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October 2011

Heart of the Matter


Staff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 4 Bilingual Teachable Moments: Pumpkins and Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 6 Thanksgiving Dinner and the Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 8 More Than Pilgrims: The True Story of Pilgrims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 10 The Organized Heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 12 From Surviving to Thriving Holidays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 14

Take It Easy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 16 Classical Music Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 18 A Tradition of Observing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 22 Christmas Unit Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 26 Hands-On Snowy Day Fun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 30 Handmade Christmas: Christmas Crafts for the Whole Family . . . . . . . Page 34 Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 38

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Angela DeRossett - Co-Owner Angela is a married-to-the-military, mother of four chaotic kids. She is passionate about ministering to homeschooling families, disability rights, theology and coffee. Angela has a BAS in Christian Ministry and is currently working on her MA in Christian Education. She and her husband of fourteen years, Jason, have been homeschooling their kids for five years. Angela can be found, every once in a while, blogging at Living the Chaotic Life.

Amy Stults - Co-Owner Amy is a devoted wife to her husband of 12 years, a Classical homeschooling mom to an eight-year-old Ninja and the cofounder of Heart of the Matter. As a professional genealogist, Amy has a passion for helping others trace their family roots. Amy was a partner in founding the ministries A Woman Inspired Conferences, and Inspired Hearts Media.

Robin Montoya - Digital Magazine Designer Robin has been homeschooling since 1996. After homeschooling traditionally for more than a decade, Robin stepped outside of her comfort zone and tried alternative methods for teaching. She wanted to share what she had learned through her homeschooling endeavors, so in April of 2010, she launched her website, Stone Soup Homeschool Resources.

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Laura Delgado - Digital Magazine Copy Editor and Writer Laura has been married to her husband, Henry, for 14 years. She gave birth to four children in exactly 40 months, but cheated since the last two were twins. She now happily homeschools her 8, 6, and two 4 year-olds. She earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from Rice University, but finds that she uses her undergraduate Great Books education far more in her homeschooling pursuits. In addition to writing for various homeschooling publications, she creates educational materials for edHelper. For homeschooling helps and curriculum reviews, please visit her blogs at Living as Martha and Salve Regina Homeschool.

Pamela Swearingen - Director of Reviews Pamela has been homeschooling her kids since 2005. She has visited 41 states and 16 countries and now calls the beautiful Pacific Northwest home. You can find her writing about homeschooling, books and downsizing her life at I Read. Do You?

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By Analia Capurro Learning a foreign language takes a lot of effort and calls for motivation, time management, perseverance, and good learning skills. Promoting a learning environment where laughter, fun and friendship, and companionship are as important as any language structure, and are the things you need to have in mind while teaching your children a foreign language. October is the ideal month to learn about pumpkins, the color orange, scarecrows, and crows both in English and Spanish.

My goals for this lesson:

4 calabazas divertidas

4 calabazas divertidas crecieron en la granja el granjero vino y tom贸 1 entonces quedaron 3.

More verses: 3 calabazas divertidas

2 calabazas divertidas 1 calabaza divertida

After counting our pumpkins using the flannel board set, we count plastic To introduce and practice the numbers 1 to pumpkins using counting mats. Then I invite children make funny pumpkins using 4 in Spanish their favorite art supplies. Teachable To relate numbers in their oral and written moments are there waiting for you! Happy form I introduce the numbers 1 to 4 in teaching! Spanish while counting pumpkins, and enjoy this funny poem on the flannel board. P. 6

October 2011

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By Amy Roberts Since I've eaten my fair share of Thanksgiving Dinners and since I have children, none of which I have eaten, I will now pretend to be an expert on the matter of bringing children and holiday dinners into blissful harmony.

Ghve your cghldren “tge lecture.” “We are going to Aunt Susie’s house today and I expect you to behave like respectable young ladies and gentlemen. You are representing our family and the family of God. Because of this, please consider all you say and do while there.”

Let them nibble prior to dinner.

It's okay.

Make a dish you know your children like

That way you know there is at least one thing they will like, avoiding the totally embarrassing scene in which your child blurts out, "Why are you making me eat all this yucky food?" Also, refer back to #2.

Be prepared to discipline

Keep it short and sweet and to the point, lest Have in mind what you will do when a situation arises...because it will...despite "the their eyes glass over. lecture."

Lay out expectations

It isn't always enough to just give "the lecture." Quite often you need to fully flesh out what is expected of them while you are visiting. Let them know what rooms are off limits. Let them know where they can go to play. Let them know what you consider to be proper and improper behavior. Don't expect them to read your mind. P. 8

Include activities that will be enjoyed by your children

Do not expect your children to amuse themselves while you spend the afternoon chit-chatting and napping. Unless, of course, you don't mind them sliding down the banisters and drawing pictures in the pumpkin pie with their fingers

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Don't tell everyone how naughty your kids are or try to excuse (and do nothing about) their behavior as linked to them being tired These are two of my pet peeves. First off, what you believe about your children will often come to fruition. If you tell everyone they are naughty you might as well forget having well behaved children. Even if they didn't hear you (which isn't likely considering little ears somehow manage to hear everything they aren't supposed to hear), your attitude alone will mark them in other's minds as well as your own. I know you think you are just warning people of the potential for your child to act less than perfect during the day,

but you would do better to tell them how well behaved your child is and then act surprised when they do something childish And secondly, if your child is tired, find a way to get them a nap rather than blame all their misbehavior on sleepiness. Yes, children do misbehave when tired. Yes, you have the right to inform everyone that little Timmy didn't get his nap today. But to simply say Timmy is tired and then do nothing about either the misbehavior or the tiredness is just cruel.

