Tag Archives: Bible

Learning Christmas with Countdowns

countdownfull_thumb%255B1%255DAre you extra busy this time of year?  We are!  Our calendar is filled with Christmas program rehearsals, a holiday workshop, caroling, and parties.  We’re decorating, crafting and baking.  And of course, there’s light displays to drive by, extra shopping, and gifts to wrap and deliver.  Oh yeah, there’s homeschool lessons, too.

Not only are we counting the days down until Christmas, we’re counting the days left in our semester.  I know some homeschooling families that take off the month of December, as nice as that sounds, it isn’t for us. We keep on learning through December, and we have about two more weeks of homeschooling before we’ll be ready for a break .   However, with the added busy-ness, regular lessons won’t give us the time we need to pursue the activities that make this time of year so special.

Below are  the online links to Advent and Christmas countdowns that we are using for quick lessons that are helping us check off our daily subjects.  Not only have the kids been liking these (probably because it’s extra computer time and the studies are short), I like them too.  It’s wonderful to have a break in lesson planning and to devote my “teacher time” to all the activities December brings.  It’s fun knowing that we have surprises waiting for us to learn about each morning.  And since these resources are brief, we have the afternoons for all those extras.

For Bible references and a little related trivia each day until Christmas – http://www.jamtrust.org/resources/adventcalendar/AdventCalendar.html

Learn Something “Christmassy” every day for 25 days  –  http://www.whychristmas.com/adventcalendar/

Countdown with Math –  secondary grade levels (6-12)  –  http://nrich.maths.org/11330

Countdown with Math – primary grade levels (1-5)  –  http://nrich.maths.org/11078

For Science, a Chemistry Countdown  –  http://www.compoundchem.com/2014advent/

Unlock a New Game Each Day Until Christmas  – http://www.santagames.net/calendar/index.htm

World Geography and Cultures  – Read about Christmas traditions around the world  (We used this as a study link last year and it’s great!)  –  http://projectbritain.com/Xmas/calendar/index.html

Liverpool Museum has a historic display to share each day – http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/christmas/advent/

For even more Christmas Advent and Countdown resources

I hope you enjoy your final learning days until the holiday break.  I wish you Merry Homeschooling!

betty jo



Thanksgiving – Been There, Done That


As we move along on our “special days” studies through November, I see Thanksgiving looming coming up in the not so distant future.  I thought seriously about not teaching Thanksgiving lessons this year.   How could I not want to teach Thanksgiving?  We’ve always had wonderful Thanksgiving lessons in November.  Yes, that’s it.  For 17 years – 17 Novembers, I’ve been teaching a week or two or three of Thanksgiving.  The who, what, when, why, and how of those Mayflower pilgrims and the natives that they encountered, Lincoln’s proclamation to make a Thanksgiving holiday,  Bible studies that focus on giving thanks and gratitude, nutritional studies of squash, pumpkins, turkeys, sweet potatoes, and corn, Thanksgiving celebrations around the world, tons of cooking projects, and craft activities to go along with it all – we’ve been there and done that over and over again.

In addition to my grumpy mood about Thanksgiving lessons,  our primary history focus of the year is Modern World History so the Pilgrim/Indian theme just doesn’t seem to fit or apply.   I look over the recent additions to our timeline and see WW1, the stock market crash of 1929, WW2 – hard and fearful times, but still were thankful times, too.  Hmmm …

Below are some of the online resources we’ll be using as we begin a new Thanksgiving  study with a modern history twist, and the cure for my Thanksgiving lesson planning grumpiness.  I’m actually getting excited about these lessons now!

During WW1, food was rationed and that had quite an impact on that Thanksgiving dinner.  This article does a terrific job explaining American Thanksgiving during WW1.   I love the photos of the newspaper ads from 1917 and 1918.   http://blog.genealogybank.com/rationing-thanksgiving-dinner-during-world-war-i.html

And what of the troops on Thanksgiving 1918?  Read about the football, feasts, and entertainment the Red Cross planned in this old Stars and Stripes magazine article  http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/Thanksgiving_in_WW1_France#.VGRLisnbGi0

Macy’s Department Store held their first parade in 1924.  Read about the history of this famous parade here  http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays-other/macys-thanksgiving-day-parade1.htm

Watch a short video of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade history with some actual film footage from the first parade  http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving/videos/history-of-the-thanksgiving-day-parade

