Farmhouse Schoolhouse Christmas Guide: Entrepreneurs, Handicrafters & Storytellers

Its time for our 2nd Gift Guide!  Enjoy!

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THE ENTREPRENEUR~

My little entrepreneur is almost always making something, inventing something or trying to sell off something we own. He is always scheming and making plans. I like to give him gifts that keep him gainfully occupied…in other words, good trouble instead of bad trouble! 🙂  He is our puzzle lover, game night enthusiast and logic lover.

I have told him he is not allowed to file taxes until he turns 12 and he recently negotiated that down to 11. He has asked for “business classes” in the mean time. Here is a list of our favorite gifts for budding entrepreneurs.

1. Your Business Math Series from Simply Charlotte Mason.  (ages 8-12)Your-Business-Math-Pet-Store-hd.jpg
Choose between Pet Store, Book Store and Sports Store.  The kids keep an account ledger, learn to write checks, pay bills, figure out taxes, etc. It walks kids through 12 months of a business year and there are chance cards that spice things up!

2) Lemonade to Leadership (6th-8th grade)

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Recognizing opportunities, market products, implement business plans, etc. We’re excited to try this one out one day!

3) A LEGIT cash box.
At our most recent Wild + Free Kids Craft Fair I heard a few 9 year olds use the phrase “legit cash box.”  Gotta keep those lemonade stand quarters safe and sound.
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4) Business Cards
This would be a great stocking stuffer that sends a message of love, encouragement and support.

5) Monopoly
Practice, practice, practice!

6) Logic Games- here are a few of our favorites

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 Mastermind

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Rush Hour

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Blokus

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Colorku

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Logic Links

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Katamino

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Pyramix

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Gobblet

 

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Settlers of Catan

7) Speaking of logic, we highly recommend The Fallacy Detective! Our boys have loved working through this together and its sharpened their eyes, minds and hearts.

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8) Set up a nook in your home for their business. A thrifted desk, a small whiteboard, some office supplies.

9) A Business loan or investment– seed money for their little start up.

 

THE HANDICRAFTER~

  1. Handicrafts Made Simple Series by Simply Charlotte MasonHandicrafts-Crochet-DVD-case.jpg
    This is a great series of instructional DVDs that we personally own and use often. My boys learned how to knit, crochet, hand sew and make useful paper crafts using these DVDs. If you have a craft loving child but have little skill of your own to impart, these are a worthy investment!2) Woodworking tools
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    Woodworking with Children & Easy Carpentry Projects for Children are two helpful books.
    51ukEWDI5KL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgOr a great book for those wanting to Whittle
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    For more whittling tools, check out JM Cremps

    3) Beginner’s Loom from Melissa and Doug
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    4) Lap Loom from Magic Cabin

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    5) Children’s Knitting and Sewing Kit 
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    6) Nature’s Art Box
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    7) Our favorite craft book: “Crafts Through the Year” 617CCYb6tHL._SX455_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

    8) Basket Making Kits

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    9) Year in Bloom Calendar Kit 
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10) Handmade By Stamp
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11) Needle Felting Kit
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THE STORYTELLER~

As a storyteller, this category is close to my heart. I’m pretty much shopping for my childhood self.

  1. For those writers that are not yet writing, of for this highly creative dyslexic students that want to tell stories without stopping to erase and rewrite everything other word…
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2) For those not quite ready to fill a whole book or for those visual story tellers…blank comic books!

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3) 50 Colorful Blank Books — I think I would have gone bonkers if someone had handed me FIFTY blank books for me to fill. Heaven!
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4) Scrabble….if you want to go all out, here is the link for the deluxe wooden rotating board edition
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5) A nice dictionary. Doesn’t have to be The Oxford English Dictionary (drool) or even a leather bound Webster, just a solid kids dictionary or even a more advanced synonym finder!

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6) Dixit Storyteller Game
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7) Tall Tales Storytelling Game
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8) Story Cubes
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9) Check out The Literary Gift Company. Its a dream.

