Home Education~Ministry Moments~Hearth and Home

Monday, December 23, 2013

Baby Jesus Ornament


  Several years back I made ornaments like these with preschoolers while we were serving in Texas.  I have kept the pattern for years, because it was just so simple and easy for preschoolers to make.  I got the general idea from the Lifeway Preschool curriculum, but I think I made a few adjustments to make it even simpler.  Here's how to make the very simple Baby Jesus keepsake ornament:

Start with a circle cut out of cardstock.  I like red. I used a cup to get a good circle pattern. Add a Bible Verse.  I chose, "Jesus was born in Bethlehem."  Matthew 2:1   This would also be a good time to put the child's name and the date on the back!  Punch a hole in the top center.
Cut out patterns for Baby Jesus' body.  Circles and oblong shapes. Children glue the head to the body with a glue stick.

Cut raffia into 2-3 inch pieces.  Children uses liquid glue to place the "hay" for the manger on the circle.  Don't cover up the verse!

Cut select fabrics.  Use ones like above that look like Bible time cloth.  Wrap Baby Jesus in the swaddling clothes and secure with liquid glue.  Trim as needed. 

Draw "sleeping eyes" and a mouth for baby Jesus.  Add the twine or ribbon to hang.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Preschool Sunday School~Peter had Breakfast with Jesus

I had a wonderful Sunday morning with my sweet kiddos as we learned about how Jesus taught us and showed us how to be loving.  Jesus was loving by cooking breakfast for friends after he worked a miracle to provide a net full of fish for them. 

Making a pattern with fish....

...and putting them on a stringer.
Auburn fans may notice the orange-blue-orange-blue pattern!
The children really enjoyed this activity.  This net I got years ago comes in handy for so many Bible lessons!

Acting out the story in the block center.

Building the boat for the fishing disciples.

We used "net" from a recycled fruit bag.
Puzzle Center: Working a puzzle from the kit.  We also worked a similar wooden puzzle during group time.

I set up our Book Center with Christmas books and the Nativity Scene.  (This is something easily done at home for children or grandchildren!)

Okay...somehow the Wise Men snuck in there!  I placed them in the corner to show the children they were still traveling...but I guess they just couldn't wait!  :)  

Our Life Verse:
"All things work together for good for those who love God."
Romans 8:28

(Sound like a long verse for preschoolers?  You should hear my 4-year-olds say it! Amazing.  Oh...and the verse is repeated several times in other lessons.  I like that!)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas in the Dining Room

     Here's a little peek at my Dining Room this year...

I was excited to have my new candlesticks to incorporate into my Christmas decor this year.  I just added some some candles I had on hand along with magnolia and boxwood cuttings.

This year we decided to place our Advent wreath on the dining room table.  This way, we make sure not to forget our readings.  (We also do our family devotions this way.  It has worked well.  We are already all together!)  This year we are enjoying Dad reading Tabitha's Travels. 

I decided to keep my china cabinet very simple this year...just adding a little holiday cheer on my cake stand.
These cute little snowmen are actually salt and pepper shakers.  The trees belonged to my Mammaw, so they are extra-special! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Special Offer for My Readers from Science Naturally!


Special Offer for My Readers

Give the gift of learning with books that will have an impact. Science, Naturally! is offering my blog readers a great price on award-winning math and science books. If you buy any 3 books, the 4th one is free -- and shipping is too. You get 4 great books for just $29.95! Keep them together as a set or use them as stocking stuffers.

These publications are as entertaining as they are educational! A great gift for the kids in your life, they encourage a lifetime of curiosity about the world around us. Just visit sciencenaturally.com, add any four books to your shopping cart, then enter coupon code SKBSFS at checkout.
                    *The coupon code is good until February 14th!
                    * You can read my review on Science Naturally HERE.

  photo 1100041v1v1_zpsa4dd1c29.jpg

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Schoolhouse Review Crew: December Posts

During the holiday, Schoolhouse Review Crew is taking a break from reviewing homeschool curriculum, but not from providing lots of great articles for you from their reviewers!  Check out these blog posts from my fellow TOS homeschool blogger moms who are full of creative ideas:
family tradtions

Creating Christmas Traditions 
advent idea box
jenafield trip3

More to come all month long!  (Even from yours truly!)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Printable Advent Calendar

     Tonight I was working on my children's sermon for tomorrow, and thought I'd share with you a FREE Printable Advent Calendar from Sermons4Kids.com.  Tomorrow begins the first day of Advent and the first day of December.  That doesn't happen very often!  Your child can color a star each day on the Advent Calendar until Christmas Day!  Enjoy my friends!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My View from the Front Pew~~~Polite or Profound?

  Last night my preacher husband gave the homily at our community Thanksgiving service.  The part that stood out the most to me was when he spoke about the two types of gratitude.  You can have polite gratitude.  This is when someone holds the door open for you at Wal-Mart and you say "thank-you."  You probably don't even know this person and are just saying "thank-you" to be polite.  The second type of gratitude is profound gratitude.  An example of this would be when someone saves your life or the life of someone you love.  You run to them, wrap your arms around them and say "THANK-YOU."
     There is no one who has done more for us than Jesus.  He died so that we may have our sins forgiven and have eternal life.  This Thanksgiving, which type of gratitude will we have towards Him?  Will we give a polite "thank-you" or a profound "THANK-YOU" to God?

