St. Patrick’s Day can be a lot of fun. Not only are you supposed to wear green on March 17th but there are a lot of other fun things you can do and learn about:
Do you know the history of St. Patrick’s Day? Or that in Chicago they dye the Chicago River green on St. Patty’s?
PARTY [fun learning] TIME!
The first steps we so easy, even the toddlers could participate – scribble blue and yellow on coffee filters. Next, spray them with water and let them dry. (This is a fantastic project showing early learners how two colors on the color wheel are combined to make a new color.)
Afterwards, you can easily trim the filters and assemble the into clovers.
This was too cute to pass up! Recycle – you can use any supplies that you have around. I almost threw away old shelf liner but decided to hold on to it just in case. Well, it is green so we used it to decorate our shamrock men.
The little three year old really got into the project and decided to add hair!!! LOVE it and I love that it was a young children that was so creative all on her own. Now go get creative and plan your own St. Patrick’s Day events!! Here is a St. Patrick’s Day CLIP (Creative Learning in a Pinch) to help.
Over the years I have been interested in the Mystery of History, a Classical, Chronological, Complete Christian History for All Ages. I had always heard great things about it, so when the opportunity came to do a review I was very excited!
My first impression of the Mystery of History Volume 1 – it’s huge! It is 635 pages. Wow. Check out this Table of Contents! The volume begins with a letter to the student (three different letters to cover the various grade levels – elementary, middle school and high school). The next section is 34 pages of instruction including a lengthy letter to the teacher explaining everything from curriculum layout to suggested schedules to methods of education . Linda Lacour Hobar goes into great detail on how to best complete activities, create memory cards and timelines and information on grading. Initially I felt a little bogged down by so much to read to get started, but then I recognized the great value in having such detailed explanations. Several times Hobar mentions that she goes into such detail because so many people have had questions on a particular topic. That is wonderful – it is nice to have all the resources needed in one place.
Each week begins with a pretest to see what the students know. Check out this 42 page sample lesson - imagine that 42 pages out of the book for a free sample!! My children were not real excited about this aspect but I think it is a great tool for creating a sneak peek into what is coming. One child in particular always wants to know what will happen and what the outcome is going to be so I find the pretest helpful in answering those common questions.
The Mystery of History heavily uses the Bible. Seeing how stories in the scriptures tie in with stories in history is one of the things that caused us to fall in love with the study of history. The Mystery of History goes chronologically through the Bible and relates world history to that.
I love that this curriculum works for all of my children at the same time. I am teaching six kids all different grade levels. That makes life a bit crazy, but with multiple activities and ideas for various grade levels simplifies my life.
My favorite things about the Mystery of History:
- bite sized lessons
- hands on activities for every lesson on each of the three different grade levels
- printable maps
- great resource list of additional books to explore
- many of the tough to pronounce words have the pronunciation right in the text
- and the all important (at least for me) pronunciation guide is broken into weeks for quick referencing
- the “Wall of Fame” timeline activities – this is the BEST!!! We have had so much fun with this!
Other things you might really look for:
quizzes frequently and even comprehensive semester tests
Bible reading list to go along with every lesson
Strong Christian worldview
answer keys and good index
Things I wish it had:
Overall, this is a very comprehensive history program. The curriculum follows the Bible chronologically while tying in history. This is an important thing to point out as I have shared this with others and some people love that and others prefer history with the Bible tied in. The author really addresses just about every need explaining just what to do and when to do it. This is great for both new and veteran homeschoolers. It can easily be used for any size of a group and even multiple age groups at the same time.
Please visit The Mystery of History for more information.
*Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary Mystery of History Volume 1 for the purpose of facilitating my review. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions expressed herein are unbiased and not influenced by the developing company or its affiliates in any way.*
Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day
I don’t know about you but I LOVE holidays!! In fact, my husband and I have actually searched for crazy holidays like Rubber Eraser Day! I have even been accused of partying for no reason at all. Hey, if my kids tackle a goal they have been seeking or my toddler potty trains – I am all about making a cake and throwing a party! So St. Patrick’s Day is no different.
