Homeschool Planning: 4 Tools for Creating a Flexible, Focused Homeschool

Crafting a homeschool year can be a daunting task.  The curriculum catalogs trickle in like a monsoon, enticing us with the new and improved that we hope will solve all of our homeschool struggles.  If we just buy a different phonics program, our struggling reader will magically read.  If we plunk down a bucket of cash, the new math program will stop the math tears.  This may be true.  But often it's not. 

That's why creating a homeschool vision and looking deeply at the children in front of you is key to a realistic and productive plan.  Without taking the time to consider the learning styles of your children, the realities of your homeschool, and the priorities you hold, you are likely to find yourself in a cycle of frustration and impulse buying which will only lead to more frustration and wasted time and money. 

It's taken me ten years to recognize this cycle and find the tools I need to step out of it.  Along the way, though, I've learned a lot about what our family's needs and how to meet them.  The most important factor is flexibility.  With six kids ranging from pre-school to 9th grade, I definitely need a plan, to lay my intentions out on paper so that the details don't get swept away with the tide.  But these plans need to be flexible enough to allow for the ever-changing individuals in our home.  Here I am sharing 4 of my favorite homeschool planning tools that have helped shape our flexible plan for the upcoming year. Well, let's make that 5.  Homeschool planning is not complete without a steady supply of chocolate ;-)

{This post contains some affiliate links.}

The Homeschool Alliance

Homeschool Alliance

The Homeschool Alliance is hosted by Julie Bogart of Brave Writer.  Inside you'll find a wealth of wisdom and support that is like no other.  It's a safe place to ask your questions, share your fears and celebrate the joys of homeschooling.  I recently meandered through the archives and uncovered the gem of Planning Month (July 2016).  With a new stage of homeschooling ahead of me, it was exactly what I needed.  The webinar replay, readings, and community conversations were alive and relevant to me now as I plan for a high-schooler, a struggling reader, and everything in between.  Working through Planning Month left me with a sense of calm as I moved forward to planning the nitty-gritty of our homeschool.  It helped me look at the big picture and the individuals in front of me.  The best news is that The Homeschool Alliance will be hosting another planning month starting in just over a week!  Even if you join just for July, it will be well worth your time!

Plan Your Year Planning Kit

Plan Your Year Homeschool

Pam Barnhill's Plan Your Year Planning Kit was the perfect complement to the work I did in The Homeschool Alliance.  It helped me continue to focus in on our homeschool vision and goals.  From there, I was able to identify what books and resources would best fit my unique family of learners.  I love the practicality of Pam's kit.  It includes:

  • 79-Page Planning Guide
  • Over 40 editable planning forms
  • Audio workshops with Sarah Mackenzie and Mystie Winckler
  • Free lifetime updates and bonuses
  • Free Facebook community

And as a free bonus, Pam is including a student planner and audio workshop! (This offer ends July 2, 2017)  I love everything about this kit!  I can type right into the forms and print them out or print them and then write.  The Facebook community keeps me motivated and encouraged when I'm in the trenches of planning.  The planning guide walks me through the steps I need to craft a productive, flexible year.  And best of all, whenever Pam adds or updates new pages, they're available to all those who have purchased the kit. Forever! 

You can download a free sample right now.  I think you'll love what you find!

Your Morning Basket Guide

Morning Basket.png

We love our daily basket over here.  That basket of goodies that we dig into each day, usually in the morning but not always.  It's full of exciting read-alouds, beautiful art prints, poetry, music and whatever else we are obsessed with at the time.  The problem I run into, though, is not remembering what I wanted to do over the course of the week, month or year.  This left me frustrated, feeling as though I hadn't made the most of this special morning time.  Then I found Pam's Your Morning Basket Guide.  In it, I found all the pages I need to personalize our daily basket and enrich our homeschool days. 

