus our hearts on gratitude and prepare for a new year.

Since we were talking about reflecting on 2019, I decided I would also look back on my blog posts from 2019. I have included links below to favorite blog posts and curriculum reviews. These are a combination of favorites based on my opinion as well as those that were favorites of my readers based on blog statistics. I would love to know how you reflect on your year.

 

Favorite Blog Posts of 2019

Hymn Study: Away in a Manger

Hymn Study: Silent Night

Gift Ideas For Your Budding….

North Carolina History Resources

How to Get More Out of Your Nature Walks

Exploring Hobbies on a Time and Money Budget

Real Life Fitness and a FREE workout video!

Getting Our Mornings Going: Quick and Easy, Protein Packed Breakfasts

Favorite Curriculum Reviews of 2019

Goldtown Beginnings Series by Kregel Publications (Review)

Smartick Math Program (Review)

LitWits Kits Review

Evan-Moor’s Skill Sharpeners Critical Thinking (Review)

Brain Blox Wooden Planks (Review)

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls (Book Review)

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Packwith reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

Apologia has a new FREE Christmas/Advent E-book!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Smartick (check out our full review here) is offering a 25% off discount if you use this referral link! Elizabeth is still loving this program.

A Christmas Journey and Activity Book (Review)

*I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I am not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this according to FTC regulations.*

We often use a Jesse Tree style Advent plan with the children in December but I wanted to change it up a bit this year.  I was blessed to receive a copy of Kayla Jarmon’s A Christmas Journey  with the accompanying activity book to review.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

IMG_20191125_161945_320

We  read the book together (it has nine chapters and discussion questions for each chapter) over the course of a couple of days. If my children had gotten their way it would have all been read in one session! They were really enjoying the story of dog, deer, opossum, and all of their woodland  friends. The story was written in rhyming verse with cute illustrations sprinkled throughout the pages. While it is a fictitious story of how woodlands creatures help a lost dog find its new owner for Christmas, it teaches real lessons about friendship, doing the right thing, and working together.  I would recommend it for preschool and elementary age children but my middle school children enjoyed listening along as I read it aloud.

inside book

The activity book consists of 24 days of activities, with each one having a short devotional thought, a scripture, a Christmas song suggestion, and a family activity. For example, day six talks about faith and then gives several scripture readings including Acts 7 and 1 Corinthians 15. The song for that day is Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and the activity is to take turns leading family members blindfolded around the house. This gives a simple demonstration of faith, as they must follow the directions in faith.  The website provides links to the songs lyrics as well as other resources to help with the activities.

cookies

We are continuing to work through the activity book but the children are enjoying it! We have made paper chains and angel wings. We did a cookie experiment with salt and sugar and are working on friendship bread. Each day discusses a new topic including faith, forgiveness, God’s Sovereignty, and more.

All in all, I have found this to be a simple but engaging way to do our Advent study this year. We spend about twenty to thirty minutes a day working on it as a family.  I highly encourage you to check it out at Kayla Jarmon’s website or Amazon.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Do What You Can, When You Can

Years ago, I learned a lesson from FlyLady that made a huge difference in my ability to keep the house reasonably clean ( with four kids it is never perfect). I learned that I even if I didn’t have the time to do things perfectly, I needed to do what I could with the time I had. For example, I might not have time to deep clean my entire bathroom in the morning but instead of doing nothing I can do a quick clean of the toilet and wipe down the counters. This concept was so beneficial for my home, but it took me several more years to realize that I needed to apply the same concept to our home school and family activities.

Do What You Can Pinterest

For a long time, I would get frustrated when I didn’t feel like I had time to complete all of the fun activities that I had found. Sometimes I would start out strong and then life would happen and we would get behind on our Advent projects or our read alouds. Sometimes I would try to catch up, but often I would get so frustrated that I just didn’t do anything.

Over the last couple of years, I have been working towards doing what I can, when I can. In other words, using the time that I do have to the best of my ability and not quitting just because I can’t do it perfectly. This might mean shortening a lesson or even skipping a day but continuing to try because, I know that we will gain so much more by doing what we can.  This might look like only getting to 15 days of our Advent study (but that is a lot better than quitting after 2 or 3 because we missed a day) or reading only part of a picture book before we have to move onto something different.

As I was writing this post this week, I had an opportunity to live out what I am sharing. On Thursday, I was sick with some gallbladder issues and accomplished nothing more than sitting in my recliner with a heating pad and checking a few of my son’s math problems. We didn’t listen to our music, we didn’t read a Christmas book, we didn’t do our Advent study. I could have easily let that derail my plans but I made a conscious choice to just keep going. We can skip that day of music, read an extra book today and pick up where we left off with our Advent study.

Don’t let what didn’t get done ruin your day or your week. Don’t not do what you can because you can’t do it all. I pray that during this busy holiday season and throughout your school year, you are able to do what you can and let go of what you can’t. That instead of letting a missed day (or week) stop you from doing anything you just keep going. When we focus on what we can and did do instead of what we didn’t it can turn our home school day around and set us back on the right track.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Pack with reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

Apologia has a new FREE Christmas/Advent E-book!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Smartick (check out our full review here) is offering a 25% off discount if you use this referral link! Elizabeth is still loving this program.