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Great Little Lesson of Advent Stories

Advent is upon us and what a better way to celebrate it than with a little lesson perfect for family learning.  Advent and Christmas, People and their stories is a great little lesson written by Shell of   Thinking Love, No Twaddle blog. 

In her lesson Shell reminds us that Advent is a time of waiting and preparation but it is also a time for reflection.  In this unique lesson she examines the people who have been a part of the original story of Christmas from Scripture, tradition or even myths.  The people she highlights include:  St. Anne, St. Joachim, Anna the Prophetess, St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Zachariah, St. John the Baptist and others including the shepherds in the field,   The events highlighted include the Immaculate Conception, the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity and Circumcision of Jesus, the Nativity and Circumcision of St. John the Baptist and more.

This file is 49 pages in length and is designed for double sided printing so that you can cuddle up on the couch and read this like a book to the kiddos.  You could very easily print this single sided as well.  Some great features of this double sided printable lesson include:

-A wonderfully engaging text,
-Scripture references with a space to make notes on the page,
-Notebooking sheets,
-Lapbook pieces,
-Art lesson and picture study prompts,
-Discussion questions,
-Greek references for fun factual learning and more.

I must say that my favorite piece in this lesson is the Family Tree of Jesus!  (You can't see me, but I'm clapping.)  Oh! This will be great for the kiddos to see simply the comparison of Mother Mary's side of the Holy Family and St. Joseph's side as well.

My family and I are so excited to have received this in the inbox to share with you all today.  In a gesture of thanksgiving, please keep Shell and her family in your prayers. 

Download this Little Lesson: Advent and Christmas, People and their stories now.
See other Little Lessons and Resources from Shell.

Please feel free to share this post with others who may find it useful!


Teaching Grammar and Reviewing Theology with the Apostles' Creed Prayer

As promised, we have been focusing our home learning efforts on the learning and memorizing the new form of the Apostles' Creed.  To that end we have done grammar study, art work, memorization, copywork, catechism and spelling too.  I will pass along what we have done briefly and give you links to gather the resources for yourself from the new faith area of our resource website.

To help with memorization of the Creed and help children learn some of the other prayers said at Mass, I made some new Learning Prayer Cards sets.  The new form of the Apostles' Creed is featured in one of the learning card sets as well as the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel for Protection, which is said after daily masses.  Another learning card set features the Sanctus or Holy. Holy, Holy in Latin and also in English.  The new form is provided.

In the grammar department I typed out the new form of the Apostles' Creed as well as the old form and put them on separate sheets.  We then began comparing and contrasting the prayers grammatically.  The Apostles' Creed prayer sheets (plus the text from this lesson) are very useful for reference with many of the activities below.  We made some unique observations.
  1. The new form has only two sentences.  The old form has nine sentences.   Don't believe me?  See for yourself. Together the kids pointed out the subject and predicate of each of the long sentences.  Presented in a Who or what/Does what format, it is very simple to pick out the subject (noun portion) and predicate (verb portion).  You will also see the change in the number of pronouns as well.  Because of the reduction of sentences, there isn't the need to use the pronoun "he" very often. 
  2. The new form uses quite a few semi-colons and to a lesser degree, commas.  This is the perfect opportunity to highlight the functions and differences in both of these punctuation marks.  The semi-colon is used to separate complex ideas within the sentence - in its simplest explanation, but using your favorite grammar text will help you give further examples of proper use of both the semi-colon and comma.
  3. Another addition to this form of the Apostles' Creed includes the use of italics to signal the need for reverence to be given by the person or persons praying. The line which uses italics is: "who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary,"
  4. This is a great opportunity to discuss plural nouns. 
Apostles (more than one apostle)
Apostle's (belonging to one apostle)
Apostles' (belonging to more than one apostles or a group of apostles) 

Note the position and proper use of apostrophe.*

For our spelling practice this week I selected ten words that best represent the prayer to use as spelling list words for the week.  With only ten words, it can be easily accomplished by kiddos.  I also created a set of Ten Words about the Apostles' Creed copywork sheets.  This set includes trace work in print and cursive as well as a blank version for learners with better handwriting skills.  I simply printed out one sheet to use daily and gave a quick spelling check at the end of the week.

For other copywork, handwriting practice and also as an aide to help learn the prayer, I created copywork sheets for the Apostles' Creed.  Styles include a set for the Apostles' Creed in trace print, a set for the Apostles' Creed in trace cursive, and for more advanced writers, the Apostles' Creed in non-trace style.  With only a few lines per page, one sheet could be given out daily until the entire prayer is completed.

One of the easiest things to do with the Apostles' Creed is to pick out the twelve points on which our faith is based as it was proclaimed from the twelve apostles so many centuries ago.  Use the prayer sheets from above to look throughout the prayer.  Have children underline the points with different colors.  Here are the points distinguished with different colors below.  You can also find these in the CCC as well.