 

Coming up next: Wild Explorers & Mad Scientists!

Farmhouse Schoolhouse Christmas Guide: Bookworms & Bird Nerds

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Kicking off our annual Gift Guide this year with some of my favorites! Books & Birds!
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In the coming week we’ll also be featuring: Entrepreneurs, Handicrafters & Storytellers; Wild Explorers & Mad Scientists, Artists & Chefs; and Babes, Tots & Homegrown Preschoolers; along with a Homeschool Mama Gift Guide! I’ll be linking on each post as we progress.

This year’s book list is comprised of my children’s ABSOLUTE FAVORITES from this year, the ones they asked for over and over and over again that are still in print! (note: I will have some toddler and baby board book recommendations in the other guide and plan on doing an out of print editions list at some point in the future).

Bookworms Guide:

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Favorite Stories~
St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges
The Kitchen Knight by Margaret Hodges
The Biggest Bear by Lynn Wardpeetsmall2_grande.jpg
Chester the Worldly Pig by Bill Peet (or Cyrus the Unsinkable Serpent or How Droofus Lost His Head or Cock-a-doodle Dudley, or ok…just lots and lots of BILL PEET BOOKS!)
Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty
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Billy and Blaze by CW Anderson (Don’t forget … this one, that one, another oneoh this one too, the other one, this one here, one more and the last one)
The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie de Paola
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Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain by Edward Ardizzone
Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran
Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Hyman 
One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
Katy No Pocket by Emmy Payne
The Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall

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Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
The Big Snow by Berta Hader
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
The Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Gannet
Book of Greek Myths by the D’Aulaires
Chanticleer and the Fox by Geoffrey Chaucer

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Poetry~
When We Were Very Young by AA Milne
Now We are Six by AA Milne
A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
Hailstones and Halibut Bones
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Treasuries~
The Complete Brambley Hedge by Jill Barkley
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Patterson
James Herriot Treasury for Children
Just So Stories– Rudyard Kipling
Aesop’s Fables
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales
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Family Read Alouds~
The Green EmberEmber Falls and The Black Star of Kingston )
Five Children and It by E Nesbit
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Carry on Mr Bowditch by Jean Latham
100 Cupboards by ND Wilson
The Hobbit by Tolkien
The Princess and the Goblin (Princess and the Curdie) by George MacDonald
Homer Price by Robert Mccloskey
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
The Magician’s Nephew by CS Lewis
Prince Caspian by CS Lewis
The King of the Golden River by John Ruskin

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Audiobooks~
Hank the Cowdog (We belly laugh when this is on!)
Mystery! Mystery!  read by Jim Weiss
Sherlock Holmes for Children read by Jim Weiss
The Hound of the Baskerville read by Jim Weiss
Ten Thousand Stars read by Jim Weiss
Heroes, Horses and Harvest Moons read by Jim Weiss
First Stories to Last a Lifetime read by Jim Weiss
Courage and a Clear Mind read by Jim Weiss
The Dragon and the Raven
The Cat of Bubastes
Little House in the Big Woods read by Lynn Cherry
The Green Ember read by Joel Clarkson

Extras:
LED Reading Light
Reading Strips (For Dyslexic or struggling readers)

Bird Nerds

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Birds of North America Poster

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The Identiflyer

 

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Children’s Birding Journal

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Bird Masks and Wings

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Bird Puzzle

Bird Call

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Sibley Backyard Birding Flash Cards

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Bird Bingo

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Bird Memory Game 

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Bird Dominoes

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Listen to the Birds: Classical Music

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Monthly Bird Box from Tanglewood Hollow

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Bimonthly Bird Zine

 

Stay tuned for our next guide: Entrepreneurs, Handicrafters & Storytellers!

Our Favorite Christmas Reads Part 1

 

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We had so many requests for an official list after our Instagram LIVE Christmas Book edition we decided to put together two lists. This list was put together by my children. These are their absolute favorites and I must say, I agree with the vast majority. We love beautiful stories and rich illustrations around here and it is certainly reflected in the list below. We’ll post part 2 in the next few days. Enjoy!