St. Patrick’s Day ideas
History behind St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day site – includes Irish limericks and jokes, Irish songs, list of fun runs around the United States, and a list of parades worldwide
Enchanted Learning – a lot of craft ideas and educational activities
DLTK’s educational site – craft ideas, games, coloring pages, poems, songs and printables
Family Fun – I usually end up at this site because they have such clever ideas
Lapbook – books to read and a ton of games and printables to add to the lapbook
Homeschool Share lapbook that even covers science, art, math, language arts, social studies and more
Recipes from Family Fun – dinners, drinks and dessert recipe
Irish recipes – leprechaun cheese, Dublin chocolate mint milk and more
Love is in the air!
Kids love Valentine’s Day because it is another excuse to get a bunch of candy. I love Valentine’s Day because people focus on being nice to people.
Planning is Key
There are so many wonderful crafts, cards, treats and Valentine box ideas on Pinterest. So check out our Valentine’s board for tons of ideas.
If you are looking for clever ideas of Valentine’s to make and give away this site has 50 – and they are awesome!!
Again, I planned way more than we could accomplish in our hour and a half. But it is great to have several ideas to choose from at the drop of a hat. You can never be quite sure what they kids will be interested in most from day to day.
Next we were going to do secret messages and fold up Valentines, but opted to just create our own Valentine boxes. The kids did a great job. In fact, my kids enjoyed it so much they want to do another one today! We used this site for inspiration but really just gave the kids a ton of supplies and let them do as they wished. For more ideas of Valentine boxes and cards visit our pinterest board.
Here are the Valentine’s box creations:
For snacks we planned to make chocolate covered pretzels, but someone brought cupcakes so we let the kids use the sprinkles for the cupcakes. Yum!
I found this great idea of completing a Family Interview Sheet for each family member each year to see how much everyone changes. Unfortunately the one copy I found is one where you have to sign up for the site. So I decided I would just make my own – New Year’s Interview 2013. Besides, that way I could add things that my children will likely be interested in.
The interview sheet could easily be couple with a time capsule. With my first six kids I made time capsules for them to open when they are older. But it is eating them up – I might have to change that plan and let them open them soon while they are very interested in them. But I like the idea in the link above because it does not take the child’s item and bury it for years – they can access it any time if they really need to do so. Or make a memory string of important events and memories of the year. This could be fun to do throughout the year to help keep memories fresh.
As a homeschooling mother I am blessed with an abundance of time with my children. That abundance of time can become a complication during this time of year. When they were little, I would hide their gifts on the bottom of the buggy while they weren’t looking. But some of my bunch isn’t so little anymore and I’ve had to go to plan B… or is it C?
So, how does a person who spends every waking minute with their children accomplish Christmas shopping?
As I mentioned above, I am an old pro at shopping for Christmas right in front of my kids without them realizing. It is a simple game of distraction that I am normally very good at… the downside to this is every once in a while you get caught, if you do, just think fast! My kids all have cousins at a similar age and I tell them that the gift is for that person. I’ve even gone so far as to have one of my children rap the gift and place the other child’s name on it for under the tree! You can imagine the surprise when they see that last gift for cousin being handed to them as their own! … But you can only do that so many times, so If you don’t want to risk getting caught;
A babysitter is a great thing when you have one at your disposal. Normally, my sister-in-law comes for a visit the week before Christmas and my husband and I sneak away for an afternoon to go out to lunch and do our shopping for the kids. This year she isn’t coming until after Christmas- Boo! So, if you don’t live nearby family, you hate to ask your friends for help, or if your children would go crazy if they are left with anyone else… you’re going to need another option;
Late night babysitter
Take advantage of how late the stores stay open during the holidays and spend the early evening with your little ones like normal. After they are all tucked into bed and resting peacefully, have a babysitter come to your home. Afterwards you can sneak away to finish your shopping. This is a wonderful option if you have a close friend or family member available for overnight stays. But if you don’t;
There’s always Daddy duty
Having your husband stay with the children can be a wonderful option. Sometimes my husband will stay with the children while I accomplish minor shopping trips. But if you or your husband prefer that he be a part of your holiday shopping, another option must be considered;
This has been my life saver this year! I have never been an “online shopper” as I love to go to a store, look around, and enjoy the holiday shopping experience, but this year I have been able to find some wonderful deals on toys and clothes online for everything my children will be receiving. Additionally, I have spent much less money than normal, not just because of the great deals, but because I haven’t been exposed to impulse purchases. The best part is I have been able to do all of my shopping right under their noses. (Note: look for the little box at checkout that asks if the item is a gift so they can cover the exterior of the box during shipping… my UPS man almost ruined my Christmas when my first purchase arrived.)
