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Story Time: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

You didn’t think we were going to get through Christmas without a Grinch Story Time, did you?  If you did, you don’t know me very well.

Story Time: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Grinch is my favorite Christmas story.  Why?  Because the Grinch is a naughty guy, but he isn’t evil as might be supposed.  I love the idea of turning the bad guy into a marshmallow, and if you had known my beautiful husband when we first met, you would know I excel at it.  I learned it from the Whos of Who-ville.  The secret is to just keep being good and joyful and let that stuff rub off on the bad guy.  Next thing he knows, he’s been married for 13 years, lives for his family, and would give his neighbor the shirt off his back.  His heart grows three sizes before his brain can catch up.  Yeah, I know, it doesn’t work Every Time.  But when it does work, it’s a beautiful thing.  So it is with the Grinch.

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Solutions for When You Just Can’t

I really didn’t mean to write a series.  But I figure you would like to know how things turned out and what I’ve decided to do about next week.  If you haven’t read about the week we’ve had here at Lit Mama, you can do so here and here.

All caught up?  Great.  So it turns out Martin’s baboon heart is actually pretty healthy.  It has a slight arrhythmia, which the cardiologist is treating with pills.  But they really think the underlying problem is sleep apnea.  See, when you have this problem, your body is constantly tensed to wake you because your blood is not getting enough oxygen while you sleep, which means your brain and heart aren’t getting enough oxygen for a a third of your day.  Which causes a lot of stress on the body, especially the heart.  I have to tell you, when we went into this, with all the scary tests looming and Martin feeling worse than he ever has, I would never have imagined sleep apnea being the thing.  They let me bring him home today and he may even be able to return to work next week.  So, now that I know nothing life-threatening is happening with my love, my own exhaustion from all the stress is something I intend to baby through Sunday.  I may not leave my couch, I ain’t gonna lie.

Nevertheless, I’ve been really–no, reeeeaaalllllyyyy–struggling with how to handle next week.  We didn’t really get a spring break.  Not one of us feels rested and rejuvenated and ready to jump back into school.  Our India unit we were supposed to pick up on Monday is in no way prepared.  I have so much I have to get done, because I got nothing At All done this week (and you should see my poor laundry room. Apparently, even when I’m not home people here still change their clothes every day.  Who knew?).

I think it would be physically, as well as mentally, impossible to do a full school week.

So here’s what I’m thinking.  We still have about half of Return to Gone-Away to read.  And we like science experiments, crafts, and nature study.  So I’m thinking we do our read-aloud every day.  We add in 1 science experiment or craft.  We pick 1 thing from nature to scavenge on a short walk, then the Littles can write and draw about it in their journals every day.

Done.

I got the idea because I spent A Lot of yesterday trolling Pinterest for lack of any better entertainment.  And I realized I have pinned so many things and then forgotten them.  And I Really wanted to do them when I pinned them.  So (also) here’s what I’m thinking in terms of the craft/experiment.  Because you like to find a bunch of links all in one place, right?!

DIY Nebula Jar from momdot

How-to-make-a-galaxy-jar-momdot

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is simple, sure, but since we just finished reading an Earthsky article about the recent comet flybys and we definitely aren’t schooling today, I know my Littles are still way interested in all things space. There’s a succinct explanation of nebulae on the website, the craft is pretty, and will require little work from me.  Oh. Yeah.

Magic Fluorescent Mud from The King of Random on youtube

magic mud

 

 

 

 

This is basically the same thing as the ‘oobleck’ we used to make at the library for Dr. Seuss day.  With this, you get the added adventure of making the powder from potatoes yourselves, plus it glows under a black light.  Win-win.  Again, my brain won’t even have to function.

Shadow tracing from The Artful Parent

Shadow-Tracing-Art-for-Kids

 

 

 

 

I don’t think this is something we’ve ever done.  Though I don’t know that we’ll use grape sculptures, I love the idea of tracing shadows to get a result.  And I won’t really have to do much to get them going on this, either.

Loving this pattern!

Make a Kazoo from The Joys of Boys

diy kazoo

 

 

 

 

What boys don’t like to make noise?  I’ll turn it into a real music lesson and make them kazoo Moonlight Sonata for me from memory.  They’d better hope they know their Beethoven!

Make a Pirate Treasure Map of Our Yard from Teach Beside Me

pirate map of yard

 

 

 

 

 

 

This cool project uses Google Maps and a grid to make a map of your yard.  It’s great grid practice, as well as fun, so we’ll probably do that on our warmest day.

Egg Carton Flowers from I Heart Arts and Crafts

EggCartonFlowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

I heart these flowers!  And the boys love to paint!  So they can’t complain that I’m making them paint flowers.  Or else.

