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|The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine|
December 5, 2012
Last Minute Gift Ideas
Deborah Wuehler and family
With Christmas just three weeks away, it's time to think gifts! Eeek. I am nowhere near ready. How about you? I plan to keep it simple. In fact, I just went to a lovely Christmas Tea at my dear friend's church where I was able to purchase some beautifully made food items to give to my neighbors this year. I knew that I would not have enough baking time this month to include neighbors, so this was the perfect help. Craft fairs abound this time of year, so take advantage of those to find just the right gifts for those people that are hard-to-find-gifts-for. My kids love to come with me, and we sometimes get ideas for crafts that we can make ourselves.
Another idea I had was to make up gift certificates for my children that say I will take them out to lunch or a special shopping trip, and I would wrap that certificate up in a pretty box and bow.
Most importantly, what I really, really desire is to prepare my heart and the children's hearts for giving Christ the gift of a Christmas centered on Him. We sang a few beautiful hymns this morning together, and I plan to sing a few every day in our devotion time and use that time to talk about the rich theology that is in those verses. If we stop long enough to really listen to the words, our hearts will be encouraged to worship the King of Kings.
If you want to hear more about hymns, and some craft ideas to keep your celebration Christ centered, then sign up today for the FREE December Expo next week where I will be speaking on this very subject. I do hope to "see" you there. You just sign up here: www.SchoolhouseExpo.com and then next week, join in and listen. It's like a mini-Christmas retreat in the middle of a very hectic month.
We should also think outside the Christmas box and give gifts that are much more meaningful, and I must say, much more costly as well. We could give the gift of patience for that family member that tries our patience every year. We could give the gift of forgiveness for that child or friend or spouse. We could give a special gift to that neighbor who doesn't understand us. We could give the gift of time for those who need someone to listen. And, we could give the gift of the gospel to a lost and dying world. Not only could we, but we should, as these would be gifts fit for that Christmas baby we celebrate: our King Jesus. These are much more costly than those easily purchased gifts that are soon forgotten, but their effects could very well last a lifetime.
MY GIFT TO YOU: How about the gift of everyday moments? Those times we die to ourselves and serve our families? Does anyone ever notice? My December editorial, The Gift of Everyday Moments, brought tears to my eyes, and I hope it blesses you as well. Email me dwuehler@TheHomeschoolMagazine.com and let me know what you think.
TOS Senior Editor
P.S. If your spouse wants to know what you'd like for Christmas, maybe this is the time to let them know about all the benefits of daily homeschooling help through www.SchoolhouseTeachers.com A monthly membership could save your sanity for the rest of the school year! First month is only $1.00!
This Christmas, give a gift that will help your kids dive deeper and grow stronger: the CEB Deep Blue Kids Bible. Created to engage kids with interactive features and full-color art, they won't be able to put it down! www.deepbluekidsbible.com/
Christmas and Schoolhouse Spelling have a lot in common this week. Christmas is often a time of plurals like lists, cookies, gifts, decorations, and gatherings. Schoolhouse Spelling is focusing on making words plural this week, words like train, ranch, caribou, and proclamation.
Knowing how to correctly make plurals is an important part of life--whether you're talking about Christmas or spelling. Think of how many times you use plural words in your everyday speech. If you don't say what you intend, confusion happens. If you say caribouses instead of caribou, you are likely to get some strange looks thrown your way!
Confusion can happen if you mix up your Christmas plurals, too. While there may not be anything incorrect about lists and cookies and gifts, we can go wrong if we focus all of our attention on them. Making the wrong things plural adds needless stress and burdens to our holiday preparations.
This week, try focusing on these plurals, instead, and practice spelling and keeping your heart at peace.
It's as easy as Point. Click. Teach.
Bonnie Rose Hudson
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries
You've got plenty of time until Christmas so don't let this topic scare you. Just take a deep breath, clear your head, and stay in the game. Now, I can't help you out in all areas, but I can especially help you out in the dad department.
I could tell you to get your husband one of our books . . . but who are we kidding? He doesn't want a book. I could tell you to get one of our Familyman caps (which he'd like), but we're sold out. So, here's what you should get for your husband:
A 2013 You 'da Dad Daily Calendar! Not only is it "easy reading," but the pages are filled with everything dad. There's trivia, dad jokes, cool road trip ideas, inspiring quotes and simple tips to help him do the things he really wants to do in the first place. But hey, I don't want to toot my own horn. Here's an email I got a day or two ago:
Hi Wilson Family,
I got my husband your calendar two Christmases ago, and it has changed our family. My husband was already a wonderful husband and father but he became more sensitive and aware of our family and our needs. It has changed our family from a great homeschool family to an AWESOME homeschool family. It has been the tool to bring the homeschool family vision to my husband. Now 21 other ladies in our homeschool group are getting their husbands one for Christmas. Looking forward to 21 more strong homeschool families in Hampton Roads area of Virginia.
