A Cranberry Valentine Homeschool Unit Study

*Some links are affiliate links, see disclosure below*

If you have been following this blog for very long, you probably already know that Valentine’s at our house means ice cream sundaes! My children start reminding me about this fun family tradition by mid-January.

In addition to ice cream sundaes, we love to read Cranberry Valentine. Cranberry Valentine is another book in one of our favorite series; you might be more familiar with Cranberry Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Valentine Homeschool Unit Study

A Cranberry Valentine Homeschool Unit Study

Cranberry Valentine is a fun story involving Mr. Whiskers, Maggie, Grandmother, and the ladies of Cranberryport. We enjoy it because it is a good reminder about the value of friendship and how we can use valentines to help us show our friends how much we appreciate them.

There is a fun recipe for Cranberry Upside Down Cake at the end of the book. You can make this to celebrate after you read the book, or make it ahead of time and enjoy it while you read the book aloud.

Hands-On Ideas for A Cranberry Valentine

Handmade Valentine cards are a great way to add a hands-on component to this study. Depending on the ages of your children, they can create them all on their own, you could cut out hearts for them, or maybe you could write on them, and they could decorate them with crayons and stickers.

If you want a little more inspiration, you could check out the chalk pastel heart lesson from Nana at You ARE an Artist. It is simple enough for preschoolers and a great start for older children.

These are the perfect cheap and easy gifts for neighbors and friends. It shows them you care and will bring a smile to their faces.

If your children love Mr. Whiskers, you can also check out this Mr. Whiskers art tutorial.

Mr. Whiskers

Science Ideas for A Cranberry Valentine

You can tie science to your Cranberry Valentine study by learning more about this delicious fruit and how it is farmed. There are many resources online, but this blog has some great basic information, and this video is excellent for showing how cranberries are harvested.

If you want to do some science experiments, you can check out this list of 10 fun science experiments with cranberries.

Nature Study for A Cranberry Valentine

We love incorporating nature study into our units. If you have one locally, a cranberry bog would be a fantastic field trip. However, we live too far south for cranberries, so we will study them in our home.

You can grab a bag of fresh cranberries from the store and let your children study them. They can dissect them to see what they look like on the inside. Next, use a magnifying glass or microscope to look at the seeds and different parts of the cranberries.

Then they can draw and write about them in their nature journals. If you need help getting started with nature journaling, I recommend checking out Homeschool Nature Study. They have some great information and printable templates.  

Free Printables for Cranberry Valentine

For children old enough to write and spell, you can add a bit of word practice to your study. I have included a printable pack in the resource library with Cranberry Valentine printables. Your child can make words from the letters in cranberry and valentine.

There are also some fun writing prompts to go along with the book. It always amazes me how much more they enjoy writing about something fun.

Finally, if your children are fond of the If You Give a Mouse series… you can check out this fun Valentine’s Day movie that is free with Amazon Prime.

I hope your family enjoys Cranberry Valentine as much as our family does. We read it every year. I would love for you to share your ideas or experiences in the comments below.

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.

My Personal 2021 Summer Reading

I normally like to sit down and plan out some fun summer reading for myself towards the end of May. Somehow, it is already almost the end of June, but I am finally making a good list and getting excited about my summer reading.

In years past, I spend most of my reading time during the year on non-fiction books. Several years ago, I decided that I wanted to get back to reading a few more books for fun and decided to try and read some fun fiction each summer.

When I took up my summer reading for 2020 the world felt really stressful and crazy and the light fiction was a great stress reliever. I was enjoying it so much that I have continued reading quite a bit of fiction over the last year.

Fun Fiction

I have enjoyed reading some of Robin Jones Gunn’s books with my daughter, escaped to Pleasant Creek, Indiana with the Amish Inn Mysteries, and enjoyed the Amish community in Pinecraft, Florida with the Pinecraft Pie Shop Series.

I normally prefer real paper books, however, I also discovered the convince of kindle books on my phone this year. Most of my reading time happens after my children are in bed for the evening, and sometimes my lap was keeping my husband awake. However, the dimmer light from the phone did not bother him.

This also meant that I almost always had a book ready to read wherever I went. This was great for times when I had five or ten minutes of waiting. I normally would have filled those with scrolling social media, but now I can get in a few extra minutes of reading.