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, 
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried; 
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.  Amen.

These coloring art sheets help to distinguish and illustrate some of the important parts of the Apostles' Creed.  Each sheet gives a title, summary of what is occurring in the image as well as a line from scripture or the prayer itself.  Here are the sheets I used:

The Holy Trinity Joined by the Saints Coloring Sheet - This sheet depicts the Holy Trinity but also the communion of saints.  See if you can note the heavenly Father, the Son (the lamb) and the Holy Spirit (dove), the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Queen of Heaven , St. Joseph, St. Peter, St. Stephen, St. Mary Magdalen, the Holy Innocents, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Gabriel the Archangel, St. John the Baptist, the terms "Ave" (Hail) and Ecce Agnus Dei (Behold the Lamb).

Easter, The Resurrection Coloring Sheet - This last sheet features a portion of the Apostles' Creed in image and words.  Mary Magdalene meets Jesus just outside His tomb.  The angel is present as well.  Note the beautiful pious halo that is above Christ's head.

So, this is what we did this week to begin getting ready for the transition for the New Roman Missal. 

I hope you find this lesson very helpful!


The Apostles' Creed is Changing. Are you ready?

Apostles' Creed Prayer Mini-book
Advent marks the beginning of the new liturgical year as well as the institution of the New Roman Missal.  We are fortunate to be experiencing history in such a unique and heartfelt way.  There will be quite a few changes in the Mass including postures, prayers, responses, and music.  I will be sharing new resources, as I get them web ready, to help bring children (and even a few parents) closer to their faith this coming year.

One thing that many people do not realize is that the words to the Apostles' Creed prayer are changing.  The new translation should bring the English words closer to the Latin translation and will definitely cause us to pray more carefully and with a new kind of energy.  Oh, it is exciting!

Many of you who have been with us for the past few years know that we have resources that pertain directly to the Apostles' Creed.  Today I went through and updated all of our current resources that contain the words to the Apostles' Creed - Put it in Order prayer game, Prayers I Should Know Sheet, our printable Reconciliation booklet for children or adults and our Create an Apostles' Creed Prayer mini-book.  That being said, children will need to learn the new changes especially if you pray the rosary at home or use it in your parish instead of the Nicene Creed, which , too, has changed.

I will be featuring new resources including learning cards, copywork, coloring sheets, and prayer sheets to help teach about the new Apostles' Creed in the next bit - as soon as I finish the lessons with my own kiddos at home.  :) 


Narration, Narration, Narration

I have been under the weather lately as the tasks and demands of the school year are constant, my CCD class is in full swing with Advent and the New Roman Missal fast approaching, our choir is feverishly trying to learn the new music for the Holy Mass, and of course there is always life - laundry, cooking, training and disciplining the kids for heaven, helping with the family business, washing the dog, and on the list goes.  Serving others, however rewarding it is, can be very hard work.  But now I turn to homeschooling and the task of narration, which to young ones can also be very hard work.  But it doesn't have to be.

On one of the listservs I am on, has hosted quite a bit of posts and questions about narration in the CM style.  The same questions seem to come up. 

When to do it?
How to do it?
How to correct it?
How much is enough? 

So I thought that I would just take a moment to add a few thoughts.

In our home we tried starting narration orally while omitting writing.  This didn't work very well for us as my children wanted to begin writing very early, about age 6-7 years old.  I also tried making them wait to write, but that, too, was a waste of my time and energy and only lead to painful teaching periods.  So, I began written narration when my kids were ready irregardless of their age.  I recommend never squelching your child's desire to write.

When the kiddos wrote, I just let them write.  We ask our teen aged children to just write to get content down and then go back in a later draft, so why not just let the little ones do the same thing - write for content for the first while?  I did it for a whole year and the kids began writing even more and began noticing their own errors in their read-aloud sharing time. I didn't correct for grammar or spelling until they really understood the grammar concept first.  I began gently correcting more as more concepts were learned and vocabulary increased.

*As a side note, I never used a red pen, but rather green, orange, purple or something else that was fun and unexpected. 

Many moms are not sure about how much to require their children to narrate.  Just be fair to your child and you will have no problem.  We can't expect them to narrate every single subject daily until they are very comfortable writing and can do so when asked without any real hesitation.  Might I suggest writing daily, but in a specific variety of subjects.  I reserved two non-math/non-foreign language subjects to be really covered daily in the early years moving to about four to five subjects by grade 8.

How to narrate is actually the easiest for me share about as it just seemed a natural progression, however I must add that I have one gifted child who was already writing and typing her own full page narrations in Gr.3.  So rather than rewrite them out I will just share my series of three posts about CM style narration.

What Can We Do Once We Read a Book?

