Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 5th Grade :)

Christmas Gifts for Kiddies

And Putting Some Dreams Back On Your List

Its Christmas shopping time already, and this year for the first time, our 3 and 4 year olds have lists and requests, as well as an awareness of “a lot” and “a little” (and that a lot is a lot better). As a mom, I struggle to know how to make sure that I don’t spoil them, while at the same time, I want to bless their little socks off because its Christmas and I love them!!!  A lot of homeschoolers buy their children mostly books, science kits, art tools, etc. for Christmas and birthdays. I get it……..I dislike materialism as well, and so we buy used clothes, we don’t do video games or TV, we gift educational stuff and often opt for useful things over entertaining things, we rarely visit the toy store, we try not to do a lot of shopping in general, and we even raise some of our own food (and then buy the rest at Whole Paycheck –ha!). That’s us, we splurge in some areas but are pretty minimalist in others. I have a hard time not wanting to splurge on Christmas gifts for my kids. I mean we make them wait all year to get new toys. Every time they ask for something, I say, “I’ll put it on your Christmas list,” then I type the item into a list on my phone–matter closed. Its great because I have peace of mind since all I have to do is keep the list up, and because my kids are truly happy with this arrangement! In their mind, Christmas just is when you finally get what you want. So for these reasons, its hard to decide how much to “spoil” the kids. Thankfully, hubby comes up with a budget that reigns me in and takes all the fun confusion out of it. 🙂

Sometimes it seems like Noah never stops dreaming up things that he wants, or items that according to him, our family could use (little things– like a two story house, or a camping trailor). How could someone so little want so much?? At least when we reached out this month to an Operation Christmas Child and a local homeless person, Noah was dreaming of buying houses and cars for someone else. Boy can little people dream. Its annoying when all our kids dreams seem to center around toys, right? But when that ability to dream suddenly turns its attention towards something righteous and amazingly Godly, aren’t we thrilled that they have that power to dream? I don’t want to squash Noah’s dreams, nor do I want to make poor financial confessions, and so you won’t catch me answering “we can’t afford it”. How much did our parents always saying “we can’t afford it” when we were young effect how we view money as adults? Many of us don’t live in poverty, but many of us still have a “poverty mindset”, and it holds us back. The Bible says ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’, not ‘money is the root of all evil’. I want my kids to keep dreaming big dreams as they grow up, even if those dreams cost a lot of money, and not to have an ever increasing dose of “reality” diminish those lofty dreams into something smaller and smaller as they grow.  Thats just it, little people believe, don’t they? At Christmas time, we see this is apparent, perhaps more than any other time of year. And perhaps this is one of those little heart lessons we as parents are to pay attention to this season as we watch our little ones hearts dreaming away. Are our own hearts still dreaming away? Maybe the question isn’t, how could someone so little want so much, but rather, how could someone so big want so little? Let’s give our diminished dreams to God this Christmas and pray that He would enlarge them once again.

Want to see some of my ideas for the kids this Christmas? Oh, and I added a few things for myself (those “things” always seems to sneak their way in, don’t they?).

The Kids’ List

Check out JM Cremps Adventure Store for lots of good ideas for boys. Its an awesome Christian family owned store selling “adventure supplies” with the premise that the character of a man depends a great deal on the adventures and experiences a boy enjoys in his youth.

A Spring Swing–Swings and Bounces

A Quality Bow and Arrow for 4-7 Year Olds

Bear Cheeks Pajamas With Trap Door–Cute Christmas Jammies

Hatley Rainboots and Umbrella

Thinking Putty–Bounces, Stretches, Shatters, and Changes Color

A Pocket Microscope (100x)–Only $15

DK Stickers

Reading Lessons with A Talking Dog Pen

A Game that Teaches Numbers (Zingo also has a sight word version)

A Game that Teaches Reading

Number Balance that Teaches Number Relationships, Addition, and Subtraction

Beeswax Crayons that Bring Coloring to a New Level

Huggums– A Pretty Baby Doll

Mom, the Teacher’s List

How do you get kids that can’t tell time to hurry up? With a time timer! A timer that shows how much time is left. I would love to have a time timer for chores, lessons, and especially clean up time. Not dawdling is a big habit we are working on around here and I feel like a broken record with my, “come on,” “let’s go,” “stop dawdling,” “your time is almost up,” type of comments. I loathe my own nagging some days. I think this little timer may release me from my torture and help teach my children responsibility as they monitor their own time.