If you're new to the idea of the morning basket or just need some inspiration to breath some life back into yours, you'll love all the other resources that comes with Your Morning Basket Guide.  From the video tour of Pam's morning basket notebook, to the Facebook community, to the Morning time snapshots and e-book guide, there is a wealth of inspiration and practical tips for starting or enlivening your morning time.  Even after years of morning time, I found myself learning something new and nodding in agreement with Pam's advice.  I think you'll love it.

The ProClick Binding Machine

ProClick Binding Homemade Planner

With all these amazing forms printed and ready to go, I was looking for a way to keep them organized without having to carry a clunky binder.  But I still needed a system that was flexible and able to add and delete pages as necessary.  Thankfully a friend recommended the ProClick Binding Machine.  With it and the ProClick spines, I'm able to use Pam's planning and morning basket pages to create my own planner.  This video gives a quick demo of how the ProClick Binding Machine works. 

I love it!  I print what I need, as I need it, and pop the pages into the spine.  I'm notorious for tucking papers into random "safe" places assuming I will remember where I put them.  Nope. Never happens. Instead, I wander around rummaging through stacks looking for that one paper.  So it may not be too bold to say that the ProClick is going to save my life.  

So there you have my four favorite planning tools (so far) this year!  What are you loving right now?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!  Happy Planning!

Personalized, Online Math Education with CTC Math

Managing the math education of multiple kids is daunting to say the least.  We've curriculum hopped for the past 10 years of homeschooling, always in search of the best program to accommodate the learning styles in front of me.   We'd meandered from program to program, piecing things together, in the attempt to find the perfect fit.  Along the way, I found myself wishing, hoping for a way to keep track of where we'd been and where we were going. 

Enter CTC Math
Exhale deeply. 
Find peace with Math.
 

That's what happened.  As soon as my account was activated, I hopped on to take a peek and I immediately saw how this program could work for all five of my school-age kids (grades k-8). 

{Please Note: I received a CTC Math membership free in order to give a review, and was compensated for my time.  I was not, however, required to give a positive review, and all opinions are my own.}

CTC Math Tech Savvy Visual Learner

The Tech-Savvy or Visual Learner

My 14 year old loves working online.  He finds videos extremely helpful when he wants to learn something new.  So CTC was a perfect fit for him.  The videos included in each lesson are straight-forward, yet thorough, providing several examples of the concept being taught.  Listening to the instructor while watching the math unfold on the screen is really effective for the visual learner that he is.  If he feels he needs to hear an explanation again, he simply replays that portion of the video.  When he's ready, he moves on to the problems. 


The Gets-Bored-Easily Learner

My 12 year old definitely lives by the motto "variety is the spice of life" and she approaches math the same way.  She prefers to learn from a variety of sources and styles.  CTC Math is the perfect addition to her math menu.  When she needs a break from the books, we hop online and find which CTC lessons will support what she is learning.  The program makes this so easy!  It is searchable and completely customizable.  While some programs allow access to only one grade level, CTC allows a student to work at multiple levels, creating a completely personalized math education. 

CTC Math Visual Learner

The Independent Learner

There are 2 ways to access the lessons in CTC Math.  The parent/teacher can assign tasks for the student to work through or the student can work through lessons of his choosing.  Either of these can be done following the scope and sequence of the program or in any order necessary.  These features allow the individual needs of the learner to be met while still providing a space for independent learning.  My 8 year old was on a roll with multiplication.  Instead of having to stop at what would have been the end on the second grade curriculum, he was able to roll along into the higher levels, all on his own.  I simply showed him how to search for multiplication lessons and sent him on his way.


The No-Nonsense Learner

If you have a student who is easily overwhelmed by busy workbook page or one who likes to just get it done, CTC Math is simple and straight-forward, providing an effective balance of instruction and practice.  The videos are uncluttered, without any unnecessary music or drawings.  The practice problems are follow the same simplicity, one problem at a time with immediate feedback as to the accuracy of the answer.  This is a powerful feature for students who learn best without extra stimuli, allowing them to focus wholly on that one problem without distraction.  It also helps to move things along for the "get 'er done" learner. 