Be truly thankful A simple attitude of thankfulness will brighten your entire outlook on the day making you less likely to growl and scold and more likely to delight in the abundant blessings the Lord has given; your children included.


Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful. Right? Well, not exactly.

mindful of God's hand on their behalf in the war of independence from monarchial rule. The establishment of a nation of self-ruled Okay, Thanksgiving is a time to have individuals was, indeed, cause for gratitude. reenactments of the Pilgrims celebrating the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth Colony in The Congress chose November 28, 1782 as 1621. Right? Actually, no, the harvest festival the date. Congress recommended that all of the Pilgrims was in gratitude for the less thirteen states give thanks on this day for the than fifty-percent who survived the first creation of the new nation and for God's winter in a new land. Those who survived did hand in it. Further, they stated that all pray, so chiefly because of the compassion of the give cheerful obedience to His laws, and practice true religion. True religion in Biblical American Indians. terms is the care of widows and orphans and The pilgrim’s survival that terrible winter was keeping oneself pure from evil practices. most definitely not the reason for our current holiday. The proclamation read in part: Okay, okay, Thanksgiving was a holiday started after some war, probably World War I or II. Right? Almost right. It was a war, our first as a nation. On October 11, 1782, mere months before the end of the American Revolution, the Continental Congress issued a proclamation for a day of giving thanks. The Congress expressed in their document that they were P. 10

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We do hereby recommend to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe, and request the several States to interpose their authority in appointing and commanding the observation of THURSDAY the twenty-eight day of NOVEMBER next, as a day of solemn THANKSGIVING to GOD for all his mercies. Heart of the Matter


By Sheila Carroll In those earlier times, states had far more independence than now. This proclamation was not binding on all states. As a result not all celebrated, and of those that did, some celebrated on a day other than November 28. New York was the first state to make Thanksgiving a legal holiday (1817). By the Civil War, most states celebrated Thanksgiving as a state holiday.

Since that day each sitting president has issued a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would be on the third Thursday in November. In 1941 Congress approved that declaration.

In 2007, President George Bush issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation referring back to the original one issued by the Continental But, remember, this was still an occasion to Congress in 1782: give thanks to God for His provision, mercy Our country was founded by men and guidance--not to celebrate the harvest and women who realized their feast of the Pilgrims. dependence on God and were Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving humbled by His providence and Proclamation in 1863 that there should be a grace. national day on the last Thursday in November. He issued this proclamation after What should you be grateful for this three and one-half years of bloodshed and Thanksgiving? Consider this: God has sorrow. His proclamation was all the more preserved us as a nation for over 230 years, in touching in that he spoke of the loss and pain, spite of wars, depression, disease, dissent, then said, "Notwithstanding..." and went on and difficulty. What a good and gracious God! to declare God's presence and care in the midst of suffering. Heart of the Matter

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By Christine

“The disorganization in my life was not due to lack of knowledge or skill and it was not due to a problem in my childhood. Rather, it’s a broken belief system: a heart issue, a sin issue. At the end of the day, it’s idolatry.” ~ Staci Eastin I am one of the many women who never feels like it all gets done. I sometimes feel dissatisfied, disorganized, and disillusioned with the many systems I’ve tried. But why, Staci Eastin asked herself, when struggling with the same issues. What is the root of disorganization in life? Could it possibly have nothing to do with schedules, chore charts, and weekly menus? Do those things, while not without merit, simply put a band aid on the real problems within us? P. 12

Staci’s small book packs quite a punch. Opening our eyes to the idols of perfectionism, busyness, possessions, and leisure, The Organized Heart does not include a system to implement or a list to check off. Instead, it gently peels back the layers of our disorganization to reveal the sin beneath it, and gives sound scripture-based advice to help us sweep out our hearts from the inside. Staci reminds us that, “God is pleased when we serve him with sincere hearts”, and she uses examples in her own life, her own struggles, to guide us to repentance and eventual organization. There is grace here, too, and it helps to balance the convicting messages inside Staci’s book. I think this is one book within which we homeschooling moms can really find a few things to think and pray about.

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By Melinda Boring

From now until the end of the year, time seems to speed up for me. There are fewer hours of daylight and it gets dark earlier and earlier as the holidays approach. I am very affected by the lack of sunlight and if you, too, experience the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder then you know what I’m going through every fall and winter in Ohio. I know, logically, that there are exactly the same number of hours in every day regardless of the amount of daylight.