Need I say more?
The price for one of these amazing calendars is $11 . . . BUT if you can get a bunch of ladies to go in with you, then you can get 20 or more for just $8.50 each (plus free shipping). I'll even throw in a FREE, very cool, Dad Cool t-shirt for the lucky 20th , 30th, and 40th order.
I love Christmastime . . . GO!!!!
P.S. We also have some great gifts for others on your list! The Christmas Game, To Bethlehem, and The Familyman's Christmas Stories Treasury are great gifts for families. And, don't forget to check out my Daily Christmas Blog for all your holiday laughs and needs!!
Fab Fashion is a women's accessories
store in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Owned and operated by a veteran homeschool family, we are happy to announce the grand opening of our online store www.fabfashionpa.com
is the place to find hand selected jewelry, handbags, and scarves. Great Jewelry, Great Handbags, Great Prices!
I am a dinosaur. Really, I am. At least, when I look around at the advertising-driven, debt-ridden culture, the masses flooding to the malls, I wonder if my "way of thinking" about Christmas is nearing extinction.
In turning to that great fount of wisdom, The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday, it gently describes how something wonderful can actually become overwhelming, even painful. Scripture states it similarly, "It is not good to eat much honey . . ." (Proverbs 25:27).
So, dear readers, I encourage you to step back and consider whether this wonderful Christmas holiday has become overwhelming, even painful for you. Are you frantically checking off all the presents-to-buy, joining the mall-shopping hordes (if you can find a parking spot), or missing sleep as you surf the net for those can't-pass-up-deals? Are you wondering how on earth you can pay for all of the stuff that will be "oohed" and "aahed" at for a few minutes Christmas morning before becoming clutter in your steadily shrinking house?
I know the feeling. And, here is where the dinosaur part comes in--I have been choosing to celebrate Jesus' birth in a vastly different way. As God gave the gift of Himself to the world in that first Christmas, I look for ways that I can give myself--my time, my creativity--to loved ones.
A few examples:
When our children were young, my husband and I both attempted to craft play-toys for them, which could not match store-bought toys for glitz and glitter, but provided laughter and delight, nonetheless. My children have given me coupons for foot massages and dish washing--one of my favorite gifts! My son wrote a hysterical book of verse about us, while my daughter serenaded her brother with a song written solely for him. I once gave my 80+ year old mother the gift of weekly homemade lunches to take with her to her office. When I was struggling with empty-nest-syndrome, my husband gave me the gift of weekly dates where we would listen to operas; watch old movies, or films about birds, or read aloud. It was the perfect gift for me at the time, one that flooded my heart with delight.
Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that you have to grow your own flax, spin it, weave it, dye it, and hand-sew a Vogue dress to give. A last minute gift can cost money, it can come from a store, but with the addition of our own heart, our own expression, our own time, it magically transforms into a gift of relationship. For instance, if you purchase a doll, add a gift of your time to also play dolls with your child. Or, for a really unusual last minute gift, give a can of brightly-colored paint adding a note that you will supply your expertise in redecorating a room.
Whatever your budget, wherever you are on your journey, and whoever you plan to give to, the gift of time and creativity--the very tangible gift of yourself--is priceless. And who knows, maybe we might pull this particular dinosaur away from the brink of extinction.
Remember, stay relational.
P.S. If the gift from your heart includes any Diana Waring Presents! products, we want to help make it even more affordable for you and your friends. From December 10 through December 15, get an additional 15% off EVERYTHING!
What in the World? CD volumes 1, 2, 3
True Tales CD volumes 1, 2, 3
Digging Deeper CD volumes 1, 2, 3
History Revealed Curriculum
Things We Wish We'd Known
Reaping the Harvest
The Hilarious Homeschool CD
Heroes of the Faith CD
Box-Free Living CD. . . and more.
Give your child the gift of prayer! This award- winning picture
prayer book combines Jesus' timeless prayer concepts with childlike rhythmical phrases. An 80-lesson learning guide helps parents teach prayer directly from the Scriptures. Each page is inspirationally illustrated with photos of ethnically diverse children and lovely stained glass windows. www.kidniche.com/
Don your armor . . . Fasten your sword . . . Mount your steed . . . Get ready to embark on an epic journey of biblical significance into a kingdom of warriors, battles, swords, villains, and knightly heroes! Check out The Kingdom Series and Knights of Arrethtrae books, audio dramas, and other character building products at www.KingdomSeries.com.
Raising Real Men
Hal & Melanie Young
We just love Christmas, but have had little extra money to buy gifts, so we want to make the most of them. Here are our ideas for the boys in your life:
Constructive Things--First we bought our guys Architectural Blocks--wooden blocks with arches, columns, ramps, and more. LEGOs immediately come to mind, too. After two decades of collecting them, we must have thousands of pieces to step on!