CTC Math Confidence Building

The Confidence-Building Learner

We've all got one of these at some point or another.  The learner who needs to build up some confidence with a specific math concept or with math in general.  My ten year old is one of these learners right now.  He benefits from a hands-on approach and I was skeptical that I would find an online program that would meet this need. But CTC did!  As he reviewed place value, he was able to manipulate base ten blocks with a right-click of the mouse.  When he practiced rounding, a notoriously tricky concept, CTC provided a number line to bring the skill from the abstract to the concrete.  And because it was all online, my felt more "grown-up" while he practiced the concepts that tripped him up earlier in the year.  I was thankful that CTC provided him with the opportunity to review without feeling condescending or babyish, helping him to make progress without feeling like he was completing remedial work.  CTC provides an unlimited amount of time to work on each problem.  Nothing destroys confidence more unnecessarily than not completing a problem "in time."  The fluency will come as the confidence increases.  CTC builds confidence!
 

CTC Math meets the needs of all of us!

CTC Math family

Not only does CTC Math meet the individual needs of my kids, but it meets mine too.  It is easy to use and allows me to customize a week's worth (or more) of math instruction for multiple kids in a short amount of time.  I can hop on at any time to see their progress or edit their assignments.  For our family this is a win multiple times over.  Each child can use CTC Math as it best fits their needs and I can facilitate that with ease. 

Want to see how well CTC Math can work for your family?  Try it FREE for 4 weeks! 

Once you fall in love with it, save 60% off the homeschoolers price and get 6 extra months FREE!  That's a year and a half of personalized math instruction!

An Accidental, Mathematical, Poetical Teatime

“That’s my parawewogram!”

“No, it’s mine!  See?!”

“Oh, yeah. {giggle} Mine is hidin’ under the poetwy book.”  {giggle, giggle}

They’re arguing over a parallelogram?  They’re arguing over a parallelogram!  Woohoo!  This is big news!  Not the arguing.  That happens everyday. But the fact that these little ones even care about parallelograms at all. That’s the best news of the week. 

But I must confess, I didn’t teach them this.  It wasn’t some heroic effort on my part that blessed them with the knowledge of the parallelogram.  If anything, it was because I was lazy! 

You see, I’ve got six kids ranging in age from three to thirteen, and sometimes homeschooling all of them just overwhelms me.  Keeping up with six unique learners takes everything that this introverted mama has.  Sometimes I just run out of juice.  Do you know what I mean?  Have you ever felt that way?  That’s what happened on the parallelogram morning.

Every lesson doesn’t need to be laid out in the plan book.  The best learning happens, often by accident, when good things come together to create a spark of connection.  That’s what I learned on the parallelogram morning.

I woke up late, scrambling into the morning.  The list of learning activities I had planned for the day would require much more time than my late start would allow.  As I poured a strong cup of tea and dolloped it with honey, my phone dinged.  Another reminder from the library.  “That whole stack of books you took out.  They’re due. Yesterday.” 

In the first five minutes of my morning, I was greeted with all the balls I’d dropped.  Late library books, late nights and late mornings.  Late.  Late.  Late. 

I cheered myself with a few bites of chocolate while I piled the books onto the kitchen table - mostly math themed poetry books I’d been using to plan a co-op class.  I’ve homeschooled long enough to know that this day was headed one of two ways: into the nothing-goes-right kind of day or into the let’s-make-the-most-of-it-and-see-what-happens kind of day.  The choice was mine. 

Seeing those math books stacked up, knowing we needed to make the most of our morning, I grasped forinspiration.  Thankfully, I found a thread of it and held on tight.  We’ll do math and poetry together, all together. 

That’s when a little bit of magic happened.  At least that’s how I prefer to see the chaos that followed. 

