Friday, December 18, 2009

Boomeria--a MUST DO!

All homeschool moms--please check out the following and GO!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A possible Christmas Love project for Vintage Moms

I just wanted to let you all know about something I am doing this week, in case any of you are moved to be a part of it. For about a month I have been following a blog called Sarah's Covenant Homes that is truly inspiring, challenging, and convicting. If you have a moment to go visit, you will quickly see what I mean.

I'll give you the quick background that I have learned: this woman, Sarah, is an American Christian, married to an Indian Christian man, who has devoted her life to caring for special needs children who have been abandoned by their parents. In India, when a couple give birth to a child with birth defects or other issues, their culture often tells them that they must have angered the gods, and the child's "deformity" is their punishment. Often the mother gets the most abuse for "her role" in the "sin" that angered the gods. So parents can be quick to abandon such children, to avoid the social stigma. Even if they keep the child, they will most likely not have the resources to meet the child's medical needs.

So these children are put into state-run hospitals and institutions, where they are often completely ignored, mistreated, and malnourished.

Sarah started 2 "family style" homes for these abandoned, special needs children--which benefit abandoned or widowed women too, as these are the women hired as caregivers for the children. But just a week ago Sarah was "given" 39 new children (they previously had 44) from a state institution, and felt that God was making an opportunity that she needed to act upon immediately, before the state changed its mind. So all of a sudden, there are twice as many children, many of them little ones, with many different needs, but all of them most impoverished of love.

Sarah has been posting needs on the website, and after seeing the face (pictured above--the darling!) of one of the new orphans she has just rescued from the state institution, I pledged to send a box of clothing to help meet their needs. If any of you moms would like to contribute, I will be collecting the following things on Sunday morning and at Old School Monday:

--fleece pants and hoodies for children ages 24 mo to 6 yrs.
--tights and baby legs and leg warmers for all sizes girls
--cardigans, sweaters, fleece vests for children ages 24 mo to 6 years.
--baby sleepers for sizes 12 mo to 24 mo.

I will also be accepting spare change to help with the shipping costs.

Absolutely no one should feel obligated to help with this! But I must say, looking at the website with my girls and talking about the children and their needs was quite the educational experience, (my 4 year old crept closer and closer to me as we looked at more children--she was clearly aware of their pain and how lucky she was to have parents!) and they have really enjoyed gathering some things to send. So if any of you are looking for a meaningful way to love on "the least of these" in the name of Jesus this Christmas season, please consider these kids.

If you can, please also consider visiting the website to read about Jaron, pictured below:

Sarah's writing about him alone sums up so well the value in what she is doing there, and what it means for these kids to be given a chance at new life.

Thanks for considering this!

Old School Monday--THIS Monday, Dec. 14!

Hello Vintage Moms!

Looking at our calendar, things are getting pretty full. I don't know if you are feeling the same, but I am thinking we should have our December Old School Monday ASAP--or it might not happen!

SO! Please come this next Monday to the church from 10-1. As always, bring a snack if you or your kids will want to eat lunch. Please also bring the following:

--A Christmassy snack/treat to share!
--Jingle bells! (or any bell you have)
--a favorite Christmas story, song, or poem to share!

The plan is simple: this OSM will be part fun, part party! (kinda like last time!)

We will start with some schoolin':
--practicing our states by song, so we keep on learning those
--cut out snowflake ornaments (moms be prepared to help your kids)
--possibly "candy cane" ornaments
--fun snowflake facts
--circle time, where each child can share whatever Christmas story, song or poem they brought

And then get to the partyin':

ideas? please comment or email me!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Old School Monday--Nov. 23rd!

Hello Vintage Moms!

Thanks to everyone who came out for our little October costume party--which I now realize I never posted news about here on the site. Whoops!

Our November Old School Monday is upon us, and do we have fun planned! We are going to:
--practice memorizing our United States via song

--take a quiz on symbols of America

--play some get-em-movin' game in the gym

--circle time.
*Please prepare your child to share something about either 1) the history of Thanksgiving, and/or 2) your own family's Thanksgiving traditions. They are welcome to bring an object to show that illustrates what they want to share about.

--take a nature walk looking at trees and collecting leaves

--do a fantastic Fall craft. Check it out here.
For this craft, please bring: cardboard, sharp scissors or knife (or you can cut your cardboard at home), craft glue, a paper bag (for leaf collecting), pretty ribbon (am I forgetting anything?)

Do you have another fun idea for us to do together? Bring it!

Do you have a homeschool project you are working on or have completed that you are really proud of? Please bring it to share!

We will begin ON TIME this week, so please come, and don't worry if you are running late, but we want to make the most of our time together, so we will start our activities right away.

Monday, in the Vintage Faith gym/classroom from 10-1. Bring lunch for your kids, if you want. If you are already in the spirit of Thanksgiving, you are of course welcome to bring something to share! ; )

So please come! Please invite your homeschool/preschool friends!

*your child's participation is optional, as always--but let's encourage them to stretch their comfort zones and minds!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Loma Prieta 20 Year Anniversary

On October 17, 1989 at 5:04 pm, the Loma Prieta Earthquake shattered
Santa Cruz and the Greater Bay Area. Twenty years later, you are
invited to come together with other local residents to commemorate
this historic event, celebrate our recovery, and look to the future.

Here is a fun site to visit to see where earthquakes are happening at:

This local lesson may interest some of you, so I thought I'd share.


> 20th Anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake

> Saturday, October 17th at 4:30 pm

> Downtown Post Office and Front Street (closed to traffic)

> Cost: FREE

> Join us as we gather to acknowledge the impact of the Loma Prieta

> Earthquake on the lives of local residents, the unprecedented response

> of emergency personnel and community members, and the contributions of

> all those involved in the rebuilding of a vibrant downtown. Remarks by

> special guests, photo display, ringing of Town Clock bells at 5:04 pm.

> Sponsored by the City of Santa Cruz; free.

> Please share this information with others who might be interested.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Old School Monday Welcome Back to School Party!

Moms, please get this date on your calendars!!!!!

We are starting back up with Old School Mondays this month, and our first one will be a party! Sept. 28, 10-1 there at Vintage--we will meet in the gym and then move into a classroom for the party and our main event, the "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" displays made by YOU!