Digital Options

I did a free trial of Kindle Unlimited and enjoyed it so much that we have been purchasing it ever since. I have been mostly reading fun Christian fiction though they have a wide variety of books. My daughter is also enjoying the subscription and has been reading some of my old favorite Janet Oke books. We find it to be a great value for the number of books we are reading each month.

I have not read the Janet Oke books in many years, so I am hoping to spend some time this summer re-reading some of those books so that I can have better discussions with my daughter. She really enjoys reading the books I have read and then discussing the characters.

In addition to continuing the habit of reading fun fiction (and showing my children that reading for fun is good even as an adult), I have several books that I want to read over the summer.

Non-Fiction Reading

I have been working on Women of the Word (Jen Wilkin) and look forward to finishing it. It is a great book that is discussing what good Bible study should look like and gives some pros and cons to various methods of study. While I have not agreed with 100% of her opinions, it has been very good content and theologically sound thus far.

Next, I am grateful to have the opportunity to review Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible (Danika Cooley). I am looking forward to reading more about how we can help our children learn more about the Bible. So far it has been an easy read with great information, but I am only a couple chapters into the book. I will be sharing a full review on the blog in a few weeks.

I found out about Women at War (Jan Greenwood) through a new ministry that we are starting at our church. I have seen women all to often battle against one another and even be cruel. I would like to say this is all with-in the outside world, but it happens more often than it should even inside the church. I am looking forward to reading this book about healing those relationships to see how I might be able to help others heal their relationships.

Audio Option

Finally, I am listening to Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. The first bit of it was a bit heavy on the academia but once you get through that it seems to be going more into ideas and strategies to help with focus and blocking time. Once I am finished, I may have my teenagers listen to the books as well. I think sometimes we all struggle with trying to do too many things at once and not doing any of them well.

I would love to hear more about what you are reading this summer or if you have read any of these books. Share your thoughts in the comments!

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

If you have not tried SchoolhouseTeachers.com, you don’t want to miss this busy bee sale! A great price for summer enrichment or for next year!

Happening NOW! Check out these wonderful FREE summer courses from one of our favorites: Journey Homeschool Academy! We loved their biology course this year and are excited about the free summer courses. Summer Stargazing and Backyard Bugs

This Saturday! FREE Writing Conference, June 26th from IEW! They are a great writing program and have a lot to offer. This conference is completely free

Our New Homeschool Library

When we moved into our home almost fifteen years ago, the downstairs area was finished space and all of the upstairs was unfinished and used as a storage area. We kept it that way for years, until we started to homeschool. The year we started to homeschool my husband finished one portion of the space to serve as a school room. Over the years, we later finished a space for an extra bedroom and a closet but we still had a room in the middle that was being used as storage.

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

Over the course of this summer, we took everything out of that room and my husband and son finished it into a library/music room!! I have always dreamed of having a home library but never thought it would actually happen. We have a rather large collection of books because we frequent yard sales and used book stores. This gives us a place to neatly store our book collection, a place for their instruments and music practice, a place I can go to sit and read quietly, and a place where they can have friends and hang out chatting or playing board games.

My husband and son did all the work from putting up wood slats for the ceiling, sheet rock on the walls, and carpet tiles on the floor. We were blessed to get a large selection of bookshelves back in the beginning of March from a bookstore that was going out of business. Those finished off three of the walls and gave us a place to store many of our books.

IMG_20200618_190414_448

One of my favorite parts was a special touch that my husband put into the room. We are hug fans of C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia. So my husband turned one of the doors into the ‘wardrobe’ that leads to Narnia.  This makes me smile every time I see it and reminds me both of my husband’s love and that this world is not my home.

We have one step left, we are going to get quotes from some of our favorite books printed onto vinyl and put up on the walls.  We plan to use quotes from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, The Hobbit, and The Green Ember series.  I know that we are going to include: “It will not be so in the mended wood.” and “My place beside you, my blood for yours. Till the Green Ember rises or the end of the world!” from theGreen Ember.  We also know that we will use Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”  and “Oh Children” from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  We are still choosing a couple more from those books and a couple from the Hobbit.

I think our new library might just be my new favorite room! Do you have a favorite room in your house or dreams of a library or special room that you might be able to complete one day?