View this Macy’s Thanksgiving Day photo gallery from Time  http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2100160_2324105,00.html

Thanksgiving Radio Show 1935

Jack Benny Thanksgiving Radio Show 1939


A wonderful account of the Thanksgiving that came early  http://www.farmcollector.com/farm-life/thanksgiving-during-the-great-depression.aspx#axzz3IpQaEi9v

And more about that early Thanksgiving which became known as “Franksgiving” from this historic letter collection  http://www.lettersofnote.com/2009/11/unhappy-franksgiving.html


That famous Norman Rockwell American family portrait of Thanksgiving dinner is still a popular work of art today.  But back in 1943 it was a political statement.  Find out more about that here  http://bigthink.com/Picture-This/what-norman-rockwells-thanksgiving-pictures-really-about

Details of WW2 Thanksgiving in a pdf from  America in WWII Magazine http://www.americainwwii.com/files/2012/11/thankful-anyway-dec-2009.pdf

A delightful article about Thanksgiving at home and at war  http://www.sarahsundin.com/thanksgiving-in-world-war-ii/

Thanksgiving writings from WW2 veterans along with some pictures from  Time Magazine 1940’s Thanksgiving photo album  http://www.skylighters.org/thanksgiving/

Armed Forces Radio Thanksgiving Show 1944

And with that fantastic swing music, some Charleston and Swing Dance instructions may be in order!




And back in those days, math was practical and so are these Thanksgiving themed math lessons  http://www.yummymath.com/?s=thanksgiving

The common thread of Thanksgiving celebration during these times seems to be making the most with whatever resources were available and finding blessings in any circumstance.  With this in mind, our Thanksgiving Bible studies will focus on contentment.

  • Philippians 4:11-12   I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
  • 1 Timothy 6:8   But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
  • Hebrews 13:5   Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Just for fun and a little about the mindset of the times here’s a  Classic Thanksgiving cartoon  playlist.  One of these is from 1933 and one from 1945.  The rest are a little more recent, 1950’s-70’s.  http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRgLrYQQYdPr9xb8HiRXaJZAWiKmp4wQ6

What about science?  How about human anatomy and the digestive system?  Seems to fit the theme of “Thanksgiving dinner”, right?

Digestive System Facts – http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/humanbody/digestivesystem.html

Human Body Interactive Map of the digestion system – http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/digestive-system/male

Label the Digestion System  printable with a vocabulary and definition list  http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/anatomy/digestive/label/

This National Geographic video is NOT for the squeamish!  It is actual footage of the digestive process filmed by a scope procedure.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QYwscALNng

A little more pleasant to watch,  an animation of how the digestive system works  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwrsL-lCZYo

There is even a digestion song!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sDMVgw9d-c

Online Digestive System Quiz  http://www.lrn.org/Content/Quizzes/Qdigestive.html

Hopefully our appetites will still exist after this science study!  We have a lot of cooking and eating to do!

I wish you happy learning this Thanksgiving!

betty jo

April Fool’s Day – Learning Resources

April-Fools-Day2April Fool’s Day isn’t the type of holiday that warrants a day off from homeschooling lessons.  However, it is one of those holidays that can be a homeschooling lesson theme.  Here’s some resources for teaching and learning on April Fool’s Day.

History –  “As April Fools’ is celebrated in different ways throughout the world, it is unknown exactly how the tradition originated. Some cultures saw it as the first day of spring, celebrating with general merriment and feasting, and certain calendars may consider it the first day of the year. One theory for the terming of an April Fool was that some refused to follow these calendars that recognized April 1st as the first day of the year, which resulted in being called an April Fool.”  And more history and information from here  http://wilstar.com/holidays/aprilfool.htm

Bible –  Study of “the fool” based on Proverbs 26  https://bible.org/seriespage/fool-proverbs-261-11

Language Arts – Worksheets and Word Game Printables  http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/april-fools-day/printables/

Science – Videos and Experiments  http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/blog/informal-science-education/celebrate-april-fools-day-with-floating-paper-airplanes-three-cup-monty-and-the-dangers-of-dihydrogen-monoxide/

Math – Magic Trick instructions using numbers – http://easycalculation.com/funny/tricks/trick1.php

Yes! I have some googly eyes in the craft box. My kids look in the fridge about 100 times a day (hoping the food selection has changed?) . This will be funny!

