Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Tell Me a Story

Once again, The Timberdoodle Company has come through with another stellar product for homeschooled and public schooled children alike!  Whether you have been blessed with an artistic kiddo that likes to draw and create stories, or have a child that just needs a little encouragement in the creativity department, 99 Stories I Could Tell, the brain child of Nathan Pyle, will fit the bill.

What is it?
99 Stories I Could Tell is a 99 page paperback book with drawing and writing prompts to help your child begin to create stories in their heads- 99 to be exact. Beginning on page one, your child is guided by the author, as a character in the book, on the rules of engagement- "user guidelines" he calls them.  The next few pages encourages doodle practice.

The rest of the book looks like this-

The left side of the page uses writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing, and the right side of the page uses doodles to create a nine block of story prompts.  Each two page spread after that is the same lay out, with new writing a doodle prompts.  On each of the nine doodle blocks is a different symbol to help you reference your story.

At the end of the book you will find spaces to list your 99 story titles, and then reference the corresponding page where you brainstormed the idea.

What it is not! 
Notice I said brainstormed the idea.  Nowhere in this book will your child actually write out any of their stories.  This is just a place to help them create those stories in their heads and have visual prompts to remind them of those stories.  From there they can either choose to write the best of the best down to share or save, or just have a neat place to go to remind them of their stories.

This book is so open-ended and creative.  It is perfect for those kids that just need a little push to get started.  Though there are doodles provided to begin with- Nathan encourages the reader to break the rules, draw over the lines, add things and be creative- no boxes to check!

The writing prompts are fun and engaging and don't have a lot of space to write, so they will not intimidate those non writing kids out there!  They can just jot down a few sentences and move on.

Ok, there are a few.  One, when we read through the first few pages we were seriously confused on how it all worked.  Once we figured out what Nathan was talking about with the coding system so you could reference back to what story you were talking about from your final list, we were ready to go!

If you have a kiddo who is not confident in their "art"skills, the doodle part may be a bit intimidating at first.  That being said, the author does a great job of showing ideas and allowing time for doodle practice.  Once they get started, there will be no stopping them.

My opinion?
I like the little book a lot.  The quality is great- it even has a plastic cover on it to protect it and make it a more lasting memento for your child to have. Once I got over the idea that they were not actually writing out the stories, I embraced it- see you can teach an old homeschooling mom new tricks!  What a fun idea to just have a reference point to jog your memory about a story you have to tell.  It makes me think of a time when stories were passed from one person to another, and sometimes one generation to another just through word of mouth.  What a great skill to develop!

This could also be a great way to catalog family stories that you share! Maybe have each person in your family take turns, notating family stories and memories made, so that in years to come you will remember and can easily share and pass those stories on to the next generations.

And oh my word, what stories we could tell these days, right?

99 Stories I Could Tell is recommended for 6th graders up, and is also included in the Timberdoodle  9th Grade Curriculum Kit.

Monday, April 6, 2020

A Project a Day Challenge

You knew it was coming, right?  Those of you who know me know I love cleaning and organizing- my home and others!  34 Weeks of Clean and Clearing Out The Clutter were born from my need to organize my life, and they have kept many busy as well!

Since we are into week 4 for many of self isolating, we are continuing on our family challenges as a way to help keep ourselves busy.  We started with A Letter a Day, and last week we challenged ourselves with A Verse a Day!  I pray both have been a blessing to you and others during this challenging time.  If you have not gotten around to those two challenges- hey, it is never too late to begin.

So this week-

A Project a Day!

Now, as you will see, most of these are seemingly pretty "mom" specific. I urge you to alter them to suit your family's needs.  For instance, when you do your junk drawer, have your kids work on their desks drawers.  Or when you do your pocketbook, get your husband to work on his night side table drawer. (just saying!)  Or while you do your jewelry, have your whole family work on their sock and underwear drawers! And shoes?  I am willing to bet everyone could go through a good shoe purge. I am also willing to bet you can come up with several others areas in your home that could use a little attention.  Unlike 34 Weeks of Clean, this is not supposed to be a long, drawn out process.  Just a fun project to get you motivated each day so you can feel like you checked something off your daily to-do list!