 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.
Psalm 100:4

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November/December Issue of The Old Schoolhouse (digital and free!)

The new issue is out!

     I took a few minutes this morning to read Learning to Love Silence and Solitude. (I find reading an article or two from TOS is a great way to kick off my homeschool day!)   It's a very short article, but one that speaks the truth whether you're a homeschooler or not.  

Want to add it to your mobile device for easier reading?   Go HERE for all the app options.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

IXL.com: A TOS Review

 IXL Logo photo ixllogofixed.png

        I have found the two best ways to learn a concept is through repetition and making a game out of it. IXL.com does both.  IXL is a computer program where your child(ren) can practice math or language arts skills.  Their motto is: "Practice that feels like play."
     My 7th grader and I gave the online math membership a try.  I wanted to do this because I chose for him to skip 7th grade math and go straight to Pre-Algebra.  (I felt our 6th grade math was very thorough and covered most everything well.)  I did want to make sure there were no gaps in his math skills--so IXL sounded like a great idea!

How it works: 
     Like most online programs, the first matter of business is to establish a password and user name.  The parent does this along with creating a student profile.  You can even choose a fun icon that your child will like.  I chose a soccer ball for my son.  (He said, "Hey!, how did they know I like soccer?")   When your child is ready to practice, they just click on their icon.  (There is room for a second student and there is a parent icon as well.)  
     After the proper icon is clicked, a screen will appear with choices from kindergarten through Algebra 2.  Your child will click on the grade level s/he wants to practice on.  This will take them to another screen where all the skills are listed for that grade level.  (7th grade math has 254 skills!)  The skills are grouped together accordingly.  (i.e. Percent skills are listed altogether.)  Your child can then click on the skill that they want to work on (or that you assign them).  When your child is choosing from this list, they will be able to see which skills they have mastered (There will be a gold ribbon beside the skill.) and what score they have so far.  This makes for easier selection.  
     Once a skill is selected, the practice begins!  The questions begin very simply, then get tougher as you move through. The questions are asked a variety of different ways to help insure mastery.  (For example: One problem may ask which numbers are prime, while another may ask which are not composite.) If your child gets an answer correct, the IXL program gives immediate feedback by saying on the screen, Fantastic!, Correct!, You Got it! or some other encouraging words. There are many other motivators, like watching your "smart score" getting closer and closer to the desired "100."  If  a question is missed, your score goes down several points, and you back up and have to answer several more "review" questions before moving ahead in your score.  Your student will also be given an explanation as to why they missed the problem.  Once you reach a score of "100" you will get a "well done" on the screen and a message that you have mastered the skill and that you have been awarded a gold medal.  You can then take a break, or continue practicing.  The whole process is very simple and straightforward. Not a lot of bells and whistles...just what's necessary. (But visually appealing!)

I love how the "Well done" is coordinated with the season!

How we used it in our homeschool:
    Each day, along with my 7th grader's Pre-Algebra assignment, I give him an IXL assignment as well.  He practices/plays about 20-30 minutes per day on the 7th grade skills.  I have not had to make him do this at all.  In fact, he usually chooses to do it first!  Since he is pretty self-motivated, I have not assigned certain skills to cover each day, although today I told him the goal for the day was to master one of the skills.

  photo 280956_362445090496975_1685320066_o_zpse8620420.jpg

The Parent Connection:
     One of my favorite things about using IXL is the updates I get each week.  I get an email when my son has completed 100 math problems.  I get a weekly email update letting me know the skills he is working on, his proficiency and how much time he has spent working on problems 
     Although this program is primarily student directed, a parent or teacher is always needed (as with most curriculums/programs!) to give some guidance.  I found it helpful every week or so to sit and watch my son as he works through the problems.  I check to make sure he is taking time to work out some of the more complex problems on paper as needed.  I also think this is a good time just to "check-in" so that he knows that I know what he's learning.  It is also a good time for some verbal "atta-boys" from Mom. 

Similar Products: 

     You may also be interested in the  online language arts membership.  We have not used this part of the program since it is geared for the elementary grades. If you have a 2nd-4th grader, be sure and check out what my fellow crew members thought about it on the link below.

 photo IMG_6332copy-Recovered_zps68039f50.jpg

Cost for Family Membership
$9.95/month for one child for either math or language arts ($2 for each additional child)

Age Range:
Pre-K through 12th grade

A few final thoughts...
*This program could almost stand alone as a curriculum.  I have watched my son learn and master concepts that we have not covered.  So it is possible.  It works best, obviously, as a supplement to other curriculums--but it is a very thorough supplement!
*I love that your child learns from his/her mistakes.  What a great way to learn!
*Some kids could have the tendency to move quickly through the program, just clicking answers at random.  They will find that this does not achieve much, since the program sets you back several steps once you miss a problem.  I like how this is worked into the program to help prevent willy-nilly answering.