February 2019 Memory Work Plans

Hi there, friends! It is coooold in 80 percent of the continental US at the moment, and Tennessee is no different! But the end of winter is coming, albeit slowly. February marks that time of year in our lives when we are weary of winter and waiting for spring. It also frequently marks that tired time of the year for homeschool families when everyone just wants to quit. So I offer you some brand new memory work to liven things up a little bit!

If you have been following our memory work plans for a while, you may notice that this month’s Scripture memory portion is a lot shorter than usual. That is because we have started using the Scripture Memory System recommended by Sonya Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason. I wanted to have time to be reviewing the passages we had already memorized without making that portion of our morning time together seem like a burden. As a result, we are probably going to keep our passages in the 1-3 verse range for a while.

February Memory Work

Prayer: God Be in My Head from The Sarum Primer

Hymn: Crown Him with Many Crowns

Catechism: Review Questions 11 and 12 of the New City Catechism (shorter version)

Motto: Family Way #7 from Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson

Scripture: Ephesians 4:29

Poetry: The Wild Flower’s Song by William Blake

Folksongs: Walk That Lonesome Valley, I Love You a Bushel and a Peck

Free Printable Plans

I am including a free printable version of these memory work plans for you all! I went back to the landscape layout for the smaller binder pages this month, as well as changing up fonts and doing a little embellishing. Let me know if you are using these memory work plans, and if you have any questions or suggestions. Until next time, have a happy homeschool day!

What I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Homeschool Mom Self

Recently I have had a few conversations with younger mothers who are eager to embark on their homeschool journey. These chats have reminded me of all the things I wish someone had told me when I was considering homeschool in those preschool years. Since this is on my mind, I thought I would share here on the blog in the hopes this advice helps out some other mom who wants to make the most of the early childhood years! Before you go out and buy some expensive preschool curriculum or fill your child’s days with endless workbook pages, read on…

Tip Number 1:

My number one tip to you as you consider learning at home in the early years (up to age 6), is this:

RELAX!

Seriously. Just take a deep breath. It is easy to get caught up in the current cultural ideas of early academics. But the research does not back up the push to get kids reading, writing and doing math drills at a young age. The best thing you can do with your young children is to enjoy them being little and not worry about skills that will be easier to teach/learn later when they are more developmentally and behaviorally ready. Instead of stressing about curriculum, why don’t you spend some time researching different homeschool styles and philosophies. Take the opportunity to educate yourself and consider what sort of educational philosophy most resonates with you.

Tip Number 2:

But, you may ask, what can I do to add some intentional learning and structure to our days without going overboard? My first advice is to read aloud. A lot. Every day, multiple times a day, sit down and read a picture book to your child. Read the best books you can get your hands on. Get a library card and go as often as you can. Borrow audio books off Hoopla or Overdrive, and listen to them in the car. Look at AmblesideOnline Year 0 book lists for some great suggestions. Sign up for the free book lists from Read Aloud Revival for seasonal picture book ideas and family read alouds (not all for preschoolers, but still a good resource.) Or get your hands on a copy of the book Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt, which has a great book list, as well as inspiration for reading with your children!

Tip Number 3:

Other than reading all the time, go outside as much as possible. Take advantage of the good weather whenever you can and get outside. If it is cold, bundle up and go for a nature walk to see if you can spot migrating birds or find interesting seed pods or look at beautiful frost flowers. If it is hot, turn on the sprinkler or fill up the kiddy pool and get wet. If it is rainy, put on your boots and go splash in the puddles. Go to any scenic parks and nature centers you can find locally, not just playgrounds. Notice animals, birds, leaves, rocks, sticks, bugs, clouds, flowers, etc. Get dirty.

Tip Number 5:

For indoor play, look up sensory activities to experience together. Sand, water beads, “clean mud,” plain old water, pouring beans/rice, play dough, cloud dough, etc. (Google and Pinterest are your friend here!) Listen to beautiful music. Sing children’s songs (I have a list of good ones here —> 100 Songs to Sing with Children.) Look at beautiful art. Your library should have some books with collections of art prints to flip through. Let them paint, draw, color, stamp, and paint some more. Teach basic household chores like folding washcloths, matching socks, wiping the table, sweeping the floor with a little broom and dustpan, setting the table, and washing produce.

I’ll say it again…

Most importantly, I want to reiterate my first point. Relax. Enjoy this precious time with your young child. Embrace the wonder and curiosity that he or she naturally has right now. Don’t sweat the academics. There will be time for that later. Slow down. Don’t rush. They will grow up so fast, even though I know it doesn’t feel that way right now. Trust me…you won’t regret holding off on those workbooks and curricula, momma. Just love on your kiddos. It will be okay.

Further Reading and Resources:

The Homegrown Preschooler is a book that comes highly recommended and has lots of ideas for learning in the early years.