Here's the thing- during our regularly busy days, things pile up because we "don't have the time."


Instead of looking at it as a negative, let's accept it as a gift from the Lord and get moving on those honey do lists!  By the end of the week, you can pat yourself on the back and have a little family celebration for a job well done!  Maybe the person who gets the most done can choose a special dessert to make that everyone can share!

Are you ready?  GO!

Monday- Clean out your junk drawer.  Or drawers!  Let' face it, these catch all drawers, or areas, pile up throughout the year with stuff we just don't need.  Now is a great time to pull it all out (a 34 Weeks of Clean trick) and sort through it.  Toss old pens and half chewed pencils, old notes, and expired coupons.  Return things to where they really belong and enjoy your neatly arranged space!

Tuesday- Clean out your jewelry.  Really!  When is the last time you took a good look at all the jewelry you have tucked here and there?  Again, put it all in one location and then piece by piece sort though it.  Broken?  Toss it.  Haven't worn it in 6 plus months?  Time to get rid of it.  Let someone else enjoy it if you are not!  If something is just taking up space maybe it is time to rethink why you are keeping it.

Wednesday- Clean out your pocketbook.  Dump it out, take the time to wipe it down or even toss it in the washing machine, and then return only what you need.  Just for fun, let us know what the most unusual thing you found hiding in the depths is!

Thursday- Clean out your shoes.  Since most of us are in the about-to-change-seasons stage, now is a good time to clean up the winter shoes and put them away.  If any seem pretty tired, tired to toss them.  Pull out those summer shoes, summer is coming I promise, and evaluate what you have.  If they look like they have seen better days, hurt your feet, or did not even get worn last year, time to move them out! I realize shoes are a sore spot with many woman, but trust me when I say you CAN have too many.  Find a few pair you love and feel comfortable in, and then spend your hard earned money somewhere else.

Friday- Your choice!  Do you have an area in your house that is calling your name?  How about a space in your home you avoid?  Or one that is the bane of your existence?  Today is the day to face the giant!  Turn on some fun money, grab a helper, and get started.  You can do it!

Friends, I pray you are not just surviving the shelter at home recommendation, but even thriving. These are challenging times, but we can do it!  Take this time to slow your life down, reconnect with your family, and stay safe!

You are loved!


Monday, March 30, 2020

A Verse a Day Challenge

Hey friends!  Last week's letter writing challenge was so popular we decided to do three more weeks of challenges for you and your family.  Hopefully by that time our world will have settled back down a bit and a new normal will have taken place!  Here's praying!

Last week's A Letter a Day Challenge was meant to encourage you to bless others.  I hope you had fun doing so and were able to reach out to some people that maybe you haven't talked to in a while.  Letting others know you care and that they are not alone can bring such comfort, especially in troubled times as now.

This week we are going to minister to ourselves and our own families a bit with-

A Verse a Day Challenge

I am giving you five scripture verses that I pray will encourage you, bring you peace, and provide comfort to you.  These may seem pretty common verses to many, but what I find is often people know bits and pieces of them but are not able to really quote the whole verse along with it's reference.  I am guilty for sure!

I would encourage you each morning to write out the verse for the day and put it somewhere central where everyone can see it all day!  By just repeating it together as a family several times throughout the day (maybe at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime), you will find you know it!  Bonus if you place it in several places to be seen throughout your house!

Each morning, see who can recite the previous day's verse, and then start with a new one.

Have littles around?  Make it fun!  Maybe have a small prize at the end of the week for whomever can recite the most verses.  Or celebrate your accomplishments together with a fun dessert at the end of the week.  I am willing to bet your kids will learn them faster than you will- ask me how I know!  Anyone else an old AWANA mom? ;)

The point is to rest easy in the arms of our loving father with His words hidden in our heart.

