Teaching Textbooks

Christmas and Advent Resources for Families

Christmas and Advent resources for families

Each year, our family tries to get as much out of the Advent season leading up to Christmas ~ and focus on the REAL reason for the season. There are SO many fabulous Christmas and Advent resources available for families so they can learn more about the birth of Jesus and have fun together at the same time. Over the years we’ve found some great resources {and are always adding new things} to our box to pull out and use together. Here are a few of our favorites divided out by category.

For Younger Hands {Tots, Preschool and Younger Elementary}

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Younger kids can get all crafty thanks to the Truth in the Tinsel ebook {now also available in Spanish and with a handy ornament coloring pdf!!}. Truth in the Tinsel shares 24 activities {one for each day in the month of December}, but also offers alternate schedules in case 24 seems too overwhelming for you to do {ahem…which is entirely possible and okay if it is!}. 

For Elementary Ages

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The folks at What’s in the Bible have a fabulous study called Everyday Emmanuel that you can use along with Why Do We Call it Christmas? with all your kids. The advent study is a pdf download that goes along with the dvd and includes a countdown to Christmas calendar, weekly advent devotionals and ornament activities, a question and discussion guide, family activity ideas as well as additional resources.– much fun! Our family has LOVED What’s in the Bible and I’m excited these two tie in together. 

For Daily Bible Study with Kids

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In past years we have used the Birth of Jesus study from Grapevine and everyone {including Kaleb} could participate. The stick figures are oh-so-easy to draw! We had the Multi-Level Teacher Guide E-book and Student e-book for Multi-Level.

Family Reading

Advent stories for families Jothams Journey

Years ago, we were introduced to the Jotham’s Journey series by Arnold Ytreeide – the four books are Jotham’s Journey, Tabitha’s Travels, Ishtar’s Odyssey, and Bartholomew’s Passage. Each year your family will read a different book in the series in the days leading up to Christmas. Our kids have loved seeing how the stories and characters overlap. The daily readings each end in a cliffhanger, so the kids are always asking for more (and the adults don’t mind listening either! 

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Another resource we found two years ago was Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voscamp. The devotional focuses on the Jesse Tree and is such a story of redemption (our redemption!). Even the family tree of Jesus had its share of heartache and brokenness – and yet, we are fully His and made perfect. Really, just thinking about that amazes me each and every time. The 25 daily Advent readings, starting December 1st,  includes a Scripture passage for study, a devotional that is a perfect length (so kids stay focused), questions for discussion, and family activity suggestions. You can learn more about it HERE and find links to go-along resources as well.

Moms can work through their own celebration of Christmas with The Greatest Gift (also by Voscamp). It’s a great book to add to your shelf and pull out each Christmas with a cup of coffee or tea, curl up, and focus on the meaning of the season.



 

Do you have any special ways that you celebrate Advent together with your family? Any special Christmas and Advent resources you can share?  Leave a comment and share!

Seeds of Christmas CD/DVD Giveaway

We received this product at no cost in exchange for our honest review. All opinions expressed are solely mine.

Our family has loved the music of Seeds Family Worship for years. Over six years to be exact. Their songs have been played throughout our house repeatedly, we have shared albums with friends, and often theirs are the songs that come to my mind in the middle of the night when I wake up and feel overwhelmed. 

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Seeds has always done an amazing job putting Scripture to contemporary music and making it applicable in so many new ways. Just in time for Christmas, they have released Seeds of Christmas and you all will love this newest addition.

The last bit, I’ve been listening to the songs – yes, I know, Christmas music – but I am justifying it by the fact each song is a Bible verse. No sleigh bells – only a focus on the following six verses that lead up to the birth of Christ and reason for His arrival: 

  1. To Us a Child is Born – Isaiah 9:6, John 3:16
  2. To the Ends of the Earth – Micah 5:2-5
  3. Call His Name Immanuel – Isaiah 7:14
  4. Mary’s Song of Praise – Luke 1:46-50
  5. God With Us – Matthew 1:18-24
  6. Joy – Luke 2:8-14

Mary’s Song of Praise (Luke 1:46-50) is probably my favorite…

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is for those who fear Him from generation to generation.”

Here is a preview of the songs on Seeds of Christmas…

Seeds of Christmas is available for purchase HERE

Resources for Seeds of Christmas

If your church or children’s ministry would like to participate in the Christmas music fun, Seeds has videos, performance tracks, video performance tracks, sheet music, chord chards, and Bible memory cards to go along with the new album.

  • Instrumental Performance Tracks available here
  • Instrumental VIDEO Performance Tracks available here
  • Seeds Of Christmas Chord Charts available here
  • Seeds Of Christmas Sheet Music available here
  • Christmas Bible Memory Cards available here

Win a Seeds of Christmas CD/DVD Combo (2 Winners)

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Seeds is giving aways TWO of the CD/DVD Christmas combos to my readers (either a physical or download pack). All you need to do is follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget below. 

