Topic: Newsletters and Journal
December Newsletter/Portfolio 2008
Newsletter 10 – Weeks 13-15
This month was sporadic as to when we did a formal day of school, and when we didn’t. So, we put it all together into a monthly format for December. We had so many fun outings and projects. We surely stayed up on our Basic Skills, however.
~Books used this month: “One Baby Jesus” (A Christian take on the “12 Days of Christmas”), “Christmas in the Big Woods”, “God Gave Us Christmas”, “Elmo’s Delicious Christmas” (For Grant), “Do You See What I See?” (An I Spy book with the famous poem, “The Night Before Christmas”, in the beginning pages), “A Christmas Carol” Charles Dickens, “Baby Jesus ABC Storybook”, “Christmas Around the World” book and workbook, “The 12 Days of Christmas-The Story Behind a Favorite Christmas Song”, “The Elves and the Shoemaker”
~My resources: “Christ in Christmas-A Family Advent Celebration” (By Focus on the Family), “Mailbox” magazine, “Devotions for Preschoolers”, the Bible, etc.
~Workbooks/Color Books: “Holiday Press Outs” activity book, “Festive Friends” Sesame Street Christmas activity book, “Christmas Fun” activity book
~Crafts/Projects: English Christmas crackers, Christmas cards written in Italian and German, making gingerbread houses with a homeschool friend, snowflakes (“Jesus loves you SNOW much!”), glitter on pinecones for mini Christmas trees, making Christmas cards, gluing and glittering our stockings, “reindeer food” for Santa’s reindeer (oats mixed with glitter),
~Journals/Writing this month: letters to Santa Clause (on pre-lined Christmas paper), made and wrote out Christmas cards, wrote and wishlist to Santa, traced our Bible verses for the month, Kate found as many words as she could in:”Merry Christmas”-cat, me, as, etc.
~Special: For Kate’s Birthday (Dec. 2nd): She completed a special Birthday worksheet in which she- wrote the date of her birthday on a birthday cake, drew the number of candles of her new age on the cake (7), and colored the cake. Also, as writing practice (Consumer Education): She also wrote a postcard to the makers of her new Christmas dress, letting them know she was happy with the product (they had a postcard attached to the dress for this purpose).
*Advent lessons (Bible Study) *See book from Focus on the Family mentioned above
*We watched two versions of “A Christmas Carol” and compared and contrasted the two (The Barbie versions and the old school George C. Scott version-yes they sat through that!) (Literature, Language),
*We watched “Little House on the Prairie” Christmas episodes then read, “Little House Christmas” (History, Reading),
*We read and discussed the Candy Cane Legend (We decided who to give the poem). http://www.reasonfortheseason.com/candycanestory.html
The LEGEND of the Candy Cane
A Candymaker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would help us remember who Christmas is really about. So he made a Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.
He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus. Hard candy to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the promises of God.
The candymaker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus. It also represented the staff of the "Good Shepherd".
The candymaker then included red stripes. He used three small stripes and a large red stripe to represent the suffering Christ endured at the end of his life.
The candy became known as a Candy Cane - a decoration seen at Christmas time. The meaning has faded, but still gives joy to children young and old, whom Jesus loves and treasures.
There are 2 versions I have come across, but both have the same end story. One is a man in Indiana made up the meaning of the candy cane; and one says a candy maker in Europe in the 18th century made the meaning of the candy canes. See above links. Both are about how the candy cane represents Jesus and his love and sacrifice for us. J-is the shape of the J for Jesus and the staff he uses as our Shepherd, red striped for the lashes he received, etc. *Read from links above.
~Fun/educational outings: German Christmas Markets, French Christmas Market (Culture); At the French Christmas market, we heard and spoke a little of the French language; at the German markets we do the same. (Language).
~Bible this month: WOW! *Well, the whole Christmas celebration is our Bible theme for this month.