This is cool! Make your own learning centers/resources/worksheets/tests with your own supply of hot dots and talking pen. Instead of buying boxed Hot Dot lessons like the one above, you can make your own lessons  customized to what your child needs to know, apply the “hot” and “cool” dots, and hand your child the interactive pen. Any surface can become a learning activity (like during a Spanish lesson, stick a hot dot to the kitchen sink, several cool dots to various other items in the kitchen, and then ask your child to go find the “lavabo” by touching the pen to different dots for instant feedback).

Click to insert.

See last years Christmas Gift Suggestions

Hanging Out at the Nature Park


King of the Forest

IMG_3289Laying Out Straw for the Chickens


Counting  Dots on the Dot Cube


Writing in My Word Book


Morning Lessons


Cool Turtle Garrett!


Sentence Building with Lamb


Love You Brother



Messiest Tree in the Neighborhood, but so Much Fun


Turkey Pumpkins and Our Thankful Tree


A Beautiful Fall at the Nature Park



An Easy Leaf Garland

Made After a Day at the Nature Park


Daniel and Pug Dog


Pattern Work with Mamama


Working on Beginning Sounds, Yay Faith!


Our Favorite Project of the Month: Stone Soup


Noah  Loves Using The Food Chopper


Praying Over Our Soup


Sharing our Soup


Showing Our Soup Being Made


Great Handwriting Kiddos!


Adding to Our Thankful Tree All Month Long Was Awesome


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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November Lesson Plans


I invite you to join our Jesus’ Precious Little Lambs school by following along with our lesson plans at home! You are welcome to homeschool with us! Please take a look at Welcome Back to School & Fabulous Fours and Fives for a basic explanation of each area of study that you see here in this monthly lesson plan (bold blue headings), as well as a description of the beauty of Charlotte Mason education methods. To preview our monthly themes planned for the year, also see our 2013 masterplan. If you would like to call your school Little Lambs as well, see my post Founding Message of Jesus’ Precious Little Lambs, a sweet Bible lesson I presented during one of our very first circle times that you might want to use with your kids too!

Bible Truth Theme:  I am Thankful (giving, compassionate)

Preschool Fun Theme: Thanksgiving (pilgrims, Native Americans, turkeys)

Mother Study:

Before teaching your children, enrich yourself with Psalm 100 (Psalm of thanksgiving) expounded on by Charles Spurgeon.

Special Events:

Preview the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Gift Catalog and start thinking about what we want to give this Christmas–chicks, sheep, clean water, medicine?

November 12th–SHARING Put together a shoebox that we will send off to Operation Christmas Child. Watch this video and pray for our child.

November 19th–COMMUNITY OUTREACH Make soup, pass it out to homeless people, and pray with them. Keep them in our prayers.

November 25th-29th–NO SCHOOL Happy Thanksgiving!!

Bible Stories:

Week 1 Exodus 12-34

The Child’s Story Bible chapters 35-39

Week 2 Exodus 35-40; Leviticus 1-3, 16, 23, 25; Numbers 9

The Child’s Story Bible chapters 40-43

Week 3 Numbers 10-20

The Child’s Story Bible chapters 44-47

Week 4 Numbers 20-25, 31

The Child’s Story Bible pages 48-51

Memory Verse:

Review last years verse: Whenever you are able, do good to people who need help.” Proverbs 3:27

Learn new verse: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ”  Thessalonians 5:16-18


For the Beauty of the Earth

Sheet Music Here

Bringing in the Sheaves

Sheet Music Here

Cedarmont Kids Hymns MP3s for both For the Beauty of the Earth, Bringing in the Sheaves

Poetry for memorization:

Memorize the first three stanzas of Thanksgiving Day.



The children will practice printing:

(Child’s Name) is thankful for (whatever he/she is thankful for)

and all the words from the fable in the reading lesson below.


Materials:  printed fable, loose letters, word cards for the title, the author, and “Some dogs, finding the skin of a lion”


The Dogs and the Fox

By Aesop 

Some dogs, finding the skin of a lion, began to tear it in pieces with their teeth. A Fox, seeing them, said, “If this lion were alive, you would soon find out that his claws were stronger than your teeth.”

Moral: It is easy to kick a man that is down.

