Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Homeschool kid confesses: I don't like books.

My five year old daughter told me the last week that she doesn't like books.  Seriously?  We read at least an hour every day, what with school reading, bedtime reading and in between reading.  Probably more than an hour a day.  I never thought I'd be seeking advice on how to instill a love of reading in MY kid.  I feel like a dentist who just found a cavity in my own child. I sell children's books for crying out loud.

My first instinct:

WHAT?  Of COURSE you love books!  Of COURSE you're just saying that because you don't want to hear me read the books I've picked out, right?  Right?

But she told me she doesn't like reading on her own, either.  *sigh*
more panic.
more mayhem.
more self-inflicted pain and suffering.

Then I decided to get to the bottom of the problem.

"Mom, we just have too many books.  And they're boring.  I like books about how to do things, and science books and stuff."

Ah ha.  Panic over.  She's ready for harder books. And it's time to downsize.
We spend a great deal of time in the non-fiction section of our children's library, but I do still pick up picture books now and then for the four year old we watch a few days a week, for our baby, and for the five year old, too.

I was able to explain that reading is a gateway to independent learning.  That when she is able to read on her own she will be free to learn about things that are interesting to her and she can learn them in her own way.  I explained that most of the books we have we are saving until her baby sister is ready for them.  Said five-year-old is truly beyond most of them.

In the meantime, we took a little break.  I didn't push it.  I skipped the library one week *gasp* and played charades one night instead of bedtime stories.  So what.  Go ahead- put me in homeschool jail.

We finished reading "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" today.  We charged through a couple chapters because she wanted to finish it.  She's excited about our library trip, tomorrow.  She's been reading on her own, more.  Maybe she just needed a break and maybe I'm a good mom for stopping to listen. 

Just curious:
How do you handle disturbing revelations like this?  Do you panic, like me, or are you more gracious?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Small hands, big world

When I feel I've lost my way and am out of touch with what lives outside my window (which actually happens to me quite often- several times a day, usually), we all head outside.  Regardless of the weather.  Sometimes it's a walk around the neighborhood or a more organized activity like a hike, but most often we just hang out in our yard, enjoying the space we inhabit.  Sometimes we just stay in our pajamas.
Nature Journaling in dinosaur jammies
One of my favorite things to do with my five year old is Nature Journaling.  We started when she was four, loosely following Anna Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study (also available free in a digital format of your choice). 

I keep a backpack prepared for her with her binoculars, magnifying glass, colored pencils and journal.  The backpack usually lives in the car because it's the most common place I am when I wish I had it with me.  And yes, my Anna Comstock is actually in the car right now, too.

Journal, binoculars, magnifying glass, pencils and a subject to study
My Grace-Girl has drawn pine cones, butterflies, flowers, rocks, grasses, and, most recently, sunflowers.  I had her pick a specific flower to draw and study.  She went to work looking at it from all angles, examining it, understanding it.  First she drew the heads and leaves of the multi-headed sunflower, then she drew the entire plant as she saw it. We counted stems and leaves as well as flowers.  Here's the finished work.
Pages from the journal
Of course I had some books from the library on the topic in anticipation of the moment and we read them before we came out.  Back inside we finished our study of the sunflower with a nice craft I made up with cut out pictures of the plant's life cycle separated by arrows circling a sunflower we pasted together with bits of paper and actual sunflower seeds.  Fun.  
But back to Nature Study. Here is Baby Rain experiencing her natural world.  
Baby nature study
 It was warm this day and she had been playing in the hose water while sister worked on her journal. 

I'm mostly writing this to encourage myself not to forget to get outside, regardless of the weather or the incessantly needy state of my house (or my blog).  This is not what we do everyday, but it's what I strive to do most days.  :) Thanks for listening.  For more inspiration, check out this amazing blog with great Nature Journal challenges.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Our work-boxes- a versatile rolling cart

I usually shun the word "work" when engaging my kinder-kid in home learning, but it's just so catchy: "Workboxes."  She absolutely loves the workbox method.  She asks for it.  Recently she asked if they use workboxes at NASA training camp (she's contemplating becoming an astronaut).