A Child is Born by Margaret Wise Brown

B is for Bethlehem by Isabel Winer

The Nutcracker Story Orchestra by Jessica Courtney-Tickle

The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats

This is the Stable by Cythnia Cotton

Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd Jones

The Story of Christmas by Pamela Dalton

The Glorious Impossible by Madeline L’Engle

The Christmas Stories of George MacDonald by George MacDonald

We Three Kings by Gennady Spirin

First Christmas by National London Gallery

Christmas at Long Pond by William T George

Christmas at Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston

Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S Buck

Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon

Franklin and Winston: The Christmas that Changed the World by Douglas Wood

An Orange For Frankie by Patricia Polacco

Gift of the Magi by O Henry

Bird’s Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wilson

A Tree for Peter by Kate Seredy

 

Classical Conversations Cycle 3: Week 5 George Washington, the Constitution and our Daily Rhythm.

George Washington is one of our heroes. When my eldest turned 6 we even had a Revolutionary War reenactment in our backyard to celebrate. Washington crossed the Delaware, Paul Revere ran around warning everyone, the dastardly Cornwallis was defeated by both wooden sword and light saber. My son was dressed up like General Washington, my Dad played the part of Cornwallis. One year later we celebrated his 7th birthday with a trip to Mt. Vernon.

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A few months before that visit, my son learned that George Washington was a slave owner. This was a terrible blow for him. In his heart he felt that slavery was pure evil, and now he learned that his hero had engaged in it.  The past years have been spent in deep discussion about all our heroes and all their moral failings. As it turns out, every hero is sinful, save for one.  Some heroes have secret sin we cannot see, others have sins exposed to the glaring light of historical truth like our friend George. We cannot ever excuse George from his participation in slavery, but we are heartened to see that he did struggle with the practice of slavery.  He ultimately decided to free his slaves upon his death. It was during our time at Mount Vernon that we first heard the name of William Lee, George Washington’s closest companion and confident through the war and beyond. He was black. Washington gave Lee his freedom. “It was probably because of his friendship with his black companion that the general, even though, like Jefferson, a slave owner, said that there was ‘not a man living’ who wished more sincerely than he that slavery would be abolished by law” (Black Heroes of the Revolution by Burke Davis). You can find more information about Washington here.

Whenever we study the Declaration or the Constitution we rightfully mourn the lost opportunity for our country to declare all men truly free and equal. My son asked the other day, “I want to see America’s history as beautiful, but I can’t ignore all these horrible things that happened.” We have agreed that we can see the Beauty, Truth and Goodness in certain elements and honor those while at the same time deeply mourn over the sin, injustice and evil that grew alongside the good.

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After years of studying the life of Washington through wonderful books like the D’Aulaire’s Washington,  we decided to spend this week wrapping up our study of the Revolutionary War and studying the lives of other historical figures. This was the year my boys truly met heroes like Nathan Hale, Francis Marion the Swamp Fox, John Paul Jones, and more.

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” -The Declaration of Independence. 

This last sentence came alive the further we delved into the individual stories that make up the Revolutionary War. Indeed, after years of study, I believe we gained far more this year than ever before simply by walking through the event alongside other people.  Our wonderful living books librarian, Michelle Miller, is a Francis Marion fanatic. On our last trip to the library she pressed a book into my hands and urged me to read it to the boys. Island Fortress by Roe Richmond. This book was heart-wrenching. Violence, death, war, torture, cruelty and unbelievable sadness. This was a difficult book to read, but it gave my children a better understanding of the Revolutionary War than anything else we had read up to that point. When they take up their wooden rifles to play army outside the story has changed. They feel it more deeply now. When they hear death tolls of battles, they gasp now. “18,000 men? That is so many mothers and daughters and sisters and little sons and little brothers hurting over their dead.”

We wrapped up our study by spreading out a large sheet of butcher paper, drawing the eastern coast of America and slowly filling in all the various battles we had studied or read about.