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

Final 2 Days to get the Ultimate Homeschool Bundle for less than $30! Includes a variety of curriculum from pre-k through high school. What courses are you excited about? I’m going to do the Jane Austen course with my daughter!

So many folks looking for homeschool options at a reasonable price during this unusual time. SchoolhouseTeachers.com is having an amazing sale. For less than $200 you get 2 years access to over 400 courses that you can use with as many students as you have in your home! We use this for several courses and I am always happy to answer questions. Just click on this link and use code: SHARK20

If you are looking for a fun way to encourage reading this summer, check out the FREE summer reading materials from Your Morning Basket with Pam Barnhill. The passport and reading bucket list are a great way to encourage reading!

Homeschool Complete is offering a special 10% off discount to my readers! Just use code: SWAG

Get a FREE Literature Kit from LitWits using Code 11READ4FUN. We are currently enjoying the Heidi kit but have also previously loved the My Side of the Mountain kit.

IEW is offering some great free resources right now.

Mom’s Summer Reading List 2020

Last week I shared some of the books that my children were reading over the summer. This week I wanted to take just a minute and share with you some of the books in my summer reading stack as well as a few I read this spring that you might enjoy this summer.

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

First, on Mother’s Day, I had the chance to read Sisterchicks on the Looseby Robin Jones Gunn. As a teenager I enjoyed her Christy Miller series and was excited to check this one out. It was lighthearted and funny, written for adults but still clean and wholesome. I decided that I would read through as much of the series as I could get to this summer for my light reading.

I often find myself reading non-fiction books for knowledge and growth, but I have been focusing on adding in fun books. I feel that it is beneficial for me to read for entertainment and also good for my children to see me reading for entertainment.

2020 books mom

Currently Reading

I also have started reading, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller. This book is written by a public school teacher but I think that  much of what she has to say about creating readers applies to homeschool as well.

I am also finishing up Parenting Beyond The Rules by Connie Albers. This book is about helping build and strengthen your relationship with your teens.

Speaking of teens, my fourteen year old son and I are both going to read Debt Free Degree and discuss it together. I am hopeful that this gives us ideas and motivation as we create a four year high school plan that will help him achieve his college goals.

Just Finished

Last month I took advantage of the time that I was watching the children swim in the pool and read Moms’ Night Out. This book is hilarious and completely unbelievable. There were certainly elements of relate-ability to the characters but the premise of all that happened in one night was a bit far fetched. That said, I enjoyed reading it and laughed out loud several times while reading.

Over the spring, I read When Less Becomes More by Emily Ley and Better Togetherby Pam Barnhill.  When Less Becomes More is a great book for helping you focus on what matters in your life.

Better Together is a great book about using morning time in your homeschool and helping you create that time for your whole family to learn together. I thoroughly enjoyed both books.

I would love for you to share with me what you are reading this summer!

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

If you have not tried SchoolhouseTeachers.com, you don’t want to miss this sale!

If you are looking for a fun way to encourage reading this summer, check out the FREE summer reading materials from Your Morning Basket with Pam Barnhill. The passport and reading bucket list are a great way to encourage reading!

Homeschool Complete is offering a special 10% off discount to my readers! Just use code: SWAG

Evan-Moor is offering their Daily Fundamentals book FREE right now to help out during this time.

Get a FREE Literature Kit from LitWits using Code 11READ4FUN. We are currently enjoying the Heidi kit but have also previously loved the My Side of the Mountain kit.

IEW is offering some great free resources right now.

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Summer Reading List 2020

I’m still working on determining my own personal summer reading list, but I thought I would share with you today some of the books my children are reading this summer in case you still needed some  ideas.

summer reading 2020

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

This year I decided that both my twelve and fourteen year olds were going to be responsible for reading three ‘classics’ over the summer. I had a fairly broad definition of classics and I let them choose as long as it was one they had not yet read. They, of course, also both have stacks of fun books that they intend to read over the summer. Current favorites include anything about Duck Commander, The Callahan Cousins, Nancy Drew, and anything by Robin Jones Gunn.