As a homeschooling parent, my top tools for teaching are books, hands-on activities, and real-life stuff.  But it's fun to add in these tools and tricks to help make learning fun and a well-rounded experience for the kids.  My Grace-girl (5) needed some help becoming more independent (i.e. let mom walk out of the room for two seconds to make sure the baby isn't eating the pet fish).  I think workboxes are a great way to do that.  Also, repetition is key with the grammar stage and where I lack in repetition, I know these games and activities will help pick up the slack.

We only use our boxes a few days a week when I'm busy with projects, planning or cleaning and she needs a few hours of review time (great for practicing new things we learn together on other days).  There are only six boxes, but that seems to keep my kid busy for hours.  She likes to take her time.  The pink box on top is her "tool box" where I put pencils, dry erase markers, or whatever else she will need for her activities.  She looks at the activity, decides if she needs a tool, then goes for it.  Yay for independent thinking and learning!

Practicing word-family recognition
After reviewing just about every blog that talks about workboxes, I decided to invest in some folder games (with the help of a friend's laminator) and wound up making my own number cards that detach by velcro and reattach to the "done" card (on top of the boxes in the above pic- though I later mounted it on the side of the rolling cart).  Couldn't find any I really liked online.

Here are some things I've put into her boxes:
  • Domino math.  I laminated the worksheets (one for adding, one for subtracting) and include the dominoes in the box.  
  • One game that uses clothespins (great for manual dexterity training).  
  • Several write-on/wipe-off writing mats that I'll usually rotate through (just one at a time- I'm not crazy about them, but they seem fun for her). 
  • A mini-book project that will become part of a larger lapbook (we love lapbooks, too- check out this post).  
  • A movement oriented activity, like a series of our favorite Yoga Pretzel cards, for her to get some wiggle time, often accompanied by a snack.  
  • Reading flashcards or a reading book with a little card that says, "with Mommy."
  • A fun cut and paste project or puzzle book.  This one was fun, thought not terribly educational.  It's good, I think, to end with something fun.  
I usually space out the difficult items involving reading and writing between easier ones (or ones that utilize a different skill, like cutting and pasting).  The downside is that she is quickly outgrowing the folder games I made a few short months ago.  Perhaps it's time to think about swapping with a like-minded mama...

Share your experiences, fellow home-educators!  What systems do you use and why?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What the heck is a lapbook?

A short year ago I was wondering the same thing.  So, being the Barefoot Adventurer I am... I found out.  At first I thought it seemed a little cheesy.  Just a folded file folder?  With a bunch of stuff glued inside it?  But then I began to grasp the larger picture.  A Lapbook is a great way to gather a bunch of info about one topic and put it a format that is easy for a child to explore and understand.  And it's pretty much free.  Which I love.  And since your kid put it together they will want to, theoretically, look at it from time to time to remember what they did.
Dads doing Math
So I decided to do our first lapbook when we went to the Oregon coast this past summer.  We were traveling with my sister and her family who also homeschool, so I knew they'd have some homeschool work planned, anyway.  I started googling lapbooks about the Ocean and found TONS of stuff.  Mostly I used templates from this site which focuses on a great book with which I was already familiar, Hello Ocean.  I explores the ocean through the lens of the five senses.  Great book. 

Each morning we spent a couple hours doing school work.  Most of our time (with my Kinder-kid) was spent reading books together about the ocean.  Lots of non-fiction and fiction alike.  I couldn't possibly remember all of them.   We did some math and reading exercises then we worked on the lapbook.  
The open lapbook
The Tide-pool mini-book (connected with a brad)
Counting by fives and tens
The five senses mini-book
 If I had it to do over, I would have printed some of our pics of the beach and included nature journals we did as well as writing down the names of all the books we read on the back of the folder.  Overall, it was a great experience!  Try it out.  Do you lapbook?  Share your experiences?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The cheapest, free-est way to organize your homeschool life EVER.