Tangrams were dug out of the back of the closet.  Muffins baked in the oven, dangerously close to burning, while pages spewed from my printer onto the floor.  The geometric coloring sheets I’d bookmarked the week before were saving my day. 

In the midst of all this distraction I heard, “That’s my parawewogram!”

It stopped me in my tracks.  I braced for the argument that I expected to come.  And then melted as the exchanged played out.  My kids were learning from each other simply because I was lazy and hit the snooze button.  Simply because I had chosen a let’s-make-the-most-of-it-and-see-what-happens kind of day.  Simply because there was a spark of connection between my children and the engaging materials which were sitting way-too-close to a puddle of almond milk on the kitchen table.  Learning was happening despite my scatteredness. 

20170119_095227.jpg

One by one children found their places around the table, lured by the smell of cinnamon.  One by one, they picked up colored pencils and tangrams, rulers and poetry books.  Mathematical riddles, disguised as poems, were passed around along with warm muffins.  Belly laughs and quiet moments of concentration took turns dancing through our kitchen.  Our morning, though late to start, was long in the best sort of way. 

Math and poetry had accidentally collided.  And for that, I have to thank the snooze button. 

Want your own mathematical, poetical teatime? 
I’ve got the tools for you listed below.

 


The Stack of Overdue Library Books ( plus a few favorites)

The Best of Times, Gregory Tang
Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie, J. Patrick Lewis
Marvelous Math, Lee Bennett Hopkins
Math Curse, Jon Scieszka
Math Talk: Mathematical Ideas in Poems for Two Voices, Theoni Pappas
The Grapes of Math, Greg Tang
Math for All Seasons, Greg Tang

Our Favorite Math "Toys"

I love to "accidentally" leave math manipulatives and games out on the kitchen table.  My early risers find them there and dig into some before dawn learning.  As the rest of the crew wakes and meanders into the living room, games are underway.    They made a great addition to our poetry teatime too!

The Geometric Coloring Designs

These coloring pages are open-ended and created a lot of math-focused discussion at the level of each child.  We talked about patterns, angles, similarities and differences in shapes and lots more.

 

What are your favorite ways to sneak some math into your day?  Share in the comments!

A Magical Poetry Tea Time

This post contains affiliate links.  by making purchases through these links, nurtured roots receives compensation at no cost to you.  thanks!

This post contains affiliate links.  by making purchases through these links, nurtured roots receives compensation at no cost to you.  thanks!

We sipped our “Twist-the-Time Tea.”  Eyes wide, we waited.  And then………….our laughter burst the silence.  Nothing had happened.  We didn’t travel back in time.  But it was fun to think about where we’d go if we could. 

This conversation began our Just Add Magic poetry teatime.  This amazon prime original show has captured my kids’ imaginations.  It’s rare that all six kids enjoy the same television show, but this one has won them all over. Mystery lingers from episode to episode and magic recipes are made to try to solve it. 

After binge-watching season two, the kids’ conversations were peppered with new recipe names and accompanying riddles.  They were composing poetry and didn’t even know it.  In their fun, I saw our next Poetry Tea Time.

Though I had a general plan, this poetry teatime was more on the spontaneous side.  A nasty cold had kept me from heading out for any special foods or decorations, but that didn’t stop our fun.  I rummaged through the pantry.  Popcorn, apples, peppermint tea and just enough ingredients to whip up some breakfast cookies.  (Poetry tea time in our house happens Thursday mornings as Poetry-in-Pajamas.) 

Armed with index cards and markers, I brainstormed some magical names for these foods and served them up with poetry books I had snagged at the library the week before.  Finding poems about magic proved difficult so I kept my definition of magic loose.  If it had magic in the title, it was added to the pile.