Have you ever felt this way?

It can rob you of the joy of celebrations and leave you feeling overwhelmed. If you can’t imagine how you will fit everything in and get everything done then you may feel more relief after an activity is over than genuine enjoyment during the activity. I’d like to anticipate activities in a pleasant way and not let my mindset be one of just surviving the busy schedule. I want to feel joy, not just Apparently there is a part of my brain that obligation. I want to be fully in the moment, does not respond to logic, though, because not counting down the hours until I can mark after dark my body thinks it is night and another task off my checklist. therefore time to sleep. Once the sunlight is gone, I have a very hard time leaving the So how can we move past the legitimate house even if it’s only early evening. I might demands of a busy schedule during the make mental plans during the light of day, holidays and set the tone for creating good but once it looks like night it might as well be memories with our families? 3:00 in the morning as far as my body is concerned. I feel sluggish and move in slow I’ve found it helpful to recognize patterns in motion. So while my schedule fills up with my family members and myself so that I can all the festivities of the season, I feel take these into account before committing to less capable of actually meeting any activities. I know that one of my children is commitments. At the same time, the an introvert. He likes people, but a little calendar dates keep pushing me forward like goes a long way for him and if he surrounded I’m on a moving sidewalk, and ready or not by people for hours on end it drains him and he needs some time alone to recharge. I’m propelled ahead. P. 14

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Two of my children are definite extroverts who never tire of the party and are energized by being around other people. Given these differences, I try to make allowances such as allowing my son to sit and quietly read a book during part of the event. He’s not being disruptive and he’s less likely to feel agitated and over-react when he can have mini-breaks as needed. One of my children needs more sleep than the others. Knowing this, I try not to schedule her for events that will last too late into the evening or that occur on consecutive days. I can’t always avoid having activities that occur at less than ideal times for my daughter, but I can limit the amount of time spent away from home even if it means we leave a little earlier than everyone else. I try to be preemptive and prepare healthy, portable snacks so that even when we are on the go my children won’t become so hungry that they either become cranky or devour too many cookies and other sugary treats. I actually keep snack-sized Ziploc bags full of healthy snacks in the console of my van, in case I forget to grab them before we head out the door. Instead of trying to do everything myself, I have the children work alongside me. They can fill snack bags with pretzels or carrot sticks. They can help with wrapping gifts and putting stamps on envelopes. If I didn’t have the children working with me I wouldn’t have nearly as much time with them and they would doubtless pick up on my increasing level of stress. Whether it’s baking or gathering needed supplies, I want my children to recognize that they make important contributions to the family. Planning ahead for my family also means taking into consideration the possibility of illness and how that could Heart of the Matter

impact our ability to participate in all of the seasonal happenings. I’d much rather add things in if we are able than fill up our calendar only to have disappointed children when they can’t participate in every possible activity because they are sick with a virus. So I schedule the activities that are “musts” for my family, but try to leave our options more flexibly open for the possible addition of other events. As for me and my struggles to do anything once it’s dark outside, I have a couple of strategies that I implement. Whenever possible I try to have someone, preferably another adult, accompany me when I am going out at night. Knowing that someone else is counting on me to do something with them helps me to force myself to take action despite my body’s reluctance to move. Having the company of another adult distracts me from my feelings of utter lethargy so I can actually accomplish tasks. I also know my tendencies well enough to recognize that it’s far better for me if I can schedule as much as possible during daytime hours. I’m better rested and more alert when it’s light outside, so that’s the time when I can be most productive and enjoy what’s going on around me. If the holiday season kicks you into survival mode, maybe it’s time to think about how you could move beyond just surviving to thriving. Being able to say an enthusiastic “yes” to your family’s most valued traditions will take some forethought. By considering your individual differences and the needs of your family members, you can strategically plan to fully enjoy the memory-making moments.

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By Tricia Hodges

holiday holiday:: /ˈhäliˌd /ˈhäliˌdāā/ noun, a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done. What do you think of when you hear the word holiday? Often, November and December bring a packed calendar, the shrugging of shoulders, and the overwhelmed look. This year I want you to celebrate like a child. Enjoy the time with your children. See, the definition of holiday is a vacation. And as with any vacation, there takes a little planning ahead of time so that you can be free to enjoy. That’s what I want you to think about now. Today. P. 16

Years ago I let go of the notion of the perfect holiday with its entire long list of ingredients and turned to the practical, enjoyable celebration. This goal was met with a few, simple steps.

Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind. Proverbs 21:5

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By Tricia Hodges

Plan now to:

Simplify the big meals: Overnight turkey, Break the rules and send your annual slow cooker dressing (I omit the chicken cards and give coach/teacher gifts at and just make the dressing), pull out your Thanksgiving. Give them with a ‘we are freezer mashed potatoes. thankful for you’ theme. Of course your Christmas cards would be Thanksgiving Frugal and simple. Delicious and delightful. cards – but that gives your family card More time for what is important. Counting more fridge time. Or, simply just get them blessings. Making memories. ready and send them out right after Thanksgiving. Make freezer mashed potatoes in late October to enjoy in November or December. Buy big bags full of potatoes. Rather than stand at the sink and rinse them all, put them all in the dishwasher on the rinse cycle.