1522066_528375657279404_2026485770_nLast year we had some fun pranking each other.  Here’s the resources we pulled some ideas from.  I checked, and it seems the links are still good.  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/03/31/foolish-studies/

Have a fun day of foolish studies!

betty jo



Snow Week

 Ice, Snow, Wind, maybe even Blizzard Conditions!  The local public and private schools will be canceling for “snow days” but not us.   “Snow Days” make some awesome learning days! Below is a great resource collection for winter studies whether you have snow or not !
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Why it’s good for us to get outside even when it’s cold –  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2014/01/15/but-its-cold-out-there/
Winter Weather Science Lessons, Safety Tips, and Activities  http://www.weatherwizkids.com/weather-winter-storms.htm
Bring some snow inside for observation and experimentation.
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A study of snow wouldn’t be complete without some research into the life and discoveries of homeschooled farmer boy turned scientist, Snowflake Bentley.     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V1cxjcRXCw
 Bentley Biography, Photos, and exhibits

Printable Writing Paper for Notebooking/Journaling. (The kids tend to write nicer/better when we use decorated paper.  I appreciate these for not using much ink.)   http://www.teacherprintables.net/free-printable-bp-holidays.html

 Bible Focus –  Psalm 147:15-18

15 He gives a command to the earth,
    and it quickly obeys him.
16 He spreads the snow like wool.
    He scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He throws down hail like rocks.
    No one can stand the cold he sends.
18 Then he gives a command, and it melts.
    He sends the breezes, and the waters flow.

Amazing and beautiful!  Macro Photographed Snowflakes  –http://www.natureknows.org/2013/11/amazing-macro-photography-of-individual.html

Fun Snowflake Resources, Activities, Recipes
Winter Weather Themed Math  –  http://www.yummymath.com/?s=winter
Snowmen – Netflix has this award winning film. Our local library has it, too.  We loved it,  (some of the themes were  on the mature side, but my younger boys did just fine with it)  Here’s a preview    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUq8VS6aa9U
Snow Week learning can still happen without actual snow!
Paper Snowflake Patterns
 “Grow Your Own Crystal Snowflake” Kits. –  I used purple pipe cleaner sticks thinking the color would be pretty coming through the crystals.  We thought the borax crystals were fun to watch grow and turned out quite interesting!
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1800413_584443411637515_1941961007_nThis is the recipe and instructions we used for the kits.  http://creativecynchronicity.com/2011/12/crystallized-snowflakes/
Add Crystal Comparison Experiments by making Epson Salt and Sugar Solutions.  Of course you can make icicles instead of snowflakes. They fit better in smaller jars.
Snow Dough –  2 cups baking soda, 1 cup corn starch, 1 1/2 cups water. Combine all ingredients in sauce pan. Cook over medium high. Stir continuously until it’s the consistency of mashed potatoes. Move dough to bowl and cover w/a towel until cool. Knead well. Store in airtight container.
Sensory Cloud Dough –  Baking Soda and White Hair Conditioner also   Flour with Baby Oil works well – Just mix until the texture feel right to you
Put tortilla shells goes on the grocery list! These dessert snowflakes are fun to make and really yummy!
Cut round flour tortilla shells into snowflakes, lightly fry in oil then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
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Homemade Crockpot Hot Cocoa is a delicious warm up to any snow day!
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
 cup-s whole milk
2 ups heay whipping cream
2 teaspoons anilla extract
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine all ingredients in a 4-quart crockpot.  Stir well.  Cover and cook on low for 2 hours stirring occasionally. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream.    Stirring with a peppermint stick is tasty, too!
Stay warm and enjoy learning with snow!
imagesbetty jo

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics – Teaching Resources

Winter-Olympics-LogoWe aren’t particularly “sports fans” at our house, but there are some sporting events we are occasionally interested in.  The Olympics is our top sports interest.  The 2014 Winter Olympics begins Feb. 7th.    And, as it happens at my house, where’s there’s interest, there is learning potential.

I have been planning for a Winter Olympic Unit Study and been collecting a stock pile of links for our homeschooling lessons.  I have some awesome resources for teaching during the Winter Olympic Games to share with you.