Daily Rhythm
Many of you have asked how we balance our study throughout the day. The truth is each day varies. Our community day now runs through the afternoon thanks to Essentials, so we do not do any other work upon our return home. We have 3 days of “regular” study and one special day at the end of the week to schedule.

Regular school days for this term look like this:

Wake up
Farm Chores/Morning Chores
Children make breakfast
Morning Time:  We open with a prayer, song of ascent, hymn, lesson from our catechism and then answer a few questions from our family bible study of Romans with Bible Study Fellowship. The following is done on a loop:

Colonial Art Study
Hymn Study
Stories from America by Lorene Lambert
Architecture by Hillyer
Stories from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and Francois
Poetry
Trial and Triumph
Family Read Aloud
Timeline Narrations

We cap off with memory work recitation for CC and we diagram a sentence together. (75% of the table has no idea what is happening when we diagram).
Math, Music and Latin
The next hour is a delicate balance and a bit of a dance. The younger boys go and practice their violins while the older boys get either a new Latin lesson, or drill the vocabulary from the previous lesson. Once the younger children return, the older boys go and practice their instruments while the younger children have their math lesson. Once the older children return they get their math lesson while the younger children go play. We usually accomplish this all in 50 minutes to an hour. Those of you familiar with our rhythm are probably even now thinking WHAT HAPPENED TO OLDER CHILDREN PLAYING TILL THE END OF THE HOUR AND STARTING ON THE NEW HOUR?  This is true for all other hours of the day, but this beginning hour is one I am recently taking advantage of because I see a growing willingness in my older children to work through the hour.
History/Playful Pioneers/A Year of Playing Skillfully
At the top of the hour I hand an AYOPS activity to my youngest son who begins to play and work while the rest of us sit down at the table. I give my middle child a brief history story which he narrates while the older children work on finishing illustrations from the day before or writing out history sentences. I usually give my youngest another sensory tray at this point and the middle one joins him. Then I turn to my older children. We are working through our Beautiful Feet Books spine, using our Pin It Maps US History bundle and using several living book each week for our history study. I read for about thirty minutes total during this hour. I try to break it up in chunks for purposes of narration and dialogue. They record their work in their composition books. While the older children are recording work, I am reading aloud or working with my 1st grader on his Playful Pioneer work. The children play for the remainder of the hour.
Lit Lunch
My older boys are in charge of making one lunch each week. While the chef of the day prepares the lunch meal, everyone else works to tidy the house again.  The dishwasher is unloaded, the classroom is swept, sometimes I hide in the bathroom and eat chocolate….important stuff. Once lunch is ready we all sit down to eat. Once I have eaten most of my lunch I pull out a fun book and begin to read. Right now we are slowly making our way through the Burgess Bird Book. We have been enjoying this book since last April. We are about 10 chapters away from finishing. Sometimes we will set it aside and read another story from Ambleside Online’s Year 0/1 lists.
Reading Hour/Therapies
Immediately following lunch my older boys retreat for quiet reading hour. They usually take a cup of tea with them. They curl up on chairs in our library and read biographies or living science books. THIS IS PURELY FOR ENJOYMENT. My middle son and I have his reading lesson and I listen to him read aloud for 15 minutes at which point he is excused to his room to rest and listen to an audio story. Then my youngest and I sit down for his speech therapy. Once this is complete he is excused to his room for an audio story and rest.
ESSENTIALS/IEW
Once the boys are finished reading they have a half hour break before heading back to the classroom. We usually begin this work at about 2:30 in the afternoon. They commence by taking out their IEW Phonetic Zoo program and running through their spelling list together. Then they break up for their IEW work. My second born and I work on his IEW writing book while my eldest works on all of his charts. Once my second born is on his set course I turn to the eldest and we work on his key word outline or 1st draft, etc. I ask him to diagram the same sentence we looked at during morning time and explain each part to me. My 2nd born is usually finished by 3pm. He proceeds to run down his independent work loop. My eldest takes about 45 minutes- 1 hour to finish his Essentials work depending on the day. He takes a 30 minute break.
The Final Hour
At this point the younger brothers are back and my middle two go work on their relationship with a relationship building game or project I give them. I work with my youngest son on some more therapies while my eldest does his independent loop work. We gather one last time to sing a song of thanksgiving, review what we accomplished, encourage one another and end in prayer.
The Blessing Hour
The children clean while I make dinner. It does not always last a whole hour. Most days it only takes them 20 minutes to right everything and then they are receiving the blessing of rest and play.
Dinner
Dinner is discipleship time. We pray together, discuss the bible or current events. We TALK TOGETHER. We share a meal and we sometimes close out by having Dad read us a book. We love family dinner. Its the best part of our day. If you want to implement something like this in your home I highly recommend Sally Clarkson’s latest book “The Life-giving Table.”
Extra Curricular
Our boys regularly participate in a sport which requires practice multiple nights of the week. During this much needed time of exercise and friendship, I get to read books. I am a big fan of sports now.