A helpful blog post by one of my favorite homeschool mentors, Brandy Vencel: Looking Back: What I Wish I’d Know About Homeschooling in the Early Years

Another of my virtual homeschool mentors, Mystie Winkler, also wrote on the topic of the classical kindergarten: Dear Mom who wants to give her 5-year-old a classical education

Sarah MacKenzie of Read Aloud Revival’s blog post on the early years: 6 Ways to Early Years You Won’t Regret

Advent 2018 Memory Work Plans and Free Printable

During the month of December, we take an official break in our homeschool. Since we value consistency and enjoy our morning time together, though, I still like to continue some sort of recitation and read-aloud routine. It will look a little different than our regular monthly memory work because of it being Advent season. I planned several hymns and carols and no catechism or motto for this month.

Our full morning time plan is to read the “Parents and Children” part of one devotional from Come Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp. After that we will do our recitation/memory work, followed by a chapter or two from a read aloud, and ending by opening a card on our Advent tree to find out what the day’s activity will be. So far, I have planned that we will read aloud The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and The True GiftWhen we finish those, I will choose short stories from either The Children’s Book of Christmas Stories or Louisa May Alcott’s Aunt Jo’s Scrap Bag volumes (which are not all Christmas stories, but I found at least one in each collection.)

Advent 2018 Memory Work Plans:

Scripture: Our scripture passage this month is Luke 2:1-7.

Hymns and Carols: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Joy to the World” are our hymns. “Good King Wenceslas” and “Cradle Hymn” are our carols. I created a short playlist with variations of each song in case you would like to watch/listen to them with your family.

Poem: We will be memorizing “A Christmas Folk Song” by Lizette Woodworth Reese for our poetry selection.

Free Printable Plans:

If you need some quick last minute memory work plans, here is the free download link to print and use in your own homeschool morning time. These are formatted only in the horizontal style for use as a booklet or in a mini-binder because I didn’t have time to reorganize them for full size binder pages this time. Enjoy!

Day 29: Together #write31days2018

I’m a day behind again (or still), so I’m just writing as if I’m not.

Today was my son’s birthday, and we spent the whole day doing some of his favorite things together for fun. Going to the library, hiking at the park, buying new shoes, making his cake and pizza for dinner. We had a really great day. And I am so tired. It was all simple, nothing extravagant or expensive. (Well, the shoes seemed expensive, but my son needed two pairs and my daughter also needed a pair!)

Just us. Together.

This is pretty normal life for us. As a homeschooling family, we spend a lot of time doing things as a family. When the kids were younger, it often felt hard to be alone with them, but now that my kids are old enough to enjoy playing and reading and drawing together, it is becoming so sweet. I love watching them become the people God intends them to be, even though that includes a lot of tiring, repetitive training.

Chew with your mouth closed.

Please stop whining and use your normal voice.

How do you ask for something nicely?

Don’t stand on the couch.

You get the picture. Parts of parenting are simply mundane and wearying. Some days I do just want to be alone and have a little peace and quiet. But at the same time, I am sincerely thankful that we get so much time together. I think that when my kids are grown, they are going to be some of my very best friends. And I will always be able to look back on these memories we made together and know it was time well spent.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 28: Song #write31days2018

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that music and singing are important in our family. Not only is my husband a music pastor, but we both majored in music in college and have both led choirs of various ages. In our homeschool, as well, music has a prominent place.

Each day during our morning time, my children and I sing a hymn and one or two folk songs. We also listen to instrumental pieces by important composers weekly. My son has to practice piano every day, and I have also gotten back into the habit of practicing a couple of piano pieces daily!

Song is such an important part of our family culture. It expressed praise to our Creator. It gives us a creative outlet. It forms a basis for shared family memories. I don’t know what we would do if we couldn’t sing or play music together.

As I think on the importance of music in our home and homeschool, I realize that it is nearly the end of October. That means that it is time for me to get another set of Memory Work Plans posted here! So I will take this opportunity to share those as an addition to this post. We are going with a Thanksgiving theme, of course!

November Memory Work Plans

Due to the demands of writing daily for the Write 31 Days challenge, I am not able to offer a printable plan for download this month. I did include links to everything, though. I hope that next month I will be able to continue the printables, though. Thanks for understanding!

Prayer: For our prayer this month, we will be using Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem “We Thank Thee.”

Catechism: This month we are reviewing questions 7 and 8 of the New City Catechism.

Hymn: The AmblesideOnline hymn for this month is All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name. We have not previously done this one in our homeschool, so we will be doing it as scheduled.

Mottos: We are learning Way #5 from Our 24 Family Ways (affiliate link) this month.

Scripture: Our scripture passage this month is Psalm 100.

Poem: Last month we learned the first two stanzas of “When the Frost is on the Punkin,”so we will continue and memorize the final two this month.

Folk Songs: I just realized that I mixed up the scheduled AO folksongs for October and November, so we will be learning “Freight Train” and “Over the River and Through the Woods” this month.