Featured Poem: from Poetry Teatime Companion
Spellbound by Emily Jane Bronte

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant sell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

 

Magical Book List:

Make Magic!  Do Good!
Poems of Magic and Spells
Sky Magic
Enchantment
Flower Fairies
Poetry Tea Time Companion: A Brave Writer Sampler of British and American Poems


Magical Teatime Foods:

Twist-the-Time Tea - Guaranteed to send you back in time.
Kernel of Truth Popped Corn - Sure to make you see or tell the truth!
All-Is-Well Apple Slices - Something wrong? Not feeling well?  These apple slices will make everything all right.
Bring-Out-Your-Sweetness Breakfast Treats - These cookies will help your sweet self shine through. 
 

Poetry Teatime Activity:

Creating new recipe names and riddles or make a riddle for one the foods on the table. 

Kernel of Truth Popped Corn

If the truth is what you seek,
Be sure not to peek
As you pop this corn in your mouth.
Keep your eyes shut tight
And prepare for the sight
Of what you will see in your mind.

Here are some of the new recipes the kids are working on.  I’m not sure some of them are safe!
Life-Giving Lollipops
Get the Giggles Grapes
Break Your Neck Bananas
Stretch Your Arms String Cheese
Re-do Raspberry Pie

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of our Magical Poetry Teatime.  I'd love to hear from you!  Do you enjoy poetry teatime in your home?  If you do, what's your favorite poetry book or treat?  If not, what questions do you have about Poetry Teatime?  I look forward to chatting with you!

A Brave Writer Inspired Homeschool Planning Guide

If you don't already know, I'm a huge fan of the Brave Writer Lifestyle.  That's because it's much, much more than writing guides or a homeschool curriculum.  It is a lifestyle.  Of connection.  Of flexibility.  Of engaged learning.  All of which I want in my home and I'm guessing you do too.

To allow for the flexibility the Brave Writer Lifestyle offers, I created a Brave Writer Inspired homeschool planning guide.  It's nothing more than a graphic that I've printed off and tucked into the front of my planner.  But despite it's simplicity, it has become an integral part of my monthly, weekly, and sometimes daily planning.

I learned long ago that for things to flow smoothly in our homeschool and for us to make the most of our precious days together, I need to be intentional with our time.  I need to think ahead to include things like Poetry Tea Time or a trip to the theater. 

The graphic lists core learning areas that we intend to work on each week, sometimes multiple times a week.  Our work with The Wand ,  The Arrow , and The Writer's Jungle are part this time.  The bi-weekly section are activities, we typically enjoy every other week,  while the Block schedule section lists the subjects that we aim to explore in an extended block of time throughout the month.  Sometimes we get to all three in a week, but some months we find ourselves immersed in a science or history topic that we just don't want to pull away from.

The icing on the cake are the things we sprinkle throughout the year.  Our Documentary Day   and family movie night happen quite regularly, especially during the winter months.  Party school, a time when we celebrate a topic we're learning about through a themed party, happens only 2-3 times a year. 

As you can see, there is a lot of flexibility with this approach.  If you're a family that loves science, maybe that would be listed in Core Learning.  Perhaps you have a co-op day so you need to do a long math block on Thursdays.  With the Brave Writer Lifestyle, you can do that!  The beauty is that every family can tailor it to their own needs and interests.  You can take some.  Leave some.  Change it up.  Whatever works for you.  In doing so, I think you'll find the engaged learning and connection with your kids that is at that heart of a happy homeschool.  Feel free to pin a copy from my Pinterest page.  Happy Homeschooling!

{This post contains affiliate links.  When you click on those links to make purchases,
Nurtured Roots receives compensation at no cost to you.  Thank you!}

 

Documentary Day: February Edition

The days of winter are short, but they can feel so long, especially when you’re home all day.  Sibling squabbles, sniffles & sleepless nights, long weeks of gray skies can start to wear on even the most enthusiastic of homeschool moms (and kids).   If this sounds like you and your family, I’ve got a solution for you: Documentary Day!