Goldtown

My twelve year old daughter has chosen, The Hobbit, The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe, and Little House in the Big Woods.  She wanted to read the Hobbit so that she could watch the movie with us and her older brother. She has started reading it and we have also started watching the movie so she is getting the experience of both at the same time.  This is a good book, but a little dense so I don’t’ recommend it prior to middle school. The movie is rated PG-13 because of the violence so I do not recommend it for younger children. We do not watch many movies with that rating in our family, but felt that the overall plot was worthy of watching with the older children.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a family favorite and my daughter has listened to it on audio but had never actually read the book for herself. I personally think you can never get too much of C. S. Lewis so I was happy to have her choose that as her second book.

Finally, I’m not sure how she managed to get to seventh grade without having read the Little House series, but I think she will fall in love with the series when she reads the first one and I expect she will end up reading the rest. We have the collection of them because my son read them all.

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My fourteen year old is still working out all of his selections but he wanted to start with Moby Dick and Fellowship of the Ring the first book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  He read the Hobbit this year and enjoyed it and is looking forward to getting more of the story.  He may also read the Father Brown Mysteries. We have been reading the abridged versions as a family and he really enjoyed them.

He is also reading Debt Free Degree by Anthony Oneal. This is the second summer that we have chosen to each read a book and discuss it together. As he is entering ninth grade this year and making plans for college, I hope that this book will give us some great ideas and strategies for helping him achieve his college goals without student debt.

My six year old and two year old will be enjoying a variety of picture books and audio books as we go through the summer. Some of the current favorites are the Goldtown Beginnings Series  and Albert Whitman Boxcar Children readers. We have plenty of picture and simple books on hand, but if anyone has a new favorite to recommend I may pick up one or two special ones for the summer.

If you are looking for ways to help you incorporate reading into your summer, you may want to check out the free summer reading programs from Not Consumed or Pam Barnhill.  I will also include links to a few posts to help you incorporate reading into your days.

Please share with me in the comments what you are reading this summer! Also, check out the other Review Crew summer reading lists here.

Reading Posts:

Our Summer of Reading!

5 Days of For the Love of Reading

Creating a Book Club Culture (Read Aloud Family)

Read All the Books: Free and Discounted Online Literature Resources

Library and Educational Services LLC (Review)

You can also check out the books section of my Reviews page.

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

If you have not tried SchoolhouseTeachers.com, you don’t want to miss this sale! I have multiple reviews on the blog about different courses we use from them. This is an amazing price for an entire year for your whole family and lots of really neat bonus gifts! Simply click on this link and use code: 19GIFTS

If you are looking for a fun way to encourage reading this summer, check out the FREE summer reading materials from Your Morning Basket with Pam Barnhill. The passport and reading bucket list are a great way to encourage reading!

Homeschool Complete is offering a special 10% off discount to my readers! Just use code: SWAG

Evan-Moor is offering their Daily Fundamentals book FREE right now to help out during this time.

Get a FREE Literature Kit from LitWits using Code 11READ4FUN. We are currently enjoying the Heidi kit but have also previously loved the My Side of the Mountain kit.

IEW is offering some great free resources right now.

FREE Baby Yoda Art Lesson from Nana!

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

 

Remarkable Read Alouds

We have been focusing on increasing our read aloud time and had some extra travel time in which we were able to listen to some great books on audio. I wanted to share some of the books we have been enjoying over the last couple of months to hopefully help you find new books for your home.

As a family we have enjoyed the Father Brown Reader. This series of mysteries based on the Father Brown Mysteries by G. K. Chesterton was a hit with the whole family. Each one of the four included stories is a short twenty to thirty minute read and the children kept asking for more. I am probably going to order the second one in the series for another family read aloud and the original works for my oldest son to read independently.

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

remarkable read alouds pinterest

I have enjoyed reading the Boxcar Children Early Reader set with my five-year-old.  They brought back fond memories of reading the original series as a child. Make sure to check back for the full review in about a week.

We have also been enjoying reading the Tuttle Twins series. There is so much powerful information about the economy, the government, and capitalism wrapped up in these fun and enjoyable stories. While they are designed for elementary aged children, even my middle school children don’t mind listening to them and they always learn a thing or two.

We have listened to a variety of audio books over the last few months but the two that stick out the most in my mind are Heroes of History: Alan Shepard and The First Fowler (Green Ember Series).  We listened to Heroes of History: Alan Shepard before and after our trip to Kennedy Space Center. While this certainly made it a special and applicable book, I think we would have enjoyed it whenever we listened. Everyone learned something new and my five-year-old has been listening to other books and asking numerous questions about the space program and his ‘favorite astronaut, Alan Shepard’ in the weeks since we have been home.

