Feel-Good Thanksgiving Place Cards

emily_centerpieceMake your Thanksgiving table extra “feel-good” this holiday by tucking a heart-warming surprise inside each guest’s place card!

Make homemade place cards by folding a plain 3 x 5″ index card in half (or cut your own from colored card stock). Write each guest’s name on the front and decorate with stickers or drawings, front and back. Heap these into a basket with some pens, so that incoming guests can pick a card out and discover the guest’s name. Then inside the place card, they can write an anonymous compliment to the person, telling about one trait that they are appreciate.

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Children, Walruses…and Training Good Behavior

walrus-74080_1280When we last visited Sea World, I couldn’t help noticing the children in the crowd—and the training their parents were unknowingly giving them—in contrast to the sea animals and the purposeful training they were carefully receiving.

When the walrus even began to turn his head in the right direction, the trainer responded with a big handful of fish, stroking his skin, and praising him. It was obvious that if the trainer ignored good behavior, or approached wrong behavior with a slap or criticism, the walrus would quickly “un-train”. It took constant positive reinforcement to keep the animals willing to do the trainer’s bidding.

Children are not walruses, of course, but as I observed the crowd, I saw parents interacting with their children and it was very instructive. I saw children behaving wonderfully well, but they were given no positive reinforcement or attention at all. Misbehaving children were given plenty of negative attention, scolding and occasionally a spank. Some misbehaving kids were actually bought off with treats or souvenirs to shut them up and keep them happy. It is amazing with this kind of parenting that we don’t “un-train” our children and numb them from ever trying to please us, or respect any kind of authority!

Soothing words, kind treatment, genuine quiet praise, focused attention, sincere appreciation for cooperative behavior, rewards skillfully given to those who are really trying to control themselves and behave—this is what truly works in the long run.

Both with walruses and kids!

May I recommend:

Remember Your Manners

Remember Your Manners

Social skills are so important!  Take time in your home school to make sure your children are taught how to get along socially by behaving mannerly. This helpful resource contains 15 reproducible stories and 35 teaching posters, activities, role-play ideas, and guided questions. The stories and activities reinforce those important magic words, making friends, mealtime manners, phone etiquette, good sportsmanship, good citizenship, kindness, honesty, responsibility, showing respect, self-control, and more! 160 pages. Reproducible. Great for special needs kids or children age 3 and up.

Uncommon CourtesyUncommon Courtesy

Courtesy really has become uncommon! Maybe it is different where you live, but out West it seems that rudeness is the rule. Here’s some courteous know-hows on living with your fellowmen respectfully and happily. When we were young, if our parents didn’t teach us to be mannerly, it still rubbed off from society, since others expected you to behave properly. Not always so today—it is time for this book! Uncommon Courtesy for Kids teaches table manners, phone manners, rules for church, courtesy words such as “pardon me,” “please,” and “thank you,” how to treat adults, how to act on public transportation, manners in the car, and more. Each topic is treated by listing several rules in large type so that it can be used as a visual aid or poster. The rules are also illustrated in full-page black-and-white cartoon drawings. We must choose to be courteous and develop the discipline of courtesy each day. We do not stumble into being a gentlemen or a lady. A good one!

Blunders Board Game

Blunders Board Game

Blunders! We all make them! Teach your children the social skills that will help them for a lifetime with this clever new game that makes learning manners and good social skills fun! Through funny and blundering adventures, you’ll learn table manners, dining etiquette, confident introductions, host and guest skills, telephone manners, how to show respect and kindness, how to avoid gossiping, bullying, and teasing. 2009 Game of the Year Award. For ages 5 to 10 years, 2-8 players.

Pencil Weather

apples-85152_1280Ahh…autumn weather is blowing in, gusty and cool. The mountain trees are turning red, orange and gold. It’s “pencil weather”!

With a full measure of summer fun tucked away, we can fully turn to the important task of education. This morning my daughter Emily was reminiscing about her childhood of homeschooling. She spoke of mother and children gathered in the family room with cozy socks on and with our stacks of books, deep in learning something interesting while the upcoming lunch chili soup bubbled on the stove.  Pencil weather makes one yearn for that!

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Check the Calendar!

School has started in most states. Is your homeschool in session?  

There is always such a fun excitement with “firsts” but it sure doesn’t take too long to figure out what has holding power and what needs serious revision in your homeschooling plans! One of the things that seems to hold interest always is the calendar and weather chart.  Maybe the daily changing is what keeps attention…not sure…but the kids seem to love to document the passing of time and changing of the weather.

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Have a Happy Homeschool Day!


Isn’t it just fun to be alive and free to learn!


Visit my new website for some homeschooling encouragement today!
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For Kids Who Love Space

astronaut-11050_1280My daughter Louisa wanted to study astronomy for science in homeschool. She is 12 years old and has her definite preferences, so I began a search for some resources to help. I discovered Apologia Science books for grades K-6 grade. The chapters are fun to read aloud together, and they have experiments at the end that we had a good time doing. The experiments didn’t use any odd ingredients, so I could really pull them together quickly—I love that!

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Gearing Up for School



Looks like it’s that time again. In spite of the fact that it is the dead heat of summer, you can’t miss the school supplies sales in the stores and the shut down of the local swimming pool. I wish summer lasted a little longer!

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What Does Homeschooling Look Like?

What does homeschooling look like?

It looks like LOVE

Children bask in the time Mom spends with them, and what better way to spend time than learning and discovering together?  Love is spelled “t-i-m-e”. [Read more…]

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