November in a Nutshell

I don’t know where to begin… November was filled with so many wonderful, life-giving opportunities and experiences, right here in our home as well as out of the home.

The only way to get through this month is to simply show it chronologically. Since the weather turned pretty wet and rainy, we started spending more time indoors – much of that time reading. I purchased the Shakespeare Collection from a Usborne independent consultant during one of her Facebook parties not knowing how much our son would enjoy them. We read all five books within one week. He then started acting out some of the scenes, as well as creating his own screenplays.

Of course, there was then plenty of time for arts and crafts, drawing, math workbooks, puzzles, play time with sister and of course, board games like Enchanted Forest, Robot Turtles, and Lakeshore’s Sight Word Bingo.

Unfortunately, in the midst of enjoying our early evenings together as a family, we had to have a serious conversation about terrorism with our son due to the recent attacks across the world and here on US soil. We feel he’s old enough to understand that our world is subject to extreme circumstances such as mass shootings. We also talked about how God has already won this war and our time here on earth is to help Him gather His army.

Most coincidentally, our Little Passports box also came featuring Paris, France. So we learned a lot about their culture and traditions.

“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.”
~ Revelations 19:19

This also got us started reading Ten and Twenty, another book from our Sonlight Collection, and opened up the conversations about wars and prejudice that has occurred. He always likes to ask us “is that real?” and in many, sad cases, we’re having to say “yes.”

Then came a bit of new, exciting work. Code breaking! Our son already loves solving puzzles, mazes and other word problems, so this came naturally. Its so funny sometimes, homeschooling, because you don’t realize your child’s natural affinity for something until they’re exposed to it – and decoding words hasn’t been anything I’d considered until we were at a brunch spot and the waitress gave him a torn page from a coloring book. The back page was a How to Train Your Dragon code-breaker puzzle. He took right to it and then started creating his own codes at home, asking mom and dad to decode them.

Something I, as a mom, really enjoyed was reading this collection of Dr. Seuss stories to him, over and over again, per his requests. The stories included The SneetchesThe Zax and several other short Seuss stories. I remember as a kid watching a few of these short videos as well. So after weeks of reading the books, I broke out YouTube to watch the videos with him. It’s so fun watching the differences he points out between what we read and the videos. This also made me remember how exciting it is, even now, to read the books before watching the movies that were made from the books. (For me, this past summer, I read Unbroken before seeing the film, which was extremely rewarding). IMG_4841

So we’ll continue trying to do this with short and long books that eventually become films, because I think it’s so important our children use their imagination from the words they read first, and then see the “magic” on the screen, considering what they see is based on a few people’s perceptions, not their own, and helps them realize that everyone views the world so differently.


His new “look books” (aka comic books) this montIMG_4840h became Mal and Chad. Yes, he became so obsessed reading these he asked to bring them to his hiking camp so he could read them on the bus. Apparently, his guides at Trackers Earth have asked him to put books away (naturally, if they’re going somewhere). But it just confirmed our decision to homeschool. He’s a book lover and if he were in school, he’d be told to do a million other projects instead of simply just sit and read, something he thoroughly enjoys doing.

Then, of course, came the Thanksgiving holiday and the crafts that accompany it. Including fun workbooks about the pilgrims, Indians and the first Thanksgiving, wreaths made of colorful leaves and baking. (He also started writing his Christmas wish list!)

This year was also the first year our family hosted Thanksgiving. Considering we’re homeschooling and have two very young children, I decided to make it an extremely simple, low-stress day. We spent more time making the crafty centerpiece than the time we spent in the kitchen making food the day of…

Our centerpiece was hand-crafted leaves (made by Kingston himself, mainly), hanging on branches in a vase. It ended up being massive and took up too much room to keep on the table during the meal, but it was a memorable project I’ll never forget. He wrote down all the things he’s thankful for (and so did mom and dad). He cut out the leaves with his special scissors, he helped pick out the branches on our walks together (heading out after a wind storm helps! – and don’t forget to remind dad that you’re collecting them so he doesn’t throw them out when they’re drying in the garage!… lesson learned). He then helped collect and fill the vase with rocks from the neighborhood and hang every single one of the leaves. It was beautiful and we both really enjoyed doing it together.

Finally, we joined another homeschool mom and her two sons on Winter Hikes every Friday. She led the first three hikes in November at the Tualatin Hills Nature Park in Beaverton. I then lead the next three hikes at Tryon Creek Nature Preserve in Lake Oswego in December (more on that in my December in a Nutshell post). I was thrilled to meet a few other homeschooling moms who love hiking with their kids, rain or shine.

We decided it was best to meet at the same place each Friday during the month so we could thoroughly explore and get to know the park, the animals, the nature and different pathways.

Oh, and we can’t forget heading out to watch dad play during the Turkey Bowl with our church group. Kingston was keen on performing the infamous Charlie Brown + Lucy football move with dad. 🙂

And of course, last but not least, we definitely didn’t head out shopping on Black Friday. We joined REI in their #optoutside movement and went hiking at Camassia Nature Preserve just down the road from our home instead. It was SO beautiful.

An article I’ve kept bookmarked just for this occasion.
9 Things Shopping Can Never Deliver.

Our two families who we’re SO thankful for on Thanksgiving.


“All your children will be taught of the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace.” ~ Isaiah 54:13

May peace be with you this holiday season, as it is with ours (as often as possible) 🙂



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