Once again, it’s a First Holy Communion Year for us, which makes spring an even more joyful time. Probably, many of you will be attending First Communion Masses, too. So, here’s a list of books and gifts I think your first communicants will appreciate:
When my oldest was a kindergartener, I wrote some super short stories to help her learn to read. I then used them to teach all my other kids to read, along with a variety of other phonics books. Variety is the spice of life, so it is good to give your emerging readers a mixture of books with which they can learn to read.
Having a repertoire of memorized poetry is something my kids secretly enjoy… although some would never admit it. Sometimes when the younger ones are reciting their poetry, the older ones jump right in, remembering the same poems they had learned in earlier years.
There are many good reasons for copying and memorizing poetry: The rhythm and rhyme of poetry is catchy and fun. As they get older, the kids learn to appreciate the imagery and the way poets play with words, rhyme, and meter. More importantly, it is an excellent way to fill our children’s minds with beautiful imagery and rich vocabulary. In a world so devoid of culture and beauty, memorizing poetry is one way to help our children appreciate that which is true, beautiful, and good.
A little background….Mary and I met over 15 years ago in Tempe, Arizona when our husbands were in graduate school at Arizona State. We have been great friends for such a long time. God has blessed our families with kids who are the same age and sex and obviously, the call to homeschool. We now live in different states but try to get together several times per year. The kids disappear for the weekend, the husbands work on research, and Mary and I laugh, serve meals, and talk about all kinds of great stuff!
A few years ago we decided to meet weekly via FaceTime to work on writing. We wanted our oldest daughters especially to have more time together. What we didn’t realize was how effective our weekly meetings would be.
On Friday, Mary and I were having our weekly chat and both had the same question…What on earth are you getting your kids for Christmas that doesn’t involve LEGOs or plastic toys made in China? Now I have to preface this with neither of us have anything against LEGOs or plastic toys, but we are both inundated by them.
Admittedly the Grinch sneaks into my heart this time of year as I threaten to either throw out all the toys or tell everyone I know that there is a toy ban on our household. Truth be told some of each will end up at both of our houses this Christmas no matter how hard we try to avoid them. That being said, we are both looking for creative gift ideas. We spent an hour mulling over this topic (at least that is what we told our kids so we could have some uninterrupted mom chat time) and here is what we came up with. Continue reading “Christmas Gift Ideas”
Well, she’s done it yet again. My daughter Carolyn (aka Big-Sis) has written another novel. As the oldest of six kids and an avid reader, she knows what makes a book appealing. My boys devoured this one.
The Badge of Kenley’s Legend is a historical fiction that takes place in England during WWII. A plucky orphan boy overhears a German spy’s ploy to destroy the Royal Air Force Kenley, the base where his beloved brothers are stationed. Stuck in the countryside as an evacuee, he sets out to warn his brothers in order to save them from impending doom.
Adding to my collection of Classic Literature Guides here are: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Jo’s Boys by Louisa Mae Alcott, Outlaws of Ravenhurst by Sister Imelda Wallace, and The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy.
There is no question that one of the single most important skills to teach our kids is to read. I would argue that it is not only our job to teach them HOW to read, but more importantly to LOVE to read. The amount kids read has a direct relationship to better scores on standardized tests and an easier time with grammar, spelling, and writing. As we approach the summer months, how can we motivate them to spend part of their days reading and not lose all of those skills we have worked so hard on during the school year?
When my oldest daughter entered middle school, I wanted to discuss the books she was reading. When I was a kid, I loved to read and even more, I loved to discuss the books I was reading. It helped me to discover details that I missed and look at the story from a little different perspective. So I began a quest to find curriculum that would serve as a basis for these discussions. Kolbe Academy has an extensive literature program with reading comprehension questions as well as paper ideas. Rainbow Resource has Christian Novel Studies that include questions, vocabulary, recipes (in some cases), and background information. I own parts of each of these program, but for sheer money-saving purposes, I felt that I needed to write some of my own.
Around this time of year as I think about Christmas shopping, I know I have to tackle the toy closet in order to make room for more stuff. However, one look at our toy storage, which is a dangerous undertaking, makes me want to revolt against plastic toys, toys that need batteries, toys with a million little pieces, and toys in general. The thought of having to buy even more toys makes me feel like this: