Posted in Free Homeschooling Resources

5 Free Advent Studies and Resources

Advent begins this Sunday! Until one day when homeschoolers were chatting online about Advent with me years ago, I hadn’t ever celebrated it. We tried a free Advent study that year as a family and have celebrated yearly ever since. I love how it gets us into the spirit of Christmas and its true meaning as we lead up to the big night! We light the candles then snuggle up on the couch and read scriptures and great Christmas themed literature such as A Christmas Carol together. Sometimes we sing Christmas carols as well. Here is a list of free advent studies and resources to help celebrate Advent in your home.

5 Free Advent Studies and Resources

advent studies

Free Printable Advent Reading Plan
If all you would like is a scripture reading plan, here is a great printable one.

Free Advent Study with Kids’ Resources
Includes two free advent studies. The Advent Study for Kids includes memory verses, lessons, activities, and a prayer of the day.  The one for families, Advent Study: Keeping Our Hearts Focused on Jesus, includes scripture reading, devotions, daily family activities, recipes, and journal pages. We’re going to give this one a try this year, it looks like fun!

Free Professor Carol’s Advent Calendar
Sign up free and it will pop up in your email daily. Includes a description of the candles and their setup, as well as scriptures to read, etc.

The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent
Download this free PDF ebook with daily readings.

25 Days of Free Christmas Devotions
Free daily Christmas devotions that you can use as part of your Advent celebrations. When you sign up you will also receive the ebook, The Hope of Christmas.

And something just for fun . . .

Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar
Even though this online calendar doesn’t have a focus on Jesus, and isn’t free, I had to include it. A friend of ours sends one to my daughter every year as a gift – it only costs a few dollars – and she LOVES it! Jacquie Lawson animations are so adorable, and there are activities such as creating snowflakes that she enjoys.

Do you celebrate Advent? How do you celebrate or what resources do you use for advent studies? Please let me know in the comments below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Kimberly

 

Posted in Blog Hops/Walks, Contests

12 Pearls of Christmas: Advent & Giveaway

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from some of today’s most beloved writer’s (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun … there’s also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form} and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450 value). Contest runs 12/14 – 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

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Advent
By Sibella Giorello

Consider the bride’s walk down the aisle. We all know where that woman in the white is going but somehow waiting for her to arrive at the altar is an essential part of the ceremony. In fact, the waiting is so essential that even cheapskate Vegas chapels include wedding marches.

Why?

Because the wait adds meaning to the moment.

At Christmas time, we tend to forget this essential truth about anticipation. We’re lost to shopping malls and checklists, rushing toward December 25th so quickly that we forget the quiet joy of the month’s other 24 days — and then we wonder why we feel so empty on the 26th, amid ribbons and wrapping paper and our best intentions.

Because the wait adds meaning to the moment.

And that is why Advent is so important to Christmas.

I’m as guilty as the next harried person. This Advent was particularly tricky because just six hours before it started, I was still trying to finish a 110,000-word novel that was written over the course of the year — written while homeschooling my kids, keeping my hubby happy, and generally making sure the house didn’t fall down around us.

It’s an understatement to say my free time is limited. But waiting adds meaning, and Advent is crucial to Christmas, so I’ve devised several Advent traditions that are simple, powerful and easy to keep even amid the seasonal rush.

When my kids outgrew the simple Advent calendars around age 7, I stole an idea from my writer friend Shelly Ngo (as T.S. Eliot said, “Mediocre writers borrow. Great writers steal.” Indulge me.)

Here’s how it goes: Find 24 great Christmas books, wrap them individually and place then under the tree. On the first day of Advent, take turns picking which book to open. When we did this, we would cuddle under a blanket and read aloud — oh, the wonder, the magic! We savored “The Polar Express,” howled with “How Murray Saved Christmas,” and fell silent at the end of “The Tale of The Three Trees” (note: some of the picture books I chose were not explicitly about Christmas but they always echoed the message that Jesus came to earth to save us from ourselves and to love us beyond our wildest imagination. In that category, Angela Hunt’s retelling of The Three Trees definitely hits the Yuletide bull’s eye).

This Advent tradition lasted for about five years. It gave us rich daily discussions about the season’s real meaning, without being religious or legalistic, and it increased family couch time. But like the lift-the-flap calendars, my kids outgrew the picture books.

Because the wait adds meaning, and Advent is crucial, I prayed for another way to celebrate anticipation of Christmas. By the grace of God, last year I found an enormous Advent calendar on  clearance at Pottery Barn. Made of burlap, it has large pockets big enough to hold some serious bounty.

But my husband and I didn’t want the kids focusing only on the materialist stuff for Advent — we already fight that on Christmas day. We decided to fill the daily pockets with simple necessities and small gift cards. We also printed out the nativity story from Luke 2:1-21 in a large-sized font and cut each verse out. From Day 1 to Day 21, there is one verse to read aloud. The kids memorize it, then get to open their present (again, on alternating days for each person). Then we tape the verse to the wall in order. By Day 22, all the verses are on the wall, in order, and the kids now try to recite the entire nativity story from memory. That’s not as difficult as it sounds because they’ve been memorizing one verse each day. Still, the entire recitation — verbatim — usually requires Day 23 and Day 24. Whoever does memorize the entire thing — without mistakes —  earns a bonus gift of $25.

Does that sounds extravagant?

It is.

Because we want our kids to understand that God came down and humbled himself and taught us about love right before He suffered and died on behalf of the undeserving — which is every one of us.

“That’s” extravagant.

And in the waiting, we find even more meaning.

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Sibella Giorello writes the Raleigh Harmon mystery series which won the Christy Award with its first book “The Stones Cry Out.” She lives in Washington state with her husband and children, and often wishes there were 36 hours in a day.

 

Do you celebrate Advent? Comment below!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Free Homeschooling Resources, Resources

Felix Dies Nativitatis! Merry Christmas! – Free Latin Advent Calendar

While we have been celebrating Advent, I haven’t yet got an Advent calendar going for the children!  In my email inbox today, popped a Latin Advent calendar from Classical Academic Press.  If you would like to enhance your homeschool Latin studies with an Advent calendar click HERE.  For a different version which uses much less printer ink, click HERE.

Felix Dies Nativitatis!

Love, Luck &
Laughter,

Posted in Free Homeschooling Resources

Free Advent Study – Advent Begins Nov 27th!

Until a few years ago, I hadn’t ever celebrated Advent, and didn’t even really know what it was.  A few homeschoolers on The Homeschool Lounge had talked about Advent, and posted a link to a free Advent study, and I thought I would give it a try with my family.  I’m so glad I did as we all enjoyed it!  We started our nightly Advent celebrations again this year, tonight.  You can download your free Advent study too, at the Our Grace Journey blog.  If you’re like me and don’t like doing fill-in-the-blank activities with your children, simply discuss things with your children instead.  There are also colouring pages, scriptures to read, and of course the lighting of the candles, which my children particularly enjoy.  We find it’s a great way to get excited about and prepare for the coming of the Christ Child :) We also like to sing and include some readings of other books and stories nightly – we always read A Christmas Carol, among other selections.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,