*We worked in the Advent book mentioned above
*We read the Bible
*We read from our Preschool Devotions book learning value and moral lessons with a Christmas theme and Bible verses attached
*Read-“God Gave Us Christmas”
*We made snowflakes and wrote under them-“Jesus Loves You SNOW Much!!”
*We read and discussed the Candy Cane Legend. (See above)
*Verses: “God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
*Legend of the Candy Cane (See above)
*We looked up and discussed Lottie Moon, the missionary; and why we recognize her at Christmas time
~Computer time: We read stories on the computer about penguins and we also did a math song with snowmen-all on Starfall.com
~Music: We sang LOTS and LOTS of Christmas songs! We also listened to Christmas music almost every day of December in the van, in the room….
~Math: *We measured Christmas items. We took a ruler and measured in inches; a stoking, a candy cane, a read crayon, etc. We recorded our findings on a worksheet.
*We played Christmas BINGO. We used our number cards and used Hershey Kisses as markers. (Number recognition)
~Reading:*All the countless books we read, Kate read to us, or we listened to online.
*We also, played Christmas BINGO with our letter boards (letter recognition) and used Hershey Kisses as markers.
~Basic Skills Menu:
`Horizons Workbooks (Kate, Phonics-vowels; and Math -tens and ones place value, greater than less than; time, etc.; Dom, Phonics-basic letter formation and sounds; and Math-basic counting and number formation, some basic addition, counting by 10’s, adding money, time).
* Dom worked on the letter, R; he also worked in Math on counting by 10’s, he counted to 100!, adding using manipulatives, etc.
*Kate worked on vocabulary-matching words to the proper sentence; She worked in Math on-greater than/less than, equal to and not equal to, adding horizontally and vertically, etc.
`Kate’s First Grade Readers (Horizons and Christian stories.) Kate worked on vocabulary, filling in sentences with proper word, etc.
`Flashcards for Dominic: letters, numbers, sight words, phonics
`NEW: Sight word list (Dominic): (7) of, a, and, she, not, his, call – future words (13 more) for, what, it, I, did, out, on will, get, go, to, was, we.
`NEW: Grammar workbook for Kate and Cursive workbook for Kate.
`NEW: Preschool skill workbook for Grant (shapes, colors, numbers, letters, direction)
*In the New Year, Dom and I are going to start working on: “Hooked on Phonics” and Grant and I are going to start working on: “Hooked on Math”. Kate and I are going to work on Grammar and Cursive from her workbooks, we will also do Reader’s Theater.
* 3 extension articles below. References:
Home Schooling - A Christmas Story
Some children do well in public schools, and some just don't belong. My daughter was one of those that barely survived. She was gifted in some areas, but struggled in others. But that's normal. The academics wasn't the real problem. It was all the rest. She just didn't fit in with all the social pressures. Almost daily she was picked on, taunted, and tortured by the other students. Several times a week she would come home crying. We tried speaking with the teachers and counselors. But in the end, it was always the same. She just wasn't cutthroat tough enough to survive in that environment.
I knew for a couple years now what she wanted for Christmas. It was the same every holiday break. She didn't want to go back.
It was always the same. At the start of the holiday vacation she would be elated. Bright, cheery, happy. Then towards the end of the holiday when she knew she only had a few days before going back to school, I could see the change. Anyone could see it. It was like a dark cloak was draped over my bright and cheery daughter. Her eyes would sink, she wouldn't talk, just moped. Depression. It haunted all of us.
So one Christmas Eve (I couldn't wait until morning), we had a special gift for her. The depression had set in early for her that year. My husband and I knocked on her door, when she opened the door, her eyes had already sunk in. The dark cloak was already over her. I knew then, her special gift was the right decision.
We went into her room and told her we had a gift we wanted her to open early this year. She sat back on her bed, not excited at all. She peeled back a bit of the wrapping, just enough to see the words Homeschool Curriculum peek through. She didn't move. She just froze. Then she started to sob. She sat there just staring at those words and cried. For me it seemed like an eternity watching her cry. Then suddenly she jumped up and hugged us. She knew she was finally free, she didn't have to go back!