CM Series: Part I. Narration for Confident Readers and Writers
CM Series: Part II. - New Writers
CM Series: Part III. - Confident Learners Who Want to Be Creative

I hope my experiences will help you in your CM learning adventures in some small way.


Lest We Forget..Resources, Activities and a Reflection for November 11th

Resources to help children remember those who have gone before them.
My father, God rest his soul, fought in WWII.  He was drafted at age twenty along with his brothers to serve and protect his country in the armed forces.  He always felt it was an honour.  He never spoke about the fear he felt, but only of the obedient duties that he and his platoon performed.  Growing up, I remember seeing war photos that my dad had brought back with him from the war depicting the many prisoners and horrors he observed in the concentration camps in Germany.  As the army tanks rolled down the streets, his photos showed bodies disrespectfully strewn on the sides of the road and terror on the faces of men, women and children.  At age ten, I had truly come to understand the phrase of William Tecumseh Sherman, "War is hell."  And yet, many of our fallen brothers and sisters have been forgotten by the present generation.

Let us help our children remember those who have gone before them to afford them and us the luxury to be safe and free, to be Christians, as well as to be able to homeschool our children.  In today's world of video games depicting glorified violence without consequence, misplaced reverence of pride, and morally numbing activities that confuse children and adults alike about their own identities as human beings, men and women, citizens and Christians - I'm sure my father would agree that he did not offer to lay down his life for this degeneration of humanity.   We can remember the past and current sacrifices of peacekeepers and veterans by choosing to do a few of the activities below.
November 11th - Remembrance Day, Armed Forces Day, or Veteran's Day - is a day to remember all those who have gone before us securing our rights and freedoms and those of others as well.  It is also affords us a formal opportunity as honour those who are still serving and peacekeeping around the world. 

Here are a few resource ideas to help you celebrate this day in your family.

1.  Pray and attend Mass. 
As our Pastor suggested to us, attend Mass on the November 11th and offer Holy Communion for the departed souls who have died in war.  Their souls should also be remembered with your daily prayers all November for the Holy Souls.

2.  Observe a moment of silence and reflection. 
In Canada, the population observes the designated moments of silence of the eleventh minute, of the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month.  For just a few moments, we are encouraged to stop and be thankful that others that have gone before us were courageous, honourable, obedient, and selfless.

3.  Create a visible reminder. 
Whether you place family photos of loved ones past on the fireplace mantle or paint a picture of a field of poppies, encourage your children to remember this important day in a way they can find meaningful.  Perhaps you may want to create a bouquet of red paper poppies with the name of family or friends who have served or are still serving in peacekeeping missions.  Place your bouquet in a prominent place and pray the rosary for those shown on your flowers.

4.  Read through the poem, In Flanders Field by John McCrae. 
You can find it at the bottom of this post.  Reading through the poem can not only be a little lesson on how to read poetry and identify rhyme scheme, but it is also an opportunity to better understand the role of the poppy used for celebration and memorial services on Remembrance Day in Canada. 

Perhaps you would like to use this as copy work?  We have some trace copywork sheets just for this purpose in print as well as cursive. 
Download the In Flanders Field copywork.  There are twelve pages in all.

5.  Learn about St. Maximilian Kolbe.
This inspirational saint was a Polish Franciscan Friar who volunteered to die in the place of a stranger while he was held in the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz, in Poland.  You may want to print out our St. Maximilian saint collector trading card or perhaps complete a My Book Mini-book about him using your favourite resources at home or from the Internet.
Download our Saint Maximilian Kolbe Saint Trading Card.
Download our Saint Maximilian Kolbe Mini-book.
Download our Saint Maximilian Kolbe Spiritual Copywork.

6.  Think about soldiers as individuals.
Using our graphic organizer template, note the virtues or positive attributes (adjectives) of the image pictured in the centre.  There is also a blank template for you in case you would like to place or draw a picture of a military hero - a family member, friend, or public figure - and note the virtues or positive attributes that this person personified.

7.  Learn more about the holiday and its meaning.
Here are a few ways that you can learn more:

-Talk to a veteran or schedule one to come and speak to your homeschool group or co-op.  Veteran's can be found in almost every parish and retirement community.  They are usually eager to share their stories and experiences with others especially young people who show interest.

-Visit a museum to learn more about your local history and veteran's from your area.  Our town is lucky enough to have a memorial museum where visitors can see authentic photographs, artifacts, maps and more from the WWI and WWII.  Local veterans are highlighted and honoured and the museum is run by the veterans.

-Borrow child friendly books from your local library such as Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting by Jim Murphy or A Poppy is to RememberLightburn.

Let us always strive to remember, honour and pray for those who have gone before us in obedience, courage and love.

I hope you find these resources helpful.


In Flanders Field
by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


Homeschool Blog Award

We've been nominated!

Our little resource blog has been nominated in the "Best Craft, Plans, and Projects Blog" category.

We would be so grateful if you cast your vote for our little blog,
That Resource Site.

Thank you and God bless.

Don't forget to turn back your clocks and resources to practice telling time.

Well, it's time for the daylight savings time change to go into affect again.  You remember the little rhyme, don't you:  Spring forward and Fall Back.  It helps to us to remember which way to move the clock during the time changes.

Coming from Hawaii where there aren't any seasons and certainly no time changes, this was all new to me when I moved to Canada almost fifteen years ago.  I'm better at remembering to adjust my clocks twice a year now, but I am willing to put up with any inconvenience just to see God's glory in the changing of the seasons and watch the leaves change from green to red to gold to brown.  It is just spectacular!!

This week I was thinking about time.  What does it mean to us on a daily basis? I decided to cover it in our math lessons this week.  Let's start with a simple game.

"What time is it, Mr. Wolf?" You can hear this game being played almost daily at any play park you visit. One group asks what time it is and with their back to the other, the "wolf" tells the players the time, hoping to bring them close enough to catch them.  Well, many of us have been caught by time. We don't have enough of it, we need more of it, we wish it would slow down or speed up for our convenience. It is the difference between a cooked and burnt dinner, finishing or winning a race between friends, or hitting a yellow light or a red one in the family van. We need to teach our children not only how to tell time but how to use it wisely. 

As Catholics, we must learn to be excellent stewards of our time whether we are sitting for an hour in Mass or an hour in the Adoration Chapel with our Lord or an hour reading to our children. Begin teaching your kids how to recognize and use time (and their watch) now! 

So I thought that I would share that I have a few simple printables that you may find useful in beginning to introduce your children to time.

Math O'clock Time Match Game
This cut apart, card-matching game is for elem + and focuses on telling time to the hour without a numbered clock face.

This game uses cards depicting a non-numbered clock face and the numeral + o’clock combination to teach children to recognize time on the hour. All pictures should orient with the black dot at 12 o'clock spot. This is especially valuable for young learners who are confident in numbers but not in telling time by arm positions alone. This was created after my little one and I sat in the dentist office one day and she couldn't figure out how long it was until her appointment time because the clock face didn't have any numbers.

Telling Time Practice
This worksheet can be used for K-Gr.4 .  Learners can practice telling time by drawing hands on the face of the clocks. Learner can be assigned times to use or can choose independently and identify both the time in digits as well as by drawing the hands on the face of the clock.

Calendar Fun worksheets
Calendars are another method of tracking and daily counting that can help children get a handle on the concept of time.  Practice time recognition using our calendar worksheets that kids can really relate to.  Interactive fun involves recognizing days of the week, ordinal numbers, simple counting and recognizing picture clues. I had planned to do the entire year originally but I just never got back to this set.  At any rate you can get worksheets for Calendar Fun Worksheet for November and Calendar Fun Worksheet for September.

We also covered time in our planet studies this week comparing how long a day was on each planet versus our 24 hour day here on earth.  Kiddos had lots of fun with this project and it is a great piece when it is completed to show case what they have learned - it even includes poetry.  I'll be sharing that resource shortly. If you are covering planets and space in your learning, you won't want to miss it.

Don't forget to make time to pray for those you love and the Holy Souls this week!



Fun and Bright Latin Worksheets to Practice Counting and Simple Translation

Learning a foreign language can be a very difficult challenge.  Research has shown that the younger the student is, the faster and easier it is for them to develop a firm and working knowledge of a foreign or second language.

In our little homeschool we are studying Latin.  To help my kiddos learn to master concepts such as counting, I created two new sets of Latin worksheets.  As I am beginning to get in a little better rhythm lately, I have started going back to creating some new and different resources - including these two sets of Latin worksheets. 

Since Latin is the language of our Faith, we have decided to study it religiously (no pun intended) and try to bring it to life for our children even though it is a dead language.

Here are two different style worksheet sets for you to use to solidify the concept of counting from one to ten in Latin.

Count to Ten in Latin Worksheets

This first set asks children to count the pictures and write the number out in Latin.  The graphics are fun and inviting and the story line makes children want to engage in the translation.  A challenge counting question is asked although children are not expected to answer it in Latin.  This set provides three different worksheets and answer sheets as well.

Count and Translate in Latin Worksheets

One of my kiddos loves to draw and do art but does not like to practice her Latin very much.  So, that being said, I created a four page set of worksheets that encourages children to count, translate and write out simple words as well as DRAW out the answers.  This has been a real hit with my daughter.  Latin practice seemed to take on a life of its own with these resources.  Answer sheets are provided.

I hope you find these Latin worksheets useful.  Feel free to leave me a comment on the download page or on this post itself.  I'd love to hear what you think.  I know that trying to find fun and bright Latin resources can be quite difficult and I hope to start developing more resources in Latin.