Documentary day started last winter, as a way for me to take a breath during the closed-in, kids-have-so-much-energy days. It was my way of pausing, while continuing to remain engaged in meaningful learning.  What started as a tool for surviving the winter months, became an anticipated space for connection with new ideas and each other.  Together, my kids and I were exploring the world without leaving our living room.   We had big, juicy conversations about history, science, art, and music.  By listening to my own needs and the needs of my family, we found treasure in learning together.

So now, each month, through every season, I look for documentaries to complement our studies and special events.  I keep a list of YouTube links handy so that all I have to do is open and click.  Or I reserve DVDs from our local library.  This small amount of planning allows us the freedom to use Documentary Day in a variety of ways. 

3 Ways to Use Documentary Day:

 

  1. Choose one day each week to watch a film.  For the month of February we’re choosing Friday evenings. 
     
  2. Choose a day or two a month.  We once binge-watched a whole series of wildlife documentaries.  At the time I wondered if it was a good idea to spend all afternoon two days in a row watching documentaries.  Our next trip to the library proved it was a fruitful choice.  As I watched my kids sit among stacks of animal books, I knew that they were truly learning.  Sparked by the images and information the documentaries provided, they were insatiable for weeks with all things wildlife.
     
  3. Keep your list handy for an S-O-S.  This can be a Save-Our-Sanity day or an honest-to-goodness sick day.  Either way, you’ll be glad you have a list of educational films to nourish the mind while the body rests.

February's Documentary List:

*Please use your own judgment about whether or not a film is appropriate for your family.  I have included documentaries of various maturity levels.  There are countless other documentaries that could be included.  If you have a suggestion, I’d love to hear about it!  Please share it in the comments.


Black History Month:
Animated Hero Classics: Harriet Tubman
Up from Slavery
 This links to the trailer for the 7-part series.  I highly recommend previewing this before sharing it with your children.  It is definitely more appropriate for high school age.

Chocolate, in honor of Valentine’s Day (February 14):
The Dark Side of Chocolate: Stop the Modern Child Slavery - History Channel
How Stuff Works: Secrets of Chocolate - Discovery Channel

Great Backyard Bird Count (February 17-20):
Snowy Owl - National Geographic
Hummingbird - National Geographic

Presidents’ Day (February 20):
The Presidents 1789-1825 - History Channel, series
Animated Hero Classics: George Washington

Engineering Week (February 19-25):
Engineering an Empire: Ancient Greece - History Channel
Hoover Dam - National Geographic  

Artists:
Art Institute of Chicago - Sister Wendy series

Big Bundle of STEAM Giveaway!

Psst…come in close.  I have something to tell you.  I don’t want to say it too loudly, lest it sneak up on us even faster…but February is just around the corner. 

You know what I'm talking about.  That dreaded homeschool month where everyone wants to quit and order all new curriculum at the same time

Yep, February often stinks.  But it doesn’t have to!  Instead of trudging through February this year, I have a plan to shake things up!  I’ve stocked up on some amazing Usborne activity books for my littles and some STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) books for my oldest four. 

If you’re not familiar with Usborne books, You’re. Going. To. Love. Them. Really!  I mean it!  They are engaging and colorful and full of learning goodness. 

So  my friend and fellow blogging homeschool mama of 6, Bethany Ishee, and I decided to team up and bring you an amazing giveaway!  Together, we’re giving away the 4 STEAM-Inspired Usborne books below and a $50 Usborne gift certificate.  That’s a whole lot of fun in one giveaway.

Check out the books and enter below! 

Homeschool Encouragement: 21 Posts from Inspiring Moms

2017 has arrived!  Over the past few weeks, I've enjoyed looking back over the blogs of fellow homeschoolers, re-reading the posts that encouraged me throughout 2016.  Here, I've gathered together some of my favorites about Connecting with Our Kids, Encouragement for the Homeschool Mom, Self Care & Awesome Adulting, Creative Homeschooling and Sharing Poetry with Our Kids.  I hope you'll find a nugget of wisdom, a seed of inspiration as you prepare for the year ahead!  Happy New Year!