In a typical fit of organization that comes every September, I decided to get things sorted out at my house.  As is typical of me, I reviewed every possible way of doing calendars, chores, and everything else and then decided to come up with my own thing.  Everything I used I had on hand except printer ink, cardstock, and printer paper.  It was spurred on by an offer from a friend to use her laminator (thank you!).  I decided to use the calendar we have been using (the only thing here that really cost money), but to hang it in the kitchen on our laundry room/pantry door (it faces into the kitchen and is visible from the kitchen table).  I wanted to have this be our homeschool calendar-center where we also could check in about chores and daily activities.  If you look closely you can see our Bible verses we're currently working on (Psalm 100) above the schedule on the right side.  This is obviously for me, not for her, as she's not reading quite that well, yet.  It is nice for her to have the visual reminder, though.

I put together a laminated daily schedule sheet with laminated activities and velcro to put them all on the schedule.  I opted not to use pictures, mostly because I didn't want to spend time doing it, and it would have made the activity cards too long and too... well... cluttered.  I used an outline-style  font and colored them in myself and glued them onto black cardstock before laminating (cute, huh?)
I also organized a chore chart system that I thought would work best for us.  It's space-saving, flexible and easy to use.  My Grace-girl (5) and I both enjoy the mystery of drawing a stick and finding your chore rather than having it all laid out all the time.  Either way the fish gets fed, right?  Hers have pictures as well as chores.  Some of my favorites: "Tidy bedroom."  "Get dressed."  "Help mommy fold laundry."  "Be a cheerful helper."

I didn't have any popsicle sticks (we make our own popsicles) or I would have used that system.  I did have enough sticks for a system that I hung in the office to manage screen-time- similar to our chore envelopes.  I give her about 50 minutes a day to start with (in 10's and 20's), though it often disappears throughout the day as she chooses to spend time doing other things.  Like somersaults.  When we're trying to leave to go somewhere.  Now.

I know this will all stop working after a few months, but at least when we're ready to come back it will be there.  Taunting me.  Haunting me.  But ready for me.  Remember: the key is to do what will work for you and your family:  figuring this out seems to be the hard part.  What system works for you?  Why is it so darn important, anyway?  (my husband would probably like to know why I can spend hours on this little project but the kitchen remains a disaster)  Share your thoughts! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Healthy snacks- a hands-on lesson

We recently hosted a little play-date at our house where I was invited to talk to the kids about nutrition and healthy food choices.  We moms take turns each week and some weeks are more structured than others.  This was a structured one.
    1. First I read the girls a book about how bread is made and I read them Herb the Vegetarian Dragon (a fave for kids who like to stick up for their healthy choices).  
    2. Then we made bread (with quick-rising dough).  While it was rising we talked about the new USDA Food Pyramid and I had them touch items from each category (grains, protein, dairy, fruits and vegetables).  
    3. Of course we ate some healthy snacks from all the categories.
    4. We got to punch down our bread and talk about what a great anger management tool it is!  
    5. The kids each took home a loaf to bake with their initials carved on top (no time to finish it at my house) and they each took home a food pyramid coloring sheet and bookmark (tons of stuff on the USDA website!).
    Overall it was a very fun playdate and the kids walked away with some information and fun stuff to take home.  We kept the bread very simple and the girls had time to play in between each of the activities.  Not every play-date goes so smoothly, but things tend to run better when I'm more organized!  What's a favorite activity you like to do at play-dates?  Or do you prefer a free-play time?

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Homeschooling in Central Oregon

    I recently published an article about home education here in Central Oregon.  I was able to highlight three families with different styles and reasons for homeschooling and also provide lots of info about homeschooling in general.

    Here on my blog I have many more resources listed under the "Our Homeschool" page including a list of favorite books that led me to homeschooling and a quick synopsis of some of the more popular styles or philosophies of home education.

    Through an informal survey of almost 100 home educators in Central Oregon, I was able to create a comprehensive list of local activities available to homeschoolers including a list of things that folks wish were available (there was some overlap, so I'm hoping people will read this blog to find out about what they are missing!).

    I truly enjoyed hearing the stories of why people choose to home educate as well as the styles they employ and the joys and difficulties they encounter on the way.  Enjoy the article here and find more resources here!


    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Like giving books for birthdays?