Reading Lessons: (the title, the author, and “Some dogs, finding the skin of a lion”)

1. Write one word from the poem on the board

2. Discuss the word

3. Study it closely, then erase

4. Find the word card from a small pile of cards, then hide the card

5. Spell the word with loose letters (from memory if possible)

6. Find the word in the printed poem

7. Repeat steps 1-6 with each word

8. Do a review of all the words listed up on the board

Word Building Lessons (spelling):

Using loose letters, build words that rhyme with each of the words assigned for this month (ex: dogs–hogs, bogs, jogs, logs, etc.).

(Lessons 9-12 in Delightful Reading by Simply Charlotte Mason)

History Books:



(Activities are from the book Developing Number Concepts by Kathy Richardson)

After completing each of the following lessons, and the children feel comfortable with them, make the materials available during independent work time/free play for the children to practice the activities on their own.

Week 1  Hunt for It (p. 38)

Materials: counters, 5-6 bowls/margarine tubs, dot cubes (dice, or make your own) or numeral cubes (make your own) with quantities at your child’s level (1-6 or 4-9 or 7-12 for example) Lesson: Hide various sets of counters under five or six bowls. Name a number and have children hunt for that number, lifting one bowl at a time. Children say whether each number they find is “more” or “less” than the one named. Instead of naming a number, you could also provide a dot cube or numeral cube to teach recognizing quantities and reading numerals. Extension: Have children write the number of counters that were hidden.

Week 2 Shape Puzzles (p. 60)

Materials: unifix cubes, shape puzzles Lesson: The children estimate how many cubes will fit in a shape puzzle and then check to see how many cubes fit in the shape puzzle. Extension: Children can write the numerals down when they check each puzzle. Increase the size of the shape puzzle for children ready to work with large numbers.

Week 3 How Many Ways? (p. 100)

Materials: Various patterning objects (small colored square papers, buttons, unifix cubes, seashells, etc. Markers or crayons, and glue. Lesson: Give the children a pattern such as AABB, ABC, AAB, etc. Have them work to see how many different ways they can show that pattern using their choice of objects. Glue the objects down or copy the pattern down with markers or crayons. Make a chart/display of all the ways they came up with.

Week 4 Spin and Peek (p. 150)

Materials: Counters, eight or nine bowls, more/less spinner (use a spinner you already own, cover one half with paper labeled “More” and one half with paper labeled “Less”) Lesson: Played like concentration. Lift a bowl, count the counters, spin the more/less spinner to see if he or she should look for a bowl with more counters or less counters than the first bowl. If he or she finds it, take those two bowls out of the game. Play until all bowls are out of the game.

Fun Group Projects:

Read The Pumpkin Patch Parable

by Liz Curtis Higgs and then carve a pumpkin (we may be a little late, but since we don’t celebrate Halloween, fall is always a good time to carve!) The story tells how a Farmer harvests the pumpkin he has grown, scoops out the slimy pulp, carves a face, and places a light inside. The story ends by telling how God is the Farmer, and we are just like those pumpkins, chosen by Him, made clean and given His light.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.

Click to insert.

Pack a Shoebox for an Operation Christmas Child.

Make Care Packages to Pass Out to Homeless People.


Make a Thankful Tree


Make a Turkey Out of a Pumpkin

Click to insert.

Make Pumpkin Soft Serve

Autumn in a Bowl: Spiced Pumpkin “Granola”

Read Stone Soup and Make Stone Soup Together

Leaf Garlands Simple Enough for Preschoolers–Let them Decorate their Rooms with Fall!

Cute Little Acorn People!

Nature Study:

Make Leaf Crowns with Real Leaves and Let Your Children Play Imaginatively in Nature

Click to insert.

All good things are inspired by God! We share freely here to be a blessing to you with all that He has given us. Thank you for sharing what you have been given with others too. “Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8


What Matters In Life

Welcome Baby Daniel

Here is our sweet baby Daniel, born September 12th, weighing 7.8 pounds, and measuring 21 inches! We have spent the last month adjusting to life with three kids, so will you forgive me for taking some time off from blogging? Life is purposefully slow and sweet here; we don’t want this short window of tiny baby time to pass us by too quickly. There are so many things that sink in by baby #3–like knowing more than ever what really matters in life. I read something recently about children’s stages of attachment by the author of Hold Onto Your Kids (most awesome book!), that reminded me of my personal core value in this life as a parent: bonding with my kids–and why its so important. As I read Neufeld’s words, I felt grateful that I can see evidence of the stages of attachment unfolding in my children, but anxious that perhaps we have also fallen short in some ways………and of course, we have. Thank you for the grace of God. I am making sure to snuggle and spend lots of time with my baby; its a brand new beginning.