Coffee Filter Flowers from Fun-A-day

coffee filter flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aren’t they pretty?  I might just stop torturing them by then and make these myself.  🙂

Actually, I think what I’ll do is write each of these projects down on a paper strip, drop the strips into a jar, and draw one every day next week.  I know they might be a little young for my boys, but I am also sure they will lead to conversations in which we will learn something–organic conversations that I don’t have to work too hard at, that we can have at 8 or 10 or 12 or after dinner, after a full, stress-free night of sleep.

Sounds like bliss.

If you are like me, and you’re slightly neurotic and unable to give yourself a break, planning a light week of fun is a simple solution that can help you feel better about everything.  You can even use some of my ideas.

Thanks for sticking with me through all this, lovely readers.  Your comments and messages have helped me more than I can express.

I’ll leave you with one final thought for the week:

Screw. Drama.

I’ll take a side of no more of that, please.

Love wins,

KT

Books That Take Your Breath

One of my favorite things in the whole world is finding a new author to fall in love with.  I told you last month that I had stopped trying to convince the Littles to read Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright because they kept putting me off for what they thought were more adventurous stories.  And I have to admit, I was pushing it on them based on the back-cover synopsis alone.  It looked like the kind of book I Would Have Loved as kid, and I wanted them to know that kind of story.

Enright-Gone Away

What kind of story?  The kind where the kid goes to stay with relatives in the country for the summer.  The kind that makes summer seem like a revelation and country living more fascinating and exciting than any old suburb or city.  The kind that has at least one frog, one forest, one barn or other mysterious building.  Mostly though, the kind of story that gets by with no violence, very little mystery, and as Middle pointed out, “Hey, there wasn’t any real conflict in that story.”

(Before I go on, may I just say my kids Freaking Rock?)

“Well,” said I, “there were points of conflict.”

“I know,” he said (and I was So Proud!), “but most books have a major conflict in the plot and this one didn’t.”

Boom.  I have taught them something, after all.

The cool thing about it all is that I have also now introduced them to a memorable story and an author who can write books without major conflict in them and still make a point that resounds in their little hearts.

Every time I suggested they read Gone-Away Lake on their own, I thought to myself, “Why don’t I just read it?  Then I can Really Convince them.”  So one night I took it to bed with me.  I read about 5 pages.  I put it down.  Because I knew I was going to be making it a class as soon as we finished the book we were reading aloud together.  Within 5 pages I knew I had always been right about that book.

Want to know the best part?

We finished Gone-Away Lake last week.  Just so happens in my (far too) extensive library, I had the sequel, Return to Gone-Away.  Guess what we’re reading this week?

return to gone away

They insisted.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Listen, if you don’t already read aloud together in your homeschool every day, Get On It.  I’ve talked about the benefits before, but this one is new even to me.  If you pick the books for your homeschool reading class, you have the opportunity to introduce your littles to books they might not normally read–and I don’t just mean the Classics, though you know I think that is important, too.  I’m talking about the kinds of books that are written just for kids, the kinds that stay with us all our lives.  The kind that made me wistfully dream of living in the country when I was small and led me to my own beautiful farm and wondrous life.  The kind that can change everything for them and they don’t even know it till they turn the first page.

I truly hope you check out these books.  I like them so much I’m honing the novel studies I wrote for my shop’s grand opening.  You’ll love the study, too.

More shameless plugging.

P.S.  You still have through tomorrow to enter my giveaway for the Dr. Seuss canvases.  If you haven’t already, head over and give yourself a chance to win!  I’ll be announcing the winners on Friday.

Love wins,

KT

 

 

Free Downloads for National Reading Month

national reading month

Dr. Seuss Day kicked off the greatest month of the year, National Reading Month.  You know me, anything that celebrates reading is top of the list.  It’s the curse of being a Lit Mama.

I’ve often talked about the importance of reading, so I’m not going to bend your ear too much here.  If you want to celebrate national reading month in good form or want to know why you should, check out my posts The Joys of Guided Reading, Teach Your Children Well, 10 Rocking Advantages of Reading Aloud, or 5 Ways to Love Your Library.

Mostly, this month is about teaching or reminding our littles to love literature in all its forms.  To buy them new books, take trips to the library, spread out on the floor with a stack of picture books and read together, start a new chapter book as a family.  It’s about loving stories and the written word.  It’s what we do.

Here are three new free downloads to help your littles celebrate National Reading Month.

My Reading Journey is a book log where your little can track each book he’s read for the month.

Reading journey log

These Belongs To book labels will make your child feel like each book is her special place.

Belongs To book labels

Finally, here are some Dr. Seuss bookmarks so your littles can keep their places in all those incredible books.

seuss bookmarks

I hope they make your littles smile.

Love wins,

KT