Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year in Review

Ok, I'll admit it.... I'm a copy cat.  I have seen a few blogs doing a year in review post, and I thought it was a good ideas - so here we go.

This time last year, Delta was 7, Echo was almost 5, Foxtrot was 2 and a half, and Golf was only 6 months old.   Also grandkids: Zulu was 7 and a half, and Yankee was 1 and a half.   We were doing a mostly AO program with some modifications from Milestones Academy, Simply Charlotte Mason, and my own Canadian additions.

Now they are all a year older (ok, duh...).  Delta has been baptized and is in Cubs.  Echo has joined Beavers.  Foxtrot is learning to read with "Teach your child to read in 100 Easy Lessons" and doing a bit of math with RightStart Level A.  And Golf just started walking a couple of days before Christmas, is saying some words, signs more,  and is continually asking me to put on "Baby Signing Time".

Here are the Top 5 posts for the year (based on the stats)

Canadian History Plan - Updated!
History - Familiy Rotation
Help - History Year 1
This Country Of Ours
Canadian Literature

hm - makes me think people are looking at the curriculum posts the most!

The Top 2 Pages are

The top Referring URL's (since Maple Hill Academy opened) have been:
See Jamie Blog
Latter-Day Homeschooling
Satori Smiles
Actually, I think Simply Charlotte Mason would rate higher, but it looks like theirs is broken down based on the forum topics that referred to here.

And looking at the year....


We tried the Accountable Kids program in Helpful Changes


I updated the History Plan for Canadian History


We visited the Fire Station!


This was a busy month on the blog!

Delta's Animation

Changed our entire homeschool plan from mostly AO to our own plan

I modified the Scripture Memory Box idea to work better for our family


Info on combining the family for various subjects


Foxtrot turned 3!


I started looking at changing our Math to RightStart


I dreamed about a bunk room!


Delta started Cubs and learned to sew on buttons and badges.


Delta turned 8 and got Baptized, and we started a different Handwriting program


I showed off the maps that Delta and Echo drew.


We added in ASL to our school, and started work on a new plan for Devotions

There were a LOT of changes this year, and I'm looking forward to next year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gospel Principles Study for Young Children, Intro and Lessons 1-10

Note that at this time, this is a semi-finished draft.  This study is an update of a study plan made by Michelle Duker, being updated to use the current Gospel Principles manual, as well as give picture references to the Gospel Art Book.

At this time, I haven't checked things like page numbers in other resources, or looked for newer Friend Articles, or done searches for other resources.

Note that older children could look up more of the Scripture References in the lessons, including the Additional Scriptures.

Gospel Principles Study Guide for Young Children
by Michelle Duker
updated by Heather Stovold

Original Introduction:

General Information
This study is for young children using the Gospel Principles manual published by the Church. The lessons are broken down into daily segments and augmented with songs, scriptures and memory suggestions, pictures, and materials from the Friend magazine. A few of the lessons are less appropriate for young children, and I've left them completely open or less structured to allow for easy adapting to family needs, or omission, as the parent sees fit.

A typical weekly plan involves some reading and discussion each day of the week, with Fridays usually spent in review or reading supplementary material from the Friend. For each weekly lesson, I list a suggested memory verse approximately every two weeks, pictures from the Gospel Art Picture Kit which may enhance the lesson, and stories from the various Scripture Readers published by the Church which relate to that week's theme.

Each day I have subject headings from the Gospel Principles manual to read for that day, suggested scriptures to look up, a song to sing from the Children's Songbook, and on Fridays a list of suggested resources from the Friend magazine.
~~Michelle Duker~~

Updated Introduction:

I located the original study plan at the School of Abraham at this location :

As the gospel principles manual has been recently updated, and the Gospel Art Kit is no longer sold by the church (although is available online), I talked to Michelle (who happened to be on an online group to which I belong, and started the process of updating this great resource to use with my family.  Michelle did tell me that she used her study plan a number of times with her family - when they needed a refresher or a younger child was now old enough to benefit by it.

Suggested resources - available from the church, or available online
[Note that web links may change, but the church will probably keep these available somewhere on the site. In fact some of these resources are in more than one location at this time.]

Note that it is my opinion that it is usually nicer to have the resources on hand, but it is great that they are available online.

Gospel Art Picture Kit [no longer sold](,16812,4218-1,00.html)

The Scripture Stories books:
            Old Testament Stories (,4945,8900-1-4473-5,00.html)
            New Testament Stories (,4945,8898-1-4473-4,00.html)
            Book of Mormon Stories (,4945,8187-1-4473-2,00.html)
            Doctrine and Covenants Stories (,4945,8897-1-4473-3,00.html)

Scriptures for each reading child (
GAPK: Gospel Art Picture Kit
GAB: Gospel Art Book

CS: Children's Songbook
FR: The Friend Magazine 

NTS: New Testament Stories
OTS: Old Testament Stories
BMS: Book of Mormon Stories
D&CS: Doctrine and Covenants Stories

IFC: Inside Front Cover
IBC: Inside Back Cover

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Devotions for the coming year

So far this school year, I have jumped around a bit in our devotions, trying to find the best fit for our family at this time and stage in our life.  I have found (with a fair bit of searching) a great resource that I think will work well, and am looking forward to starting it.