Give yourself permission to savor.

Make, easy slow cooker breakfasts: overnight grits and breakfast casserole or overnight oatmeal. Heart of the Matter

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Classical Music Resources By Karin Does your homeschool curriculum include coverage of classical music? If you've been hesitant about introducing your children to music because of the lack of music in your own background, or if you weren't sure where to begin we've rounded up a few resources to inspire and encourage you. Why introduce classical music to your child? Studies have shown music develops long-term learning, brain stimulation, memory, aids in the development of math skills, and even teaches time management skills! We will admit the title is a bit deceiving, A coloring Book of Great Composers: Chopin to Tchaikovsky by Bellerophon Books is less a coloring book than it is an interesting collection of biographies of famous composers. Still it is not a resource to be overlooked if you would like to introduce the people behind some of the world's most famous music. This resource would be a great complement to an existing curriculum however I think it is most appealing for those who prefer to create their own music history curriculum and are just looking for biographies to supplement. P. 18

Susan Hammond's Classical Kids Classroom Collection is a fully integrated music program, literally in a box! Classical Kids presents each composer in his time period, with accurate historical detail and surrounded by the music that made him notable or famous. While the facts are true, the format used incorporates a fictional child who takes listeners on an adventure through the composer's world. Day -to-day lesson plans offer six 10-day programs concentrating on a specific skill within the integrated curriculum. Each program is arranged in an easy-to read weekly planner allowing approximately 45 to 60 minutes of concentrated exploration. The activities can, of course, be spread over a longer period of time so that you can move at your own pace. What is wonderful about this curriculum is that with a little advanced preparation and inspiration, you can easily expand your music program to incorporate geography, social studies, creative writing, math, visual arts, drama, and dance.

Included in this collection are: Beethoven Lives Upstairs Mr. Bach Comes to Call Mozart's Magic Fantasy Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery Tchaikovsky Discovers America Daydreams and Lullabies Hallelujah Handel

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Also included in this collection: -Detailed teacher's guide for each collection listed above with reproducible student sheets - CD incorporating the Classical Kids story and biography on that composer - VHS tape of Beethoven Lives Upstairs

a composer's resource list suggesting books to incorporate in the study a list of useful websites glossary listening suggestions reproducible coloring pages reproducible timeline reproducible game

- Music only CD (recordings, minus dialog) The authors suggest this curriculum be used which features some of the best loved just three times per week to ensure that the pieces in this collection. students hear the selections a few times. It is meant to be a stress-free curriculum and This is a fantastic one-stop Classical music certainly can be adapted for the use that best curriculum. Units are also available fits your family. While there is some separately if you would like to try the preparation involved (gathering books and program out first or if you prefer to buy the music selections) I found it easy to download selections from iTunes and pick up books composers individually as you are ready. from the library to supplement. Because of A Young Scholar's Guide to Composers is a the coloring pages (which my 3rd graders full year's curriculum in 32-weekly lessons enjoyed as well) this curriculum could covering: Bach, Beethoven Brahams, certainly be used with younger students or Bruckner, Chopin, Copland, Debussy, Dvorak, with helping younger children feel they are a Elgar, Faure, Foster, Gershwin, Handel, Haydn, part of their older siblings’ school day. Ives, Joplin, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Teaching music to your children does not Schubert, Schumann, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, h a v e t o b e o v e r w h e l m i n g o r Verdi, Vivaldi, and Williams. This curriculum intimidating. Give one of these great is written by two Christian homeschooling resources a try, or step out of the box to mothers and it is clear, concise, interesting create your own easy curriculum. After all, if and easily implemented. In addition to the your children begin listening to classical music composer biography and questions, the back today, that is more music instruction than of the book contains: they had yesterday! Heart of the Matter

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Small observations have large consequence. The Earth is heliocentric. Galileo, defending the observations of Copernicus before him, came to realize this truth after careful observations of the sky over time. From botany to astronomy, the opportunity to Slow down and down and basis of all science begins with observation. look, an opportunity to discover and ponder Many years ago, at the end of a busy day, as the reflections in a spoon, a meandering our children contentedly rampaged in the hermit crab, or the pomegranate’s true color. great outdoors, my friend Sara and I punched holes in stacks of cardstock, rummaged for The next day we gathered our children binders, and with a click of the rings the together, introduced them to their brand new Observation Journal was born. Observation Journal and placed a pumpkin in front of their eyes. We were ready to mentor them in their very first lesson.

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Guiding them to draw, line-by-line, shape-byshape, what they were looking at was just the trick to get them in the habit of listening with their eyes. Together we discovered that the lines on the pumpkin were not parallel, but luscious curves that meet at the top and the bottom of the fruit. We looked again and discovered that those lines were not really lines at all, but grooves. We decided that this particular The goal pumpkin was more oblate than spherical and of the activity would be that was taller than it was wide. The skin was Provide our children with an smooth but the stem was prickly.