Don't get scared--this is going to be fun and as easy as you want it to be! Every family (or child) who wants to participate in the event should make a colorful display representing your summer learning and adventures. I am going all out--think posterboard and cardboard booths, like at a science fair! But you can make it much simpler if you want--anything goes!

Ideas for your display:
--postcards, souveniers from travel
--photos, photo books
--hands-on objects (things gathered at the beach this summer, a necklace won at the state fair, etc. Just make sure they are objects that can be touched by the other kids who are coming and will be interested in handling them.
--Drawings, artwork

The one things I am requiring* is that your child must write something to be included in the display.

For our family display, we are making a book about visiting the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo while in Colorado. If we are really on top of things, we will also make a scrapbook about our first roadtrip! And we will have photo displays of a wedding we were in. We will also display a pioneer journal that is in process, some postcards, some descriptions the girls wrote (or narrated to me) about what we saw and did, and some hands-on fun things to show and tell, like the rope they made at the Laura Ingalls Homestead living museum, and their prairie girl outfits.

So here is a breakdown of what our first Old School Monday will look like:
10-10:30 families meet at the gym, say hello, go set up their displays in the classroom, come back and hang out until time to start.
10:30ish welcome and introductions in the gym
then we can all head over to the classroom and look at the displays. Each child will get a turn to talk about his/her display to the group.
And then we will break out the food and party!

I am hoping that everyone brings at least one food item to share. I think, because of the carpets, that we will just have water to drink (although grown-ups are welcome to get a drink from the Abbey, which is NOW OPEN on MONDAYS! Whoo-hoo!) but let's make it a true party with food!

I also hope that everyone invites whatever homeschool families you know to participate or just show up for the party! Oh, and Ocean Grove families, please invite your ES's too!

AND I hope that during the hang-out time, we can brainstorm about other fun activities/lessons we can do in future OSMs. (See my other posting) So think about it, and come with ideas!

I will try to get there a little early to set up some tables and get some decorations up. Anyone who wants to help, or bring decorations (I am thinking easy, like balloons) please do! : )

Questions, comments, ideas--please post them to the "comments"! And PLEASE RSVP so we know how many tables to get set up! : )

I hope you all had fantastic summers, and I can't wait to see you!

*like I can really make you do anything! but this is a strong encouragement to add to the educational benefit of this fun event

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ranger Programs and 1909 at Wilder

Here are a couple school-worthy events...

For FREE all summer long at Natural Bridges State Park they run a nature program that meets weekly covering different environmental topics and some local history. See dates and list of topics below

Little Ranger program (ages 3-6yrs.) MONDAYS 10:30- 11:15AM
June 15: Life on the Natural Bridge
June 22: Life of a Tree
June 29: Tidepool Life
July 6: Animal Tracking Treasures
July 13: Critter Search
July 20: Explore for Algae
July 27: Birds Around Us
August 3: Amazing Art of Natural Bridges
August 10: Super Seeds
August 17: Secrets of Sand
August 24: Hands of Habitat Restoration

Jr. Ranger program (ages 7-12 yrs.)THURSDAYS 11AM- 12:15PM
June 18: Fire!
June 25: Hands-on Adobe: comparing Ohlone vs. Spanish style
July 2: Ohlone Games
July 9: Gardens of Times
July 16: Corn-y Activities
July 23: Basket Making
July 30 Gourd Craft
Aug. 6 Roundup: Vaqueros' art of roping
Aug. 13 Papel and Pinatas

“Independence Day 1909 Celebration” at
Wilder Ranch State Park
Saturday, July 4, 2009
11:00 AM-4:00 PM

Travel back in time at Wilder Ranch State Park on Wednesday, July 4, to experience an old-fashioned Independence Day Celebration 1909 style with patriotic exercises, a parade, music, and games. Festivities run from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

At 11:45 meet at the apple orchard in front of the Highway 1 tunnel and join in the parade. Bring a musical instrument or noisemaker, dress in 1909 costume, or pull a decorated wagon. Suffragettes are sure to be there. Parade walks through the complex to front lawn for flag raising, speeches, and patriotic music. After the parade, watch the flag being raised, and listen to the Declaration of Independence, patriotic music and speeches.

Try the cake walk, historic lawn games, draft horse wagon rides, ice cream cranking, crafts to make, and listen to live 1909 music. There is food and drink for sale; strawberry shortcake, dill pickles, watermelon, root beer and hand squeezed lemon aide, or bring your own picnic to spread out on the lawn. Bratwurst USA will be selling BBQ chicken dinners and other cuisine at family prices. Lily’s Roasted Corn and baked potatoes also available. Bank will exchange your 2009 dollars into 1909 tokens, good for most things except concessionaire food and wagon rides.

Wilder Ranch docents will be demonstrating 1909 dairy-ranch work, including woodstove baking, blacksmithing, and vegetable gardening. Walk through the newly renovated historic Meder Ranch house and visit the Ranch animals. Musicians include the Society Orchestra, and our own home grown “5 Ms Band” performing popular 1909 songs.

Wilder Ranch State Park is located 2 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1. The event is free; parking is $8.00 per car. For more event information, call (831) 426-0505.

Co-sponsored by California State Parks and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

$1 Movie Mornings

Here is some cheap fun for the summer. Sorry if this is not in line with "homeschooling." I just figured we all are looking for things to fill the summer with on a budget. Check out the $1 movies over the hill every Wednesday morning at 10am...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Vintage Music!

I just heard about this very cool website:

As their homepage reads:

Kiddie Records Weekly began in 2005 as a one year project devoted to the golden age of children's records. This period spanned from the mid forties through the early fifties and produced a wealth of all-time classics. Many of these recordings were extravagant Hollywood productions on major record labels and featured big time celebrities and composers.

Over the years, these forgotten treasures slipped off the radar and it became our mission to give them a new lease on life by sharing them with today's generation of online listeners. Each week throughout the year we'll add a new recording. We took a break in 2008, returning in 2009 for one final year.

So whether you are hearing these records for the first time or reuniting with a childhood favorite from long ago, we hope you take great pleasure in your trip down memory lane!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Vacation Bible School with Bella

From Julie Cahill, to me to you!

Hey Lisa,

I signed Bella up for two weeks of Bible camp in June. Week one at High St. Community and week two at Santa Cruz Bible Church.