This Christmas would make it a year now. Homeschooling wasn't easy. There were challenges. But everything has challenges. In that year, academically she's done incredibly well. But more importantly, I've got my daughter back. My bright, cheery child. She's here now. And here to stay!
We've joined a couple of homeschool groups. She's met and made some great best friends.
Now every time I see it I'm always pleasantly shocked. At homeschool meetings and get-togethers, as soon as we arrive, she almost dances out of the car. She's so happy. She is open, outgoing, and can't wait to meet everyone.
I know in the years to come there will be lots of challenges. But you know what? I don't care! I have my daughter back. And we'll face those challenges together. That's the real world, and we're in it together! -J.S.
The Twelve Days of Homeschool
(To the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas.)
I thought this was a really cute way to celebrate the holidays - homeschool style. Sing along with me.
On the first day of homeschool, my neighbor said to me,
"Can you homeschool legally?"
On the second day of homeschool, the store clerk said to me,
"Are they socialized?"
On the third day of homeschool, a teacher said to me,
"Who will give them tests?"
On the fourth day of homeschool, my doctor said to me,
"What about P.E.?"
On the fifth day of homeschool, my sister said to me,
"YOU ARE SO STRANGE!"
On the sixth day of homeschool, my pastor said to me,
"Why do you do this?"
On the seventh day of homeschool, my best friend said to me,
"I could never do it!"
On the eighth day of homeschool, my mother said to me,
"How long will you do this?"
On the ninth day of homeschool, my in-laws said to me,
"Look at what they're missing!"
On the tenth day of homeschool, my florist said to me,
"What about the prom?"
On the eleventh day of homeschool, the librarian said to me,
"They'll miss graduation!"
On the twelfth day of homeschool, the reporter said to me,
"Can they go to college?"
On the thirteenth day of homeschool, my support group leader said to me. . .
"They can go to college,
They'll have graduation,
They won't miss the prom,
Look at what they're learning,
You can teach through high school,
You can really do this,
Love is why you do this,
YOU ARE NOT STRANGE!
They can have P.E.
You can give them tests,
They'll be socialized,
You can homeschool legally!"
Original author unknown
Okay, admit it. How many of you actually sung this song while you were reading it?
My free contribution to this week's e-Newsletter about Home Economics?
Order pizza tonight. You can even do it online. Hey - it's a life skill your kids need to learn how to master!
Twas the Night Before Christmas Homeschool Style
> 'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the home,
> Children were still studying for their test on Rome.
> Mom was planning, she had just an hour,
> To teach 'one more lesson' before their night shower.
> A whole week of vacation, the children were thrilled,
> But Mom saw the lesson plans, and the blocks were still filled.
> "Can I stop for a day, much less a whole week?"
> Just the thought of time off made me shudder and shriek!
> Would they remember anything, would they fall behind?
> "Lord, I need your help, just give me a sign!!!"
> Then out on the sidewalk, I saw my four boys,
> And I heard them say, "it's not about toys."
> To the neighborhood kids, they explained Jesus' birth,
> And how through Jesus, not toys, we gain our worth.
> At that point, math and spelling and learning to write,
> Meant little to me as I had lost the sight
> Of what teaching at home was truly about.
> Then I sat at my desk and began to pout.
> The pouts turned to sobs, "Lord what have I done?
> It's not about grades, but to follow your Son!"
> "Please guide me and show me my job is to teach,
> and turn them to you, and of Jesus I'll preach."
> Now we'll put away books and not open them 'til later,
> We'll focus on Jesus, our Lord and Creator.
> It's His day and so we will all celebrate,
> I'll never mention the words "behind" or "we're late".
> So, Thank You, Lord, for blessing me,
> With such a great husband and family.
> Now homeschooling moms, TURN OUT THE SCHOOL LIGHT!
> And, "Happy Christmas To All And To All A Good Night!"