Dr. Neufeld says, “I’ve been spending my life trying to put the pieces together of how attachment unfolds. And in fact, I had a wonderful opportunity of taking a whole year off just to be able to study all the attachment theories throughout the ages, actually, and see how it is that attachment is meant to happen. And it’s a beautiful story, really. I’ll try to tell it very quickly and very simply. In the first year of life, a child does attach through wanting to be with, to be in sight, in smell, in hearing, in touch. But by the second year of life a new way of attaching should open up in which the child wants to be liked, not only with, but liked. And this is the key to language acquisition, to stamping out form on their behavior; it’s a key to so many things. If that goes well, the third part by the third year, a child becomes preoccupied with belonging and becomes preoccupied with loyalty to be on the same side as which is a different way of closeness, to take the same side, to serve and obey. And that’s when the obedience instincts begin to be there. By the fourth year of life, you should see in a child a huge quest for significance – to matter, because he feels close now when he is dear to those that he’s attached to. Now if everything unfolds properly, the fifth year is incredible. The limbic system, the command center or the amygdala of the command center, the limbic system, the emotional brain pulse – all of it stops and the child gives his heart to whomever he is attached to. He falls in love. And he’s deeply emotionally attached to his kitten, to his grandma, to anything that is there. And this is amazing. And it’s so important because when the child develops at that level, that’s a stage for the rest of parenting. We cannot parent children whose hearts we do not have. We can’t parent even our grandchildren whose heart we do not have. Or our adult children. This is absolutely essential. So children need to fall deeply into attachment and we need to make it easy for them. The last stage is a very interesting stage. If it’s safe to attach, there’s no defendedness emotionally, then the child actually wants to share all that is within his heart. And so the 6-year-old is busy telling her secrets, and not to have any secrets that divide. This is the beginning of psychological intimacy, which should characterize our marriages and our best friendships. And so we’ve got all kinds of intimacies: with, like, belonging, mattering, our heart, emotional intimacy and then finally psychological intimacy. And this is a context in which children are meant to be raised. So the beginning – the infancy and toddler – is just the beginning of a wonderful unfolding and development of the capacity for a relationship.”


How amazing! Keeping our children right with us in the early years is so important in order to hold their hearts close to us all through the years. I have seen Noah, my four year old, reach each of the first four stages Neufeld describes. We are now in the “look at me,” “I am so good at this,” “I am bigger,” “I am better,” significance stage. And I just thought he needed some lessons in humility. Little did I know his current way of mattering and attaching to mommy and daddy is through importance. My favorite part of what Dr. Neufeld had to say was, that a five year old gives his heart to whomever he is attached to, he falls in love. I have always loved 5 year olds because there is something magical and magnetic about them, and where they are at developmentally. My favorite grade to teach was kindergarten because the kids adore you. Now as a parent of a soon to be five year old, I am so looking forward to Noah turning 5!! To be loved is why we parent, right? I have been in love with Noah all his life, even before he was born, but very soon he will finally be in love with me too. What a year of fulfillment! I am going to make sure that I am the one right there when he is ready to fall in love. How exciting for this attached mama!!


Oh, and on a side note, what is Noah looking forward to when he turns five (besides toys of course!)? The other day he said, “I can’t wait until I turn five.” I said, “Oh yah, how come?” He said, “Because I will get to have more jobs (ie chores).” (????) I was surprised to hear that because he talks about playtime as if its his sole purpose in life, and needs more of it. So I thought, sweet, we must have built up birthday chores like they are gifts or something. We told the kids that they get new responsibilities (jobs) when they have a birthday, and that along with the new responsibilities of growing up, come special new freedoms too. Noah told me that one new job he would like to have when he turns five is to help me cook more. Hey, sounds good to me. 🙂


What Matters to Us

Dean and I recently drafted up some Core Family Values, an assignment from our Kingdom Families small group that we meet with from church. With a new addition to our growing family, it was a great time to sit down and discuss what matters to our family, how we will live it out, and which scriptures will breath life into it all. Some things we wrote down are more statements of faith and things we are aiming for, rather than things we are doing perfectly all the time. Now we have something to turn to in hard times that will help refocus us. Anyway, it was a valuable, purposeful, and defining experience for us. Perhaps its a good time for your family to write up your own Core Family Values?