I was wondering if you could post on the blog the details to both as she would love to have girlfriends join her!! They have scholarships available for both church camps too, so don't let money discourage anyone. Here are the details:
High Street Community Church (Can reg by mail- see attachment)June 15th- 19th9am-12:15pmCost: $50
Santa Cruz Bible Church (Can reg online)June 22nd- 26th8:30am- 12:30pmCost: $40

Julie Cahill

(I did not know how to put the attachment up here, but anyone interested can email Julie or me!)

Book Fair!

Next year we are going to ALL have books to show at the fair. It was so fun and cool! I took lots of pics to inspire me and maybe you too--so here are some of the pics and brief explanations to get your creative book-making juices flowing.

Cute idea for a recycling project!

Aged pages and a real wax seal on this historical "diary"

These were ADORABLE! corrugated carbdoard paper painted with what looked like watercolor in strips, bound with just chunky yarn--so easy but so cute!

how cute is that????!!!!

A book in which the writer imagines she is on the Oregon Trail, and is keeping a diary of the journey. I am going to do this, maybe even on the road trip!

Canoe books!

A boy with the "bee" book he made--you can see on the table there are lots of different animal covers, made from paper plates! The pages inside are round. Very cute, although I learned from talking with the boy that his teacher did most of the work--can you imagine essentially making these books for 20 kids? Sheesh! I also got the feeling from talking to the teacher that he is somewhat new to this. ; ) But these would be fantastic for us to make at OSM sometime!

Fold-out reports on bats that can be hung on the wall, or folded up accordian style and take up only as much room as a stack of index cards!

One class had the theme of "science camp" for their books, so all the covers were made of different 3 dimensional nature materials, like this cover of sticks!

Eric Carle style artwork! The students painted the papers and then they cut them out and used them for books. We are SO going to do this at an Old School Monday sometime!

Book about the moon with painted "moon" cover and moon haiku! can't you see this for all the planets?!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Start Thinking of the End of Summer

I thought that title would get your attention!

This is just an idea I had: let's at the very first Old School Monday come September have a special day of "What I Did During Summer Vacation"! This means as you are planning your summer adventures, also in the back of your mind think about how you might want your homeschool kid to document it and then package it to share with the rest of us! It could be a scrapbook, it could be a journal, it could be a photo book, it could be a play acted out, or a diorama, or, or, or--you get the idea. But if you all like the idea, we can take parts of our summer adventures and make them into a book, with a "real" binding during our OSM get-togethers! (this would be a semi-serious project that would take more than one meeting and parental support at home) But it could be so cool!

So this was just a heads-up for the summer. I can't wait for our adventures!

Community Supported Agriculture Share--Anyone?

Ok, so this is a strange posting for this blog, but it seemed like a good way to get the idea out to moms who might be interested:

since we are going to be gone for the whole month of June, I would like to see if any of you would like to have my share of my CSA box I split with my friend Lisa every week (mother of twin 5 year old girls--came to G's princess party and the Old School Valentine's party). All local farms, all organic, mostly veggies and greens and herbs, some fruit (usually strawberries every week when in season). You could pick up the share after the morning Vintage gathering, since Lisa lives just down a couple of blocks. (The CSA drop off is actually on Thursday, but Lisa is flexible) If you have ever wanted to try CSA, now is a great chance! My share is $10 a week, but I would offer it to one of you for $8, just because it would be so great to know Lisa will not be overwhelmed by veggies while we are gone. : )

If any of you are interested, please just email me! Thanks!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Host Moms Needed--Next Old School Mondays!

Ok, ladies--you have seen how fun and easy it is to come up with a few learning-based activities for the kids to do on a Monday morning. Do any of you feel up to hosting (or helping host) the next TWO Old School Mondays?

The May gathering we decided should be on the 18th, since the 4th Monday will be Memorial Day. BUT Meredith's kindergarten class is having the big Science Day--a nightmare of poorly supervised art and science stations, usually at least one involving water and one involving unwashable paint. Sounds like fun! ; ) Actually, it is a lot of fun. . . for the kids. . . and I am glad her teacher goes all out once a year and makes such a fun learning event. But it is heavily parent dependent, and she has asked that I be there. I honestly do not even want to go, because it drains me just thinking about it. But I was hoping to keep that option open, SO! Anyone want to step up and assume command of the Old School Monday that day, so I can decide at the last minute about attending M's Science Day?

I would even be perfectly happy to come up with the activities, so you don't have to plan anything. : ) And it would be ideal if two mommies would step up, so you could share the morning's activities and not feel like it is that big of a deal.

We would probably come ourselves after school is over, but that would be around 11:45-12:00.

Then we are off to Illinois for our homeschool road-trip extravaganza! (I keep thinking of the MTV summer music road trip show from the late 80's they called "Amuck in America!") So the June OSM would happen on the 22nd--but I don't think we will be coming back until the following week. There has been a lot of interest from non-believer homeschool families I know to bring their children to our event after school is out, AND I feel like we are just now getting going, so I hate to cancel for the month. BUT since I won't be here, it is out of my hands. If you all want us to meet this June, then you can make it happen! Again, I suggest you get two mommies to share the hosting, so that it is fairly easy.

I have found, surprisingly, that these events are not at all stressful for me and don't require much brainwork or preparation. I am not out to impress anyone, I am just doing what seems logical and fun, and anyone who has better ideas is always encouraged to jump in with them! So that is the same attitude I hope any other moms would feel, and make it casual and relaxed and fun for everyone, including the hosting moms. : )

So PLEASE post comments here or talk to me about how we can keep these going without me the next two months!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Come! Come! Come!

(did that get your attention?)

OK friends, the next Old School Monday is upon us!

Next Monday, April 27. 10 am in the Vintage Gym.

Things I have in mind (not in order):
--teaching your kids the consonant song
--new monthly activity called "word play"--this time, Verb charades!
--jump the snake get-em-movin'game
--Pt. 2 of our animal classification series--PLEASE BRING 2-3 little animal toys per child so we can have fun classifying them all. Moms, you might want to encourage different types of animals so we get to classify something from each category. Pictures of animals from magazines are fine too! *Big kids can bring fantasy creatures and have fun explaining to the younger kids how they would classify those!
--circle time--kids can bring a picture or tell about 1) either their favorite animal, or 2) if they were an animal, what would they be?
--please bring any completed projects you would like to share with the group!
--and I will try to remember my spelling book this time so we can give the Spell-down another run if we have time!