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By Kimberly After this “looking discussion” we gave pencils permission to begin sketching, lightly at first, then darker as the image begins to mirror the real thing. When it was time to place watercolor on top of the pencil image, Sara demonstrated how to create the complex pumpkin color that is never really just orange from the paint tin. With orange and yellow with a touch of its compliment, blue, plus a drop of a warm brown for fall she taught them how to make a color puddle sing! As the children were washing their pumpkin sketches with paintbrushes, the table was set with books about pumpkins for them to discover facts. Out on the porch a galvanized tub was filled to the brim with water ready for dunking and near the sink a space was prepared for pumpkin dissection. As our little group moved on to discover a mountain of information about pumpkins through books and hands-on exploration, exclamations galore echoed from one corner of the room to the next, "Pumpkins float!"

placing them into by piles of ten, the students counted close one thousand in all. They washed, roasted, and indulged in a homemade snack while quietly writing discoveries in their journal. The Observation Journal bridges many subjects and has become a happy habit, a tradition, "Mom, look what I found crawling in the garden! Can we do an Observation Journal?"

See “How to begin” on the next page...

After separating seeds from gooey web and Heart of the Matter

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Here is how to begin an Observation: Materials: A binder to collect completed observations Cardstock for drawing Lined paper for writing Pencil Colored Pencils Chalk Pastels Thick and thin waterproof markers Watercolor Pencils Watercolor Magnifying Glass Look at the subject for a while. Help children to really look at what they are observing. Pick the object up, turn it around, use a magnifying glass to see texture and detail. Take your time and try to throw out any preconceived notions about the subject. Talk about what is seen. Help children to investigate what they are looking at by engaging them in conversation about the details of the object being observed.

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Draw the object with realistic detail. Encourage children to look at the lines, textures, and shapes. Have them think about proportions as they translate the three dimensional object to a 2dimensional object on paper. When the drawing is complete, have them think about the color of the object and try to match the colors as close to the real thing as possible. Read about the object. Find a book or internet article to find facts about the object being observed. Depending on the child’s age, have them take notes on a topic wheel. Explore the object's potential. What did you learn? What importance does the object hold in our world? Write about the object. Combine and convey information gained through direct observation and research.

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This is a special season of love and sharing at our house, year after year. We celebrate the birth of the LORD, and give thanks for the ultimate gift of Emmanuel, God with us. Over the years, we have used this season as an opportunity to dig in and learn about the birth of our Savior and the prophecies that were fulfilled with His life, death, and resurrection.

One Wintry Night, by Ruth Bell Graham. This is one of our family favorites for all ages. In this beautifully illustrated book, a young injured boy seeks help from a grandmotherly woman during a snowstorm. While the two wait out the storm in her cabin, the woman lovingly shares the story of the Bible from Creation to the Resurrection, and each chapter ends with a bit of a cliffhanger--perfect for family reading In the following pages, I would like to take your time during December. child on a virtual visit to Judea to learn more of the geography and the weather there this time Jacob’s Gift, by Max Lucado. What a special of year, and to meet Elisabeth and Zacharias. message this book has for the whole family! There is much to be learned along the way, Jacob is a young boy with special carpentry with unforgettable history and the fulfillment talents, and this book helps the whole family gain a better perspective on the meaning of of so many prophecies! gift giving. Join me as we walk the dusty roads of Israel and meet some of the key people who would The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, by Susan Wojciechowski. Another favorite that welcome our Lord into this world! will touch your heart, this book tells the story As you use the following pages from the of a wood carver, a young widow, her son, and Christmas unit study, add in some wonderful, a lesson in love and patience for everyone. family read-aloud books to deepen the This book is included year after year in our learning and make some lasting memories. The Christmas wicker basket of holiday favorites. list below contains a few of my family’s favorite Christmas stories. We keep these in a big The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara basket by the sofa over the holidays, so that no Robinson. A classic Christmas favorite, this matter the age of the family members or book tells the story of a family of incorrigible guests that join our celebration of the Savior’s children who discover the true birth, they can flip through the pages and Christmas story for the first remember that God always keeps His time, helping the readers get a refreshing perspective on promises. the story as well. Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent, by Arnol Ytreeide. This is an exciting advent story Blessed Christmas, for the whole family about a ten-year-old boy, Jotham, and his journey across Israel in search of his family.

Amanda B.

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WEEK TWO: Day Two (Lower Level) Today we are going to learn more about Judea and the geography of the area. TODAY’S QUOTE Copy today’s quote into your Christmas Journal: “And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah.” Luke 1:39 WORDS OF WISDOM (WOW Words) Look up the following words in the dictionary and write the words and their definitions in your Christmas Journal. Website suggestions: Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and Word Central king lamb seek son

Parents and Teachers: Remember that internet site content can change over night, PLEASE check the sites that you plan to use BEFORE your child uses them in the study.