The Official Olympic Website – http://www.olympic.org/sochi-2014-winter-olympics

Bible Based Olympic Discussion Guide for the Family – http://whatsinthebible.com/the-sochi-winter-olympics-2014-five-questions-to-engage-your-kids/

Olympic Themed Interactive Games for Kids – http://www.primarygames.com/socstudies/olympics/olympics.htm

Sport Event Coloring Pages –  http://www.classroomjr.com/olympic-coloring-pages/

Support Team USA with a snowflake and a photo  http://www.nbcolympics.com/sochisnowflake?aff=wwlp

Information about the 15 Sports of the Winter Games  http://www.mapsofworld.com/olympics/winter-olympics/events.html

Maps and facts of Russia –   http://www.mapsofworld.com/russia/

Meet the Team USA Atheletes –  http://www.teamusa.org/Athletes

Short videos showing how skis, skates, and curling stones are made – http://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows/how-its-made/videos/how-its-made-winter-olympics.htm

A Video Series of the Science of the Olympic Sport Events  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTVqtGTfIc8&list=PLB6B38A6C0540EEB6&feature=share&index=6

Winter Olympic article series from Time Kids – http://www.timeforkids.com/minisite/2014-sochi-olympics

Gold (Au79), Silver (Ag47), and Bronze (Copper-Cu29)  Information from this Interactive Element Chart – http://humantouchofchemistry.com/pages/periodictable.html

Gold, Silver, Bronze Element Videos  – http://www.periodicvideos.com/

Olympic Printables and Activities –  http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/winter-olympics

Teaching Resources and Printables for all grades and several subjects –   http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Browse/Search:winter+olympics/Grade-Level/Homeschooler/Price-Range/Free

Crafts and Games – http://www.makeandtakes.com/winter-olympic-crafts-and-games-for-kids

And finally, the 2014 Winter Olympics Events Schedule and TV Listings – http://www.nbcolympics.com/results-schedule

Know that I’m cheering for our homeschools to have winning Winter Olympics studies!

betty jo

Free Christmas Themed Teaching Resources

Again this week, I’m sharing some sites that I am adding to our homeschool’s Christmas themed studies link list.
  • The FREE YouVersion Bible App for kids is now available.  E downloaded it for the younger boys, but she and I had the most fun with it.  And the app includes the birth of Jesus!  https://www.bible.com/kids
  • This site has fun interatives for all subjects K-5 (and they have a “holiday” category  complete with Christmas themed math games)  http://interactivesites.weebly.com/

Happy Holiday Schooling!

betty jo



This past school year I added some character development studies to our homeschooling lessons.  These studies have proved to be a great opportunity for our family.  Homelife Ministries has wonderful family character quality guides.  E and B found much to notebook and journal about and as a family, we found much to discuss, memorize, and put into practice.  J, Z, and I made several lapbooks of the same studies from Homeschool Share.   The Homeschool Helper Online has some good ideas for character studies, too.  (Links are at the end)

I was able to include the subjects of Bible, History, Science, Music and Language Arts into each study making for simplified days with lots of time to pursue elective interests.  These charactier development lessons were a welcome break in between topics in our usual history studies.  We  completed six such studies this past year.  We will be adding more next school year.

“Pay attention! ” “Watch what you’re doing.”  “Listen.”  These are things parents say to their children on a regular basis.  I know I say these often during our homeschooling days, whether it is during math, cooking, art, or whatever.  If I would listen, I would hear the Father saying those same words to me just as often.   Attentiveness seems to be an across the board kind of character trait that both my children and myself need to further develop.  Attentiveness was good place to start with our new studies.  Though all of our character development lessons were good, this one was my favorite.  This one is also the most reviewed one.

This is J’s and Z’s attentiveness lapbook.   I covered the back with  clear contact paper so they can do the wordsearch puzzle with washable markers again and again.

 attentive 1  attentive 2

Below are the free resources I used for this and our other character development studies.  These are the links I’ll be going to again as we continue our lessons when our homeschooling starts back full time in the fall.

Hymns, Scriptures, application, examples, and science connections for copywork,  notebooking, journaling, and discussion from  http://www.characterjournal.com/  (scroll down a little bit then select the character quality from the list on the right sidebar)

Lapbooking and notebooking materials  http://www.homeschoolshare.com/character_lapbook.php

A few more ideas from  http://www.homeschoolhelperonline.com/character_studies.shtml

For other posts about character development  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/03/08/keeping-the-code/ and https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/03/10/calling-for-reinforcements/ and  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/05/10/but-he-has-a-good-heart/  and  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/06/10/1654/

betty jo

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