Don't forget lunch for your family and one canned good to share with those in need! (And see our previous postings for other general info about these gatherings) And invite your friends!

Tina, do your boys want to come with a game in mind to teach the other kids? Anyone else want to add something to the fun for the day? Please post comments at will!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book Reviews from the McNabbs

Hey friends! I have been wanting to share a bunch of the books we have been reading for our Kindergarten Curriculum - all Read Alouds (books we read aloud together) for ages 5 and up. I am sure you could find them at the library!! Also, I would love to hear other recommendations you might have for great quality books too! My mom might come for a visit in September, so I can might begin looking now!!

My Father's Dragon - by Ruth Stiles Gannet (Newberry Honor Book)
An adventurous fantasy of Elmer Elevator and the wild island of Tangerina. We loved this story: such beautiful imagination and unpredictability for a young listener. Elmer packs some very unusual things in his backpack for the trip....which keeps you guessing how he will rescue the baby dragon! Our girls were very attentive for this sweet tale. I think there are 2 others that follow in the series, which I would love to check out. I also loved taking my time reading one chapter a day, and asking questions after each chapter to help them with comprehension.

The Boxcar Children - by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Four little kids make their home in an abandoned boxcar after they are orphaned, without knowing they have a grandfather nearby. Very easy vocabulary and with just enough suspense & mystery for youngsters. I love the simple interaction, the sense of wonder, the sweet character of the children and the outcomes of the stories. The girls now pretend to be the characters almost daily, which is wonderful for their imaginative play and manners too. I also love how the characters are so resourceful, independent, responsible, positive and grateful for everything. We have liked these books so much, that we have already read the first 4 in the series of 19. I am hoping that Asia will begin reading these on her own soon.

The Apple and the Arrow - by Mary & Conrad Buff (Newberry Honor Book)
Historical fiction - recounting the legend of William Tell of Switzerland. Told from the perspective of his son, 12-year-old Walter (who gets the apple shot off his head) during the time of revolt against the tyrannical leaders during that time (1291). This story was pretty intense with mature themes and kept us on the edge of our seats. There were parts that were somewhat violent (with some name-calling), action-packed & yet Asia was into the adventure. We actually learned a bunch too! Great themes of freedom, independence, faith and responsibility. We had great talks about standing up for what is right, non-violence, righteousness and courage. It gave us an opportunity to teach her some discernment.

I have a bunch more...but I will write again later. Hope you can find one of these treasures to enjoy soon!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

tidbit--cool placemats

hi moms--

i just wanted to tell you that at OSH in the home section, they have really cool placemats perfect for homeschooling and lunch! solar system, world map, united states (the map ones also label everything in both English and Spanish, so that doubles the learning value!) and the presidents (through GWB). They are really smooth, so function well as art placemats, but if they are on the table while the kids eat, they really enjoy looking at them! Bronwyn esp. likes the one of the Presidents.

And they only cost $1.49 each!

Friday, March 20, 2009

hi girls!

Hi friends, fellow moms & teachers of the next generation. I miss you all! I hope you are all doing GREAT, and continuing to be inspired and energized by one another. Are you still going to the park for connection times, and exercise for the littles? I truly miss the mommy-connections, and I think of you all often!

The Old School days sound so amazing - I hope you have enough help & creativity to share the load. You gals are pouring your very lives into those sweet kiddos - and its so worth it! We have gotten into a great routine over here too, using our mornings to learn - and afternoons to play & create. Of course, I have many other things sprinkled in throughout my day, but this schedule seems to work well for now. I love that homeschooling is so flexible, since our lives tend to be quite unpredictable. I was wondering if any of you adhere to a "schedule" - or a fixed routine of subjects, time table of the day, or anything like that. If so - I would love to take a gander. I wonder if I am missing anything....or oblivious to a topic that might be helpful. Asia will be 6 this June, and Eden will be 4 soon too. Anyhow....please share your knowledge and expertise with me!

Also, please let me know if your kids might want to be pen-pals with our girls here. We'd love to correspond with you anytime. Hugs, Ali

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Opening up Old School Mondays

Hello Vintage Moms,

Please read the last TWO postings I did that are important to the upcoming Old School Monday.

Then, I would very much like to hear your opinion: I was talking with my friend Alberta, who is the mom who got us to homeschool in the first place, and she commented on how much she enjoyed the Valentine's Day party we had and how the gathering of moms and kids felt like a good fit for their family, but the kids are mostly younger than hers (3rd and 5th grade) and that limits how much they will be involved. I am sure Tina would have the same thoughts, since her boys are older. How would you all feel about me advertising Old School Mondays in the Coast and Valley email newletter, to get more families involved and broaden our age range?

I would value your feedback.



Monday, March 9, 2009

Author's Fair!

I am proposing now that we as a group host a table at the Student Author's Fair on May 2nd at the Capitola Mall, representing Ocean Grove. It would be a chance for our kids to show their work to others (they can even read their books to those who stop by and are interested), which is great incentive for you and them to do a fun writing/art project. My ES, Terry, said that OG cannot yet do a table because they do not have anyone to host it. I said I would suggest it to you all--we have the bodies and it would be so much fun! So here is Terry's response, in an email:

Hi Lisa,

The Santa Cruz County Reading Association and the County Office of Ed. co-sponsor a Student Author's Fair each year. Schools can request a table and students can enter and display books they have written and created. If OG is registered, we will need students to participate and volunteers to set up and staff the table. I have a family that has participated through another school, and they want to continue. Here are links to explain the program.

Thanks for helping promote this,


We probably need to decide soon, to get the official gears in motion. So think about it, check your calendars, and let's talk when we get together at OSM. (Or you can post a comment here!)

Next Old School Monday!

Ok, Vintage Moms, I want you all to get the date for the next OSM written down on your calendars: March 23, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. See the previous postings for the info! But I thought I would tell you in advance what we will be doing, so you can prepare (or not, as you choose).

We will start out the morning with our first spelldown, so if you are currently working on a list of words with your child, then bring it! That way each child will definitely have words that are appropriate for him/her. If you do not bring a list of words, that is fine too--I will have my "Eclectic Speller" that will give a really wide range, so we can find words for everyone. Each mom who brings a list, be prepared to test your own child when it is his/her turn, and that will keep the game running smoothly. For the moms of little ones, if you have them, bring alphabet flash cards so your child can read a letter of the alphabet for his/her turn. If we have a lot of kids, we will break up into two different groups: readers and ABCers. If there are not many of us, then we will just line up and do it all together! I think the kids are really going to enjoy this.