Connecting with Our Kids

Why Focus on Building Relationships in our Homeschool by Jessica @ Intentional in Life

Curious Over Furious by Heather @ wellermomma blog

Educating the Tortoise and the Hare by Amanda @ Raising daVinci

 

Encouragement for the Homeschool Mom

Homeschooling Translated featured here at Nurtured Roots

Quitting is the Greatest Victory featured here at Nurtured Roots


Comparison - Thief of Joy and Happiness by Nadine @ Up Above the Rowan Tree

Tackling Mommy Guilt by Mary @ Not Before 7

Homeschooling Mama, Do You Need Some Encouragement? by Dachelle @ Hide the Chocolate
 

Creative Homeschooling

Better Learning through Board Gaming by Lynna @ Homeschooling Without Training Wheels

The Unique Power of the Homeschool Parent: Innovation by Mary @ Not Before 7

Day in the Life of a Working Homeschool Mom by Amanda @ Raising daVinci

Creating a Home-Centered Homeschool Room by Melissa @ Soaring Arrows



Why I've Flipped Our Homeschool Routine by Nadine @ Up Above the Rowan Tree

Brown Paper Packages by Jenny @ Where Life is Real
 

Sharing Poetry
with our Kids

100 Poetry Books for Kids by Lynna @ Homeschooling without Training Wheels

Tips for Reading Poetry by Jenny @ Where Life is Real


The Endearing Art of Poetry Tea Time by Melissa @ Soaring Arrows
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway & Christmas Copywork for the Whole Family!

What are your homeschooling plans for December?  Do you incorporate the holidays into your "schoolwork"?  Or do you add holiday activities on top of your regular work?  After years of homeschooling, I've learned that to truly enjoy the season, our family needs to keep things simple in our homeschool.  Instead of adding on our Christmas books and crafts and Christmas card writing to our already busy days, we weave our days around these. 

(This post contains affiliate links.  by purchasing through these links, nurtured roots receives compensation at no cost to you.  thanks for your support.)

(This post contains affiliate links.  by purchasing through these links, nurtured roots receives compensation at no cost to you.  thanks for your support.)


A couple weeks ago, I shared my free-write prompts for the holidays.   To round out our language arts study for the month, I've created Christmas Copywork.  It is based on the books Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  We'll also be using the Brave Writer Boomerang Guide for A Christmas Carol.  With these three books, everyone in our family will have festive copywork to complete throughout the month of December. 

The links to download 25 Fun & Festive Free-write Prompts and Christmas Copywork for the Whole Family is at the bottom of this page.

If you want to know more about copywork and dictation, pop over to bravewriter.com and check out the webinar devoted to the topic.

Here's a list of what is covered for each book:

Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia:
pronouns, spelling pattern /ed/, using question marks

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever:
apostrophes & contractions, dialogue, spelling compound words, semicolons, compound sentences, using dashes

A Christmas Carol:
Head over to the Brave Writer store to read more about the guide for this book.

A now for the giveaway! 
Enter to win a copy of each of the books listed above and simplify your homeschool plans for December.

Click on the images below to download your free PDFs.

Subscribe here for updates and more free resources for your homeschool.

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S.T.E.A.M. Inspired Stocking Stuffers for Teens

Need an engaging gift for your teen?  Inspired by the fun of S.T.E.A.M.  (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math), this is a list that you and your teen will love. There's something for everyone, and something for every budget.  Happy Holidays!

(This post contains affiliate links.)

IQ Twist: Starting with simple puzzles and advancing to complex challenges, this game will sharpen your mind and visual skills.

IQ Twist: Starting with simple puzzles and advancing to complex challenges, this game will sharpen your mind and visual skills.

Qwixx:  A game of probability and luck, and as the name suggests, it's quick!  And Fun!