Cravalho Family Core Values


……….For beauty and excellence to be in whatever we do, and show forth God’s glory.

One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.       Psalms 27:4

  • Family is sacred and beautiful. God’s glory shall dwell in our home and family. Thus, we protect our family life, live undivided and un-fragmented, and prioritize spending time together. We do homeschool together, family devotions together, and worship together in church. We want to learn, worship, pray, work, reach out, grow, cry, go through struggles, and make memories together. We won’t departmentalize learning, home-life, friends, work, and God–with each of us going in separate directions all the time as we see happening in most modern families.

2. Holiness

……….To dwell in His presence, be saturated and encompassed by God.

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you.Deuteronomy 5:12

  • We live everyday like its the Sabbath, putting as much energy into growing in Godliness, as if everyday is a Sunday
  • We need not separate holy and secular, for everyday moments are holy if perceived as such. All can be holy ground. The kitchen sink can be a sanctuary.
  • We have regular Bible Times because holiness is only possible by shedding worldly mindsets through the daily renewing of our minds

3. Discipleship

………..Comfort, teach, guide, model, nurture–DISCIPLE–our children for the purpose of aiming them to God’s glory and the service of their generation.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

  • We train up our children through side by side discipleship. The behavior, habits, character, and destiny we envision for our children can best be accomplished through intimate discipleship, and homeschool presents the perfect opportunity for true discipleship.

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.  Proverbs 23:13-14

  • We discipline with both spankings and loving words of reproof so that our children do not bring shame to us, but rather bring delight to our souls.

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.  Deuteronomy 5:16

  • Our children honor us as compass points in their lives, as parents able to orient them in what direction to take and how to get there. They listen to us, rather than their peers or media, concerning all matters– how to act, what to say, what to do, how to look, etc.

These words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  Deuteronomy 6:6-7

  • We live on a single income so that we can have a stay at home parent available to teach our children since discipleship as described in Duet. 6:6-7 is an all day long comission.
  • We teach our children by including them in worship. We follow the Biblical model of family worship where worship primarily: was led by the father, held in the home, and included all generations of life.
  • By cultivating a close relationship with our children, we open their hearts to God. Side by side discipleship allows for an attached relationship. Children give their hearts, loyalty, and confidence to whomever they are attached to. Therefore, a child who is well attached to his parents, is a child that is easy to parent, and also easy to disciple. We can not disciple or parent children whose hearts we do not have.


And yes, we are still managing to do school and other fun stuff with a new baby in the family! Take a look!

Playin’ in the Rain One Day


Daddy’s Sweet Potato Science Project


Daddy Helps Me with Word Building


Daddy Helps Me with my “I am Special” Book


Tayler’s Mommy Helps at School


Noah’s “Mud, Mud, Blood” Pattern


Noah’s Independent Math Time Creation (Attribute Blocks)




Noah Exclaimed, “I did it as good as Tayler!”



Noah’s Punishment for Biting a Word Tile


Faith’s Time Outs Are Time Ins with God

We have always put Faith in her crib for timeouts because she gets so enraged when she is in trouble that she needs a quiet, safe place to calm down in. However, lately I have been letting her sit in her rocking chair with a recorded prayer book. She is much calmer with this type of punishment! And while she is hearing Grandma and Grandpa pray all kind of calming prayers from her Really Wooly Bedtime Prayers book, her heart is being ministered to and softened by God’s Word. Perfect for a little one who can’t read yet!


Our “I am Special” Books


Tayler Working on Her I am Special Book


All of Tayler’s Pages



All of Noah’s Pages



All of Faith’s Pages


The Pumpkin Patch


Lima Bean Pots!


The Hay Maze


Our Homegrown Giant Pumpkin


A Neighbor’s Giant Pumpkin



     Tayler Made Faith a Pretty Birthday Cake in the Sandbox


Noah Painting Faith’s Birthday Present (a dollhouse)


Happy 3rd Birthday Faithy!!


Too Cute!


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