Then we will either do the get-em movin' game next or do circle time, depending on how antsy the kids are. Any mom want to volunteer to host the game? I was thinking of kick the can, for which I have instructions too (and a can!), but any other organized game would be fine too.

For circle time, please bring a project or some school accomplishment to share, or something your child wants to recite--or you and your child can just come and model good listening. : ) Gwynneth and I will be bringing our completed Preamble Book to show. And that will lead into our project for the day: making a book!

If you have made books already and want to bring them to show and inspire us, please do! (Tina?) If you want, you can start work on a book now and bring it for your student to work on during our OSM project time. If you don't want to start something ahead of time, then I will have a fun and easy book project we can start all together and then you can finish up at home. If you want to participate in this craft, please bring:
--some stickers that have characters (cars, people, animals, shells, etc), and
--$1 per child for the other materials.
--and don't forget your Monday box! (supplies--see previous posting)

Then we will have lunch/running around with balls and noodles time, so the kids can play and moms can chat.

The, if we still have time, we will have a little lesson about something academic and approachable for a range of ages, which I will prepare--but I would prefer we have plenty of time to do the book project, so that will get top priority.

I recommend that you bring a blanket you don't mind eating on, so we can keep the food mess down to a minimum (they can be shaken outside) and we will keep the food on one side of the gym. You can also use the blanket for you and your child to sit on during circle time, since the floor can be pretty cold and dirty!

Anyone have questions, thoughts, suggestions? Post them here! And please invite your homeschooling friends to these events!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Old School Monday--Monday!

Ok, Ladies, it is time to get on this blog and give some feedback! Our first Vintage homeschool gathering on the 13th was great--at least I thought it went well, and people seemed to enjoy themselves. So! Who is up for another gathering this Monday, which is when we are to start our Old School Mondays? I would like to know how many kids I should plan for, since I have a fun counting craft in mind that I might need to pick up some more stuff for. So, if you know you are coming, would you please post a comment or email me? Thanks!

Please see the older post for the details of time, place, etc.

NEW DETAIL: If you plan on joining us for these school times, please put together a "Monday Box" for your child. (Siblings can share, but you will of course want to modify the amounts of things in your box accordingly) Your Monday Box should have the following:
--glue stick (preferrably NOT bottled glue, just to keep down the potential mess in the gym)
--2 pencils and sharpener (or you make sure they are sharp)
--ruler would be great
--tablet of plain white paper
--some basic colors (marker, colored pencil, crayon, you choose--at least the primaries and black)

Anyone think of anything else we should have every week to be ready for a multitude of activites? A shoebox or one of those clear zippered binder organizers would work--just so that when we get together all the kids are ready to participate in what we do. Does this sound good?

Also, I have a question about how we want to get the word out about these homeschool events. We have quite a few moms who might want to attend who are not linked to this blog--do we keep this blog's postings semi-private for just us, or do we give out the blog address to other interested moms so they can know what will be happening? Might be an encouragement and blessing to the greater Vintage/Santa Cruz communities, but this is not my blog, so you all (Ali!) let me know your vision for this space and let me know what you think is best (and offer ideas). Thanks!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Update on Vintage Homeschool Days

Hello ladies,

After spending $80 yesterday on supplies for projects we are doing this week (did not have enough notice on some of them to get Ocean Grove to pay for them--bummer!), it occurred to me that when we get together to do crafts on Old School Mondays, we should all be prepared to chip in and help the hosting mom with the cost of whatever craft stuff she brought. So, I thought one dollar per child participating each time we do a craft. Does that sound fair? This would be strictly voluntary--not like, where is your dollar or your child cannot participate--but a way to help keep this going without a financial burden on whichever mom is hosting. Sound good? So if at all possible, please bring $1 for each kid who wants to make a Valentine's mailbox on Friday. Thank you!

Also, I wanted to suggest a donation for each Musical Monday Morning: one canned good per family. We will thus be benefitting a local charity when we get together for school!

Let me know what you all think about this.

Hey, and I hope you are all inviting people to join us Fri! : )

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Please bring your Box Tops for Education!

Hello moms,

Meredith's school is collecting Box Tops for Education symbols, and the classroom that collects the most will earn a pizza party. Would you please look around your house and save any of those symbols you see, cut them off, and bring them to the Valentine's Day party? Thanks!

We usually find them on Chex cereals, Cheerios, Kleenex boxes, and Huggies diaper boxes. Please ask your friends to collect them too! Even if you don't give them to us, each symbol is worth 10 cents to a school, so please encourage those you know to collect them and pass them on to friends with kids, to donate to a school. : )

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Please Mark Your Calendars

(for some odd reason I found myself saying the title, as I typed, as if I were that famous wrestling announcer saying "Now, let's get ready to rumble!" Is this a Freudian thing representing the choreographed bloody mayhem I expect to ensue when we get all our kids together in the church gym? Yikes!)

Please get on your calendars for every month between now and May the bi-monthly Vintage Homeschool Gym Morning! (Still need catchier names for these events--anyone?)

Second Monday morning of every month, from 10-11: Monday Morning Music!
--each time we will do different activities having to do with music, rhythm, dance, etc. I do not expect we will take more than an hour, but the gym will be reserved until 1:00 if any moms want to hang out and let the kids play afterwards.

Fourth Monday morning of every month, from 10-1: Old School Mondays!
--spelling bee
--snack/lunch time
--get-em-movin' game
--group sharing
(not in that order)

Huzzah! I will get this rolling, but will greatly appreciate any moms who want to come forth and take over even just one aspect of one month's gathering. For example, maybe you are studying snakes with your kids at home, and find a great, no-fuss snake project that you think would be great for a range of kids to do--you can volunteer to host the mini-lesson/craft for one morning. Or maybe you know how to play an instrument and would like to lead a sing-along for the kids on a music Monday morning--great! I am particularly hoping some moms feel like hosting the get-em-movin' game some mornings, since I can come up with great ideas, but after leading the whole morning, will probably not have the energy to lead. I will do so, though! Just letting you all know in advance the areas where I will be weakest and where your involvement will be most appreciated. Oh, and sweeping the floor after we are done would be something else we could share doing. It is all up for grabs, and the more moms who host the more fun for everyone!

