Monday, September 30, 2013

Fairy Tale Love

Learning lessons from Fair Tales has been a whole heap of fun.  We keep going back to the library to get more fairy tales.

There are so many faiyr tales that have been retold.  The magic never ends.
We have two favorite fairy tale books.  We have had these books since the kids were babies.  They are definitely well loved.  The illustrations are beautiful.

A few years back, I bought a few used copies of Gyo Fujikawa's  works.  I cut out the pictures and framed them.

We had them lining the staircase in our old home.  I haven't found a place for them in our new home yet.  I think I will get on that!  Hmmm.  Maybe the hallway to the kids bedrooms?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Life's Mission

Last week we read the Fairy Tale, The Nightingale, by Hans Christian Andersen.

I love this illustration by levgen Kharuk

This fairy tale gave us a lot to talk about.

We discussed the internal and external characteristics of each bird.

We talked about how each bird, the Real Nightingale, and the Mechanical Nightingale had a purpose.  The Real Nightingale's purpose was to comfort and sooth people. The Real Nightingale brought people lasting happiness.  The Mechanical Nightingale's purpose was to look beautiful and sing the same song over and over.  Its purpose was not lasting.  It gave the people a temporary happiness.  Because it is mechanical, it doesn't have internal characteristics.

Each of us has a purpose.

The kids lit up as I told them the wonderful things that I see in each of them.  Then they had a chance to tell each other about the things they love to do and things that they would like to become better at.  We talked about how each of these gifts from the Lord, can help us find our mission.

We became "life's mission" detectives.

I asked the kids if they would rather be like the Real Nightingale or the Mechanical Nightingale.  They recognized that although the Mechanical bird was beautiful, they would rather be like the Real Nightingale and bring people joy.

We decided that we will work as a family to discover our missions.  We will help each other to focus on things that can bring lasting joy instead of temporary happiness.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Post it notes


This is Art Fry.
He co-invented the post it note.

Why you should carry post it notes in your back pocket.

#1. Lists.
Do you ever remember you need something,
then forget
when you are making your list?

I do.

All. The. Time.

When I have post it notes in my pocket...
I write it down!

#2. Memories.
You know when your baby girl says the cutest thing, and you promise to remember what it was so you can tell the hubby when he gets home.  And then you can both laugh and talk about how adorable your baby girl is...but when he gets home, you can't remember what she it isn't as funny...or adorable...because you forgot.

Well, you should have Post-ed it.

That's right.  Just take that little sticky note out of your pocket and write it down, right away.

Then it will still be funny and adorable.

#3 Inspiration.
I find, that when I am seeking to learn, the Lord teaches me.  When I have these magical post it notes with me, I can't believe how much more frequently I am given little drops of inspiration.  It is incredible!

I keep them on my night stand, too.

When I can't sleep because my brain has too many things it is thinking about, I can dump it on my post it and then I can fall asleep, because I know that what I have emptied out of my brain, will still be on my reliable little sticky note.

What do I do with all of those post its, you ask?

I slap them in my journal!

Are you convinced?

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Princess and the Pea

For Literature, we are starting with Fairy Tales.

This was such a fun lesson!  I got all of the kid's pillows and blankets.  They snuggled up on the floor and we read a few different versions of the Princess and the Pea.

Then I asked the kids to check their pillows.  Can you guess what they found?


A pea.

They thought that was hilarious.  A few (okay one) of them even said they felt the pea...hmmm.  Really?

We loved learning about the moral.

First, we talked about how we are all "real princesses and princes", because we are all children of our Heavenly Father.  Who is a King.  Therefore, we are princes and princesses.  Cool.

I gave each of the kids this quote for their notebooks.

Then we talked about how "the pea" can represent the spirit, or the Holy Ghost.
The Mattresses can represent things that are distractions and make it difficult to feel the the spirit.

I had a lot of fun drawing this coloring page.

Then we talked about things that may be "Mattress Distractions" in our own lives.  I made another worksheet to remind us of those distractions.  This time, we put "the pea" on top of our mattress distractions, so that we remember that the we do not want to cover up the Holy Ghost!

I had the older kids write a short paragraph on what they can do in their lives to make it easier to feel the Holy Ghost.  It was a really fun lesson!

Thursday, September 19, 2013




This summer, I learned about H.O.G.s.  Not the kind you put on your breakfast table...The kind that guide and bless your life.  The Hand of God.

Melinda told me about H.O.G.s.  She said that every day she would write in her journal about how she saw the Hand of God in her life.  Her face lit up with excitement as she was telling me about this.  Her testimony of how that simple action brought her so much joy made me want to have some H.O.G.s too.

So I wrote.

It is awesome.

Recognizing the Hand of God in your life-on a daily basis-is so humbling.  You learn so much!

How excited was I, when we learned about this same thing in school????

Soooooooo excited.

How awesome that we get to talk about the Hand of God in our history lessons!  I love it.  It make me so excited to teach...and learn.

We are starting our history lessons by studying ancient history.  We started with the Premortal existence and the council Heaven.  Then the creation and Adam and Eve.  One of the things that we talked about, is how history is centered around Christ.  As we learn about history, we get to look for the Hand of God in our lessons.  Not only are we going to be doing this with our school lessons, but with our own lives as well.

I made some bookmarks.