INTERESTING PEOPLE & PLACES Using your Bible, an encyclopedia, atlas, or Internet site, look up Judea. Where is it? Look back in your Journal to the map that you drew last week, and use a colored pencil or a marker to indicate the area that was called “Judea” or Judah. Website suggestions: Judea and Judea READ AND DISCOVER Using your Bible, an encyclopedia, dictionary, book, or Internet site, read the following questions and find the answers. Write or narrate your answers for your Journal. 1. Using the scripture from TODAY’S QUOTE, where was Mary going? Who was she going to visit? Scripture suggestion: Luke 1:39-40. 2. Using a newspaper or the Internet, can you find out what the weather is like in Israel now, perhaps even in Bethlehem? Website suggestion: Middle East Weather. 3. Christmas carols are one of the many ways that we celebrate the birth of our Lord. What is the name of your favorite Christmas carol? Find the words to the first stanza of this carol and write them in your Journal. Website suggestion: Cyberhymnal. RESOURCE MINIATURE GINGERBREAD HOUSE Copyright 2011 Amanda Bennett. Heart of the Matter

All Rights Reserved.

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WEEK TWO: Day Two (Upper Level) TODAY’S QUOTE Copy today’s quote into your Christmas Journal: “And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah. And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.” Luke 1: 39–40 WORDS OF WISDOM (WOW Words) Look up the following words in the dictionary and write the words and their definitions in your Christmas Journal. Website suggestions: Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and Dictionary.com lineage Bethlehem abiding messiah

Parents and Teachers: Remember that internet site content can change over night, PLEASE check the sites that you plan to use BEFORE your child uses them in the study.

INTERESTING PEOPLE & PLACES Using your Bible, an encyclopedia, book, or Internet site, look up Judea. Where is it, and what do we know about it? Using the map of the Holy Land that you drew in your Journal from last week, show its general location in the midst of Palestine with markers or colored pencils. Website suggestions: Judea and Judea and Judea Map. READ AND DISCOVER Using your Bible, library books, encyclopedias, or Internet sites, find the answer to these questions and record your answers in your Journal along with the source of your information (book, encyclopedia, website, etc). 1. What happened to Elisabeth when she heard Mary greet her? Scripture suggestion: Luke 1: 41. 2. How did Mary answer Elisabeth’s greeting? Summarize her response in your own words and write this in your Journal. Scripture suggestion: Luke 1: 46–55. 3. How long did Mary stay with Elisabeth and Zacharias? Scripture suggestion: Luke 1: 56. RESOURCES A PORTRAIT OF JESUS’ WORLD (A secular view about the Jews at the time of Jesus’ birth) Copyright 2011 Amanda Bennett. P. 28

All Rights Reserved.

October 2011

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By Karen DeBeus

Last year we had a ton of snow in our neck of the woods. I love that in homeschooling we don't have to take a day "off" for snow! We can "plow" {pun intended} right through those dreary snow days, so when the weather warms up in the spring, we can take a day off! Nevertheless, one big snowstorm last year leant itself to an amazingly fun "snow" day in our homeschool! Instead of doing our regular routine, we spent the entire day learning about snow! I had originally read about the idea in a homeschooling magazine and then tailored it to our family. And how better to learn about snow than in 24 inches of snow itself! Besides all of the learning that took place, there were great memories too! First, we started out by having our Bible time. We focused on verses about snow! We talked about the imagery of being made as white as snow. I just love this verse: “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 P. 30

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The kids each copied the verse for handwriting. Next, for our worship time we sang Chris Tomlin's "Indescribable." Oh what a joy to sing about the majestic earth our God has created, and that includes “heavenly storehouses laden with snow!”

There was also another site which had actual letters written by people during the blizzard. One such letter describes snowdrifts so high that people were walking over treetops! Simply amazing! My kids were squealing with For language arts that day we learned all disbelief as we read through the various new vocabulary words about snow. Some letters. examples were: precipitation, meteorology, blizzard, snowdrifts, and Of course no lesson would be complete thunder snow. The kids looked up each without hands on fun. We bundled up and headed outside to catch some snowflakes definition. of our own. We used black construction We then wrote poems about snow and paper to catch them on so that we could used our newly learned words in see the details using a magnifying sentences. We also made up stories using glass. Then of course, for some good 'ol the theme, "If I woke up and saw three fashioned Phys. Ed. we had snow races, feet of snow out my window..." The snowball fights, and snowman kids came up with some fantastic making. Lots of great exercise! scenarios. We then used the Internet to learn many interesting facts about snow. We took pictures of the snow outside, Our absolute favorite site we found complete with animal footprints we found was Snow Chrystals. The children were in the snow, beautiful red cardinals in the able to look at photos of various trees, and icicles glistening in the sun while snowflakes under a microscope and hanging from the house. All wonders of discover how truly indescribable God God’s creation! is. When you marvel at these beautiful creations, you can know without a doubt Back indoors, after sipping some that God exists. They are all so unique and homemade hot cocoa (cooking lesson), we did an experiment that showed us detailed! He is so majestic! something called “The Mpemba effect” on Another awesome Internet find was water and freezing. We did an experiment learning about the Great White Hurricane to see if hot water freezes faster than of 1888, where as much as 50 inches of cold (Its sometimes will under the right snow was dumped on the NYC area. We conditions). Ours did not work, but at least found this YouTube video, which was we were able to find out why. awesome! The Great White Hurricane here were many actual photos from the Continued on the following page... storm. Heart of the Matter