The First Fowler is a shorter book (under two hours on audio) in the Green Ember Series. We have enjoyed all of the book in this series by S.D. Smith and this one is no exception. It is a well written and engaging story of adventure and heroism all wrapped up in a tale of rabbits and wolves. We love seeing what happens with our favorite characters and can’t wait until the next book, Ember’s End, is released in April. Though we are all a little sad because the next one is the last one in the series and we don’t want it to end.  If you listen to The First Fowler, listen out for a character that reminds you of one of the characters in Adventures in Odyssey. We found that one of the new characters reminded us of one of our favorite Adventure in Odyssey characters and it was a fun connection.

We have been really enjoying our reading (and listening) time over the last couple of months. I would love to hear what books you are enjoying to get some more ideas for us this spring!

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

Three of the kindle books from the Green Ember series mentioned above are FREE right now (prices subject to change on Amazon). The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner, The Last Archer, The Black Star of Kingston

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!

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.

2020 Reading List February Update

I have been really enjoying my reading time in 2020! I have tried to be very intentional about using spare minutes to read instead of browse the internet and I am finding that I have more time to read. I am also trying to go to bed a bit earlier and read a chapter or two in the evenings.

2020 Reading List Update

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

So far, I have completed The Hobbit which, I was reading with my oldest son. I am not always a huge fiction reader but I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy later this year.  I also read Better Together by Pam Barnhill. This was just the motivation I needed to really get our morning time back on track. She had so many good ideas and real life strategies. Finally, I am in the process of reviewing The Unbreakable Faith course by Pilgrim’s Rock and I read The Box as a part of that review. I will be sharing a full review in a few weeks but I think it is a great introductory book for those wanting to learn more about apologetics.

I am also currently in the process of reading another five books.  That sounds like a large number to be reading, but several of them are intentionally read over a longer period of time and I like to keep a couple of different types of books so that I can chose depending on my mood. We are using Core 52 as a family in conjunction with my church and really enjoying digging deeper into God’s word. I am also enjoying the encouragement of Mom Heart Moments by Sally Clarkson when I can steal a few minutes of quiet in the morning.

I have started Plan Your Year by Pam Barnhill. I love planning but was feeling a little stressed about next year when I will have a high school student, middle school student, 1st grader, and a two year old.  That is a wide range and I want to make sure that I can create a realistic plan for meeting everyone’s needs. One of the things that I have really enjoyed with Plan Your Year was creating a vision for our homeschool that really clarified my goals for our children. I am looking forward to continuing to work my way through the book.

Nurtured by Love was written by Shin’ichi Suzuki and is recommended reading for anyone with a child in Suzuki music lessons. I didn’t take the time to read it when my daughter started violin almost a year and a half ago, but given that she is now in both violin and piano Suzuki lessons and two of my sons are in violin I decided it was time.  So far, it has been a very interesting read. I do not necessarily agree with all of his conclusions, but I think he had some wonderful ideas and his music program is very effective.

Finally, I have been reading Rhythms of Renewal. In our fast pace society it is so easy to be over committed, over tired, and burnt out. I love the idea of intentionally setting up rhythms of renewal. I have been enjoying this book so far and gleaned some great ideas about creating rhythms in my own life.

I look forward to finishing Rhythms of Renewal and Nurtured by Love this month.  Once I have finished those books I will probably start Parenting Beyond the Rules. I also hope to read When Less Becomes More in March. I will also be starting Little Women with my daughter in March once she has finished the book she is currently working on in her literature program. What books are you reading this year? I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these or recommendations of what to add to my list.

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!

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.

 

 

 

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 More by 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.

 

 

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. *

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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.

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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.

Christmas School 2019

Somehow November seems to have flown by, it is hard to believe that Sunday will be December 1st. I have been taking a little bit of time today to gather my thoughts and plan out our December school schedule and activities. Each December, I like to change things up a bit and do ‘Christmas School’. It is such an exciting and wonderful time of year and we like to incorporate the holidays as much as possible into our school days. This helps us enjoy the holiday even more by allowing us to do more of the fun activities. Also, by not trying to do all of our regular school and the Christmas activities, we can help avoid burnout and overwhelm.