    Some kids don't get much for their birthday.  That's why I'm excited about what Barefoot Books is doing.  They've launched a new campaign:
    • If you buy Bear's Birthday through the month of July, Barefoot Books will donate a book to Birthday Wishes, an organization that gives birthday presents and parties to kids who otherwise wouldn't get any.  Great stuff, right?  This is relevant to me right now as both my kids and my husband will be celebrating their birthdays in the next month.
    • You can also send a free birthday e-card to the bear-lover in your life!  Fun!
    • Did I mention there's a huge summer sale going on right now, too? (through Aug. 15, 2011) 
    Barefoot Books works with Books for Africa, Ecolibris, First Book, and several others.  If you want to be a responsible consumer, think about where you buy.  Supporting companies that make a difference in the world (not because it's good for the bottom line, but because it's good for the planet) makes a lot more sense than just walking into a Walmart and picking up the first thing you see.

    If you'd like to make the leap, check out my website or find other gifts that promote community uplift, global awareness and corporate responsibility.

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    Teaching kids to give back-

    The Fairyland Cupcake Kids
    As I was planning a big garage sale this summer at my house, I had a friend offer to come over and keep the kids busy running a lemonade and cupcake stand.  Great idea!  She also had the fabulous idea of giving the proceeds to a local charity.  We chose Neighbor Impact, because they have a facility in the town where we live, and because they do tangible things like give food to people and help families find housing. 

    I advertised the event on Facebook, Craigslist and by pink signs, and included the information about the lemonade stand. 

    The garage sale and the lemonade stand were a hit! The local paper even came and took a picture. Can you tell we live in a small town? The girls made big bucks in their princess dresses, even though most of the time they were playing in the back yard.  I guess the moms did some work, too.  The following week we took the girls to get a tour of the facility.  It was great to see what the charity is doing in our community and how they are appreciative of even the smallest offering.

    I'm pretty sure we ate most of the cupcakes ourselves.  On the other hand, I think the average donation at the lemonade stand was at least $1 over the price of the item.  So our girls learned that people like to give.   Other things they learned:
    • Money- counting it, identifying it, making change
    • The value of a cupcake (i.e.- don't eat all the merchandise)
    • How to greet a customer 
    • Sharing with friends
    • How sweet it is to "give back."

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Cereal Science: What's in your breakfast cereal?

    I LOVE teaching my kids things.  I love the "aha" moment that inevitably follows and I love the challenges they lay before me.  The other day we were sitting at the breakfast table with Kashi multigrain puffed cereal (which is tasty and healthy, so I don't mind mentioning it on my blog).  I was picking out the puffed rice for my 8 month old when I realized there is a list and a picture of all the grains on the back of the box.  I immediately took out a handful of puffed goodness, piled it up on the table in front of my 4 year old and turned the box to her.  She got it right away. 

    "Mommy- which ones are which?"

    I read the names and descriptions of  each of the grains and seeds and we spent the next 15 minutes sorting and discussing them.  We sorted by size, shape, color, taste, texture and general puffiness.  It was a beautiful moment.  It was a learning moment. 

    Every day is full of moments like this one.  Totally out of the scope of any curriculum (there might be one out there I don't know of that includes Kashi grain recognition as a skill set), this moment still stands out to me as a reason (albeit a rather "fluffy" one, pun intended) why I love to homeschool.  If we were running late for the bus, this moment would not have happened.  A clarification:  kids who take the bus in the morning can find time in their day to make such observations, of course.  I'm just happy we can be more flexible. 

    Down the road I look forward to more nutrition talks around the breakfast table, in the grocery store, and in the garden.  I'll keep you posted.

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Story + Story = Math lesson

    It's no secret that I prefer storybooks to textbooks.  The classical style of education tends to appeal to me because of it's inherent ability to steer clear of textbooks. Of course, there is a time and place for textbooks, but I don't see the point when you're home educating a four year old.   So, recently I found myself seriously lacking passion for teaching math concepts.  I mean- it's pretty easy stuff, but it takes time to soak in.  Addition, subtraction, counting by 2s, 10s and 20s... ordination, patterns, etc.  SO.  I did what I always do- fled to the library for help.  Gotta love the juvenile non-fiction stacks.
    The Mission Of Addition by Brian P. Cleary (in his "categorical" series) is a wonderful example of introducing addition to young kids and older kids who need a reminder of the basics.  Cleary has written dozens of great books that teach solid concepts through story.  