Use one method, maybe two, or combine them all to get your shopping done. Nonetheless, happy shopping, no matter how you plan to accomplish it!
*Please share how you tackle this task in the comments below.
As I search for holidays to celebrate with my children, sometimes I have a difficult time deciding which holiday to celebrate each week. Often I choose the major holidays like Thanksgiving because it seems crazy not to take advantage of all the amazing resources out there. But then, there are holidays which may not be talked about, but should be. This is why I chose Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Since it is a day of remembrance and not a “happy” event, there is not as many resources for a holiday celebration. But children need to learn the important, somber events as well.
In the CLIP, I focused on resources about Pearl Harbor, but you could also study airplanes (check out May 22nd holiday links), navy ships, Hawaii, or more. There are some great coloring pages you can use or check to see if there is a Navy Ship tour near you.
Our family will focus on the amazing sacrifice that our soldiers made then and continue to make today, so that we can live our lives with a sense of security. My heart is deeply touched that people willingly sign up to defend our country knowing the possibilities and the sacrifices that are and may be required.
Merry Christmas!! One thing I absolutely LOVE about Christmas is that so much of my world shuts down and pauses for a day. Stores are closed, people stay home and spend time with their families! So make Christmas Day special. Do something new that you have never done with your children and make it a new tradition. Making memories – that is what is going to last – not the gifts.
Our life has been super crazy this year. In fact, we have not decorated AT ALL except for the nativities that we made. At first, I felt bad, but then I realized – we are really trying to focus on activities, and with the nativity, we have the true meaning of Christmas represented.
Of course, I do have the nagging guilt when someone comes by and says “Oh, where is your tree?” But my husband’s schedule has been ridiculous and he just has not gotten to the attic. And as much as I want a Christmas tree and decorations, it is NOT enough to get me to go in the attic!
I just have to share something with you. Actually two things:
First, this month has really helped me learn to let go. We did so many crafts and things and I kept reminding myself to just let the kids do it their way. In fact, after we made the nativities, I took pictures of all the creations.
This is the boy’s nativity
I love the pipe cleaner hair! They never finished the animals but I am impressed they did as much as they did!
This is the girls’ nativity.
They were pretty funny in staging the people – notice the donkey under the manger and the angel peeking in through the back of the stable. They said the angel had the best seat because nothing was blocking the view of the baby Jesus.
I also took a picture of my friend’s nativity
…her children lost interest so she made it. This picture was before she added the angel – you can see the little angel on the left side of the picture. But the later one turned out blurry. Ugh. Sorry about the pics – I am having one of those days (but it is lasting for weeks. he he) She asked me why I was taking a picture of hers and I said “So I can see what I wanted it to look like.” But I love the ones my kids made. I love to see individual tastes and preferences. I love to see their creativity! All these years I have been stifling them.
The second thing is this – while we were making the stables my friend brought up this pin from pinterest. I nearly died laughing inside as I made a pathetic looking stable. Yep, I nailed it!! So many of my projects end that way yet I am the one trying to force my children to do it a certain way – now THAT is ridiculous.
So anyway, the nativities we made we are a combination of this nativity pin and this stable. As we explained to our friends who joined us – we took this simple nativity and made it a huge project including animals, shepherds, wise men, etc. But hey, that is the way we do it – Go big or do not bother! I must express a certain level of joy though, because we finished the project!!! Wahoo! Normally, if we do not finish a project during our holiday celebration then we never get around to it. So, as Christmas rolls around we will focus on the baby Jesus in a stable and our one completed project!
There are some really great reindeer crafts – far more than I could list on the CLIP. Definitely check out Pinterest!
Well, I had no idea that the Twelve days of Christmas begin ON Christmas and continue until the Epiphany (January 6th). I had commented that we were doing the Twelve days of Christmas starting on the 14th and a friend informed me otherwise. How could I have gone so long in life without knowing that? I have participated in countless 12 Days events but it never came up before. So I thought I would share it with you in case you have never heard that either.
This month is flying!! Have you had the chance to step back from the hustle and bustle and make lasting memories? I hope so. Do your children remember the gifts they received last Christmas? Most of mine do not, but they DO remember what we DID and what they GAVE.