Holidays, Elections, Olympics, Fall Ideas, Special Days

Art, Foreign Language, Music, Nature Walks, as well as general ideas and encouragement
Julie in MN
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Re: Spiritual traditions for Christmas

Unread post by Julie in MN »

books to read are here:

Books to help with a "Christmas around the world" theme are here:

Some more things I like:
- Christmas Carols for a Kid's Heart - learn about & sing carols

- The ADVENTure of Christmas - lots of info about traditions & activities

- Jotham's Journey - we're reading this now & don't really have the predictable routine to do it as laid out in the book, so we're just reading the stories & lessons on our own schedule (& ds loves to light candles!)

- Advent materials from our church for children - this year it goes thru the major stories of the Old Testament, other years it has gone thru the predictions of Jesus or we made a Jesse tree etc. (Isaiah 11:1)

- There is lots of stuff online, such as this one:

- Make handmade gifts for family (tree ornaments, bracelets, this year my son took black & white photographs of the snow & is framing them for gifts)

- Give to others, such as Operation Christmas Child. Seeing their huge stacks of boxes is an inspiration in itself! There are a few story books about the children receiving the gifts. Some centers take last-minute boxes for US families. One year my Girl Scout troop collected the left-over things from OCC (they can't ship liquids etc) & sorted them for local nursing home residents (visiting a nursing home *after* Christmas is a time when visitors drop off greatly).
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Unread post by Lucy »

Hi Pam,

Merry Christmas! You already have a lot of great ideas from the other posters.

I love Christmas books and there are so many out there, but there is one that I wished I had when I first wanted to really make Christmas Christ centered. I really love this book and it has beautiful paintings too. It has a lot of great traditions shared by different people throughout the book. It is called A Season for Joy by Susan Card (the wife of Michael Card, for those who know this musician). I love the way she works through the struggle to keep a Christ centered Christmas among many other traditions. This book is divided up into easy to read sections and is one I enjoy with a hot cup of tea or cocoa.

It may not help you much this year, but would be great for next year. Maybe you can find it at an after Christmas sale!

From my experience, I suggest not trying too many new traditions in one season. Keep some old ones and add a new one or two.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
Cyndi (AZ)
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Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

We've been going through The ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel this month and really enjoying it. (I'm putting a bit on my blog about it everyday - I am not a seasoned blogger, but this a fun thing for my family to read.) I really recommend the book. There's two pages on each of 24 topics that you can pick and choose from, with a little write up of how each symbol points to the real meaning of Christmas and then a game or craft to go along with it. We're having a blast.
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Julie in MN
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any Martin Luther King Jr. Day ideas anyone?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

greenmom wrote:I would like to do something tomorrow for this day and wanted to know if anyone of you have any ideas. Nothing big or anything just something to acknowledge this important man in our history. Any ideas would be great!
I love the I Have a Dream speech and we have read that aloud or listened to that every year, I think.

(1) You can read it online in many places, but a nice picture book is so much better. We have I Have A Dream illustrated by Kathleen A. Wilson.

Or, maybe if you read it with a lot of enthusiasm, the words alone would work... You could even take turns, practicing some of those public speaking skills.

This year, I might use this transcript, with an audio of the original Dream speech. I see lots to talk about with a 7th grader there. ... adream.htm

(2) Some years, we draw or write our own dream, and I put it on the fridge for a while and then in my son’s notebook. Here are some ideas, but you could probably make a better page yourself. I just like the idea of kids seeing themselves as having good dreams they could really accomplish in their lifetimes.

A plain sheet for writing out your dream:
A kid sheet for drawing your dream: ... dpdf=print
A sheet for changing MLK’s wording to your own wording today:
More writing prompts and such at or their educators pages ... vities.htm

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Unread post by hsmomof5 »

Last year, We watched the I Have A Dream Speech on the History
We checked out Library books and created a MLK notebook on his life. We got a lot of printouts for our notebook from

The year prior to that, we took a visit to the Civil Rights Museum.

I don't have any big plans this year. We are going to view some documentaries on his life.
ds 19 (college freshman), ds 12, ds 12, and ds 10 (ECC '08) (CTG '09), dd 3 (Preschool)
Cyndi (AZ)
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Earth Day - Biblical resources?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

RBS in OH wrote:Does anyone know of any good resources to teach kids about Earth Day that are from a biblical perspective? I'm looking for something light to introduce them to the topic. Even a short sequence of Bible verses would be enough.

We've enjoyed praising our Creator through verses and singing of "My Father's World".
My list of verses focuses more on the Creator and less on stewardship, but if we love the Creator we will take care of what He gives us.