Ok, let's see what else you need to know for Old School Mondays:
--Bring lunch/snack for your own child.
--Have your kids wear comfy clothes and shoes they can run in
--Please be present with your child the entire time, unless you make specific arrangements with one of the moms present to be responsible for your child for you. And please be prepared to help your child with the activities throughout the day, esp. the craft--the volunteer moms will not be able to help everyone!
--The hosting mom (most likely me) is not a teacher, per se, and will NOT be disciplining your children, so please intervene if your child is not all that interested in what we are doing and is distracting others
--We will all do the activities together at the same time. So if Johnny does not want to participate in one part, that is fine, but he should be sitting quietly with his mommy and not running around.
--Please bring friends! (As long as you will be responsible for the extra kids you bring, or bring their mommy too)
--Come when you want, leave when you want--we will have fun with whomever shows up. : )
--Our lessons, recitations, etc. may have Christian content! Esp. feel free to use the recitation time for your child to share a Bible verse he/she has learned.
(Any more guidelines we should have? Please suggest them in the comments!)

Pretty much the same guidelines for Monday Morning Music (Morning Music Mondays?), esp. those about moms being present, about keeping your own child involved and not distracting others, and about Christian content. I can't wait to teach your kids our ABC version that spells out the Gospel! : )

SO, our first Old School Monday will be Feb. 23. Our first MMM will NOT be this month--we will start this whole adventure off with the Valentine's party on the 13th, so see the previous posting for that. Our first MMM will be Mar 23.

So excited! Please give me comments so I know you read this post!

1st Vintage Homeschool Gym Day Feb 13!

Ok Ladies, mark your calendars! I am on the ball and making this happen! (Typing cannot convey the wonderment in my voice--this must be something God wants to happen, since I cannot even get my kitchen counter cleaned off this winter, yet somehow I am all energetic about this homeschool ministry at church!)

We will kick off the Spring semester with a Valentine's Party! For this first event, we will meet from 9-11 in the Vintage gym. To fully particpate in the party, please prepare in advance by having your child(ren) make valentines to share with the other kids. I don't know how many kids will be there--maybe we can all RSVP in the comments to this post, and say if we are inviting other families/kids too? I hope to invite some friends! And then if you could also bring some Valentine's ish snack that would be great too. (I am hoping we get more creative than cookies and candy, but if we are not, the kids have plenty of room to run and scream off all the sugar)

We will be making and decorating mailboxes for "delivery" of the valentines we bring (do you remember doing this in elementary school as a kid?!) so please bring a clean shoebox for the mailbox.

Any other special ideas you would like to incorporate into our party? Let us know in the comments!

More Vintage Homeschool events news to follow in a later post. . . now have to get my kindergartener over to her "real" school. ; )

I am so excited, ladies! So sorry you will not be able to join us, Ali. : ( But we will be thinking of you that day!

Artist Trading Card Swap

One of my friends just told me about this nifty idea -- called an Artist Trading Card Swap. Here is the link to the actual post about it. Asia is going to participate if we can find the paper we need to make each card. Swapping art with others around the country/world?!! This is a great opportunity and a neat art bonus!! The only requirement is the children be 4 years old!! ...oh and here are some instructions, etc. You have until Friday (Feb 6th) to sign up! Come join us!! Love Ali & Asia

Monday, January 19, 2009

a late start....but FUN!!

Hi girls -- we are back home in China, and getting more settled into a routine here. I wanted to let you all know that we started "school" today (Monday, January 19th!! 2009)! I guess its not a typical year for us, but Asia was excited!! Our curriculum was easy to follow - but we didn't get thru all the material for our first day. What I wanted to share tho were some neat tidbits that you might be able to incorporate into your lives too - if you think they might apply.

1. We made a HUGE timeline that spans one wall in our "classroom" with strips of orange paper. We measured out the years (in 500 year chunks) from 4100BC all the way to 2000AD. Many of the books on our reading list this year include stories from people/heroes throughout history - and this was their idea to give the kids a larger perspective/scope to their understanding of how it all fit together. I really like this idea, and I am excited to add to it... also our curriculum comes with 3 pages of printed stickers of each character/hero - but this would be easy to create on your own depending on who you want to add to your timeline. Let me know if you want a list of ours.

2. We put a large Map of the World along the wall - its a blank map that you can write on with erasable markers. On one side is the world, and on the other side is the United States. I love this map!! Here's a LINK where you can find one if you want. We added colored dots for different things: green for places our heroes are from, red for our family, blue for friends. I think this will help them get an idea of how big the world really is - and see how people come from all over to shape our history & world around us. Asia ends up having lots of neat questions too. I think this goes great with "global laundry" too!!

3. We also started a Writing Journal today. Its a blank spiral notebook without any lines/etc. I hope to have Asia write a sentence in it 3 times a week - whatever she wants to write about. She can draw a picture too if she wants. The main purpose is for her to sound out the words on her own - not to spell perfectly. My mother-in-law gave us this idea - and so far Asia really likes it. I help her figure out how many words are in her sentence, and make a line for each word she wants to write. Then I let her go for it! Maybe I can post a picture later so you get a better idea. I think I will also see improvements as the year goes on!

Anyhow, those were just a few things from today that were really fun!! Our classroom looks more learning-friendly after today, and I am excited to add to it as we learn more this year.

Some neat Read-Aloud books we have loved:
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley
I am sure you could find them at the library too!

love you girls!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lisa Proposes. . . a Monthly Vintage School Day!

Okay, moms, here is the idea:

Once a month, preferrably at the end, we gather at Vintage in the gym (or classrooms, if we get the green light) for learning, games, stress management and structured educational mayhem! The idea I have is based upon the old time one-room schoolhouse model, so all ages of kids could participate. Here is what it might look like:

--a planned theme for that day, with appropriate activities, say a book/mini-lesson and hands-on activity/craft. Moms can take turns volunteering with this, but it is my idea so I will be glad to do it if no one else does. : )
BENEFIT: you can check off school for that day if you want! Group learning! Your child learning to respond to teachers other than yourself!