I love this story:

"When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things
about what happened every day. I never missed a day no matter how tired I
was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I
would ponder this question: ‘Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to
touch us or our children or our family today?’ As I kept at it, something
began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see
evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in
the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I
realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had
More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became
ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt
more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the
Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the
Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did
not notice or pay attention to when they happened" (Henry B. Eyring,
“How to See and Remember God’s Kindness,” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 66-69).

I made these for the kids.

Everyday, either morning or night, they get out their clipboards (I'll talk about those another day) and write or draw their H.O.G.s.

I have another idea brewing in my noggin' for these H.O.G.s, so keep watching.  I think you will like it.

This lesson is from Latter-day Learning: Family School, History, Year 1, Lesson 3.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


One of the things that I love about homeschool, is seeing the kiddios play together.  Today I was working with the older kids and hadn't heard the little ones for awhile.  Soon I hear them clomping up the stairs in excitement.  They were creating.  They wanted to show us what they had made.

Then I got to see the older kids sing the little kids praises.  They were glowing!  What a joy to get to witness that love and friendship.  

We love Quercetti, "intelligent toys".  They are a great way to give the kids an imaginative outlet.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Tree of Learning

I love that with family school, we are incorporating the gospel with all of our learning.  One of our lessons was on the Tree of Learning.  Parly P. Pratt said this,

"Theology is the science of all other sciences…the very foundation from
which they [all other sciences] emanate. It includes, philosophy, astronomy,
history, mathematics, geography, languages, the science of letters, and
blends the knowledge of all matters of fact, in every branch of art and
research…originated by this science [theology] and this science alone, all
other sciences [subjects] being but branches growing out of this root"

All that we learn emanates from God.  That is what is so exciting about learning and understanding.  The more knowledge that we gain from the world around us, the more knowledge we gain of God.  If we seek truth, we will find it.

I love the symbolism of a tree.

In family school we talked about how all of the subjects we are learning can be likened to a tree. This lesson can be found for free in Family School Foundation: A Parent Guidebook, lesson 3.  I drew a tree for my kids to color as we talked about what it means.

I also made a color version.

I also gave each of the kids a list of the subjects and their definitions.

4 Ring

This is our sixth year of homeschooling.
We have tested and tried many different methods and curriculum.
We have found a lot of amazing ways to learn.
We have also found some very dry and boring ways to "sort of" learn.

We are so excited about Family School.
We are learning with enthusiasm!
It is just what we needed.

This is how we learn.
First, we Research.
We need to acquire knowledge of what we are studying.  We are trying to do this from really good books.  Last year we tried to do our learning from a textbook approach.  We actually used textbooks.  You know, the kind you had to wrap in old paper grocery bags or used wrapping paper. Ya, that kind.

Well, that was a mistake.

We don't love textbooks.  So we research through "living" books.  It is a lot more enjoyable.  "The better the source, the better the reasoning and conclusions that are drawn from the source." (Family School Foundations: A Parent Guidebook)

Not only do we read from great books, but we also use all of our senses to experience what we learn. We want to acquire as much truth as we can.

Second, Reason.
The kids are expected to think about what they learn.   We aren't just attempting dump information into their brains so that they can throw it up on a test, then forget it.  We want them to think about the why's and how's.  This is where they get to reflect and ponder what was researched.

Third, Relate.
Why do all of this learning if we aren't going to use it?

Last, Record.
"When we write about what we have learned, we make it our internal property." (Family School Foundations: A Parent Guidebook)

Each of the kids have their own notebooks for each subject.

Sometimes they grumble about the recording.  Then they pull out their notebooks, look at their hard work, and get so much joy from seeing what they have accomplished.  It is so rewarding.

Awhile back I got a Bamboo Wacom for school.  I love to doodle.  I thought it would be fun to make my own coloring pages for the kids.  I have finally gotten to use it!  It is trickier than I thought.  It isn't exactly high tech.  My sketches look a little "wiggly", if that makes sense.   I'm not a fantastic artist.  But, I'm starting to get the hang of it.  I made this for the kids when we did the 4 Ring lesson.

If you are also doing Family School, here it is as a fill in the blank for the kids.

We love the 4 R's!
Learn more about the 4 R's of learning in Family School Foundation: A Parent Guidebook.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

School Lesson

Teaching hard work and responsibility,

The harder you work
and the more you do something,
the easier it will get.

You must be responsible and obey the rules.
They keep you safe.
They keep others safe.
They make things smoother.

There is always a reward 
for working hard
and being responsible!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Don't step around

I have this goal.
I want to see how many days in a row,
I can study and ponder the scriptures.
Not just read them.
I want to really know what the Lord is teaching me.

I always feel so determined when I start.
I usually put a day 1.

Then a day 2.

And I might get all the way to day 4.

Then I miss a day or 2.
So I don't write day anything.

Then I miss a few months,
because I have spent them in UT, and didn't have the room to bring all my scripture study equipment.
So I write a smallish day 1,
and start the cycle all over again.

I'm trying to get back into a rhythm.
I was reading 1 Nephi chapter 19.

Verse 7 says:

I am not a trampler.

I know what is of great worth to me and my family,
both body and soul.

I don't trample...

I was talking to Brian about this scripture and he said:

"Don't step around them either"

My husband says some profound things.
And this was one of them.
I don't trample.
But I might do some stepping around.

Guess what.
I got sick.
I missed a few days...again.

But I'm not discouraged.
Here is to another day 1!