Genesis 1:1
Exodus 20:11
Nehemiah 9:6
Psalm 24:1
Psalm 69:34
Psalm 89:11
Psalm 135:6
Isaiah 45:18
Acts 4:24
Acts 14:8-18 ~great lesson on worshiping the Creator and Provider
1 Corinthians 10:26

and finally, Revelation 21:1-5
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Re: Biblical Earth Day resources?

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Answers in Genesis has a Global Warming video up this week (it's a little over 45 minutes), but you get the same idea - being a good steward of the earth, and caring for people.

I think they also had an article up on their front page yesterday about "Earth Day."

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OT: Civics stuff

Unread post by donutmom »

TriciaMR wrote:My state requires "civics" instruction. Not every year, but some time, while we home school, we're suppose to cover it. So, what would you count as "civics?"

Talking about elections?
Talking about being a good citizen who obeys the laws?
What else?
Does anyone have a booklet or curriculum they might recommend? Something we could cover over the summers or something in the future?

Our state, too. I asked the same question of some local home schoolers when I first had to report. Basic answer I received is that civics education is learning to be a responsible citizen. So however you want to do it, do it!

We figure we teach it by the way we live--our kids will learn by example (hopefully!!!). And we talk about specific things as they come up. Some example follow.
--Speak of the importance of voting--that it is an honor & responsibility. When election time rolls around, we talk about the election. Presidential elections are easiest, because there's so much about it. But it's easy to do any year, even in the car as you drive around and see all the election signs. Either I or my hubby take kiddos with us when we go to toll booths each year.
--Talk about respect for the flag. Comments often comes as a result of being out in the car and seeing an example of proper (why it's flown at half mast) or improper (flying at night without a light) respect.
--Stand as the color guard passes in a parade.
--Stand (boys remove hats) when the national anthem is played.
--Show patriotism--for example, put a flag out on Flag Day, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day.
--Show gratitude for the freedoms we have in our country (easy to do with MFW and the focus on the unreached people groups of the world who often live without that freedom!) --often done spontaneously during prayer.
--Do not speak down about the USA (OK, I didn't say we don't speak honest about the leaders sometimes, though!!! :-) )

Just living in the way we were taught by American loving parents and veteran grandparents, thankful for the freedoms and opportunities we have. We've never used any curriculum. We have to have evaluations each year, and I've never been asked where my civic stuff is--and I don't have any documentation in the portfolio for it.

Hope that helps,

Re: OT: Civics stuff

Unread post by cbollin »

Civics in elementary:
obey laws.
understand need for rules in house/school/church/family
be good.
some gov't

quick ideas:
School House Rock America Rocks (I'm just a bill...... No more Kings (we're going to elect a president), WE the People in Order to form....
and pick up trash in a park
and learn and practice character stuff.
and agreeing about going to holiday parades and showing honor and respect.

In terms of gov't academics,.... my opinion is that it's covered in the unit studies in MFW. CTG: 10 commandments, and other laws, Hammurabi Code, Greek stuff. RTR: roman stuff, Magna Carta, EX1850 Mayflower compact, Dec. of Independence, etc. 1850MOD - other countries. Presidents state in US.
So, I think it's covered on that side within the social studies unit studies in MFW. The practical application comes from life/field trips etc. using the ideas already given.

I don't know if that meets Colorado needs or not.
Julie in MN
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Re: OT: Civics stuff

Unread post by Julie in MN »

If you want a "paper trail" for civics, you could either (a) design a page that is a list, and add to it as you go during the year, or (b) use worksheets you can google online.

For instance,study a new holiday every year? I like the site Homeschooling.About.Com for holidays. Let's see, they have Flag Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, MLK Day, Presidents Day, Election Day (that's down under "history")... ... ts-1832303
This is the link to their worksheets, and then their site also often has a general holiday page with great links. Over the years, we've enjoyed their links to official government sites, veteran sites, etc.

Anyways, that's just one idea that you can do online.

Oh, and Adventures, EX1850, and 1850MOD have US Civics built right in!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Another Holiday and I don't know what to teach!

Unread post by cbollin »

Re: Another Holiday and I don't know what to teach!
So that's why the schools and libraries are closed? I knew it couldn't be the dusting of snow. The streets are clear.

We're doing CTG week 25, day 1. well, eventually we will. We're still recovering from Chinese New year yesterday in the disguise of Valentines day.

There are unit study things on the market for this. Many of them will have worksheets, puzzles, etc. etc. etc..... I did a quick freebie download the other day. check your PM for the link to get that.

But for these random holidays -- a quick library book to read, or a quick internet search is enough usually to get quick historical background if you don't have a library book.