--circle/sharing time, where each child (and mom) can share with the group one thing he/she has completed or learned that month.
BENEFIT: built-in incentive (for both mom and kids) to buckle down and finish that project that is getting dragged out a little too long. Kids get to share their accomplishments. Moms get to be inspired by other moms and encouraged by each small success.

--an old-fashioned spelling bee! we all work from the same spelling list and when we gather had a spelling showdown, where the kids all line up and we start with the easy words and everyone gets three misses before they have to sit down.
BENEFIT: spelling is worked into the month, kids are excited to practice words knowing they will need to know them to do well in the game

--recitations! each child shares something from memory or reading--a scripture verse, a poem, a short story he/she wrote.
BENEFIT: practice speaking in front of a supportive group, memory skills, helping your child know by heart something you decide belongs there. ; )

--at least one planned game (I would love it if moms took turns planning and leading this one--not my strength, although I have lots of ideas)
BENEFIT: P.E.! learning group dynamics, following rules, improve gross motor/coordination, good for the body and spirit!

And we would structure this so that the sitting and speaking and activities are nicely balanced. And of course there should be some unstructured playtime in there too! Maybe combined with a snack time while moms chat?

ANY homeschooling family would be welcome! (chance to share the love with the greater Santa Cruz area homeschoolers) No child would be forced to participate in any of the activities--or, shall we say, such forcing would be up to the teacher mom of that particular child. BUT we would expect everyone to come ready to participate in the overall spirit of the gathering, so the other kids are not distracted from their learning experience.

I am imagining the whole thing would take at least 3 hours--more with snack and free play, probably. We could structure the morning too so that moms could know what they would miss if they came late, or left early, and plan accordingly if they could not/did not want to be there the whole time. (3 hours seems long, but it will fly by!)

I spoke with Lee Purkey and we have his blessing. So now, please post your feedback here as to what YOU think of the idea. Since at this point it is my idea, I will take full ownership of it and will gladly get it all going--in Feb if at least a few of you are interested. But if anyone has ideas for tweaking the gathering, please do let me know. I do suggest that if anyone wants to make changes to the overall plan, then she should be willing to implement them. Sound fair? : ) I know not everyone will get excited about the things that excite me! But at least this plan is a start!

And somebody please help me with a name for the gathering!

Becky and I had talked about having an "old-school" Valentine's Day party, so we could have our first one that day next month, and then have the next one at the end of March. (It does not have to be at the end of the month, but that works really well for the way my brain works, esp. if trying to finish projects for sharing time)

I look forward to hearing what you think!


i will survive

just a little humor and encouragement from other homeschool moms. : )

The song repeats itself, so you only need to listen to the first half to get a good chuckle for the day!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Global Laundry

Hi Everybody!
I hope you are all doing well as we plunge into the new year. If you are like us, sometimes you think you are getting the hang of this homeschooling thing and other days you feel like everybody else MUST be doing much better than you are. We definitely have our share of ups and downs, but I think that's normal. Anyway, I am offering you the fruit of one of our good days from sometime before Christmas. If I've already gone on and on about this with you, please ignore the following. It was one of those wonderful things that just "happened" and took on a life of its own! We've "played" it twice now, with Katie and Claire leading the way both times. Here's how it goes:

1. Wait til' you've got a load of laundry to fold AND it's time to do school. Don't panic! You can do both at once! Start with a colorful children's atlas on hand if you have one, or a globe.

2. As you sort the laundry, have your little helper(s) find the tag and read where each item was made.

3. Together, locate each country you discover in the atlas or on the globe.

4. Make a stack for each country, labeled with a sticky note. If you have a little bit of room, lay out the stacks according to their general geographic location (Honduras is down there by the coffee table, China over by the television, etc.)

(You could just stop here and have done a great geography lesson... but here are some things we did that further incorporated social studies, writing practice, math, map reading, and responsible shopping).

5. We tallied up the final count for each country represented, and made a graph (math skill!) with a sticker representing each item of laundry. This makes a great visual of each country's representation in your load of clothes and towels. (Pakistan came out ahead in our first round).

6. I shared with Katie and Claire some parts of a magazine article i had just been reading on fair labor practices and responsible buying (Relevant Magazine 10/08). I can't find it online or I would share it with you. But you don't need an article to discuss the basic idea with your kids.

7. We then chose one company/location to investigate online, which was Fruit of the Loom in Honduras. (This is where they make the girls' My Little Pony underwear and Daddy’s T shirts ). We found out that they’ve closed the factory in Honduras because workers wanted to form a union, and now the entire community is suffering because of the loss of jobs.

8. I printed out an unlabeled map of the Eastern Hemisphere and one of the Americas, one for each daughter. The girls each made legends for their maps, designating a color for each country, and then filled in each country represented in our laundry. It's so educational (for me too!) to figure out which country is which. Could you find Cambodia on an unlabeled map? I couldn't either. Now I can! (Ali, you don't count!)

9. We have agreed that the next time we play Global Laundry, we will find a recipe and cook the "winning" country's cuisine for dinner :) There would probably be a zillion ways to become better aquainted with the people and places that produce your family's clothes -- and build an understanding of how interconnected our world really is. We have a great book by DK called Children Just Like Me about kids around the world that really fascinates Katie and Claire, and this is a great investigative tool!

Save the maps, charts and sticky notes, and put them in a Global Laundry folder. Next time, see how many more countries you can color in. Make a new chart and compare it to the last one(s). It really is amazing to see how many different nationalities have a hand in making the things we wear and use ... and disconcerting to wonder how many of them are underpaid or under-aged.

Anyway, I encourage you to try some form of Global Laundry . . . and the best part is, it evolved on a day when I was feeling so discouraged and disorganized and dis-everything, and it felt like God just wanted to give us a boost. I love those occasional days when school feels natural and easy and full of curiosity... and the laundry gets done at the same time!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Our favorite project thus far

I thought you all might like to hear about a project we are doing (almost done) that has been the absolute best experience. We have been studying Colonial America and the founding of our nation, and part of that was memorizing the Preamble to the Constitution (thank you, Schoolhouse Rock). But the Preamble is full of all kinds of lofty ideals and big (and outdated) words, so what does it really mean? We decided to break down the Preamble into short phrases; for example, "We the people" and "in order to form a more perfect union" and "establish justice" and "ensure tranquility," etc. Then we talk about what each phrase means, G looks up words in the dictionary (very useful skill!), she writes down the phrase on lined paper to practice her printing, then when that is correct she transfers it onto an unlined drawing page, and then we brainstorm what the concepts embodied in the phrase might look like in modern day, esp. in our home, and then she draws a picture to illustrate the phrase. So for "Promote the general welfare" she drew her mommy making dinner while her children happily learned and played. (the nicest compliment I could have received) So the illustrations each child comes up with will be unique, because he/she will have his/her own understanding of the concepts. In fact, we might revisit this idea later in life, when we study the Constitution in jr.high, for example, and they will do this same project again, with new ideas and greater understanding.