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We even did math problems about snow. We figured out the cost of snow removal and how much it would cost depending on the amount of removal, etc. We graphed the average snowfall for different areas in the United States. We also made weather predictions for each area. And what fun day wouldn't be complete without crafts? We made snowflakes by cutting paper, decorated them with glitter glue, and hung them all over the house. We even hung some with fishing line from the ceiling in our schoolroom. My daughter wrote on each one of hers, "He makes me as white as snow."

We also talked about how God made us all different, just like each snowflake is unique. This was one of our most fun days in our home school and a great boost to a very long and cold winter. I plan on making this an annual event, surprising the kids when they wake up with our own version of a "snow day!” Or better yet, maybe do a "beach day" to learn all about the beach in warmer weather… hmmmm… sounds too good to be true!

I love homeschooling!


Advent Calendar Ideas:

By Erica

Each year I try to do some sort of fun thing for Advent. This year we’re doing a combination of things. First, I made these cute little numbered ornaments for our Advent activities. Click here to download the Advent Ornaments

Each day we take one down and do whatever activity is on the back. For this you can print my activities on the backs (they are included in the download) or you can print just the ornaments and write in your own activities. Last year we did The Jesse Tree, so this year I ordered some Make your own Advent Candles and Bartholomew’s Passage. I have to say that these candles didn’t come with any instructions, so if you’re a newbie like me here are some instructions on making Beeswax Candles! We’ll light the candles each night as we read a chapter from our book. If you’re not up for purchasing a new book, you can always read any Christmas Story and on Christmas Eve read Luke 1-2. Heart of the Matter

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Here’s our acthvhty lhst for our Advent Ornaments: Candle lit bubble bath!

Family Game Night

Make paper snowflakes & decorate!

Make Gingerbread house with Nana

Fill Operation Christmas Child Boxes

Dance and sing to Christmas Music

Make personalized Christmas Ornaments

Make a christmas craft

The Minivan Express

Dress Fancy for dinner tonight

Rootbeer floats tonight!

Wrap Christmas Presents

Bake something yummy!

Watch “It’s a wonderful Life”

Make Christmas Cards for friends/family

At home pedicures!

Have hot chocolate and marshmallows

Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn

Make a pipe cleaner candy cane craft Make Christmas Star Paper Chain

Read or Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Make Candy Ornaments

Make birthday cake for Jesus!

Use Puppets to tell a bedtime story

Merry Christmas! Open presents!

Handprint Christmas Ornaments: We made the sweetest little handprint ornaments this year! I’ve seen this idea on a couple of blogs and originally intended on giving them away as gifts,

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but after making them, I don’t think I can part with them. They’re super easy to make and only take a few simple supplies.

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Supplies: Plain bulb ornaments (I used clear ones from Michael’s, but metallic red would be just as cute!) White acrylic paint paint brush Little hands Something fun to fill your ornament with, I used sparkly tinsel Permanent markers to draw on embellishments

Instructions: Carefully paint your kids’ hands (Be prepared for lots of squeals) Have them carefully ‘grab’ the bulb, being careful not to move their fingers. I helped to press their fingers onto the bulb. Use markers or acrylic paint to draw on embellishments: Scarf, hat, eyes, buttons, nose, arms Write their name and year onto the palm of each ornament and hang on tree, or give as gifts! Warning: These turned out so cute I couldn’t bear to part with them, sorry grandmas!

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Toot toot, All Aboard The Minivan Express! I was so excited when I found this idea for The Minivan Express! If you know me at all, you know that I ran right into Photoshop and made up some Golden Tickets for the adventure! And you also know I have them here to share with you of course!

the ticket hidden under their covers, I’m hoping for lots of giggles and screams to see if everyone has a ticket! Upon entrance to The Minivan Express, we will hole punch the ticket (you know for effect and all.) Next, we’ll travel around the city looking at all the beautiful lights. We may even stop somewhere for a fun snack on the way home. What a fun Christmas tradition to start, I can’t wait! Some book stores do readings around Christmas time, so check for those as well, what a great surprise to go to the bookstore for story time in your jammies! Hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season! Following are some more Christmas Ideas. You can also visit my blog and click on the Art/Christmas tab for a list of all of our Christmas Crafts and activities!