    Subtraction Action, by Loreen Leedy, is a great story about ways we use subtraction in the everyday world.  Leedy also wrote a book about addition, among others,  but I haven't had a chance to use it, yet.

    Oh- and I'll let you in on my last secret.  I love to do an entire day of homeschooling with a stack of books from the library and a magnadoodle.  For math we sometimes play "copy-cat."  I write an equation and she copies it and figures out the answer.  She can use her fingers, legos, toys, blocks, anything to add and subtract.  The more we go over these basic equations, the more she remembers the answers without having to figure them out every time. 

    So, math is fun, again.  Next week we're revisiting telling time.  And another study on money is coming up, soon.  I'll let you know how the magnadoodle thing works out when we get to algebra.

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    A visit to my kitchen

    The heart of our home is definitely the kitchen.  Our house is small and the kitchen is constantly inhabited.  Sometimes children are eating or playing with playdoh.  Usually I'm cooking something in there that involves chopping a crazy amount of vegetables, but my husband also loves to live in our kitchen.  His great culinary passions are cake and beer.  Yes.  Cake and beer.  He studied Chemistry in college and seems to enjoy the precise work involved in these two activities.

    My style is completely opposite.  I never use a recipe.  I enjoy creating something out of food.

    He always uses a recipe, at least the first few times he makes something.  He will practice over and over again to make sure he gets it exactly right.  His famous Buckwheat Pancakes are truly amazing because of this character trait.

    Our little Grace-girl loves to help.  Most kids get excited about the same things as their parents.  We have lots of fun together. 

    When things go well in our kitchen, it is when we all work together.  The girl helps.  I get to decorate the cake.  We all enjoy sharing it with friends.  Here is some fruit of our kitchen labor.

     Thanks for drooling.  I know I still do!  When it comes down to it, I want my kids to know what it means to cook from scratch.  Whether it's soup, cake or just smoothies, my kids definitely know the joy of home-made.

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    When Home and School Play Nice

    This morning we did:
    • cuddle on the couch
    • eat breakfast
    • practice a reading lesson on the couch for 1/2 an hour
    • enjoy an hour-long math lesson armed with only a Magna Doodle and some legos (it also involved jumping on the couch) 
    • work on making valentines
    This morning we did not:
    • wake up to an alarm clock (who needs one when you have a baby?)
    • drag the baby out of bed in the middle of a nap to go somewhere
    • get dressed before 10 am
    • watch t.v. 
    I'm not saying all this to gloat.  Some days are pure chaos with temper tantrums, tears, and tyrannical tendencies.  Some days it's all I can do to get the movie turned on and the kid parked in front of it before I collapse on the couch for a few more minutes of sleep.  I write the encouraging days down to give me something hopeful to read on those days.  I hope you have happy days to reflect on, as well!  Share them so you don't forget!

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    When does mommy read?

    I laughed at myself, today, when I realized I have a book hidden in every room of this house.  You never know when you might have a moment to escape!  I spend a lot of time talking on this blog about what I'm reading to my kids.  Well, here's what I am reading these days:
    • In the Bathroom:  There's always a Time magazine or National Geographic nearby when I need my space.  However, this week I've found myself reviewing an old favorite:  Dr. Sears' The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby form Birth to Age Two.  It's such a great book!  I know I can look it up online, but sometimes it's nice to look in a book.
    • In Bed: I've been keeping my Kindle by my bed.  Currently I'm reading Dan Brown's new book.  It's all fun, people.  I don't believe a word of it.  :)
    • By the couch: I'm catching up on a book I should have read a long time ago.  It's called Ptarmigan Telegraph.  It's about the history of Christian radio station KICY, in Nome, AK.  My maternal grandfather was instrumental in starting the station, so it's fun to read about it.
    • In the office:  It's all business in here.  If I have a moment to read when I'm not at the computer, I'm reviewing the book I'm using to teach June to read, The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.  I don't use it as a textbook, more just a guide.  Works great for me!  Or I'm checking in with other homeschooling books I like (check out my homeschooling tab on this blog)
    • In the kitchen: I'm always reading a cookbook or two.  The Vegetarian Epicure, or The Super Baby Food book.  Of course, my Bible lives in the kitchen, too and I steal my moments with it, when I am able.
     What are you reading, friends?  I'd love to hear what reading material sits by your bed, or on your kitchen table.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Don't YOU have a dream, Mommy?

    Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

    How do you explain the significance of this holiday to a 4 year old?

    Maybe you don't need to.

    Maybe she just needs to witness her mama sitting in the car in the parking lot at the grocery store, crying her eyes out to the tune of,

    I have a dream
    that my four little children will one day live in a nation 
    where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, 
    but by the content of their character.

    Maybe it's enough.  Dear God, please let it be enough.  Let this man's life stand as a witness not just to racial prejudice, but also to moral and economic injustice.  Let my kids see the better world they live in, instead of the worse one.

    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. 

    Then I remembered standing in my kitchen, the night Barack Obama was named the next president of the United States and I turned to my husband and said, "this is an amazing moment in history, and here we are standing in the middle of it."

    Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

    I remember a class full of Navajo kids.  We sang Jesus Loves me in Navajo.  I still remember the syllables, carefully burned into my memory.  But mostly I remember wishing that I could live in the dorms like the other kids.

    We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
    Fast forward to that parking lot, again, today.  I found myself doing the cliche...
    "Martin was kind of like Jesus, honey.  He didn't get to come back to life, but his story will never end."

    My husband finally turned off the radio and we went in to buy our new running shoes and bananas and whatever other inconsequential stuff was on our list today.
    But I hope my girl will remember.  Today is about a dream.  What's your dream?

    I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Epiphany- or "Christmas ain't over yet..."

    This past fall I decided we were going to celebrate "Epiphany" this year.  Also known as 3 King's Day, Epiphany is rarely celebrated in our country, but still widely known other places.  Epiphany means (among other things) "sudden appearance" or "divine manifestation."  Epiphany falls on January 6, 12 days following Christmas Day, and is now celebrated as the day the wise-men apparently made their appearance in Bethlehem to visit the Christ Child.  We know now that it probably wasn't until a few years later that the wise men actually came to Judea, but this is still a fun holiday to celebrate. 

     In our little homeschool classroom, I've been using Epiphany as an excuse to get back on track with school this winter.  There is an urban legend that tells us the 12 Days of Christmas song (counting the 12 days leading up to Epiphany) is really a subversive song describing basic Christian doctrine.  Whether it is or not, this is a great opportunity to teach little ones about the Christian faith.   After taking too much time off for holiday travel, I needed some inspiration.  So, here's what we've been doing:
    • Studying the basic tenets of our faith using the song (and the book, above).  We've been learning that a Partridge in a Pear Tree can also symbolize Jesus on the Cross... so on and so forth.
    • After we sadly demolished our Christmas tree (a New Year's tradition we have involving a bonfire), we began to create an ornament for each of the 12 Days of Christmas to hang on our little lemon tree (you could use a branch or houseplant, too).  For example, we made a little scroll with four birds on it to symbolize the 4 calling birds (symbolizing Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and their gospel stories).
    • There is a ton of material online to help teach the subject of the 3 Wise Men, including the great story of Artaban, the 4th Wise-man, who was waylaid in his journey by people who needed his help.  We've been using his story to learn about ways we can help others in need.  The Russian folk tale of Babushka (top of the page) is another great story relating to the same concept. 
    • This has been a great opportunity to review the numbers (forward and backward) 1-12 and practice writing them!  We're also revisiting the calendar as we count the days to Epiphany.  We could add in some astronomy, too, but I didn't get that organized this year.
    • Finally, we plan to end our study of the 12 Days and Epiphany with a little 3 Kings party!  We'll dress up as kings and queens, have a picnic (indoors) of travel food like hummus, dried fruit, etc. and we'll act out the story of the wise-men greeting the Christ-child.  We'll make sparkly stars to take home as a reminder of the journey the wise-men took and we might even do a little map of our trip (if I get motivated).  The children will leave with small gifts.  
    Do you celebrate Epiphany?  What does your tradition look like?  How do you extend your holidays to last a little longer?  How do you teach your children about faith?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Blessings~ Tori