G is almost done, having colored the pages and is today working on the cover of our Preamble Book. I hope to laminate the pages so we can put the finished product on our bookshelves for years to come. : )

Next I want to try this same idea with a Psalm, probably the 23rd or maybe the 1st. Doing this project involves to many positive learning skills, but the best is feeling like they really understand what it all means.

Why We Homeschool, the Craddocks

Ok, this is my first try at a blog post, so we shall see if this ends up in the right place.

Gwynneth went into kindergarten at our local elem. school when she was young--not yet 5 when the fall semester started. And while we really liked her teacher (and in fact insisted that Meredith have her this year for kindergarten), the whole experience seemed lacking, and had some weird negativities:
--G has always been behind the curve with her fine and gross motor skills, so during one of the parent-teacher conferences, it came out that G was being sent out with a mainstreamed special-needs child for special gross-motor practice. This would not have been a big deal except they did it without talking to us first. Nothing like finding out after the fact that your child has been labeled "special needs."
--the summer after kindergarten, G once mentioned a time at school when the other kids were working on computers and she was watching. I asked if this was because there were not enough computers and so they were taking turns. She said, no, her teacher said she was too little. What the . . . ?! If she is old enough to be in kindergarten to begin with, then she should be helped and encouraged to do all the things the other kids are doing. I never got to ask about that one, since she told me way after school was over. Who knows, maybe there was a very innocent explanation--but even if she misunderstood the teacher and there was a different reason, she THOUGHT that was what happened, and that in itself matters. Let's send our young children messages that they are not good enough or as capable as the other kids! That's the way to get them excited about learning.
--and then just hanging out on the playground sometimes and listening to the older kids at play really made me pine for the innocence I knew my girls would lose so quickly in the public school environment. We do shelter them from some things, but also expose them to other things--we are not trying to blind them from the world, but actually give them a REAL perspective on the world. The words and ideas of the culture are not necessarily real, and there is so much bad stuff out there, how can we parent our kids well without addressing it? I do NOT think you have to homeschool to protect your kids, and also believe good, Christian kids are needed in the public schools to be "salt and light." But I think those kids will need a really strong home foundation of faith, and honestly, I don't think we are providing that yet. I am myself too weak and still learning so much spiritually and make too many mistakes--I do not trust myself to parent well enough to overcome the negative influences of the world they will get through public school.

SO, those are just a couple of reasons behind our choice. I think we can help our children grow and bloom as whole people better than the public school. I think our kids are smarter than the current system and deserve the opportunity to stretch as far as they can go. I remember being in public school my whole life and remember the good and the bad, and there was enough bad to inspire me to try something different with my kids. We are not planning on homeschooling through high school, but hopefully until middle school. High school can offer so many amazing chances for kids, through the sports and activities, etc.--I loved being so involved in h.s. and really found myself as a person through its challenges, so don't want to deny that to the kids. But this is all an organic, evolving thing, and we may change our minds at any time!

I am so glad to be doing this in such a homeschool supportive area, with such great resources, and with lots of wonderful moms to share it with!

Monday, January 5, 2009

how we start our day - Circle Time!

I wanted to share a few ideas that we do to jump-start our week/day on the right foot. I am sure many of these ideas are age-old & timeless things - but it works, and it might be new for you!? In the morning, we all get ready, eat breakfast, etc - and typically by 8-10am we are ready to begin. Did you notice that was a 2 hour chunk of variable time? We like to be flexible like that. I announce to the girls that we will have "Circle Time in 2 minutes!!" - and they all get really excited. They each go choose a story (I try to encourage a bible story, but no huge pressure) and sit on the flower design on our carpet in our living room to wait for me (this is where you picture angelic girls sitting with books & hands in their laps waiting for mom to float across the floor). Ha!! The more consistent we are, the more anticipation they have for this focused time together. I think it produces faithfulness in me too.

Circle Time
For us, with little girls (ages 5, 3 & 2) we have a variety of activities that we incorporate into our 10-20 minute chunk of time together. The younger ones may not be able to stay focused for long, but we also bring out puzzles or picture books in case they need to be busy. You can be as creative as you want! Here are some ideas:
  1. Read a Bible story & discuss it. Ask lots of questions to get them to share & grasp the truths within. You can also choose ONE book that you go thru during this time: a family devotional, something instructional, etc. This is very character-building focused.
  2. Play guitar & sing songs together. Instruments & dance are a bonus. You can talk about the words to the songs, learn an old hymn - or whatever!
  3. Work on memory verses, or other memory work. Poetry is a great idea for this too, tho we haven't attempted it yet. I would like to help them memorize passages of scripture this way. I hear its very easy!! You can also do flashcards, with pictures of places, famous people, or other things you'd like to memorize. You ideas can be stored on 3x5 cards, in a box, or even a "Circle Time" binder.
  4. Sharing time: this is very ambiguous, but sometimes there have been topics that we wanted to discuss with the girls, or deeper issues we wanted them to think about more - so we try to ask questions, and help them figure out the answers or truths. Other times I just ask a silly question like, "What makes a good friend?" and we talk about it, and try to apply it to our lives. I think the best sharing times have been when I (mommy) have opened up and been vulnerable with them - asking them to pray for me, or share what Dad has been speaking to me. Its so powerful!!
  5. Prayer for others: we have 3 little photo books (the cheap ones) filled with pictures of friends & family - so we can open the book to new pages & pray for them by name. We are always updating & changing the pictures in here. A great spot for Xmas photos! Sometimes I ask the girls to choose a part of their character they want to grow in for the week - and we pray about it together. Its really amazing how they choose "kindness" or "generosity" and really work on it each day.
No matter what you choose - all these things are more important than reading, writing or arithmetic. And it only takes about 10-20 minutes, depending on what you incorporate!