You can download the file here. I plan on going online and seeing where the best Christmas lights are in our area, then planning a little map so our nights not a bust! In a week or so when no one is expecting it, I will hide the “Golden Tickets” in my kids’ beds. My husband will start bed/bath-time as usual, while I prepare little bags of popcorn and cups of hot chocolate then place them in their car seats. I will also make sure to have Christmas music playing in the van. When they go to climb into bed, they will find P. 36

The ADVENTure of Christmas Snowflake Votive Candles Felt Christmas Tree Sugarcone Christmas Tree Gingerbread House The Jesse Tree Minivan Express Tickets Polar Express Nativity Scene Handprint Ornament Monogram Ornament Operation Christmas Child Paper Cup Rudolph Santa Craft Beaded Snowflakes Paper Snowflakes Sparkly Snowflakes

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Analia Capurro:

Analia is the designer and owner of Ingles360.net® and the author of all the educational resources sold in her website. After 20 years of teaching children she found that the only way children love learning is if teachers love learning and teaching, too. Promoting a learning environment where laugh, fun and friendship and companionship are as important as any language structure, are the things she had in mind while designed her bilingual resources.

Amy Roberts:

Amy is the homeschooling mother of 6 living children and one precious little girl named Emily being held in the Lord's arms. Her days are filled with giggly girls, rambunctious boys, and sticky baby kisses. At night she writes about it all at Raising Arrows, a blog dedicated to homeschooling, large family living, and hope for grieving hearts. It is her deepest desire that out of the overflow of her heart, her mouth should speak...and her fingers type.

Christine Hiester:

Christine is a Christian, homeschooling mom to three boys and a girl, ranging in age from 9 to 2 years old. She is a musician by trade, eclectic in homeschool style, and continues to grow and learn along with her children in this journey of life and discipleship at home. Visit her blog at Fruit in Season.

Erica:

Erica is a daughter of Jesus, a wife, a mom, and a homeschooler. She likes to digiscrap and dabbles in graphic design in her *free* time. She authors Confessions of a Homeschooler and would love you to drop by for a visit anytime!

Karen DeBeus:

Karen is married to the love of her life, Steve, and a homeschooling mom of 4 children ages 10-2. She was called to homeschool when her oldest was kindergarten age after thinking, “I could never do THAT!” Now she is passionate about encouraging others on their homeschool journey. She is also working on simplifying all areas of her life, including homeschool, and putting God first in all she does. Read more about her journey to simplify at www.simplylivingforhim.com.

Tricia Hodges: Tricia gave up life in the drive thru lane for the joy-filled road home. She homeschools five children from preschool to middle school. You can find her facing that daily dose of chaos at Hodgepodge. There she writes about practical schooling strategies and shares how she is saving bucks and her sanity with the frugal recipes of her Southern roots. Tricia is also known as Hodgepodgemom. P. 38

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Karin Katherine:

Karin is a wife, homemaker, writer, blogger, speaker and Christian homeschooling mother of 5. She lives in Palm Beach County with her husband, 5 children, a plethora of science projects and various reptiles. One of Karin Katherine’s biggest passions is to support and encourage homeschooling parents in the education of their children. Always one to stay on top of the latest resources for homeschoolers, Karin is equally passionate about sharing resources with other home educators. Through her desire to share resources she created the Homeschool Resource and Ed Resource Toolbars—-a FREE browser tool bar loaded with the best online resources for home educators and educators alike!

Sheila Carroll:

Sheila is founder of Living Books Curriculum, a program of study inspired by the methods of Charlotte Mason. The proceeds of LBC establish CM-style schools in Africa through Carroll’s non-profit organization, Education in a Box.

Kimberly Bredberg:

Kimberly has been a homeschool mom for 16 years and is an advocate for reform in education. Her book, Habits of Being: Artifacts from the Classroom Guild, is forthcoming this spring. She is a founding partner of Blackbird & Company Educational Press and Collective Banter.com and is a regular contributor to fourandtwenty.typepad.com as well as being involved in developing an innovative line of curriculum. Her writing and visual art students have received numerous awards including regional and national recognition by the Scholastic Alliance for Arts and Writing and have been published in online and in-print journals. Long ago the California resident, mother of four, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in biological psychology and fine art, graduate training in clinical art therapy, and more recently earned her MFA in creative writing.

Melinda Boring:

Melinda has been married to Scott for 25 years and has three homeschooled children. Her 22 yr. old son and 21 yr. old daughter graduated from home school in 2006, leaving Melinda an “empty desker” of two along with her 17 year old daughter who will graduate in 2011. Two of her children and her husband have been diagnosed with AD/HD. The children also deal with auditory processing disorders and sensory processing challenges. The name “Boring” just doesn’t fit this family, and Melinda shares many humorous moments in her speaking and writing endeavors. Melinda is the author of Heads Up Helping and has been a contributing author to multiple publications. She is a workshop presenter with a passion for helping struggling learners and providing practical strategies, compassion, and understanding for those with special needs. Melinda is also a speech/language pathologist with over 25 years experience and the owner of Heads Up, a company with products for those who learn differently. You can find her blog at the Heads Up website, where she writes as “Heads Up Mom”. Heart of the Matter

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Heart of the Matter Online Magazine, October 2011