Qwixx:  A game of probability and luck, and as the name suggests, it's quick!  And Fun!

Sumoko:  This crossword style number game has 5 ways to play and is perfect for the math-loving teen on your list.  And it may just convince your not-so-math-loving list members that numbers can be fun!

Sumoko:  This crossword style number game has 5 ways to play and is perfect for the math-loving teen on your list.  And it may just convince your not-so-math-loving list members that numbers can be fun!

Patterns of the Universe:  Coloring is for everyone!  Especially when it involves intricate patterns.  This book shows that math and beauty do go together.

Patterns of the Universe:  Coloring is for everyone!  Especially when it involves intricate patterns.  This book shows that math and beauty do go together.

Fibonacci in Nature: Explore the Fibonacci spiral as it's found in nature.  And allow the inner artist to create!

Fibonacci in Nature: Explore the Fibonacci spiral as it's found in nature.  And allow the inner artist to create!

Prismacolor Colored Pencils:  Nothing beats the vibrance and smoothness of these colored pencils.  Trust me.  Your teen will love them.  Actually, ANYONE on your list will love them!

Prismacolor Colored Pencils:  Nothing beats the vibrance and smoothness of these colored pencils.  Trust me.  Your teen will love them.  Actually, ANYONE on your list will love them!

Moleskine Sketchbook:  A blank book is so full of possibilities!  Art sketches, engineering ideas, writing, there's wrong way to fill a moleskine!  Add in some Prismacolors and your teen has the tools to share the amazing things they create in their minds!

Moleskine Sketchbook:  A blank book is so full of possibilities!  Art sketches, engineering ideas, writing, there's wrong way to fill a moleskine!  Add in some Prismacolors and your teen has the tools to share the amazing things they create in their minds!

Quadcopters for all!  Need I say more ? :-)

Quadcopters for all! 
Need I say more ? :-)

Metal Earth: These aren't your average models.  Made of metal and small enough to hold in the palm of your hand, there are models for fans of Harry Potter, Star Wars, Dr. Who, musical instruments, space exploration and many, many more!

Metal Earth: These aren't your average models.  Made of metal and small enough to hold in the palm of your hand, there are models for fans of Harry Potter, Star Wars, Dr. Who, musical instruments, space exploration and many, many more!

Set: Can you make a set?  Do it quick before another player snatches it up!

Set: Can you make a set?  Do it quick before another player snatches it up!

Origami Kit: This mini kit is a great intro to origami.  With an instruction book, paper and DVD, your teen will be creating mathematical art immediately.

Origami Kit: This mini kit is a great intro to origami.  With an instruction book, paper and DVD, your teen will be creating mathematical art immediately.

Math Poet: Who says you can't play with math and words at the same time?  This little box of magnets just may change how you see math.

Math Poet: Who says you can't play with math and words at the same time?  This little box of magnets just may change how you see math.

Binary t-shirt:  Is your teen a computer programmer with a sense of humor?  Then this shirt is for them! 

Binary t-shirt:  Is your teen a computer programmer with a sense of humor?  Then this shirt is for them! 

Make: Electronics.  The Make series of books offers in-depth user-friendly project instructions for a variety of topics. This one about electronics pairs well with a beginning soldering kit.

Make: Electronics.  The Make series of books offers in-depth user-friendly project instructions for a variety of topics. This one about electronics pairs well with a beginning soldering kit.

Elenco Learn to Solder Kit: Many electronics' projects involve soldering and this kit is the perfect place to start.  Pair it with the Make: Electronics book and your teen will gain valuable knowledge and skills with electronics.

Elenco Learn to Solder Kit: Many electronics' projects involve soldering and this kit is the perfect place to start.  Pair it with the Make: Electronics book and your teen will gain valuable knowledge and skills with electronics.

Thanks for stopping by Nurtured Roots.  I hope you found something inspiring.  Have a happy holiday season!