Basically, for a one day unit study on a holiday and you're teaching younger children:

you just need basic facts about the holiday. if you don't have a library, google on "what is president's day" you might end up here

and find out that it isn't really officially called Presidents Day either. ;) cool Happy Washington's Birthday everyone!

maybe a coloring sheet if you want or quick craft

Then -- for Bible prayer time focus:
1 Timothy 2:1-3.. Mention that we don't have a King in the USA. But we have authorities. Like Congress, Judges and President. Let us pray for our President today, since George Washington is no longer with us.

language arts tie in:
consider writing a letter to mail to the President telling him you are praying for him and this country.
and then go back and re-read the wikipedia article on the spelling of this holiday. interesting.

Science Tie in: I don't have one. Doesn't matter.


How about that for an off the cuff, one day short lesson on President's Day, uh, er. Presidents Day, er, Presidents' Day... uh... Washington's Birthday.

basically, read the article as parent and then retell the stuff to your kid. you shouldn't expect a kid to read through that article and get it.

Julie in MN
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Re: Another Holiday and I don't know what to teach!

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Coming in kinda late, but my favorite holiday resource is, such as this: ... ntsday.htm

Some more Lincoln/Washington ideas are on the boards here, such as these from me, myself, & I :) ... 916#p48916 ... 768#p54768 ... 360#p43360

One of those links to this one:

If you had more time, it might be fun to dress the kids up as each of the presidents & have them recite something. We always have the day off, so these are just random thoughts.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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LA in Baltimore
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Re: Another Holiday and I don't know what to teach!

Unread post by LA in Baltimore »

We usually plug along with our "regular stuff" ;) on miscellaneous holidays, but always try and add in a book or two for read aloud time. Now that the children are older I even assign a book or two for them to read on their own that day during quiet reading time.
Since my oldest (graduating this year!) was little we have read In 1492 by Jean Marzollo. It is just a simple book, but the children still look forward to my reading it and can almost quote it from memory!
We have a special shelf with holiday books. Everything from MLK, Jr. Birthday, Passover, and Easter to 4th of July, Veteran's Day, and Thanksgiving. These books only come out during their appropriate season. I'm sure there are much more creative ways to do it, but this has worked for us over the years.
Only by His grace,
LA in Baltimore
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... "BUT it's Valentine's Day!" ...

Unread post by baileymom »

The kids are bargaining for a day OFF. I'm giving in a little. Light, regular schoolwork...with some FUN activities thrown in throughout the day!

We're going to make another batch of Red Hot Cinnamon Play Dough ( ... dough.html ), make some Melt My Heart Crayons ( ) ...if I can find our heart mold, and make a great big SSG Valentine for Daddy.

What is everyone else doing FUN to celebrate? What's for dinner?? What Valentine-ish storybooks are you reading???

<3 Happy Valentine's Day MFWers <3
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Re: ... "BUT it's Valentine's Day!" ...

Unread post by gratitude »

8[] 8[]

My oldest begged for a day off too! Last night he told me that we couldn't possibly do school on a 'holiday'. I told him that all the other children went to school today. He then informed me that we aren't on a 'school' schedule, and that we home school, and thus we should celebrate the holiday. So I decided to let this one become a holiday for him.

We are going to make Valentine's Day cookies, the children already started to make cards for one another (so this will continue), I am going to read the St. Valentine stories we have, and the children are going to play.

It sounds like fun....

Happy Valentine's Day. I was engaged to be married 14 years ago today, isn't that romantic... so to celebrate my husband, who is painting our bathroom, painted on an unpainted wall a huge heart with our names on our bathroom wall on Saturday night.... :-) 8[]
Julie in MN
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Re: ... "BUT it's Valentine's Day!" ...

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Aw, brings back memories of gradeschool :) Now that my youngest's in 9th, it's just a bag of M&Ms for him & off to do his schoolwork!

Some of the things we liked to do were to graph the colors in a bag of candy hearts or play Bingo with them, to make cards, to wear red, to eat red treats, to decorate heart cookies, to read about St. Valentine, and a lot of ideas at : (Valentine's Day) ... yicons.htm (using the calendar)
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Re: ... "BUT it's Valentine's Day!" ...

Unread post by rjsmomma »

One of the small 'Church Schools' in our area invites the homeschoolers to come and have a 'school' day (actually only a couple hours) every few weeks. This time it is to celebrate Valentine's Day. So they will get together and have snacks and do crafts and games and exchange valentines. It's a lot of fun for my 'only child' dd who doesn't get the chance to celebrate with other children very often.

Shannon Meyer
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Re: ... "BUT it's Valentine's Day!" ...

Unread post by 1974girl »

Well, we started off with a trip to Dunkin Donuts but they were out of heart shaped donuts! Imagine that! But I can assure you we found others to "love". LOL
I figure in public school, they do go...but they don't do much at all. They have parties and eat and pass out Valentines. It is a very chaotic me...I volunteered on those days when mine went to ps. So...we are doing school but we didn't start until 12pm!
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Re: ... "BUT it's Valentine's Day!" ...