Fischertechnik was originally designed for engineering simulations, but the technicians found their kids liked playing with them, too. The pieces don't fall apart by themselves during active play like LEGO tends to, either.
How about a model kit, the kind with plastic cement and tiny jars of paint, to build with Dad?
Imaginative Things--Boys like realistic gear to suit up as knights, soldiers, ranch hands, or explorers. This can double as useful clothing items (a western-style winter coat or cowboy boots for dress shoes), too. Don't forget miniature cars and trucks, either.
Speaking of Army surplus, many towns have one of these dream emporiums available. They'll have canteens, web belts, compasses and folding shovels.
Useful Things--Boys appreciate having their own tools. Standard maintenance tools like a tack hammer, pliers, and screwdrivers are practical everywhere. Cull lumber from the lumberyard can give him an inexpensive way to try his skills.
One of ours asked for tools to get a lawn business going-- new, old, from yard sales, he didn't care! All of our sons have been thrilled with gifts like a briefcase and power tools as they become teens.
Boys want to do real things. They want to be men!
Ballistic Things--Toy swords and guns allow boys to imagine themselves the most manly of men; to protect their families, repel the invaders, to become King Arthur in their minds. Look for sturdy ones as this kind of play is rough on toys.
Don't forget ballistic rockets! Our boys have always loved model rockets. Of course, what boy wouldn't like something that goes boom and flies away?
Books and Games--Used books can be a source of inexpensive pleasure for your young men. Old series books like The Childhood of Famous Americans, G.A.Henty, and the Landmark books are full of excitement and entertainment, but also history! We also love audio books--what a great thing to take in the van on a long ride.
Games that we can play together are a hit, too. We love games everyone can play like Pit, but also harder games like Mille Bornes and Clue--we just team a younger child with an older one. The younger children mostly want to roll the dice and move the 'man,' while the older boys get into the strategy.
Active Things--The old standbys, balls and bicycles, are always good for gifts. One family recently told us they bought used bicycles, sanded them down and gave them in pieces to their boys with paint in their stockings.
As we get past the idea that our boys need the latest hot toy and think about what will not only give them pleasure, but develop their skills, their imaginations, their minds, souls, and bodies, we've found that gift-giving has become a lot more fun for all of us!
Hal & Melanie
P.S. For all kinds of manly toys for your guys, and to support our ministry, too, shop at our Merry Christmas Shop! We have rubber band machine guns, Architectural Blocks, Henty audiobooks, and lots more-in fact, we just sought out all the things our own boys loved!
Make sure, though, that the whole season points to our Lord and Savior. Get our downloadable book, Christ-Centered Christmas: The Ultimate Guide to Celebrating a Christmas Your Family Will Never Forget.
Please Join Us For A Special
TOS Staff Christmas Party!
Time: December 13th 7pm (4pm Pacific)
Please join us for a special TOS Staff Party. We will hear from Angela Quigley and Deborah Wuehler about Christmas hymns, and we will be discussing Christmas traditions and even sharing Christmas menus.
Plus there will be lots of giveaways!
Have you ever wondered about the origin of your favorite Christmas songs? Angela will share some fascinating facts about the origins of our most loved Christmas hymns.
Do you ever wonder how to help your children really see Christ in Christmas? Deborah takes a look at several favorite Christmas hymns and will reveal what you and your children can learn from these great hymns and hymn writers.
will present an outstanding workshop:
"Spelling and Grammar and Latin, O MY!--
Coordinating your language arts subjects
into a seamless systematic study."
Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo on
Thursday, December 13th, at 7 p.m. EDT!
(6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT)
Check out all the details at
Reserve your FREE seat now---only 1000 available!
Are you losing sight of what the season is all about?
Read the article
By Malia Russell
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
For the month of December, 2012
The Only True God . . . Knowing the God of the Bible (from the Quest series)
Part of the Quest series of the Explorer's Bible Study company, The Only True God . . . Knowing the God of the Bible is a 30-week Bible study aimed at Jr. and Sr. High students. The consumable workbook starts out with a note to parents and teachers, a note to the students themselves, and an introduction of the topic. The format of the daily lessons is explained and hints and suggestions, such as keeping a Bible journal and to pray as they study, are offered as well.
Each lesson is broken down into five days, with day one always including a review of what was previously learned. Throughout the week, there are memory verses, daily questions, and lesson notes. One of the sessions focuses on personal application, although the day varies. Day five ends with the student reading prepared notes about the lesson. That text includes vocabulary, explanations of why certain things were studied or referenced in that particular lesson, and a general summary of the week. Lesson 30, the "final exam," so to speak, is a fill-in-the-blank review of the entire book. Once completed, the soft-covered book is a keepsake reference book for years to come.
Read the rest of this review here.
Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Bible Study" for a chance to win* the book for your homeschool!