Special Days
Once a week my children have music lessons after lunch so we slide those study slots around a bit to make room for lessons.
Fridays are our adventure days! We begin with morning time and immediately go into our Music study with Beautiful Feet Books. Once that is done we pack up our bags and head out for a nature walk or trip with our local nature group. When we return we have our afternoon Symposium (an extended tea time/morning time conversation) and wrap up with our Friday Exam.

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AYOPS- The 3rd September

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We kicked off our third year with The Homegrown Preschooler’s A Year of Playing Skillfully— with a hurricane.

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As per usual, I had laid out all my plans for the first week of school only to have them interrupted by LIFE. Looking back now I see that I would have had to rearrange my plans with or without a hurricane because this child of mine blew my expectations out of the water.

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One of my favorite things about AYOPS is its monthly organization presenting a wide array of choices with varying developmental skill. Our first year of AYOPS we spent the majority of September trying to introduce my son to new sensory experiences. Our second September found us moving into more difficult motor skills, songs, rhymes, art and science. Now in our third September with AYOPS he is all about math and letters.  His evaluation therapist initially predicted an introductory phonics start time of 8-9 years old. I was prepared to wait many more years for this child to become interested in letters. Imagine my amazement this month when I set out one phonics, activity which had been ignored for two years, and found him forty minutes later still happily playing away.

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This interest is no small part due to his eldest brother. He wanted to use the many, many phonics tricks he has learned throughout his Dyslexia journey to teach his little brother. Its been so redeeming for him to pour his hard-earned knowledge into someone else. I have found him looking through our AYOPS manual several times asking what else he can teach his little brother. How empowering for a child with learning disabilities to now find someone he can help. These early weeks of school were a precious gift to my heart as I watched these boys grow individually and in their relationship with one another. Its funny how AYOPS has become so engrained in our family culture. As I have said before, we are a family that plays together.

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Now that he is officially interested in letters, I was ready to charge ahead into our print rich environment. I was about 10 notecards in when he started tearing them down and asked me not to do that again. I had to figure something else out for his specific personality. He loves art, so I asked him to draw a picture of different objects in the house and then I labeled them. We made a sweet little book for him to look at and this worked just fine! I also got him a blank composition notebook and he has since filled at least a quarter of it with row after row after row of letters.  He takes it everywhere with him.

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Its now his turn to make a nature counting book and a manners book and a world book. I am treasuring these little memories he is making. The joy on his face when he finished each book was wonderful. I am so glad I kept him home. I am so glad I chose to believe in him and support him. I am so glad I said yes!
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The implementation of his work for the month of September began in August. I chose which activities would work best within our calendar limits and supply budget, I tried to adapt as many activities using what we already had on hand, and then I organized as much as I could into accessible bins. The other activities were written out on notecards and placed in the folds of my school planner. Whenever any older child had a break, I would send them outside with a notecard of instructions and a basket or shoe box of materials.

