Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My Top 3 Posts from 2015

It is hard to believe it has almost been a year since I started this blog! It has been fun as well as a great learning experience for me.

As 2015 is drawing to a close, I just wanted to share with you my top 3 most-viewed blog posts from this year. If you missed any of these or if you would like to re-read them, now might be a good time! :)

Here they are:

#3 - Teaching My 7 Year Old to Have Daily Quiet Time

In this post, written soon after Big Brother turned 7, I shared how he was beginning to learn how to have his own daily quiet time with the Lord.

#2 - You Might Be a Homeschooler If...

This was definitely a FUN post to write! Here you can find 75 guaranteed ways to tell if you just might be a homeschooler!

#1 - Learning with LEGO: History & Geography

This post has been all over Pinterest! I just shared a few simple ways we have used LEGO to study history and geography in our homeschool.

Have you been reading this blog for a while? What has been your favorite post so far? What kinds of posts would you enjoy reading here in 2016? Feel free to leave me a comment!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Cumberland Gap Field Trip

Even though homeschooling is technically out right now for Christmas break, learning never really stops around here! ;)

Before starting our break, the last person Big Brother had read about in history was Daniel Boone. Since we live in Kentucky, this part of American history is especially interesting to us.

Daniel Boone is best known for exploring and settling Kentucky. He paved the way for thousands of pioneers to move west through the Cumberland Gap.

Cumberland Gap is now a beautiful National Park. While making our annual trip to visit family in the region, we decided to take a field trip there.

There is a nice visitor's center at the park, and there are no admission fees whatsoever. We enjoyed browsing through the small museum and gift shop. There is a theater upstairs where we watched 2 different short films.

The first film was about the natural phenomena of the Cumberland Gap itself. Other than several references to "millions of years," this film was interesting.

The second film was more about Daniel Boone and the historical significance of Cumberland Gap. Big Brother really enjoyed this film the most. (This film did depict some violence, and some children might find the scenes where Boone's sons are killed disturbing. Big Brother had already read about these events and was expecting to see them depicted. Just use your own judgement here.)

Outside there was a real Civil War canon. We learned that during the Civil War, both armies at one time or other controlled Cumberland Gap as it was a very strategic location. But there were no major battles fought there.

There are all kinds of hiking trails in the park, and visitors can actually walk some of the original trails used by Boone and the pioneers. We did not have time to do this, but we did make a quick drive up to the Pinnacle Overlook to see the amazing view of Cumberland Gap and the surrounding towns and scenery from its height. It was absolutely beautiful!!!

I love how homeschooling really allows us the freedom to explore Big Brother's interests this way...even when "school" is out!!!

For more information about Cumberland Gap, or to start planning a fun field trip of your own, click here

Friday, December 11, 2015

Scripture Memory for Toddlers

Reading, studying, and memorizing Scripture are a top priorities in our homeschool. I want my children's shield of faith to be strong, and the Bible tells us "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

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I have mentioned before that we are using the Scripture Talk DVD this year in our little homeschool co-op. Big Brother and his friends are having lots of fun learning passages of Scripture together once a week. Big Brother also spends time each morning at home reciting his verses and doing the accompanying hand motions.

However, I had no idea how much Little Brother (now 19 1/2 months old) would enjoy learning verses as well!

At first he would just watch in awe as Big Brother recited and then would perhaps try copy some of the motions. Something about the poetic flow of the words (another reason to love the KJV) seemed to have a calming effect on him, so at naptime or during diaper changes I would recite the Bible verses for him, much to his delight.

Over the past few weeks, we have realized that Little Brother has been memorizing these Scripture passages! I will begin quoting one of our passages, and if I stop, he continues on with the next word or phrase. Many times he will crawl up in my lap and start doing some of our Scripture hand motions, indicating that he wants to recite verses. He has happily spent as much as half an hour at a time totally engaged in this!

His favorite passage so far seems to be Matthew 7:24-27, the parable of the wise man and the foolish man. We pat our knees to say "the rains descended," then raise our hands when we say " and the floods came," and then we wave our arms for "and the winds blew (or 'bwew' as he says). Then his favorite part (which he says very well as he claps his hands together loudly) "and BEAT upon dat house!" It is just so sweet, and even though many of his words are not so clear, he definitely knows them all!

So far in this manner he has learned:
Matthew 7:24-27
Psalm 1
Mark 12:28-34
Psalm 100 (Not on the Scripture Talk DVD, but we made up our own hand motions for this one.)

Similarly, he has learned the words of both "Amazing Grace" and "What a Day That Will Be" quite unexpectedly. Those are the songs Daddy always sings to him when he rocks him at bedtime. :)

I am sharing all this not to brag, but to hopefully encourage and inspire those of you who have babies and toddlers. THEY REALLY ARE LISTENING AND WATCHING!! Their brains right now have the ability to learn and soak up language more than they will have at any other time in their lives. What an amazing season of opportunity we have RIGHT NOW! Yes nursery rhymes are fun and lullabies are sweet, but how much better to teach them early to love the Words of Life?!

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:6-7

 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6