Unread post by kanderson »

To celebrate Valentines Day we had "PINK" blueberry muffins for breakfast. Pb & J sandwiches cut into hearts for lunch. Heart shaped lollipops for a treat. Later we are going to make some cards for Daddy :)
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Cyndi (AZ)
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Re: ... "BUT it's Valentine's Day!" ...

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

Monday is our homeschool co-op Park Day. So today was a big Valentine's Day Party and we all had a blast. There's about 200 kids in our group and about 130 showed up today, so they all walked away with bags full of 25+ Valentines and candy.

AND we filled a large dish-pack box with canned food for the food pantry with our "Have a Heart Food Drive!"

But there is no way to bring a child home from that and expect them to do any school work. I'm thinking some quiet time reading is definitely needed this afternoon, though!
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Re: ... "BUT it's Valentine's Day!" ...

Unread post by Poohbee »

We had school today and ended with our own little Valentine party. We read a few stories, played a couple of games, and then opened the Valentines the kids had received in the mail from grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

For stories, we read The Kiss That Missed, Falling for Rapunzel, and Berenstain Bears' Funny Valentine. The Kiss That Missed is a sweet story about a bedtime kiss a father sends his son, but it misses, and a knight has to go looking for it. Try to get your hands on Falling for Rapunzel if you can. It is a funny story. Rapuzel keeps misunderstanding the prince who calls to her, and instead of her hair, she throws down underwear. Instead of her silky locks, she sends down dirty socks. It's a fun rewrite of a fairy tale!

For games, we played Valentine Pictionary on a white board and "Catch My Heart" with beanbags. The beanbag game was hilarious! You stand in a circle, say a person's name, and toss them a beanbag. Start with one beanbag and keep adding more beanbags, one at a time. It's fun trying to keep all of the beanbags going and keep all of the names straight. Try it sometime just for fun. We had a lot of laughs! :-)

We topped off the day with grilled cheese sandwiches cut into the shape of hearts. All in all, it was a fun and yet productive day. Off to frost red velvet cupcakes for 4-H tonight. :-) Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
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Re: ... "BUT it's Valentine's Day!" ...

Unread post by dhudson »

We had a light school day and then had 20 kids (and their Moms) over for our Annual Valentines Party. I throw a Christmas and Valentines Party. We do a fun craft, make goodies and then everyone has to pass out their homemade goodies to a neighbor or friend who might be lonely and needs to know that they are loved.

We have great fun but I am exhausted. Oh and making hard candy lollipops from scratch is really hard and it burns easily and don't put it on wax paper 'cause it melts. It was so sad for the little kids, "Where's my sucker?" "Um, it was REALLY yucky so Miss Dawn had to throw them away." "Noooo!!!"

Next time, I'll stick to cake balls. That's all I'm sayin'. ;)
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Re: ... "BUT it's Valentine's Day!" ...

Unread post by mom2boys »

We did school as usual. But my husband and I don't usually do anything special for Valentine's Day and this year I surprised him by getting dressed up and we went out to eat all by ourselves! This is rare for us. I rented a movie for the kids and they loved their movie/pizza/game night. My oldest is 14 now and it is nice to have a built in babysitter for an occasional short night out like this! The kids are looking forward to Thursday when we will take the day off and go to the zoo with friends. It is supposed to get up to 68 Thursday after the last couple weeks being snow and cold. That's Missouri for you. Don't like the weather? Wait a minute it'll change!
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Re: ... "BUT it's Valentine's Day!" ...

Unread post by amelasky »

Well, we spent the morning cleaning house and doing laundry. We wanted to do that as part of Daddy's present. :-) It had been such a busy weekend that things and gotten a little messy. Then we spent the afternoon building the chicken coop and the kids had a picnic outside. We loved being outside in somewhat warm weather. It had been soooooo cold here for so long that we had to spend every minute outside that we could.
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Re: ... "BUT it's Valentine's Day!" ...

Unread post by Kelly1730 »

I love reading about all the different valentine's days:) We have "traditions" ( you know, if you do it once it's "tradition":) that we've had since my big kids( 28, 26, 24 and 19) were little.

Strawberry milk and cherry poptarts for breakfast (bananas too but they were not color coordinated), leftover valentine cookies that my kids made at church with lunch and the tradition that never changes, spaghetti, salad, breadsticks and cherry 7-Up for dinner.

We do little gifts m&m's and ninjago sets for the boys and m&m's and a Target gc for the college girl.

I made my husband his favorite dessert ( boston creme pie) and dh came through with roses for me (WAY too expensive but it's the thought that counts, right?:)

We also did an entire day of school along with piano class lessons. A good day all around;)
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