We averaged 2-3 activities per day, repeating many of the activities for days on end. This is a boy that craves repetition. When the activities were done, he would keep playing. I have noticed his level of play mature over the years, in large part because of the wonder training involved with Homegrown Preschooler.

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Once we finish our spindle box activity, (ours is made out of ten soup cans glued to a piece of wood!) he starts to play with blocks and he counts each one out as he stacks them.

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When we wrote out his story, he put on costumes and came up with other people’s stories for the rest of the morning.

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He has moved on from clearing dishes and now loves to set the table and even prepare the meal. He loves contributing to the life of the family and its gladdens my heart to see how he is thriving these days. What a difference from that first year!

 

Classical Conversations Cycle 3 Week 4: The Declaration of Independence

Here is a look at our week, NEW GRAMMAR style!

History
I still remember the first time we read Little Town on the Prairie and the boys realized that little Laura knew the Declaration of Independence by heart. They immediately wanted to read it aloud for themselves.

We’ve read it every 4th of July ever since. They don’t have it memorized, but its been wonderful pulling apart this extraordinary document the older they get. With every round of American History we get further into the causes of the Revolution and the the lines of the Declaration flesh out. You can get a closer look at the original document here.

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This year the boys wanted to take a closer look at the building where everything transpired. Katherine Milhous’ book “Through these Arches: The story of Independence Hall” provided excellent history from a living book perspective. The book itself is 96 pages so we only narrated certain portions. We visited Independence Hall two years ago and we love looking through our pictures from that day.
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We also enjoyed “The 4th of July Story” by Alice Dalgliesh. The boys chose 5 important lines from the Declaration as copy work for the week. They illustrated each sentence and fashioned a small book for themselves.

We had a patriotic tea party halfway through the week which featured a reading of Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. We used our favorite book for the reading.  My older boys continued reading through as many Gerrard biography book as possible: John Paul Jones, Francis Marion, Nathaneal Greene, George Clark, Lafayette. I have blocked off an hour of reading time for them every single afternoon and the benefit of this practice is immeasurable. Full disclosure: I did enroll them in the old Pizza Hut Book it! Program, which was one of my favorites as a kid, the thought of a greasy personal pan pizza is quite alluring for these boys.  As always, our book list is found at the end of the post.

We devoted a good deal of time towards learning Black History. This is difficult when materials are scarce and so many records were thrown out. One of our favorite books was “Black Heroes of the Revolution” by Burke Davis. The book is brimming with stories, photos of original documents, paintings, etc. It was wonderful to read a part of history that is so often buried.

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Math
The boys are using all sort of kinesthetic activity to teach their youngest little brother the skip counting songs. As a newly minted abecedarian, he is eager to learn the rhythm of the music even though he has not yet mastered the actual numbers. I purchased a copy of Tables, Squares and Cubes at practicum this year and after slipping each page into a page protector, I assembled everything in a notebook for the boys to use for multiplication drills. This takes about 5 minutes per chid, every other day. Once the drills are done we have our Right Start Math lesson. These lessons are short, focused, fun and rich. A pretty ideal combination for us. We have been saving most of the games for the weekends or nights when Dad is home. My kids have progressed beautifully in math since we started Right Start. They know the material so well, they can turn around and teach it to the middle brother who is absolutely blasting through these materials. He never wants to stop doing math, ever. EVER. I had to reconfigure our rhythm chart to allow for a greater block of time for math. Something I never expected to do, but taking advantage of their enthusiasm is an opportunity I don’t want to miss. Because of this we shelved Lyrical Life Science for a bit. We will be picking it up again later in the year.

Latin
I still cannot believe how much the Latin memory work with CC prepared these kids to study Latin with Memoria Press. They are having a ball. Every time a new ending or declension presents itself they cheerfully sing out the corresponding CC tune and blaze through their conjugations. I thought teaching Latin would be difficult and frankly, a bit miserable, but it has become one of our absolute favorite subjects. I love the way this language is organized!