 Whenever you are feeling anxious, you can remind yourself of His truth and His love!

Can't wait to hear how you do!

Monday- 2 Tim. 1:7-For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Tuesday- Phil. 4:6-7 -Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday- Phil 4:8-  Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 

Thursday- John 16:33- I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Friday- Psalm 56:3-4- When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

Oh, and next week,we are going to use up some of that nervous energy! ;)


Monday, March 23, 2020

A Letter A Day Challenge

Okay, I know we are now week two into social distancing so I am a little late to the game in this post, but I figured we all needed a week to just be still and figure out what our new normal looks like for a while.  I pray you have had some sweet time of rest with your family and that you are all staying healthy!  As we have said before, let us know how we can pray for you!

For this coming week though, I decided to get creative for you.  I know being at home all day is hard for some and when it is not your norm, you can struggle to figure out what your day should look like.  Instead of fretting, I encourage you to take a deep breath, re-evaluate, have some fun, and BLESS OTHERS!

So blessing others is what we are going to concentrate on this week and we hope you will join us!

Our first challenge- A Letter a Day!

Since we cannot be around so many that we love, we are going to commit to writing a letter a day to someone, to hopefully brighten THEIR day!  Yes, that is one letter per person living in this house, and yes, snail mail!

We want a letter to show up in someone's mailbox, but if stamps are in shortage at your house right now, email! Now that we have extra time on our hands is the perfect time to reconnect!

Who's joining us?  Make your list of five people to bless this week, grab a pen, and get started!

A Letter a Day!  Ready, set, go!


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Graphic Novels For The Win

Let's talk about books for a few minutes!  It is one of my favorite subjects, after all.  I can remember the excitement of each of my children reading their first word, and once they could read entire books- well, that was pure joy for me!

The power of the written word is unending.  It spurs imagination, expands vocabulary, takes you to places you will never visit, and teaches you things you can not even fathom. There is very little that compares, and I am so very thankful I have a household of book lovers!

One of the advantages of homeschooling is we are able to do literary rich learning.  Not only do our textbooks teach us, but we are often able to tie the books we are reading to our current lessons as well.  Since history is a favorite subject around here, books that have historical stories, whether fact or fiction, are a favorite.

This is why when I saw the titles A Family Secret and The Search, offered by Timberdoodle Co.,I knew I needed them in our home!  Both books, written by Eric Heuvel, are about 60 pages long and packed with excitement and suspense.  These historical fiction books for young readers (5th grade and up) are graphic novels written about World War II.   In The Family Secret, a young boy finds his grandmother's scrapbook, and learns what it was like to live in Amsterdam during the German occupation.  The Search tells the story of a young girl, Esther, who was separated from her family during the war.  As an adult, and with her grandson's help, she seeks to learn what became of her parents.  The books are tied together with a surprising twist.

Both books are captivating, and while I bought them to further enhance the learning of my 7th grade son in his studies of WWII, I found his older brother, age 18, reading them, as well as his history- loving older sister.  A book that spans the ages is indeed a keeper. 

We love that these books are told from a personal perspective.  Giving thoughts and feelings to the characters who "experience" the war brings the stories to life, and I believe help younger children better understand how wars affect people, bringing much empathy and understanding to a generation who has not experienced such hardship as of yet.  While we have used these books to support our history lessons, they would be a good addition to anyone who enjoys history and the graphic novel style.  I admit it is one that is harder for me to enjoy, but that is not the case for my kids!  They have all thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend them.

Because of the sensitive subject matter and drama that is portrayed, I suggest a parent read these books first to determine if they are appropriate for your child.  There is one use of strong language in The Search.

Both The Family Secret and The Search are part of the Timberdoodle 6th grade Curriculum kit.  A downloadable study guide is also available.