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

As my children have gotten older, I do have them continue with some of their regular studies. My Kindergartner will be doing Christmas math from a variety of fun resources but my sixth and eighth graders will continue with their regular math curricula. One of the math activities that my son is very excited about is Christmas pattern blocks from our Crafty Classroom pack. For history, we will continue to study North Carolina history but make a point to focus on holiday traditions of the time period.

Christmas School Pinterest

For reading, we  are going to focus on lots of fun Christmas books. We will be reading aloud some of our favorite picture books, listening to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and reading aloud The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. There are so many good books that we can never get through them all and we always add at least one new (or new to us) book to our collection each year. This year we added Christmas with Anne and Merry Christmas Strega Nona. Cranberry Christmas is a family favorite that we make sure to bring out every year. You can check our more of our favorite books at A Cozy, Book Filled December.

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I am also very excited to be doing two new advent activities. First, I was blessed to receive a copy of Kayla Jarmon’s A Christmas Journey to review. We are looking forward to reading the book together (it has nine chapters and discussion questions for each chapter) as well as completing the activity 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 scriptures 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.  As we get started with this program, I plan to write a full review but I wanted to go ahead and share a little bit so that you would have time to check it out and get it before Advent starts!

The second activity we are going to try is called The Traveling Wisemen: A Christmas ADVENTure.  Years ago, when my older two children were younger, we tried the whole “Elf on a Shelf’ thing. The children loved it but I was tired of finding places for him to hide and honestly, I felt like it put way to much emphasis on the wrong part of Christmas. I know it works for some families, but it wasn’t working for us. So we stopped using the elf but this year my daughter really wanted to bring the elf back for the younger kids because she remembered having lots of fun trying to find him each morning.  I did not want to bring back the elf, but I was open to an alternative that allowed them to enjoy the hunt but with a different focus. There are many options available but we are excited to try The Traveling Wisemen: A Christmas ADVENTure. With this program, you purchase the book and use your own wise men to hide each day. The children will know that they aren’t magical but will still have the fun of finding them and seeing what silly antics they have done overnight. My daughter has agreed to take on responsibility for hiding the wise men each night. You can use your own ideas of they have this website with some suggestions. I am hopeful that this allows us to have the fun of the elf but with a focus on Christ (and the best part for me is that I am not responsible for remembering to move them each night.)

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I love using this time of year to get in a bit of extra art time. We will be using a variety of lessons from Nana at Chalk Pastel’s Christmas Video Art Lessons and Nutcracker Lessons. The Christmas lessons also go along very well with our hymn studies. In addition, because we have a clubhouse membership we can enjoy some lessons that coordinate with Handel’s Messiah to add in some music to our studies. We will also be doing various crafts and projects to give as Christmas gifts. My daughter is working on weaving some items for her dad and brother, knitting a hat for our youngest, and sewing some adorable fairy pillows for a few cousins. If time allows she may also make some ornaments using the lesson in Gifts to Make and Give.  In addition, I am using some of the plans from The Activity Room with Hands on As We Grow to set up some fun art projects for my youngest two children.

My daughter has been working on learning how to play Silent Night on her violin so that she can play at the nursing home. The song was one that was recommended by her violin teacher and she has been really enjoying learning how to play. I decided that we should expand that learning with a hymn study. You can join us for this free hymn study: Hymn Study: Silent Night. In addition, we love the song Away in a Manger and I am putting the finishing touches on an Away in a Manger hymn study which  will be published later this week.  Last year we did December Hymn Study: O Holy Night.

Finally, I plan to include some of the fun videos and lessons from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Their Christmas corner has lots of great videos, lesson plans, copywork, and poetry for Christmas and Hanukkah and we look forward to fitting in several of those each week. They are having a great sale this week and it is a wonderful time to give this program a try! We use a variety of courses from them each year and enjoy the flexibility.

I hope this gives you a few new ideas for incorporating Christmas activities into your December schedule. I would love to hear more about what activities your family loves! Share your ideas and plans in the comments.

 

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

Evan-Moor: 20% off Holiday Gifts/Activity Books/Flashcards

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

You Are an Artist: 20% off All courses and bundles (except membership) 11/25-12/2

Crystal Paine is offering 50% off all of her courses!Whether you want to Makeover Your Mornings, Save Money on Groceries, or Start a Blog she has you covered with some great courses.

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)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

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