The nitty-gritty: Giveaway is open to those age 18 or older in order. Those without a US mailing address are eligible for the download version, so everyone can enter! The giveaway starts Thursday, October 27th and ends Wednesday, November 2nd at 11:59pm. Multiple means of entry are provided. Winner will be chosen at random using the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified by email and have 72 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Matters of the Heart – 52 Weeks of Scripture Memorization

Later this week I’ll be sharing my book picks for the upcoming month, but I couldn’t wait to share with you all since it releases TODAY!!

matters of the heartMatters of the Heart: a 52-Week Scripture Memorization Journey for Women is a 52-week Scripture memorization challenge. For me, this has come at a perfect time – summer is winding down and my morning routine is getting back into the ‘normal’ place. 

I don’t know about you, but there are times when memorizing verses has been pushed aside – even though I know how very important it is for me! Throughout my life, Scripture has come to mind in so many different situations to encourage, convict, and comfort me, that’s why I am so excited about this addition to my mornings. In a few short minutes each day I can dig into God’s word, be encouraged by a devotional, write down thoughts and prayers, and memorize key verses. 

The verses in each chapter are all KJV and fall within 12 monthly themes: 

 
  • Mothering from the Heart
  • Walking in Love, Real Repentance,
  • The Joy of the Lord
  • God is Faithful
  • His Strength
  • God Our Provider
  • God is my Healer
  • Confronting Fear
  • Resting in Him
  • God’s Peace
  • Live to Give
 

 

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Bonus Offers Available Launch Week ONLY

To celebrate the launch of Matters of the Heart, there are some bonus products available to those who purchase online through the LearningtoSpeakLife.com site. You will automatically receive the following for FREE as a thank you: 

Grapevine Studies Bundle Sale & FREE Bible Timeline

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If you are still looking for a Bible curriculum for the upcoming year, Grapevine Studies is offering 20% off their bundles until August 31st and also a FREE wall timeline.  Last year we switched back to Grapevine (the kids asked if we could) and this year we will be working on the New Testament bundle together.

If you aren’t ready to tackle the entire Old or New Testament, Grapevine also offers topical studies and book studies you may enjoy. We’ve worked through Esther, Ruth, the Birth of Jesus, Joseph, and the Resurrection, loving all of them.

Stick figures may seem like a simple tool for learning the Bible – and they are – but they are so effective in helping our kids. Even our youngest can work on the drawings and feel like he is getting it right. Our children have even carried over stick figure drawings into other subjects and it has helped them recall history facts and so much more.

Save 20% and get a FREE timeline HERE.

Helping Children Build a Christian Worldview

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One of the things that we want for each of our kids is to have a strong foundation and understanding of the Christian faith. Several years ago we were introduced to Apologia’s What We Believe series, and it was a perfect fit for our girls then and has been a great fit for Zachary this year as well, prompting some great talks along the way. The curriculum has quickly become a favorite and earned a permanent spot on our homeschool shelves.

Biblical Worldview Curriculum

What We Believe Apologia

  • Who is God (And Can I Really Know Him?) introduces the concept of worldview while laying the foundational truths upon which the evangelical Christian worldview is built.
  • Who Am I (And What Am I Doing Here?) focuses on having a Biblical (and healthy!!) self-image and understanding how God sees them *Laurianna’s favorite
  • Who is My Neighbor (And Why Does He Need Me?) encourages kids to be a blessing to those around them – at home, in their community – and understand how they have gifts that can be used to help others.
  • What On Earth Can I Do helps children understand what it means to be stewards of all the blessings we have from God and how we can put him first in all that we do.

Each of the books in the series has a textbook, notebooking journal (or junior version), coloring book, and an audio CD available and can be purchased individually. The textbook is non-consumable, so you only need to purchase additional notebooking journals for the next child to use the book (samples of the books are available from the Apologia website).

How We’re Using the Series

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The books in the What We Believe series is written in a style that our kids enjoy. Each includes fun stories, go-along activities, and notebooking pages to work on with each lesson. Because the books are written at a fifth to sixth grade level, we waited until our kids were in the fifth grade so they could work more independently on each level.

We have chosen to work through three lessons each week. When we have our weekly meeting, we review the lessons and talk about the topics covered over the past week. In addition to the main text, we also work through the go-along notebooking journal and complete the questions and activities. The journals are something that I am holding on to, because I love re-reading their thoughts and answers and seeing their hearts (just makes me smile).