Michelle Duker, many years ago, created a study plan for children based on the Gospel Principles manual that is used for new members of the church.  This plan includes - a scripture to memorize (generally over 2 weeks) parts of the lesson to read each day, a scripture each day, and songs from the Children's Songbook to sing.  The plans for Fridays generally have other materials that reinforce the lesson from resources like The Friend or the Scripture Stories books.  For most lessons there is a picture from the Gospel Art Picture Kit to display.

However, recently the Gospel Principles Handbook was updated, and the Gospel Art Picture Kit is no longer sold (although it is available online).  I knew that I would need to do a little work to update the plans.

As it turns out, Michelle is a member of an online homeschooling forum to which I belong, and has graciously agreed that I could post my updated lesson plans online in the hopes it might benefit others.

I am debating posting lessons as I update them, or doing all the updates, and then posting a final plan.  Do my readers have a preference?

And for those that would like to see the original plans, or who would rather use the older version of the manual, here is the original:

Intro, and Lessons 1-10
Lessons 11-20
Lessons 21-30
Lessons 31-40
Lessons 41-47

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Well, in case you would like a change from all the Christmas posts on the blogs you read, I thought I'd write about us adding Sign Language to the many things we are learning.

Years and years ago, I took ASL (American Sign Language) classes with my sister.  We learned a fair bit, although we certainly never became fluent!

Then when Delta was born, I read about Baby Sign and the benefits found using Sign Language with hearing babies.  So I did some Baby Sign (ASL signs - note that some Baby Sign systems do NOT use ASL signs) with each of my children.  I will admit that we never had babies that could sign a hundred signs or anything like that.  But each child learned signs helpful to me... "More", "All Done", "Eat", "Milk", "Diaper", and then usually a couple of signs that interested the child.  When Foxtrot was a baby, we took a Baby Signing class, and Delta and Echo (and I ) took a Signing class for toddlers, where they learned more signs, like the colors, animals, and some foods.

And there I left it.

Now Golf has been learning baby sign language, and the older children have gotten interested.  So, I checked our library, and discovered it had the "Signing Time" videos (which we had occasionally watched on TV - but they are no longer on TV here.)  They also had some "Baby Signing Time" videos, so I took those out.

I have to say - WOW.  Golf is really starting to sign.  She will sign many of the words while we are watching the video.... and watching 2 videos just a couple of times - she is signing more in general.  She asked for a banana yesterday by signing.  Today she also asked..... to watch "Baby Signing Time".   She signed "More" "Baby" "Signing" "Time".   Hey - that is a whole sentence!

Here is a video of Golf signing Baby.  She usually signs "signing" as well, but didn't when I was filming her. (If you turn up the sound, you can hear the Baby Signing Time opening song in the background.)

I have had people ask me if teaching babies sign language slows down their speech.  Research has shown that if anything, it speeds up their speaking.  In fact, some speech therapists recommend using baby sign with children that are having problems speaking.  In our family, we have used baby sign with all our children.  One was late in speaking (that child had their speech evaluated and was at the very low side of normal - requiring no therapy.)  One was talking so fluently at a young age that people thought they were a year older than they were.  Another was also very fluent very young.  And of course, Golf is still learning.

I am still trying to decide how to approach adding ASL to our school.  We are watching the Signing Time videos for now.  I will probably work out something more with this free resource -

Also, the Sign Language Phrase Book (picture at top of blog) is very good for learning phrases and has a fantastic chapter on ASL grammar (which is NOT the same as English Grammar).

Friday, December 2, 2011

Week in Review

So another week has gone by... and how did it go?

Well, on Monday, Delta and I were both sick, so we cancelled our violin lessons and swim lessons for the day.

Tuesday - I still wasn't feeling well. Echo got sick that evening (all over the bed, our leap pad, the bedroom floor, oh yeah, and her sister!)  She also got sick all over the bathroom floor right after.  So I had 2 girls in the shower, extra laundry, a floor to cleanup (thanks for the carpet cleaner!!!) and the leappad to cleanup, as well as the book (leappad still works)....  oh, remember at the start that I still wasn't feeling well??

Wednesday - Well, I'm still not feeling well, but as the kids seem ok, and we had already missed a week of school (we missed some days last week too...) we did some basic school.   Following the trend - that night it was time for Foxtrot to get sick.  (See a pattern?)   She came out from bed (waking me up) saying she was wet.  Her clothes weren't wet and she didn't need a change, so I started to get a little upset and sent her to bed, while I "used the facilities".... then my nose detected a problem as I passed their room and so I turned on their light.... sure enough, she had been sick in bed.  So I managed to handle a sheet change without waking up everyone else in the room.

Thursday - So.... who here hasn't been sick?  That's right... it was Golf's turn to be sick.

Friday - well, I'm starting to feel a bit better - or at least my symptoms are different......  I'd have been tempted to try to get SOME schoolwork done, but Zulu was here for the day.  (A PD day at his school.)

Oh well - guess we will just cross this week off and start fresh on Monday.

It could have been worse.......

My brother phoned, he was in Ontario where our ancestors lived, and called to say he was going to the cemetery to take some pictures, and what people did he need to look for?  So I checked in our records and gave him a few names.  There was a couple of children in the family (ages 8 and 13) that had the same Burial Date in 1841.  My brother said, "Oh yeah, they had an epidemic there in 1841.... small pox or influenza or something like that.... it was in that local history book I read"

I am grateful to live in an age where everyone getting sick in the house just causes us to miss out on some schoolwork.