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Geography
5 minutes of tracing each morning is slowly adding up! The boys are quite solid on their US Geography and a few are now branching out onto blank paper to draw in the states as they learn them. Every other day we blob the continents and I see steady progress in this area too. Keep blobbing people! It works!

Timeline
Per our CC/CM 1st quarter outline, we are narrating a portion of the timeline each week and adding it to our book of narrations. We chose to read about the Phoenicians and the Persians.  These narrations are brief, usually 4-5 sentences long.  I love watching our book increase in size.

English
The English portion of our memory work has never meant as much to me as it does this year, our first year in Essentials. Whenever we reach a new piece of memory work, I turn to my eldest and ask, “where do we find ____ in our Essentials charts/work?” He explains it to his wide-eyed little brothers, who nod supportively and ask more questions. We have started diagramming our daily sentence during morning time on a small whiteboard. The little ones have NO IDEA what we are doing or why, but they are listening. The eldest and my up and coming Essentials student are actively involved. I have been greatly encouraged by Essentials this year. I was so worried it would defeat us, but it has done the exact opposite. (More on this later)

The Boston Tea Party by Russell Freedman
America’s Paul Revere by Esther Forbes
George vs. George: The American Revolution As Seen from Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer
Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George? by Jean Fritz
The Scarlet Stockings Spy by Trina Hanks Noble
Sybil’s Night Ride by Karen Winnick
Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak: The Outbreak of the Boston Tea Party Told from Multiple Points-of-View! By Kay Winters
Benjamin Franklin by D’ulaires

Classical Conversations Cycle 3 Week 3 Evacuation Tea Party

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Our History focus this week took us from the Pilgrims through the start of the Revolutionary War. We spent a few days learning about the French and Indian War and thanks to our Stories of America book we read about the establishment of each colony and the causes of the war.  We read an old James Daugherty book on Daniel Boone and spent a few days playing and learning with our Pin it! Maps US History Bundle.  One of our favorite new (to us) historical figures we read about was Captain William Wadsworth. The boys loved the story of the charter oak and the story of the drummers.

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We worked to set the stage for the next week of American History. (See our booklist at the end of the post!)  I wanted the boys to have a big picture view by focusing on a few lives lived at the time. My older boys read some biographies in their spare time. Does that seem like a ton of work? The reason for all of this work is that our CC facility was unable to host us between weeks 3 & 4 so we had two weeks to do week 3. Everything was clipping a long at a good pace….

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Then Hurricane Irma became a category 5 and headed straight for us. We fled to North Carolina.

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I could write an entire post just about the stress and anxiety of that week.  Deciding what to save from our home and what to leave behind, determine the safest time to leave when faced with gridlock and gas shortages. It was exhausting. Praise God we made it safely to North Carolina, where we spent 6 days with my family.  We needed to get the boys out of the house so we took several nature walks, met up with friends and of course, went on a field trip.

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We spent a beautiful day at Cowpens battlefield. We went on a walking tour with a ranger, enjoyed the beautiful weather and found all sorts of feathers and sticks and rocks.  The boys enjoyed asking questions and eventually the younger boys and I broke away for a slow walk in the woods.  A peaceful day that soothed us even though it took place on a battlefield.

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6 days later we were home. Exhausted and overwhelmed and eager to get back to our usual rhythm. Most of the families in our community waited several days to get power back and my family is currently without internet, hence the radio silence on most of our social media these days.  We dove back into our books with more biographies and took advantage of the extra time to really delve into our Essentials charts.

Book list:
The Boston Tea Party by Russell Freedman
Paul Revere’s Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
George vs. George: The American Revolution As Seen from Both Sides by Rosalyn Schanzer
Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George? by Jean Fritz
The Scarlet Stockings Spy by Trina Hanks Noble
Sybil’s Night Ride by Karen Winnick
The Story of the Boston Tea Party: Cornerstones of Freedom
Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak: The Outbreak of the Boston Tea Party Told from Multiple Points-of-View! By Kay Winters
Benjamin Franklin by D’ulaires
Paul Revere by Esther Forbes