Although the books are recommended for ages 6 to 14, we personally like the 5th to 6th grade range for starting the series (if working independently). For our girls that meant that they took more time to answer the questions (rather than coming up with simple answers) and really ‘dig in’ to the study – which is exactly what we want! As Zachary has gone through the series, he and I discuss thing without as much writing on his part (since he isn’t as keen on writing by hand).

There are junior journaling notebooks for younger children as well if you choose to work through the series as a family and have children younger than 5th grade.  Recommended ages for the series are 6 to 14 (younger ages may require more adult assistance).

Friends and Heroes Homeschool Curriculum

This past summer at a homeschool convention I had the opportunity to meet the folks at Friends and Heroes, a company that produces an animated children’s adventure. There was plenty of time to watch their videos and also get a hands on look at their homeschool curriculum. Seeing it brought back memories of shows we watched as children, and I was so impressed with how they have taken an already engaging series and turned it into full unit studies!

Not familiar with the Friends and Heroes series? Here is a little information to help you out {because they say it so much better than I can!}.

Friends and Heroes Homeschool Unit StudyFriends and Heroes is an animated children’s adventure based in ancient Egypt, Israel and Rome. The story follows two young friends, Macky and Portia, as they fight for justice against the Roman Empire.  Each episode consists of two Bible Stories in which children can learn about characters from the Old and New Testament. 

Each of the Friends and Heroes award-winning adventures and Bible stories on DVD have go-along homeschool unit studies. The materials are well laid out, full of information for families, and can easily be integrated into your homeschool day. Units can be purchased separately or as part of an entire package {DVDs and unit studies together}. Overall there are thirteen units available for homeschool use.

The homeschool unit studies include:

  • Complete parent lesson plans that includes answer keys and certificates of completion along with internet links {printable and reusable}
  • Student Workbook of activities to print off
  • Full-length Friends and Heroes DVD episode
  • CD-ROM printables that can be used with all of your children
  • journal opportunities for kids to create their own book

A Look at Friends and Heroes Unit Study 1

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{a peek at one of the student pages from Unit Study 1}

There are two to four weeks of learning materials in each Friends and Heroes homeschool unit.  Plans include science experiments, creative writing activities, Bible studies, history and geography lessons, discipleship, hands-on crafts, coloring pages, and all subject areas are taught from a Christian world view.

Unit Study 1 includes:

  • Friends and Heroes DVD Episode 1- Long Journey – which serves as stimulus material for cross-curricular studies
  • All teacher and student’s materials – included on CD-ROM – printable and reusable {I transferred ours to the iPad for easy reference}
  • Learner-centered, self-guided Unit Study manuals
  • Teacher’s Guide – with learning goals, background details, answer keys, internet links
  • Certificates of Achievement and binder covers

Unit Study 1 covers:

  • History/Geography: The Romans; Roman Trade; Roman money; Roman import and exports
  • Creative writing: Journal writing; Written expression and narration; Copy writing
  • Bible study: Daniel and the lions’ den and Jesus and the miraculous catch of fish; The Early Church
  • Science: Silver; Sand and cement; Greek and Roman discoveries
  • Crafts: Sculpture; Paper weaving; Pottery
  • Discipleship: Trusting others; Pride; Worries

    There are quite a few parts that we will be incorporating with our family over the next few months, in addition to what we’ve already worked on together. We’ll be breaking it up a little more instead of doing the focused study and tie it in to our current curriculum. There are several key components, especially the writing assignments and the science tie-ins, that our 11 and 9 year old will benefit from – and they won’t mind a little screen time to watch the videos either {grins}. 

    The unit studies would be best for children ages 7 to 11, but they can be easily adjusted to accommodate younger or older children. Note: there are 13 different unit studies in the first level, and we were sent only Unit Study 1 to review.

What Families Will Enjoy

The homeschool units are VERY well laid out and easy to follow along. Here are a few things I appreciated:

Online Activities Friends and Heroes

Online activities for Friends and Heroes episodes

  • The CD-rom with the lesson plans breaks up the unit by lessons and can be printed out or stored on your iPad for quick reference.
  • Each lesson lists out what you will need to gather: for science, geography, etc. You don’t need to hunt through the plans to figure it out.
  • There are online resources including puzzles, quizzes, and games to go along with each episode {see examples for episode one here}.
  • The hands-on tie-ins for the lessons add depth to the lessons and definitely make history come alive.
  • Many of the student lessons can be self-guided for the older age range, including writing assignments, some of the science activities, Bible study and more {love this feature!}.
  • You do NOT have to do every single activity listed! No need to get overwhelmed at all the fun things there are to to. You can pick and choose and still have a fabulous unit study!

Special Discounts for Purchasing!

Friends and Heroes sale

Friends and Heroes is offering a special limited time discount on the Friends and Heroes homeschool curriculum! From now until January 31, 2014 save:

Visit this link to find out more and purchase!